Canal+ the Bear.


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Quirky, slightly tasteless, but very funny. Canal+ show how to make a great viral. If only we all had that kind of budget….

You will never look a bearskin in the same way again……

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Should Euromillions be part of the UK deficit strategy?


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Why not win our way out of recession?

Euromillions winners Colin and Chris Weir

Can Euromillions help us pay off our deficit?

Ok, so I didn’t win £100 million this week. But haven’t we done well? It only seems a few weeks ago that Colin and Christine Weir strolled off with £161 million. In fact in the last six months we in the UK have won approximately £464 million pounds on the Euromillions lottery.  That is a serious dent in our national deficit. Remember, although the winnings are tax free, as soon as it goes into a bank account, it starts to draw the attention of the tax man. At this rate, we could write off the entire national deficit ( £900 billion ) in less than a millennium. But we could do even better, couldn’t we? If we applied ourselves and avoided other – national – lotteries, we could probably cut that by a third. We could carry on regardless in all other areas, just so long as we kept buying the tickets…..

 

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8 ways to keep your business blog fresh


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Content for business blogs.

There is little doubt that blogs are good for businesses trying to establish themselves online. For a start Google loves them. The steady stream of new content is exactly what their bots are looking for. The knowledge and authority that a company can impart through their blog encourages the customer to trust them and the keyword relevance that can be built into them helps natural search and relevance. However, sooner or later, we all get stuck for a topic for discussion. With the emphasis on remarkable content to engage our readers, it is too easy to put off blogging if there is nothing instatntly to mind to write about. Then inertia can kick in. We are always told that content is king, but where does it all come from? If you are a business and it is your blog, then it can only come from you. Here are some tips for content for your business blog….

A monkey with a laptop computer. How to keep your business blog fresh.

Keeping your business blog fresh needn't be a chore. | Dreamstime

1) Answer those regularly asked questions. FAQs are a great place to start. After all, you know that there are people out there who want the answers. If you don’t deal directly with your customers make sure that your front line staff tell you the queries they have to answer.

2) There is nothing wrong with spending some time on the buying cycle. Perhaps you can ask some regular clients about the processes they go through when ordering, or you can extrapolate from your own buying experiences. Presumably these processes will be different if you are a large company or a sole trader. This could be a good opportunity to remind your different customer segments of specific deals or arrangements.

3) What is happening in your industry? Is there any legislation on the horizon which could effect it? Is technology making parts of it easier or harder? Without beginning with the turn off words ” In my day…” you can explain how the industry has changed and what you as suppliers can now offer and will be able to offer in the future.

4) Your blog is on a website. Use Keyword tools or Google adwords to look for inspiration. Put in your own keywords and see what the searches come up with. There may be an angle you haven’t considered before. Use google alert on some of your keywords to see the type of stories that come up.

5) When people read a blog, they want it to be relevant to them. Case Studies are a great way to engage with your readers. It encourages them to empathise with customers who you have helped. Describe how you solved their problems and how happy the client was with the outcome. If possible get some direct quotes from your happy customer.

6) Are there seasonal issues  in your industry? Obviously if you make chocolate eggs or fireworks, you know when the spikes are going to come, but seasonal changes can effect all sorts of industries. If you produce van livery, won’t your customers be interested in how the salt on the winter roads might effect their paintwork? Or bright summer sunshine? If you are a plummer, get your advice out first about frozen pipes. There may be opportunities to extend your range of services by selling some specialist products or services that solve these tangential problems.

7) Get people to comment. Nobody likes to be the first person to comment. Yet comments are an excellent way of judging if your blogs are reaching the right people and have the right tone. Once people start to comment on your blogs, all sorts of opinions crop up and these are a good source of ideas. Don’t be afraid of encouraging your colleagues or friendly customers to comment on your blogs. If it is subject you know they are passionate about or have an expertise on, point the article out to them and invite them to comment.

8) Guest blogs can be really useful for a business blog. Try to find either an industry expert or a politician who can offer some authority on a subject. If you don’t ask you won’t get. You will be surprised how willing people are to write for you.

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My Twitter white paper

Twitter has always discouraged marketing activity, but it can be done.

However, I couldn’t find anyone who could give me a workable plan. So I sat down and wrote this. I used to work in newspapers, so I used them as a model, but I think the blueprint could be used in other areas. Please let me know what you think. It’s my first white paper!

a Twitter Marketing plan

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SEO for pictures


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SEO for Pictures

Lord kitchener in the famous poster

Pictures can be used to push YOU up the rankings.

Using pictures to optimise your website

When the World Wide Web was created, pictures were something of a burden. They were relatively large and slow dial-up connections meant that the page download speed was seriously effected. Consequently, you rarely saw a visually inspiring website and word heavy sites became the norm. The main search engines couldn’t evaluate pictures, so they were deemed useless for SEO.

The introduction of broadband allowed designers to use pictures more freely, but they were still regarded as a waste in terms of SEO. Competition between the search engines encouraged Google to introduce the “Universal Search” in 2007. Known by most as the blended search, it combines the search results to show websites, news feeds, blogs, videos and pictures. After four years, blended serach is still often overlooked. This can be an opportunity to place pictures on the front page of a search even if your website cannot get such pagerank.

How do you effect SEO for pictures?

daffodils in a wood

I am not a number. I am a daffodil. | Ian Britton FreeFoto.com

Pictures can be optimised for SEO just like websites. Firstly, you need to  ensure that the file name describes the picture. After all, no spider is going to know what it is if it is just called a string of digits. If your picture is a flower than call it by that name. That gives the spiders a chance.

Using ALT attributes for Pictures

Alt attributes were established to help with accessibility and were designed to help those who have browsers that don’t enable pictures or for people with visual impairment. However, they can also be use to help SEO. Always keep your SEO keywords in mind when you are filling in the ALT attributes box. The two won’t be mutually exclusive, will they?

Again, think keywords when you are filling in the description box. This box allows you the most space, so feel free to give a full, keyworded explanation. Here you can also include some relevant connections. For example, if you are placing a picture of Barack Obama, you could mention that he is a Twitter superstar, bringing together two highly searched entities.

Barack Obama and wife, Michelle.

Barack Obama, Twitter superstar. | Lawrence Jackson

Captions and copy

Ideally, the caption should be accurate and fulfil your keyword requirements. Having the picture surrounded by relevant copy is also helpful.

Putting your picture on a separate page

By far the best possible thing for SEO would be to have the picture on its own page. That way the entire page can be optimised. This can be achieved by creating a link for it out of the original page. If you do this, make sure that the link has a good description. Instead of ” click here” use “to see Barack obama, Twitter superstar, click here.”

Remember that web users are becoming more visual. Use pictures to their full potential and you can gain advantage over your competitors.

 

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