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4 Tips to Keep Your Website Ahead of the Curve

4 Tips to Keep Your Website Ahead of the Curve
This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business. Sure, having a website for your business serves a practical need: to draw net-surfing users to your product or service. However, it's also much more than slapping on a run of the mill two-column template and calling it a day. Nothing kills an online buzz like a poorly designed or drastically outdated website. Dry and boring default templates, broken assets, confusing pages and invasive widgets do nothing but harm a page's style, which in turn reflects poorly on the company. 2012 is heralding a new wave of innovative web technologies and design, and a page that stays in step with these trends is bound to pique interest and lower your bounce rate. 1. Mail Chimp. A bold design can be obtained with very little money, especially for those who aren't necessarily experienced in coding. 2. 3. 4. Related:  Internet marketingInternet Marketing

How Klout Found Success by Focusing on Users This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business. There's no set formula for startup success. Some companies focus on design, mastering industry research or one-upping competitors to make it to the top. In the case of Internet startup Klout, though, the focus is on users. From day one, Klout Founder and CEO Joe Fernandez's goal has been to "help people understand their influence and to [help them] leverage that influence." The San Francisco-based company measures an individual's influence across the Internet and scores that user's influence on a scale of 1 to 100. During late 2007, Fernandez was recovering from jaw surgery with his jaw wired shut for three months. Fernandez started building Klout during his recovery period. We recently spoke with Fernandez about the journey he has taken in establishing Klout. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Online Ad Spending to Surpass Print for First Time in 2012 [STUDY] For the first time in U.S. history, marketers are projected to spend more on online advertising than on advertising in print magazines and newspapers. According to a study released Thursday by eMarketer, online advertising is expected to generate $39.5 billion in sales this year — a 23.3% increase from 2011 — compared to a sum of $33.8 billion on print. That's impressive growth, especially since 2011 also witnessed a 23% jump in online ad spending, according to eMarketer's calculations. Online ad revenues should continue to grow over the next half-decade, albeit at a more modest rate, as shown in the chart below. Total online ad investment is projected to hit $62 billion by that time. The forecast for print is foreboding. Spending on TV promises to be largely unaffected by growing online ad budgets, although the gap between the two is set to narrow significantly. Image courtesy of iStockphoto, alikemalkarasu

Why Companies Need to Iterate Based on User Feedback Ryan Martens is the founder and CTO of Rally Software, which provides agile application lifecycle management solutions and services to software developers. Rally is Ryan's fourth software startup. Follow him on Twitter @RallyOn. Unfortunately, Twitter and Facebook have become real-time streams of rotten tomato throwing. Just ask Bank of America, which encountered wrath from its Facebook customers when it decided to tack on monthly debit card fees. Or Virgin America, when its site crash and subsequent system failure ignited a blaze of ticked-off fliers. We all know the drill: You’re supposed to listen to your customers in social media, engage them authentically, and act like the human you are, not the company you represent. Given the ability to reach customers and prospects via social networks, it's now easier than ever to embrace customers in your product development process. Users rule the world now; therefore, businesses must be more responsive by using agile and lean practices. 1. 2.

5 Best Practices for Digital Marketers in 2012 Jonathan Gardner is director of communications at ad company Vibrant Media. He has spent nearly two decades as an innovator at the nexus of media and technology, having worked in communications leadership roles and as a journalist around the world. The egg nog’s been drunk, the bells are done jingling, and the mistletoe has been taken down. It’s time to ring in the new year with resolutions that’ll make 2012 one to remember — online and off. Plus, eMarketer projects a 14.4% increase in U.S. online ad spending, and Google says that video ads improve offline campaign results. Even so, let’s resolve to keep our heads on straight and stick close to the best practices that have been winners in the past – they’ll be the ones to see us through a stellar 2012. 1. These days, we’re talking “word ownership” for online branding. But you’d better get there first — key terms such as “football” and “Valentine’s Day” are sure to be hot tickets in the weeks to come. 2. Relevance reigns in 2012. 3. 4.

How to Design the Best Navigation Bar for Your Website Daniel Alves is the design director for the small business web design division at the digital marketing and web design company 352 Media Group. The navigation bar is the most important design element on a website. Not only does it guide your users to pages beyond the homepage, but it’s also the singular tool to give users a sense of orientation. With this in mind, it’s important to adhere to time-tested design and usability conventions. Doing so will give your users a comfortable and easy reference point to fully engage with your content. Despite the necessity of an accessible navigation bar, usability studies on navigation across the web aren’t positive. So how do you ensure that your users are able to quickly and easily find the information they need? The Basics Employ these basic concepts to help users move more efficiently through your website. Start with content. Don't overwhelm. Keep it simple. Actions on the right. Avoid Flash, for the most part. One-Level Navigation Bars Apple vs.

40 Epic Marketing Insights From Google [Data] Ever needed a compelling, reliable stat to help make a point, round out a blog post, or make your ebook even more data-driven? Think Insights with Google, Google's new information and resource hub for marketers, has got you covered! Officially out of beta today, Google's new resource offers helpful tools, studies, trends, stats, and videos to give marketers the data they need when they need it. Use the Real-Time Insights Finder to gather information about your business' target audiences, or simply browse through the site's Facts & Stats. Pretty handy, huh? That's not all, so give the site a breeze-through, and start incorporating some valuable insights and data into your marketing efforts. We've found some pretty awesome marketing stats you can use, for starters. Internet Usage 1) In the last 4 years, the web has gone from 100 million websites to 250 million. 2) 75.5% of the US population uses the internet. 6) Nearly 50% of US internet users will redeem an online coupon this year. Search

10 fiches pratiques de stratégie de présence en ligne Les EPN (espaces publics numériques) sont souvent amenés à sensibiliser les associations et les TPE-PME sur leur présence en ligne dans un environnement professionnel sur le Web de plus en plus complexe. L’agence Axiz eBusiness, sise à Brie-Comte-Robert (Seine-et-Marne) propose des dossiers thématiques gratuits sous la forme de 10 fiches pratiques en pdf permettant de mettre en place une stratégie de présence en ligne en se posant les questions essentielles sur des points à ne pas négliger, complétées par des ressources en ligne ainsi que des présentations proposées sur un espace Slideshare. 10 fiches pratiques de stratégie de présence en ligne 10 outils et conseils pour ne rien oublier d’essentiel lors de la conception d’un site web Pour s’assurer qu’un site est fonctionnel et qu’il répond facilement aux premières questions posées par les internautes, les motive pour continuer leur visite et les aide à finaliser l’action attendue. Comment générer du trafic par la publication d’articles?

Track Website Traffic: 40+ Great Tools The following tools will help you to better understand your website traffic, analyze and monitor all the visitors to your website. You will get access to vital information about your site’s audience. These tool will give you a clear picture of who is visiting your site or blog, how they found you, where they came from, what interests them and much more. Web Traffic Visualization ClickTracks offers intuitive, insightful analysis of your web site. Crazy Egg is a tool to supplement your analytics with stunning visuals and actionable data. Indextools provides e-business leaders accurate, insightful and timely intelligence about the effectiveness of their Web efforts, thereby helping them to increase sales, reduce marketing costs and provide a higher level of service to their customers and partners. Intellitracker is the smart way to drive your business. VisitorVille applies video game principles to help you easily visualize and better understand your web site traffic statistics.

Wahooly, l'influence récompensée, un modèle à développer ? Wahooly est une plate-forme qui met en contact des startups désireuses d’améliorer leur visibilité, d’attirer des premiers utilisateurs et particuliers prêts à utiliser leur capital d’influence sur un réseau à des fins pécuniaires. Article rédigé par François Briod, observateur des enjeux de l’éducation sur internet, co-fondateur d’une ONG qui soutient un village au Cameroun et rédacteur sur Post-Wit. Ce n’est pas par hasard si, c’est en me baladant sur Klout, le « site de référence » en terme d’influence sur les réseaux sociaux, que je suis tombé sur le nouveau projet de Wahooly. Grâce au système de “récompense” (perks) en fonction de son score klout, j’ai bénéficié d’une invitation bêta pour ce concept novateur, révélateur mais pas si prometteur. Wahooly est une plate-forme qui met en contact des startups désireuses d’améliorer leur visibilité, d’attirer des premiers utilisateurs et particuliers prêts à utiliser leur capital d’influence sur un réseau à des fins pécuniaires.

Le marketing numérique en 2011 Étude réalisée par Webmarketing123, auprès de plus de 500 sociétés de marketing, dont l’on voit ici la répartition entre B2B (66,9%) et B2C (33,1%), avec plus d’une sur cinq de ces sociétés, toutes basées aux États-Unis, dépassant quand même les mille employés ! La chose donne donc une certaine valeur à l’étude, qui porte essentiellement sur Étude réalisée par Webmarketing123, auprès de plus de 500 sociétés de marketing, dont l’on voit ici la répartition entre B2B (66,9%) et B2C (33,1%), avec plus d’une sur cinq de ces sociétés, toutes basées aux États-Unis, dépassant quand même les mille employés ! La chose donne donc une certaine valeur à l’étude, qui porte essentiellement sur l’utilisation et l’impact des techniques d’optimisation pour les moteurs de recherches (SEO), de publicité payante (PPC) et de marketing des médias sociaux. - générer des ventes - genérer des prospects - faire connaître la marque - générer du trafic - construire une communauté en ligne

9 Criteria for Establishing Your Business' Brand Essence Brand essence, however, is felt.” These are the words that begin the fourth section in chapter 14 of Brian Solis’ new book, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution. Solis, a new media thought leader and author, describes brand essence as something that exists in our hearts—a thought or a feeling, versus a logo or trademark. Solis discusses the importance of defining your brand essence, something I believe is crucial in your inbound marketing efforts, and with good reason. An article in Science Business reported that American adults created 565,000 new businesses last year. This is the highest level of entrepreneurship seen in over the past 15 years, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. Similarly, companies that have been around for decades need to take the time to reexamine the definition of what their brand essence is. Solis' 9 Criteria for Establishing Brand Essence 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Referral marketing Referral marketing is a method of promoting products or services to new customers through referrals, usually word of mouth. Such referrals often happen spontaneously but businesses can influence this through appropriate strategies. Overview[edit] Referral marketing is a process to increase word of mouth marketing by encouraging customers and contacts to talk as much as possible about a brand or product. Online referral marketing, using digital marketing as a platform, is the internet based approach to traditional referral marketing. Offline referral marketers sometimes use trackable business cards. Benefits of referral programs[edit] On whether customer referral programs are worth the cost, the study says that it records "a positive value differential, both in the short term and long term, between customers acquired through a referral program and other customers. References[edit]

Personalization Is Not A Feature Editor’s note: Scott Brave is the CTO and co-founder, Baynote. We’ve all watched from the sidelines as companies have come out in a burst of glory, and then, two years later, spent their venture capital, lost their user base, and failed to monetize. This begs the question – what are the factors that drive a company’s survival, differentiate it, and ultimately make it a winner? In today’s online world, personalization is increasingly making or breaking companies. The companies that win are the ones making personalization a key company value – not just a feature. In the early days of the web, consumers were happy just to gain access to information. Personalization is not new. Winning companies approach personalization as a core value of how they do business – a “customer-centric” philosophy – rather than an add-on “feature.” News: Flipboard vs. In 2001, Yahoo! Within a year of its founding, Flipboard had amassed a $200 million valuation. Music: Pandora vs. Dining: Alfred (Google) vs.

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