.ng domains

Why are Nigerians avoiding .NG domains?

Yes! This is a very interesting question that is begging to be answered or maybe it is simply me making assumptions on the use of .ng domains?

Frankly, it is quite amazing that a country with close to a 100 million or more (depending on whose data you choose to use) Internet users has sold less than 100,000 .ng domains to both local and international owners. Yes, it is a somewhat interesting irony especially when I look at the number of .co.za domains that South Africa has been able to push out to the world.

Again, I ask why do you think Nigerians have simply refused to use .ng domains? Who is to blame or is that we believe .ng is not good enough or we don’t just understand its importance to our national brand or we probably need some sort of Government policy to make it somewhat compulsory?

Forgive me for asking too many questions at the same time, I am simply looking for answers.

Yes, I am a .ng ambassador ordained by NiRA – the association responsible for managing the string and part of my National service is to get more Nigerians to use this domain string. Yes, I get to convince some to switch but a majority of people give me all sorts of reason, why they won’t use .ng domains and some of these reasons are simply based on assumptions or hearsay and not facts.

So, if you are reading this post and you have a domain, I’d like you to share why it is not a .ng brand?

Again, let me stress like I stated in my post on Who is to blame for pay on delivery? the foundation of any proper and sustainable development especially in the knowledge economy is the enactment and enforcement of policies.

Imagine, if we had a policy that states that every registered company in Nigeria must use .ng domains? We know this is not an impossible feat, after all the UK and a few other countries are enforcing such policies whether covertly or overtly.

Here are some reasons I believe you should use .ng domains:

1. It is a matter of Nation Pride

Nigeria as a Nation is blessed with this unique domain string known as .ng and we ought be proud of this gift of nature. However, we should not stop at just appreciating it but owning one at the very least.

2. Foreign Exchange is Scarce

I used to be happy paying for my VPS server but not anymore because of the ever-increasing exchange rate and the same goes for .com domain names that I own.

Using the .ng range of domains will contribute to saving our scarce FX.

3.  SEO/Speed/Reduced Latency

Why do you think that Google would rather serve you results using google.com.ng when you search for stuff within Nigeria and if you travel to say Ghana and use the same device it will go ahead and serve you results via google.com.gh?

What is even interesting is that in the case of Nigeria, Google has both com.ng as well as .ng domains, an example of a forward looking company.

4. Local Content Development

We must develop local content by supporting what is ours, imagine what will happen if only 1% of the reported 170 million+ Nigerians decide to own domains that fly the Nigerian colour online, that will be over 1 Million domain names that would eventually serve as the foundation for businesses, ventures and causes on the world-wide web. Would that not further strengthen the Nigerian brand and dignify her on the Internet?

I must commend Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) for a good job and here is a call for more advocacy and education in order to get more Nigerians to appreciate what is ours and get Government to lead the way and let others follow.

The reality is that if Government at any level still uses .com or .org domains, why should average small business owners, who obviously do not have as much resources as Government be urged to switch?

I’ve switched my blog from www.techwithcfa.com to www.techsmart.ng in support of .ng and I am super excited to have made the move.

If you are not using .ng domain yet, I’d like to know why. Some say cost others say security but I like to hear from you.

Protect your childern

Parents Stop Being Lazy: Protect Your Children

As a parent I honestly get disturbed when I consider how polluted and negative our society have become and even though I do my best toprovide a godly, controlled environment for my children to thrive, I still get to notice certain strange actions exhibited by them which are likely picked up elsewhere such as school or social gatherings.

Kid yourself not, today’s children are the real digital natives which makes them far more complicated and advanced than you were while their age. But unfortunately everywhere I turn I see ongoing assault against these digital natives both physically and spiritually.

In my opinion, the greatest challenges confronting children and youths today is the Internet on one hand and entertainment on the other hand. By now you should know that the Internet has a two-edged sword, one is the positive while the other is the negative side. Unfortunately, many parents are still treating the latter with kids glove lightly – they are probably under the illusion that the Internet is all positives so they allow their wards have unmonitored access, how wrong?

I often ask parents who allow their kids unfettered access to the Internet to mention five Internet slangs and they have no clue whatsoever what I am referring to? So, if someone is threatening their children using strange languages, how would they know?

OK, lets move to entertainment and my question to folks who thinktheir is nothing wrong with the brand of music being aired today is simply: what will likely be in the mind of a young teenage boy who is constantly shown images of “supposedly”good looking girls dancing in a tempting way all in the name of entertainment? Itwon’t be long before the fellow would want to explore what is in a girl or if you flip the coin, many young girls would rather want fame or glamour of being a beauty queen or hanging with super stars as their screen babes than go to school to study medicine for 6 years. A teacher told me that some kids in her school of between 6 – 9 years know what sex is all about and if you give them a computer with Internet access they can find their way to pornographic website and show you men and women in the very act. This is not a case of sex education, they learnt it out of curiosity with the aid of the Internet according to her.

Truth is that parents have become extremely busy all in the bid to meet up with the rising cost of living while in many cases leaving the home front exposed. My advice to parent is stop being lazy about raising up your children properly while working hard, day and night to build a career. If you have decided to be a parent then you have to properly manage every aspect of your life.

Some Tips from CFA

I may not be the number one parent in the world but I have made up my mind to create a controlled, godly environment for my children. I refuse to allow just anything be thrown at them by the demands of modern society, so that I can render account before God of how I brought up the gifts he handed over to me.

So, I am nowhere being a counsellor but here are some tips based on personal experience:

  1. Monitor the activities of your children on the Internet and restrict unfettered access to ALL websites.
  2. Protect them from unnecessary vices around our entertainment industry and prevent the pollution of their minds except for songs   and music videos that you consider safe for them.
  3. Turn on child protection on your decoder especially when you are not around. Why allow your child access to E! or MTV or other channels that will expose them? Wait until they come of age, then they can decide.
  4. Password your phone if you have sensitive stuff in there, at least I once met a father of 3 who had all sorts on his phone and he actually told me how he can’t do without watching “blue film” almost every night. He actually told me that their was nothing negative with the act and even when I brought in the spiritual angle,  he reminded me that he was also a Christian. All I could do,  is pray that God should have mercy. Honestly, who do you think is the bigger loser after watching porno? The actors or those watching?
  5. Ensure that your children are surrounded by the right kind of influence, if you have to go to their school to meet their friends then do, remember we are leaving in a digital, highly advanced society today.

Even as an adult, I literally have to “flee” from things I consider tempting talk less of a child. So for example, I don’t visit any site showing half naked women not to talk of a porno site. I also don’t watch musical videos that want to get me to imagine the attractiveness of what is being dangled on the screen and believe it or not, everyday I say the Lords prayers and particularly I stress “lead us not into temptation.” You’ve got to guard your heart jealously!

So, what do you think?

Google Inc

Using any Google Services? Watch out anything can happen o!

Hate or like Google, on the Internet you just cannot do without them, they have so taken over the Internet that one begins to wonder what would life online be without a company like Google? Let me say without any benefit of doubt, Google is one company I have a lot of respect for because they are always ahead of the game. However, I am mindful when I use Google services and the simple reason is that anything can happen with our without reason.

google services
R.I.P Google Reader

Earlier in the year, I received a mail from Google that one of my email accounts (coachcfa@gmail.com) has been blockedin violation of Google’s terms and services which were never explained in detail even when I tried to find out; all my pleas fell on deaf ears and my account was never restored. Now do you know why that was quite painful because that is the email connected to my affiliate paypal account which had close to $200 worth of affiliate payouts and that is now history.

Recently, Jide Ogunsanya of Ogbonge Blog and I were on the same panel at the Digital Marketing Nigeria Summit where we both argued for and against using Blogger and WordPress CMS – he is a fan of blogger while I am that of wordpress and our lines of argument made our points clear.

But on that very day, I got back to my work desk and saw this email:

Dear business owner,

At Google, we want businesses like yours to get the most from the web, and we hope that your Get Nigerian Business Online website cfagbata.gnbo.com.ng has helped you to connect with more customers.

We are announcing that Business Sitebuilder websites within the Get Nigerian Business Online Program will no longer be accessible from December 31 2014, but there are some great alternatives available to you.

Earlier this year, we introduced Google My Business to connect you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.

You also have the option to move your existing website to our trusted partner, Hostgator, an international provider of cloud-based web presence solutions with over 15 years of experience helping small businesses succeed online. Their family of brands, through parent company Endurance International Group, serve over 3.7 million subscribers worldwide.

Moving your website to the Hostgator platform lets you continue with your website, and also allows you to access a range of powerful business features, including eCommerce, website security, backup and restore, and 24 hour support. Learn more at africa.hostgator.com/nigeriagetonline.

Remaining online is a huge asset for your business, and you can do so by independently signing up for Google My Business, or filling out this online form for assistance. The team of experts at Hostgator can then guide you through the process of signing up for Google My Business, transferring your current website, or creating a new one.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

The Get Nigerian Business Online Team

The first comment I made after reading this simply here is another reason to be mindful of any Google services one uses. Imagine how many small business owners will become websiteless because of this decision? Besides this point, I remember supporting this project with everything I had and wrote repeatedly about it on various blog – don’t take my work for it, just Google “GNBO Nigeria” and you’d certainly find at least one article written by me in support of the project.

For Google, it is usually a policy or business decision so I do not exactly blame them afterall it is their company, they have pulled down a number of services in the past that hurt me personally such as Google reader but I am happy to have found a very cool alternative by the name Feedly, so life goes on 🙂

I love Google and I’d continue to use some of their services but I’d not hesitate to switch to an equally good alternative so I can at least spread my risks because just like this physical world is important, the digital world is also quite important.

I heard about what happened to Linda Ikeji from wife and my only comment was another silly mistake: “How can you grow this big and not decide it was time to move onto a more permanent platform such as wordpress?”

I am not big on gossip, infact I really do not want to know what is happening in other people’s lives so Linda Ikeji’s blog is not where I would readily visit except I happen to land there through research or something but I am conscious to quickly move on because I don’t want to get used to sensational stories which by the way is very addictive.

Linda Ikeji's Blog
Deleted Page of Linda Ikeji’s Blog

That said, Linda is arguably one of Nigeria’s most successful bloggers and her experience with Google simply lays credence to the fact that when using any of Google’s services have it at the back of your mind that anything can happen o!

If you are serious about blogging then wordpress is your best bet. Need help setting a wordpress blog? Get in touch!

digital marketing

Why a Digital Marketing Strategy is Right for Your Business

This a guest post by Sarah Gotheridge. Enjoy 🙂

Despite the obvious popularity of the internet and the rising prominence of small devices like tablets and smartphones, some companies remain a bit apprehensive when it comes to taking on digital marketing in a big way. That’s because most companies are established in the ways of the 20th century, when things like print materials and billboards could effectively sway consumers to choose their product or service over the competition. It goes without saying, though, that the 20th century is over and times have changed.

Businesses that are looking to effectively reach out to new customers, and inspire existing ones to come back for more products or services, absolutely need to be using digital marketing to accomplish these goals. Digital marketing is more memorable, more personal, and actually more affordable, than the vast majority of “outbound” marketing techniques used by most businesses in an era before social media, mobile devices, and a world full of Wi-Fi.

To get a greater understanding of how this approach can change your business, ask a few quick questions:

When is the last time you remembered a billboard and used it to buy something new?

There’s no shortage of billboards along the world’s highways, even as marketing and advertisements move solidly into the online universe and away from offline posts. The problem, though, is that billboards have become an uninspired and static known quantity. Customers no longer pay them as much mind as they used to, even when they come in the form of an illuminated LCD screen full of animated messages.

So, ask yourself a question: When is the last time that a billboard captured your attention, drew you to a product, and inspired you to buy that product as soon as you got out of your car? If the answer is something like, “I don’t remember,” then your opinion aligns with the majority of the Internet-connected world.

Digital marketing is not a billboard. It does not need customers to come to the product. Instead, digital marketing brings customers in social signalsby going right to their screens. From smartphones and tablets to desktop and laptop computers, social media advertisements and other digital promotions reach customers where they spend most of their time. Those messages are transmitted by trusted sources of value, not cold and metallic billboard posts. Businesses who advertise online increase the popularity of their brand, their website, and their point of view, just by going digital.

When is the last time you trusted something or someone you had never heard of before?

Another common scenario in the offline world of marketing is that a product will be presented on the side of a bus, or a logo will be featured on someone’s clothing, as a way of inspiring new customers to check out the product. That worked in the past, but it doesn’t work in an era when consumers are skeptical of everything from telemarketers and spam emails to “junk” brands and high prices.

In the present economy, consumers need to know that they can trust a brand before they go ahead and spend their money on its products. That’s where digital marketing comes in. This new approach to marketing actually gets friends to recommend products to their loves ones, largely without thinking about it. Smart brands offer up their products on Facebook via the site’s pages, and they create Twitter accounts that reach out to new and existing customers. When their friends and family members like or tweet a brand, trust is communicated almost instantly.

In a pre-Internet world, the best endorsement a product could have, was “I’ve used that, and I enjoyed it.” Today, that has been shifted into a “like” on Facebook, a tweet on Twitter, or a “plus one” on Google+. Consumers are spending an increasing amount of time online, and it’s time to start using their favorite websites to recommend new products and encourage their business.

When is the last time you weren’t excited to read a text message?

Digital marketing is more than just social media websites and online advertisements. It’s also increasingly a field that employs mobile devices and smartphones to get customers to buy new products and return to their favorite brands. One such method of doing this is by sending promotional text messages to the phones of a brand’s most enthusiastic customers. Studies have shown that consumers like to receive text messages, and they consider texts to be a trusted form of communication.

Digital marketing via text message takes a brand into consumer’s hands effortlessly and for very little cost. Consumers are excited to read the message, and they trust what it has to say. The company benefits by looking forward thinking and connected, as well as trustworthy, and sales increase from that point.

Some Surprising Answers to Very Common Questions

The marketing world is one that seems to change very slowly, day-by-day, but is all of a sudden very different than it used to be. Businesses that are serious about competing in the information age need to drop the billboards and pick up the smartphones. They need to focus less on communicating via transit advertisements and more on communicating via social networks that people read while they’re taking transit.

With a forward-thinking approach to digital promotion and marketing, businesses of all kinds can smoothly transition into a world dominated by things like social media, text messages, and 10-inch tablets in every set of hands.

Sarah represents a site called Monetise.co.uk. She enjoys writing about online marketing and likes to give advice for new businesses. Feel free to visit her site for more information on a lead generation company.



social signals

4 Social Signals that are Important to SEO

Guest post by Chiko Noguchi. To gain exposure by partnering with us, read our write for us guideline.

social signalsThe SEO industry received a huge shakeup in 2012, and the shaking can be chalked up to all the recent changes made to search algorithms in general. Black hat techniques are seemingly losing their effectiveness by the day, and the effectiveness of a few white hat methods are now being questioned too but the truth remains that white SEO is the way to go.

Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about the role social interactions have in influencing change in the search landscape. Social signals seem to be a factor, but how big is their impact, and what signals should we be looking at?

To be clear, the role social signals play in the SEO services industry is still unclear at this point. That’s even with numerous studies and expert opinions. However, there is enough information out there to put together a list of signals that are most likely to matter to your efforts.

4 Social Signals to Consider

1. Social Actions

Activity looks to be one of the most influential social signals. This action includes people liking and sharing your content on Facebook, and tweeting mentions of your brand name or retweeting your original posts. According to a study by Searchmetrics, which focused on the correlation of social signals and search, Facebook shares not only have the biggest influence, but activity from Facebook has the biggest overall impact. If you look at it this way, it would seem that the bigger the network, the more valuable it is to your SEO strategy.

2. Social Connections

The overall consensus is that social activity somehow factors into the search ranking mix. You may be surprised to know that social connections could be a reason as well. People liking your Facebook page. Building up your number of Twitter followers. Adding people to your circles on Google+. It may very well help increase your search visibility, another theory backed up by Searchmetrics’ statistics. Knowing that simply making connections might at least be one viable signal could motivate for marketers who have been hesitant about social media.

3. Positive Reviews

Social media has provided new and exciting ways for businesses to interact with their customers. It is not only an ideal customer service tool, but an outlet that helps strengthen relationships. What makes social media such an attractive proposition is that it works both ways. Customers can also reach out to the companies they do business with and engage in conversation, or simply leave feedback. This feedback is critical in terms of awareness and word of mouth marketing, but could also be another signal that search engines are looking at.

Back in 2010, Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land wrote an article highlighting how Google was likely using reviews as a ranking factor. The article was specifically referring to reviews published on Google Product Search. Most other pundits seem to think that reviews on sites like Google Local and Yelp are given consideration. With so many aspects blurring the lines between what is officially social and what isn’t, it wouldn’t be surprising to know that feedback on sites like Facebook and Twitter counts as well.

4. Increased Backlinks

There has been much talk about whether social signals have become more influential than the backlinks SEO experts have told us reign supreme for so long. Well it looks like that time has yet to come. In fact, Matt Cutts revealed in an interview with Danny Sullivan that links not only matter, but they are still the most important ranking factor. Cutts said that the impact of social socials could be greater in the next decade or so, while also hinting that they now have an influence today.

Backlinks still wielding a lot of power is great for SEO professionals with a social presence because it likely means the links you generate on sites such as Twitter and Pinterest would help boost your rankings. What you need to do is take an active approach to making sure that your presence on the social space is formidable. That means interacting with others, developing valuable content, and encouraging people to share. If you’re looking for your surefire social signal, it may very well lie in backlinks.

Looking Ahead

All signs show that we are moving into a web era where social media has a huge, if not the biggest impact on SEO. For now, we are at a speculative stage where nothing is certain. The best thing professionals can do is to make sure they are educated and stay on top of the developments in the ever-changing world of search and the Internet.

Where do you stand on search signals? Are they already affecting your SEO value?

Chiko is a best practices activist and advocate for a leading provider of email marketing services.

Image  Credit: linkedmediagrp

digital media

The Writer’s Guide to Making Money Self-publishing via Digital Media

There is so much to do in this world of digital media technology than one can get excited just thinking about it. Starting an online business is easy these days, all you need is a little guidance and you are set-up.

digital media
Are you ready for the digital media revolution?

You could decide to become an affiliate marketer or a website designer, or even a website retailer (yes, there ARE people who deal solely in buying and selling websites). Whatever the case, you will definitely find a lot of people who have already blazed that trail.

Yes, that’s pretty much it about the digital media business. One thing though, it is always wise and advisable to begin your online business on a small-scale before expanding.

When it comes to online writing, a lot of questions arise. Some people even wonder whether monetizing writing skills is even possible or a myth. Truth is, it is possible to write in the digital media world and make money in the process. You could start slowly and gradually pick up the best moves as you go. On the other hand, you could just decide to read this guide and set yourself straight early. After all, what’s the fun in making all the mistakes when someone already made them?

If you are just beginning your small business or have been managing one for some time, you may just need to take advantage of the leverage having an online presence offers you. Luckily, CFA Leverage (one of Nigeria’s leading digital media consultants) is available to help your business with the gain an online audience. We use a combination of SEO processes and information marketing to give you that leverage.

However, this post is specifically for people who have already begun writing and are experiencing slow growth – or at least growth that is slower than they would have expected. If you are just beginning to learn the art of writing, you may want to read this article on becoming a freelance writer.

Here are some tips that have proven effective for when you want to monetize your writing experience via Digital Media:

1. Be Specific in Your Niche

Ah, yes. Remember that saying “Jack of all trades, master of none?”.

Exactly. It applies a lot to your writing career as well. The best and most successful e-writers have had this going for them: they pretty much stick to one niche. Allow yourself to gain professionalism in one niche, please. Your online readers and reviewers will grow, since they can easily associate you to a specific niche. As an example, you could publish works related to freelance writing, affiliate marketing, SEM and SEO campaigns. These are all related, and it counts as sticking in one niche.

2. Become An Authority by Writing What you Know

Top e-book writers and top bloggers have boosted their paychecks simply by writing on stuff they know about. It’s a very simple flow chart, really: you write about things that you know and people read to know these things. You are trading your knowledge for money.

Of course, at this point, you might go into panic mode with the thought that you do not really know anything that nobody else knows. You’d be surprised. The little things you know that most other people do not know are what make you the authority in that niche. As an example, some person somewhere might be wondering just how he/she might be able to upload a youtube video online. This is where you, the digital media expert writer, come in. If you’ve already written an easy tutorial online on how to upload the said video, you satisfy an unwitting customer, and BAM, payday for you.

This is merely an example, you know. There are a lot you already know, so tap into the digital marketing revolution today and earn for that knowledge.

3. The Pull-Out Technique in Writing for Digital Media

This is a technique that comes in handy for the e-book publisher. When you see a lot of publishers testifying to their publishing 100 e books in a single year (or a couple of months, even), they often have made use of the e-book pull-out technique.

How does this work? Rather than publish one large e-book and get a one-time payment on it, you could actually “pull out” a couple of sections from the e-book, thus breaking the bigger e-book into several “mini e-books” which you can sell to make more money than you ordinarily would have made if you had sold the original, compact e-book! Swell idea, right?

4. Write, Write, Write!

This is probably the invaluable technique. If you wish to make money as a self-published eBook writer, you will have to write. A lot. The e-book pull-out method will go a long way to set you up on that path, but you will need to be a prolific writer as well. The more you write, the more you are putting your name out there and the better your chances of being read. It’s all in the statistics!digital revolution

You might be wondering at this point: just how much can I possibly earn from writing. Well, let’s just say that if you are prolific enough, you could be earning a minimum of $5000, easy. It’s the law of proportion at work here. If you have only one eBook available online, when a “customer” buys it and reads it, well, that is all. You make a couple of cents to a dollar and the trail ends there. But if you have a book series and someone happens to read book one, he/she may just be fascinated enough to read all off book one through to book ten! (Assuming, of course, that it is a ten book series). Thus, by writing prolifically, your digital media would have earned you ten times what you would have earned, had you had only one book published.

I am writing a book and a workbook which will teach and help small businesses in leveraging the internet for improving their profitability. Be on the lookout for this, please.

5. Use More Than Digital Media Publishing Option

It is also a great idea to publish using more than one digital media publishing house. Some of the really great ones out there include Amazon.com, Lulu, Barnes & Noble and Clickbank. This is in addition to the possible e-book sales you might be getting off your own website. This allows your income to come from several sources and converge at a final point – your bank account.

Writing for digital media is a great idea. While it makes for a great hobby, it also makes for a great means of making money. There are a lot of writers who have successfully retired on the income streams they made from their self-published writings. This can, however, only happen if they do not fall victim of vanity press.

An option open to you in projecting books written by you, is to Hire a Book Publicist.

Heading out to Accra Ghana, in the days ahead to speak at the IT Leaders West African summit.

Do you have any other experiences you would love to share? Feel free to leave a comment!

Creative commons images courtesy Trevor Barnard and jense159

online presence

4 Reasons your Business needs an Online Presence

Guest post by Hugh Yearsley. To gain exposure by partnering with us, read our write for us guideline.

It is a popular misconception that businesses only need a website if they would in a position to sell their products directly to customers online or have a service that can be delivered – or at the very least ordered – remotely.

However, while many companies can enhance their profitability in using the Internet in that way, every business – large or small – can benefit greatly from having a website or some form of online presence.

Your business an online presence for the following reasons:

1. Marketing and Reaching New Customers

There is no denying that business is tough for everyone at the moment and in this economic climate, every available opportunity has to be taken that may give you the edge over your competitors. With customers being increasingly savvy and more willing to shop around before spending, you need to ensure that potential customers can not only find you as a company, but also discover as much about your services as possible before your rivals.

For businesses which now rely on “traditional” marketing methods, there is only a limited amount of information that can be conveyed in a magazine advertisement or, a 30-second radio ad without being too complicated. Word of mouth is still an incredibly effective and underrated marketing tool, but its reach is often limited, so an online presence could truly revolutionize your business.

Potential customers have changed their habits when it comes to searching for products and services. Unless they are planning on using a business they already know, a lot of people no longer use traditional methods – business directories or newspapers instead turning to the Internet. Having instant access to company and product information is incredibly important and can be a decision maker for most people.

In the time it takes to find a telephone directory and find the right company (which can be random luck to find what you need these days), an online search could have found dozens of companies and a customer could have visited the websites of several of these. Sites like USYellowpages and 411.com and other print-based online versions may still feature businesses without websites, but have little more than basic contact details. If you have a website, it will make your entry stand out from the others, and yours will be the ones people will be more likely to look at before making calls to any of the others so without a website you could well be losing valuable business.

2. An Information Resource

At a bare minimum, your site can provide valuable information to customers about who you are, where you are located and what your company does and sells. Even if customers can’t buy your products directly, they can find out just where they can buy what you offer and you can let them know exactly why they should choose you over anyone else.

You’re no longer tied by constraints of limited physical dimensions of magazine advertisements or time limits in radio advertising and unlike either of these, the website can be as dynamic as you want it to be. Anything in print is out-of-date the instant it is sent to print, often weeks before it is seen by anyone, but information online can be updated in real-time. Information dissemination is a major reason you need an online presence.

3. Customer Interaction and Feedback

One thing that no business wants to do is loose potential customers, but that happens to thousands of businesses every day with many of them not even realizing it. As a business, if you’re not able to take a customer’s telephone call for any reason, your main switchboard is engaged or a customer needs to contact you out of normal office hours and can’t find a way to reach your business, then human nature dictates that they’ll look elsewhere.

With a website set up with a basic contact form, with popular options for the most common enquiries available, your customers will be able to reach you 24 hours a day at a time to suit them. If their questions aren’t covered by the form, just having a professional email address connected to your website (as opposed to a free email address provided by Hotmail, Google or similar providers) will give more credibility to your company and even if a customer doesn’t contact you through your website, your email address will be easier for them to remember.

Your website can also offer an invaluable resource for both you and your customers when it comes to testimonials. New customers are often wary of using businesses or products for the first time, and no matter how much money is invested in advertising or marketing, customer reviews are worth their weight in gold in comparison and are far more important. Sites can easily incorporate features to allow customers to directly offer feedback to you on your company as a whole or even each product or service.

If you want to make sure that your customers are kept up-to-date with all the latest news and developments with your company, you can post daily updates to a news blog on your website, Facebook or Twitter, or even offer an electronic newsletter through your website that visitors can subscribe to.

4. The Importance of Social Media

online presenceOver the last few years social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter have had an increasing impact on business as well. Successful companies are making use of both, in addition to their primary websites as a way to interact with their customers in new and innovative ways that they have never been able to before. They have provided business with a quick way to get bite-sized information and updates directly to customers and – more importantly – receive vital feedback.

While some businesses rely solely on Facebook for their online presence and don’t give the Internet a great deal of consideration, the combination of a website, Facebook and Twitter is the most effective way to promote your business online to reach the widest possible audience.

Ultimately, the true potential of what a website and social media can do for your business is limited only by your imagination.

Hugh contributed this guest post for WhoIsHostingThis – who provide hosting reviews on the top web-hosting companies, visit the website. Hugh is a freelance tech writer and marketing expert.

Creative commons image courtesy of canlasa and RDECOM

Google penguin

Obvious Ways To Stay Hidden from Google’s Suspicious Eyes

 Guest post by Patrick Del Rosario. This is his 2nd post here, the 1st one was on Small Business Failure. To gain exposure by partnering with us, read our write for us guideline.

Google Penguin and Google Panda updatesGoogle Zoo – Pandas and Penguins

Everyone recognises that search engine optimisation is constantly shifting. Last year Google Panda was active in finding low-quality or duplicate content, and this year Google Penguin is cracking down on websites with unnaturally low-quality links. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation – in case you didn’t already know) consultants and companies alike have laboured steadily to figure out these recent algorithm puzzles set forth by Google.

The Almighty Number One Page

The Google Penguin Update launched on April 24, 2012.

According to the Google blog, “Penguin is an important algorithm change targeted at web spam. The change will decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines.”

Optimising your website incorrectly can cause you to not only drop in rankings, but become banned from Google altogether. So why do people risk it? To see their site on The Almighty Number One Page of Google, of course!

Here are some ways to stay hidden from Google’s suspicious eyes:

1. Practice White-Hat SEO

There are two options of conducting search engine optimisation. The correct way, referred to as “white hat,” and the incorrect, immoral way known as “black hat.” Black hat techniques break the rules of search engines and involve tactics that are spammy and dishonest such as:

  1. Hidden doorway pages (gateway pages)
  2. Duplicate content (many pages with the same text)
  3. Keyword stuffing (high keyword densities)
  4. High-quantity link farms (unrelated links pointing to the site)
  5. Hidden text (invisible text colours that blend with the background colour)

White hat SEO is the “correct” way of optimising your website so it shows up high in search results.

Search engines and users love fresh content; it inspires loyalty from readers and ensures search engines will visit your site regularly. Although this is a longer process requiring updating or refreshing information, it is well worth the effort for optimal long-term results.

2. Have Topic-Driven Content

Websites must assume a content marketing strategy that covers all their online activities. Create great content with readers in mind first, search engines in mind second. Give your readers fresh, steady updates of original content that provides value!

Value is determined by popular opinion, unbiased information, industry news, or just the advice that if you put your audience first you will get high search engine visibility.

Additional reasons to focus on content include:

  1. People will want to share your content virally if it provides really helpful information.
  2. Great content will send you lots of targeted traffic.
  3. When content is the focus you will receive more than just search engine traffic. Social websites, word of mouth, mentions, revenue referral sources, citations, rankings, etc. should never be discounted.

3.Link Building – Tactics vs. Strategies

Link building should be a by-product of great content, not the reverse. The difference is link building is a tactic, while content marketing is a strategy. What is meant by this is that if you’re just trying to build links for SEO purposes and nothing else, this is a short-term solution – a tactic. Stop chasing Google’s algorithm with “black-hat” tactics.

4. Syndicate Your Content

RSS (Really Simple Syndication – in case you didn’t already know), syndicates your web content to other sites and builds inbound links, making RSS one of the most effective SEO strategies today.

Syndication is fundamentally taking a piece of content (an article, blog post, video) and sharing it or re-posting it somewhere else.

Here are some syndication tips:

  1. Position a noticeable link on your homepage letting your visitors know right away that you have feeds and that you offer content syndication.
  2. Another form of syndication is taking someone’s article, writing about it, and linking back to the original source.
  3. Set up a webpage specifically for all your feeds.

When you or other people syndicate your content, it is seen as a sort of social link building. Google highly considers people talking and writing about your content – so they boost your rankings because you are the original source!

5. Always Incorporate Social Signals

Nowadays it ought to be everyone’s goal to make social media a part of their SEO services campaign. After Google’s various updates, remember, without a social presence, your trust factor will be greatly devalued.

If you have not already done so, create a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube profile and make sure your website is linked to each of them.

You should realise some important factors:

  1. Google announced social signals are officially incorporated into their search algorithm.
  2. Increasing your fans, likes, and followers will alert all the search engines about how popular your site is.
  3. Out of all the sites that got de-indexed, penalised, or punished after the penguin/panda updates – the sites with the most social signals got hit the least.

Social sharing is vitally important today. It is the best sign that others are liking your content. It is your choice whether or not you get involved. There are conversations on every network twenty-four-seven; all you have to do is get involved, supply helpful content, and watch your rankings increase.

Google penguin
Penguins are also kings!

6. Knowledge Is Power, Content Is King

Dear internet entrepreneurs – knowledge is power. Make sure to always write with your readers in mind before you write with SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages – in case you didn’t already know) in mind. Content, and the organisation of your material, is the most significant factor for search engine optimisation.

Search engines rely on the content of a web page to assess how relevant and dependable your material is to a specific search. Content is still king – no matter how many links you get or how great your homepage SEO is – content still is, and will always be, king.

I would love to here you thoughts and feedback in the comment box below.

Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges. It is one of Australia’s pioneer and leading providers of Web design courses and Graphic design courses. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging, travelling, and photography. Patrick together with his father runs a Photo Studio in the philippines. If you have a blog and would like free content. You can find him on Google+.

Creative commons image courtesy Seventh Continent

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As you may know (or not know) everyone is into marketing, including the wife seeking to make her husband happy or the baby crying for attention or the employee working hard to stay in the good books of her employee or the “crooked” politician(s) who begs for your vote during election (irrespective of their rigging intention) or the pastor encouraging members to sow more into his ministry. I could go on and on……

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18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Matthew 4: 18-19

Note that Jesus did not think, assume or hope. The Bible recorded that Jesus “said” to them and if you can remember your primary school subjects – said is a verb and verbs bring action to any sentence.

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