Author Archive

Woza Online: are free websites worth your while?

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Woza Online offers free online tools to create a professional website for your business. Woza Online is the brainchild of a great partnership between government and big businesses including: The Department of Trade & IndustryVodacomthe Human Resources Development Council of South Africa and Google. These entities have joined forces to create a platform from which small and medium sized businesses compete with bigger and well established companies in South Africa.

The purpose of Woza Online is to break down the online barriers for small and medium enterprises to benefit from the advantages of having a website and in so doing, stimulate and grow the digital economy in South Africa. free tools to create a professional website in under an hour

What is  the Woza Online Offering?

The platform offers small and medium sized South African businesses the following:
  • free web hosting
  • free .co.za domain for one year to the first 10 000 participants
  • provides ongoing tips and education (offer participants R500 of free online advertising with Google AdWords)

A free website could give your small business the boost it needs to compete with bigger businesses. However, how long will you be able to compete without all the other vital on-going online support offered by digital marketing agencies? Woza online is a great product but who is going to take care of your SEO so that your website can rank better in searches? How about having a unique website design that is immediately identifiable by your clients? Who is going to do your online marketing strategy and write your website’s content? These are some very important questions to ask yourself before you jump at the opportunity of a free website.

Digital marketing agencies

The benefits of using a digital marketing agency is that, unlike Woza online, you will receive way more than just a basic website. You will alsoreceive the on-going support and assistance. There is no point in having a website if your clients/customers cannot find it. Being found and having a permanent online presence is what digital marketing agencies specialise in and in turn giving you a bigger and better ROI.

Pinterest and the business marketing opportunities it offers

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Pinterest

Joining the likes of Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest certainly brings numerous marketing opportunities to the table. But what exactly is Pinterest and how will it benefit your business in 2012?

The same way your business shares, comments and interacts with its social media audience on your existing platforms, Pinterest allows brands to share information or images that are found on the web. For example: if you are a clothing designer, Pinterest is the perfect social media platform to share new fashion trends, your favourite designer’s new Spring collection etc. For IT companies, sharing information around new technology is a great way to get extra traffic to your site as well as create interest around your brand whilst sharing industry relevant information.

The benefit of this however lies in the great business marketing opportunities that Pinterest offers. Ensuring that the items you share are balanced out between your own brand and the industry as a whole is however, the trick.

How do I join Pinterest?

Don’t be scared off by the fact that you need to be invited to Pinterest. It’s a simple process and within a couple hours of requesting an invite, you should have one sitting in your inbox. Once the Pinterest account/ bored has been created, it’s A for away.

Pinterest has been referred to as online “window shopping” but  it is the marketing benefits of Pinterest that really get us excited!

Pinterest Marketing

There are numerous SEO benefits to Pinterest. This is one of the reasons why it has become such a popular marketing tool for many businesses around the world.

Analytics Reporting: find out exactly which content resulted in the referral click. This allows you to promote certain content.

Pinterest widget buttons on your site: Add a “Follow Me on Pinterest” button to your website. This will direct traffic to your Pinboards, allowing for interaction with your brand on a different level.

Backlinking: Pinterest is indexed by search engines on a regular basis. The more people that post on their Pinboards and the more boards that link to your website, the more traffic you will get to your site.

Use relevant search terms: people will use specific words and phrases to search for a topic. It is extremely beneficial to use search terms when pinning to your board.

Choose an appealing image: no matter what content you are pinning up onto your board, using images that will capture the attention of your followers will ensure that they are lured into the content you have provided.

Pinterest is a great way to do market research. Keeping tabs on which images people are sharing, re- pining etc, is a great way to find out more about your target audience. Once your board is created, you have free reign to pin and re- pin as much as you desire. It is however important to keep the marketing benefits in mind to ensure that Pinterest becomes an integrated part of your business’s marketing plan.

SOPA & PIPA Protest

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

The Jan. 18th protest was the largest in U.S. history; our new graphic recounts that momentous day for social media users in tweets, emails and calls.

infographic

Source: frugaldad.com

Google Plus Your World: Google takes search to the next level

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

2012 has only just begun and Google is already making news in the online world with Google Plus Your World. The search engine has always brought information from across the web. Now with Google Plus Your World, Google has rolled out its most innovative gimmick yetfor its search results.

Searches will provide all web activities related to your search including the personal ones too including:

  • Photos of friends
  • Profiles of people you know or follow
  • Family or friends posts from other social networks such as FaceBook and Twitter

With Google Plus Your World you can expand your online community by discovering people related to your search.

How Google Plus Your World works

A Google Plus Your World search combines “regular” search results with various web pages associated with YOU personally, displaying different things you intended to share. This happens only with your friends on Google+, right within the search results.

As creepy as it sounds, now, if you feed Google some obscure keyword and this keyword is present somewhere on your friends’ social media pages, those pages are likely to be included into your search results. The outcome can be quite surprising. For example, if a friend or colleague posted a link or mentioned the name of a hotel they stayed at on Twitter or FaceBook and you performed a search for that hotel, their post will come up in your search results.  This is the power of Google Plus Your World.

Who can use Google Plus Your World?

Google Plus Your World is available to Google users who are signed in to Google and searching on https://www.google.com in English.People, Pages, and Profiles will now be integrated into the search. The new features will display personal results in the SERPs, mostly from the Google network.

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  • No write off costs relating to redundant promotional material
  • Visitors can help themselves to information; anytime, anywhere, and as often as they wish – making them more likely to do so

Getting started with Woza Online

Getting started with Woza Online is very simple and it will not cost you a dime. Simply visit www.wozaonline.co.za and push the “get started now” button and follow the simple instructions. There are various templates to choose from, pick the one you like and add a few details about your business including: contact details, information about your business, products or services you are offering and so forth.

It’s that easy try it now

Facebook Timeline Apps.

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

Facebook Timeline has been around for a while now, worldwide (available on Mobiles too) and it’s already offering more to the user.  It wasn’t going to be long before we were able to dress our Facebook Timelines up and make them even more personal. It was promised after all, that Facebook Timeline would be able to “tell your story”.

Facebook Timeline Apps have arrived and give Facebook users a chance to share their interests and activities with their friends. There are literally hundreds of Facebook Timeline Apps that are available to add. These range from travel, cooking and scrap booking to fitness and news.

Facebook Timeline Apps give Facebook users the chance to personify their profile and make it unique to their personal interests. By adding as many apps as desired, Facebook Timeline users are able to build up a personal portfolio of interests.

So what do I do once I have added an App?

Facebook Timeline Apps create a platform for Facebook users to interact with others who share in the same interests. It is a great way of sharing recipes, workouts, reviews and ideas. The benefit of Facebook Timeline Apps depends on the App itself and the amount of interaction the user has with it.

Once the App has been added, Facebook users are able to delete posts that appear in their Timeline Feed. It is also possible to control who can see the Timeline App and your activity on it. This is done through the personal settings which are edited through the Activity Log.

Share, discover and learn! Facebook is certainly encouraging more and more interaction! Find a Facebook App that you can enjoy.

Panoramio: Google takes picture sharing to the next level

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

What is Panoramio?

Are you familiar with Flickr or Twitpic? Well, Panoramio is also a picture sharing website; except it is geolocation-oriented which means one can find images taken near a specific location around the world. Photos loaded on to Panoramio can be accessed as a layer in Google Earthand Google Maps, with new photos being added at the end of every month. Panoramio’s goal is to allow Google Earth users to learn more about a given area by viewing the photos that other users have taken at that place. Panoramio is available in all major international languages.

Benefits of Panoramio

The biggest advantage of Panoramio is that you can join a group of users who share in the same interests you do. Panoramio Groups allow for discussions about a topic you may feel enthusiastic about. “Wild animals in Africa”, “Traditional Dances”, “Portraits” or “cars” can be topics worth a discussion.

You can share your passions through photographs more collaboratively with Panoramio Groups. This new feature lets you create a sub-community within Panoramio around a topic you’re passionate about, so you can easily engage with like-minded photographers and hobbyists.

You may also use Panoramio groups to organise a Panomeeting and share the experiences and photos of the meeting with the world. You may also want to use Panoramio groups to organise a photo competition. The opportunities are many.

Only your imagination can decide what can be done with Panoramio groups.

To upload a photo, you’ll first need to be registered. If you haven’t registered yet, now is the time to sign up for Panoramio. Anybody with a Google account can join Panoramio and start sharing photos with the world immediately. Panoramio has an official iPhone application and third party developers have released a Windows Phone 7 version of Panoramio. This allows users to browse through the various images posted to www.panoramio.com

Get posting and let us know what you think in the comment section below.

SOPA and PIPA: Internet vs. Congress and the online blackout to come

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

By now I am sure you’ve probably seen the acronym SOPA (and its sibling, PIPA) around the web. No, SOPA and PIPA is not Latin for salt and pepper but certainly something a bit more serious.

What is SOPA?

Well, SOPA is the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, written with the intent of more vigorously protecting copyright around the web. SOPA is intended to curb online piracy, specifically piracy facilitated by “foreign rogue websites,” meaning sites that are hosted outside of the United States, and thus outside the reach of Uncle Sam’s hand.

SOPA sounds good, so what is all the fuss about then?

A site can be shut down for a single infringing link that has been posted — even if it’s a link you didn’t post. As you can imagine, this makes life pretty much impossible for Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Under the SOPA law, infringing sites are blocked by a domain name, not an IP address. The problem is that real pirates have no problem using IP addresses to continue to download copyrighted content illegally. However, your customers will not know how to find you by IP address alone. If your domain name is blocked, they won’t be able to get to you anymore. They can’t read your blog, they can’t order your products, services…you simply don’t exist.

Given the current state of the global economy, the last thing we need is a law like SOPA that puts small businesses, especially small web-based businesses, in danger.

PIPA, on the other hand is a similar act seeking to also eliminate online piracy. However, unlike SOPA, PIPA does not require search engines (like Google, Yahoo, MSN and Bing) to remove “foreign infringing site” from their indexes. For this reason SOPA has been dubbed “controversial”.

What’s next?

In protest against SOPA and PIPA being made law, a mass online blackout has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 18 2012.

The blackout will affect a number of websites:

Among others, these sites will simply not be accessible on Wednesday, January 18, 2012. They have already displayed a page informing visitors of the potential consequences of SOPA becoming law.

Business blogging: is it important?

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

Business blogging has revolutionised how people communicate and do business with companies online. More and more, people expect to be able to interact and communicate with a human being instead of just a corporate name. Blogging in general is usually seen as something more “human”.  For this reason business blogging has become very popular.

Many business owners confuse business blogs and websites. There are many differences between the 2; a blog allows a two way conversation whereas a website is a one way communication medium. Business blogging allows visitors to leave comments, give feedback, make suggestions and you the business owner can also reply directly to your visitors. From an online marketing point of view, business blogging provides more accurate information to your customers and may answer the questions they have about your products and services.

Benefits of business blogging

  • Business blogging puts you in a position to post questions and suggestions to your potential customers, and get some honest feedback.
  • Business blogging puts you in a position to keep potential and existing clients up to date with developments, changes, and improvements in your company.
  • Business blogging allows you to give feedback to your clients about the status of any long term problems and projects.

Business blogging as a marketing tool

Contrary to the hype, a blog is not a be-all and end-all solution to your online marketing. However, if used properly, you will be able to take your business to the next level.

Through business blogging you are able to showcase your expertise on a specific subject. This allows your readers to trust in you should they seek advice or the service or product you are offering. The more you show off your knowledge in a helpful and professional manner, the more credibility you gain. In this way business blogging is one of the most effective contributors in an online marketing solution.

Online presence

Your business’s online presence can make it or break it. When customers are looking for a product or a service, usually the first place they start is online: even if it is just to read up on it. Google ranks the results according to the site’s locality, web traffic and optimisation on the site. If the information is valuable and rich in content, your site will be ranked higher up. A large portion of lead generation comes from online searches.

If you were wondering whether business blogging is really important to your company, the long and the short answer is yes!

iPad2 vs. the original iPad: what’s changed?

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The iPad 2 embraces the vision, innovation and forward thinking of the company’s late founder and CEO, Steve Jobs. The first iPad introduced the world to the future of the computer and how it will operate. With the iPad2 already on our shelves that future we have all been eagerly anticipating for is indeed already here.

Just under one year ago, Apple shocked the computing world with a 9.7-inch touch-screen tablet that few truly expected. Some called the original Apple iPad a large-format iPhone. Now at only just 0.34 inch thin and weighing as little as 1.33 kilograms with over 55 000 applications at your finger tips, the iPad 2 has rendered all its critics speechless.
The iPad 2 feels completely comfortable in your hands sporting an extra slim design. In fact, the designers say the iPad 2 is an extension of you, the user.

What is the difference between the new ipad2 and the original iPad

If you purchased an iPad, should you be regretting it today? Short answer- yes. Long answer- let’s look at the specs on both tablets. Without paying too much attention, it may appear that these devices look basically the same but there are a number additions to the iPad 2.

First of all, there are a bunch of things that essentially haven’t changed at all between iPad and iPad 2:

  • The display is exactly the same as before, as is the resolution: 9.7-inch LED-backlit IPS LCD with 1024 x 768 pixel resolution.
  • The storage options, 16, 32, and 64GB have not changed
  • Wifi will still be 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth will still be 2.1 + EDR
  • Accelerometer stays the same at 3-axis

So what’s really improved?

  • You’ll be able to get your iPad 2 in black, but you’ll also have the option of a white bezel
  • iPad 2’s processor has been improved from a 1GHz Apple A4 to a 1GHz dual-core Apple A5
  • The original iPad was either 680g or 730g; the iPad 2 is 613g
  • iPad 2 offers a gyroscope where the original iPad did not include one
  • The thickness of the entire unit has been reduced by 33% from 13.4mm to 8.8mm
  • iPad 2 offers not one but two new cameras. The front camera being a VGA webcam and the back being capable of recording videos (this is a significant step up from having no camera at all)
  • iPad 2 also comes with cellular radio

Overall, the iPad2 is a better tablet and the design is an absolute stunner. There have been no drastic complaints from users of the original iPad, however the iPad 2 offers the advancements that we have come to expect from the Apple brand.

Online Marketing: where to spend your money in 2012

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Marketing. It’s a strange beast. Constantly changing and evolving to adapt to the plethora of platforms that are available. The marketing evolution is something that has left many companies choking on the dust of their competitors whilst it has accelerated the success of many others. Online Marketing has for years, been the one area of marketing that has dominated. Without an online presence, many businesses have started drowning in their pool of competitors.

Nothing evolves quite as rapidly as the internet does. When it comes to online marketing, what worked for a business in 2011 is certainly very different to what might have worked in 2010. With 2012 peaking its head around the corner, there is much is be learnt.

Social Media dominates

One of the major online marketing trends in 2011 was the use of social media. Everyone from major corporations to the family owned grocery shop on the corner adopted the social media trend. Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter accounts have allowed for fast, efficient communication to target markets. During 2012, Facebook will remain one of the most competitive online marketing tools available. Facebook Ads will continue allowing companies to reach targeted groups of people according to demographics and placement characteristics.

Have a look at some extremely successful Facebook Business Pages

Browsing on the go

Having a Mobi- Site has become increasingly important during 2011. Mobile Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Google Places: all of these have become commonly reached on Mobile Phones. However, integrating these social media platforms with an effective Mobile Site has proven to an extremely strategic component to an online marketing strategy. Companies who have succeeded in doing this during 2011 and who have benefited from it may tell you that it is an extremely viable and inexpensive marketing solution. To say that Mobile internet usage has increased, would be an understatement. In fact, Microsoft Tag recently released statistics on how people have been using their mobile phones in 2011. They say that over half of all local searches are performed on a mobile phone and that by 2014, mobile internet will take over desktop internet. If your company didn’t take on the Mobile Website trend in 2011, we suggest you do in 2012.

Pay- Per- Click Advertising

Pay- Per- Click advertising is still and will be for a while, a huge component in an online marketing strategy. In fact Cost- Per- Click will continue to rise as companies strive to appear on the sides and bottom pages of a search engine. Although Cost- Per- Click will continue to become more expensive in 2012, it is important to keep the bigger picture of your online marketing strategy in mind. Within your industry, competitors will be paying the money, so having an online expert to assist you in choosing the correct keywords and structuring the campaign accordingly, will give you a distinct advantage.

Online marketing has become more of an investment than ever. Spending your marketing budget on online marketing more so than offline marketing, is sure to show you the results. At the end of the day, having a solid online marketing plan for in 2012 is as important as it has ever been.