Author Archives: Shelley Gross

Web Design Trends

New year, new you. Or new website at least?!

We have discovered what the trends in web design will be this year. You may have noticed that full screen is being used more often than the older ‘boxed’ format. These wide screen sites have the added bonus of being fully responsive, so automatically realign when viewed on smart phones and tablets. Wonderful!

There are also some trends on the use of photography on websites. And these can be broken into 4 groups:

1. Perspective

These types of photographs are putting you into the drivers seat, so you can view the site from your own perspective. With the popularity of GoPro’s everyone wants to be in the action.

Go-Pro images1 shutterstock_106892996-1000pxThere is also the common selfie – so common that Google predicts that there are 93 million selfies taken per DAY!

2. Colour Trends

photodune-714913-winter-scene-with-spectrum-light-bokeh-in-grass-l-900px photodune-5636213-couple-l old projector showing film iStock_000025412524XLargeMonochrome: paintings, drawings, design, or photographs in one color or shades of one colour. This is not necessarily meaning black and white photos, but choosing photos that are in the same colour spectrum. Some websites for purchasing stock images allow you to choose photos with a specific colour. This is great for ensuring the photos are going to match well with pre-existing branding such as logos.

These images fit well together, and would work nicely in a rotating slideshow.

3. Rectangle v Square

As we move towards wide screen sites, the trend is moving towards more rectangular images. Think of a business envelope size. Here are some examples of the old style versus the new style.
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shutterstock_58629481-1000px-letterbox

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Mix & Match

A photo tells a thousand words, but they can sometimes be misinterpreted. Or some key points need to identified. Overlaying text on images is very powerful and becoming even more popular in 2015.

shutterstock_47808574-boxed istock_generic_192720-calendarOut of focus areas are often used for text areas, or it is great to use semi-transparent boxes to highlight text while not completely blocking out the image.

These trends are all focused on using great images. They can make a stock standard website truly ‘wonderful’.

Wordpress Adminstrator User Deleted

Q. I accidently deleted the admistrator user from my WordPress Dashboard and now no content is showing on my pages. What do I do now?

A. Okay, so the first thing to do is to see if you can log into your Dashboard using another administrator username and password (if you had one). If not, you will have to access your users through your Control Panel. Log into your Control Panel and head to your PHPMyadmin to find your database of users. You can create a new user here.

Then log into your dashboard using these details or another user that you already had. You now need to go to your Pages > All Pages and find your pages in the Trash. You can reactivate them back and then make sure they are ‘Published’ and not ‘Draft’.

You may also have to upload images again. If you have a backup, you can do this through FTP into the relevant uploads folder. If not, you will have to load them via Media, but then go through and update the links throughout the site.

In summary, please ensure you don’t delete the administrator from the site.

Google Communication - Guest Post

Back in the 90’s, Ph.D students Larry Page and Sergey Brin had the idea of creating an online world to house the physical world’s information in a way that was both useful, accessible, and free. By 1997, Google was born.

The now-billion dollar company has 70 offices in over 40 global locations. When there was a five-minute outage, global web traffic dipped by 40%. Google even has an official definition in the Oxford English Dictionary. But it isn’t just a successful company with high numbers – it’s a part of modern culture. Now more than ever before, information is accessible. Every major business is trying to figure out how to get Google to like them better – that is, how to rank number one in all major online searches.

By 2004, Gmail came along with its 10GB of free space. The concept of “unlimited storage” was revolutionary. Just nine years later, Google Voice and Google Talk came out, and now the latest – Google Hangouts. The evolution of Google is far from over. With Google+’s +Post Ads, the King of the Internet may soon become the King of advertising as well.

Thanks to tollfreeforwarding.com for their assistance with this infographic.

GoogleCommunications

Guest Post - 4 Reasons Why Your Business Website Should Have A Blog

In a world of today, it is almost unimaginable not sharing parts of your business or your life with the internet. The old ‘you’re a nobody until somebody loves you’ turned into ‘you’re nobody unless you have a web page’. Regardless of how annoying it may be at times, this internet addition we’ve all got caught into has many of its perks – such as getting information really quickly, spreading the word about important matters, getting feedback from some great people you’d probably never get to meet otherwise, and so on. So to answer you question – a business should have a personalized blog for so many reasons. For starters, there’s marketing and promotion. Every blog should be considered an additional tool to your business, something like nice accessorize with your favorite outfit. Blogs tend to build a dynamic community which then interacts and exchanges reviews, solutions, ideas and information about a business and its reputation, services and products.

What else a blog can do:

1.) Reaching new customers

Despite popular belief that blogs are just for current users of your product, they can actually attract many new people in a blink. Obviously, both content and design of the blog must be interesting, catchy and smart. Word of mouth and power of share are definitely best advertising options, so once your blog gets out there, it is highly likely that it will reach new readers (and hopefully followers and customers) within minutes! If one of your current followers/customers shares his/hers experience on your blog and then shares it on his/her social network, the opportunity for it to reach many new people is created!

2.) Developing a ‘personality’ for your brand

The personal nature of blogging allows a business to create the idea of closeness to the reader. Plus, online conversations and interactions spurred up by a single topic are amazing for business! Through a blog you get to create the image and a tone of your business, a recognizable trait your customers will love. Also, with their feedback, you’ll know exactly what’s widely accepted by the audience and what not and you’ll work on it. People love it when they feel there is a human behind the blog, so they can relate their own experiences to what’s been written there. Take Sir Richard Branson of Virgin – he (well, probably not personally) is maintaining a blog for years where he shares some amazing advice about business generally, his experiences and the company itself. Just, before creating a blog – have a clear plan of the tone you want to set so you can keep consistency over time.

3.)  Organic traffic

Blogs are an amazing way to reach customers’ desires through offering them exactly what they need. When people are looking to buy or just read about a certain product, first they’ll do is type key words in the search engine. If you are running your blog smartly, you’ll know which words exactly to hash tag in your blog. Plus, once they’ve reached your blog, talks of your product being purchased are bound to spark up! Once a reader subscribes, he is about to become a regular customer and you can always keep him posted through newsletter about upcoming sales, new products that are about to be launched, and shops they can get them in!

4.) Gathering feedback, testimonials and reviews

We all treat our vision and our products like our children. And rarely will we accept anyone’s opinion if it doesn’t match ours. Afterall, we know how to run a business, don’t we? Well, maybe not so much. Don’t forget you wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for your customers. So, their opinion and needs should be far ahead of your personal. Blog is a great way to see what it is that people actually need. You can gather this information through careful observation of their comments, through questions they ask and feedbacks they give. Positive feedback will obviously give you confidence as it will to your other potential customers, while negative feedback provides you with the chance to defend your product/services, respond to concerns,  and if needed to improve your business processes eventually. Keep in mind that you must not react strongly to negative criticism. The way you manage your readers will have a significant impact on the way you are perceived by your followers and online community.

Author bio

Damian Wolf has been an entrepreneur and a writer from 2009. He loves to write about business, especially on achieving online goals, small business marketing and general life topics. Currently, Damian is part of creative team at Cubic Promotions Pty Ltd Sydney and loves his work. When he’s not in business, Damian usually enjoys with family and friends.

How Social Media Can Help Your Business Become More Profitable - Guest Post

Social media is not just another marketing channel used by businesses to boost brand awareness and improve their sales figures; it is the most important channel that businesses can leverage to propel strategic business growth. Social media can ensure increased profitability for your business with effective usage.

In order to leverage the immense potential of social media, you must have an active presence on the various social networks you think are important for your business. An ‘active’ presence involves a concerted attempt to share value added content with fans and followers, nurturing personal engagement and micro targeting a target audience with personalized messaging.

This requires effort and that too lots of it. So, the core question is – why is this effort necessary? The answer lies in the nature of benefits of social media. If you aren’t active on social media, you will cede space to your competitors who might have made it a critical component of their business growth strategy.

So, let’s take a closer look at how your business profitability receives a huge boost because of social media.

The Humanization of your Brand

Social media humanizes your brand. This is important to build a personal connection with your customers. On social media, your brand has a personality of its own that your target customers can relate to. When a brand interacts with its target audience on social media, it can adopt a person-to-person approach. This let the customers know that your business care for their needs as a friend and it is not merely for the purpose of selling products or services.

Over the long run, this humanization will pay you rich dividends in the form of increased customer loyalty

Product Recommendations on Social Media to Drive Business Growth

A recent survey conducted by Shoutly, shows that social media plays an important role in driving trusted product recommendations. A mammoth 82% of respondents give more importance to personal recommendations while shopping online. 77% of the respondents said, they will buy an eBook if they receive a positive recommendation on social media; 78% will buy software if it’s been positively recommended on social media.

This survey proves that product recommendations on social media have the capacity to drive sustained business growth.

What you’ll need to do is create a recommendation ecosystem that is powered by sharable product information and useful product centric content. You also need to make it easy for customers to share feedback and post product reviews; offering the right discounts and making sure your target customers come across your product when they need them most is also a great way of driving product recommendations.

What you are essentially doing is increasing the ‘recommendation potential’ of your products. Your job is to create an environment that triggers product recommendation by your customers. Coming from somebody other than the brand, such recommendations deliver the results you are looking for.

Social Media as a Product Research Tool

Did you know 41% of consumers discover new brand/products/services by seeing ads on social networks and 37% of consumers’ research brands on social media? Social media plays an important role in not just making your products more visible in front of your customers, but it also shapes consumer sentiment about your brand and its offerings. If people are saying good things about your brand on social media, that creates an overall positive impact over the brand.

It also makes sense that all information about your products and services is available on social media whether it’s through your company profile on social networks or consistently sharing product driven content.

Customer Support

Using social media as tool of quick and personal customer support is a great way of improving business credibility. This works towards improving the profitability of your business. Some of the best brands in business are using Twitter handles purely to leverage customer service. This gives a personal touch to their service efforts and also ensures people are able to ask for customer service quickly and effectively. The idea is to use social media to quicken the process of getting access to customer feedback vis-à-vis products and services, which ensures their problems can be solved faster than before. This ensures even customers dissatisfied with your products appreciate your attempts to sort out their problems quickly.

This enhances customer retention.

Brand Virality

Social media improves word of mouth about your brand and takes it viral. Suppose, you’ve written and published a post on your website blog. If it’s good, readers will share it with their friends and followers who in turn will share it with their network and so on and so forth. It’s not just your content going viral in this case; it’s your brand as well. This is just one of the many ways your brand can go viral on social media. But for this to happen, you need to come up with new content regularly and share it across all your networks.

In order for your brand to have a reliable social media presence that delivers incremental returns you’ll also need a content marketing strategy in place. This will help you create, publish and share the right content that your target audience will love going through and which they won’t mind sharing with their friends and followers. They must find your brand content share worthy and if they do, your business presence on social media will definitely deliver incremental returns.

Author Bio:

Avyakta is an MSc graduate by education. She is a professional writer in the domain of learning and education. She has completed her masters in Biochemistry from Bangalore University and is currently working as an author with Simplilearn Solutions Pvt Ltd, which is one of the leading providers of professional certification courses. The courses offered by Simplilearn address the unique needs of working professionals. She has previously worked with a publishing house ande-commerce firm. She is based out of Bangalore and has an experience of 3 years in the field of content writing and blogging. Her work has been published on various sites related to Project Management, IT, Finance, SAP, Quality Management and more.

What is Cloud Computing

Every so often, it seems there is a buzz word around technology. The one that I most frequently hear lately is Cloud Computing. Time to get your head out of the clouds and learn what it all means.

Cloud computing conceptIn general terms it can be explained as the use of a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet rather than using a local server. These network of servers are referred to as the Cloud and can store, manage, and process data.

Losely speaking, ‘Cloud Computing’ can be translated to mean ‘The Internet’. If you have a web based email account such as Hotmail or Gmail, you can officially say you are a user of Cloud Computing. These email services are run via the Internet (read Cloud) rather than having to rely on software installed on the computer. The emails are also stored on the Cloud and not directly on the computer.

Cloud Computing is becoming more and more popular and has some added benefits.

1. Reduced costs for purchasing specific software and licenses.
2. Data and files are easily accessible from any computer.
3. Access to automatic updates.
4. Easily share information.

This last point can be seen by the use of things such as Dropbox. This is a file sharing website that is in The Cloud. Users can upload files to Dropbox and share with other people. It saves having to email files, and is especially useful when these files are large.

Cloud Computing is certainly the way forward.

Interesting Infographic

Consumer Psychology and the E-Commerce Checkout – An infographic by the team at vouchercloud

Six Things To Think About When Updating Your Website

Is your website in need of an update. As your business grows and changes, it can be tempting to give it a total overhaulThe temptation to update my own site is high, especially as I am always learning new ideas and improved functionality. But there are certain things that you should first consider.

1. Good Analytics May be Affected

This will be the case if you are adding and removing pages on your site. For example, if you had a page called yourdomain.com.au/about and now changed the title of your page so that is yourdomain.com.au/about-us Google will see it as a new page. Even if the actual content remains the same.

2. Ensure Your Permalinks Are Maintained

As above, when you change the titles of your web pages, this affects not only Google Analytics, but also any links within your site. It is possible to change the actual name of your page, but keep the permalink the same. For example, you could have the page named About Us, but have the permalink as yourdomain.com.au/about Contact us for further information.

3. Will It Enhance Usability

Is it just visual changes that you are hoping for. Things such as images/logos/backgrounds can easily be amended. It is amazing what can be achieved in a matter of minutes. These changes shouldn’t have a major impact on your site – other than making it more visually appealling!

4. Be Aware Of Any Links On Other Sites

Your website may be referenced on other websites. Make sure you are aware of any of these links, and notify the web administrator of any changes to your site.

5. Browser Compatibility Needs To Be Checked

Once your site is updated, make sure it is tested across all browsers. Unfortunately they don’t all respond the same and what might look and work well on one Browser may not be supported on another!

6. Ensure Down Time Is Minimised

Finally, when updating your website, try to minimise the time that your site is offline. You can either:

  • Build your updated site on a hidden folder and migrate across once it is completed, or
  • Add an ‘Under Construction’ page while you make your changes.

Good luck,
Shelley Gross
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Five Great FREE Marketing Tools

I often get asked by clients about how they can appear further up the list in Google. Search Engine Optimisation, often referred to as SEO, is very competitive. There are paid options, such as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) which guarantee you top listing (e.g. Google Adwords) but these can become quite expensive. Here are some free options that you might like to consider.

1. Make Your Website Your Homepage

This means that everytime you open your Internet browser, it will be one more hit on your website. Most browsers allow you to open multiple tabs, so if you still like to have Google or Herald Sun or Ninemsn as your homepage, then add your own website as another tab. To do this, select Tools, Internet Options and then add your website to the list.

2. Update Your Website

Search engines such as Google like a website that is constantly changing. This is why it is good to have a blog, as you can update it regularly. If you have a static website and would like to include a blog, then contact me to set one up. This can be done in around three to four hours work including instructions on how to add posts. Blogs are relatively straight forward, and all of my clients receive detailed instructions for updating their blog.

3. Direct Everyone To Your Website

Traffic might not be a good thing when you are on the road, but it is what you want online! Send everyone to your website. Change your voicemail to indicate that details of your opening hours/services can be found on your website, or add your url under your signature for emails, or add your website to all letterheads/business cards, etc.

4. Add Your Site To Free Listings

There are many sites that enable you list your website for FREE! For example, Hot Frog is great for location based businesses as people search an area and then for the business type. They also provide regular reports to allow you to monitor traffic to your website via their listing. Another great site to list for free is True Local. The added bonus of True Local is that your clients and customers can rate your service. I have has my own business rated, so when people type in “Web Design, Ocean Grove” I appear towards the top with 5 stars!

5. Word Of Mouth

Research by Neilson (a peak information gathering body) says that people will be four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. So, make sure you look after your customers and clients. Make sure you have a customer database to keep in touch. Deliver a great service, and you will benefit.

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Seven Tips For Writing Great Blog Posts

There are some simple things you can do to make sure your blog is appealing.

1. Know Your Audience

Even if you might like a certain blog because it is humorous, don’t try to copy if you have a professional business. Keep it relevant to what your day to day operations are.

2. Consider Yourself An Expert

It is amazing how much knowledge you have that others may be interested to know. Perhaps it is something that your came across and worked out a solution. No point others having to re-invent the wheel.
“The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was a genius.”
Sid Caesar

3. Keep It Simple

Imagine you are talking to someone that is brand new to your industry. Start with the basics.

4. Set Out A Plan

Sit down and brainstorm a few post ideas or ask your subscribers and followers what topics they would like covered. Schedule your posts if you have to. That way you will always have something to regularly write about.

5. Use Lists

Numbered lists or bullet points are much easier to read. To help with search engine optimisation, use headings throughout your post.

6. Follow Up On Comments

If you receive comments about your posts (that aren’t spam!) make sure you respond and keep the reader engaged.

7. Offer The Reader Something

Make sure there is a call to action; A reason for the reader to come back again!

Cheers,
Shelley Gross

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