Industry Buzz

Usability, Mobile and Your Future

Bing's Webmaster Blog -

This should come as a surprise to no one reading blogs like this one. Mobile is your future. Everything points to this. Adoption rates, bandwidth access, changing mobile plans from major carriers, technology evolution in devices, prices decreases and so many more signals all tell us this change is upon us. It’s been known for some time that mobile queries will outpace desktop queries shortly. Today’s businesses are seeing this shift. More business and traffic is coming from tablets, phablets and smart phones than ever. Transaction completions are on the rise, and this isn’t just a “local” phenomenon. In the next year, if you’re not already designing to serve people in the mobile environment, you’ll be falling behind those who are. And while this is going to come to pass, simply splashing up an m-dot site won’t get you back on the curve. No, you’ll have to do a bit more than that. Which brings us to usability. People talk about this, but so few businesses actually invest the money in it. And it’s easy to see why. Some people think its glorified design work. Others have simply never explored the concept past the theory stage. From personal experience I can tell you it makes an actual difference to the success of a product. Knowing mobile is so important, now is the time to bring in the user experience experts to ensure you get the most from your investment. And while learning about mobile trends and understanding traffic patterns across your own website can be handled by most people, usability testing and user experience-centric design does take an experts touch. Here are some tidbits gleaned from Margaret Gould Stewart’s recent Ted talk. She’s the lady who runs the product design team at Facebook…and before that, at Youtube…and before that…at Google. There’s a pretty good chance she has some good advice about UX design then. Based on experience, not guesswork. There is no blueprint for design at scale – you have to test, learn and iterate as you go sometimes Small things matter a great deal The Facebook LIKE button took 280 hours to redesign. Sounds like a lot, but consider it’s seen over 22 billion times a day Design with data, but follow human feelings and behaviors Introduce changes to users very carefully Be sure to explain to users why change is happening You have to design for where people are, not where you are – design to your users Good design requires audacity…and humility In the race to keep up, or get ahead, it sometimes happens that you miss opportunities. But discovering opportunities through usability testing on the way to creating a better mobile experience for your visitors is completely in your control. It may require making some changes in areas you’d planned to invest in, but well worth it. And if you really want to start thinking of the future, start wondering what your site looks like when viewed in emerging technologies like wearables, flexible plastic screens, in-car devices and early augmented reality tools like Glass. Just a couple of years ago, you needed to account for big screen TVs and gaming consoles brought the wed directly to TV. Devices dedicated to this exist today, but humanity’s desire to “so mobile” is poised to shift this landscape. Wearables are the new future, and they get closer to us every day. Duane ForresterSr. Product ManagerBing

Arby's: Always-on listening, engagement our secret to success on Twitter

The Twitter Advertising Blog -

It starts with what our customers are saying. Social listening is the foundation to our approach on Twitter. As our new CMO Rob Lynch says, “Our guests engage with our brand via social media in real time and around the clock. We need to be constantly listening for opportunities to jump in and join the conversation.” That’s why we monitor brand terms closely and watch real-time trending topics. We notice when there’s a high volume of Tweets about turnovers during an NFL game and are ready chime in at the right moment. All these turnovers have got us craving …. turnovers. pic.twitter.com/mODLSXwg1b — Arby’s (@Arbys) December 16, 2013   Or jump in on popular memes with a playful message that keeps us top of mind. Happy #TalkLikeAPirateDay from ARRRRRRbys! pic.twitter.com/573j6MC0ZE — Arby’s (@Arbys) September 19, 2013   Or surprise people who mention us with a response to show we’re always listening. @DragonflyJonez Actually, we had to release him. He kept making too many turnovers. ;-) — Arby’s (@Arbys) June 19, 2013   We’ve even dedicated a room to social listening at our headquarters with a team constantly looking for opportunities to engage and respond. At this point, everyone is familiar with our Tweet about Pharrell’s hat during the Grammy’s but they may not know it happened because we were listening. Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs — Arby’s (@Arbys) January 27, 2014   The Grammy’s is not typically an event that our brand jumps in on. We don’t set up a war room for it. But we were monitoring brand terms on Tweetdeck at the beginning of the show. Early on, we saw Twitter users connecting Pharrell’s hat with our logo. And we seized the opportunity to join in. It was very organic response that just resulted from simply paying attention to what was already happening on Twitter.  The impact of that one Tweet is mind-blowing. Our PR firm estimates that the advertising equivalency would be 84 million impressions with a $22 million price tag. It’s even outpaced engagement on Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet. It was our “Dunk in the Dark” moment. We’ve kept the conversation going during other TV moments like the Beatles 50th anniversary show where (thankfully) Pharrell wore the hat again and during the All-Star NBA game. Looks like we’re never getting our hat back… #Beatles50 — Arby’s (@Arbys) February 10, 2014 We told @Pharrell if he was going to continue to wear our hat, he should at least wear a red one. #AllStarGame — Arby’s (@Arbys) February 17, 2014   On the night of the Oscars, @Arbys officially got its hat back after placing the winning bid on Pharrell’s auction of his hat. .@Pharrell You’re welcome. We’re HAPPY to support a great cause & get our hat back. Good luck at the #Oscars tonight! pic.twitter.com/2oA7qDPX9z — Arby’s (@Arbys) March 3, 2014   Since The Arby’s Foundation aims to improve the lives of youth by ending childhood hunger in America, it was a natural fit for us to make a donation to Pharrell’s charity called From One Hand to Another, which provides art and educational resources to youth. While @Arbys is still determining exactly where the hat will go next, we’re looking forward to future opportunities to work with Pharrell and his foundation to raise visibility for our shared causes. How to empower marketing in the moment There is no other platform that provides the customer insights that Twitter does. You can instantly tap into the pulse of the conversation around your brand. It’s an invaluable resource. But an organization’s approval process often dictates what marketers can do with those insights in real time. That means as marketers we have to create consistency and establish rules of the road internally. From the beginning, I established clear brand voice guidelines. We keep the tone of all our Tweets fun, humorous and playful. We also have strict guardrails around what we participate in and what topics are off limits. The result? There’s no onerous approval process. We have a core team that includes brand, legal, customer relations and public relations who are all on the same page. We do a lot of advance planning but we’ve also built in enough flexibility to make decisions in the moment that matters most. Invest in amplifying your reach When I started at @Arbys, we had 32,000 followers. We’ve steadily invested in Twitter Ads to grow that base and to connect with all the Arby’s fans out there. After all, if you have a small number of followers, the odds of your content going viral aren’t great. In 2013, we saw a 300% year over year increase in our followers thanks to Promoted Accounts. Never underestimate the power of reaching more of the right people. That’s where Promoted Tweets pick up: they help us maximize engagement with our customers. We typically monitor the performance of organic Tweets and promote the ones that get the most engagement. We keep the tone and content in our paid Tweets similar to what we share organically. If a Promoted Tweet feels like a natural part of the conversation, we see Twitter engagement and shares go through the roof. Most recently, we’ve had tremendous success with TV ad targeting. With our brisket sandwich launch, we were able to take our TV ad and directly extend the message to a second screen. Want it? Yeah, you do. #SmokehouseBrisket pic.twitter.com/zPZCWqnk4G — Arby’s (@Arbys) September 17, 2013 Twitter makes our TV buys that much more powerful: we drove 15% higher engagement rate with TV ad targeting than our Promoted Tweet average. We’ve also used Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards to drive sign ups for our email marketing program. We’re finding the leads generated by Twitter have a 31% higher email open rate than our average. Final always on tips You can’t force real time. We just try to be timely and authentic. We’re also willing to test and learn and optimize. That’s how we’re honing in on what works for our audience. We’re seeing higher and higher return with every campaign. So we plan to continue to invest in what works. And you can be sure we’ll keep listening on Twitter – you never know who else might start wearing a crazy hat.

Arby's: Always-on listening, engagement our secret to success on Twitter

The Twitter Advertising Blog -

It starts with what our customers are saying. Social listening is the foundation to our approach on Twitter. As our new CMO Rob Lynch says, “Our guests engage with our brand via social media in real time and around the clock. We need to be constantly listening for opportunities to jump in and join the conversation.” That’s why we monitor brand terms closely and watch real-time trending topics. We notice when there’s a high volume of Tweets about turnovers during an NFL game and are ready chime in at the right moment. All these turnovers have got us craving …. turnovers. pic.twitter.com/mODLSXwg1b — Arby’s (@Arbys) December 16, 2013   Or jump in on popular memes with a playful message that keeps us top of mind. Happy #TalkLikeAPirateDay from ARRRRRRbys! pic.twitter.com/573j6MC0ZE — Arby’s (@Arbys) September 19, 2013   Or surprise people who mention us with a response to show we’re always listening. @DragonflyJonez Actually, we had to release him. He kept making too many turnovers. ;-) — Arby’s (@Arbys) June 19, 2013   We’ve even dedicated a room to social listening at our headquarters with a team constantly looking for opportunities to engage and respond. At this point, everyone is familiar with our Tweet about Pharrell’s hat during the Grammy’s but they may not know it happened because we were listening. Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs — Arby’s (@Arbys) January 27, 2014   The Grammy’s is not typically an event that our brand jumps in on. We don’t set up a war room for it. But we were monitoring brand terms on Tweetdeck at the beginning of the show. Early on, we saw Twitter users connecting Pharrell’s hat with our logo. And we seized the opportunity to join in. It was very organic response that just resulted from simply paying attention to what was already happening on Twitter.  The impact of that one Tweet is mind-blowing. Our PR firm estimates that the advertising equivalency would be 84 million impressions with a $22 million price tag. It’s even outpaced engagement on Oreo’s Super Bowl Tweet. It was our “Dunk in the Dark” moment. We’ve kept the conversation going during other TV moments like the Beatles 50th anniversary show where (thankfully) Pharrell wore the hat again and during the All-Star NBA game. Looks like we’re never getting our hat back… #Beatles50 — Arby’s (@Arbys) February 10, 2014 We told @Pharrell if he was going to continue to wear our hat, he should at least wear a red one. #AllStarGame — Arby’s (@Arbys) February 17, 2014   On the night of the Oscars, @Arbys officially got its hat back after placing the winning bid on Pharrell’s auction of his hat. .@Pharrell You’re welcome. We’re HAPPY to support a great cause & get our hat back. Good luck at the #Oscars tonight! pic.twitter.com/2oA7qDPX9z — Arby’s (@Arbys) March 3, 2014   Since The Arby’s Foundation aims to improve the lives of youth by ending childhood hunger in America, it was a natural fit for us to make a donation to Pharrell’s charity called From One Hand to Another, which provides art and educational resources to youth. While @Arbys is still determining exactly where the hat will go next, we’re looking forward to future opportunities to work with Pharrell and his foundation to raise visibility for our shared causes. How to empower marketing in the moment There is no other platform that provides the customer insights that Twitter does. You can instantly tap into the pulse of the conversation around your brand. It’s an invaluable resource. But an organization’s approval process often dictates what marketers can do with those insights in real time. That means as marketers we have to create consistency and establish rules of the road internally. From the beginning, I established clear brand voice guidelines. We keep the tone of all our Tweets fun, humorous and playful. We also have strict guardrails around what we participate in and what topics are off limits. The result? There’s no onerous approval process. We have a core team that includes brand, legal, customer relations and public relations who are all on the same page. We do a lot of advance planning but we’ve also built in enough flexibility to make decisions in the moment that matters most. Invest in amplifying your reach When I started at @Arbys, we had 32,000 followers. We’ve steadily invested in Twitter Ads to grow that base and to connect with all the Arby’s fans out there. After all, if you have a small number of followers, the odds of your content going viral aren’t great. In 2013, we saw a 300% year over year increase in our followers thanks to Promoted Accounts. Never underestimate the power of reaching more of the right people. That’s where Promoted Tweets pick up: they help us maximize engagement with our customers. We typically monitor the performance of organic Tweets and promote the ones that get the most engagement. We keep the tone and content in our paid Tweets similar to what we share organically. If a Promoted Tweet feels like a natural part of the conversation, we see Twitter engagement and shares go through the roof. Most recently, we’ve had tremendous success with TV ad targeting. With our brisket sandwich launch, we were able to take our TV ad and directly extend the message to a second screen. Want it? Yeah, you do. #SmokehouseBrisket pic.twitter.com/zPZCWqnk4G — Arby’s (@Arbys) September 17, 2013 Twitter makes our TV buys that much more powerful: we drove 15% higher engagement rate with TV ad targeting than our Promoted Tweet average. We’ve also used Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards to drive sign ups for our email marketing program. We’re finding the leads generated by Twitter have a 31% higher email open rate than our average. Final always on tips You can’t force real time. We just try to be timely and authentic. We’re also willing to test and learn and optimize. That’s how we’re honing in on what works for our audience. We’re seeing higher and higher return with every campaign. So we plan to continue to invest in what works. And you can be sure we’ll keep listening on Twitter – you never know who else might start wearing a crazy hat.

Google Cloud Platform Announces New Products & Services

Web Hosting Coop Blog -

Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 11:00amLocation: The Capital Factory701 Brazos Street, Suite 1601Austin  TexasUnited StatesDescription: MomentumSI will host a viewing event ( simulcast) at the Capital Factory on March 25, 2014, when Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure, and the senior engineering leadership of Google Cloud Platform will announce new products and services for Google Cloud Platform and share Google’s vision for the future of cloud computing. Google will be talking about new approaches to computing that move beyond traditional divisions of PaaS and IaaS, models for processing big data at Google speed and scale, and how they are building a developer experience that aims to make you more productive.

नमस्ते! Pinterest now speaks Hindi

Oh, How Pinteresting! -

Pinterest is now fully translated into Hindi! To celebrate, we’ve collected a few boards that capture the many facets of Indian culture. We hope this helps Pinners from India and other Hindi speakers around the world not only to share what inspires them but also to explore all of their unique interests in one place. Visiting India The best way to discover India is to visit, of course. If you want to visit the seventh largest country in the world (and the second most populous, with 1.2 billion people!), you’ll need a plan. From the beaches of Goa to Agra’s marvelous Taj Mahal, there is much to see and do. Explore place boards to help you plot your Indian adventure. Cuisine: more than just curry Samosas, pani puri, chicken tikka masala and naan are just some of the foods that comprise India’s rich cuisine. Use our recipe search filters to recreate the Indian dishes you crave in your own kitchen. There are many famous chefs throughout India, like Sanjeev Kapoor, a professional chef with an wide collection of recipes right on Pinterest. Eastern fitness Do you know how to play cricket? If you plan to visit India, you should learn quickly. The sport is played by almost everyone in the country. On Pinterest, you can find boards full of info on the best players and teams. Follow India.com’s board Cricket Updates on Pinterest. India is the birthplace of yoga. There are thousands of Pins for every type of yoga, so search now to discover your perfect pose. Hindi cinema: Bollywood and beyond With 1,000 films made each year—that’s double Hollywood’s output—Bollywood is the world’s most prolific film industry. In 2011, Bollywood made $3 billion in revenue, and the figure grows each year. Yash Raj Films, producer of popular films like Dhoom: 3, shares stills from their film house. Learn more about their work on their Pinterest profile. Visit Yash Raj Films’s profile on Pinterest. Along with movies, there tons of Hindi soap operas on channels like Sony TV and Zee TV. Subcontinent-inspired clothing Clothing is an important part of Indian culture. Men and women dress in a variety of pieces depending on where they live and if there’s a special occasion taking place. Discover cutting-edge trends on everything from saris to sherwanis from designers like Sabya Sachi Mukherjee and Satya Paul. Visit Satya Paul’s profile on Pinterest. धन्यवाद! (Thank you!) —Vaishali Parekh, Marketing, Currently pinning to Food

My SiteGround, by Kristina

SiteGround Blog -

Kristina, or simply Krisi as most of us call her, is one of the most experienced members of the SiteGround sales team. In 2007 she was among the first employees in our just-established second office. Right from the start, her great dedication to her work and her outstanding talent to communicate efficiently, even with the most demanding customers, stood out. Now she is the inspiring team leader of the people, who take care of all pre-sale enquiries on our live chat. First Steps in SiteGround I joined the team 7 years ago, so I guess that makes me a veteran. As a fresh graduate in Psychology, I didn’t think that I would fit in here – I thought web-hosting was all about computers, servers and programs. Well, it turned out that being a part of the Sales team means not only to have knowledge of the service, but also the ability to actually communicate with the customers and know their needs. That’s the point when I truly appreciated my diploma – being able to understand the question behind the question is an art. The Team What makes the big difference, are the people. Everyone I’ve worked with so far, starting from the senior management to our newest recruits and trainees, is nothing short of unique and their willingness for both improvement and fun is second to none. I would like to thank them all for being so supportive and understanding- thank you guys, not for being just colleagues, but friends Conferences and Events One thing I’m always looking with enthusiasm to – all those events that we participate and/or sponsor. It is great to actually see the people, with whom you are working on their projects. Not only this, but you also a get chance to share experience and more importantly – to have a bit of fun while off-duty Charities You probably do not know, but all our teams, including the top-level managers, participate in various charities every year. Recently, we took part in the “Spare Change” campaign – everyone got rid of their nickels and dimes and all the money went to underprivilleged children. Last year our CEO offered scholarships to several children of enterprise from a local orphanage. Every single member of our staff participated in this program, so one could only be beaming with pride at the opportunity to work with people showing both such compassion and professionalism.

WordPress 3.9 Beta 2

WordPress.org News -

WordPress 3.9 Beta 2 is now available for testing! We’ve made more than a hundred changes since Beta 1, but we still need your help if we’re going to hit our goal of an April release. For what to look out for, please head on over to the Beta 1 announcement post. Some of the changes in Beta 2 include: Rendering of embedded audio and video players directly in the visual editor. Visual and functional improvements to the editor, the media manager, and theme installer. Various bug fixes to TinyMCE, the software behind the visual editor. Lots of fixes to widget management in the theme customizer. As always, if you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. Or, if you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on the WordPress Trac. There, you can also find a list of known bugs and everything we’ve fixed so far. This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 3.9, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip).

The Weird Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Automation

Post Planner -

OK, I confess. I’ve automated some of my social media posts. There, I said it. And I imagine a few of you are cringing because I just used the “A” word: ( ( ( AUTOMATION ) ) )  I’ve debated the merits of social media automation with many people. Ie. is it okay to schedule posts in advance so updates are published automatically throughout the day. I think it comes down to 2 questions: Do you have time to properly manage your social media accounts? Do you have money to hire someone to do social media marketing for you? After all, time & money are a small business owner’s most important resources. So when business owners ask me this: I don’t have time to manage my social media platforms. Should I automate the posts? My response is “Yes & no.” I explain in detail in this blog post — including which social media activity you should & shouldn’t automate. In the end you’ll see that it all depends on what you post. The Weird Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Automation First, let’s look at what you should automate. What You Should Automate 1. Tweets & Facebook Posts I see no problem with automating tweets & status updates. But please don’t link your Twitter account to your Facebook page. That’s annoying! It tells your audience that you don’t care. And why would anyone want to view the same content on different platforms anyway? Arranging for tweets to post on your Facebook page is a huge no-no: But scheduling posts to publish automatically on their respective platforms is fine. In fact, I recommend it. Scheduling posts ahead of time helps me better manage my day, since I’m not constantly on social media publishing content. Automate your posts so you never miss a chance to publish content at the most optimal times — when your fans are most active online. 2. Content Curation Finding engaging content to post in social media is tough! Even after perusing my favorite Twitter lists, some days I just don’t have much to post. Imagine trying to find unique content for Facebook & Twitter. That’s a lot of work. And it’s why you should automate the process of curating new content with an app like Post Planner. With Post Planner, you can quickly find engaging content, trending content & beautiful photos — and with the push of a button you can schedule that content to post automatically to your Facebook page. If this doesn’t save you time, I don’t know what will. What You Shouldn’t Automate Now let’s go over the stuff you shouldn’t automate. 1. Tweets in Conversations Automating tweets in a conversation is dangerous. Still, there are tools that let you post a tweet automatically whenever someone mentions a keyword on Twitter — which inserts you into that discussion. Most of these automated replies feel inauthentic & spammy. Acura made this mistake in 2013 when the car company automatically replied to everyone who included a specific hashtag in a tweet. That meant if you tweeted the hashtag you’d likely receive a tweet asking you to visit an Acura VIP booth. It didn’t go well. 2. Direct Messages on Twitter (DM) No way! If you’re automating Twitter direct messages, stop — RIGHT NOW. Direct messaging is so 2008. 3. All Posts on All Networks Don’t schedule all your posts to publish automatically on all your social media accounts — it’s lazy & unsophisticated. But many business owners still publish the same updates on all platforms. They think of social media as just a promotional tool, not a way to build relationships with customers. And they often give up — and end up blaming social media for why they didn’t succeed. This might be the reason some people have unliked your Facebook page or stopped following you on Twitter. Automation isn’t the Devil Social media automation isn’t evil. There are many ways you can use automation to make your social media marketing better — especially if you rely on Facebook & Twitter to get more customers. Just remember these important tips: Key Takeaways Don’t automate tweets that should be published live Don’t tweet automatically when someone uses a specific keyword Don’t send automated direct messages on Twitter Schedule some tweets & status updates to post automatically Automate content curation Do you automate your social media activity? Why or why not? What do you think should & shouldn’t be automated in social media? The post The Weird Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Automation appeared first on Post Planner.

Product Listing Ads on the Rise

Yahoo! Small Business Blog -

Product Listing Ads on the Rise: commercecentral: If you’re an online retailer and are not using Product Listing Ads (PLAs), you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity for new traffic and sales. In 2013, the online retail industry spent record levels on PLAs and saw great returns. With numerous reports and case studies of successful…

7 Facebook Ideas to Revive Your Sputtering Page (These Actually Work!)

Post Planner -

Looking for fresh ideas to revamp your Facebook page? Do you feel like you’ve done all you can? Are you following Facebook best practices and deploying a consistent content strategy — but there’s something’s still missing? Is fan engagement on your page strong, but you’re looking for something different to spice things up? If you answered “yes” to any of these, then you’ve come to the right place! In this post I’ll share 7 fresh Facebook ideas to help revamp your page. 7 Facebook Ideas to Revive Your Sputtering Page 1. Change Your Cover Photo  Do you know what time it is? Time for a new cover photo! When was the last time you changed your Facebook cover photo? The prominent image is the largest piece of real estate on Facebook & it’s the 1st thing people notice when they visit your page. Changing your cover photo gives your Facebook page a whole new look. Use new cover photos to: Promote holidays & seasonal events Advertise specials & promotions Showcase customer testimonials Praise your fans Display new products or services So take a cue from Fast Company & change your cover photo often. 2. Host a Facebook Contest or Giveaway Facebook contests & giveaways are great ways to show appreciation for fans & find new ones. Contests also work well for getting followers to re-engage with your page. I LOVE contests! Only winning twice hasn’t stopped me from entering almost every one I see. Hey, if you’re not in it — you can’t win it, right?! Here’s an article with tips to help optimize your Facebook contest & a killer contest example from Antavo: 4 Ways to Seriously Rock Your Next Facebook Contest 3. Recognize Your Fans Recognizing your followers & asking them to interact with your page also helps boost engagement & build relationships with fans. In exchange for a prize, ask fans to share photos of themselves using your product. Share the photos on your page to show other Facebook users that your page is active & lots of people are interested in your company. And it’s easy to give fans a shout-out on your page. Post a picture of them, or even better, change your cover photo to showcase your community.  It will build brand loyalty while humanizing your company at the same time. 4. Post a Variety of Content  If you’re having trouble getting your fans to interact with your page, it’s probably time to take a long, hard look at your content. Are you posting inspiring quotes, engaging questions, fill-in-the-blank posts & beautiful photos? Those work great for boosting engagement. These tips could help jump-start your Facebook page: Humor Memes Behind-the-scenes shots Personal posts Videos Check out this example from ShortStack: 5. Ask for Suggestions Ask your fans for suggestions about what they would like to see on your page. Businesses often seek feedback from fans when making decisions about: New logos New web design Book covers Book titles This helps get fans to post comments on your page — after all, everyone wants to share their opinion! Here Gary Vaynerchuk asked his fans for help picking a title: // Post by Gary Vaynerchuk. 6. Host a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Reddit AMAs are wildly popular. AMA stands for “Ask Me Anything”. These events let participants pose questions to guests like Barack Obama & Bill Gates. More businesses should host Reddit AMAs on Facebook. Invite influential guests from your industry & allow fans to pepper them with questions. Daymond John knows how it’s done: // Post by Daymond John. 7. Use Analytics My last tip stresses the importance of data-driven decisions. When was the last time you clicked the analytics button on your page & viewed what worked & what didn’t with your Facebook audience? Data from your analytics will open your eyes to what you should post on your page. It’s a ripe platform for finding fresh Facebook ideas for your page revamp. Conclusion Let’s review my 7 suggestions for revamping your lagging Facebook page: Change Your Cover Photo Host a Facebook Contest or Giveaway Recognize Your Fans Post a Variety of Content Ask for Suggestions Host a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) Use Analytics I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Remember, it’s never too late to resuscitate a dying page. Now I’d love to hear from you! What’s your secret for bringing a Facebook page back from the dead? The post 7 Facebook Ideas to Revive Your Sputtering Page (These Actually Work!) appeared first on Post Planner.

My Visit to the BigRock’s DataCenter at GPX India [continued]

BigRock Blog -

If you’re here, I am pretty sure you are trying to break the suspense that we left you in the previous article. Well we won’t keep you waiting and the sever belongs to… Anonymous . Sorry guys but the security guy just would not give me any information. I kept pestering him for quite some time to find out if we have some celebrity [big company] servers in the house. But he did not disclose anything and yes I was not lucky enough to get attacked by his stun gun because he did not have one [Thank God for that  ]. It’s a good thing that he did not disclose any information ensuring that our data is in safe hands. He also pointed out to the security cameras at every corner of the room reminding me that we are being watched. We were almost done with the visit and were on our way out of the server rooms but I still had some questions and I wanted them to be answered by someone on the inside. Well I should thank my lucky stars that day as we were fortunate to meet Yashwant V. Kulkarni, Technical Support Manager at GPX who was kind enough to answer a few questions, even though it was way past his working hours [What dedication ]  Well let’s dive straight into the questions   Me: Why should one choose GPX over other data centers in India? Mr. Kulkarni: We can proudly say that we are South Asia’s first TIER IV data center certified by UPTIME Institute. A TIER IV data center is the most highly redundant and we provide 99.99% availability. Basically you can count on us. [Ends that statement with a smile ] To elaborate more on Mr. Kulkarni’s words, a Tier-4 data center has multiple redundant components (2 (n + 1)) and multiple independent active power and cooling distribution paths to all supported data processing equipment. This means that in case of an outage or failure of any MEP component [mechanical, electric & plumbing], there will be no negative impact on the data processing equipments. Take a look at the entire specifications of the service provided at GPX and get blown away.   Me: We just witnessed some very grueling security measures at this center. Any special security measures that we should know of? Mr. Kulkarni: Well as you already witnessed, we have a very strict visitor policy, from taking all personal information to ensuring that you do not take anything inside that can be of potential harm to the servers. We also have escort system coupled with camera monitoring systems to ensure that no activity is left unattended. We cannot risk the security of the data center at any cost and we also have a very strict access system for the employees as well.   Me: I was recently introduced to this term called collocation. Could you elaborate? Mr. Kulkarni: Let me put it across to you in a very simple way. We provide the infrastructure like space, power, cooling systems, racks, security, bandwidth etc, where as the entire server is setup and managed by the customer and in this case it is BigRock.   Me:  Do you have any new infrastructure updates planned for the near future? Mr. Kulkarni: Our infrastructure is built keeping the future in mind. To be honest there isn’t any requirement of an upgrade that we see in the coming future. But even if we do have an upgrade, we can complete that with very little downtime.   Well that was about it. We thanked Mr. Kulkarni for his time and wrapped the day at GPX but not before grabbing a quick snack at the Boomerang cafeteria. It was really an awesome experience for me as I got to see the heart of our business that day. And boy it was one spectacle. Any of you guys having doubts about our servers in India, should seriously kill it cause it is as good as it can get. So was I able to connect the dots? Absolutely Yes!! Do drop in a comment below if you need to ask me any questions regarding this trip. I will be glad to answer them for you. You may also like My Visit to the BigRock’s DataCenter at GPX India BigRock India Hosting – The Advantages How Important is Server Location For Your Business?

It’s March Madness At ASO!

The Homegrown Hosting Blog (A Small Orange) -

Ah, March. A time for college basketball, budding trees, and green beer. It also happens to be a great time to save on a dedicated server at ASO. Until the end of March, you can save as much as 25% on your first invoice on any dedicated plan- the more months you sign up for up front, the more you save! Use these coupon codes to get your discount when purchasing: Get 10% off a 1 month plan: “HOOPS10″    Get 15% off a 3 month plan: “BASKET15″   Get 20% off a 6 month plan: “BALL20″  Get 25% off an annual plan: “WIN25″  Offer good for new accounts or upgrades only. Check out our dedicated plans here and sign up today! Sale ends Monday, March 31.

Introducing the new Webmaster Academy

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

Webmaster level: BeginnerOur Webmaster Academy is now available with new and targeted content!Two years ago, Webmaster Academy launched to teach new and beginner webmasters how to make great websites. In addition to adding new content, we've now expanded and improved information on three important topics:Making a great site that’s valuable to your audience (Module 1)Learning how Google sees and understands your site (Module 2)Communicating with Google about your site (Module 3)If you often find yourself overwhelmed by the depth or breadth of our resources, Webmaster Academy will help you understand the basics of creating a website and having it found in Google Search. If you’re an experienced webmaster, you might learn something new too.Enjoy, learn, and share your feedback!Posted by Mary Chen, Webmaster Outreach Team

4 Ways to Seriously ROCK Your Next Facebook Contest

Post Planner -

Are you planning your next Facebook contest? Do you want it to seriously ROCK?! Then you’re going to LOVE this post. Facebook contests are a great way to increase exposure of your page — and doing them right can bring huge numbers of Likes and shares. Plus, Facebook contests can help build fan loyalty & create ambassadors for your brand. Yeehaw! But… (and this is a BIG but)… do a contest the wrong way, and you risk losing fans or attracting the wrong type of fans. Boooo! So to make sure your contest goes off without a hitch, here are 4 tips you absolutely MUST follow to make your Facebook contest seriously ROCK!! 4 Ways to Seriously ROCK Your Next Facebook Contest 1. Give Away Your Products & Other Relevent Prizes Your contest prizes should be from your business or industry. I understand that prizes need to entice potential contestants, but that doesn’t mean you have to give away an iPhone, iPad or iAnything, for that matter. Those prizes attract contestants who are interested ONLY in your gifts — not in engaging with your page when the contest is done. Give away something that a customer might buy from your company. For example, if you sell women’s apparel, make the prize a nice article of clothing. You can also PARTNER with another company in your industry to give some of their products away. A clothing company, for example, might partner with a store that sells shoes, cosmetics, or accessories. Here’s an example from Decal Drama, a decal company that recently hosted a Facebook contest with Jewelry In Candles By Sahrae: This partnership helped ensure the contest pulled in potential customers as fans instead of those who just wanted to win an iPhone — who will never engage with the business. And contests like these appeal to present fans because they can win something they were already looking for. 2. Use an App My second tip is using an app to host your contest. You can organize a Facebook Timeline contest in minutes, but you won’t receive much info from Facebook about the results. You need to collect & track data from your contestants because they’re part of your target market — and this info is key to learning more about them. Facebook also doesn’t offer the same viral elements as many third-party apps. App features may include: Fan-gating Incentives to share Growing an email list Detailed analytics This is what a fan-gate looks like: And here are some apps I recommend for your next Facebook contest: ShortStack Antavo AgoraPulse Tabsite Binkd 3. Encourage Fans to Sign Up NOW Deadlines are your friend! Businesses often make the mistake of not building enough momentum during their contest — ie. there’s no time to get the contest off the ground because deadlines come too soon. Though deadlines are key, setting them to come too soon is the wrong way to run a contest. Make sure you provide Facebook users enough time to discover your contest — then remind them that they only have a few days to sign up. This will create momentum with just enough urgency to get people to respond. Urgency is an important trigger for compelling people to take action! And don’t worry about annoying your fans — if you give away the right prizes, chances are they’ll be interested in what you have to say. // Post by Post Planner. 4. Promote, Promote, Promote Just in case you missed the part about reminding people about your contest, here’s another notice for you: Promote, promote, PROMOTE!!! Some business owners complain that their Facebook contests don’t get enough entries to justify the effort. That’s when I ask them how they ran their contests. Lo & behold, they announced their contest ONCE on Facebook & Twitter — and then WAITED. PLEASE don’t make this same mistake! Promote your contest!… I mean, REALLY promote it. Here are some tips: Get help Post the contest on your Facebook profile & ask your friends to share. People love contests & they’ll share it if the prize could benefit their family & friends. Use your cover photo A powerful way to promote your contest is broadcasting it loudly & proudly with your cover photo. This prime location on your page immediately grabs attention. Run Facebook ads Use Facebook ads to dramatically increase exposure for your contest. Ads extend your Facebook reach tremendously. They let you target fans, friends of fans & other people outside your social circle who may be interested in your page. These articles will help get you started: How to Use Promoted Page Ads to Get Tons of New Likes on Facebook  3 Facebook Ad Strategies that Won’t Break the Bank 4 Kick-Ass Tips for Creating Facebook Ads that Convert Conclusion Let’s review what we learned today about running a killer Facebook contest: Give away the right prizes to attract the right crowd Use a third-party contest app Provide a sense of urgency to sign up Never stop promoting Do you have anything to add? If you’ve organized a Facebook contest, please share some of your best tips in the comments below. The post 4 Ways to Seriously ROCK Your Next Facebook Contest appeared first on Post Planner.

App Engine IP Range Change Notice

Google Webmaster Central Blog -

Google uses a wide range of IP addresses for its different services, and the addresses may change without notification. Google App Engine is a Platform as a Service offering which hosts a wide variety of 3rd party applications. This post announces changes in the IP address range and headers used by the Google App Engine URLFetch (outbound HTTP) and outbound sockets APIs. While we recommend that App Engine IP ranges not be used to filter inbound requests, we are aware that some services have created filters that rely on specific addresses. Google App Engine will be changing its IP range beginning this month. Please see these instructions to determine App Engine’s IP range. Additionally, the HTTP User-Agent header string that historically allowed identification of individual App Engine applications should no longer be relied on to identify the application. With the introduction of outbound sockets for App Engine, applications may now make HTTP requests without using the URLFetch API, and those requests may set a User-Agent of their own choosing. Posted by the Google App Engine Team

Team Member Profile: Christopher Fenning

InMotion Hosting Blog -

Hometown: Combe Martin, Devon, England. Position: Project Manager InMotion Hosting team member since May 2013 How did you get started in the web hosting field? Aside from some programming classes at school my first real exposure to web hosting came from my dad. He started his own business based around online retail and I watched through the early 2000s as he adapted to changes in technology for websites and web hosting. Throughout university I started to dabble with website design and ended up working on a few sites for myself and friends. That naturally led to me becoming a reseller, although on a tiny scale, and as the traffic on my websites grew I was forced to learn more about the hosting side of things. The real plunge into hosting came when I joined InMotion Hosting to set up a Project Management Office for the company. There is nothing quite like taking on new product deliveries or large scale system changes to encourage rapid learning about hosting environments! What’s your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it? My main role is project management, helping the larger scale pieces of work to be delivered on time and to spec. The projects can be anything from defining and delivering a new product to replacing core systems such as the chat system. Training and mentoring staff in Project Management is an important part of the role and is something that brings me great satisfaction. It helps the company grow as more people become able to take on the challenge of delivering large pieces of work. The best parts of the job are the variety of work to be done and being able to work across all the teams in the company. There is such a diversity of people and roles here, it is great to be able to be a part of that. Coolest gadget you own, want, or have read about? In a previous job my role was to manage the customization of cellphones for a major network in Europe. This meant I always has the newest phones before they were released to market. The most unique was a 3D phone from LG, launched around the same time as 3D films were coming out at the movies. The phone took both 3D pictures and video and even the games were in 3D. At the time it was pretty cool to have that level of tech in such a small package. What would you like to tell us about yourself? Firstly I should say I am not from around here. Prior to 2012 I lived in England and worked mostly in Europe and occasionally in Asia. My wife and I moved to Virginia after she was offered a Job and without that I’d never have found InMotion Hosting. We are both very active and love being outdoors. The mountains are our biggest love with climbing, mountaineering, hiking and skiing being high on our list of regular activities. Most weekends, if I’m not catching up on the week’s activity in my UK based sports equipment business I can be found either in the hills or in the sea, and very occasionally I may be spotted at a craft beer or wine festival. What’s one word that would describe your personality? English  

Customized suggestions for your campaigns

The Twitter Small Business Blog -

We understand how important it is for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to see results with Twitter Ads. To help you achieve the results you want, we now offer a new way to give you personalized suggestions to improve your Twitter Ads campaigns: @TwitterAdTips. When we have suggestions for you about improving your campaigns, we’ll share those via DM from @TwitterAdTips. Follow @TwitterAdTips and start receiving these personalized recommendations for your Twitter Ads account today. Campaign optimization tipsWe’ll review your current campaigns and send optimization guidance, such as identifying simple tweaks you can make to your targeting selections or bidding strategy to improve your engagement rates or reach more relevant users. Product feature recommendationsBased on the goals you’ve shared with us, we’ll highlight current and new features that can help your campaigns become even more effective. News and eventsBe among the first to hear about new resources like success stories, tips and live events from our Small Business Team.

Customized suggestions for your campaigns

The Twitter Small Business Blog -

We understand how important it is for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to see results with Twitter Ads. To help you achieve the results you want, we now offer a new way to give you personalized suggestions to improve your Twitter Ads campaigns: @TwitterAdTips. When we have suggestions for you about improving your campaigns, we’ll share those via DM from @TwitterAdTips. Follow @TwitterAdTips and start receiving these personalized recommendations for your Twitter Ads account today. Campaign optimization tipsWe’ll review your current campaigns and send optimization guidance, such as identifying simple tweaks you can make to your targeting selections or bidding strategy to improve your engagement rates or reach more relevant users. Product feature recommendationsBased on the goals you’ve shared with us, we’ll highlight current and new features that can help your campaigns become even more effective. News and eventsBe among the first to hear about new resources like success stories, tips and live events from our Small Business Team.

WHMCS Live Chat & Visitor Tracking Update Released

WHMCS Blog -

An update has been made available to the WHMCS Live Chat & Visitor Tracking Addon and can be downloaded from our Members Area. This update features improvements to the online admin interface, multi-device PUSH messaging support for chat notifications and the ability to insert Knowledgebase Articles from WHMCS directly into your chat responses. For a full list of changes, please refer to the changelog @ http://changelog.whmcs.com/Live_Chat_V4.1 To upgrade, please refer to the instructions @ http://docs.whmcs.com/Live_Chat_Addon About WHMCS Live Chat & Visitor Tracking The WHMCS Live Chat & Visitor Tracking Addon provides real-time visitor monitoring and direct access to a logged-in users profile, products & services and other vital information to aid in providing support quickly. Integration directly with the ticket system allows open tickets to be reviewed, the user of predefined replies and logging of chat transcripts alongside ticket history. For more information please refer to http://www.whmcs.com/addons/live-chat-visitor-tracking/...

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