Archive for August, 2008

Finding Free Podcast Videos

Posted by admin on August 29th, 2008

Anyone can easily find free podcast videos online.
There are numerous podcast directories online that can
help you find feeds to subscribe to, or you may find a
feed thats available from a site you enjoy. After looking
through the directories and finding a feed you want to
download, subscribe to it using one of the many free
podcast clients available. The podcast client will
automaticall download a small file called an RSS file,
which stands for Really Simple Syndication. The RSS
file tells your podcast client when there is a new file, in
this case a video, to download. Depending on your
client, the program will notify you or maybe even
download it automatically. Once the file is on your
computer, you’ll be free to listen to it any time it is
convenient.

Soon you’ll be on your way to downloading some of the
free podcast videos available online. Feeds are available
that publish on almost every topic, from independent
news shows to experimental videos, to scientific
information. Some colleges and universities even
podcast their most popular lectures so that students will
have a chance to watch and review from the comfort of
their computer chair.

The best part is that these free podcast videos, are of
course, free. All of these feeds are easy to find, and the
publishers, for the most part, do it simply because they
enjoy it, and are glad to give it away.

Downloading Podcast News

Posted by admin on August 28th, 2008

With the rise of podcasting, many individuals and
organizations are finding that podcasting is a great way
to distribute information, from music and comedy
shows to talk shows, even podcast news.

CNET is one of the groups that is distributing a news podcast. CNET,
being an online technology site, naturally found a niche
distributing a tech news related podcast. CNET’s recent
podcasts covered such topics as viruses that attack cell
phones, problems with Google’s software, China’s web
restrictions and the “Great Firewall of China”, and the
FTC’s attack on spyware.

These news items were distributed in a sound file called an mp3 file that isdownloadable to a listener’s computer for listening
whenever they wish. While these files were available
straight from CNET’s site, the majority of them are
shared through the use of an RSS file. An RSS file is a
small piece of XML coding that is downloadable by
programs designed to read it. These programs are called
podcast clients, and the user can input the address of the
RSS files that hold the information on the feed. The
feed will contain links to the media files of the podcast,
and will download the new updates automatically.

More sites than CNET are finding that podcast news is
an expoitable technology. The British Broadcasting
Corporation podcasts some of it’s programs, as well as
the US radio network NPR. The NPR, because its work
is created by a variety of different groups, treats
podcasts differently from show to show. The NPR show
“This American Life” distributes a podcast of the show
through a site called audible.com, which allows feed
listeners to subscribe to the feed for a small fee and
download the show.

The NPR Hourly News show, on the other hand, shares a short 5 minute broadcast that summarizes the news for free. Since the NPR is taking a
radio show and converting it into a file that is
downloadable by the user, little is lost in the translation.
The sound is designed to convey the entire story, and so
podcast subscribers are able to treate the podcast as
nothing more than TIVO for the radio. ABC’s podcast
of the news show Nightline, on the other hand, is
simply the sound track from the television show. This
has been one of the criticisms of the Nightline podcast,
because by merely stripping the sound from what is
designed as a television show, much information is not
given to the users.

Listeners have problems telling who
is who because they miss the visual cues that were
supposed to be there, and there is no truly easy way to
convert the shows. For this reason, some news shows
have been moving from audio podcasts to video ones.
They can take the video information directly from the
show that is broadcast, lower the visual resolution to
shrink the file, and distribute it online as a podcast.

SEO Tips for Google Search Suggest

Posted by admin on August 27th, 2008

Google announced that over the next week they are going to implement their Google Suggest search suggestion feature on Google.com. This change will help searchers find popular keywords that other searchers recently searched for.

Short Term Influence on Search

When this search suggest change is coupled with the recent launch of automatic matching and the new quality score update it may consolidate PPC competition against a smaller set of core industry keywords. Some outlier keywords, like misspelled terms, are going to be much harder to build a traffic stream from.

This will also likely have the effect of focusing organic search attention on a smaller set of well defined queries. And the extra competition in the PPC space will drive yet more competitors to adopt SEO practices. But as an SEO smarter than 99.9% of other web publishers, you have some profitable drafting opportunities you can use to build a profitable search traffic stream. ūüôā

SEO Drafting Tips

  1. Search Query Drafting: If you can create a brand that starts with and industry keyword and drive search volume on it then your brand can show up for some people looking for the broader topic. For example, a webmaster may not have enough PageRank/link authority to rank for seo, but if they can create enough hype around their brand then maybe people search for it and their brand related search query shows up as a suggestion around the broader search queries. This is something that should also be taken into consideration when coming up with official names and page titles for leading resource oriented linkbaits.
  2. Brand Drafting: If SEO Book is a decently strong brand and a fairly generic keyword, and SEO Books is the second most popular term suggested right below it then you might be able to pick up some of that search volume by ranking at or near the top for that alternate version. An April Hitwise blog post showed that in the US nearly 15% of brand related queries were intercepted by third part websites, and that was *before* Google launched search suggest directly on Google.com.
  3. Brand Coupon/Discount Drafting: This is an extension of the above type of drafting, but rather than creating a compilation of sorts you focus on getting an affiliate commission for offering consumers a discount on the core brand. Many consumers will be reminded that there are coupons, discounts, promo codes, and reviews to find and read through when reviewing popular brands.
  4. Media Drafting: This technology is already live on Youtube, so Youtube presents 4 ways to draft popular media.
    • create a video optimized for a phrase that is already popular on YouTube
    • create a video optimized for a phrase where you think the video has a good chance of ranking high in Google results
    • create a video that has a title similar to other popular YouTube content that is watched by hundreds of thousands or millions of people
    • create a relevant video that is a video reply to a video that is already well received

Long Term Influence on Search

  • For websites and businesses that have no intent of building a real brand and intend to run primarily as an organic search arbitrage player the significance of domain name may be lowered significantly.
  • As people get more acclimated with using search to navigate the web (as many people already do) then some brands and domain names that seemed too long and not viable may become viable marketing platforms.
  • Conversely, short acronyms may lose some of their value as people become acclimated to having the search engine help complete their search queries.

Your Turn

How do you see search suggestion influencing how we search and how we write?

5 Ways To Convert More Visitors Into Sales

Posted by admin on August 26th, 2008

Even if you may generate tons of visitors per day to your website, if you fail to convert them into successful sales, your efforts will be useless.  Here are five basic tactics you can use to dramatically increase your web conversion rate.

1.¬†¬† ¬†Catchy headlines.¬† Internet users have grown impatient in this day and age.¬† It’s very easy for them to visit another website whenever they find something even remotely boring in your own web page.¬† The trick is in winning their attention fast.¬† Such can be done with well-written headlines.¬† Headlines, as far as we can tell, are the first things that your readers will be greeted with when they firsr arrive at your page.¬† If they’ll like what they’ll see, they’ll hang around.¬† If not, they’ll quit just as quickly as they came.

2.¬†¬† ¬†Easy-to-scan copy.¬† You’d think that with the growing popularity of the web, more and more users will be inclined to read.¬† The contrary, however, is what is prevalent.¬† Web users easily get fatigued while reading, what with the thousands of materials they are exposed to with each and every session of online browsing.¬† The trick is in simplifying things for them to read your sales copy.¬† Use numberings and bullets as much as possible.¬† Guarantee your copy easy to scan.¬† Prepare your sales copy for an impatient audience and you’ll be rewarded greatly.

3.¬†¬† ¬†Benefit-oriented selling.¬† Your prospects will buy based on emotions and provide reasons for their purchases leaning on logic.¬† Don’t forcefully advertise the specifications of your product for your audience to see.¬† Instead, inform them of the advantages they can get from what you’re selling.¬† Share with them what they stand to gain.¬† This is a much better way of piquing their desire to purchase your product.¬† Share the features later on, as your clients will need such info to justify the purchase they will be planning to make.

4.¬†¬† ¬†Urgency marketing.¬† Push your readers to buy from you ASAP.¬† Don’t make them to second guess their decision, as you might lose some sales.¬† Utilize one time offers, special offers, and several possible time-sensitive tactics to bait them into purchasing your product immediately.

5.¬†¬† ¬†Use involvement devices in your sales copy.¬† Your sales copy doesn’t have to be a linear, simple staement of your offer.¬† You can include interactive options that will force your visitors to pledge an emotional investment on your business.¬† Ask for their thoughts.¬† Better yet, supply them with multiple options for possible answers.¬† Add calculator scripts that they can manipulate.¬† Instill in their minds that they are a part of the sales page.

Tampa Web Design by Big U Media can help you to convert more visitors into sales.

How To Download a Free Podcast

Posted by admin on August 26th, 2008

Its very easy to find and download a free podcast. The best
way to find free podcasts is probably to check a podcast
directory. A podcast directory is a listing of many,
sometimes thousands of different podcasts.

Just do a google search for podcast directory. The podcast
directory will usually organize the podcasts by topic and
genre, making it easy to find the type of podcast that is
sought. In addition, podcast directories often allow the
visitors to comment on the podcasts listed, and provide
a list of the favorite podcasts on the site, making it easy
for users to find the best podcasts available. These
podcast directories can be used to browse through,
introducing users to many different podcasts they
otherwise would not have found.

Once a podcast has been found that interests the user, it
is necessary to download the free podcast. The vast
majority of podcasts will be free, but there will be a few
that may cost a small amount of money. The process to
subscribe to and download the podcasts is the same in
either case. First, a podcast client needs to be found and
installed. There are many free podast clients available,
all providing a slightly different user interface and range
of options. They come with many different names, such
as Podscape, or Nimiq, and searching for ‘free podcast
client’ or something like it will turn up many
possibilities. When the podcast client has been
installed, inputting the feed address will allow the
podcast to be downloaded. The podcast client will
check the address given for a small, machine readable
file called an RSS file. This file will contain
information about the podcasts, perhaps some text
about the individual episodes, as well as the location of
the episode file. Once the podcast client has been
located the file referred to in the RSS feed, it will be
downloaded and stored on the users computer until the
want to view it.

Sometimes, of course, access to a personal computer is
not available, but it is still necessary to check a certain
podcast. Fortunately, many podcast directories offer
built in podcast readers in the site. Not only do they
often show each recent episode that is available, they
may also offer a way to view or listen to those podcast
episodes from within the site. By using the viewer
contained within the site, it is no longer necessary to
even download the podcast episodes. However, the
ability to move and share the episodes after
downloading is one of the wonderful things about
podcasting. The files can be placed on almost and
media player, ranging from iPods to the new Play
Station Portable. This flexibility is one of the reasons
podcasts have succeeded, despite other technologies
like streaming music and video. The desire of
consumers to have control over technology cannot be
over estimated.

What Is A Podcast Client?

Posted by admin on August 25th, 2008

A podcast client is the software used to access and
download podcasts. Podcast clients are also known as
media aggregators, programs designed to automatically
access an online file, or feed, and download the audio or
video file associated with it. Hundreds of these
programs exist, with names like IpodderX, Juice,
Nimiq, and PodSpider.

These podcast clients are easy to
find, and because there are so many available for free, it
is easy to find one that suits an individuals needs and
style. These programs run on the users computer,
periodically downloading a small RSS file from sites
that it has been told to monitor. The file tells the
program about an audio or video file stored on the
server, and the podcast client then downloads that file
for the user to view or listen to.

The podcast client thus allows the user to view
information on a wide range of topics from their
computer, without even using a web browser. Just like
blogs let people find writers they enjoyed for any niche
topic they were interested in, podcasts let people do
them same for audio and video.

Its as if a thousands of radio and television channels were created to serve every possible interest, and more were made every day.
Using the podcast client to access and download the
files makes it as easy to keep up with the sites one likes
as it is to publish the feed.

A one year follow up on a study of social media adoption at 500 of the fastest growing companies in the US has found that familiarity with and use of blogs, podcasting, wikis, online video and social networking has skyrocketed in 2008 to nearly double what it was in 2007. 77% of respondents now report at least some use of a social media tool in their business.The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research performed the study for Inc. Magazine and their findings confirm what previous studies have argued as well: social media use is now a major, mainstream activity.

The Findings

The study was written up on Robin Good’s excellent blog Master New Media.

According to the study’s authors, “26% of respondents in 2007 felt that social media is “very important” to their business and marketing strategy. That figure rose to 44% in approximately one year. It is clear that this group of fast-growing companies considers the use of social media as a central part of its strategic plan.”

Social networking is the most familiar of the technologies. In 2007, wikis were the least familiar but they have since leapfrogged over podcasting.

It’s notable that the study’s authors found much more extensive use and growth in use in the fastest growing 500 US companies than they found in the Fortune 500, the largest companies. It would be a logical fallacy to argue that the fastest growing companies are growing fastest because of their use of social media, but it could be a factor. It could also be the case that insurgent companies have a greater incentive and proclivity to experiment than incumbent industry leaders.

Three interesting charts from the study can be found below, followed by links to related studies and a few thoughts.

socmediaadoption1.png
socmediaadoption2.png
socmediaadoption3.png

Related recent studies include Universal McCann’s findings that half of adults in the US now use some form of social media online and the April prediction from Forrester Research that “Enterprise 2.0” will become a $4.6 billion industry over the next 5 years.

What does this mean? It means that when you tell people you write, read or listen to blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks and online video – if they give you a funny look, it is now officially them that’s a freak, not you. Are these tools really as useful as so many people appear to believe they are? That’s another question, but at least we’re getting a healthy number of people and businesses trying them out.

Another relevant data point to keep in mind might be analyst firm Gartner’s “Hype Cycle,” though. If this graph accurately expresses business sentiment then adoption doesn’t equal satisfaction. Qualitative analyst studies like this are always very controversial, though.

gartnerhype22008.jpg

See Master New Media for the full write up on the Inc. 500 report.

Top image from Robert Sanzalone.

How To Create And Install A favicon.ico

Posted by admin on August 18th, 2008

What is a Favicon

Favicon is short for “Favorites Icon”. ¬† The name is derived from the bookmark list for Microsoft Internet Explorer which is called Favorites. When you add a site to your Favorites list, Internet Explorer (version 5 and above) asks the server if it has a file called favicon.ico. If present, this file will be used to provide an icon that is displayed next to the bookmark text.

Other browsers such as Mozilla have also added support for favicons. Depending on the browser, the favicon can appear in a variety of places, not just in the bookmarks list (in fact, it may not even appear in the bookmark list at all). It may be shown in the address bar or the title of a browser tab, for instance.

How to create a Favicon

To create a favicon.ico simply create a 16×16 .PNG file and convert it to an icon resource with png2ico. If you want, you can add more images to the same icon resource to provide alternative resolutions. Most browsers only use a 16×16 image but in a different context (e.g. when you drag a URL from the address bar onto your desktop) a larger icon may be shown. If the icon resource only contains a 16×16 image, this will be scaled to the appropriate size, so technically there is never a need to add alternative resolutions. However, doing so can increase the quality of the displayed icon.

Keep in mind that for a user with a slow modem a favicon.ico may increase the page loading time by a few seconds if it is too large, so don’t overdo it. Adding a 32×32 alternative should be enough to make sure the image will look good even in contexts with larger icons. Adding even more and larger alternatives is unnecessary bloat. Try to keep the number of colors below 16 and create a 16-color icon using the --colors 16 switch of png2ico (or even create a b/w icon with the --colors 2 switch). This will result in a smaller file that loads faster.

When you create the images to include in your favicon.ico, don’t forget that the icon may be composed against various background colors so you should use transparency rather than a solid background if you want to avoid that your icon appears inside a box. Note, that icon resources only support binary transparency, i.e. a pixel may be visible or invisible but not something like 30% translucent.

Installing your Favicon

To add your new favicon.ico to a web page put it on the server into the same directory as the web page it is for (e.g. www.example.com/foo/favicon.ico for www.example.com/foo/index.html). That is the first place a browser will search. If it doesn’t find an icon there, it checks the top-level directory of the server (www.example.com/favicon.ico for the www.example.com server), so by putting it there you can have a default favicon for all the pages in your domain. Depending on browser and configuration, the favicon.ico is not always rendered, even if it is in one of the above locations, unless the web page explicitly declares its presence. To declare that your web page has an icon, you add the following 2 lines into the <head> section of your page:

<link rel="icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon">

Thats all there is to it.

What is Sound Masking?

Posted by admin on August 15th, 2008

There is nothing like being on a flight from L.A to New York and having the humm of the planes engines ringing in your head.  You pull out your iPod and it is still there.  What can you do?

One option is using noise cancelling headphones.  They use a technology call soundmasking.  What is soundmasking?

While the¬† term has¬† evolved¬† into¬† the single¬† word¬† ‚Äúsoundmasking‚ÄĚ,¬† all¬† three¬† terms;¬†¬† ‚Äúmasking sound‚ÄĚ,¬† ‚Äúsound masking‚ÄĚ (two words),
and ‚Äúsoundmasking‚Ä̬† are¬† grammatically¬† correct.

Sometimes confused for “white noise” and “pink noise”, sound masking is a¬† low-level,broadband¬† sound¬† precisely¬† contoured¬† to¬† mask (cover up) unwanted¬† background noise and distracting speech.
Sound masking is the addition of natural or artificial sound of a different frequency (more commonly though less-accurately known as “white noise” or “pink noise“) into an environment to “mask” or cover-up unwanted sound by using auditory masking. This is in contrast to the technique of active noise control. Sound masking reduces or eliminates awareness of pre-existing sounds in a given area and can make a work environment more comfortable, while creating speech privacy so workers can be more productive. Sound masking can also be used in the out-of-doors to restore a more natural ambient environment.

Sound masking can be explained by analogy with light. Imagine a dark room where someone is turning a flashlight on and off. The light is very obvious and distracting. Now imagine that the room lights are turned on. The flashlight is still being turned on and off, but is no longer noticeable because it has been “masked”. Sound masking is a similar process of covering a distracting sound with a more soothing or less intrusive sound.
This custom tailored sound is introduced into the office environment through a sound masking system inconspicuously located above the ceiling or under an
access floor system.    Specialized  eavesdropping  protection systems  by can be installed to protect  sensitive  conversations from  deliberate
eavesdroppers.

To install a soundmasking system contact Big U Media, Florida’s Audio Visual headquarters.

The 10 Most Important Blogger Hangouts

Posted by admin on August 7th, 2008

Where do all the cool bloggers hanging out these days?
Well, with the hundreds of thousands of blog sites that are out there, social marketing is sweeping the web and certainly becoming the number one way to do any internet marketing.  Here’s a list of 10 Important Blogger Hangouts (note:  these are listed in no particular order, they are all important and each have a little something different to offer)

Blog Catalog:  This blog hangout claims to be the Ultimate Blog Directory.  Blog Catalog lists a wide variety of blogs, for every topic you can imagine.  Blog Catalog offers free submission of your blog to their directory, making your blog more visible to other bloggers.  FTR Profile
MyBlogLog:  One of the original social sites, MyBlogLog is a great way to see what others are interested in.  Develop a network of friends, and find out what links they find great.  Track information about your website, find out what your users are interested in when they visit!  Join the FTR Blog Marketing Group
Facebook:  Facebook keeps you connected with your friends and makes it easy for you to build networks to include other bloggers with similar interests.  You will find that you can get many, many social marketing tips by using words that relate to your niche as a search topic and joining the right networks!  FTR on Facebook
Social Marketing Central:  This blog site is crammed full of people who are all clamoring for the top spot as an authority in their own expert niche.  Getting involved with this group will help you get insider secrets to social marketing strategies, and you’ll see your traffic and your profits increase substantially!
Twitter:¬† Twitter helps networks and friends stay connected by having everyone answer one simple question, ‚ÄúWhat are you doing?‚Ä̬† Bloggers use it as a mini-blogging tool, making frequent posts is easy with Twitter.¬† Lead others to your blog almost effortlessly.¬† Follow Me
FriendFeed:  A great way to hook up and monitor your fellow bloggers and friends across a decent selection of popular social sites.  You can run your FriendFeed on your blog or on your profile pages at Facebook and elsewhere to show off your network and get more attention.  FTR Friend Feed
YouTube:  No blogger misses a day on YouTube.  This is a great place to find video clips for your blog, and other interesting topics to blog about.  Just about anything goes on YouTube, and it has a huge slice of Internet traffic each day, one of the biggest draws on the Internet.  Find out what the buzz is all about.  FTR Videos
Digg:¬† Digg offers a major clearinghouse of ‚Äúall things interesting‚ÄĚ on the web.¬† Find out what‚Äôs hot, get tons of information for your blog, and get your information out there to be ‚Äúdug.‚Ä̬† Millions of visitors decide what makes the front page, based on submissions from all over the globe.¬† Friend Me
Technorati:  Make your blog even more powerful by using Technorati.  Live updates and incredibly dynamic indexing makes Technorati a great tool for your blogging toolbox.  Search the site for any relevant information, and instantly be greeted with the most up-to-date results for any topic.  Fav the FTR!
MySpace:  Originally intended for teens and young adults, MySpace has become a powerful networking site for Internet marketing.  By targeting particular networks and groups, MySpace offers bloggers a way to gain exposure quickly and share anything of interest easily.  Friend me!
If you are serious about blogging, you must be using most or all of these tools to keep connected to the world, via the Internet!  What other great blogger hangouts do you think should be added to this list?