Internet Marketing Resolutions for 2014

December 29th, 2013 by

The new year is upon us and at this time of year tradition demands that we make our resolutions for the upcoming year.  Don’t forget your internet efforts when it comes to your business’ marketing resolutions for 2014.

2014 Resolutions

Don’t forget to make your internet marketing resolutions for 2014.

Making resolutions for the new year should be treated seriously.  Lots of folks chuckle about their New Year’s resolutions, but, indeed, it should be treated as the opportunity it is: a chance to refocus efforts and make improvements, whether personal or professional.

Top 5 Small Business Internet Marketing Resolutions for 2014

These resolutions are aimed at InsideOut Solutions’ primary client base:

  • bed & breakfast inns
  • dude ranches
  • cabin, cottage and vacation rentals
  • destinations, etc.

but also apply to many small to medium-sized businesses.

1. Review Your Website

It’s time to go through your website with a fine-tooth comb.  You’ll want to fix all those misspellings, grammar errors, and out-of-date info, of course, but your review needs to go much deeper to be truly effective.

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WordPress Website + Managed Hosting = Effective Internet Marketing Platform

September 30th, 2013 by

A WordPress website, along with design and managed hosting from InsideOut Solutions, creates a strong foundation for your online marketing.

A WordPress website, along with design and managed hosting from InsideOut Solutions, creates a strong foundation for your online marketing.

Occasionally, our current and potential clients will submit their concerns about having a WordPress website.  Often these concerns are raised when a website Content Management System (CMS) provider publishes a blog post, email newsletter or other article denouncing WordPress as a website platform in order to convince readers that they offer a better alternative with their own CMS.

While it’s true that a WordPress website isn’t ideal for every business, InsideOut Solutions has proven that WordPress combined with our quality website design and managed hosting services create an effective and affordable internet marketing platform for its clients in the unique lodging and related industries.  Whether you own a B&B inn, dude ranch, cabin resort, boutique hotel or motel, or vacation rentals, you owe it to yourself to learn more about WordPress and why it is such a powerful foundation for websites.

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Plagiarism: Illegal, Unethical…and Devastating to Your Google Search Rank

July 29th, 2012 by

Don’t Copy & Paste Your Way to the Bottom of Search Results: Make Sure Your Website Content Is Always Your Own – and Protect It!

The Bad Artists Imitate, The Great Artists Steal by Banksy

While artists like Picasso and, more recently, Banksy might, with tongue in cheek, condone theft in the name of greatness, doing so online can kill your search engine ranking.

The success of your internet marketing depends a great deal on the text that appears on your website pages, blog posts, directory listings, etc.

There’s been a great deal of controversy over how damaging it is for a business to have “duplicate content” – that is, text content that is copied from one place to another on the web (even on the same website).  While the detrimental effect of duplicating your own content is still hotly debated, there is no controversy about duplicating content that is not your own.

In short: Don’t do it.

It might seem harmless to copy and paste bits or even sections of text from other sources, such as using Wikipedia to fill in information about your area, but it is illegal…and devastating to your search engine rank when (not if) discovered.

Before we get to far into how plagiarism can hurt your search engine marketing efforts specifically, let’s get some definitions:

What Is Plagiarism?


pla·gia·rize verb \ˈplā-jə-ˌrīz also -jē-ə-\
transitive verb
: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source
intransitive verb
: to commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source

“plagiarize.” Merriam-Webster.com. 2012. http://www.merriam-webster.com (20 July 2012).


So, if writer “A” uses text previously written by writer “B” without proper credit, writer “A” is plagiarizing the work.

What is Internet Plagiarism?

Internet Plagiarism

Copy and paste are useful functions in electronic media, but should never be used to pass someone else’s work off as your own.

Plagiarism on the internet, generally referred to as “content scraping,” is simply copying and pasting content (text and/or images) from a source without proper citation.

Content scraping has been around for a long time on the internet and was used extensively for years, without repercussions, to build search index-able content for websites.  Those days are long gone.  Plagiarizing content now can have serious consequences from a legal and search rank point of view.

What Are the Legal Dangers of Internet Plagiarism?

Today, there are a number of tools used to identify content scraping.  Businesses and organizations that discover plagiarized and/or improperly cited work can slap the plagiarist with a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Removal Notice.  If the scraped content is not removed or cited properly, the business or organization may file a copyright infringement lawsuit.

What Are the Search Rank Consequences of Content Scraping?

How Search Engines View Plagiarism

Search engines like Google, Yahoo & Bing view unoriginal content as a hindrance to delivering quality results and will penalize websites using scraped text.

When (not if, these days) discovered, search engines penalize plagiarized content by lowering rank or, if the content scraping is severe enough, removing a website from its results.  If you re-publish without proper citation, you will likely see a drop in rank and, hence, in visits via the search engines that have made the discovery. 

Google Panda rolled out in February of 2011 and has received 13 major updates since.  Panda’s focus is on both rewarding quality content and slapping sites with little quality content, stolen or duplicate content, and a high ad-to-content ratio.  Bing and Yahoo also penalize scraped content they discover.  An article from your chamber of commerce might be a good resource for your website visitors, but it won’t help you at all of you drop off Google, Yahoo and/or Bing.

Despite the high potential for penalization, there are many websites that plagiarize content and attempt to establish their “version” as genuine, meaning you need to protect your content.

How Do I Protect Myself from Internet Plagiarism?

There are many tools available to businesses and organizations for fining plagiarized content on the web.  If you have a small website or publish new content infrequently, you can generally get by with a free service such as Plagiarism Checker or Article Checker, which allow you to search for duplicate content by (ironically, enough) copying and pasting text or entering individual URLs.

If you have a larger site and/or publish frequently, you will want to consider a paid service from providers such as Copyscape or Plagiarisma.

If you find a site has plagiarized your content and you want to take action on the copyright infringement, you may use the DMCA Online Service Provider directory to find a designated copyright agent to contact.

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Will Bing Go Bada-Boom or Bada-Bust…? A Lot Rides on Microsoft’s Xbox and Facebook

June 27th, 2012 by

Internet Marketing on Bing: What should be your strategy be with recent announcements about Xbox & Facebook?

Bing LogoBing now regularly edges out Yahoo as the second most used search engine and the overall trend indicates that it will continue to eat away at Yahoo’s share of the search pie.

Bada-Bing

The upcoming year may finally seal the fate on whether Bing goes bada-boom or bada-bust. Either way, it’s not going down without a fight.

Thus far, Bing has not been able to take a substantial bite out of Google’s market share, but has instead taken bites out of every other search provider (swallowing some almost whole). As Bing now controls the back-end of Yahoo search, search marketers tend to lump them together as Microsoft when talking about market share. Doing so gives Microsoft about half the market share of Google and that remained fairly consistent as we head into summer of this year.  Even so, Microsoft reported a $2.6 billion loss in its online services division in the last fiscal year.

But there are changes coming that could help Bing finally bite into Google’s dominant share of the pie.  In this article, you will learn about two major changes and what you should do to ensure that your search marketing efforts on Bing will benefit from its increased use.

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Mobile Website Upgrade for WordPress Websites

May 27th, 2012 by

Internet Marketing News: WordPress Websites Have a New Mobile Option

Mobile Devices

The mobile web shows no sign of slowing its growth; make sure you have a mobile website that's ready to compete!

Mobile website standards, as with everything else related to the internet, have continued to evolve at an increasing rate and InsideOut Solutions is proud to announce a new mobile website solution for our Inndx and WordPress website customers that offers greater design flexibility, content management, search engine optimization features.

This totally new version of our mobile website feature for WordPress websites is a major upgrade from the version we rolled out to our clients in May of 2011. The all-new administration interface makes management of your mobile website more efficient. The mobile site as it displays to visitors is more user-friendly with larger, easier to click links.

Have a look at one of our first clients to use this new mobile website service and compare the previous version with the new:

Previous WordPress Mobile Website Header

Previous mobile website was good, but we recognized a need for easier thumb clicking of menu items.

Mobile Website for 9 Cranes Inn

The new mobile website for WordPress is "thumb friendly" and customizable to meet your mobile marketing needs.

The new mobile website is packed with improved features to help clients improve their ability to effectively market their business in the mobile marketplace.

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Online Reputation Management For Your Business

April 29th, 2012 by

Internet Marketing Weekly: Why it’s important to monitor your Bed and Breakfast’s Online Reputation.

Social Media 01We are living in a world dominated by fast moving information, real time data and social media. We are receiving higher volumes of information at a quicker rate then ever before. This new explosion has created a very unique issue for small business owners. How do you stay up to date with everything that is being tweeted, tagged, liked, blogged, G+, checked in, reviewed, reported on and pinned (whew, try saying that 3 times quick). In this post, I’m going to show you a few simple tricks. Along with 2 tools to make Online Reputation Management easier, and a little less time consuming.

 

So What is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?

ORM is the practice of monitoring the Internet reputation of a person, brand and business. With the goal of addressing and mitigating both positive and negative mentions. For most businesses, monitoring your Online Brand and helping to build a positive outlook is the most important function. No business is perfect and no one is ever satisfied a 100%. Your going to face situations were customers or guests aren’t happy. On the other side of the token, you will have customers that rant and rave about how perfect you are. Both of these factors need to be monitored and treated equally. With the unhappy online customers you must engage and mitigate. With happy online customers engage and be thankful. When people look across the many outlets of information they aren’t looking for you to be perfect. They are looking for how you react, and how you treat your consumer (happy or not).

Using Google Alerts to Make Your Life Easier.

Google Alerts will become one of your true allies in the ORM battle. It’s a free tool that will allow you to set up a number of different search queries that will notify you anytime your brand is mentioned. A great tip is to add not only your brand name but to also add any geographical terms for your area. For example, Sequim Washington Bed and Breakfast that way you can also start to see other business in the area that are being mentioned or covered. You then can start to measure your online reputation against others in your market.

Social Media Never Rests

Sites like Facebook and Twitter never sleep. They are moving 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So staying up with all the happenings is a tough task for those who require sleep. Luckily, there are some great tools out there that can help you to get ORM results quickly across a large number of sites. Much like Google Alerts, Social Mention will become something to lean on more and more. This program works very similar to Google Alerts, except you have the ability to reach deep into all the social network platforms.

In Conclusion:

I hope you can find a way to use these two great free tools. These tools should help keep you in the loop and speed up the rate in which you can gather information about your brand. Please contact us if you need any further details on this topic. With never ending growth of Social Media, and more advancements in technology coming. Staying on top of  your online brand reputation will become more important everyday.

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How to Market Your Pet-Friendly B&B

April 22nd, 2012 by

Internet Marketing Weekly: Attract guests traveling with pets to your bed and breakfast.

Marketing your pet-friendly B&B

Take advantage of the growing number of people traveling with pets.

Do you allow pets at your bed and breakfast? If so, how often do you welcome guests with pets? Have you noticed the growing trend in pet travel? Do potential guests know your inn is pet friendly?

Hint: It takes more than a single sentence buried somewhere on your website declaring your property pet friendly to get the word out. It’s no use providing doggie beds and milk bones if no one realizes they can stay at your inn with their furred friend.

Let’s brainstorm. What could you do to spread the word about your accommodating pet policy?

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How to Create and Market Great Blog Content to Earn Your Readers’ Interest

April 8th, 2012 by

Internet Marketing Weekly: What is “great content,” and how do I market it?

Success is closer than you think

Success is closer than you think.

If you’ve developed a schedule and system for blog posts, and posting what you believe is great content (helpful, informative, actionable, and optimized for search), and still find the traffic and follow though by readers to be lacking, then what’s next?

Lets take a very brief moment to mention one thing that works time and again for both large and small businesses in acquiring customers: Inbound Marketing! The definition of Inbound Marketing is: “Any tactic that relies on earning people’s interest rather than buying it.” Earning people’s interest creates a kind of ripple effect both in how they share information about you (you being your business), and what effects the sharing has on your business.

So back to your blog. If we keep in the back of our minds that the goal is to earn people’s interest, then top quality content (helpful, informative, actionable, and optimized for search) should be uppermost in your mind when researching, composing editing that finally publishing your blog posts. Let’s look at what it takes to create great content.

Let’s Define “Great”

Below are 4 general themes that are usually present in great content. Your content should match up to at least one.

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Measuring ROI through your booking engine or shopping cart

April 1st, 2012 by

$5700Internet Marketing Weekly: Does your booking engine provide you enough information to make informed decisions about ROI?

As a small business owner, you work hard to attract visitors to your website. Your website is optimized for search engines, and your directory listings are complete and compelling. You check your Analytics statistics every month, you blog every week, you tweak your search ads every day, and you post to Facebook twice a day.

But how can you tell if any of these efforts is bearing fruit? You track visitor statistics with Google Analytics on your website, but can you tack those visitors through your booking process? If your booking engine doesn’t support Analytics tracking, you’re only getting half the story.

Why worry about tracking on your booking engine?

Tracking visits between your website and your booking pages is essential for a complete picture of how visitors are becoming booked guests.

Without Analytics tracking on your booking pages, you can’t tell whether your booked guests came to your site through search engines, through directory listings, or through social media efforts. You also can’t tell the difference between a visitor who clicks through the booking process and a visitor who leaves your site entirely — both visitors look like they simply leave.

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