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bosweb blog

RSS - Really Simple Stuff

Posted on 12-9-2012 by Luke Hardy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
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What is RSS?

First released in 1999, RSS (Rich Site Summary, or often Really Simple Syndication) is a standardised format used for the syndication of oft-updated content. Blog posts are a prime example, though it could potentially be used for any updates to a website. In a nutshell, it's a method of automatically syndicating your content to a subscriber base. You may have noticed the RSS icon without ever really paying attention to it; that's what this icon refers to.

How does it work?

Each item that is updated has its own feed (or channel). This feed is just an address that your users add to an RSS reader, software specifically designed to work with RSS feeds. Each time you publish new content, the feed is automatically updated and your subscribers will receive a notification. Most subscribers use their web browser or Microsoft Outlook as their RSS reader, though there are also a lot of specialist programs out there just for RSS feeds.

This sounds great!

It is, up to a point. Some of the more common issues are:
  • It is not natively supported in Google Chrome. Clicking on a feed link in Chrome will dump a pile of code straight into your browser window; if you don't know better, you could be forgiven for thinking that the feed is broken.
  • Traditionally, checking the feed is up to the user. How often the feed is checked for updates depends entirely on their reader settings, and if the user doesn't open their reader program they won't receive updates at all.
  • And the big one; A lot of users simply don't want to bother with it. They just want the information delivered to them without the hassle of setting up feeds and monitoring them for updates.

Is there a solution?

There are a couple of ways to get the most out of your RSS and to offer the functionality of automatic updates without the limitations. The one that most appeals to a lot of users, and the one we recommend, is using email delivery. Any updates are automatically delivered to your subscribers as an email; all they have to do is enter their email address when they sign up. Google's Feedburner service offers email delivery combined with subscription reports and branding options, and is the latest addition to our support offering for existing clients. 

If you feel you aren't getting enough the highest readership out of your blog, consider an alternative. And don't forget; we can help you with setting up Feedburner's email delivery service as an addendum, or a replacement, to your existing RSS channels. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us to learn more.

5 things to avoid when optimising your site for Google

Posted on 11-9-2012 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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  • Avoid Keyword stuffing.

Yes - you do need to have a high key word density for your designated search phrases, but if you can't read this out loud to yourself and it makes sense - remove the words. Your text must read well and the best way to test this - is to read it out loud to yourself or someone else.

  • Have a catchy page name that means nothing to search engines

Don't try and be too clever about what you are offering, avoid jargon and tech terms in your key areas of Page Name, Page Title, words in heading tags etc. Remember your key words are what your customers use - not what you use.

  • Make sure your text appeals to a person and not a robot

Yes google bots are trawling your site - but they are not buying from you, make sure you keep the human elements to your text.

  • Waffle

Punchy text, bullet points and numbers. Get to the point

  • Don't have links from unrelated and untrustworthy websites.

If you have no relationship with a business, no connection, no related products or more importantly nothing that will benefit your customers - DO NOT HAVE THAT LINK. The days of phoney reciprocal link building are over. This can damage your site long term, plus you only ever received benefit from a website that tracks higher than yours anyway - so think long and hard about linking to other sites and them to you!

 

 

We are hiring!

Posted on 05-9-2012 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Wednesday, September 05, 2012
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Thinking of working for a dynamic, vibrant and downright awesome company! (yes, that would be us) then walk this way ...  

We are looking for an experienced Account Manager with loads of enthusiasm, drive and passion to join our small, but very well established and rapidly growing national online business and service company.   

You will be working within our Service Team supporting and servicing our existing customer base ensuring that relationships are maintained at the highest level.

More details can be found here - wouldn't you like to work for us!

We are also looking for a part time/casual Adminstrative Assistant to support our bookkeeper and service team.

Do you 

- Have Quickbooks or MYOB experience
- Experience maintaining and updating customer records
- Good WORD and EXCEL skills
- Available to work either 1 day a week or 2 school hours days a week

Then we would like your help!

Please contact leanne@bosweb.com.au  for more information.

Think like a Shopper

Posted on 04-9-2012 by Fran Drew

Tuesday, September 04, 2012
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Many of our first time clients are unsure of how to set up their online store as “window shoppers” throughout the world embrace online shopping.  

Remember you have a lot of competition out there; it isn’t just the new boutique around the corner that has everyone buzzing.  With over a million sites going live throughout the world each day, retail has never been so competitive.  

Marketing experts believe the average shopper makes up their mind about whether or not to buy something within two seconds of seeing it.

Here are some tips on how to take the “window shopper” to the checkout and maximise your sales while you have them in the palm of your hand.

  • Visuals, visuals and more visuals - have the best images possible.  If you can’t access them from your suppliers, hire a photographer skilled in retail photography to do a shoot for you.  Just because you have a nice SLR and took some great holiday snaps doesn’t mean you will necessarily know how to make your stock look great. You won’t regret the investment.
  • Think like a shopper, set up your categories so they are easy to find.  Just because you call your stock a certain name in store. Will your “window shopper” find it?  Experiment with Google, can you find what you were looking for when you searched it?  Maybe your “window shopper” couldn’t either.
  • Set up your catalogue like you would your physical store.  Remember when you found that cute little boutique on the coast which snaffled your week’s holiday pay?  How did they do it?  
  • Use every means available to you to encourage add on sales.  Think of your stock, if you create a new window display, do you have that gorgeous cocktail dress displayed in the window on its own? Use related products to entice the shopper.  What girl doesn’t need a new pair of killer heels to carry that dress?
  • Use enhancement features; hover tools, poplets, description boxes anything that allows the shopper to “touch & feel”.  Make it as easy as possible for your “Window shopper” to become your customer and  enjoy the experience.
  • Lastly, reward your customer.  Keep them up to date with the latest arrivals with regular email campaigns and give them a little treat every now and then.  Maybe a season launch discount or a pre-sale tip-off and  and they will return to your store over & over again.
As part of our commitment to our S+S clients, we offer monthly information sessions which allow our clients to access the latest tips and tools to maximise the success of their online store.

The 4 P's of Social Media Marketing

Posted on 21-8-2012 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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Heard of the 4 P's of Marketing?

Price, Product, Place and Promotion?

Then I am sure you will find the 4 P's of Social Media Marketing ( with a bosweb twist!) just as helpful to focus your marketing efforts

Platform - where are your customers hanging out?

Most likely not in Google+ as yet!

Are they in Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or Pinterest? When planning your social media strategy and how you wish to use these tools to market your products and services, not all platforms are equal. You may find different types of customers are mainly focussed in different areas. You may find you need to use slightly different communication styles in these various platforms.

Which leads to our next P

Personality - who are you and how do your represent yourself in these platforms?

When you speak to your customers via social media, are you engaging them, are you speaking to them like you would face to face? Think about the style and tone of your words and imagery you use. Is this a reflection of your business? Be authentic, social media can tell fakes pretty quickly, so make sure you speak with honesty to build credibility and expand your reach.

And remember have a personality! Don't be too staid and buttoned down in your comments. The social media medium allows you to be more relaxed in your style that a traditional press release. Loosen up people!

Piggybacking - Connect with fellow businesses online

I am not recommending that crazy tagging of unrelated businesses to build up an audience. Again that kind of approach to social media just doesn't work long term. Think about who in your industry, your business community and your circle of friends ( this is social media!) that can be brand advocates for you - and also you for them. Acknowledge and share great content around. There are a lot of resources we can share and as small business owners, it pays to acknowledge those that you recognise as good value and they in turn will recognise you.

One thing to remember with this approach is when you are looking to launch, reach out to those in your circle with a large footprint, the influences and brand advocates who can kick off your project with some well timed tweets, likes and +1's. It really pays to build these relationships overtime.

and the final P

sPontaneity - yes well it's not a P is it!

That's the point! Mix it up, inject some fun. This is the fun stuff in your marketing activities. Remember it is SOCIAL media...

Small Business Guide to getting started online

Posted on 21-8-2012 by Angela Lordan

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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Why do you think we use Google as opposed to picking up the phone book to find a product or service?

For me, I find Google very smart.  It works effectively to find what I am looking for and gives me a wider choice of options for the product or service I am seeking. 

At my fingertips, I am then exposed to the website of a business that will provide me with the service or product offerings that I was searching for.  The website allows me to make an informed decision on whether I then choose to spend my money with this business. 

Instead of just a phone number I have the whole business in front of me allowing me to make an informed decision.

It sounds simple and it is simple.  Your website should answer questions. 

It needs to provide a solution for search criteria relevant to your business.  When we type words into that search field on Google, we are looking for an answer to a question. 

The words and images found on your website should reflect the products and services that you specialise in.  Be proud of what your business does and talk about it within your web content.

Before diving in to launch your new website, consider the following:

  • Can you tell me about your business clearly defining all of your services and product offerings?
  • What Search Criteria would you like to be found in for Google Search Listings?
  • Who is your target market?  Will your website content answer their questions?  Will your home page direct them to the answer quickly and efficiently?
  • What would you like viewers of the site to do once they have landed on your site? Do you expect that they will make a purchase, call you, download a document or brochure, register?
  • Do you have a great logo that you love?
  • Do you have any existing marketing material?
  • Do you have great photos that represent your products and services?
  • Who are your competitors, online and offline?  If your competitors are not online they will be very soon.
  • Do you use Social Media?  Do you understand the benefits of Social Media and Online marketing?
  • Do you have someone in your business that can take responsibility for the website moving forward to ensure your site is active and up to date?

Stuck for answers?

Our team specialises in helping you answer these questions, we can guide you through the process so that it becomes simple and more importantly will help get you the results from your site that you are expecting.

As part of our website development build we provide a site map template to our clients to help you identify the questions you should be asking and then focus on how your content provides the answers to those questions.

Contact us NOW for help!

Claim your Google Places listing

Posted on 20-8-2012 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Monday, August 20, 2012
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Claim your Google Local Listing

 

One of the easiest ways to start to get better search results without doing too much work is to claim your business listing inside Google Places.

It is pretty easy to do - you just need to be available to take a phone call. We can take care of the rest with a few details from you!

So what is it?

Google Places is Google’s local search engine. When a search is conducted using a geographic location such as “Cairns Holiday Accommodation”, local Google Places search results come up – often above other search results. Google Places listings are identified by a bright red balloon and accompanied by a map showing the locations of the local businesses. They are hard to miss!

Professionally optimized Google Places listings quickly rise to the top, offering potential customers valuable information such as addresses, hours of operation, photos, products/services, customer reviews, special promos and even video or commercials.

We can help to make sure this information is up to date and suited to your marketing pitch.

Contact us for help to get these correctly set up - we are happy to set these up for all our clients during the months of August and September. Numbers strictly limited so get in Quick!

 

Upcoming Training

Our in house sessions start at 10.30 at our new offices Unit 2/1 Commercial Drive, Blueridge Business Park. Webinar training will be via Go To Meeting. 

Clients have requested some beginner FACEBOOK training - come along and become more confident in what you are doing! Training is conducted both in house and also via WEBINAR. Our upcoming training session are listed below.

August 2012 - In-Context Editing

August 2012 - In-Context Editing - Webinar

September 2012 - Basic SEO Training

September 2012 - Basic SEO Training - Webinar

October 2012 - Get better at Facebook

October 2012 - Get Better at Facebook - Webinar

 

 

 

Latest Launches

Are you across our latest launches?

We have some new items up - why not browse through the changes to Brad Acheson Homes. Stay in touch with our site launches also via our Facebook page.

We welcome some new clients into the bosweb team - make sure you have a look at The Scots School in Bathurst and Lithgow - and closer to home the slick look of Dubbo City Welding - who said ute trays can't be sexy!

Become a Pinterest Pinning Guru in less than 10 minutes!

Posted on 13-8-2012 by Brendon O'Sullivan

Monday, August 13, 2012
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Fast-track your understanding of Pinterest with this great 5 minute slideshow presentation including a 2 and a half minute introductory video.

(For best viewing, click the 'Fullscreen' icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the slideshare)

Top Tips for taking photos

Posted on 10-8-2012 by Amy Newby

Friday, August 10, 2012
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Lots of clients often say to us, 'I have a great camera, I will take my photos for our new website'. 

Sometimes this works well, sometimes we need to bring in the experts!

But if you are a bit of a camera enthusiast, the lovely Louise ( ex photo-journalist with the The Land ) has some great photography tips to help you take better photos, not just for your website, but for anywhere!






1.       Practise makes perfect – I cannot stress how important it is to just get in an have a go! Try try and try again. The more time you have with your camera the more you will learn. Experiment, be playful, go wild, go crazy! go Go GO! Have fun!!!


2.       Good ol’ rule of thirds. Never heard of it? Basically an image can be split up in a grid of 3 rows across and 3rows down (think O & X’s board). Try and have the main subject of an image sit on this third. It’s an old rule but it works.


3.       When taking an image always try and have the subject come at you. For eg, don’t just have someone standing with their hands behind their side. Get them to lean into the camera, hold something up to the camera, jump etc.


4.       No sunnies. You might feel cool and sexy wearing your sunnies, but when taking a portrait we need to see those beautiful eyes that God gave you. Eyes are important they help the viewer engage. Ok so sunnies are acceptable on your pet dog, I will allow this, but only cause it’s cute.


5.       Try different angles. Get down low, in fact lie on the ground, trust me you will feel bit silly but at the same time your shot will look awesome. Shoot from above. Climb up on the car, stand on a seat etc – JUST PLEASE make sure whatever you stand on is stable, we don’t want any injuries.

Email Marketing Success

Posted on 25-7-2012 by Leanne O'Sullivan

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
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Creating an effective email marketing campaign is not often easy.

Here are some quick tips to help you create more effective campaigns without the stress!

 

1. Don't Spam - Be honest about who you are and what you are offering!

2. Have a plan - sit down at the start of each marketing year and plan out what topics you wish to focus on, so that you can have targeted, relevant and timely campaigns ready to go.

3. Create segmented lists of email subscribers

4. Ensure email content is scannable - ie use bullet points and lists, include appropriate imagery so that people can skim and still pick up the key messages

5. Include easy Calls to Action to direct people to the actions you wish them to take

6. Include links to social media to share around your content

7. Audit and analyse your campaign after you send it out. How many were sent, how many where opened, how many bounced, what did they click on etc. All of these items are easily accessed via your Adobe Business Catalyst email marketing tools.

One final tip - keep them short, for your final review think -

Can I remove more content?

You most likely can!


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