QR Codes for Facebook Profile on Android App?

Facebook Profile QR Code Android App (screen shot)

Screen shot from my Android app for

Facebook, it seems, may have done something with a QR code others have been richly criticized for doing; using a QR code on a screen. Over the past few years I have read, heard, written about, and discussed the merits of using QR codes. Often my enthusiasm, and verifiable results, have been met with almost a disdain from people who hold a modicum of trust. Interestingly one of the biggest poo-pooings (I don’t think I made that word up) is for the use of QR codes on web pages or in mobile apps.

If you are not familiar with QR codes they were invented to be a quick response for automobile robotics and high speed manufacturing, designed to hold vastly more information than the bar code or snowflake already in use.  The QR code, in fact, can store up to 4,296 alpha-numeric characters. The UPC barcode, in contrast, represent only 12 numeric characters; there is not much a marketer can do with just 12 digits!

Avoiding Small Business Failure: Accountability Partners

small business partnersAny reader who has served in the military knows the concept of the “Battle Buddy”.  The idea is multifold, but with one goal: accountability. Regardless of age or rank if a soldier has a battle buddy that battle buddy knows where the soldier is, what they are doing and that they are safe and compliant at all times. From making sure your uniform is squared away to keeping you from harm your battle buddy is like a guardian angel who goes with you everywhere.

Independent Business Owner Failure

Independent, in and of it’s self, means alone and separate. Remember the saying “no man is an island unto himself”? Well, it’s true. Too often, however, as small business owners we feel like an island and we operate with abandon because of that feeling. What we all need is a battle buddy, a coach, a guide, or whatever we call it. The buzz vernacular today is “sherpa”. Okay, whatever works.

Corporations, with larger numbers of employees, have an innate safety net simply due to their numbers. If one person falls short the remainder of the company is there to hold up the overall function and operation of the corporation. When a sole operator falls short it can be crippling or even devastating. One man, or woman, is no match for everything the world has. The solution? An accountability partner.

Selecting A Partner

Perhaps the best news is that an accountability partner is not a financial or obligated partner. Fulfilling the role of an accountability partner is often as simple as a daily chat to simply “take the temperature” of the entrepreneur needing accountability. While this is good on a base level it really is worth consideration to retain the services of a professional accountability company who will treat you more like a sergeant would his platoon to make sure your compliance with your own rules, and the world’s, is intact.

Fake Reviews, Get Real Fines

false trust“I really love the service at Happy Widgets, Inc. I have been a customer since they opened and all of the people there, Tom, Dick, and Sherry, are all wonderful people. Make sure you ask them to tell you about the football in the watercooler! Their widgets are the best in town and whenever I need widgets I think of Happy Widgets in Metroville.”

While the above may sound innocuous it can hurt not only competitors but customers as well. Falsely created trust based on lies is what the mid result is; a bad decision made by a customer is the tragic, end result. Leave it up to the New York Attorney General to take matters into his own hands and start a “witch hunt”, through a recent sting operation, to find violators of the public’s good faith. (Read this white paper on fines for companies and PR firms using fake reviews.)

The Federal Trade Commission publishes the guidelines for what constitutes a violation of trust in their “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” available as a PDF.

Clear Thinking

Ken Cook Diet Health

From 6′ and 243 pounds to 188 pounds and holding, I feel great! I am now worthy of running a successful business.

Running a small business usually means one person wearing a few hats; a few dozen even. It often means bad sleeping habits, bad eating habits, and none of the right physical activities. I know this from experience.

My Private, Painful, Frightening Journey

I was always in great physical condition and health. I was rarely sick and when I was it was as a result of something stupid like over-imbibing. When 2001 came around and my wife and I began to experience some very good business results we both found ourselves working, at times, up to 18 hours a day, 7 days per week. We also skipped breakfast or grabbed fast food, had pizza or burgers for lunch, then came home and drank our dinner with some other unacceptable food.

By 2009 we both had slipped way down in the health arena. I had not seen a gym, or a decent workout, since 2000. My sandwich intake was as much as 8 slices of bread a day plus pizza, pasta, or cereal. My brain stayed in a fog, my energy was sapped, and I was having a panic attack almost every night.

There, it’s out. I have never written this in public before. But that’s not all that was going on. My joints were stiff, so much so that I occasionally walked with a cane, and my energy level was very low. At 6 feet tall I weighed 243 pounds at the peak. It was not pretty!

Google Hummingbird Will Affect You If…

hummingbirdGoogle’s new, not updated, algorithm (set) plays heavily to mobile. A/B testing is just starting on this but my prediction is that an identical page with no mobile ready presentation (HTML5, responsive design, alternate presentment, whatever) will not fair as well in Hummingbird as one that does not.

Now, perhaps more than ever, site structure, geographic location, mobile readiness, and self-identity is highly valuable. It still pays to network, connect, engage, get social, be local, and pay attention to detail. Hummingbird promises to be a big boon to the honest Internet marketer and social networker.

All of this means being “Google friendly” has taken on an entirely new set of priorities. Most sites are not Hummingbird ready. My experience is that the average, small business, real estate agent, chiropractor, healthcare or legal professional, will need site modifications to become Hummingbird compliant or will loose Google traction quickly.

7 Components For Online Success

online-success-guideWhile there may be others, and there are, added to this list these are almost crucial to success. Can success be had without all, or any, of these? Yes, it can. These are the most common, high reward components which should not be easily discounted.

ANCHOR SITE www.yourname.com
Have a site you control, not on some free service or social network. Do your business here. Think about user experience and conversion ratio on this site as your most important tasks. Keep you blog separate or in a separate directory. Blogs have a tendency to overpopulate the index page and with today’s necessary trend toward flat and mobile design this is crucial to conversion success.

TWITTER ACCOUNT twitter.com/yourname
Having a Twitter site that matches your brand is one great way to push out relative content, build a following, and listen to the Internet on your topic. Learn to monitor Twitter with third party tools like Hootsuite and your life, and results, will be much better.

FACEBOOK BUSINESS PAGE facebook.com/yourname
While Facebook should never replace your anchor site not having a custom Facebook business page is a big mistake in today’s world. The content and design should emulate your brand and serve as a giant handshake to encourage people do to business with you.

My Most Influential Twitter List

This list changes from time to time. You can follow it on Twitter here. This list is called Gens Prosperum for obvious reasons. There are other people I find  influential on other lists. Tweets from these people are also featured in Gens Prosperum (Weekly) on Paperli. You may read it here.

These members are listed in no particular order. It is a widely varied list as you will see! These are some of the people I most like to read and who, generally, have a high amount of real world influence. I do not endorse anything they say or their views overall, I simply find much of their content stimulating.

List members

  1. Executive Chairman & former CEO

  2. Yahoo homepage editor; Techie from the TI 994A to the Galaxy Note 2. And, yes, of course I have a working Mac 128k and Computer Space.

  3. CEO@YieldMo, Was CEO of Quigo for 5+ yrs. and sold to AOL in 2007. Venture Partner w/FFVentures, Angel investor in Klout, Meetup, Flurry and 100+companies

  4. General Manager, DailyCandy *opinions are mine*

  5. ALL the news from #TED: TEDTalks, TED Conferences, the TED Prize and more. Continue reading

10 Proven Steps To Improve Search Rankings

seo techniques graphicGoogle is king, there is no doubt about this. Today when people say search over 83% of them mean Google. With that bit of information it is easy to see how captivating attention from that mass is valuable to any business. While the next several words will not guarantee you a number one search result it will help you understand what it takes, and what your opponents are doing, to win in the search wars.

Follow these steps, monitor your progress, and learn even more about search engine optimization and you will stand a fighting chance. If you are too busy or prefer to hire a professional to handle this for you I am happy to speak with you. Simply use the Contact link and let’s talk.

1. Check your site for misspellings especially of keywords. Google is smart enough to know how to spell. While there is a “trick” to misspell certain keywords, which has proven to work (mortgage being spelled morgage is one), but use caution. It also gives the opportunity for a search engine to see you have a misspelling within your site. Find a good tool or hire a pro to crawl your site for errors including spelling.

2. Speed up your page load time. You may use a tool like YSlow to help you discover why your page is loading slow, or even if it is loading slowly. Elements of sites load separately so if you have large graphics or pre-loaded video or that God forsaken Flash embedded in your site you are almost certainly losing visitors – especially on mobile devices. Continue reading

29% of US Shoppers Use Mobile For Research/Inspiration

Every small business must have a mobile friendly website. Forget expensive mobile applications that people don’t want to download; we’re talking about a responsive design website people can use on their mobile device.  With today’s powerful content delivery systems small business owners, and individuals, can be online and ready for mobile in just a matter of hours. Here is why they should:

graph of mobile shopping stats showing US 29% of shoppers research online before buying

Nearly 30% of US shopping involves online research or inspiration.

Obviously no intelligent business owner would choose to neglect such a large buying population. In real numbers that percentage represents millions of people. As Google continues to improve their search results you can be sure they will, at least consider, omitting sites which are not mobile ready from the results of searches performed on a mobile device. Continue reading

Start With A Goal

Did you know I can help you assess or re-assess your online efforts and make dramatic improvements in the return you are seeing from your investment of time, resources, and money? Yes! In fact it is why I write all the articles… here’s one now.

Goals For Improving Online Performance

What better day could there be to talk about goals than here on the first full day of NFL football?

business goalsSuffice it to say most of us do not simply go out in the morning, get in the car, and start driving. Or, if you are one who uses public transit, you likely do not go to the subway and get on just any train. Generally speaking, we know where we are headed when we leave our homes. Perhaps it is to work, to school, or even to see a friend. Most of the time we know where we are going. In other words, we start with a goal.

For longer trips we have certain segments of our journey planned. On the subway you may know you need to take the M train to Sandler Ave., then change to the L train to Duncan Center. That change point is called a “waypoint”; it’s a method of knowing you are truly on the way, and on schedule, to your final destination.

Why is it, then, that we think it is okay to start a website, a blog, or a business profile in social media with no clearly defined strategy, waypoints, and goal?

Wait a minute, I know what you just thought. You just thought, “But Kenny, I started with a goal. Before I even registered my domain name I knew I wanted to tell people about my services and increase my business because of what I do online.” Continue reading