Share This!Is there anything better than ice cream in summer? If you’re going to be visiting Magic Kingdom, we may have a way to make that summertime ice cream even better — waffle ice cream toppers featuring your favorite Disney pals.Starting in June, specially printed waffle cone-like toppers will be available on ice cream at the following locations:Mickey will be found at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor on a single-scoop ice cream cup or coneMinnie will be back at Storybook Treats with a soft-serve cup or coneDonald is over in Sunshine Tree Terrace with a soft-serve cupDaisy can be found at Aloha Isle with a soft-serve cupAnd Goofy will be at Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies with a soft-serve cup or coneDoes something like this add an extra bit of magic to your ice cream at Magic Kingdom? Don’t you wish they sold these so you could take them home? (Me too!) Let us know what you think in the comments.
Share This!Disney’s Skyliner overhead gondola transportation system opened this weekend. Several members of the TouringPlans team have ridden and the reports are nearly all positive. Seriously, you’re actually soaring over Walt Disney World. How cool is that!If you fall in love with the Skyliner, there’s plenty of merchandise available to help you advertise your allegiance. The clean lines on the artwork feel very mid-century retro, just a step or two removed from classic TWA or PanAm airline artwork. Have you tried Skyliner? What do you think of the merchandise?Photos: Christina Harrison
India’s legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar has been voted the ‘Best Test player’ of the 21st century in an online poll conducted by Cricket Australia’s website.The former India skipper got the highest number of votes to emerge on top of the list of the 100 best Test players since 2000, in a poll conducted by cricket.com.au.Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara received the second highest votes, followed by Adam Gilchrist of Australia in the third position. Currently the ‘Icon’ of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians, Tendulkar earned 23 per cent of votes, with more than 16,000 fans participating in the survey.Sangakkara got 14 per cent votes after CA released the top-100 Test players’ list since 2000 on its website. Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket in 2013 after playing his 200th Test, is the lone Indian player to be figuring in the top-10 list, while there are four Australian, three South African and two Sri Lankan cricketers.”After 10 days of counting down and no end of deliberations, cricket.com.au released its final countdown of the 100 best Test players since 2000 a couple of days ago.”Readers debated the top 10, just as you did players 11 through 100, but we also provided an opportunity for you to decide your No.1 Test player of the century,” CA’s website stated.”Tendulkar, the Little Master who remains an iconic figure in the sport, was a runaway winner, jumping four places from where cricket.com.au had him placed, while batting giants Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis were separated on countback, with the Australian just edging out his Proteas counterpart,” it further said.advertisementThe 42-year-old Tendulkar, who is the only batsman to have hit 100 international centuries, holds the record for highest run scorer in both Tests and One-Day Internationals.Poll result: 1. Sachin Tendulkar (Ind) 23 per cent, 2. Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 14 per cent, 3. Adam Gilchrist (Aus) 13 per cent, 4. Ricky Ponting (Aus) 11 per cent, 5. Jacques Kallis (SA) 11 per cent, 6. AB de Villiers (SA) 10 per cent, 7. Shane Warne (Aus) 9 per cent, 8. Glenn McGrath (Aus) 5 per cent, 9. Muttiah Muralitharan (SL) 3 per cent, 10. Dale Steyn (SA) 1 per cent.
Link Building Originally published Mar 29, 2011 1:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack I’ve recently seen a lot of chirping and discussion on the value of nofollow links for search optimization, with some people saying that there was value to having them. I asked three industry leaders in search engine optimization what their take was on nofollow links. Specifically: “What’s your take on no follow links? Is it still valuable to get them when you can, such as from social media sites or Wikipedia? Under what circumstances do you pursue links from Wikipedia? Is their huge reach and audience worth it, even without SEO value?”Answers From The ExpertsTom Critchlow works for the SEO Company Distilled as VP Operations NYC (office opening in June!) but is currently working alongside the web’s most popular SEO Software provider; SEOmoz to help them with their SEO:There is a lot of debate around nofollow links and their impact on SEO. Will wrote a great post on the weight and authority that nofollowed links can carry. As SEOs I think that we shouldn’t be so obsessed with only getting “followed” links. If a link is from a strong site and will pass traffic then I think you should go and get it. Search engines these days are paying attention to social signals like tweets, Facebook shares (both nofollowed) and traffic data (from toolbar & browser usage) so if you’re really trying to build your brand online you shouldn’t obsess over whether a specific link is relevant for SEO – you should be thinking about whether a link is good for your brand, because you can be sure this is what Google is trying to reward. In particular, I’ve seen Wikipedia drive significant amounts of traffic even for niche terms without huge search volume. I would urge businesses to look at the Wikipedia pages for their niche and consider whether they can provide a resource of such value that you can get a Wikipedia link. If you can, you can be sure it’ll drive good volume of high converting traffic.Gianluca Fiorelli, SEO, IloveSEO:When it comes to links, I personally don’t think at first if they are going to be followed or not. Even though, from a pure classic SEO perspective, any backlink should have to be a followed one in order to increment the PageRank of your linked page, I consider that actually a link is not just about PageRank anymore, but trust and brand awareness. In fact, even though search engines do not carry PR through the no followed link to your site, they record it and they take notice that your site has been cited in a site. If that site is an authoritative one or a trusted seed, somehow its aura will reflect on your own web site, which will gain trust and relevance to the eyes of the search engines, therefore better rankings. Just for this reason it is good to be linked by Wikipedia or any authoritative social media site, and I include in this definition sites like forums, blogs and Q&A sites, which are social by nature. Obviously, they can directly send good traffic to your web site: just think at Quora and the traffic a link in a voted or most useful answer can lead to your site. Under what circumstances can you pursue links from Wikipedia? First of all you must have great great content or very specific and unique. Wikipedia folks are very picky about what sites to cite as external sources for any voice. If you have that content, then you can suggest it for the right Wikipedia voice. Example: during an competitive research about travel to Patagonia related web sites, I saw that the one that was ranking first in Google.it had a link from Wikipedia. I dug into that link and discovered that it was to a post about the Welsh immigration in Patagonia present in that site’s blog. Is that link sending traffic to the site? Probably not at all, but it was noticed by someone in the BBC website, who finally linked to that same post citing Wikipedia. Boom, now that travel site not only as one link from Wikipedia, but it has also an important backlink from another trusted seed: the BBC. Moral of the story: Wikipedia maybe won’t send you directly great traffic, but to have a link in it gives authority to your site, therefore others will tend to cite your site and link to it.Barry Schwartz, Executive Editor, Search Engine Roundtable:Nofollowed links do not pass any search engine ranking value for most of the search engines, including Google and Bing. You can have a nofollowed link on Wikipedia or even Google’s main blog and it won’t count in terms of improving your rankings. That doesn’t mean the link is not valuable. Sites with lots of traffic with links on them, even if they are nofollowed, still can send traffic. That traffic can help with leads, conversions and even encourage other sites to link to you without a nofollow attribute on the link. When it comes to getting links and social media, it is more about creating awareness about your content or product. That awareness will lead to more link building opportunities and create even more awareness for your content.What’s your take? Have you seen value from nofollow links to your blog or website, or none at all? Let us know in the comments.Photo Credit: Dawn Huczek
Originally published May 15, 2013 7:16:49 PM, updated February 01 2017 Google’s big I/O conference launched today, with a raft of product rollouts and introductions, including a new music service and improvements to its Maps app and Google+ social network. But the big-picture takeaway, to me anyway, was that Google, across almost every part of its business, is trying to create a world where websites know more and more about us and where marketers can deliver better, more tailored information and content.Case in point: Google announced it is making its Google Now service available on the desktop via its Chrome browser. Google Now is a voice-recognizing smart assistant. It has been available on Android smartphones since last year, and it lets you ask questions with voice commands. (It’s sort of like Apple’s Siri, if Siri actually worked.)To activate Google Now on the desktop, you just say, “Okay, Google,” then ask your question. If you have Google Now working on desktop and mobile devices, you’ll be able to do things like tell your computer at work, “Remind me to take out the garbage when I get home,” and when you pull into your driveway and your smartphone senses you’re at home, you’ll get a spoken reminder. Google Now brings together information from your calendar, Gmail, and other Google apps, and combines it with GPS and Maps. People who sat through the demo at Google I/O today described it as mind-blowing. “This is the future,” wrote Steve Kovach at Business Insider. Predictive Information and the Importance of ContextThe coolest thing about Google Now is its ability to give you predictive, contextual information — for example, when you’re sitting here at your office, it will tell you how long it will take you to drive home, based on current traffic conditions.Google’s long-term goal is to create a system that gives you information before you even ask for it — and maybe even before you know you need it. And with the technologies announced today, Google took another step toward it.This is all of special relevance for marketers. As Forrester Research analyst Anthony Mullen pointed out in a blog post today, “The Future of Marketing is (Better) Context.” Mullen points out that context means more than just location. It will involve sifting signals from multiple sources, understanding people as individuals, and using that information at every stage of the marketing funnel.Google’s emphasis on context — delivering the right information to the right people at the right time — is one of the main reasons we’re excited about Google Now. As a marketer, when you leverage contextual information to decide what content to share with your visitor next (such as that visitor’s past interactions with your website, their particular interests, and their stage in the buying process), your marketing becomes much more relevant, catering to your audience at an individual level. As a result, it also becomes much more effective, since your prospects are much more likely to click through to a piece of content that speaks to their particular needs.Not only that — it makes your marketing more lovable, too.What do you think about Google’s I/O announcements? Topics: Mobile Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Guy in back: “Umm … guys? Is there room for me and my pitcher of ice water?”3) The perfectly patriotic pose.4) Diverse American teenager flag fail.All American. Not all smart.5) Chihuahuas: the epitome of American patriotism. 6) This one’s called “Family laughing at 4th of July barbecue.” It should’ve been called “Family terrorizing crying baby.”7) “American Dream”I wonder how long she’s been standing like that.8) Watermelon Snafu”Hey mom? I think you accidentally gave us slices from the watermelon that was soaked in vodka.”9) Doesn’t this American flag look great with my outfit?10) Why don’t we ask our panel of “Yanky doodle doggie” judges ….11) And among an entire genre of patriotically provocative stock photos, this one’s called “American Grrrl!””Don’t tell my parents I pose nude for awful, patriotic stock photography porn, or else I’ll poke you with this patriotic toothpick.”12) Not to be upstaged by her male counterpart, “American Boy Butt” …American Boy Butt’s photo description: “A fit young muscular man wearing shiny blue briefs with an American flag in them.” So accurate. Wouldn’t it be great if that was someone’s actual search term? Quite the long-tail keyword.13) This guy should take some advice from the girl in #9 about the right way to accessorize with a flag.14) How many stars and stripes are there on the American flag, you ask? Let me count! One …. two …. three …. 15) Don’t stare at her for too long, or Uncle Vito back there will totally mess you up.16) Description for this one: “Patriotic clown with beer and flag. Don’t forget to doodle your Yankee … or Yankee your doodle.” Is that some kind of innuendo?The only thing worse than a clown is a patriotic clown.We hope this gave you a chuckle today. Which stock photo did you find most ridiculous? Have a happy 4th of July! The 4th of the July. Independence Day. The day we Americans fire up the grill, crack open a few cold ones, watch fireworks displays, and laugh at ridiculous 4th of July-themed stock photos.No? Well, there’s always room for a new tradition. We wanted to give you something light and fun today, since it’s a day for celebration. And since our first foray into the exposure of awful stock photography was so well received, this seemed like a slam dunk. So without further ado, here are some of our favorite examples of truly absurd 4th of July-themed stock photography. Just please don’t misconstrue this as us being unpatriotic ;-)16 Examples of Ridiculous 4th of July Stock Photography1) You know what I like to eat with my apple pie a la mode? Confetti.2) Let’s see how much food and people we can cram into this teeny tiny table!Woman sitting at right: “Those hot dogs totally aren’t going to fit on this teeny tiny table.” Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jul 4, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Holiday Marketing Topics:
When it comes to growing and scaling your blog, there are three critical things you need to think about: how you’re going to get new visitors to discover your blog, how you’re going to convert those visitors into quality subscribers, and how you’re going to leverage your most dedicated subscribers to share your content and attract new audiences.Subscribers are a very, very important part of this whole process — especially if you’re in the early stages of blogging.You’re already pouring time and resources into creating awesome blog content, but you’ll never get significant business results from that content without readers.And each time you publish a new blog post, it’s your subscribers who’ll provide you with that initial surge of traffic — which, in turn, will propel those posts’ long-term success. The key to getting more blog traffic (and, eventually, leads and customers) all starts with growing subscribers.So, how do you get the folks who are reading your blog to stick around and keep coming back? Here are seven creative ways to increase your blog subscriptions.Note: In order for the ideas below (and any other ideas) to work, you’ll need to make sure you’re frequently and consistently publishing new blog posts. You can’t expect visitors to subscribe to your content if you don’t publish anything new for them to read, do you? If you really want to scale your blog, start with making a commitment to boosting your blogging frequency.How to Get Subscribers for Your Blog: 7 Fresh Ideas1) Optimize your top blog posts for subscriptions.If your main goal is increasing email subscribers, then one of the first things you might consider doing is optimizing your top blog posts for subscriptions. This isn’t super time-consuming and can give you a large boost of subscriptions that’ll compound over time.Why? Because your top blog posts might be garnering a lot more traffic (from organic search and other sources) than your average blog post, and you can reap the benefits of that traffic by adding subscription CTAs — if that’s your main goal.For example, here at HubSpot, we recently found that 76% of our monthly blog views came from “old” posts (meaning posts published prior to that month). Why not take advantage of this by getting recurring, lasting value from old content? That, after all, is one of the main benefits of blogging.First, identify your top blog posts for traffic. If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can do this on your Blog Dashboard by sorting your blog posts by number of visits. Non-HubSpot customers can use a free tool like BuzzSumo to identify your top posts.Once you’ve figured out which blog posts get the most traffic, start optimizing those posts one by one for subscribers. You can do this in a number of ways: by adding a smart subscription CTA to the post, adding a slide-in CTA, and so on. Read on for more ideas, and experiment to see what works best with your audience.2) Add opt-in checkboxes your landing pages.Back in 2012, we were able to boost our newsletter subscribers by 128% in just three months’ time. How? We simply added a new checkbox field to all our landing page forms so people could subscribe to our blog with just one click.In other words, when people filled out a form on a HubSpot landing page to get one of our gated offers (like an ebook), they could also opt in to receive emails about new content on the HubSpot Blog. Years later, and we still have that check box on our landing pages:Adding opt-in check boxes on your landing pages is an easy way to capture more subscribers because all the person has to do to subscribe is check a box. This could be especially lucrative if you have a lot of landing pages to add this to.(HubSpot customers: If you are a Professional- or Enterprise-level customer, you can easily set this up right in HubSpot and start boosting your email subscribers. Click here to learn how to create a subscribe checkbox field on your HubSpot landing pages.)Why not make the checkbox selected by default? Because you want it to be an opt in, not an opt out. The latter definitely isn’t as lovable. Plus, if you auto-check that box, you can look forward to a whole lot of low-quality subscribers. And low-quality subscribers are bad for email deliverability because it can lead to really low engagement rates on your emails and land you a pot in recipients’ “junk” folders.(Read this blog post to learn more about why low-quality subscribers are bad for business and why HubSpot unsubscribed 250,000 people from our Marketing Blog and started sending less email.)3) Offer something extra to brand new subscribers.One way to encourage subscription is to provide something extra for people who sign up for your emails — something that’s usually reserved for people who complete a much longer form.For example, the folks over at HubSpot Partner IMPACT place a “smart” subscribe call-to-action (CTA) right under the header image and headline of their blog posts. When a CTA is “smart,” it means that if you’re already a blog subscriber, you won’t see that CTA at all — the header image will transition right into the blog post. (HubSpot Customers: Click here to learn how to create Smart CTAs like this for your own website.)Here’s another example from General Assembly, which offers a 25% discount from a class or workshop for new subscribers:If you choose to go this route, keep an eye on the engagement rates of your emails to make sure your offers are bringing in quality subscribers. If people are just giving over their emails to get coupons and discounts, it’s possible they’re doing so for a one-off purchase — and will end up getting emails from you that don’t interest them.4) Add smart subscribe CTAs to your blog, homepage, and “About” page.Speaking of smart CTAs, there are a number of strategic places to place smart CTAs on your website. These CTAs will only show up to website visitors who aren’t already subscribed to your blog. (Learn more about smart CTAs here.)When you create these CTAs, be sure to make them as clear and easy to fill out as possible. Don’t make people fill out a long form — if all you need is an email address, only ask for the email address. When you make this process as painless as possible for your blog visitors, you’ll increase the chance they’ll actually fill out the form.You’ll want to test out where on your website they work best for you depending on your business and your goals, but three great places to consider adding smart CTAs are your blog, your homepage, and your “About” page.Your BlogPeople who are already reading your blog might already be interested in your content — so why not see if they want to subscribe to your blog posts by email while they’re already in the thick of it?Create subscription CTAs and place them directly within each of your blog posts.They don’t have to replace your posts’ lead-gen CTAs if blog subscribers isn’t your #1 goal. Instead, you can simply insert them into your posts as a secondary CTA directly below the one you’re using for lead generation.Here’s an example of a CTA at the bottom of a blog post from Help Scout’s blog:Why place these secondary CTAs on the bottom of blog posts instead of the sidebar? We’ll cover that in the next section.Your HomepageIf increasing your blog subscribers is a major goal of yours, consider adding a subscription CTA to your homepage for a period of time. If you make it a smart CTA, it could show up as a short banner that runs the width of the webpage in between two other modules, for example.If it’s not a smart CTA, you could add it to a number of different places depending on your goals. Is increasing your subscribers a top goal of yours? Then place the CTA somewhere prominent on your homepage, like Noah Kagan does on his blog, Okdork:If it’s not a top goal, you might consider sticking a subscription CTA in the footer of your website, like the folks from Lynton Web did on their homepage:Your “About” PageFor many sites, the “About” page is one of the most-visited pages. It also happens to be one of the most commonly overlooked pages, especially for lead gen opportunities. Adding opt-in forms on this page could convert a good chunk of that high traffic into subscribers.For example, Backlinko reported that their “About” page converts visitors into subscribers at 5.81%: 5) Remove distractions, and put subscription CTAs where people are paying attention.When you look at your website think about what might be distracting people from filling out your calls-to-action. Remember: The more distractions you give them, the less action they’re going to take.If you have a sidebar on your blog, for example, how is that affecting your conversion rate? What about user experience? Marketers at a number of different companies — including here at HubSpot — have reported that sidebars on their blogs are actually a big distraction for their readers.For example, the folks at IMPACT removed the sidebar on their blog experienced a 71% increase in conversion over the performance of their standard calls-to-action on the old blog that included a sidebar.Here’s what their blog looked like before the switch. Notice the subscription CTA on the right-hand side, indicated by the red arrow:Image Credit: IMPACTInstead, they removed the sidebar, and moved their subscription CTA under the featured image (as shown in #3).Here are HubSpot, we recently removed our blog’s sidebar as well, mainly because we found that no one was really using it. Heat maps showed very little engagement with the sidebar, and the user testing we did revealed that people didn’t interact with it. Some even said that it actually interfered with their reading experience.When we removed the sidebar, we instead kept the smart subscription CTAs at the bottom of our blog posts, which look like this:… As well as the subscription CTA in our blog’s header, which moves along as users scroll through our posts:Who else has removed their sidebar? How about Google? Google removed sidebar ads in February 2016 to mainly improve user experience.If you currently have a sidebar on your blog, you’ll want to test conversion rates and user experience for yourself. But what we found is that it reduces friction, makes for a cleaner user experience, and helps mobile experience both in design and by lowering page load time. (Given that Google reacts favorably to pages that load quickly, removing sidebars and other distractions could have a noticeable impact on the rankings of your blog content or overall organic search traffic to your blog.)6) Launch a course via email.While ebooks, whitepapers, and other lead gen content can be really effective parts of your inbound marketing playbook, the truth is, certain types of lead gen content are perceived as more valuable than others. Think about it: In terms of value, is an ebook really on par with something like a certification course?Probably not. The perceived value of courses is significantly higher than that of an ebook — a point Kagan made in his presentation with HubSpot on how to increase your email subscribers. Plus, by educating your customers, you’ll be building relationships with them that’ll help build trust and get them excited to engage with you — and even buy from you.After hearing from a friend who created a course via email and got 30,000 new subscribers, Kagan decided to do the same by creating and launching his own 12-week course called Email1K. Here’s what his CTA looks like:(Very meta, we know.)Of course, creating an email course from scratch will require time and resources. To deliver on your promises for a valuable use of your visitors’ time, you’ll want the course to be really high quality. That means beautiful design, flawless user experience, and making every email actionable and important. You might need to hire a freelancer for some of these things.The good news is that, in terms of content, you don’t have to start from scratch: You can recycle content you’ve already written by reorganizing it, cleaning it up, and making it even more actionable than it was when you originally wrote it.The result? You can bring in high quality subscribers from nothing. Plus, adding that “limited time” aspect is a great way to encourage people to sign up before it’s too late.Just make sure you have your promotion all lined up in advance, Kagan warns. Have experts confirmed to promote the course when it goes live, get partners in on it, perhaps arrange advertisements on social media, and write a few emails to let your current subscribers know what you’re delivering.7) Ask nicely.How aggressively should you be asking people for their emails? Sure, you want to grab people’s attention with compelling and specific copy. But at the same time, you run the risk of rubbing people the wrong way if your copy comes off as overly aggressive or pushy.Ever seen one of those subscription CTAs where the “No” option makes you feel bad about yourself? I’ve seen quite a few of them, and let me tell you: They don’t make me want to convert. In fact, in most cases, they make me scowl and want to leave the website immediately.Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here are a few examples:”Yes! I want to save money.” // “No, I have enough money.””Yes! I’d like to receive updates.” // “No, I love being out of the loop.””Yes! I need help losing weight!” // “No thanks, I already have a bikini body.”Ultimately, you’ll need to figure out where that balance is for your business, depending on your brand voice. For example, Tipsy Elves’ brand voice is funny and a little sassy, making the “No” option in their CTA below (“Sorry, I have to check with my mom first”) funny instead of insulting for those familiar with their brand. But it could come at a cost when it comes to newcomers who could take it the wrong way.Get creative with your copy, and experiment with different wording to see how it affects conversions by running an A/B test.Our recommendation, though? Ask nicely, like the folks at Search Engine Watch did in their subscription CTA below. Newcomers to your website may not be familiar with your brand voice, and brands that don’t guilt-trip users who don’t want to take action are more lovable overall.So, there you have it. While there’s no one-size-fits-all plan to get more subscribers for your blog, we hope this post gives you some ideas for what to try with your audience. Hopefully, some of them will stick.What other creative ways to increase blog subscribers can you add to this list? Share with us in the comments. Topics: Growing Readership Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 16, 2016 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017