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Traditional Advertising is Seeking Burial Ground

Burial Procession

Looking for a Media Burial Ground

As the digital age is well on its way to oversaturate the world with equally useful and useless information, the result in general is that John Public is better informed and not as easily persuaded or fooled as in the past.
Because of this, traditional forms of advertising are now rapidly becoming obsolete as digital devices take up more of people’s time than television, radio, newspapers, magazines or any other form of infotainment.

This restructuring in the way consumers absorb and obtain information on companies, brands, products, and everything else has led to the birth of content (or inbound) marketing. Much of content marketing’s success is due to one key feature that sets it apart from other forms of advertising; valuable and useful information for audiences. But despite the resounding reception of content marketing by consumers, most small and medium sized companies, especially those operating on a local or regional level are still hesitant to switch gears.

And if this is you, it’s time to shift. If you have a blog sites, than start blogging relevant content
Below is a bevy of solid facts that prove that content marketing is not only valuable to businesses and communities, but necessary for overall growth and success.

The Rise of the Savvy Consumer

Many consumers conduct a decent amount of research into brands and products before buying in. Many individuals will simply not accept claims from anyone at face value (not even Facebook) and prefer to research the information themselves; information that is now at their fingertips. For this reason, content marketing is an extremely useful tool in convincing consumers that the products you are selling are worthwhile.

Today, 68% of consumers spend substantial time reading content from brands that they find interesting and may consider purchasing from. Additionally, 90% found custom content to be useful. Not only does content marketing provide consumers with additional information on a product or brand, but it also develops credibility, trust and a sense of personal relationship.
On a personal level it is baffling how many times I speak to people in phone calls, interested in staying at our Inn and when I answer their question on whom they are talking to, the conversation gets giddily excited because the guests reviews so often mention my breakfast talents (?) that potential guests already feel they know and trust me.

No surprise here as 70% of today’s consumers state that content marketing materials make them feel closer to the company while 82% of consumers feel increased positivity surrounding a brand after reading custom content.
These statistics are critical aspects of survival for any company, considering that one of the major factors consumers look for in a brand these days is authenticity. Today’s shoppers seek to develop a trust-based relationship with brands. Content marketing is so powerful in this regard that 78% of people believe that organizations who provide custom content are interested in developing positive relationships with them.

Truthfully, no matter what any marketer or business person thinks about content marketing, the proof is in the numbers, and the general population loves custom content. And this trend is only set to explode further as mobile use continues to climb.

The Rise of the Reactive Marketer

As much as consumers love custom content, marketers and businesses love it as well. There has been massive growth in the need for content marketing among companies over the past several years.
Today, 86% of Business to Business (B2B) marketers and 77% of Business to Consumer (B2C) marketers utilize a content marketing strategy. Additionally, 70% of B2B marketers create more content now than in the previous year. This channel of marketing has become so popular that 4 of every 5 marketing leaders have integrated content into their advertising programs.

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And these incredibly revealing numbers don’t end there either. Over the next 12 to 18 months, 80% of surveyed companies intend to increase digital marketing budgets while 24% currently allocate 50% or more of marketing budgets to content. It’s the bees knees, people.
Over the past year alone for example, the use of info graphics has skyrocketed from a meager 11% to an astounding 62%.
In 2014, video content for B2B marketing increased in use from 8% to 58%. To further this point, brands that generate 15 blog posts on a monthly basis (One every Two Days) typically average about 1,200 new leads per month. Impressive, don’t you think?

The conclusion here is pretty black and white. To put it plainly, content marketing is now the most effective and engaging form of advertising. The time to ditch traditional marketing plans is now. Content marketing is not going away any time soon and will only become more powerful and influential as time goes on.

Shoppers are simply no longer wooed by flashy ads, sexy images, or persuasive language. Consumers seek useful, unique, informative content on topics that are relevant to them.
The stupid lifestyle ads on TV, featuring 20 year olds talking about wrinkles and early aging risks are seen as hugely irrelevant. Although creating top-notch content may seem like it is daunting task for some, there is plenty of great information and a myriad of fantastic content creation tools and talent available.

Combine the knowledge of relevant content with the most popular mobile delivery systems and you’ll be set for the next 2 to 5 years. Don’t and your business will become an ancient relic; invest time and resources into content marketing and your company stands a much better chance for blazing a trail into the future, however short that may be considering the quick change of technology driven pace.

Using Black Hat SEO Techniques Could Ban Your Website in Google Search Engine

Using Black Hat SEO Techniques Could Ban Your Website in Google Search EngineWhy do people go online? They are looking for information and the internet is the most convenient way of getting instant outcome albeit the quality. Nevertheless, the demand for authentic, high quality and very informative content is increasing these days and the search engines like Google adapts to this dynamic changes of the internet users. Hence, it is of importance for internet marketers and website owners to conform to the ways of search engines.

Search Engine Optimization/SEO is the technique widely used by website owners to enhance their organic rankings. But it takes effort, right approach and integrity in utilizing SEO. Yes, there are “illegal” ways of SEO methods and these are called “Black hat SEO techniques.” Doing some of these methods can lead serious repercussion such as harming your search engine ranking or ultimately, getting your website banned. Hence, to ensure you are doing legal on the internet, do only the “white hat techniques”. You can check out Good Monster, a SEO company in Syracuse.

Take a look at some of the black hat SEO techniques that can harm your online presence:

• Cloaking
This is the practice of misleading the search engine via presenting various contents to the search engines like Google and then taking your websites visitors to different website or page than the authentic one after the users clicked the link from the search engine. The consequences of doing this act is lowered organic ranking or total ban from the search engines.

• Duplication of content and stuffing of keywords
One of the SEO techniques is to create high quality contents. After all, many internet users visit the World Wide Web to gathered relevant information. However, it is important your content must be unique. Duplicate content is plagiarism online. Keep in mind that search engines like Google have algorithms, which are always modified, to index original contents only. In line with creating contents, the important keywords (the words that are used by users in their queries) should be spaced evenly. Here, you must avoid stuffing the content with keywords.

• Exchanging links
Exchanging links can give your website lots of links in short amount of time, but with the new link scheme devised by Google, you may end up hurting your ranking. Instead, place emphasis on creating links naturally. The exchanged links are usually irrelevant and in low quality.

• Hidden links and texts
Several web developers utilize specific tags and codes in building website. Some of these are used to remind them about something technical and these are usually invisible to the users that check out the website from the front. Some takes advantage of these hidden texts with the addition of multiple keywords. Even if your intention is to enhance your rankings, you may end up hurting your chances because this violates the ethical techniques in SEO. Although the users will not notice these hidden things, the Google spiders will still be able to identify them and will put negative consequences to your website.

• Purchasing links
It is possible to purchase links and links are essential in rankings. The Penguin Update from Google was created to locate websites offering links for sale and if you tracked down with this, your ranking will surely suffer.

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Ask Before You Blast that Newsletter

Ask Before You Blast that NewsletterIt is poor ettiqette to blast a bulk-email or newsletter to addresses you don’t have permission to use. Ask before you blast!

What happens when you receive email that you didn’t expect, or ask for. Odds are it gets deleted, and on my computer I delete it with a couple of curse words, too, for good measure.

This has happened to me twice, by local members of our community, who know better!

These unsolicited advertisements find their way to my in-box from a variety of non-profit organizations I am a member of… how do I know? Because the two people I am referring to were each on a committee where I also served. Well, guess what, I’m no longer going to “delete” these emails, I’m going to mark them as “spam”. When this is done, a message is sent to their internet service provider (ISP) and that complaint will be added to others who do the same. You can be blacklisted for sending unwanted spam!

Sloppy emails can get you black listed, too, like too much red font, too many “click here” suggestions and too many exclamation points.

If you are going to send mass emails, or newsletters, please make sure your receiver has requested the information first. Personal referrals, prospects, family, friends, and leads are not “requests”, neither are the people you think would like to receive your email. Never purchase an e-mail list.

MailChimp, Constant Contact and other newsletter services explain the correct ways to have your customers “opt in” for your newsletters. Selecting the “double opt in” feature of your service is a great way to make sure you have a valuable list of emails.

One way to help reduce hi-jacked email addresses is too use the “blind copy” feature when sending emails to multiple recipients. This feature makes those email addresses private to all recipients – so they can’t be harvested and then misused.

The Federal Trade Commission spells out the rules in the CAN-SPAM Act article found by using the following link: http://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business.

I am not calling these two folks out by their names, because I don’t want my email used against me in retaliation, but you know who you are!

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SearchAmelia Has Posted 10,000 Blogs

SearchAmelia Has Posted 10,000 BlogsSearchAmelia has just posted their 10,000th blog! That is indeed a lot of writing, researching, soul sharing, laughter and sometimes tears.

We began in the spring of 2008 by building a website and publishing local articles. Stories about history, news or events that we feel are relevant to those living in or visiting, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Yulee and most of Nassau County, were considered ideal content. Since 2008 we have posted something damn near every-single-day!!!

Our website strives to be a familiar place, both interesting and informative, for folks to go to learn about the things and the people our wonderful community offers.

SearchAmelia has introduced us to new friends, opened our eyes to new ideas, and opened our hearts to those in need. We have tried to focus on the good news in Fernandina, but still we share some of the bad that occasionally shows up in our “in-boxes”.

Our articles are often press releases submitted by your neighbors telling of new business offerings, non-profit events, and local news stories. Often we write from our heart. My Personal Experience with Hospice let me share a very private moment with “you” – our readers, subscribers and viewers. “You” were there when we lost our partner and Han’s brother, Thom. “You” were with me when my daughter and her young son’s community of Henryville, Indiana was all but destroyed during a tornado outbreak in March of 2012.

We have shared anniversaries, childbirths and weddings.

We ARE your neighbors; we live here, we work here and we hope you consider us your friends.

Our articles 2012 Doomsday The End is Near, Haiti One Year after the Earthquake, ‎and How to Keep Flies Out of Your House or Patio have been read tens of thousands of times. We’ve had an enchanting variety of guest writers submit their pieces, too.

We don’t charge for subscriptions, we don’t charge for your local news or a link back to your businesses, and we don’t post affiliate advertising. The ads we do have are partners with SearchAmelia, strengthening the “shop local” mantra.

I’m proud to say our calendar is one of the most comprehensive ones in town and we welcome your submissions. It’s simple, just CLICK HERE. (By the way, our calendar entries are not included in the 10,000.)

You may not think 10,000 stories is much to brag about, but we sure do! Here are the numbers:

We’be been blogging for nearly six years and five months. Call it 334 weeks if you’d like, but no matter how you do the math we have published, on average, just over four articles – every single day – for the past 2,343 days (give or take a day or two).

…and so, I raise my glass to my partner, Han, “Here’s to 10,000 more! Cheers!”

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Supermarket Shelves Reflect Paycheck-to-Paycheck Society

The Beauty of the Midnight Sun

Dear Readers. Today in this weekend bulletin I was going to talk a bit about ‘the dos and donts‘ with crypto currencies such as Bitcoin, why gold is still being kicked in the balls by an stupendously exuberant Wall Street and why you should consider having your website hosted in an overseas territory, considering all the limitations and restrictions to be expected out of Washington. But after reading that Norway’s Army is battling Global Warming by going vegetarian, while the GOP is planning to cut alternative energy subsidies in half, I figured that it is all hog wash anyway. And if you don’t think so you should read Hugh Gusterson’s insightful article about “Which Drone Future Will Americans  Choose?” and still believe that we actually do have a choice.

So instead I decided to talk about reflections from my 3 times weekly grocery trips as well as some Festive information about the Holiday Season and some Sunday Morning Humor.

A Paycheck to Paycheck Society

As we are going into the last four week dash of grocery shopping and gift hunting, I would like to share a little secret with those of you, who always shy away from buying the larger bottle of ketchup in favor of the smaller one because of cash flow considerations. American grocery stores offer interesting reflections of financial irony, enticing (allowing) the poor to buy higher priced smaller packaged items, while the more prosperous among us take the advantage of buying those same products in larger volumes, but at substantially lower prices. Is this news to you?

There’s some real irony in this as often the stereotype of someone making bulk purchases is a person down to his last penny and watching every cent. But in reality, larger purchases at discounted pricing are for the better off; while buying the tiny packages at higher pricing is for the poor.

Of course I’m familiar with the economic law that states “the more you purchase of a product, the better the price you purchase at.” What rational person would prefer to pay more for a product when the same product in a larger packaging is staring them in the face for 30% less? But that’s only one side of the equation. The other side presents a real economic conundrum.

Imagine finding yourself in the condiments row of a supermarket where you notice that two bottles of ketchup – one larger and one smaller, same brand-name with the per-ounce price of each clearly labeled for the shopper. After doing some quick math in your head, the bigger bottle turns out to be about 30% cheaper than the small one per ounce of product. You quickly verify that you’re “comparing apples with apples” and this isn’t some special sale, but just the normal price, the only difference being packaged in a different size. According to any financial markets theory, this opportunity shouldn’t exist.

Designed Around Paycheck to Paycheck

Yet, whether it’s ketchup or just about anything else at the grocery store, one can save money by simply purchasing a larger package these days. And no I’m not even talking about bulk discount retailers like Costco, Sam’s Club or Restaurant Depot, but just your regular neighborhood grocery store. For people like me this advantage is in reality an earning, rather than a saving, but for the average American in the grocery store, the sad truth is that the pricing system of our entire society is based on people living paycheck to paycheck. It is designed around shoppers with near zero dollars in their checking accounts and that is why there are so many people buying the smaller packaged quantities? For many Americans the difference between a weekly $100 grocery bill and a $200 bill is enormous, which directs not only the purchase behavior from brand-name to store brand, but also the packaged sizing of products purchased.

I had a friend down in St.Maarten who bought a pack of cigarettes every day. Cost $2. A carton of 10 packs was only $12 or $1.20 per pack. $0.80 savings per day is $5.60 of earnings per week, had he bought a carton. Per year he would have had earned $292 in risk free income. His reason for purchasing one pack a day was: “Maybe I quit tomorrow.” He never did.

Next time I’m going to the grocery store and earn 5% to 10% riskless return on my groceries I know it’s great for me, but it’s disheartening to know that these savings are essentially the result of a paycheck-to-paycheck society. Either people can’t afford to make their ends meet with their paychecks, or they have completely lost control of their spending. But then again, there is something virtuous about these prices as well. In the free market, the price system actually rewards one for earning a greater income by offering cheaper prices for larger purchases. The same is true of other pricing as well. With a bigger down payment and more income, one pays lower interest rates on the mortgage – again, a reward for doing better. When it comes to government however, it’s the complete opposite. We are actually punished for earning greater incomes by paying higher taxes. Funny, isn’t it?

And while talking about government, here is a WARNING

After a recent wave of identify thefts, the FBI estimates there are over 500 fake ACA (Obamacare) websites set up for the sole purpose of stealing your personal information. So protect yourself and remember: the real one is the one that doesn’t work!

Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving Day

Courtesy of the Amelia Island Tourist Development Council

Following Restaurants are open and take reservations for Thanksgiving:

• Amelia Island Coffee – 207 Centre Street – (904) -321 2111

• Barbara Jean’s – 960030 Gateway Blv – (904)-277 3700

• Café 4750 (Ritz Carlton-Amelia Island) – 4750 Amelia Island Pkwy – (904) 277 1100

• David’s Restaurant – 802 Ash Street -(904) 310 6049

• Horizons – 4828 First Coast Highway – (904) 321 2430

• Huddle House – 1855 South 8th Street – (904) 261 2933

• Jack and Diane’s – 708 Centre Street – (904) 321 1444

• Marché Burette – 6800 First Coast Highway – (904) 491 4834

• Merge – 510 South 8th Street – (904) 277 8797

• Pablo’s Mexican Grill – 12 North 2nd Street – (904) 261 0049

• Slider’s Seaside Grill – 1998 South Fletcher Ave – (904) 277 6652

• Salt – (Ritz Carlton – Amelia Island) 4750 Amelia Island Pkwy – (904) 277 1100

• The Surf – 3199 South Fletcher Ave. – (904) 261 5711

• The Verandah – 6800 First Coats Highway – (904) 321 5050

Some Sunday Funday Impressions

Hunting Season has started here in North Florida so I thought you might like this one:

Click on Photograph for 360° tour

Daily I receive loads of great stories and beautiful pictures, but I was very happy to receive one last week with a 360° photograph one of our guests at the Amelia Oceanfront B&B took last June. Amazing technology. If you’re interested in finding out more about this contact Suburban Video directly.

In Closing for Today I’ll leave you with some of my favorites for this week. Click on them to enlarge.

This is a tattoo I would wear

HAVE A GREAT WEEK AND THANKS GIVING DAY

Atlanta Ranks Kelly Seahorse Ranch nr. 5 of the Best in Florida

Atlanta Journal Gives Credits to Kelly Seahorse Ranch

Atlanta Journal Gives Credits to Kelly Seahorse Ranch on Amelia Island

For a small B&B on the beach, we have quite a few guests who go horseback riding on the beach with Kelly Robinson and always come back full of praise. So it did not come as a complete surprise to us that readers of the Atlanta Journal & Constitution ranked Kelly Seahorse Ranch #5 of the Best of the Southeast in Florida in a recent Sunday edition.

What did surprise me however was that Kelly Seahorse Ranch nestled itself triumphantly between tourism giants as Universal Orlando Resort and the Daytona International Speedway.

The list ranking is:

1.   Clearwater Beach
2.  Havana 1957
3.  Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
4.  Universal Orlando Resort
5.  Kelly Seahorse Ranch
6.  Daytona International Speedway
7.  The Dali Museum
8.  Biking at Everglades National Park
9.  Little Palm Island & Spa
10.The Key West Bed and Breakfast

Atlanta is the runaway largest market for the Amelia Island Tourism product, followed by Orlanda, Tampa, Jacksonville and the New York region, and to score this high for a niche-market attraction, speaks louder than any advertising. I think Kelly and Jim are on to something when they explain that Beach horseback riding is an increasingly rare and unique service and a major attraction for tourists, since there are not many places left in the country where this is not prohibited by yet another law.

On a different plateau of customer recognition however, I wonder why the largest peer review site in the world Tripadvisor, ranks Kelly Seahorse “only” 9th out of 28 Amelia Island attractions with 66 reviews, while the Amelia Community Theater with only 21 reviews manages to rank #3.

Click on Image to Enlarge

Which brings me to the fact that as a lifelong marketeer I have been questioning the infinite wisdom projected by the creators of mathematical algorithms, as introduced to us with the advent of the Internet. Tripadvisor started out as a customer driven review engine. Clear, straight forward reviews describing what was good, what was so-so and what is terrible and because they were unbiased they quickly grew into a travel industry powerhouse.

While still a powerhouse, Tripadvisor is no longer unbiased, as its corporate earnings model now functions as an organized crime extortion model for the leisure industry. The only good thing left about Tripadvisor are the actually guest reviews in writing, because they can’t be tampered with without exposing the company to great legal risk. But the way the algorithms now interpret the 6 criteria system of Value, Location, Sleep Quality, Rooms, Cleanliness and Service, has become rigged to favor advertisers.

And that unfortunately means that another well intentioned Internet transparency model will soon become as unreliable as the word of a stranger with ulterior motives.

I endorse Kelly Seahorse Ranch, because our guests come back with praises and excitement. We endorse Amelia River Cruises for the exact same reasons. No bad guest experience ever. We do recommend certain restaurants based on our guest’s experiences and preferences, because that is the type of relationship we build with our customers, who come here to spend hard earned money on a well deserved vacation experience. It is our pleasure to eliminate as much as possible the potentially bad experiences.

Anyone can be an Online Talk Show Host

Anyone can be an Online Talk Show HostThanks to the internet, anyone can be an online talk show host from the comfort of their home or office. According to TalkZone.com, “Arbitron recently asked Internet listeners if they were listening more or less to Internet radio, and an amazing 76% said they are listening more.”

Do you have a message to share, a particular passion, or enjoy talking with others? This may be the perfect way to become better known as an expert in your field. Business owners, bloggers, teachers, hobbyists, professionals, and really, just about anyone could be an ideal talk show host on the internet.

First you need to identify your niche. What are you passionate about? Do others currently come to you for advice about a particular subject?

You don’t need much equipment. You can use an external webcam, the one built into your laptop or an inexpensive video camera.

Video streaming platforms are easy to find and many are free. Take a look at Ustream.tv, Vokle.com or even BlogTalkRadio to find out more information on how to sign up to host your own talk show.

However, before you spend a lot of time becoming a celebrity in your own mind, there are a few personality traits that you should possess before you take over internet television.

Be a good listener.
It is important you are a good listener and are capable of processing questions from callers quickly. Like the radio, you don’t want a lot of dead-air space to drive away your audience.

Love your topic.
If you don’t love your topic, you won’t want to be “married” to it. If you plan to take this seriously enough to become even semi-successful, you must LOVE your topic.

Stay open to ideas.
You will need to be open to the feedback of others and constantly strive to learn more, not just about your topic, but about technology, too.

Be a hard worker.
Becoming an overnight sensation may be your dream, but in reality hard work and persistance will give you the advantage.

The internet has given us a new way of communicating with others, across the nation and around the world. In 20 years we will look back at how the internet used to be and if you can successfully host your own online talk show, you could possibly be remembered as one of the pioneers in the industry.

If you are interested in more information, you can look around the world wide web or drop us a note here at SearchAmelia.com.

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Shopping Madness Continues with Cyber Monday

Shopping Madness Continues with Cyber MondayWhile Black Friday and Small Business Saturday have passed for 2012, we still have today, Cyber Monday, to continue our shopping madness!

Each year shopping online grows in popularity and this year Cyber Monday is new and improved. Some special offers for 2012 will include free shipping, exclusived deals and hourly specials from your favorite retailers on the World Wide Web.

With reported record level online spending over the Black Friday weekend, retailers are saving special deals for the nearly 130 million shoppers who avoided the crowds over the Thanksgiving Weekend while dreams of digital savings danced in their heads.

According to Sunday’s press release from shop.org, “The momentum from a solid Black Friday weekend certainly looks like it will carry on into Cyber Monday,” said BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director, Pam Goodfellow. “Millions of shoppers will be visiting retailers’ websites from their smartphones, tablets, home computers and work computers to check out special Cyber Monday promotions and make the most of their holiday shopping budgets.”

Here is what you need to know to find the best deals on Cyber Monday:

Cyber Monday Deals of the Hour, 2012

Time Slot Retailer
12:00 – 1:00 a.m. Dell Home
1:00 – 2:00 a.m. Tommy Hilfiger
2:00 – 3:00 a.m. Walgreens
3:00 – 4:00 a.m. HP Home & Office Store
4:00 – 5:00 a.m. QVC.com
5:00 – 6:00 a.m. Walmart.com
6:00 – 7:00 a.m. Toys”R”Us
7:00 – 8:00 a.m. The Body Shop
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. Ice.com
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. eBags.com
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Sears.com
11:00 – 12:00 p.m. homedepot.com
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Kohl’s
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. OfficeMax.com
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Under Armour
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. RedEnvelope
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Barnes & Noble.com
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. HSN.com
6:00 – 7:00 p.m. Sephora.com
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Lands’ End
8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Eddie Bauer
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. Nautica
10:00 – 11:00 p.m. Crate & Barrel
11:00 – 12:00 a.m. Macys.com

Happy Shopping!

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If You Can Make It on YouTube, You Can Make It Anywhere

If You Can Make It on YouTube, You Can Make It AnywhereContributed by: Brynn Alexander

Even as recently as a decade ago, hopeful musicians who wanted to make it big generally relied on getting backing from a record company, and the chances of that happening to any given musician were pretty slim. These days, the playing field is a little more level, as YouTube has made it possible for anyone with an internet connection to access an audience of hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

It’s still rare for a musician to make the big time, even with the accessibility of self-promotion on the internet, but it does happen, and YouTube is now instrumental in seeing that the best up-and-coming musicians get the attention they deserve.

Probably the most famous example of an artist getting their start on YouTube is Justin Bieber. The young Canadian singer had nothing more than a karaoke machine, a YouTube account, and a voice of gold, and managed to turn that into a recipe for international superstardom. As any teenaged girl can tell you, he now sells out stadiums across the planet, and has a contract on Usher’s record label.

Greyson Chance has been called “the next Justin Bieber,” after he wowed the audience at his school festival by playing and singing a piano cover of a Lady Gaga song. His performance got uploaded to YouTube, and spread like wildfire across the internet. This led to attention from none other than Ellen Degeneres, who was looking for new artists to sign to her eleveneleven record label. Chance now has a contract with eleveneleven, and his debut album was released last year.

YouTube sensation Dondria wasn’t even looking to become a star when she first signed up for a YouTube account in 2006. She simply wanted to use the internet as a sounding board to assess whether she was a good singer, uploading videos of herself singing and asking for critiques. The verdict: the internet thought she was a great singer, and so did Jermaine Dupri – he liked her so much, he offered her a contract on the So So Def record label.

Esmée Denters had a similar start to Dondria, uploading casual videos of herself singing covers of popular R&B songs. Her sultry voice caught the attention of Justin Timberlake, who gave her a ticket to stardom and a record contract. She now has an album out and has toured with big-name artists like Enrique Iglesias.

If you’ve had dreams of being the next big music sensation, don’t hesitate, a YouTube account is free, and these artists have proven that you don’t need a lot of money or fancy recording equipment to upload a video that can launch a career.

About the author:
When Brynn isn’t scouring the internet for new music, videos, and her favorite viral features, she’s writing about music, festivals, and all things entertainment at Clickitticket.

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How to Build a Community

How to Build a CommunityContributed by: Harrison Kratz

Recently, I gave a talk at Syracuse University during their #140cuse conference on building cause-passionate armies. As you can guess, the talk focused on how people and brands can build communities from the ground up in social media by using some key marketing/communications fundamentals that extend much further than social media.

While preparing for the talk, I realized that we continuously read articles with tips for community management, rather than building. However, most of us are tasked with being the architects for a brand’s online presence and community rather than managing big brands and pages. So, I thought I should elaborate on my talk a little more and offer my tips for building a new community from the ground up.

Define your presence and purpose
A common mistake that social media managers and coordinators fall into is trying to be everything to their community in order to satisfy their buzzword quota (i.e. engaging, authentic, create a two-way dialogue) without focusing on one message or approach. Like any business, cause, or establishment, your community will come together because of a core benefit or value that it is clear throughout their involvement in your community.

To build a community, you have to find a focus in your messaging and then communicate that message effectively to your community. It is a lot easier for people to gather around one core idea rather than trying to interact with a million different ideas and approaches.

Pull on their heartstrings
This may sound sappy, but is still important to a founding strategy. You have to create content and a message that resonates with your potential community members. When you’re Coca-Cola, getting engagement on your posts is not nearly as difficult because you have over 40 million fans and many more beyond Facebook. However, when you just launched your product/page you don’t have the luxury of automatic interaction. Thus, you have to create content that will inspire a human emotion and ultimately, an action.

Facebook documents the actions taken on your page as Stories. This is fitting because when creating content, you want to create a story that your community can be a part of and share with their communities.

Build the Community You Want to Join
When building a marketing strategy, you should always ask yourself, “Is this how I want to be marketed to?” This fully applies to building a community. If you build a community that you aren’t thrilled about, how are other people supposed to be? In everything you do, whether it be on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, try to create a social space that you would feel comfortable interacting in, regardless of your role or status.

Harrison-KratzWhat have you done to build your community? Do you have any tips to add?

Bio: Harrison Kratz is the community manager for the online mba program, MBA@UNC, from UNC Kenan-Flagler, which also offers one of the nation’s leading executive mba programs. Harrison also sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive.

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Why Google and Intuit Offer Free Websites

google and intuit forge alliance and state of florida endorses it.

Disclosure in the Eye of the Beholder

Was it only a matter of time before Google realized that there is money in building websites for the unsuspecting small business owner, or is there more to the recent mammoth campaign the Internet giant has rolled out to entice small business owners into having a website. Google first teamed up with Intuit in 2006 in the sales of Quick Books accounting systems, especially used in online commerce, and is now doing an all out campaign to sign up every small business in America with the promise of a free website.

With 63% of small business owners in the US still not having a website, while 97% of consumers look online for local products and services, a major technology and marketing disconnect looms on the horizon.
Google is saying small business owners you NEED a WEBSITE or else….the learning curve from zero to advanced becomes too tasking and will take your company out of the loop in less than half a decade.

Of course at Searchamelia we have been singing that song for the better part of a decade now, so I cannot say: don’t do it. As a business you need a website because that’s where your customers are!
However there are many different conditions for a website to be viable and viability does not come for free. No Sir. Especially not if you have been sitting on your hands for years where it involves online commerce.

Cheap Websites

A couple of day ago I got a postcard in the mail from websitebychuck.com. Chuck claims he’s the best in the business in North Florida and his overhead is the lowest around by far. So for $495 Chuck builds you not just a website, but the best one in North Florida. I have tested Chuck’s websites to be exactly what you paid for: a Business card on the Internet or about exactly what we did for early online customers about 18 years ago when the worldwide web came out of the starting blocks.
Chuck sent his invitation to Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast with an old fashioned but time-tested postcard mailer. It could have saved him a postcard and a stamp if he had googled “amelia oceanfront bed and breakfast”, because it would have shown him a website that cost way more than his offer but actually books more than 90% of the Inn’s guests and saves tens of thousands a year on third party commissions.
I wonder what Chuck is going to do now that Google is going to throw its 800 pounds into the ring and offer websites for “free”.

Admittedly, free is always a debatable word since we all know that nothing in life is free, except maybe beautiful sunrises and sunsets. But to be fair, the Google deal is not all bad since the first year of hosting and the domain name purchase are free. How special is that? Not that much actually. First time website owners get special deals from many different hosting companies for the first year. Our hosting company Siteground.com gives specials that sell the same package for as low as $24.95 for the first year. GoDaddy, HostMonster, HostGator and other ones hover in the same price range for start ups.

So what makes the Google-Intuit Alliance different?

Nothing earth shattering here either. Many hosting companies offer web templates and tutorials that can teach anyone to build a website in a couple of hours. I can actually build a simple navigation website in about 40 minutes, but  that website’s configuration has about the same chance of being found on the worldwide web as a snowflake in the midday sun. What’s more, Intuit’s templates, just as www.wix.com and a whole range of other webdesign farms, offer free website builders with the promise of being simple to build, drag and drop, no programming skills needed and all are so called “searchengine friendly”.

But there are a bunch of catches they won’t tell you; catches that will make visitor visibility impossible.

Let’s take the example of www.wix.com which operates in Canada and the US with the proud homepage statement that 14,514,978 sites were created with Wix’s free website builder. Now that’s an impressive lot of websites.

I recently was approached by a Canadian couple that owns a prominent fashion establishment on Lake Huron, to build an online presence that can sell product globally. Their current website is www.sistersonhuron.com and is a product of wix.com‘s ‘generosity’ to help small businesses build free seo friendly websites.
However, their website does not score any ranking or attract visitor numbers of any significance, since all the attention from the searchengine spiders and robots go to wix.com.
To understand how this works, look at the bottom left of this Searchamelia page. Depending on the status it will either say “Transferring data from searchamelia.com” or “reading searchamelia.com”.

Now click on this link www.sistersonhuron.com and see what it reads in the bottom left. That’s right, it reads “transferring date from static.wix.com“. No mention of the sistersonhuron domain
My Canadian friends’ website does not get any respect, with a nod to Rodney Dangerfield. All recognition goes to www.wix.com and in the Google/Intuit Alliance all the recognition will go to Intuit. The free part of the offer is a calculated loss leader to corral customers for their financial services.

The End of the Website as we know Era

Old friends of mine, Keith and Sharon Jardine, from my days in St.Martin are currently staying with us. Sharon was my chief creative designer in the early 90s. She and Keith were born in South Africa and on a circumnavigation on their ferro cement sailboat. After we parted ways in 1994 they sailed to Fiji, got married, sailed to Bora Bora and the rest of the South Pacific and from there to Australia and finally back to Durban SA from where they moved to London and later to the States. Keith became an IT guru/speaker/lecturer in the trenches of the world wide web and he has probably forgotten more about building websites, then I’ll ever learn.

He works with the big boys in IT; the Fortune 500 members. He told me last night that insiders into new technologies give websites as we know them another 4 years, before they become the victim of mobile App technology. Look around you and see the speed that i-Pads and Smartphones are making the internet mobile and you cannot deny the observation.

Google went into this latest alliance for two reasons:
1. to attract the massive amount of small business without online presence in a last ditch effort before the Internet moves on and looks back at a “lost generation”.
2. to sell them all the small business Google services available in QuickBooks (especially the financial transactions services) to promote themselves online.

What Google/Intuit offers is a “free, easy to build Intuit website; free customized domain name; free web hosting for one year; and free online tools and training.” After the first year, it is $4.99 a month and your domain name is $2 a month — which adds up to $84 a year. Now this is shared hosting, meaning your website shares the server with many other websites. It’s not like Searchamelia which uses dedicated hosting on a dedicated cloud server at a cost of $1,500 per year, because the reality is, the more visitors you attract, the more you get charged for bandwith usage and the more you need stability and customer support.

Also interesting is that the Google service was initially also promoting a website search engine boost for $4.99 a month, which promises to submit content for constant updating and improved search ranking. Interestingly, this offer vanished when I checked on the site before publishing this article, but it was prominently displayed last Sunday. The service is clearly set to boost SMB penetration, and will not only help SMBs get online, but also help Google and Intuit sell a lot of services once the SMBs are locked in.

The Adoption Bell Curve rings Google's Bell

Advice is don’t jump on the bandwagon too fast and realize that a free website does not mean you don’t have to work it daily with new content and lots of SEO. You are now a webmaster!!! It also means that if you don’t, no potential customer is going to see your site, unless by an accident surf or search. And last but not least, realize that it is only a temporary solution as the world wide web moves into the next phase of mobile in the next 3-4 years.
According to the Bell Curve of Adoption big money can be made when the curve crests and that is why Google and Intuit started offering  “free” websites.

Facebook: All Sunshine and no Rain

If there is a Like Button, Why Not a Dislike Button?

Facebook saw its first light in college dorms and apparently the early mood was focused on being nice and friendly. As a result the entire software developed since its inception is about being artificially nice. You can only have “friends” and you can only “like”. As a matter of fact Zuckerberg and his team have explicitly banned “dislike” as a possible button on the social site that now has reportedly some 850 million users.

For quite a while now I have been uneasy with the artificiality of Facebook as a social media site with a future. It’s too much bubble gum without constructive grunge in my opinion. Obviously the “Like” button pleases product manufacturers and service providers, who would not like to see their brandname smeared with a button that allows to “dislike” and understandably Facebook does not want to cater to the negative this early in the internet advertising game.

Apparently in the same fertile environment of college dorm rooms, this irritating shortcoming is now being addressed with an app called “Enemygraph”.

Director of the emerging-media program at the University of Texas at Dallas and Bradley Griffith, a graduate student, created the app because they felt that a major flaw of the social media giant is that it’s all sunshine and no rain. Facebook encourages users to press the “like” button, but offers no way to signal which ideas, products, or people they disagree with. And “friend” is about the only kind of connection you can declare.

Real-world relationships are more complicated than that, so social networks should be too, they argue. And they are not alone—more than three million people have voted for a “dislike” feature on an online petition on Facebook.

The new App allows you to declare “enemies”.
The developers would have preferred to use “dislike” but the word is literally banned by the Facebook to prevent developers from creating a dislike button. Obviously the social network’s leaders want to keep the service friendly to advertisers who might object to users publicly scorning their products. And even though for now the App is condoned by Facebook’s head honchos, the developers expect it to be pulled the moment it will get wings of exposure.

Of course the issue of positive vs negative in social media has several faces and for now Facebook delivers a commoditized expression of you, whether as a person, a company or an institution. Just as it is dangerous to accept Hollywood movies as true life reflections, is it dangerous for a society to move into an exchange platform that has the worst qualities removed from it.  An Utopia of peace, love, decency and understanding is just that: Utopia. Nothing wrong with using the positive direction of Facebook as a Dr. Feelgood moment, as long as we realize that it’s a virtual reality and understand what’s happening when we use it.

I for one would love to see this new App gain traction as it points to a new form of social protest, one that could only happen in a virtual realm. In the physical world, scholars calling for social change might write up their suggestions, or stage symbolic protests, and hope their arguments prompt leaders to make changes. In online communities, it is possible to promote change by creating a new technical feature or service, or function as a watch dog as it did in the case of Twitter’s deleted Tweets with the App Undetweetable,  which put a spotlight on how persistent anything posted online can be—and how easy it is for outsiders to secretly pluck those messages to analyze them in various ways.

On the issue of Dislike buttons, I have always felt in the process of building a friendship, that it is more important to know what I disagree over with someone, then the opposite.

Dissonance creates conversation and ultimately hopefully progress, even though it sometimes appears to be mostly when other human means have been exhausted. Of course that is for most people too much of a very long distance view, whereby ignoring that long after the shorter term armed conflicts to settle issues have died without results, exhaustion of human and financial resources will ultimately create the “friendships” that our planet needs to move forward.

A Global Village of Collaborative Consumption

Collaborative Consumption is rapidly on the rise

Collaborative Consumption is rapidly on the rise

A dozen years ago my brother Thom and I acquired the web domain name www.GlobalVillage.com as we foresaw that technology over time would enable the trust that is needed between strangers to conduct transactions over the internet. The world was then and still is now, turning into a Global Village because of technology.

Our business plan was strong, yet monetization models of internet companies were  still in the very early stages, a realization that ultimately led to the dot.com bust in 2000. No-one in those days saw Google or Yahoo’s monetization model. Network TV and major Newspaper conglomerates were still collecting 99% of all advertising dollars spend across the globe. Therefore we learned quickly that traditional funding was not available. A dozen years ago Facebook would not be able to create any excitement with JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs when mentioning the possibility of going public. And the Nasdaq was 0nce again a stepchild on Wall Street. So in order to find funding to attract and relocate some whizz kids, we joined another then-new cyberworld initiative called FirstTuesday to connect with Angel Investors, much in the same way as Facebook, eBay, Amazon and many other powerhouses of today’s internet initially came about. The idea for FirstTuesday was great and global as well, but unfortunately for them and us about 5 to 10 years too early. Pretty much the same as with our GlobalVillage.com

Thom and I sank a small fortune into the development before we had to admit that we were not only too far ahead of the adoption curve but also a couple of thousand miles removed from the epicenter of the powers that move viable ideas online and push successfully into the future on the pure mention of stakeholder equity. At the time we were living and working on a small island in the Caribbean, magnificent for creative pioneering but bad for successfully monetizing online concepts.

GlobalVillage.com was all about what today is making waves as the concept of Collaborative Consumption. It describes the rapid explosion in re-applying traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping, as all those “ancient” practices are now being reinvented through network technologies on a scale and in ways never possible before.

How Collaborative Consumption works:

An organization purchases products and manages inventory and checkout Members pay a low monthly or per-use fee to have access to the product. Members check out or reserve the product when needed and return it so another member can have access to it. Many items are usually available so lack of availability is not a strong concern. The organization cleans and maintains returned items.

The benefits of collaborative consumption

Lower cost of ownership by having expenses shared among a group. Higher quality of good. When cost and use is spread throughout a group, the item must (and can) be of higher quality for durability and ease of use. Lower risk. Instead of maintaining an item yourself it is kept functional by the company leading the organization. Lower environmental impact. Instead of buying an item that is only used four or fives a year and thrown away each shared item is of higher quality, lasts longer, and constantly used.

From motherload exchange marketplaces such as eBay and Craigslist to emerging initiatives such as social lending (Zopa), peer-to-peer travel (Airbnb) and car sharing (Zipcar or peer-to-peer RelayRides), Collaborative Consumption is disrupting outdated-last-century modes of business and distribution and reinventing not only what we consume, but also how we consume and share.

The Governmental Danger Zone

The danger of exchange and barter is that this global development is taking financial control away from federal and state taxation opportunities, this last one probably being an important reason why so many governments have their minds set on controlling the Internet. Governments do not shy away from taxing a product every time it changes hands. A car has a substantial life cycle, and every time it is resold through a commercial entity the seller is required to charge and pay sales tax. To picture this process, imagine a $50,000 car is charged a 7% sales tax or $3,500; two years later the car is resold at $31,000 collecting $2,170 in sales tax (assuming the sales tax has not gone up). Another two years later the car is sold again for $18,000 and once again the government collects 7% or $1,260 bringing the total sales tax collected for this one vehicle up to almost $7,000 so far.

Now multiply this by the millions and you see why new exchange markets such as TaskRabbit, ParkatmyHouse, Zimride, Swap.com, Zilok, Bartercard and thredUP are not only enabling “peer-to-peer” to become the default way people exchange, they are also forcing the hand of society to come up with new ways to co-habitate. Whether it’s unused space, goods, skills, money, or services — and exchange, sites like these are sprouting up everyday, all over the world.
Even in our little corner of the world exchange sites are sprouting up on general social sites. For example the navy wives in Kingsland have several complete Camden County sale and barter sites set up on Facebook, an effort being duplicated right here on Amelia Island.

Some of the early Players

For a list of some of the hottest start-ups in the Collaborative Consumption space, check out this Snapshot of Examples from the website http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com.

The infographic below summarizes the essence of
• the three major systems of Collaborative Consumption,
• the four key principles that make it work and
• the key socio-cultural drivers that have caused the movement and is moving it forward

collaborative consumption

This is how the system works in the time of technology

Business models of the future are anchored by and in our connections to each other, rather than how we traditionally exchanged goods and services and the lessons we learn from this new Exchange Market Model is that

1. a Framework of Trust needs to be in place (eBay Feedback, Tripadvisor, Angie’s List etc)
Since the ‘collaborative’ in collaborative consumption is powered by strangers, middlemen need to guarantee peace of mind between everyone else. Brands are worth much more if they offer some way to measure and review business transactions, and if they are able to leverage reputational ratings and social capital to keep users in line.
Airbnb for example, which helps homeowners rent their spaces to travelers around the world, is a prime example. Airbnb users can tailor their experience to fit their needs, from managing listings to researching reservations to pre-approving guests. Hosts are even protected from theft and vandalism with $50,000 worth of insurance coverage.

2. for a business to be successful it needs scaleability. Technology allows us to connect fragmented markets.
Collaborative consumption is all about networking around offers and needs. So you need a niche. Look at your market and examine the pieces that don’t fit together as well as they could. Ask yourself: “Could there be a meaningful connection between fragmented parties? Could I facilitate a transaction that would be complementary to their core product or service?” Years ago, when the internet made its first inroads I was surprised to learn that a car junk places were inter-connected on parts availability. If the junkyard in Lake City couldn’t help you with a particular part, the one in Live Oak or High Springs or MacClenny probably could. Quick, cheap and easy.

Innovators who identify the missing links can take advantage of service gaps with long-tail business strategies, the way Netflix and Amazon have done. If you find a way to serve everyone who wants to rent a Gibson Les Paul for a weekend or a Sony Handycam HDV or a car with the steering wheel on the opposite site of the norm, or a last minute Scalpel Ticket exchange etc., you’ve got a business that can scale.
Zipcar is an example of collaborative consumption in action. It recognized a need for on-demand vehicles that are billable by the hour, particularly in major cities and college campuses. Chase introduced an affordable alternative to traditional car ownership, providing people with shared wheels at a fraction of the cost of a long-term purchase or even rental.

3. Geography matters less and less
Technology reduces geographic boundaries to commerce, opening the door to ventures such as Freecycle, a global grassroots network with almost nine million members who swap unwanted items free of charge. Members not only get free stuff, whether they’re in Tucson, Arizona or New Delhi, India, but also help reduce waste and save resources. Collaborative consumption can be good for consumers, for business and for the community at large. The only entity that has not been able yet to move outside of the box of the past is a government that sees a part of their tax revenue dwindle.

Collaborative Consumption. Check it out. It’s going to be a household word soon.

Seven Simple Tips to Improve Your Website’s SEO

Google Keyword Tool; searchamelia.com

Understanding what people search for most is the trick to keyword selection

It seems that Search engine optimization is on many business people’s mind, yet most business owners with websites do not have a clue and mistake it for a social media presence. They think a Like or Business page on Facebook is SEO or at least part of it. It has absolutely nothing to do with Searchengine optimization. In this new and exciting cyber world, if you know what you’re doing, SEO can change the way you do business. If you don’t, however, what you don’t know could hurt you, or worse, put you out of business.

By now, most people realize that the Internet is a very important part of business, any business. If your customers move on the Internet, you need to be there. Period. An Internet presence is vital if you want to make it in today’s world, and consequently search engine optimization is something that just about everyone with a website needs to know something about. If you run a business, it’s important that you understand how your website or blog is to be optimized.

Search engine optimization isn’t just about adding keywords to your website content and blog posts; there’s quite a bit more to it, in fact. If you really want to be successful and reach the front page of the search rankings for your essential keywords and phrases, there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Research is Key

Most business owners are aware that they need to have keywords, but they don’t know just how to find the best ones. Since the entire SEO campaign depends on selecting the right keywords, this is a very important step and one that cannot be taken lightly. Don’t just guess at your keywords, take the time to research them thoroughly.
You can use the Google Keyword Tool to help find good keywords with plenty of searches. Simply type your keyword into the search box and let Google give you suggestions. You want something that will bring in plenty of searches each month. Try using several keywords with lower searches if you can’t find one with less competition. Then click to Google and search for the keyword phrase with quotation marks on either end to see just how many other websites are optimized for the exact same phrase. You want lots of searches and very few competitors.

2. Less is More

At first glance, it might seem like the more often you use the keywords in your content, the better. However, thanks to scammers who used a technique called “keyword stuffing,” that’s not a good idea. You can actually end up penalized for using too many keywords in one piece of content.
The key here is to be natural. Don’t stuff the page full of specific words; instead let the information flow freely and insert the keyword phrases wherever they actually fit. This will result in much better content that search engines will love.

3. Label Your Photos

Photos really add a lot to a blog post, but they can’t help your SEO unless you make full use of titles and ALT tags. Using your keywords in these areas will give your page a nice boost. It doesn’t hurt to name your photo something SEO friendly either. Instead of labeling it DSC234.jpg, go with something like Florida-beaches.jpg.

4. Drop the Flash and Java

Flash might make for a funky website, but it is useless when it comes to search engines. HTML is far cleaner and readable for search engines, so the worst thing you can do is have a Javascript or Flash intro page to your site. Google and the other search engine spiders won’t be able to register the site easily nor read the content embedded in the fancy Flash.

5. Add Regular Content

This is one area that is more important now than every before. Good content has always done well with the search engines, but since Google changed the rules in early 2011, it’s even more important. Regularly updated pages with quality content are treated very well by the search engines, so it makes sense that blogs, rather than fixed sites with static content, are doing very well these days.
While your content should contain keywords, keep in mind that the most important thing is to offer quality information. It should be written more for human eyes than for search engine spiders.

6. Try Deep Linking

Getting links from other websites is vital in boosting search engine rankings, but what many people don’t know is that deep linking is also very important. Deep linking means linking to other pages within the same website. For example, Searchamelia is a site on news and entertainment info and an article like this one links naturally to a story I did on choosing the right keywords back in June of 2011.
This type of linking should be done on a regular basis and goes hand in hand with providing regular content. Whenever you write a blog post, check back to see if there’s anything relevant to link it to.

7. Too Many Backlinks is a Bad Thing

If you’re online, you’ve heard of back-linking. This is the practice of getting links from other websites. When you use the right anchor text, this can be very helpful in boosting your search engine rankings. However, it is not something you want to overdo.
Getting regular links from various locations looks a lot more natural than one article directory linking fifty times to the same page. Try to spread your back-links out, a handful here, a few there, and keep them trickling in at a steady rate to ensure the best results. If you have 10,000 links come in one day and then nothing for the next four months, the search engines will know something is up and will rank you accordingly.

There is a lot more to SEO, but the foregoing will for now get you ahead of your competition. SEO is a combination of common sense along with some careful tricks. As long as you are putting out excellent content on a regular basis with keywords naturally mixed in, you can expect to see an improvement in your rankings. If you want to know more about correct SEO, you may want to join us for one of our monthly free Social Gatherings. The next one is scheduled for March 21 at the Amelia Oceanfront Bed and Breakfast.

SearchAmelia Discusses Website or Social Media

SearchAmelia Discusses Website or Social MediaSponsors, advertisers, writers and other contributers of SeachAmelia.com are invited to our FREE Social Gatherings that are held from time to time.

Our February SearchAmelia Social Gathering, held at Amelia Hotel at the Beach, turned out to be an intimate evening catching up with one another over good food and adult beverages.

About an hour into the evening Han presented a brief program, Website or Social Media?; here is what you missed:

If you were only allowed to take you business online using either a website or a Facebook page, which would you choose?

Social media is evolving quickly but the originals in the industry included names you may remember such as Classmates.com, Geocities, SixDegrees and a few others. The next “generation” of social media began in 2002 with Friendster, followed by MySpace, LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter and Stumbleupon. It is interesting to note that Skype, who began in 2005, now has 700 million users.

Yahoo 360 launched in June of 2005, and then closed its services on July 13, 2009. Google Buzz launched February 2010 and was discontinued December 15, 2022, in favor of Google+. If you had spent the majority of your time and advertising dollars over the years building relationships on MySpace or Google Buzz, you would not be a happy camper!

Can it happen to Facebook? Of course it can!

There are new kids on the block who are avoiding the mistakes of the previous generation of Social Media. Names you should get familiar with such as Formspring, Thrillis and Pinterest. Pinterest is already driving more referral traffic than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined!

You must be in control by owning your own website. Having your own website becomes the nucleus, where Social Media send their referrals to. All other Social Media are just network outposts. You need to own your domain name (URL), have it hosted with a reputable server, and maintained, upgraded and updated by you. Meaningful conversations and transactions are going to happen on your site, at your home base, where you are in control.

If you missed our February meeting, we have another one scheduled for March 21, 2012. Details will come to your inbox soon.

If you would like to be notified of our next Social Gathering, and are not a current sponsor of SearchAmelia, please call Lawrence at (904) 583-1010.

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