Twitter Cards Complete Your Rich-Tag Trifecta

Twitter cardsIn previous blogs, we’ve discussed at some lengths newer ways of embedding rich meta-text and functionality into your existing webpages and Facebook posts.  Today, we’ll take a look at Twitter’s version of the same idea:  Twitter Cards.

Twitter Cards aren’t as complex to learn and implement as either of the other two, which fits a platform which is deliberately non-complicated. Twitter Cards are limited to six basic types (at the moment) which makes it easy for even smaller organizations to get started.

How Twitter Cards Enhance Your Basic Tweets

As with Schemas and OpenGraphs, the heart of Twitter Cards lies in Markup Tags which are added to the webpage\content you’re linking to.  They are very similar to OpenGraph tags and, in some cases, even accept OpenGraph tagging in lieu of Twitter-specific tags.  This makes it easier to implement both OpenGraph and Twitter Card tags on the same piece of content.

These are then matched up to a Tweet, which is pre-set to one of six basic content types:

  • Summary Cards:  These provide links to web content, with a small preview image and pre-written summary of the content.  This can be anything from blog posts to app download pages.
  • Summary Cards With Large Images:  You can embed a larger eye-catching picture, but with relatively little text accompanying.  These are now also used when linking to an image gallery, rather than the now-depreciated “Gallery Card.”
  • Photo Cards:  These embed a full-size picture which is downscaled on devices and zooms to full size with a touch.
  • App Cards:  Your Tweet can link directly to the Apple App Store or Google Play store for immediate download of an app.  It can also be set up to send desktop browsers to your website, and mobile users straight to the appropriate app store.
  • Player Cards:  These are arguably the most impressive, but also hardest to implement.  When done properly, they allow live audio/video streaming in the Tweet.  However, they require extensive tagging and testing on your end to ensure they work properly on five separate target platforms across desktops and mobile devices.
  • Product Cards:  This Twitter Card displays a picture, price, and a short summary of a single product, with a link to its source.  This can be used for self-promotion, or for showing off products on other sites.

The Validation Process

Once you have the code on your site, and have selected the proper Twitter Card type within Twitter, it’s time to Validate.  You send the Twitter Card through Twitter’s Validator, which checks the code for errors and then submits them for whitelisting.

This is the downside to Twitter cards:  Because Twitter is dedicated to providing a quality experience -and keeping adult-related materials off the site- cards linking to external content have to be individually approved.   Depending solely on workload and content type, this can be anywhere from a few hours up to three weeks.

Player Cards specifically take longer, since the material has to be reviewed in full.  If you link to an hour-long podcast, someone has to sit down and listen to all of it and verify functionality on the five target platforms.  So we can’t recommend Player Cards for time-sensitive materials.  Twitter has a full Player Card Approval Guide which we’d strongly recommend interested developers read carefully.

Take Your Tweets To The Next Level

Twitter Cards are an excellent way to make your Twitter feed more engaging, with content specifically designed to catch the eye.  The ease of implementation of most types of Cards makes them a good way to quickly boost response to your Tweets, with a minimum of extra effort.

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The most recent posts have been about increasing your SEO. Here is an infographic of 10 simple steps you can take now to increase organic rank.

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Open Graph Creates The Perfect Social Media Extension Of SEO Schemas

open graph tagsIn our last blog, we introduced you to one of the lesser-known but most useful techniques in SEO:  Schemas, which are a rich tag-embedding system that can greatly improve your SERP result placement, as well as adding extra functionality to your listings.

Today, we’re going to cover its social media cousin, which is even less well-known:  Open Graph.  This set of tagging protocols is designed to enhance and enrich content being posted to social media, especially Facebook, to create engaging feature-rich content for your followers to enjoy.


Utilize Schemas In Your SEO For Powerful SERP Listings

schemaSchemas are one of the most powerful tools to be added to the SEO toolbox, and even a couple years after their introduction, very few companies are taking advantage of their huge potential.  However, this is a tool everyone in online marketing should know about, because small tags added to your HTML can vastly improve the appearance of your site in Google, Bing, and Yahoo simultaneously.

So today, let’s get an overview of what schemas do, why they’re so important, and how you can start updating your site to take advantage of them.


Five Elements Your Responsive Web Design Needs For Success

responsive web designRight now (midway into 2015) responsive web design is considered the go-to standard for building a webpage.  While there are other techniques like parallax design, which can work well in niche applications, responsive design is the best “all around” option for a public website that will see use from a wide range of users.

The main advantage to responsive design, of course, is that it adapts to fit the screen\capabilities of each device being used to access the site.  Mobile users get a smaller, lower-bandwidth version while desktop browsers get a more robust layout.

So, what elements do you need to make a responsive web page succeed?  Here are five must-haves, at least at the moment.


July 2015 Desktop Calendars

July 2015 Desktop Calendars are here

To submit your own favorite photos email us at

Most screens will use the size that is shown in the image (1900×1200), just click and then right click the larger image that appears and set as desktop background!

To enjoy (instructions): If the image size is not correct for your screen, click the size of the wallpaper you’d like below each image, and a larger version will open in a new window. Right click on this image, and select “Set as Desktop Background”. Then enjoy a beautiful custom calendar all month long!

Fireworks Desktop Calendar

Fireworks July desktop calendar

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Great LinkedIn Groups Increase The Effectiveness Of Your LinkedIn Outreach

LinkedIn groupsWith more than 350 million registered users as of writing, LinkedIn is currently the third-most-popular social network on the Internet.  (Although Pinterest is breathing down its neck.)  LinkedIn is also, of course, THE social network for business and professional connections, with effectively no real competition among that target niche.

This means it can be a highly effective way to spread awareness of both yourself and your brand, while raising visibility and driving more hits to your website.


Which small business inbound marketing software is right for me?

marketing softwareGreat inbound marketing requires a great software platform!

When a company starts getting serious about their online outreach and marketing, one of the first purchases they should look towards is a dedicated software platform for managing their campaigns.   The market for such inbound marketing platforms is booming – it’s a billion-dollar industry already, with more alternatives cropping up every day.

The question, then, is which platform should a smaller shop look towards?  Each one offers a different blend of services and features, so it’s going to take some research either way.

However, let’s take a quick look at three platforms which are probably the best overall for smaller operations.


Instagram’s modern website redesign

Instagram web redesignIn the last year or two, following its buyout by Facebook, visual social media service Instagram has been struggling to find its own niche.  It’s still among the most-visited social media sites in the world, with more than 300 million users.  However, it’s been facing stiff competition from platforms like Tumblr which are targeted specifically at youth, as well as Pinterest, which is rapidly capturing the adult consumer market.

Also, numbers on Instagram usage are potentially deceiving, due to its close integration with Facebook.  Many users largely utilize it as a photo repository for their Facebook posts, rather than making direct use of its own social media features.

So, when Instagram announced this week that they were redesigning their site, there was a sense of it being overdue.  Will this reverse Instagram’s fortunes?  Let’s take a look at what’s changed.


Google+ Collections for an Organized Feed

Last month, Google announced an interesting new feature for G+, Google+ Collections.  This simple tagging system allows users to collect posts centered around a single theme or set of tags that can easily be subscribed to by other users.

The basic advantage to Google+ Collections is that it allows G+ users with multiple interests to keep their G+ feed from turning into a random collection of posts.  Users can potentially follow only the Collections they’re interested in, while disregarding everything else.

This opens up several new opportunities for using G+ to communicate with your B2B or B2C contacts.


Is Pinterest About To Become The Next Great e-Commerce Site?

Pinterest buy now buttonThe rumors -which have been swirling since the start of the year- have turned out to be true:  Pinterest is about to add a “buy” button, and that’s almost certain to be a major game-changer.  So-called “buyable pins” are due to roll out by the end of June, beginning with the iOS app and then migrating to other platforms throughout the year.

This has been a long-awaited addition to Pinterest, and apparently the delay has largely been due to Pinterest wanting to get it right and add in all the functionality users will want to see.

The chances of this causing serious waves in eCommerce -especially among small/independent businesses- are extremely high.  Pinterest is already one of the top product-discovery platforms in existence, and having buy-it-now features will only enhance that functionality.


Choosing the Best E-Commerce Platform To Fit Your Growing Business

small business ecommerceIt’s easier than ever for even the smallest of one-person operations to set up a thriving e-commerce site that has all the features of a “big name” shop.  There are a huge variety of free\cheap online shopping cart options that can easily turn your website into a money-maker.

The problem, of course, is picking one to standardize on.  Asking smart questions ahead of time is the key to success.


June 2015 Desktop Calendars

June 2015 Desktop Calendars are here

To submit your own favorite photos email us at

Most screens will use the size that is shown in the image (1900×1200), just click and then right click the larger image that appears and set as desktop background!

To enjoy (instructions): If the image size is not correct for your screen, click the size of the wallpaper you’d like below each image, and a larger version will open in a new window. Right click on this image, and select “Set as Desktop Background”. Then enjoy a beautiful custom calendar all month long!

Success Quote Desktop Calendar

Coco Chanel quote 1920x1200

Alternative desktop sizes:1920×1080 1600×1200 1024×768


6 More Reasons Pinterest Needs To Be On Your Radar In 2015

Pinterest pinWhen it was introduced to the public at large in 2011, Pinterest was something of an oddball.  Visually-based image-sharing sites were already available, such as Tumblr, but they were almost exclusively aimed at and used by the under-25 crowd.  Trying to make a “grownup” image site was a risky move, especially since Slideshare was trying to grab that market in the business community.

However, in the years that have followed, that gamble has paid off in spades for Pinterest.  As of writing, it’s now ranked by Alexa as the 37th most-visited website in the world, and the 14th biggest website in the US.  Despite a user base that’s “only” around 50 million -and growing rapidly- it’s already become a huge purchase influencer.

At this point, any business that even thinks it might have an audience on Pinterest would be well-advised to look into it.  Here are are few (more) reasons why Pinterest has become so exciting to marketers.


Great Video Content Doesn’t Need To Be A Sales Pitch

video contentEveryone is talking about how huge and important video has become to online outreach, and it’s certainly hard to argue with the numbers.  With 300 hours of video uploaded to YouTube each minute and more than 3 Billion-with-a-B daily videos viewed on Facebook, online video has clearly become THE new mass-outreach medium.

Which brings the new problem of creating content that people want to share.  That gigantic influx of video content means -per Sturgeon’s Law- that most of it is dreck.  Worse, from a getting-people-to-watch point of view, far too many of the business productions are open sales pitches.

And sales pitches don’t get many shares.


What Can Reddit Do For Your Social Media Marketing?

reddit marketing for businessIt’s controversial, to be sure, but Reddit is now without a doubt one of the largest AND most-influential conversation-based communities on the Internet, with a surprisingly large list of celebrities and even politicians who favor the service.  It has millions of individual accounts, hundreds of millions of unique views, and several dead pieces of legislation under its belt.

The traditional view on Reddit is that it’s “impossible” to market effectively there, and so most social media marketers tend to avoid it entirely.  However, Reddit definitely has uses in marketing.  It just has to be treated on its own terms.

So, today let’s talk about some Dos and Don’ts of Reddit outreach.


“Mobilegeddon” – What The Google Updates Mean For Mobile Marketing

mobilegeddonSo, Google made headlines recently across the SEO community by announcing -with typical lack of preamble- that they’re implementing a new ranking factor that assesses how mobile-friendly a website is.

This was promptly followed by a flurry of breathless reports dubbing the event “Mobilegeddon,” like we aren’t pretty much used to Google changing their search every year at this point.  While this is a major shift in how Google Search works, the windsock has been pointing towards “mobile focus” for a couple years now.

After all, mobile browsing and searching is now more common than desktop use.  It just makes sense that Google is going to refocus on mobile.  So should most shops, unless they have good reason to think their users are tied to desktops.

So let’s take a look at what “Mobilegeddon” has really done to mobile marketing.


May 2015 Desktop Calendars

April 2015 Desktop Calendars are here

To submit your own favorite photos email us at

Most screens will use the size that is shown in the image (1900×1200), just click and then right click the larger image that appears and set as desktop background!

To enjoy (instructions): If the image size is not correct for your screen, click the size of the wallpaper you’d like below each image, and a larger version will open in a new window. Right click on this image, and select “Set as Desktop Background”. Then enjoy a beautiful custom calendar all month long!

Sea Turtle Desktop Calendar

Sea turtle

Alternative desktop sizes:1920×1080 1600×1200 1024×768


Slideshare Continues To Support More Content. Are You Slidesharing?

Optimized-slide share videoSlideshare doesn’t seem to get as much press as some of the other social media platforms, but that’s no reason to disregard it.  In recent years, Slideshare has been continually expanding the range of content it handles, as well as building ever-deeper ties to corporate networking juggernaut LinkedIn.

Their latest move is rolling out video hosting during 2015, meaning they’ll be encouraging users to stop using alternative video hosts like YouTube.

So today, let’s talk a little about where Slideshare is in 2015, and how its usage patterns are changing.  It’s no longer simply a site to host slides or the occasional infographic.  Slideshare is becoming the all-in-one business media hosting site, and an indispensable partner for LinkedIn power-users.


Don’t Let Duplicate Content Dilute Your SEO Juice

seo duplicate contentDuplicate content poses a big problem for websites and the search engines trying to index them.  But you can help make the problem more manageable.

Duplicate content is basically what it sounds like – content that appears in more than one place on the Internet, or displays itself with a variety of different URLs.  Some of this is actual duplication, and sometimes it comes about as a result of website fetching and URL parameters.

Either way, it creates trouble for Google and the other search engines, because they need one link to provide to the content, not a dozen.  When the site indexes have many different URLs pointing at the same content, it ultimately dilutes the search engine ranking\scoring systems.  It could even cause them to totally overlook valid content in favor of other articles using standardized URLs.

There are a number of ways to combat this.  Let’s go over some of the major ways.


Make Pop-Ups That Drive Lead Generation, Rather Than Driving Away Readers!

lead generationThe words “pop up ad” don’t exactly have much cache these days, if they ever did.  Pop-ups have been a staple of website advertising – and a source of much irritation for readers – since the earliest years of the web in the 90s.

However, people keep using them on their websites, because they can work.  Unfortunately, most don’t.  The majority of pop-ups are still irritating for users, and that’s not a good thing when it’s so easy to close one page and open another instead.

So let’s talk do’s and don’ts – mostly don’ts – about putting pop-ups on a website that will aid in lead generation, rather than scaring people off.


More Social Networks Are Adding Videos – Including FaceBook. Is YouTube In Danger?

Facebook videoThings may finally be looking a bit shaky for the world’s biggest video portal.  After years of being the default choice, the last couple years have seen a rise in other sites self-hosting videos, where they previously just tied into YouTube.

Slideshare -closely tied to LinkedIn- has been rolling out video support to users over the last few months, and now most recently, Facebook has announced they’re adding simple video embedding services.  That’s a direct shot at YouTube, which previously owned video embedding almost completely.

Additionally, Facebook is also hot on the heels of YouTube in adding 360-degree video support.  This is no surprise since Facebook owns the perpetually-in-beta Oculus Rift VR project, and they’re going to want to get some use out of it.

So what does this mean for social media marketing in 2015 and beyond?


April 2015 Desktop Calendars

April 2015 Desktop Calendars are here

To submit your own favorite photos email us at

Most screens will use the size that is shown in the image (1900×1200), just click and then right click the larger image that appears and set as desktop background!

To enjoy (instructions): If the image size is not correct for your screen, click the size of the wallpaper you’d like below each image, and a larger version will open in a new window. Right click on this image, and select “Set as Desktop Background”. Then enjoy a beautiful custom calendar all month long!

Thailand Desktop Calendar

Thai 1920x1200

Alternative desktop sizes:1920×1080 1600×1200 1024×768


Streamlined Content Delivery In 2015 Web Design: Are We Moving Forward or Back? contentSo, Wired has been in the news lately for updating their web design for the first time since 2007, and people are gushing about how sleek the new look is.

But…  let’s be honest:  It just looks like a newspaper.  Congrats, we’ve achieved the 80s scifi dream of self-formatting newspapers for access on flat tablets.

More to the point, it’s effectively copying the basic style and layout of Flipboard, the mega-popular tablet newsreader, along with plenty of other imitators that have appeared in the last few years.  Wired has clearly taken a peek into the future and decided that the tablet-friendly, minimal-UI look is going to dominate.

So what does this mean for the future of web design?  Is the front page of a site in 2016 going to look like the front page of the New York Times in 1916?


Not Dead Yet: Why Google+ Isn’t Getting Buried

Google+In the social media dead pool, Google+ has been the perennial favorite since it’s inception.  The platform hasn’t proven terribly popular with, well, anyone besides some tech circles, but it still keeps pushing forward.  In fact, Google just moved the entire staff to a new office because it had outgrown the old one, so they’re clearly not planning on shutting it down any time soon.

But why?

Since it looks like Google is heavily invested in G+, let’s take a few guesses at why it’s important to them and why it’s being kept around.


A-B Testing Is The Key To Great Lead Generation

A/B testingIf there’s one thing that can make or break a good ad, landing page or website is the use of A-B testing.  It’s one of the most powerful tools in the repertoire of online marketers, and one that everyone should be making use of.

Nothing online is permanent.  A lot of things online barely last a week or two before being changed – and the same should be true of your marketing.  By consistently making small changes, and measuring their impact on your lead generation, you can quickly find the best strategies to hook in your audience.