Sunday, December 5, 2010

Things You Should Know About A Website’s Fold

posted by Patrick Burt - A Blog for Web People

In this week’s series about Web Usability, we will be dealing with folds and what you need to know about them. Knowing about your fold can help you with ad click-throughs, general design and web usability. It gives you the needed knowledge so that you can appropriately place elements on your website. Let’s start off with the basics.

When dealing with websites, what is a fold?

A fold is the section of your website that is viewed before a user has to use the scrollbar. The term comes from the newspaper industry where important front page content was literally placed above the fold so it can be viewable in newsstands when the newspaper is folded.

Why are folds so important?

Users are lazy, users are skimmers and users sometimes feel inconvenienced if they have to scroll to reach their destination. Because of this, they might have missed out on something like an ad display or internal marketing campaign just because it was placed too low on your website, below the fold. That’s why it’s important to take your website’s fold into consideration when designing and advertising on your website.

In Jakob Nielsen‘s and Hoa Loranger’s book about Web Usability, they detail that when the users they tested landed on a page with more then a screenful of content, less then half actually scrolled to view the rest of the page. That’s a significant number, that’s enough for you to sit down and think about solutions if you think this is a problem with your website.

Where is a website’s fold?

In a previous article detailing how wide and tall you should design your websites, I stated that to fit vertically into the majority of your users’ browser window, having a total height of less then 500 pixels is a safe bet. That means, your website’s fold is located in the first 500 pixels of your website. You’re nearly guaranteed that when a user arrives to your website, the first 500 pixels are being viewed. This takes into account the place taken up by browser items and operating system items. This is also based on the the fact that your user’s smallest screen resolution is 1024×768.

What should be above the fold?

This all depends on the objectives of your website. There are items that should ALWAYS be above the fold, simply because these are features users are accustomed to and they apply to every website. The more accessible you make them, the more users you are likely to please, and the more likely they are to keep reading your website. The items I recommend are:

  • Navigation (most of it anyway)
  • Contact Page
  • About Page
  • Search Form
  • Logo or Identifier

These are incredibly important. For example, there is no reason you should design a 800 pixel tall website with a navigation uniquely at the bottom of the page. Especially if 50% of users will never see it. Consider these issues if you’re designing a website.

Here are some examples of great items to have above the fold:

  • Ads (Affiliate, Adsense, etc.) – If you’re looking to make some profit
  • Navigation that improve stickiness – In my case, this involves a link to Recent Posts or Related Posts, the least important navigation items such as Archives are located at the bottom of my navigation
  • RSS Feeds - Easier for users to find out how to subscribe
  • Social Bookmarking – Users might feel more inclined to share your article if the button is easy to find
  • Product/Company Intro – Put this information up front, people crave it.
  • Internal Marketing/Specials – If you want to convert visitors into customers, keep your advertising above the fold.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Google Cooks Up a New Recipe for Local Search

Posted by Linc Wonham, Website Magazine...

The engineers at Google have recently been throwing a lot of new ingredients into local search, working to improve both user experience and merchant visibility. This week’s announcement of a new local recommendation engine called Hotpot is the latest culmination of those efforts.

Hotpot is an extension of Google Places, the local search database of more than 50 million locations in which merchants can claim their businesses, provide their addresses and other information, and engage with customers. Hotpot adds two important new features into the mix: user ratings and recommendations from friends.

The ratings are done on a five-star system, and a user can share a business’ ratings to get further recommendations from friends. One example of this would be if a user is visiting a town for the first time and has an online friend that has also visited that town or is a local resident. That friend’s recommendations for restaurants and hotels will provide an added, trusted element to the ratings the user discovered during the original search.

Google’s new feature is not exactly new in that it essentially provides the same service as Yelp and other local-recommendations services, but it confirms Google’s growing interest in local search – not to mention some poorly named new features lately. The mere fact that Google Places provides Hotpot with a database of 50 million businesses out of the gates means that it may very well catch on – and local businesses that aren’t already in that database should change that right away.

Call of Duty Smashes Five-Day Sales Records

By: Nick Bilton, New York Times, BITS Blog..

The latest first-person shooter video game, Call of Duty: Black Ops, continues to break records worldwide after going on sale late last week.

According to Activision, its publisher, just five days after its release the game has generated more than $650 million in worldwide sales, beating out Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which smashed previous sale records when it was released last year.

Just to compare, “The Dark Knight,” the top-grossing movie as measured five days after release, pulled in $200 million.

Eric Hirshberg, chief executive of Activision, said in a phone interview that the game was “the biggest five-day launch in entertainment history across any media,” including theater, movies and gaming.

“I think this speaks volumes for the appetite that people have for great immersive gaming experiences,” Mr. Hirshberg said. “Treyarch, the game’s creators, really upped the ante on the quality of the story and the characters, and it really plays like a blockbuster movie where you’re the central actor.”

In a press release, Activision said Black Ops has also surpassed online gaming records. Since the game’s introduction on Nov. 9, more than 5.9 million multiplayer hours were logged on the Microsoft Xbox platform where gamers can battle each other in the virtual worlds. The release also noted that more than 2.6 million people had played the game in the last five days.

Mr. Hirshberg said people had purchased relatively equal numbers of the game for different gaming platforms, including the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation PS3, desktop PCs and the Nintendo Wii. “It seems to be across the board people are immersed in the game, irrelevant of gaming systems,” he said.

The company said it had also seen heightened interest in the 3-D version of the game, although relatively few people have 3-D televisions.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Web Design Tucson - A Fresh Approach Media

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Single-Minded: How Facebook Could Beat Google to Win the Net

ANALYSIS — In 1993, The New Yorker ran a famous cartoon with two dogs near a computer, with one mutt telling the other “On the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog.”

Oh, how times have changed.

In the Facebook internet, everyone knows exactly what breed of dog you are.

That was Facebook’s real trick — convincing the world to identify themselves online. They pulled that off by giving net users a place to share photos and pithy updates, when the real purpose of Facebook, it turns out, is to layer identity over the fabric of the web.

Google slayed Microsoft and Yahoo in the battle for search supremacy but it has been slowly losing momentum in what may turn out to be the real war — the one for the display ad revenues — to an unlikely foe: the dorm-room-born Facebook. For years, Google’s natural enemies seemed to be Microsoft and Yahoo. But as the search giant trounced those giants in the search space battle, it’s been slowly losing momentum in what may turn out to be the real war — the one for the display ad revenues — to an unlikely foe: the dorm-room-born Facebook.

We’ve seen a public pissing fight this week over who owns social network contact information, but that’s just the start.

Next Monday, Facebook is reportedly getting into Google’s e-mail face, mounting a challenge to Gmail, Google’s most successful social product. Users will reportedly get or e-mail addresses. But more importantly, Facebook already has ranking scores for every one of your relationships with contacts on Facebook and will use that to prioritize your inbox, according to the tech rumors.

That’s an important side battle, but it’s not where this war will be lost or won. That’s not where the money is.

Facebook, which began its life as a small private club for Ivy Leaguers, now has its sights set on what might be the net’s biggest pot of gold yet: a way of placing ads anywhere on the net with a granularity Google can only dream of — in no small part because Google promised its users never to go down that path.

And that’s why Google, the web’s most successful advertising company, sees Facebook, not Microsoft’s Bing, as its biggest rival.

Some tech pundits foresee a Facebook future where friend recommendations replace search, or Facebook gets enough data from what users like to make a more relevant search engine. That’s unlikely, for a number of reasons, including that Facebook profiles aren’t that detailed and that Google is already building social into search (look here if you are logged into a Google account to see a glimpse of what’s going on).

Instead, follow the money Facebook is making now. Depending on how much you have filled out your Facebook profile, you might have noticed that Facebook ads are sometimes eerily too good, as if Eminen’s music label actually knows what kind of music you like.

If you’ve had that sneaking feeling, then you know exactly why Google is trying to play social catch-up with Facebook, and how Facebook could single-handedly save the online publishing industry.

What gnaws at Google is not so much that Facebook users spend a lot of time on its competitor’s site. And it’s not even that Facebook gets so many page views that it now serves up an astounding 23% of the U.S.’s online display ads, according to a recent survey by comScore. That’s more than twice as many as Yahoo server and ten times as many as Google, though Facebook’s rates remain low.

Instead, the search giant is scared by two things it sees as possibly undermining its stature as the web’s top tech company.

One, there’s so much interaction and information being shared inside Facebook that it has become a decent-sized replica of the Web inside the Web. And Google can’t crawl and analyze much of what happens in there. That’s a problem when your goal is to organize the world’s information. Google is blind to this because much of what happens on Facebook remains in Facebook. (Ironically, this is due to users’ privacy settings, which Facebook has relentlessly tried to chip away at over the last four years.)

The problem is that Google built a wall between user search data and advertising — and the mammoth financial success of AdWords proved that the separation was fine at the time.Two, Facebook knows who you are and has the right to use that information because you explicitly gave it to them. Google has different kinds of data that reveal a lot about who you are and what you are interested in — some of it very private. But very little of that data is information you explicitly told the company to share, and they’ve assiduously promised not to use your search history and e-mail data to profile of you.

For years, that’s not been a problem for Google. They made the majority of their $7.29 billion in revenue in the third quarter from little text ads that show up next to and above search results.

Those adds are all keyed off the words you type into that little box. There’s no targeting involved. It doesn’t matter to Google’s AdWords system who you are, what you’ve searched for before, or what you do in other Google services (the only real targeting available in AdWords now is by location).

Google then expanded this program in 2003 to run ads on other people’s sites, its AdSense product, which now includes text and display ads. For years, those ads were also purely contextual, based mostly off the words on the site running the ads. So if you ran a blog about your life as a dentist, your readers would see ads for dental floss and teeth-whitening products.

But then, in search of a new revenue stream, Google bought DoubleClick in 2007 for more than $3.1 billion.

DoubleClick is one of the net’s display ad giants and has been serving banners ads on sites across the net since the early 1990s, using each ad serving spot as a way to track what you are reading to make inferences about your interests and build a pseudonymous profile of you tied to a cookie in your browser.

But despite having a large number of sites running the ads (including, AdSense/Doubleclick ads still account for only 30 percent of Google’s revenues. And, surprisingly, the targeting isn’t very good. You can go here to see what Google thinks it can deduce about you just from your browsing.

The problem is that Google built a wall between user search data and advertising — and the mammoth financial success of AdWords proved that the separation was fine at the time. A search query was likely to show intent, and it really didn’t matter to advertisers selling something who the searcher was.

To make display ads better, Google kicked a hole in that wall in 2009 when it started including the videos you watch on YouTube as a way to target display ads ads at you.

Google isn’t talking about how well those ads perform compared to its purely contextual ones. But according to a Wall Street Journal story from this summer, Google is “soul-searching” over ways to turn what you do while logged into Google into data that can be used for targeting ads. That’s agonizing for Google since it’s always promised that it would keep that usage data separate from its ads.

But Facebook has never made that promise, and its users don’t seem turned off by the targeted ads.

They know they gave up the targeting data by typing it into their profile box, by becoming a fan of a company on Facebook or clicking a “Like” button. And now Facebook is training users to stay logged-in to Facebook all the time, for the convenience of logging in to sites or “liking” a story.

Why does that matter?

It matters because now you are your Facebook identity all over the net, telling every site that plays in the Facebook ecosystem exactly which dog you are, that you like playing fetch and what other dogs you run in a pack with.

Which means, it’s a virtual certainty that Facebook-targeted ads are going to start showing up in your hometown’s newspaper, your favorite online music site and hundreds of other sites you visit. And unlike the targeted third-party ad systems run by Microsoft, Google and others, there’s no need to track you around the net to try to infer from your reading and video viewing habits how old you are, where you went to college or what you are into.

As the underdog in this fight, Google’s best weapon will be openness — tying to turn users against the walls of Facebook, while Facebook will try to be just open enough to keep users and partners from revolting.Facebook knows all of that already because you told them. Facebook touts the story of a wedding photographer in Michigan who’s expanded his business tremendously simply by targeting ads at locals who mark themselves as “engaged.” Gabriel Weinberg, the one-man show behind the search engine DuckDuckGo, went so far as to create an ad targeted just at his wife.

Now, Facebook advertisers don’t actually know anything about you — at least not until you click on an ad, visit their site and handover your e-mail address. Instead, they use a simple panel in Facebook that lets them choose what categories to target, including age, location, education and gender. They can further target ads based on the things you have liked or added to your profile. Facebook runs the ads on a company’s behalf but never turns over a list of who fits the targeting criteria to the advertisers.

As a private company, Facebook doesn’t have to share public numbers, but a spokesman told that advertisers are getting comfortable with Facebook, and it has thousands of advertisers. Revenues are estimated at $1.3 billion a year and rising, while investors and secondary markets are valuing the company at more than $40 billion on Sharespost, a private stock market.

That despite the fact that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has never loved ads. He kept them off his site as long as he could, and even the ones that run now are relatively small, given how big and loud ads have gotten on the Web outside of Facebook. Some marketers complain that the Facebook ads just aren’t visible enough on the site, so they concentrate their efforts on getting people to “fan” their pages, in hopes the news that you like “Starbucks” makes it into the news feeds of your friends.

Facebook says it’s not working on any third-party ad system, and right now, it doesn’t need to. It’s flush with cash from investors, who’ve poured hundreds of millions into the company, without Zuckerberg losing control. It can bide its time, making Facebook even more central to the internet, building more relationships with top advertisers and convincing more sites to turn over their login systems to Facebook.

But it’s a near inevitability Facebook takes the same, logical step Google took and starts putting ads on third-party sites, targeting Facebook users reading the Washington Post, The Daily Beast, or your hometown newspaper.

Those ads could be splashy and dominant – the way advertisers like them these days, without distracting from the Facebook experience. They can also be very targeted, without Facebook having to hand over the info about that reader to the website.

It has the potential to be the opposite of Google’s Adwords/Adsense division, with huge profits coming from outside the Facebook walls. Facebook could then grab a giant and dominating slice of an evergrowing online display ad market, while simultaneously making display ads actually targeted.

Facebook even makes the case that its ad system is less creepy than third-party systems that track you, mostly without you realizing it, around the web. While they do see what you are doing around the web when you are logged into your Facebook account and there is a “Like” button on that site, the company says it does not mine that information and deletes it after three months. No other third-party ad network comes close to forgetting so soon.

Facebook’s advantage is that they probably don’t need to do this sort of tracking, given all the profile data, friend connections and likes that you’ve fed into their system. If advertisers and users get comfortable enough with ads based off that data, then there’s no reason that a site such as the New York Times wouldn’t want to turn over at least some of their ad sales to Facebook. Having spent years getting advertisers used to targeting the Facebook generation, Facebook would be able to charge very high rates to advertisers.

That’s because it would not only be able to do very granular ad targeting, but it could do so on a site with the reputation of the New York Times.

Online papers love the idea of targeted ads, because contextual ads just don’t work for news. What ad are you going to put up next to a story about a flood in India? An ad for Indian rugs? What about next to a story about a plane crash? Or even a story about a run-of-the-mill mayoral election?

One hope to fix that giant problem facing the media industry is to know who your readers are.

And that means building identity into the internet.

Facebook’s the only company to have done so, and that’s why Google is fighting to catch up to “social.”

There may not be room for more than one online identity company on the net, but Google has assembled a high-powered team of coders and thinkers, including Slide’s Max Levchin, the open social evangelist Chris Messina and Live Journal’s Brad Fitzpatrick Plaxo’s Joseph Smarr, to take on the Facebook crew.

As the underdog in this fight, Google’s best weapon will be openness — tying to turn users against the walls of Facebook, while Facebook will try to be just open enough to keep users and partners from revolting. The best case scenario? Google figures out how to turn identity into an open protocol like e-mail — something you can host and control anywhere that lets you stitch together whatever services you like.

And if that effort fails, Facebook’s relatively benign child-king will be in control of what you can and can’t do with your identity on the internet.

And Mark Zuckerberg will have built a company worth more than $100 billion — and maybe worth more than Google.

Update: The post originally named Brad Fitzpatrick as part of the Google’s team focused on social apps, but he’s working on Android. Joseph Smarr, formerly of Plaxo and part of the Open ID movement, is working on social, however.

Photo: escapedtowisconsin

Call of Duty 7: Black Ops

Last years Modern Warfare 2 broke sales records and has sold over 20 million copies to date. Janco Partners' Mike Hickey believes that Black Ops could match sales of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 by selling over 18 million copies this holiday.

Black Ops could generate over $800 million on just the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC platforms alone. For comparison, Modern Warfare 2 sold 4.7 million copies on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in one day and generated over $1 billion by January 2010. With only just a few days left before the games release, it remains to be seen whether Black Ops will top the blockbuster launch of Modern Warfare 2.

Here are some great lesser-known features of Call of Duty. The list below applies to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.

Multiplayer Online Split-Screen Support
Let’s get started with what I believe is the most unknown, yet confirmed, aspect to Call of Duty: Black Ops Multiplayer -- the online split-screen support we’ve re-introduced to the franchise! This applies to both the Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3.

The Facts:

■You can connect a 2nd controller and bring a Guest online.
■Guests can rank up, earn unlocks, etc -- all Guest progress goes away once signed out.
■(Xbox 360 only) You can bring a 2nd, Gold Xbox LIVE account online!
■(Xbox 360 only) Both players with full online accounts can rank-up while playing split-screen, as if on two separate consoles.

Custom Games Editor
Allow me to introduce the Black Ops Custom Games editor! Private Matches have never been this customizable. Players will have the ability to structure their games at all new levels of granularity. From variables as simple as Time Limit and Score Limit, or as deep as which weapons, Perks, and gear is available. You want a Pistols Only match? Make one! No longer do custom game modes rely on the "honor system".

Furthermore, any Custom Game you create and configure can be placed in your File Share, for friends and the community-at-large to browse, download, and enjoy. You just might create the most addictive new game mode of all time from the comfort of your own living room!

In-Game Friends List
We’ve integrated a built-in Friends List into the in-game User Interface. You’ll be able to browse Recent Players, Friends, navigate their File Shares, Recent Games, Combat Records -- all within this in-game menu system designed to streamline the social process within the game. Sending game invites and joining Friends’ games has never been simpler than in Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Regional Matchmaking & Party Privacy
Call of Duty: Black Ops will support regional matchmaking filters on a global scale. So, no matter where you’re at in the world, you will have the ability to specify whether you want to match with players from other geographical regions, or only those local to you. This will make communication and lag a much less intrusive variable on your gameplay experience.

Additionally, given Black Ops will support joining games in progress via an even simpler built-in in-game Friends List interface, we’ll allow a Party leader to lock down his lobby to Invite Only, Friends Only, or even Close it altogether if he wants to be in complete control over who enters and exits the Party Lobby.

Emblems Do NOT Reset with Prestige
This one is pretty cut-and-dry -- a frequently asked question is, "Will my kickass emblem I spent hours perfecting be lost when I prestige??" The answer is, "NO!" -- Emblems are one of the only aspects of Black Ops MP that do not get a full reset upon entering Prestige. Things that will reset when you Prestige are: XP, COD Points, Challenge progressions, Loadouts, etc.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why entrepreneurs should take a salary

Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco, Financial Post · Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010

Experts say entrepreneurs with new ventures are often hesitant to pay themselves, believing it isn’t in the best interest of their company.

“There are a couple of reasons entrepreneurs need to think about at least registering a salary for themselves on their month-to-month expenses,” says Michael Mauws, Professor, Business Policy & Strategy at Athabasca University Faculty of Business. “Some entrepreneurs, particularly in the early days of a startup, don’t want to take a salary because they’re worried how their employees are going to perceive it. They want to send the signal they’re sacrificing for their company so everyone else should as well. In the long run, it’s not a way to get good people in your organization. They’re likely to think that if you can’t afford to pay yourself, how stable is their pay cheque?”

However, it is in the best interest of the company that an entrepreneur pay themselves a salary — even if they’re sinking every penny of that salary back into the business, Prof. Mauws says. “One reason is that you’re trying to assess the profitability of the venture and if you go to sell it, people want a realistic idea of its expenses and revenues. If you are an owner-operator, actively involved in the business, then your salary is a legitimate cost that needs to show up in the financial statements. Or if at some point you want to put someone else in the management suite but not sell the company, you want a realistic idea if there’s going to be any money left over at the end of the day. If you’re living off fictitious profits because you’re not claiming a salary, you’re going to have a rude awakening when you try putting someone in that role.”

Claiming a reasonable salary that is reflective of the cost of having the managerial talent you represent for your company simply makes a lot of sense. “What you don’t want to do is in your salary also be taking out any of your rewards for ownership — the equivalent of dividends. It should reflect the cost of replacing the entrepreneur in the management capacity,” says Prof. Mauws.

The reality, however, is that many startups are starving for cash and the entrepreneur is willing to make deep financial sacrifices to get his or her venture off the ground. In some cases, these sacrifices are not a choice but a necessity. “This is particularly so if they haven’t yet received angel financing or venture capital into the company and they’re in the early boot-strapping days when they’re begging friends and family for money. They feel guilty if they’re taking money out of the business,” Prof. Mauws says. “They can still claim their salary but each month, they can make a shareholder’s loan to the company or purchase more shares, and put as much cash back in as they need. It is a legitimate concern not to want to starve the business for cash by paying yourself a salary in the short run when you expect a positive cash flow down the road. So I wouldn’t want to say every entrepreneur should literally pay themselves a salary but I do think it is useful for entrepreneurs to reflect a salary in their financial statements and talk to their accountant about the best way to get that money back into the company if that’s what’s needed.”

LG’s Android 3.0 tablet with dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 to arrive early 2011?

Posted on 05 November 2010 by Android

Well, here’s something from the wilds of Korea: LG is reportedly planning to roll out an Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb) tablet in the first quarter of 2011! This news comes after one of us got to talk to LG Electronics Asia vice president of corporate marketing Sandeep Khanna, where he confirmed that they had ditched efforts to make a Froyo tablet. Recall that Google itself said that “if you want Android Market on that platform, the apps just wouldn’t run. Froyo is not optimized for tablets.”

Tweet, Tweet: 9 Steps to a Successful Twitter Strategy

By Brian Anthony Hernandez, BusinessNewsDaily Staff Writer

Like a little birdie whispering the secret to social media success in their ears, business owners keep hearing the oft-repeated business advice: Tweet, tweet. But, while the advice is clear enough, the devil is in the details of how to create and maintain an effective Twitter strategy.

Some businesses never even bother to try Twitter. Others join and fail to effectively use the free service. And a few manage to join the social media network and flourish. Having a plan before diving in can make all the difference.

“The unifying force driving businesses to Twitter today is a simple concept: Consumers don’t like being ignored and businesses know they need to listen,” said communication strategist Ben Grossman of the marketing agency Oxford Communications.

“To avoid the doomed destiny that many businesses have found on Twitter, businesses must enter with a strategy that allows them to experience early successes and long-term evolution with their ‘tweeps’ (people who follow the company on Twitter). Without a strategy that allows for those early successes, businesses run the risk of getting discouraged, being deemed irrelevant by their prospects or tweeting into thin air,” Grossman said.

BusinessNewsDaily asked Grossman to craft a step-by-step process to help businesses develop a Twitter strategy. In his nine-step guide, he also includes questions businesses can start asking themselves today:

Step 1 – Assess business challenges: For businesses to see value in Twitter, strategies must be designed to overcome business challenges. Do you need to get better at customer service? Do you need to encourage incremental sales? Do you want to tap into consumers for research and development?

Step 2 – Create marketing goals: One marketing tactic likely isn’t going to solve a business’s entire challenge, so it is important to define what part of that challenge Twitter can help with. Will it help increase peer-to-peer endorsements? Will it let you resolve your most vocal customers’ complaints? Will it make you aware of emerging product or service opportunities that will expand your business?

Step 3 – Listen: Do some preliminary listening to what people are saying on Twitter to make sure your goals are reasonable. Based on current levels of conversation, will your messages resonate? Will there be enough people to engage with you on the level you’d like to?

Step 4 – Set objectives: Set objectives so you can see the short- and long-term benefits of your Twitter strategy paying off. What Twitter-specific metrics will you use to measure your success?

Step 5 – Plot out actions: What tactics will you use to leverage Twitter? Will you conduct outreach to people talking about certain subjects? Will you search people’s profiles for mentions of geographic areas? How often will you post? What topics will you post about?

Step 6 – Plan process: This is a step many businesses miss in the excitement of starting a Twitter profile. It’s extremely important to put processes in place that won’t let the business fall off the saddle. Put processes in place that proactively alert the curator of the Twitter presence to hot tweets that need attention. It is key during this phase that the curators be honest with themselves about their time restrictions and willingness to make Twitter a priority. During this phase, also consider the wide range of tools available to make your action plan easier. OneForty offers a great directory of Twitter tools and HootSuite is, for many, a mission critical tool.

Step 7 – Prepare for emergencies: What will happen if a user turns on you or there is an unexpected development within your business? Make sure to have a plan in place for what you are willing and able to do to make it right. Sometimes, taking heated exchanges off Twitter and to real life or e-mail is the best thing you can do.

Step 8 – Activate consistently: Make sure that your plans will allow you to keep your Twitter efforts active over the long term. Have backup curators and content in place for the inevitable sick, busy or just plain “over it” days.

Step 9 – Measure and refresh regularly: Start activating your Twitter strategy with specific times scheduled in the future to stop and review progress, success and areas for improvement. Also, make sure to refresh your approach every once in a while. Are there new opportunities for your Twitter strategy? What about new business challenges to take a look at?

“Without a long-term openness to evolving strategy with their Twitter community,” Grossman cautions, “businesses’ Twitter involvement can cease to grow, become rote or fail to provide meaningful returns.”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Facebook User Names for Pages

Here is a quick "how to" change your Facebook Fan Page User Name... posted by Pages on

Below is an FAQ specifically for Page administrators on the new process and how to obtain a username for your Page.

How can I secure a Username for my Page?

If you are an administrator of a Facebook Page, you will be able to choose your username just like a user selecting a username for their profile. Go to http:/ and you will be prompted to choose a username for the Page you administer.

I am an administrator for multiple Pages on Facebook, how can I secure a Username for each of them?

If you are an administrator of a Page, you will be able to choose a username for each Page at http:/ There will be an interface for you to choose usernames for the Facebook Pages you administer.

Why should I register a username for my Facebook Page?
Usernames allow public entities to easily promote your presence on Facebook with a short URL ( This username can be used in your marketing communications, company website and business cards.

What are the guidelines around creating a username for Facebook Pages?

Usernames were created to make it easier for Facebook users to identify their profile and share with others. As a public figure, business or brand with a Page on Facebook, your username should be straightforward and easy to remember. Facebook encourages you to consider the following when creating a username for Pages:

• Create a username that is as close as possible to your public figure or business name (e.g. AshtonKutcher, PizzaHut).
• If you own the rights to a given name, make it your username so that others cannot obtain it.

• Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (".").

• Choose a username you will be happy with for the long term. Usernames are not transferable.

• Your username must adhere to Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

I accidentally selected the wrong/misspelled username for my Facebook Page. Can I revise it?
No. Once you have claimed a username by clicking the “Set Username” button, it is not possible to edit it, or to transfer your username to a different account on Facebook. Additionally, when an account is removed from the site, its username will not be made available to other users for security reasons.

Can I have more than one username for a Facebook Page?

No. Only one username is allowed per Page.

What should I do if someone’s username infringes my rights?

If you wish to report that someone’s username infringes your rights, please fill out our automated IP infringement form. The form is located at

I am an authorized representative for a public figure, brand or business and/or hold the rights to a trademark name. My username was claimed by another user. What can I do?

If you wish to report that someone’s username infringes your rights, please fill out our automated IP infringement form:

What is the process to request removal of an unauthorized Page of a public figure, brand or business?

If you wish to report that someone’s username infringes your rights, all you need to do is fill out our automated IP infringement form:

Will usernames such as “flowers” or “pizza” ever be available for Facebook Pages? Can I sign up on a waiting list?

At this time, generic words are not available as usernames. Facebook encourages all users and Page administrators to create a username that closely matches the true identity of their name or business.

For additional questions, visit the usernames Help page at:

CEA Tech Enthusiast Membership - Great Benefits for Early Adopters who Enroll

For the first time in history, the Consumer Electronics Association is opening its membership to individuals. CEA, the producer of the International CES, the world's largest technology trade show, has launched a whole new membership category - The CEA Tech Enthusiast Membership.

Who is this category for?

Early Adopters and fervent supporters of consumer technology (members of the press are welcome).

What benefits come with a CEA Tech Enthusiast Membership?

* Online discounts from technology companies - Multiple CEA member companies have become corporate partners of the Tech Enthusiast membership category, offering a variety of exclusive offerings

* Beta testing opportunities

* Inside industry information on the latest technology trends

* Access to an exclusive members only website which includes a forum to speak with other tech enthusiats

* Free digital access to CEA publications, podcasts and original content

* An opportunity to become a CEA blogger

* The first 1,000 registered members are invited to a special celebration on the final day of the 2011 CES in Las Vegas on January 9.

How much does CEA Tech Enthusiast Membership cost?

Believe it or not, it is only $49 a year, with a special introductory price of $29 for the first 2,000 members.

Are you the Ultimate Tech Enthusiast?

CEA has lauched a nationwide search for the Ultimate Tech Enthusiast. If you think you qualify for the "Are You One of Us?" contest, create a short video explaining why you are the Ultimate Tech Enthusiast and upload it to the CEA Tech Enthusiast Fan Page on Facebook. The Grand Prize is a VIP 2011 International CES Experience for the Ultimate Tech Enthusiast and a guest and one lifetime CEA TEch Enthusiast Membership. Video submissions will be accepted through November 30, 2010 and online votion will occur December 1-10. The winner will be announced December 15.

I just signed up for a Tech Enthusiast Membership for myself. I've always been able to attend CEA events with a Press Pass, but the benefits of this membership are far too amazing for me to pass up. For $29 (I was one of the first 2,000) the discounts, forum and everything make the Tech Enthusiast membership too good a deal for any techie to pass up. Are you going to join?

Click Here to Join CEA Tech Enthusiast

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Walking Dead

Posted by: The Hollywood Reporter

AMC Renews
'The Walking Dead' for Second Season

The Walking Dead is coming back for a 13-episode second season.

The drama series, toplined by Andrew Lincoln, has broken ratings records, with the show reaching more viewers in the 18-49 demo than any other cable TV show after two episodes.

The Walking Dead's series premiere on Halloween drew 5.3 million total viewers and Sunday's "gutsy" episode took in 4.7 million -- that's an incredibly high retention of a record rating and surely made this pickup an easy decision for AMC.

The show was also pre-sold internationally through Fox International Channels, which is also going to distribute the show's second season.

“The Dead has spread!” said Charlie Collier, President, AMC. “No other cable series has ever attracted as many Adults 18-49 as The Walking Dead. This reaffirms viewers’ hunger for premium television on basic cable. We are so proud to be bringing back The Walking Dead again, across the globe.”

“I wish all programming decisions were no brainers like this one,” said Sharon Tal Yguado, SVP Scripted Programming. “The Walking Dead is a TV masterpiece on so many levels. We want at least 10 seasons, if not more”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Go Hog Wild Rentals - New Website Launch

Go Hog Wild Motorcycle Rentals, owned by the McLains, Matt and Erica - a couple of rootin', tootin', motorscootin' fools! Yippee-ki-yay... My Friends!!

They say, "There's nothing like the sun in our face and the wind in our hair." Matt has been riding all his life and I've been riding on the back forever until 2 years ago. That's when Erica decided to get her own ride! She says, "I should've done that a long time ago. It's really nice to take roads less traveled and experience the many scenic roads Arizona has to offer. They are a lot more fun! "

Harleys are not the only bikes they have ridin'. Matt and Erica have been ridin' a variety of motorcycles such as cruisers, touring and dirt. They started this company to allow others to experience the open road and beauty of Arizona.

They pride themselves on customer service and competitive pricing with other major dealerships. They also offer free delivery and pick up. They currently have three Harleys available and will be adding more soon.

They are looking forward to putting excitement between your legs and welcome you to the Go Hog Wild Motorcycle Rentals Family!!!

New Website Lauch This Week - Fantastic Five Entertainment

Fantastic Five Entertainment provides professional audio, video, and lighting for any event. We have been servicing Tucson and all of Arizona with professional DJ entertainment for Weddings, High School proms, Formals, Quinceaneras, Sweet 16’s, Corporate Events and Private Parties/Functions.

As a privately owned company they set higher standards than the competition. Their DJ’s can adapt to any event. Whether they need to MC and DJ a wedding, or show off their mixing and scratching capabilities, they always uphold their professionalism. They aim to please and by doing so, ensuring that your event is one that you and your guest remember.

Fantastic Five delivers high end audio systems, amplifiers, subwoofers, mixers, microphones, and the overall complete sound reinforcement to cover small events and small concert caliber shows. Everything you need in one place.

Corporate functions needing professional grade projector screens and projectors for their conventions.

High school’s adding high definition video shows, music video mixing, and picture slideshows to their prom and formal.

Night Clubs integrating music video mixing to complete the overall sound video and lighting experience.

Allow them to incorporate complete lighting systems into your next event. Everything from night club like intelligent lighting fixtures, to green lasers effects, LED lighting, stage lighting, background and accent lighting.

6 Tips for Growing Online Traffic and Sales That No One Tells You..

Posted by: Staci Wood, Small Business Trends..

TJ McCue founded Sales Rescue Team in 2008 as a pay-it-forward lab giving website owners free advice on how to improve their design, copy, and the sales path that customers took or might take through a website. Today, it has since grown to a number of contractors who help small business owners build blogs and create valuable content to attract visitors to your site.

In this episode of Small Business Trends Radio, TJ joins Anita Campbell to share tips and available tools for improving your website, using social media monitoring tools to refine your copy and content, and analytics to figure out what’s working and, more importantly – what’s not working.

Below are the questions we asked TJ:

•(3:12) First TJ, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

•(4:36) Can you tell us what you enjoy doing when you have a day off? How do you like to spend your free time?

•(5:28) Do you find that helps you in business as well? Does it help you reflect and clarify your goals?

•(6:16) What is the biggest obstacle that you see in small business web sites regarding the one’s you’ve reviewed for Sales Rescue Team?

•(7:20) Too much going on on a page? Is that how you see it?

•(10:29) Is there anything else around that that people should know? Are there other things such as clutter, poor writing, or bad navigation, for example?

•(13:12) I see a lot of web sites that have ads within the articles as links and I find those distracting. Any thoughts on those, TJ?

•(14:32) I’d like to go down a list of tips, if you will, so that listeners can take notes. What would be the first tip you would give to increase traffic to your web site and increase sales?

•(18:57) How do Facebook ads compare with Google Adwords? Are they less expensive?

•(21:55) How do you set up a Facebook ad?

•(23:16) Can you list some additional tips for those that are listening and writing this down?

•(26:35) What else would you recommend, TJ?

•(28:50) Where can people find out more?

Listen to the Radio Interview Here...

What Should a Small Business' Website Do?

Posted by: Steve Strauss, Ask an Expert, USA Today.

What Should a Small Business' Website Do?

Here, then, are the 7 Deadly Small-Business Website Mistakes that you must avoid:

1. The site confuses the Web for a billboard: Every now and then you will run across a small-business website that gets it: It is graphically appealing, it contains valuable, unique content, and it engages the visitor. It is a sales tool, meet-and-greet, advertisement, brochure and conduit, all in one.

But most small-business websites do not do that. Instead, they are simply an online version of a billboard or other sort of basic ad: a big headline with some backup information and not much more.


The days when you could simply throw up an e-version of your Yellow Pages ad are long over. Yellow Pages ads are great because they serve a specific purpose, and do it very well — namely, to get the phone to ring. But the purpose of your website goes beyond that. Sure, a great small-business website will cause the phone to ring (or the e-mail to be sent), but it should also create a positive, lasting impression.

To do that, the site has to engage, not just be.

2. The site lacks a great "About" page: Because your website is your virtual version of your store or office, it must serve that function well, and you do that by having a robust "About Us" page.

The About Us page tells people who you are, what you are about and why they should trust you. It is one of the most-clicked-on pages on any website. People want to know who you are, your history and story, so a well-written, jargon-free, interesting About Us page is essential. Putting a short video there (more on that later) may even be better.

Your About Us page is your online version of a firm handshake and a look in the eye. It helps people to trust you.

3. The site contains mistakes: Dead links, 404 Error pages and typos are the sort of sloppy errors that can turn a prospective client off. After all, if your site contains mistakes, what does that say about the sort of work you may do for the client?

4. The site lacks ways to further connect online: Does your site have a blog and can people get to it within one click from your home page? They should be able to. Can site visitors surf over to your Facebook page from your site? Can people easily follow you on Twitter, or link with you on LinkedIn, by clicking links on your site?

5. The site is not SEO friendly: People should be able to find your site in a variety of ways:

•From seeing your URL in your ads, business card, or store.

•By finding you via forums, articles you have written, or social-media sites.

•From online ads if you use those.

•And, probably most important, by locating you in a search-engine result.

That last one comes from, of course, search engine optimization (SEO). An SEO-friendly site is one where there is plenty of content (updated regularly), where the content is full of key words and phrases, and where there are plenty of incoming links.

6. The site lacks video: This is the YouTube age. People like and watch video online. Use that. Your site visitors will click on the videos you post, so put up how-to videos or videos that introduce your staff or business or product demonstrations — just as long as you have some video.

7. The site's pages lack a call to action: What do you want people to do on your site — buy something, call you, apply, opt-in, download, e-mail or what? Whatever the answer, you have to encourage them to do it. Go on your site and notice how many of your pages lack a call to action. Fix it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010