Archive for the ‘Website Development’ Category
This is another great guest post from Brianne. This post is about a number of excellent photo-editing tools for community mangers.
Innovation has crept into every sector and photo editing is no exception. There are many excellent photo editing tools available which have made community managers’ much easier. Here are some of the popular photo editing tools that can be used to create a lasting impression.
1.) Pic Monkey
PicMonkey is one of the tools that replaced Picnic when it became obsolete. The photo editing tool is open source and does not require any registration. Pic Monkey has all of the essential photo editing tools: exposure, rotation, cropping, sharpness, colors or resizing. The software even comes with an auto adjust feature that simplifies community managers’ jobs. It also has some quick selection tools such as infrared, Warhol and sepia which are very easy to learn.
Portrait fixing can also be done effectively with PicMonkey with various features which include red eye removal, teeth whitening and wrinkle smoothing. Pic Monkey has become one of the top choices for photo editors.
Pic Monkey also has a text editor feature that allows one to change the fonts inline. Additionally, Pic Monkey allows for texture selection, creation of picture frames. People who have had a hard time learning PhotoShop will be able to breathe a sigh of relief. PicMonkey is much easier to learn and use.
FotoFlexer is another free browser based photo editing tool. This tool is excellent for community managers who want to edit images directly through Picasa, Flickr, Facebook, Myspace and PhotoBucket. FotoFlexer has all the basic photo editing tools you will need to create stunning graphics. These include exposure, rotation, cropping, sharpness, colors or re sizing of the picture among others. Red eye remover and photo effects are also available.
Additional funny things as adding glittering text, creation of posters and interchanging of faces in the pictures can also be done through FotoFlexer.
FotoFlexer is a little more complex than the Pic Monkey, but you can usually learn the features within an hour. It is worth the effort if you want to edit photos you have found on your favorite social networking sites.
LunaPic is another photo editing tool that community managers can learn fairly quickly. This is a free browser tool and you do not need to install flash to use it.
The screen on its left side has the toolbar. This helps you remember innovative features in the Paint Shop Pro, be it the eyedropper, fill tool or the eraser. The only downside of Luna Pic is that it takes more time to learn than other photo editing tools.
This tool is of great use in situations when the community managers do not have to work an extra bit on doing the color and brightness adjustments. The one stop photo effects were with extreme ease with Luna Pic and editing most images can be done very easily. Community managers who are hard bend on time and have to do many editing tasks.
For community managers who are looking for a simple interface, the best photo editing tool to try will be Phixr. Phixr too has all the basic photo editing tools that you need at your disposal. Additionally one can add some fun effects too to the images edited through Phixr making it an innovative tool when it comes to posting funny images on social networking sites as Facebook and MySpace.
You do not need any expertise in graphic arts and community managers despite their professional background can handle distinct kind of images with ease with any of these image editing software.
The photos can be easily turned into visually engaging pictures through any of these pictures editing software Apart from the above listed photo editing software, a range of other innovative picture editors are too available and almost all of these come for free. Take your pick from those listed above and make your work, an easier lot to manage.
About The Author: Brianne is a writer/blogger. She loves writing, travelling and reading books. She contributes to Hydroxycut.
Salesforce was first introduced in the market, Not many people were keen on using Salesforce when it was first introduced in the market. But over the years, the CRM has grown to become one of the most widely used customer relationship management platforms available. Businesses now use Salesforce extensively and one of the keys for its success is the vast array of apps that are available on its market. These apps are provided as an add-on and they will perform a specific set of actions. Here are a few of those apps that you must have regardless of the type of business you run and the number of customers you have.
Salesforce for Google AdWords
This is an add-on from the Salesforce stables and is usually included with the proprietary software (all editions). We all know that Google AdWords is one of the top tools used by marketing professionals and integration of Salesforce adds a whole new dimension to this tool. It is used for search engine optimization, which is also one of the key factors that determines the success of a marketing campaign. It also helps in lead generation activities which the business development team extensively carries out these days.
A+ Lead Finder
AdWords certainly plays an important part in lead generation. However, A+ Lead Finder will also help you considerably as you seek to generate more leads. You can integrate it with Salesforce to keep track of the activities of other teams. Also, it can be very useful when you have are multiple business development teams collaborating on a project from different locations. The publisher has provided around 50,000 lists to help you generate amazing leads.
Sales Activity Dashboard
One of the most stressful things for anyone running a business that spans different locations is that they have little control over what happens in those locations. They have to identify what they are doing right in the locations where your business is flourishing and what they are doing differently in other locations. This is why a sales activity dashboard can be so helpful. All the data that you get will be updated in real time and allow you to make strategic decisions on the go.
You will still have to put time and effort into using these apps. They will only give you raw data and a platform on which you can base your decisions. However, you can run your business much more effectively with the information they provide.
Grace is a CRM and Cloud Applications expert. She writes extensively on emerging trends affecting the cloud and social media. One of her favorite cloud solutions is Cirrus Insight, the leading application for integration of Salesforce and Google Apps.
Many webmasters constantly ask themselves what they can do to get more traffic. The desire to build more traffic is completely understandable. Without traffic, your Internet marketing campaign is meaningless. Without traffic, you will generate zero sales. However, traffic is often too much of a priority for many bloggers.
When you are generating traffic, you need to make sure that it is traffic that is actually going to provide some kind of value to your site. This can mean:
- Generating income (obviously)
- Getting links from awesome bloggers in your niche
- Sharing your posts on their social networks
- Joining your subscriber list
Any traffic that either converts into cash or helps you get cash indirectly is great. However, a lot of traffic won’t provide any value at all. In fact, if you really think about it, traffic can cost you in a number ways:
- Bandwidth costs. Bandwidth does cost money. Granted, you usually need a ton of traffic to even increase your bandwidth a little. However, I know a webmaster who recently received over 60,000 visitors to one of his sites. Only a tiny fraction of those visitors actually converted through affiliate purchases or Google Adsense ads. He was likely paying a noticeable chunk of change on bandwidth and hosting.
- Google Panda. Google looks at traffic when visitors come to a site. Does that mean that having more traffic can’t hurt you? Not necessarily. After the Panda Update, the algorithm has started considering factors such as bounce rate and average time visitors spend on the site. That means that if you are attracting a number of deadweight visitors to your site, you may actually be damaging your search engine rankings.
- Site crashes. What good does it do to generate so much traffic that your site actually can’t handle it? I know that this sounds like I have a case of hyperbole, but many sites have actually gone down because they had a viral article on Stumbleupon or Digg. The unfortunate thing about this is that social traffic from these kinds of sites tend to have lower conversion rates. That means that most of the traffic you bring in from them is unlikely to bring in any income. Unfortunately, once your site is down, you won’t be able to bring in traffic from search engines or other sources that are more likely to convert. Wouldn’t it be better to get a consistent flow of traffic that would be likely to bring you some real value? Also, you don’t want your visitors getting upset that you can’t handle the excess traffic on your site. Plan on bringing traffic in gradually and make sure that you have the resources to handle it. If you have a low-key hosting plan, you may not be able to be prepared when you suddenly have a really cool article go viral around the web.
- Wasted time. That’s right. The biggest problem of all with worthless traffic is that you probably spent a substantial amount of time gathering it. I made that mistake myself when I started my first site. I tried to generate traffic by doing of all things, blog commenting. I was thrilled when I got a few clicks to my site here and there. Unfortunately you don’t want to spend hours of your time doing something that brings you traffic that provides you no income or value. Your time is valuable, so make sure you get a strong return on your investment.
As you strive to bring traffic to your site, you are going to need to make sure that you are bringing high-quality, converting traffic. Many websites fail to reach this goal. There are a couple of reasons this mistake arises. I will discuss this in more detail in a later post, but as prelude let me say the following:
“All that traffic must convert, otherwise you get hurt.”
I know that’s kind of a cheesy way of remembering, but sometimes simple rhymes are the only way we remember key lessons without having to actually make the mistake ourselves.
Learning how to cloak your affiliate links is an important skill for any new internet marketer to develop – and best of all, it’s quick and easy to do! In this article, I’ll show you a few different ways to cloak your links in order to create a more streamlined buying process for your website visitors.
But first, why bother with cloaking your links? Well, let’s take a second to look at things from the eyes of our naïve website visitors…
Here’s what a raw affiliate link looks like:
Not very pretty, right?! Here’s what the same link could look like once it’s been cloaked:
Now, imagine you’re a customer who’s landed on your affiliate marketing site for the first time. You’re reading along and – because the site is particularly effective – find yourself ready to buy the affiliate products are recommended on the site. You’re on board to purchase… until you see that to do so, you’ll need to click on a link that looks like the first example shown above.
You’re a savvy consumer, and you know that threats abound online – and that uncloaked affiliate link looks mighty like a scam or phishing prompt to you. So instead of buying (which you wouldn’t have thought twice about if you had encountered the clean, branded cloaked affiliate link shown above), you hightail it away from the site in order to protect your personal information.
Get the picture? Now that you see why it’s so important to cloak your affiliate links, let’s look at three different ways to do it…
The first is to manually code your cloaked links. To do this, open Notepad and copy the following PHP code – as is – to a new text document:
header( ‘Location: http://www.yoursite.com/new_page.html’ ) ;
Replace the URL in the code above with your raw affiliate link and then save the document as “index.php” (being sure to change the file type from “Text Documents” to “All Files”). Then, create a new sub-directory on your hosting account with the folder name you’d like your cloaked affiliate link to display (for example, “yourpromo” in the cloaked link example above) and then FTP your index file to this folder.
Congratulations – you’ve just created a simple PHP redirect!
But if cloaking each affiliate link you create by hand seems too complicated, you can always turn to script and software solutions that will handle the process automatically. If your site runs on HTML, do a Google search for “affiliate link cloaking script” which will turn up a number of different programs that can be uploaded to your website to manage your links. Some of these programs are free, but keep your eye out for paid programs that will allow you to track clicks and split test different cloaked links in addition to creating your redirects.
Or, if your site runs on the WordPress blogging platform, install plugin like “Pretty Link Lite”. This plugin is free to use and will allow you to quickly and easily create the cloaked affiliate links that your website visitors will love.
Image: Jenn and Tony Bot
Deciding whether or not to host Google Adsense ads on your site is a very personal choice – though there’s no shortage of “expert” opinions out there that paint the program as everything from a godsend for cash-strapped webmasters to a foul debasement of otherwise good sites. So today, let’s cut through the rhetoric and take a look at the pros and cons of the program to help you determine whether or not it’s right for your site.
But first, let’s get some background info out of the way. Google’s Adsense program is the publishing arm of its pay-per-click (PPC) Adwords program. Essentially, Adwords advertisers pay to create text ads that will be displayed in the natural search results and on websites like yours and are charged every time someone clicks on the ads they create. As an Adsense advertiser, you display these ad blocks on your site and receive a portion of the advertiser’s click charges as your payment.
The biggest advantage of the Google Adsense program is that it’s incredibly easy to get started with. All you need to do to start making money is to integrate a small block of code into your website. If you run a WordPress blog, this process is can be simplified even further through the use of Adsense plugins that automatically insert Adsense ad blocks into your site. The ease of use makes it a great option for new web marketers, especially compared to affiliate marketing or info product development – both of which involve significantly more effort and risk when it comes to monetization.
Of course, the downside to the Adsense program is that, while affiliate marketing and info product development can make you quite a bit of money, the payouts associated with Adsense advertising are pretty limited. Unless you target high CPC keywords (that is, keywords that cost Adwords advertisers a lot to advertise for) and plan a business around building and promoting Adsense sites, simply integrating a few Adsense blocks into a single site probably isn’t going to amount to much.
How much, exactly? Well, consider that, as an Adsense publisher, you earn roughly 60% of the click price that Adwords pay for each ad click-through. If you’re targeting keywords that cost upwards of $30 a click, this can be a great deal, but these keywords are few and far between – not to mention competitive! For this reason, it’s much more likely that you’ll earn anywhere from $.05-$.50 for each ad click-through, so your income will vary based on your site’s industry and traffic volume.
One final consideration is the way Adsense ads make your site look. To really encourage click-throughs (and, thus, profits), it’s important to use large ad blocks placed prominently on your site’s content pages. However, some bloggers feel that taking this approach can make even good blogs look junky, while many internet marketers feel that focusing on these ad blocks diminishes the potential for more profitable activities (like affiliate marketing and info product development) to succeed.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to utilize Adsense ads will depend on your goals and your success with other monetization strategies. If you’re running your first website, Adsense can be a great way to learn about web monetization, though if you’re attempting to be taken seriously as a blogger or internet marketer, it may be best to pass on this opportunity.
Setting goals is a must for any website. You also need to know how you will reach those goals. Ultimately, your goal should be generating a steady stream of income. Income does not come in over night. Before you generate a steady income, you need to successfully build traffic. Traffic itself isn’t important. You must know your target visitors and draw them to your site. That’s why you need analytics tools.
Analytic tools help you monitor who is coming to your site. Your visitors are obviously a very important metric. When you build your site, there are three things you need to look at:
- Traffic. You want to know the extent of your reach. Your traffic is the best way of measuring reach. How many people visit your site every day? Is the traffic consistent?
- Demographics. Who are the people coming to your website? A steady flow of visitors is great. However, you need to make sure you are reaching the right audience. You need make sure you are reaching people who are going to buy your products or services.
- Behavior. What do your visitors do when they reach your site? What content do they access and how long do they stick around?
Identifying your traffic statistics is essential to your marketing plan. A strategy isn’t enough. You need to know how your strategy is working. What analytics tools are available?
Top Analytic Tools
There are many great analytic tools that you can use to assess your traffic stats:
- Google Analytics. Google Analytics is probably the most popular web analytics tool. Google Analytics will tell you whether they came to your site directly or found you through a search engine or referring website. You can also learn very specific information about your visitors, such as: what city in the world they are located in, how often they come to your site and what content they accessed. The tool will also tell you what browsers and tools they are using when they visit your site.
- Yahoo Analytics. Yahoo offers its own analytics tool. This is not as widely used as Google’s, but it offers two things Google does not. It provides real-time traffic statistics and much more detailed demographic data on your visitors. Yahoo Analytics may be much more valuable than Google’s tool. If you are serious about measuring your traffic, you may want to take a look at it.
- Alexa. Alexa offers a number of features you won’t find from many other analytics tools. You can get detailed audience profiles and long-term traffic stats on your site. Alexa also ranks every website in the world according to the level of traffic coming to it. The effectiveness of Alexa’s traffic ranking has been questioned, but it is still a standard used by many Internet users around the world. You can also use Alexa to view traffic stats of your competitors.
- Compete. Compete is another web analytics tool that allows you to evaluate analytics of any website. It seems to be much more effective than Alexa. According to an article on Dragon Blogger, Compete provided detailed traffic results within 2% of those of Google Analytics. Compete offers detailed information on the audiences of your site. You can find out the age, income and genders of your audiences. The premium version offers very complex information, which can be great for evaluating your competitors.
- Crazy Egg. Another popular analytics tool is Crazy Egg. It’s a little more specialized than these other sites. The real benefit of Crazy Egg is that it provides a detailed analysis of what links your users are clicking on and where they are visiting. This provides the obvious benefit of telling you what pages your users are visiting. Additionally, it can give you an idea of how to structure the format and anchor text of your links and where to place them to improve the effectiveness of your squeeze pages and improve the structure of your website.
Implementing Analytics Tools in Your Website
You will need a detailed understanding of your customers if you intend to maximize conversions and improve traffic. Why wouldn’t you want to know who is coming to your site and what they do there? This information will give you an edge over any competitors who aren’t doing the same thing.
Image republished with permission by Shannon Paul
Email marketing is a great way to generate business. There are two steps to creating an email marketing campaign: building a list of subscribers and emailing those subscribers. Obviously, you need to build your foundation first.
How do you build your subscriber list?
Develop a Squeeze Page
Before you start creating a flow of traffic to your site, you need to optimize your landing page. First, you need to identify where people will be landing on your webpage. When you create a landing page, you need to mull over a few things:
- What is the purpose of your landing page? You need to think of your visitors and what you want them to do. In the case of list building, the purpose is to get them to sign up.
- Make your page professional. Optimize your webpage so that your users will feel comfortable using it. You need to gain their trust, so make your page professional. Your visitors will be hesitant to sign up if they don’t see your name and other personal information. Ideally, you will provide them your contact information and a disclaimer as well.
- Construct the layout. You also need to make sure your visitors can navigate is easily. You will get much better results if you provide your users with a form to enter their information. Asking your customers to email you for more information is an option, but I don’t recommend it for most products. Forms are easier and more professional. You also can make sure your visitors give you the information you are asking for as well.
- Build traffic to your squeeze page. You want to make developing SEO for your squeeze page a priority. Search engine traffic to your squeeze page will take time to develop. You will depend on direct traffic from other sites in the meantime. Linking to your site from blogs, forums or press releases is important. The important thing to think about is to build your traffic in places where you will reach your core subscriber base. Don’t depend on the spray and pray manner of building links. Place your links carefully and monitor your traffic. Find out which sites send the most traffic to your squeeze page and which ones are most likely to convert. Optimizing your promotional strategy is every bit as important as optimizing your landing page. You can also generate traffic to your squeeze page through social media, but do so indirectly. Send someone to another page (such as a blog post) and then refer them to your squeeze page afterwards.
What is a List Worth?
The list you build can be worth gold. It all depends. Remember, when you are not looking to build a massive list of random subscribers. The point of your list is to create an email marketing campaign that will help you sell your product.
Your list is only as valuable as the subscribers belonging to it. Work on driving relevant subscribers who are legitimately interested in what you are selling. Then you can work on the next stage of your email marketing campaign.