Saturday, December 26, 2020

Start the New Year Off Right at Work

There are a few easy things people can do to help themselves and their teams start the New Year on the right note when returning to work.


2020 is now coming to an end. Reset is in the air. Offices big and small are shutting down for the holidays. Streets are abuzz with lights. Everyone is with family and friends, in a festive mood, celebrating and making resolutions to start the oncoming year with success.

Unfortunately, things are rarely that simple. Kicking off the new year on a good start requires more than making resolutions – one has to plan well to make sure that the transition from festivities to coming back to work is actually a good one. Here are some easy-to-accomplish tasks that will help you set yourself and your business up for success.

Things to Remember on New Years’ Eve:

Stay Away from Overindulgence

We get it. With the festivities going around, the desire to give in to taking “just a little more” of that favorite food, drink, or even time to celebrate goes up to an all time high. However, it is always good to dial a bit low than the limit, especially when the next day will be a working day. 

 

Plan the First Day of Return to Work in Advance

The first day back at work after a long period of holiday can be quite a handful. Having the smaller-yet-important decisions already made helps easing into the transition better. Before starting with the celebrations for the new year, make sure you have everything in order for your first day back. Pick an outfit, plan your meals, and set your morning alarm so that you can start your day on a high note.

Things to Remember on your First Day Back at Work in 2021:

Hydrate

Staying hydrated is always important, and even more so on your first day back. Make sure that you are having enough water as per your current requirement. It may happen that you will have to rehydrate more than usual, especially if you were engaged in festivities on the day before.


Change the Print

New year, new print. Just as the year 2020 is behind you, make sure that your prints and displays are too. Make sure to remove all of the outdated material and replace them with fresh, up-to-date ones from the get go. This includes old memos, notices, and of course, the calendar. Additionally, see to it that your brochures, signage and ads are all updated with the current year. 

 

Give Your Team a Warm Welcome Back

Having your team on board is essential – not just physically but also in spirit. Ensure that all your employees, regardless of their position and/or location feel welcomed and spirited as they step into their first day back as well. There are several ways you can go about this. For starters, send every one of your employees a New Year greetings email to show them your appreciation of their hard work. Other things you can do is throw a welcome back breakfast or lunch (which is admittedly more suitable for on-site employees), or give/send them a small gift as a token of appreciation (this works for both on-site and remote-working employees).


Look Ahead

Learning from the past, and its successes and mistakes is important. Dwelling on it, however, is definitely bad – both of business and for the health of you and your employees. Ensure that you do not repeat the errors you may have made in the previous year, but also be kind to yourself. You have a whole year ahead to yourself – beating yourself up over the past will only prevent you from embracing the future!

Monday, December 14, 2020

Google Outage Leaves Internet Users Stumped

 Did your Google services stop working, and refused to work even after you cleaned up you cache, rebooted your PC, checked your wiring, and even called your Internet Service Provider to find out if everything was alright with them? Well, it wasn’t you – this one time, it really was Google.

On Monday, the 14th of December,2020, most of Google’s services – including Google Classroom, Google Docs, Gmail, YouTube, and even Google assistant had rendered unresponsive to users, sending them a ‘503’ or a ‘502’ error instead. Both these numbers related to server failures – while 502 is a bad gateway error that indicated discrepancies between the origin and edge servers, 503 means that the server was unable to handle the request. Such messages were displayed on both of Google’s personal and business versions of its services. 


The sudden “disappearance” of Google’s services, which is said to power of 97% of internet users daily activities caused mass panic among people. Popular social media platforms, especially Twitter ran amok with frantic users discussing on why they couldn’t access even the most basic of Google services. Many of these users also reported problems with other services that relied on Google. This included smart gadgets such as Nest Hub, and third-party apps such as Pokemon Go.

Notably, despite the outage, Google core search engine continued to run without a glitch, as did the third-party advertisements. Furthermore, many users reported to having their Google services work if they used them on a desktop browser in incognito mode. If anything, this only added to the confusion.
It didn’t take long for Google to jump into the action, though. The tech giant did not hesitate to acknowledge the issues with its services, and within an hour of this had all of its issues resolved. Once the services were back to normal, Google added special notices on each of its services that had stopped working – in order to assure users that everything was indeed back to normal.

According to Google Cloud Services, the outage happened because of an error in their identity management process. Apparently, a glitch in their automated quota management system had considerably reduced Google servers’ ability to verify users’ identities, thus causing them to display the 503 error. The problem indeed intensified to a state where all of Google’s services had gone down.

Effects of the outage were felt worldwide. Top software status monitoring platform DownDetector showed that the issue hit users in most (if not all) countries in the world. Reports were seen everywhere – including (but not limited to) Australia, Japan, India, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Argentina, and of course, the United States, which was by far the worst hit of them all.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Update on COVID-19 Contact Tracing App from Google and Apple

A few months ago, we discussed about the revolutionary partnership between Google and Apple. Both of the rival tech giants signed up to make an app to make COVID-19 contact tracing a more effective and efficient process. 

Contact tracing apps are not new as a concept, but they tend to have very low download rates. Take, for example, the state of Virginia, whose contact tracing app launched earlier this year was downloaded by a grand total of 11% of the state’s population. Google and Apple’s partnership solves this problem as both are heavily used in the US (and worldwide), and the app will be downloaded with a simple system update.

After a period of over 8 months (the original announcement was made in April 2020), the app’s much-hyped launch in California is finally happening. Officially called ‘CA Notify’ the app uses the contact tracing API added to both Android and iOS platforms in May. In can run on Android 6.0 phones and above, and iOS 14.2 and above, along with Bluetooth Low Energy. 

 

Basically, the app takes Bluetooth signals and uses them to send and receiving anonymous “keys” between mobile phones that are within Bluetooth range of each other. That way, when someone has been Covid-19, all the need to do is enter their test result into the app. Those phones that exchanged “keys” within 6 feet (or 2 meters) of the patient’s phone will automatically be alerted.

Those fretting over privacy concerns can rest easy too. Not only is the app fully secure, it is also entirely opt-in. Plus, it does not personally identify the phone’s owners, or even use any of the location data. All the communication is done through the unique “keys” that are shared over Bluetooth.

Launching the contact app statewide makes California the largest state to adopt the built-in technology – in terms of population. The reception here appears to be warmer than most too, perhaps in part because the state is home to the HQs of both Google and Apple, in general is known to be tech-savvier than most.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has high hopes with the app and has even made a statement in public on how he expects the state to have much better adoption rates – given the level of familiarity. They were also specially promoted by Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai.

The US states that are currently using this technology include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, and District of Columbia.

Instead of having a single contact tracing app for the entire country, there is a basic app that is customized for each of the states that have decided to opt-in. The process starts with the state’s premier public health authority to sign up for the Exposure Notification API. The health authority will then create an Android app, and an iOS app tailor-made for their region that will support said notifications.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Preparing a Business for Winter Holidays

 Best practices for business during the end of year holiday season.

 

As the holidays draw closer, there is much preparation to be done. For business owners, there is a lot more to be considered and it is not always clear what needs to be accomplished during this time. Even some of the most basic aspects of business operations, such as announcing changes to hours, are commonly overlooked throughout this time of year. To help make winter holiday preparations for businesses less challenging, we have comprised a short list of best practices that may help your business be more successful than ever before.

Update Business Hours of Operations

Hanging a “Closed” sign on a business’ door will get the message across to anyone that tries to visit but, it will also be aggravating if it happens to contradict the business hours that are published online. This is especially true if the business is hospitality or retail. Now more than ever consumers check online to determine when a business is open. Misinformation may quickly lead them to seek out a competitor.

There are three main places where these updates should be applied online, at the very minimum. Those places being 1) the business website, 2) business profile on Google, and 3) Facebook. If you are a restaurant or caterer, you will also want to update any Yelp listings, if applicable. These are the most popular places people go to check when a business is open. Keeping them up-to-date is a fundamental part of managing a business and providing good customer service. If there are other websites or profiles where the hours changes can be applied then we highly encourage a business take the time to do so.

Create a Closing Checklist

Yes, that is right. We are essentially suggesting a checklist within a checklist but, bear with us a moment while we explain. Most if not all businesses, especially those with employees, have particular steps set out for closing time. These procedures maybe written out or just a mental checklist for the normal closers. However, during the holiday season it is common for vacations to be taken, shifts to be changed around and the business facilities to be unoccupied for longer periods than normal. Therefore, it is important to provide every employee with the steps that need to be done in order to safely and securely close up shop.

When making a checklist of closing procedures, a manager needs to make special considers for their type of business and facilities. Does the building or office need to be winterized for the 3-day Christmas weekend? Have all appliances been turned off and unplugged? Are security systems armed and doors locked? It is worth taking to time to make sure all that can be done is done right so you can enjoy your time away from work with a little less worry.

Share the Spirit of the Season

If you are able to give gifts, donations or simply thanks with festive celebrations, then why not share it with the world? Many people are pleased to see a company actively giving back. Whether a business owner is throwing a holiday party for staff at the office, passing out toys to less fortunate children or hosting a gala, it is worth a the extra effort to photograph the event and share it with the general public.

Do not feel bad if your business is not able to do much this year. Sharing what you have and your thankfulness is more than enough for people to appreciate. Allowing the true spirit of the season to shine through your business in any way possible not only helps to humanize the brand but also creates opportunities to reach and engage new audiences.

Some of the best tools to use to share these experiences are likely already at your fingertips. Many professional choose to post details to a blog or a page of their website designated for such occasions. Those posts are then shared across a business’ social media. When posting to social media, we recommend tagging any charities and partners you are working with to make an event happen. You may also want to create a Facebook event to increase participation and awareness if you are a main organizer.

Businesses that are current clients of Leads Online Marketing can make quick, easy work of this task by submitting a support ticket requesting posts to their website, blog and/or social media accounts. Just make sure to send us all necessary details and within 24-hours we will be sure it is published or scheduled to publish at a time you have designated.

Sales, Deals, Discounts and Clearance Events

A promotion is not much of a promotion if it is never properly promoted. Try saying that 3x fast. All joking aside, this is an all too common problem for small businesses. A business may have a sales event running but returning customers and potential customers have no way of knowing about it. There may be a physical sign in the store or a service person may mention it but this is not an efficient way to increase sales. Details of any sales and special offers are best published to the business website along with social media unless it is a highly exclusive offer.

For businesses that still utilize print advertisement, a high quality digital copy of all ads should be requested from the graphics designer and forward to the website developer for online publication. In most cases, a business is paying an advertising company to create the graphic (the ad image) in addition to the actual printing and distributions. So, many times the business holds the rights to reuse that graphic as seen fit including in use for online display ads.

These are just a few things that business owners, operators and managers should do to prepare for this time of year. The L.O.M. team understands that ever business is unique, which is why we offer customized marketing programs to meet your exact needs and budget. If you feel overwhelmed by trying to create or manage an online presence for your business, then we encourage you to give us a call to discuss how we can help your business stand out across the web.

We wish you all a happy, healthy holiday season and thank you for your support this year!

Now on to planning for 2021! 



Thursday, November 19, 2020

Fleets: Twitter’s New Feature Creating a Storm in the Social Media World

Among the many changes that characterize 2020, one of the biggest is the ones in social media features. With social media usage having skyrocketed, primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic, platforms are scrambling to get to the #1 position. Think Facebook’s redesign, TikTok taking the world by storm (even as lawsuits pile up), Instagram introducing ‘reels’ for short-form video, and LinkedIn introducing widespread live feature and stories. The latest wave is being created by Twitter with its ‘fleets’ rollout. Having rolled out in Japan in mid-November, the feature is now available all over the world on desktop, Android and iOS.

Much in line with the ‘stories’ feature available on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, fleets allow Twitter users to create “temporary” posts in the form of images, videos, and/or text. Fleets can be of 3 types. The first is text fleets, which is basically text on a plain or colored background. The second is photo/video fleets, where users can post both recorded and third-party media. The third type is share tweets. As the name suggests, this allows users to share their own tweets or those of others that catch their eye.

In a way, it is much like stories. Fleets appear on the top of the Twitter news feed (in both the app and desktop versions). Additionally, fleets can be live for only as long as 24-hours, after which they will automatically be deleted. Last but not the least, those with open messaging that have their story viewers send their reactions, and then continue the conversation in the private messaging area. What is not the same, however, is the purpose for which these fleets are designed. According to Joshua Harris and Sam Haveson, Twitter’s Design Director and Product Manager respectively, unlike stories, the point of fleets is to take the steam off of general news feeds. 

The inspiration for the feature itself comes from the mounting Twitter post drafts, which they believe are due to the pressure of making statements that will stick, and having to deal with public replies. With features, these Tweet drafts, which have been “left in the dark” will get exposure through fleets, where the amount of self-consciousness will be significantly lower.

Another important element that is wildly different from stories is that Twitter allows users to work on collaborative fleets, which allow two posters to have a single tweet. These appear in the form on twin bubbles, instead of the standard single-bubble display. This particular element, however, is only available in specific regions thus far.

So far, Fleets have appeared to serve their purpose. The feature has been especially popular among general users, with many having increased activity on the social media platform. Many “lurkers” and passive users are also being seen posting their own fleets, or at least sharing others’ tweets through them. Yet others have been seen reducing their regular posting and focusing on Fleets. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. New features often end up attracting a lot of attention at the cost of regular ones, especially in the beginning of the rollout phase.

As a feature, Fleets do seem to have a very promising future. While the number of functionalities are low at the moment, that is soon to change. Many new features, such as AR integration, stickers, colors and customization, will soon be available for users to unleash their creativity through.

 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Businesses Need a Good Web Presence to Survive a Pandemic

In this age of coronavirus pandemic, online presence management has become more crucial than ever before for small businesses.


The COVID-19 pandemic has completely turned the world upside-down. With a global toll of 33 million cases (and counting), and no definitive vaccine, intense lockdowns and quarantines have become more the norm than the exception. Homes and rooms have now become the center of activity for practically everyone – with people both living and working from home. The business world has borne the brunt of this impact as well – many a great company have withered and died in the multi-faceted chaos that the coronavirus has caused. It goes without saying that in situations such as these, having a subpar web presence is not an option for any business, let alone small businesses.

All said and done, it does not always have to be this dreary – especially if you are a small enterprise. Despite the uncertain times, the one decisive factor remains – with more people stuck in place, more and more people are spending time on the internet. For small businesses especially, this can be a distinct advantage. Large-scale businesses need premium solutions and wide-ranging campaigns to stay relevant and consistent with their customer base. Smaller ones, one the other hand, can start converting by amping up their online presence with the right combination of free solutions and constant involvement with customers and prospects.

Here are 5 ways in which in which small businesses can ensure they have a good web presence:

Take Advantage of Business Listings

Getting themselves listed in business directories is one of the first and best steps any small business can take towards building up their online presence. Some of the major directories serve multiple purposes. First and foremost, they help customers find key information about the store in one place. This includes the location, areas served, products and services, and contact information. Secondly, these listings also have reviews and rating scores provided by past customers, which gives businesses their much-needed authenticity. Last but not the least, the more listings a business has that are consistent with accurate information, the better it may be for their website ranking and Search Engine Optimization (S.E.O.) efforts.

Many business directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Better Business Bureau and AngiesList offer basic services for free. Any small business can and should immediately take advantage of this by claiming their place (i.e. if they haven’t already). As a rule of thumb, owners should regularly check and update their business listings with relevant information such as description, business hours, location, email, phone number, and social media handles. Adding new images of the business and asking customers reviews on these listings is also highly recommended especially on Google.


Amp Up Your Social Media Strategy

Social media has already been the center of online activity for most, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more so. This is a prime opportunity for small businesses to reach out to and engage with potential customers through social media platforms. In the event that you don’t have dedicated company social media pages, getting started is easy and is completely free to begin with. That said, most business tend to have accounts on major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram – this makes it a matter of keeping them populated.

Make sure that the social media pages are optimized for searching, have all the up-to-date business information, and a consistent supply of content. This can include website links (such as blog posts), business images and media (mainly videos), comments on current situations, and even interactive content such as giveaways and polls. If your product and/or service can be sold online, you can even integrate social shopping. Make sure to reply to comments and messages – this shows that you as a business are proactive and ready to engage with your followers – customer or not.

Make Sure You Have a Professional Website

In today’s day and age, a website practically functions as a business card. It will be a go-to resource for both current and prospective customers, making it critical for businesses to keep theirs completely up-to-date on all points. This can only be possible by having a professional website. Contrary to a standard website, which has basic design elements, supports basic texts and pictures, and has no SEO optimization, professional websites offer businesses the ability to add every feature they could possibly need.

Flexible in nature, professional websites support the latest and the best off-page, on-page and contextual SEO, which helps them rank higher on search engines -and helps the business stand out online. They can support any type of design aesthetic, along with interactive features such as photorealistic imaging, virtual tours, polls, contact forms. Last but not the least, you can also include the online sales of your products and/or services through these websites through ecommerce plugins and online ordering, both of which can be easily integrated here.

Be Proactive in Promoting Your Brand

Having a great professional website with adaptive design, engaging social media pages, and high-end features are definitely the best way to start when boosting your online presence, but people do need to know more about them. In a world of competition and abundance, the only way for a small business to make themselves known is by proactively promoting their brand. The best way to go about this is through paid advertising. This is a technique that allows businesses to improve their online presence by promoting their business on Google, top search engines and social media.

There are a few types of paid advertising. One of these is Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) – these are the advertisements that typically appear on the right side and top end of search engine results. As the name suggests, these charge by the click made by a prospect. Another great method is online display advertising. These are featured on the top, side, and bottom of various websites. Besides the obvious, these advertisement methods help businesses collect important data such as behavioral and contextual metrics, which in turn helps them streamline their online marketing and advertising better.

Improving your web presence may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The above-mentioned ways can help small business cement their place online, draw prospects and convert sales in the best way possible.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Few Things to Consider Before Building a Business Website

They say “organization is the key to success” and, without any organization we are unlikely to achieve our full potential. This has never been more true than it is now in our fast pace digitally driven world. Most business owners and directors, whether mindful of it or not, use this mantra every day. From the planning of the business and opening to daily operations and management, organization is important. In this article, we will discuss how organization plays a key role in building a business website.

There are a few things you need to figure out before jumping into the process of building an online presence. If you are having a hard time making a decision, contact your representative at Leads Online Marketing who will be happy to help you understand your options and make the best choice.



Business Branding

Branding is the way your business is perceived by others, and being consistent with the use of your brand will make it stronger.  Along with selecting a good logo, a business owner will want to determine the business’ personality and a color scheme. Consider what mood or tone you would want to convey to a potential customer with a first impression. Incorporate your final choices into your whole business plan and keep the branding consistent.

In addition to the brand personality and style, we also recommend writing out a slogan, mission statement, a general description of your company and team. This is not something to be kept to yourself in a file somewhere. Pass it along to your business website designer to be added as public content. Once that is done, any random individual should able to engage your brand and have a clear idea of what you do and what sets you apart from the rest.

Remember, your brand needs to remain uniform across its website, social media, and even in print.

Page Content

You will need more than a brand and about section to make a successful website. Any and all products and services offered should be discussed somewhere on the website. The more relevant quality content available the better. One reason for this being is that Google favors web pages with high standards of content. Also, and in some ways one in the same, users should be able to learn as much as they want about your company just be browsing the website.

It is not uncommon for users, also known as potential customers, to rule out hiring a company because they were dissatisfied with the website content. This can be due to a seemingly simple questions they could not find an answer to or a service not found listed, and that person is likely to hire the competitor with the website that was most useful. No need to worry about being a good writing. As long as you are able to provide a comprehensive list of service and/or products with as many details and resources as possible, our team of content writers should be able to put the information to good use on your site.

Text is not everything when it comes to webpage content as photographs and images are great attention grabbers and can help it stand out. Set yourself apart by provide plenty of visual references to products, on-site work, projects and even your team members.

Purpose

Is there another purpose to your website other than supporting your brand and promoting leads? Consider adding other useful sections to your website such as customer forms, appointment scheduling, instant price quotes, helpful links, or even E-commerce. Get a clear idea of what functions you want your website to perform, make a list, then call us to discuss how to make your ideas a reality.


Having these matters sorted out before building a business website can save you and your website builder precious time and resources needed to make your business successful. Leads Online Marketing makes the process easier by assigning you a personal representative who will continue to be available to address any questions or concerns even after your site is fully launched and ranking well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Google and Apple Team Up to Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic

The year 2020 has been quite the tough year so far, courtesy the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease, which started from the spread of a novel coronavirus among a few locals in Wuhan in China, has now affected all but 15 countries, infected more than 20 million worldwide and caused the deaths of nearly 150,000. Included in the numbers are over 672,000 confirmed cases and more than 33,300 deaths within the United States. So, it seems sensible to find new and more effective ways to tracking and control the viruses spread. 


For months, we have seen more markets, factories and trade centers shut down. Many businesses have either stopped operating, shifted to online ordering, delivery and pick-up only, or a work-from-home model while millions of people have lost their jobs or taken cuts in their salaries – and all of this as most among the healthy remain confined to their own homes. Even with the virus peaking, the United States is preparing to loosen restrictions in order to get the economy stimulated again while still hoping to mitigate the spread of the virus. At such a critical time everyone should be following appropriate guidelines to try to ensure the health and safety of our communities but, as we know, this is not foolproof. And brings to light the importance of tracking person-to-person contacts when they do occur.

In an age when “social distancing” is the norm, the world got a new surprise when tech rivals Google and Apple announced a team up to create and launch a contact tracing system. The goal is to help the public and governments trace the activities of the people infected with COVID-19 and gather real-time data on the spread of COVID-19 while also alerting those that may have been exposed.

Contact tracing as a task is as straightforward as it sounds – it is set of processes followed in the event of the spread of various infectious diseases (such as the novel coronavirus) wherein epidemiologists and health care workers trace all the people the diseased had contact with. Once this location has been completed, the various persons in question are tested, and if required isolated so that they can be treated and do not end up spreading the disease further. The same process is repeated for each contact till no evidence of infection is found.

In the older years, this was extremely difficult, if not impossible – despite the fact that people did not travel at the pace at which they are now. Most notably used for measles, Ebola, and HIV, the process of contact tracing involved multiple phone calls and visits, along with long-drawn interviews. While the process is faster (and thanks to technology) simpler today, it still takes a few days at least to trace contacts for each patient. Wuhan in China seemed to have managed the situation with a team of 9,000 health workers who worked in teams of five. However, in other countries like Italy and United States, where the number of infected patients is much higher, hiring health workers exclusively for contact tracing is virtually impossible. The process is also tough in other economically challenged countries like those in Africa, South America and Asia, where resources are scarce to begin with.

Building upon these visible difficulties, the recommendations of various educational institutes and research bodies including (but not limited to) the University of Oxford and the European Data Protection Supervisor, and the success of similar contact tracing apps in curbing the spread of COVID-19 in countries like South Korea and Singapore, the app will maintain an automatic record of an individual’s whereabouts and contacts, and will constantly update areas that are most affected and most at-risk of developing the infection.

Such an app has some very key benefits to offer. Real time generated contact records will help health workers trace contacts without the drudgery of going through the process manually. This will help save vital time and bring in, test and treat the infected faster – preventing more deaths and infections. On the other hand, identification of hotspots and those generally at a higher risk will enable governments to enact proper testing and sanitization protocols, helping to curb the spread of the contagion.

With two tech giants working behind the project, no size or technical challenge will be too big. Given the fact that both Apple and Google have billions of users all over the planet, an app that works cross-platform unanimously will easily integrate into phones all over the world, irrespective of nationalities, languages and people’s lifestyle choices. So long as they have a smartphone, their movements can be traced. 

If this were a few months ago, when the novel coronavirus wasn’t as much in the picture, such an app would be an appalling idea, with people rolling their eyes on governments’ desire to take surveillance to an all-time high. But now, this more than a tolerable idea because it isn’t just the governments but people who need to know where and how they can move safely. A large portion of the world itself is currently under lockdown, and while that does seem to be working, it simply cannot be a permanent solution. Moreover, even when the curve gets flattened and the disease does get contained, there is always a chance of a second wave of outbreaks. An app that traces the movement of people is more than the best way to avoid another unwanted outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus – it is the need of the hour.



Help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus by maintaining a physical distance of at least 6 ft between yourself and others in public.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Your Guide to 5G

Among the various hot topics that currently rule news lines across the world the soon-to-be-commonplace 5G technology. A big leap from its predecessor – 4G – 5G, which is at least 20 times faster than the former, is already running pilot tests in major places all over the world and will be the norm in most countries by as soon as early 2020. The technology has a lot of press surrounding it – from being able to process at never before speeds and revolutionize the way we look at data processing to connecting the remotest of areas to the internet to possible health and environment concerns.

While we are yet to know how exactly the future of 5G will unfold, when it will reach different countries in the world, how it will change the way we work, and if there really are any considerable health concerns, it is imperative to know what 5G is and how it works.

What is 5G?

Short for ‘5th Generation,’ 5G is indeed the 5th generation of mobile internet connectivity that promises a more stable connection, faster processing speed, faster download and upload speeds and a level of connectivity that is much wider and broader than the current 4G. With 5G, you can bid adieu to buffering to the highest quality of videos and disruptions when you are sharing your videos – even in the most crowded of areas. And that, of course, is just the beginning. Carrying on from the analog cellular 1G, the TDMA, GSM and CDMA enabled 2G, the UMTS and HSPA 3G and of course the currently running LTE and WiMAX 4G, 5G will take internet speeds to hundreds of megabits, and not surprisingly even gigabits!

How will 5G affect service providers?

Almost all major communication service providers are currently running their 5G pilot programs, or at the very least have obtained their 5G licenses and are making their plans to take the best advantage this technology can offer. 5G will change the data landscape in a way that is similar to how 4G prioritized data plans and packages over phone call and SMS ones. With a much higher rate of efficiency, 5G will enable wireless devices to work at higher speeds, which will, in time, allow them to roll out new services and capabilities that were previously not possible. Of course, we are yet to see exactly what they may be and how they will affect each one of us individually.

Besides wireless technology, service providers using 5G-enabled fixed wireless access will also be providing a much better, never-seen before level of speed and connectivity, making businesses much more efficient and effective at their jobs and at budgeting.


How will 5G affect the world in general?

Whereas technology is concerned, the world is at a stage that was never before thought possible – Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), and IoT (Internet of Things) are no longer fantasies and theories but the present reality we all live in. Given the speed at which this technology is expanding, we sure enough will need infrastructure that is capable of sustaining them. That’s where 5G comes into the picture. With its exponentially higher capabilities, 5G will not only allow us to take advantage of the current technology, but it will also pave the way to make room for tech that is even more efficient and unlock opportunities that we never thought was possible before.

5G is bound to touch and revolutionize every industry it touches – be it media and entertainment, finance, banking, security or healthcare.

Will 4G be gone for good?

The interesting thing about 5G is that while the other Gs, upon their introduction essentially retired their older counterparts (think 2G memes in 2014), 4G will remain here to stay, even with the proliferation of 5G. First of all because 5G will initially only be used to boost the current Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks as most current devices are in fact not capable of supporting 5G in its proper form. With time, and spread of full compatible hardware, 5G will stand on its own as a service.

And yet, at the same time, advancement in 4G technology will continue to take place – and 4G itself is expected to reach up to speeds of 2 Gigabits per second – which is in fact what the Qualcomm X24 modem, built into most 2019-manufactured 4G smartphones, is capable of.


Monday, September 30, 2019

Have we quietly stepped into a new age of quantum computing technology?

According to reports, Google’s AI Quantum Group has achieved something that many thought could only be science fiction  -accomplishing “quantum supremacy”. Being able to reach levels of speed and accuracy that other machines, and their makers, could never fathom. If this has truly been achieved like it is being claimed, it is indeed a technological milestone and would change the way the world in ways that we cannot yet fully imagine.

It all started when a NASA lab/Google Partner accidentally posted an online report that Google physicists had managed what is unattainable using the world's current supercomputers. Even though it seemed the milestone of quantum supremacy had been accomplished the create was still not a full-fledged quantum computer.

While both the tweet and the paper were subsequently taken down, screenshots and copies are, of course, still available and moving in various channels of the internet. Unsurprisingly, neither party has responded to any and all questions regarding the claims, sending the whole world into a frenzy of questions and theories and begging the fundamental question whether quantum computing really has been achieved.

While that is still – and will seemingly remain up in the air for some time, let’s know what quantum computing technology really is and why it is the biggest thing ever to happen in the world of science and technology.

What is Quantum Computing?

Essentially, quantum computing is a level of speed and efficiency of computing that even the best and fastest computer right now cannot work at. A breakthrough like none other, computers using this technology will be able to solve the most complex of problems (that could take years or even decades) and solve them in a much shorter span of time.

The general belief among the scientific community is that at least 49 qubits are necessary to enter into the realm of quantum supremacy. The notable factor, here, is that qubits function in a way that is very diverse from the “classical” computer’s bits. In case of bits, they exist either as a “1” or a “0.” Computers, therefore, read and work on a single bit during a particular period of time. Qubits, on the other hand, can show combination of “1” and “0” because of peculiar quantum effects where properties such as momentum, particle position, and direction, aren’t solidly defined. A system based on this principle, can therefore solve in multiple states at the same moment – a phenomenon known as quantum indeterminacy.

In simpler terms, quantum computers can read and process “1s” and a “0s” during the same span of time, allowing for faster and better processing of information and allowing the system to act on processed information in real time. This, of course, will speed up the computing process exponentially and allow for speeds much faster than that of the current “classical computers.”

What is Google’s Contribution?

Truth be told, we can never say what is what until we get an official confirmation from the tech giant itself. What we do know, however, is that Google has been the leader when it comes to computing hardware and proved it’s leadership again recently when it unveiled its 73-Qubit processor that put competitor IBM’s 53-Qubit in second place.

That being said, the leaked NASA paper reveals that Google actually used a different – and a 53-Qubit (albeit originally a 54-Qubit) processor called Sycamore to make its demonstrations. The first step of the demo involved a classical computer being used as a ‘simulator’ to generate quantum instructions known as ‘quantum gates,’ the quantum counterparts of the logic gates utilized in classical computers. These were then sent to the quantum computer that would perform exclusively on qubits in pure zero states, and finally made to output samples from the probability distribution obtained from performing on the qubits. This was later cross-checked by running the same operation through the classical computer’s format in order to compare and contrast results. Quite expectedly, Sycamore did take a considerably less amount of time and did not cross the error threshold.

The question that arose here was that if a classical computer could in fact do the same operation, could scientists not tweak them instead of moving to a whole new principle altogether? Not according to Google’s scientist, who clearly published in their research paper that it would take the world’s most advanced computer at least 10,000 years for a computer working on the classic principle to achieve what a quantum computer would do in 200 Seconds – clearly an unmatched competition.

Now, when Google did manage to bring a success case from its 53-Qubit, it would only be a matter of time till it would achieve a similar level of success with its 73-Qubit as well. But the question is – has that already been done? Until Google does come out with it in the open, we can only call it a likely possibility. Right now, it is of course undeniable that Google is indeed leading the pack with its findings, and that its experiment with the Sycamore has made a breakthrough when it comes to computing.

Monday, January 14, 2019

A Simple Guide to Avoiding Common Internet Scams

In today's day and age, the internet is something we simply cannot do without. After all, it has such a wide world of benefits to offer.    
   
Much like every other thing in life though, the internet is far from perfect. Just as it helps us makes our life smoother, it also acts as a ground for thieves who try to steal personal and sensitive information. This often includes scams such as phishing, which can - and does - cause great loss to individuals and companies.

As a well-experienced online marketing company in the US, we hear about and see many examples of risky situation that can easily be avoid. We know by being alert and following some simple rules, however, you can stay away from some of these online scams with ease.

online security risk, security weakness, compromised security, internet scams

The following are some common tips that will help you stay away from online traps:

#1: Never give financial information to anyone

Many scammers are known to reach out to unsuspecting individuals via email, text or even phone calls and manipulate them into revealing their personal and financial information. This is a commonly-used scam known as phishing, where the scammers pose as an institution, service or even a government agency, and try to trick you into revealing sensitive financial information. For example, a thief may try to obtain private information such as your Social Security Number or Credit Card Number by [falsely] claiming that your account has been compromised or that it needs to be updated.

Always keep in mind that institutions like Google will not call you personally asking for your personal information. If you get from someone claiming to be a representative of your bank or credit card company, keep in mind that you have the right the verify their identity before releasing private or sensitive information. So, in case you receive a suspicious call or email that request a release your personal information, do not respond and instead contact the relevant institution directly to verify your account status. The representative or automated system will still want to verify your identity with some questions and that should be okay knowing that you are speaking to the right people.

#2: Never click on unknown email hyperlinks

Many scammers reach out to people by sending meticulously composed, but nonetheless fake, emails which offer "services" or “prizes” that can be claimed by clicking the hyperlink/opening the attachment and submitting the users' financial information. This is another common scam called pharming. You must, therefore, make it a point to NEVER respond to such emails, even if they look legitimate or appear to have come from your credit card company or your bank. In the event that you do receive an email from an unknown or untrusted address, you must delete it immediately.

It is worth mentioning that is possible for the email addresses (that you trust) of friends, family, and even co-workers to be hacked and used to send out malicious links. If an email from a contact seem suspicious in anyway, we recommend using this as an opportunity to reach out to the person by phone and confirm the email was in fact sent by them.

#3: Use varied passwords that are tough-to-crack

Tempting as it might be, a password like “Fluffy” or "98765" is basically an invitation for hackers to compromise your accounts. You must always make sure that the password that you use is a strong one. A strong password should be at least 10 characters long and must have upper and lower case letters, numbers as well as special characters.

It is recommended that passwords be a play on a question/answer and/or long phrases. An example of this is “d03$uRdoGluV*U2?^4deBAit” which when read as a question and answer would be, Does your dog love you too? Up for debate. Furthermore, you should also make sure to use unique password for every website that you visit. No two should be alike.

Watch computer professional and former Central Intelligence Agency employee and contractor, Edward Snowden, discuss passwords and “passphrases” on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Some of the content in this video may not be suitable for young audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

#4: Install a good antivirus software that offers spyware and malware protection

Installing a good-quality antivirus will help you protect all the sensitive information stored on your computer. Ensure that your antivirus offers adequate firewall and spyware protection, and make sure to turn on the auto-updating feature once you install the program to keep the software updated at all times. (Be aware that some software updates include new or changed privacy settings which you will want to review and manage accordingly.)

#5: Never download software you see on pop-up windows

We are all aware of those pesky pop-up windows which claim that our computer "is unsafe," or something of that nature, and offer their own software to "remedy the problem." If you click these pop-up links to start the “system scan,” you might just end up downloading malicious software or “malware” which could damage your operating system.

#6: Always ensure that you're visiting safe websites

Make sure that the website where you will be submitting your financial information has its security settings in place. Make sure to double-check the privacy rules and see to it that it is using encryption. Encryption is symbolized by a "lock" present on the left of the web address; if you see this lock, it means that any information you enter is encrypted safely and is well-protected against hackers.

By following the tips above, you should be able to safeguard yourself and your business from the most scammers and fraudsters. However, with every new advancement in consumer information protection comes a new trick from the bad guys. For that reason, you encourage you to stay educated, stay wary and do your best to stay safe.


Is your website safe? Are you not sure but want to be? If you desire a well-designed, high-ranking, user-friendly and safe website, contact us today. Our expert team of web developers and web designers is ready to build your dream website while ensuring all protections are in place to keep you and your site visitors safe. Click here to fill out a contact form or call (855) 785-3232 to speak directly to our head representative and company owner, Ricky.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Getting Started With Your Business Blog

Content marketing is a great way for small business owners to make themselves known and get noticed by the right people online. If you are unfamiliar with content marketing, don’t worry because we are starting with one of the easiest and well-known areas –blogging. When approached the right way, blogging really is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to create marketable content. This is content that supports your brand while enticing the interests of online users, which maybe potential customers to your business.

Blogging, content marketing, branding, creative content, audience engagement, Getting Started With Your Business Blog image 1. Woman using laptop.
The idea of creating and maintaining a blog may sound very overwhelming but it is our hope that this article will help guide the way toward to success business blogging experience. Once you embark on the process, you will find that it is not intimidating at all. You may even find it hard to stop!

Here are ten tips for starting and maintaining a successful business blog:

#1. Make sure that the information you provide is valuable, useful and relevant:

Always ensure that any and all information you provide is useful for the reader and relevant to the topic at hand. If your information is easy-to-comprehend and well-organized, it will attract reader, many of whom will go on to become regular readers. In other words, the old writing mantra of "show, don't tell" is very effective. For instance, if you are promoting a business strategy, a solid example of a business that has already achieved success will be the best way to prove your point. Also, don’t shy away from adding images that support the information in a blog article.

#2. Don't be afraid to go off-topic sometimes:
While it is always a good thing to keep your focus on brand related blogging topics, too much of it can in fact make things monotonous. A excellent way to keep your blog fresh and engaging is to find a new way to look at the same, old topics or introduce some that are a little more outside the box. Consider discussing local news and events, hobbies related to products/services your business provides, a list of favorite local restaurants or even personal movie and book reviews.

Buying lunch for the office? Why not ask each associate to write a few sentences about their choice of food. Everyone has to eat and your customers may enjoy learning a little about local favorites.

#3. Let your readers subscribe at the touch of a button:
A recurring problem with many interesting business blog is that they either have no subscribe option, or it is not within the reader's general view. Make sure that your blog has a subscription option and see to it that it is in a place that is easy-to-find, like on your website.

#4. Share and promote your content:
No matter how popular or engaging your content may be, there is always a chance that your readers (subscribers included) may miss it. It is therefore best that you give a gentle reminder to your readers about your blog every time you post. There are plenty of ways to share your posts, from social media and your website, to newsletters and even in your email signature.

Be proud of your blog and own it! Don’t just share a blog article on your business’ social media. Log into your personal Facebook account to like and share the blog post from your business’ Facebook Page.

#5: When it comes to format, make sure to mix and match:
The biggest enemy of any blog is the tendency to descend into monotony. A great way to avoid this from happening is to mix up your posts a little, both in terms of format and content. Alternating long all-text posts with shorter posts or video posts is a great idea, as is peppering your posts with a few images.

#6. Express your point of view:
While being neutral is generally a good policy, it does pay to take a stand sometimes. If there is a hot topic in your industry and you feel strongly about it, come out and say so. At times, a little bit of controversy can get your blog in the center of everyone's attention!

#7. Make sure that your blog is easy-to-read:
Remember, a blog that gets the point across simple and easily is always the best. Make sure to keep your posts from getting overly verbose, and make use of formatting (bullets, subheadings, etc.) as and when necessary. This makes your post easy on the reader's eyes and helps them narrow in information that is most important to them.

#8. Edit and proofread!
Grammatical and/or spelling mistakes are one of the biggest turnoffs of any blog posts. You must, therefore, make sure that your blog doesn't have any. Before publishing, re-read your posts to catch any errors that may be present. You can also ask a colleague to proofread your posts to confirm that they are indeed error-free.

#9. Introduce yourself:
Your business blog is a manifestation of your business' personality. A business that is in fact created by you. While your business blog is about business (and should remain as such), adding the occasional post that mentions your personal life and experiences, or even an anecdote is not a bad idea. Such posts give your blog more personality and help attract a diverse kind of reader, while allowing your consistent readers to look at you in a new light.

#10. Be patient:
Your blog is not a race, it is something that you build gradually with time. The blog will have to build momentum, pull in readers, and make a dedicated following - all of which will only come with time. Remember - slow, steady, and consistent wins the race!

If you have been blogging for some time and cannot seem to get more readers, don't get discouraged. Most business blogs need a bit of a boost to get any attention. A successful blog may receive a good deal of attention due to traffic to the main website or webpage, which it is linked to prominently. However, high-quality website design and SEO are necessary to get the most out of both properties. With the right online marketing strategy, a business website and blog can work together to maximize exposure across the web.



Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Your Guide to Maintaining Good Internet Etiquette

Internet Etiquette, netiquette, professional, online behavior, social media, online marketing
Gone are the days when "internet" simply meant talking on chat rooms and typing-in old documents. So many different things are done via the internet these days - from talking with friends and family in real time (even when they're on the other side of the globe), to talking on forums and seminars, and even maintaining entire offices. With so much being done online today, it is all the more important for people to put their best foot forward online in every way they can. From talking on social media to answering emails and online advertising to website content, it is always good to think before you share while also following some basic rules.

Here are some ways in which you can keep your internet etiquette (or should we say, "netiquette") in check:

Mind Your Manners

Just because you're not actually talking face-to-face with the other person, doesn't mean that you are free to say or do anything you like and not bear the consequences. Remember, any professional relationships you build online are just like the ones you make in real life - they are based on mutual respect and politeness.

Here's a small tip to help you get started: If you would not normally say or do something in a face-to-face conversation, make sure that you don't post it online either.

Avoid Strong Language

While strong language does include rude and foul words, those are only a part of the concept. Strong language can mean a lot of things. For instance, refrain from writing overtly verbose language - you are communicating to another person, not showing-off your superior vocabulary skills. Avoid words and expressions that qualify as rude and foul in any way.

Another thing to take notice of is not using all caps while writing. While many consider this a way of making their posts and messages more easily readable, it is often interpreted as a shouting expression, which is considered rude in most instances.

simulated text chat conversation demonstrating the misuse of CAPS

Proofread Your Work

As in real life, there are different ways of communicating with friends and co-workers or colleagues. For instance, a 'Gr8' can work with your sister, but won't fly with your boss. Sticking to formality, writing in proper writing style and keeping up all the grammar rules is always the best practice.

Be Extra-Careful With Sarcasm and Humor

When it comes to sarcasm and humor, interpretations vary from one culture, and even from one person to another. While it is understandable for you to express sarcasm and/or humor every once in a while, you must make sure that the message you convey expresses the intended message clearly. More often than not, a well-meant joke can be interpreted as an offensive statement.

Don't Forget to Cite Your Sources

One simply cannot be expected to come up with a fabulous original thought all the time. If you do borrow a thought or an idea that in fact belongs to someone else, make sure to credit them even if your expression of the idea isn't a word-by-word copy. Not only does that keep you out of possible copyright-related trouble, it also creates a good impression on others by showing them that you are humble enough to mention when a great idea isn't yours. Copyright infringement in the form of duplicated website content is also greatly frowned upon by Google and, if abused, is a penalizable offense.

With the internet expanding into virtually all facets of our lives, there are now countless things that are done online; from texting your best friend, to booking an appointment, and even working in offices. While it may be tempting to forget the rules and "hide" behind your computer, it is certainly not a good thing to do and can do irreparable damage to your reputation. Before you click that 'send' button, make sure that you have followed all there is to proper internet etiquette.

For more business, internet and marketing articles, visit our blog at LeadsOnlineMarketing.blogspot.com

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Bit About Blockchain

The “Bitcoin revolution” has taken the entire world by storm and has brought forward concepts that were previously little-known. Take for instance, blockchain technology – while the technology has been in the news since 2008 (on a concept that is in fact decades old), it is only because of the recent meteoric rise in Bitcoin rates that blockchain has come to the forefront. In fact, Bitcoin would never have gained the reputation it did if it wasn’t for blockchain!

Google search requests for “blockchain” have increased by a record 250% and has put it right beside some of the most famous personalities and celebrities out there. Major companies, retail chains, and even governments are considered incorporating the system in a way that profits them. Ironically, the way blockchain works is still a mystery to many.


Blockchain, block chain, technology, data

So what is blockchain after all? And why is there so much hype around it? This is what we want to explore this time around.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is defined by Investopedia as,
"a digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions."
As the name itself implies, blockchain consists of several "blocks" (each of which contains a record of new transactions - be it a cryptocurrency, or some kind of data), which is added one-by-one like chain, thereby creating a blockchain.

Put more simply, one can explain in it terms of the internet - just as the internet allows free flow of information from one person to another without the need of any third person, blockchain technology allows transfer of cryptocurrency from one person to another without any third party (like a bank).

What makes Blockchain so popular?

The thing that sets blockchain apart from any other means of the transaction is the fact that it offers transparency and security – both at the same time, and without the need for any financial middleman (such as a bank) and even entire governments. Blockchain and cryptocurrency allows every user to track any transaction that they ever made, since they’re all stored in the blocks.

The second thing that makes blockchain ideal is the fact that it is tamper-proof – data once written on a block cannot ever be erased or even manipulated, which allows for easy tracking and prevents malicious activities for gaining any ground.

Does Blockchain have a future?

This is a question that is there on the minds of many. While several banks and even governments claim blockchain and cryptocurrency to be a “passing fad,” it is actually anything but that. The transparency and tamper-proof nature of blockchain technology means that it has the power to disrupt practically any industry that needs to transfer data (monetary or not) from one point to the other. A lot can be stored on blocks – from medical records and confidential files to legal files and evidence, among others.

Last but certainly not least, blockchain is decentralized. This means it requires no “facilitator” to function and also means data is more secure. With data spread out in blockchains, it is harder for hackers to target and access specific bits of information. In short this is good news for anyone who would want a middleman-free transaction with more security. And, who wouldn’t? This may also be the security our society needs in a time of high-level cyber-attacks and hacking but, only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Springtime Tips for Small Businesses

Springtime Tips for Small Businesses, Business Owners, Employers, Charlotte NC, North Carolina
Today, spring has officially sprung here in the Southeastern United States and across the Northern Hemisphere! Even though the temperature is due to drop back down to near freezing tonight, we can still look forward and start planning for the warmer weather ahead. A mental to-do list may include beach days, family holidays, and lakeside hikes but, there are seasonal changes to consider for your business as well as your personal life.

In this article, we will explore ideas to help business owners make the best of the spring season. Most of these tips can be utilized throughout the summer too.

Spring Clean

Keeping an office tidy throughout the year is important for promoting better time management and productivity in employees. However, ‘organized’ does not equate to ‘clean’ and most offices need a good deep cleaning at least once a year. This is the type of cleaning not being done by the nightly custodian such as deep carpet cleaning, air vent cleaning, dusting high surfaces, and descaling the coffee maker just to name a few.

To tackle the spring cleaning of your office you may hire a cleaning service or devote a day for employees to work together to get it done. Consider structuring this as team building activity. Be sure to reward employees for their efforts, perhaps by providing them with a free lunch.

Make Changes Known

Spring time usually brings about many changes surrounding basic business operations. If there is something changing about your business that could impact customers, then make it known. Announce it on your website, change your Facebook status, update Google, and whatever else you can think of to make new information known to the public.

One of the most commonly overlooked seasonal changes is the updating of business hours. Many businesses operate on seasonal schedules, fall/winter hours and spring/summer hours, but some neglect to make this known. Having the wrong hours posted is a sure way to upset potential customers wanting to contact or visit a business. To avoid this mishap, contact your online marketing company to request a business website and listings update. (Don’t forget to do this again come fall.)

Enjoy the Fresh Air & Sunshine

It’s been proven that a regular dose of fresh air and sunshine can improve a person’s health and vitality. Employees along with employers should have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of our natural world and there are several ways to make this possible. Planning team outings, picnics, and volunteering as a team are great ways to shake things up and get outdoors. Another idea is to invest to create or improve upon an existing outdoor sitting area to give office workers the best place to relax in the time allotted for breaks. A couple benches, chairs or a picnic table and a few seat cushions are all you need to get started.

For companies fortunate enough to own their building and have adequate outdoor space available, the opportunities are virtually endless. From grilling stations and garden plots to corn hole sets and smoking zones, you can create the perfect outdoor spaces for yourself and your employees to recharge -whether it is to be enjoyed every day or bi-weekly.

bench seat under a tall tree and overlooking a flower garden filled with a variety of colorful tulips. Spring flowers. Charlotte, NC
Stay tuned to the Leads Online Marketing blog for more tips to help you improve your business, including a special article on Office Gardens that will publish next month. If you have any questions or feedback about the article above, please feel free to reach out to us at leadsonlinemarketing.com/contact-us/

We appreciate you reading our blog! Be sure to visit our website to learn more about our online marketing services. Give us a call to discuss how we can help your business stand out across the web, (704) 251-6519.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Market Your Business Online For Free

mobile online searches used to find products and services
Advertising is not what it used to be in the world of business. The computer age has taken marketing online. However, marketing your business in this new way does not have to cost a fortune. Here are some free ways to market your business online.

Claim Directory Listings

There are a vast amount of directories that will list your business without a fee. Yahoo! Local and Google Places are just two of those many directories. Additionally, there are an abundance of business associations that allow you to list your business on their respective websites. The benefit of this tactic is that many of these free directories show up in search engine results.

Blogs

The charge for putting up a blog post and then promoting it via social media is zero. It is highly recommended that any kind of business engaged in online marketing should feature a blog with consistent posts. Blogging has evolved into somewhat of a staple when it comes to Internet marketing. Keep content consistent, relevant and engaging.

Put Out a Newsletter

It is meant to include helpful information about your business and its respective industry. Current events are also a good inclusion. Furthermore, there are many e-zine directories, such as The E-Zine Directory, which permit business to advertise their newsletters for free.

E-mail signature example

Use E-mail Signatures

This is a recommended standard. Include a footer in every e-mail which contains links to your website, social media, blog, etc. The process of setting this up is a rather easy one. Anyone who takes the time to read your e-mails will have links at their disposal and can easily learn more about your business.

Use Free Forms of Diversified Content

Try doing a podcast providing helpful hints and expert tips in your specific industry area. Podcasts can be listened to anytime and many people even subscribe to their favorite podcasts. When aiming to go the visual route, video marketing and YouTube are excellent tools! Keeping in mind a similar school of thought with podcasts, videos can boost your website ranking and expand your web presence. Try making a video that appeals to your product or customer base. 

Leads Online Marketing uses a variety of content and strategies to bring your message to the masses. Internet Marketing can pave the way to new business with the help of extensive experience, proven results and industry expertise. Contact Leads Online Marketing today and help your business see a better tomorrow.

Resources:
http://www.ezine-dir.com/

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Fool’s Gold of Online Marketing

When presented with an online marketing product or service, it may seem attractive on the outside but, is it really worth it or are you being fooled? In this article, we detail the distasteful tactics used by many other online marketing companies to take advantage of unsuspecting businesses.


This is America and as an American business we believe success is not just our own but that of our nation. Success is not measured by the wealth of few but instead by the well-being of each employee, our customers, and community. We cannot forget our fellow Americans. That is why we are committed to the true American way of doing business with fair and honest practices.

Misinformation: Falsehoods, inaccuracies, deceptions, myths, or lies… False information by any name is still false and, unfortunately, it has become copious in today’s digital world. Businesses should keep in mind that pretty presentations and featured reports are not always evidence of a company’s abilities or success. Before hearing a pitch, its best to know a little about what the numbers mean and what realistic results are.

One term that is sure to come up when discussing SEO services and website rankings is “keywords” or “keyphrases”. These are words or phrases that a business wants to rank for. For example, a keyword for a plumbing company could be “plumber” or “toilet repair” and the goal is to have the business website display within localized Google results when these terms are searched for by a consumer in their target areas. All of this is related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which can take up to 6 months to begin producing results.

Some organizations will attempt to deceive consumers with misleading ranking reports. They may say something like a business has 1,000 keywords ranking on the top two pages of Google, which can sound great. But, what are the keywords and are they worth paying for? Many times unrelated, uncompetitive, and/or outrageously long keywords are used to inflate positive figures on a dishonest report. Back to our plumber as an example, the phrase “best plumber in the Southside of Charlotte at 1111 SE 1st AVE” should not be included in a ranking report nor should a business be paying to rank for it. Think, what are the chances of someone typing and search for that exact phrase in Google or any search engine? Also, be wary if the company is unwilling to share a list of the keywords correlating to their report numbers.

Like with many industries – banking, insurance, manufacturing, and others – there is only so much you can know before buying into a product or service. Sometimes that means putting a little faith in a company. At Leads Online Marketing, we know in our hearts that every day we do what is best for our clients because their success is our success and that type of relationship cannot be based of falsehoods.

Quantity over Quality: Quality keywords are not the only things to look into when choosing an online marketing service provider. Internet marketing can incorporate a wide variety of services including but not limited to website design and management, email and pay-per-click advertising, and social media. However, as with keywords, there can be a quantity over quality issue.

Google has always said that websites should have “relevant, quality content” to rank in its search. This rhetoric is supported by Google’s endless efforts to update its search algorithm in order to improve results (and profit). This is why it is so important, now more than ever, for a business to produce quality content across the web starting with the main website and blog. If your web pages and blog article consist of a few hundred words or less, chances are it won’t rank well. The same goes for websites with repeating and low-quality written content.

Business owner should also avoid buying into social media scams such as “instant 5,000 followers” commonly seen on platforms like Instagram and Twitter. These offers will seems enticing but there is no quality to the follows you will receive. This is because the accounts are often fake and equate to no real gain for the business; they won’t engage the business or its posts, they aren’t real people so they cannot suggest friends to the business or call for services themselves. The same concept applies when paying for website traffic. Yes, you may get the amount of traffic you paid for but are those visitors staying on the site, are they buying anything, will they come back or call?

Promoting Like its 1997: If someone’s sales pitch includes website Alexa Rankings or Google Page Rank (PR) Scores, then their marketing strategy may be stuck somewhere between Steve Jobs return to Apple Computers and the publication of the first Harry Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Yes. It has been that long!



Plenty of fun and great memories were made in the 90’s. However, the fact is innovations have made many products and services from that time obsolete and very much ineffective. Only companies that continue to train, research and innovate, like Leads Online Marketing, will have the ability to produce real results.

Guaranteed & Immediate Results: When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), results take time. It can take up to a month for a single effort to be seen by analytical tracking systems. This waiting period can be nerve racking for some anxious business owners who are paying a monthly bill for marketing, and it’s understandably so. This makes the alternative seem all the more appealing but do be warned, ‘fast results’ fade even faster.

Companies guaranteeing fast results are likely using ‘black hat’ or 'grey hat' tactics that can easily cause your business to be penalized by Google and other online authorities. This is not something to be taken lightly since those authority are the key to your business’ online success.

Competency: Can they do it? Will they do it? When? Of course the company you hire for your business online marketing needs has to be able to do the job they promise to do. They also have to be able to communicate effectively with you, your staff, and any other companies working on your behalf. In some cases for example, a website manager or managing service provider needs to collaborate with the SEO specialist in order to achieve the best results for their mutual client. If one is not responsive or refuses to collaborate, it will be your business that suffers the most.

We hope this article can help businesses big and small to avoid wasting their valuable time and money on products and services that “look” promising at first but, end up being worthless after all.  If you would like us to take a look at your current marketing programs and website give us a call at (704) 612-2442 or, fill out the contact form here to send us a message. We would also appreciate your feedback about our blog and website.