In this Edition


The Plusses of Google+


What if connecting on the web was more like connecting with people in real life? That's exactly what Google is trying to do with their new social project called Google+. New features such as chat, circles hangout, and sparks have been added throughout Google:


With Circle, Google+ lets you stay in touch with friends, co-workers and family in much the same way as Facebook. But unlike Facebook you can pick and choose what people know about you depending on which "circle" they're a part of. Using easy-to-use, drag-and-drop functions, lets you put friends in one circle, your family in another and your co-workers in still another. From there you can easily decide which posts, images and other information you'll share with each circle. Finally, a way to let your friends know you went to a "rave" while keeping your Aunt Edna from finding out, while you let professional colleagues know you've joined an important professional association!


Utilizing video chat and a camera-switching feature Google+ Hangouts brings a group of people together for a face-to-face chat. This innovative tool switches who's on camera based on who's talking. That's a whole lot easier than having several video feeds going at once.


Sparks creates a recommendation engine based on your interests. Put those interests into Sparks and when you login to Google+ you'll find a collection of videos and articles that will most likely jibe with your interests.

Mobile Features

Mobile features are a big plus in Google+. They include, seamless photo uploading and sharing, and group chats. The group chatting function (called Huddles) allows you to message instantly from your phone to a group.

Google's' oft-stated goal has been to do social media better than those playing in the current social media space. It remains to be seen if Google+ plusses will edge out any minuses.

By Anarita Droukas


Four website copywriting mistakes to avoid


Web gurus around the world proclaim that "content is king" when it comes to websites. Sadly, the proclamation doesn't meet with reality. Look at most websites (b to b in particular) and you quickly discover that content is crap, especially when it comes to website copywriting. Here are four good ways to get your content squarely onto the "king" side of the table where it belongs.

No one cares that you're a "global leader"

Consider this opening sentence at one b-to-b website:

"Our products are used throughout the globe for an extremely wide variety of applications. Through constant innovation we stay ahead of the competition."

You'll find this one (or a variation of it) as the opener on millions of b-to-b websites. Well ho hum…It says nothing unique. Indeed, it is so not unique that it can apply to just about any company on earth that supplies a product in more than one country. So why would you open with a sentence like this, rather than a benefit you offer, or a problem that you can solve?

"I can do the website copywriting myself"

The truth is, if you're a fairly good writer and you can find the time, you might be able to do your own web copywriting—at least for the initial copy for your site. But as countless sites on the web with one or two 3-year-old press releases and an ancient blog entry from 2009 prove, you probably won't have the time. Hiring someone who is good at website copywriting is cheap money, given that you'll take a lot longer to do it and your time is probably worth more than someone who is an expert at website copywriting.

Website copywriting that favors features over benefits

Consider for a moment these features: It's quieter, it has automatic temperature control and sleek new styling: It's got to be a new car, right? Actually, it's a refrigerator. Food stays cold so it doesn't go bad in a refrigerator. A car gets you where you want to go. Both are benefits and they're the main reason people buy them. If you're selling abstract or esoteric web-based services, you'll need to get the benefits across quickly and clearly lest your prospects bounce right off your site because they can't get past the features to find out how you can help them.

"I can do my own SEO copy writing"

You'll notice a few words highlighted in this copy. Frankly, they're the keywords for search engine optimization that will get our website ranked higher on Google. While you can likely come up with some keywords that pertain to your company, good SEO copywriters don't guess, they use analytics to find the best keywords and to determine keyword density. For example, I know that the keyword phrase "website copywriting services" got 5,400 searches on Google last month and that there are 1,330,000 web pages that have this keyword phrase, yielding a search/competition ratio of 0.00406. Compare that to the keyword phrase web site copywriting, which got only 2,900 search, but has 19,600,000 competing pages and a search/competition ratio of only 0.00015. That small change in wording makes for a drastically different result in your success at climbing search engines.

By John Decker


Why "design" should always take a back seat to SEO


While black-clothes wearing, sucked-in-cheek web designers may cringe, the time of designing super flighty, flashy website designs is over. Website design and development is still important, but unfortunately many firms lose track of what matters. First, your website needs to be found. You can win every design award in the country, but if your site is not easily found Google, it's invisible Second; a good web design should contain clean, simple and connected design elements.

Go for clean and simple

Think of Shaker furniture. It is highly sought after because making something simple, highly useable and pleasing from a design standpoint pays off both esthetically and functionally. The same is true for a web page going for usability and pleasing design will win every time.

Navigate to sensibility

Quirky navigation schemes might seem cool and innovative but study after study proves that they only contribute to high bounce rates. Web customers are impatient. When they can't find what they want they'll quickly leave your site and go elsewhere. Navigation should follow a pattern that people are used to. No one copyrights a navigation structure. Find one that you think works great then copy it.

Connect the dots to consistency

The Interior pages of your site should have a design scheme that follows that of the home page. People want to feel connected to the rest of the site. Taking them on a wild design ride in the inner reaches of your site might make them queasy or at least unsure of why they're there

Make it easy to contact you

I just got off a large, national non-profit website where I spent a half-hour looking for their contact information. I finally gave up. Make sure that doesn't happen on your site. Make you phone number, email and other contact information visible and easy to get to right on the home page.

Be fresh and inviting

Content is king. If you have to make a budget choice between design and actual new content, content should win every time. It's the best way to engage customers and move your site up in the search engine ladder.

By Nate Tennant

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