Archive for June, 2010

Get Rid Of Numbers With Google Voice

I listened to this audio on one of the blogs that I follow meticulously, about Google Voice and got me really interested. There’s a lot of stuff that Google is offering for free with this product. Here are some of the really cool features.

The numero uno feature of this product is to delink your phone identity from the umpteen numbers that you may have and tie it to you which makes life a lot easier. Especially for those who are frequently on the move.

Voicemail Transcription – Apart from being attractive to those who are in love with words, which I confess I am, a really helpful feature is the search option on the transcripts for later reference which you can’t do with audio.

You do want different messages and voice tones for those messages for different people or groups of people. Like to whom to posture up and to whom to be casual for example. Personalized Greetings lets you do that.

And finally something that I don’t mind is the International Calls at very low rates. But my Telecom provider surely does.

You can get the full feature list here.

Have a nice day.

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Top 7 WordPress Plugins For Social Media

As widely accepted, the twin prerequisites of your blog setup is that,

- It should be on a self hosted account &
- The blogging platform should be WordPress.

So after you have setup the WordPress blog on your site, you need to maximize its capabilities by having the desired additional features. As you know, the advantage of the WordPress blogging platform is that it is designed as a content management system with the ability to run widgets and plugins. And unless you’re doing this, you’ll not be leveraging the potential of the platform.

Now there are hundreds and hundreds of WordPress plugins that are available for all kinds of purposes like SEO, performance optimization, appearance and so on. But I would like to focus on those plugins which enable Web 2.0 which in simple terms means anything that facilitates user interaction. And what better way of social marketing there is than eliciting user interaction?

Ok, let’s jump straight into the top 7 WordPress plugins for social media and Web 2.0.

1. What Would Seth Godin Do?
Weird name for a plugin, but an effective one alright. What it does is it creates a message to your first-second-third-time visitors to remind them to subscribe to your feed. And once you’ve set it up for 3 visits, it stops after that and so the visitor isn’t bugged all the time. People won’t mind this provided you’re giving quality content time and again.

2. Popularity Contest:
This is a cool plugin that tracks the popularity of your posts and gives really good details on what your visitors do on your site. It can be used as a tracking tool for understanding the mood and behaviour of your visitors so that you can optimize it accordingly.

3. WP Greet Box: It’s a simple plugin that displays a greeting to the visitors of your site based on where they’re coming from. For example if the user is coming through a link on Facebook, it greets him/her as a Facebook user and gives them the option to connect with you if you are not connected already.

4a. Disqus Comment System: It’s a smart commenting system which replaces the default commenting system on WordPress. The power of this tool is that it allows users to login with their social media accounts and then when they make a comment, it is shared with their contacts on those media which gives your post endorsement which can spread virally.

4b. Thank me later: Another plugin related to comments. Can’t be used along side Disqus as the two are incompatible. What it does is whenever somebody posts a comment on your site, it sends out a message to the person thanking him and the cool thing about this is that it can be configured in a way that it waits for a day or two before sending the mail so that it looks natural and it is completely customisable. Sort of an ingenious autoresponder.

5. Auto Social Poster: This is not free and so is meant for really serious bloggers. It automates the posting on social bookmarking sites as and when a new blog entry is published. Not only that you can create multiple accounts and randomise on which account to post from to make it look real and original.

6. Follow me: It is a simple plugin which makes having all the countless social media profiles on your site unnecessary. It shows a small tab when clicked lists all your social media profiles for the user to follow if he/she wishes so. It keeps the site clean and uncluttered.

7. Share Buttons: These are quick and easy plugins which provide buttons to share your blog content to the various social media. The ones that I use are Tweetme and Facebook share. Very easy and point in click once activated. There are tools by which you can integrate and automate your social media updates. but they are meant for advanced users only.

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Blogging 101

We have seen what a blog is and why is it necessary that you have one. Let’s dig a bit deeper into these and also look at some of the pre-requisites in setting up a successful blog.

Why do you think the online industry experts under any niche throw their weights behind blogs and invariably suggest that you have one? The reasons are simple.

- Blogs are built and designed to rank better
- It has got unique built in features as a platform &
- People love blogs and more importantly Google loves blogs (This should be the clincher, right?)

A pertinent question would be how come blogs are so search engine friendly? To give you one specific reason, it is due to the feature called “Ping” by which the search engines are alerted about new content on your blog which in turn sets the search engines’ spiders in crawling motion to your site.

That covered, let’s get on to the platform.

It has to be a self hosted blog and not one hosted on sites like or for a variety of reasons, the topmost among them being,

- You need to have full control over your blog and your content shouldn’t be at the mercy of the host. Tomorrow if they decide to close your account for whatever reason, all your work will go down the drain just like that.

- The blog platform has to be on a content management system with the ability to run widgets, plugins and do SEO work. Unless you have this, you wouldn’t be able to leverage the Web 2.0 features that today’s customers are familiar with and naturally expect on your blog as well.

And without doubt, the platform that gives you all of the above and more is a WordPress based blog on your self hosted account (not to be confused with a blog on If you need to put in effort to move it from any other platform, it’s worth it, hands down. Go for it.

On a passing note, don’t be a perfectionist. Just get it rolling with some content. You have all the time in the world to make it look better. To start off, the sole purpose should be to drive some traffic to your blog and you can’t have that unless you put it out. So folks, go out there and take action. Bring it on!!

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Inside Scoop From The Google Insider

The exciting part of being connected to the internet marketing network is the opportunity to meet and share experiences with the industry superstars. Over the last weekend, I had the pleasure to meet Simon Leung – an internet marketing whiz-kid and an ex-Google employee who built a million dollar empire within the first year of his business.

  Known in the internet marketing circles as the Google Insider, he is one of   ’The’ Google Adwords gurus going around and is today a widely sought after   consultant, author, speaker, coach and a mentor. Following are excerpts from   my interaction with Simon.

  One of the gems that I picked from him was this – Google is Google’s   biggest fan. And it would help your cause if you can give them a bit of   ego-massaging. Would you mind doing so if the reward is a higher ranking   on the greatest marketing machine on planet earth? I guess not.

So how to do it? Simple. Make sure that Google is amply covered on your website.

- Have blogs on If you have a self-hosted blog, have links to your blogger account
- Link pictures on your site to Picasa
- Put videos from YouTube
- Show Buzz widgets/icons
- Get iGoogle and Knol represented on your site

In short keep your content Google-rich and have plenty of backlinks to your site from those sources.

Search engines and especially Google likes navigational links which adds to the user experience. Follow a consistent structure with templates which has a good number of navigational links which is intuitive and easy enough for the visitors. And those links should be linking to pages within your site and outside. Also, if you’re having outbound links, make it point to do that within specific posts and articles instead of having them on the template and getting repeated on all pages as this lower your ranking on Google.

Google loves content and they love constantly changing content. You should keep the Google spider busy that it finds something new on each of its hop to your site. The caveat is that the content needs to pass the originality test. Google’s algorithms for checking plagiarism and duplicate content are so powerful and ever evolving that there is no fixed formula to get around it. So instead of trying to beat Google at their game, the better and easier option is to have fresh and original content.

Personalize your brand – This is something which struck an immediate cord with me since I’ve been someone who always believed that the most prospective strategy in your internet marketing career is to build your own brand because people buy into people more than anything else. Some of the quick and easy ways of implementing this are,

- Promote your site before anything else.
Eg: & instead of &
- Association with industry leaders and experts which helps to build your credibility

Lastly Simon acknowledged that the apprehension of Adwords being an expensive medium is due to the fact that the vast majority of the Ad campaigns are not maximized for results on Adwords. This stems from a lot of misconceptions and misplaced notions that people have about the tool. The Adwords guru’s suggestions were easy – Keep it simple, laser target the audience, keep the promise on your Ad and constantly monitor and optimize.

The interaction was very casual and he seemed a very chilled out guy. And interestingly, he said that one of the reasons of him quitting Google was their shift from a relaxed, laid-back environment to a formal, uptight setup of a corporate giant and that’s not the in-thing with internet marketers. I couldn’t agree with him more.

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Getting Started with Blogging

First things first. What are these blogs all about? See this quick intro.

Hope that gave some perspective to start with.

But there are millions and millions of blogs out there for every niche that you can possibly think of. So is it worth joining the bandwagon and add another one and more importantly how will you ensure that your voice is heard and won’t be drowned in such a crowded and noisy place?

Let’s go through some of the basics assoicated with putting up your blog.

Why on earth do I require a blog?
First and foremost, it helps if you have a presence online. People need to be aware that you exist and unless you’re a Kobe Bryant or a Brad Pitt in your field, you will need to make your target audience aware of you. Further, your blog speaks of your personality and says what you’re all about which creates that personal branding. And when people likes or appreciates your thoughts and views, you create a space of influence for you in the niche you’re in. I think those are enough reasons to have a blog.

What next? Choosing your audience.

Pick your niche
The checkpoints here are,

Do you have genuine interest and valuable information about the niche?

Is there an actual online demand for the same?

I have a passion for internet network marketing and there is a huge market for this industry – which qualifies my blog I guess ;)

Once you’ve chosen the niche, stay true to it by focusing on topics which are directly concerning the niche or closely related to it. A targeted niche or a sub niche would have a more dedicated but lesser audience than a broad one but will have the advantage of lesser competition.

Format and Readability
Though the unique content that you have to offer should be the USP of your blog, it should be embellished by the way it is formatted and structured so that readers have a pleasant experience the time they spend on your blog. A few things to note are,

Theme - This should be consistent with your topic and personality. Quite obviously, a funky looking theme with weird color combinations wouldn’t be ideal for a business blog.

Structure - The content should have a proper intro, body and a conclusion which make for pleasant reading; this doesn’t mean that you cannot go a bit offbeat with your structure once in a while though.

Categories - Organising your blog posts into relevant categories makes it easy for the audience to find the information that they need.

Manage Your Expectation
So if you’ve decided on having a blog, it is important that you set your expectations right. What is that you’re looking for? Is it for money or for a career change or for freedom? Trust me, it is NOT a get rich quick scheme and if anybody says so he or she is just selling dreams. The truth is that a blog can give all of the above provided you’re commited to work hard and be patient and persistent. It is a really rewarding one if done for the right reasons.

Happy blogging!!

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