Category Archives: Uncategorized

JPEG, GIF OR PNG: WHICH TO CHOOSE?

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

In the modern design world, it is highly suggested to use images in place of words or concepts when the option is available. The fast-paced environment we live in today has people needing information quickly which means icons and graphics to symbolize messages are the key solution. However, these digital images can take up a large amount of memory space on your computer, fill up your inbox, and even take a longer time to load through the web. Who has time for that? Knowing which formats to use when editing these images in graphic software can be your secret weapon to providing both quality and efficient design.

There are three main types of file formats used for web design:

  1. JPEG – stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group. The best use for this format is when the need for a smaller size overrides the importance of quality in an image. Having a smaller file size means a quicker upload and less storage space. The best uses for a JPEG file include photog​raphs and images with detailed coloring or shading.
  2. GIF – is Graphics Interchange Format. GIF files can be even smaller than JPEG files because they use fewer colors within an image. Using fewer colors allows for data to not be lost while the image is compressed. Simple images such as small icons and animations are ideal when choosing to use a GIF format.
  3. PNG – means Portable Network Graphic. PNG-8 files are very similar to GIF. PNG-24 files are similar to JPEG and contain lossless compression which means not a single bit of data in the original file will not be lost after the file is compressed. PNG also allows for transparency which is a key benefit in a graphic designer’s eye. Images in the process of being edited, complex photographs with no file size limit and logos involving transparency or fading are the best candidates for using a PNG format.

 

Out of all the content on your web page, images take up the most download time. As a general rule of thumb, optimizing your web images will allow your website speed to run at its maximum. Keeping each image to a limit of 12KB will help contribute to keeping your entire web page to the suggested size of 100KB. Following these image formatting guidelines can set you apart from most by producing quality images where it counts, allowing memory space when it’s needed, and having a faster load time than competitors.

SOURCE: Informatics (2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

HTTP OR HTTPS, MEANING, DIFFERENCE, PROS AND CONS.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

I recently found out the meaning of HTTP and HTTPS, and how it affects our Online presence. It’s a must have information or knowledge for all internet users and website owners.

The main difference between http:// and https:// is all about keeping you secure

HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol The S (big surprise) stands for “Secure”.. If you visit a Website or web page, and look at the address in the web browser, it is likely to begin with the following: http://.

This means that the website is talking to your browser using the regular unsecured language. In other words, it is possible for someone to “eavesdrop” on your computer’s conversation with the Website. If you fill out a form on the website, someone might see the information you send to that site.

This is why you never ever enter your credit card number in an Http website! But if the web address begins with https://, that means your computer is talking to the website in a Secure code that no one can eavesdrop on. You understand why this is so important, right?

If a website ever asks you to enter your Credit/Debit card Information, you should automatically look to see if the web address begins with https://.

If it doesn’t, You should NEVER enter sensitive Information such as a credit/debit card number.

Are you looking to launch an e-commerce website and want to secure it for payments? Does your website require the ability to submit confidential information? Or are you just hoping to secure you website for any future needs that may come along? No matter your reasoning, taking your website from HTTP to HTTPS with the purchase of an SSL certificate is a smart move. However, before we recommend this switch across the board, you should familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of going HTTPS.

PROS TO MAKING THE SWITCH

1. Protects Sensitive Information

The most obvious reason for purchasing a digital certificate and securing your website is to protect sensitive and confidential information such as credit card information, social security numbers, medical data, and addresses, just to name a few. If you have an e-commerce website or store files with confidential information on-site, you must purchase a digital certificate. Doing so will protect this information from hackers and let your customers know that their data is safe.

2. Receives a Ranking Boost in Search Results

Having an HTTPS URL gives you a minor ranking boost from Google. In August of 2014, Google announced that adding an SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site will earn it a ranking benefit, albeit a very small one (Search Engine Land). If you want to improve your search engine optimization, going HTTPS is one way to do so. However, since it is such a small ranking factor, you should definitely prioritize improving content, site structure, and links first.

CONS TO MAKING THE SWITCH

1. May Slow Down Load Time

Even though switching to HTTPS will give your website a slight ranking boost, it can negatively affect your site load time. When your website contains a digital certificate, an extra step of secure verification is added to the process. Therefore, your website may take an extra second to load. If you are only switching to HTTPS to improve your search rankings, there may be more productive ways to do so. Instead of purchasing a digital certificate that may slow down your site load time, focus on improving your website content.

2. Costs Money to Purchase an SSL Certificate

While the cost is not anything outrageous, you should be aware that an SSL certificate is not free. If you are at all concerned about money and you do not have a legitimate reason to purchase a secure certificate other than to improve SEO, we recommend that you hold off until it is completely necessary.

SOURCE: Informatics (2016), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

BASIC HTML YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND FOR YOUR BLOG

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Most people get amped up when it comes to writing their blogs. For those who have never done it before they may picture a process involving simply typing up pages of content straight to the web. However, what most come to find out fast is that a little bit of HTML knowledge can go a long way and make the blogging process so much easier. Understanding this basic HTML code will help your blogging skills get taken to the next level by being able to format content in various ways (and you don’t have to worry about bothering your web designer anymore!):

TAGS

When writing code, there should always be an opening and closing tag. The opening tag has a left angle bracket followed by a character and closed with a right angle bracket. A closing tag has the exact same structure except there is an added forward slash just before the character. See below for example:

<p> This is my first sentence in a paragraph. </p>

CHARACTERS

How do you know which characters to add to your tags? Well, in the case of writing blogs, some good formatting characters to memorize include:

<h1> This is a heading tag. Use heading tags to keep your content organized and to create a textual hierarchy. There are usually six heading options total (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6). </h1>

<br> This is a break tag. A break tag is code that will put a space between one line and the next (it’s like pressing your Enter key). </br>

<p> This is your paragraph tag. Create paragraphs within the body of your page using this tag. </p>

<b> Bold is another tag that could come in handy when writing a blog. Simply place this tag around any single word or phrase in order to bold the font. <b>

<i> Italic is a formatting tag that will italicize any word or phrase. </i>

<u> Underline tags can be used to underline any text. </u>

LISTS

People love lists. They are short, brief, and easy to skim. Using them in your blog will help clean up your data and provide a new way to layout your content.

Unordered Lists 

To create a simple bulleted list, use <li> </li> opening and closing tags surrounded by <ul> </ul> opening and closing tags as shown below:

<ul>
<li>Apples</li>
<li>Orange Juice</li>
<li>Milk</li>
</ul>
What you see:

  • Apples
  • Orange Juice
  • Milk

Ordered Lists

Similar to unordered lists, ordered lists use numbers in place of bullet points. To create one use ​<li></li> ​opening and closing tags surrounded by ​<ol></ol>​ opening and closing tags as shown below:

<ol>
<li>Apples</li>
<li>Orange Juice</li>
<li>Milk</li>
</ol>
What you see:

  1. Apples
  2. Orange Juice
  3. Milk

Keep your content engaging for your audience and use these coding tips to create a hierarchy with headers, layout lists of information, and emphasize text in various ways.

SOURCE: Informatics inc (2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

4 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE CHOOSING A WEB HOSTING PROVIDER

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Your online reputation is vital to your business! Before you sign up to host with a company that seems to have the right price, make sure that you are asking the right questions to find a provider that will keep your site healthy and safe!

HOW WILL USING YOUR SERVICE AFFECT MY WEBSITE SPEEDS?

Page loading speeds aren’t just about user impatience, it is about the vitality of your site. Yes, it is true that customers will not wait for slow sites to load, but it also affects conversion rates, user experience, and Google ranking (Lifewire). Check with your prospective company for key factors like load balancing, private fiber, and real-time data availability to minimize your downtime.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY WEBSITE GOES DOWN?

Noone wants to be in disaster mode, but everyone needs to be prepared for it! Even if the prospective company hasn’t had any experience navigating natural disasters, make sure they are equipped to mitigate and respond to a site disaster. Managed hosting companies should constantly work to protect your site with regular backups, off-site backup storage, 24×7 monitoring, and access to customer support that is not outsourced.

WILL MY SITE BE SECURE?

Whether you are running an e-commerce site that processes payments or a website that doesn’t transmit any personal information, the health of your site still affects your business! If you don’t know if you have or need an SSL Certificate, start here. The hosting company should be able to answer your questions and have a system in place to ensure that you stay up to date.

SSL Certificates are only part of the security your site needs. Make sure that the company is proactive in monitoring intrusions and staying up to date on DDoS attacks. Taking robust security measures to keep your site operating securely should be a high priority on their list.

WHAT TYPE OF EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE?

Changing hosting providers is not something that you will want to do every day, so ask questions that will give you an idea about the company’s ability to provide you with the services you need. For example:

 

  • How long have they been in business?
  • Have they hosted a website similar to mine?
  • Do I have the ability to upgrade my plan if my website changes?
  • Do they have any customer reviews or references that I can check?

SOURCE: Informatics Inc.(2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

7 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING YOUR DOMAIN NAME

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Starting a new business? Your website doesn’t have to be a .com domain. Take a look at these 7 things to consider when selecting the right Top Level Domains for your online strategy.

Most people are familiar with the ubiquitous Top Level Domain (TLD) extensions like .com and .org, but when ICANN began opening up more generic TLDs in 2012 and 2013, the landscape changed. Don’t worry; choosing a less common TLD will not negatively affect search engine rankings.

In your search for all the right domains for your online strategy, consider these seven items when selecting your TLD:

  1. Provide Context: Recently the TLD .insurance was made available. When selecting TLDs, consider the customer. If they are navigating to your company at .insurance, they know what to expect when they click on the site.
  2. Establish Geographic Location: It goes beyond just country extensions like Canada (.ca) and the United Kingdom (.uk). Some cities have begun using site extensions as well. For example, the Eiffel tower moved its official page to www.toureiffel.paris.
  3. Selection is More Varied: The use of generic TLDs opens up the market for a wider variety of websites. If your company’s name is not available on .com, you have more options to choose from. Just make sure that it is logical and your customer will remember it!
  4. Improve Brand Recognition: Create shorter and more memorable domain names for your customers. In eConsultancy’s article reviewing branded TLDs, BMW was at the top of the list for next100.bmw as a great example of a simple domain name that conveys their message of showing their vision for the next 100 years.
  5. Enhance Brand Protection: Be strategic about the way you protect your brand. Consider if there are any TLDs that could negatively affect your brand or draw users away from your brand.
  6. Extend Creative Possibilities: Using generic TLDs gives more opportunity to be creative and memorable with the marketing of your website. Though they have recently announced an ownership transition, the social bookmarking web service Delicious was creative and effective with their domain name, del.icio.us.
  7. Incorporate Marketing Campaigns: In your next marketing campaign, instead of directing customers to a URL extension, you can send them to a dedicated domain. If you are promoting a Christmas holiday sale you could promote it on yoursite.blackfriday.

SOURCE: Informatics (2016), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING: Facebook Marketing.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Facebook is a social networking service provider. It lets you invite and connect with friends, send messages and pictures, like and comment or share them. Facebook has seen outstanding growth since its inception and is poised to maintain its dominance in social networking.

History of Facebook

Facebook was founded by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004. In May 2007, Facebook opened up its developer platform to allow third-party developers to build applications and widgets that, once approved, could be distributed through the Facebook community. In May 2008, Facebook engineers announced Facebook connect, a cross-site initiative that allows users to publish on third-party sites in their Facebook newsfeed. The site was redesigned in late 2008, intended to streamline the website and make it easier to see what friends were doing.

What is Facebook Marketing?

Facebook is undoubtedly the most popular social media platform available with many advantages associated with it. It is primarily a social networking site, however it can be used as a handy tool for promoting and advertising a business. We can use Facebook to promote a brand, market a company, or create awareness about a service or a product.

Facebook Marketing
Success with this form of marketing requires more than a fan page and a few friends. When used effectively, Facebook marketing can provide a business with exciting benefits and results. Facebook marketing can enable businessmen to greatly improve their brand awareness and reach out to a wider audience.

How to Create a Fan Page?
A Facebook fan page is an amazing way to promote your business, build awareness for a cause, and gather support for your brand. If you would like to create a fan page, follow these easy steps −

  • Log in to your Facebook account.
  • Click on the settings on the top right-hand corner of your page.
  • Click on create page.
  • Click on the type of page you would like to create.
  • Fill in all the information required.
  • Click on “get started”.
  • Upload a profile picture and click on save photo.
  • Complete the ‘about’ section and click ‘save info’.
  • Now decide whether you want to enable ads or skip (it will be payable if you enable).

Facebook Profiles

Facebook Profiles are for people and they are generally meant for personal use only. A Facebook profile is an account that is allocated against an individual, who can use it to network with friends and colleagues, and share information with them. It is designed to be a unique profile on the Facebook network for that one individual, and it is not meant to be used to represent a company, an organization, or a fictional character.

Facebook Places

Facebook Places enable people to provide real-time update of where they are and what they are doing when they are on the move. It also enables its users to take advantage of unexpected coincidences such as discovering that they are at some concert as their friends. Users can check in when they arrive at a location, and see whether their friends are nearby. The best part about Facebook places is that it will more or less maintain itself once it has been created. Facebook users do have the ability to ‘like’ the Facebook places as well, so encourage visitors to press the ‘like’ button after they check in.

Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups are the places for small group communication where users can share their common interests and express their opinion. Groups allow people to come together around a common cause. Groups are for discussing issues and share related content. When we create a group, we can decide whether to make it publicly available for anyone to join, require administrator approval for members to join, or keep it private and by invitation only. Groups range widely − from light-hearted themes to organizing activities to serious topics such as politics and world events.

Facebook Community
A Facebook Community is about an organization, a celebrity, or a topic. Community pages are meant for general topics and all kinds of unofficial but interesting things. These pages let us stay connected with others who share similar interests and experiences.

Grow Your Business with Facebook
Facebook is fast becoming a powerhouse of marketing activity due to the sheer number of engaging users on the site and the simplicity of connecting with them directly.

Facebook can provide your business with a branding outpost on the web where customers, employees, and even the media can find information about your company, products, and services. Facebook connects you and your staff directly to your customers and fans.

Facebook can generate new leads for your business by drawing users’ attention towards what you are offering. Facebook helps in sharing links, images, and posts on a customizable page to project a better sense of your business. Facebook runs tactics like contests, sweepstakes, etc., that can increase fans and brand awareness of your business.

Grow Business With Facebook

Latest Facebook Trends
The nature of social media marketing is ever-changing, so it is important to constantly stay updated with what the current market trends are. The latest Facebook trends that a business should be aware of are − using the cover photo for marketing, different types of Facebook posts, more pictures, etc. Facebook looks completely different from how it was a year ago, so it should not be surprising that marketing on the social network has also changed a great deal.

What are Adverts?
Adverts on Facebook are unique. They are shown to specific groups of highly engaged people. If your adverts have a great creative content and are well targeted, they get more likes, comments, and shares. When we boost our page posts or expand the audience for the adverts, more people will see them when they visit Facebook. Facebook ads allow us to promote our business, get more fans to our business page, and drive more leads for our sales team. Facebook ads allow us to advertise a website or content that we manage on Facebook (like a group, page, or event)

To create an ad, go to − Facebook And click “create an ad”.

How to Create a Campaign?
With targeted ads, stories, and wall posts, a successful campaign can be a powerful tool in our advertising arsenal. When running a Facebook campaign, we can draw on several Facebook components such as wall posts, Facebook ads, sponsored marketing, unique page tabs, etc. We can break down reports by campaign and also easily start/stop all ad sets within that campaign.

Campaigns correspond to each of our advertising objectives, like building brand awareness or driving web traffic. They are designed to help optimize and measure our results for each objective across multiple ad sites and ads. Each campaign can feature multiple ad sets, each of which has its own budget and schedule. We can also organize each ad set to represent a particular audience segment, for example, we can have an ad set for people who live near our store. This will help us control the amount we spend on each audience, decide when they will see our ads, and measure their response. Within each ad set, we can have multiple ads, each of which can feature a different set of images, links, videos, or text.

Facebook − Do’s and Don’ts

Do’s

  • Use Facebook to stay in touch with your friends and make new ones.
  • Use Facebook to advertise your organization’s events.
  • Use Facebook to get involved with the campus community and learn what is happening around.
  • Use Facebook customer support page since it contains valuable information about privacy controls and other important safety information.
  • Do check each friend request carefully after visiting their profile.
  • Do use “privacy settings” while building up your photo albums.

Don’ts

  • Don’t use your wall to announce your schedules, journey and planning.
  • Don’t use public walls as your own. Try to maintain the decorum of groups and fan pages.
  • Don’t accept friend requests from strangers.
  • Don’t use Facebook for ragging and bullying anyone.
  • Don’t post pictures of your friends without their permission.
  • Don’t disclose personal information such as cell phone number, address, etc., unless you feel comfortable.

Increase Facebook Likes for a Fan Page

Create a Facebook fan page with an instantly appealing image, as it will help in attracting more attention.

Keep the Facebook fan page up to date by writing suitable description and posting interesting and friendly page titles. Always try to provide your readers with something fresh to read.

If you are running a contest on your page, then ask your visitors to like your fan page. Facebook contests are the easiest way to get people excited, as the lure of a big prize compels your target customers to ‘like’ your page and become your fan.

If you are running a business, then you should promote your fan page by using ads in the Facebook, as it is the easiest way to increase the visibility of your brand and reach out to a highly targeted audience.

Promote your page on your official website because it helps you to get likes from new visitors on your site. Having a ‘like’ button on your website is an easy way to drive new likes over time.

Synchronize your Facebook page with your other profiles on other social networking sites like Twitter, dig, etc. It will help you get more visitor response.

Sometimes educational content is a better incentive for a ‘like’ than a discount offer or a prize, depending on your industry or the target audience. Providing free written content such as eBooks can drive tons of new fans and customers.

What are Facebook Apps?

Facebook apps are basically software programs that can be added to users’ Facebook profiles. These interactive software applications are developed to utilize the core technologies of the Facebook platform. Applications for Facebook have gained massive popularity in the last few years due to its uniqueness and the ease of creating them.

Facebook apps integrate Facebook newsfeeds, notifications, various social channels, and other features to generate awareness and interest in the app by the Facebook users. Apps and games are normally developed to enhance your experience on Facebook.

You can add the apps that interest you from the app center. The information found in these apps is stored on developer servers that are not hosted by Facebook. The developers are responsible for their servers. It has not been possible to exchange real currency directly within Facebook apps, however apps can utilize ‘Facebook credits’, a virtual currency that can be purchased in order to acquire virtual goods and services within Facebook apps.

Facebook Apps − Advantages

  • Increased exposure to potential customers.
  • Easily create new product or service campaigns online.
  • Lower marketing expenses.
  • Reach a targeted customer.
  • Build brand loyalty.
  • Provide multiple marketing platforms.
  • Budget-friendly ads.
  • Marketing strategy is low cost.
  • Allows business to communicate with existing and prospective clients.
  • Can easily update everyone at once about your business.

SOURCE:  Tutorial’s Point, View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

10 THINGS EVERY WEB DESIGNER SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO IN THEIR SLEEP

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Some skills, you just need to know. And you better know them so well that you can do them almost without thinking. When it comes to web design, many skills can change and evolve over time, but there are a few basics that you should be able to do in your sleep

And even if you aren’t a “web designer” by trade, each of these skills is becoming must-have for all designers working today. How many are you already comfortable with? Let’s dive in and take a look at what you should be able to do on “auto pilot”!

1. Code with HTML and CSS

Whether you are a developer or not, everyone needs to understand the most basic of language behind website design. You need to understand how to read, edit and troubleshoot basic HTML. (And depending on your actual job you might need to know a lot more than that.)

In any case, you should be able to pinpoint a bold or font or color or size issue in HTML without thinking. You should be able to substitute styles in CSS with ease. These are skills that are easy to learn and will serve you well in the long run.

2. Edit Photos

In any design field, it’s likely that you will work with images all day long. So it only makes sense that you understand how to manipulate them. From basic cropping to sizing and a little “clean up,” you should be able to work with photos with ease. At a minimum, you should feel comfortable with cropping and resizing as well as some image quality adjustment.

3. Make a Print

While your job might be in the digital realm, parts of the design will no doubt be needed for printed applications. From fliers to business cards to press releases, you should be able to create and convert elements in such a way that are also print-ready.

Key things to understand include printing resolutions for different media types and color. While you likely use a value such as FF0000 to make a text block red, that won’t work for printing. (It will at least look funny.) CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color mixes are the standard for printed items.

4. Write a Headline

It’s near impossible to really visualize a design with lorem ipsum as the main headline. The words are the glue that bring the visuals and the message together. Your headline might not always stick, but you should always fill in the big words when you turn in a design concept.

As a practical matter, the words can help the client understand how much space is available for text. A good headline shows that you understand the client and go the extra mile in projects and it leaves people with a lasting impression.

5. Grab Any Device and Navigate a Website

You should have a comfort level with computers and devices that most people do not. This might require breaking away from your favorite devices or browsers or programs and playing with plenty of other things. (You’ll be thankful if you do, guaranteed!)

We’ve all been there: There’s nothing worse than a client whipping out an old phone or showing you something on a small screen for help and you just can’t figure it out with ease. You should be able to use your website (and others) in any environment and talk others through how to do it as well.

6. Sketch with Confidence

One of the greatest thing about sketching is that you can help others visualize what you are thinking. Remember, plenty of other people need to see a wireframe or outline before they can start to imagine what you are thinking.

Sketching with confidence is a great way to help create that connection. This is not to say you need to learn to be a top-notch artist overnight. But you should come ready with a pad and pen (or pencil) so you can put those ideas on paper and share them with the team.

7. Use a Common Framework

There is no shame in using a website design framework to kick-start projects. In fact, you probably should unless you are a super-star developer.

Frameworks keep you from reinventing the wheel with every project and are easy for others to use if you are ultimately handing a website over to a client that will try to maintain it and make updates. WordPress is a popular option, but there are plenty of others out there to try.

8. Backup and Package Files

While a website seems to be a self-containing system, it is not. You need to understand how to and how often to backup your site (and restore it, if necessary) to prevent data loss should something happen to the site. (It’s better to be safe than sorry, right?) Even if you don’t know the exact logistics of this exercise in your sleep, you should know what is being saved, how frequently it is happening and where the data is stored.

In addition, you should have a good idea of how to create package files for website styles, design parts and pieces and more that can be used as a backup and can provide vital information for clients should they need to use the parts. Package files (for print) are a necessary part of the web design process as well so clients have a set of branding tools that match the website design for printed promotions. (Clients will love you for this!)

9. Know 3 Trends (And When To Use Them)

You should have a go-to website trends elevator pitch. What does this mean?

Simply, you should be able to talk to anyone with a reasonable amount of design knowledge about what visual techniques are trending and why or why you should not use them. How do they work and what do you like/dislike about these trends.

10. Explain Design Theory

Color, flow, balance and proportion, spacing: These are all things that you should just be able to see when working on projects. But it’s more than having a good eye; design theory is equally important. Understanding why you do what you do and why that creates a well-balanced aesthetic is important.

And if you understand it well, you can explain it and more easily defend and explain design decisions to others. A foundation in the basics will help you master any project.

Conclusion

How many elements on this list can you check off as things you know in your sleep? How many others are you eager to go learn more about or refresh your skill set?

Web design – like any other type of design – is rooted in the basics and sprinkled with plenty of trends and new techniques. A good understanding of the mix will help you grow and become a better designer, and will help you feel even more confident in your design decisions and work.

 SOURCE: Carrie .C (2015), View Link.  
Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

HOW TO IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE FOR SEO

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

The very first step to developing search engine optimized web content for your business is to know your target audience. Knowing the gender, age range, ethnicity, income level, interests, and attributes of your primary audience member will help you to understand what they are searching for online.

STEPS TO IDENTIFYING YOUR AUDIENCE

Step 1: Identify Your Selling Points

What makes your business special? What is it that you offer to customers? Why would someone come to you for the products or services you offer? Identifying your key selling points is the first step to identifying your audience. Knowing what makes you unique will help you to understand what types of people are choosing you over your competitors.

Step 2: Examine Your Existing Audience

Take a look at your current customers and analyze who they are, what they like, and how they make purchasing decisions. Begin analyzing your current audience with these tactics:

  • Collect emails from purchases and send follow-up surveys
  • Invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
  • Collect demographic information at the point of purchase

Step 3: Ask an Outsider’s Opinion

We often have a blind spot when it comes to analyzing our own company and what our audience expects. We all become so immersed in our internal jargon and processes that we have a hard time stepping back and looking at things from an outsider’s perspective.

Enlist outsiders, like third party vendors, friends and family, or a random sample of people to provide insight on your company, services, and practices. Of course you will want to take some of this information with a grain of salt. However, certain feedback can really get your wheels turning!

Step 4: Create an Audience Profile

Your next step is to create an audience profile for each of your audience members. Have some fun with this part! Come up with names for each of your key audience members and list their attributesgoals, and what they may be typing into search engines. This will also come in handy when you add new people to your marketing team and are tasked with introducing them to your company!

SOURCE: Informatics (2016), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

HOW TO CREATE A FACEBOOK MESSENGER CHATBOT FOR FREE WITHOUT CODING

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

There is a lot of hype surrounding chatbots, and they are quickly becoming a standard part of any digital marketing strategy. Chatbots bots are very versatile services, and when setup correctly, can help customers answer questions and fulfill an array of tasks. Chatbots may sound like an intimidating obstacle, but with the right preparation and guidance, they can become tools that help you monetize your social media pages. I’ve put together a guide to help you understand the benefits of chatbots, how they work, and how to build your own chatbot online for your brand.

Chatbots and how they affect your company.

Chatbots are services that mimic conversations with people in order to interact with your customers. Chatbots can be integrated with e-commerce platforms, allowing you to monetize your social media accounts and instant messaging profiles. All competitive companies must maintain a strong online presence, and chatbots are changing the way your audience interacts with you. They help you build an emotional bond with your customer, and because they are still new, building a chatbot now means a strategic advantage over the competition.

How chatbots work

There are two types of chatbots available: those that function based on rules and those that use artificial intelligence (A.I.). Chatbots that function based on rules are much more limited than those that work with A.I. because they only respond to specific commands. Hence, they require a great deal of programming in order to be an effective tool. Chatbots tools that are powered by artificial intelligence are more dynamic because they respond to language, and don’t require specific commands. They learn continuously from the conversations they have with people and can help fulfill an array of tasks without a monumental amount of programming.

The challenges of artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more popular, but it still poses a challenge for marketers. Although you don’t need to be an expert programmer to build a bot with A.I., you have to make sure it offers working features and remains professional at all times.

Benefits of building a chatbot

Messaging application usage has surpassed that of social media, so chatbots offer a more practical way to reach your audience. They were created to provide a seamless experience, allowing customers to get answers through the applications they already use the most. In addition to the above, chatbots will help you:

Generate leads

Make your buyer’s journey simpler

Increase customer satisfaction through better customer experience

Distribute your content via messaging apps

Deliver targeted content based on user feedback and interests

Integrate A.I. in order to prove to be a more dynamic self-serving channel

Preparing to build your chatbot

Before building your chatbot, you will need to set the right expectations and goals. Instead of trying to create an “all around” bot, try to focus on building a chatbot with a few features that work properly.

How to build your chatbot

There are lots of free chatbot building tools such as Chattypeople.com that offer the ability to setup a bot and connect it to facebook. You won’t require any coding knowledge, and you can sign up using your Facebook account. Once you’ve set up a free account you can start creating your chatbot. Make sure you keep these tips in mind when building your bot:

Give it a unique name: Your chatbot should have a distinct name that helps it stand out. That way, consumers will only need to run a quick search in order to connect with your bot.

Give consumers hints on how to get started: The one thing about chatbots that is alien to consumers is the initial interface. Instead of having a website loaded with calls-to-action, users are now faced with a blank screen. Help them out by setting up automatic prompts, so your chatbot can proactively provide options to get your clients started.

Try to mimic a natural conversation flow: Your bot should try to mimic a natural conversation flow to streamline the process for consumers, making it easy for them to ask questions and get answers at any point during the interaction.

Make your bot sound smart with simple terminology: Your bot will be the new face of the company, so try to make it sound smart and eloquent by using short, concise sentences. Complicated grammar can hinder your reader and confuse your bot, so keep it simple.

Don’t reveal all features at the same time: Chatbots can have an array of functions, however, revealing all of them at once can overwhelm consumers. Instead, create a conversation flow that helps your chatbot offer the right options at the right time.

Optimizing and maintaining your chatbot: Like most digital marketing channels, chatbots need to be monitored and optimized in order to increase performance.

Properly building a chatbot will help you change the way consumers interact with your brand, increasing customer satisfaction and monetizing your social media platforms at the same time. By following the tips outlined above you will be able to create a chatbot that is line with your brand and that best portrays your company as a whole and you don’t have to be a chatbot expert to get started.

        SOURCE: Murray .N (2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

TOP 10 PRACTICES FOR MAKING A GREAT CHATBOT

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+

Chatbots are contributing to businesses of all kinds from a customer service, marketing, and sales perspective. Aside from proving to be a valuable return on investment, they’re allowing companies across the world to automate their processes, thus streamlining their operations for maximum efficiency.

Chatbots didn’t start out as intelligent as they are today. The chatbot use to be a bulky, inefficient tool that drove customers mad rather than helping them. Fortunately, the artificial intelligence (AI) that powers them has allowed them to evolve without too much time or monetary investment from the brands implementing them into their business strategies.

That said, despite AI being light years ahead of what it used to be, there are still some simple rules you need to follow if you’re wanting to create an effective chatbot for your brand. To help, here are the 10 best practices you should consider when making your chatbot.

1. Start now, not tomorrow.

Chatbots may not be new, but the advancements in the technology that powers them are and it’s not going to slow down anytime soon. With that in mind, don’t wait until next year to reap the benefits from these ever-improving tools. The fact of the matter is we are still at least a couple of years away from mainstream adoption, and if you can get involved now by experimenting and learning, you’ll be at the forefront of it all.

2. Use a professional chatbot development tool.

You can’t learn about AI, natural language processing, and machine learning overnight, just as you can’t spend the next couple of years researching them in hopes of eventually creating an awesome chatbot.

Hiring a team can be expensive, so why not use a chatbot-building platform, like Chattypeople? With this program, you’ll be able to create a chatbot that:

  • Supports multiple CMS platforms and business categories
  • Integrates with your Facebook Messenger, comments, and posts
  • Take orders directly from your social media channels
  • Pushes deals, promotions, and offers, on demand
  • Integrates with all major payment systems

3. Align with your brand.

Your chatbot is an integral part of your brand. It’s not a separate tool that you’re adding to the mix; it’s more of an important part of your overall sales, marketing, and customer care strategy. As a result, your chatbot needs to align with your brand.

When your audience starts a conversation with your chatbot, it needs to act like a natural part of your brand’s experience. Some ways you can make sure your chatbot follows your brand’s identity include:

  • Using the same color palette as your website and other marketing materials
  • Choosing the correct images, videos, and other media
  • Following your brand’s tone of voice

4. Focus on small, well-defined tasks.

When you first implement your chatbot, you can’t expect it to be able to do everything perfectly. Start by focusing on small, yet well-defined tasks. Your chatbot’s abilities will hugely depend on the conversations it has with consumers. The more conversations it experiences, the more intelligent it will become.

Consequently, start by creating a chatbot for a specific campaign, for example, a seasonal promotion, a new product or service launch, or for simple customer care activities. If you try and make it too broad, it will most likely not help your audience, maybe even annoying them to the point of losing them as potential leads.

5. Implement your chatbot where your company requires efficiency.

Aside from starting your chatbot off with small and concise tasks, use it to reduce the number of human resources currently assigned to repetitive work tasks. If there’s an area of your company that does not require human intelligence to get the job done, why not give the job to a robot and assign those human resources to other, more important jobs that require their intelligence?

6. Create the correct on boarding.

To create a chatbot that your audience finds beneficial, you need to start the conversation the right way. The first message your chatbot has with a consumer should lead into a conversation and stop the user from closing the conversation. To do so, your chatbot must:

  • Introduce itself and its capabilities
  • Show an immediate purpose
  • Show a level of personality
  • Be quick and concise
  • Offer simple, sometimes multiple-choice calls-to-action

7. Monitor and update your chatbot.

Because chatbots and the AI that powers them are still in their infancy, you have to be prepared to monitor, update, and enhance your bot as time progresses. Unfortunately, you can’t just create a chatbot and let it roam free. A chatbot learns more and more as time passes, and your company needs to be prepared to keep up with this progress.

To do so, you need to track the appropriate metrics in order to optimize your chatbot on a regular basis. Metrics you should keep an eye on include:

  • The total number of users you’ve reached
  • The average duration of each conversation
  • The number of sessions you have with each user
  • Click-through rates
  • The amount of engagement you get from users
  • Response time
  • Conversation steps
  • Retention rates

8. Prepare for disruption.

There are two reasons you need to keep everyone within your company in the loop when it comes to implementing a chatbot:

  1. They need reassurance that you are not replacing them with technology
  2. Your chatbot will likely have an impact on their daily work routine

When it comes to the first reason, it’s all about telling them that instead of replacing them, you’re giving them more time to focus on other tasks. On the other hand, reason number two could have a greater impact on your business. Your chatbot will likely affect every single department within your company.

Your marketing department will have to learn about a new tool. Your sales teams will most likely be faced with new information about buyer personas having to adapt their strategies. Your customer care team will have to focus their effort more on email and telephone assistance. And lastly, your web developers will need to figure out how to fix glitches with your chatbot whenever they arise.

9. Provide human assistance.

Despite your customer service team shifting most of its focus towards telephone and email care, it will still play a vital role when it comes to live chat. No matter how advanced they become, chatbots are still robots and are just as likely to make mistakes. When that happens, they need to have the adequate human backup to take over the conversation. It’s also crucial that you don’t try and trick your audience into thinking they’re speaking with a human rather than a bot.

10. Utilize clear calls-to-action.

Chatbot conversation design is extremely complicated, most notably because consumers are free to say or ask anything they want, in any way they choose. This could include typos, text message dialect, slang, and much more. With all these changing every day, chatbots can’t keep up.

Although you won’t be able to avoid confusing dialects and other non-traditional forms of communication, you can hone in on your consumers’ needs by offering hints. For example, avoid open-ended questions and offer multiple- choice answers. You should also make sure your bot confirms every answer a consumer inputs in order for the conversation to stay on the right tracks.

Finally…

Chatbots are new to the tech world and getting them right the first time around is virtually impossible. That said, by implementing some of the best practices mentioned above, you’ll offer your audience a meaningful experience while learning from their needs, thus enhancing your chatbot over time.

SOURCE: Murray .N (2017), View Link.

Social Share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+