Taking Care Of Your Site’s Needs: Movie Time

You might have never thought about it, but a video can really help your company website a lot.  From the most basic presentational slideshows to meet-and-greet clips, they tell people that you really want them to get a lot of use out of coming to your site.  That’s because it’s a level of interaction beyond just having them read what you’ve written.  That’s not meant as a dig at blogs, guys; it’s just a simple matter of reminding them that there’s a real human being on the other side of the web page – kind of like all the customer service people you’ll meet when you stop in at a business.

There are lots of ways that this can be done, too.  There are some videos that run automatically, cycling to the start again once they reach the end, and these need to be simpler videos so that they don’t turn people off for simply making the site too busy.  It’s good to have a more complicated video that people can choose to start or stop, too, because that increases the level of interaction with your site that’s going on.  The ironic part is that the video with more complex content can actually be the easier one to make, because it can be the sort of thing hosted on sites like YouTube, while the simpler graphics one will pretty much need to be integrated into the programming of your site.

Whether you decide to use just one or both kinds of video for your website, it’s important to understand the differences in what they do for you and in how they need to be treated.  If you’ve got something where the CEO of your company greets people and gives them the proverbial ten cent tour, you need to make sure that it isn’t going to be forced on people who don’t really want it.  That would make them dislike your site, and your company by extension.  If you get everything right, though, you can help to encourage people to do business with you – and you can actually improve your site’s ranking on search engines.

Of course, it’s important to remember that you don’t want any videos connected to your site to be to long.  If they take more than about five minutes or so, you run the risk of people losing interest and moving on to something else – possibly leaving your site as a result.  You need to be concise and interesting, and you need to make sure that your video reflects well on your site.  That isn’t going to be an easy task without either boring or overwhelming viewers, but it can be done.  When you succeed, you’ll be one step closer to making your site the first place that people go for absolutely everything you offer.

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Computers Are Evolving

By now you’ve noticed how much people are starting to value to new “Cloud” approach to the Internet. It really is more advanced than the basic per-server way that everything’s been done so far. But, you might not know that the hardware used on all computers is evolving to, because that advance is coming from a sector you might have overlooked: gaming.

Everyone knows that one day, we’re going to have something that looks like the computer systems in the old Jetsons TV series, but thanks to the Xbox Kinect and a bunch of people tinkering with it on their own time, we’re actually a step closer to the day when your whole room is your computer interface. With further innovation, the technology behind the Kinect could soon replace both keyboard and mouse as the way we control our computers.

As soon as that’s combined with the new Cloud technology, we’ll be able to just turn on our monitor-televisions and control everything with a wave of our hands. It’ll be so amazingly easy to access everything we want that the way we’re surfing the web now (admittedly impressive) will seem like the crude bumbling of technological cavemen.

HAL will be with you, always.

HAL will be with you, always.

Of course, falling back on classic geek humor lines, it’s also possible that we’re creating our own doom here.  The Cloud works byhaving computers share their resources with each other, essentially turning them into a larger hive computer. Many sci-fi stories have relied on the premise that something like this leads to computers becoming self-aware and deciding that they should get rid of humanity. If that happens, we’re giving an ideal set of eyes to something that ultimately wants to kill us.

In the meantime, we move forward, advancing ourselves toward a brighter futurewhere our lives will be a little easier and our days will be filled with easier access to the information we need. It may well be that our computing and cloud surfing will be a lot safer than browsing the Internet has ever been. Just make sure that you know how to deal with giant killer robots along the way.

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Happy New Year, Internet!

2010 has been an interesting year for the Internet.  Google’s made several bids at major expansions – more than one of which have already proven to be complete flubs.  Facebook has faced scandal over failures in its famous privacy policy (you know that’s why it beat out MySpace).  China has all but declared war on most of the top websites.  Yahoo! has staggered along amid mockery and diminishing popularity.

SEO has changed, too.  You still need to keep track of things like meta-tags and link building, but social media marketing and even video SEO have taken up a lot of the focus that used to go into how much you could get away with without being marked as spam.  Just 12 months ago, social media was the Next Big Thing that everyone was trying to figure out how to use effectively, and now its becoming a proven method of courting return visits from people and even first time stops from their friends.

There have been virus scares on a lot of important websites.  Someone even used one to attack Iran and a number of other countries en masse!  It’s safe to say (pun intended) that the Internet has revealed that it’s every bit as dangerous as the concrete jungle.

But things aren’t all bleak.  As I just said, social media is stabilizing as a way to market your company.  Smart phones are evolving to use satellite technology in addition to cell towers.  A guy made a real fortune selling virtual real estate.  Most of the times a major site has been caught in an embarrassing situation, it’s managed to take care of things and save face.  And the Internet has really proven how it’s become the front line in freely expressing yourself.

I don’t know whether the Internet’s come a long way or whether this has all been just a small step in the grand scheme of things, but it’s been quite a year.  I’m sure that you’re looking forward to seeing what the new year will bring to the online world as much as I am.

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Is Christmas Online December 27th?

You know, I find myself wondering lately, how much business is done online in the days after Christmas.  Everyone knows that there are a lot of returns made on gifts that just aren’t right or don’t actually fit.  What happens with all that exchange money?  Certainly a lot of it is used in-store at the time of the exchange, but that can’t be all of it.

And what about all the Christmas cash and gift cards?  Do people make a bee-line exactly where they know something they want is?  Or do they just look around for a while to find the best deal they can on anything that interests them?  On occasion, search engines have used seasonally specific searching features, so is it possible that they’re going to need something that helps people find the best sale associated with your chosen keywords?

I’m afraid that I don’t have any worthwhile answers to this, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.  We all know that the Internet is used a lot for conducting business, so why shouldn’t it be part of the big After Christmas sales?  I know that, if I get some Christmas cash, I’m probably going to spend it in online purchases.

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Taking Care Of Your Site’s Needs: Back To Basics

Even if you’re not going to try handling your SEO needs on your own, that doesn’t mean that you have to leave your site completely invisible to search engine crawlers.  For one thing, Google has recently increased the amount of information you have available as a webmaster.  That means that you can keep better track of how you’re ranking and what you need to do in order to succeed.

Beyond that, though, there are lots of little things you can do to help your site out.  Just focusing on the basics a bit more can go a long way toward making any website more functional as a page that can be indexed.  More importantly, all of those fundamental website practices will help make it easier for people to do business with you, which is why you’ve taken your company online in the first place.

Of course, once you’re ready to have a skilled SEO team help your site, you can let them handle all of that as well.  They’ll be able to take all those efforts and go far more in-depth than someone who’s just getting started can.  In the meantime, it’s still a good idea to take some basic steps in order to make sure that your company can grow into everything you want it to be.

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Know The Best Ways To Promote Your Site

There are more and more ways you can go about letting everyone know that your site is great.  It used to be that everything was spread through word of mouth, back before the search engines came along.  Nowadays, there’s link building, web ads, and email messages sent because a company heard about you rather than the other way around.  It’s even starting to be where you need to make on-site videos in order to help your search engine ranking.

That shouldn’t be surprising, when you think about it:  the most important part of SEO services has always been and will always be the work that’s done to your website itself.  People have known for a while that videos can help them because of how communicative they are, so it isn’t a very big step from that to also using them to help the site show up on search listings.  You just have to be sure that, in keeping with the expectations of quality content, your videos are worth the attention of your client base.

Keeping up with things is always tricky if you don’t want to find yourself on the trailing edge – meaning if you’re actually keeping up.  When that’s what you’re doing, it’s far too easy to try to get a little ahead but take a proverbial wrong turn and find yourself left behind by everyone else.  Continual learning is the only way to deal with this, the same as it is with everything else.

So, you need to take enough time to carefully consider your options when you’re looking at getting anything done to improve your website.  You need to make sure that you at least keep up with everyone else, but you don’t want to wind up fully committed to a dead end method if you get too far ahead.  Only hiring the best services can keep you safely on the right path.

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Even The Changing Internet Still Needs Quality Content On Every Page

Ok, so everyone knows that the Internet is changing about as much as it’s staying the same.  Online stores don’t change as much, except in style, as other things – although there are some parts of social media that are starting to look like serious online stores, and there are some stores that have developed their own social media.  For all of that, how many times has Facebook made major changes since you signed up on it?

Well, it doesn’t matter what your website does, you need it to be as high quality as possible.  Dead and broken links are an obvious thing to avoid, but have you ever thought about how easy it is for people to read what your pages have to say?  I’m not talking about the general idea of “We offer this, we also do that”, I’m talking about what you have online to convince people that they should do business with you.

That has a bearing on everything, because it’s the whole reason you’re online in the first place.  What’s your return on investment going to be if you only invest in a lousy presentation for your goods and services?  Even the people that do a poor job are going to charge you real money (as opposed to fake money) for what they do.  So, you need to make sure that what you’re spending money on is going to be good enough to actually do what you want it to.

For another example, I could keep writing on this post forever talking about the importance of doing a good job in content, but that wouldn’t do anything extra to convince you to use techndu.com for your SEO services.  So, just babbling along would be poor-quality content.  And you’d probably just close the browser window.

So what’s the point?  The point is that, no matter who you get for help online – or even whether you get help at all – you have to make sure that everything from your homepage to the page that has the specific thing someone’s looking for has nothing more or less than the level of content that’s going to help people to make a good decision.  You shouldn’t badger them, you shouldn’t bore them, and above all you shouldn’t distract them with extra things that have nothing to do with the decision at hand:  If you bring up something tangential that you do, they may stop and think “Hey, that’s cool, but I know this site over here that does it best” and leave your site without doing anything.

You need to make sure that every page is carefully crafted from the bit up to help you achieve your company’s goals.  This takes attention, persistence, and patience but it’s the only way to make your site a success no matter whether it’s a store or an SM page for interfacing with your client base.

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Using SM Isn’t Using Other Resources

Ok, so the title isn’t exactly sage wisdom.  You’d be surprised at how hard it is to actually grasp, though.

If you’re trying to understand what social media can do for your company, you need to keep in mind that it isn’t exactly like any other resource you’ve got.  It’s got a bit of just about everything (usually with the exception of the checkout line, but that’s another discussion entirely) without the distinctiveness of being a proper branch.

There’s a little bit of marketing, but there’s also a bit of customer service and even the sales floor – it’s a perfect place for both employee and other customers to make recommendations.  The main thing to remember, as David Berkowitz points out, is that SM isn’t business the way you’re used to running it.  It’s a whole new frontier with different rules than the one’s you’re probably used to.

Understanding what you can, and should, do with social media is the key to actually profiting from it, because the success it can provide isn’t the same as you’d get from opening a storefront property.  That means that you can have a harder time making sure that you’re actually getting your money’s worth out of it, but the possible benefits are very real even if they don’t fit into your standard pie chart.

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Is It A Google World?

Google is very useful for a lot of things.  It’s earned its place as the leading search engine.  I personally use YouTube a lot to enjoy cool video clips.  But it’s worrisome to see Google trying to take over everything they can get their hands on.  Some months back, Eric Schmidt said that his company was trying to toe up to the “creepy line” with how much it does for you.  Well, it looks like they’re at it again, and as usual people don’t like it.

Google’s trying to break into TV, running it through the Internet.  In itself, that’s not necessarily all that bad – or even particularly original.  In the long term, it’s actually probably a good idea because of how streamline the technology is inevitably going to make life.  The problem is that, once again, Google’s trying to do everything.

The company’s gotten very good at making people nervous that it’s going to take over every aspect of their lives, even taking a bath!  Everybody’s heard about the Street Level program effectively spying on people even in their most private moments.  So, it’s perfectly understandable that we shouldn’t want the same company having a foothold in every part of our lives.

But now we’re supposed to be happy that they’re offering us our television programming online?  Something they need to consider is that, with all the things they’re trying to get a foothold in, it sure looks like Google is trying to build up some kind of a monopoly – something that’s proven to paint a bull’s-eye on any company for a long time now.

I’ve said many times that I like Google as a general rule.  But I really don’t like it that they’re trying to muscle in on so many parts of our lives.  It’s like they’re trying to achieve something out of a bad sci-fi story.  Is there a limit to where they’re going to spread, or is it a Google world after all?

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