MOST READ Poe chides LTFRB exec over termination of motorcycle taxi pilot study Bruh pic.twitter.com/AmVcRgjtXJ— adam figman (@afigman) February 8, 2017Meanwhile, his impressive tally was in response to Chino Hill’s (26-1) first loss of the season against perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy over the weekend, where LaMelo finished with 36 points in a losing effort. After his brother’s epic performance, the eldest of Ball brothers, Lonzo praised his little brother’s efforts on Twitter. “Well I mean that’s one way to bounce back after a loss … I see you lil bro,” he wrote.Well I mean that’s one way to bounce back after a loss… I see you lil bro 9️⃣2️⃣ — Lonzo Ball (@ZO2_) February 8, 2017 LaMelo Ball will suit up for UCLA in 2019 and could be in the NBA as early as 2020. Image: Screen grab from Ball’s Instagram account/@swaggymelo1When your last name is synonymous with a basketball, you better be worth your salt and be able to back it up.Living up to the family name is the youngest of the much-hyped Ball brothers, LaMelo, who lit up the scoreboard with a staggering 92 points in a single high school basketball game on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).ADVERTISEMENT Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite LATEST STORIES NBA: Curry hints split with Under Armour after CEO praises Trump Panelo: Duterte only wants to emulate strong political will of Marcos Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Palace: Crisis over ABS-CBN franchise unlikely Municipal councilor nabbed for indiscriminate firing in Leyte 98% of residents in Taal Volcano’s 14-kilometer danger zone evacuated – DILG LaMelo first gained internet notoriety last year, when he nonchalantly sank a half court shot after taunting his opponent to guard him. The brash youngster pointed to the half court line and casually sank the almost 50-foot heave.His penchant for the absurd on the floor, along with his limitless shooting range and ankle-breaking handles, has earned him early comparisons to two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry.Much like their older brother Lonzo who plays point guard for UCLA, LiAngelo and LaMelo are both committed to the university program after they graduate from high school. LaMelo will join UCLA in 2019, and will be eligible for the NBA in 2020.Watch from the video below LaMelo’s highlights from his 92-point explosion. The 15-year-old phenomenon, whose older brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo are expected to become NBA lottery picks in the coming years, proved that he inherited the family’s incredible basketball genes with a virtuoso performance of his own.With older brother and Chino Hills teammate LiAngelo sitting out the game against Los Osos High School due to a sore ankle, the sophomore stepped up big time and carried much of the scoring load for his team en route to an impressive 146-123 win.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSBreak new groundSPORTSMcGregor blasts Cerrone in 40 seconds in UFC returnAs highlighted by a box score posted on Twitter, the young stud finished the half with an impressive—but nothing out of the ordinary—29 points after two quarters. But come the second half, Ball exploded for 63 points on an impressive 30-of-39 shooting on two-point attempts and 7-of-22 on threes. Even more remarkable, was 41 of his points came in the fourth quarter.To top it off, the young baller hit 11 of 14 free throws and had seven assists and five rebounds. ADVERTISEMENT Motorcycle taxis ‘illegal’ starting next week — LTFRB board member Motorcycle taxis ‘illegal’ starting next week — LTFRB board member Marcos monument beside Aquino’s stirs Tarlac town 15 Taal towns now under total lockdown View comments
If you have “No Regrets” tattooed on your neck, I hope you embrace irony, because you WILL regret getting it one day.A woman with “No Regrets” tattooed on her neck went into a 7-Eleven in Powdersville, South Carolina in the middle of the night on Tuesday. And she told the clerk she had a gun and wanted cash.But after the clerk gave her money out of the register, the woman completely abandoned her life philosophy . . .Apparently she DID have some regrets, because she APOLOGIZED for robbing the place.The cops are still trying to track her down.
When I was a child there was this terrific program on the TV called Tomorrow’s World. Its concept was simple, a posh chap called Raymond would show us often ludicrous inventions and explain how they were about to be part of our everyday lives. He would demonstrate these contraptions generally overlooking the real world limitations of money and various accepted laws of physics. As a small boy I was captivated by the idea of shortly being able to travel by jetpack and Mars becoming an alternative destination to the seaside for our family summer holiday.For the last six months or so, I have been consuming my idle cycles at work looking at Blockchain. I must say, it does reminds me a lot of those Thursday evenings in front of the TV in the 1970s. Everyone talks about this technology as if it is mature, has been around forever and will shortly be behind everything we do. Perhaps it will be, but like jetpacks, we’re being asked to take a leap of faith that its use limitation will be overcome. Blockchain has limitations. It is painfully slow—approximately 5 transactions per second—there are no rules how it can and cannot be used, and it has no common language for users to communicate. Like the early days of the Internet, no one has any real idea how to commercialize it either. In reality, it’s not new. We’ve had ledgers since the Romans and networks for nearly as long. So, is the technology a dud? Ehhh. No!I have no idea if what we are seeing is akin to the first TV broadcast or perhaps TV in colour. Is it the Internet or just cloud computing? Only time will tell if this is the evolution and culmination of a set of ideas, or a real revolutionary change. What I do know is that it has the possibility of being able to provide an almost uncorruptible record of everything we do, keep, or move. That is a seductive promise. Sure there are likely to be a number of false starts and we will have a lot of Never_To_Be_Heard_Of_Again.com before we find Google. It wouldn’t surprise me if, when it does become mainstream, Blockchain looks nothing like it does today. What I do know is there are a lot of people brighter than me consuming their primary thought cycles to look at this. Some of whom work for some big name companies. So I for one will continue to look at it even if I am not sure why. What about you?
the words “Internet Marketing” which are key phrases that are important to us. Early Words Matter More: better off using it to describe what you do. Enter key words and phrases for which you want to rank highly on the search engines. For example, this site uses “Internet Marketing Blog : Small Business Hub” as the primary title of the home page. I see many websites trying to cram a lot of words into their title (in fact, I’m more guilty than most). Though you can supposedly have titles up to 60 characters in length, the title of your home page should probably not be near that long. tool is any indication, one would be wrong to think that. Many businesses do not have a page title on the home page of their website, and often when they do, they make some common mistakes. As a result, I thought I’d share some quick tips on what to do when thinking about the page title. Note: These tips are not intended for coming up with titles for blog articles. Those titles have a different purpose. I’m talking here primarily about the title for the home page of your business website. Website Grader Many of the business websites I see simply set the title of the page to their company name. This is not the optimal use of this key element of your web page. The title is one of the most important pieces of information that the search engines parse when indexing your site and is a key factor in your search engine rankings. Unless you care about ranking for your company name more than everything else, I wouldn’t use your company name as the title. Instead of using the title to specify the name of the company, you are Topics: want a title on every single page, but you Fight Battles You Have A Chance Of Winning: especially Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack There has been a lot said, written and recorded about the importance of the page title from an SEO perspective. To understand the basics, check out the short video below (it’s a good overview of what the page title tag is and does – including some simple pointers on what to do and not do). The video is by Gareth Davies who I do not know and have never met. First off, apologies to William Shakespeare for repurposing his classic “…that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” much That’s it. The topic of key phrase selection is rich with opportunity for debate and discussion (and which key words and phrases you choose should drive the crafting of your title). But, that’s a topic for some future articles. Do not use special characters in your title. Limit yourself to words, numbers and simple punctuation (hyphen, colon, etc.) , we are building a software tool for our clients that helps locate good key phrases to optimize for. A good key phrase is determined by a combination of relevancy to the business, level of search volume (i.e. how many people actually search for the given phrase) and the degree of competition for the phrase. We’ll likely make the tool available for free in a couple of weeks (like we do with Website Grader). after On-page SEO No Special Characters: When competing for search rankings (and thereby using the key phrases in your title), make sure you pick key phrases that are not only relevant for your business, but also not so competitive that you don’t have any chance of ranking well for them. For example, unless you are really confident (for the right reasons), don’t compete on phrases like “luxury travel” (even if that is particularly relevant for your business). Instead, go for something narrower. At With all that has been said, written and recorded about the page title, one would think that most websites do a decent job of setting an effective page title. If the 6,000 websites processed by the Don’t Make It Just Your Company Name: Even if you do put your company name in the title, it is better to lead with the key phrases you want to rank for. This is what we do on SmallBusinessHub.com as well (where we have Small Business Hub in the page title, but This one is obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t specify a title at all. For those that are hand-crafting the HTML, remember that the
The report lists some reasons why this shift is happening and will continue, but I think it missed some of the fundamentals behind the economic decentralization, much of which can be explained with Coase’s theorums. The Intuit Future of Small Business Report Ronald Coase was a Nobel Prize winning economist who wrote an essay entitled “The Nature of The Firm” back in the 1930’s that tried to predict the number/size of “business firms” by analyzing the conditions under which we expect a firm to decide whether to hire help versus contract out for a particular task. Coase uses a term called “transaction costs” to describe the friction between a company and a task contracted out (presumably to another company). These transaction costs include things like contract creation, contract negotiation, time zones, distance, language barriers, process/definition differences, etc. Coase’s theory says that the lower the transaction costs, the higher the likelihood for outsourcing a function to another company. change and how you might go about predicting whether your industry will be consolidating or decentralizing. If you can predict that, you should be able to figure out a way to make money from it. — Brian Halligan Among lots of other reasons, Coase would likely explain the decentralization of business (more firms) since the 1980’s as being induced by a reduction in “transaction costs” between firms. Much of this reduction can be attributed to networking technology. New networking infrastructures tend to lower transactions costs and enable firm specialization, including railroads, highways, telephones, fax machines, and email. There’s no doubt that the widespread use of broadband networks has reduced transaction costs which often make the choice of outsourcing a task versus hiring a new worker more “efficient” which overall increases the number of firms. The most famous example of this being the outsourcing of entire business processes to India as was so well articulated in “The World Is Flat.” within industries I just read the first installment of the Institute for The Future’s report entitled . The main theme of the report was that we are in the midst of an economic revolution that started in the 1980’s when 80% of American workers were at companies with greater than 1000 employees to today where 40% of American workers are at companies with greater than 1000 employees to some percentage far less than that 10 years from now. I happen to wholeheartedly agree with the Institute’s thesis. Prior to the 1980’s, most people worked for a company for life and received retirement checks from their employer in retirement. From the 1980’s to today, most people work for a company for a “few years” and roll their 401k plans over. I suspect by 2017, most people will become more like free agent contractors who more often than not have a “client” than an “employer” and need to worry about their own retirement. Another major contributor to the decentralization of business is that small/new businesses no longer need to rely on huge sales organizations to “find” customers. Search engines make every niche market more “efficient” enabling smaller businesses to be “found” by the right customers who are shopping in a newly efficient niche. I believe search engine optimization further lowers the transaction costs between companies making the decision to outsource versus hire more attractive and making the barrier to starting a business lower which should lead to a further decentralization of business. Originally published Feb 9, 2007 11:55:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 This article talks about decentralization in a macro-economic sense and how the new network infrastructure has led to a widespread decentralization of the economy. Well, it turns out that not every industry is decentralizing. For example, the enterprise software industry has been centralizing (consolidating) over the past several years. My next article will talk about how/why the boundaries between companies Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Foursquare On So you don’t have to be a celebrity to take advantage of Foursquare’s separation between friends and followers. Just think outside the box! By distinguishing between friends and followers, Foursquare is pointing out the people with a large reach. If you are a local business, you can easily identify these individuals and try to attract them to you. If you successfully invite them to your location, they have the power to get your brand name out there and share it with the thousands of early-adopters following them. So does this have implications for marketers? It sure does! When my college journalism professor was trying to wrap her mind around Twitter followers, she said, “I am not going anywhere; why are they following me?” While her words then were meant to be a joke, today they simply convey the evolution of social networks. Topics: Foursquare Originally published Feb 28, 2011 1:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 What is even cooler about this type of identification is that these popular figures can replicate the same “check-in” as an update on Twitter and Facebook. And if they have that many followers on Foursquare, you can only imagine what their popularity status is like on other social networks. How to go about it? Focus on the People You Are Following Go to your Foursquare profile and scroll down to the two columns titled “Friends” and “Following.” You want to focus on the latter. Select to view the entire list of people you have automatically started following as they are popular. You can pick a few individual ones and see exactly how many friends and followers they have. Then, try to engage them by inviting them to your business location. Maybe offer them a special offer or a coupon? It is up to you! , the location-based social network, you are going somewhere and you do have followers. Fourquare recently announced, if you reach a certain level of popularity—1000 Foursquare friends—your very first 100 contacts will remain your friends and the rest will become your “followers.” What is the reasoning behind this? “We don’t want your phone vibrating all day,” explained the geo-based social network in an email notification. “We determined that 1000 friends will be the cap for normal accounts.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Sayonara, Google Places! Today, Google is taking the first step to eradicate Google Place pages and transition to new Google+ Local pages. Surprise, local businesses! Time to bite the bullet and learn how to use Google+.Google+ Local pages can be found via a new ‘Local’ tab in the sidebar of Google+, and Local pages also feature Zagat scores and recommendations from people you’re connected to on Google+. Looks like last year’s Google acquisition of Zagat is finally being put to good use.If you’re a local business who’s curious about just what’s happening with your Google Places page — or if you’re simply curious about the new Google+ Local pages — here’s what you should know …The Google+ ‘Local’ TabThrough the new ‘Local’ tab, now located on the left-hand sidebar of Google+, users can search for specific places or browse through various categories of listings such as restaurants, museums, clothing stores, etc. Clicking on a particular listing will take you to the Google+ Local page of that establishment, which features useful information such as location and contact information, photos, reviews, and Zagat scores/summaries.Google+ Local & Zagat ScoresThat’s right! Zagat summaries and scores are featured on every Google+ Local page. The scores you see are based on a 30-point scale, which is the averaged score of the individual scores given by reviewers. Zagat also aggregates highlights from users’ written reviews into one summary, featured at the top. Check out the following video from Google to learn more about how it works:On each page, you’ll see individual scores on a 0-3 point scale next to users’ reviews. You’ll also notice a business’ overall Zagat score(s) on a 0-30 point scale, which may be broken down into various categories depending on the business. For example, a restaurant would be broken down into food, decor, and service categories, each indicating a 0-30 point score, calculated based on the averages of users’ individual reviews. Furthermore, users can also indicate costs associated with the business (e.g. ‘cost per person’ for restaurants).Local Pages’ Integration With Other Google PropertiesGoogle+ Local is also integrated with other Google services, including organic Google Search and Google Maps. If you look for a place on Search or Maps, you’ll find Google+ Local page results there, too. Searches on either of these services pull in Zagat ratings as well, replacing the former 5-star rating system you might be used to. This also holds true for searches on Google Maps for mobile on Android devices, with functionality for iOS devices coming soon. Topics: Originally published May 30, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Google Updates Reviews & Recommendations From Your Google+ CirclesThe launch of Google+ Local also aims to make the reviews, recommendations, and opinions of the connections in your Google+ Circles central to your Google+ Local experience. As a result, any searches a user conducts for places in Google Search, on Google+ Local, or in Google Maps will feature results from that user’s Google+ Circle connections. So If I were to search for Mexican food, I might see a review from a friend of mine who recommends a particular Mexican restaurant in the area.Now on to your questions …I’m a local business. What happens to my Google Places page?Good question! If you’re a local business that had a Google Places page, you’re probably wondering what all this means for the management of your local listing.First, you’ll probably notice that your Places page gets transitioned into a Google+ Local page. All of your basic information should get migrated over to the new design, and according to the Google and Your Business Blog, you should still manage your information via Google Places for Business. This will enable you to verify your basic listing data, make any updates, and respond to reviews. If you’re using AdWords Express, Google confirms that your ads will function normally, automatically redirecting users to the destination you chose or your current listing.What if I already have a Google+ business page?No worries! According to Google, you’re still encouraged to maintain your Google+ business page, but there are still more changes to come. Ultimately, Google will be merging your Google+ business page with your local page presence in the future, so stay tuned. And for a sneak peek into what to look forward to, Google has already worked with several business owners to fully upgrade and merge their listings, sharing their Google+ business identity across Search, Maps, and mobile.So if you’re a local business who hasn’t already created a Google+ business page, now might be the time. Doing so will ensure that you’re ready to take advantage of all the other social features Google+ pages offer (such as status updates, Circles, Hangouts, etc.) when Google decides to integrate your Google+ Local page with your business page. And don’t worry — we’ll keep you updated when this integration happens ;-)What do you think of Google+ Local? How do you think it will affect your local business’ presence in search?Image Credit: Kossy@FINEDAYS
Originally published Oct 30, 2012 9:56:00 AM, updated July 03 2014 4) Cosmetics Special OfferInStyle magazine is offering a special package of cosmetics under the thematic name Hurricane Sandy Have You Stuck Inside? 5 Beauty Treatments to Help Ride Out the Storm. “The weather outside is frightful — which is all the more reason to stay indoors and pamper yourself,” wrote the author Marianne Mychaskiw. “So we rounded up 5 beauty treatments that will help keep you occupied (and gorgeous) as you safely wait out the storm.”5) Selling Storm SuppliesA lot of companies have been customizing their social media updates to reflect something about the hurricane. This especially makes sense for stores offering food supplies and household items, a hot commodity in hurricane situations. Sears, for instance, put together a special page with household essentials, such as generators and air mattresses.What hurricane-related marketing have you seen so far? Do you think any of these (orother) examples were taking the concept of newsjacking too far? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let’s as a community figure out what the guidelines should be. Topics: Newsjacking Originally at this URL there was a post about “5 Hurricane Sandy Newsjacks from Marketers”. The tone of the post was in poor taste and we apologize for promoting the idea of newsjacking a tragedy. Thank you to David Meerman Scott and others for pointing out the error in our judgement. HubSpot is making a $5,000 donation to the Red Cross (donate here) to help those harmed by Sandy.However, a number of companies have actually tried to newsjack the storm, and we now want to know what you, the marketing community, think about these attempts. This is an important lesson for marketers. Were they in good taste or bad taste? David Meerman Scott has said that Sears attempt was good, but the cosmetics promotion was bad. I actually think the Sears one might be in poor taste too. As the marketing community figures out the limits of newsjacking, what do you think? Have any of these gone too far? Are any of them ok? What other examples do you have of good or bad newjacking? Let’s use the comments to discuss what the limits and guidelines should be for newsjacking. For the sake of transparency, you can see the original post and its comments here.- Mike Volpe, CMO @ HubSpotNewsjacking is the practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing efforts. The term was popularized thanks to David Meerman Scott’s book Newsjacking. Below are some examples of people newsjacking the storm. What do you think about them?1) An Entrepreneur’s Pinterest BoardNeel Patel, an eclectic & eccentric entrepreneur, created a Pinterest board titled Hurricane Hair. The board features fashionable pictures showcasing floating dresses, loose T-shirts and spiked hair. Neel’s Pinterest board was featured on BuzzFeed, but has accumulated only 59 followers and 69 pins so far. 2) A Dating Website’s Blog PostOnline dating site HowAboutWe published a blog post titled “18 of Our Favorite Hurricane Sandy Date Ideas from HowAboutWe Members” that explores hurricane-themed date ideas from members. This content piece borrows from the conversation already happening in the HowAboutWe community. The company spotted the trend, compiled the list of date ideas, and posted a light-hearted piece that also represents the identity of its target audience.3) Career Website Email PromotionOne Day One Job (ODOJ), a site for entry-level career information, chose to feature an employer that is directly connected to the weather. (Emergency Essentials is a catalog company that seeks to help people prepare for emergencies.) Here is how the email promoted this weather-related career read:”We should all be prepared for emergency situations whether they’re expected or not. There may be a time when running to the store won’t be an option, and that’s why Emergency Essentials exists. They’re an Orem, UT based company that has been “helping people prepare for emergencies” for the last 25 years through their catalog, website, and retail stores.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Topics: Writing Skills To be a successful writer, you must possess an unforgettable voice. This is the mysterious “knack for writing” that people talk about. It’s not just about stringing words together in a pretty way. It’s about having a voice that is powerful, unique, and unforgettable.Cultivating a voice isn’t easy, but it’s possible. It lies within your power to hone, develop, and sharpen your writing voice. In this article, I’ll share seven of the techniques that helped me to develop my writing voice. I’m confident they will work for you, too.1) Give every article a laser focus. Every article should have a focus. It needs to be about one thing. Even if you have fourteen points, the article itself should have a single, focused theme.Let’s say you’re writing an article right now. If I were to look over your shoulder and ask, “What are you writing about?” You should be able to tell me in just a couple seconds what the article is about. No pausing, no thinking, no stopping. You know. The article you’re reading right now has a laser focus: How to create an unforgettable writing voice.That’s seven words. Sure, I have seven points within the article, but the article itself is about one thing. If you can state your big idea in fewer than 10 words, then you’re on the right path. Your laser focus needs to be short.This is what successful landing pages do, too. They have a headline that explains succinctly what the product or service is all about. As an example, let me share some data from HubSpot’s roundup of successful landing pages. These landing pages are good. Each of them use a laser-focused headline to communicate the big idea — just check out those word counts.Having a good voice is as much about the overarching subject of your writing as it is the specific words that you use. Your voice — strong, authentic, and unforgettable — depends on your ability to express a single laser-focused theme.2) Be opinionated and dangerous. You’ll do your best writing when you write about something you feel strongly about.I saw this in action a week ago when my friend told me he wrote the foreword to a book. I didn’t know he could write. In fact, I knew he couldn’t write, because I’d seen some of his attempts. But when I read his foreword, I was blown away. This guy killed it!Here was the difference. The stuff I had seen him write before was content on a topic he wasn’t passionate about. The foreword that I read was a book about his hobby. He had strong feelings on the subject matter, and he let his unforgettable voice shine through.Readers love a good opinion piece from someone who knows what they’re talking about. You don’t have to be unpleasant or harsh about it, but you can certainly let people know what you think.Writer Jeff Goins recommends that you “write something dangerous.” Caution stifles you. It totally ruins your voice. Throw some of your caution to the wind, and write something riskier that you normally would.I’ve done the dangerous thing before. I’ve also tracked my metrics to see if my dangerous blogs made waves. (They did.)3) Write from the first person.Always write from the first person. Few things are as unreadable as a “voice” that is from some disembodied corporate entity.People don’t want to read what a corporation is saying when they’re on your blog. They want to read what you are saying — from one first-person individual to another.The awkward third-person voice is one of the reasons why some corporate blogs fail often fail. Some cubicle dweller with a bachelor’s degree in English is told to “blog about our company, and oh-by-the-way, use a formal third-person voice because our editorial guidelines insist upon it.”She tries — she really tries.But no one is going to read it except her parents. Because it’s boring as heck. If she decides to buck the editorial sacred writ and be herself, she might get 400X more traffic and quadruple the engagement level.I always use a personable and first-person tone on my blog, Quicksprout.com. I do it on my site, Neilpatel.com, which is little more than a landing page for my consulting business. It’s not narcissistic; it’s strategic.Buffer writers do this this on their blog, which is wildly successful. Buffer’s co-founder Leo Widrich has mastered the first-person storytelling voice. So when you write, ask yourself “Is this how I talk?” If the answer is “Um, not really,” then you probably need to try again.4) Tell a story.Everyone loves a good story. When you free yourself to write a story, you’re freeing your own unique and unforgettable voice.Some my most popular blog posts are stories. People connect with stories. They are carried along with the narrative flow. “Storytelling is central to human existence,” as a Wired.com article put it. Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker had this brilliant snippet of prose regarding stories:”Stories, more even than stars or spectacle, are still the currency of life, or commercial entertainment, and look likely to last longer than the euro.”You may not think of yourself as a “good writer,” but can you tell a story? Can you tell a story to your four year-old daughter? Can you share an anecdote at a party? Can you tell your life story to a mentor? You’re a natural storyteller, because it’s wired into our DNA.It’s when you’re in storytelling mode that your authentic voice comes through. When you write a story, it activates your brain, as a Lifehacker article explains. And when that happens, you’re able to create a line of direct communication with your readers.Try the “once upon a time” technique. Write those four classic words, the opener to any story, and just let it flow. It doesn’t matter whether you think your industry is boring or not. Your story can be about a business success, a personal discovery, an event that happened, or whatever.When you edit your article, you can delete the “once upon a time” bit. What remains is a story that your audience will identify with.5) Sit on it for a day.After you write your article, wait a little while. Let it get cold. Let yourself forget about it. Let your mind freshen up. Then, go back and rework it.“The first draft of anything is garbage.” Ernest Hemingway said that, not me. So you need to write quick, then edit slow. I always go back and edit the crap that I wrote the first time around so I can make it uncrappy after a day passes.Jennifer Egan, a very good writer, said this about writing and first drafts:”I haven’t had trouble with writer’s block. I think it’s because my process involves writing very badly. My first drafts are filled with lurching, cliched writing, outright flailing around. Writing that doesn’t have a good voice or any voice.”In order to have a good voice, you have to edit your writing. Your rush of writing doesn’t have perfect voice its first time off the keyboard.The best approach is to wait a day. Your subconscious mind is editing your article as you go about your other daily routines, arranging your memories while you sleep, and sharpening your ideas. When you come back to edit your rough draft a day later, you’ll be able to nail it.6) Think about your reader while you write. I’m going to write something in the next sentence that might sound a little touchy-feely. I was thinking about you when I wrote this article.Don’t get weirded out. Before I wrote this article, I spent a lot of time reading other HubSpot articles. I even conducted a search to find out which of HubSpot’s articles were the most wildly popular over the past six months.The reason why I did this was because I want to find out what HubSpot readers want to know. I want to write to a person — the HubSpot reader, the ever-learning marketing professional. I want to write this for you.Speaking to one’s audience is half of the process of communication. Communication, whether written or spoken, consists of two symmetrical halves no matter who’s doing the talking or writing. It looks like this: I, as the writer of this article, am one of big circles. You’re the other big one. We are engaged in a cycle of communication whereby each of us gains information from the other. The challenge for me was that I had to receive your information beforehand by becoming familiar with your site. The rest of the communication cycle will go forward in the comments (if you choose).In order to be truly successful, I try to write in such a way that my message is as direct as possible, with no interference or negative feedback. The only way I can do this is by understanding the reader.When I write on my blog, I use a specific voice, because that’s exactly what my readers want and expect. I’ve come to know my readers really well, and I’m able to communicate with them like no one else can.My advice is is this — know your audience. And then write something for them.7) Read a lot of stuff. This final point has nothing to do with writing, and it has everything to do with writing.Your voice will start to sound like the stuff you read. That’s a good thing, as long as you’re reading good quality stuff.I read a lot, because I’m passionate about digital marketing, entrepreneurship, and helping other people succeed in their businesses. I read blogs like this one, plus books galore. Reading is what fuels my creativity and forms my voice. If I don’t read a lot, I don’t write well. It’s just that simple.Here is some of the reading that helps to shape my writing voice:Classic novels. These guys — Dickens, Hawthorne, Hemingway, Joyce — they knew what they were doing. Say hello to high school lit class again. You may not pull a James Joyce stream-of-consciousness technique in your next blog post, but simply reading good writing will help you develop a voice that is strong and unforgettable.Nonfiction best sellers. If there’s a book on this list that catches my attention, I read it. A book lands on a list like the New York Times Best Sellers because it’s popular. When I read books like these, I learn what people like reading.Really technical detailed stuff. It may be boring, but reading well-written technical posts is a powerful mental workout that will sharpen your own mind and writing voice. Do yourself a favor and dive into some deep stuff in your niche.Fun stuff. Go ahead and indulge your Buzzfeed fascination, laugh at The Onion, or check out The Oatmeal. Fun content like this is crucial to a well-balanced blogger’s diet. ConclusionReally good writing has an unforgettable voice. Anyone who takes the time and has the intention to cultivate their writing voice can do so.Here’s the process: Give every article a laser focus. Be opinionated and dangerous. Write from the first person.Tell a story.Sit on it for a day.Think about your reader while you write. Read a lot of stuff.Follow these tips, and you’re bound to discover your unforgettable voice. Then other people will discover it, too.What tips do you have for developing an unforgettable writing voice?Image credits: communicationtheory.org Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 28, 2014 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017
Topics: The latest trend in ecommerce and marketing images is pretty obvious, especially if you’ve visited the Apple website lately. They’re not the first or the only to use hero images, but they’re one of the most visible—and they use them a lot. If Apple uses them, they must work, right? Before you embark on a mission to change everything on your website, let’s take a look at some important information.What Are Hero Images?If you’re not sure what hero images are, take a quick look at Apple’s website, Tommy Hilfiger’s, or Ulta’s. The first thing you see on those pages is an image that takes up more than 70% of the visible screen. Links and CTAs are located within the image or overlaid so as to be visible and usable by visitors. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack These images are often the latest and hottest products or services—those you want to build excitement for and sell quickly. You can choose between a static image and a slider with several. Either way, attention is drawn immediately to these products before anything else on the page.Why We Love ThemBasically, one big sexy image on a website makes the whole site automatically look sexy. And buyers love and respond to sexy sites. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t work so hard to improve them, would we? We love seeing relevant images showing products in use. We see how those products meet our needs and solve our pain while also looking just so great that we can’t pass up the opportunity to buy them. If a small image of that product sells a thousand, then how many would a large image sell? And that’s the big idea behind big hero images.But Do They Work?CrazyEgg.com says they absolutely do. With two case studies—one from Dell and one from KinderCare—they prove that hero images can increase conversions and decrease bounce rates. From an ecommerce perspective, their French test subject Saloman saw increased domestic sales of almost 40% and global sales of almost 30%.Well, then. Apparently hero images work. But how can you be sure they work for your ecommerce site?A Few Basic RulesSimply enlarging a photo for your home page won’t do the trick. There is a lot of planning and decision-making involved. First, don’t even try to use stock photos here. Everyone who’s ever seen a website before knows what stock photos look like, and they won’t be impressed with yours. Images of your products or consumers engaged with your products work much better.Next, make sure those images scale for use on mobile devices. Bad responsive design (or no responsive design) does not lead to conversions. In fact, it is detrimental in the eyes of Google. Your goal is to provide the most comfortable and exciting user experience possible.And speaking of user experience, make sure your images are easy on the eyes. Links and buttons shouldn’t cover important information. Menus should be in logical places and formations. Colors should match your brand without overwhelming the user. Finally, test it all. Test, test, and then test again. Your first test may show that your conversions are actually lower with hero images, but does that mean the hero image isn’t for you? Maybe it just means you chose the wrong image. Maybe buyers couldn’t find your links. Have a backup image and design ready to go and test that one next. With small tweaks and big changes, you could see incredible results. Ecommerce Marketing Originally published Jun 10, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017