Amazon’s Meal Kits Go on Sale as It Looks to Expand Groceries Business

Amazon's Meal Kits Go on Sale as It Looks to Expand Groceries Business

Amazon has begun selling ready-to-cook meal packages for busy households in a bid to expand its groceries business.

Amazon-branded meal kits come with raw ingredients needed to prepare such meals as chicken tikka masala and falafel patties. They can help households save time; a kit for salmon with soba noodles can be prepared in just a half-hour, for instance. But at $16 to $20 (roughly Rs. 1,000 to Rs. 1,200) for two servings, they can be more expensive than buying ingredients separately in larger quantities.

The development comes as Amazon is also buying the organic grocer Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, a deal that would give the company a foothold in both groceries and brick-and-mortar retailing. Amazon could ultimately use Whole Foods’ more than 400 locations as distribution centers for all food services, including meal kits.

For now, Amazon’s meal kits are sold only in selected markets. The Associated Press was able to place an order in Seattle, Amazon’s headquarters. A similar search for meal kits in New York generated items only from third-party vendors such as Martha & Marley Spoon and Tyson Tastemakers. Amazon didn’t respond to requests for additional information.

Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said meal kits fall between regular groceries and deliveries of fully cooked meals and represent Amazon’s bid to expand its food business.

“I’m not sure any of this will work, but that’s where they are headed,” Pachter said in an email.

The food industry consulting firm Pentallect says meal kits represent a “rounding error” of $2.2 billion in a $1.5 trillion US food industry, but the firm forecasts growth of 25 percent to 30 percent a year over the next five years. Pentallect says that because relatively few households have yet to try meal kits, there’s a lot of room for growth.

Amazon meal kits are available only through the AmazonFresh grocery-delivery program, which costs $15 a month and requires a separate $99-a-year Prime membership. Delivery costs an additional $10 on orders of $40 or less, though free pickup options are available in Seattle.

Sales appeared to have begun in late June, based on customer reviews.

Earlier this month, Amazon applied for US trademark protection for the phrase “We do the prep. You be the chef.” for packaged food kits “ready for cooking and assembly as a meal.” Amazon listed a range of food types, including meat, seafood, salads and soups.

Shares of a leading competitor, Blue Apron, fell nearly 14 percent to $6.36 this week as reports of Amazon’s plans emerged at GeekWire and other news sites. That includes a 3.5 percent drop on Tuesday. Amazon’s stock increased $14.41, or 1.4 percent, to close Tuesday at $1024.45.


Risk-Based Thinking in Planning (6.0): Using the Business Operating System Approach

Image result for Risk-Based Thinking in Planning (6.0): Using the Business Operating System ApproachIn the 1990s, Omnex worked with Ford Motor Co. to develop the Ford quality operating system methodology, which with maturity and broad experience has evolved into Omnex’s business operating system (BOS) process.

The quality operating system promised and has delivered the following:
• Cross-functional management
• Visual management
• Process orientation
• Continual improvement teams

Omnex worked with Ford’s tier-one suppliers around the world in both the manufacturing and service sectors successfully implementing this process. Disciplined management meetings coupled with the visual analysis of key measurables (KPIs), Pareto diagrams, data-drive action plans, and Paynter charts to measure impact, helped these organizations improve tremendously. Ford, working with Omnex, also developed a quality operating system questionnaire that focused on aligning goals and objectives with KPIs and identifying key processes and process measures for key areas of customer focus.

QS-9000, ISO 9001:2000, ISO 9001:2015, and the high level structure

From 1995 to 2016, Omnex modified the quality operating system methodology, adjusting the approach to adapt to the requirements of evolving quality management system (QMS) standards. As a result, Omnex QMS, enterprise management system (EMS), and other management system implementations always included the quality operating system, renamed as the business operating system, or BOS, to support strategic planning and performance monitoring and improvement. BOS has always been the way Omnex fulfilled customer focus, process orientation, measurement of KPIs, management review, and continual improvement. BOS is crucial for any management system implementation. BOS is the essential process needed to fulfill the key requirements of management system standards, an ideal solution to how you need a process to fulfill the requirements (“shalls”) of ISO 9001 and similar standards.”

The BOS methodology and ISO 9001:2015

The ISO 9001:2015 QMS standard and the high level structure together focuses on “interested party expectations” and the “context” of the organization. Why focus on interested parties? The simple answer is that organizations need to satisfy more than just their direct customers’ requirements to stay in business. Additionally, organizations need to evolve beyond the “one size fits all” mode of thinking. Companies need to go beyond “one set of KPIs” for the entire organization, or “one strategy” for the entire business, or “one QMS.” With proper implementation, interested party expectations and context will help organizations identify KPIs, key processes, and action plans that fit the organization, whether it’s a manufacturing site or a design center. This is why organizations identify internal and external issues and interested party expectations, to determine how best to succeed in the environment their organization is situated.

See the BOS process below in figure 1:

Figure 1: BOS process (Click for larger image.)

The BOS process, as shown above, illustrates how goals and objectives are set based on the context, mission/vision/values, and interested party expectations of the organization. The goals are then translated to metrics via KPIs that measure performance with goal lines that identify the objectives. Finally, the KPIs are fulfilled via processes that help deliver the results. In other words, results are the outcome of the processes performing well. When processes improve, they drive results, helping organizations achieve their goals and objectives. The goals and objectives, in turn, help ensure that the enterprise achieves interested party expectations and the mission/vision/values of the organization.

Risk-based thinking

While implementing this process within hundreds of organizations over the past 20+ years, Omnex has understood that the improvement actions always addressed process variation in organization. In other words, the process risk was always related to the capabilities of the processes to deliver on the results reflected in the KPIs of the organization. Management system standards, via the high level structure, are requiring the organization to de-risk the planning process. In other words, the risk-based thinking in ISO 9001’s Planning (6.0), for instance, helps reduce the risk of management not meeting goals and objectives. If we can conduct a failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) to reduce design and manufacturing risk, why not conduct an exercise for identifying and managing enterprise risk?

Omnex suggests a disciplined process that identifies processes that affect a specific enterprise KPI and then identifying how the process can fail, including determining impact or severity combined with likelihood. The effect of the process failure on the business, either in business loss or business impact, and its likelihood defines risk.

Omnex uses two different risk forms—one simple and, when justified, one more-rigorous approach. See figure 2 below:

Figure 2

Implementing BOS

BOS implementation is streamlined to a six-step process as follows:

Step 1: Determine organizational context and interested parties
In this step, the facilitator interacts with the top management team to identify the key internal and external issues.

Step 2: Align policy, mission, vision, and values
The second step reviews and ensures that the policy (quality, environmental, or other), mission, vision, and value statement are aligned with the context of the organization.

Step 3: Identified interested party expectations are listed, grouped, and rated.
The rating is based on potential impact on the business failing to meet critical expectations. Rated from high (immediate business impact/dollar impact) to low (no impact to the business). This prioritization is applied to each expectation, always looking through the eyes of the interested party. This allows the organization to focus on those expectations most strategically critical to the business. Even employee expectations and the loss of key employees translates to business loss. See figure 3:

Figure 3: In this step, interested party expectations are grouped into categories.

Step 4: Establish strategic objectives
Goals and objectives are set around the grouped categories since they were deemed to be most important by interested parties. Omnex uses benchmarking to set short-term and long-term objectives in the BOS process.

Step 5: Identify key processes and KPIs
Once the goals and objectives are set, the key processes and KPIs are determined based on a process called alignment charting. In organizations that already have objectives and KPIs, the facilitator can skip step 4.

Step 6 and Step 7: Conduct risk-based thinking and select improvement projects
The alignment charts are studied and the process variation, based on process KPIs, is determined to enable identifying specific actions to reduce risk. These actions become projects championed by designated process owners.

Join Omnex on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, for our webinar, Risk-Based Thinking in Planning (6.0) Using the Business Operating System (BOS) Approach,” a case study of an organization and an illustration of the BOS methodology using Omnex EwQIMS enterprise software.


How to Start and Run a Successful Web Design Business?

How to Start and Run a Successful Web Design Business?

While listening to the stories of great web designers it seems that starting a web design business is much easy. But the process of starting your own business is not that easy as it seems; you not only need to have designing skills but along with that, a full-fledged plan and sincere efforts are also required to get your business run successfully.

Once designers get experience and acquire skills to handle projects on an individual basis, they think of working as a freelancer or starting their own web designing company. No doubt it is a good idea but it requires a blend of strategic thinking, thoughtful and skilled efforts, and tenacity to convert your dreams into reality. However, all those, who are planning to start their own web designing business, can refer to the below-given tips for a perfect start and seamless running of their web design business.

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses

Your strengths will let you choose main services you would be offering and your weaknesses will help you at avoiding wastage of time and energy on the things that can be handled by someone else.

If you have planned to start your own business then definitely you will be hiring some staff for it. So, a thing that you need to do at first is knowing the tasks you are excellent at and you would handle yourself, and knowing the ones for which you would need someone’s help.

  • Know your market

No doubt you would be delivering the services you are good at but don’t offer people what you are trying to sell. Instead, try to know what they are looking for and tailor your services to their needs. If you are finding it hard then you can get some potential clients to tell you about their requirements for web designs.

Ross Williams of Rawnet Ltd explains: “In the beginning there was a rush for everyone to have a website. Now the focus is on the most innovative and exciting.”

  • Have a clear thought about your offerings

Once you have known your market, enlist all your offerings. It depends on your skill set and talent that what services you would be offering to your clients. More clarity about offerings means greater chances of success. Here are some questions that you should ask to yourself for finalizing your services:

– If you want to deliver services all over the world or just to local clients?

– If you want the payment for the whole job or on an hourly or daily basis?

– If you will be managing the client relationships yourself or would hire a professional?

  • Design an attractive website

As people would be hiring you for web designing services, they will definitely notice the design of your own website to have an idea about the quality. So, design an attractive website to reflect your business to the best. It should be responsive, fast and engaging so that viewers will just enjoy the browsing process on it. Clear and easy navigation along with the relevant content are the two main things that will add value to your business website.

Andy Budd of Clearleft explains. “The quality of design work is so high, that you have to be really, really good to actually get work.”

  • Be active on the Social Media

Social Media is no more restricted to establish social connections among the people, its approach has reached a far behind that. It has become the excellent way to promote your services, drive traffic to your website, attract potential customers and form a network of the people who have the same niche. So, understand the importance of all the social media platforms and the way you can use them to maximize your business profits.

  • Show your credibility

When clients shop around for web designing services, they look for the experts. So, showing your credibility to the world is really essential. Mention all the essential educational details, certifications and work experiences on your profile as it would give people a reason to trust you and your services. Enhance your credibility by posting visual content about your area of expertise and by updating yourself as per the latest industry trends.

In the last, we would like to say that this is an era of tough competition, so you would need to keep patience and show perseverance regardless how many hardships you face to get started. And once you have an effective and thoughtful foundation in place, success will come your way on its own. It is well said by Gurpreet Walia, CEO at Suffescom Solutions- “The way to get started is to stop talking and start working as per your plans”.



[Source:- Entrepreneur]

The Trump bump – when a diss from Donald is good for business

Moving on up ... thanks to Trump’s tweets.

When Donald Trump tweets, PR departments tremble in their designer footwear. “Pretty much everybody is dreading being the subject of a tweet,” said Kristin Dziczek of the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research. “Getting hauled out into the court of public opinion with virtually no warning is not something anybody wants to get engaged with.”

No wonder: if, like General Motors, Ford or Toyota, you’re a car-maker manufacturing outside the US, having the president-elect attack your business model and threaten you with a massive tax bill (eg: “General Motors is sending Mexican-made model of Chevy Cruze to US car-dealers tax free across border.Make in USA or pay big border tax!”) is calamitous.

But not everybody need fear the tweeter. Meryl Streep couldn’t buy better publicity than have Trump tweet that she is “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes”. Truly, there is literally nothing that makes me want to programme a double bill of Sophie’s Choice and Out of Africa more than reading that. As someone – whose spell checker doesn’t work – counter-tweeted: “havnt you got a job to do like running a country isntead of bitching like some z list celebrity, im embaressed for you”, with good reason.

In his eight years on Twitter, Trump has sent 34,300 tweets to followers now counted at 19.2 million, attacking 61 companies or brands. Among them the BBC (“a scandal ridden wasteland – a one-sided piece of garbage!”), the makers of Glenfiddich (“We are getting rid of all Glenfiddich garbage alcohol from Trump properties”), Coca-Cola (“The Coca-Cola company is not happy with me – that’s OK, I’ll still keep drinking that garbage”) and – love this – Twitter: “Wow, Twitter, Google and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton. Very dishonest media!”

Why does Donald diss? Trump has “like many bullies, a skin of gossamer”, observed Graydon Carter, the editor of Vanity Fair and longtime Trump enemy. On the plus side, let’s not forget, he is quite the wordsmith. “I hope everybody possible cancels their subscription to the failing, boring abd [sic] totally biased New York “Ragazine” – SAVE YOUR MONEY!” Did you see what he did there? “Ragazine”? Genius. And caps lock? Nice touch.

Whether Trump grows a thicker skin and stops using what Carter once described as his “abnormally stubby” fingers to terror-tweet from the Oval Office remains to be seen. But many must be hoping not. After all, for some, a late-night, rancorous terror-tweet from the most powerful man on Earth is just the thing to keep shareholders sweet. Here are some people and brands who got a bump thanks to Trump.

John Lewis

Last week, the Democrat congressman and civil rights veteran told NBC that he did not regard the recent election as legitimate and was not planning to attend Trump’s inauguration this Friday. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” he said. Furious, Trump tweeted: “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart. All talk, talk, talk – no action or results. Sad!”

Lewis responded at a memorial breakfast on Martin Luther King Day this week with a speech in which he didn’t deign to name Trump, but clearly alluded to him: “So I say to the future leaders of this state, the future leaders of this nation, of the world – you must never, ever hate. The way of love is a better way. The way of peace is a better way,” he said.

One result of the row is that March, Lewis’s graphic novel about the US civil rights movement, shot from 451st place in the overall bestseller lists to No 1, while his memoir Walking the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement rose 8,699 places to No 2. Further down the charts, his 2012 book Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change, which recounts lessons learned as an activist, leapt from 34,480 to 175 in the overall bestseller list on and took top spot on the online bookseller’s philosophy of ethics and morality chart.

Think of it this way: some industry experts have been sceptical about whether a Trump presidency will be good for American business. But, in fact, even before he takes office, Trump is having a positive impact. Albeit unwittingly.

Vanity Fair

Restaurant critic Tina Nguyen once accepted a dare to eat an eyeball that a butcher had popped out of the skull of a roasted pig. “That eyeball,” she wrote, “tasted better than the Trump Grill’s Gold Label Burger, a … short-rib burger blend moulded into a sad little meat thing, sitting in the centre of a massive, rapidly staling brioche bun, hiding its shame under a slice of melted orange cheese. It came with overcooked woody batons called ‘fries’ – how can someone mess up fries? – and ketchup masquerading as Heinz. If the cheeseburger is a quintessential part of America’s identity, Trump’s pledge to ‘make America great again’ suddenly appeared not very promising.”

Nguyen’s review appeared in Vanity Fair under the headline “Trump Grill could be the worst restaurant in America” (just imagine the competition for that title) before Christmas, prompting Trump to tweet: “Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!”

Unfortunately for Trump’s thesis, someone looked at Vanity Fair’s numbers and found that the magazine was not in trouble. Its website had 14.3 million unique visitors in October 2016, a 26% increase since October 2015, and more than double its October 2014 traffic. And paid circulation averaged 1.2m for the first six months of 2016, slightly higher than it was five years ago. The Condé Nast lifestyle magazine is bucking the trend of the print magazine sector beset by falling advertising revenues and plummeting sales.

But Trump’s tweet was only the latest salvo in a feud between him and Carter dating back more than a quarter of a century. When the former was an upcoming Manhattan real estate magnate, the latter was a writer for the satirical Spy magazine amused by Trump’s “vainglorious self-image”. “Just to drive him a little bit crazy,” recalled Carter, “I took to referring to him as a ‘short-fingered vulgarian’.” Carter still receives letters from Trump. “There is always a photo of him — generally a tear sheet from a magazine. On all of them he has circled his hand in gold Sharpie in a valiant effort to highlight the length of his fingers. I almost feel sorry for the poor fellow because, to me, the fingers still look abnormally stubby.” Just before Trump decided to stand for the Republican presidential nomination, Carter got the latest. “Like the other packages, this one included a circled hand and the words, also written in gold Sharpie: ‘See, not so short!’ I sent the picture back by return mail with a note attached, saying, ‘Actually, quite short.’ Which I can only assume gave him fits.”

When Carter invested in prominent restaurants in Manhattan, it wasn’t long before Trump delivered his assessment. “Worst food in city,” Trump wrote about the Waverly Inn in 2013. For the past four years, the tweet has been printed at the top of the Waverly Inn menu – presumably for its diners there could be no greater enticement to eat there than the short-fingered vulgarian’s opprobrium.

American Civil Liberties Union

Last week, the ACLU announced it had received more than $7.2m (£5.8m) from 120,000 individual donations. “This is the greatest outpouring of support for the ACLU in our nearly 100-year history, greater than the days after 9/11,” said the union’s executive director, Anthony Romero.

Why now? Because many are worried about what Trump will do to American civil liberties. Writing in the New York Review of Books, the ACLU’s incoming legal director, David Cole, said: “Will he be able to put in place all the worst ideas he tossed out so cavalierly on the campaign trail? Building a wall; banning and deporting Muslims; ending Obamacare; reneging on climate change treaty responsibilities; expanding libel law; criminalising abortion; jailing his political opponents; supporting aggressive stop-and-frisk policing; reviving mass surveillance and torture?” Not on Professor Cole’s watch.

He could well be a busy man. The day after Trump’s election, the ACLU tweeted: “Should President-elect Donald Trump attempt to implement his unconstitutional campaign promises, we’ll see him in court.”

New York Times

Vanity Fair isn’t the only part of the lamestream media to be getting a boost thanks to Trump. Subscriptions to the Gray Lady have soared by 132,000 since Trump’s election – a tenfold rise on the previous year, even though he had claimed that the paper was failing, and railed against it for backing Hillary Clinton. “Far from failing,” retorted Mark Thompson, the Times’s CEO, “we’re seeing remarkable response”.

Just maybe Trump has helped end the post-truth era he arguably created and is inadvertently helping catalyse the revival of quality journalism in an era dominated by the kind of fact-unchecked Twitter rants so virtuosically pioneered by the president-elect. Yeah, right. Let’s not go nuts.


[Source:- Gurdian]



US music business in rare growth as streaming doubles

Subscriptions to paid services like Apple Music led to overall revenue growth for the US music industry of 8.1 percent from a ye

The US music industry Tuesday posted its strongest growth in more than a decade in the first six months as streaming subscriptions doubled, but weakness reigned in other formats.

Consumers in the world’s biggest music market had 18.3 million subscriptions to paid services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal in the first half of 2016, compared with 9.1 million in the same period a year earlier, the Recording Industry Association of America said.

The revenue from paid subscriptions also more than doubled to just over $1 billion.

The subscriptions led to overall revenue growth for the US music industry of 8.1 percent from a year earlier.

The last time the industry posted a similar rate was in 1999, at the dawn of the era of digital music, when revenue grew 6.4 percent on a full-year basis.

Cary Sherman, chairman and CEO of the industry association, said that the figures showed that music remained “fundamentally undervalued” due to outdated laws and structures despite rising consumer demand.

“Many services rake in billions of dollars for themselves on the backs of music’s popularity but pay only relative pennies for artists and labels. Pirate sites operate with seeming impunity,” he said in a blog essay.

Outside of streaming, other segments of the music industry remained soft.

CD shipments dropped 11.2 percent to 38.9 million, while downloads on iTunes and other services tumbled 14.5 percent to 48.2 million albums.

In one potentially alarming sign, shipments of vinyl albums—a niche market which has recently led to a resurgence of record stores—slipped 9.1 percent to 8.4 million records.

Vinyl shipments had soared by more than 28 percent in all of last year.

The latest figures are in line with the global industry, which last year posted its first significant growth since the late 1990s thanks to the rising popularity of streaming.


The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices


I must admit: I’m a latecomer to business blogging. I joined the party in 2011 and got off to a rocky start. Nearly all bloggers do.

Five years later, I know much more about what works, and I’m working those strategies to great effect – on my website, for a long list of top marketing blogs, and for many clients. And regardless of where you are in your business blogging journey, I believe this collection of ideas will help you publish an even more effective business blog.

Here, now, are my top ideas organized as 50 best practices. But first…

I present a quick history of business blogging from the historical point of view of yours truly. And then… Grabba’ cuppa’ something tasty and enjoy The Business Blogging Plan.

Targeting: Start with why, who, what and where

As a business blogger, you become an online publisher. Your starting point is to document a concise plan to address the fundamental why, who, what and where questions.

1. Why will you have a business blog? Most business bloggers aim to establish expertise in their niche and generate interest in products and services to support the growth of their company. Business blog objectives are likely to include:

  • Raise brand awareness
  • Increase web traffic
  • Start conversions
  • Establish trust
  • Develop authority

Establish your goals by using any or all of the above in your plan or edit the list to address your specific objectives.

2. Who’s the blog for? Create a persona (or multiple personas) to describe a prototype reader. Include both demographic and psychographic details. The goal is to develop a clear understanding of what pushes the reader’s buttons, intellectually and emotionally.

3. What will the blog offer? How will your content satisfy the needs of its readers? My blog aims to deliver actionable digital marketing advice to help readers get traffic, leads and sales. Note the statement I just wrote answers what the blog offers AND its value.

4. Where will it be published? Business blogs should not be published offsite, that is, on platforms such as,, Tumblr, Medium, LinkedIn, etc. You may want to take advantage of these channels that make publishing a cinch—in addition to your blog – however, your interests are best served by hosting your main blog on your domain.

  • Your blog can simply be your website:
  • Or your blog can be a sub-domain or sub-directory: (, or (, or (

After considering each issue above, document a mission statement to define, in a sentence or two, what you will publish, for whom, and the specific value of the content.

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Topics: Create an editorial plan

Your business blog needs to focus on specific topics, but be broad enough to allow you to perpetually create new and useful content. Let’s get into some practical approaches for identifying topics and extracting ways to use them to publish relevant content regularly.

5. ID the questions prospects ask – You need to discover your prospects’ interests, concerns and challenges and interpret them as questions. What would they enter in search?

Your prospect’s questions come at you (or someone in the company) all day, everyday, and in all kinds of ways: chat, email, phone calls, blog commentary, etc. As a business blogger, you need to tune-in closely and document the questions. Gather them from people in customer-facing departments across the company.

Also, spend time on the social media channels your prospects use. Look for questions and conversations about business challenges. Make and maintain a list of them. You’re going to answer them on your blog.

6. Swipe ideas – On an ongoing basis, you should read the content published in your niche: in blogs, social media and books. When you discover something promising, swipe the idea and document it. Of course, you don’t want to plagiarize headlines or copy, but you want great ideas to inspire yours. Create a “swipe file” of inspiring ideas.

7. Monitor your market – Stay plugged into what’s going on in your field. You can keep tabs on industry news with alerts, feeds and media monitoring tools. Stay on top of breaking news, new solutions, activities of your competitors, and anything published about your company.

8. Extend ideas – Don’t let a big idea be a singular idea. Use mind mapping apps, a whiteboard, flipchart, sticky notes or whatever you prefer to brainstorm subtopics and ideas that relate to the core idea and build a bigger story.

Over time, the response you get will help you understand the type of editorial content your readers like. Look for ways to extend the winners by updating posts (rewrite, add ideas, add video, etc.), expanding them, giving them new twists, and finding additional media outlets for them.

9. Ask your readers – Ask your readers how you can publish content that will help them succeed. You can do this via email invitations to surveys, with on-site survey tools, through groups and forums, and yes, in conversation.

10. Log your ideas – When you start blogging regularly, creative ideas will come at you constantly. You can’t get to them all, not immediately. Archive them. Whether it’s with a notepad, computer, cloud app or recorder, summarize the idea to the point where it will make good sense when you return to it.

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Presentation: Make your blog inviting

Cluttered pages repel readers. The inverse is true too. Tidy, good-looking blogs make the user experience a pleasure, increase time-on-site and help you gain loyal subscribers.

You have options here, but ignoring graphic design isn’t one of them. You can purchase a professionally designed template, hire a web designer, or learn the ropes. Make it a priority to make your blog look great.

11. White space – Compare a page densely populated with copy to another with a more “air,” that is, ample white space, and you’ll choose the latter every time. Pay attention to margins, breaks, and leading (the space between the lines of copy) to ensure your page is generously white (or a light and pleasing background color).

12. Create and use images – Blogs with no images look dull and monotonous. Add visual interest to your posts with:

  • Photos
  • Word clouds
  • Diagrams
  • Illustrations
  • Infographics
  • Screen shots
  • Quotes
  • Video

Of course, you can buy images and/or use non-copyrighted works, but it’s best to create something original. Avoid corny stock photos.

13. Bullet points – Readers love lists. Use bullets or numbers to set apart sequential ideas, even if you have just two or three. The more you enable speed-reading, the more visitors will want to read.

14. Subhead – Break up your blog posts by “chapterizing” them with subheads. Subheads help make your page look cleaner and your post more skimmer-friendly. And search engines may recognize them (so choose your words wisely).

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Blog post ideas: Publish an interesting mix

Many blogs are one-trick ponies – for example, every post is a deep, 1,000-plus-word tutorial on a narrow niche. You run the risk of boring readers with this type of predictability.

I believe a great blog delivers variety. This section offers ideas to vary the content of your blog to make it interesting to more people.

15. List posts – It may be an unsurprising first tip, but I want you to succeed. List posts work. Create them often.

16. Resources posts – Another dependable staple of the business blogosphere is the resource post that aims to enlighten readers by listing high quality books, blogs, shows, products, services, apps, or just about any type of resource.

17. Roundup posts – A roundup is a resource post, of sorts, but instead of pointing readers to resources, you pull the resources into your story. A popular example is a post where an expert panel is asked the same question (often rounded up via email). You can grab material various ways from various sources.

18. Interviews – Interviews are great for variety and bring various points of view and personalities to your blog. You can conduct them from a variety of places with a variety of approaches. You can vary the form too by presenting written, audio and video interviews.

19. Reviews – Be a voice of authority and industry curator by reviewing books or any form of media. Review anything you deem relevant and potentially useful. Reviews of conferences are a good example.

20. Contrarians – Your blog should inspire readers. So yes, be positive. But if you vow to be eternally positive you could risk getting yawned to death. Take a contrarian stance now and then. Tackle myths, mistakes, misconceptions, and miscellaneous material to demonstrate you know wrong from right.

21. Stories – Storytelling takes practice. So start small. Open with a little anecdote, prediction, flashback, a conversation you heard, something you saw, a joke, whatever. Your stories will get richer, more personal, more you. Your blog will get more interesting – your readers, more interested.

22. Curate – Curation is presenting the works of others. It doesn’t mean your brain gets to go on vacation. If you want your readers to get a lot out of the content you curate, put some effort into it. You can tee-up favorite stories with an explanation of why you like them. Roll a collection of ideas together to support a story you want to tell. Present opposing views. Curation can be good fun for everyone.

23. Invite guests – Invite guest bloggers to contribute to your blog. Consider new authors. If you’ve made influential friends on your blogging journey, offer to trade guest posts. Or find someone with writing chops that would welcome the opportunity to find a new audience and could breathe new life into your blog.

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Writing: Communicate with verve

Most business blogs suck. The writing simply has no heartbeat. It often feels forced and phony.

You need to bring passion to your blog. Does that mean you need to be a great writer to create a successful blog? Probably not, but you do need to aspire to become one.

Work at it and you will. Experiment. Gather feedback. You’ll learn what does and doesn’t work. Your writing skills will progress.

Identify a short list of blogs and bloggers that appeal to you and make a deliberate attempt at understanding why. Is it the writing style? The depth? Honesty? Humor? Wit? Sarcasm? The use of stories and examples? Data? Emulate stylistic ideas from some of your favorites. Your style will begin to emerge.

Here are some tips to put you on the path to becoming an effective writer.

24. Write several headlines – Lazy bloggers write a headline and then a post. Not good. The headline or title of your post is the most important line you’ll write. Put ample effort into making it great.

And don’t settle for your first idea. Challenge yourself to improve it. When your post comes together, revisit what you wrote and try writing five to ten alternative headlines. My bet is you’ll arrive at an even stronger one.

25. Identify with the reader in your lead – Most readers won’t get deep into or finish your posts. After your headline, your lead or opening is the most important passage.

It has to have sucking-in power. Communicate to the reader why your post is going to be meaningful to them. Arouse curiosity about what’s to come.

Writers tend to stare at their screens obsessing over the lead for too long. If this problem plagues you, skip the lead and start writing. Your first sentence or paragraph may become much easier after you get a first draft down.

26. Have a point of view – Don’t try to make everybody happy with everything you write. Write what you feel. Great bloggers share their opinions and present a strong point of view. That’s my opinion. I’m perfectly fine if you disagree.

27. Write naturally – I think (and we just established bloggers should freely express their opinions) nothing is more tedious than a blogger posturing as a journalist.1 Relax. Lighten up. Be yourself and write in your unique, real, natural voice.

28. Increase your word power – Powerful blog headlines and copy feature powerful words. I’m not talking about big words. I’m talking about words that trigger emotions. Review your drafts looking for opportunities to tighten your copy, inject active verbs, and dramatize your story.

29. Respect grammar – You need not obsess about grammar like you would with a report. Blog posts don’t need the approval of a professor. Understand what does and doesn’t abide by grammatical standards, but don’t be afraid to bend the rules in the interest of style. Just don’t embarrass yourself with careless grammar.

30. Give it rhythm – Short sentence. Short sentence. Boring, right? On the other hand, when you run on and on and on with ideas that could be broken up, you run the risk of making reading a chore. Strive to give your writing rhythm. Pacing’s important.

31. Cite research and data – Use the web as your library. Put some effort into enhancing the credibility of your posts with research and data that supports your story.

32. Proofread – Writing and editing all by your lonesome is a tough task. You’ll benefit from a second set of eyes. If an editor or proofreader is not an option, step up your own internal checking system. For spelling, try proofreading your posts backwards—yes, one sentence and word at a time. It also helps to incubate your posts, that is, let them lie for a day or more and return with fresh eyes. Far fewer mistakes will slip by.

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Influence: Make connections to build your audience

You’ll achieve your business blogging objectives faster by building influence. To accelerate the process, savvy business bloggers create connections with the movers and shakers in their industry: the leading bloggers, authors and speakers. You’ll learn a lot, gain new opportunities and grow your audience.

33. Comment on blogs – Subscribe to and read the best blogs in your niche. Then join the conversation in the comment streams. You can do better than simply complementing the authors of posts you like. Write meaningful comments and you’re sure to get on the radar of influential bloggers.

34. Respond to comments – Big, multi-author blogs sometimes do away with comment streams. You shouldn’t. As an up-and-comer, you should encourage readers to contribute comments. Pay close attention to the comments. Respond to any questions you’re asked. Thank those that applaud your work and contribute thoughtful comments.

35. Create communities – Explore ways to communicate, exchange ideas, and create content with your fans, friends, and bloggers you admire. You can create a forum, join or start your own LinkedIn or Facebook group, host Twitter chats, and conduct webinars and meet-ups. Online and off, there are countless opportunities to commune with your audience and other bloggers.

36. Attend conferences – The top business bloggers are usually speakers too. They create content about what they’ve done, seen and learned at industry conferences.

You’ll need to carve time out of your schedule and dollars out of your bank account to get involved in conferences, but you’ll be rewarded for the investment. When you’re aiming to build influence by associating with leaders who author prominent blogs, nothing beats getting to know them.

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Promotion: Invest heavily in increasing your reach

Millions of posts are published daily. Most reach very few readers and the majority doesn’t get shared via social media.

Serious business bloggers need to continuously amplify their reach by promoting their content. Let’s look at some key distribution strategies you’ll use to find an audience or help an audience find you.

37. Create social media updates – Content marketing and social media marketing are bedfellows. In fact, blogging, by most people’s definition, is social media. I’m forever shocked by business bloggers who hit “publish” and call it a day.

You need to relentlessly promote your blog posts via the social media channels your potential customers frequent. Make your social media updates interesting, urgent, and creative. Feature images to increase their visibility and stopping power.

38. Try paid posts – Small investments in sponsored posts on social media channels are likely to have a big effect on your reach. Most popular networks now offer a variety of ad programs, which will allow you to apply a number of targeting options to zero-in on the audience you seek.

39. Send email updates – Get an email marketing program in place pronto. Use pop-ups, slide-ins and/or call-to-action boxes to make your readers aware you deliver updates via email and set your email service up to generate blog updates via email.

40. Build your email list – It’s crucial to build your email list. Put opt-in forms in the path of your website visitors on all popular pages and your posts. You might even create a page expressly for capturing new subscribers.

Creating gated offers is the best way to gather readers’ email addresses. Put some thought into it and create an eBook or another type of lead magnet that’s remarkably valuable.

41. Encourage sharing – Install a social media share bar. Though your share numbers may be low, I recommend turning the counters on. Deliberately ask your readers to share your posts. Consider using a “Click to Tweet” WordPress plugin to make it easy for readers to share pre-formatted tweets.

42. Get syndicated – While guest blogging is hard work, syndicating your blog posts is not. The work’s all front-loaded. Identify blogs that republish the works of bloggers in your niche and give the editor a good reason to consider running your stuff. They don’t pay you; you don’t pay them. But you both benefit.

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Search: Optimize your blog posts for visibility

Does SEO sound scary? It’s really not the beast you fear. And it need not be slimy.

Google has chased away most of the schlocksters who gave SEO a bad name and now rewards great content creators who do the little things it takes to indicate to the search engine how the posts are relevant to readers’ requests.

43. Do keyword research – Though search has become increasingly semantic, keywords are still your key to getting discovered via search. Identify long tail keyword phrases (3 or more words) for which you have a chance to earn high rankings. Include them in your headlines. Include derivatives of them in your copy. Tag your images with your keywords too.

44. Tighten your URLs – Pay some attention to the URL of your post before you publish. If you’re using WordPress or another CRM and operating on autopilot, paying attention to the content, but not the code, the platform may be generating long, tedious URLs with unnecessary words and numbers that get in the way. Use Yoast or another WordPress plugin to shorten and simplify the URL thereby placing an emphasis on your keywords.

45. Revisit for links – SEO is about relevance and authority. The search engine’s “authority meter” is largely concerned with links. You want your blog posts to link to other websites, and to boost your rankings, you want links to your content on other websites. Help the search engines understand what’s where with the use of internal and external links.

46. Guest post – Guest blogging is an off-page SEO tactic and invaluable tactic for increasing your reach. The hosts of the sites you contribute to will give you backlinks in your author bio – and provided you don’t overdo it by making your post an encyclopedia of links – most will allow you to include links to posts and other useful resources on your website.

The Business Blogging Plan: 50 Best Practices | Social Media Today

Consistency: Keep at it

I want to offer you some additional thoughts that are best practices in business blogging.

47. Repurpose your posts – A great post is going to be prime pickings for re-using in other formats. Consider the media you do well with and the channels where prospects may discover you then give your content a new media spin. Do you have the makings of a SlideShare? Video? Infographic? Podcast? eBook?

48. Update older posts – From time to time, it will be useful to revisit an earlier work. Something in the news may make an older post worthy of updating and re-publishing. You might have developed a complementary piece of content that begs to be rolled in. You could tinker with the title and give it new life. Chances are, as your blog expands, you can find opportunities to cross-reference material with new links.

49. Stay consistent – The top reason why bloggers fail is they simply stop blogging. Even slowing down can be deadly. Blogs are publications. Try to establish a reasonable release schedule and stick with it. It takes time to build an audience. You need to make a commitment to keep at it.

50. Make an ask – When you blog for business, the idea is to drive business. Like any piece of marketing communications, you should conclude with a call to action.

Your blog posts will seldom be explicitly about a product, so it’s rare you’ll call for a traditional action such as “try” or “buy.” That said, when you’ve succeeded on taking your reader on a journey you’ll want to be a good tour guide and suggest a next step… subscribe, download, read, share. Your options are many.



[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

Windows 10 means business with impressive growth spurt

Windows 10 means business with impressive growth spurt

As ever, as a new month begins, new figures emerge on the market share of the various versions of Windows, and another dollop of stats has been revealed which shows how Microsoft’s latest OS is progressing.

These figures are drawn from visitors to US government websites – as highlighted by theRegister – and they show that in March, Windows 10 accelerated nicely and now holds a 21.82% market share.

Of course, that’s still a long way behind Windows 7 which is on 61.3%. However, Windows 8/8.1 is now a distant third totalling 11.92%, barely half of the market share which Windows 10 now commands.

From January to February, Windows 10 gained 1.76%, and from February to last month, the desktop OS picked up 2.43%, a considerable increase in terms of growth rate.

That matches up with the findings of NetMarketShare, which saw Windows 10 growth upped by a third in March compared to the previous month. Although that bean counting firm pegs Windows 10 with a smaller 14.15% share of the overall desktop OS market.

StatCounter also observed a similar burst of growth now putting Windows 10 on a 16.53% share.

Down to business

Anyway, back to the US government figures which aside from the overall share and growth spurt of Windows 10 show another interesting thing: business adoption of Redmond’s OS would appear to be growing.

These particular figures break traffic down daily so we can see the levels of usage during the week and at the weekend, and the good news for Microsoft in the business arena is that weekday use – meaning during the working day, at organisations across the US – has gained over 5% during the past quarter.

And that growth has come on quite markedly in the last month. Previously, indications have pointed to home user adoption far outstripping businesses – which isn’t surprising, as upgrading to a new OS is a far more convoluted and complicated matter for companies.

However, it would seem that more businesses are now taking the plunge, having worked out their upgrade plans.


[Source:- Techrader]

Techworld Daily Bytes – 01 December 2015 – Top malware attacks 2015 – Skype for business – interview tips

Today’s Techworld Daily Bytes we explore the top malware attacks 2015, Skype for business and top interview tips for IT pros. Plus: new updates from Office 2016 and how to write the perfect blog post.

Also, take our ‘who said that?’ quiz to find out if you can match the tech quote with the right person.

Here is the best of the web this week. Send your Techworld Daily Bytes tips [email protected]



[Source:- Techworld]

Techworld Daily Bytes – 01 December 2015 – Top malware attacks 2015 – Skype for business – interview tips

Today’s Techworld Daily Bytes we explore the top malware attacks 2015, Skype for business and top interview tips for IT pros. Plus: new updates from Office 2016 and how to write the perfect blog post.

Also, take our ‘who said that?’ quiz to find out if you can match the tech quote with the right person.

Here is the best of the web this week. Send your Techworld Daily Bytes tips [email protected]

[Source:- Techworld]

3 Simple Online Errors Killing Your Business

3 Simple Online Errors Killing Your Business | Social Media Today

With all the challenges your business already faces – competitors in your field, changing marketplaces, etc. – the last thing you want is to fail over something simple and solvable.

Here are a few online errors to avoid – or fix, as the case may be: <!–break–>


In 2016 you’re more likely to get praise and complaints via Twitter or Facebook than a webform or phone call – and it’s the complaints you especially have to worry about.

Why? Because as social listening experts at NetBase point out, “When that one customer rants to their 500+ Facebook friends, including influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, your brand can find itself in serious trouble.”

Not to mention, 67% of consumers look to social platforms like Twitter and Facebook to solve customer service issues, according to JD Power. And there are plenty of other stats that drive the point home: social customer service isn’t optional.

Not everyone has caught on, however, so you can stand out even more by being one of the businesses that has. And handling problems well can sometimes impress a customer enough that they become more loyal than they were before.

But part of the trick with social customer service is timeliness – so if you can’t keep up with your audience, it’s a good idea to look into social monitoring software. There are plenty of options for every budget, so don’t think being a small business counts you out. It doesn’t. And sometimes you have to rely on outside expertise.


Most business owners are not web developers, but these days you don’t have to be, with so many great options for setting up functional, beautiful websites.

But whose job is it to make sure all your site’s features are working at any given time? Would you know if your site was crashing, or had pages returning a 404 error? You probably wouldn’t, unless one of your site’s visitors took the time to alert you in some way, but most won’t bother. They’ll just go on to the next site.

This doesn’t just apply to smaller businesses though. In fact, Searchmetrics asserts that the more people involved in your website’s operations, the better the chances you’ll have errors you don’t know about.

So how do you make sure your site is working properly at all times? Software like Visibility Guard saves the day by crawling your site to find the most common errors like:

  • HTML status codes like 301 redirects or 404s
  • Meta and x-Robots-Tag “No-index” and No-follow
  • Canonicals and redirect chains
  • Significant changes to word count in content

And if all that looks like a foreign language, even more reason to have a program monitoring things on your behalf. You don’t have to be a tech wizard yourself, but you have to know what matters and get things done.


Speaking of knowing what matters – your site needs to be optimized for mobile. No business should be making this mistake anymore, but surprisingly plenty still are. Why the big deal? Mobile digital media time has surpassed desktop at 51%, and that number’s only going to get bigger.

Mobile optimization isn’t just about design, it’s about function. Consumers will move on quickly if your pages load too slowly, or they can’t navigate to the page they want easily. Even if your product or service is the best around, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll lose business.

In fact, mobile users may judge you by your non-mobile-optimized site, assuming your business is outdated as well. It’s a hard truth – and one that’s avoidable.

And though mobile optimization can be costly, it doesn’t have to be. Most web builders – even drag and drop options like Weebly, etc. – have mobile builders now. And if you do have a bit of technical know-how, Moz has a number of suggestions for optimizing.

So whether you’re into DIY, or have enterprise-sized resources, you have options for making sure the small stuff isn’t what trips you up. Running a business isn’t easy – but a few simple fixes to your digital strategy can make it feel like it is.

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]