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Google+ Moves Forward

Written by Brandi Bennett

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Most businesses opt to use Twitter or Facebook as a means of communicating with their customers, or their potential customers; though there are those that are willing to utilize G+, they often do so as an afterthought, making it a nice place for many of us to hang out who don’t like dealing with advertisements in our news, information, and social escapades. Still, with Facebook starting to trail behind the others, as it increases the amount of advertisements and decreases in popularity, many users are starting to turn to G+ as the next big platform.

Google Plus

 

What Does This Mean For Businesses?

You may want to get on board with G+, and Google’s making that easier than ever for you to do now. All e-commerce business owners use some form of analytics in order to determine the best moves for their business, allowing them to find out where they want to take things from here, so to speak.

While this has been somewhat possible through social media as well, many business owners find that they don’t want to pay the additional fees needed in order to access this information, leaving them questioning as to whether or not they are doing things right on the social media platforms. Well, no more!

G+ now offers businesses the ability to access all of the analytic information that they need in order to determine the best methods of connecting with customers, identifying what is working and what is not, and, perhaps more importantly, works to increase the amount of control that small businesses have over their promotional activities. Offered as a part of the service now known as “Google My Business,” small business owners are able to manage many aspects of their online presence, including search results, maps, directions, reviews, and the analytical data offered to them through the use of G+.

 

Time To Make A Change?

Google’s always worked to try to provide users with all of the information that they could ever possibly need or want (and then some), but now it appears as though they are working to take care of not just individuals but businesses as well. With all this available readily at your fingertips, perhaps it’s time for you too to consider making a change; if not permanently, at least working to include G+ in your retinue of tools.

Harnessing Your Web Power

Written by Michael Dickens II

Monday, August 18th, 2014

This is perhaps the “selfie” generation. Never before have so many horns been tooted by their very owners. Frankly, that’s a lot of noise with which to compete. What is a self-appreciating, well-meaning artist to do? Blow harder? Louder?

In college I was ever-fascinated by the marching bands. The organization of those harmonies and the concerted effort displayed amid the open roofed, fan crazed, frenzy that ensued in the stands was nothing less than spectacular to me.

Through the playful back and forth between various sections of instrumentation, there seemed to reign a constant (perhaps even arrogant) dominance of the trumpeters. Who, after moments of being connivingly coy, pierced through and blurted out their superiority as though the keep all else in check and ensure their prowess was well recognized.

I eventually grew to appreciate a particular instrument more than all the rest; it was not the trumpet. It was the Piccolo, the miniature flute. It seemed to simply float up in the atmosphere, ever present. It could be easily missed, yet once you have grasped its unique pitch and tone, it is undeniable and somewhat addictive.

Stay with me…I assure you I’m going somewhere with this.

You want nothing more than to be heard. To develop a fan base large enough to support your music habit full-time, or at least take your career to that elusive next step.

Many musical artists, signed and unsigned, independents and traditionals, hardcore and “sell-outs” alike, all make use of mainstream distribution channels. iTunes, and GooglePlay accounts promoted by Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. So many people all playing the trumpet… but what about the piccolo?

I would encourage you to try a different route; be the piccolo. After you have partnered with your web-host and launched an easily navigable site that best expresses your essence, promote it. You have spent substantial time and a good amount of money on developing your brand (You have considered branding-haven’t you?). Time for a return on that investment. Develop your fan base directly.

Use the other channels and tools, of course, but consider them to be supplementary. Instead, aim to drive direct traffic to your very own site and drive sales through your very own site as well. There are two main benefits of this on which I want to focus:

1. Visibility. Promoting your site more than your YouTube, MySpace, or any other pages will help you acquire SEO visibility. When people Google you…YOUR site will come up, not just your YouTube and other social media accounts.

2. Analytics. Proving your worth as an indie artist is hard enough, don’t add fuel to the fire by not being able to highlight numbers! You may be an artist, but you are also in the BUSINESS of music. There is no wise business mind that would forsake the mighty metrics. Numbers don’t lie.

If you have 10,000 fans with whom you maintain direct contact and are able to prove they visit your website regularly, THAT’S A BIG DEAL! Those 10,000 fans equal a “market place.” Sponsors will pay you for access to that “market place” and it may only require something simple like wearing their logo or including their business name and link on your site. Don’t block your blessed income because you can’t show and tell.

 

Stay tuned for the part 2 of this article: Maximizing Your Reach; Monetizing Your Brand

Image Source: http://biedermanblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Digital-Music.jpg

What Is A Dark Post On Facebook?

Written by Kyler Patterson

Friday, August 15th, 2014

dark-post-facebook

 

The featured image on this article is not a post that you will find anywhere on the HostGator Facebook Page.  But yet many people have seen it. How? The answer: Dark Posts.

 

Dark Post – What Is It?

According to the definition from Google, a dark post is the following:

An unpublished post is a status update, link share, video or photo that was never meant to be shared as an organic post. Staying true to its name, it’s never published but is only surfaced as an ad.

Basically, it’s a Facebook post that you control exactly who sees it through ads. If you have seen the main image on this page on Facebook, then that means you have seen one of our dark posts targeting you.

 

Why Dark Post?

The purpose of these posts are to create a message for a specific goal without cluttering up the newsfeed for those who would see it as irrelevant. For example, if you’re trying to sell your services and all of your followers already use your services, then it wouldn’t make sense for them to see an ad on their newsfeed for your services. However, you still want to post a message for selling your services to drive sales. This is where dark posts come into play. You can create a dark post with a message to sell your services and use that to advertise to your target market.

 

How To Create A Dark Post On Facebook

Facebook has a video on creating dark posts and you can find it here. Unfortunately, this video is very outdated. The power editor no longer looks like it did in the video. This walkthrough will show you how to create a dark post so that you can put Facebook to work for your business. Please note, we will be using Google Chrome because the power editor doesn’t work in other browsers.

 

1. Visit the Facebook Power Editor. https://www.facebook.com/ads/manage/powereditor/

power-editor-on-facebook

 

2. Click “Download to Power Editor” and choose the choose the advertising account you wish to download. For many of you, there will only be one option. For those who manage accounts for multiple clients, make sure you select the correct account. You don’t want one client paying for the ads of another.

 

3. Select the + sign under Campaigns.

add-facebook-campaign

 

4. Determine the Campaign Name, Buying Type (I always choose auction), and the Objective. The Objective is what you’re trying to achieve with your ad (Generate leads, get website traffic, increase page likes, etc)

create-ad-objective-facebook

 

5. Now that you’ve created your Campaign, click the Ads tab facebook-ads

 

6. Click the + sign again to create an ad

 

7. Select the campaign you just created, create an ad set, and then name your ad. (You can also create your campaign from this point if you’d like)
organize-facebook-campaign

 

8. In the Creative tab, you can choose the Facebook Page that you wish to use for the ad and the post.

 

9. Once you’ve selected the page, under Page Post, click the + at the right.

facebook-page-post

 

10. From here you can choose the Post Type: Link, Photo, Video, Status, Offer. For this example, we’ll create a Link. I’ve set one up just for this article.

unpublished-page-post-facebook hostgator-facebook-ad

 

11. Be sure to choose the option “This post will only be used as an ad”. It should already be selected but make sure it’s there.

 

12. Review your post.

facebook-dark-post-example

 

Now that you’ve created your post, you can begin to use it for your ads. This article does not cover how to create ads and how to target customers but the opportunities are virtually endless. To get started, check out this article on basic Facebook ads. Be sure to come back to the blog as we will add more articles about more advanced Facebook methods such as targeting and optimization.

 

Hopefully we have shed light on what a dark post is and you have found this information valuable. If you have any other questions about Facebook, please let us know in the comments. We will be more than happy to write about what you want to know.

Beyond Web Hosting: The Content Delivery Network

Written by Natalie Lehrer

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

1 colourful web hosting
Have you ever wondered how some of those more popular web sites manage to deliver their content to you so quickly and so reliably – no matter where the company is located and no matter where you happen to be connected? In many cases, the answer is not one gigantic server with huge Internet bandwidth. It’s more likely to be the use of a content delivery network (CDN). If your own web presence is starting to generate serious interest and traffic, especially from different parts of the world, it may be a solution that makes sense for you in order to supply your content to a growing number of fans or customers.

 

Like Web Hosting but Multiplied Up

A CDN works in a similar way to a single web hosting installation, but replicates your website data on multiple servers. These servers are distributed geographically to increase proximity with visitors to your website. Some CDNs focus on certain regions. Others claim worldwide coverage – the biggest CDNs can have thousands of servers, all automatically configured to serve the end-users that are the physically closest to them. Smaller distances mean fewer hops, less latency and faster overall transmission. Higher numbers of servers mean that end-users are less likely to see delays when trying to access a very popular site, because the load is shared out between the replicating hosts.

 

What do CDNs Do Best?

CDNs can work well with static web content, including text and images. However, their effect is often most noticeable in video transmission. When videos are streamed from a local CDN server to a user, latency can be minimized and good video replay quality can be achieved, with the stop/start or jitter that occurs when large numbers of remote users all access the same central server. Other benefits include resilience of content delivery in case part of the Internet experiences problems, and robustness against attacks such as denial of service. For example, if you think you’d like to be the new YouTube or Vimeo on the net, a CDN could be a useful or even essential part of your plan.

 

Smart Technology

Some CDNs are smarter still. Not only do they recognize which users should be served from which local node when they type in the domain name of the website in question, but they also intelligently compress and pre-load data. The compression techniques can be high-performance yet without loss (important for transferring many large data files). The pre-loading relies on a statistical analysis of which website content is the most popular or most frequently downloaded in a given sequence. The CDN node will send the next webpages in the sequence at the same time as the first webpage requested by the user. If the user then navigates to the next page in the sequence (which has a good probability of happening), the content is already present on the user’s computer and ‘flashes up’ immediately.

 

When Would You Start Using a CDN?

If you currently attract so many users to your site that performance and/or network bandwidth are becoming bottlenecks, CDNs may be worth investigating. They may be a less expensive yet more effective option compared to trying to beef up your central web hosting. A ‘CDN aggregator’ company may be able to help by modeling your traffic and your requirements, and identifying the best deal among the CDNs available. Such aggregators may even offer a dynamic ‘mix and match’ service, continually selecting the most favorable CDN for your requirements. This often assumes of course that you accept to sign up with the aggregator as the intermediary for providing this service.

 

*****

Author Bio: Natalie Lehrer is a senior contributor for CloudWedge. In her spare time, Natalie enjoys exploring all things cloud and is a music enthusiast. Follow Natalie’s daily posts on Twitter: @Cloudwedge, or on Facebook.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ttdesign/343167590/in/photolist-wjPLA-7Be85n-rbCWW-aQf21D-7KjZjr-7zDWzv-6aw5Lh-8MDbrZ-5KpNhE-7XMuAD-6cGrgu-89Tw5Q-6nt5X1-5LVP4E-84s4zk-hQ5CiF-7BS33u-ELx7g-9zVHaR-7YQdNq-fqcg29-gRu2rU-ht66k-6HPouy-6z8pej-jkgYmp-7H54Kk-8ZVktv-6B3s58-8MtWqu-dbvTz6-fD4Ngx-8fPKrA-7WBuA2-89TsG5-4RDokh-cjL6F5-bccJFK-6whmkD-nqmnkC-7znbaU-5y9Lmn-8WgR9s-eVRB9u-3XBxv-dN9oWd-cnJHKG-7Rb4Yp-9mg1XN-cjKJeu

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