11/09/11
Google Vs Facebook – Clash of the Titans

I’m sure by now you have heard about Google+ and you may well have signed up to it. But it is hard enough trying to keep up with your ever increasing Social Media workload without adding another network into the mix.

Google Vs FacebookWhether or not you should jump in and embrace it is a matter of some debate. Although I have a google plus account I am not investing much time into it at this stage but am trying to keep abreast of the latest developments so that I am well enough informed to make a decision to invest more time in it when I feel the time is right. Let’s face it Google have had their fair share of failures and have touted a whole manner of services as being ‘the next great thing’ – Google Buzz or Google Wave anyone?

Google makes a living out of data but they must have looked at Facebook and been a little bit irritated that the likes of facebook gather a massive amount of marketable data without even trying. People volunteer information about their likes and dislikes, music, films, holidays etc without even being prompted so it is understandable that Google wanted ‘in on the act’.

But Facebook are in an incredibly strong position with 30 million users in the uk alone. One social network is more than enough and most of you reading this are probably using two already, Linkedin and Facebook. There is no way I have the time or the inclination to become embroiled in another so the only way I can envisage moving allegiance to Google is if my current network of friends move with me. I like to keep friends and business acquaintances fairly separate as the tone of my communication with both groups is different. But of course nothing is that cut and dried and there is a definite overlap with some friends being business associates and many business associates becoming friends over time. The way we could look at this is like a venn diagram. Now if only Linkedin and Facebook could be merged together – cue Google+ circles!Google Circles Explanation

Of course you can arrange your friends into groups on Facebook although in my opinion the way that operates is a damn site more clunky than Facebook. Google are trying to combine the best elements of Facebook with the best elements of Twitter to expand your network beyond people people that you physically know as you can on Twitter so you can follow the status updates of people in your industry for instance – cue Facebook subscriptions!

Google have got it all to do and Facebook can ride on the back of their work. When Microsoft rolled out Microsoft Bing, Google were just rubbing their hands. Bing knew they couldn’t compete in the short term on the quality of their search so what they concentrated on were all ‘the bells and whistles’ that would give their customers a better experience. So Google just sat back and integrated any of the nice knew bits from bing that they felt appropriate into their own product.

Facebook are now able to do the same. Their customer base is fairly safe as long as they keep moving so they can now just sit back and cherry pick the Google innovations that they like and integrate them into their own platform.

But you can rest assured that Google will be making Google+ a priority so it isn’t going to fall by the wayside in the near future. They have to make it a priority, with Facebook search being powered by Bing and Facebook being the starter page for so many online sessions (48% of 18 – 34 year olds check facebook as soon as they wake up) Google stand to lose a substantial market share despite the low quality of Bing search results – convenience is everything!

The final problem that Google face in this battle is the fact that Google plus already has and will continue to have SEO benefits. Well surely that is a reason to sign up to Google+ I hear you say. Well on the one hand it is but the biggest problem they face is that it is open to abuse. Within the first few weeks millions of false profiles were set up. They are trying to address this but ultimately a Social Network has to be about real people!

One thing is for sure though. These battles can only be good for us. Facebook can no longer be complacent, they need to listen to what people want and keep innovating. I don’t keep the comments open on this blog at the moment but why not join the conversation on our on our facebook page.

03/22/11
Gaining Content With Guest Bloggers

If you have a blog on your site then you are well aware of the importance of keeping it regularly updated with fresh new content, but the big question (especially for smaller businesses that don’t have the resources available) is how can you afford to dedicate the time required to do this?

Simple answer – Allow authors to write a guest post for you.

Known as “Guest Blogging” this can be a win-win situation for both you (the owner of the blog) and the guest author. You’ll get a piece of free and exclusive content for your site, and the author gets their name out into the blogsphere with a link back to their site. Don’t deny the authors a link back to their site – you’ll be taking away their incentive to write for you if you do.

How to find guest bloggers for your site

http://myblogguest.com/ – This service allows both blog owners and authors alike to cut through the chaff of the internet by allowing both to meet through a dedicated service for guest blogging opportunities.

Twitter.com – Hopefully you’ll have been doing some Social Marketing and now have a healthy supply of followers, so announce the fact that you’re giving the opportunity for people to publish guest posts on your site and for them to get in touch.

Write a “Become a guest author” page on your site with a list of subjects you’ll be interested in receiving submissions for, and what the author will get in return. You don’t necessarily need a large subscriber base to your blog for this to be useful, those looking for guest blogging opportunities could find the page in Google.

Ask us! We have contacts to a number of copywriters with their own blogs so they may be interested in appearing as guest author on your site. Let us know and we’ll put it forward to them.

Things to keep in mind

Don’t always assume that you’re going to get exclusive content on your site because the guest author may have approached a number of other blog owners as well as yourself. Due to this, the content that you get may be duplicate content to that posted somewhere else – always check before you publish.

http://www.copyscape.com/ – use this free tool check any content you get to make sure that it hasn’t been posted anywhere else, and for a more in depth check to the originality there is also a premium version available. Probably the best way to explain their service is by showing there video (important bit for receiving content is from 1:27)…

Happy blogging!

08/06/09
Are You An Internet Time Waster?

“Computers Increase Productivity and Save Time”       – but do they?wasting time Are You An Internet Time Waster?

Computers and the internet are the great white hope of the 21st century, without them where would we be? There’s no doubt they can save time and increase productivity and that certainly used to be the case before the advent of the internet when your only possibility of distraction was a sneaky game of Freecell.

Well things have moved on a bit since then and we now have the wonderful world of the internet. Yes it can be a very useful tool and there is no doubt that the ease of accessing information saves you a lot of time. Whereas I used to have to scour hardcore programming manuals to find the solution to a problem, I can now pop my query into a search engine and 90% of the time it will produce the results I need. Failing that the fall back is to post my problem on one of the myriad of forums to be found on the web and geeks are falling over themselves to provide me with a solution.

But for the time I can save, I can find 101 new ways to waste it and I’m not just talking about playing games and randomly browsing. Yes that is a problem especially when you work in an environment like us where a big part of our job is keeping up on the latest web trends via seo sites and blogs and completing indepth keyword and competitor analysis where each hyperlink clicked can take you off on a tangent. But recently I have noticed I am spending more and more time being distracted by work related tools such as:

  • Incoming Emails (Genuine and Spam!)
  • MSN Messenger
  • Business Forums
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc)
  • Calendars and Task Managers

Office Based ADHD

My average day starts with sitting down at my PC with a much needed bucket of caffeine, checking and responding to my emails. Then I do my daily rounds on the business forums. We find these exceptionally useful, allowing us to learn in areas that aren’t our speciality, whilst allowing us to impart our knowledge in areas that are. This creates a community where everyone benefits and provides us with increased website traffic and more business enquiries. Once I’ve dragged myself away, a quick check of my email is required again – ‘oh dear a few new ones – best refill the caffeine bucket!’.

Armed with a freshly filled bucket its time to log into Remember The Milk and see what I have planned for the day. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Remember The Milk it is a free online task manager and although I am discussing it here, it does actually help me plan my day effectively (just don’t get too anal about inputting every little task!)

Well it’s half an hour later and I’m back again, writing this blog…

Let me explain, whilst checking the hyperlink above to Remember The Milk, I noticed you can also integrate it with Google Calendar, GMail, Firefox and Twitter. Whilst integrating it with GMail I obviously had to check my personal emails and also to integrate it I had to enable something on GMail Labs which has countless timesaving (or are they timewasting?) devices you can integrate with GMail – I managed to avoid those for today, but rest assured, I’ve scheduled them in Remember The Milk for another day. Thank God I haven’t got an iphone, the app for that looks brilliant!social media Are You An Internet Time Waster?

Right, what was I saying? (Sorry must have got distracted again!)

Just had a chat with someone on MSN Messenger which then necessitated me sending an email. I had closed Outlook down to avoid distraction, but as soon as you do, you can guarantee you’ll need to send an urgent email. Of course, once opened, it would be rude not to respond to the new emails that have arrived. So as you can see I have been busy working all morning, time for a break I think and then I need to Tweet about this blog and do all our social media bookmarking – no rest for the wicked. Let me leave you with an interesting article my mate emailed me the other day about social media statistics. Yes, it distracted me but then it was work related!

That reminds me I must go and check Facebook and have a look at YouTube over lunch. Hey ‘all work and no play…..’

If this all sounds a bit too familiar then please let us know what saps your time in our poll.