Beyond Facebook – Other Social Tools Your Business Needs

OK – so everyone knows about Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn and you are probably already using one or more of them everyday for your business. But did you know that there are way more social tools out there which could also potentially be very helpful to your online business expansion. Let’s take a look at a few other hot social tools:

1.) Social Bookmarks

Have you heard of Digg, Delicious, Reddit or StumpleUpon? Most people just see these bookmarks as fun tools to browse through but they can also be beneficial to your business needs. Firstly these tools are popular with many journalists and established bloggers so posting on these sites could potentially mean that you’re articles are being seen by some of the big names in the industry… that can never be a bad thing, right? Secondly, many social bookmarking sites offer cheap PPC campaigns which are ultra-targeted and only run in relevant sub-sections.

2.) Social Media Management Companies

Companies such as HootSuite and Nimble are becoming increasingly popular with businesses as they are a ‘one stop shop’ for giving you information on all social networks that your potential customers are on. Say you are meeting with a new client who you want to make a good impression with? How do you give yourself the best shot at getting his/her business? Well a good way to be successful is to cater to what that client wants. How do you know what they want? Check out what they are talking about on LinkedIn updates, Twitter or Facebook posts. Another great thing about SMM companies is that they the can instantly notify you if your company/website is mentioned on a social media platform.

3.) Social Intranet

OK – so it depends on your budget for this one but social intranet sites do not always have to cost a lot of money. Sites such as Bitrix 24 offer free services for up to 12 users to use this tool. Websites like Bitrix24 join together several different work platforms in one single application. It incorporates live streaming activities, file and document sharing and project and workforce management, just to name a few. So it means that it can help you with your clients, collaborate with your colleagues, share files, exchange ideas etc. Pretty cool right?

OK so we have gone through some other social tools besides Facebook which can really help your business start to kick butt in the social media world. Do you have any experiences with these or other tools, let us know what works for you. Leave your comments below.

SEO Tips For Your WordPress Blog

Do you think that your WordPress blog is not faring well on the World Wide Web? There could be many probable reasons for it; the primary one being that your WordPress blog is not properly optimized for search engines.

Today, thousands of new blogs get posted on the Internet every day. However, only some of them become successful and drive heavy web traffic. Here are some SEO tips using which you can you can optimize your WordPress blog and make it more search engine friendly.

1) Alter the Permalink Structure: Set your permalinks optimally for SEO. The permalink of your WordPress blog, by default, is clumsy and not optimal, and usually the URL reflects p67 etc. However, it can be easily edited by clicking on the ‘Settings’ tab and then ‘Permalinks’ menu on the dashboard of WordPress. You can then customize it as abc.com/category/postname. Now, your blog post category and title would be visible in the URL rather than a long numeral series.

2) Optimize your blog for keyword phrase: Before you post a blog, you must do some extensive keyword research with the help of Google AdWords Keyword tool and find a low competition keyword phrase with a long tail. Focus aptly on the keyword density and remember to use it in the title keeping a density of 3-4% through the blog content.

3) Add a Comprehensive SEO Pack: Install this All in One SEO pack that enables you to optimize meta tags & keyword tags along with their description, add a custom title for your blog site.

4) Bookmark each blog post: Take the help of social bookmarking websites such as Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon etc. as this would enable you to promote your blog effectively and bring in heavy web traffic through lots of back linking. You can also OnlyWire and submit your blog posts to multiple bookmarking sites simultaneously.

5) Apply Google XML Sitemap plugins: Install XML plugins so that all your blog posts and web pages are indexed easily by search engines. You can also use these plugins for generating a sitemap for you blog site.

6) Optimize the home page of your blog site: Use a keyword research tool and figure out good keyword phrases for your home page and remember to include the keyword phrases in the meta description, Title tags and the running content of your home page. These relevant keyword phrases can fetch you hundreds of searches per day.

7) Practice link building: You can easily give a remarkable boost to the search engine rankings of your website with link building thereby driving in considerable web traffic to your website. Use article submission to multiple directory submissions, article marketing, forum postings, blog comments, media coverage, press releases, emails, newsletters, social bookmarking etc. for link building.

8) Optimize your Blog gifs/Images: You can optimize your images by using keywords in the ‘Alt’ attribute and ad keywords in the names of the images. Also, input the image description in the image title tag.

Now that you know the basic SEO tips to optimize your WordPress blog, you must optimize the same at the earliest for instant web results on major search engines. Besides these SEO tips, your WordPress blog must be hosted on a secure server that has a decent uptime and offers you 24 × 7 technical and customer support service so that your WordPress blog is accessible to the visitors all the time and your SEO efforts can fetch excellent results. Currently, there are many good web hosts performing well in Web Hosting business such as LimeDomains, HostGator, Network Solutions etc.

A Complete List of Dofollow Social Bookmarking Sites

First of all, since I always like paying special attention to beginners, I’d like to explain exactly what dofollow social bookmarking sites are. Social bookmarking sites, in order to prevent spammy submissions, usually add nofollows, which are basically an instruction that the Google bot gets telling it not to pay attention to the link on their site towards yours. Therefore, the link does not enhance your site’s PageRank, which is one of the most, if not the most important factor to get top spots on Google.

Are these links useless then? The answer is no. They are still useful if you want traffic, publicity for your site and reader interest, among other things. However, there are dofollow social bookmarking sites out there. Right now, we’re talking about smaller websites, not the most famous, but submission is useful. It won’t replace a quality SEO and social media marketing strategy, but it can be an interesting part of it.

Here is a very complete list of some dofollow social bookmarking sites which I’ve put together. You might find more spam than usual here, and remember that these sites tend to appear and disappear fast – you might have to really go through the list and re-check it once in a while – but they are still a valid option:

BackFlip

Blinklist

Blogoria

Chain-Marking

Chipmark

Connotea

Current

Diigo

Dizzed

Ebaum’s world

FeedMarker

Folkd

Gozoof

Jim’s Free Links

Jumbomark

Kingtop

Kwoff

MyLinkVault

MyPIP

Oyax

Oyax

Planete Blog

Plime

So Force

Social Article

Tagza

Tamilers

Taqza

astoreseo

bibsonomy

blogmark

booklandonline

bookmark-tag

chainmaster

citijournalist

contentpop

countingbiz

crowdfound

delmaster

experts-views

eyoorl

ezinesocialmark

firstbookmark

firstdigg

firstwebonline

freelinkvault.

mainlinks

manualsocialmarks

memfrag

multiplysocial

mysocialmarker

mywebdesktop

qiinga

reebiesup

royallisting

seoblisting

socialbuilder

socialearth

sociatectmark

spotlinking

stingclip

surfurls

technoratitags

theclaimid

thelifelogger

themagicmenu

tweakonews

ugotreview

voteboat

way2marks

wedelia

xilinus

yomashnews

yucoffee

zangkok

So how do we discover nofollow links anyway? Although I’m usually a Google Chrome user, for this I recommend using the Mozilla Firefox browser, because it enables you to install what are called add-ons. If you search for ‘firefox nofollow addon’, you will be able to install a number of programs that mark nofollow links with red highlighting – a very useful trick for any webmaster. Whenever you go into a website which is all marked in red, you’ll know that links placed there are not useful for SEO purposes. On the other hand, if there’s no red highlighting, you’re good to go.

Other good ways to get dofollow links is by submitting work you write to certain PR (or Press Release) sites. While traffic on these isn’t generally huge, the dofollow links are valuable: just the same situation as with the dofollow social bookmarking sites we listed before… These PR sites don’t value quality content as much, so it’s fine to submit less newsworthy or informative items, such as announcements about your business, which – let’s face it – might be a little bit less interesting to a general public.

Social Bookmarking for Insurance Agency Web Marketing

Let’s begin with a simple definition of social bookmarking, then discuss how this can be used as a component of your insurance agency web marketing plans. Social bookmarking allows Internet users (and insurance agencies) to organize, store and manage online resources, akin to marking pages in a book for use at a later date. Unlike the bookmarks of old, and as with all things on the Internet, these bookmarks can be easily shared and distributed. Descriptions can be added to the bookmarks, so users can peruse the content (from the succinct descriptions) without requiring a download. These descriptions can include votes (good or bad), comments or tags (metadata). Think of tags in terms of keywords, short relevant phrases germane to your target audience.

Use

Social bookmark users can save web page links they want to share. These links are typically public and can be viewed chronologically, by category or tags, or using a search engine. I liken social bookmarking to some elements of asynchronous collaboration solutions, which allow users to share topics according to a category, project, etc. Collaboration systems allow users to subscribe to an information feed, very similar to the social bookmarking services which provide web feeds for their lists of bookmarks and lists organized by tags. Arguably, social bookmarking is a simplistic type of asynchronous collaboration. The feeds or subscription functionality allow users to become aware of new bookmarks as they are saved, shared, and tagged by other users. Collaborating and managing these tags may be referred to as “folksonomy.”

What is Folksonomy

Folksonomy is a classification system created to manage tags to categorize content derived from a consensus of users. Insurance agencies can think of folksonomy in terms of the metadata and tags used on their insurance agency website and tag clouds which might be used on their insurance agency blog. Simply stated, tagging allows users to collectively classify and find information. For example, blogs often include tags, and their associated tag clouds as a way to help visualize tags in a folksonomy. Folksonomy also helps us in other ways. One of the inherent advantages of social bookmarking is the human factor, allowing users to determine content relevancy as opposed to deferring to search engine bots which automate the same process. By sharing, tagging, voting and describing content, users can better determine if the content is truly applicable to their needs, and computer error or misclassification can be removed from the formula.

Most Popular Sites

Top social bookmarking sites as ranked by eBizMBA include (monthly visitors estimated):

  1. Twitter: 200,000,000 Unique Monthly Visitors, Alexa Rank 9.
  2. digg: 25,100,000 Unique Monthly Visitors – Alexa Rank 139.
  3. StumbleUpon: 17,500,000 Unique Monthly Visitors – Alexa Rank 112.
  4. reddit: 16,000,000 Unique Monthly Visitors – Alexa Rank 135.
  5. delicious: 5,500,000 Unique Monthly Visitors – Alexa Rank 342.

Others include tweetmeme, FARK, Slashdot, friendfeed, clipmarks, newsvine and diigo.

Practical Use for Insurance Agency Web Marketing

Why should your business be concerned with Social Bookmarking? Social bookmarking offers several web marketing opportunities for businesses:

  1. Organize and distribute your relevant content
  2. Drive traffic to your insurance agency website
  3. Improves your Internet presence
  4. Improves Insurance Agency SEO
  5. Improves inbound link popularity (Backlinks)

Conclusion

As you consider your most important agency web marketing initiatives, there may be higher priorities on your things to do list, including the creation and maintenance of a Web 2.0 website, blogging, ePublishing, eMarketing, and social media marketing (LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter). That said, and when thinking about your social media marketing initiative, it’s fast and easy to add social bookmarking as an extra component for your agency web marketing plans.