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Finding you don't have the funds to purchase Photoshop? Maybe you've tried to learn it, but just can't invest the time required to learn the intricacies of the program. Whatever the case, we have scoured the net in search of the best free web-based image editors. These are great alternatives to Photoshop because they are easy to use and available online, for free!

Pixlr: This online photo editor is equipped with layers, history, custom brushes and other features. The GUI resembles Photoshop. You can use the express version if you just want to focus on basic features like resize, crop etc.

Sumo: Sumo Paint is a powerful web-based graphics editor with a variety of different editing tools. It can be used as a paint program and photo editing program. With Sumo Paint, you can save your artwork on your computer but also on Sumo account in the web. This allows you to open your images from any computer. All you need is a network connection. Here is a list of some of Sumo Paint's awesome features:

  • Shapes Tool
  • Layers With Blending Modes
  • Awesome Brushes
  • The Ink Brush Tool
  • Filters Sumo
  • Gradient Tool
  • Gravity
  • Shape Trails
  • Zooming
  • Symmetry Tool
  • Color Picker
  • Swatches
  • Smudge Tool
  • Custom Shape Tool

Splashup:This is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With the features professionals use and novices want, it's easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photo-sharing sites (It is integrated with Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, and more), supports layers and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress.

Aviary: From basic image retouching to complex effects, Phoenix Image Editor from Aviary delivers the key features of a desktop image editor with the simplicity and accessibility of a web-based application.

pixer.us allows you to edit your photos online using your browser. You can upload your photo using the "load image" form. In a few seconds, the image will be displayed on screen and you can start to work on it. After you're done fixing your photo, you need to click on the "Save" button to download it using your preferred file format. All modifications are done in a non-destructive way. This means that your image will always retain its original quality.

on-page seoThere is no point in having a website that no one knows about or visits. If you wish to pull out your website from the depths of obscurity, you should drum up some publicity for it and bait the search engine bots the right way. When you form a plan for your SEO campaign, you should give due weightage to both on and off-page optimization to make the best of both the worlds.

While on-page optimization has its focus on using unique and relevant content, targeting the right keywords, modifying their frequency in the Title, URL, Headings, text of the web page and Hypertext Links, off-page optimization strategies are done off the web pages to help the site get featured on search results for relevant search terms. In case all this seems like a Herculean task, here are 20 steps that will offer help for your on-page and off-page optimization endeavor:

 

On-page optimization

Content (keywords, meta information, to increase searches) - Approximately 25% of visits are based on content.

  • Your Title tag and Meta Descriptions should have the proper keyword density.
  • Don’t go for a short cut by copy pasting the same Meta Descriptions for each web page. Rather, make them relevant and unique for each page. For example, the description for your Home page should definitely differ from what you use for the Services page.
  • Use keywords in the Alt tags for your images.
  • Vary the anchor text while interlinking your web pages. Don’t use the same text everywhere in order to save effort.
  • Place a site map to help your visitors and the search engine bots navigate and crawl the site easily.
  • Get W3C Validation to ensure that your site works well with all kind of browsers.
  • Check your links and remove the ones that are broken.
  • Do not load every web page with all your selected keywords. Rather, make a list of the ones that are relevant for each page and use them accordingly.
  • Have a robot.txt file with proper instructions so that only the pages that you want are crawled by the search engine bots.
  • Use static links for your important web pages.

 

Off-page optimization

Drive traffic to site through linking - Approximately 75% of visits are based on links.

  • Submit your site to the relevant categories of high ranked directories.
  • Write unique articles and submit them to various article directories, using the author resource box to link bank to your website.
  • Create your own blog and upload regular posts answering common problems or sharing your expertise on a relevant niche in order to bring traffic to your site.
  • Find relevant blog posts by others and post comments, using your website link in the proper place to get backlinks. It pays to select do-follow blogs for this purpose as backlinks from no-follow blogs aren’t considered for ranking of web pages by various search engine robots.
  • Become a member of some popular forums dealing with your niche and build a fan following over there, so that people from the forums are enticed to pay a visit to your website.
  • Use social networking sites to participate in relevant discussions and build your credibility as well as brand recognition via interaction with people from far and wide.
  • Social bookmaking is another way of creating a commendable online presence.
  • You can submit press releases (free or paid) to various online sites, which in turn can provide you with precious backlinks and let the word out about your offerings.
  • You can opt for link exchange with highly ranked and relevant websites.
  • Whether it’s one way, two way, three way or multiway linking, make sure that you provide the correct anchor text to sites linking back to you so that you reap the most from such backlinks.

Though there are many other SEO tactics to help your website page rank climb up, the aforesaid ones are some of the basic steps that you can begin with. So, here’s wishing you good luck with your SEO campaign!

permission-marketingWhat is permission marketing?
To simply put it, it’s the opposite of interruptive marketing. Pretty much as the name implies permission marketing is the freedom of delivering expected, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. In this form of marketing, potential customer gives you permission to market to them. This means that they actually want you to market to them and introduce them to new products. Permission marketing opens the doors to a whole new relationship for you and your client. When you get a customer's permission to market to them you are building a massive trust with that customer that will turn into loyalty and more sales for you

How to implement permission marketing?
How do you get customers to come ask you for more information about your product or business? The kind of marketing I’m talking about can be given many names. Call it relationship marketing, permission marketing or one of about 20 other names, in his kind of "dating" marketing. It's about conversations, participation and relationships. Even better, you can do it with as many people as you like and no one gets mad at you.

How to get the first date
If you're getting a project / business/ a new product off the ground, the last thing you can afford to do is splurge on marketing on one ad, one mailing, one huge sign for your storefront, or even one Web site. Especially now, when most everyone has built amazing anti-advertising walls up to keep the noise away. Instead, put your time and resources into attracting customers by creating a demand for your brand.

How to get permission?
You can use lots of techniques to make it worthwhile for people to give you permission to talk to them. Use contests and games because they work. Create promotions in which the game itself involves information about your product. People search for ads and read them because they need to find missing pieces of information to get the prizes they want.

The Net is the ultimate tool for permission marketing. But the idea itself is more about mind-set than about medium. I never use any shampoo but Dove. That's because every three months, the company sends me a catalog loaded with different shampoos for different hair type, how one is different from the other, conditioners and hair spa treatments, and analysis of what type of hair needs what combination of care, treatment and product . Dove educates me. It talks to me in a language I understand. It has permission to send this catalog to me. It has permission to follow up with other mailings. In return, I learn a lot about its products. So I buy Dove products more often, I use more shampoo and conditioner - and the company makes a lot more money off of me than Garnier ever will. The most clichéd way to do permission marketing is to give away something valuable. Swap it for an email address and permission to send stuff. As clichéd as it is, it works wonders, so don't shy out of it.

Subscriptions are an unconcealed act of permission. That's why home delivery newspaper readers are so valuable, and why magazine subscribers are worth more than newsstand ones.

RSS and email and other techniques mean you don't have to worry about stamps or ad network buying every time you have something new to say.
Respond to customer e-mail inquiries promptly. Always remember the networking rule, bad news travels much faster than good on the Internet.

 

email marketingEmail marketing can be tricky and if not executed properly, chances are that your marketing campaign will be completely overlooked by prospective customers. In order to determine the effectiveness of your campaign, there are certain routine tests, which any smart marketer will be  sure to execute. Considering that 90% of emails are opened within three days of receiving them, it will take only 72 hours to receive feedback on your test.

Take the following steps to create a successful campaign test:

Start by asking a question: The first step in your marketing strategy should be a question directed at the consumer. The question should be such that it ultimately helps in achieving your goals. Determine your objective before starting the test plan and then address multiple issues in a single approach. Certain matters which are compulsory are;

  1. Having more people open the mails
  2. Directing more traffic towards your website
  3. Reengaging with those consumers who are historically inactive
  4. Directing consumers towards a specific area


Form theories: Use your experience in marketing to figure out which areas of your business will benefit most once your goals have been realized. Speculating on theories regarding whether or not people are getting bored with the same subject line, understanding the placement of content which will increase site traffic, consumer understanding of the company’s association with the mail and whether the campaign needs to be stronger are topics which need to be theorized upon.

Work on creating the test: Prepare the test format or list without trying to prove obvious issues. Figure out a sender’s name, pick the best day to send as some days of the week see an increased response than others, work on a subject line, prepare the layout and see how the test mail works out.

Split the list into segments: Depending on whether or not the list can be split into A/B segments, small test sections, or split up by percentage, you need to divide up the format so that consumers find it easier to address them.

Analyze and measure the results of the tests: The results of your tests let you know the degree of effectiveness of your e-mail marketing campaign. Divide the results into separate segments such as number of clicks generated, increase in web site traffic, change in conversions etc and figure out where your mail need to be improvised.

Make changes: The last step to your mail marketing campaign is to use the results of your tests to make improvisations to the mail. Whether you change the subject line, questions, line format, add more interesting content, decrease mail content, increase clicks, add links, add details or bring any other change, make sure those areas which have generated less response are changed so that the later mails have an increased participation from the consumers.

Before embarking on any email marketing campaign, run a test campaign that helps in strengthening those marketing areas, which may be less interesting to a consumer. Cash in on your test results to derive maximum benefit from your e-mail marketing program.


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