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Google +1 Launches While Bing Turns Social – Are you ready?

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Bing and Google have recently changed their search engine results page (SERP) and it may affect your website’s ranking – well, at least not at your office. You see, when Google +1 and Bing Social are in action, the search results become more personalized and display results based on the ‘likes’ or +1’s from their friends. Since everyone has a distinctive set of friends the results will be different for each of them – and that means you will never know the true ranking of your website. To put it simply, your website could be ranked #1 at the office, but not at home on the family computer. So what do you do about it? First, watch the following videos and then I have a few tips to help keep your website ‘socially’ ranked #1.

Introducing the +1 Button

The +1 button lets people recommend web content to their friends and contacts on Google search.

Bing + Facebook = Social Search

Bing has connected with Facebook to make searching on Bing more social. Together, Bing and Facebook will offer a more personalized experience.

Bing Social Search claims to make it easy to find the right place, e.g., coffee shop, heating and cooling specialist, pet hospital, gas station; based on the Likes of your Facebook friends.

Here are a few tips to help your company get started…

  • Make it easy for visitors to like a page on your site. Add both the Like and +1 button to each page of the site. (FYI: The +1 button for your website isn’t available at the moment. To be notified when it will launch go to https://services.google.com/fb/forms/plusonesignup/.)
  • Focus on blog content, video, and photographs that you think people will share.
  • Fun = Likeable. Adding a fun twist to blog articles, video, and photographs increases the chance of them being shared. I remember my dad putting Styrofoam at the bottom of an old silo. We would climb up the ladder and jump into it. So, if you’re company sells Styrofoam, show fun things that can be done after the Styrofoam is unpackaged from the container. Styrofoam lightsabers were another fun weapon of choice against my overlord sister. Lots of good memories with Styrofoam!
  • Educational = Likeable. Tutorials and self-help articles are popular. People like it when they can save money by doing it themselves. Even though you’re not making money when giving away information, it will show that you are a leader in your industry.
  • The 80-20 Rule – 80% social, 20% shameless self-promotion. Yeah, it’s a wonderful experience when your company wins an award – let the world know about it! With that said, bragging gets old very quick. Keep the shameless self-promotion to a minimum. (:
  • Keep working on your Facebook and Twitter campaigns. I might have to write another article (maybe a book) about this – there’s a lot to it! (:

Conclusion

So, is your company ready for the dawn of the new ‘social’ search engines? Are you considering adding the Facebook Like and Google +1 button to your website? But once it’s added, what do you do then? My last recommendation is to put your ‘analytical approach to everything’ down for a nap and wake up the fun child within you – be creative. Before you know it, your website will be ranked #1 at the office of your competitors; making them wonder if the 130+- people on their personal Facebook profile are faithful friends. Good luck! 🙂

Redesigns, Facebook Apps, and Mobile | We’ve been busy!

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Hello wisnetters. I’ve been away from Noteworthy for a bit and thought I would share with you a couple projects we’ve been working on that I’m sure you will find interesting. These include before and after screenshots of a website redesign, two new Facebook apps, and a backstage pass to see what a mobile website looks like before it goes to the development stage. Stick around as I show you what we’ve been up to!

ClientWhys New Look

ClientWhys.com provides websites, marketing products, syndicated content, and social media campaigns for the accounting industry. This has been one of our larger front-end design projects and many hours were put into it. The updates have made the site easier to navigate and friendlier for search engines, and have lowered page load times, improved site architecture, and more importantly – increased revenue for the client.

A screenshot of what ClientWhys looked like before the redesign. A screenshot of what ClientWhys looked like before the redesign. The trendier design includes bolder colors, more gradients, and a big call-to-action button for visitors to sign up for the free trial.The trendier design includes bolder colors, more gradients, and a big call-to-action button for attracting visitors to sign up for the free trial.

To view the website go to www.clientwhys.com. Here are some key improvements made with the new design:

  • Each product page has a custom design.
  • Added photographs of the staff.
  • Stronger calls-to-action across the website.
  • Easier to read blog and support section.
  • Improved Site Architecture – It is now easier for visitors and search engines to navigate the site.
  • Faster loading pages – way faster. Went from being 60% slower than most sites to 80% faster.

When it came to the interior pages, most visitors weren’t scrolling past the fold. With more images and catchier sub-headings, it increased the amount of visitors scrolling below the fold and to the bottom of the page. Here is a before and after of an interior page.

Before and after screenshot of an interior page.Before and after screenshot of an interior page.

Behind this design lies a powerful content management system called BLASTauthor which the team at ClientWhys uses to manage content for their blog. Below is a screenshot of the frontend.

A few features of the blog include seo-friendly URLS, Popular Posts, Related Articles, and social bookmarks for sharing articles on sites such as Facebook.A few features of the blog include seo-friendly URLS, Popular Posts, Related Articles, and social bookmarks for sharing articles on sites such as Facebook.

Facebook Welcome App

With over 600 million users on Facebook we are not surprised that businesses want to keep adding features to their company page. To get started with Facebook, the first step is to get visitors to ‘Like’ your page, and a Welcome page can help accomplish that task. Not too long ago Facebook discontinued their Static FBML application in favor of a model that requires an iframe app. Since working with third party apps is often a pain, we created our own. A welcome app is just the start – it opens up doors for many possibilities including offering coupons, running contests, or allowing visitors to reserve a room at a hotel. Here’s an example of a Welcome page.

Clients can create their own Welcome page and add it to our app. In addition, they can make updates on the fly through our Easy Site Editor.Clients can create their own Welcome page and add it to our app. In addition, they can make updates on the fly through our Easy Site Editor.

Scheduled Posts App

Wouldn’t it be nice to strike up a conversation with your customers when the store has closed for the day – which might be the time when most them are on Facebook? Fairly simple: without even logging into Facebook, you can create a post and schedule it to appear anytime, e.g. breakfast, second breakfast, elevensies, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, and even at midnight. It adds a little automation to what once was a tedious task of logging into Facebook and manually posting.

Scheduling posts to appear on Facebook at a specific time is very simple.Scheduling posts to appear on Facebook at a specific time is very simple.

See how mobile development starts…

Mobile development starts with a rough draft created in a program such as Photoshop. (This one was done in Fireworks – my favorite.) Usually the first draft is created with wireframes, but this time, since the site was already created, it was easy to take design elements and rearrange them for mobile users.

First rough draft of the new mobile website for the Fond du Lac Convention & Visitors Bureau.First rough draft of the new mobile website for the Fond du Lac Convention & Visitors Bureau. Example of how the new Fond du Lac CVB site will look on an iPhone. Example of how the new Fond du Lac CVB site will look on an iPhone.

Conclusion

As you can see, the team has been busy. Surprisingly, this is only a small portion of what has been going on the past two months. I’ve snuck a peak to see what the programmers have been up to and noticed them working on complex user interfaces and backend applications. Maybe when they’re done, I’ll upload screenshots for you to see. Stay tuned, as more exciting happenings at wisnet.com will be coming your way!

How-to Guide to Create a Company Facebook Page

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Over 600 million people across the world are using Facebook to connect to family and friends. It has become the #1 online destination surpassing time spent on all of Google’s products combined. For a long time, businesses have known the importance of being ranked well on search engines. Now they are interested in reaching out and being noticed via a different method: social marketing. Businesses have created Facebook Pages to do just that. If you haven’t considered Facebook, now might be the time. We have created a tutorial on setting up your first Facebook Page for your company.

Step 1: Log out…

First, make sure you are logged out of your personal profile. Yes, Facebook Pages can be created via a personal profile, but a few features will be missing – including the ability to select Fans as guests when creating events. In addition, if an employee creates the Page using their personal profile, they will take all your fans with them when they depart from the company.

Step 2: Click Create a Page…

Visit www.facebook.com to get started. Towards the bottom right click Create a Page.

When visiting Facebook, look for the Create a Page link below the SIGN UP button.When visiting Facebook, look for the Create a Page link below the SIGN UP button.

Step 3: Choose the Type of Business…

Select a category that most represents your business or organization.

On the next screen, it will introduce a few options for categorizing your company. You might be confused between choosing Local Business, Company, and Brand or Product. The category of ‘Company, Organization or Institution’ refers to a large company or franchise. Ford Mustang would be a brand or product. It’s one of many products that Ford Motor Company makes. Most small businesses will choose from ‘Local business or Place’. If you feel that one of your products is worthy of it’s own Facebook Page, than go right ahead.

Select a category that most represents your business or organization

Step 4: Choose a Business Category …

When Local Business or Place is checked, a drop-down menu will appear with additional items to sub-categorize your company. Choose wisely because you might not be able to change it once the Facebook Page has been created. Fill in all the fields. The Company Name field will be the name of your Facebook Page. Then click GET STARTED.

From the Local business, choose an item that closely represents your company.

Step 5: Security Check…

Enter the security words that you see displayed on the screen. Then click SUBMIT.

Enter the security check words.

Step 6: Create a Facebook Account…

On the Create a Facebook Account page, it is very important to check I do not have a Facebook account. Remember, this is to prevent employees from running off with the Page when they depart or retire from your company. Plus, it will come in handy if ownership of the company changes.

Fill in a valid email address, password, birthday, and the words spelled out in the Security Check window. Then check I have read and agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy followed by clicking Sign up Now!

Check ‘I do not have a Facebook account’ for best practice. Check ‘I do not have a Facebook account’ for best practice.

Step 7: Confirm your email address…

Thanks for signing up for Facebook! The next step will require you to confirm your email. Go to your inbox and find the email that was sent.

Go to your inbox to receive the confirmation email.Go to your inbox to receive the confirmation email.

Step 8: The email…

The email will look like the following screenshot. Click on the link Facebook provided.

Click on the confirmation link in your email to complete your sign up.Click on the confirmation link in your email to complete your sign up.

Step 9: Your Very Own Company Page!

Congratulations! You now have setup your own company Facebook page. It will need some tweaking. Upload an image, logo or photo. Click on the ‘Edit Info’ link near the top of the page and add basic information such as a business address, company website address, hours of operation, and a short description. Before proceeding, click the Wall tab to see how the Page will appear to your visitors.

Click the Wall tab to see how the Facebook Page will appear to your visitors.Click the Wall tab to see how the Facebook Page will appear to your visitors.

Step 10: The basic skeleton of a Facebook Page…

Quite plain, wouldn’t you think? We recommend branding the page with a logo and adding company information. Go back to the Get Started tab to start modifying the page.

What the Wall tab looks like right after the Facebook Page has been created.What the Wall tab looks like right after the Facebook Page has been created.

Step 11: Tweak Your Settings…

Click on ‘Settings’ in the top blue bar. Here you can update your name, password, email address, add a security question and set your privacy settings. Now is a good time to get familiar with these items and change any settings. It is recommended to have Facebook use a secure browser.

Facebook Settings ScreenThis is the Settings screen with options to change privacy, password and other options.

Step 12: Now What?…

Now it’s time to post an entry. Tell friends and colleagues to come and visit your page and click the ‘LIKE’ button. After 20 people have ‘Liked’ your page you can obtain a Vanity URL for your Facebook page (ie: www.facebook.com/companyname)

Many books are written about Facebook. In addition, there are many online tutorials that provide tips on enhancing a Facebook Page. Plus, it is recommended to look at some other Pages to get ideas. Here are a couple companies that take full advantage of all the features available.

Jet Stream Car Wash Facebook PageJet Stream Car Wash’s Welcome Page promotes their top 3 services.
ClientWhys Facebook PageClientWhys’ Facebook Page touches upon some of their services with links to their website.
Tru-Fire Facebook PageTru-Fire’s Facebook page uses images to entice visitors to learn more about their company’s products.

Conclusion

Creating a Company Facebook Page is the start of your social marketing adventure. After you feel comfortable with the look and feel, the next step is to go out and find fans. Promote it on your website with a Like Box along with a link back to the page. Social marketing means you interact with your fans. This could include providing resourceful information, coupons, video, photographs, or starting a discussion within your Facebook Page. To be more successful, search for resources and subscribe to websites that provide tips on social marketing. Good luck!