Author Archives | Caitlynn Cush

Tips & Tricks for Speeding Up WordPress Like a Pro

There are many factors involved in a super-fast WordPress website. Here are the top factors that will definitely decrease your overall page load times and help gain a few slots in your search engine results rankings. Here is a summary of just the first 5 speed elements covered:

  1. Pick a Solid Host – Shared webhosting can be fine to being with, but as your website grows and hopefully, your popularity, you’ll definitely want a host that is optimized for WordPress and dedicated to just your website.
  2. Theme Choice – Many WordPress themes (or templates) are not designed well and can slow your load times way down.  Find a theme designed for speed and efficiency.
  3. Optimize Your Graphics – One of the biggest mistakes newbies and some professionals make are using huge high-definition graphics that are way too large and not compressed.  Compressed graphics can make one of the largest impacts on page speed right out of the gate.  Get your graphics under control right away.
  4. CDN – Again, for the advanced websites getting a decent amount of traffic, you’ll need to step up to a Content Delivery Network to help connection speed and optimize inbound traffic.
  5. Homepage Optimization – Obviously, your homepage is what is loaded first.  So, for speed, keeping your homepage light and efficient is very important.  Other pages that are linked from your homepage can be a wee bit slower, but this page needs to load clean and fast.

There are a dozen more speed factors covered within the WordPress Speed infographic brought to you by PureResiduals.com and several tested and recommended settings, plug-ins and advice for enabling your page load speeds to rocket forward.

How-to-SpeedUp-WordPress

Posted in Blogging, Content Creation, Wordpress0 Comments

Forbes ’30 Under 30′ list honoree shares his best entrepreneurship advice

Michael Johnson is the CEO and co-founder of Visikol, a biotech company that “allows scientist to view tissues in a 3-D space” according to Forbes. This makes it much easier for scientists to identify diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer in body tissue samples.

The 27-year-old was recently named to the Forbes “30 Under 30″ list for science. Johnson started working on Visikol while he was working on a doctorate in applied microbiology at Rutgers University.

Johnson learned a lot after starting four companies. He shared with Business Insider two pieces of advice to pass on to young aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • “Choose something that you’re passionate about. I often see people getting involved in startups just for the sake of doing it and making money. That can’t be your motivation.”
  • “Read everything and anything you can about your industry so you’re informed when you go to conferences and events. Make sure you’re always looking for people who can help you reach your company goals.”

Although those successes didn’t come first with out a couple of failures.

“I had my fair share of flops before Visikol,” Johnson told Business Insider.

His first debacle was an energy company that made a biofuel out of algae.  It didn’t pan out because the technology was too expensive to be competitive in the current fuel market.

Johnson’s next try at big business took him to Argentina, where he used duckweed to decontaminate waste water. Various regulations in the country put a stop to the project.

Then there was the idea of simplifying vet appointment bookings – that failed as well.

His big break came when he locked down $500,000 in venture capital that was used to jump-start Visikol.

“There was a person willing to give us $25,000, but that wasn’t enough, but he liked the idea so much he connected us with people at Ben Franklin Technology Partners who offered us $100,000,” Johnson said. We leveraged that offer to receive a $500,000 investment from the New Jersey Foundation Venture Capital Group.”

 

Posted in Interviews, Productivity0 Comments

Live Video Marketing: Yes, You Can Do It!

We have talked about live video before, however we’ve never taken an in-depth look into the genre.  It seems everyone, including some pretty hefty brand names are dipping their toes in the preverbal live video waters. From major media organizations like Buzzfeed to independent beauty product sellers, streaming video’s potential to reach an engaged, real-time audience has propelled it to the top of most everyone’s “Need to do” list.

First at the starting line, was Twitter with Periscope.  Then came Facebook with a new fangled built in Live video experience that lives right there on your newsfeed. Finally, nipping at everyone’s else’s heels are Snapchat and Instagram with apps made specifically for anything and everything live.

At this stage of the game, many companies have begun asking their own marketing departments to give Live video a whirl.  The results have been mixed: some companies have had instant success and found audiences waiting for their messages, however others have come away with a totally opposite outcome when they failed to gain traction from the get go.

Sure there are already hundreds of go-to prescriptions for success popping up all over the web, the problem with these so called “fail-proof” how-tos is that like other digital marketing channels, live video marketing is also being poorly served by a one size fits all approach. So instead of putting out feather in the same cap as others, we are here to offer more of a road map to better decision making in building your own live customized campaigns.

Choosing a Platform

First things first, where you decide to focus your efforts will help dictate much of your approach. Unlike tractional social media marketing, live video can only be streamed live to one channel at a time (well unless you have several mobile devices). Rather than trying to create content that can be remodeled for several platforms, it’s best to make video experiences that are channel specific.

Your choices:

  • Facebook Live
  • Periscope (Twitter)
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram

Facebook has quickly established itself as the most indispensable social media platform and that doesn’t stop with their newest Live addition. It offers significant influence, provides multiple methods for user engagement, and gives companies numerous methods of spreading their reach through user notifications and the ability to save live video sessions as a media item to be watched at anytime on their brand pages.

If your audience is already highly engaged in your brand, Periscope would be a great option.  However, if you believe your brand would be better supported by more of a “storytelling” approach then Instagram and Snapchat would be the way to go.  

Go with the flow

Instead of spending hours, days, or even months producing the perfect piece of content and then publishing it after it’s completion, live streaming video can literally be improved or directed by the viewers feedback as you go.  Most platforms offer instant feedback in various forms such as allowing users to Like and comment as the session takes place. This creates a conversation between the video host and his/her audience.  This allows the viewers the ability to shape the content they are watching.

Test, test, and test again

Just like all other marketing avenues, you should start with broad experiments, trying a wide range of content that explores a vast amount of possibilities while at the same time testing your audience to see what they are most attracted to.

As Forbes pointed out, not every brand will have success with the same types of live content.  For instance, cooking brands might have great success with instructional type videos that showcase recipes and/or products; while sports brands have more success with a Q&A session. You will likely need to test a wide range of video content to see what work best for you and your brand. Ultimately, your audience will dictate the type of content you create.

Ready, Set, Go

Start with a rough script so that you aren’t stumbling over what message you intend to deliver. Keep your content fresh and relevant.  Your live stream shouldn’t feel like a infomercial. Users are more likely to engage with content that is genuine and not a direct pitch. And above all, remember your brand.  Your live stream is meant to represent your company’s brand, so be sure to stay on point.  

 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Social Media Marketing0 Comments

Top 10 Digital Branding & Marketing Trends for 2017 [Infographic]

 

It’s that time of year again, where you sit down and write out all your goals and changes that you wish to make for the new year. Many of us as business owners tend to re-evaluate what worked and what didn’t in our approach for both wealth and growth.

Borenstein Group has put together a handy infographic to walk your through that process when it comes to upcoming trends for 2017.

TopDigitalMarketingTrends_2017-high-res

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, CPA Marketing, ecommerce, Media Buying, Mobile Marketing, Search Engine Optimization-SEO, Social Media Marketing0 Comments

Content Marketing Trends to Follow in 2017

As a content marketer it is not only a good rule of thumb to keep up on current trends, but also to look forward into the future for helpful tips that could very well either make your marketing agenda or brake it.

For instance, what trends will carry over from this year to help shape your plans for 2017? What new advancements will change the way marketers operate or carry out their current plans?

While it’s true that we don’t have a crystal ball or some fancy-schmancy scientific doo-dad to tell us the future of the ever-changing world of content marketing, there are plenty of strategies gaining momentum heading into this new year.

The current research shows that content marketers are becoming more effective in their efforts, with 62 percent of B2B marketers alone feeling more confident than in previous years.  Eighty-five percent of those marketers stated they believed enhanced content to be the key to success. And changing it up was the winning formula for 72 percent of them.

So how can you, as a content marketer, get a leg up in the coming year?

Personalization

Regardless of the industry, personalization is here to stay.  In the content marketing space, this has less to do with writing the customer’s name on their product and more to do with creating content specifically tailored to the targeted audience.  Content that will not only engage them, but also speak volumes to their personal or professional life.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What do they care about?
  • What do they most desire to “fix”?

Content marketing is often about helping others ease their fears and anxieties or fixing a specific problem they are searching out the answers for.  Appealing to your target audience is a powerful way to show individuals that you understand and wish to offer a solution to their situation.

Quality

Quality content is nothing new, in fact it is something that is likely hammered into our heads the most.  Sure, you can churn out trash content all day long without any issues.  But will that actually bring in the views? Probably not.

With so many voices in the crowd, you have to try even harder to not only be heard but to be taken seriously. 2017 will be no different.  It will be equally, if not more so, important to create only high-quality content in order to get noticed.

Going Live via Streaming

2016 was the birth of Facebook live with all it’s bumps and hurdles.  For instance, getting someone to click on your content (whether live or static) is one thing, but how do you get them to stick around for more?

Data from Social Media Today showed that people spend almost triple the amount of time watching live video on Facebook than they do watching recorded content.

Let’s face it, people are spending incredible chunks of time watching live streaming via Facebook, Periscope, YouTube Live, and SnapChat.  So why not capitalize on this knowledge?

Email

I personally am so tired of hearing the phrase: “Email is dead.”  Really? Then explain the numerous studies that suggest otherwise.

According to Campaign Monitor, BuzzFeed added over 1 million new email subscribers in 2016 alone. How and Why?  The answer is simply, with social media channels moving further and further towards revenue growth, brands have very little control over communicating with their fans and followers. So what does that leave you? Email.

The Washington Post, for example, has over 75 e-newsletters, while The New York Times has 12 people dedicated solely to churning out newsletters for their subscribers. So while there will probably always be those nay-sayers squawking that email is dead, the media is telling us otherwise.

What trends do you expect to see in 2017? We would love to hear about them in the comments below. 

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Content Creation, Email Marketing, Social Media Marketing0 Comments

Words to live by – Unforgettable Quotes from Carrie Fisher

The iconic legend that many know and love as Princess Leia, passed away this week due to complications following a heart attack during a London to Los Angeles flight last Friday.  Carrie Fisher, the wickedly sarcastic 60 year old who was most known for her role in the Star Wars movies, was the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and pop star Eddie Fisher, ex-wife of singer songwriter Paul Simon, and a much sought after screenwriter editor.

Carrie Fisher was not only possessed all of those talents, but she also an extremely talented writer who was known for her unflinching honesty.  

As we go into the new year, and sometimes struggle to make it through each day, let us remember the very words that she herself lived by.

On her slave outfit in Return of the Jedi

“The father who flipped out about it, ‘What am I going to tell my kid about why she’s in that outfit?’ Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn’t like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.” Via The Wall Street Journal

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On how she got cast in Star Wars

“I slept with some nerd. I hope it was George [Lucas] … I took too many drugs to remember.” Via Vanity Fair

Leia’s Wardrobe Wars: Episode I

“I weighed about 105 pounds at the time [during the first Star Wars film]. But I carried about 50 of those pounds in my face. So you know what a good idea would be? Give me a hairstyle that further widens my already wide face!”

On her recently revealed “method acting” affair with Harrison Ford

“It was so intense. It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend.”

On her struggles with mental illness

“I thought I would inaugurate a Bipolar Pride Day. You know, with floats and parades and stuff! On the floats we would get the depressives, and they wouldn’t even have to leave their beds — we’d just roll their beds out of their houses, and they could continue staring off miserably into space. And then for the manics, we’d have the manic marching band, with manics laughing and talking and shopping and fucking and making bad judgment calls.”  

On the happiness myth

“If you have the expectation that you’re going to be happy throughout your life — more to the point, if you have a need to be comfortable all the time — well, among other things, you have the makings of a classic drug addict or alcoholic.”  

On shallow reviews

“Please stop debating about whether or not [I’ve] aged well — unfortunately it hurts all three of my feelings. My body hasn’t aged as well as I have.”

On being Princess Leia

“I am Princess Leia, no matter what. If I were trying to get a good table, I wouldn’t say I wrote Postcards [From the Edge, her best-selling novel]. Or, if I’m trying to get someone to take my check and I don’t have ID, I wouldn’t say: “Have you seen [When] Harry Met Sally?” Princess Leia will be on my tombstone.” Via WebMD

On ageing

“Please stop debating about whether or not I aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all of my feelings. My body hasn’t aged as well as I have. Blow us.” Via Twitter

CarrieFisher2

“I’m not happy about being older, except what are the options?” Via Rolling Stone

On fame

“You have owned my likeness, lo all these years, so that every time I look in the mirror I have to send you a check for a couple of bucks.” Via George Lucas’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the American Film Institute

On bipolar disorder

“Think of it as an opportunity to be heroic – not ‘I survived living in Mosul during an attack’ heroic, but an emotional survival. An opportunity to be a good example to others who might share our disorder.” Via her advice column for the Guardian

 

Posted in Google News, Productivity0 Comments

7 Fresh Ideas for Your Holiday Social Media Posts [Infographic]

Are your holiday social media posts starting to feel as stale as a re-gifted fruitcake?

If so, it is most likely time to give your social media marketing game a make over. Most companies are flooding consumers’ social media feeds this time of year with themed posts, sale announcements, and all kinds of other holiday goodies…. in order for your brand to break through all the competition it is absolutely essential to try out new approaches.

So what can you do differently? To find out, check out MDG Advertising’s new infographic, 7 Fresh Ideas for Your Holiday Social Media Posts. It highlights a number of effective tactics that have not been overused by marketers.

The areas covered include:

  • Create a 360° Holiday-Themed Video: This engaging format, which is now available as an option on multiple major networks, including Facebook and YouTube, lets users experience scenes from different angles. Learn how it can be paired with virtual reality headsets/add-ons to create even bigger wow moments for consumers.
  • Develop a Custom Snapchat Geofilter: On-Demand Geofilters, which are provided as Snapchat options within defined physical areas, are a fun way for consumers to share that they’re interacting with your brand. Understand why these addictive filters are the ultimate example of modern word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Post Disappearing Holiday Coupons: This easy Snapchat and Instagram Stories tactic allows you to create offers/discounts that only show up in posts that stay live for a relatively short period of time. Find out how encouraging this limited-time urgency can be a big boost for your brand in two different ways.
  • Use Pinterest Rich Pins for Holiday Gift Ideas: This often overlooked feature allows marketers to to include key information—such as location data, purchase links, app downloads, etc.—directly in Pinterest pins. Delve into why Rich Pins can close the gap between browsing and action.
  • Host a Holiday-Themed Twitter Chat: Consumers are often in desperate need of advice this time of year, and your brand’s employees might be well poised to provide that. Learn why Twitter chats are a smart, cost-effective way to fulfill this demand.
  • Showcase Gift Ideas in Instagram Carousel Ads: Instagram Carousel Ads allow you to include three to five images in one post, and to also incorporate short calls to action, which can link to external information/product pages. Understand how they connect social media to sales.
  • Inspire with a Facebook Live Charity Stream: To get in the true spirit of the holiday season, you can use two powerful digital tools— social media and live video streaming—to share good deeds directly to Facebook Live. Learn how to feature non-profit partners you’re working with and recognize participating employees.

To find out how to make the most your social media efforts this season, check out MDG’s 7 Fresh Ideas for Your Holiday Social Media Posts.

Holiday Marketing 2016: 7 Fresh Ideas for Your Holiday Social Media Posts [Infographic]

Infographic by MDG Advertising

Posted in Affiliate Marketing, CPA Marketing, ecommerce, Social Media Marketing0 Comments

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