Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Online Marketing and Software Consulting

So, i am back to blogging, i think it has been almost a year since my last blog post here.  I cannot even start telling everyone of my hectic schedule of late and the amount of reading I have been doing to keep my skill set up to date and be in my consulting profession.
As most of you know, I work as a consultant for some of the largest IT companies all over the world focusing primarily on implementation of software products and online marketing activities.  Life was good till I started consulting for MAG Studios.  I am not implying that the company is bad or they treat people badly, but the amount of reading and internal assessments they have for their staff is unbelievable.  I cannot blame them for this, they are one of the fastest growing and most efficient Software Solutions providers I have ever worked with, and trust me, I have worked with BIG BIG BIG companies also.  Let me elaborate on how we work internally at MAG Studios.
  • For a new hire, there is an extensive induction program, which involves understanding the skill set of the employee, assessing against multiple tests, which need to be taken and an internal interview on standards and also a progressive catch-up plan for latest compliances.
  • For existing employees, there are periodic tests on newer market technologies and coding standards, the experience of the individual does not matter here, technology changes for everyone, and MAG Studios expects and wants everyone to be in tune with the latest in the market, so they can provide even better service to their clients.
  • There are extensive training programs, NLP and Team building being the primary focus, after all logic and teamwork are the most required things for a quality solution for the clients.
  •  And the testing requirements are just unbelievably hard.  The latest load and stress test tools are used, rigorous manual testing where automated tools cannot be used and the effort and time spent in preparing test cases before a deployment just prove the commitment to excellence that this company has.
I was under the impression that consulting for a big brand would teach me a lot of things and hone my skill set more than anything else, but I stand corrected.  I have learnt from the working ways and delivery methodology of MAG Studios and the effort and commitment of the management.  I have learnt that you never know enough no matter how senior you are and I have learnt the importance of customer service and client satisfaction.
I hope no one is now blaming me for not being regular on the blog, my learning’s and my hectic work schedule and reading/training sessions should suffice for a proper excuse, but I would try to be more frequent now.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Content Writing - Really?

"Content is KING" i am sure every webmaster and online marketing company has used this phrase more than once and based atleast some of their sales pitches around it.

All i have to say to that is "REALLY???"

Honestly, how many sites have we come across which have good quality content written, atleast the ones that I have seen seem to have content written not to impart information, but to promote websites and in turn promote the keywords around which the entire information is tweaked.

The entire reason for todays post is because one of our team members came to me asking if we can change the content written on a website and make it more content rich.  So basically he wanted us to rewrite everything to focus on the keywords, which are being promoted and change the orientation of the page towards selling rather than actual pure content.  Agreed, very important and needs to be done and will probably be done in this case also, but not for the "About Us" page  and other pages which need to give accurate, correct and crisp information to the users.

A big part of the blame for such tweaked content relies on us online marketing people also, our content writers get a brief which has keywords and the number of words needed, based on which an article or a blog post is written - can we blame them? No wonder, content writing has now seem to become one of the hardest and also the most sought after job - considering "Content is KING" the better the "king maker" you can find, the better the rankings you will get on google and other search engines.

Agreed that we are big into online marketing, but in addition to professionals we are also daily and avid users of the internet and also google.  More often than not we do end up on websites ranking very high on search engines, but dont really have any useful information to give, not because they are off-topic, but because all they are trying to feed into you are keyword oriented content blocks which are written with the pure intention of getting higher SERPS.

We, at MAG Studios have a different approach.  We write pure information rich content for users to actually benefit and also to uphold and enhance the image of our clients.  In addition to this we have a lot of content written, which is not only rich in keywords but is also inclined towards user interaction and user interest, giving our clients higher rankings - more user engagement and better ROI on their online marketing activities.

Till the time Google "GOD" does not change its algorithm to actually differentiate between information rich content and keyword rich content, i guess everyone needs to strike a balance between what gets them results and what upholds their credibility and brand image online.

Get in touch with us at MAG Studios to evaluate how a change in your existing online marketing plan or a fresh online marketing plan can help you get more conversions and higher placements - more revenue online.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Online Marketing - Google Dance = Webmasters Dance

Hello to all webmasters and all other users reading this blog.  I am sure that the numerous company maintained and written blogs only talk about how good their online marketing strategies are and how their clients have benefitted and how you, as a potential client can benefit from working with them.  But, has anyone ever mentioned the difficulties in getting all those things done, the ups and downs and most importantly the unexpected sudden ups and downs which create a lot of havoc and uncertainty and certainly certainly throws the best of webmasters and online marketing teams off their comfort zone for sure.

I would like to share a recent experience that we faced with a client of ours, a call on a nice productive evening informed us that their rankings had disappeared, disappeared??? I mean unbelievable, since there were multiple teams working on the site and overlooking each others work - so any mistakes would have been caught.  So we did our ground work and it did turn out that the rankings had indeed disappeared.  After a round of some shouting, arguments and a little panic in the department, some searches were made online - google panda update - google algorithm update - site penalized etc. etc. i mean when you are on top of these things and still stuff happens, what do you do? obviously you revert back to what Google "God" has to say about these things.

Articles and forums were scanned - things about google dance and proxy searching in other datacenters were highlighted - but then the most unexpected thing happened - the rankings came back but were case sensitive - case sensitive????? isnt google search "Case Insensitive"...??? and then the rankings went into oblivion again - then came back and then went again???  After about 3 days of Google god playing torture with most of us at the online marketing department - the rankings came back and (fingers crossed) have been there for 3 days now, so we are all hopeful that the rankings are here to stay for the good.

So, we have finally termed this as a twisted case of google dance and documented it so if it does happen again - we loose less sleep and can move ahead.

Just FYI - if this does happen with anyone, please do not get into aggressive link building from the very onset of this, resume your normal activities else google may mark your site as a spam website.

Hoping others who have had similar experiences would share them with us, so we can also work on the concept of crowd sourcing and improve our skillsets.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Work without computers - is it possible?

So, i work for an IT company and we have a big sales team which keeps working on newer sales pitches and ways to sell our products and services to existing and newer clients.  I keep telling them that there job should be the easiest cause i cannot think of any business which can survive and grow without a website, software solutions and marketing on the internet giving them access to the millions and millions of internet users scouring the internet for products and services to buy.

Do you think there are still businesses which are surviving and growing without using computer software solutions and websites in this time and age of growing internet and access in the hands of those millions and millions of users who are looking for your products and services online.  Being a project manager managing the IT applications for some of the largest users of software solutions - I get an insight into the kinds of software requirements growing and already established fortune 500 companies are getting developed.

Be it a software used for internal workings of the company employees - an intranet system or for collaboration and interaction with the clients - a client extranet - or an easy to use non-technical website management system - a content management system or a lead/sales tracking system - a crm system - there is always a need and demand for such software systems by companies.

Apart from the software requirements, websites have now become an integral part of businesses these days.  You could sell your products or services online - if you dont want to sell - just showcase them - use for website as an excellent branding tool, the usage and benefits are unlimited.

Done with the above,  have softwares to increase your efficiency and a website showcasing everything, well now you need Online Marketing and SEO to actually get the millions of users to your website.  You cannot just have a website and not do good online marketing and seo to promote your business online, that is just a bare necessity to earn more money and increase your revenues.

So, now my question to you again?  Do you really think that there are still business houses which can survive and grow without computers???

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The demise of social networks ... Part 2

So, i had blogged about how the importance of social networks is going down and people on the internet have started spending less and less time on these platforms now.  I have in fact met some people, in their college right now, who practically describe their lives on social networks and share everything with their friends - earlier using their laptops - later using their iPhones and Blackberry's - now, NOT SO MUCH.  They have actually gotten bored of "facebook" as facebook is synonymous with social networking now.  Reasons are plenty - bored - less time on hands - looking at other stuff online (hmmm... interesting) - dont want people to know some stuff et all and a lot of other reasons.

But, then on the flip side, i read this interesting article about Google + which talked about adding more and more cool and different features to google + so it could co exist with Facebook and not be a facebook killer - which in my knowledge would mean social networking with a lot of extra features and options, which could enhance one's personal knowledge - increase their business branding - increase their sales online.

So, i guess no one can really be sure whether social network is going to die a gradual death or would it be enhanced with more productive lifestyle features, either to enhance one's personal knowledge or to grow one's business, in either case, if you are already not on social networking platforms promoting your business houses, i think it is time you started doing that.  It is time, you get on the bandwagon and get right up there with your competitors.

I do admit, we generally do have a keen commercial interest when we BLOG, but this is a genuine advice as an internet strategy consultant that if you are not already promoting yourself on social media platforms you are already late and you should start immediately and we can help you do that and also get caught up with your competitors who are already there.

Get in touch with a qualified Internet Marketing professional at MAG Studios and lets evaluate your entry and growth strategy online.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Every one is an expert :D

I am sure everyone has at least once or more than once felt that every second person they meet claims and acts and imposes as an expert in some field or another.  Even if you yourself have the highest possible qualification in a subject or the requisite work experience, you do once in a while come across someone, who would tell you how to do your job correctly.  Annoying, but at the same time it is very funny.

We amuse ourselves in our free time by scouring the internet for online marketing and search engine optimization blogs.  We have a long list of blogs, we really look forward to reading to get an insight on what is latest, the moving and changing trends and the latest phenomenon's on search engine - the real bloggers who have proved themselves in this domain and who are the experts - experts we follow, whose advice we practice and validate to the best of our abilities - BUT - we have an even longer list of blogs, which we keep going back to just to read what knowledge they are throwing at gullible readers and pretending that they are the industry leaders in online marketing and search engine optimization, just because they keep blogging using the buzz words in every single paragraph.

If you follow blogs and are fond of reading online, please do search for "Google Panda Update" and you will see  very very long list of websites, each and every one giving you their 2 cents on what the google panda update is all about and some not writing anything at all about the panda update, but just saying the panda update happened. The reason of this blog is one such panda update article that i read and trust me i would love to post the link here, but that would just be too nasty on my part.

So, coming to the main point,  i sincerely hope that all internet users and browsers looking for services and products online dont get too carried away by long meaningless articles and blog posts with fancy designs and patterns.  Please do validate what everyone online claims because chances are that more often than not, there is a BIG element of "not-so-correct" information in there.

Wishing everyone a very happy browsing experience and loads of fun and laughter if you come across any pseudo-knowledgeable blog like i did today.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Social Networking - Not so Social Anymore :'(

So, social networking has been a primary time-spending area for internet users online of late. Be it any age group or any place from which the internet is accessed, users tend to go and spend a lot of time on social media websites.  There are research reports supporting the above claim and the sheer amount of users on Facebook and other social media platforms is a very good testimony of the popularity of these platforms.

However, of late there have been a lot of reports and articles coming out claiming that internet users are now getting bored of social media sites and have started to spend less and less time on them.  WOW!!! so does this mean that internet users are going to be spending less time online or does this mean that internet users are going to be spending time doing other useful things, which they have access to online - like educating themselves and increasing their know-how about things, finding your products and services, buying more items online since they have time and need something to do.

As a software services, website designing and online marketing company, this is both good and bad for us.  Social Media platforms had become an important and integral part of any online marketing campaign and one of the primary selling point for our customers.  With users now starting to spend less time on it, the focus and the importance of social media campaigns is going to dwindle (however please dont expect a drastic fall on an immediate basis) - now that is the downside for us, however the plus side would be that the other activities that we do on a regular basis to get your businesses ranked up higher and get you more traffic and increase your revenues are going to increase.  So more sensible campaigns, a shift from the almost automated work schedules and use of more brain power and trust us, with the kind of education qualifications and experience everyone has at MAG Studios, that is never an issue.

If you are looking to increase your visibility online and drive more traffic to your site to increase your revenues, get in touch with us at MAG Studios, where we are always working on newer methods to increase your revenues.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

You and Me on Google!!!

So the entire online community and businesses are scampering to be at the top of search engines so you and me and other people like us can find them and go to them and potentially increase their business and sales and revenues, which has made online marketing and search engine optimization one of the primary activities done by IT companies and in fact one of the largest revenue earning service for companies also.  A VERY VERY GOOD thing, no doubt, both for the service provider and the company for whom the service is rendered.  But, what if these search engines are saving our activities online (without our consent) and selling to private investors et all?  Would you still be comfortable searching for everything online, at work, outside work - during night time (Ahem!) and otherwise?

A recent news article got my attention to the following :- "BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank by assets, is teaming up with Google to use its search engine results to provide advanced forecasts of hotel and tourism demand in the country, part of a plan to market real-time economic indicators to its clients.
The bank and internet group will announce on Monday a scheme called the “BBVA-Google tourism activity in Spain indicator”. The first pilot project has focused on measuring advance demand for hotel stays and tourism interest in Spain by using search engine data."

So, my question is that how is the above possible, if google is not tracking and selling the search information to BBVA?  I read a little more and there was this interesting article on BBC :- Google persuades Spanish bank BBVA to use the cloud :- So is the information sharing by google in return for this activity of BBVA or is it a straight off purchase?  In either case, it is our information - our search pattern - our work on Google which is being shared without our knowledge.

If Google is going to share public information it aggregates, then it should be sharing it with everyone in a public domain - just imagine having access to all that priceless user information, just the thought makes me feel how much more sales and money we can help our client make just by simple analysis of what the market trend is and where it is moving.

Well, till we get access to that information, our clients are still relying and benefiting from our Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization team's knowledge and activities.  If you are looking for more visibility for your website online and are looking to increase your traffic - sales - revenues - then get in touch with us at MAG Studios and let us work with you to increase your revenues.

The Rights and the Wrongs of Blogging

So i blogge"D" about how the online marketing and commercial interests have penetrated into blogging and taken some element of "personal individuality" away from the concept of Blogging these days.  I was tweeting about something when i saw a tweet which said "New blog post: how to use mobile tv? " and this got me wondering whether the blog was written to share knowledge with the readers and then the link was tweeted for the good of internet users or does this also have a keen commercial interest in it.  The reason i am still wondering is because the blog is not reachable and cannot be read ... lol

I am of a very firm belief that a blog should be based on what one wants to write about first and then maybe some commercial interest and internet marketing and seo use.  I wont deny, but all the blog posts that we make for ourselves and our numerous clients, are in some sense used to promote the businesses online and get more and more traffic to the website, however the topics on which we blog about are not decided with that motive.

We, at MAG Studios take interest in what we do and even better, we enjoy what we do.  There are members of our team who take it purely as a job, but the core management and the senior staff love what they do at their work place and hence do a far more superior job than what our competing companies do for their clients.

So, coming back to the topic of the post, we dont think that there is any "Right" or "Wrong" way of blogging.  I mean, it is a blog, you are supposed to put your thoughts your knowledge and your intelligence into it based on what you know, THAT COMES FIRST and then you can use it for any other reason you want, be it online marketing and seo, be it branding or be it promotion of anything at all.

If you would like to work with people who enjoy working and are obviously very well qualified to do the job and also have more than adequate experience and exposure doing work, then please get in touch with us at MAG Studios, - we would love to work with you.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Is Blogging Now a purely Commercial Activity?

A BLOG was meant to be a personal space for people to share their experience - good and bad - to put their thoughts out, sometimes share it with people and something just for one's own reading - to vent out at wrongs - to appreciate the rights - basically a medium of expressing one's feelings as one would do in their diaries in the good old days, but with the option of sharing it with the millions and millions of people scouring the internet on a daily basis.  But, are blogs still use the same way?

I would say NOT.  Most blogs that you come across have a keen commercial aspect to them, just like this one, yep the one you are reading right now, we at MAG Studios like to blog and like sharing our technical know how and in the internet insights with you, but this does a very good thing for our corporate website also.  We can reach out to millions of potential clients across geographical domains and actually post content which is relevant to our business line and also enables the end user to understand and evaluate our skill sets.

I do not completely agree with the title of this post, but it is true that blogging has now more inclined towards commercials increasing becoming one of the most powerful tool of online marketing, be it ad space on the blog itself, or how we do it, to increase traffic to websites but to also share information, which may or may not be useful to our existing and potential clients.

As a business owner or a website owner, are you making full use of the potential of blogging?  Are you just doing it for fun or are your blogs geared towards increasing your website traffic and in turn your revenues? You may come across a number of publications online about business blogging but we feel that blogging should retain its true essence and still be productive for a business.  Why loose the fun element in working, there are plenty of serious pure commercial activities which are done every day at work in any case.

Please get in touch with MAG Studios to understand and evaluate how you can add a blog to your website and increase your traffic and your revenues and also put your thoughts and knowledge and increase your brand's image online.

Your Website - Is it working for you?

So you have taken the first step and now your business has a website.  It is nice and fancy with the colors you wanted and with fancy things moving all over the website making it look really cool and giving you that competitive edge over your competition online.  But there is a slight issue -- YOU ARE NOT GETTING ANY QUERIES.

WOW!!! that is not a slight issue, that is the MAIN issue.  After all a website is a marketing tool and if your marketing tool is not working, then how will the other functions of your business work.  It is imperative to ensure that a fancy looking website is also functional and serves its purpose i.e generates leads, grows your market and increases your revenues.

At MAG Studios, we focus on both the visual aesthetics and also the functional elements of the website.  After all we have a team of technically sound IIT Engineers and Business Heads having MBA's and PhD's.  If we dont utilize them to their fullest potential for our clients then what do we have them in the company for.

Having said the above, at MAG Studios, each and every website is analyzed to the minutest of details both in terms of the aesthetics - the colors, the layout, the navigation structure, the call-outs and the positioning of various elements across the page.  In addition to the aesthetics, the smallest of functional elements are also evaluated - the depth of the links - the navigation structure, the content of the pages - the landing pages - the conversion pages et all - the list goes on and the efficiency increases.

We aim at making websites and software's which not only increase your productivity and efficiency but also increase your markets and in turn increase your revenue.  Our client list is long and we have referral work from most of our clients, which is the best testimonial we can get for the work we do.

Get in touch with one of our consultants at MAG Studios to see how we can work with you and develop a website or a software system to enhance your productivity and increase your revenues.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Software Development and Websites

So as the title says, this blog is going to be about Software Development and Websites. That is what I do day in and day out.  I am a private consultant with a number of technology companies, which focus mostly on developing software solutions and designing websites.

MAG Studios, happens to be just one of the companies i consult for and they also happen to do software systems development and website designs.  They have all the latest development tools and their developers are in tune with the latest technology methods and compliance methods, but isn't this the same with all the technology companies that you can get to by just typing software development or websites in Google.  When i was approached by MAG Studios to consult for them, i was a little skeptical about joining them, after all I am consulting for the largest IT brand names that you have heard of and then there is this company with no global branding approaching me.  So i decided to dig in a little and find out more about MAG Studios.

MAG Studios has been set up by IIT Graduates (IIT is the premier engineering institute in India and amongst the top engineering institutions all over the world) who have gone ahead and done their MBA's in business administration and further gone ahead and taken their PhD's in Business Administration.  Wow!!! thats a lot of education, but textbook knowledge is very different from practical and real life implementations of solutions, right? so i dig a little more and i find out that the founders themselves have a little over 50+ man years experience, yep, 50+ man years experience in deploying and delivering software implementations in all parts of the world.

Now, that is impressive.  So

Engineering from IIT
MBA's  from the USA
PhD's from the USA

Core team consists of

Software engineers from USA
Software engineers from IIT
MBA's from all over the world
People with 5+ years experience doing whatever role they are doing in MAG Studios
Experience of working for fortune 500 companies
Experience in working with smaller organizations
A successful track record of working with start-ups
Impressive and i mean a very very impressive client list
Supporting large and highly acclaimed IT companies in their development and designing departments in an outsourcing mode

So, do they still need a brand name, which people can recognize?  I think not.  I think once you speak with anyone in the company you can make out the knowledge and the experience.   I joined them about 4 years ago and am happy I did.  There is plenty to learn working with such highly experienced and educated people, that software development and website designing projects take a completely different shape and are transformed into highly productive and efficient revenue earners for all their clients.

MAG Studios has launched a new website and because of the highly strict NDA agreements and software outsourcing contracts, it really does not show MAG Studios in its true capacity and might, but once you engage them in a conversation, their expertise flows.