WordPress 101

Build and learn how to think about building a website with wordpress and best practices and tools for search engine and social media.

Category: Web Tools

Dropbox: A useful File Sharing tool for Online Collaboration Work

dropboxDropbox is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. There’s no complicated interface to learn. Dropbox works seamlessly with your operating system and automatically makes sure your files are up-to-date. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Recently, needing to transfer rather large files, I found this fantastic service. The free level gives you 2gigs of storage right out of the gates. Installing their secure api application, and having created a secure online account on their website, you create a virtual folder on your desktop that quickly and easily manages files to be synced with the web-server.

Once on the webserver, anything you choose to share with others, you specify who to give access via their unique email address for security. A public folder option is also available for sharing via the web. Each upload into the Public folder will get it’s own unique link that you can publish and share on the web. A very handy feature for special downloads you’d like to offer from your own website.

Ease of use, and the bonuses they offer, Dropbox is a very useful service option.

Email Marketing with Aweber Service

Getting visitors to your website is a must; we are all aware of this fact. However, do you know

  • how often the same people come back to visit again?
  • how long they stay and visit?
  • whether they found what they were looking for on your site?
  • who they are?
  • how you can contact them again to build the relationship?

A very simple and effective way to gain more intelligence and insight to the visitor website traffic is to capture their name and email. While this sounds like an obvious and simple solution to online marketing, it is not one that comes easily to everyone.

How do we capture leads from website traffic?

Using an email marketing service is the most efficient method of communicating regularly with your audience. When a visitor comes to your website, you want to offer some incentive that invites them to leave their name and email with you.

This is where you would create some easy offer in the form of a digital download. It could be:

  • an ebook or report
  • a music video
  • an mp3 audio file

In order for the visitor to access this content, they would sign-up in the form you insert on your web page that provides the offer. The Aweber system has a very intuitive and guided interface to set up targeted lists so you can manage multiple offers easily.

When the visitor traffic signs up, their name and email is captured to your Aweber email marketing list, the Aweber system sends out an authentication email to ensure you’ve confirmed ‘double opt-in’ which is important today for anti-spam regulations, and follows up with a welcome email that contains the file for download, or the link to the file for download.

Pretty easy, right? Setting things up the first time can take a little time, but once you’ve done one, you start to get the hang of it and will find this tool invaluable in increasing your communication effectiveness with an audience that would otherwise remain invisible to you.

Email marketing remains the most effective tool for increasing traffic to your website and increasing your websites longevity and viability.

Video Marketing: Animoto! Your Photos

Animoto videos – music videos for your images, video clips and pictures. With high production value motion graphics synchronized to every beat of your music, Animoto videos blow the doors off traditional slideshows; it is time to move past the slideshow and embrace Animoto -free, easy, beautiful.

I first played with Animoto free version. I thoroughly enjoyed the outcomes of the creations. Initially, I used their extensive library of images, video, and music, to create short 30-second clips for specific uses. Knowing how much effort is required to learn the software, and custom tweak each image, transition, and effect, I could really appreciate the incredible result given the ease of use.

Here is one result, auto-pushed from my Animoto! account and published directly to YouTube, no fuss, no muss.

The upgrade plan, of $250 per year, is worth the investment for the result. Their online support, and email support has been fairly good. They show care and concern, but do have some difficulty responding timely, which often happens with new start-ups. Pressed for time and resources, managing growth, my vote is in for Animoto! They’re doing a great job and offer a great product / service.

Regarding video / image quality. It does matter, the dimensions for images chosen to use. Optimizing images to about 1MB at 1024 x 768 px is the optimal for video processing with Animoto! Applying animation, this will have some impact on video quality, although I’ve been pleased with the results. As I experimented, I accessed my Flickr account through Animoto’s service, and was able to choose images directly to be imported into a project. What lacked here, was being able to see what the Flickr file specs were, and I have some rather smaller resolution versions of many images there.

Tackling a completely different project, which you can view on this blog, hi-resolution images were used, originally 3.5MB each, and well over the recommended 1024 x 768 size. Uploading these to Flickr into a private, hidden folder, I was able to auto-import the best resolution from Flickr directly into the Animoto! project file. Regrettably, you may not be guaranteed the ordering sequence you’d like for those longer projects where it really matters. I found no matter what, I had to manually adjust a few items all the way through the project when a specific sequence was desired.

Animoto! Also allows your own music to be uploaded, so from an artistic point of view, not only can visual artists display their artwork, and musicians show off their music creating their own videos, there could also be many opportunities to team-up to cross-promote to wider audiences.

There are so many fun options with Animoto! This includes the video clip imports too – it’s not just for photos! You’ll just have to go see what I mean. I had so much fun! And still do. 🙂

As with any software, this does take some experimentation to find the sort of results desired for each project. I’ve learned some tips and tricks, and if you touch base, let’s see what conversation brings up in the way of discussion from others who also experiment with Animoto!

Animoto! your photos!