Why Ugandan Companies Need Social Media Marketing

Why Ugandan Companies Need Social Media Marketing

Why Ugandan Companies Need Social Media Marketing Agencies

While most businesses have realized the necessity of being on social media in some form, most are still trying to go at it alone or hiring a social media agency that is not adequate in terms of actual marketing strategy and business goals. When you take on social media for your company, it needs to be part of an overall strategy to produce ROI, not just throwing up random posts on Facebook.

The idea that using social media is free is true only in the fact that you don’t need to pay for a profile on most sites. In order to gain success for your business using social media, it will cost time and effort which means money. There are, of course, cases when a business can run its own social media program without help, but more often than not, a helping hand will prove to be a much greater resource for turning social media into dollar signs for your business. Just like I’m capable of hammering a nail, that doesn’t mean I can build a house.

Social Media Agencies Have Experience
When you are a business just getting started on social media, sure it’s easy to create your own Twitter and Facebook profiles and send an email to your friends and existing contacts to connect with you. But that’s not going to increase your revenue at all.

You might only need a helping hand to coach you through getting started, but a social media professional can certainly help answer all your questions in the beginning with the different networks and how to manage more efficiently with some great tools that are available.

It’s smart for you to leverage someone else’s experience to leap frog much of the trial and error phase of getting over any new learning curve, especially when it comes to technology and marketing.

Social Media Planning & Strategy
If you are set up on a few social sites and ready to get started, now what do you do?

By now, everyone knows that you don’t sign up for Twitter just to tell people what you had for breakfast. It’s not your personal journal.

What are different ways you can leverage social media to get in front of more customers?

A social media agency has the experience of working with different businesses and helping them grow to know what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, a social media agency is able to make adjustments based on research and analysis to make sure you’re getting the most out of you social media investment.

Do you want to spend time researching and analyzing? No, you want to be out serving your customers so that you can make more money.

Your plan of attack is important to get in front of more people who are potentially your customers, getting that audience to become your customers, and getting those customers to come back to your business time and time again.

A sound social media plan can, and done well it will, increase your customer base and your average customer value.

Are you measuring your customer base, your company’s social reach, and the value it’s bringing to your business?

What strategies work and which fell flat when you thought they were surefire tricks?

How can you learn from those social media mishaps?

Social Media Agencies Can Save You Time
Your plan is in place, your social media strategy is laid out, tactics are decided and action is ready to be taken.

If you don’t want to spend the time sitting down every day at your computer learning new social media tools and then putting in the sweat equity, then a social media agency is a great way to save you time.

If you’re a business owner or employee, most likely you are a professional in something other than social media or online marketing. This means you have a real job to do in addition to now getting your business active enough online to see some real business growth.

The experience that a social media agency has means that not only do they free up your time by doing the legwork, the man hours invested are going to go down because they know what they’re doing and have been doing it for quite some time. There’s no fiddling around, figuring things out and testing out different ideas that may or may not work. A good social media agency has a plan, knows what will work and knows how to help your business gain success online.

Social Media Tools & Tricks
Staying on top of all of the new social media sites is hard enough as it is.

“Which social profile does my business need?”

“Why is Twitter different than Facebook and Google Plus?”

“Is LinkedIn just for business relationships?”

Then there are different tools to manage each of your accounts, some better than others. Many tools are similar with only slight differences while others are head and shoulders above the competition in launching your social media presence. Do you have the time to keep up with all the new tools for social media management, testing them all out and determining which is best for your business?

I personally have a dozen websites that I read every morning and hundreds of people I follow on Twitter to keep up with the constantly new information, ideas, strategies and tools in the social media industry.

It’s a social media agency’s job to keep up with this stuff so that it doesn’t have to be your job, too.

Hiring A Social Media Agency Will Make You More Money
A social media company should always have your business goals aligned with your social media plan and be bringing a return on your investment, providing analysis of your growth and the positive effects it has had on your business.

When companies say that they are doing the work, but there is no way to tell that you have been successful, they’re lying to you or worse, they think that they are telling the truth which means they don’t know what they’re doing.

Before you dive into social media, make sure you have a very transparent and honest conversation with your agency about whether or not it’s right for your company given your market and target audience and if you’ll be able to see a positive return on the investment that you’re willing to make.


Social Media ROI: Is Your Agency Working For You?

How much time are you saving by not needing to put in the legwork on a daily basis executing your social media tactics not to mention keeping up with industry news and new social media tools? That alone can help you determine if spending money on a social agency is worth it for you.

How has your business grown because of social media?

Are you reaching more people and raising your brand awareness?

Have you been able to leverage social media campaigns and contests into new customers?

Are you regularly bringing back customers for return business by engaging them through social media?

These are all ways for your business to have a real reason for being involved in social media and how you can see tangible results to whether or not your social media agency is working for you or just trading off their time for your money.

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Why Ugandan Companies need professional website designers

Why Ugandan Companies need professional website designers

Why Ugandan Companies need professional website designers

When you start the journey of designing and developing a new web design for your business, there are thousands of decisions to be made related to meeting your goals and challenges for marketing your business. One of the main decisions Is whether to keep your new web design in house or have a professional web design agency create the website for you. Within that decision there are a lot of different factors that you have to weigh to make the best decision for the best fit for your company.

E-commerce
If your new business website is e-commerce enabled this might be one of the biggest drivers to engage a professional web design agency. you have a responsibility to your customers to safeguard their data while delivering an easy and consistent buying process.

An agency has the know-how to deliver secure, easy to use, and approachable e-commerce websites. Almost every e-commerce website today is required to meet and apply for some level of PCI compliance. your agency will be able to prepare the application with all of the required research for the government agency. An agency will also be able to deliver encrypted servers and data transmission to safeguard your website and information.

24/7 Access To Customers
As the one platform that is the basis for your 24 hour a day 7 days a week access to your potential and current customers, your web design should receive a large portion of your overall digital marketing budget. You have to think through every aspect of that design to make sure that it is approachable and draws attention from your market. Your agency can work with you to find the perfect demographics of each of your target audiences and can’t develop the website to most effectively attract and convert those prospects.

With the change over to a content driven marketing Focus for most search engines, an agency can deliver a website that is best optimized to draw in those clients and that is easy to update with new content over time.


Years of User Interface Design

A professional web design agency has years of experience in user interface design specifically to attract target audiences and make the site as easy as possible to navigate. They have the knowledge of design and usage conventions for desktop and mobile devices and are able to sculpt the experience to direct your visitors attention exactly where it will be most effective to convert those visitors.

Marketing Expertise
A company web design is no longer a standalone entity. It is a part of an overall omni-channel marketing effort.

The agency can bring knowledge and experience of dealing with websites, social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, and print branding to the table to make your website the best representative of your company possible.

If your company doesn’t have staff that can cover all of these avenues of knowledge, an agency might be the best choice.

Processes and Procedures
An agency has a lot of experience and have been creating websites for a long time.

Typically, they will have set processes and procedures from the start of the project all the way until launch, and then beyond into testing and maintenance. Would you miss a step?

How is your team’s expertise on web servers and hosting?
Do you often perform user testing on digital platforms?
Do you fully understand the domain name server system?
With complete immersion into a skillset, these agencies can deliver a more comprehensive platform for your marketing message. They can forecast issues with certain features or page sin a website and make changes before they become a problem. You can rely on their expertise to streamline the process and ultimately keep your overall costs down.

Conclusion
While it is possible to use a build it yourself tool or leverage the skills of your in house team, as the person responsible for the success or failure of your company you should weigh out the many benefits of using a web design agency for your next project.
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The peace of mind in delivering the best possible web design for your company will be the best reward as you form new and longer lasting relationships with your prospect, customers and evangelists.
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Why Ugandan Companies need Search Engine Optimazation

Why Ugandan Companies need Search Engine Optimazation

Why Ugandan Companies need Search Engine Optimazation

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it helps websites get top positioning on search engines. 93% of people looking for services and products do so using a search engine and your business being positioned as a result of this search is the ultimate goal of SEO. When somebody does a search on a certain topic and your website comes up at the top of the results page, you can be certain that you will be getting plenty of targeted traffic to your website.

With 75% of people not scrolling further than the first page, you have to be visible!

Sounds good? It is! And here are a few more reasons why you shouldn’t be ignoring SEO:

 

#1 High Renturn on Investment

ROI from SEO is high. Implementing SEO strategies is one of the most affordable forms of marketing, yet it yields highly fruitful results sending you the much needed targeted traffic you long for. Here is how SEO’s ROI compares to more traditional advertising and marketing channels.

 

#2 IT WON’T GO AWAY

SEO is one of those things that is here to stay so you might as well get on with it.

We have grown dependant on search engines and the convenience they offer in terms of information resources. We search for anything and everything from where to buy something, where to find a good place to eat out, to what time shops close etc. It is simply a convenience we have grown to depend on and as long as people keep on searching, your business needs to be there for others to find it.

 

#3 YOUR COMPETITION DOES IT

SEO is the benchmark nowadays. It is no longer just a matter of staying ahead, it is now a question of keeping up to what your competitors and others in your industry are already doing.

I know small businesses such as charity shops and local bakeries that are actively optimizing their websites, so what are you waiting for? The longer you overlook your SEO strategy, more and more traffic will go to your competitors, instead of you.

 

#4 EVERYONE CHECKS OUT A BUSINESS ONLINE

As mentioned above, we have all grown strangely attached to the comfort that Google provides. Finding anything and everything, getting the information you need, researching businesses, brands, products and even people. All this information that we once had to go out and hunt for is now at our fingertips.

Nowadays customers are much more autonomous and self-sufficient when it comes to researching a business, its products and services before making a purchase and unless you are right there at the top of that search page, how do you expect to be found? How do you expect customers to even know that your business exists?

Get optimizing and get your website closer to the top and closer to the customers.

 

#5 QUALITY LEADS

Unlike other marketing techniques such as printed advertisements and social media marketing, SEO helps your business get the targeted traffic you want and need. With SEO, you only show up when people are looking for products that you offer, for the industry, product, service or location that is specific to you..

As long as you use the correct content, keywords and phrases, your website will show up for what you offer and what your audience is looking for. Win-win situation really! SEO helps you get higher in the search ranks, show up for the correct searches, attract more qualified leads and get more conversions.

Search engine traffic is a free and scalable way to gain more customers. It is the way forward for continuous growth of your website and your business. So get optimizing today!

Whilst some have proclaimed the death of SEO over the last couple of years, it isn’t, it’s still alive and kicking. What has gone the way of the dinosaurs is many of the spammy SEO tactics, which is good news for you, it’s good news for those who want to build a brand and a loyal following. And this is why your business needs SEO.
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How to Choose a Good SEO Company in Uganda for Your Business/Website

How to Choose a Good SEO Company in Uganda for Your Business/Website

How to Choose a Good SEO Company in Uganda for Your Business or Website

A reliable and trustworthy SEO company can help your business grow by establishing your digital brand and ensuring that you have the best possible Internet presence.

A lot of companies fail to take advantage of the power of the Internet because their SEO consultants do not have the necessary experience or knowledge to identify new markets and explore new opportunities.

The importance of reliability in SEO

I am insisting on the matter of reliability and trustworthiness because after talking with a couple of our latest clients, I realized that they have experienced a sudden drop in traffic after they hired an ‘SEO company’ that did all sorts of tricks on their account.

So, choosing a reliable SEO firm is not only important for progress but it is also necessary in order to avoid losing your traffic potential due to bad SEO practices.

Step 1 – Decide why you need to hire an SEO Company

Before actually choosing which SEO firm you will trust, it is important to decide and have clear in your mind, the reasons you need to hire an SEO firm in the first place.

In my opinion you should consider hiring an SEO or digital marketing firm when:

  • You don’t have a have website and you need to build a proper Internet presence from the beginning.
  • You have a website but you are not getting any traffic
  • You have a website, you are getting traffic but not customers (i.e. conversions)
  • You have a website but it is not optimized for search engines, social media or users
  • You want to improve your internet presence
  • You want  to find new customers in other digital markets i.e. mobile

Step 2- Where can you find a good SEO firm?

SEO firms live online; they are not the kind of companies that need to be in your neighbourhood.

In the majority of the cases all communication is carried out via email, skype or Google+ hangouts and there is absolutely no reason for a site visit. This method is actually faster and it also costs less.

So, where can you find good SEO Companies?

1) Word of mouth – Ask you friends (either your real friends or your friends on FB, Twitter, LinkedIn) if they have a recommendation to make.

Knowing that a company did good work on someone else’s web property is a very positive factor.

2) Click on the ads – When you search for terms like ‘reliable seo company’ or ‘seo services’ you will see a number of ads on top of the search results.

These are PPC ads and companies that their ads are displayed, invested a good amount of money to secure one of the top positions.

In order to get a good ROI they have to provide for a good service otherwise they will not be able to survive in the long term.

3) Organic rankings – The same rules apply for organic rankings. Companies that appear in the first positions of the SERPs have already invested a good amount of time and money, which is another signal that they take their business seriously.

In addition, if they can find customers online for their own needs, they can do it for you as well.

Step 3- How to assess the reliability of a SEO company?

Regardless of how you will find the company to hire, it is always advisable to do a bit of assessment before making your final decision.

In general a quick way to assess the reliability of a company is by looking at the services

If you see something like ‘We can get you to the top of Google Search’, in simple words it means that they don’t know what they are doing.

Too good to be true promises are equivalent to fake promises and you need to stay away.

They can explain what actions they will do – Although your goal is to hire a professional firm to handle your Internet presence without having to worry about SEO or digital marketing, this does not mean that you shouldn’t know what methods they will use to increase your website rankings or get more traffic.

If they can’t explain exactly what they will do and all they tell you is about ‘building links’ then forget about them, they can do more harm to your website than good.

Ask them to do a SEO Audit first – Another way to evaluate the work of an SEO is to ask them to do an audit of your website. A SEO Audit does not cost much, but it’s a quick way to evaluate the effectiveness off the company.

If you are happy about their work you can continue with buying more services.

Talk to them – Don’t forget about the traditional methods i.e. make a meeting. In this case it can be a virtual meeting using Skype or Google+ but you can still ask questions and interview your prospective partners.

Step 4- It’s all in the results

One of the most interesting things about the internet is that everything is measurable.

There are metrics and reports that can help you measure and monitor the activity of your website in terms of incoming visits, time users spend on site, pages they visit and many more .

What you can do is start looking at these metrics and if after 6-7 months the SEO Company you hired did not manage to bring in more traffic then possibly you need to consider changing your contract.

The best way is to discuss with them first and hear what they have to say having always in mind that changes to a website may take time to generate positive or negative results.

As a rule of thumb 6-7 months is a good period to judge the effectiveness of any SEO techniques.

Conclusion

Even if you are a small business owner, a blogger or an online shop owner, you need to ensure that you have the best possible Internet presence and that you are taking advantage of all digital channels.

If this is something you cannot do yourself either because you don’t have the time or knowledge then it is more preferable to hire a professional, reliable and trustworthy SEO firm to do it for you.

Before hiring an SEO make sure that: you know what they will do, how much you will have to pay and what to expect as a result.

Don’t believe in too good to be true promises and if they don’t produce decent results after 6-7 months then consider terminating your contract.

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Social Media Etiquette: how to respond to negative feedback

Social Media Etiquette: how to respond to negative feedback

Social media is a powerful tool for engaging your customers, but it can also be a double-edged sword. It has largely put the fate of businesses’ reputations in the hands of the consumers. Take some notes, so that you know what not to do in response to negative social media feedback.

What NOT to Do

Never reply in all caps

This is basic online etiquette and should go without saying, but on the internet, typing in all caps is considered shouting. Not only that, but readers don’t take you seriously when you do it. You don’t need to add extra emphasis to your message. Let the words carry themselves.

Do not reply to everyone

Not all negative comments warrant a response.

Do not name call

Don’t call your customers names. Even if they insult your product, insult your wife, and question your parenting abilities, just don’t do it.

Leave out your personal views

Your goal should be to resolve the problem, not to have a rousing debate or convince others of your beliefs. Even if the customer is the one trying to engage you in discussions about religion or politics, stick to the issue at hand.

Do not engage in public arguments

You don’t want your customers to see you as unprofessional and combative. Avoid hashing out disagreements for all of your followers to see.

Do not blame the customer

Don’t blame the customer. You don’t want to come off as a business owner who responds to criticism by avoiding responsibility.

 

 

What to Do Instead

Reply with empathy

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and try to understand why they’re upset. Try to imagine how you would want a business owner to respond in that situation.

Ask questions

Instead of being defensive, try to clarify on the situation and why the customer is unhappy. This also shows that you’re serious about getting the issue resolved.

Stay professional

Avoid injecting your personal opinions and beliefs into the conversation. Make the goal to resolve the conflict at hand, not to win an argument.

Hold conversations privately

Instead of handling the negative mention in the comments section, invite the customer to call or email your customer support department. If necessary, encourage them to contact you directly.

Moderate your social media

Trolls do exist. Just because someone is dissatisfied with your business doesn’t give them permission to post spam and flame your Facebook page. Create a social media policy, make it available to the public, and boot those who violate it.

Take advantage of constructive criticism

Sometimes a customer’s negative social mention can help you to improve your products and services for the future. Use feedback to your advantage when it is constructive instead of dismissing it.

Apologize when needed

Never act too big to apologize if the problem was on your end. A simple apology can do a lot to diffuse the situation.

 

For the most part, social media is meant to yield positive results for businesses. However, as in the real world, businesses should be prepared to deal with unhappy customers from time to time. This isn’t always a bad thing. Constructive feedback can help you improve your business in the future. As for destructive feedback, you can always hit the block button.

How To Start An Online Business

How To Start An Online Business

In the past, all businesses needed real estate – a storefront or office space. Many still do, but the growth of online business means it’s not the necessity it once was. Budding entrepreneurs can now start businesses without having to make as big of an investment or take on as much risk – which is great. All you need is a good idea, some money and time to get started with, and you can start an online business. To be clear, the risk is still there, but the barriers to entry are lower than they once were. If you’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, starting with an online business is one of the easiest ways to get your foot in the door. And online businesses, when run well, can be extremely profitable.

1. Identify a need.

You can do everything else exactly right, but if you’re trying to sell something no one wants, your online business will fail anyway. Your first order of business has to be figuring out a product or service that people actually want or need. If you have an idea that you think people will be interested in, confirm that with market research. If you have enough money, you can hire a firm to do market research for you. If you really don’t have that much money, you can get creative and do it yourself.

2. Develop a business plan.

Once you know your idea has a realistic customer base, you need to start working on your business plan. If you have any interest in attracting investors, then a business plan will be one of the most important tools you have for convincing them to buy in. Even if you aren’t explicitly looking for investors, creating a business plan will help you clarify your goals and figure out the specific steps you need to take to achieve them. Make sure your business plan includes an analysis of the competition and a clear positioning statement of where you fit within the market. It should also include information on your target audience, which your market research should have given you a nice head start on collecting. All of that gives you the information you need to make sure your approach is solid. With that in place, you’ll have an easier time working out the chronology of what to do when and what finances and resources you’ll need to complete each step. In short, your business plan should do two key things:

  • Make a case for why your business idea is a good one, and
  • Provide the roadmap to turn your a good idea into something actionable.

    3. Create your brand.

    Picking a name for your business is hard, but I don’t have to tell you how important it is. The name is the biggest decision to make as you work on your brand, but it’s one of many. You need a logo, a style, and a clearly defined positioning that communicates just what makes your product so worthwhile to your audience.

    4. Build your website.

    If you do hire marketing professionals to help you develop your company’s brand, then creating the website should be part of what they help you do. You’ll need to purchase a domain name that’s close enough to your business name to be intuitive for users. If your business name is unique enough, you can go straight for the most obvious choice: YourBrandName.com. If the most obvious domain is already taken, then you may have to get a little creative.  You can either go with one of the other domain extensions like .net or .me, use a hyphen or underscore between words to change things up, or add a minor addition to the name, like a go at the beginning or a word that clarifies the industry afterward. Another option is to switch steps 3 and 4. You can avoid running into the problems stated above, by choosing your company name based on what domain names are available. Use our domain registration tool to see what’s available. Make sure the website design matches with your overall visual branding and your website copy effectively communicates your brand positioning. The work you did defining your brand should shine through in the website you create. For an online business, your website is everything. You need it to look good, be intuitive to navigate, and make a clear case to visitors why they should buy.  Take time to get it right, and run the finished product by some other people (ideally people in your target audience) to get their take.

    5. Create (and start executing) your marketing plan.

    Before you actually get going, you should establish your marketing plan. Your market research and branding work should have already helped you clarify your positioning and audience. Use that information to determine which marketing channels to pursue and the messaging to use for them.

    6. Launch!

    Launch day will be a big day for your company. If your website isn’t already live, then you’ll definitely want it up and running on launch day. Your first day in business is a big day, but your success will depend on what you do for every day that comes after.  Be prepared to work hard, learn as you go, and make a point of providing great customer service.  Running an online business isn’t easy, but if you take the right steps and do the work, the rewards can be great.

Branding Strategies for Freelancers

Branding Strategies for Freelancers

As a freelancer, your success depends on your personal brand.

You may very well have the skills to get the job done. But without effective branding, clients won’t trust you.

Develop a personal brand that stands out. Become familiar with the client’s needs. And set yourself apart from the competition.

Deliver on your promises
Above all else, deliver on your promises.

You can’t build brand credibility based on words—only actions. Clients have high expectations. And when you commit to certain standards, they will hold you accountable.

Completing your commitments is a sign of professionalism. It shows people you can be trusted.

Be mindful of quality when fulfilling your clients’ promises. Subpar work will only diminish your brand’s value. Create a quality control checklist to ensure you’re producing excellent work.

Consistency is the ultimate brand-builder. Clients don’t want freelancers who deliver good work sometimes. They desire individuals who will provide quality every single time.

To remain consistent, never stop improving. Invest time in learning new skills, as well as honing your old ones.

Differentiate yourself from the competition by understanding your clients’ goals. Learn the reasoning behind their projects. This will help you provide a better work product.

Personal branding hinges on you delivering quality work in a consistent manner. Be prepared to make the commitment.

Build a website or portfolio
Show clients who you are and what you do. Create a website or portfolio to promote your brand.

A personal website is an effective tool to give clients an inside perspective. It provides a visual representation of your brand’s values and your work experience.

Develop a website that will showcase your talents. Add case studies about previous clients. Mention notable awards and recognitions. And highlight how your work makes a difference.

Moreover, focus your website on how you can solve your client’s problems: Don’t use your website to tell people what YOU do, use it to tell people what you can do for THEM.

Create a website that exudes professionalism and makes a good first impression. Based on eye-tracking research conducted at Missouri University of Science and Technology, “when viewing a website, it takes [visitors] less than two-tenths of a second to form a first impression.”

So, avoid adding a multitude of colors, splashed with various stock photos. Clients will leave and go to your competitors.

Develop a website worth visiting. Give prospective clients a reason to contact you.

Maintain a social media presence
We live in a tech-savvy society. And social media is helping individuals connect with people all over the world.

Expand your reach. Use social media to gain more exposure for your freelance services. A big part of being recognized as a distinctive, successful brand is the ability to reach consumers through multiple channels.

Research where your clients hang out online. Is it Facebook? Twitter? Or, maybe Instagram?

Then, start creating content on those social networks. Follow your clients’ profiles. Comment on their posts. And curate helpful information under your account.

Your online presence matters. Start building connections on social media.

Get Noticed

Every freelancer needs a personal brand that works for them. It will attract clients to your business, in return increasing your revenue.

Create quality work. Build an amazing website (Hostaculous can help with this part). Interact with clients on social media. Network with leaders in your industry. And develop a brand personality.

Be seen. Be heard. Build your personal brand.

Drupal vs WordPress – Choose the Best CMS for Your Business

Drupal vs WordPress – Choose the Best CMS for Your Business

There are several content management systems (CMS) to choose from when considering your business needs.  The two giants that spring to mind are Drupal and WordPress.  Each platform takes up a huge chunk in the market share of CMS and are perfectly reasonable choices for most websites.

But what distinguishes one from the other?  Which one is better?  Easier?  More functional?  Efficient?  What are the advantages and disadvantages to using one versus the other?

Although both systems allow users to create and manage content over one or multiple websites, there are major differences between the two. Understanding how these platforms work, what their strong points are and their unique benefits will help you to become confident in your final choice.  The goal here is to provide you with a complete overview giving you insight into the good, bad and the ugly so you can make an informed decision on which route to select for your website. 

WordPress

WordPress is perhaps the easiest and most powerful blogging and website CMS on the Internet.  It has 10 times the amount of users than Drupal strictly due to its popularity and simplicity.  Starting out simply as a blogging system, it’s evolution to a fully-functional content management system has positioned WordPress to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, currently powering more than a whopping 24% of the web!

Using the WordPress platform is ideal for beginner blogger/website creators yet advanced techies and web developers can have lots of fun with all the creative ways to customize.

Here are the benefits along with the disadvantages and ugly side to using WordPress:

The Good

  • Highly flexible, with uses of websites, blogs, complex portals and enterprise websites, and even apps
  • Easy to learn without having to know HTML
  • Search engines love WordPress, making it great for SEO
  • Huge community support for Q&A
  • 100% customizable
  • Thousands of free (and paid) themes, plugins and tools
  • Upgrades completed automatically without owners having to do anything
  • Gives owners complete control of their site without having to wait for web developers
  • Manage your site from any computer/mobile device
  • Set up for multiple authors, each having their own access and capabilities
  • Feasible for any type of marketing content

The Bad

  • Due to frequent updates, some plugins may not adapt as quickly, preventing them from working efficiently if at all
  • Graphic changes do require knowledge of CSS and HTML
  • Permalinks are numeric until user knowingly activates the SEO friendly feature
  • Slower experience at times when handling large volume of content

Now…the Ugly

  • Extremely vulnerable to plugin viruses that can wipe content and pages.

Who Actually Uses WordPress?

Here are some well-known brands that leverage the power of WordPress and its benefits…

  • The Official Star Wars Blog
  • SONY Music
  • MTV News
  • New York Times
  • Best Buy
  • eBay
  • Yahoo
  • CNN
  • Ford
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Fortune
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Hostaculous

Drupal

Drupal is favored amongst government, higher education institutions, NGO’s, and global enterprises proudly serving sites like The White House website.  It is an incredibly powerful framework that can serve as a solid foundation for virtually any type of website. 

The beauty of Drupal is that it was especially designed for search engine optimization.  It also places high value in security, reliability, and flexibility.  Although not boasting as many users as WordPress, Drupal indeed has a large friendly community that is highly active and responsive to inquiries.

This CMS is definitely for the advanced with developer expertise…it is not for all users like WordPress.  If you do not have an experienced web developer on staff, you may have to contract one for this project.  However, it is a webmaster’s dream because of its unique customization features. 

Using Drupal is indeed a great choice with the ability to create fantastic looking sites. Let’s examine the advantages as well as the not so good features of Drupal:

The Good

  • Advanced control over URL structure
  • Top notch enterprise-level security
  • Features countless modules, themes, and extensions.
  • Ideal for community platform sites that require complex data organization with multiple users
  • Great ability to handle large amounts of content
  • Supports multiple site stakeholders (admin, editors, logged in users requiring customized content, private groups, etc.)
  • Clean look, built for high performance
  • More robust features for complex jobs
  • Pages tend to load faster due to its defaulting caching features
  • Flexible with lots of versatility

The Bad

  • Requires technical expertise
  • Hiring a web developer to install is more expensive than WordPress installation
  • Upgrades need to be completed with developer knowledge
  • Premium themes and plugins (modules) cost a lot more than WordPress

And…the Ugly

  • It is difficult to install

Who Actually Uses Drupal?

  • The White House
  • The Weather Channel
  • Turner Broadcasting
  • Australian Government
  • Verizon
  • Popular Science
  • Fox
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • NBC
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Warner Music Group
  • BBC
  • University of Oxford
  • gov.uk
  • Forbes

How to Choose the Best CMS for Your Business

The first step towards choosing which CMS will work better for you is to assess your current and future business goals and how can your website take you there.  If you foresee your site growing to hold lots of data (especially sensitive information), Drupal is a better choice because of it’s security and page load speeds.  If you plan to have multiple authors and want a platform that is simple to use (particularly for a team that may not be as tech savvy), WordPress is it.

Knowing which CMS is right for your business will ultimately save you time and money…both now and in the future! 

Drupal vs Joomla: In Search of the Best CMS

Drupal vs Joomla: In Search of the Best CMS

Drupal and Joomla web hosting in Uganda

While WordPress powers a whopping 24% of all websites on the Internet, it’s certainly not the only open source content management system (CMS) available. In fact, there are two highly effective software platforms, Joomla and Drupal, that warrant great attention when considering a CMS for your website. 

With Joomla raking in over nearly 50 million downloads and Drupal housing more than 1,000,000 elite websites, these powerhouses are worth investing the time to see which platform will best serve your business and site goals.

Although each CMS provides the basic functions of adding, deleting, publishing, and storing various types of content, each tool has different strong points and weaknesses which should be explored prior to making your final decision.  The purpose here is to provide a comprehensive overview of Drupal vs Joomla to give you clarity for your next (or current) business website.   

Joomla

Joomla is becoming an increasingly popular content management system.   Actually, after WordPress, it’s considered the world’s most accepted CMS, currently supporting over 3 million websites.  Joomla has the power of being extended to provide state of the art functionalities. It has been presented with the Packt Open Source Awards multiple years in a row, making it highly credible to be used as a CMS for your web application.

When it comes to complexity, Joomla places somewhere between simple WordPress and comprehensive and advanced Drupal.  Using Joomla means that there may be a slight learning curve particularly for beginners, yet webmasters are usually very happy with the features it incorporates. 

There are many advantages including better architecture as compared to other content management systems.

The Advantages:

  • Simple to install
  • Knowledge of CSS, PHP, or HTML is not required
  • Manage users with various permission levels without switching tabs
  • E-commerce made easy
  • Several thousands of free extensions available for increased functionality and interaction for your site
  • Amazing support with programmer tools and tutorials for users
  • Advanced administration panel offers many functions for complete optimization
  • URLs generated are SEO friendly thus better positioning in search
  • Update installs are easily done through web browser
  • Application framework makes it effortless for developers to create sophisticated add-ons
  • Highly strong and active community support

The Disadvantages:

  • Although simple to use, beginners may initially be intimidated by the multitude of functions and possibilities…there is some learning involved
  • Some of the plugins and modules are paid
  • Limited adjustment options particularly for advanced users
  • May experience compatibility issues with some of the plugins, requiring some PHP knowledge to get the functions to work properly
  • Limited access control list (ACL) support

The Challenge:

The structure may seem complicated and you may have to go through a learning curve before you master the layout system.

Brands that Use Joomla:

  • IKEA
  • Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs
  • IHOP
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • University of Notre Dame – Alliance for Catholic Education

If you have some experience with CMS systems and you’re looking for something more than WordPress, but you’re still intimidated by Drupal, Joomla might be a solid option.

Drupal

Currently over 1 million websites run on Drupal, widely known to service entities like governments, higher education institutions, NGO’s, and global enterprises.  This CMS proudly services The White House and prides itself on its top-notch security element.  Its incredibly powerful and comprehensive framework is suitable to house virtually any type of website.

The beauty about Drupal is that it was designed especially for search engine optimization.  Placing high value in security, reliability, and flexibility, this CMS is indeed the cream of the crop.  Its large robust community is also highly responsive to inquiries and concerns.

This CMS is definitely for the advanced with developer expertise…it is not for all users like Joomla.  Installing Drupal for your next project will require an experienced web developer on staff (or a contracted one).  Using Drupal is indeed a great choice with the ability to create amazing looking sites.

Here are the advantages, the disadvantages as well as the challenges users may experience with Drupal:

The Advantages:

  • Top notch enterprise-level security
  • Great ability to handle large amounts of content and data
  • Lots of functionalities including advanced menu management, polls management, graphics modification tool, and users management
  • Built for high performance
  • Advanced control over URL structure
  • Pages load faster because of its defaulting caching features
  • Features countless modules, themes, and extensions
  • Ideal for community platform sites that require complex data organization with multiple users
  • Supports multiple site stakeholders (admin, editors, logged in users requiring customized content, private groups, etc.)
  • Very clean, professional look
  • Flexible with lots of versatility
  • Stable and scalable
  • Downright powerful platform!

The Disadvantages:

  • Upgrades need to be completed with developer knowledge
  • Not user friendly
  • High learning curve
  • Requires technical expertise
  • Hiring a web developer to install is more expensive than a Joomla installation
  • Premium themes and plugins (modules) cost a lot more than WordPress

The Challenge:

It is very difficult to install…you will likely need an expert.

Brands that Use Drupal:

  • The White House
  • University of Oxford
  • The Weather Channel
  • Bruno Mars
  • Verizon
  • The Economist
  • Fox
  • Forbes
  • New England Patriots
  • NBC
  • Rutgers University
  • Twitter
  • Australian Government

Drupal is an advanced CMS system offering plenty of functions that make it possible to create simple or advanced websites, blogs, discussion boards, social networking pages, etc. However, it does require experienced knowledge of PHP and HTML languages as well as CSS.  For those with at least basic knowledge of these languages, there’s a very good technical support to guide them through the process.

How to Choose the BEST CMS for Your Business

Being clear on your business goals, objectives, and intentions is the first step towards selecting a CMS that is optimal for your business.  This clarity will guide you as to what type of website is congruent to your needs while better serving your unique target audience. 

Joomla is also a good option for small to mid-tier e-commerce stores or for building a community or a network with a membership features, newsroom, forums, articles, input from external authors. If you want something more powerful for large projects in which stability, scalability, and power are essential, or for more enterprise use, then consider Drupal.

Choosing the right CMS for your project will save you a great deal of headaches later.  A reliable web host also saves you from headaches. Fortunately, with Hostaculous you can get both reliable hosting and the CMS of your choice, be it Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, or Magento.

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Why Small Businesses Should Budget For Social Media Marketing

Why Small Businesses Should Budget For Social Media Marketing

It’s never been a secret that in order to run a successful business, you need to invest in marketing to ensure your brand is visible among the noise. While SEO and content creation are huge aspects to focus on, ignoring social media is no longer an option. People have come to expect finding all sorts of brands online, and your business is no exception.

Social media can provide benefits the best advertisements and email lists cannot compete with on their own. While it’s entirely possible to use your own time to run a commanding social media campaign, it’s often easier and a better investment to budget for social media opposed to using your valuable hours of the day.

What are some effective ways to spend on social media?

Spending money on social media marketing boils down to a few different strategies, all or one of which may work best for your small business:

  • Use your budget to boost and purchase advertisements.
  • Hire an additional employee(s) to be your official social media marketer.
  • Pay someone to create photo/written/video content for your brand.

Here are six reasons why creating a budget for social media is an excellent decision.

1. High ROI Potential

Over the last two decades the world of advertisements and marketing strategies have rapidly shifted towards focusing on the Internet.

And where do people spend most of their time online? Social Media.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram know this better than anyone and have provided incentives for businesses to purchase advertisements for less than you would pay for most other advertisements based on potential reach. Due to social media’s targeted approach, you’re much more likely to have the right potential customers viewing your ads.

2. It Gives Your Business Direction

The best businesses take the needs of people, however large, and fulfill them on a regular basis. The best advertisements figure out who these people are, and send them directly to your business. As previously mentioned, social media excels in targeting by seeking out audiences based on data patterns, or as we call it in the tech world, analytics.

As your business ages, you can use analytics to determine which products, services, and advertising strategies are (and aren’t) working for you. Paying for ads or hiring a social media analyst will be key in being able to use the data beneficially.

3. Unlimited Reach

The thing about social media ads is they don’t have a specified limit for how many people can view them. Since ads are integrated right into the social platform there’s an unlimited potential for people to share, tag, and re-post your content all over the Internet.

This is why companies create advertisements that often have nothing to do with their product until the last few seconds. If you can engage people for 15-30 seconds with something memorable, no matter how ridiculous, the amount of people who will see it can be endless, and for years after the time it’s released. If your business doesn’t have any team members capable of creating dynamic content, this might be an area where you should focus spending your budget: hiring creative content creators.

4. One Click Away

Printed advertisements have been on the decline for a number of reasons:

  • Tracking ROI is difficult and usually comes down to word of mouth.
  • The expected reach for print ads is more finite, and can be capped at how many copies are printed.
  • Print ads lack in-depth analytics about who is seeing them, and where viewers are coming from.

Internet ads, however, don’t have to deal with any of those pitfalls. Best of all, if someone feels the need to take action on your advertisement they’re only a single click away.

5. Developing A Customer Relationship

Have you ever left a comment on an advertisement you saw in a magazine? Me neither, an artfully-drawn mustache perhaps, but never a comment I would expect someone might reply to.

With social media you have the unique opportunity of creating advertisements that also develop a personal relationship with your customers. If anyone has a question, or something to compliment you on, you can answer it on the spot and thank them personally for using your service.

6. Looking Towards Permission

Even though this whole article has been discussing the benefits of ads, I have to talk about advertising as a whole. People are sick of ads.

With things like Netflix, subscription music services like Pandora, and the option to skip ads on YouTube it’s very apparent people are over having sales pitches thrown at them, and will even pay to have ads turned off. Nowadays we want to define ourselves through the brands we spend money on, and that means looking at choice.

On social media people choose to like your page. People choose to say “I find this ad annoying.” Instead of paying to have it crammed down peoples’ throats, pay to have your ads put where people are actually looking, their social networks.