What is RSS and how can it help you market your site?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary and is a way to get information out to subscribers of the RSS ‘feed’ automatically. As your site is updated so the feed is automatically updated also. ‘Feed readers’ or ‘feed aggregators‘ are used to view the feed items, which usually include the item headline and a summary of the text all linked back to the site containing the article/content.

So how would RSS help in marketing your site? If you have a web site that publishes new content often, RSS can be very beneficial to your customers or clients who like to be kept informed of what your company is doing. For example, yours could be a company that produces software – vendors and users of the software can be kept easily informed of updates through a RSS feed. Or you may run a club where you have weekly live performances – regulars can be kept updated of the latest performances via RSS.

So all this serves to make information from your site/company easily available without your needing to actively send out emails, e.t.c. to keep interested parties informed. Since feed items are linked back to your site RSS can drive traffic back to the site regularly where you could provide details of new products or sale offers e.t.c.

Click on the Cynergise rss button below to see how it works…

Don’t Sacrifice the Success of your Web Site by Choosing Price over Quality

Getting a web designer to build you a web site is like buying any other service – you get what you pay for.

You could pay anywhere from tens of thousands of dollars to just a few dollars for a new web site today.

However, by choosing the cheapest designer, are you really getting what you need? This is an important question. Do you require a web site just because everyone else seems to have one or is there any real value in having one? For example. can your business benefit by having an effective online presence?

Today’s web designer needs to wear quite a number of hats to be able to build an effective site for their clients. Because the landscape of the Internet is ever-changing, designers must keep abreast of the latest developments in server-technology, scripting languages, database-technology, open-source options, success-stories, search-engine-optimisation and general Internet Marketing as all of these are likely to have a strong impact on the success of a web site.

As with all other professions, this knowledge comes with a cost attached to it. A designer who knows and applies this valuable knowledge when creating a quality web site is likely to have a higher fee than one who has only the basic skills to put a site together.

Which would you rather have building your site?

Deal Or No Deal website at dealornodeal.com

Deal Or No Deal is one of those games on TV that just gets viewers hooked. The game itself is simple enough but it’s the human drama that the chosen player goes through that makes for compelling viewing.

Now there’s another way to get hooked – www.dealornodeal.com, the official web site. It hosts the usual stuff; game downloads for the desktop and mobile phone, mobile phone ringtones, news about each show, the ‘Deal or No Deal’ hall of Fame, how to get tickets for the show, information about Noel Edmonds, a little quiz to see if you’ll get the Banker’s respect and a forum for fans to discuss anything and everything ‘Deal Or No Deal’ related.

Unfortunately, the site itself doesn’t seem to capture the poignancy experienced when watching on TV, which I believe is what really pulls viewers in to watch every day. The forum, where most die-hard fans are likely to spend the most time, hasn’t been designed, aesthetically, to match the rest of the site and so loses even more of the atmosphere the site needs to retain. As branding goes, not enough effort has been made on the forum.

Rather oddly, when on the forum page, the sub-menu doesn’t work, and so the only way to get away from the forum is to go to the Home page, via the ‘Home’ link, from where everything is once again available.

All in all, a bit of a rush job on this site.

Go to www.dealornodeal.com to check it out.

Will Facebook survive past 2008?

Facebook is the Internet’s current darling. Everywhere you go people are talking about it, about how they’re finding long lost friends and getting back in touch with family around the world. Practically everyone I know has a Facebook presence, including some in Third World countries where good Internet access is sporadic at the best of times. Facebook has taken the world by storm; But is the storm about to pass?

What is the appeal of Facebook? The primary pull must be the ability to find and re-connect with long lost acquaintances, be they family, friends or work-mates. It’s easy to keep track of what everyone is doing and to drop in a comment or two on their ‘wall’. Why bother with email addresses when you can compose and send a message from within Facebook itself? Create and update your photo gallery and let your ‘friends’ see them and comment on photos. Use one of the thousand applications to interact: play a game of Mafia or Scrabulous or ‘bite’ a friend as a Vampire or Werewolf. Send a friend a ‘drink’. Join a group, or groups, that match your interests. There are a lot ways to interact with your ‘friends’ on Facebook. As viral ideas go, this social network is king at making them work.

But the question is: What real value does it bring in the long term? After the initial buzz of spending hours and hours doing, and let’s be honest here, pretty much nothing that has added value to one’s life, what next? Will there be another web site that can offer the same ideas and more? Of course there will be. That’s the nature of the Internet. It’s ever changing, like the ocean, and the next tide will bring a new social network that does much of the same and much much more. Users will slowly start to migrate away from Facebook to the newest, best social network of the moment and take their ‘friends’ with them.

This won’t take long to happen. As it stands, access to Facebook has been banned by various government agencies in the UK, US and Canada as well as by numerous private corporations worldwide. Employees were beginning to spend thousands of work-hours on the site costing everyone millions. However, work is where most people get their always-on Internet access, so all those thousands of workers will be looking out for a new network or site that hasn’t yet been picked up by the IT department. So, how long can Facebook survive as-is? If it is to make it past the next tide it needs to change what it offers to the users. Add more value so even government agencies and corporations can reap some benefit of having their workers spend time on it.

Do you belong to another social network that offers more value than Facebook? Disagree with my thoughts? Tell us about it below.

Do you respect your own web site?

With the advent of so many social networks like Facebook, Bebo, MySpace etc, many web site owners are losing focus when it comes to their Internet marketing strategy.

Because such social network sites make it easy most of the marketing is done, primarily, through them and this is foolhardy.

Whatever reason your web site exists; to sell products, raise awareness of your services etc, it needs to be at the centre of your strategy with multiple traffic sources leading back to it.

Why? Because that’s where you, as the web site owner, have full control over content and how it’s presented to your potential or current customers. It’s where you can reinforce your brand and make sure that the next time they come directly to your site and not via Facebook or something similar. It’s also where you can capture their email addresses so you can now market directly to them, tailoring your offers to make them more attractive.

And remember, social networks come and go – you may have experienced some success using them at present but the moment they’re sliding downhill and hemorrhaging users you’ll have to repeat all that hard work on the next big site, where your market has migrated to.

It makes more sense to drive traffic to your own site and keep them there so you don’t have to keep chasing after them.

How Barack Obama raised over $50million for his Presidential campaign using the Internet

So far this year, Barack Obama, the Democrat hopeful for the United States presidency, has raised over $50 million for his campaign, a lot of it using the Internet.

How? Well, firstly he launched his own social network, at MyBarackObama.com where his supporters can sign up to plan events, meet up and, importantly, donate to his campaign chest. Taking low denomination donations of around $5 and up, he has ensured that any and all of his supporters can contribute. This has allowed the Barack Obama campaign to raise more money to date this year than any other presidential candidate for next year’s election.

Secondly, Obama has a very active presence on all the ‘happening’ social networks: Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, as well as his own web site at BarackObama.com with a very smart email-capture form on the home page. The site itself is clean and very informative.

On Facebook, he has 139,481 friends/supporters as well as a Obama Campaign application. The Facebook application description reads

The Obama application puts the most recent campaign video and news on your profile and in front of your friends. It also enables you to easily communicate with your friends in early primary states where support for Barack is especially important.

Facebook, a network both Sol and I will be writing a bit about in future articles, is the most popular social network today and Obama’s campaign manager clearly knows how to leverage it.

Search for Barack Obama on YouTube and you’ll get a list of various videos posted by his campaign as well as by supporters.

His MySpace page is one of the cleanest I’ve found on MySpace – most pages are so congested with all sorts of flashing stuff that MySpace is something I very rarely visit these days. It has a good amount of information on the man himself along with photographs, video and a blog.

So what does all this mean? Obama’s tapped, successfully, into the ‘now’ generation. He’s reaching the grassroots at their computers, where more and more people are spending their free time, quickly out-pacing the TV.

Nothing gets information out faster than the Internet and evidently it’s not too bad at getting money in quickly either!

Using Descriptive Domain Names To Drive Relevant Traffic To Your Web Site

For a while now Internet marketers have known that using descriptive domain names increases traffic. What am I talking about?

Consider this domain: http://www.freechickenandcoke.com/ This domain name pretty much says it all, “free chicken and coke”.This is a promotion being run in the US by Chick-fil-A, a fast food restaurant, in conjunction with Coca Cola where the user can register to be sent a coupon for a free chicken meal and a Coke.

The advantage of using a domain like this is that users need only take one look and will know whether it’s of any interest to them or not. They don’t need to visit a web site with a vague domain name to figure out if it holds anything of interest. Essentially, having a descriptive domain removes a step for the user and the goal of any well managed web site is to get relevant information to the interested user in the quickest way possible.

This is especially true for web promotions, like the one above by Chick-fil-A. The aim is to drive traffic to the promotion as quickly as possible, and at that only relevant traffic e.g. a vegetarian who drinks fresh juice is unlikely to bother with this promotion.

Using a descriptive domain also makes it easier to conduct a viral campaign, as a catchy domain name is far more likely to be passed around amongst friends than a vague one. The very fact that the domain name is descriptive nullifies the need to explain the promotion, which will make it speed along faster.

Can your business improve by running a web promotion and what descriptive domain could you use?

30 Days of Night

To promote their new horror movie “30 Days of Night”, on the Internet, Sony Entertainment have created a web site at www.30daysofnight.com. On the site are 2 ways that they’re promoting the movie and other wares:

  1. An online multi-player game
  2. A email capture form

The free-to-play online multi-player game is crafted in such a way that players can team together and the object is to stay alive for 30 days. This is literal: the game plays for a total of 30 days and every 6 days that your team stay alive a new level is unlocked.
As marketing goes this is pretty brilliant as it means you, as a player, are marketed to constantly for a total of 30 days (providing of course you don’t die at the fangs of a vampire before then!).

The second, more conventional method is the email capture form where you sign up to the Sony entertainment newsletter and are sent periodic mail regarding news, updates, DVD releases e.t.c., from Sony Pictures.

(You have to be 18 to play the game)

Apple slashes the price of the iPhone

Apple Corp. announced it’s slashing the price of the iPhone, their uber-cool Internet phone.

Apple has dropped the 4GB version altogether and reduced the price of the 8GB model to $399, approx. GBP197, $200 less than when the phone first launched in July.

Although the 4GB version has been dropped, the remaining stock is still on sale at $200 less than the launch price, at $299!

Check out the iPhone at http://www.apple.com/iphone/

Do you market your website?

It seems everyone has a web site now – since there is no actual organisation in charge of the Internet it’s difficult to gauge exactly but estimates say that as of mid-2007 there are about 30 billion web pages (not sites, mind) on the Internet.

So, if you’re a web site owner trying to get across your products and/or services, how are you marketing your site?

Many web site owners we know seem to to be of the opinion that in simply having a web site new customers will automatically find them and their revenue will jump up. How? How is a web user (your potential customer) going to find your web pages and differentiate them from 30 billion other pages?

Most shops (brick & mortar) today sit in a shopping centre/mall, of maybe 2 or 3 floors, perhaps with 20 or 30 shops, most of which are selling different wares. It’s rare, unless the numbers make sense, that two shops selling similar wares will be placed next to each other. The shopping mall attracts shoppers and some of these will fall into a shop without there having to be much marketing to get punters in.

Now think of your web site as a shop. Think of it sitting in a shopping mall of a few thousand floors, amongst a few million other shops, many of which are selling exactly what you are. Oh, and because your site may be new it sits at the very top of the mall, nowhere near where most of the shoppers are circulating (as your shop gets more popular, it moves closer to the ground floor). Not a brilliant analogy but you see the problem.

The Internet is a fierce marketing battleground and the only way to win on it is to be in it. So spend some time with your web design company or a Internet marketing consultancy and work out a strategy to get your target market to see your web site, because if they don’t know you exist how will they ever become your customers?

Greenerclicks.com – help save our environment when you do a web search

I came across a really interesting concept today. If you’re a prolific Internet user you’re likely to be using search engines frequently. Wouldn’t it be great if every time you did you contributed to helping save our environment?

That’s where www.greenerclicks.com comes in. From their About Us page :

“Every time you search the internet using greenerclicks.com you raise money for charities and non-profit businesses dedicated to tackling green issues. It’s that simple! Make your internet searches count, make greenerclicks.com your search engine of choice.”

Since greenerclicks.com uses the google search engine for their searches you still get the benefit of getting the best result-set.

3 ways to Strengthen Your Brand using the correct email address

Branding on the Internet can be done in many ways and one of the easiest, if not the easiest is by using your own domain name in your email addresses. This may seem like an obvious thing to do but all too often we see email addresses in the form “companyname@ispname.com” where the only branding going on is by the Internet Service Provider that provides your email needs. Much too often companies register their own domains but doesn’t make use of the email facilities that are provided along with the domain.

Today, using email-forwarding and POP3 mailbox settings, it’s possible to use an online email service like Google Mail or Hotmail or traditional email clients like Outlook, Thunderbird e.t.c., to manage your email whilst using an email address in the form myname@mydomain.com.

But why would you want to? Consider that email has become the most widely used communication format today. If you’re reading this article on our web site the chances are you have your own Internet access and your own email address. If you use your own domain name every person that you send email to is going to see the email address and understand that the domain (the ‘mydomain.com’ bit) probably has a web site attached to it and that all they have to do to visit it is type into their browser www.mydomain.com.

That’s the first way in which you can strengthen your brand. The second is by making use of the “From” alias so that it reads something like “From: Mr. A. Name of Mycompany Ltd., www.mycompany.com”. Most of the time, only the name of the person is used in the “From” alias. By correctly utilising the “From” alias, you’ll provide the email recipient with a lot more information including your company name and your web site address.

Thirdly, always make use of the “signature” tool that practically every email client, web-based or not, has built-in. The signature, once set up, is automatically added to the bottom of every email you send out. This is one of the most powerful branding tools as there is no limit to what you could put in the signature file. For example, your signature file could read:

Mr. A. Name
My Company Ltd.

e: a.name@mycompany.com
w: www.mycompany.com
t: +44 123 456 7890

Sale, this week only: all prices slashed by 25%!! Click here to see the sale

New stock coming soon.

Using this simple tool, every email you send out with this signature effectively acts like an ad for your sale. It drives traffic to your web site where you can further strengthen your brand and will likely get you some sales too!

By using these tips, every email you send out can push your brand in three different ways. Not bad for something that only takes a few minutes to implement!

Meta-tags – do they matter?

In the early days of the Internet, search engines made heavy use of meta-tags to index sites. Meta-tags like the “keywords” tag gave the site owner the opportunity to describe in short everything their site was about so that a search for a particular keyword in a search engine would return all the sites that contained that keyword in their “keywords” meta-tag. Of course there were other factors that determined how a site was indexed and classified but that is basically how a “keywords” meta tag was meant to operate.

As you may imagine, this left unscrupulous Internet-marketers, otherwise known as black-hat Internet marketers, a gap wide enough to drive a bus through to exploit, which they did (Exploit I mean. Not sure how many black-hatters know how to drive a bus.). The “keywords” meta tag of a site was padded out with as many keywords, relevant or not, as were allowed so that a search for ‘chalk’ would return sites that sell ‘cheese’! This meant that search engines weren’t any good in returning relevant results and they quickly re-structured their search algorithms to discount the “keywords” tag.

So the question is, do meta tags matter today. Sure they do, but only a few of them have any real impact when a search engine calls to index your site. Although most Internet marketers don’t bother too much with the “keywords” tag it’s still a good idea to put in a few relevant tags just to be on the safe side. The search engines are forever changing their algorithms and you can never tell when the “keywords” tag will become important again.

So, the important tags to keep are:

<title>Your page title here</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Your page description here”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Your keywords here”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow”>

The most important tag, at this time anyway, is the “title” tag. This is the title of your page and search engines make heavy use of it when classifying a site. It’s always a good idea to give each page on your site a short descriptive title, including relevant keywords, to help a search engine index the page.

Following this is the the “description” tag. Take a look at any google search results page and you’ll notice that some of the results have a great description and some don’t. If the “description” tag hasn’t been used for a particular site/page, a search engine has to pull off some information from the page itself to fill in it’s description of that page. This means that for pages that haven’t a “description” tag may have rather non-descriptive descriptions! Help the searcher by adding a clean description to each page of your site so they know exactly what they’re likely to find there.

Next is the “keywords” meta-tag. As discussed above this tag isn’t very important at the moment but there’s no harm in filling it in anyway. Kepp it clean and only use keywords that are relevant to your site, the services you offer and items you sell.

Lastly is the “robots” tag. This looks like this:

<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow”>

The meaning behind this tag is as follows; The “index” directive instructs a search engine’s indexing robot whether it should index the page or not. If you don’t want it to then it would be set to “noindex”.
The “follow” directive instructs the same robot whether it should follow links on the page. If not it would be set to “nofollow”.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all robot files support this tag, however it’s still a good one to have as it’ll help search engines that do support it to index your pages the way you’d like them to.

I hope this short article has cleared up some of the mystery surrounding meta-tags. If you’d like any more info be sure to contact us and we’ll be happy to help. Alternatively, leave a comment below.

Welcome to the new Cynergise.com site

Well, it’s happened! We finally got around to re-designing the cynergise.com web site.

Sol and I have long thought that we needed to re-do the site to serve our clients better. The old site really didn’t provide any value to our clientèle and we really wanted to extend our service past the actual project-work we did.

So, what’s this new site about? We hope to provide you with information on Internet marketing, branding e.t.c., really anything that will help you to take your site to the next level. Internet marketing is a vast subject, and particularly one that changes frequently to keep in step with the technology of the day, which as we know changes almost weekly!

So we hope this site will be your first stop to check out what new stuff you can implement on your sites. Be sure to subscribe to our email service, using the boxes on the right, as we’ll be sending out emails packed with tips once in a while. Don’t worry, we won’t be spamming you with emails every day – we respect our clients & readers so expect an email every few weeks.

Well, we hope you enjoy using this new site and do drop us your thoughts using the Comments box below. We’d love to hear from you.