Five Social Media Mistakes to Avoid on your Website

If you own, or are working on starting a website that you want other people to see, you will definitely need to harness the power of social media.  In many ways, proper use of social media today is just as important as search engines like Google, and for some sites, it can drive just as much traffic.

While most website owners know that social media is an essential tool, most of them don’t really understand how to put it to good use. In fact, most webmasters make the same common mistakes over and over again, which can dramatically reduce the effectiveness of their social media marketing. Look over the following five mistakes, and make sure you’re not making them for your site.

1 – Mixing Business (site) & Personal Accounts

Mixing Business

In most cases, your website should have its own page that is not associated with your personal page.  While you can typically manage a business or website page from your personal login, that should be the extent of the association.  You don’t want to have everything mixed together or it will only cause confusion and annoyance for everyone involved.

When you have your personal account commenting and updating the website page, your friends and family will see every update.  This will quickly get them annoyed with you, and they will end up hiding all your posts.  In addition, if you’re not posting from an official name that is dedicated to the website, the followers of your page may get confused.

This is an easy mistake to avoid, so make sure you take the time to always post from a dedicated website social media account whenever possible.  It will take a little extra time up front, but it is well worth it in the long run.

2 – Not using Paid Advertising

Paid advertising

Even if you have thousands of people who ‘like’ or ‘+1’ or follow your social media account, each post you make will only be seen by about 10% of the total number of people associated with the account.  There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but the bottom line is that 10% is not that many.

In order to drive that number up to 100%, and even beyond, you need to use paid advertising.  Yes, this will cost you money, but it is really quite affordable. Of course, if you are not making any money with your website, this might not be the best idea.

If you are, however, it is absolutely essential, and here is why:

  • Targeted – You can choose exactly who sees the ‘sponsored’ post
  • Effective – Social media paid advertising has been a proven way to drive traffic and build followers
  • Easy – You can set up advertising on a post in just a minute or two
  • Customizable – You can choose exactly how long the ad should run, how much you want to spend, and even what hours of the day you want it running

Most people won’t want to use paid advertising to promote every one of their posts.  Instead, only use this tool when you’re posting something especially interesting.  This will help you gain additional followers, so that 10% who see the rest of your posts will be an even bigger number of people.

3 – #Hashtags

Twitter Hashtag

Love them or hate them, hashtags are here to stay.  As someone who is looking to drive traffic to your website, you are almost certainly using hashtags incorrectly.  Almost everyone either uses them WAY too much, or WAY too little.

The bottom line with hashtags is not that you should put a # before each key word in your post, but that you should try to jump on trends to gain additional viewers.

For example, if you wrote a post about how to buy athletic shorts, you may have wanted to use the hashtag #worldcup2014 in your post (while the world cup was running).  This would get your post in a lot of lists associated with the world cup.  Of course, the people who read these lists will be interested in athletic shorts, so it is a good fit.

Before writing any posts on your social media accounts, you should go look at the top 100-200 trending hashtags at the moment, and try to use as many of them as you can.  Of course, you want them to fit in with what you’re posting too, or you’re just wasting time.

4 – One way Conversation

One Way Communication

While blogs and websites are typically a great way for you to get your information published and seen by a lot of people, social media is supposed to be a two way conversation.  While you may initiate most of the conversations with your posts, you need to be watching what other people are saying about them.  When someone comments on your post, try to respond to them right away.

Even just going through and liking their posts, or thanking them for their comments will help to show them that you’re actually a real person.  This will help you to build a relationship with your followers.  In addition, the more interactions you can get on your page, the more your posts will show up in the dashboards and news feeds of your followers.  The bottom line here is, you should always be communicating back and forth with your social media followers.

5 – Too Focused or Too Distracted

Social mediaThere are dozens of different social media sites out there today.  Most website owners either make the mistake of using only one (typically Facebook) or else spreading themselves too thin and trying to engage with people on every single social media platform they can find.

You really need to strike a good balance that works for your schedule and site.  Virtually every website should have an account on the following platforms:

  • Facebook – This is the largest social network in the world, it is essentially a requirement for all websites.
  • Twitter – Same here, you really must have a Twitter account.
  • Google + – Like it or hate it, Google + is here to stay.  In addition, it will almost certainly have an impact on your sites SEO than any other social network.

Depending on the type of website you’re running, you may want to consider adding accounts on these popular social networks:

  • Pinterest – This site is invaluable if you are running any type of site that could benefit from sharing images.  It is extremely popular and can drive thousands of users to your site.
  • Tumblr – Another huge site.  Many people will simply auto-post their content to Tumblr for easy traffic and back links.
  • Instagram – Again, this is a great image sharing platform, and if done properly, you can drive a lot of traffic.
  • LinkedIn – For any business/professional websites, this is an excellent option.

Choosing which of these sites you want to participate on can be difficult, but if you attempt to do them all, you’ll end up doing them all poorly, which won’t help you in the long run.  Figure out how much time you can spend on social media, and then only join as many sites as you’ll be able to keep up with.

Avoiding the Mistakes

If you work hard at avoiding each of the above listed mistakes, you will turn your social media efforts from a waste of time into an incredible source of traffic for your website.  While it isn’t always going to be easy, it is well worth the effort.

How to get 200% more Sales?

The “secret” to more conversions is as simple as understanding what the buyer wants. It’s no more a B2B or a B2C strategy to get more leads. It’s about H2H or Human 2 Human interaction that converts more leads. Understanding buyer requirement, the stage where he/she is in and the budget are something’s that are of paramount importance. It’s pretty much easy after that, as, the information you gather acts like a blue print to future success.

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Here’s a step-by-step analysis of the above model

Customer Segmentation

Customers segment themselves and take no notice of how companies segment their markets. When choosing between competing products and services, customers select the proposition that meets their needs better than any other. To win market share, therefore, a company must ensure that their offers meet these needs better than any other at a price they perceive as providing superior value for money (which does not necessarily mean it has to be the cheapest).

Customer wants to see the “value” in what they are paying for. Example – a company offers unlimited features and charge lower rates when compared to your company or any other competitor. The obvious thing to do is lower your rates and provide the same features, right? NO, it gives you an opportunity to experiment using different components together and provide more value added features that are unique to your business model. Price decrease is NOT the only alternative.

 Reaching Your Customer

 The “Reaching Your Customer” part is a multi-platform approach where you need to understand where your future customer is coming from. Shorter the time taken to figure this out, the better and sooner the results.

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Conversion Optimization

Website revamp is just one part of conversion optimization. The key to succeeding with conversion optimization is found in understanding visitor engagement. If you don’t know the details (who, how, why) of how people engage with your site today, how can you devise tests that are effective?

Each conversion optimization strategy goes through the following steps:

Analysis- Research- Hypothesis-Design & testing- Implementation

The Engagement

The key to understanding the success of any marketing & web presence strategy is by finding out the engagement achieved by them. The “getting the love back” phase is most important in analyzing the results achieved and comparing it to the earlier results. It’s also a good idea to perform A/B testing for some of the most important marketing campaigns you plan to run. Some of the metrics we follow to understand viewer engagement are-

  • Visitor Loyalty: direct or bookmarked site visits (as opposed to visits from search engines or ads).
  • Subscriptions Initiated: email, print, and mobile signups through website.
  • Content Shares: pages, blogs, videos shared to social networks or emailed.
  • Visitor Promotion: downloaded whitepapers, e-books, etc.
  • Page Views of Mission-Centric Content: one page checkout pages, pricing section, contact us section.
  • Opts-in: Conversion hikes due to particular types of CTA’s, offers, customer stories, etc.

The Nurturing

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  • The steps mentioned below describes the lead nurturing part in a step by step manner-
  • Understand leads better – their intent, where they are in the purchase cycle.
  • Classify the leads based on sales readiness.
  • Pass on hot leads to sales.
  • Nurture leads with relevant information.
  • Run personalized lead nurturing campaigns using email marketing solution.

The best way to understand this step by step approach to achieving higher sales is by implementing it or a Beta test for that matter. If you haven’t tried this strategy then you are bound to get far better results. If you have and the results haven’t been as per your expectation then, scale the process to a new level and you will get guaranteed results.

Success with Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing Success

Internet marketing has grown tremendously over the last few years. The sheer number of businesses joining the bandwagon of established businesses is a testimony of the enormous income potential of internet ventures. Though innumerable opportunities abound online, it takes more effort and resources to succeed with internet marketing. In the next section, we shall look at some powerful tips that can help you harness the full power of internet marketing to grow your business.

Know Your Niche

Customer knowledge is the most important thing in Internet Marketing success. Market research surveys are one of the best ways to understand the market you are in, the effect you can bring to the market and also understand how happy the customer is with your services. A thorough market analysis takes care of the first part and for the second we take satisfaction surveys generally called CSI (Customer Satisfaction Index) or CSAT. A satisfaction survey is done by analyzing the most important things that your customer expects from your company compared to that of your closest competitor.

The parameters are set by a small sample out of the population survey (say 10 people) and the next steps involve the rating done by the entire sample population. The CSAT score is one of the key parameters through which your business can be improved. Also, a CSAT score can give you the knowledge about what you are doing right or wrong with your Internet Marketing strategy. It can be as simple as a question like “Where did you come to know about our company?”

Identify your goals

If from the survey you find out that hardly few know about your business then your goal obviously should be to spread the word like wildfire! Before you start creating your marketing plan, it is vital to know the reason why you need the data. There should be a specific question in mind before you proceed with the process. This enables you to set the key performance indicators (KPIs). IF you know your KPI’s, then it becomes easy to stitch a marketing plan around it.

Develop Your Marketing Plan

Will it be a mix of SEO and SEM or predominantly Social Media? A perfect combination is required to build the “perfect” marketing plan. You should know what will work for you and, the understanding of the industry and the customers will help you get there.

The marketing plan should also be a mirror of the brand image that you would like to portray. Are you going in with a hipster appeal or like a gentleman? Your identity will reflect in your sales.

Implement and plot data

Data gathering is a key requirement in understanding whether you plan worked or not. After implementing the marketing plan, your key responsibility should be to closely monitor the progress and the final results. The results will give you an inside view as to why your plan worked or didn’t work. Either way, you learn.

Learn

Numerous plans fail. It’s common. Even the well-crafted plans fail some time. So do you sulk about the results and close down your marketing team or, do you do something about it. If it’s the first one that hits your mind as a probable solution then, there is no use going forward with this article.

Every result is a pathway to improve something that’s being done. At least you did something. That’s a start. If you find out that Social media didn’t work for your brand then analyze why it didn’t work. If the customer analysis showed that Social media did work then, it’s a fault with something you are doing. Change the strategy. Be Agile.

Repeat

Everything has a price attached to it. Success too is not a one night thing. If something is working for you then do it again. Even it’s not giving you conversion or ROI instantly, its doing something for you that is far more important in the initial stages of a business, “Putting the Word Out”.

Internet marketing is not rocket science. It’s a thing that will work if you know the basics of it and have the courage to implement what you “see and feel”, the courage to understand that “You can fail” and the courage to accept “Success without going into the flight mode”.

Open DNS Resolver – The Threat it Poses and Remedies to Prevent Exploitation

An Open DNS Resolver is a DNS server that’s willing to resolve recursive DNS lookups for anyone on the internet.

DNS resolvers that allow requests from all IP addresses and are exposed to the internet can be attacked and used to conduct Denial of Service (DoS) attacks on behalf of the abuser. That means you become a silent facilitator for a large scale attack. DNS amplification attack is a popular form of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS).

The primary technique consists of an attacker sending a DNS name lookup request to an open DNS server. This is done by spoofing (or faking) the source IP of the DNS request such that the response is not sent back to the computer that issued the request, but instead to the victim.

The open DNS resolver fails to check the query IP address and sends the large DNS cached record to the victim’s IP address. The attack continues as long as the attacker sends the fake queries. It is called “amplification” because spoofed requests demands all known information about the requested DNS zone, the size of the response will be 10 to 20 folds larger. So a large traffic is generated with very little effort.

Do you have an open resolver?

You can do a simple test from your command shell.

dig +short test.openresolver.com TXT @your-vps-ip-address

If it is open, it shows “open-resolver-detected” in response

How to Close an Open DNS:

1.         One method is to limit incoming DNS queries using a firewall.

2.         If you run an authoritative only name server:

Open your DNS server’s main configuration file with a text editor (This example assumes that you have BIND)

vi /etc/named.conf

Add the following line to stop recursion.

options {

     allow-query-cache { none; };

     recursion no;

};

Then restart the name server:

/etc/init.d/named restart

Self Hosted Website Builders vs. Web Hosting Service Accounts

As your Web business grows, you’ll eventually reach a point at which it’s a good idea to switch from a self-hosted site builder to a traditional hosted Web site.

To determine whether you’ve reached this point, you need to recognize the differences between these Web site options:

Quick and Easy Compared to Stable

Self-hosted site builders typically provide you with the fastest, easiest route to a site. They usually do not require any technical knowledge to build (you choose the pre-designed template along with add your word or images), and they are often ready to launch within a day. But these sites can be inflexible and unpredictable. They allow only a fixed number of website pages. They offer a narrow selection of templates and don’t allow you to upload your own pages. Most can’t accommodate the use of complex scripts too.

Whereas, traditional hosting providers like Interserver provide complete flexibility. Create the number of pages you need, upload whatever! It’s up to you.

Scalable and Adaptable 

True Web hosting providers like Interserver lets you build your own Web site, upload pages together with sophisticated functionality, and modify your site in almost endless ways. Hosting companies apportion space over a server (or exclusive by using a dedicated server for major sites) and includes a set amount of data transfer traffic from a computer to the actual host’s server, to help you upload entire internet pages, images, multimedia records, or change present pages. Generally, this flexibility doesn’t come at a cheap price. Expect to spend a monthly payment of $10-$20, depending upon your needs.

But if you are an Interserver customer, you pay just $4. 95 to get a web hosting account!

Consider your Threshold 

Having the future-sense is what makes any business successful. Is your business future-ready? This is the question you need to answer before selecting a self-host website builder. It does not provide you the flexibility to scale up quickly and you will end up losing customers.

A better option is to go for a super saver plan from Interserver and end up having a 10% discount for a year on all our hosting services.