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In today’s digital world, nearly everyone is connected in some way to the World Wide Web in order to satisfy their entertainment, education, research and consumer needs. The popularity of the Internet has prompted businesses of all sizes to have an online presence in the form of a Website.

If your business does not have a Website as of yet, your business probably isn’t performing to its fullest of capabilities. Having a Website can provide a number of benefits to your business that you may not have been aware of before.

Here are the top 10 benefits of having a Website:

1. Cost-Effective

Online advertisement is cost-effective compared to print advertisement and enables you to make on-the-fly changes, given that you are using a CMS.

2. Wider Demographic Reach

Unlike having a local brick and mortar establishment, a business Website transmits your business profile around the world, permitting for enhanced exposure and sales, due to a wider demographic reach.

3. Business Credibility

If you have a professional looking and user-friendly Website, consumers will likely have a greater chance of considering your business credible over companies who either do not have a Web presence, or have a poor Website presence.

4. Around-The-Clock Availability

Having a Website provides your consumers with around-the-clock availability in terms of access to products, information etc. This type of 24 hours a day, seven days a week service definitely generates more profits than that of a traditional storefront.

5. Consumer Convenience

In branching off from the above noted benefit, being available to meet the needs of consumers at any time day or night provides added convenience, giving them access to products and information whenever they need.

6. Increased Sales

When owning a business exposure is key to attracting customers. An effective Website with great content increases the probability for increased sales.

7. Fosters Customer Rapport

An online presence helps in terms of building and fostering a rapport among your customers. Providing special offers to loyal customers on your Website lets them know you appreciate their business.

8. Competitive Opportunity

Chances are your competitors have a Website and they’re using it to their fullest advantage. In order to keep up or surpass the competition, having a Website is a must.

9. Build Customer Base

Consumer communication via your Website can help you build your customer base. Populating a list of consumer contacts is gold to any company.

10. Targeted Marketing

A strategically planned Website can effectively attract the targeted audience you seek. Now that you have known why having a website is important to your business, contact an expert web design company to get a business-friendly website.

101 Social Media Tools for Social Media Marketing and More

It doesn’t make sense to jump in and use all new social media tools that come along just because everyone else is or because you think they’re “cool.” No one can really afford to be that unproductive with their time (or if they can, that alone speaks volumes). At Social Implications, we’re big advocates of cutting through the noise by narrowing down the social media tools you use to the ones best suited for your target market or audience.

That said, you can’t choose the best social media tools for your business (or even personal networking) unless you know what’s out there. With that in mind we’ve put together a list of 101 social media tools you should know about. We’ve broken them down for you by category below. Note though that we’re not including some of the biggest staples in social media — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Rather we’ll focus on tools to help you get more out of the sites you’re already using or social media tools that you might not have heard of yet. Links in each section are in no particular order. Enjoy!

Social Networking

There are countless social networks on the Web today, letting you do everything from network with old classmates to joining communities with like minded folks who share similar hobbies or business interests. But what happens when existing social networks don’t really serve your needs? You can start your own! Whether you’re interested in building a niche social network or one around your brand, here are some tools to help you do that.

  1. Ning — As of July 20th, plans range from $2.95 – 49.95 per month.
  2. GoingOn Community Platform — Emphasis on educational use
  3. BuddyPress — Create a social network on the WordPress platform
  4. Elgg.org — An open source social networking platform
  5. Boonex Dolphin — Feature-rich and free; Prime option also available
  6. SocialGo — Setup a free social network or purchase premium access to monetize your site.
  7. Snapville – Social networking solution focused on employee and customer engagement
  8. Cisco’s Eos Platform — Social networking and content management platform for the entertainment industry


Blogging is one of the older aspects of social media, around even before the “social media” label really took hold. Blogs allow you to keep your customers up-to-date on company news. They allow you to have conversations with your audience. They serve as platform elements for professionals looking to build exposure and gain a solid reader base. They’re used in PR. They’re used in marketing. They’re used as private journals. They’re used to host content sites. They’re even used as business models all on their own. So let’s take a look at some blogging platforms you can use to set up your own new blog. The list below includes both hosted and self-hosted (you need your own hosting account) platforms.

  1. WordPress.com – Free hosted solution
  2. WordPress.org – Free self-hosted blog platform
  3. WordPress MU – Create a multi-user blog network using WordPress.
  4. b2evolution
  5. Blogger
  6. Typepad
  7. Vox
  8. Moveable Type – Commercial
  9. Moveable Type – Open source
  10. LiveJournal — For more personal blogging in most cases
  11. Serendipity

Blog Comment Management Tools

Sometimes the comment management tools built into your blog platform just aren’t enough. Here are a couple of extra options you might want to look into either to help you manage comments or encourage more of them.

  1. Disqus
  2. Subscribe to Comments – WordPress plugin

Microblogging Services and Tools

Chances are good that you’ve already heard of Twitter (and are using it). But there are other microblogging options out there, and plenty of tools to help you more efficiently manage your Twitter account to weed out some of that social media noise. Here are some of those tools and services.

  1. Jaiku — Microblogging service
  2. TweetDeck
  3. HootSuite
  4. TweetStats
  5. Seesmic
  6. Twitterrific
  7. Group Tweet
  8. Friend or Follow — Find out if the people you follow also follow you back.
  9. TwitPic
  10. Tweet Backup

URL Shorteners

Speaking of microblogging services and their limited character counts, let’s take a look at some URL shorteners currently available. These can condense your long URLs (that might not fit in a Tweet or other post) into a much shorter form. Some even allow link stats tracking.

  1. Bit.ly
  2. TinyURL
  3. Is.gd
  4. doiop.com
  5. SnipURL.com

Forum Software

Like what we traditionally think of as social networks, forums allow us to build communities around a niche, company, product, or anything else we’d like. If you think a forum would be better suited to your audience than a social network setup, then consider one of these forum software options.

  1. vBulletin
  2. PHPBB
  3. Simple Machines Forum (SMF)
  4. Vanilla Forums
  5. MyBB
  6. Invision Power Board
  7. bbPress

Social Bookmarking / Sharing

Social media is about more than conversations. It’s also about empowering members of your community to share what you have to offer, or “vote” if you will. There are several sharing, aggregation, and social bookmarking tools available to let them do that. Here are a few you might want to use or somehow incorporate into your website or blog.

  1. Digg
  2. Reddit
  3. StumbleUpon
  4. Sphinn
  5. Slashdot
  6. Newsvine
  7. AddThis
  8. ShareThis

Document, Video, and Photo Sharing Services

Social media encompasses all types of media. Users want to be able to share information, videos, photos, and other images in addition to their thoughts. If you’re one of those users, you might get some use out of the following social media tools.

  1. YouTube
  2. Flickr
  3. Vimeo
  4. Scribd
  5. Picasa Web Albums
  6. MetaCafe
  7. Daily Motion
  8. PhotoBucket

Online Collaboration

Sometimes being able to share documents online isn’t enough. You need online collaboration tools like the ones listed below where your work group can collectively edit and save documents while you collaborate on projects.

  1. Zoho
  2. Google Docs
  3. WriteBoard
  4. ReviewBasics (Disclosure: ReviewBasics is a former client of SI’s Jennifer Mattern.)


Podcasting is a sometimes overlooked area of social media. But if your audience could be effectively reached through a podcast or other type of audio show, you might be able to put these podcasting tools to use.

  1. PodBean
  2. BlogTalkRadio
  3. Audacity – Free recording software
  4. Podomatic


Love it or hate it, we’ve probably all heard of Wikipedia. But why not create your very own wiki on your company site or related to a niche you love? Pull people together with some of the following wiki software options.

  1. MediaWiki
  2. Confluence
  3. TWiki
  4. BrainKeeper

Online / Social Learning

Social media goes far beyond personal and even business use. It can also be used in education. If you’re with an educational institution or organization, or you’d like to add online courses and other learning materials to your site, these social and online learning tools could come in handy.

  1. Moodle
  2. Blackboard
  3. Articulate e-Learning Software
  4. Joomla Learning Management System (LMS)

Social Media Search

There is a lot of noise in social media that you have to sort through on a regular basis if you want to stay productive. These social media search tools can help.

  1. Technorati
  2. Google Blog Search
  3. Google Alerts
  4. Yahoo! Alerts
  5. Bing’s Social Search
  6. SocialMention.com
  7. Google Social Search
  8. SocialSearch.com SearchWiki

Social Media Monitoring and Metrics

There’s rarely a way to completely and accurately measure social media. Most tools have their faults and most metrics can be manipulated. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the information you can access though. Social media monitoring and metrics-related tools like the ones below can give you a solid snapshot of trends resulting from your social media work.

  1. Feedburner – Track RSS subscriber stats.
  2. PostRank
  3. Omniture Site Catalyst
  4. Performancing Blog Metrics
  5. Google Analytics
  6. Compete
  7. Alexa

By no means do these represent all social media tools currently available. Do you have favorites not in this list? Share them in a comment below!

Responsive Web Design Makes Good Business Sense

The need to ensure that your website is functional on all types of handheld high-tech devices is critical nowadays, given the steady rise in popularity of these highly used gadgets. The best way to ensure that your online business remains competitive on the digital landscape is to utilize responsive web design.

Ensuring that users can easily access the full functionality of your website and experience a “desktop” look and feel from any, or every handheld device is what makes responsive web design so powerful for your business success.

Here are some ways in which responsive web design can yield notable business results:

Google Is A Big Fan Of Responsive Web Design

If you want to move up in Internet search rankings, Google will help make that happen if you integrate responsive web design in your site. Boosting your site rankings gets potential consumers attention directed toward your site, ahead of your competitors who are ranked lower in Google’s search rankings.

Saves Time And Money

Developing a website to match each individual handheld device can be a timely and costly means of enabling users to access your site. Using responsive web design eliminates the need to duplicate site content and background coding to fit specific types of mobile technologies, saving copious amounts of time and money.

Quick And Easy Site Maintenance

Having only one site to maintain makes updating and managing your site both quick and easy. Spending less time on the maintenance of your site frees up more of your time, which you can spend on more important business tasks.

Internet Users Prefer It

Many households these days currently own at least one, if not more, mobile device. With such a large number of people utilizing such devices, online businesses have very little choice but to ensure that Internet users can access websites from any portable device with ease. Failure to enhance the user experience to the fullest can be a costly mistake, as users will simply move on to other sites which are easily accessible. Implementing responsive design for your site will ensure that users get the best experience and a happy visitor improves the odds of them becoming a happy customer for your business.

Content Marketing Strategies That Positively Affect Website Ranking

As far as digital marketing goes, content is the driving force behind other Internet marketing techniques, such as social media and building links. Algorithm updates initialized by Google this year have drastically changed the landscape of Internet marketing strategies by no longer allowing websites with overstuffed keywords and poor quality to make their way anywhere near the top of its search engine rankings list.

In order to avoid the harsh consequences of this algorithm, it’s imperative to incorporate marketing techniques that have a positive effect on your website ranking. Here are some content marketing strategies that will satisfy Google’s search algorithms and improve website ranking:

• Trim Down Excessive Use Of Content

Websites containing too much content can blur the message/information the author is trying to convey to its audience and in turn, will lose the interest of its readers. It’s best to trim down content writing to only that which is serving a real purpose.

• Don’t Overuse Keywords

Long gone are the days whereby keywords should be littered throughout content writing. Google’s algorithms frown upon the overuse of keywords, so making sure to utilize keywords where it makes sense to readers is optimum.

• Utilize Seo Tools

There are a variety of SEO tools available which can help identify weaknesses on pages to improve website search engines optimization. WordPress offers a free plug-in called Yoast which does a great job of this.

• Keep Content Writing Fresh

While some may feel eliminating content altogether, or rarely updating their content will help in avoiding being penalized by Google’s algorithms, they are greatly mistaken. Stale content will most certainly guarantee a website’s ranking doom. Keeping content writing fresh and relevant to what audiences need will only serve as a benefit to a website’s online success.

In order to remain competitive in the Internet marketing arena, website owners must adhere to Google’s standards for having websites that contain good quality content writing, all for the sole purpose of enhancing the user experience. Failure to meet Google’s algorithm requirements will only have devastating effects, particularly on e-commerce websites, so it only makes sense to place content marketing at the top of priorities when it comes to marketing strategies.

4 Benefits to Understanding Searcher Intent to Boost SEO Rankings

To understand the benefits of searcher intent, for the purpose of being able to boost SEO rankings, it is important to first understand what searcher intent is. In simple terms, searcher intent is the end goal of any individual utilizing a search engine, whether that be to locate where they wish to go, find an answer to something they want to know, or complete an action, such as a purchase, online.

Here are 4 benefits to understanding searcher intent,which can help to boost SEO rankings:

1. Increased Traffic To Your Site

By optimizing for searcher intent, you are able to bring in greater qualified traffic to your website, resulting in increased traffic overall. Greater traffic can lead to greater chances of an increase in sales as well.

2. A Noticeable Decrease In The Number Of Bounce Rates

Bounce rates are website metrics every website owner must manage and improve, in order to ensure online business success, now and in the future. Improving your keyword strategies to be in alignment with searcher intent should result in a noticeable decrease in the number of bounced visits you receive for your website, as you are delivering what online users are after, which means they will remain on your site, instead of moving on to another.

3. Greater User Engagement

Optimizing for searcher intent not only connects site users to your website, but keeps them there, viewing multiple pages throughout your site and moving through the steps you wish them to take, hopefully resulting in taking the desired action, whether that is to make a purchase, or to contact you regarding your services.

4. Better Search Engine Rankings

While some may believe having an abundance of keywords is the key to greater search engine rankings, this is not the case. In order to have any positive influence on how your website ranks among popular search engines like Google, you need to ensure you are using keywords which match online users’ search intent. Large numbers of keywords that are not particularly relevant will only dilute your message and make it difficult for search engines to decide what is most important on your website.

In summary, if you’re looking to boost your search engine rankings, you’ll need to understand the importance of search intent and what you can do to optimize your website pages to deliver what online users want and need.
Once you know searcher’s intent, you will be able to better explain your requirements to your SEO company and discuss what more can be done to boost rankings and traffic.

Innovative Web Development Approaches that Boost Conversions

With the fast rate at which the web design industry moves these days, online businesses need to respond to such industry changes by applying innovative Web development techniques in order to keep up.

Digital marketing these days is highly competitive, so web designers cannot simply rely on using standard web design elements to showcase to the world. In order to attract consumer attention, meet, or beat online competitors and increase profits, companies are using innovative Web development approaches.

Here are some innovative development approaches that help boost business conversions:

• Card Style Interfaces

A popular style commonly seen and used in Pinterest is the use of card style interfaces which are very effective for having an organized layout of information. This style enhances the user experience, as it works well on multiple types of devices making it simple for users to read and navigate.

• Animated User Interfaces

While larger sized animations on the website are becoming less popular, the use of smaller animated user interfaces are increasing in popularity. While users are waiting for pages to load, they remain engaged viewing tiny animations. Capturing user attention and retaining it for longer periods of time helps businesses boost their conversion rates.

• Attractive Typography

Given the availability of a number of typography Web tools like Google Fonts, large, bold and attractive typefaces are visual elements which work well for grabbing the attention of potential buyers.

• Custom Imagery

Falling in line with innovative Web development approaches, discarding stock photos and replacing them with custom images which project the business brand and personality. Custom images not only attract potential business, but help consumers recognize your brand and build trust along the way. Once customers have trust in your brand, they are more likely to do business with you for years to come.

Taking on innovative Web development approaches involves experimenting with different design elements that stray away from standard design techniques. Being unique and forward thinking when it comes to Web development will keep you ahead of the game and more likely to boost conversions over time.