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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Appy Halloween!

Date Posted: October 29, 2014 by

Bubble, bubble, toil and tech-savvy.App_Halloween

As soon as temperatures begin to drop, we notice holiday decorations creeping into the aisles of stores, and await the release of seasonal-flavored everything. Pumpkin spice has become a staple of the leaves changing, from your coffee, to your soap, and even your chips. This progression plants the pumpkin seeds of sales into the back of consumer minds.

Total spending for Halloween in 2014 is projected at $11.3 billion – with the average household planning to spend about $125 on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations. What’s more than sales and spider webs is a relationship with brands that people look for to integrate into their holiday season.

The changing sales landscape has shifted toward the customer experience and integration via multiple touch points, such as a weekly e-newsletter or Facebook News Feeds posts. Customers are looking for ways to connect digitally, and more than ever, the key is creativity in reaching them in a relevant and meaningful way. A space where there is a lot of availability to do so are holiday apps. Here are some fun Halloween apps customers can make use of, from tracking your little ghost or goblin to zombifiying your pictures.

-The Walking Dead: Dead Yourself – Create a photo-realistic Walker zombie out of yourself, your friends, and even your feline with The Walking Dead props and features.

-Halloween! – Explore ringtones, wallpapers, costume ideas, trivia, a built-in countdown and flashlight for trick-or-treating.

-Pumpkin Pal – Get your pumpkin carving fix without all the mess and hand cramps.

-Halloween Party Sound Lite – Mischief can be managed with this app offering an array of screams and screeches, complete with a time delay for a hair-raising result.

-Trick Or Tracker – Use GPS functions to get text message updates of where your trick-or-treater is on their candy journey, with mapped locations.

How could your company engage customers with a meaningful experience? Let’s figure it out together!


Starting A Company Blog

Date Posted: October 28, 2014 by

You’ve been in business for quite some time.  You’ve gone through a few different website designs. You recently met a savvy web developer, and she was able to build you a beautiful website. Your coworkers love it, and you’ve shared it with friends and family. You may even be getting compliments from current clients and, if  you’re lucky, drawing traffic from search engines and other websites. But, there’s more. When the developer built the site, it also came with a shiny new blog. You may have heard that blogging is what all the kids are doing these days, but how is it relevant to your business, and how can leveraging the content posted there help your business grow? Good question!

While a company blog typically lives on the site’s root domain, it serves a different purpose.  Here are a few ways  to leverage your company blog for SEO purposes.

Opportunity to add new and fresh content to your site

Search engines love great content. Just ask this guy. By consistently adding content to the site, you’re not only proving that your site is consistently maintained, but that you are also taking your e-business seriously. In doing so, you’re also encouraging the search engines to visit the pages on your site more often. If your site has a significant amount of SEO, the engines will return to index your content more often than your competitors. By doing this, your site has the potential to rank higher for keywords that your competitors are also targeting. This will increase the potential for leads and sales.

Opportunity to introduce new keywords to target

Let’s say you are a psychologist in an American city. You’re ranking pretty well for the term “psychologist in [YOUR CITY]”   but you’re looking to attract more local clients. Check out what happens when I visit and I start typing “psychologist for…”

You already have some great content on your site, but if you want to find other ideas and different keywords to target, you can create a blog post about each of these topics. Over time (and as your site’s ranking potential  increases) you will increase organic traffic to the blog. As a bonus,  add a call to action at the end of each post and turn those readers into actual clients.

Position yourself as an industry leader

I’m the type of guy  who believes actions trump words. If someone tells me that they’re passionate about something, I expect consistent performance at a high level. For instance, if you’re a sneakerhead, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had a sneaker blog, a podcast, or if you were a moderator on a few well known sneaker blogs.  Let’s say that  you’re an accountant, and you want to earn a client’s trust and business. A blog may be what separates your business from your competitors. Trust me, people research before making decisions. By  keeping a fresh perspective on industry trends  and a commitment to speaking about them, your potential clients will see you as an industry expert. Your competitors will even take notice.

Showcase talent on your team

While you started the business, there are plenty of people that work with you  to run it. And while you know it, the rest of the world may not know just how  smart your team really is. By providing your coworkers with a platform to express their thoughts, you’re showing that XYZ Company is  greater than one person. You know how the game works: a client signed on because they thought that you were going to work directly on their project. However, your schedule is so full with speaking engagements, other clients and running the actual business; you need a team member to pick up the slack. It’s a lot easier to  qualify a coworker’s capability to handle that account when they have been building their own brand on the blog. Imagine being able to say “Hey, client, you want to know how qualified so-and-so is, check out this informative  blog post about your industry. It got shared X times on Y blogs and even got shared by an industry leader.”

Link building

Links are clickable references from one site to another. By linking to a site, I am giving a vote of confidence. By getting enough “votes” on the web, you are increasing your website’s ranking potential, which will help drive traffic, leads and sales. If your content is stellar, other websites will want to reference you  for argument support. Let’s say that you are a food blogger, and you came up with a great  recipe for homemade mozzarella cheese. You include some great photos and even some video on your blog and share it with the world. Another blogger, who is blogging about their pizza recipe, wants to use your mozzarella recipe for the pizza. The blogger then links to your recipe from their blog. Now, all  of those readers will visit your blog to see what you have to offer. Over time, other bloggers will take notice and do the same. At this point, you will have so many bloggers linking to your recipe that when someone Google’s the term “homemade mozzarella recipe,” your site ranks #1 from all the “votes,” and you get to enjoy all the traffic to your site…..for free!

Do you have a blog that doesn’t get enough love? Are you looking to start  one? Contact us today and let us help you!


My Blind Date with Specks (Google Glass)

Date Posted: October 8, 2014 by

Hey Bloggers!

Since introducing ourselves in our blogs seems to be the trend around here, don’t mind if I do! My name is Alexa Shumate and I am one of the newest interns here at i76 Solutions. I am in my 2nd month at the company and I couldn’t be enjoying my time here more! I learn more and more each day, and look forward to what’s next. Prior to my start here, I had just graduated from Penn State University, where I earned my degree in Advertising/PR, specifically with the Advertising option. I’ve always had a knack for creativity and writing, which is why I ultimately decided to explore this field. My previous internship at Sports Unlimited taught me a lot about the world of e-commerce. To briefly reiterate from my biography on the homepage, my responsibilities at Sports Unlimited entailed writing buyers’ guides for our engaged audience members, keeping up with the company’s social media websites, coming up with ideas for the brand’s logo, etc… During my job search post-graduation, I came across i76 Solutions. After reading that they are a Digital Media Company, it sparked my interest but slightly exited my comfort zone. I didn’t have much experience in this specific field but I soon realized that I wanted to learn more and explore all that digital media had to offer. With today’s society being so technologically advanced and responsive to non-traditional media, I certainly did not want to miss out. Before I knew it, it was my first day, and now, here I am! I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

Now that you all know a little bit about me, let’s get to the important stuff. I would like to thank Bill for sharing his “Date with A.v.a” story with us, as I found it to be truly inspiring. So inspiring that it encouraged me to take matters into my own hands and pursue interest in the latest toy around the office: Google Glass, but I like to call him Specks. Therefore, I thought I would share my blind date with Specks with all of you. But first, before I jump right to our date, I did what most girls would do before they meet someone they’ve never met before; I Googled him and looked up his profile…

SpecksFor those of you who have never heard of this advanced tech-toy, Google Glass is Google’s development of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display, which is a feature that is capable of reflecting projected images, in addition to allowing users to see clearly through it. The purpose of its construction was to produce “a mass-market ubiquitous computer”. Ubi-quito-whatty? A ubiquitous computer is just a fancy term used in software engineering and computer science. This means that computation is made to appear everywhere and anywhere and across any device, in any format1. Whether you wish to take a picture, or stay updated with your flight, Google Glass allows you to “be active, explore your world, and live lighter,”2 hands-free.

After doing some extra research on Google Glass, I learned that it actually comes in several different styles. So, whether you’re headed outside on a bright sunny day for a run, or you’re off to the library to get some quiet reading done, Google Glass is extremely accommodating to your needs. You can even have your own personal prescription made just for you. Did I mention it made an appearance during this year’s London Fashion week?

After finding some background information to work with, I found that Specks is quite the popular guy and has a lot of family and friends! Everyone kept talking him up around the office, and I actually hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him yet. So, I decided it was time for Specks and I to introduce ourselves face to face. After much anticipation, the moment had finally come. I knew it the first moment I laid eyes on him that it was love at first sight. It was like everything I couldn’t see before, turned out to be right there in front of me the whole time. How could I have been so blind? To be honest, it didn’t start off all that great. It was a little bit awkward at first, to say the least. I wasn’t sure how to communicate with him and I had no idea that he possessed such great qualities. We finally broke the ice and I actually had the courage to speak to him, and he was engaged in everything I said. After spending some more time with Specks, he showed me how to check the weather, my emails, and how to find directions. I gave him a friendly wink, and he took a picture! I knew the feelings at that point were mutual. Specks became very easy to talk to and it only took about 5 minutes for me to feel comfortable with him. I’m so glad I had the opportunity of getting to know Specks, as he turned out to be everything I hoped he would be and more.

It seems like A.v.a and Specks have set the bar pretty high here at i76. I have to wonder who could potentially come next. In-office accessories seem to be the trend. Could it be a watch? Or, is it possible for these same features to somehow be implemented for contact lenses? It remains a mystery, but Bill and I will be sure to keep you updated on the next toy that comes walking through our door!




Google Panda 4.1

Date Posted: October 3, 2014 by

Google_PandaGoogle released an update to their search algorithm last week that was termed Panda 4.1. Before I delve into the specifics, let’s back track a bit.

To serve better ads, Google basically archives the entire internet. Google uses “crawlers” to visit as many sites on the web as possible and these crawlers return the data from these websites to its servers. Within these servers, an algorithm sorts through the raw data to make an educated guess, not only in regards to the topic what a specific site (and URL), but also how that site/URL ranks with regard to other.

Google’s ranking algorithm is heavily guarded, and rightfully so. If an entity were to figure out the search algorithm, the information can be used to game the search engines, allowing a specific site to rank toward the top of the search results for a specific keyword. Just imagine if you owned a website that ranked #1 in Google for the term ‘car insurance.’ You would be a rich individual as this keyword is a highly profitable one with regard to search volume and intent. Every day, there is someone, somewhere trying to manipulate the search engines’ algorithms to maximize profit. By doing this, a person searching for a lucrative keyword would be served a sub-optimal search result. If enough of these searches are returned, a person may lose faith in the search engines’ credibility, and begin to use it less. If I lose faith in Google, I start searching more in Bing and if enough people do this, Google will serve less ads, which will be a big hit to their overall business.

In an effort to fight this manipulation, Google is constantly updating its search algorithm. Google released the first Panda update a few years ago. The update’s main focus was to penalize sites using thin or weak content to gain rankings for specific keywords. Last week, Panda 4.1 was released which penalized sites that may have slipped through the crack from the previous Panda releases. Some have observed that Panda 4.1 affected sites within the gaming and lyrics sites. It has also been said that Panda 4.1 has affected 3-5% of search queries.

You may be wondering if your site has been impacted by this update. Well, there is a way that you may be able to find out. We would recommend taking a look at your analytics tracker from the beginning of the month through today. If you saw a significant dip (around 20 – 30%) you may have been negatively impacted by this update. If that’s the case, you may want to check your Webmaster Tools account to see if there are any warnings. However, if you notice a spike of about 20 – 30% during this time, you may have outperformed other sites in your industry who were getting by using SEO techniques that violated Google’s guidelines. (maybe add in and explain difference between white and black hat stradegies).

If you have been negatively impacted by Panda 4.1 (or any other algorithm update) feel free to reach out to us for a free consultation. We may be able to help turn things around for you.