What is Email Marketing?
Email Marketing is a form of direct marketing where you promote a product or service by directly emailing a target group of customers.
Direct Email campaigns can be effective as they provide information on offers, specials, news or information based on a specific niche or interest to a group of individuals that have elected to receive such emails via subscribing to an 'opt-in' list (most effective) or a purchased email list (not always verified).
Target mail lists are a little different as they tend to be purchased by the thousands from email list providers. While the number of emails provided is large, the spread of interest also tends to be large and will not be as tightly focused as your own list, and thus the success rate is likely to be lower.
An Opt-in list is a list of people that have subscribed to receive information on a certain topic that they have subscribed to or 'opted-in' to receive. These types of lists are far more effective than general email lists as the people genuinely want to receive the information from you. You can build these lists on your own by placing link on your website where people can sign up for a newsletter, offers of specials or market updates. This method of email marketing is not illegal if done within established rules and should be part of your regular marketing process.
In 2003 Congress passed the Can-Spam Act who went into law in 2004. This Act lays out the following main rules;
WordPress has been the most preferred blogging platform for a while now. Over the years, it has also emerged as a preferred content management system for websites and not just blogs. The last version -- WordPress 3.5 -- brought a new media experience and improvements across the dashboard and crossed over 6 million downloads! However all that is old news. What can we expect from newest version of WordPress? Preview to WordPress 3.6 WordPress 3.6 is set for a release sometime in April 2013, with a lot of debate over what can be expected by way of features that improve the publishing workflow. There are strong signs that the release is going to be focused on content editing, revisions, auto-save, workflow and editing modes to enhance potential for the users and make life easier with the dashboard features. In the past, WordPress had great themes that helped in presenting the content in an appealing manner. However, the admin for the feature always seemed to have usability issues and has kept developers reinventing and tweaking for projects. In WordPress 3.6, the UI is expected to be revised to help users understand the post format. One of the other options is likely to be the provision of standard themes that are portable for data availability and display. Besides the above changes, below are a few more features that WordPress 3.6 promises Expected WordPress 3.6 Features WordPress 3.6 Feature 1: Auto-save and Post Locking Since auto save is important to a writer's workflow, the lack of implementation forces many to switch to external editors. This keeps them from writing directly into the WordPress admin. This alone will help with expired cookies, loss of connection, core errors browser crashes, etc., when writing in WordPress. A WP Heartbeat API will send requests to the server every 15 seconds and trigger events on receiving data. This is aimed at auto-save and post locking. Post locking will prevent conflicts and loss of data resulting from editing of a post and auto-save will prevent loss of data between saving post revisions to the database. WordPress 3.6 Feature 2: Editorial Flow and Revisions Multi-author sites and blogs will be improved with the Edit Flow plug-in planned in WordPress 3.6. WordPress 3.6 Feature 3: Menus With UI refinements, the menu management is likely to show the difference between adding items to a menu and adding the menu itself to a theme. There will be a meta-box with a home and log in as the default links, this has in the past shown problems while add these links. WordPress 3.6 Feature 4: Distraction Free Writing This feature has received both positive and negative attention in the past, because of lack of formatting support. WordPress does not support markdown, and the DFW editor relies on keyboard shortcuts. As of now, the talk for improvement will be in the areas of supporting, formatting and behavior during writing. WordPress 3.6 Feature 5: Code Maintenance and Architecture As with any other version, there will be some updates in WordPress 3.6 because of caching and performance. But the two main things that are likely to change are: The mysql_ functions are deprecated in PHP so WordPress 3.6 starts moving towards support of PDO extension for serving database connections. For developers, it primarily means that if for any reason you’re not using the native wpdb class to operate with a database in your plugin, you’d better start right now — apart from benefiting from its robust feature list you’ll also avoid incompatibility with future PHP versions. UNIQUE constraints will be removed for the slug in wp_terms. This small detail is to prepare for future improvements of the taxonomy API, in particular how it handles shared terms. Get ready for WordPress 3.6 Flying Cow Design has been at the forefront of web design and blog design for over two decades. Our evolution as a professional web design company has been a result of our commitment to learn and grow as a design organization. This commitment has helped us provide the latest and most appropriate solutions that help our clients build a strong web presence. When you need a partner for your website design needs, talk to us!
With every change made by Google to its algorithm, talk about penalization of black hat SEO and importance of white hat SEO resurfaces. However, like most things, SEO isn't easily classifiable into clear buckets like black hat and white hat. Often times, there are many shades of gray in between that make it difficult for most marketers to know where to draw the line while trying to aggressively improve a site's organic search rankings. Matters are made even more complex by so called SEO "experts" and fly-by-night agencies who try every trick possible -- ethical or otherwise -- to get quick results. The "recommendations" from such agencies can make clients wonder about what's permissible and what isn't. At the end of the day, if your website suffers because of black hat SEO, it isn't your SEO agency, but your business that stands to lose the most. This is where a clear understanding about white hat SEO and its importance can play a crucial role in marketing decision making. There are times when the pressure to achieve results will make marketing decision makers take SEO risks that can prove costly in the long run. It is important to first understand why white hat SEO is important: White Hat SEO is sustainable When search engine algorithms change, many do not realize that the changes are not aimed at messing up anybody's SEO. In fact, search engines like white hat SEO and welcome well optimized websites because they help them serve results that are of a high quality and relevant to the search. Most search engine algorithm changes are aimed at demoting websites that violate search engine guidelines or practice black hat SEO. If you -- or your SEO agency -- practice white hat SEO, you are unlikely to be penalized by changes in search engine algorithms, making your SEO more sustainable. A spin off benefit is that, if your competitors do black hat SEO for quick gains, they are likely to be penalized by the algorithm changes. As a result, you can actually benefit and rank better! White Hat SEO is ethical The internet is -- at least in theory -- supposed to be a level playing field where quality and not money power determines which websites rank and get traffic. Many websites have tried to abuse the power of search engines by indiscriminately buying links and practicing other black hat SEO techniques. An inherent benefit of white hat SEO is that you do not need to worry about what changes search engines are making and whether they would hurt your website. There's also the question of business ethics and white hat SEO is the only way to practice SEO ethically, whether you are an SEO agency or a website marketer. White Hat SEO is not rocket science Many SEOs run out of ideas and initiatives to make a client's website do better in search results and resort to black hat SEO to sustain the growth. This is actually a reflection on the SEO agency's or consultant's capability and knowledge. Due to their lack of creativity and knowledge, SEO agencies often make white hat SEO sound like rocket science. White hat SEO is neither rocket science nor is it difficult. If an agency truly understands the spirit of search engine guidelines and makes common sense recommendations, they are more than likely to be practicing white hat SEO. White Hat SEO is not necessarily time consuming Another misconception with white hat SEO is that it takes forever to achieve results with white hat SEO. This is just not true. Depending on the need of the site, the competition and the context, a site may need more or less effort to achieve results, making white hat SEO more expensive at times. It is like organic food -- perhaps more expensive but without anything harmful in it. You need to decide whether you would rather take the higher cost of a sustainable long term solution or take shortcuts that can eventually prove to be harmful. How to ensure your SEO is white hat? As a marketer if you are interested in sustainable long term growth that is unlikely to be affected adversely by changing search engine algorithms, you cannot afford to practice anything but white hat SEO. A good SEO agency is always learning and studying search engine algorithms. However, it may not always be possible to know conclusively whether a certain idea is black hat or white hat. How then should a marketer ensure that they practice white hat SEO? Does it sound like a good marketing idea offline One of the things to do is to give it an offline test. Try and imagine a similar offline marketing parallel and ask yourself, "would this be a good marketing practice?" If an idea appears to be something that would be considered a good marketing idea in the offline "real" world, chances are that its online equivalent would be a white hat SEO idea. However, that alone isn't enough of a reality check. Be wary of lofty promises When an agency offers ridiculously low rates that suggest that SEO professionals cannot be earning a good income, it either means that the agency practices automated SEO, black hat SEO, or have incompetent low cost team members. Neither of these is good for the SEO of your website. When agencies offer performance based SEO or guarantee results, ask yourself, "how would the agency know what changes my competitors and search engines are going to make and how can they be sure of achieving results?" If it sounds unreal, it probably is. Be wary of one-track SEO SEO is quite a large field spanning over 200 factors that search engines consider before ranking a website for a keyword. These factors include the technical SEO compliance aspects, quality of the content, quality of incoming and internal links, and the user experience on the site. For best and sustainable results, a website should tackle all aspects of a site. When an SEO agency seems focused heavily on just content or link building and does not offer a holistic solution that improves the site all around, it usually is a clear give away about the lack of competence and knowledge in the agency. Common sense reality check Common sense is often underrated. Do not undermine the power of common sense in making judgment calls about whether a practice would be deemed white hat or black hat. If something seems like a way to game the system, gain an unfair advantage, muscle the competition out of the search results, etc., it is unlikely to be white hat SEO. Study search engine guidelines When you are unsure of something, check the search engine's guidelines. For instance, you can check Google's guidelines for webmasters. While every little detail may not be spelled out, a quick study of the guidelines will tell you whether a recommendation complies with what the search engine defines as white hat and acceptable practice. Online Marketing Services from Flying Cow Design As a web design firm, having worked with many clients, we recognized the value of sustainability relatively early. Educating clients about the need for thinking long term and the importance of white hat SEO, we have built a reputation for being a high quality solution provider for companies looking to build their online brand ethically and sustainably. When you need a website that will improve your online presence through white hat SEO, talk to us about our internet marketing services.
There are plenty of articles about white hat link building tips that will tell you abou the kind of websites you should get links from, the kind of websites to avoid, etc. What most articles fail to do is to actually help you go and find these links. Our article about link building myths will dispell some of the common misconceptions about white hat link building in the post-Penguin era. Reading most articles on link building tips, one begins to wonder -- if I cannot buy links, and if I should not get links from most sites that would link to me, then how do I get these white hat backlinks? This article goes one step further and provides you five specific white hat link building tips that will help you get backlinks. Link Building Tip 1: How to find free backlinks There are many websites that will allow you to submit your website for inclusion in their database. Finding these websites can be a challenge. Intelligent use of search can help you find many of these websites that you can submit your website to. Try this: In Google search type the following exactly as you see it here: allintitle: "add your site" This will restrict the search results to web pages where the title tag has "add your site" in it. You will find a number of websites that will let you submit your website for free this way. You can refine your search by replacing "add your site" with other terms like: add site, submit site, suggest URL, etc. Similarly, instead of allintitle, try allinurl, inurl, and intitle. Link Building Tip 2: Filter and Select Relevant Sites Ok, so now you have thousands of websites that you can submit your site to. Do not submit yet. How do you know that a certain site hasn't been penalized or is safe to submit to? There are some simple things you could do to filter this list: Check the website's Google Page Rank and Alexa Rank Check what other sites are present on that site to see if other high quality sites are present Check whether the site provides a dofollow or nofollow link Make sure the site doesn't ask for payment or reciprocal link Link Building Tip 3: Get published Publishing on other websites is an effective way to get links. There are many article sites out there. You need to be careful while selectig the sites you publish on to make sure the site hasn't been penalized, has good editorial standards and provides a dofollow link. One thing to consider about article publishing is this: If the article is good, publishing it on your website could get you visitors directly from search engines. By publishing on other websites, you could be sending visitors to them in order to get a link. You need to weigh the pros and cons of doing that. Another way to achieve this is to become a guest blogger on other reputed websites. This can take time because high quality websites will be selective about their guest bloggers and you would have to invest the time and effort to build your reputation and relationships with sites you want to be a guest blogger on. Link Building Tip 4: Press Releases Work Press releases are an extremely powerful way to get credible links from high quality news websites. Read our article about press releases and SEO for guidelines on how to write good press releases that will help your SEO efforts. Link Building Tip 5: Social is potent Social signals are increasingly influencing search results. You can see tweets featuring in Google search results within seconds as a result of real time search. Being active in social media is a good way to build a community of followers through blogging, building a social community on relevant social sites, etc. However, it is important to note that social media is an extremely potent channel. It is better NOT to do social media than to do bad social media. If visitors post on your Facebook page and do not get a response it can hurt you. Social media is about building relationships with your target audience and this is an extremely high-touch effort that calls for sustained involvement, care about brand image and messaging, and more. It is advisable to retain the services of a social media consultant or strategist while executing most of the social media work in-house where you can control the messaging. Partner with SEO specialists One way to ensure that your link building is ethical, effective and successful is to partner with an SEO or internet marketing services company like Flying Cow Design either for consulting and strategy or for also executing your link building strategies. With a history of professional web design and online marketing for over 20 years, Flying Cow Design helps clients not just with the link building strategies, but also with execution of the link building strategies for our clients. As a business, we only practice ethical white hat SEO and have helped many business not just by designing great websites, but by building a strong online presence through our search friendly web design services. Talk to us today, not just about your link building needs, but also about your needs for building a strong online presence.
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