Image-Focused Design: Is Bigger Better?

by Kathryn Whitenton

Image-Focused Design: Is Bigger Better? 2014-10-17T14:42:08+00:00

13 Awesome ‘Welcome’ Email Ideas


Welcome emails are one of the first key steps to long-term success with email marketing. They build trust, reduce opt-outs, and get sales upfront. Welcome emails typically get three times the clicks and sales as a standard promotional email. They’re also a terrific way to get ready for Christmas, which will be only 114 days away as of September 1.

13 Awesome ‘Welcome’ Email Ideas

Send your welcome email out immediately, in real time. Do not “batch” your welcome emails. Batching is certainly more efficient for the server, but it wastes a critical moment.

Let your new subscribers know what to expect. Ever heard how “expectations are everything”? Well, they may not be everything, but they definitely matter, especially for welcome emails. Telling subscribers when they should expect to hear from you and what they should expect to get in their inbox is a proven way to increase readership and reduce opt-outs.

Use the welcome email to show the simplest and easiest way to start using your service, or to buy from you.

Show your new subscribers they’ve made a good decision.

Give your new subscribers a sense of community. Say something to make new readers feel like they’re part of something special.

Simplify your welcome message.

Include a reply email address that works.

Use your subscribers’ enthusiasm to leave some of the most valuable information they’ll ever tell you. If you only do one thing from this article, do this: Set up a welcome email that asks your new subscribers what’s the one thing they want to know about your niche.

Test your welcome email subject line.

Ask subscribers to follow you on social media.

Use the welcome email to get more information on your new subscribers’ preferences.


Use a recognizable sender name and email address.

Read full article…


13 Awesome ‘Welcome’ Email Ideas 2014-09-05T18:14:35+00:00

10 Common Content Marketing Mistakes


Does your content marketing need an upgrade? See if you’re committing any of these common mistakes.

1. No Content Marketing Strategy

2. Not Using an Editorial Calendar

3. Not Using Keyword Research

4. Not Using Multiple Platforms and Formats

Have you heard of “the rise of the visual web”? Internet users want more than words. Blog posts are helpful, but infographics get shared more often. Tweets with images get shared twice as much as tweets without images.

To leverage new formats, make creating videos a habit. And always ask yourself if you could add an image. And don’t forget SlideShares, animated gifs, and podcasts. Want to make all this easier? Here’s a great app for creating social media images on the go: WordSwag, available on iTunes for $2.99. Canva is an excellent desktop alternative.

5. Content that Is Too Simplistic or Too Advanced

6. Not Using Personas

7. Content Is Not Actionable or Useful

8. No Call to Action

9. Creating Boring Content

For content marketers, being boring isn’t just… well, boring. It’s failure. Here are some common symptoms of boring content.

  • Similar content is easily found elsewhere (and done better).
  • A tiny bit of interesting content is watered down and made into much, much longer watered-down content.
  • The content is hard to understand (hard to read, hard to hear, or hard to understand how to use it).
  • The content has no personality. There is no playfulness to it.
  • The content is self-centered. It is a barely concealed advertorial.

10. Not Promoting your Content Enough

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10 Common Content Marketing Mistakes 2014-04-24T16:09:47+00:00

SEO Is Dead; Web Marketing Alive and Well


When someone asks me about focusing on search engine optimization, the first thing I think of is that the individual is not familiar with today’s realities, in 2014, of web marketing.

The search results on any search engine are dependent upon many factors. If you take four computers, connected to the same Internet connection, performing the exact same search simultaneously, they will all likely have different results. Factors that influence these results are:

  • If you are logged in to a search engine account;
  • Your search history;
  • The location of your Internet connection.

These factors affect the search results whether you are in New York City or Los Angeles. The results are different and this is where personalized search comes into consideration.

The Web Marketing Process

Recommended Steps:

  • Content marketing. For some reason this terminology is often confusing. I explained this was about writing editorials, news releases, PowerPoint documents, infographics, and even videos — all about his business. These types of marketing materials are “content” and necessary to get the word out about your business. Once you have created the content you can distribute them through social communities, industry websites, and content sites such as YouTube and SlideShare.
  • Social media marketing. I discussed with the business owner the difference between passive and active social media marketing. Sharing blog posts is an example of passive social media marketing. The next step, however, would be active social media marketing by engaging in social communities by increasing connections, commenting on what others are saying, and (depending upon the community) digging deeper into subgroups.
  • Local business listings. For a business dependent upon the local economy, use local business listings that are pin-code verified, followed by updating these listings with business marketing information, and finally using a syndication services to help spread the word out to more business directories.

Web marketing is not a technology task. It’s a marketing process. For this reason it was not a technology firm providing an SEO task that he needed. He needed a marketing company that understood how to execute the various processes, including measuring and interpreting the results. It is a process that has no end.

Read full article…

SEO Is Dead; Web Marketing Alive and Well 2014-04-15T16:04:21+00:00

Move Over 1024×768: The Most Popular Screen Resolution On The Web Is Now 1366×768

by Screens with a 1024×768 resolution are a bit like Windows XP: there have long been better options, but they still remained the most often used screens on the web. That is, until now. According to the latest data from StatCounter, 1366×768 screens just surpassed 1024×768 as the most popular screen resolution used by the visitors to StatCounter’s global network of sites. Three years ago, 1024×768 still accounted for almost 42% of all visitors to the roughly three million sites that use StatCounter. Today, that number has fallen to 18.6% and 1366×768 screens now account for 19.28%, up from just 0.68% in May 2009. It’s worth noting that these are global numbers. In Europe, the higher-resolution screens already overtook their predecessors late last year and in the U.S., 1024×768 still holds on to the top spot (but just barely). Read full article…

Move Over 1024×768: The Most Popular Screen Resolution On The Web Is Now 1366×768 2015-11-05T20:15:16+00:00

Fire Your Bad Clients

Trying to improve your company’s bottom line? If profitability is your goal, it may be time to cut some dead weight.


As business owners, we often feel that we should take on every client who comes calling. But that’s not always the best choice: Just because someone comes to you who’s interested in a business relationship doesn’t mean they’re going to be a good client. In order to make your business as profitable as possible, you really need to assess your client relationships and ensure that they’re win-win opportunities for you.

Not sure this is the best idea for your business? Here are five types of clients you need to fire who are causing your business to be less profitable:

Focus drainers. In order to make the most of your time, you need to focus on your core competencies. Clients who don’t fit within your targeted service or product focus may be costing you money. Have you started offering products and services that aren’t a fit with your core business strategy just to keep some clients happy? If that’s the case, perhaps you need to reassess whether that’s a smart business move.

Low-profitability clients. If you’re not generating money-or much money-from some of your customers, then you’re on the losing end of a bad relationship. You only have so many hours in the day to work on your business, so make them count. Only work with clients with whom you’ll enjoy a good return on your invested time.

Complainers. Ever feel drained at the end of the day because you had to deal with complaining clients who always want something for nothing? It’s not worth it! It’s time to say good riddance and work with those people who truly appreciate what you do and are willing to pay for what you provide without complaining!

“Something for nothing” clients. Get rid of those customers who always want something but don’t want to pay for it. They don’t value what you have to offer, and you constantly have to justify your prices. If they don’t value you now, they never will, and you’ll constantly be justifying the work you do and the prices you charge. Only work with those people who understand the value you have to offer and will appreciate it.

Time wasters. If you’re spending time with clients who waste your time because they’re never ready or aren’t willing to listen to your advice, run now. These will be the ones that will constantly assume more of your time without providing anything in return and then will wonder why they’re paying you. You can’t help those who don’t help themselves.

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Fire Your Bad Clients 2014-04-11T20:25:42+00:00

The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now

An encryption flaw called the Heartbleed bug is already being called one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever seen. The bug has affected many popular websites and services — ones you might use every day, like Gmail and Facebook — and could have quietly exposed your sensitive account information (such as passwords and credit card numbers) over the past two years.

But it hasn’t always been clear which sites have been affected. Mashable reached out some of the most popular social, email, banking and commerce sites on the web. We’ve rounded up their responses below.

See list

The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now 2014-04-11T19:28:11+00:00

Experts Find a Door Ajar in an Internet Security Method Thought Safe


Updated | A flaw has been discovered in one of the Internet’s key security methods, potentially forcing a wide swath of websites to make changes to protect the security of consumers.

The problem was first discovered by a team of Finnish security experts and researchers at Google last week and disclosed on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, a number of large websites, including Yahoo, Facebook, Google and Amazon Web Services, said they were fixing the problem or had already fixed it.

Researchers were still looking at the impact on consumers but warned it could be significant. Users’ most sensitive information — passwords, stored files, bank details, even Social Security numbers — could be vulnerable because of the flaw.

The most immediate advice from security experts to consumers was to wait or at least be cautious before changing passwords. Changing a password on a site that hasn’t been fixed could simply hand the new password over to hackers. Experts recommended that, before making any changes, users check a site for an announcement that it has dealt with the issue. “This is a good reminder that there are many risks online and it’s important to keep a watchful eye around what you’re doing, just as you would in the physical world,” said Zulfikar Ramzan, the chief technology officer of Elastica, a security company.

The extent of the vulnerability was unclear. Up to two-thirds of websites rely on the affected technology, called OpenSSL. But some organizations appeared to have had advance notice of the issue and had already fixed the problem by Tuesday afternoon. Many others were still working on restoring security.

Because attackers can use the bug to steal information unnoticed, it is unclear how widely the bug has been exploited — although it has existed for about two years. On Github, a website where developers gather to share code, some were posting ways to use the bug to dump information from servers. The Finnish security researchers, working for Codenomicon, a security company in Saratoga, Calif., and security researchers at Google found the bug in a portion of the OpenSSL protocol — which encrypts sessions between consumer devices and websites — called the “heartbeat” because it pings messages back and forth. The researchers called the bug “Heartbleed.”

Read on…

Experts Find a Door Ajar in an Internet Security Method Thought Safe 2014-04-11T17:44:30+00:00

Heartbleed – Internet Securty Breach


Critical crypto bug exposes Yahoo Mail, other passwords Russian roulette-style

Lest readers think “catastrophic” is too exaggerated a description for the critical defect affecting an estimated two-thirds of the Internet’s Web servers, consider this: at the moment this article was being prepared, the so-called Heartbleed bug was exposing end-user passwords, the contents of confidential e-mails, and other sensitive data belonging to Yahoo Mail and almost certainly countless other services. The two-year-old bug is the result of a mundane coding error in OpenSSL, the world’s most popular code library for implementing HTTPS encryption in websites, e-mail servers, and applications. The result of a missing bounds check in the source code, Heartbleed allows attackers to recover large chunks of private computer memory that handle OpenSSL processes. The leak is the digital equivalent of a grab bag that hackers can blindly reach into over and over simply by sending a series of commands to vulnerable servers. The returned contents could include something as banal as a time stamp, or it could return far more valuable assets such as authentication credentials or even the private key at the heart of a website’s entire cryptographic certificate. Underscoring the urgency of the problem, a conservatively estimated two-thirds of the Internet’s Web servers use OpenSSL to cryptographically prove their legitimacy and to protect passwords and other sensitive data from eavesdropping. Many more e-mail servers and end-user computers rely on OpenSSL to encrypt passwords, e-mail, instant messages, and other sensitive data. OpenSSL developers have released version 1.0.1g that readers should install immediately on any vulnerable machines they maintain. But given the stakes and the time it takes to update millions of servers, the risks remain high. Read full article…  

Heartbleed – Internet Securty Breach 2015-11-05T20:16:30+00:00

Pick up on Current Events for Link Building

by Attracting a lot of attention with your website is one of the best ways to build links. Giving your website an active role in current events is a lot more efficient than creating the media attention from scratch. Here’s how you prepare your website for future events so you can attract links with your prompt response.

Pick up on Existing Attention

By focusing on events bound to happen but without a fixed date, you can outsmart the competition. Prepare an early response to one of the following examples.

  • Each year has its extreme weather and natural disasters somewhere on the globe. Charity initiatives with a lot of media attention are sure to follow.
  • Scandals in politics or involving celebrities happen each month. Funny responses get a lot of attention.
  • Elections come in many forms and at least once every four years they get an extreme amount on attention.
  • Famous people die. An ode to their work gets media attention. Eulogies are often pre-written, so why shouldn’t you prepare?
  • Movie premieres, electronics introductions, game launches, new albums, and concert tours all require a lot of attention and some of them are bound to get it. Help them with a message that boosts both your popularities and they might even cooperate.

Read full article…

Pick up on Current Events for Link Building 2015-11-05T20:15:45+00:00