Opinion

If You Want to be as Successful as Obama

With the world watching Obama on inauguration day, it was inevitable that people would carefully analyze his speech from a variety of different angles. But I’m sure not even his young, hotshot speechwriter Jon Favreau (sorry, not Mikey of Swingers fame) foresaw that Obama’s speech would offer some helpful insight into all of our future online content.

With it well known that politicians are the kings and queens of rhetoric, what techniques of theirs can we implement into our own work?

The Hook

It’s no mystery that any good piece of writing has to hook the audience right away. For Obama, this meant utilizing language that kept us hanging on his every sentence. If-then clauses kept us asking a collective, “If what?” (See a shameless example in this article’s headline.)

In terms of online writing, pose a question in your headline. With all the numerous blog posts and articles out there, there has to be something to set your article apart. And if the headline can already get your audience thinking and asking questions, you have a significant leg up on your competition.
(more…)

Worst Blog Offenders

Blogs have finally reached that point where they are practically a staple in our daily internet cruising. With such diversity available, blogs end up serving many different purposes. Whether you’re surfing the extensive repertoire of blogs for fashion, celebrity gossip, sports, or metaphysical enlightenment, the basic goal of any good blog is to inform and entertain.

But with blogs being free and easy to set up, there are sure to be many that fail to meet this simple goal. Today we salute some of the most atrociously awful blogs. In fact, these blogs don’t just fail—they represent the absolute dregs of the blogosphere.

Worst Marketing Blog

Jack in the Box has always had slightly different advertising tactics (why exactly is their mascot a half man/half antenna ball, and why isn’t that feat of genetic science being studied?) But their blog takes the talking car accessory a bit too seriously. In fact, this forum is supposed to be the official MySpace page of one “Jack Box.” Displaying fabricated interests, place of birth, and children (you guessed it, Jack Jr.), I can’t help but feeling bad for the intern who had to spend an afternoon coming up with these inane pieces of fake trivia.
(more…)

Social Media Charm School

There’s no reason to talk to anyone anymore. Seriously, why would anyone want to risk calling someone and having an awkward conversation, or (gasp), talking to them face-to-face? I know I don’t. It started with texting a few years ago and then led to social networking sites and Apple’s iChat app. The advent of all these services has made it possible for me to quit talking (with my voice) to most people, except of course my coworkers (who I have to look at and talk to at the same time!) and my family.

In any event, I talk much less than I used to but communicate with many more people than I thought possible. If I am not messaging them on iChat or commenting on something they posted on Facebook, then I am reminded frequently of their status updates or blog posts. But this doesn’t mean I am a social butterfly. I am a reserved type of personality, and social networking has allowed me to become more so. I just maintain a lot of vague conversations while staying within my comfort zone.
(more…)

iePlexus Marketing Is A Recipe For Online Business Success

Family mementos are an important part of passing memories and traditions from one generation to the next. For most, these cherished items include jewelry or photos – but for Long Island, New York resident D. Boyd, they’re pots and pans.

In fact, Boyd still uses some her grandmother’s cookware passed down to her by her mother. But these aren’t just any pots and pans, they are cast iron.

“My mother used cast iron constantly, and I learned to cook using those pans,” said Boyd.

There’s no childhood memory better than that of delicious cooking smells wafting from the kitchen. Boyd said her mother would often make her scrambled eggs for breakfast. And if she was lucky, she would make her favorite dish, “German meat patties,” for dinner. The meat patties weren’t anything complicated – just a combination of hamburger meat, onion, egg, bread crumbs, and spices. But they were scrumptious nonetheless.

Decades later, when Boyd’s parents were elderly, she and her husband moved in with them to help out.  Boyd began doing most of the cooking using her grandmother’s cast iron.
(more…)

Search News Special: Web 2.0

Search engines and Web 2.0 have an unusual marriage. Here in the social media corner of the metaphorical room, we’ve long held the belief that a successful social media and Web 2.0 marketing campaign would contribute positively to organic search engine rankings. We’ve come to this conclusion not just from hopeful thinking, but from solid statistical analysis. Do one well, and the other will follow. Search Engine Land just ran an article about this very phenomenom, citing specific examples of links from social media sites that improved ranking. But all too often these kind of results are treated as an abnormality rather than the norm. The fact of the matter is that it’s extremely difficult to get online, let alone run a marketing campaign, without incorporating a least some aspect of web 2.0 or social media. Think about your daily web activities, and I bet most if not all of them involve some component of the read/write web, whether it’s social networking, blogs, or a simple interaction beyond the passive user. Bottom line, we can’t escape social media and Web 2.0, and the same goes for the search engines and their algorithms.
(more…)

Search News Recap 11.24

We only scratch the surface of the search engines when it comes to news on our blog here at iePlexus, and I think we need to devote a little more time to such a broad and important subject. From here on out, I’m instituting a weekly search news recap, a place where we can review and discuss the most recent developments in search engines, ranking, optimization, and technology. Although we don’t directly provide search engine optimization here at iePlexus, it’s vital to consider the engines in any online marketing campaign, and news relating to that subject is just as significant. Also, with any social media advertising or web 2.0 marketing campaign, greater exposure in the search engines is often a byproduct of effective work, so it makes perfect sense to be stay informed. I’ve always been an advocate of a comprehensive, all-inclusive approach to internet marketing, so despite the additional work, I’m just going to have to create a new blog category and start sifting through the archives for relevant posts. Sympathy is definitely appreciated.
(more…)

Respect Your Readers

People do read online. In fact, you’re doing it right now. Many past surveys have claimed that people don’t read content online, but they do, and web content writers, designers, and developers have no excuse for furnishing pages with meaningless blather. Creating evocative text takes longer than most deadline-consumed writers are willing to spend and costs more than most business owners are willing to pay.

The 2007 Poynter Institute’s Eyetrack study found that nearly two-thirds of online readers read all the text of a particular story once they begin to read it. About half of online readers are methodical. That means they start at the beginning of a story and read word-for-word through the end. The other online readers are scanners. The study also revealed that online readers were drawn to navigation bars and teasers, while print readers preferred large photos and headlines.

Word Cloud

(more…)

Election Day ’08 – Pick Your Post and President

Around the nation, today is a very important day in politics. It’s also a landmark day in the history of our nation, as political, gender and racial barriers will be broken no matter what the outcome. Either the first woman Vice President or the first African-American president will be elected today, re-defining hundreds of years of American politics. It’s an exciting day for our country and a testament to the changes we’re undergoing as a young nation.

This election was very much an interactive, online affair. The amount of information and sheer volume of political commentary has eclipsed any news event in the brief history of the web. More people got their information from online sources than ever before, with MSNBC estimating 44% of us relied on these websites for our news, commentary and stats. This certainly highlights the profound ways the web has shaped many aspects of our culture and will continue to in the years to come.

In the spirit of today, iePlexus is running two different polls, or elections of our own. First, you can select which presidential candidate you voted for by participating in our poll (in the sidebar on the right). Second, we’d like to give our readers the opportunity to suggest future topics for posts. If you have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see covered in our blog, leave a comment and we’ll take it into consideration.

Good luck to all the candidates today, and don’t forget to vote!

Why Do We Blog?

Blogging seems like such an established part of the web experience that it’s easy to forget it’s only been in our lives for eleven years. If fact, if you’re on the hunt for the beginnings of the web log, you will eventually find yourself in April of 1997 at Dave Winer’s blog, Scripting News. By our eyes, jaded with eleven years worth of blog improvement, this first post looks unimpressive.

Impressive or not, however, it would prove the catalyst that sparked an online revolution. And, somehow, that first post (nothing more than a small string of words and links) became the precursor to the more established, higher tech blogs of today.

But there is still a fundamental question at the bottom of the phenomenon—what made this odd viral form of information exchange take off so quickly and so pervasively? In light of our busy schedules and the time commitment it requires, why do we sit down at the end of the day to blog?
(more…)

Design Matters

Being what I consider an industry veteran (I’ve been building and marketing websites since 1998), there’s always been one constant that separates the successful sites from those that fail: good design. It’s not the only rule to abide by, but it has very few exceptions. With the plethora of content management systems and website templates out there, it still baffles me that site owners don’t take advantage of these resources and still expect their sub-par design to have a chance against competition. I don’t claim to be the expert on this topic, but I certainly can spot a website where the owner has taken the time to consider form, function and presentation versus one that has enlisted cousin Jim, who’s a “webmaster,” to put together a company’s internet presence. Sure, saving a few bucks on a designer seems like a good idea, until you realize that the only traffic you receive is from a link in the design hall of shame (see this digg and this website). No where is this commandment of good design necessary than in e-commerce. When your site’s main purpose is to convert visitors into sales, a good design can be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and a poor one can stifle even the best marketing. Let’s look at some components of good and bad web design in the e-commerce industry:
(more…)