Online Marketing Lingo Explained
If you are just starting your online marketing campaign, you’ve likely been presented with terminology that may be new to you. This article will give a basic understanding of the most commonly used terms.
Until a few years ago, sites on the Internet were rather static, meaning that most sites were like printed brochures where viewers could read information. Over the past three or four years, the Internet has become more interactive, opening up two-way communication between site owners and viewers through sites like blogs. In the past couple of years, social networking sites have become popular, allowing groups of people to communicate together. Static sites are considered Web 1.0 while interactive sites are considered Web 2.0.
The word blog is a shortened version of the term Web log. The first blog started out as a personal diary where viewers could leave comments. Each entry in the blog is called a post. Blogs have become a staple in online marketing and allows the blog owner to post news or topics of interest to their target audience.
Blogger and WordPress are the two most popular blog platforms mainly because they are free and fairly easy for folks with no coding experience to use. (For more information on these platforms, see the article Blogger or WordPress?)
Initially, RSS stood for Rich Site Summary; but, due to several revisions, is generally now considered to stand for Really Simple Syndication. It allows you to quickly deliver, or feed, the changing content, news, and podcasts on your blog or Web site to multiple sources for syndication and directly to readers who subscribe to your feed. It also allows subscribers to read the latest updates from multiple sites without having to actually visit each site.
There are three parts to RSS feeds. The first is a feed reader that displays the information from your blog post to the end user, or subscriber of the feed. The second is the software used by the content generator (you, the author) to create the feed in a special format. The third is an RSS Feed link on your site.
RSS feeds are becoming increasingly popular and are beginning to replace opt-in newsletter subscriptions. The most popular RSS feed software is FeedBurner. It is free and easy to setup and install on your blog. (For more information on feeds, see the article Why Do I Need RSS Feeds?)
Social Networking and Micro-Blogging
Blogs were originally used to help drive traffic to a static site. Now that more folks use blogs as their main site, micro-blogging has become a popular way to send traffic to it. Micro-blogs are part of a growing trend on the Internet called social networking, or social media. Sites like Twitter and FaceBook are micro-blogs. They allow you to post brief commentary or snippets of information with links to the full content, which is usually located on a blog or a static site. Social networking also includes sites for groups of like-minded people. Ning is one of the most popular sites that serves as a host for group blogs.
Plugins, Widgets, and Gadgets
Plugins, also called add-ons, are small programs that provide addition features to a larger program, also known as an application, or app. They are usually created by third-party developers (not associated with the original program developers). Most are inexpensive or free. On a blog (and many mobile devices), these additional programs are called widgets or gadgets. They usually cannot function as a standalone program outside the framework of the larger program on which they are intended to compliment.
Tools are software applications similar to widgets in that they provide additional features in association with another program. However, they work as a standalone product and can usually be found on their own site and will likely require that you to sign up for an account with them. Twitter, in particular, has hundreds of tools that make it easier to use or deliver posts made on it to other applications, like FaceBook. There are also hundreds of tools, or apps, that allow you to post to your sites from your mobile phone.
There are several types of tags. Some of them are associated with the code that makes up a website. There are two types of tags in this category. The first are meta tags and include information about the site that is indexed, or picked up, by search engines. They include the description of the site or keywords that folks might type in to a search engine to find a site like yours. The second type of website tag refers to the actual coding in a language like HTML. These tags tell the content how to display, such as making text bold.
The other category of tags are used in social bookmarking. These allow viewers of a site to share the link for that site with their friends. In other words, if you are visiting a site you enjoy, you can bookmark it using links found on that site, which will automatically make the link to that site available for you to send via email to your friends. There are also bookmarking services that allow you to keep a running list of your favorite sites and make that list, or any portion of it, available for public viewing. These are called shared online bookmarks, or tags.
Links, Permalinks, and Anchor Links
As you may already know, a link is text or a graphic that you can click and be taken to another site for more information. On a blog, each post has a link that is permanently associated with it. This is called a permalink. The blog itself will have a URL, like http://myblog.blogspot.com While you are on the blog, if you click the title of any post, you will be redirected to another page that shows only that post. That is the permalink and will look something like this: http://myblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/title-of-post.html. You can use the permalink to direct folks to specific posts on your blog. An anchor link is much the same, however, it redirects the viewer to a specific place on a website page. You’ve likely seen these on a FAQs page, where there are multiple links at the top of the page and clicking on one takes you to that specific information further down the page.
Some folks are beginning to use the term anchor link to mean links that use specific keywords. For instance, if you make a blog post and want to send folks to an article that you have written, instead of using the words “more info” for your link, you should use the title of your article.
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It describes specific techniques used to improve your ranking in a search engine, like Google, or to increase the volume of traffic to your site.
Virtual Blog Tour
With so many blogs and social networking groups available that focus on certain topics, many product owners have found it advantageous to market their wares on these sites. Instead of doing a cross-country tour, they opt to be a featured guest on a blog, an internet radio show, or a podcast. Since the tour is conducted in cyberspace, it is known as a virtual tour. There are many virtual tour coordinators that will contact blog owners and help you schedule a guest opportunity with them. Tours usually run from one to four weeks.