Browsing articles in "Thoughts"

LinkedIn, quickly becoming SPAM City. How to unconnect.

Mar 12, 2013   //   by   //   Thoughts  //  1 Comment

LinkedIn is quickly building a city of spam. If it doesn’t correct this problem, then LinkedIn could go the way of MySpace.

500-connections on LinkedInIf you have 500+ connections on LinkedIn chances are you’re also getting 500+ bunches of email spam. Chances also are that those who have 500+ connections actually don’t know every one of those connections, so maybe this number is a slight embellishment?

Attending SMX West in 2011 and sitting next to and talking with one of the co-founders of LinkedIn, Konstantin Guericke, I get the feeling this is not the way LinkedIn was designed to work.

The vanity factor.

The problem with LinkedIn, like many social outlets, is that the vanity factor comes into play and distorts reality. What I mean by the vanity factor is everyone wants to see their number of connections be impressive and high. It just feels good. Everyone wants to be ‘Liked’, but before they know it they have followers that they don’t know from halfway across the globe constantly trying to contact and sell them something they don’t really need.

Unfortunately, the urge to be connected and popular may be a bigger problem than LinkedIn can control, but with the 800 pound gorilla (Facebook) and its 1 BILLION users nipping at LNKD’s heels it might want to try and pay attention to this problem, at least a little, because at any given point FB could jump into the professional networking game–in a big way.

Keep in mind, as you add your (greater than) 500 connections – or better yet become a LION and accept thousands of connections – that your connections can download your personal contact information once you’re connected, build their external databases and then spam you outside of LinkedIn for all of eternity!

It’s time to clean up my neighborhood.

Admittedly, I originally played the social vanity game on LinkedIn. I was the nice guy accepting invitations from people who had similar interests or groups. I had over 700 connections. That’s when I grew tired of getting spam emails in my LinkedIn inbox, which is connected to my business email inbox! I grew tired of not being able to read my feed because 1 or 2 specific connections was consuming pages of it with updates. Most recently, I grew tired of getting e-cards (usually virus fetching links) in my inbox from connections, also with 500+ connections. So I went ahead and did something about it. With no regard to potential social bad Karma or even worse, not showing highly in social organic results “16 times in the past 3 days” I went ahead and unconnected from everyone I actually did not know. It took a good bit of time, but was relatively painless. I’ll show you how below.

Having high levels of social media and SEO experience [and knowledge] I realize that the number of connects can influence ranking order of search results, both in the LinkedIn engine/results and especially in Google’s organic SERPs.

In the end, you can keep the 500+ connection monicker and that great vanity feeling that comes with it. I’ll keep my inbox slim, void from LinkedIn spam from now on.

How to disconnect on LinkedIn.

Disconnect, unconnect, unlink from connections on LinkedIn in 3 easy steps:

  • STEP 1 – CLICK ON CONTACTS:

click-on-contacts

  • STEP 2 – CLICK ON REMOVE CONTACTS (in upper-right corner of page):

remove contacts

  • STEP 3 – SELECT and REMOVE CONTACTS:

remove connection

  • STEP 4 – ENJOY and PROSPER:

removing linkedin contacts

 

Enjoy your social professional network–as you can now more easily read your network’s updates and see what the people that are really in your reach are up to.

Less is more, especially when less is real.

Does a website redesign bring more traffic (i.e. business)?

Feb 7, 2013   //   by   //   Thoughts  //  No Comments

The short answer to: does redesigning your website help business is – YES!

And we can prove it: look at the Analytics chart below. This is just one recent example. We have many more.

website redesign converts more visitors

Analytics chart showing a tremendous increase in traffic and conversions due to a website redesign.

UPLONE recently redesigned this client website and the returns on investment were immediately very positive! New traffic to the website was up over 300%, less than 30 days after the re-launch (month over month). More importantly, the B2B website’s Bounce Rate was down by 57% and Time on Site was up by another 41% – again, in only 30 days… which means that not only are more folks coming to and visiting the business’ new website design, but it also means that they are staying longer (evidently liking what they see) while looking at more pages – NET-NET converting to more business.

I could go on and on listing the benefits to the investment in a website redesign but instead I’ll leave you with just 3 reasons:

  1. Design – If your site is over two-three years old it is probably looking pretty stale, and so it reflects on you business.
  2. Technology – If your site is over two-three years old it probably has older technology that newer browsers OR MOBILE DEVICES don’t support, like Flash or outdated HTML that can be a security risk.
  3. Search Engine Optimization – If your site is over two-three years old it probably has old optimization techniques that Google and other smart engines are now penalizing in their new algorithms like Panda and Penguin. Your search engine rankings may be dropping as I write, just because of its old, deprecated website content.

Logo & tagline design for Episcopal Academy Networks

Jan 28, 2013   //   by   //   Portfolio, Thoughts  //  No Comments

EA Networks logo & tagline design, Newtown Square, PA

logo designed for EA Networks

Logo designed for The Episcopal Academy, for EA Networks

  • Project: The Episcopal Academy’s post graduation networking group EA Networks asked UPLONE to design a logo and tagline. Specific colors requested by client were to be rich blue that suggested professionalism and strong value, and a light blue that suggested friendliness and approachability.
  • Description: Logo concept had to reflect collaboration, connections and community. “The power and value of EA extends well beyond graduation. It touches students, parents, alumni, faculty and administration. It connects us. Now, EA Networks provides a way to access the power of our community to” Read more: at www.episcopalacademy.org
  • Client: EA Networks/The Episcopal Academy
  • Uses: Print, website, web, marketing collateral, ads, business cards, etc.
  • Specifics:
    • Designed in vector format, so the client has full range scalability and flexibility
    • Tagline: Access the Power of Community

10 reasons why your sales team needs marketing automation

Jan 3, 2013   //   by   //   Thoughts  //  1 Comment

identify sales prospects

Marketing automation for the sales and marketing:

  1. Identify the companies that are visiting your business’ website
  2. Make more informed sales calls to prospects based on pages the prospect has visited, files downloaded, email correspondence, and inputs into your search box
  3. Automated lead nurturing – set it and forget it until your lead contacts your sales person for more information
  4. Enable lead generation campaigns easily
  5. Sophisticated drip email marketing with automated logic
  6. ROI reporting to determine which resources are spent well
  7. Identify which prospects are flashing buy signals
  8. Identify which prospects are most likely to pull out the wallet and spend based on personalized lead scoring criteria
  9. Provide qualified leads from your website
  10. Maximize marketing efforts and budget spend for sales

How can UPLONE Interactive help automate YOUR marketing campaigns for Sales?

We can help you integrate powerful software into your business marketing, including the website (with site search tracking), your CRM (Netsuite, SaleForce, etc.), blog, email marketing and landing pages. This software will identify – down to a granular level – your website traffic and list the actual companies that are visiting your website. It can even automate your email marketing, and that will likely save enough time by itself to return full investment! Drag-and-drop functionality will enable anyone to build professional looking landing pages.

Follow this link if you’re interested in learning more about how UPLONE can help your business sell more with marketing automation and lead gen nurturing

Trade show banner signage design

Nov 29, 2012   //   by   //   Portfolio, Thoughts  //  No Comments

Retractable trade show banners designed by UPLONE Interactive

3 trade show banners

Retractable trade show banners designed by UPLONE

  • Project: Client asked UPLONE to design their trade show collateral and banner signage to promote vertical services and quickly grab attention and show product features.
  • Description: Trade show signage had to reflect VIBE, its brand colors and what it has to offer end-users. VIBE is a new, free app designed for both iPhones and Androids that lets you use your smart phone to pay at local merchants, receive targeted coupons and offers, and to get great consumer rewards.
  • Client: VIBE by FreedomPay, Inc
  • Uses: Trade shows, promotional displays.
  • Specifics:
    • Designed at high resolution of 225 dots per inch. The signage looks crisp up close and at far away distances.
    • Printed on retractable banner material that rolls up and is easy to transport.
    • Most graphics were created in a vector format, so that the images would scale to the larger banner signage format without loss of quality in appearance.

Plone CMS web design for global software company

Nov 27, 2012   //   by   //   Portfolio, Thoughts  //  5 Comments

Website redesign, content management system, lead generation for client

CMS website design

Global CMS website design for software client

  • Project: Client asked UPLONE to re develop their website into the award winning Plone CMS architecture and out of an internally grown content management system.
  • Description: “RES Software is the proven leader in dynamic desktop solutions, is helping IT organizations manage increasingly complex and hybridized technology environments with software that makes IT easier and less costly to manage. With technologies that automate, manage and secure corporate IT, RES Software helps IT professionals master the impacts of IT consumerization, changing employee work styles, bring-your-own-device initiatives and cloud technologies. RES Software patented technologies are used by a global customer base, and include superior customer support.” For more information visit www.ressoftware.com
  • Client: RES Software
  • Uses: Website, CMS, lead generation, lead nurturing, marketing automation, blog posts, etc.
  • Specifics:
    • Designed in the Plone content management system, so the client’s global marketing department can take control of updating website content, press releases, case studies, and adding images
    • Multilingual website for an international audience with offices in the Americas, Netherlands, UK, France, Germany, Norway
    • Set up sophisticated workflows and permission based localization
    • Regional sub-sites for German, United Kingdom and French speaking regions
    • Plone website security is second to none! Updates are only occasional, as opposed to other CMS’s that are weekly
    • Extensive site-search feature with advanced and topic drill-down options
    • Searchable partner market place with filters
    • Vertical business solutions gallery with case study examples
    • Integration with SalesForce.com CRM, website lead nurture and tracking software and outbound marketing automation

10 tips for App Store Optimization (ASO)

Nov 17, 2012   //   by   //   Thoughts  //  6 Comments

Here are 10 tips and recommendations to increase your app’s show in iOS and Android App Store search results

APP STORE OPTIMIZATION: These are in your direct control.

  1. The title of the app: much like with SEO, title keywords and phrases are important. It’s not certain whether the location in the title matters, but honest optimization is important, so make the title relative to what the app is about.
  2. App description: much like the title, the description should hold the key words and phrases you want to rank for. This is where I like to ask myself, “what would I type in if I were looking for this app”. Keep the readability natural.
  3. Keywords: my tip here is use this sparingly. Don’t get carried away with amount of words – it’s quality over quantity.

TIPS TO FOCUS ON: There are several factors that are a bit out of your direct control like app downloads, app deletes after downloaded and used, frequency of updates from developer, frequency of usage, etc. The following tips will help control these indirectly.

  1. Make a great app design. If the user experience is on point then your job of getting the app out there will become self-fulfilling. Users that love the app will tell their friends, and all relevant algorithm key performance indicators (KPIs) will click.
  2. Take great screenshots. Great design will grab attention and get users to download the app. Folks don’t want ugly apps on their beautifully designed device.
  3. Make a great app icon: much like #2 above, users do not want unattractive icons on their home screen. They will hide it in a folder or even delete it if it is not designed well.
  4. Pay attention to feedback! Besides the fact that app stores use rating scores in their search algorithms, if there is a problem or bug in the app it needs to get resolved quickly or ratings will enter a slippery slope. Feedback and ratings are FREE user advice, which has high value. Pay attention to feedback and evolve the app continuously.

Pulling it all together: FINAL 3 OPTIMIZATION TIPS.

  1. Give your users out-of-the-box share-ability. Integrate options to email and share via social media cool factors of the app (i.e. Facebook and Twitter).
  2. Give high volume users the opportunity to review the app. The ones who use it the most are going to likely say the best.
  3. Mobile PPC advertising: Promote the app where it lives… on the smart phone. This way, users see the ad, click the ad, then download the app. This can be done via Google, Bing, etc.

Make the user interface and experience the top priority. Sounds simple, but many fail. Easy to use, useful apps will not only survive but will climb to the top of app search rankings.

Bloggers can help also

A great review on a popular blog can up downloads quite dramatically.

A few major mobile review blogs include:

  1. Touch Arcade
  2. AppStorm
  3. Appolicious

 

EWP Home Improvement website redesign & CMS development

Nov 7, 2012   //   by   //   Portfolio, Thoughts  //  6 Comments

Website redesign and Content Management System development for client

Web design and development

Web redesign and CMS development

  • Project: Client asked UPLONE to redesign their website to promote vertical services, show off a gallery of previous installations and integrate and promote the business’ Facebook page.
  • Description: EWP Home Improvement is a local small business that’s proud of the fact that they’ve been in the business of satisfying the home improvement needs of customers for over 18 years. Its business has progressed and evolved throughout the years meeting the diverse needs of today’s homeowners. Visit website: www.ewphomeimprovements.com
  • Client: EWP Home Improvements
  • Uses: Website, CMS, installation promotion, blog posts, etc.
  • Specifics:
    • Designed totally in a content management system, so client can take control of updating website content, posting blogs and adding images
    • Gallery for photos of customer home improvement installations
    • Google Maps integration and embed
    • Facebook business page ‘Likes’ that shows friends in network that already like the page
    • Site search feature
    • Featured blog posts with vertical bathroom category focus

VIBE logo design

Nov 1, 2012   //   by   //   Portfolio, Thoughts  //  No Comments

Logo designed for VIBE

Logo design by UPLONE

Logo designed for FreedomPay, Inc., for VIBE

  • Project: FreedomPay asked UPLONE to design a logo for an exciting new project called VIBE. Specific colors requested by client were to be vivid, bright green and orange.
  • Description: Logo concept had to reflect VIBE and what it has to offer end-users. VIBE is a new, free app designed for both iPhones and Androids that lets you use your smart phone to pay at local merchants, receive targeted coupons and offers, and to get great consumer rewards.
  • Client: FreedomPay, Inc
  • Uses: Print, website, web, portal, iOS app, Android app, ads, business cards, etc.
  • Specifics:
    • Designed totally in a vector format, so the client has free range scalability and flexibility
    • GREEN: PMS: 368c; RGB: 0,240,0; CMYK: 66,0,100,0; #00f000;
    • ORANGE: PMS: Orange 021c; RGB: 247,142,30; CMYK: 0,53,100,0; #f78e1e;

If graphic design were to determine the election, Romney would lose.

Oct 23, 2012   //   by   //   Thoughts  //  2 Comments

First off, this post is not a push for one candidate over the other. It’s not political. It is however a statement about the importance of good looking and well thought out design and how this design can affect outcomes, no matter what the scale. In a close race it is important to pay attention to all variables, because you never know what could be the deciding factor, and in this example, one side is clearly up on the ‘attention to details’ scale more than the other.

For this argument’s sake let’s look at and compare logo designs from both sides of the 2012 presidential debate, one from the Obama campaign and one from Romney’s. The design of these logos represent their respective campaign visually, so you’d think they would be great, no?

1st let’s look at Romney’s campaign logo…

Romney logo design

Omney? Who’s Omney? I don’t understand. Oh… Romney. I get it now..

For some odd reason though, it does make me want to take action – and brush my teeth.

Romney Aqua Fresh logo similarity

Although the above logo has serious issues, I do believe it is better than this one:

Romney logo design 2

Omney Yan? Who’s Omney Yan? Wow, even worse.

Ok, ok, let’s be fair – I do give Mitt some credit. His marketing has improved a bit from when his people were walking around with big catcher’s mitts that said Mitt on them, back in 2008. We all know how well that one worked out.

Seriously though, the logo is not being helpful to his campaign. A few standout issues are:

  1. Lacks readability!
  2. The ‘R’ looks like a slippery slope. That’s not a good subliminal message to send.
  3. The font is frail and jagged.
  4. The font’s kerning (space between characters) is increased too much. It suggests separation. The letters seem bipartisan in a way.
  5. etc, etc, etc.

Now let’s look at Obama’s:

Obama logo design

Obama logo image

Obama logo design 2

Ok, besides being just more aesthetically pleasing to look at, Obama’s logo is:

  1. Strong and balanced… hmm, those sound like good principles to conceptualize in a campaign logo.
  2. Fonts that are interesting, fresh and have nice, flowing curves.
  3. The circle shape has the ideal ratio ‘to throw’ into a square profile thumbnail that could easily fit into a social media icon (i.e. Facebook & Twitter). Huh… I wonder if that was a happy accident or planned and strategic?
  4. Symbolic of hope, forward motion and growth (reminds me of farmland – you know the stuff that provides food, the essential stuff we all need to thrive and survive).
  5. etc, etc, etc.

Imagine me as one of the undecided… who may vote for Obama in November just for the simple fact that I won’t have to see anymore of the substandard visuals that are coming out of the Romney campaign. With all his money you’d think he’d be able to afford better graphic design. Design matters.

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