General Technology Articles to get you through the day.

21 Hot Online Marketing Articles

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It’s Friday night and I thought I’d drop this little Online Marketing Article Roundup into the mix…

One morning this past week, like most mornings, my Inbox was busting at the seams with Online Marketing newsletters, articles, tips, guides and so on.

It’s rare that I have the time to read them, letting my Outlook Filters, Rules and Alerts do their organizing tricks. Of course, with the intention of visiting them at some point in the near future.

But last night, after I finished teaching my Kung Fu class, I opened a few of them and found some interesting reads.

21 Online Marketing Articles to Read Today

We’ve got 6 SEO Articles, 4 Google Articles, 6 Social Media Articles, 3 User Experience (UX) Articles, and 2 WordPress Articles. There may even a Bonus Article at the bottom!

SEO

Google

Google

Social Media

Social Media

User Experience

User Experience

WordPress

WordPress

Bonus

Bonus

Asteroids!

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No, I’m not talking about the pretty amazing Atari game called Asteroids, which I do have fond memories of playing in my childhood.

Instead, I am talking about those orbiting rocky bodies in Space, that some call minor planets, some call planetoids, but in general, we refer to as Asteroids.

Why this sudden interest in Asteroids? Well, although I’ve already mentioned the game that I enjoyed, and there’s many other fun non-scientific things associated with that name, but real Asteroids?

Earlier, I told you how I’ve rekindled my long-time interest in Space.

The day after I wrote that post, I stumbled across a spacey podcast episode about Asteroids, which lead me to subscribing to the full podcast of course.

And the specific Asteroidy podcast episode in question? That would be "How many Asteroids are out there? With Dr. Mainzer."

The Chuckle

As I began to listen to the beginning of the episode, I was honestly reminded of something rather humorous and completely irrelevant (and slightly irreverent). The absolutely hilarious SNL (Saturday Night Live) skit called "Delicious Dish." Yes, it’s completely irrelevant, aside from the voice qualities of the two girls speaking – somehow soft and reserved, yet saying some fun and interesting things…

By the way – I apologize for the quality of the video. It’s not mine and is only a video pointing at a TV screen of the actual show. Horrible, yes. But in searching for a decent representation of the video on YouTube, I quickly realized that the lack of originals and sheer vast volume of re-makes was suggestive of copyright law. Anyway, moving along here. If you watch the video all the way through, you’ll get why I chuckled.

The Goods

The initial chuckling was a bit out of line, but it was probably a good thing; it kept me listening. And I’m glad I did.

I was able to actually learn quite a bit. Here we have two highly-educated professionals in their industries conversing in detail about not only about Asteroids in general, but also the work that goes into studying them. This sounds like a topic that us wee mortals could in no way fathom, however both the show host and Dr. Mainzer broke it down. A step-by-step approach of explanation in layman’s terms.

Dr. Mainzer and her NEOWISE team calculated how many Asteroids are out in space, waiting to be discovered. Now let that sink in for a minute…

The NEOWISE project is the asteroid-hunting portion of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission. Funded by NASA’s Planetary Science Division, NEOWISE harvests measurements of Asteroids and comets from the WISE images and provides a rich archive for searching WISE data for solar system objects.

In short, if you’ve a slight interest in Space, like I do, you will love subscribing and listening to SpacePod.

In Dr. Nugent’s own words:

SpacePod

Visit SpacePod

Hear stories about the alien moons orbiting our Sun, of cold stars, and the future of space exploration. Every week, scientist Dr. Carrie Nugent chats about an amazing part of our universe with an expert guest. Spacepod is the podcast that gives you an inside look into space exploration.


The Resources

I hope you enjoyed reading about my learning experience and perhaps have found a new interest. To close out, let’s look at some scientific resources and those related to Asteroids but not so sciency. 😛

Asteroids – Sciency Stuff

Asteroids – Not Necessarily Science but Cool Nonetheless

3…2…1… Lift Off!

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Pluto in Space

Space has always held me in a bit of fascination.

I can remember even in elementary school, when we would watch the Space Shuttle launches. I remember the devastation of the Challenger and Columbia disasters. I remember one of my classmates who was super into the Space Shuttle program. I remember learning the conste
llations
in Boy Scouts.

Even though I’ve always been interested in Space, I knew that to really get into it, I’d need do some seriously in-depth study in a whole lot of subjects that not only don’t really interest me, but neither do I really have the aptitude for.

So I’ve always just had what I’d call a casual interest.

When I was in school and learning about Space, NASA was the only one I knew of going up into Space. Since then, there is no Space Shuttle program, there are public & private corporations doing Space activities, many other countries are in the game, Pluto has been a planet, not-a-planet and back and forth, we’ve landed things on Mars, we’ve got telescopes in Space and, so many other interesting things have happened.

Like so many other things that we learn in school, the collective activity, technology, progress, media and more regarding Space has changed, evolved, progressed. But when you are no longer in school, you don’t really just "hear" about these things.

At least you might hear a smidgeon of interesting news on the news. But TV is different these days.

For most, if you want to know some details about something, you have to go search for it.

So I have been quite clueless about progress in Space.

That being said, I’ve recently come across a very cool Space podcast that I would recommend for anyone to listen to.

It’s run by a couple of "regular guys" named Stephen Hackett & Jason Snell and, for the reasons stated above, makes it great for me. They are obviously much more educated about the topic than I am, and thus my continued desire to listen.

I learn so much from them on a regular basis and yet I don’t feel like I am being "talked down to."

Instead it’s like listening in on a highly-informative and interesting, yet light and fun conversation about Space and what them science-folks do about it.

Just today I learned about the CST-100 being named "Starliner" and about the Orion program. I learned of these awesome new photos of Pluto thanks to New Horizons and, the knowledge gleaned thus far from them. I learned of some really cool apps, like Did an astronaut enter space? Get a notification! and Luminos.

In short, if you’ve a slight interest in Space like I do, you will love subscribing and listening to Liftoff.

In their own words:

Liftoff

Visit Liftoff

Liftoff is a fortnightly podcast about space, the universe, and everything. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand the latest developments as explained by enthusiastic space fans Stephen Hackett and Jason Snell.

How to Boost Your Computer Speaker Volume

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I know there’s plenty of you out there facing the same problem I’ve been (perhaps for years).

You’ve got a decent computer and some junky old speakers.

Listening through your headphones rock out, but the speakers barely whisper.

Let’s look at what finally worked for me.

Boost Computer Speaker Volume

First check all of the usual bits:

  • Raise the volume sliders on the speaker volume in the taskbar
  • Check all wired connections are correct
  • Check for Audio driver updates
  • Ensure Speaker settings are correct

And if that doesn’t do anything, which it didn’t for me, do this wonderful thing: Raise the Equalizer of the Sound Effects.

There’s two ways to get there, but I’ll just walk you through the most straight forward & easy one.

  1. Press the Start Menu button.
  2. Go to "Control Panel."
    If you don’t see it, type "Control Panel" in the Start Menu search box (at the bottom of the menu) and press Enter.
  3. In the top right of the window, you’ll see "View by:." Change whatever the value is to be "Small icons."
  4. Locate & Click "Sound".
  5. Click the speaker with the green check mark on it and then click the "Properties" button on the bottom right.
  6. Click the tab named "Enhancements".
  7. If "Disable all sound effects" is selected, unselect it.
  8. Select Equalizer below.
  9. Click the button labeled "…" in the Sound Effect Properties box below.
  10. Drag all the sliders to the top.
  11. Press the Save button and select a name for the setting.
  12. Press Okay and Close all the remaining Open windows.
  13. Try out your speakers; if they’re now too loud, go back through the above steps and try adjusting those sliders to a different level.

You’ve boosted your computer speakers volume.

Ta da! Now you can listen to your music, video games, videos or whatever without automatically having to reach for your headphones or spending cash for new fancy speakers.

Digital Video Terminology

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Adobe Premiere

I recently finished a site re-design, complete with mobile responsiveness, for the PATHS Atlanta Kung Fu website and decided I that I need to update the featured video on the homepage.

Although I have a fairly heavy duty video application for editing, most of its power has been extremely under-utilized, since I am a complete N00b to all this.

Sure, I’ve created several videos in the past, but they all scream amateur.

So I’m working on a new video.

But now I am taking a little bit of time to do some research online, read articles, watching videos, etc., to be just a wee bit more knowledgeable.

I’ll never be peer to a professional producer or editor, but I must say that it’s a fun learning experience.

And although I can tell that this current project will end up looking amateurish yet again, it will be one step beyond, intimating that I’m actually towing around with concepts and tools. Think of "cool" Photoshop images with so much drop-shadow and gradients. 😛

Anyway, the point of this post is to share with you a page I’ve come across in my research that is great if you are a complete N00B like myself. Just like the title says, it’s a list of Digital Video Terminology, explaining commonly-used terms in the industry for a N00B like me. And if the explanation isn’t enough, since the terms are quite common industry-standards, you can easily find a Wikipedia article with more in-depth information.

Digital Video Editing Terminology.

10 Hottest YouTube Videos of 2012

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We love Youtube and all it has to offer, don’t we? It can be used for marketing purposes, training, education, communication, and just plain fun. Of course the N00B comments we could do without.

Here’s a quick look at ten of the hottest Youtube videos gone viral of 2012.

  1. KONY 2012
  2. Gangnam Style
  3. A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Street
  4. Opera duo Charlotte & Jonathan — Britain’s Got Talent 2012 audition
  5. Call Me Maybe
  6. Catch the Ice Dude
  7. Somebody That I Used to Know
  8. Donna the Deer Lady
  9. Arrested Drunk Guy Sings Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
  10. Golden Eagle snatches kid

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did!

Quality vs. Quantity

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Quality vs. Quantity

Quality vs. Quantity

Which is better?

If you know me at all, you’ll bet I choose Quality; and you’d be right – every time.

Consider all of the times you’ve dealt with Customer Service for a large company. Out of all the interactions you had, what percentage of them were pretty awesome? I’m going to take a stab and say that it’s a very low number.

So if you have a bad experience, what do you do? Perhaps you complain. And do the companies care? Do they actually do anything about it?

Think now about the "Occupy *blank*" movements. Quite literally, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have complained to governments and big business to change their ways. And what positive change has that brought about?

Now head over to oDesk.com. Do a search for an SEO project or long term job. Look at the rates being bid upon, look at the average rate the employer pays; it’s pennies on the dollar.

Go to LinkedIn.com. Look at the discussions in an SEO group – if the group manager is slack (like most are), then you’ll see the majority of "discussions" are mainly spam. Get bold and become a manager of a group like I did. Delete those topics, send warning posts, delete shady members and…it never stops – they don’t get the message nor care.

Or how about reporting Spam email messages. Does it stop them?

Why Quality is so-often overlooked in favor of Quantity

So why, in all of these examples, and countless others, does nothing positive happen?

Because the world is obsessed with Quantity over Quality. Why on earth should they care about dissatisfaction from a relatively small number of complaintants when the potential opportunities or the non-complainers occupy a much higher number?

And then there is the appearance of the ever-decreasing natural resource: TIME. People feel they have less and less of it – so they need to make those efforts multi-faceted and cover as much ground as necessary in as little time as possible.

Think About It

What would happen if

  • At a restaurant, your waiter buzzed from table to table, getting orders incorrect, not clearing your dishes til after you left, not re-flling your drinks, etc.?
  • You practice a martial arts technique 10,000 times without focusing on proper execution, power, speed, timing, relaxation, application, body structure & alignment, footwork, etc.?
  • You have several job interviews planned in one day and cut each employer short because you’re going to be late to the next one?
  • As a student, you blaze through all required reading assignments and remember nothing from them?
  • Your legs and ribs are broken from an automobile accident, where a driver didn’t have time for pesky stop lights?
  • You spent tens of thousands of dollars in the hottest new automated marketing delivery software and yet…you have a .07% ROI?
  • After your father dies in the hospital due to malpractice, the judge says "Well, 1 out of 10,000 isn’t bad at all"?
  • People used the bathroom without wiping (it takes up too much time)?

Now let’s look at the flip-side. What would happen if

  • Your waiter did their job amazingly well, was conversational, cleared dishes on time, did not seem rushed, smiled, apologized for any mistakes, etc.,?
  • You practice said martial arts technique perfectly, paying attention to all important details, perhaps even focusing on one aspect at a time?
  • During rush hour traffic, someone paused and waved you into the line of traffic?
  • A brand actually responds conversationaly to you after you left a comment on one of their Facebook posts?

Quality Does Matter

You get the point. And the point is Quality DOES Matter!

This has HUGE effects on not only life in so many different aspects, but more specifically to Online Marketing and SEO as well.

THINK before you blast out 500k email marketing campaigns – did you really create your customer personas? Did you really select all the relevant criteria when creating that query of your CRM or database? Are you really sending the email at the right time to the right people? Does your offer really stand out?

THINK before you engage in another mad-genius Social Marketing effort of blasting links, Tweets, blog posts, re-sharing etc., nearly a hundred times a day. Do your customers or potentials really want or need your stuff in their faces that frequently?

THINK before you post a project on oDesk and accept a bid at $2 per hour or some other ridiculous thing (I was personally just approached about an Online Marketing & SEO Manager role, paying $16 per hour – and the average Costco employee makes $17 per hour…get a clue)

THINK before you send out the fifth touch-point email to a potential customer in a month

THINK before you release your Customer Service reps into the wild – Do they really understand the processes enough that they can Converse with the Customer?

And THINK before you enter into some sort of Link Scheme.

In short, Quantity over Quality is the way of the World. In some instances, this is necessary, for example direct sales (those who don’t understand the difference between Sales and Marketing drive me up the wall, by the way). Yet in most other circumstances, it’s a horrible trend that rarely produces anything resembling a positive experience for either party.

Think about it. And feel free to leave your comments.

Video Buffering Blues – Cause and Fix

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Netflix buffering

Netflix Video Buffering

Has this ever happened to you? You’re watching a pretty great movie on Netflix streaming and someone else on your WiFi network is playing a game and every few seconds or so the movie goes dead and you see that annoying swirling video buffering signal?

Or maybe you’re playing your favorite MMORPG but have your Outlook scheduled to download the latest email every 5 minutes, so every 5 minutes you get dropped from the game?

These and other annoying situations have happened to me. Many times. And it’s annoying as hell.

Well it seems there may be a cure.

I came across this Mashable article today and found it refreshing. Western Digital has evidently jumped into the networking game and released a set of WiFi routers called My Net. The routers also come with a configuration application that you can even access via your iPhone or iPad.

What’s the deal? Well, it can prioritize video streams or video games!

In the case of streaming services like Netflix, where the video doesn’t necessarily stop playing but its video quality will suffer, FasTrack can help there, too, keeping that episode of The Walking Dead nice and sharp while your roommate downloads Photoshop.

Video Buffering Cures for Me

Although I’m not a fan of purchasing a new router simply for video buffering issues, I must admit at beaming a little bit with pride at having at least understood the problem a little better.

And now that my wife has finally bought an iPad, we might be looking into some interesting options.

But on the real… Why hasn’t someone come up with a product named "Jimmy Buffer" 😛

Read what Mashable has to say about it – a nice review with costs and more details.

Sick of Video Buffering Over Wi-Fi? This Router Can Do Something About It

Directory Listings – Top 10 SEO Benefits

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Web Directory

Directory Listing

Last month we discussed the Whys and Hows of Local SEO, including localized content ideas, such as including rates and locations. We also touched upon some ideas for link placement, like local rating sites and directory listings.

But why Directories? Perhaps you’re thinking "Directories for SEO? Directories are out-dated and just plain dead!"

Sure – they’ve been around for ages. And they don’t seem to ascribe to the whole social buzz idea. I mean, directories were THE THING at one point. Well, before Search Engines got smart… Right?

Slow down cowboy. Many people still submit to directories, including the pros. Let’s look at the Whys – The Benefits of being in Directories.

Benefits of Directories

Directories have been around since the dawn of the Internet. They’ve been a trusted way to get listed and locate listings. But in today’s world, many feel this dying breed has no benefit. There’s some merit to that idea, but it’s far from completely true. There are still benefits.

Here are some benefits, in no particular order, of having your website listed in a directory:

  1. Affordable
    Most directories are free. And of those that aren’t – most are fairly cheap. Some niche directories. And although more expensive than their counterparts, are also extremely targeted. A small warning, however: if it’s free – make sure the quality & freshness are there. Some of them never actually list your site.
  2. History
    Directories have been around a long time. They were here before Search Engines themselves! And we know that Search Engines pay attention to history. Getting listed in a long-standing directory will have more weight than a fly-by-night set up.
  3. People-based
    Although some of the el cheapo directories will post your listing immediately, some of them have actual humans behind the site. And they manually review the submissions. These are of a higher quality obviously. You’re already getting your first live human test – via submission!
  4. Getting Indexed in the Search Engines
    New website owners have learned the difficulties of getting indexed in a timely fashion. The days of using the "add URL" page of a Search Engine are long gone. Today Search Engines like Google and Yahoo find new sites through links. Directories give you links. And that gives you increased visibility to the Search Engines themselves.
  5. Timeliness
    You’ve built a website and are waiting to be found by the Search Engines Even with on-page SEO, you know how frustrating it can be to sit and wait. So why do it? Most directories, even those manually reviewed, have a fairly short waiting time for being listed. So you’re listed on the internet, especially for your niche target, perhaps Geo-Targeted as well. You have a keyword-focused listing, and an immediate quality one-way link! The Search Engines will pay attention.
  6. Increased Brand Recognition
    Using your brand in the directory listing and linkage creates another digital footprint. This immediately increases brand recognition.
  7. Traffic
    Though you’ll get a boost in traffic from being listed, it will most likely not be huge. It will, however, be more targeted, and that is, afterall, a step closer to a conversion.
  8. Contextually-Relevant and One-Way-Links
    We all love one-way SEO juice-boosting links, and directories are a great place to get them. If it’s a well-managed directory, then you’ll also get the benefit of that link being contextual (a link from a page with topically related content).
  9. SEO Targeting

    • Niche
      Directories are categorized, going from broad to specific. This is much like a folder system and breadcrumb trail. For example, in the Yahoo Directory, the Search Engine Optimization Services sub-category can be found via: Directory > Business and Economy > Business to Business > Marketing and Advertising > Internet > Promotion > Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Can you see how someone arriving to your website via a directory might be more targeted?
    • Keywords
      You get to choose what text to put into your directory listings. This is similar to the Title, Meta, etc., so why would you waste another SEO opportunity? Just look at the above-mentioned "Niche" topic. See how the breadcrumbs can be keywords? Oh and maybe keyword focused (focused, not stuffed) anchor text & descriptions?
    • Local
      Thinking of how directory listings go from broad to specific, we can see how Geo-Targetting and Local SEO can play a role here. For example, if I owned a retail outlet in Atlanta, GA – my listing could be found in the Yahoo Directory via Directory > Regional > U.S. States > Georgia > Cities > Atlanta > Business and Shopping > Shopping and Services > Retailers. At the time of this writing, there are only two listings in this sub-category and only one of them is specific to the actual area. Opportunity there?
  10. Competition
    Is there some competition on the Internet? Just a wee-bit. This makes most of our online marketing initiatives – SEO, SEM, SMO, etc. – a bit of a challenge. The great thing about directories is the very fact that they are dying out by most standards. For example, Google & Bing shut down their directories, pointing folks to DMOZ. Why is that a good thing? Because fewer and fewer people are using them and even fewer keep their listings updated. This gives us an edge. And that’s a good thing.

Bonus SEO Benefit of Directory Listings

And for you serious SEO folks out there – here’s a bonus benefit:

Directories are completely unaffected by the Panda update!

Soon I’ll be covering some of the directories out there, but in the meantime, why don’t you go and see what you can find? Go get listed!

Human-edited directories are often targeted by SEOs on the basis that links from reputable sources will improve rankings in the major search engines.

SEO Link Sourcing: 3 Important Factors

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The Links of SEO

SEO Links Relationship

SEO involves links. We know this. It’s also known that Quality over Quantity is extremely important to Search Engines.

But what do Google, Yahoo and Bing consider to be quality? Not to mention the fact that sourcing links for SEO can be a painstaking process. If we are going to take the time and effort to undergo this endeavor, we need to be sure we get our ROI – the link, and not the black-list.

Let’s look at 3 Important Factors to consider when sourcing links for SEO.


The best way to ensure Google finds your site, is for your pages to be linked from lots of pages on other sites. Google’s robots jump from page to page on the Web via hyperlinks, so the more sites that link to you, the more likely it is that we’ll find you quickly.

SEO Link Sourcing: 3 Important Factors

  1. Link Authority

    What is Authority?
    Some folks like to look at the number of total back links as if the high volume equates to quality, regardless of obvious SEO implicaitons. These numbers can often be misleading, however.

    For example, blog comments and site-wide links… In fact, many of us shy away from judging anything based on numbers alone. But if you want to get some linking in there for SEO, then you must understand that both Quantiy and Quality are very important.

    A small site that is an authority within a niche is a great find indeed – more important than simply looking at how many back links it has.

    Here, it’s not about the site’s link strength, but rather it’s about the trust it has built up. And this trust…You want.

    Especially in SEO.

    Remember the phrase "Birds of a feather flock together"? Well it sometimes holds true. And most Search Engines assume it is.

    So if you want your site to be thought of along the lines of trust, integrity, and thought leadership, you need to associate your online identity with other online identities that rock those things.

  2. Link Relevance

    What is relevant? First off, Spam is not. Secondly, and most ideal, would be an entire website devoted to your niche topic; your niche keywords…It’s where you want to network and collaborate – perhaps exchange guest posts even; for SEO and for overall win-win in life. However do keep in mind that if the site is too low quality, PANDA will drop you.

    But some topics have HUGE amounts of competition. Just think about "Ringtones" or "iPads"…But, think about "Downloadable Ringtones for Macs" or "iPad usage in the Workplace"; now that is a bit more specific, a bit more relevant, and a bit easier to deal with when it comes to link sourcing for SEO.

  3. Link Accessibility

    What is Accessibility? Wikipedia defines it as "a general term used to describe the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible."

    However, not all clubs are built the same. Just in and get yourself a link from a university or scholarly journal. Simple huh? Yeah, but not easy; not in the least. Sourcing quality, authoritative and relative links can be a trick in and of itself. How accessible is it? That’s the last key.

Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.