Your WordPress plugins might be silently losing business data

If your WordPress site uses third-party plugins, you may be experiencing data loss and other problematic behavior without even knowing it.

Like many of you, I’ve become quite attached to WordPress over the past 15 years. It is by far the most popular content management system, powering 28 percent of the Internet, and still the fastest growing, with over 500 sites created on the platform each day. Considering myself well versed in the software, I was surprised to discover — while working on a digital design project for a client — what could be the Y2K of WordPress. Many WordPress plugins are suffering data loss, and it looks like this problem will soon explode if not properly addressed.

The issue is essentially due to the fact that WordPress discards entire datasets even when only one of the data elements within the set contains too many characters for the insertion field. Because WordPress doesn’t log the data loss or any errors related to it, few developers are aware of the issue. And because of one particular scenario involving storing a visitor’s data when they’re connecting with an IPv6 address, the situation is exponentially worse.

Example: Say a WordPress site owner has a plugin installed that lets users add comments. Plugins like that typically store the user’s IP address along with comments they submit, for analytics purposes. For years, plugin developers have assumed that IP addresses were always in the standard IPv4, 15-character format that looks like this: 216.123.123.123. Thus, plugin developers typically set the maximum allowed characters for the IP address database field their plugin uses to about 15-20 characters. However, IPv6 has a much longer 39-character format that looks like this: 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334.

Unbeknownst to many users, site owners, and developers alike, these longer IPv6 addresses are becoming increasingly widespread. Those new addresses won’t fit into the database fields developers have been using for years. Furthermore, for security purposes, WordPress specifically validates that each part of a data set about to be stored will fit. In the example above, if the IP address is too long, WordPress discards the entire data set (not just the oversized IP address string). Worse, WordPress doesn’t log an error when this happens. The data is simply lost to the ether, without leaving a trace. This two-year-old WordPress bug thread shows how long the WP core devs have known that the community didn’t like this, but they still haven’t addressed it.

Yes, this currently just affects data coming from IPv6 addresses (currently about 17 percent of users). But while IPv6 use may be in the minority right now, it won’t be for long, and as it becomes the majority, these unexplained issues with data loss will reach pandemic proportions if left untreated.

Just how widespread is this?

1.02 million active WordPress plugin installs are silently discarding real visitor logs, content submissions curated by users, and more, right now, all because IPv6 addresses are present in the data being stored. Here are some other interesting stats:

  • 50,336 plugins are available at wordpress.org today
  • 200 plugins (~1 in 250) create IP address fields that are too short
  • Those 200 plugins have over 1 million active installs — a total of 1,023,280.
  • Here’s a publicly-accessible Google Sheet my team created that lists all known offending plugins. For each plugin, that sheet includes one example where that plugin declares an IP address field that is too short.

The fix is easy peasy: You simply need to change the table schema for the column that stores IP addresses from 15 to 39 (or more).

This problem can affect applications other than WordPress; really, any application that utilizes IP addresses and stores them in MySQL/PostgreSQL tables (especially in STRICT mode, which would prevent row inserts) where the column max is expecting a 15-character IPv4 IP address.

Debuggin’ the plugin

I uncovered this situation while recently working on a site that needed a rating system that allowed authenticated users to vote on specific post types. So naturally, I did a search of existing plugins that could meet the requirements and found one fairly quickly, CBX Rating, and it was a breeze to configure and get working. Then came the intermittent reports of the form submissions not going through.

I spent hours deactivating other plugins, digging through code, and guiding users via screenshare. I was unable to narrow it down or find any smoking gun. No success message, no error message, no errors in the console log, nothing in the server logs. How could form submissions be failing without errors?

I remembered something I had seen in WordPress before: row inserts silently failing if the data strings were longer than the table column maximums. So I shifted my attention to the back end, and that’s where I found the problem and my boss, Erik Neff (the company’s CTO), helped identify exactly why it was happening.

MySQL databases, not in STRICT mode, will truncate values if they’re over the max character count for a particular column and will insert the new record with a warning. When in STRICT mode, MySQL will not accept the record and will return an error. WordPress, on the other hand, won’t execute a query if it determines the length is longer than the max, and will instead return false, with no error or warning.

When using the WordPress $wpdb->insert method, you get back a 1 upon success and a 0 upon failure. But a function is called before any mySQL statements are executed, and that’s where the problem lies. The function is called protected function process_field_lengths, and it checks to see if the data’s length is less than the max allowable length for that table column. If the length is longer than allowed, the entire insert is aborted and false is returned with no error message or explanation. This is a known issue with WordPress core, and makes debugging that much harder.

The CBX Rating plugin we were using didn’t account for this failure point. I checked the plugin’s table schema and started increasing varchar max lengths across the board. Touchdown! Soon after, I got wind from users of all types that all forms were now being submitted successfully.

My mind raced to how this could be an epidemic, so Erik and I set out to determine the scale. The result of a (rather lengthy) check of WordPress plugins yielded a list of every place an IP address field was declared with an incorrect length. You can find those results in the Google sheet that I’ve made public.

Brett Exnowski is senior developer at Primitive Spark and specializes in complex web applications.

[“Source-venturebeat”]

Seven reasons why your business needs SEO marketing

seo-business

Every business needs promotion and SEO is one of the best techniques to promote your business online. Many people consider that ‘SEO is Dead’ but this is not true. This is the most effective marketing technique that enhances your online presence and boosts your ranking in search results. Here in this guide, we have mentioned top reasons that make SEO most successful marketing tool.

  • It still works

This is a proven strategy even major search engines release major updates to its algorithm. Nowadays the core aspect of Search Engine Optimization is focus on experiences of users. If you have user friendly site with proper navigation, then you will definitely get good rankings in SERPs. SEO will work as long as people will use search engines.

  • SEO is an Investment

You will definitely get high return on your investment. You can check web analytics data to observe that there are certain keywords that have great conversion rates for which you rank on page#3 or #2 on major search engines.  If your keywords rank on 1 or 2nd page of Google, you will get lots of clicks and massive traffic to your website. This would be the highest ROI into Search Engine Optimization

  • This is a crucial part of your marketing mix

Search engine optimization is the master when it comes with boost sale and conversion. This is not the only process that is required to take your business to next level or reach your highest marketing potential.  But SEO is important to strengthen each segment of your marketing process.

  • Search Engines are a major gateway

The numbers of products are increasing day by day that rises demands and offers. People check reviews of products online by using major search engines. You have to adapt this trend as this is must. You have to increase your online presence via boosting ranking of your web pages in major search engines.

  • It saves your money

The pricing of SEO differs and this is cost effective. You can promote your business online by using SEO services. This is easier and cheaper way to spread word about your business.  It takes some time to provide results but it produces lasting results. You can get much greater return on investment than anything else. If you get listed on 1st page of Google, you can attract massive traffic to your website that helps increase conversion rate.

  • Your competitors are doing SEO

If you don’t invest in SEO, you may have risk of losing major benefits to know who your competitors are. You can also play ahead of your competitors by engaging in Search Engine Optimization activities.

  • Rise of Mobile:

Nowadays businesses have reached in the palm of customers. People have started using mobiles and they use search engines to find any product and service.

These are seven top reasons that make SEO a necessity for a business. You should look for SEO services to get your business ranked on 1st page. Cross Graphic Ideas is the best SEO Company in Jaipur which offers result driven SEO services Jaipur at best price.

[“Source-udaipurtimes”]

Google My Business website builder SEO review

Google officially launched its Website Builder within Google My Business in an effort to help small businesses easily and affordably create websites. This is a great initiative, as there are many small businesses that do not have a website.

Google’s Marissa Nordahl made the announcement it in a Google My Business Help thread on Tuesday, June 13. Here is what she wrote:

One of the most common actions people take when exploring a Google listing is to go to the website, but we know that getting a website can still be a challenge for a lot of small business owners around the world: too complex, too expensive, too time consuming. Millions of small businesses (60% of small businesses globally) don’t yet have a website.

Website is a free tool that allows small business owners to create a simple, striking website in just a few minutes. It’s easy, and you can create and edit your new website from your computer or your phone!

Costs

The tool is free to use, but to get a custom domain (such as a .com, .biz or .net), you will have to purchase a domain through Google domains, or else you will be stuck with an ugly URL such as yourbusinessname.business.site — which, presumably, would be less memorable to users and lack the ranking potential of a .com site.

Features

Some notable features of the Website Builder include the following:

  • It’s free to use.
  • You get a custom domain name (at an additional cost).
  • It’s mobile-friendly.
  • It automatically updates.
  • You can manage it on your mobile phone.
  • You can easily place ads on the site.

Note that you need to have a verified listing on Google My Business to use the website builder. A quick site:business.site check within Google shows about 113,000 results, which consist of both US and international small business owners. Business types include real estate, travel & tourism, computer training and software, summer camps, pest control and many others.

Google My Business Website Builder Usage

Test drive

I decided to take a stab at creating my own site for a mock local business profile I created and verified. The process took me just over five minutes to get up and running. Here is what the site looks like: http://tony-seo-shop.business.site/

Tony's SEO Shop Website

 

Here are some screen shots of the process for creating and editing the site.

First, I added my business profile and verified it.

Once I finished creating my business profile, I was prompted to create a free website.

Once I selected a URL for my site, I was given the option to buy a custom domain.

Within the website builder, you have multiple theme options. You can select the color scheme and font that best fits your business branding.

You have the option to edit site elements such as Headline, Description and Body content.

You have the ability to change your site address, buy a custom domain or unpublish your website.

My initial impressions

So, how does the Website Builder hold up, particularly with regard to SEO best practices? Here are my thoughts.

The good

  • Easy to create a website.
  • Can be highlighted as your website on your Google My Business Profile.
  • Easy to add custom cover photo, images, etc.
  • Includes Google Map embed and highlights contact and business hours info.
  • Can easily be managed in your Google My Business Profile.
  • Mobile-friendly.

The bad

  • One-page site, no option to create additional pages.
  • No ability to add custom page titles and meta descriptions (or any type of meta, for that matter).
  • No Analytics integration.
  • Lacks social sharing buttons.
  • Lacks the ability to add structured data markup. Local Business Schema being the most relevant for small businesses.
  • Cannot add alt text to images.
  • Cannot add additional call-to-action buttons.

As you can see, there are quite a few negatives from an SEO perspective. Hopefully, Google will continue to update and expand this tool to provide businesses with more robust functionality.

Should small business owners use the Google My Business website builder?

As usual, the answer is, “It depends.” If you absolutely don’t have the time to build a small, four- to five-page website on a more robust platform such as a Squarespace or Yola, then you should leverage this tool. At a bare minimum, I would recommend purchasing a custom domain rather than using the default URL.

In my opinion, there are many free alternatives which offer more customization and are more SEO-friendly — even Google’s free blogging platform, Blogger.com, is more SEO-friendly. However, if you’re not in a competitive local market, and you want a one-page website that you can manage from within your Google My Business dashboard, this simple website builder may be for you.

[“Source-searchengineland”]

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Have you created a blogging guide for your small business blog? Why do you need one?

At first glance, blogging may seem to require little effort. Just sign up for WordPress, get a hosting company, grab a nice skin (or theme) for your blog, and then start writing. Simple, right?

In theory, it really can be that simple. But, if you’re serious about blogging, it often takes passion — for the topic you’re writing about and for the people who will be helped by reading it. This means that you will probably need time to craft posts that are so valuable that it’s almost impossible for them to not be helpful (even to at least one person).

 

It also means that it will be helpful if you can be consistent about sharing quality information over an extended period of time. This is not easy to do (yep, personal experience talking) and the ability to regularly share content will mean that you have to be clear about the main topics you’ll write about.

In order to do all those things well, you will have to be focused and kick distractions to the curb. The process is not always easy to execute. In fact, before you pull out your laptop or tablet and fire up WordPress, you should think about the …

Things You Should Do BEFORE You Start Writing

Ideally, before you write any post, you should have a plan — not just for your individual posts, but also for the process you’ll use to craft juicy pieces of content. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write spontaneous and inspired posts. Of course, you can.

Recommended for YouWebcast, February 16th: Build Your Growth Roadmap in a Day

But, it can help to have a plan so you can capture and funnel your blog ideas into a repository (like Evernote or Trello) for safekeeping until it’s time to turn them into fully developed posts.

How to Create a Blogging Guide

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Plan-Before-You-Write.png.png

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Do you have a blogging guide for your small business blog?

So, you will need to come up with some guidelines (a.k.a blog writing system) that you’ll follow and include things like:

  • Capturing blog ideas. How will you keep track blog ideas and resources? Will you use a specific app (like the one’s I mentioned above) or write your ideas down in a notebook?
  • Length of blog posts. Will your blog posts be epic (2000 words or more)? Short and sweet (300-500 words)? Or, somewhere in between? Will you shake things up a bit and have a combination of both epic and short posts?
  • Types of posts. How do you feel about list posts? What about posts that recap interviews with industry leaders and influencers? Will you have a recurring topic? Will you create a blog series? Would you consider created some posts that only have images and videos and no text?
  • Posting schedule. Will you schedule posts once per week? Several times per week? Will you write about specific themes on specific days? Oh, yeah, and will you add guest bloggers to the mix? If yes, what criteria will you use to accept or decline their posts?
  • Writing habits. Will you write every day? Will you write and schedule several posts at once? Will you write the post on the day is scheduled to be published or a day in advance?
  • Using an editorial calendar. Will you use a calendar to plan your posts across several months or will you “write from the heart” and when the mood strikes you? What type of editorial calendar will you use: digital, paper-based, or a plugin?

 

When you answer these questions (and any others that come up for your specific situation), you’ll know what you’re working with, so to speak. This will be, in essence, a guide for you to follow every time you decide to put your fingers to your keyboard.

You will know exactly what you’re aiming for and this will give you a direction to go in. In other words, you’ll have a clear plan that’s reasonable to follow and keep up with. Planning in advance (start now!) will save you time and conserve your brain power so you can get on with focusing on writing your posts.

What’s your secret sauce? Do you use a blogging guide for your blog?

[Source:-B2C]

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Have you created a blogging guide for your small business blog? Why do you need one?

At first glance, blogging may seem to require little effort. Just sign up for WordPress, get a hosting company, grab a nice skin (or theme) for your blog, and then start writing. Simple, right?

In theory, it really can be that simple. But, if you’re serious about blogging, it often takes passion — for the topic you’re writing about and for the people who will be helped by reading it. This means that you will probably need time to craft posts that are so valuable that it’s almost impossible for them to not be helpful (even to at least one person).

 

It also means that it will be helpful if you can be consistent about sharing quality information over an extended period of time. This is not easy to do (yep, personal experience talking) and the ability to regularly share content will mean that you have to be clear about the main topics you’ll write about.

In order to do all those things well, you will have to be focused and kick distractions to the curb. The process is not always easy to execute. In fact, before you pull out your laptop or tablet and fire up WordPress, you should think about the …

Things You Should Do BEFORE You Start Writing

Ideally, before you write any post, you should have a plan — not just for your individual posts, but also for the process you’ll use to craft juicy pieces of content. This doesn’t mean that you can’t write spontaneous and inspired posts. Of course, you can.

Recommended for YouWebcast, February 16th: Build Your Growth Roadmap in a Day

But, it can help to have a plan so you can capture and funnel your blog ideas into a repository (like Evernote or Trello) for safekeeping until it’s time to turn them into fully developed posts.

How to Create a Blogging Guide

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Plan-Before-You-Write.png.png

Create a Blogging Guide for Your Small Business Blog

Do you have a blogging guide for your small business blog?

So, you will need to come up with some guidelines (a.k.a blog writing system) that you’ll follow and include things like:

  • Capturing blog ideas. How will you keep track blog ideas and resources? Will you use a specific app (like the one’s I mentioned above) or write your ideas down in a notebook?
  • Length of blog posts. Will your blog posts be epic (2000 words or more)? Short and sweet (300-500 words)? Or, somewhere in between? Will you shake things up a bit and have a combination of both epic and short posts?
  • Types of posts. How do you feel about list posts? What about posts that recap interviews with industry leaders and influencers? Will you have a recurring topic? Will you create a blog series? Would you consider created some posts that only have images and videos and no text?
  • Posting schedule. Will you schedule posts once per week? Several times per week? Will you write about specific themes on specific days? Oh, yeah, and will you add guest bloggers to the mix? If yes, what criteria will you use to accept or decline their posts?
  • Writing habits. Will you write every day? Will you write and schedule several posts at once? Will you write the post on the day is scheduled to be published or a day in advance?
  • Using an editorial calendar. Will you use a calendar to plan your posts across several months or will you “write from the heart” and when the mood strikes you? What type of editorial calendar will you use: digital, paper-based, or a plugin?

When you answer these questions (and any others that come up for your specific situation), you’ll know what you’re working with, so to speak. This will be, in essence, a guide for you to follow every time you decide to put your fingers to your keyboard.

You will know exactly what you’re aiming for and this will give you a direction to go in. In other words, you’ll have a clear plan that’s reasonable to follow and keep up with. Planning in advance (start now!) will save you time and conserve your brain power so you can get on with focusing on writing your posts.

[Source:-B2C]

SEO Growth Hacking Techniques to Scale Your Business

SEO Growth Hacking Techniques to Scale Your Business

In today’s competitive market, it is almost impossible to succeed in digital marketing without having a well-visited website. Online business accounts for a huge chunk of revenue theses days, and in many niches, buyers prefer to purchase the product with either a cheaper price or best value option. If you want to get a piece of the pie, it is not enough to rely on a website with a nice interface. You must focus on growth hacking strategies, and make yourself visible to Google.

A while ago, a relatively new profession was conceived — search engine optimization (SEO). Today it’s evolved and has become a necessity for every online business. SEO empowers website owners to rank better in Google and generally, make more money in the digital landscape.

Related: 6 Ways to Boost Sales With AdWords Expanded Text Ads

There are lot of people who use the wrong approach, concentrating on the “publish and pray approach.” But there are a few who understand that like other professions, SEO is highly technical and must be implemented with care. One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with Google’s algorithm changes. The internet as a whole is constantly evolving, and great SEO efforts are needed for a webmaster to keep up with Google’s everchanging processes.

In this article, I will walk you through three essential areas to help increase your growth rate without spending a penny on ads.

Take care of the technical aspects of SEO.

Search engine optimization needs to be part of your plan from the very beginning as there are numerous things that can go wrong with your website, preventing you from running a successful internet business.

First, you need to check your robots.txt file and robots META tags. Both of these are used to restrict Google’s access to certain files. Occasionally, webmasters may add certain pages that shouldn’t be on that list. As a result, some of the articles you have will not be indexed.

Your website architecture and XML sitemap need to be flawless. Google robots, or crawlers, will go through your web pages from time to time, and they need to have full access to certain resources. This is where technical prowess comes into play. Your website’s architecture must be designed to improve customer experience and offer easy navigation. Otherwise, both customers and Google may not notice some of your content.

Make sure to implement customer journey optimization strategies, and ensure that every piece of content on your website is oriented toward end users. Regardless of their device — desktop or mobile — users should be able to surf your landing pages easily and quickly.

Now, let’s talk about your domain as a whole. Your website needs to be registered in the country where you are conducting business. To achieve better results in local search, you should be thinking of having local domain names like .co and .uk.

On the other hand, if you are a multi-national company, or if your services are provided solely through the internet, you can go for root domain names. Everyone battles to get a .com domain, but you can choose any combination. Ranking in Google requires many other factors, and your domain name doesn’t really play a huge role in that.

One other point worth mentioning: trying to setup a dual language website may seem appealing at first, but if you are a new blogger, it is perhaps best if you start with one language.

Related: 8 Essential Growth-Hacking Tools to Build Your Business

Invest in keyword research.

Every single blog post has to be strategically created. It has to be focused around one particular term or a phrase, otherwise known as the keyword. This keyword is exactly what your users are typing in google to find you. Your effort should be towards enhancing your content with the right keyword and appearing on the first page when users search for specific keywords. Obviously, the higher your success rate in content marketing strategies, the higher your traffic and position in Google will be.

Before creating content, you have to find just the right keyword around which you will build your content. There is no reason for you to pursue keywords with low traffic or high difficulty. Instead, you will have to find phrases that have medium traffic and low difficulty or medium difficulty and high traffic. The entire procedure can be done by laymen by using Google keyword planner. General rule of thumb — focus on keywords that refer to your product, and use similar keywords to support your main objectives.

Blogs and great content matters alot.

The era of publishing great content and conquering the world is long gone. In my opinion, great content is not king anymore because there is plenty of great content on the internet, and the land of SEO cannot have that many kings. The secret relies on other factors like content marketing, content promotion strategies and other growth hacking secrets.

One of the best ways to publish and promote great content and increase your conversion rate is to have a blog. Once you set up your blog and craft your content, you must focus on building links. In other words, you have to create visual content — either in a form of videos or articles — which will then be shared by other bloggers on their own websites. In a way, this represents the passing of authority from other sources to your own website. A backlink is a sign of trust from other professionals within your industry. Regardless of the products or services that you are offering, link building is a strategy that will improve your website ranking.

However, you should be very selective when you want to choose a topic for your content. Always craft your content with your potential buyers and influencers in mind. You can setup a lead magnet and convert your vsitors to leads when they land on your blog. You can then engage with your prospective customers, and send them to your product page.

Related: How to Create a Lead Magnet That Attracts Visitors and Converts Customers

When it comes to content marketing strategies, there are certain rules to be followed. Needless to say, all your articles and videos have to be somewhat connected to whatever you’re offering. Your content needs to be informative, relevant and unique. Don’t forget to give reference to popular websites and influencers who add value to your product.

That being said, you will have to promote the content. You can improve your SEO by focusing on longer content with lots of images, links and interesting formatting and getting more links and social shares.

Obviously, email campaigns are a good way to attract visitors to your blog and increase conversion rates. On the other hand, social media is a great way to engage your potential audience. Please bear in mind that different platforms work for different business, and it is only through conducting proper research and experiments that you can find the best platform to grow your business faster than your rivals.

[Source:-Entrepreneur]

How To Write Better Business Blogs – 6 Useful Tools

We’ve put together a handy list of some useful tools to help you get started writing blogs or help you to improve your current blog writing practices.

Some of these tools are ones we use ourselves when developing content for clients – and can help you to refine your B2B blogs so that your content really speaks to prospects and customers.

So, whether you’re a seasoned marketer or a b2b sales rep new to the world of blogging and publishing articles on LinkedIn, we hope our list of B2B blog writing tools can help!

Step 1 – Planning your topic

You might have the overall topic in mind, such as “Reducing IT costs”, but how do you know what the top performing articles and headlines are? Buzzsumo is a useful tool for checking how popular certain articles are in your particular topic area. This helps you to come up with different angles for your blog focus, because – after all – the topic will probably always be the same, but the angle will be tweaked to reveal new insights.

Recommended for YouWebcast, January 12th: Leveraging Urgency and Scarcity for Increased Sales

Step 2 – Writing your blog

A blank page can be the most intimidating thing at times – and usually once you start writing, the content flows. To help you get started, this free blog planner tool from My Sales Academy can help you to plan out a B2B blog, guiding you through the process of writing a blog and figuring out how to structure your content in a compelling way.

Once you get a clear structure for your blog, you can use this again and again to plan out future blogs and ensure your content tells a clear and compelling story.

Step 3 – Reviewing and editing your blog

Now that you’ve written your blog, you need to proof-read it a few times. Our first drafts looking nothing like our final drafts, because ideas build, stories don’t translate and sections are taken out and replaced. Never scrimp on the editing and reviewing section because it can really make all the difference between an average blog post and a compelling piece of content that is shared widely.

We often use readability scores to test if our content is readable and simple to understand. We use a tool that’s built into our blogging platform, but sometimes run our content through web tools such as Readability-Score.com. For example, this blog has a readability score of 61 on the Flesch reading-ease test, meaning that it is described as “Plain English. Easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students,” (Wiki). Readability is important because it can potentially affect your Google ranking if content is deemed ‘unreadable’ or difficult to understand – but it’s generally just a good idea to make your writing as easy as possible to consume.

It’s also a good idea to check that none of your content has been printed elsewhere online, or that you haven’t lifted text unknowingly from another source. Copyscape can be used to check text against other online published content – especially useful if you contract out the writing of your content, so that you can be sure writers haven’t copied text from elsewhere.

Step 4 – Get the headline right!

Now that you’ve written your article, it’s time to start thinking about a compelling headline to bring readers in. Using a headline analyser can help to guide your headline towards using more emotive and attractive words. For example, headlines with words such as “How to…” tend to attract more readers than those with purely descriptive titles. It’s like first impressions, you have just a few moments to capture a reader’s attention – so make it count.

Headline analyzer

Step 5 – Promotion, promotion, promotion

So you’ve written your blog, you’ve probably published it on LinkedIn – now what? There are tools out there to help you find the most popular hashtags to ensure that the most people possible see your Tweets – tweetreach helps by finding popular hashtags around your chosen topic so that you can be sure you’re using the most valuable hashtags when promoting your blog or article across social media.

These are just a handful of the tools we use – depending on the topic, audience or article, we employ different tools to help create content that drives engagement and is better tailored to the appropriate audience.
[Source:-B2c]

CES 2017: The 4 business tech themes to watch

ces-sign-2016.jpg

The 2017 edition of CES marks the 50th anniversary of the event, and once again ZDNet and TechRepublic will be covering it from all the angles that matter to businesses and professionals.

We’ll be looking at the industry trends that will shape the business of technology, identifying the consumer tools that professionals will tap for productivity, and scoping out the technologies that enterprises will benefit from in the years ahead.

We’ll have a combination of articles, videos, and photo galleries across both sites all week. As we head into the big event, here are the four most important themes you should keep an eye on.

1. IoT eclipses PCs and phones

There was a time, after Comdex died, that CES became a major showcase for new PCs. Mobile technologies later stole center stage at CES when the smartphone and tablet boom took off. Both of those waves have crested and washed ashore.

CES 2017 will be dominated by the Internet of Things — drones, VR/AR headsets, wearables, rideables, self-driving cars, smart home appliances, smart city technologies, and new things we never imagined we’d see at CES.

SEE: Internet of Things: The Security Challenge (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)

There are currently over 5 billion IoT devices active in the world. By 2020, Gartner predicts that number will number will jump to over 40 billion. IoT is the force that will spread the digital revolution to every corner of the earth and CES 2017 will showcase all its weird and powerful iterations.

2. Self-driving cars usher in the AI era

Even though CES happens just a week before the auto industry’s enormous Detroit Auto Show, it has emerged as a critical car tech event ever since Ford became the first automaker to do a major product announcement at CES in 2006. CES is where automakers talk about autonomous vehicles, electric cars, infotainment systems, and other new technologies that impact how people interact with their vehicles.

Expect the main story at CES 2017 to center around self-driving cars. Artificial intelligence was the hottest topic in tech in 2016, and autonomous vehicles are the most powerful example of AI in action in a product that everyone can understand. With government regulations and the auto insurance industry moving toward embracing self-driving cars, the technology is poised for big breakthroughs in the next several years.

SEE: How to Implement AI and Machine Learning (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)

Look for the automakers to jockey for attention at CES 2017 as they each try to position themselves as a leader in a self-driving cars. But beyond that, think of autonomous vehicles as a harbinger of the kinds of AI-powered products we’re likely to see a lot more of at CES in the future.

3. Wearables re-emerge, all grown up

If you go back 2-3 years ago at CES, all the buzz centered around wearable devices and 3D printing. Both had retreated to the periphery by last year, and 3D printing will recede deeper into the shadows at CES 2017.

However, wearables are poised to break out beyond me-too fitness bands and lackluster smart watches. FitBit and Garmin are pushing new boundaries in the functionality of wearable fitness devices, even if they still lack style. Samsung continues to design its smartwatches to look and feel more like real watches than little smartphones on your arm — and it’s promoting them heavily at CES 2017.

But, the maturation of wearables will be seen in two important developments: 1) the services surrounding them, and 2) the migration beyond the wrist.

SEE: Wearables: Fit For Business? (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)

Corporations have started embracing wearable tracking as a way to encourage a healthier workforce, and some even offer prizes or health care discounts to employees who participate in corporate wellness programs — mostly tracked through wearable tech. This is turning the top wearables into valuable professional devices.

Wearables at CES 2017 will also benefit from the resurgence of smart glasses, especially aimed at enterprise uses, and the continued emergence of smart clothing powered by companies such as Under Armour, which understands more than any company that data is the real magic behind wearables.

4. Augmented reality flexes for professionals

Google Glass turned out to be an epic failure that is still morphing itself into an enterprise product. Microsoft Hololens remains a fascinating-but-limited experiment that remains at least a year or two away from being a real product. Nevertheless, both of these products have fired the imagination of the tech industry and the public about what’s possible with augmented reality.

The biggest challenge for AR is that, when it comes to design, it has a higher bar to clear than its cousin virtual reality. Because VR is immersive and normally meant to be used by one person alone in a room, it’s not a big deal that it’s an unsightly rectangle strapped to a person’s face. But, AR is normally worn around other people and while moving around in the real world. As a result, even a relatively minimal product like Google Glass was too awkward for most people to wear in public.

SEE: VR and AR: The Business Reality (ZDNet/TechRepublic special report)

CES 2017 will see the emergence of new products in the AR space. There will be unobtrusive new designs and powerful smart glasses with new capabilities. The enterprise is already on board, because when you’re doing an emergency fix on an oil rig or remotely assisting a life-saving surgery, you don’t really care about how awkward the product looks and feels. But, for AR to reach a broader audience of consumers and professionals, it will need a design that looks more and more like normal glasses and less like a science experiment. Keep that in mind when you see the new AR products that come out of CES this year.

[Source:-Zdnet]

Is your business committing these SEO mistakes?

Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO seems to be an integral part of all businesses. Be it a start-up or an established player, SEO is that tool which leverages the website traffic and generates hundreds and thousands of visits every day.

To demonstrate a strong SEO presence, most businesses flaunt a string of keywords and provide a list of outbound links. However, in most cases, most businesses commit these common SEO mistakes.

Take a look at these follies and rectify them if your business is committing the same.

#4: Not choosing the right keywords:

Keywords play a major role in driving traffic to your website. While you may string a list of keywords together, you may end up missing some of the major rationales behind the use of the keywords. In a broad sense, you can use generic keywords or global keywords. However, if you aspire to rank your website high, you have to handpick the keywords carefully. Time and again, because of incorrect keywords your website ranking may fall. So, before you start with your content, you must ideally start with the keyword research. You can use some of the keyword generator tools to boost your website’s virtual presence. Also, it would do immense good to your website if you can optimize competitive keywords for your website.

#3: Replicating website content

While there are several plagiarism checks and robots that distinguish an original content from a plagiarized one, many a time, websites ignore those checks and replicate content. Most websites blatantly appropriate content in the hope of gaining website traffic and SEOranking. If you are looking to boost your SEO, it is highly recommended that you come up with original content and viral posts to increase your page ranking. If you can make the content go viral and direct traffic to your website with viral content, chances are high that your website can rank high in the Search Engine Results.

2: Messy title and damaging Meta descriptions

Titles are the gateways to generate website traffic. If your write-ups have rather complicated and complex titles, it is highly possible that readers may not get enticed. So, if you want to generate readership, you must work on creating impressive titles. The perk of having a viral title is that the content may get shared. Further, unique titles will give your page a greater rank on Search Engines.

In a similar manner, appropriate Meta Descriptions will also add value to your page’s ranking. Ideally, you must try to restrict the Meta Descriptions to the 160 character limit. Moreover, the persuasive your Meta Description is the higher the chances are to for your content/website to rank within the first Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

#1: Ignoring outbound links

The role of the outbound link needs to be understood by all businesses. Using appropriate outbound links will certainly add high volume to any website. However, all websites must exert a degree of caution before adding outbound links. One must understand that only those outbound links that are relevant will add value to a post. Moreover, endlessly adding a number of outbound links to a page or a content may pull down the quality of the page. Therefore, while adding outbound links to a page or a content, you can keep the following in your mind

A. Check if the outbound link is reliable or authentic:

The authenticity and reliability of the outbound link will certainly add value to your website/content page.

B. Keep a measure on the number of the outbound links:

While a good outbound link can add value to your site, inundating a page with uncountable links will pull down the value. So, make it a point to keep a tab on the number of outbound links that you use.

C. Avoid Spammy outbound links:

Before you add an outbound link check if the content is free from all kinds of malware and spam.

Apart from the aforesaid follies, most website and business overlook the SEO guidelines too. Therefore, if you are looking to enhance the Search Engine Results rank of your page or website, it is recommended that you avoid the said mistakes.

[sOURCE:-YOUR STORY]

Business Resources

Need to launch a website to promote your Caribbean brand or event but not sure where to start?  Well below I (Ursula Petula Barzey) have put together a list of digital/online products and services that I use directly on Caribbean & Co. or in my freelance digital marketing consultancy practice. The goal here is to help demystify the whole process in 4 easy steps so that more Caribbean SMEs can establish or improve their online presence.

1. REGISTER DOMAIN:

DotsterDOTSTER is the company I have used since 2002 to register the majority of my personal and business domain names as they are reasonable priced. And importantly, they are activated and available to use straight away. They are also very good at sending out reminders for domain renewals. Dotster also provides other digital/online services like web-hosting and email services, but preference is to keep these separate. Register a new website domain for as little as US$14.99/year.

 

 

2. SETUP WEB HOSTING: 

SitegroundSITEGROUND which also offers domain registration is my web host of choice for Caribbean & Co.  as their dedicated servers located in the United States, Europe and Asia are optimised using the latest technology plus they are speedy and secure.  Furthermore, their knowledgeable staff are extremely responsive and unlike a lot of hosting companies, in addition to email and chat customer service, they provide 24/7 technical phone support.  Key to note here is that Siteground will help you migrate an existing site or provide assistance with setting up a new one. Also, their hosting plans are extremely competitively priced and it is easy to upgrade as your traffic builds.  So sign up for a hosting plan — their StartUp Package is only US$3.95 per month. NOTE: If you prefer to deal with only one company to register your domain and host your website, hands down, I recommend SiteGround for both.

 

3. INSTALL CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, DESIGN & LOAD CONTENT

With web domain and web hosting sorted, the third step is to install a content management system (CMS) to make it easy to upload, publish, edit and modify content on your website. And having worked with a wide variety including Drupal, Joolma!, Moveable Type, Sitecore, etc., my CMS of choice is WordPress as there are thousands of theme/template that can be easily purchased or downloaded for free which can then be the basis for a beautiful website. Of course, the theme would then need to be tweaked to meet your brand guidelines and best showcase your products and services.

WordpressFREE THEMES FROM WORDPRESS – If funds are tight or you’d prefer to start with a free WordPress theme, there are thousands to consider. Would recommend selecting one that has a four or five star rating and is suitable for your niche, industry, and/or business.  Thus, if your industry typically showcases their work portfolio style, then select a WordPress theme with a portfolio. Ideally, it should also be mobile responsive since more and more people are accessing the Internet from their phone.  Find a free theme via the WordPress Theme Directory.

 

                                                                                                                                   

PAID THEMTheme ForestES FROM WORDPRESS – The main benefit of a paid theme is that they typically include more features and functionality.  Plus the developer is continually making improvements and also more likely to be providing support.  With this in mind, my go to source for a paid theme is Themeforest as they have over 18,000 themes some costing as little as US$3. So spend some time researching via Themeforest to find one that works for your niche and is mobile optimised.  Be sure to look at the best sellers and those with the highest rating.

 

 

Irrespective of whether you move ahead with a free or paid WordPress theme, here are some mostly free WordPress plugins you should install with a view to enhancing your website:

  • iThemes Security: This plugin provides more than 30 ways to secure and protect your site.  For example: hiding vital areas of your site, protecting access to important files, preventing brute-force login attempts, detecting attack attempts and more.
  • W3 Total Cache:  Caching is one of the best ways to easily improve the speed of your website without having to make changes to your site’s content.
  • EWWW Image Optimizer: This plugin optimizes image files to help improve your website speed. This plugin strips meta data from JPEGs, optimises JPEG compression and strips un-used colours from indexed images.
  • WordPress SEO by Yoast: This plugin allows you to easily boost your website’s search ranking by ensuring you include SEO titles, meta descriptions, XML sitemaps, breadcrumbs & much more.
  • Google Analytics by Yoast: This plugin allows you to track your website easily and always stay up to date with the newest features in Google Analytics which you will need to register for — this is also free!
  • Redirection: This plugin allows you to manage all your 301 redirects and monitor 404 errors (think broken links!).
  • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: YARPP displays pages, posts and custom post types related to the current post, helping your visitors to discover other relevant content on your site.
  • AddThis or ShareThis: Both are social sharing WordPress plugins that lets your visitors easily share a post/page with others via social media, email, etc.
  • Akismet: This will protect your website  from comment and trackback spam.
  • Disquis: An enhanced commenting system that lets your visitors easily comment on your blog posts using their Facebook or other logins.
  • Contact Form 7:  No doubt you’ll want people to get in touch and this plugin allows you to install multi-contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup.

Beyond the installation of the mostly free WordPress plugins, you should also integrate a couple Google products – also free –  to track and manage the activity on your website. This includes:

  • Google Analytics: This will generate detailed information about your website’s visitors (age, gender, geographic location, mobile technology, etc.) and traffic sources (social media, referrals, etc.).  It will also help you measure conversions and sales.
  • Google Webmaster Tools:  This also provides additional data on your website and has a number of tools and diagnostics to ensure that your website is healthy and Google friendly.

Note:  If you would like assistance with selecting your WordPress theme, also installing, optimising and making things pretty, then get in touch.   We provide this service as part of our digital marketing consultancy practice.  

4. PROMOTE & SHARE WEBSITE CONTENT

MailchimpMAILCHIMP: Once you’ve set up your website and are continually adding content via your blog, an important part on your digital marketing strategy should be promoting and sharing this content with your customers, prospects, partners, etc. It is popular today to do this via your social media channels.  But another tried and tested way which most often achieves greater return on investment, is email marketing.  And having used a number of email marketing tools over the years including iContact, Constant Contact, Pure360, etc. we recommend Mailchimp as it is simple, powerful and they have awesome customer support.  Plus, MailChimp’s A/B testing is very intuitive, unlike some of the other email marketing contenders.  There is even a MailChimp WordPress plugin you can integrate on your website to help you collect more email addresses.  Still not convinced? Then why not trial the product by setting up a free account which will allow you to send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free.

[sOURCE:-CARRABEAN]