Mar 072011
 

Facebook Account SettingsBecome the Page

Facebook recently released new design and feature changes for Pages.  If you already have Business Page(s) on Facebook then this may impact you.  This will certainly impact those of you considering developing a Business Page.   For the past month, Business Page owners have had the ability to login as their Page.  So this means you will be able to Like and make comments as the Page throughout Facebook.  Page administrators will be able to switch back and forth between their identity as the Page or with their own personal profile.  Facebook has indicated that this should make for better overall communications.  Assuming you have already setup your new Page on Facebook, you can access this new feature under the Account drop-down box.  Choose “Use Facebook as Page” and then select the Page for which you have administration rights by clicking the “Switch” button.  You easily switch back under Account settings as well.

More Images

Businesses will be able to display featured images at the top of their Page in the center column.  You will also notice graphic images of the Pages you like displayed down the left column along with images of you Page administrators on the right column.  The images of people or other Pages that Like your Page are also displayed on the right column.  Speaking of columns, the new format now emphasizes columns along with vertical menus that have replaced the horizontal tab menus.

Sorting Changes

Facebook has added a new feature for sorting your Page’s Wall information.  There are two options:  1) Top Posts; and 2) Most Recent.   Facebook attempts to put the most popular posts at the top when “Top Posts” is selected.  “Most Recent”, as expected, just puts the posts in chronological order.

Preview Time is Running Out

If you have not made any changes to your Facebook Page then it should still be displayed with the old format.  You can preview the new format when you go to your Page by clicking a Preview button.  You also have the option of upgrading.  Upgrading will no longer be an option on March 10, 2011.    At that time all Pages will automatically be upgraded.

I would strongly suggest previewing your Page and then making updates as desired.  For instance, you will probably want to take advantage of the images displayed over the center column.  You will just need to create one or more photo albums and experiment with what looks good.

FBML Changes

Facebook Markup Language (FBML) allows Page administrators to create custom Page tabs.  According to Simon Cross, Facebook’s  Platform Partner Engineer in Europe, FBML will be replaced by iframes on a Canvas tab.  He indicates that Page owners/administrators will be given about a month to make the transition from FBML to iframes sometime in Q1 2011.  Existing FBML pages will still work but you won’t be able to create anything new without using iframes.  Business owners will need to talk with their Web/Facebook developer to see what impact this may have on any future changes you had in mind for your Page on Facebook.

Shameless plug… If you don’t yet have a Facebook Page for your business then please give me a call.  If you are curious as to what a Facebook Business Page looks like then please check out our page here:  http://www.facebook.com/webstreetusa

Jan 302011
 

Looking for a quick way to boost the traffic to your business Web site?

Increase your Web Traffic

Increase your Web Traffic

It may have been a while since you added your business to Google Places.  Google Places is where you can manage your business listing displayed on Google Maps.  Perhaps you didn’t even know you could get a free ad listing for your business on Google Maps.

Well, if you build it, they will come.  People love Google Maps for getting directions and finding places of interest.  For instance, if you are looking for a Web Designer in Lebanon, Ohio (shameless plug coming) then you can go to maps.google.com and type in “Web Designer near Lebanon, Ohio” and find our listing (ranked 2nd as of this blog post).

Here is what you get with your free listing:

  • Basic information including business name, address, phone number, email & Web address
  • 200 character description and up to 5 business categories
  • Service areas served
  • Hours of operation and payment options
  • Up to 10 photos and up to 5 videos
  • Any additional details you want to include such as discounts and free estimates

Once created you will have a nice display on Google Maps.

Web Street USA on Google Maps

Here’s how to get your ad:

  1. Go to Google Places (places.google.com/business)
  2. Create a Google Account if you haven’t done it already.
  3. Login to your Google Account.
  4. Click the “List your business” button.
  5. Select Country and Phone number then click the “Find business information” button.
  6. If your business is found then you can click the “Edit” button.
  7. If your entering a new business then click the “Add a new listing” button.
  8. Enter your basic business information such as Company name, address, email and Web address.
  9. Be sure to add a good description of your business using lots of keywords that people might use to find you.
  10. Select a business category.  Do this by starting to type into the category field and Google will make suggestions for you that can be selected.  You don’t have to use the ones they suggest.
  11. Enter additional business categories.  You get up to 5 categories so I would suggest using all of them as these categories can contain keywords that will help draw traffic.
  12. Next enter the service areas and locations if this is applicable to your type of business.
  13. Enter the hours of operation (this is optional).
  14. Select payment options.
  15. Add some photos of your business.  The first photo will be used on your map listing (see sample to right).  Up to 10 photos are available so you use this to show just about anything related to your business.
  16. You can also add videos to be displayed with your listing.  If you have videos you would like to use then make sure you upload them to YouTube and then enter in the complete Web address for that particular video.  Use the YouTube link here (youtube.com) to find out more information about this free video service.
  17. Next enter any additional details about your business.  This is where you can enter a detail category followed by the associated details.  For instance, on my listing, I display how long I have been in business, veteran discounts and free estimates.

For future editing be sure to log into your Google account.  From most Google pages you will be able to click on the “Settings” link and go to the Google account settings.  Go to Google Places to see and edit your ad plus see how many people viewed your ad and clicked on the listing.  This is all great stuff and it really is free.  It shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes to setup a basic business listing.  I hope you found this information useful!

Jan 262010
 

Headlines are Critical 

Headlines are critical to the effectiveness of your Web site, especially on your home page. 

The headline is like an ad for the words that will follow.   It is important to the reader (human) and to the search engines (computer).

It needs to stress benefits and help answer the key question, WIIFM? 
(What’s in it for me?)

The You-Focused Opener

An opening headline like “Welcome to XYZ” isn’t going to cut it.  The home page must focus on the visitor and why they might benefit from your Web site.  The home page should emphasize the top benefit and motivate them to read on and take an action.  You must never forget that a Web site is there to please your visitors.  Put yourself in their shoes.

Strong Motivation is Needed – Pain or Gain!

The headline should introduce a cure for the target audience’s pain or fear of loss.

Or, the headline can hit on your most important benefit and how your target audience can gain by reading further.

Targetted Headlines are Best

The headline should be very important to your target visitor.  The more targeted the better.  And it needs to be a short, sharp and benefit-laden punch line.

What Professional Copywriters Say… 

Do:

  1. Write several headlines before choosing your perfect one.
  2. Address the needs of your target audience and dramatize the benefits.
  3. Stir emotion by getting the reader excited, fearful or protective.
  4. Use the present tense or better yet, the imperative tense. The use of “you” often works well.
  5. Use strong and essential action verbs.
  6. Use short words that create an image in the mind of the reader.
  7. Eliminate most adverbs and adjectives.
  8. Write headlines that stand on their own.
  9.  Write headlines that foreshadow the message that follows it.

 Don’t:

  1. Don’t write about you… write about them.
  2. Don’t write headlines that create curiosity without stressing benefits.
  3. Don’t be “catchy” or “cute” unless your target audience appreciates that type of headline.
  4. Don’t worry about losing visitors that aren’t in your target audience.  That is to be expected.
  5. Don’t use jargon unless you are certain that everyone in target audience will understand it.

 Other Suggestions:

  1. Use words and phrases that evoke emotion…
              You, Now, At Last, Free, Finally, Profit, New, Secret,Ultimate, Fantastic,
              Guarantee, Today, First, Amazing, Discover, Yes, Best, Instant, Powerful
  2. Ask a question.
  3. Make your promises credible.
  4. Put your headline in quotes for extra credibility.
  5. Challenge the reader. (ex. “Only for Businesses Who Want to Increase Profits”)
  6. Test your headlines to see which one works best with your target audience.
  7. Test some more. 
    (Check back soon for an article on Web analytics).
Dec 302009
 

This is the time of year that everyone’s calendar is full.  Between work, family and all the organizations that everyone belongs to it is hard to keep things organized.  If you aren’t familiar with Google Calendar then you should check out this great tool.  It helps you to keep and share your calendar with work, family and friends.

About Google Calendar

Google Calendar can also be integrated with your Web site.  One of my clients, Lee McCready with Kart19.com, uses Google Calendar to share his Kart Racing team schedule with his family and friends.  People can sign up to get calendar event reminders in their email.  This is a great way to promote any event that your company, club or organization is planning to have.  And this calendar is free!

Dec 092009
 

Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving, proved to be strong despite the lackluster economy.  According to comScore, Inc., Cyber Monday 2009 had online sales of $887 Million vs. $846 Million a year earlier.  This represents a 5% increase since last year.  The number of online buyers increased 6% to 8.7 Million and similar results have been seen for entire holiday shopping season so far.

Internet retailers are drawing in buyers through convenient shopping and great deals.  According to Yahoo Search Marketing, online advertisers are beginning to master aggressive marketing campaigns that entices consumers to shop online.   Online sales promotions are largely handled through paid search advertising such as Google AdWords, Yahoo Search Marketing and Microsoft AdCenter.  Microsoft continues its efforts to improve its search capabilities with such innovations as the Bing.com search engine.

Savvy online marketers understand that paid search (aka pay per click) advertising works.  You are in complete control of the message, keywords, bid amounts (costs) and attributes such as geographical location to help in precisely targeting your audience.  The news continues to get better for advertisers as competition is starting to heat up with the announcement that Microsoft and Yahoo are joining forces in their search and online advertising technology to take on #1 Google.  Yahoo and Microsoft, just this past week, have worked out the details of their partnership that is likely to be approved by government regulators in early 2010.