Yahoo Directory Retired

Posted by Peter Bowen in Google, Internet Marketing | Leave a comment

Its hard to imagine that just 20 years ago Peter Bowen, Managing Director at First One On Limited in Bristol won the Entrepreneur of the Year award for basically developing a website…! and in those early years the Yahoo Directory was born as a listing of websites that helped users explore the Internet. “It was was how we were able to connect businesses to each other and get consumers to search for what they were looking for” says Peter Bowen, “don’t forget the Yahoo Directory was pre-Google and was the only way to search and get real results”, “yes there were other search tools including Excite 1993, Lycos 1994, Infoseek 1994 and Web Crawler 1994″.

David Filo and Jerry Yang started Yahoo! in 1994. Originally it was a highly regarded directory of sites that were cataloged by human editors. This directory provided an extensive listing of websites supported by a network of regional directories.

Last September, Yahoo announced that it would retire the Yahoo Directory, its oldest service and the one that put the company on the map to begin with. In fact, the announcement for such a major product closure was quiet at best, as it came in the middle of a blog post announcing a handful of product shut downs.

In the post, Yahoo said, “Yahoo was started nearly 20 years ago . While we are still committed to connecting users with the information they’re passionate about, our business has evolved and at the end of 2014, we will retire the Yahoo Directory. Advertisers will be upgraded to a new service; more details to be communicated directly.”

The early demise of the Yahoo Directory probably isn’t going to have a huge impact on many people, but what that demise represents for the Internet is more significant. It represents the true end of an era (even if that era has unofficially been dead for years).

Back when the closure was announced, Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land noted that the Yahoo Directory was the “gateway” to the web back in the old days. This is a title often given to Google these days, and one that the search giant has been trying to distance itself from in light of the big antitrust investigation it has been facing in Europe.

In the beginning the Yahoo Directory offered a standard listing at no cost and a paid submission process before moving to a non-refundable “review fee” model. It would cost sites the same amount each year if they were to be listed. Google is actually a significant part of why paid directories have declined, so that might work against that aforementioned Google defence. Of course, Yahoo also recently killed its Contributor Network thanks to Google’s Panda update.

Yahoo made the jump from human-edited directory listings to a crawler-based index in 2002. In 2010, the company said it had no plans to close the directory, but a lot has happened since then, and a former Googler is running the show these days.

Directories have long been a major part of the Internet, even if that’s been less the case in more recent years. The closure of the most notable directory in the history of the modern web is indicative of a major shift.

Peter Bowen, Managing Director, First One On Limited

Mark Wright Climb Online digital marketing business

Posted by Peter Bowen in Content Marketing, Internet Marketing, SEO Services | Leave a comment

For those who watched with anticipation The Apprentice on BBC, saw Mark Wright’s digital online marketing agency beat Bianca Miller’s luxury tights business to win Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment.

But is Mark’s Climb Online digital marketing business idea a winner for Lord Sugar? of the two opportunities presented by the budding entrepreneurs, Climb Online is most likely the least expensive option in the long run as it does not involve the problems of manufacturing a product and getting it to market.

Mark a 24-year-old Australian salesman proposed setting up a business in a industry that he has worked in for the past two years. There is no doubt that this is one of the major factors why Lord Sugar selected him for the final.

However, working for someone else is not the same as working for yourself – but then a cool £250,000 injection of cash with very little risk is a very nice way to start a business and get it off the ground.

Mark’s Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plans with Climb Online are by no means unique and can be replicated by any other similar business and as we all know our inboxes are flooded with offers from similar businesses in India and Eastern Europe on a daily basis.

It is also interesting to note that domain names for Climb Online have already been taken for existing businesses that offer – yes you guessed it – indoor climbing centres, climbing in general, and the whole climbing industry, nothing to do with the proposition that Mark had suggested to Lord Sugar.

“The Search Engine Optimisation of webpage content is the difference between being found on Google and being invisible” says Peter Bowen, SEO Evangelist and Managing Director at First One On, a four-year-old SEO website marketing company based in Bristol.

“Ensuring that a specific page on your website contains the keyword that you want visitors to find you for is what defines good search engine optimisation, and the page must be relevant to the keyword that the visitor has searched for. The resulting optimised page must contain very specific information that talks about the value and benefit of the search term”.

“The optimised page should not just deliver great search engine rankings; it should also attract quality visitors to your website who will ultimately convert into real business leads for your business”.

First One On uses proven Search Engine Optimisation techniques that consistently deliver top search engine ranking positions for their clients.

So will Mark Wright’s Climb Online business plan work or fail – our guess is that given Mark’s determination and drive, and with some polish and fine tuning it could be very successful.

At First One On “we would hire Mark without the £250,000″ says Peter Bowen.

Which comes first – the audience or the product?

Posted by Peter Bowen in Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Social Media | Leave a comment

Joe Pulizzi has a lot to say about content marketing. His recent post on Copyblogger is what he calls a “how-to-think” post, and he proposes a different approach to the subject. 5 Steps to Revising Your Content Marketing Strategy to Attract and Retain Future Customers reverses the traditional timeline for most businesses.

Most businesses will start with the product. A great invention is produced and the marketing department is given the task of getting that product known to the world. A lot of time, effort, and a huge budget goes into blogs, ads, infographics, commercials, and the rest of it, with the hope that an audience for that content will develop as people learn about the product and decide they want to buy it.

A Different Strategy

Mr. Pulizzi suggests that instead of this model, it would be better to develop the audience. Then, as you get to know the people who are invested in listening to you, the products are developed to meet their needs. His suggested steps are:

  1. Choose the right content niche. Work on being the trusted expert in your industry.
  2. Focus all your efforts on building an opt-in email list. One call to action = sign up for the email list. One.
  3. Produce content consistently. Regularly scheduled email delivery without fail.
  4. Add “outcomes” to your editorial calendar. Solve problems for your readers, making their lives better.
  5. Prepare the “three-legged stool” model. Digital content doesn’t stand alone; have multiple channels like print & events.

Then, as the man says,

Your business goal that drives your particular content creation strategy should be to build an audience.

With a loyal audience you can sell, well, practically anything you want.

What do you think of this idea? I have to say that it seems a bit chicken-&-eggy to me because most products are the result of a perceived need in some type of audience. I do think that building your email marketing carefully is important because an opt-in email list is composed of people who already want to know what you have to say.

Email Marketing (still) works with Quality Subscribers

Posted by Peter Bowen in Email Marketing, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Website Marketing, Website Marketing and SEO, Writing Articles | Comments Off

Email marketing if it is done right will work really well – however – blasting out hundreds or thousands of emails to unqualified end users will get you nothing… and these days the open rates for emails is becoming less and less as our inboxes are filled with more and more unwanted messages.

But wait… isn’t email marketing just like any other marketing programme – it is a numbers game, the more you send, there are more chances that more people will open your email?

Yes but, No but, there is a LOT MORE to email marketing than just blasting out numbers!

It’s a lot like developing relationships – one at a time and nurturing those relationships to the point where you can communicate a broad message, but know that it is being received by a select few that you have qualified and will reciprocate with quality replies.

A quality list of end users or subscribers who have agreed to receive your email and have opted-in will get you results. The opted-in process works like this – a potential subscriber completes a signup form on your website or through an email invitation and submits it to you, then an email is sent back to that person asking them to validate or give you permission to send them email. Now you have an end user who is qualified as a valuable lead and is expecting to receive an email communication from you in the future. Now your chances of those qualified leads reacting to your email is going to be a lot more positive.

An email sent to a qualified list is most certainly going to get a much higher “open rate” from subscribers who open the email and become exposed to your marketing message.

The next task is to get the subscriber to react to your marketing message and the key is to get them to “click through” on your offer or “call to action” and land on your website page and ultimately to “BUY” into your offer.

The content of the email must contain quality content that describes your value proposition or presents an issue and asks a relevant question where the response, the click through to your website, will generate the opportunity to sell your stuff.

Ensure that the content is to the point and does not require the recipient to read through long paragraphs of text to get to the point you are trying to make. The content should be short and succinct, capturing the recipient’s interest and motivating them to react to your message in a positive way.

Email marketing is very much a process that does work if it is done right says Peter Bowen, Managing Director at First One On, “we send out thousands of emails to qualified contacts and get remarkable results for our clients in terms of open rates, click through’s and conversions”.

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Tablets are the Future for Business

Posted by Peter Bowen in Mobile Apps, Mobile Websites, Social Media, Website Marketing, Website Marketing and SEO | Tagged | Leave a comment

With the recent advancements in technology, many businesses have turned to the use of tablets to help them improve business productivity. In fact, studies have shown that more than half of businesses are using them. Surveys that were completed by iGR, the market strategy specialist, show that with over 400 businesses studied, 52 percent of them are using tablets to help them with their business needs. With tablets becoming so popular, it’s no wonder that UK app developers are finding there’s more and more demand for their app building skills, as businesses look to make the most of these devices.

Of the businesses that were surveyed, nearly half of them use their tablets for business and personal needs. Generally, members of management and other staff members indicated that they used their tablets for personal reasons, while those at an executive level used it mainly for work related matters.

So, why are businesses turning to tablets? They are basically using them to replace laptops and increase their workforce’s effectiveness. That does not mean that businesses out there will not also use notebooks and laptops, but more and more companies are finding that tablets are easier for their employees to use. The ease of use, along with the continued development of suitable mobile applications, really gives the tablet a competitive edge over laptops and netbooks in the business world.

The use of tablets has also changed the way that businesses plan their IT investments. About a quarter of the businesses that were surveyed noted that they would buy fewer laptops since they were moving over to using tablets. A quarter also stated that they will be supplying these tablets in accordance with new company policies.

With the increase in tablet use, there have also been quite a few changes when it comes to technology management. The IT departments are usually the ones that are in charge of the purchasing and maintenance of a company’s computers, laptops and netbooks. However, when it comes to tablet maintenance, only about half of the businesses that were surveyed stated that their IT departments would be in charge of this.

The president of iGR, Iain Gillot, has found that the majority of airlines and financial businesses are turning to tablets for their employees. Tablet usage is expected to continue to rise over the next few years for many different types of businesses. Also, there has been a lot of research done that shows that the tablets are not only used within larger corporations but also in smaller businesses. As the trend for tablet usage continues to rise, laptop purchases are on the decline for many businesses.

Since smaller businesses are turning to tablet usage as well, it is clear to see that tablets will eventually take over the business world. Reports put together by Futuresource Consulting have shown that tablet sales are projected to increase by at least 200 percent over the next couple of years. With that in mind, tablet applications are also expected to increase in number. In a five year projection, the number of tablets sold is expected to reach over 248 million sales.

Internet Marketing Trends for 2015

Posted by Peter Bowen in Internet Marketing, SEO Services, Social Media | Leave a comment

As the year 2014 is coming to a close, internet marketing professionals have been coming up with their predictions for trends and go-to strategies for 2015. Most agree that the focus will be on two aspects – holistic online presence management and content-driven marketing through social channels.

1. Content Marketing Will be Bigger Than Ever

One of the main ways that companies are establishing authority and gaining trust with consumers is by consistently creating valuable content through a variety of channels. This typically involves relevant industry information that provides insight or entertainment to an audience. Doing so allows a company to steadily build rapport with its demographic and develop a loyal following. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, articles on a business’s website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites.

By using one or more of these channels, businesses are able to build a positive reputation within their industry. This trend suggests that marketing to the masses through techniques like television ads and radio ads are becoming less effective. Instead, it’s better to concentrate on inbound marketing, by producing valuable, engaging content designed for a specific audience.

2. Social Media Marketing Will Require More Diversity

It seems like new social media sites are appearing all the time and have surged in popularity. These sites have provided businesses with a plethora of new options that allow them to produce engaging content in a variety of media forms and build their audiences across more channels than ever before.

Consequently, it has become common for businesses to branch out and experiment with multiple networks with the aim of reaching the maximum amount of consumers. This diversification seems to prove fruitful for many companies because it often builds brand equity by making it easier for consumers to recognise a particular brand.

3. Mobile-Friendly Content Will Be Necessary

Due to the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, it’s necessary for companies to create content that’s accessible to mobile users. Whether it’s creating an alternate mobile version of a website or utilising responsive web design, it’s important to provide a positive experience to users that are browsing via a mobile device.

Otherwise, it’s easy to lose customers to competitors who have adapted to this trend. As the shift from traditional PCs and laptops to mobile devices continues, businesses that aren’t onboard with mobile are likely to suffer.

4. Ad Retargeting Will Grow in Effectiveness

This is a marketing strategy that has really caught on recently. In a nutshell, it works by utilising browser cookies to track the websites that users visit. Once they leave a certain site, the products or services they viewed will be shown to them again in advertisements across different websites.

Peter Bowen, Managing Director at First One On in Bristol says “it’s easy to see why this technique can be so effective with only two percent of web traffic converting on the first visit, ad retargeting works to increase the overall conversion rate by reminding consumers of the product or service they viewed and while this keeps the brand and the product at the top of the consumer’s mind it provides an opportunity to implant ‘the need to buy’ within the consumers mindset”. There are even psychological studies that have shown that simple exposure to brand names and logos creates familiarity, which builds trust and makes consumers more likely to make a purchase.

Even if there’s no immediate purchase, this can really pay off in the long run. Due to the success that many marketers have had with ad retargeting, there’s a good chance that it will become more mainstream in 2015.

5. SEO and Social Signals Will Become Even More Intertwined

Although social signals still don’t typically carry the same weight as traditional inbound links, it’s pretty undeniable that they play a role in organic search rankings these days. After all, they’re one of the three pillars of SEO. Since the goal of Google and other search engines is to provide users with the most relevant and highest quality content possible, it makes sense why they would factor in the number of social shares that a blog post, article or product page receives.

The more people that are sharing a piece of content, the higher quality it’s likely to be, and therefore its position should increase within the search engine results pages. It’s no coincidence that the top-ranking search results tends to have lots of social shares, while those ranked lower have fewer.

2015 looks like it is going to be a year of unexpected new trends in social behaviour and besides this, social shares can serve as a stamp of approval for visitors landing on a page. If they see that it has many shares, it’s likely that there’s something of value. That’s a big reason why so many businesses are installing social share plugins and encouraging consumers to share as much as possible and making it increasingly easy to share their content.

Push Notifications Engage Mobile App Consumers

Posted by Peter Bowen in Internet Marketing, Mobile Apps, Mobile Websites, Push Notifications, Social Media, Website Marketing | Leave a comment

The upward surge of mobile apps appearing everyday is creating a new breed of savvy marketeers says Peter Bowen, Managing Director of First One On that launched their mobile app and mobile website offerings at the beginning of 2012.

Recently at the Mobile Media Summit held in Chicago we learned that mobile is starting to have a serious impact on traditional advertising mediums such as television, print media and online based on consumers’ adopting smartphones worldwide. Apple reported more than 2 million pre-orders for the new iPhone 6 when it was released recently

There are an estimated 4 billion mobile phones in the world of which 1.3 billion are smartphones and the number is growing daily. In the UK for example OFCOM reports that there are a staggering 33+ million smartphones capable of receiving online content. Therefore mobile is becoming the centre of future advertising and marketing strategies.

When smartphone users search for content or scan QR codes they are directed to mobile versions of websites or in some cases websites that have not been optimised for mobile viewing and just don’t display correctly.

For some types of business the mobile website offers all of the required information for the user to either learn more information about a product or service or to provide answers before making a decision to purchase.

There is an increasing trend to use QR codes to drive consumers to specific mobile optimised pages. These pages offer an immediate result or offer to “buy now” as a method of attracting users to engage and react to the offer or call to action. However once the user has opened the page and moved on they may never return to that mobile webpage ever again unless they are motivated by a need to either search or be directed by a QR code.

Say hello to the Mobile App – a slightly different mobile media version than the mobile website. Yes it displays information and offers plus a whole lot more besides. It resides on your smartphone as an app with its own icon on your desktop and can be easily accessed at any time.

Mobile apps attract new customers and help to increase on-going engagement by building a community for brand loyalty – a loyal fan base of users that will be far more receptive to marketing messages that you put out because they have given you their permission to receive your marketing message.

Mobile apps help to attract new customers, increase engagement and drive conversions, by ensuring that the user keeps coming back for more.

Now the business owner of the app has control of their customers in a way that they never had before and can in effect drive customers in to buy, engage or interact in the way that has been designed to deliver the end result – sell more stuff!

Some of the built-in features and offers that the app provides will be enough of an incentive for users to react to the offerings but at other times the user might need a gentle little push or persuasion.

Peter Bowen says “mobile apps have the ability to receive incoming text notifications that are called ‘push notifications’ and as their name implies the message is pushed out to all users who have the app installed on their smartphone”. “There is a misconception that this type of communication could be considered as spam, this is down to a few who are abusing the privilege of communicating directly to end users”. “As long as it is not misused, push notifications are an effective way of engaging consumers and delivering brand loyalty”.

Recent research has revealed that push notifications can deliver:

  • 500% increase in daily app opens
  • 3x faster response time than email
  • 30% increase in social sharing on Facebook and Twitter
  • 97% read rates compared to email at 5-10%

Push notifications should give consumers the information that they want in small doses, not a blatant advertising or hard selling approach, after all the user has installed the app to enable them to get some value out of what you have to offer. The message must be meaningful and have a compelling call to action otherwise you are not going to be able to convert their reaction into a potential sale.

Push notifications can draw consumers into your brand and create the brand loyalty that you want, so that when they are ready to buy they will have a sense that you care about them.

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Grow Your Business, Grow Yourself

Posted by Peter Bowen in Blogs, Internet Marketing | Leave a comment

To grow your business, you must grow yourself. Business growth is anchored in personal growth the way a tree’s roots are anchored to the ground that nourishes it.

Business expansion brings increased creative risk and complexity as well as the potential for outstanding rewards – and it requires an expanded version of you to shape and hold it.

The most successful of my clients are those who understand this.

They willingly cultivate a loving relationship with their soul and with the essence of their business. Their business flourishes, serving them and the people and causes they love, while shaping a world that works for everyone.

Much of the work my clients and I do together is about building capacity – the capacity to handle creative risk; to ride the waves of uncertainty without losing focus and commitment to their deepest desires. The capacity to reshape identities, transform beliefs, and evolve into the inner pattern of their being. The capacity to partner effectively with the soul of their business and to manage increasing complexity in their business relationships.

You grow your business by developing a deep relationship with its soul – the essence qualities that you and your business are here to bring into the world. Those qualities of essence are intimately connected to your own soul’s deepest purposes. They also emerge from your gifts, talents, genius and heart – from the purposes of your incarnation.

The soul of your business is a living being whose pattern of perfect unfolding already exists in the subtle energy realms. You co-create your business by anchoring this pattern to your concrete intentions, and partnering with the soul of your business to bring its pattern into the world.

By tethering the pattern of your business – or of a particular project in your business, like creating a product or launching a program — to your clear intention, and then by taking consistent, concrete, daily actions towards the fulfillment of your desires, you help to grow your business organically and sustainably.

Guest blog extract by Hiro Boga

5 proven steps to promoting business with social media

Posted by Peter Bowen in Blogs, Social Media | Comments Off
Build an accomplished community of supporters who will take note of you and your brand and be totally interested in what you are doing and they will be willing to share with others.
  1. Promote Others It costs nothing to be friendly and helpful to others by promoting their ideas and beliefs. This builds solid foundations for your own social credibility.
  2. Keep it aimed at Business You have a business audience so keep it about business and not personal stories about your pets or children
  3. Collect and Curate The best content that relates to your business and is of value to your followers and can include photos along with opinions
  4. Tell Good Stories People are interested in stories that talk about successes and accomplishments within your realm of business and they can share with their network of followers
  5. Build Trust About your brand and what it stands for by not sharing stories or topics that seem to be trendy, but do share some personal opinions about what your business segment is about.

Mobile Apps – the greatest Marketing Opportunity

Posted by Peter Bowen in Internet Marketing, Mobile Apps, Mobile Websites, Push Notifications | Comments Off

mobile apps for marketing
Marketing is all about getting your message in front of your audience and it is the first step to getting more business and making your message compelling and getting people to take action is the key. So when you want to boost your business, you need to find the right tools.

One of them is offering an amazing cost/return ratio with a mobile app.

According to a recent report consumers are spending an average of almost 3 hours on smartphones and tablets each day. Now that’s a serious eyeful, right? People are spending almost a fifth of their waking hours using their mobile devices, and there are still small businesses that are ignoring mobile marketing.

Unfortunately, when you do that, you risk the market ignoring you.

Mobile Apps Are Cost-Effective

Mobile strategies really could not be more cost effective than they are today. For a small monthly fee, a small business can publish an app and have a dedicated, persistent ad right on a user’s mobile screen. That little app icon, once downloaded, is itself an ad for your business that will be seen many times each day by all of your fans. That is, without even going into the many revenue-generating marketing opportunities present in apps after launch, just the fact that your app was downloaded is already providing you with a marketing boost.

Who needs traditional ads when you’ve got some of the most valuable visual real estate in the modern world? A mobile business app specifically tailored to your customers needs!

Then you throw in all the amazing ways that apps boost business – mobile ordering, push notifications of offers and events, even something as simple as making the address easy to look up – and you’ve got a winning combo that’s about as cost-effective as can be.

Small business owners: don’t miss out. The mobile marketing deal is just too sweet!