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Collect what you Recollect!

Internet has changed in so many ways. It’s not restricted to just displaying information but different forms of social media are now letting us define information we see online. Pinterest has been gathering a lot of hype lately and I have been playing with it for a few weeks.

Pooja's "In-Progress" Pinterest

Pooja's "In-Progress" Pinterest

I have always collected memories…all kinds of them. I have always had bookmarks for the webpages that interest me but for the longest time I had an active directory of the images I liked. The only thing that I never ended up organizing is where it came from and I thank Pinterest for helping me organize. I like the theme-based image boards which helps me organize my recipes from my inspirations to my own cooked meals. The best part is that now I have friends who have similar pins and share similar likes and tastes. A lot of the Facebook campaigns and brands that focus on imagery can benefit from pins, boards and followers. A whole lot of different people can reach out to a whole lot of different ideas. You can reach out in your own unique way. At least you are not just a face and name anymore. You are what you are through your images, videos, activity and more. I think that opens up a better perspective of you and your avatar on the internet. My favorite part is ofcourse looking back and smiling at my memories…collect what you recollect was so apt a title for this!

So finally entered the Google + family last week and it does feel good after reading the below:

google + profile

Pooja's google + profile

And you feel more like an excited kiddo with a new toy when you read this:

Google + Trial message

Google + Trial message

Will post more as I dabble into it but a few things don’t go unnoticed.

Google + has aligned almost every feature with the “circles” you create.  Except Photos and Video…..really? Or am I seeing it wrong? Your profile settings get configured, your posts too and not your pics? Hmm……

How do I get people who add me to their lists to not see my profile at all?  You can block but not hide! Privacy hindrance.

But I do love the Post to circles feature. That way, everyone in my circles is not subject to all posts/status updates I make….

Overall I am liking it and yes, I feel the breath of fresh air after Facebook  - something different, you definitely can do so  much more….More later!

On another note, the Plus word now does not bother me anymore…it’s the Buzz (and Google , there is no pun intended here!). After a few frustrating plus sizes (feet and dress included – yes, Pooja is adding another + to her family!), here is a Plus I am so comfortable with.

Here are some useful articles I found:

Thanks Google!
You made my day!

Buzz words

The internet is full of buzz words. Buzz words like “organic”, “local” are not just associated with produce and sustainability anymore. But Google has incorporated  it in the SEO world as well.

I was reading the SEOmoz blog, http://t.co/rAXKx56, which covered how Google’s makeover of its SERP (Search Engine Results Page) has amalgamated the local results with the organic search. It is an interesting research on how an optimized website can get you far. And if you have a business, promote it online, there are so many avenues, Google Places and Bing Local being some of them. A lot of businesses don’t see the ASAP need to promote their business online besides probably having a website maybe (or two!) and wonder what makes the bigwigs go on top. True, you’re not totally competing with the bigwigs but the baby steps and close monitoring on you SEM strategy does yield measurable results. I particularly paid attention to George’s “Observations” and a lot makes so much sense.  You definitely now need a website rather than want one. and promoting it the right way is the best way to get the top, slowly and steadily.

We discussed another issue with friends (in the same profession, directly, indirectly) about what do you do to convince your boss/client about social media. Here’s a small article on the topic – http://t.co/BHTiga1. We meet this particular group of people (all the time!) who think spending money and time over internet marketing is either a total waste or close to one. There have been a massive conversion of this kind once convinced but as a SEO/SEM/Social media person myself , I still meet the occasional person who does not want to “go that route – just give me a website, we can look at all these SEO things later!!” You can’t just promote these as buzz words, you need to have a substantial reason to do so. One needs to look what the objective behind, the success/failures and what metrics are involved for and against as well. These are well-thought strategies, not buzz words after all!

Hello….again! I’m back to my virtual space of thoughts after a long hiatus…it does feel good to be back. Within that month and half, I have been trying to experience my utopian world of exclusive family and work time. I call that utopian as before this time I could juggle a thousand things (internet research and development for example) and still be the perfect family person – the best of both worlds – real and virtual. Every phase is a unique challenge in itself and an extra pinch of effort creates the equilibrium again. :)

So here I am!

I have been talking to various people in my field and a plethora of interesting, healthy discussions have been a constant part of my evenings and weekends. A list of interesting people, links, bookmarks, references and research has come my way for the last two months, in my “real” world and I would like to make those a part of my “virtual” conversation as well.

  1. Relevancy of SEO on today’s dynamic technologically supported internet age.Are we really optimizing for search engines or are we optimizing for the searching users? What makes an SEO “expert” read into a person’s mind? (!!)
  2. Examples in internet history which have made vast difference to CTR’s for campaigns and website launches. Why some were successful and some were not.
  3. So what is so special about a landing page and why do you need to optimize it? The term, landing page, so often misused plays such an important role not only by SEO, but also in marketing (SEM) as well as the whole web development business process. What do you want the users to see and how you present it to them. Spontaneity has lost its charm in a way! :)
  4. Emerging technologies – looking at HTML5, CSS3, QR codes, mobile apps, social media – how fast the internet world is changing and what impact it is having on the human mind. Life is definitely changing pace and how you can keep up is the key.
  5. Mobile apps – what is its direction and where is it heading. How relevant is ant kind of application to today’s world.
  6. A few of my own experiments and ideas with technology what hot, what’s not.

This all and whole lot more, more thoughts and discussions – from my mind to yours!

Till then,
Ciao!

I keep surfing different blogs regularly and one in particular caught my eye.  The title was catchy and so is the concept.

Do visit  

I’ve seen Mommy blogs before but this one is different and refreshing.  I was introduced to TwitterMoms via this article on Social Times. Founded by Megan Calhoun, it gives you different topics to connect with other moms which is right in the center of the page (I like that!). It is specially for tech-savvy moms who find the time to tweet and blog which catches the unique margin in moms segment(great idea for a target audience). It also provides a variety of regular features of having a forum, events, seeing other mommy blogs, videos, blogs, groups and discussions.

The best part is the The TwitterMoms Seal of Approval which makes a significant impact in the world of social media and online marketing. As quoted by Social Times,

The Seal of Approval reviews are available online as well as on any smartphone, so that curious moms can drill down the review data even at the point of sale. The reviews also come with a QR code – a barcode that can be scanned by a mobile phone – so that products that want to boast about their Seal of Approval can pass on the positive reviews to consumers in-store.

I think the QR code is a wonderful concept and has great potential – one of its good application seen in TwitterMoms, especially with today’s moms shopping  and buying online. A lot of them are looking for actual reviews with a family perspective in mind and appreciate the fact that the products are actually tried and tested by real mommies. Great going, TwitterMoms!

A lot is being talked about SEO and SEM. It isn’t very new technology but a lot of people are getting to know about it and are spreading the jargon. So I decided to delve into the jargon and hope to use the terminology appropriately in conversation. I am going to research commonly and “not-so-commonly” used words and have a Saturday SEO Jeopardy blog!!!! :D We have the answer in the title of the blog and we’ll also have the questions leading to the title in the actual blog. Hope I get some participation there….exciting for me for sure (I know you think of me as a geek already, but I promise to make this fun, for you and of course for me!)

On another note, today’s brand new news:
Facebook is coming up with upgrades which will include hi-res photos, photo-download links, bulk tagging options and an elegant lightbox interface for viewing images from anywhere on the site. I think this is great for Facebook which not only has competition as a social media tool but also as a tool for pictures (hi-res!!) hence being one of the world’s largest photo-sharing sites. This will also impact Flicker as a lot of tools used on Flicker will now be a part of the upgrade. Way to go FB! Click here to read more on the article.

Have a good weekend.

I have finally finished my Capstone Project and consequently the Emory Web Development Certificate program – we got the grades a month back  ( and the certificate too!) – great job Pooja!  I was also personally satisfied with my process and the research I did which I would not have if it was just a professional job. Sometimes we miss the how’s and why’s that get involved as a learning process – after all this is not just a job, I now understand why it has become a passion for some people. The grades confirmed that my efforts were not in vain :D
I launched Raltec Corp’s official website at http://www.ralteccorp.com/ I also incorporated an SEO/SEM strategy for Raltec Corp website and am working on seeing progress by the day.
As Norman Lear quotes,

Life is made up of small pleasures.
Happiness is made up of those tiny successes.

My blog restarts my journey in process documentation of the virtual world once again. This time the structure is no certificate program but more of my self-taught/already self-learned endeavors of seeking knowledge of the web world. I hope to have a method to the madness as I had in the ten week Capstone project. It may not be as structured but it does hope to be more info and process friendly.

I am hoping to cover topics like SEO/SEM, CMS, web development, web design, DBMS, latest industry trends, blogs, and other related ideas/articles/seminars.  I hope the Emory faculty incorporate some of these topics in their certificate program.

Wish me good luck .   :-)

We presented our final website last week and it was exciting to see each others’ work. There is always so much to learn and since our Capstone class has a varied bunch, there were a few tips to pick up from each of the website process. There were a variety of websites created, one designed a website for her own PR/marketing firm. Another website featured a contemporary tea house called Tea Fuse. Another colleague based her website on creating a web identity for her artist mom.

Mine was designed for the corporate organization, Raltec Corp offering software & technology solutions. I also incorporated the use of Google Analytics in the website. please visit the following link:

http://www.ralteccorp.com

Cheers to Capstone! We now await for results from the Capstone evaluation team who will be grading us on this ten week project.

We also discussed the below topics in our last visit:

I may have missed other pointers. Feel free to leave your suggestions.

Thank you to all of you that made my Capstone project, a great and enriching experience….truly appreciate it.

So now that testing is done and submitted last week, more time to work on the final touches.

What happened this week was incorporation of a few (more than few, I would say!) tweaks – there were quite a few challenges there and very less time. I guess this 10-week period is to make you realise how you dynamic you get with decision-making, lol!

Jokes apart, I faced some challenges. Testing was executed with six different users, different ages, different backgrounds and different tech-savvy experience. That was great, but more the users, more problems you face. Each tester had their own unique computer, browser and other settings!!! Hard to please everyone, I guess…you can just do your best but one thing for sure – you get to narrow down some basic issues you never noticed. The other big challenge (still is!) is the browser compatibility. with my format, the placement of some divs does not look great in some browsers but works amazingly correct in the others. How do you resolve that issue?

But this was a great Capstone project to document. I enjoyed each week discoveries and assignments which paved the way slowly and steadily towards completion. This week we’re presenting our final project to our peers and it’ll great to have more feedback.

This week is testing time. We’ve worked on our website sufficiently enough to give it a test. Also, as Adam noted, we’ve looked at our website enough to get the third person give it a try! Sometimes the third eye helps :-)

By Adam’s notes, we have to test the website in three areas: accessibility, functionality, and usability. Here are short descriptions of each:

  • Functionality – Does the website’s functionality work? (hyperlinks, images appear, forms can submit, registration or login features function, etc.)
  • Accessibility – Does the site appear correctly on various operating systems, browsers, monitors, etc. that you expect your audience to use?  (I did talk a little on this in one of my previous posts)
  • Usability – Can the website be used by your audience to accomplish their goals? Can they find what they search for? Are there clear answers to questions they are likely to have?

Links from our instructor, Adam:

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/articles/usability_testing.html

http://www.experiencethread.com/articles/documents/article45.pdf

http://techdocs.tamu.edu/webspace/websitetesting/?searchterm=testing%20checklist

I’ve sent the testing plan document out to a variety of people, different backgrounds, different tech backgrounds, different perspectives. Let’s see what the test results bring in.

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