Top 5 Content Recommendation Tools for Social Media Managers

By Jessica Davis

With the continuous need to come up with new content to keep your social media audience engaged, curating great content can seem like a challenging task.

As they say, content is king, and its importance in the world of social media marketing cannot be understated. In order to do a good job of sharing interesting content with your audience and keeping them hooked to your page, you need to know and understand their preferences and post content that interests them.

Here are five content recommendation tools that can help you curate unique content for your readers.

DrumUp

DrumUp provides you with free content recommendations through its tool and allows you to schedule your posts too, freeing you from the worries of what you should post and when you should post on your social accounts. All you have to do is insert a few keywords into the tool and DrumUp will process them to give you the most fresh and relevant content suggestions in your stream. It also features an added control of negative keywords to refine your results even further.

DrumUp screenshot

Flipboard

This app brings to you all the recent content published in newspapers and magazines from all over the world. Flipboard offers you more than 34,000 topics to choose from, and you can access all this content through a smartly designed graphic interface that offers easy navigation and even allows you to store articles for later reading.

Flipboard screenshot

Klout

Klout works as a content recommendation search engine. By keying in the topics and keywords relevant to your business, you can unlock Klout’s suggestions in the form of articles and blog posts that will be useful in your social media marketing efforts. You can review and choose the ones that you think will generate most engagement and share them on your social accounts. The app, with its Klout Score feature, lets you measure the success of your social media posts and presents the data in the form of a graph for easy understanding.

Klout screenshot

Scoop.it

Scoop.it recommends articles for you to share in your social media circles based on the keyword search you run. Once you find the articles of your choice you can add a customized message to the article before posting it online for your audience. The good thing about scoop.it is it allows you to post on multiple platforms at one go.

Scoop.it screenshot

Bottlenose

This social media management app brings to you real time news and data. Bottlenose helps you identify new trends and directs you to opportunities that you can explore to create content and share it on your social accounts. It keeps you updated with trending stories allowing you to ride the social media wave with the most relevant and fresh industry stories.

Bottlenose screenshot

With these five topnotch content recommendation tools you will never face a dearth of content options as they will bring you the best and most effective content suggestions for all your social media marketing efforts.

Author’s Bio: Jessica Davis follows the social media and content marketing space closely, and writes about it extensively. She represents Godot Media – a leading SEO writing services firm.

Make It Your Business to Know Google Chrome Extensions

software-development-diagram-100101781You might be surprised to find out how some of the newest Google Chrome extensions can help your business run more efficiently or improve productivity to increase the bottom line.

You must select the ones that have the best benefits for your company and know how to use them properly.

With that in mind, check out:

Smartsheet

This app allows you to manage projects and work with team members.

It looks similar to a spreadsheet, which makes it easier for anyone to learn. You can set deadlines and even choose the priority level of each project. You can even create assignments within assignments.

One of the big benefits with this extension is that it allows you to attach documents, videos and other files so that everyone can have access.

You can also check your calendar and timeline to see how each project fits into your overall schedule and what is coming due when.

Business Hangouts

For those familiar with Hangouts will appreciate this app.

It includes special features just for businesses, such as the ability to manage who is attending your meetings and send out invites and reminders.

Another benefit that will be important to many businesses is the fact that you can include people who are not part of Google Plus. When you install it on Chrome, it only takes a click to set up a meeting.

Evernote

Listed as one of the top extensions in the article, 7 Killer Google Chrome Extensions for Your Business, Evernote is well-known but not everyone is taking advantage of its features.

For those who are always on the go and accessing information on multiple devices, Evernote lets you keep all of your notes in one place where you can retrieve them from anywhere.

It has been compared to the paper Post-It notes, but it actually does a lot more. You can even search for your notes and place everything together for fast access.

Wave Accounting

You can manage your own finances with this app.

It runs right in your browser and is ideal for small businesses. You have the option of entering expenses manually or allowing the process to work automatically. It also allows you to create invoices for your customers and even send them straight from your computer. You can even accept credit cards for payment.

Like many other complex and expensive software programs, Wave Accounting allows you to create reports and balance sheets so you can manage the financial aspect of your business.

Each of these apps works with Google Chrome and can provide a significant benefit for your business.

By using one or more of them, you can organize your time, documents and work flow so that you can keep your company on track. By automating as many processes as you can and using quick and easy apps to manage certain aspects of your organization, you can spend more time on other tasks.

These apps also allow you to function like any other business no matter how small your company is.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and technology.

Image App Bonanza: 10 Apps to Spice Up Your Content

According to ContentPlus UK, articles with images get 94% more views than those without. We have become scanners, racing through online posts and sifting for useful information.

Arresting images stop us in our tracks, and pull us into the surrounding text.

Beautiful butterfly image

This is a roundup of apps that I’ve personally road-tested for image manipulation. With the exception of PicMonkey, they are all installed on my iPhone right now.

Go forth and create fun, interesting photos. Just don’t let me catch you putting a “sunset” filter on your plate of salad. Don’t do that.

1. PicMonkey

Web app, Free with premium features
Handy, easy to use app that is great for banners, overlaying text, and resizing images. It covers much of the territory of Photoshop, without the long learning curve and big expense. My 8 year old kids started playing with PicMonkey and were cranking out great stuff immediately. Check out the “collage” feature.

2. KitCamera

Mobile app, Free with 99cent enhanced version
Successor to KitCam, which was acquired by Yahoo, and it’s the Swiss Army knife of mobile image editing apps. Great for live shooting as well as editing after the fact. This one is complex, but includes tons of pro photographer goodies, including filters, high speed shooting, and live editing. Check out the social sharing tools.

3. Vhoto

Mobile app, Free
Have you ever taken a great video, and wanted to pull a still image out for a thumbnail? Here’s your app. Vhoto will automatically find and suggest the best quality still images from a video clip. Use old videos or shoot a new one. Check out the Vhoto user community.

4. Flickr

Web and mobile app, Free with premium
Yes, I know you thought Flickr was gone. It’s not gone, but it’s been revamped, and looks better than ever. The mobile app is very easy to use, and will automatically sync up your photos if you like. Includes filters, pretty strong editing tools, and sharing. Did you know you can also upload videos?

5. Overgram

Mobile only, free
This app does one thing, but does it beautifully. Instantly add cool text to your Instagram photos. Choose font, size, text, and colors, and then save. Check out the beefier, paid Over app for even more editing tools.

6. Bubbsie

Mobile only, free
I had to include one completely fun one. Bubbsie makes it dead easy to create a “meme” image, by placing a thought or conversation bubble overlay on your images. Take a new photo, or overlay on an existing image from your gallery. Check out the picture frame feature.

7. Pixlromatic

Desktop, web, and mobile, free
The cool thing about this one (which I agree is unpronounceable), is that it’s so cross-platform. Use it almost anywhere. Take a photo with your webcam or device, or upload one from your library, and then enhance it with textures, backgrounds, and frames. Easy to use immediately. Check out the fun overlays (bubbles, fireworks).

8. Colorsplash

Web and mobile (special app for iPad), free
An App Store Hall of Famer, Colorsplash is the easiest way to colorize your photos. Turn your image black and white, and then selectively add color back to certain portions. Your colleagues will wonder how you did it. Check out the customizable brush sizes/shapes.

9. PhotoToaster

Mobile, paid app
Touch up, edit, crop, and highlight portions of your images in one app. Combines some of the best bits of ColorSplash and Pixlromatic, in an easy-to-use interface. Great for beginners, with lots of pre-sets. Check out PhotoMotion, from the same company, which lets you turn photos into videos.

10. PopAGraph

Mobile, free with premium upgrades available
Another cool tool for editing your photos, but it has some unique capabilities, including the ability to have separate filters on the background vs the foreground, multi-frames, and captions. Check out the video creator, with music. Share directly to Vine from within the app.

Have fun!

Note: I have zero affiliation with any of the above apps or companies, and no-one solicited these suggestions.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


10 Tool Tweaks The Cool Kids Use

Cool kid marketing tricks

Remember your cool friend in high school who was the first to figure out how to twist up black rubber bracelets?

The 2014 version, for me, is that marketing colleague who had her new Google+ cover optimized the day after Google changed things up. Some people always seem to be one step ahead with the ninja tricks.

Here are some useful, simple tricks I’ve added to my marketing repertoire:

  1. How to mention your friends by their first name only on Facebook – When you start to type the name of one of your friends, Facebook autocompletes for you. Sometimes this results in awkward sentence structure. To avoid that situation, after it autocompletes, highlight the whole name and hit delete. It will use only the first name.
  2. How to post shareable photos on Twitter – The best way to post photos on Twitter is to use Twitter’s camera icon and upload an image directly. If you share from Instagram to Twitter, it will no longer show the image inline (it shows up as a link).
  3. How to set up your name & title in a Google Hangout – After you’ve joined the Hangout, click the icon on the far left that looks like a lunchbox. That will open the Hangout Toolbox, with the “Lower Third” tool, and you can then complete your Name and Title (and logo if you wish).
  4. How to use the Rapportive Gmail plugin – If you use Gmail’s web interface, you can add the Rapportive browser plugin, which shows you the photo and social feeds for people you email (particularly useful in a sales scenario, since you can often see recent posts and job title). Just go to your browser’s extensions or plugins area and download it for free.
  5. How to add a hashtag column in Hootsuite – Monitor the conversation surrounding a particular hashtag easily. In Hootsuite, click Add Stream, select a profile, and type your hashtag in the Search box. Click Add Stream, and you’re good to go.
  6. How to do a specialty Google search – You don’t have to limit yourself to straight Google searches from the search box. Google’s special search operators page shows how you can narrow it down.
  7. How to add a watermark logo to your YouTube videos – Go to your Video Manager, then Channel Settings. Click InVideo Programming, and then Add Watermark. It will appear in the upper right corner, and will be clickable to subscribe to your channel!
  8. How to annotate your Google Analytics – This is so handy to keep track of important events in your business that may have impacted your traffic. (For example, if you attend a conference or release a new product.) In your analytics, on the main page, you’ll see a tiny triangle in the bottom center of the graph area. Click it to open the annotations, and click “create new annotation” to add your note.
  9. How to make the price tag show up on Pinterest pins – If you sell products in your business, and you’re using Pinterest, you should include the price in your pin descriptions. When you include a dollar sign with the price in your pin description, Pinterest will automatically add the price tag ribbon across the top left corner.
  10. How to delete LinkedIn endorsements you don’t want – Every once in a while, someone will endorse you for something you might not want appearing on your LinkedIn Profile. Click edit profile, and then click the edit icon in the Skills & Endorsements section. Click Manage Endorsements. Uncheck the box next to the endorsement(s) you wish to hide. Don’t forget to click Save, and then Done Editing to retain the changes.
Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


10 Great Sites to Easily Add Graphics to Your Content

By James White

Great images and illustrations are crucial to generating viewer interest and engagement with your site. However, unless you’re a professional photographer or designer, finding fresh, interesting graphics to add to your text can be difficult. Luckily, there are sites online that offer great visual content that can be easily added to your site.

Unsplash

Unsplash features free, copyright-free, high-resolution photos. They post 10 new photos every 10 days, so you won’t run out of great images for your content. You can subscribe to the site to get alerts when they post new images, too.

Picjumbo

Like Unsplash, Picjumbo offers free photos to use with your content. There is a new photo posted every day, and you can subscribe to their newsletter to stay on top of new offerings.

NVD3.js

This content site, NVD3.js, may have a strange name, but it has great content. Need a chart for your article or blog? NVD3.js gives you a plethora of pre-made graphs you can customize with your data. You’ll need to know a little about coding to use this site, though.

Lettering.JS

Lettering.JS is a jQuery plug-in that allows you to create your own graphic text, kerning type, logos and more. If you ever wanted to jazz up your content’s text, this is the tool to use.

Scrollorama

Have you ever thought, “Gee, I wonder how blogs make their text zoom and spin when you scroll down the page?” Well, Scrollorama can make your content dreams come true in the form of a jQuery plug-in. This tool will help you make text flip, zoom, fade and practically jump through hoops.

Mapbox

Trying to explain what your town would look like with a few adjustments? Decided to map out your next road trip? Want to illustrate what the Union would look like if France never sold the United States all that land? If so, Mapbox can help. This tool helps you create the map of your dreams and post it with your content.

Flat Icons

Elegant Themes offers 384 flat icons you can download for free. All you have to do is press the download button, and all of the icons are at your fingertips in just seconds.

Ease.ly

Infographics are a huge crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t like ingesting bite-size information with a scoop of interesting illustrations? Ease.ly is one of the top free infographic tools online. You can use it to build your own custom infographics, like this example from CJ Pony Parts, for your site.

Meme Generator

Okay, infographics are hot right now, but nothing can beat the meme when it comes to graphics popularity. You can create your own meme to fit any occasion using the Meme Generator. It allows you to edit already popular memes to fit your needs, or you can make one from scratch. Don’t feel like making or editing a meme? Just use one that someone else created (with attribution, of course).

Openclipart

Clip art may be the old stand-by for graphics, but it’s never gone out of style. Openclipart offers thousands of images that you can download and use. There’s everything from cartoon bunnies to drawings of sticks and everything in-between.

Text got you down? Take any or all of these tools out for a test drive, and you’ll never have boring content again.

Author’s Bio: James works for Inbound Marketing, Inc. and is the founder of InfoBros. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, cooking, and blogging about health, tech and communication. Connect with him on Twitter at @JGtheSavage.

Give your site a pulse with live chat help

“A shopkeeper should always have a ready smile”

One of the most impactful changes my company has made in the last couple of years is our addition of live help on the website. It has made a big difference in sales, and I’m convinced that it’s our version of the “ready smile” mentioned in the Chinese proverb.

The cheery greeting “bonjour!” rang out every single time I entered a shop on our trip to France years ago. It didn’t matter if the shopkeeper was in the back, sweeping out front, or behind the counter. It made us feel welcome–and more likely to linger and strike up a conversation.

live chat is a smiling shopkeeper

To power our “ready smile,” we’re using a service called SnapEngage, but there are a lot of other options out there, including LiveEngage, Moxie’s Chat Spaces, and Velaro.

According to a Velaro white paper, “although statistics show that over 66% of all ecommerce shopping carts are abandoned, online customer service (live chat) improves the chance of a purchase by 40%-60%.”

But it’s not really about the technology. It’s about having a person with a ready smile on the other end of the chat. We often get people question the popup box, “are you a robot? or are you a real person?” Our staff is likely to reply with a friendly joke. What better way to make a connection with a visitor than making them smile?

Here’s how to maximize the benefits of live chat on your website:

  • Be selective about where you use the proactive popup. Consider disabling it on pages that show video, or other media that might be interrupted by the popup.
  • Wait a few seconds before it pops up. Let the visitor come all the way in and take a peek before you prompt the chat window.
  • Make sure someone is staffing it. It does take a commitment to staff the live chat; make sure you have internal staff ready to respond if you have the chat window enabled.
  • Train employees to react appropriately to different questions. Incoming questions from visitors can be unpredictable…it can be sales oriented, a customer question, a technical question, or something completely off the wall. Be sure your chat staff is prepared. Does the sales team want an email address collected from prospects? Ensure that message is communicated to those staffing the live chat.
  • Analyze the data (what types of questions, where are they coming from, what browsers are they using, what pages are they lingering on). You’ve got a treasure trove now. Use it to inform your content strategy, your marketing materials, your sales messaging, and perhaps even your product documentation.
  • Define the purpose of the popup (is it customer support, or sales, or both?). Make sure it’s clear to your visitors, and your chat staff is informed.
  • What’s your business personality? Share with your chat staff the tone you want to communicate. Are they free to use smilies? Can they make jokes? We go for a tone of friendly professionalism; often it’s a good idea to follow the lead of the visitor.

A live chat service on your website can be a direct conduit to your visitors’ thoughts.

But perhaps more importantly, it’s a technological version of your “ready smile.”

How do you greet your website visitors?

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee


Will 3D Printing Replace Traditional Printing?

By Elaine Love

The media is buzzing about the “newest kid on the printing block.” What marvelous potential exists for this new technology! Just think what 3D printing can accomplish for the medical community, the automobile industry, architecture and even the toy industry. Will 3D printing ever reach the widespread popularity of the print industry as we know and use it currently?

Pause and hit Rewind

3D printed guitar

How does 3D Printing Work?

Three-dimensional printing is a process by which layers of material are stacked creating a physical object. Materials such as plastics, fabric fibers and even human tissue are fed into the machine to create the designs. Depending upon the machine, those layers could be created through stacking layers of light (FTI- film transfer imaging), fusing heated plastic filament or metal wire (FDM – fused deposition modeling) or laser technology with at least seven different types of metals (SLS – Selective laser sintering).

Sound complicated? Relax. I don’t pretend to understand exactly how the technology works. Do you know all of the exact technology behind how your smart phone works? Neither do I, but we still use our phones constantly.

What Benefit does 3D Provide?

Construction

Imagine being able to create an intricate architectural design to visualize exactly how your building or sculpture will look prior to construction. Imagine being able to create artificial limbs for accident victims or to correct birth defects. Imagine being able to create a spare part for a machine long after the model had been discontinued.

Through contour crafting it is possible to build an entire home: concrete foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring and all of the furnishings. A 2500 square foot house could be built in 20 hours. Imagine the benefit in restoring homes for victims of natural disasters.

Medical

Artificial limbs, prosthesis, can be created to assist accident victims and correct birth defects. 3D printing can produce medical devices such as those used in my spinal fusions. It is scary to think what could be created from human tissue as this technology advances.

Transportation

Prototypes of automobiles, planes, boats and other mobile devices can be created and tested; design adjustments can be made prior to the expensive final production stage.

Toys

Can you imagine giving a child a 3D computer to create their own toys? At least it would be more engaging and positive for their mind than watching violence on TV. A few decades ago a child was given an erector set; next came Legos. Imagine telling a child to go to their room and create their own toy. At this point the complexity of programming the machine prevents this scenario, but will that change in the future?

Blogger

How would a blogger utilize the services of a 3D printer? Imagine bringing your concept to life? The familiar quotation is “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Adding an image to your text enhances the visual appeal and engages the reader. Granted, becoming an excellent photographer to capture the 3D image to include in your post could present a challenge, but then you are up for a challenge. Tap your incredible imagination. Let me hear from you.

The possibilities are endless

What’s the Catch?

Three-dimensional printing is not new; 3D has existed for three decades. 3D printing has been too expensive, non-accessible, inefficient and too slow. Times are changing. According to Lisa Harouni of Digital Forming, detail and quality are improving; the price has been reduced to about $300 and the machine will now fit on a desktop.

What’s the problem?

The programming complexity makes the machine very difficult to use. At this point 3D Printing machines are not user friendly; however with rapidly advancing technology, this could change in the next few years. Three-dimensional printing has the potential to create a manufacturing revolution. Some are touting 3D printing as the answer to ending “made in China.” When manufacturing is cost effective, time efficient to produce, inexpensive to ship and accurate (machines eliminate the human error factor), 3D has the potential to bring the manufacturing industry back to America.

Will 3D Printing Replace Traditional Printing Companies?

No. 3D and traditional printing as we know it now serve two totally different purposes. It’s like asking if an exotic alcoholic drink will replace green tea. Both have their value, but they fill entirely different purposes.

The current fiercely competitive printing industry is expanding. A new online printing company will be challenged to the max to go head to head with the printing giants like Vista Print, PrintPlace.com, or PsPrint. The printing industry is not declining but thriving. Competition in the printing industry is intensifying. UPS and FedEx are trying to capture their own piece of the printing industry market.

A business card created with 3D printing shaped as an exact replica of an entire set of golf clubs may be fun and unique, but imagine attempting to place 20 of them in your wallet.

3D Printer in Every Home?

Does the possibility exist for 3D printers to be in most homes and offices? It’s possible. Is it probable? It was only a few decades ago when Ken Olsen, founder of the legendary minicomputer company DEC said, “there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” Now we all have at least one computer and probably several when you include our smart phones.

As the volume of information increases and more and more records must be created and retained, does it really make logical sense to create three-dimensional contracts, three-dimensional business cards, three-dimensional letters or postcards and three dimensional grocery lists? No. Will the marketplace still need business cards, legal documents, restaurant guest checks, and printed marketing materials? Yes. The majority of printed materials as we know them will continue to be of significance.

There is a greater likelihood of electronic media replacing some paper documents than 3D printing replacing traditional printed materials. Three-dimensional printing serves an entirely different function in the marketplace than traditional printed materials.

So did we spark your creative juices? How could you potentially take advantage of 3D printing in your online business?

Author’s Bio: At home in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Elaine Love writes about small business and the mindset for success so essential for an entrepreneur. She is the author of Emotional Ice Water. Find her on Twitter @elainelove44 or Elaine4Success.com

Top 10 Business Collaboration Tools

By Joel Parkinson

What would the workplace be, without collaboration? Collaboration is a positive trait because it’s where people work together (even if they belong to different departments or divisions) towards achieving a common goal. Without effective business collaboration, companies would probably end up with a lot of in-fighting among co-workers, and deadlines wouldn’t be met, and a lot of money, resources and time would be lost.

What are the tools used for effective collaboration during these high-tech times? Let’s list the top 10 business collaboration tools.

Skype

Skype has been around offices and manufacturing centers, as well as at home, for quite some time. Most use Skype on a daily basis, for both official work and leisure purposes. Skype has been hailed as a “great” collaboration too because it allows for team brainstorming, and it enables workers to check on their clients quickly, as well as provide time for relaxing chat-sessions, which can add sparkle to remote workers.

Yammer

Yammer is more than just your typical company social network site. Its feeds also provide workers and managers with a constant stream of ideas, articles and more. Yammer also encourages employees to think differently, without worrying about the distractions of the wider Internet. Yammer is a service which is best-known for promoting cross-departmental collaboration.

Projectmanager.com

Projectmanager.com was founded in 2008 by four people who wanted to develop a more innovative toolset for managing projects. Today, projectmanager.com has customers in over 100 countries, and is one of the fastest project management service provides on the Internet.

Google Docs

Google Docs has been around for a long time too, and yet it continues to provide a solid platform for all types of collaboration. It perhaps provides the simplest method for having multiple individuals work on one document, and keep things organized.

Teambox

Teambox is an innovative project management system that allows everyone to piggyback on other ideas, and discuss new project ideas in real time.

Facebook Member Pages

While closed groups on Facebook are nothing new, more office or work-related communities are now shifting towards a platform, where office or work-related requests are posted around the clock, and colleagues give and receive feedback across different time zones, any time, any week or month.

Basecamp

Basecamp is now considered as the world’s number one project management software. It offers to-do lists, Wiki-type web-based text documents, file-sharing, time-tracking and a messaging system. It’s also available in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Danish, Russian, Hungarian, Japanese and English versions.

Status.net

Status.net allows users to do micro-blogging, file-sharing and groups via desktop or mobile applications. It also allows people to integrate their tools into their own domain, as well as integrate with other social networks.

GoToMeeting

GoToMeeting offers more than just email or instant messaging. It allows office managers or supervisors and workers to distribute meeting invitations, audio-conference in VoIP, and even dial a toll-free number. It’s a very straightforward web-conferencing tool for small and medium-sized businesses.

Socialcast

Socialcast is a microblogging tool that fully integrates SharePoint, Outlook and others. The collaboration tool also provides a solid analytics suite, as part of its admin tools.

The new business collaboration tools are very helpful when it comes to providing a seamless, real-time and all-day, all-night system for communication, progress tracking, memo or document-sharing and much more.

Author’s Bio: Joel Parkinson is a writer for the web site projectmanager.com, where he has recently been researching online project management. In his spare time, Joel enjoys surfing and running.

How to Boost Blog Visits: Make Your Blog into a Mobile App

By Natalie Bracco

Just because you know how to write an interesting blog that gets visitors to come back time and time again doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to make your blog accessible to people who access online content through mobile devices. Without a tech background, it might seem impossible to turn a blog into a mobile app. Luckily, with the right tools, even a newbie can make blogs mobile-friendly and reach even more readers.

Make Your Own App with Conduit Mobile

Conduit Mobile

Creating your own app might sound intimidating, but you don’t need a degree in computer programming to make one that puts your blog into the hands of people using mobile devices.

A free tool called Conduit Mobile will do most of the work for you. Conduit Mobile takes content directly from your blog and makes it easy for mobile phones to access. You can even add YouTube videos, RSS feeds, and other social media to stay connected with your readers. Conduit Mobile is currently free for all users.

Go Mobile with GoMobi

GoMobi

GoMobi is similar to Conduit Mobile, but it’s slightly different in that it creates a .mobi domain for your site’s registrar. With GoMobi, you can quickly add your content to a mobile app that lets readers view your pictures, videos, and words. If you can upload images to your website, then you can use GoMobi. GoMobi even adds a link that will take visitors to your full website, allowing them to peruse all of the content that you have available. To use GoMobi, you have to purchase it from one of the product’s authorized dealers, such as eNom or DigiWeb. Typically it will cost about $7.50 per month.

Easy Integration with Uppsite

Uppsite

Uppsite claims that it can take your Web content mobile within two minutes. Its designers created it specifically it to work with popular publishing platforms like WordPress and Twitter, so you can integrate them into your mobile site easily without any technical knowledge. Uppsite also lets you add advertising to your mobile site without bogging down your content with ugly images. That could easily help you make more money. Uppsite comes in three plans to choose from: Basic, Premium, and Deluxe. The cheapest plan costs $9.99.

Use a Plug-in to Reach Mobile Readers

MobilePress

If you already use WordPress for your blog on your website, then you can add plug-ins that will instantly make content readable on smartphones. The basic version of WPtouch makes your WordPress content available without slowing down your website. If you want to maintain the look of your current site and access additional features, then you might need to upgrade to WPtouch Pro, which comes in at $39 per site.

MobilePress is another plug-in that makes your WordPress content easier to see and use on a mobile device. It, and several other plug-ins like it, is totally free.

Mobile devices are quickly becoming the most popular way for people to access online content. What steps have you taken to make sure all the people out there have a good experience when they visit your site?

Author’s Bio: Natalie Bracco writes about technology and blogging, especially on devices like LG cell phones. She also writes about finance and lifestyle. You can follow her on Twitter @NatalieBracco.

Resources

6 Ways to Take Advantage of QR Codes in Your Marketing

by
Celina Conner

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QR Code Sample
Put yourself in this scenario:

While shopping in your favorite store, a flyer of a newly launched product was handed over to you by a sales agent. The flyer did not say much, but the product has quite captured your interest. You wanted to know more but somehow the agent could not answer more of your questions. Instead, he advised you to look into the quicker response (QR) code printed at the bottom of the flyer. The instruction is just to scan the code in a place with Internet access using a mobile device (e.g. smart phone, tablet, etc.) app. You did as told and you get access to exclusive content, the history of the product, price quotes, and special promotions.

In this article we will tackle 8 steps on how we can use QR codes properly in marketing our products.

1. Identify your target market.

Knowing your target market is the first step in propagating the use of QR codes in marketing. Studies state that most technology-aware people and mobile device users are those in ages between 25 and 40. So if your business’ target demographic is not in range, this marketing tactic might be more difficult for you to implement as it would be hard to encourage them to make good use of the codes.

If your target is in this age range, look into the ideal public places and the right media to post and distribute your QR codes. Majority of people in this age group are readers of newspapers and members of famous social networking sites like Facebook. So it’s suggested to put your QR codes in portable magazines, newspapers and websites (as side panel ads) for your audience to comfortably scan the codes right in their homes, offices, etc.

2. Post on the right spots.

Aside from newspapers, magazines and social media for targeted customers, you may also post your QR codes in other places for potential others. However, you have to make sure that they are the right spots. Good examples are on business cards, giveaway coupons, storefront displays, restaurant menu, product label, e-mails, newsletters where the codes can be scanned conveniently.

Bad examples, in contrast, are in moving vehicles like trucks and public billboards because getting the image from there is not that easy. When you’re moving, you most probably won’t take close attention to anything than the road itself. Another bad suggestion is in airplane magazines and in risky zones because passengers are not allowed to turn on or connect to the Internet for safety. These are places where people will just ignore the codes, no matter how striking they are.

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3. Give useful campaign information that will enrich their lives.

In using the QR codes, you have the liberty to post it just about anywhere as effective without changing the code every time you have an updated content. The good thing about the QR code is that it serves as a bookmark icon or shortcut image that links your website and content to your customers instantly. So you can just alter the content behind it for them to get a different experience and depth of knowledge every time they scan the code. This form of advertising is a living and evolving one. Hence you should take good advantage of it by providing rich information that will make them come back next time.

4. Link the QR code to a specific and exciting message.

A common flaw is to just link this two-dimensional tag to a generic company website or home page. You have to remember that these are mobile people that are scanning the codes. So instead of a lengthy text, you must incorporate a creative short video or direct them to the page relevant to their interest (e.g. freebies, contests, discounts, etc.) to keep them around.

For example, if they are scanning the code from the back of a multivitamin bottle, the recommended linked items would be the nutrition contents about the multivitamin, the benefits it brings and instruction to post their own testimonies of the product online to win prizes.

In most cases, when both the product and company are still not known, customers would want to see info on the product, its uses and promotions rather than take an overview of the profile of the company, manufacturer or distributor. If you’re linking to a specific article in your web page, make sure that you have optimized pages for mobile devices.

5. Use them to get more “likes” and “follows.”
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You can link the codes to land into your Facebook fan page or Twitter account for a quick hit on the Like and Follow buttons. Attach an on-going contest or promo with it so people can be more engaged and you can establish a long-term marketing strategy after using the QR code as “bait.”

6. Integrate the codes to extend your marketing ad.

A great example is that of the Victoria’s Secret poster for its “Sexier than Skin” campaign. Victoria Secret had clutched into ingenuity when it placed the QR code right on the revealing area of the nearly nude models in the picture, to make users want to know more about the “secret” in their line of lingerie. People will always want to be surprised so position the code well in your print, instead of placing it in the most bottom part or the side lines.

Using QR codes is now a growing fad that will stay for years to come. It is an easy way to get customer information and track their interests by the content they access. If you use QR codes for marketing your offerings and brand, you are interacting with both potential and existing customers in real-time and entice them even more to interact with you. Posting QR codes is a fun way of advertising that is low-cost but effective when used properly.

Author’s Bio:
Celina Conner is a Yoga Instructor, an alumna of Marketing Management at Martin College Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Krizia. She has a passion in cooking and formulating vegan recipes.Follow her adventures on her Twitter.