How the Year of the Snake Can Help You Better Understand Your Business

Happy Lunar New Year! 2013 is the year of the snake and there is much to learn, even if you’re not a big believer in the zodiac or astrology! Take this as a moment to pause and think of all the great things that are in store for your website, business and life in this upcoming year.

For people born on a year of the snake, strengths include:
Skill at communicating by saying very little:
This can translate well when it comes to website copy. Say what you mean concisely and don’t mislead visitors by throwing in filler.

A rational and logical approach to problems:
Last year was a tumultuous year for SEO and who knows what this year will bring. This trait will help you stay calm if your site encounters problems and coming up with a logical plan of action instead of stressing for no reason.

Great perception and understanding of themselves:
A deep understanding of your business and mission statement will help you better serve customers and keep them coming back for more. The last thing you want to convey to potential customers is that your business goals are all over the place.

Weaknesses include:
Being jealous and suspicious:
These are negative personality traits which could prove to be disastrous if it leaks into the spirit of your business. Some examples of this include negative SEO, false and malicious reviews. Although rare, I’ve even seen some instances where business owners accuse Google of having a personal vendetta against their site and rankings!

A tendency to overdo things:
Remember, less is more and keeping it simple will help make your business better. Some owners may overwork themselves or employees and the end result may not even be better. On top of that, they have destroyed morale. When things are looking their worse, it helps to take a step back and analyze whether you really do need to do that one thing.

Transformation
2012’s year of the dragon is considered to be the most favorable and luckiest year of the 12 year cycle. So, it’s not fair that 2013 has a slightly negative connotation. This is considered to be a year of unexpected changes but change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. It depends on how you look at the situation.
A quote found here can best sum up what to expect this year. So go out and do it!

This year let go of all attachments—emotional, mental, physical, financial, and spiritual- that may be holding you back. Transform them, like the Water Snake, into something of value that will help you move ahead to the next level of your be-ing.

Marketing Lessons from Cracked.com

You might have heard of a little site called Cracked.com. Or perhaps, you’ve spent countless hours being roped into reading article after article. Perhaps these articles can be considered a “waste of time” but some argue that the content is actually useful and educational. Regardless, you have to admit that it’s catchy. So, here are some marketing takeaways you can learn from Cracked.

Eye-catching headlines are click-worthy: Where else would you find articles like this? “6 Real People With Mind-Blowing Mutant Superpowers”, “6 Insane (But Convincing) Fan Theories About Kids’ Cartoons”, “6 Horrifying Implications of the Harry Potter Universe”. How could you not want to click these articles? Posts on the Huffington Post and celebrity tabloid magazines are also a good example of getting people to want to read.

Deliver what is actually promised: Sometimes, over-exaggerated headlines can seem like a scam because they don’t really deliver. This is especially true with spammy ads for weight loss or anti-aging solutions. However, Cracked gives readers exactly what they expect and be specific as possible. For example, with an article like “6 Lies About the Human Body You Learned in Kindergarten”, there shouldn’t be a surprise to what you expect.

Know what your readers want and offer them more: The best/worst part about Cracked are the recommended articles at the bottom. Even if you just came to the site to read 1 article, chances are that you’ll stay even longer when you get a glimpse of these other articles.
You can also do this by posting related videos are responses to each other on YouTube or listing related recommendations like Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought”. In other words, give them a good reason to stay longer.

Be mobile friendly: By just looking at the desktop version of the site, you can tell that Cracked is mobile device friendly. There are well-organized categories and catchy pictures to go with every article. They have an iPad app that makes it easy to browse for articles. Some articles are actually optimized for mobile while others lead you directly to the main site.
This is something you can do with your mobile website. Make sure to read out related blog post: Mobile Web Design Tips for 2013.

So, check out Cracked and have some fun. But don’t forget to notice the details that keep readers coming back for more so that you can implement the ideas into your own site.