Forget the ads. Hello, Ello!

DeathtoStock_Wired7Flashback to circa 2006: before your Facebook feed was drowning in advertisements, before you were a data tool – you were a person on a social network for the sole purpose of maintaining relationships.

Over the years, Facebook seems to have (literally) sold out. Now a publicly traded company, profit must be made, thus ads and target marketing have taken over the Facebook platform, among others.

Flash forward to 2014: we’ve been presented with Ello – a free and ad-free social networking platform – that truly reflects the initial purpose of connecting online. Here are our top five reasons to say, “Hello!” to Ello.

  1. Ello is clean, simple and uncluttered.
  2. Your personal information remains personal.
  3. Ello is invitation-only, as it’s still in Beta mode.
  4. Say goodbye to the hashtag; this feature is not part of Ello.
  5. The Ello manifesto is pretty much the greatest thing we’ve seen in a long time.

Weigh in! How do you feel about Ello? Will it hold its own against established social platforms?

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

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5 Reasons SEO Still Matters in Business

Image via deathtothestockphoto.com

Many clients come to us for assistance with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on their websites and shared content. But why do successful businesses need SEO? Here are five reasons SEO matters:

1. Your competitors are benefiting from SEO

Unless you’re in a highly political and controversial business, it’s not to your advantage to keep low profile on the web. Your competition is using SEO to get to customers before you do. A quick Google search on the nature of your business (e.g., photography in New York City) will display competitors who are using SEO the right way (which is why they are at the top of the search results). Keep up and maintain your authority as a leader in your field/industry.

2.  Customers are just one click away (and usually via a Google link)

You do it several times a day: Google a service from your mobile device, and call the first number that pops up…unless you prefer Yahoo or Bing, in which case, please accept our compliments for being unconventional. Your potential buyer is looking for you in the same fashion. Help them find you quick and easy.

3. SEO happens, whether you want it or not

The web already knows something about your business (or, if you registered your company an hour ago, the web will know about it fifteen minutes from now). Unless you have a clear, deliberate SEO strategy in place, Google will make assumptions about your website that may be arbitrary or even incorrect.

That information will be accidental and rarely useful to your prospective customer. With SEO, you can help your customers to find the unique brand of happiness that only you can offer them by making sure Google has accurate info about your business and your site.

4. SEO saves money and grows your business

If your digital footprint expands over time, so will your customer base – ultimately leading to business growth. Do the SEO the right way, and you’ll be able to forget about sales teams and cold calling. You’ll be too busy answering calls and emails from prospective customers!

5. SEO makes you a VIP

Imagine telling your Chief Marketing Officer you found a way to increase sales and reduce cost using SEO instead of expensive print, radio or legacy sales tactics. In many cases, the money saved more than pays for the SEO efforts or campaigns put in place. You are the expert in your field. Make it known. Do the SEO.

To find out more about SEO and what we can offer you and your business, contact Van West Media today.

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

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WordPress 4.0: A Necessary Update

With the recent surge of web hacks, to say security is a must-have is a bit of an understatement. WordPress 4.0 (also known as “Benny”) was released this month, and the update is an important one.

Many are unaware that WordPress announces its security flaws and vulnerabilities publicly once they’ve been discovered, which allows hackers to easily find loopholes to break-in. In an effort to maintain safekeeping, the “Benny” update improves security and web performance on many levels.

Additionally, WordPress 4.0 has a strong focus on making it simpler to write content, install plugins and manage media. On the back end of the site, the updates are clear and will be much appreciated by admin.

Don’t put yourself at risk; update WordPress software regularly. For more information, check out the “Benny” blog via WordPress.

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Instagram is at it again with launch of Hyperlapse App

screen568x568Just when we thought Instagram’s A-game couldn’t be any better, they hit us with its newest app, Hyperlapse.

Hyperlapse allows for capturing high-quality time lapse videos. The additional plus? You can even create these videos while in motion thanks to a stabilization feature within the application. Even more amazing is the quick usability of the program. Record your video, select the speed at which you want to showcase your video, then save and share. No filters, no adjustments – a plain and simple, yet beautifully complex app.

Curious to see how “high-quality” your videos can become? Check out their Vimeo demo:

This is Instagram’s second application; a follow-up to last month’s release of Bolt.

Download Hyperlapse, and give it a try. Tweet your first Hyperlapse videos to @VanWestMedia or tag us using #VWMblog.

Van West Media is a full service design, support, and consulting agency, offering comprehensive Internet marketing solutions for small to mid-size businesses.

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