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Tips and Tricks for Online Marketing and SEO – How to Promote Your Business/Website Online

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There are various ways to promote your website online, some of which just need a bit of your time, while others burn a small hole in your pocket. Needless to say, if you can own and build a website, promoting and marketing for it online won’t be much of a pain.

So basically, my online marketing strategy revolves around these few points:

SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) refers to an internet marketing technique that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine result pages. It basically involves two methods:

a> Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising

b> Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Pay Per Click is a method of paying a search engine to show your website more frequently in search results as a user searches for a content, while SEO is the method where you actually modify or rewrite your websites’ content manually to achieve higher rankings in the search engine result pages.

CONTENT MARKETING

It is a form of marketing where media and contents are created and published in order to communicate with and acquire prospective customers. The content may be in the form of images, newsletters, how-to-guides, case studies, etc. The main aim of content marketing is not to sell a product directly, but to keep in touch with existing and to-be clients and provide them with needed and helpful information so as to earn their loyalty. The most common and traditional way of content marketing is to write descriptive articles or ad-content on sites like EzineArticles, Squidoo, ArticlesBase, GoArticles, etc. Some of them even pay for writing articles.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Social Media Marketing is a way of popularizing an event, product, service, brand or a company with the help of social networking sites. It is an unpaid marketing method because it depends upon the quality of the content and the how much the readers share it. The most common platforms of social media marketing are Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, etc. Most of these sites offer a dedicated page for your business that can be used to promote your company, product or service. Furthermore, words of mouth and shares by the users play important role in doing the same.

MOBILE MARKETING

Mobile Marketing, as it’s obvious from the name, is the form of marketing where cell-phones are the bridge between a company and their clients, or future clients most of the times, where customers are provided with personalized and customized information, offers, or deals about the product or services. There are quite a lot of ways of mobile marketing, but we will keep it just to the most common and most effective methods here.

a> SMS: There are a lot of bulk SMS providers that, unlike the telecom companies which have a cap on the maximum number of SMSs sent, allow users to send a large number of SMS and guarantee a delivery. So this bulk SMS service may be used to send messages related to products and services to a large number of users in a very short time, plus, it is highly cost effective.

b> App-Based Marketing: As the usage of smartphones increases, use of mobile applications have also increased proportionally. So the concept is to make mobile applications for iOS, android and symbian platforms and distribute them free over the online apps market. Sending Push notifications adds to the advantage as the users receive alerts and notifications on new products, services or information instantly.

E-MAIL MARKETING

It is a method of direct marketing where commercial messages are sent to a group of people using e-mails. The mails may be sent to a database of existing or potential customers with a view to promote a new or old service or product, or to provide a deal or offer so as to solicit repeat business, or instant business. Most of the times, companies send out promotional e-mails where a deal is provided for a limited time and the customers get a discount if they avail of the services or products within that period. Sending online newsletters at periodic intervals also brings a sense of loyalty into the existing customers.

ONLINE CLASSIFIEDS

There are a number of online classified sites where we can post advertisements about our products and services for a very small or no price at all. The classified sites may be recognized or active on a local, national or international level. Keeping in mind the Indian online market, the ones that come to my mind are Quikr, Click.in, Olx… and the list never stops. Locanto and Craigslist are two of the giants in international online market, needless to mention that there are a lot more in this category. Each of the ads that you publish in these sites remain active for a certain period and then you have to either renew/repost them, or publish another ad if still required.

LINK EXCHANGE PROGRAMS

Link Exchange refers to the method where the administrators of two(or more) websites agree to display each others advertisement or link on their own site for their mutual benefit. The method also implies to the process where a number of administrators, or Webmasters register their site on a central website that serves as the host and provides reciprocal links to the participating websites to show on their pages, So, if you register yourself for link exchange programs on such a site, the link to your website will be placed in a number of other similar ranked websites, and in turn, you need to place their links in your own site, simple, isn’t it? Generally, this service comes free of cost as it runs on the principle of reciprocity, both of the parties benefit mutually and almost equally, but at times it needs a bit of your fortune if you opt for premium and fast services.

FORUM DISCUSSIONS

Discussion forums are a great way of advertising yourselves to a group of targeted customers. Online discussion forums/boards are present for almost every topic you can think of, so at this place you get a group of people that are actually(and only) interested in the same topic, product or services that you are offering. Thus, all the people present in that discussion are your potential customers, pitch high and bang at the right moment is all you need to do. Google and yahoo also have their own dedicated discussion/Q&A forums, writing and promoting your articles where can fetch good results.

VIDEO UPLOAD

Written, printed or messaged media are good ways of marketing, but short videos on your services or products are great way of marketing. Here, people just need to look at your video for a few seconds, or maybe minutes, and understand what they are actually meant to. In this way, they quite easily omit the traditional and comparatively boring way of reading the advertisement, newsletter, or promotional messages. The most common platform is YouTube where you can upload your own custom made videos for free, or opt for paid promotion where very short promotional videos are inserted(by YouTube) between other videos which may already be a bit known to people and thus there are more chances of people seeing the promotional videos.

DIRECTORY LISTING

Web directories or link directories are the directories on the world wide web(www) that link to other web sites and categorize the websites according to their content. In simple words, directories are not search engines, but just an online directory showing the list of websites based on categories and sub-categories. There are a large number of web directories that offer free, paid, reciprocal and affiliate linkings depending upon your choice. If categorized correctly, directory listing is a great way of online marketing. DMOZ, Yahoo, Digg are some of the most famous directories online.

ONLINE DEALS

Discounts always attract customers, even if they have not much to do with the product. They stop to have a look on what is being offered. Sometimes this paves the way for the person to think deeply and consider availing the deal just because they are getting it at a great price. There are a lot of websites where services/products are offered at discounted rates. Consider visiting Snapdeal, Groupon, Timesdeal and few others.

AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

After all these efforts, if there is still a hitch left in the sales process, affiliate marketing is always there to promote direct sales of the product or services where a small share in the profit is given to the publisher or vendor that promotes sales. It is a performance based marketing system and the affiliate gets a percentage of profit for selling or helping in selling an article by applying any of the above listed or his/her own marketing techniques. One of the common ways is to place advertisement links or banners on others’ sites upon their permission, and if a sale occurs from their website, we need to pay them a definite amount or percentage.

Having a bit of experience in publishing and promoting websites, I hope these factors may be actually helpful when you try to do some marketing for you new website. Forgive me if I forgot to mention something important, of course you can comment and rectify if I have committed any errors. Good day.

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Teaching Styles: Guide on the Side or Sage on the Stage?

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In the early 90’s California teachers were getting released in record numbers. There was a huge budget crisis, districts were raising class sizes and eliminating classrooms, which meant many of us had to go. I was a second year teacher, untenured. I received my goodbye notice in March then set out scrambling to find another position.

I found myself interviewing in the growing community of Moreno Valley. I felt I was ready for anything, but I’ll never forget the interviewer asking my about my style of teaching. He asked, “Would you consider yourself a Sage on the Stage or a Guide on the Side?”

What a great question. Simply asking the question implies so much. If I say that I am a Sage on the Stage, immediately I might be considered a micromanager. A power hungry control freak of a teacher who needs his/her students to act only on command. Or even worse, I might be seen as a showoff whose main goal in teaching is to hear ones’ own voice.

As I sat in the interview room, it seemed the more politically correct answer would be the Guide on the Side. “Guide” doesn’t seem like such a loaded word as “Sage”. A guide leads the way. A guide points out facts. Guides know what pitfalls to avoid.

I had to make a snap answer. It’s been almost two decades, and I still think about my response. I expected that in time, I would make revisions to my answer. Surprisingly, I feel still feel good about the response I gave.

Basically, I believe that there are times when a teacher needs to be the Sage on the Stage and times when the teacher needs to get out of the way and be a guide on the side. Additionally, I’ve seen very effective teachers who can work a class, create amazing discussions, and help students construct learning all from the front of the class. By contrast, I’ve seen other teachers who spend very little time in front of a class, choosing to do most of their teaching in groups. Therefore, the situation and the personality of the teacher play a great role in the debate: Sage on the Stage or Guide on the Side.

Reflecting on the question “Sage” or “Guide” is not a bad idea. My philosophy in teaching, as well as life, has always been balance and moderation. There have been times when I’ve been stuck in the Sage or Guide roll for longer than is necessary. Just asking yourself the question might lead to some meaningful soul searching and deeper understanding about yourself as a person and a teacher.

The Merits and Demerits of the Sage on the Stage

There are definite merits to the Sage on the Stage approach. The teacher on his/her stage, managing the flow of information is definitely faster than the Guide on the Side. I’ve tried to incorporate “guide on the side” strategies for my grammar lessons, but I’ve found that direct instruction works best when introducing initial concepts. I may use “guide” strategies to aid mastery of the information. However, there are dozens of grammar and punctuation skills the students are required to learn in ten months which does not lend itself to the Guide on the Side philosophy.

This benefit is also the biggest argument against the Sage approach. As more and more demands are heaped upon teachers, it is easier to get through the curriculum with this method. However, besides being exhausting for the teacher to be on the stage all day, students require time to digest and process information. Sage techniques such as lecture and group discussion tend to favor the quick thinkers. These students do most of the critical thinking for the class. Consequently, the majority of the class misses out on this important skill.

The Merits and Demerits of the Guide on the Side

I recently began a sixth grade unit on the Hebrew’s exodus from Egypt like this:

Imaging that you were a guest in someone’s house. After a few weeks, you realized that you were doing all the chores in the house, your mom was cooking all of the meals, and your dad began to pay all of the bills. You were once a guest in this house. Now, what have you become?

The students had to read the material from their social studies books and explain how the Hebrews were like your family in the story. The connections they found were excellent. The follow up discussion continued to bear fruit as one group after another pointed out new ways to look at the analogy. I was a guide on the side, interjecting hints along the way.

The follow up to this was that the students had to create the second part of my “guest” analogy. They read about Moses and the Exodus and had to create an analogy about how they were able to move out of the house where they had become slaves.

The lesson was time consuming, but very effective. As effective as it was, I noticed that there were still things that I needed to teach the students directly. Many students, having no background knowledge on the topic, needed me to put this time in history into context. Once again, I was back to being the Sage on the Stage.

Final Thoughts

The moral of this story is that the art of teaching is knowing when to be the “guide” and when to be the “sage”. Once again I return to my original point: Simply asking yourself the question “What Kind of Teacher Am I?” is enough to help make you a better teacher. Being ever mindful of the balance between the two provides the opportunity for the self-reflection we all need.

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Greatest Ever Barcelona XI

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Like many of the best teams in the world, its almost impossible to have just 1 team as a greatest XI. Barcelona arguably have had the biggest turnover of superstars to have played for the club. You have a who’s who of football to have turned out for the club. I could quite easily go for 3 teams for this great club, but I have settled for 2 teams.

Goal Keeper

Like most attacking sides, they have not had the very best goal keepers to have kept goal for them, so I have gone for Andoni Zubizaretta. He is Spain’s most capped player with 126 caps and was a very good goalkeeper.

Right full back

I have gone for Albert Ferrer, who was part of the first “dream team”. He was a very good defender as well as being excellent in going forward.

Left full back

I have gone for another member of the so called dream team, Sergi Barjuan. He was very identical in play to Ferrer as they were both quick, great on the ball and he could defend very competently.

Central defenders

I have gone for Miguel Nadal and Carlos Puyol. Both excellent players and whilst Nadal was known as “the beast”, he was very good on the ball. Puyol always gives his all in every game that I have seen him play.

Midfield

I have gone for a 4-man midfield comprising of 4 all-time greats of the game in Michael Laudrup, Johan Cruyff, Luiz Suarez and Laslo Kubala. Michael Laudrup was a wizard with the ball and perhaps did not get the world renown that his talents deserved, partly to do with the fact that he was Danish. Cruyff is a living legend and his reputation goes before him. Suarez is arguably the greatest ever talent to come out of Spain whilst Kubala was voted Barcelona’s greatest ever player.

Forwards

I have gone for Diego Maradona and Romario. I have read too many times that Maradona was not successful at Barcelona, but that’s comparing him to himself and not by any other player’s standards. I have seen matches that he was involved in at Barcelona and he was breathtaking at times. Romario was just a born goal scorer.

Team 2

Goal keeper

I have gone for Francisco Platko, the Hungarian, whom, I have to admit I have never seen play but he is reported to be very good and I did not that many options.

Defenders

This time I have gone for 3 defenders and they are Jose Ramon Alesanco who captained the club for a long period of time and was a very good defender and leader, Ronald Koeman, okay, he was not a very good defender in terms of actual defending and maybe he would just pip a tortoise in a 100 metre sprint, but he could pass the ball like no other and had a shot on him to die for. He also scored 1 of the most memorable goals in the club’s history, when he scored the winning goal at Wembley, against Sampdoria for Barcelona to win their first ever European Cup. The third defender is Migueli who played for Barcelona from 1973 to 1989.

Midfield

I have gone for a 5-man midfield comprising another array of wonderful footballers. The first is Luis Figo, whom I felt played his best football at Barcelona and he was absolutely terrific. Whilst teammate, Rivaldo, was getting all the plaudits, Figo. I felt was the best player. The second midfielder was a mainstay of Cruyff’s dream team and that was Pep Guardiola, who was one of the best playmakers, I have ever seen. Injuries blighted a bit what should have been a superlative career. Ronaldinho is my third midfielder as he is truly majestic and surely, even at this stage in his career, already an all-time great. The next is his Brazilian compatriot, Rivaldo who will always be remembered fondly at the Nou camp for scoring, perhaps, the greatest hat-trick ever, against Valencia, which enabled Barcelona to qualify for the champion’s league, on the last day of that particular season 2000/2001. Last but not least, I have chosen volatile but brilliant Bulgarian attacking midfielder/forward, Hristo Stoichkov. Stoichkov had a seemingly love-hate relationship with equally brilliant and equally volatile Romario. One minute they are hugging each other for setting up the other for another brilliant goal and the next minute they are sniping at each other because one of feels that the other did not pass the ball to him.

Strikers

I have gone for the absolutely brilliant Brazilian Ronaldo and Sandor Koscis.

I know I said I will only pick 2 teams but way too many players that I like have not been picked because just too many greats played for Barcelona, so I have managed to squeeze in a third team

Goalkeeper

For Goalkeeper, I have gone for Antoni Ramalletts who played for Barcelona in the 40s to 60s and won the best goalkeeper award for 5 consecutive seasons in the 50s

Defenders

I have gone for Abelardo Fernandez, a very capable defender who always gave his best, Juan Asensi who was also a very good defender for both Barcelona and Spain and Eric Gensana.

Midfield

I have gone for Bernd Schuster, the current manager, who was a brilliant midfielder and should have won far more caps for West Germany, if not for his bad relationship with the West German FA. Luis Enrique, one of my favourite players with his all-action style and loads of goals to boot. For a midfielder, he scored a fair amount of goals. Allan Simonsen, the brilliant Dane, who was European footballer of the year in 1977. Johan Neeskens, the current assistant manager, who was a wonderful midfield player.

Strikers

I have gone for a 3-prong attack and they are Paulino Alcantara who though I have never seen play scored 357 goals in 357 matches, now that is impressive. Josep Samiter who scored 326 goals for Barcelona and Hans Krankl just edging out Samuel Etoo and Patrick Kluivert.

Some of the players that I have not mentioned include the present crop of players like Rafa Marquez, Thuram, Xavi, Deco, Messi, Zambrotta and past greats and good like Hagi, Prosinescki, Laurent Blanc, Gica Popescu, Carles Rexach, Jari Littmanen, both De Boers, Cocu, Laarsson, Mark Hughes, Lineker, Beguiristain, Goikoietxea, Edgar Davids, Riqueleme and Sorin amongst others.

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5 Simple Steps to Be a Media Star

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This series of articles are focused on how to become known as an expert. Today we will focus on how to gain media attention.

Dale Carnegie said in his famous book – How To Win Friends and Influence People, “babies cry for and grown men die for”. We all want attention and recognition. We seek media attention to get our name splashed in newspapers, radio and TV. Not only is it something we personally want but it is also a great strategy to gain expert status and get clients.

I have been written up in print, interviewed on radio and TV. Did you know one appearance on TV can catapult you into fame and launch your career into the stratosphere? Fawn Germer, who I recently hear speak, was featured on Oprah. She has leveraged it to the hilt. We all know what can happen if you are seen on The Oprah Show. Businesses become hugely successful and a million books are sold! Dr. Phil and Dr. OZ started as guests on The Oprah Show. Now they have their own shows.

So how do you get attention of the media?

Here are 5 simple strategies:

  1. Find an angle that will appeal to the media: It is quite easy to look up what current stories are already being covered in the media. Just find an angle to latch on to the story. It is not enough to say that you are a chiropractor or a massage therapist. What is new, unique or newsworthy about your profession?
  2. Prepare you story: Once you know the angle, create a pitch that is easy for you to communicate. Human interest stories are featured all the time. Pick a struggle and how you or a client overcame that struggle.
  3. Get a list of reporters: Today it is easier to find reporters on the internet. Social media has made reporters and journalists much more accessible. Pick the target market you want to focus on and find the reporters who cover such stories.
  4. Call or email them: Depending on the information you have and how timely it is, you can just pick up the phone and call the reporter. Make sure you are aware of simple protocols. TV, radio and print media – all have different strategies in collecting and sharing information. Pay attention to when and how you should approach the media.
  5. Build a relationship: I consistently write comments to the reporters. You will be amazed how many of them will reply back. Make it a habit to communicate with them so you can be recognized. Today the media is required to build a following and be in touch with their audience.

These simple and effective strategies will help you start moving towards being a media star.

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