Saturday, August 2, 2014

How to Build a Website Without Getting Hurt

How to Build a Website Without Getting Hurt
If you’re feeling pressure to build a website for your company, you’re not alone. Even if you don’t want to sell your products or services directly over the Internet, simply maintaining a professional-looking, well-functioning Internet site can help a new company seem more established. (Conversely, having an unappealing, poorly functioning site hurts.) Before you get started on that online component to your business, though, consider these harmful, common misconceptions:

1) “If I build it, they will come”. Marketing your site may not be as easy as it seems. You’ll need economical ways to direct traffic to your site on a national (or international) level. Perhaps the most obvious way is to advertise on search engines like Google and Overture, but this can get expensive. Unfortunately, it can take months or even years for your URL to turn up near the top of organic searches. Investigate other ways to get eyes to your site, like affiliate programs, e-mail newsletters, and partnering.

2) Online, the more you offer, the more you’ll sell (generalization vs. specialization). Trying to be all things to all people rarely works. It may seem logical that the more you have to offer, the more people you’ll attract. However, even if you attract them, will they buy? The “general” aspect of your offering will communicate that the value of your product/service is equal to that of others – so price becomes the only issue, and branding becomes difficult.  In today’s marketplace, there’s a powerful demand for specialized products and services. The point is to differentiate your company from your competitors. Determine your niche and stick to it.

3) The best way to generate sales is to copy the competition – in everything from marketing strategies and positioning to sales offers and design choices. Remember the adage that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? This means that when you imitate, you’re not just reminding your audience about your competition – you’re suggesting they’re better! Certainly you can learn things from what your competition does, but blaze your own trail if you’re serious about branding your company.

4) Your Home page should explain everything about your business, or you’ll lose visitors. You’ve got about 3 seconds to hook visitors – not bore them with visually overwhelming text. Grab their attention by being clear, concise and compelling.

5) Once I get my site up, sales will skyrocket. Yes, your potential customer pool has grown exponentially – but so has your competition. How will you stand out? How will you locate the people most likely to buy your product/service?

6) Websites should be slick, with lots of bells and whistles. On the Internet, functionality is king. High-tech gimmicks may look great, but load slow. Of course, it’s best to find a good balance between form and function.

7) Building a website is easy – I’ll just buy a how-to book. Whether or not you can do-it-yourself depends on the type of site you want and your own experience and skills. For example, will you require shopping cart functionality or database programming? Building a website is deceptively complex and requires a variety of skill sets, from HTML savvy to good artistic taste.

8) Everybody else has a site, so I should too. Thinking through the real purpose of your site is crucial. Is it to sell your product? Increase awareness? Provide information to drive local sales? Add credibility? Despite what some critics say, creating an “online brochure” is a legitimate reason to build a site. However, it is a very different purpose than selling directly over the Internet.
Clarifying your purpose for wanting a website is a perfect starting point. Good luck!

Don’t just blog it…BRAND IT! 3 Steps to Effectively Branding Your Blog

The brand of a business is not only what it aspires to be, it is also partly how your customers view it. Branding comes from the products you offer, the experience your customers receive, and the lifestyle associated with your business. Consumers head to company blogs to find this information as well as tips and tricks, and news relevant to their lives. Here is how to elevate your brand by focusing on branding your blog.

1.) Focus on Content
Your business blog is a place to show personality while tying in your brand. By focusing on content, you’re connecting with potential and current customers. Here are a few topic ideas you can gear to your blog, industry and audience:
  • Trends – Trend topics in the news, your specific industry and your business are great places to start when it comes to creating content.
  • Studies – An article that compiles case studies, reports and surveys leads to shareable content with numbers, which are what many businesses and consumers are after.
  • Tips and Tricks – How-Tos, best practices, and lists of tips to become more successful are often successful blog posts.
2.) Focus on Consistency
If content is king, consistency is queen and is one of the most important steps in branding a blog. From the amount of times your post in a month or week to the tone each article takes, you need to be consistent. Here are the aspects of formatting you’ll want to think about when coming up with your blog branding strategy:
  • Format – Format includes the placement of images, logos or videos, where bullets and paragraphs are placed, as well as font choices and colors.
  • Tone – Does your tone need to be unbiased, sassy, serious or something else? Whatever it is, make sure it stays that way with each post.
  • Platform – Is your blog color scheme, tone and format consistent with your website and other platforms where your business is present? It should be.
3.) Focus on Customers
Your blog is a great place to reach new eyes and become a credible source but that all goes to waste if your visitors aren’t converting later on down the sales funnel. Consumers buy from credible sources so use your blog to become that. Focus on your customers wants and needs in order to become a credible source:
  • Loving Customers – Show your customers or clients some love on your blog. Chances are, they’ll share the information around and you’ll gain points as a brand that values their customers.
  • Asking for Feedback – At the end of each post, ask a question that will customers will want to answer. It could be about future product wishes or for feedback on a current service.
  • Acknowledging Mistakes and Successes – Businesses are run by humans and humans make mistakes. If your business happens to make one, use your blog to acknowledge it. Similarly, businesses will be successful and can reach new achievements. Share these on your blog.
Branding a business blog is about taking the customer and company into consideration and finding a blend between the two. Combining the content you want to share and the content the customers want to see that builds credibility as well as the consistency across your company’s communications are how you brand a business blog successfully.

10 Social Media Sites to Build Your Brand and Display Your Logo Design

 10 Social Media Sites to Build Your Brand and Display Your Logo Design
Social media marketing is a great way to build your brand and increase exposure for your business for free. Use your logo design as your profile image across the social web to boost recognition and recall for your brand, and be sure to publish content that your target audience will find useful. Avoid direct selling. Instead, focus on building relationships that can lead to sales, and always make sure your content matches your brand image and promise.

Here are 10 free social media sites where you can create a free profile or page branded with your logo design, and start indirectly marketing your products and services. Most only take a few minutes to set up!

1. Facebook Page
Facebook Pages are used by brands, companies, organizations, and celebrities. Over 850 million people around the world use Facebook, so it’s a great place to put down online roots and join the conversation.

2. Google+ Company Page
Google+ introduced its Company Page feature late in 2011. Considering that Google+ content affects Google’s social discovery search results, this is an important place for your brand to be represented.

3. LinkedIn Company Page
LinkedIn is the most popular social networking site for professionals. Guess what? Professionals are consumers, too. Whether yours is a business-to-consumer or business-to-business brand, you should claim your space on LinkedIn.

4. Twitter Profile
Twitter is incredibly popular, and it’s a great place to interact with people in 140-character or fewer tweets. Get your brand’s Twitter username before someone else takes it. There is little recourse if someone else takes your brand name for his or her Twitter profile first.

5. Flickr Profile
Flickr is the most popular photo uploading and sharing site. It’s also a great place for you to spend time to boost brand awareness.

6. YouTube Channel
Even if you’re not creating online videos for your brand right now, set up a free YouTube Channel so you can claim your brand name and show off your logo design.

7. Pinterest Profile
Pinterest is a rapidly growing visual social bookmarking tool. Users pin images and videos that they find and like online to virtual pinboards. They can like, comment, and repin each other’s content. They can also follow each other’s pinboards or profiles. Set up your Pinterest account and start pinning content.

8. Tumblr
Tumblr is a cross between a blogging application and a microblogging tool. Use it to publish and share images, videos, audio clips, quotes, and text in a reverse chronological archive. The Tumblr community is very active!

9. Brand Blog
Create a blog for your company or brand using a blogging application such as WordPress.org, WordPress.com, or Blogger.com and create your central social location online. You control your blog, so have fun!

10. Forums and Message Boards
Search for online forums and message boards where your target audience is likely to spend time. Create profiles on those forums and message boards and use your logo design as your profile image (often called an “avatar”). That image displays with every comment you submit to the forum or message board.

Friday, August 1, 2014

First Gmail and then Facebook servers go down today leaving millions frustrated


First Gmail and then Facebook servers go down today leaving millions frustrated
Facebook appeared to be down for many users in the past hour or so with many taking to Twitter to complain that they could not access the site.

When YourGadgetGuide tried to access Facebook from the UK 30 minutes ago the servers did not appear to be responding although in the last few minutes it has come back online.

Service monitoring site DownRightNow reported that many of its users had reported Facebook as being offline although it is unclear what caused the problem.

UPDATE:

Facebook later explained that the site outage was due to some work they were doing on the site’s DNS servers.

It said:

“Earlier today we made a change to our DNS infrastructure and that change resulted in some people being temporarily unable to reach the site. We detected and resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100 percent. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
DownRightNow facebook
Earlier today at around 5pm Eastern Google was also suffering with reports of a GMail being down in the US, the UK, India and Brazil. were reported in the U.S., as well as Great Britain and Brazil.
The email service returned after about an hour

“We’re investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information shortly,”Google said on the Google Apps Dashboard.
Facebook down Tweets
Gmail down - Twitter
 
To see if the site is down or not, you can have a look on http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/

6 Ways to Create an Engaging Homepage


You want visitors to see your site and smile.

These days, just having a website won’t cut it. You need a sticky website—one that engages visitors, persuading them to stay on your site and explore your brand further. That simply won’t happen without a killer homepage. Think about it: Your homepage is where visitors decide if you’re worth their time—and you’ve got about six seconds to make your case. There’s simply not a second to lose, so if you want to convert more visitors to customers, remember these vital tips:

1. Prioritize your visitor’s experience and offer multiple engagement paths.
Ask yourself how you want visitors to interact with your content. What do you want them to click on, and when? Provide a clear entry point (termed a “Call to action” or “CTA”) to the path you most want them to take, but keep in mind that not all prospects are ready to make a purchase. Give them options to engage further by providing links to articles, company information, FAQs, product descriptions, etc. However, be careful not to include too many user engagement paths, which can feel overwhelming and increase bounce rates. Your page architecture should direct visitors in a natural flow that makes sense for your industry, brand, and audience.

2. Keep your content simple and well organized.
Customers need to know what you sell and to whom you sell it within seconds of viewing your homepage. Your headline and subheads should be strong but concise, written and placed to grab attention in a few short words. CTAs should stand out against the background and be easy to find. Keep your design clean and uncluttered, and avoid distractions like pop-ups and auto-play videos. Finally, place limited-time offers and special discounts near the top of your site to grab attention.

3. Offer social proof upfront.

Historically, effective types of social proof have included client comments, testimonials and case studies. While these can be lengthy, you can offer a short teaser on your homepage that links to the elaborated version. Today, companies often look to enhance social proof through social media and sharing. If that’s the case for your brand, consider listing on your homepage the number of Twitter followers and Facebook likes you have, and make sure to prominently display links to all your social media accounts.

4. Invest in responsive technology.

Your site must be attractive, easy to navigate, and quick to load regardless of how visitors are accessing your site. Responsive design—which automatically resizes a site’s layout to preserve text and images based on a user’s specific browser and/or device—provides an optimal viewing experience on everything from laptops to smart phones to tablets. E-commerce sales from mobile devices climb significantly every year, so don’t lose money because your site isn’t responsive.Note that most popular DIY website builders do not include responsive design, so when searching for a new site builder, be sure to find one that does.

5. Add credibility with strategic design.
Customers will judge the quality of your brand by the attractiveness of your homepage. Period. Your logo, copywriting, design, photos, and CTAs should work together and speak right to your target audience, selectively, concisely, and compellingly. The more personalized and coordinated your homepage is, the more persuasive you’ll be to the right visitors. Choose a neat, uncluttered layout that employs complementary fonts, photos and colors, keeping in mind what your target audience appreciates and what will resonate with them.

6. Finally: test, test, and retest.
Even if you’re currently happy with the performance of your homepage, it’s important to periodically update and refresh its content. Use Google Analytics to test different versions of headlines, photos, CTAs, and special offers to see which best reduce bounce rates and increase conversions. Not everyone responds to images and copy similarly, and relying on data is the only way to discover the best combination for your specific brand. There’s always room for improvement!

10 ways to access blocked Gmail at office, school, work

gmail-logo-shotAccessing email using Gmail is daily routine for many web users. Usually, work / school places do not like open access to Gmail as it results in people spending more time checking personal stuff on Gmail. Incase IT guys at your place has blocked Gmail access, here are few ways to bypass it.

1. Use different access URL - Get started by using a different URL web address to access Gmail instead of using www.gmail.com. You IT admin might have forgotten to block some URLs.
 -  http://gmail.com or https://gmail.com
 -  http://m.gmail.com or https://m.gmail.com
 -  http://googlemail.com or https://googlemail.com
 -  http://mail.google.com/mail/x/ or https://mail.google.com/mail/x/

2. Use Proxy websites to get through – There are thousands of proxy websites which can be used to access Gmail blocked in office, school or at work. See lists: here, here and here.

3. Download Gmail messages using Email Client – Instead of web browser access of Gmail, you can configure an Email client to download Gmail messages. You can use Outlook, Apples Mail, Windows Mail, Thunderbird. [See setup details here]

4, Access Gmail via Google Desktop - If you have permission to install software on your work computer that installing Google Desktop might serve the purpose. You can access Gmail using this application without getting into restrictions imposed by IT admin at your place – might just work!

5. Create password free Gmail feed - We have already disccused in detail about web service called ‘FreeMyFeed’. It allows you to generate password free RSS Feed which can be used to access Gmail contents in a web based RSS reader. Note: use discretion while sharing login details.

6. Access through iGoogle - You can try to access Gmail using iGoogle login URL [http://www.google.com/ig]. After login you can see latest Gmail messages on the left sidebar.
7. Use a website with Gmail Lite installed - You can use 3rd party websites (risky thing) which Gmail Lite software installed. Bump into few of them here at Google Search.

8. Access Gmail from Google Talk - If you have Google Talk installed on office computer, click the Gmail icon next to view button on Gtalk window. This might work, if your IT guys were too lazy to block it.

9. Make friends in IT department - If nothing works, how about getting little friendly with IT department staff? They might relax Gmail blocking for sometime so that you can get over Gmail addiction. Give it a shot, might work – we are humans!

10. Over to you - If none of the above work in trying to access blocked Gmail at work, office or school – give credit to your IT guys, they are very smart! Now its over to you, do you know any other way to get over blocked Gmail? Let us know by adding a comment.

P.S.Websites are blocked at office, work, school as they are against their policies and retain employee / student productivity. Even though studies suggest blocking websites result in lack of concentration and productivity – stick to rules and dont jump into blocked zone, ok?

Twitter Brings Embedded Tweet Feature to the Desktop

 
Twitter, after testing the new tweet embed feature for Android and iOS, has rolled-out the new feature to its Web or desktop-interface, automatically embedding linked tweets.
 
The new retweet method (of embedding a tweet in a tweet) involves a few steps and is not as simple as the old retweet option in Twitter. Users will have to copy and paste the link of a tweet into the tweet they are making. This will give the user all 140 characters to work with while essentially retweeting another tweet. Followers will have to click to expand a tweet before being able to see the embedded tweet. Notably, the embedded tweet appears entirely as an image and is also clickable.

It's worth noting that a tweet with an embedded link will appear as a link to followers when embedded via the Android and iOS apps.

We feel the new method will definitely smarten up the retweet feature, as it offers users all 140 characters to work by embedding another tweet.

The micro-blogging service recently rolled-out an update for its Android app, which brought the much-touted dedicated WhatsApp share button.

Earlier this month, Twitter also confirmed that an upcoming update for Android and iOS apps would allow users to view their entire direct message history on a mobile device, whilst also saying it would make deleting DMs more consistent across devices. Unfortunately, the company did not specify an exact release date for the upcoming Twitter app update for Android and iOS.

Notably, Twitter on Tuesday posted its quarterly earnings report, showing surprisingly strong quarterly revenue and user growth, despite an increase in its quarterly loss.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Display Receives Stellar Rating From DisplayMate

microsoft_surface_pro_3.jpg
Microsoft unveiled the Surface Pro 3 tablet in May, and the 2-in-1 hybrid went on sale in the US in June. DisplayMate Technologies, an established display testing firm, has on Wednesday posted its display review of Microsoft's latest tablet, saying it is one of the best tablet displays it has ever tested.
"The 12-inch Surface Pro 3 tablet has one of the very best and most accurate displays available on any mobile platform and OS," said Raymond Soneira, President of DisplayMate on the official website.

According to the review, the Surface Pro 3's display is only behind the Super AMOLED display on the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5, and on several parameters, competes on an even footing.

DisplayMate performed a variety of tests on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3's display, from aspect ratio to sharpness, colour accuracy, brightness, screen reflectance, and power usage efficiency.

Soneira stated that the Surface Pro 3 tablet's 3:2 aspect ratio comes with "an excellent compromise" between the 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios. Also appreciated was the tablet's high 2160x1440 pixel resolution that packs 3.1-megapixels, said to be 50 percent more than conventional HDTVs, in a 12-inch screen. Soneira however added that the tablet screen's pixel density (216 ppi) was lower than its rival tablets, Apple iPad Air (264 ppi) and Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5 (287 ppi), due to the larger size of the display.

As for the Surface Pro 3 display's colour accuracy, Soneira said it had the "most accurate on-screen colours of any tablet or smartphone display that we have ever measured for the sRGB/Rec.709 Standard that is used in virtually all current consumer content..." The tablet's colour gamut is said to be 97 percent, which is very close to the standard gamut used for reference.

Besides featuring a higher resolution, the Surface Pro 3's display is rated to be more power efficient than the display on the iPad Air, which according to DisplayMate uses 66 percent more power than the Surface Pro 3. The tablet's display has also got a Very Good brightness rating at 371 nits, but is behind the iPad Air (449 nits) and Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (527 nits).

The Surface Pro 3's display's screen reflectance at 5.9 percent is rated as Very Good, but once again falls between the iPad Air (6.5 percent) and Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 (5 percent) tablets, but far behind the Galaxy Tab S 10.5, with its 4.7 percent screen reflectance. To see more points of comparison between the Surface Pro 3's display and other tablet displays, visit the DisplayMate review.

To recall, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 features a 12-inch 2160x1440 pixel display, and runs Windows 8.1 Pro. The tablet comes with a choice of Intel i3, i5 and i7 processor variants, and features 4GB of RAM. The device comes with 64GB of inbuilt storage and a 5-megapixel rear camera.

Alleged iPad Air 2 Images Tip Inclusion of Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor

apple_ipad_air_2_leaked_cover_case_mobilefun_uk.jpg
After purportedly being spotted in a number of images last month and this month, Apple's yet-to-be-announced iPad Air 2 tablet has once again allegedly appeared in a couple of images that point to the presence of a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

The two alleged iPad Air 2 images published by Mobile Fun UK website show the anticipated tablet flaunting a ring-surrounded Touch ID fingerprint sensor, as seen on the iPhone 5s. The leaked images also show cases on the alleged iPad Air 2 tablet that cover most of its body.

The inclusion of the Touch ID sensor goes in-line with what KGI Securities Analyst Ming Chi Kuo predicted back in May. He mentioned that the Cupertino firm will also be looking to use new chemicals to increase the durability of its Touch ID sensor.

apple_ipad_air_2_leaked_cover_case_mobilefun_uk_2.jpg
Kuo added that while TSMC will be producing the new Touch ID sensors, the redistribution aspect will be taken care by XinTec and WLCSP, and the packaging efforts by ASE. Kuo also added that ASE and Sharp will handle the module, all the welding process will be done by Japan Unix.

The rumoured Apple iPad Air 2 tablet, as seen in the images leaked earlier this month, is said to be almost 1mm thinner than the existing iPad Air model. The rear camera is also seen to be shifted slightly towards the top left corner. There is still no word on the tablet's specifications.

Along with the anticipated iPad Air 2, the rumoured iPhone 6 and iPad mini 3 are also expected to arrive with the fingerprint sensor, according to the images leaked in June.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Samsung to unveil Smart Control remote at CES

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Samsung will introduce its new and improved Smart Control next week at CES in Las Vegas providing four different ways to interact with your TV.
 
The successor to last year’s model has added two significant features providing users with more accurate content selection and ultra responsive control.

The new gesture-recognition allows you browse through the menus by literally moving the remote.
The 2014 model also keeps its Voice Interaction feature so you can search desired content by speaking into the remote’s microphone.

It conveniently recognises natural language instead of having to reel off a list of key words and phrases.

The touchpad, which was on last year’s model, is now 80 per cent smaller so you can easily swipe your thumb when gripping the remote.

Samsung has also notably given their Smart Control a flashy new look evolving it to a more ergonomic oval shape that’s designed to fit more comfortably in your hand.

Guy Kinnell, Head of TV and AV, Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland, said:
“As Smart TVs evolve to meet the need of viewers, the remote has been slower to join suit. Leading experts agree that Samsung has set the benchmark for Smart TV and we are now committed to ensuring that the entire viewing experience is optimal. The 2014 Smart Control remote is highly intuitive and will continue to improve the performance of viewers’ Smart TVs.”

Other features include ‘Multi-Link Screen’ which enables you to watch multiple content simultaneously and ‘Football Mode’ which optimises the best way to view sports 

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