I feel I’ve let my fellow digi’s down by my prolonged ignorance towards this new social network called ‘Foursquare’. I fully admit I have only come across it earlier this very week and as I’ve always considered myself to be ‘in-the-know’, this disturbs me greatly.
So, this morning I have once again logged into the Foursquare account I created on Monday, in order to give it another go (I have to admit my first attempt had me feeling slightly confused at the concept, it’s not that I didn’t understand it exactly, it was more that I couldn’t understand why). I’ve now spent the past twenty minutes trying to figure out how to ‘check in’. I’ve discovered that by downloading the free app onto my iPhone I can simply hit the provided ‘check in’ button and it should, in theory, do it for me. Do what though I’m not exactly sure as it told me that I wasn’t near anywhere. I’m pretty sure I must be somewhere though otherwise I’m terribly late for work.
Back on the website, after browsing through the majority of the limited number (am I missing something?) of pages I kept being asked if I’d like to leave a tip for my current location, which according to the app on my iPhone is nowhere. Not having a clue what this meant I conducted a bit of research into other people’s far more populated and impressive ‘Foursquare’ profiles (or whatever the appropriate speak is) and it appears that the majority of areas are either bars, pubs or fast food places such as Burger King. Now I can see why this could be handy when arranging a night out with your friends, providing all the friends were on Foursquare that is, especially as maps are displayed, and as a means to ‘demonstrate’ a particularly active social life, I’m still a bit baffled as to what the point actually is.
I have also found the search function to be quite annoying, it automatically searches based on where-ever your ‘home’ location is set, which is unnecessarily restrictive. A site that is fundamentally based around travelling and places you’ve visited etc should be fairly adaptable to movement surely? I for one am more likely to spend an evening at the weekend out in London, rather than my home town of Winchester, purely because I have spent a number of years working up there so consequently it’s where the majority of my friends hang out. But the Foursquare search function will only display areas that match my home location (I have changed this now to say London, but then I’d have the reversed issue when I do fancy a drink in a local bar). It was even a problem when I typed the location immediately after the name of the venue I was hunting for. In fact I got more results for people whose surname’s were ‘Winchester’ than I did for anything else! Having an advanced search function would benefit this site greatly and if it isn’t already, should be at the top of their top-do-lists.
Then I discovered the use of ‘Badges’. Nice idea, gives the users something to aim for (everyone loves a reward). I do feel a few straws are being grasped though, especially when the badges are awarded for things like ‘You’ve found 3 places with a photo booth!’ A couple more were rewarded for the numbers of nights you’ve been out in a row and how many venues you’ve visited in one night – I’m not 100% sure I’d be very proud if I received one of these badges, in fact, I’d be rather concerned about my liver. But then perhaps I’m not the right target market, the sense I got was that it was for a slightly younger audience, I know that back in my late teens/early 20’s I was much more of a party animal and maybe an idea like this would’ve appealed a lot more, which I do find quite depressing. So in conclusion it is because of that very reason that when I meet my friends tonight for the usual dissection of our weeks, I will be attempting to ‘check in’ in order to give this whole foursquare malarkey a proper go and, of course to prove I can still be ‘down with the kids’.
If you haven’t already, please visit http://foursquare.com/ and let me know what you think, feel free to add me as a friend too, especially if you’re as baffled as I am, we can walk the foursquare mile together!
I’ve spent the past 3 weeks, off and on of course, trying to think of innovate ways to display a ‘meet the team,’ area within a website and I have to say I’m stumped. I keep hitting the same brick wall over and over again and I’m starting to wonder if the reason why I’m finding such a simple task harder than the Winter Olympics comes from the fact I don’t actually see much value in this area of a website… at all!
Is this just me?? I have to say I rarely visit a meet the team page, if there is one available, and when I have done, for what-ever reason (before the likes of FB it was more often than not to be shown a picture of a friends latest Beau than for anything of actual benefit – go on admit it, we’ve all done this before!) I find they do little more than make me cringe! (Especially when some companies go as far to post photos of work Christmas do’s and ‘Team building’ exercises). Perhaps it is just me though. I fully admit, and have been told repeatedly, that I suffer from an over-active ‘cringe’ gland, I quite often find myself curled into a tight ball on the couch, squealing with pain during episodes of ‘Dragons Den’ and the like, so much so my housemates have actually banned me from watching it (why, WHY do they not take the financial information with them??!! Of course the questions are going to be asked!!).
Although, despite the earlier moan, in my recent travels I have come across some pretty funky meet the team ideas that remove the cheesy, cringy, tacky (and other negative) elements and replace them with ones that create interest and make me ‘like’ the people within the company already. Trouble is this means the limited solutions to my dilemma have all gone, and without wanting to plagiarize I truly am left with an idea that has the distinct smell of cheese… or me, reduced to a tightly wound ball on the floor every time I look at it. So what’s the solution? Is there really such a thing as a beneficial ‘Meet the Team’ page? Should we bother? Or is something, no matter how awful, better than nothing at all?
Eek! I’ve been asked to contribute to a feature in a regional rag. I have little-to-no experience of how to go about doing this! Writing about what I know, ok so I can do that, maximum of 1100 words, I may struggle slightly with that…
Think of it as writing for a blog someone offered me as their valuable tit-bit of advice, but I’ve never written for a blog before either I said! So here I am, my very own blog. It was only a matter of time really, I have all the other social necessities nowadays, and with the help of my iPhone I have access to them at all times, it’s a wonder I get anything else done really.
I digress, back to the news article… here is my FIRST EVER attempt at writing for a rag. I welcome any feedback (although please go easy on me, I am new remember).
It’s probably worth pointing out, this is for a feature to go in the centre of the paper about top tips for web development and promotion, each of the feature-ers (I know, not a real word, but basically mean me et al) were given a different area to focus on, I was tasked with promotion, mainly SEO.
A Website without promotion is like sending a postcard addressed purely to ‘Brazil’
A Newbury website promotion company is challenging local businesses to get their websites noticed as a good way of increasing turnover.
Web on High says that having a domain name has become as common as owning a mobile phone, whether it be in the form of having one’s own website, or purely an email address. There are millions of websites staking their claim in a piece of world wide web real-estate, but only a select few get the red carpet rolled out for them. So the company is handing out some top tips on how businesses should promote themselves online.
Tips for Effective Online Promotion:
1.) It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are, if you have something that’s worth sharing with others it will have enormous value in the information highway, use articles or a blog to demonstrate your knowledge, offer free information on a regular basis in order to keep customers coming back – try not to force registration in order to access it, if what you’ve written is engaging enough, they will be in touch. If they don’t, they probably weren’t that interested anyway.
2.) Use ‘Keyword-phrases’ that not only fit with your business model, but are also terms that the public would be searching for. It’s all too easy to get used to in-house phrases such as ‘an amortization term of…’ but unless you’re a mortgage provider that’s perhaps not what you’d be searching for. Do some research, find out the most commonly used term for what you’re offering and write your content in plain English, leave the office-jargon in the boardroom.
3.) Use a good analytics tool to track what your visitors like and don’t like, expand on the areas that generate the most clicks and phase out the ones that don’t – great content is key.
4.) Social Media – A term that has been thrown around more than a ball in a playground over the past couple of years, only more recently though has it started to actually benefit and be noticed by businesses all over the world. Whether it’s used to broadcast information, establishing yourself as an industry expert, or as a tool to monitor what people are saying about you and your services, when managed correctly it can be a very positive and unstoppable force – the term ‘Word of Mouth’ is rapidly being replaced by ‘Word of Web’!
5.) Email Marketing – is an art form in itself; there must be a fine balance between eye-catching design, brand recognition and grab-it-and-hold-it content. Not only do you have to contend with recipients’ very ‘noisy’ inboxes and short attention spans, but also some very strict rules and regulations. Adhere to these whilst adopting a ‘recipient friendly’ approach and the ROI on email campaigns can be truly astounding.
6.) Find a good, experienced SEO company who can regulate and manage your online promotions, it can be both a time and mentally consuming task and, what’s more good results take time too. Keep working at updating content and searching trends – your eyes should never be taken off the ball, new competition comes in thick and fast all the time and if you’re lucky enough to make it to the top you will need to work hard in order to stay there.
Easy2Name specialises in the printing of personalised name labels which can be ironed, sewn or stuck onto personal belongings. The business had expanded through low key advertising and word of mouth within several markets, particularly school children.
Melanie King, the director of Easy2Name, recognised the enormous potential of the Internet for the promotion of its business and wanted a new simple-to-use website that reflected its bright, cheerful image as well as allow people to either phone or to place an order online. In addition it was vital that the site attracted new enquiries via search engine prominence.
At the time, Melanie King fully admitted that “taking the plunge” into such a major project was a risk for a fairly small business, but now it has more than paid off. Within 12 months, the company had increased their orders 10 fold and had secured a major contract from a highly respected department store.
Some 7 years later, the combined efforts of Web on High and Easy2Name has been a fantastic success. The site has been further improved; back end functionality expanded to make the office functions more efficient and search engine prominence has been substantially expanded to incorporate new and upcoming search terms. The result of all this has increased online sales by over 30%.
“After partnering with Web on High for over 7 years they approached me last year with some design changes based on increasing our websites conversion capability and overall user navigation. What a success a staggering increase in orders this summer by over 30%!” Melanie King – MD Easy2Name
BIG SEARCH FACT:
During December 2009, the total worldwide search market had more than 131 billion searches.
This equates to more than:
- 4bn searches per day
- 175m per hour
- 2.9m per minute
[Source: comScore, January 2010]
5 Things to look for when choosing an SEO Company
- One who will become a long-term strategic partner
- Can provide examples of previous successes
- Honest and adheres to best practice guidelines
- Uses a structured approach to key-phrase research and is proactive in making recommendations and improvements
Questions to ask when choosing an SEO company:
1.) What strategies and techniques will you use in your approach?
2.) What are your recent results from relevant clients?
3.) How do you work with clients?
4.) Ask for evidence of investment in SEO – How do your staff keep up-to-date with the latest changes to algorithms etc?
5.) How do you analyse keyword-phrases and their performance?
6. ) How do you measure the success of your work?