Plug Ins – Events Calendar for Word Press

Plug Ins or “add ons” are a type of software component that adds a specific feature to an existing software application, for example, Word Press.  These Plug Ins allow for customization for your company’s needs.  Plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. Currently Word Press has over 32, 000 Plug ins for you to customize your site.  Let’s look at one of our favorite plug ins that Word Press offers: Events Calendar.

The Events Calendar is a newly rebuilt feature that allows you easily share your events with others.  The Events Calendar is built and supported by WordPress artisans Modern Tribe. According to Modern Tribe “The Events Calendar is the most widely used WordPress Plugin for event management and calendar display, with over 1 million downloads to date. It’s in use with Fortune 100 companies, major universities, government agencies, and thousands of start ups, musicians, venues, restaurants, religious organizations and non-profits.”

It is so simple to use it can be used right out of the box.  Just configure the settings to match your company’s needs and you’ll be making events within less than 5 minutes. For many people, this is all they will ever need. Others may want to add on customizable items.  Upgrade to be able to use additional widgets, recurring events, additional calendar views and advanced administrative capabilities. Need to allow site users to submit events to your calendar? Take a look at the Community Events plugin. Or if you need to add events to Facebook or other social media you can automatically import events from Facebook with Facebook Events.   Check out Events Calendar from WordPress. 

Donation platforms for Non-Profits

We recently saw the amazing fundraising done by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has raised millions for charity.  Gone are the days of mailing a check for our favorite cause.  Thanks to the dawn of social media sites, each of us has the unprecedented ability to offer not only monetary support but also the reach of our own online networks in support of a cause. Collecting and managing all the donations can be a major job.  Let’s look at some of the donation site and donation platforms available for Non-Profits.

  1. Causes Causes.com is a campaigning platform that empowers individuals and non-profit organizations to collaborate and take action together. Create organization profiles as destinations, through which the professional organizer can share updates and engage supporters. Profile pages aggregate all of an organization’s campaigns in one place. Non-profits can also access free analytics.
  2. Crowdrise – Crowdrise offers online tools for personal fundraising, event fundraising, special occasion fundraising, team fundraising and sponsored volunteerism. Non-profits can benefit from Crowdrise’s turn-key solution meant to complement their existing fundraising and volunteer activities.
  3. DonateNow/Network for Good – This site provides a secure donation system that powers the online fundraising efforts of many non-profits. It provides donation tools to individuals, non-profits, companies and even software developers.
  4. FundRazr – FundRazr is a crowdfunding platform, co-developed with PayPal, that facilitates raising money for personal, group, political or non-profit causes via donations or perks. FundRazr campaigns can also be deployed as a tab on the organization’s Facebook page or as widgets on websites and blogs.

Importance of Social Media for SEO

In the world of Marketing strategy the acronym SEO or Search Engine optimization is one of the more important for the visibility of a website or a web page.  As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.

Typically the rank of a piece of content comes down to two key drivers: relevancy and authority. Relevancy is all about using the right keywords and Authority has predominantly been defined by the number and type of sites that are linking to your content via inbound links. Recently search engines have begun to incorporate social context into their search results.Let’s look at the major ways that Social Media is affecting your SEO.

  • Social Shares are the new Link Building – Link building has always been an important factor to determine whether other websites across the web deemed your website to be a quality source of information. Recently links are achieved through developing original content that is shared across social media. Links to your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and other social networks help the search engines understand what websites are credible and should be ranked for what keyword phrases.
  • Authority – search engines have become more integrated with social cues and features for the growing social network. With the dawn of Google + authorship their account and bio are linked to the content in search engine results.
  • Speed Up Indexing – Articles that have been shared and tweeted about can cut indexation time by 50%, while reducing the time it takes Googlebot to find your content from 2 hours to 2 seconds.
  • Boost Relevant Key Words – The keywords used throughout social media factor into where content ranks in search engines.

Crowd sourcing

You have heard the phrases, “Many hands make light work” and “Two heads are better than one.”  Crowd sourcing uses just such philosophy and has become a very real and important business idea. Let’s take a look at what crowd sourcing is how it can be used and what is benefits and drawbacks may be.

Jeff Howe, a contributing editor to Wired magazine, first coined the term “crowd sourcing” in a June 2006 article and writes the blog crowdsourcing.com. Crowd sourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The word is a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers. By canvassing a large crowd of people for ideas, skills, or participation, the quality of content and idea generation will be superior.

Crowd sourcing can be used in many different way funding projects or getting a large project done by many hands.  Crowd funding is when a business or educational project is funded by individuals, online contributors or investors.  Most crowd funding is done via web sites which list projects, and provide a means for donors to commit.  In educational and nonprofit outreach, crowd sourcing is a form of engagement, such as participating in an online course, collecting photos of butterflies for a citizen-science project, uploading old photos for a community history project, deciphering sentences from old scanned manuscripts, playing protein folding games to help scientists discover new ways to fight diseases, or participating in online discussions. One of the leading sites is Kickstarter, which since their launch in spring 2009, has funded over $417 million, funding over 36,000 creative projects.

While Crowd sourcing has it’s strong points it also has it’s weak spots in regards to quality and commitment.  Crowd sourcing can improve productivity and creativity while minimizing labor and research expenses. Using the Internet to solicit feedback from an active and passionate community of customers can reduce the amount of time spent collecting data through formal focus groups or trend research. On the flip side crowds are not employees, so executives can’t expect to control them. Following through with non-cash compensations and patience for non employees can prove difficult.  For more information on Crowd Sourcing please visit . . . CBS News,or Crowdsourcing.