Friday, August 2, 2013

Adapting to The Change to Gmail Tabs

How do you feel about the changes to your Gmail inbox. Do you like how Google has separated your emails into specific tabs and made determinations on your behalf which emails go into which tab?

Some of your important and favorite emails may no longer be considered "primary" emails. Equally bad, your clients may not be aware that your emails are being filtered to one of the other tabs instead of your primary box.

It would be nice if Google allowed you to make your own custom tabs, however, they have limited you to only 5 of their designs described here in Google's words:
  • Primary: Messages from friends and family, as well as any other messages that don't appear in other tabs. Also messages from senders that you have previously starred.
  • Promotions: Your deals, offers and other promotional emails. 
  • Social Messages: From social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, gaming platforms and other social websites.
  • Updates: Notifications such as confirmations, receipts, bills and statements.
  • Forums: Messages from online groups, discussion boards and mailing lists.

You can  instruct Gmail to automatically send emails from certain senders into particular tabs.
  • Right-click on this email (if it has been filed under the incorrect tab heading), hover over the "Move to Tab" option that appears in the pop-up box, and select the tab where you want it to be.
  • Alternatively, you can drag and drop to your choice of tab.
Gmail will then ask you if you want it to "Do this for future messages from []?" Click "yes" and future emails from that address will auto-filter into the Primary tab.

Google Ads

Included in your "promotions" tab in-box will be targeted ads that are designed to appear more like email than an ad. The idea, of course, if for you to click on it and hopefully buy something. These are ads from Google advertisers, which has been selected for your inbox based on keywords the advertiser selected match similar words or phrases in your emails.According to Google "Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information"  It's all handled by Google's algorithms. The only way to stop these ads, at present, is to delete the "promotions" tab, however, the ads may show up in another tab in the future.

On the Good Side

If you like the idea of mail being sorted for you into specific tabs so you can more quicky filter through them, you may like this new layout. You can choose which tabs your emails will be sorted into. If you take a look at the promotions tab you might recognize many of email blasts and newsletter subscriptions. This can be helpful to have them all in one place so you can easily delete the ones you don't want and see the ones you do.

Disabling Tabs 

If you dislike the new tabs functionality and want to return to the traditional inbox layout, click the "+" icon to the right of the tab heading, un-check every tab box (apart from "Primary" which is a default) and your inbox will revert to the old design., for now, or until Google decides to make this new layout permanent for all Gmail accounts.

Help Your Customers Get Your Emails

To assist your customers in seeing your emails, send them the instructions or a link to this blog post, so they know how to filter your emails to land in the primary tab.

One thing we all know for certain, is that there will be always be change.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives.
It is the one that is the most adaptable to change."

~ Charles Darwin

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When should you redesign your website?

Everyday at least one of my clients receives an email from someone stating they their website needs to be updated, and the unknown email sender is the best person to do it. Everyday new people enter the arena of webdesign. some take a software class, others an online class and some buy a program of templates.

I am asked, how often should a website be updated? And what is the difference between a web designer and website development?

 First, your website should be updated when:
1.) You have broken links, missing images, difficult navigation, outdated content or outdated firm image.
2.) Significant changes are made to search algorithms and your site results are beginning to decline
3.) You've added new personnel or new products/sservices
 4.) You have new success stories that your potential clients can learn from or be inspired by
5.) You have received acknowledgements or have articles newly published in significant journals.

When not to update:
1.) Someone guarantees you top placement in search results if they redesign your entire website. To guarantee something it to promise for absolute certain that it will happen. According to Google, there are black-hat techniques that can get your website in the top results - for a short time. However, long term success cannot be guaranteed. And black-hat techniques can come back to haunt you, including getting you black listed from search databases.
2.) You're bored with the look. Being pretty isn't always necessary. If your site is still bringing in new clients and referrals, it may not need a complete overhaul. You may need simple changes to colors and layouts to please your eye without losing the effect the content is making.
3.) You don't know if it's really pulling in results.  Before deciding your entire site isn't working, be sure to check the analytics and see what pages or content areas are drawing traffic. By analyzing your traffic reports, you will see your website's strength and possible weaknesses.
4.) Because the new kid on the block or the email you just received told you to do it. If someone is telling you that your website is broken, and they are the only ones to fix it - think before acting. If someone approached you with that logic on another areas of your business or personal life,  - not knowing you or your objectives - would you immediately hire them?

Many persons selling web services are offering their opinion, their companies opinion and the limitations of their designs. Some will use a marketing service, ( ie Yext, Citygrid, etc) to show you your results. If so, double-check these results. Many times these reports are incorrect, plus these are for-fee services, so the more their report indicates you need them, the easier it becomes to sell you their service.

A good web developer will use unrelated opinions, ie: other web developers who don't work or are paid by them, and focus groups. Always ask how they derived their assessment of your website and web presence.

Sometimes it's time to refresh your look. It's always time to keep your content current.

Analyze what you have before you agree to an overhaul, when a simple refresh is all you need.

Think of the big picture and long term.

If you've been told that your website needs an overhaul or you feel the need for changes, let's talk. Click to email us. We'll listen first, look at your online presence and then offer our recommendations.  One size does not fit all.The solution for you should be unique to your business and goals. Maybe you only need a refresh.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Have you ever wondered how search works?

Have you ever wondered how search engines actually work to deliver you the results you seek in the blink of an eye? The following link is an interactive inforgraphic by Google to give an insight into what happens between the request of a search query and the retrieval of results.

As you watch this, note how often "freshness" and "content" are mentioned.

Keeping the content on your website current and updated regularly with helpful and relevant information is very important. So if your website hasn't been updated in a while, regardless of how attractive it might be or how important you think that information is, it may be time to tweak, add to, change or restructure your website for better results.

If you think  your website needs an overhaul, let's talk. Click to email us. We'll listen first, look at your online presence and then offer our recommendations.  One size does not fit all.The solution for you should be unique to your business and goals. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

So What You Do Best

Whether you are a solopreneuer or you are a growing enterprise, marketing is essential if you want to keep pace and grow in today's marketplace. The Internet is a powerful marketing tool - when used strategically and correctly. A few common mistakes that can hurt you, might include:

A website that looks like everyone else, with common content.
      When your website looks like everyone else then how does your potential clients see you as any different. This mistake s usually made by using the same template you liked on someone else's site, or using a web company with limited knowledge or access to templates.

Entrepreneurs who post personal activities on their social media profiles.
     Most entrepreneurs (hopefully) know it's important to keep a balance between personal and professional activities. however, what you think is a cute joke or "no harm" comment just might show up in a search by a potential client and it could turn them away. I know one professional who loves to post "funny" jokes on her not-really-private profile, that are demeaning or poke fun at certain groups or behaviors. Not only will this send away potential clients in these groups, it will also alienate those who don't support these same attitudes.

Entrepreneurs who control it all 
     Some people do love to brag how they can wear all the hats, however, that well-known  figure of speech  "Jack of all trades, master of none" is used in reference to a person that is competent with many skills but is not necessarily outstanding in any particular one. This person is a generalist rather than a specialist. In your business, you should be the specialist. It is important that you have an understanding of what the Internet can do for you, however, the playing field is changing multiple times a day.  The learning never ends. What you are doing today may not hold up to the search engine algorithms, or the changes in various social media policies and offerings.  The biggest mistake in doing it all yourself is how much time you take away from what you do best -your business.

The worst mistake is to stop marketing
     Every day new entrepreneurs are entering the already competitive marketplace. Although the Internet is growing in persuasive power every day, it is only one component that should be included in your overall marketing plan.   Some entrepreneurs stop marketing because they think they have enough clients for now; then things slow now and panic ensues.  Marketing through print, personal networking, speaking engagements, associations and events should also be in your marketing arsenal. Each one is powerful, however, putting them together in a strategic marketing plan can be even more effective for you.

Whether you are looking to attract clients or referrals from other entrepreneurs, the image they see on the Internet will play into their decision about you.

So do what you do best, and trust your assistants or outside consultants to assist you in maximizing the potential of the Internet.