Use easy URLs to track your marketing efforts for events, books, products, campaigns.

How do you know if your marketing dollars are leading to revenue unless you can track it? Even small businesses that have one or two events a year need to be tracking how their efforts pay off. Sometimes we pay for ads in directories, sponsor events, sponsor a local team of kids, put an ad …

Read moreUse easy URLs to track your marketing efforts for events, books, products, campaigns.

Vanity URLs – keep it short and matching.

I don’t always take my own advice, and with a name that’s not so unusual, sometimes I just miss out. Vanity URLs give your personal brand a consistent message. Ideally – your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ profile vanity URLs are all the same: @susanfinch . No, I was not able to get …

Read moreVanity URLs – keep it short and matching.

Ghostery and other extensions may block the content you seek.

Tools are developed each month to help us protect our computers, our privacy, our data, our habits while surfing the web. These come in the form of browser add-ons and extensions. Chrome offers them, Firefox does and even Internet Explorer has them. We also use these add-ons and extensions for increasing our productivity. Sometimes we …

Read moreGhostery and other extensions may block the content you seek.

Google Analytics Tip: Annotations to leave a trail of changes.

This is one of the most helpful tips in Google Analytics and it’s not hard to do. Just a couple of clicks and a tweet length description and you’re done.

ANNOTATIONS in Google Analtyics as shown by David Kutcher of Confluent Forms, can allow you to leave a trail of what you did to your site, domain, sitemap, ad campaigns and more that may affect traffic and journeys through your website. 

An example of an annotation on a specific day may be:
Sent out email campaign to 8,000 people to promote XX feature at this page XX. 
Changed domain records and let blahblah.com domain expire as we didn’t use it for anything.
Thinned out home page to be 2mb and 1.41 seconds download down from 10mb and 14 seconds download.

Here’s the thing, if you have many people making changes on your site, creating marketing initiatives, running campaigns, Facebook, Twitter and other paid programs – they all need to make annotations. You need to INVITE them to have access to analytics and to be able to make notes. You don’t have to allow them to manage users, but they need to be able to make notes. It needs to be ALL of the responsibility, including developers who work on roll-outs of new features, bug fixes – to go in and make a note of it so you can understand why there has been a surge or decline in traffic.

Window: Installing software failures and running as administrator

Time to upgrade a program other than Silverlight and Java and iTunes, you may need to RUN as  ADMINISTRATOR. With bigger, more invasive programs, you need to run as the administrator on your PC to give permission for this newer version to fit into your system all the way. If not, you may end up with those messages after a while, “Failed to complete.” “Fatal error on installation.” “Incomplete installation.” and similar. Try right clicking and running as administrator. 

Why Google reminds me of the government more each day.

Ah, there is time to write this because Google Drive is having SERVER issues and we’re all supposed to “try back later.” I’m surprised I’m not getting a busy signal.  A busy signal for you younger people is what you would hear – a repetitive, short burst buzzing to let you know the person you …

Read moreWhy Google reminds me of the government more each day.

Familiar? I’d switch to Gmail, but I’d miss Outlook features.

Gmail has more Outlook-like features than you may realize. Those on GMAIL, especially those missing features of Outlook, you can search in ways you probably didn’t realize – including date ranges, sizes, header only content and more.   There is an option in the “search” field at the top of your Gmail inbox to make …

Read moreFamiliar? I’d switch to Gmail, but I’d miss Outlook features.

If I had a nickel…Webmaster Transitions: Pleading Ignorance Doesn’t Fly by Stephan Hovnanian

f I had a nickel…Webmaster Transitions: Pleading Ignorance Doesn’t Fly
It used to be that you would have “the guy” and he would hold the keys. Uh, BAD IDEA. It’s YOUR presence, YOUR domain, YOUR email, YOUR BRAND.If you decide to part ways for whatever reason with “the guy” there are a lot of aspects of your web presence that you will want to get a copy of. 

We have been on both sides of this discussion, as providers helping our clients move to new providers, and as the new provider for a client who has dumped, been dumped or simply parted ways with a web services provider. Years of hard lessons are now coming to you, free of charge so you are prepared to make that switch when the time comes.

========OUR FEATURED EXPERT========
Meet MaAnna Stephenson:
MaAnna is a geek who can still speak in plain English and helps solopreneurs, small businesses, and non-geeks create sites that gets noticed by search engines and readers. Whole-site setup, consultation and training including WordPress, SEO, content, conversion, security, performance, MailChimp, and memberships.

MaAnna’s links:
Web: http://www.blogaid.net
Google+: http://plus.google.com/11681655725768…
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BlogAid.net
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/BlogAid
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/maannastep…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlogAid

========Your Series Hosts========
Susan Finch – Marketing, PR & Web Pro for DECADES!
With a background in public relations and advertising since 1986, Susan is a “gentle guide for clients trying new venues online.” She engages those skills as she helps create an online presence that will appeal to existing and future clients and/or investors. All these factors are considered before she constructs a suggested plan for clients. It goes way beyond an online presence.

Web: https://susanfinch.com
Google+: http://plus.google.com/+susanfinch
Twitter: http://twitter.com/susanfinchweb
Shout-out: http://binkypatrol.org 

Stephan Hovnanian – Web strategy, Google+ for Business
Stephan Hovnanian is a web strategist and email marketer for Shovi Websites, author of the Google+ Pro Tips series of ebooks on Amazon, and host of a weekly webcast called Google+ Business Spotlight. Stephan distills the content and advice out there on the Web into useful and applicable ideas to help your business make the most of its online presence.

Web: http://www.websighthangouts.com
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+StephanHovna…
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stephanhov
Shout-out: http://gplusspotlight.com

Checking for Broken Links

Do you have a new site? How about a site that you have been working on for years with tons of resources, links to articles, images from other sites and more? Chances are you have broken links. This is known as LINK ROT.  Once a quarter, we recommend using some tools to track down the broken links. THEN you’ll have to learn how to fix them. Creating a sitemap at the same time you are checking your links can increase your site’s visibility to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex etc, and ensures indexing of the web pages that might not be discovered otherwise.

Here are some tools to help you.

http://validator.w3.org/checklink
http://www.deadlinkchecker.com/
http://www.internetmarketingninjas.com/seo-tools/google-sitemap-generator/
http://www.web-site-map.com/
http://www.web-site-map.com/xml_sitemap.php goes wtih: http://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/link-checker.php

join the community: http://bit.ly/geekspeakguides

New Twitter graphic requirements – seeming familiar – YouTube -esque

Twitter has just gone through a MAJOR change in layout. In order to keep your branding consistent and looking good, I’m highly recommending you allow me to update the look to fit the new graphics requirements. Click the image below to see the dimensions more clearly.   Profile & Cover Image: 1500 x 500 and …

Read moreNew Twitter graphic requirements – seeming familiar – YouTube -esque

IE11: It’s time to review your site template, css and content code.

time to review your site code and template html5

With the new year, I’m recommending a template review. Most sites are written in PHP, CFM or HTML code. Some are ASP or other languages. When your site was created, in some cases, there were no smartphones. Most of you have sites more current than that, but code standards are changing with the continued evolution …

Read moreIE11: It’s time to review your site template, css and content code.

Optimizing Your YouTube Channel and How To Use It More Effectively

[one_third]This is a recap of an HOA I participated in with +Mark Vang, +Sean Grace with commentary by +Jose Jimenez. We had a detailed discussion as to how to optimize and better utilize your YouTube Channel. Some of the thoughts here I added because they were NOT covered. Jose’s commentary is at the end.

Remember that YouTube matters because it is indexed heavily and people enjoy, seek out and rely on videos for how to, getting to know a company/brand and to be entertained. With those underlying goals in mind, you need to leverage as many channels as you can to appear in the results and continue to build your brand and message.[/one_third]
[one_third_last]

Ways to Use YouTube:

  • “How To” ideos to position your or your company as the expert.
  • Introductions to key officers, your company
  • Testimonials from clients or strategic partners
  • Public Service Announcements
  • Event recaps or broadcasts
  • Interviews with customers, strategic partners, key team members.
  • Book intros

[/one_third_last]

Many times people toss up a video with a few lines of description. This is a missed opportunity if they end it there. When you create a YouTube video through YouTube, you are able to add a detailed description or recap about the video, mention your brand, your key services, add links to get more information. You can also fill it with key words. The initial tags/keywords suggested by YouTube are based on your description. You may also add more.

But is your channel ready? Have you seen it lately? Here is mine. Do you have a channel for your company or brand? If you are active on YouTube personally with silly videos of pies flying, people crashing and kitties, you may want to add a new channel specifically for business that is branded with your logo/message.

[one_third]We also suggest you invest in a professionally recorded or a high quality video recorded by you introducing your channel and a description for that video telling people what they will learn and find on your channel. My daughter recorded mine as she is learning production at school. I’ll redo it some time, but for now, this means a lot to her. 

[/one_third]

[one_third_last]
Here is a link to Mark Vang’s presentation on Google Drive. The video from the top of this post is also in this.[/one_third_last]

How about that banner graphic? It should match your other banners across the other venues such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook COMPANY PAGE, LinkedIn Company page. Drive home your brand.

Time for playlists. As we have covered in various social media venues, the 70/30 rule, or 80/20 rule applies here too. The bulk of what you share on YouTube or playlists you create should link to others, some may be purely for entertainment, some may promote your members, strategic partners, even your competitors to show groundbreaking information that can benefit all. BECOME THE SOURCE of information on your topic of expertise.

You can breakdown your own playlists by various subtopics such as:
Sports – Baseball, Sports – Football, Knitting, Crocheting – you get the idea. This allows you to add a playlist description – also helpful for SEO and your subscribers. Think of playlists as Pinterest boards – group topics. You can add the same video to multiple playlists, too. You can upload the same video to another playlist if you have a differnt title and description. Sometimes one video covers two major topics and you want to target each of those audiences separately.

So far we’ve only talked about pure YouTube uploads. Let’s add in the multi-faceted option of Google+’s live events, Hangouts on Air or HOAs. With an HOA, you are covering G+ by creating a live event, inviting people, promoting across the other venues with a link for people to register, make comments, share ahead of time. Same branding applies – are you doing this on your Google+ profile, your company page or in a community. If these are all foreign terms to you please see this video which is an overview of the features of Google Plus.

When the event is ready and you create your Hangout On Air from the left menu, it is added to your YouTube channel associated with your G+ profile and posted as an upcoming event on YouTube. At that point you have the direct link to the YouTube video in the making and embed code to be able to add this to your own site and additional venues, invite your panel or invite the public. It’s up to you.

After the event, you are not done. It was wildly successful, you had great participation, questions on Twitter, YouTube, G+. Time to recap and edit the video on YouTube. This is optimizing your YouTube channel further. Many times events will divert to directions you hadn’t planned on. Talk about it. Mention participants, add more key words and put this video into one of your playlists. 

Your playlists can be embedded on your website playing a continuous loop. You can promote your playlists to others inviting them to embed your content on their site – this is great for membership organizations, strategic partners.

What about podcasts? Time to get more use out of your content. If you download the video from Youtube and pull out the audio only using your favorite tool. I use Camtasia Studio for this. You can then upload to your podcast channel on iTunes. You can also do this in reverse. I have a monthly radio show. It broadcasts as audio only. Sometimes I’ll record the show in Camtasia to give me video of my guest. If they are audio only, I’ll get their headshot, company logo, etc. The audio file is posted to the radio site and I produce the video inserting in screenshots, images and sometimes video clips to enhance the audio and then I post it to YouTube. This takes more production, but depending on your guest and topic, it can be worth every extra minute.

Another idea for optimizing your YouTube channel – PSAs (public service announcements). How about creating a playlist of PSAs for your favorite charities or causes? Not only does it give people a better picture of your company and your ethics, interests and view of the world, it benefits the charities. Send them a note when you do this. They may also publicize YOUR channel. Everyone wins.

Here is a list of great examples of YouTube channels that will make you smarter, as gathered by Mashable. Visit these to see how it is successfully done. Try not to be intimidated, only inspired!

Lately I seem to be able to focus on one social media venue sprucing up a week. Any more than that and I’m not earning money and my head will explode. This week is YouTube – it will carry into next week. Look for updates to my channel including new intro videos, more playlists and reposting of some hangouts that I’ve participated in.

The following are comments made by Jose Jimenez as feedback and recap to the event. He was originally set to be our Go-To person on this topic, but was unable to attend. Thank you, Jose for the recap. Mark Vang has also created a post on this event from different angles.

Watch and learn.

Hi +Mark Vang and thanks for an interesting session with +Susan Finch and +Sean Grace. Some really interesting points were raised some of which I will look at going forward. Here is some feedback on some of the areas raised as well as other things that came to mind when watching the hangout:

Content – Before making a video its important to identify customer needs/issues and how you can help them. Videos can be used to help existing customers and for reaching out to new customers so they can serve a dual purpose in some cases.

Repurposing content – Some great points such as the one by Susan about a podcast and using it both ways. I’m working on something similar for a client with a presentation on YT, Slideshare and a post on the website. On this hangout for example you can take a snippet for a specific area, say custom thumbnails, and use this to target relevant keywords.

Intros/Outros – Something to consider for adding to your videos. Similar to a thumbnails as this is a way to set the scene for a video and to finish off with a call to action/contact details. You can also use the outro to get people to view other content.

Playlists – Important to use them as they show up in results. You can add a description to the playlist as well as each individual video (as Susan said). From what I understand this helps from an seo point of view. As with anything social media related, use these keywords naturally. Also, you can add your video to more than one playlist targeting different terms. This can potentially expand your reach.

Unique URL – I think I understood this right but YT does not allow you to change the url of your channel. You can, however, choose to display a G+ name instead.

Tags – Add as many as possible relating the video. Add the most important ones first. Also, look at the keywords being used to search for your video (via analytics) and if relevant, add them to your tags. This could include variations of your keywords for example.

Custom thumbnails – Very important as Susan stated and you can also do a screengrab from a part of the video (preferably relating to what video is about if applicable) and then add words on top of it.

External links via annotations – You can do this by verifying your channel followed by adding your main business website. Thereafter, you have to prove you own/have access to the site and there are a few options to do this.