Twitter Redesigned

And lets take a look at what the wind blew in! A fresh new look for Twitter the popular social networking site. The changes come as Twitter tried to regain its position as the default interaction site. The new look has a two-way benefit as Twitter enumerated in its blog post. On an individual level, Twitter has incorporated a simpler navigation to make it easier for all users, those previously engaged and for new users, to see whats new and to connect with others.

The talk is all about the new 'brand pages' created to assist companies in their advertisement. The point is primarily regain those companies who had switched to Facebook for their advertising endeavors. The brand page features a blazing banner across the page, located beneath the profile information to enable the companies to establish a more distinctive presence. The company can design their banner to suit their taste and include company colors and logo. This will also help to increase brand awareness and recognition. Currently the brand pages are only available to a select group of established companies including American Express and Coca- cola. Twitter reported that these pages will be available to other brands sometime in the near future, but will remain exclusive to those that advertise on this social network.

The revised navigation now consists of three icons: Home, Connect, Discover.

HOME- Clicking the birdhouse icon will redirect users to their home page which contains the tweets of the people they follow. The only change here is the change to the layout, otherwise it's the same home page.

CONNECT- This page contains all conversation streams where the user is mentioned, identified by his username combined with the @ symbol. Same page as before, just a new identifying page label.

DISCOVER- Is an innovation to the interface and allow users to view trending topics. This icon suggests keywords and topics to follow. Links to to other sites may appear here too.

There are a couple of other noticeable changes , but we chose just to focus on these at the time. If you have not noticed any changes on your interface yet, don't panic as Twitter announced they are slowly changing over , it's not a universal switchover, so it may take a bit of time until everyone's looks the same.

Mmmmm...Delicious!

What is the connection between a vanilla ice cream sundae with hot chocolate fudge rippling down the sides topped with peanut crunch and extra cream, and online bookmarking? Delicious of course! So how exactly does delicious.com work and what are the benefits involved?

Let's say you are researching a specific topic, we'll choose the longevity of elephants just for the sake of an example. As you gather information from around the web you want to bookmark the relevant pages to find them easily at a later date. That's the purpose of delicious! It is a social bookmarking website that allows you to save and share your information in an organized fashion. Additionally you may be able to find someone else's 'stack' of information on elephant longevity by browsing through the database. A stack is a compilation of links associated with the topic at hand.

It is especially useful for researchers who want to share their information with co-researchers or other relevant parties. Instead of copying URLs and sending them around, you now have a place to save all information and share it accordingly.

Delicious can also be (albeit in a limited form) a means to social network. Users have the option to share links with friends and similar to Twitter, there is the option to follow other people. As mentioned previously this can be extremely useful to share information with fellow team workers or even with family with regard to any personal topics such as a location for a family vacation or a collection of penguin videos you know your brother would enjoy... It's a great forum for saving and sharing useful information. There are plans to facilitate easy sharing via Twitter and Facebook though they are still in the development stages.

It is quite easy to register and gain from the plethora of information contained. Sign up is a quick one step process which then admits you to the next page of posted stack and links. Here you can access any posted stacks on varying topics. The process of creating new stacks is not too difficult and it pretty much involves a little bit of copying and pasting URLS into designated boxes. You will have the options to save, stack, and share your information with viewers or to mark it 'private' which allows for your exclusive access.

Whether you are a veteran researcher, a rookie scientist or just seeking a bookmarking site, try out Delicious.com for the taste that everyone is raving about!

Mobile Ideas

With more and more people taking advantage of all that their phones can accomplish for them including web surfing, shopping, and really anything, it is becoming increasingly important for web developers to create mobile friendly sites or options.

It is definitely preferable that your design allow for vertical scrolling as opposed to horizontal. It is very distracting and annoying for the viewer, be it a busy teenager or professionalon thier Smartphone or Blackberry,to have to scroll left at the end of each line. I know from personal experience, that even on a big computer screen, some emails come through that compel me to scroll horizontally and many times I have just given up and skipped over the email. To play it safe, I would recommend creating a screen with minimum 320 horizontal pixels.

Try to avoid unnecessary use of frames or any other presentation features that make it more difficult for mobile viewers to load. It is also imperative SEO-wise, not to place relevant content and optimum keywords in hard to reach or hard to load places. When the crawlers come searching you want to have quality content readily accessible. Many times there are images or features that won't work well for mobile users though they might greatly enhance regular computer use. So, it may be worthwhile to install a separate option that mobile viewers can click on that contains specially designed mobile user content.

A site that is designed to be enjoyed by computer and mobile users alike, isn't complete without a mobile payment system. Since 2006 there have been companies that allow their users to proceed to checkout using SMS. When the disastrous earthquake in Haiti struck, hundreds of people donated $10 to the Red Cross by texting 'Haiti' to 90999. While this idea is still relatively new, there are some mobile start ups available enabling credit card processing features on mobile devices which appear to be the next step in the mobile payment processing system. We'll speak more on the tangible devices enabling mobile checkout in forthcoming articles. Stay tuned!

Does Your Organization Need A Chinese Auction?

If you are involved in a non for profit organization or a school in need of funds, then you should consider a Chinese Auction. A Chinese Auction is a simple and profitable way to raise extra or additional funds to supplement your needs. It also offers the participants a mean to have some fun. You can develop a website especially for this purpose and sell tickets online in addition to a live auction.

This popular event for fundraising has many names you might be familiar with, such as a gift auction, a penny auction, a brown bag auction, or even basket games. No matter what you call it, the process is always the same. Online bidders can submit their raffles and bid on the item of their choice then wait until the date the winners are picked. You might want to notify the winners by phone, email or at the website. Your web design should be attractive and make visitors want to stay and view the items to be auctioned off. Keep in mind a web design also need be easy to navigate and have the ability to change the pictures of auction items each year.

Now you might wonder where the items come from, after all you do not want to spend more money that you have to when buying auctions products. It may come as a surprise to you, but many people in your organization or school know someone who would like to make a donation. Or people on your staff can network business in your area, gathering up donations. Some may donate cash which can be put towards a jackpot raffle; this is usually a good seller. Donations can come in all forms from silver to candy, but it is free! The more unique the prizes are the greater your profit will be.

So now to begin, online you need to choose your web design and develop your web site along with the date of the auction. If you are also going to have a live auction, you need a room large enough for the event. You may want to mail or distribute pamphlets letting people know about the auction and where it will be held and the URL of your web site if they want to bid and purchase tickets online. Online ticket purchases will come from places beyond your local area bringing more profit to your organization. A Chinese auction is a good place to try to win something you may not be able to buy, that is part of the enticement for people to buy tickets. This is good, after all the main objective of this auction is revenue.

So gather your thoughts and get ready for the auction to begin. You will be surprised to see that even in today%u219s economy; people will come through for you.

Keeping in Contact

Constant Contact was established as a user friendly affordable email marketing tool with the goal to assist small businesses in building successful customer relationships. Email marketing allows you to stay in constant touch with your customers via professional looking emails ensuring strong relationships. It is known to be more effective than regular email.

Constant Contact is an easy service to use. Simply create your email with the help of the email wizard. You can also add in pictures and graphics if you want to liven up your emails. The Email Auto Responder can schedule welcome emails and commonly sent messages.

Constant contact also boasts tools like the Anti-Spam checker that can spot possible trouble in your emails that may cause them to be redirected to the spam inbox of your reader. You will then be notified so you can make the necessary corrections. Email marketing also avoids spam filters because it allows you to be placed more accurately in your customers inboxes. An email from constant contact is less likely to be sent to the spam inbox than a regular email due to its longstanding reputation of reputable emails.

Because email newsletters are fast and inexpensive to create, you can send them out on a more constant basis than paper ones.This will cause for you to be seen by a larger audience. Additionally forwarding around an email newsletter is quite simple so your loyal customers will have no trouble sending your newsletter around to their friends. Once a reader views your newsletter and finds it interesting, they will probably add themselves to your mailing list with a simple click of the 'join our mailing list' button. Now they have successfully added themselves to your list of steady newsletter receivers and are on their way to becoming a loyal customer.

Constant contact allows you to track who reads and responds to your emails. You can see who opened your emails, who forwarded them to friends and you can even view who clicked on what links in your email. This will allow you to understand what your viewers are interested in reading about so you can customize your content accordingly. There is also a feature that allows you to schedule delivery for specific times, such as when its most likely for people to open them up.

Understandably an added benefit is saving on writing materials and postage! Constant contact was created as an affordable service and true to its goal, prices start as low as $15 a month. No printing fees, weight surcharges and definitely no postage stamps!

A Look into Shipping Carriers

Marketers are always looking to improve their customers online shopping experience. In order to minimize competition marketers look to offer benefits and promotions that customers won't find elsewhere. In addition, a company looks to perfect standard procedures such as shipping costs and return policies to best suit their customer satisfaction yet not at a large deficit to the company either.

One of the main incentives that will get a customer to complete a purchase from a specific company are the shipping costs. The best way a company can offer this is if they find great shipping deals themselves! There are other facets of the shipping process that a company takes into consideration before choosing a shipping company to deal with. Ensuring proper handling of the goods is of paramount importance. Customers will not appreciate damaged goods.

There are basically three shipping carriers that people use, FedEx, UPS and USPS. There are different advantages and disadvantages to each of the companies. Depending on what your objective is , choose the company you will probably be most satisfied with.

Experience has shown that UPS has a much smoother claims process than FedEx. There are generally less questions asked and less obstacles to smooth over with UPS when filing a claim. It is important to check out a carrier's policy when it comes to damaged goods. Will it be your responsibility to reimburse the customer or will they take care of it? In addition, how effective is their handling system? Are accidents/damages likely to occur?

When a customer requests overnight shipping it is imperative that the company fulfills that request. USPS is the cheapest of the three for local and long distance overnight deliveries. it charges a flat rate not dependant on destination. UPS and FedEx are both more expensive and their shipping rates were determined by how heavy the package is and how far it needs to go. Of the two, FedEx may come out a bit cheaper.

Regarding Standard two day shipping USPS pulled in the cheapest again! In addition there are no fuel surcharges which the other carriers adjust monthly. There is an added benefit to companies arranging their shipping via the post office online, discounts ranging from 3 to 11 percent! This may sound too good to be true, so the matter was checked into more thoroughly! A representative of the USPS explained that due to the number of post offices and letter carriers throughout the US, there is an efficient system already in place. Shipping a package is just adding to the existing infrastructure set up to deliver as efficiently as possible.

Surprisingly, when it comes to same day service, FedEx and UPS clock in more than the postal system. Both carriers offer same day or first thing the next morning delivery as opposed to the postal service who cant guarantee same day and at best can promise delivery sometime in the next business day. their eta will depend on destination and shipping time.

Another advantage to USPS is it's six day a week shipping. If you need a parcel sent on Saturday, USPS is the the one! Each company has different shipping preferences. Depending on what goods the company markets,the size of the company's customer base, the size of their products, etc. different carrier options may work better. So, do your research and cross your fingers.

The Rights of a Freelancer

One of the numerous jobs that became available through the Internet is freelancing. A freelancer is a person who is self-employed, who works without a long-term commitment to a specific employer.The Internet allows for easy communication between employers and employees anywhere in the world! Freelancers usually work in the any of the many aspects in the writing profession: journalism, articles, editing, graphic design...to name a few.

The biggest known drawback of freelancing is the uncertainty regarding steady income. The lack of usual company benefits like pensions, health insurance,etc is another disadvantage. Many freelancers though don't regard their profession as income insecure, they look at their numerous employers as a bigger guarantee to a secure income , because if there is a loss of a client, its not a loss of their complete income, just a small (or not so small) proportion.

One thing to keep in mind is composing a contract with you're current client that encompasses everything and doesn't leave room for any extra work or pay deductions on your part. Freelancers dont usually have the benefit of legal coverage working to protect their interests with a contract, hence the need to create your own! Your contract should be clear, concise, and comprehensive. It should clearly state the scope of the job and the expectations of both parties involved.

Make sure to include all the basic information, employers and employees, and the expectations for the outcome of the project. It is important so that both parties are clear about their responsibilities and it establishes the framework of the task at hand. Be clear about what roles you don't want to play so that the employer doesnt 'accidentally' give you work in a different field.

Deadlines are important to state in your contract. Don't worry about the pressure that may come along with it, just give yourself ample time to finish it while keeping the client's needs in mind too. Important too, is to define clear time frames for the client to respond to your works so you won't have a long unnecessary waiting period before finding out how to continue on. Even if financial agreements were already discussed and decided on previously be sure to have them in writing too. This way there will be no room for the client to conveniently 'forget' the decided on amount or terms of payment.

A cancellation clause is one that will protect you, the freelancer, in case the client backs out of the job for some reason, because it will clearly define the fianancial obligations if a project is terminated before completion, so you won't suffer a total loss of payment.

The above basically includes the main points to include in a contract. Depending on the client and line of work, it may be necessary to include other terms that specifically cater to your job at hand. Use your judgement and remember it's always better to state the obvious than rely on your client' s memory!

Too Much Information?

I don't know if you've ever been chatting with a friend you haven't seen in a long time, when all of a sudden you hear that beep of the BlackBerry or the chime of an incoming text message, or even a good old phone ring. Instantly, your friend picks up one of his electrical devices and proceeds to look at, respond, or even pick up the phone, all in middle of your conversation. He finishes, and says, " so what were we saying..." Besides for the fact that it takes a couple of seconds to pick up the train of thought and continue on the conversation, it is a highly rude thing to do, though it has unfortunately become far too common in today's day and age.

When something like this happens during work , it ultimately takes away from the productivity level. Electronic mail more commonly known as email, is generally a wonderful form of communication. It is a method of exchanging digital messages between people. It's very quick and generally less time-consuming than telephone calls. But, problems do arise from all the unnecessary and time-wasting emails that people forward around. It remains as a major source of information overload as people struggle daily to keep up with the rates of incoming messages. E-mail was described as "a $650 Billion Drag on the Economy", and as the bane of many people's lives, because of the extreme information overload.

Information overload refers to an excess amount of information being provided causing it to be much harder to process it and to know the validity of it. So for example when trying to research something on the Internet, a lot of time is wasted verifying the validity of the information you've accumulated searching the Web.

Interruptions and distractions are another form of of information overload. All the beeps, chimes, and rings that occur throughout the day , that cause you to stop your work for a few moments, all hinder the productivity level, whether a lost train of thought, or even the accumulation of wasted minutes at the end of the day which add up to a surprising amount! Multi-tasking, does not necessarily extend to include outside interruptions! People with jobs requiring long periods of quiet or solitude in order to produce, are known to keep strange hours; during the regular work day in today's world it's almost impossible to have stretches of quiet without interruptions.

Ironically, in a world open to so many forms of communication, we are not communicating well at all. Take into account the business meeting where everyone in attendance is busy with his or her Blackberry or laptop, generally ignoring the main topic of discussion. Or even unanswered emails, the sender might take the lack of response to mean a disinterest in the topic at hand, when in essence the recipient hasn't had the time to return it yet, due to the tidal wave of other unimportant emails that have come his way. Part of the issue is definitely just a thoughtless occurrence. When , for example, people send a long drawn out response where a shorter, more concise one would've done. Or because it's just another click of the button, they hit "Reply All" instead of just responding to the sender himself.

Many companies in desperation are experimenting with different solutions. Some tried imposing email quotas on the amount of emails a worker can send. Others have tried to limit the amount of internal emails. A universal solution has yet to be found.

Aside from the issue during the workday, the information overload also disturbs our family time, quality time with friends, and our chances to unwind and recharge. Children growing up in the world today, need to see their parents love and to feel their undivided attention in order to boost their self- esteem and set them on the path to success. Additionally, if there is no option to leave work at work and instead the beeps and chimes come home with us, how can we expect to feel invigorated for a new day without ever having a break?

Already in the younger generation we witness this problem too. Our children in school have a responsibility to their studies. They too have the problem of constant distractions in many forms, which greatly hamper their capability to perform to their abilities. It's just hard to focus when so many other things keep interrupting. And we see the negative effects all the time. Texting has completely taken over many of our childrens lives. Texting opens up a child to a world of contacts, many of them we wouldn't approve of, but texting takes their communication out of our hands. In addition, its a major distraction because their minds are constantly on the conversation they are in the middle of. Aside from the extreme danger of texting while driving, which we have unfortunately seen or heard of the tragic results. We definitely need to make our children aware of how to use technology safely and properly.

The problem can only grow as we head into a future of more advanced technology; we need to catch it while we can and figure out which solution works best for us. Whether it means to turn the BlackBerry off at home, clearer communication in an email, less unnecessary emails to unnecessary recipients, shorter co-worker chats while working, etc. I , for one, am considering reverting back to good old snail mail! Be creative, it will only be to your benefit.

Brands & Marketing

One of the newest things to hit the search market industry this month was Big Watah, What is that? Certainly most of us have never heard of it. This amazing thing that we never heard of began at a Search Market Expo. Big Watah is a man's brainstorm that reveals lessons to be learned by individual market firms and corporations. These lessons are the result of brand management and viral marketing strategies that turned a reputation scandal into a positive thing.

This whole thing started with liquor, imagine, someone got drunk and walla, he asked for water and Big Watah was born. Since the group of drinkers were Internet marketers, the news of their adventures were soon all over the Internet and being spoken about in the convention hall. This position is not new to many brands who have been around a long time - an embarrassing circumstance that could possibly cause damage to reputations. How many options does a company have? They can try to cover up the situation, ignore it or of course address it.

Luckily for this marketer, he and his friends were a part of the best reputation managers in town and they decided to face the situation, and of course promote the situation by calling it The Big Watah. He passed out stickers with it printed on them having them now all over the hall. His story appealed to the people with a good sense of humor, which was most of the people there.

There is a moral here for companies faced with embarrassing situations, come out in the open. Consumers appreciate your honesty and will continue to give you their confidence.

Now you might ask how this applies to SEO, well as a business owner, you want to give your confidence to a computer firm that will advise you on your web design and how to improve your website with SEO.

iNet Interactive Acquires Search Marketing Standard

One of the original successful search marketing printed magazines now has new owners. Through a recent acquisition iNet Interactive will be publishing and continuing with the success of the previous owners.

The magazine, Search Marketing Standard, first began sometime in 2006 and was backed by many supporters. INet;s Interactive's Director of Marketing has in the past been writing for Search Marketing Standard from the start and now he owns the publication.

Don't expect much to be changing, the staff will be the same as well as the advisors and of course the same principles will stay in place. Only the management will change.

We at Bitochon wish the best of luck and success to the new crew. Congratulations!

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