How to build Outstanding 404 error pages – making an error look cool and helpful

I love 404 error pages. Not all of them, but there are some pretty good ones out there (I will show you some of my favorite ones later in this article).

Whether you’ve typed a link incorrectly, or accessed a webpage that is no longer available, there’s a strong chance you’ll meet with a 404 page. That right there is a great opportunity for that website to either be remembered, or forever forgotten.

Maybe I’m over exaggerating a little bit, but still.

I, personally, am sick of seeing error pages that only give me the option to go back to the home page. Really? Really? This is the only thing you can do to help me? It’s like getting lost in a maze, and your only option would be to start from the beginning.

Why Do You Need to Customize Your 404 Error Page?

404 error pages are great opportunities for you to keep your visitor on your website for longer.

Because there are so many completely useless error pages out there, I believe that customizing yours is a great opportunity for you to redirect the visitor toward some helpful content. At the same time, the visitor will be able to explore the site further, and not become annoyed about the fact that he’s being redirected to the home page.

What Should Your 404 Error Pages Include?

First of all, even if you customize the 404 page, the visitor still needs to know that he’s landed on one. Also, use common language, so that you don’t confuse the user with jargon.

Second, what most 404 error pages lack is a search bar, a basic search bar.

Then, it’s all about the links. The visitor should be able to navigate wherever he may want from that point, so that he easily find the answer he’s looking for.

That being said, you need to include a link to the homepage, or a link or a contact for the support team. Other than that, show your visitor some of your latest article, or the most viewed ones, because chances are, that’s what he was looking for.

If you have a website that sells products, include product recommendations in the error page, so that the visitor can get back on track, right where he was lost.

You definitely need to put some effort into creating a helpful 404 error page. I’ve seen a lot of error pages, but unfortunately, some were more funny than helpful.

If the visitor is redirected from an external link to your website, you lost him if you don’t have a proper error page. If you didn’t put a little bit of effort in helping him find his way back, then he’s definitely not going to stick around, trying to figure out where to look for “it”.

“How not to do it” – Examples of 404 Error Pages

1. Google

The first example that comes to mind when it comes to bad 404 error page practice is <drum rolls> Google. You’ve probably seen it as well, but didn’t really give it much thought, because it’s Google we’re talking about here.

Nevertheless, their error page is simply dull. It doesn’t say more than we all know, and on top of that, the visitor is not even given the chance to find out what went wrong, and how they can find what they were looking for.


2. South Park

The second example is the South Park error page. You’ve probably heard or even watched South Park before, so you know the characters from the show.

For their 404 error page, they used its characters, and for each one of them, there is a custom message, which is created based on what the character would actually say, and what words he would use. The error page changes every time you go back to it.

I’m not saying that their webpage is not cool, because it is. I’ve included it here, because it lacks functionality. The only thing a visitor is able to do is go (back) to the home page. A search bar would have been just fine, though.


My Favorite Examples of Well Done 404 Error Pages

1. Virgin Holidays Cruises 

Their error page proves that you can adapt this page in a very creative way, no matter what type of business your website does.

It’s clear, it has a funny message, and the picture with someone’s legs on a deserted island are the cherry on top.

The visitor has the possibility to search for whatever he may be looking for. It’s just perfect!

404 error pages

2. Marvel

The Marvel App error page is very different than what I’ve seen so far. It’s very interactive. The background is actually a .gif, and you have the possibility to change it, and what another one and another, until you get bored.

Also, their error page gives you the possibility to email them, or send them a tweet. It is the first site I’ve encountered so far that has the option to tweet the company. I think that this is very convenient, because the visitor might receive a faster response on Twitter than on email.


3. Content Look

We’ve come up with a funny, but helpful 404 error page for our new online tool, Content Look as well.

As you can see, we used our dear Squirrel in this process, and we think it turned out really nice. We’ve included a button for the home page, and a search bar as well.


Let’s Have a Discussion

These are my thoughts on 404 error pages, along with some examples to show you how good practice looks like.

Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts, and tell me whether you think it’s worth investing a little bit of your time in these error pages.

Also, what are the coolest and the most helpful error pages you know?

How a High Content Blog Will Improve Your Sales

Blogging has become highly competitive in today’s market. It’s not enough to just have one. Modern companies need a blog with high quality content to attract readers and improve sales.

How Blogging Will Improve Your Sales

Content marketing enables you to attract readers, inform prospective buyers, demonstrate the value of your products/services and gain trust so that you’ll stand out amidst competitors.

According to statistics, 9 out of 10 organizations market with content. Blogging is the vessel you can use to improve your sales. Here’s how you can do it.


improve your sales                                                         Photo Credits: Yann Ropars’ Flickr

Establish Your Business As An Authority

The main reason you want authority is because authority automatically brings trust.

When potential customers have an issue or a problem, if you’ve provided them with valuable information in a previous post, they will automatically think of you first before any of your competitors.

You must provide consistent content that's simultaneously enjoyable to read and valuable. Click To Tweet

Statistics estimate that 50% of the time consumers spend online is spent reading content.

This also involves being active in communities which prospective customers frequent and helping them when they need it.

Comment, encourage and humbly share your experiences. This shows your interest and knowledge and leads them to trust you.

Also, combining your experiences with real life situations that potential clients truly relate to builds credibility.

If you provide content that leaves the reader wanting more from you, you’re prompting their willingness to enter into your sales funnel. It’s lead generation in disguise and it’s half the battle of converting a reader into a customer.

Attract Readers

There’s two parts to this aspect.

i). The first part involves producing quality content on topics that are up-to-date and relevant.

When you create a copy, make sure you incorporate keywords that are commonly looked up on the web and include them in your headlines, subheads and weave them into your paragraphs.

Always remember when you're writing that your ultimate goal is to improve your sales. Click To Tweet

ii). The second part involves sharing the content on social media outlets.

If you’ve created high quality content, your articles will be memorable. The advantage of memorable content is twofold.

Readers will be more likely to share and comment on your posts and your products/services will be the first they think of when they need help or advice.


social media

Lead Readers To Your Sales Funnel

Because the evolution of the Internet emulates a ‘do it yourself’ type of learning/shopping experience, prospective customers respond well when they can read about your products/services and reach their own conclusions.

High quality content leaves its readers feeling like your business is the answer and makes them want more. This is the perfect time to convert them from readers to customers and lead them right into your sales funnel.

A carefully crafted call to action that’s placed into a highly informative, engaging post is highly effective.

However, its power lies in direct correlation to the content. The content must fit the aforementioned aspect before a call to action is introduced.

If you’ve related to your reader, provided a solution to a problem and been authentic about what your products/services provide, you will easily improve your sales using this method.

If you want a successful blog that improves your sales, you need a system that produces high quality content on a consistent basis. Would you like to learn how to get 300+ readers per article? We’ll show you how to do this for free. No more grasping at straws trying to get more leads or more shares. The answer is here and it’s free. Take a minute, follow the above link, leave your email address and let us start helping you increase your sales today.

6 Tested Personal Branding Tips For Social Media Authority


Almost anyone with a smartphone and an Internet connection is using a social media network.

Numbers don’t lie.

Facebook is still the leader of social media networks with about 2 billion monthly active users. Instagram has about 700 million users, while Twitter has about 328 million.

So building your personal brand includes having a presence on social media.

Here are six personal branding tips for your social media profiles.

1. Clean Everything Up and Be Professional

Before you get started with anything regarding personal branding, do a general clean-up.

You may have some embarrassing photos you posted years ago. You may have left some foul language comments at a certain point. Do a complete sweep of your profiles. Including games – clean those up as well.

Then turn everything towards professionalism.

Use great quality photos that showcase your professional side. In case you don’t have any, get to work. Dress nicely, put a smile on your face and take the best photos you can. Use a white background.

2. Be Consistent

It is vital to be consistent on all social media networks you are using. This doesn’t involve posting the exact same thing. No, it’s about having the same style of images and including your logo. This is how people recognize you.

personal branding tips

You want to send a steady message to your fans and followers, not confuse them.

So if you chose a specific color for your most popular social media profile, use the same on the rest. If you picked a specific style, implement it everywhere.

Be consistent on all social media networks. That's the first step towards a great personal brand. Click To Tweet

It is also essential to make sure your style and colors present on your social media profiles match the one on your website. If you have great SEO, many users might find your website before getting to see your social media profiles.

3. Apply These Personal Branding Tricks to Your Facebook Profile

Creating a vanity URL is an important step. Since your name is what defines your personal brand, it should be visible. For example, your Facebook profile URL should be

personal branding tips

Creating a Facebook Page for your brand is a must. Granted, content that you share on your page might not reach a lot of people. But pages let you manage things better – including ads. A page can be followed by people you don’t personally know as well.

Provide as many details as you see fit. Your job description should be the most important information. Next are your education background and degrees. Last but not least, mention all the great causes you contributed to.

Find relevant communities and be active. Engage with people and help them solve their problems. When it comes to groups, make sure you stay a member of only those that showcase your brand.
Personal branding tips: Your job should be the most important information you post, even on Facebook. Click To Tweet

4. Here’s What You Should Do for Your Instagram Profile

Instagram is owned by Facebook. As mentioned before, it has about 400 million users. So it is a place where you should be. However, the decision should be based on your niche.

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If it makes sense for your personal brand to be on Instagram, you should do the following:

  • Remember consistency – make it look as close to your Facebook profile as possible.
  • Let people know why you are there and why they should follow you.
  • Maintain a balance between fun and professional posts.
  • Interact and engage with your audience.
  • Know your hashtags – here’s a great guide that will help you achieve that.

personal branding tips

Create an Instagram landing page on your blog and link it to your profile. Do everything you can to make it mobile friendly. Instagram is mostly a social media network for smartphone users.

Personal branding tips for Instagram: Keep a balance between fun and professional posts. Click To Tweet

5. You Must Be Present on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the place where you should emphasize your professional side the most. Think of it as your online resume. Don’t neglect the SEO aspect.

personal branding tips

Here are a few personal branding tips for LinkedIn:

  • Take time to provide useful details – Google always shows your city, position, and the company you work for
  • Create a unique URL for your profile –
  • Use a professional photo
  • Make it public – it’s not a personal place but a professional one
  • Add relevant links to your profile – your blog, social media profiles and so forth
  • Connect with professionals you know – thought leaders in your domain
  • Publish great content on the channel – you will position yourself as an expert
LinkedIn is the place to showcase your personal brand's true value. Click To Tweet

6. Personal Branding Tips for a Professional Twitter Profile

Consistency is a must. So your Twitter profile should look pretty similar to your Facebook profile in terms of colors and profile picture.

personal branding tips

To grow your followers and increase brand authority, do the following:

  • Keep an eye out for live Twitter chats – join in on discussions related to your niche
  • Whenever you get mentioned, reply
  • Engage with thought leaders – retweet, reply and so forth
  • Look for Twitter lists relevant to your personal brand
  • Follow the trends and be an early-adopter

A tweet is limited to 140 characters, so it shouldn’t be that hard. You’ll spend most time retweeting thought leaders in your niche. Twitter isn’t as time-consuming as Facebook.

Personal branding on Twitter: engage with thought leaders - retweet, reply, start conversations. Click To Tweet


These personal branding tips will get you six steps closer to achieving your goals. It will take time, so you need to be perseverant and stick to your plan.

If you’re using other social media networks – like YouTube or Tumblr – the same “rules” apply. Keep in mind that Tumblr is more popular for the fashion niche. To be successful on YouTube, you’ll have to dedicate a lot of time and effort into creating great video content.

If you’d like to learn more about personal branding, we got you covered. We’ve put together a great eBook on this topic that you can enjoy for free. Get it from here.

personal branding tips

Back to you: What other successful personal branding tips for social media you know? Tell us in the comments section below.

5 Most Inspirational SEO Trainers In The World [infographic]

Our mini “5 most inspirational people” series continues. This time is about the most powerful SEO trainers in the world (at least in our opinion). There are so many out there that it’s hard to choose even 5 of them.

Probably you already know about our Udemy Course: Content Marketing by Squirrly Academy. We were curious to see other amazing trainers and take a look at who we found out. They are amazing people and you should take a look at their courses.

The most powerful seo trainers are:

 5 most inspirational seo trainers in the world

Have you ever attended one of their courses? They have really interesting training courses. You can check them out on Udemy and their personal sites.

Do you have other SEO trainers in your lists?

Also, if you want to review the other infographics, here you can find them:

5 Most Inspirational Bloggers In The World

5 Most Inspirational Bloggers In Asia

5 Most Inspirational Bloggers In Content Marketing World

41 FREE Marketing Tools that Are Actually Worth Your Time

41 FREE Marketing Tools that Are Actually Worth Your TimeIt’s hardly a secret: Tools are of excellent use when it comes to getting online marketing work done faster and often with less effort on your part.

But, at first glance, the say the best things in life are free doesn’t seem to apply to tools.

Free marketing tools that actually deliver results are often labeled the same as non-fattening chocolate or time travel – too good to be true. 

Brighten up. There’s good news coming your way.

The tools mentioned in this article cover a variety of different uses and needs. They will help you:

  • Save time
  • Work more efficiently
  • Be more consistent

And they have one more thing common.  They won’t cost you a cent! I hope you’re excited. I know FREE makes me happy.

So let’s get to it then.

The tools you need for content creation

1. SEO: Squirrly Plugin

free marketing tools

Want content that is both SEO-optimized and human-friendly? In other words, do you want your content to be appreciated by both Google and your human readers? Was that a Yes? Well, download Squirrly SEO now and increase your site ranking for free. See what’s included in our free plan.

See all the Squirrly SEO 2016 features here. Needless to say, we think it’s awesome.

2. Text Editor: Hemingway

free marketing tools

Hemingway app is an excellent tool to help make your writing bold and clear so that readers can easily navigate and understand your content. The app highlights dense, complicated sentences and unnecessary use of adverbs, among others.

3. Keyword Research: Ubersuggest

free marketing tools

You can use Ubbersuggest to find new keywords. Useful for SEO, PPC, and content marketing campaigns. The app also offers an easy way to visualize the most common terms associated with your query via “the world cloud” feature.

4. Design: Pic Monkey

free marketing tools

The app helps you create better images to illustrate your blog posts, stay active on your social media accounts, keep your site looking fresh, and more.

What’s great about Pic Monkey is that you don’t have to be a professional to make the most out of it. You can edit photos, make collages, and create attention-grabbing designs as fast as a monkey can eat a banana.

5. Video: Wistia

free marketing tools

Video and YouTube have almost become synonyms. But if you’re looking for a less competitive platform, Wistia is an alternative you should consider. Whether you want to improve your video marketing or just need a basic video hosting solution, you should check out Wistia.

6. Blogging: WordPress

free marketing tools

Maybe the most popular free marketing tool in the toolbox, WordPress couldn’t miss from our list.

Running your website or blog via WordPress is not only cost-efficient, but it also offers an easy way to build a new landing page to support your projects and strategies.

Also, there are many widgets, plugins, and themes to help you easily customize your site. Go WordPress!

7. Title Generator: Blog Topic Generator

free marketing tools

Content ideas – we could all use more of those, right? If you need inspiration, you should check out Hubspot’s blog topic generator. Simply write down the terms you’d like to write about. The tool will automatically generate several blog post titles you can choose from.

8. Grammar Checker: Grammarly

free marketing tools

No tool can replace a human editor. However, Grammarly – we’re talking about the free version here – is pretty good at spotting writing errors. It checks for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. It does a pretty decent job at spotting verbosity.

9. Market Research: Answer the Public

free marketing tools

Any marketers’ desired superpower is to read their audience’s minds. This tool won’t exactly turn you into a psychic.

However, it will give you a hint of the motivations and emotions of the people you’re targeting. Enter a keyword, and the tool will give you a report of the most common questions people have regarding your query.

10. Content Ideas: Portent’s Content Idea Generator

free marketing tools

Stumped for ideas? This fun and easy-to-use tool can help you overcome writer’s block and get you excited about writing a new piece. What we like about this tool – besides the fact that it’s free – is its humor and creativity. Give it a try; you’ll see what I’m talking about.

11. Headline Analyzer: CoShedule

free marketing tools

Want more traffic to your blog, more click-throughs, and more social shares for your articles? Sure you do. This tool supports those goals by helping you write compelling headlines.

You just enter the title of your post, and the tool will grade its quality based on several criteria such as word balance, length, headline type, and more. We typically try to score at least 70 for our articles.

12. Photo Library: Pixabay

free marketing tools

Want free images and videos you can use everywhere without having to worry about someone suing you for copyright infringement? All pictures and videos on Pixabay are released free of copyrights.

This means you can download, modify, distribute, and use them royalty free to illustrate your posts, create marketing campaigns, and pretty much everything else you can think of.

The free plan offers a decent selection of photos, illustrations, vector images, and videos from a wide array of categories.

The tools you need for social media

13. Social Media Scheduling: Squirrly Social

Squirrly Social – If you want to have time to interact with your audience but never miss a social post this is the tool you need. From simple kinds of calendars and scheduling to super advanced schedules, profile posting rules, Squirrly Social has it all and it’s willing to grow as you grow. You’ll only ever get to the advanced stuff once you’re ready and it will be a breeze to set it all up.

Cool Feature: Squirrly Social doesn’t just help you schedule but also helps you find great resources to share and it enhances all your posts. What I mean is that with a click of a button you get automatic hashtags and emoji to any post you find or create. That’s amazing.

14. Reports: FollowerWonk

free marketing tools

FollowerWonk offers insightful reports to help you optimize your social profile, engage users and ultimately grow your brand. The free version lets you:

  • View Social Authority Rankings
  • See Followers and Their Locations
  • Find out when followers are active

15. Track Social Shares: SharesCount

free marketing tools

Online, content can spread in leaps and bounds. This tool helps you see how your content has diffused across the web. Of course, you can use it for other sites as well; it doesn’t just have to be your own.

It’s particularly useful for getting some information about sites that don’t show social media share button numbers.  Enter your web address into SharedCount to track URL shares, likes, and more.

16. Share Buttons: Digg Digg

free marketing tools

If you want to be seen across the Internet and get more traffic, you have to make it easy for others to share your content.  This free marketing tool from Buffer aims to help you do just that. You can install the Digg Digg plugin for free, and get different share buttons that include the latest social networks.

17. Twitter Engagement: Must Be Present

free marketing tools

This free marketing tool comes from Sprout Social. Must Be Present determines your Twitter engagement based on how quickly you respond to comments and questions on Twitter.

18. Find Trending Topics on Twitter: Trends 24

free marketing tools

Yep, your intuition is correct. This particular tool shows you trending terms from the last 24 hours, broken out hour-by-hour and country-by-country. Particularly useful for social media campaigns research.

19. Hashtag Recommender: RiteTag

free marketing tools

Write down your hashtag and get insight on the #’s popularity and reach. The cool thing about this tool is that it also offer suggestions to help you find better alternatives to your hashtags.

20. Facebook Performance: LikeAlyzer

free marketing tools

By evaluating your activity, this free marketing tool helps you measure and analyze the effectiveness of your Facebook Pages, as well as their potential.  You get detailed information and explanation of identified issues. As a bonus, the LikeAlyzer also provides tips on how you can fix those problems to help you improve your results on Facebook.

12. Growing Your Pinterest Community: Pin Groupie

free marketing tools

Pin Groupie is an excellent tool for finding group boards on – you’ve guessed it – Pinterest. You can filter the group boards based on category, their number of followers, likes, or repins. Use it to reach a broader audience for your pins.

22. Find Tweetable Snippets: SavePublishing

free marketing tools

Wrote an article and want to promote it on Twitter? Or what to share an article, but don’t know how to tweet about it? Save time with SavePublishing.  Once you install the bookmarklet, this free marketing tool will reveal any tweetable sentences (140 characters or fewer) from your article.

Overall Business Management

23. Web Analytic: Hotjar

free marketing tools

Free marketing tools like Hotjar are very efficient when it comes to helping you understand your web and mobile site visitors better, and make changes accordingly. Through heat-maps, click-maps, scroll-maps, and visitor recordings, you can “spy” on your visitors and find out more about how they are using your website.

24. Productivity: FreedCamp

free marketing tools

If you have to manage a team or work project, FreedCamp can help you stay organized and get things done faster. You can create task lists, work on a set of tasks using sticky notes, and more to get a clear overview of what you and your team are working on.

25. Team Management: Slack

free marketing tools

When it comes to free marketing tools, Slack is a clear favorite. The free version offers tons of functionalities to keep all team communication in one place. You can create groups and assign different members,  share files, instant message team members and more.

26. Task Management: Trello

free marketing tools

If you aren’t yet using Trello, we recommend giving it a try today. In a nutshell, the app is basically the modern version of a Kanban board on steroids. You can create lists, fill them with cards representing tasks. You can assign team members, add comments, attach files, add labels and due dates – all for free.

27. Usability Testing: Peek

free marketing tools

This free marketing tool lets you see and hear a 5-minute video of a real person using your site or app. It’s an excellent way to get insight on the visitors’ experience on your website. Getting a fresh, unbiased opinion will help build a better site.

28. Email Marketing: Rapportative

free marketing tools

Install  this Chrome extension to find out more details about your contacts without having to leave your inbox. You can see their job, company, photo and LinkedIn profile. Thus, you can create better, more personalized emails and grow your network.

29. Influencer Monitoring: MentionApp

free marketing tools

Similar to Google Alerts but more comprehensive, MentionApp is a tool that monitors the web and automatically informs you whenever someone mentions your name, brand, or other keywords you think are important (like the name of your competition).

However, you can also use this tool to keep track of influencers in your industry and join in on the conversation. Being at the right place at the right time can open up plenty of new opportunities. You can sign up for a free trial and explore more of this tool’s capabilities.

30. PR: Google Alerts

free marketing tools

Ignorance is bliss, but not when it comes to your business. With Google Alerts, you can monitor the web and get notified via email whenever there are new results for any topic you’d like to keep tabs on. This way, you can keep up to date without constantly having to do Google searches for the same words.

31. Never Forget an Idea: Evernote

free marketing tools

If you typically work using multiple devices, this is the tool for you. Evernote lets you capture, nurture, and share your ideas across any device. If inspiration strikes while you’re out to dinner and you get a cool marketing idea, you can make a note of it. It will become instantly available on all your devices.

32. Customer Relationship Management: Charlie

free marketing tools

Properly manage current, and future customers is no easy feat. But it’s paramount. Charlie can help you stay on top of your game and ease your workload. You can get started for free in exchange for your email.

33. Get Press Coverage: Haro

free marketing tools

A tool often used by journalists, Haro deserves a place among the best free marketing tools. You can use it two ways. You can ask questions and get leaders and specialists in your industry to share input on a certain topic and create insightful blog posts (it’s what we did for this article).

Alternatively, you can be the one offering to share your expertise, and maybe get some press coverage, or get featured on a site with authority.

34. Email Newsletter: Campayn

free marketing tools

How many emails do you send a day? With Campayn, you can send more.  The free version allows you to send up to 20,000 emails per month. They also offer a library of free email templates that can help you create better emails that reflect your brand. Not too shabby.

35. Measure Site Performance: ContentLook

free marketing tools

Use ContentLook to see how well your site is performing in terms of digital marketing. You can get all-around information for six significant categories: Blogging activity, SEO, Social Media Performance, Traffic, Links, and Authority.

Get to the bottom of your site’s problems and get inspired to find the best solutions.

36. File Storing: DropBox

free marketing tools

A veteran when it comes to free online tools, DropBox is still a reliable option for safely storing your files. Particularly useful for teams, DropBox lets you access file across multiple devices, create online documents, privately share and comment on files, and more.

37. Create Surveys: SurveyMonkey

free marketing tools

Gathering data for research purposes is essential for businesses of all shapes and sizes. In exchange for your email address, this tool allows you to create surveys and get answers to relevant questions easily. This way, you can take informed decisions and draw the best conclusions. The basic plan includes:

  • 10 questions
  • 100 responses
  • Standard email support

38. Track Your Projects: Asana

free marketing tools

This is an excellent tool that can help teams monitor their progress to increase efficiency. Asana lets you track projects from start to finish and ensure all members of your team known what they should be doing. You can get started for free using your email address.

39. Spy on Your Competition: MOZ

free marketing tools

You may have already used this addicting free tool to check out your website’s search engine authority. But that’s not the only way you can take advantage of the functionalities it offers for free.

It can also help you spot who is mentioning and linking to your competitor. Take inspiration to come up with better marketing strategies.

40. More Traffic to Your Site: SlideShare

free marketing tools

Upload your professional videos and SlideShare presentations. SlideShare averages 25 million views each month alone, so there’s an opportunity to increase the traffic flow to your site. Google is not the only traffic source out there.

You can check out one of our presentations named Top 7 SEO Tools to Boost Your Content Marketing right here.

41. Slow Down: Do Nothing for 2 Minutes

free marketing tools

We get that you want to go a mile-a-minute and reach as many of your goals as soon as possible (we’re like that too). But sometimes, the best way to get faster results is to slow down.

You’ve been a good sport and made it all the way to the end of this long post. Take up on the challenge to do absolutely nothing for two whole minutes.

Which of These Free Marketing Tools Will You Add to Your Arsenal Today?

The point of this article wasn’t to sugarcoat the truth. The reality is that some of the best tools out there don’t come cheap – but are well worth the money. If you can swing it, there are some definitely plenty of tools out there that can help you grow into a stronger marketer.

There are also those you will probably regret spending money on.

The point of this post was to inspire you and show you that you have options. Which kind of means that we as marketers have one less excuse to make up for our failures  and one more resource to succeed.

So shake up the belief that free automatically means low-quality, and take advantage of the benefits offered for free by the tools mentioned in this article.

To end this article, I want to point you towards another resource you can access. You can find more inspiration and learn more about the tools that power growth by watching our shows. They’re also FREE.

Heading out? Make sure to tell us what are some free tools you think should have made it on our list. We’d ♥ to hear your feedback.

How The 4 Stages of Productivity Produce Killer Content

Long before killer content on the Internet was even thought of, a British social psychologist named Graham Wallas produced a theory explaining the 4 Stages of Productivity.  Originally published in 1926, his work, The Art of Thought, is now out of print and the surviving copies sell at a very expensive price.

Why is this so valuable today, especially for content marketers? Because this is a secret strategy for producing engaging, epic and totally killer content! The power behind its efficiency rests between the conscious and the subconscious mind.

Don't worry, you don't need to spend $100 on the book. Click To Tweet

Here are the stages and how you can use them to draw readers to your business:

1)  The [Killer Content] Preparation Phase – (conscious)

First, you want to get into the right frame of mind for brainstorming. This encompasses looking at your topic or idea from all sides. Look at the advantages and disadvantages. Write down absolutely everything that comes to mind. Look at it from different points of view. Consider different cultures, ages, races etc.

Look for problems or obstacles, but don't try to solve them. Click To Tweet

Write them down and walk away. Put the entire topic to bed. You don’t have a complete idea yet…this is only step one of the process.

2)  The Incubation Phase – (subconscious)

Have you ever been in the middle of doing something and all of a sudden you come up with an idea for some killer content? You’re driving down the road and you suddenly think of a solution to a problem.

Or what about when you're sleeping and you wake up out of the blue with a great idea? Click To Tweet

These thoughts or ideas come from your subconscious mind and are born because you put an idea or a problem into ‘incubation.’ You deliberately forced them out of your subconscious mind.

There’s two ways to put your ideas into incubation. You can either deliberately focus on something else or you can literally sleep on it.

3)  The Illumination Phase – (subconscious)

This is when having a pen and paper handy really helps because you can quickly jot down the ideas that pop into your mind and then continue on with what you were doing. Like the incubation stage, this one can’t be forced. It has to come subconsciously.

It only occurs after you’ve been able to walk away from your brainstorming stage and consciously focus on other things. Illumination is represented by the actual epiphanies that inadvertently pop into your head during random times.

Take them as they come, without trying to analyze them or focus too much on them. Click To Tweet

For now, just make note of them.

4)  The Verification Phase – (conscious)

This is the final stage, where you come back (consciously) to your brainstorming ideas. Now you combine all of the ‘epiphanies’ that popped up during the incubation and illumination stages and consciously incorporate them into your writing so that they make sense and work.

By now, you likely have some killer content for your next blog post.

The Disadvantages of Social Media Marketing Need to Be Taken into Account

If you are a business owner, then you’ve probably already heard how beneficial social media marketing can be when it comes to ensuring  that your business will prosper. However, nobody seems to focus on the disadvantages of social media marketing.

Instead, they hyper focus on the benefits. Click To Tweet

Sure, it’s easier to live in denial and say social media marketing doesn’t have any drawbacks, but this won’t help you grow your business.

Knowing both the positives and the negatives will help you make the right decisions for your business. This information is right up your alley, especially if you are tired of only finding articles that praise this marketing practice. It’s time to take a look at the disadvantages of social media marketing:

1. Social media marketing is not free

disadvantages of social media marketing

How come? Social media marketing costs you a lot of time. You’re probably already familiar with the classic phrase ‘Time is money.’ When you are a business owner you cannot afford to spend  your time frivolously.

The truth is, social media can be pretty time-consuming. Click To Tweet

You have to constantly update your business page and engage with the audience.

Now, there are people who will tell you that you can bypass the disadvantages of social media marketing if you avoid falling into so-called ‘time traps’. However, this defeats the entire purpose of this type of marketing. For instance, if you avoid answering individual posts you show your audience you don’t care about them. This will result in losing potential clients and does more harm than good.

2. Getting hacked is one of the biggest disadvantages of social media marketing

disadvantages of social media marketing

This can be potentially dangerous for business owners worldwide. Not only do they face the risk of losing money, but they can also lose sensitive data. Social media hacking is not only restricted to friends playing jokes on each other. Even famous pop stars and the US military have been targeted.

Your (business) social media page getting hacked is not something you can simply brush off. Hackers can get data that not only harm you, but your clients as well. This is why you need to properly configure your security settings and ensure only people with clearance have access to valuable information. This will once again cost you a lot of time, a resource you might not be able to spare.

3. The possibility of damaging backlash

disadvantages of social media marketing

You have to be very careful what you post online nowadays, especially if you run a business.

People are more easily offended today compared to the past. Click To Tweet

The Internet also provides them with the means to make their opinions heard, no matter how negative they are.

However, if you are able to put in a lot of effort to monitor your posts and check out the feedback they get on a daily basis, then you’ll get great results.

Keep in mind you have to put a lot of time aside for this. Click To Tweet

All is not lost.

If the disadvantages of social media marketing have got you feeling down, find solace in knowing that there is hope. Just because you don’t have enough time to create quality content and manage your social media accounts doesn’t mean your business can’t make use of them. With a little help you can get very far in your business.

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You don’t have to! We can give you valuable tips on how to create great content. We’ll also help you manage your social media marketing strategy and social media activity. The 300 readers you’ll get per published article will soon help you forget about the disadvantages of social media marketing.

Overview on Asia’s startup world: a hub of opportunities

It seems that Asia is slowly, but steadily climbing its way to the top of the startup world. You probably already know how evolved their technology is, and how advanced is the machinery they manufacture. In this article, I’ll point out what makes Southeast Asia a great place for entrepreneurs and investors.

startup world

First, we’ll take a look at how startup are events integrated in Asia’s culture. 

2014 – a great year for startup events

The previous year has proven out to be an extremely good one for Asia’s startup world. There were a lot of meetups, and conferences, which are important for the startup companies that already exist in Asia. These type of events are so great, because they represent an opportunity for companies to attract investors, and get people to know them on the international market.

Let’s take a closer look at the biggest startup events happening in Asia, and see what they have to offer.

  • Global Entrepreneurship Summit. This event took place in India, in January. As it says on their website, “It is the largest student-level entrepreneurial summit in India”. I think it’s a great idea to connect students with investors, startups, and professionals. This event brings together a lot of awesome speakers right from the heart of the startup industry (Silicon Valley, that is). For the speakers and the workshops, they carefully choose entrepreneurs that work in the biggest companies out there, such as at Microsoft, Intel or Deloitte. Also, several international institutions (Boston University, Stanford University) offered their support to the development of the event.
  • Echelon. This is (or was, because it took place in June, in Singapore) the place to meet 50 of the best speakers in the world. This is one of Asia’s startup events that focuses on innovation in technology, and states that it is the biggest technology conference in Asia. Should we believe them? You should see it for yourself, next year. With venture capitalists, investors, and with the chance to share your business idea with influencers from your area, it’s an event not to be missed.
  • Startup Weekend Singapore. Startup Weekend doesn’t require an introduction, anymore. This is the place to kick off your startup idea, in neither more, nor less than 54 hours.
  • Startup Asia Singapore and Tokyo. When you have so many startup events on your mind as an organizer, you need to think about bringing something new, so that you attract people. Startup Asia takes place in Singapore and Tokyo, too. It is a two-day conference, and this year they arranged a Speed Dating section. But this was not speed dating as you know it. They created a booth that allowed participants to meet, and talk to potential investors. If you want to see more details, and statistics about how it was at Startup Asia Singapore, take a look at this awesome infographic. You still have time to book your tickets for Startup Asia Tokyo, since it’s happening in September.

Alright, I’m not going to bore you anymore with startup events. Let’s get into the interesting facts, and see how Asia’s startup ecosystem looks.

Singapore – Asia’s startup hub

In 2013, Singapore was the third “most popular technology destination for professionals”. Singapore was already known for its innovation in technology, so the report made by Hydrogen Group only comes to emphasizes that fact. The workforce in Singapore is highly educated, and also motivated, something that most of us are lacking in.

startup world

What makes Singapore a great city-state for startups? The answer: “Relatively simple start-up procedures, a thriving incubator community and friendly governmental policies”. Singapore does not want to compare itself with Silicon Valley. Instead, it wants to be part of this global community and participate in the process of making a difference in the world.

Proximity is important when you’re doing business. Did you know that Singapore is a 6-hour plane ride away from half of the population of the world? The economy is not bad at all, either. Trading (thanks to the port), and manufacturing are important sectors in this part of Asia. Foreigners (approximately 40% of the population), wealthy and young people are incredibly attracted to this part of the world, since it’s so close to most countries in the world. Its diversity managed to turn Singapore in one of the leading markets in the startup world, making it a great meeting point for business people at startup events.

Sometimes, tax incentives represent a big obstacle when it comes to attracting startups. Some states are not interested in helping people that want to start their own business. Singapore encourages this practice, making it “one of the world’s friendliest countries to start a business”. The government is extremely supportive with taxes in general, maintaining it at a low rate. This encourages entrepreneurs to come here, and make a start. Singapore is working on changing the culture of the country, and making it more willing to take risks.

Anyone can begin its own startup in Singapore. It’s that simple. You don’t even have to be a resident to do that. The only condition is that you need to have a bank account in the country. Another thing that makes Singapore so great is that it provides a safe environment for your work, offering intellectual property rights. This is a key factor that makes so many tech companies come here, and also this is why the bio-medical field is so developed. Knowing that your work is and will be safe is crucial when you’re doing business.

Startup events are the perfect place to meet investors. The high interest in the tech industry, and also the fact that Singapore is a wealthy country, contributed to increasing the number of investments. The Joyful Frog Digital Incubator is one of the biggest accelerators, with a 60% success rate. Along with the money, they provide an intensive mentorship program that takes place for 100 days. Goh Hian, Advisor at Joyful Frog Digital Incubator, says that ” the place where most seed investing is coming from is the NRF incubator scheme. Also, other places where a lot of startups are being started are at NUS enterprise, SMU incubator, MIT Smart, and of course JFDI”.

If you consider moving to Singapore after what you’ve read so far, there are still a few things you should know. The weather remains at a constant temperature all year long, but it’s hot. If you don’t like heat, you probably won’t enjoy  your staying here. Nevertheless, the quality of the air is the best there is in Asia. The best thing in my opinion is that natural disasters never happen in Singapore, so you’re safe from tsunamis or earthquakes.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to work together and begin a startup here. There are certain labs, designed to provide entrepreneurs the perfect working conditions. A lab has a few different floors, and each floor is specifically designed to develop different characteristics on the tech market.

The number of startup events happening in Asia will increase since Singapore has in plan to launch 500 tech startups in the next 5 years. Singapore’s industry is focused on bio-medical science and technology. We all know how important their development is for the future, so it’s only natural to say that they’re in for the win.

Southeast Asia – the place to launch or move your startup

Since Silicon Valley has become overcrowded, it’s become harder and harder to differentiate yourself, and attract investors. Thomas Clayton, the CEO of Bubbly, moved his startup  from Silicon Valley to Southeast Asia, and he wrote an article, where he listed his 5 top reasons on why entrepreneurs should do that, too.

As I was saying before, Asia, especially Singapore, has very friendly incentives for startups, established by the government. Thomas says that 5 years ago, there weren’t any investors here, but now, there might be over 100. Important names like Jungle Ventures have established themselves in the region, and is one of 15 NRF incubators. Series A investors are actually starting to proliferate, and that includes Joyful Frog Digital Incubator, Vertex Venture Holdings, Walden International, and Infocomm Investments. Among others, Japanese investors are active too here, such as Gree Ventures, TransCosmos, or Rakuten.

Even though Singapore is the most expensive country in Southeast Asia, thanks to the low personal income tax, it’s easier to run your startup here, than in Silicon Valley. Southeast Asia’s market is still in the beginning, so there is little competition, for now.

Not only VCs move to Southeast Asia, but talented engineers too. For example, Bubbly has employees from 22 different countries. Asia’s culture is different, too. Everywhere you go, you have access to WiFi, even on the beach. For young minds, this part of Asia is the perfect environment to work in. Even though a report claims that in Singapore people work for more hours than the rest of the world, that doesn’t mean they don’t have time for fun. The nightlife is incredibly lively, with plenty of activities to choose from.

Awesome coworking spaces in Asia

Coworking spaces are great for early stage startups, or for entrepreneurs that need a place to work on their startup idea. These kind of places offer internet connection, a quiet place, and the assurance that your things are safe while you’re out for a break. Coffee shops are great too, but sometimes they can get too noisy and crowded. Gerard Castaneda made a list with some awesome coworking spaces, all around Asia.

Women in the startup scene of Asia

As most of you probably already know, the Middle East is not quite supportive of working women. Still, “35% of tech entrepreneurs from the region are in fact women”, says in an article Naomi Ruth Ganhinhin, whereas in the rest of the world, women represent only 3% of tech founders. The workforce in the Middle East is dominated by men, while women have the most university degrees. Women wish they worked, but their families often force them to stay at home, take care of their children, and do housework.

startup world

The Internet combined with the rise of technology made it possible for women that stood at home to start their own business. In Naomi’s article, she quotes Sarah Abu Alia, the founder of ArtMedium, who says “As a woman, you have to fight for everything here— which is a great preparation for being an entrepreneur”.

Women are being more and more encouraged to become entrepreneurs. Women 2.0, Chang the Ratio, and Girls in Tech are some of the organizations that support women entrepreneurs. Singapore took the lead and even organized a Startup Weekend, women’s edition.

Asia’s startup world is the bomb

Asia, especially the Southeast part of it, has a great potential for tech startups and entrepreneurs that want to open a business here. This part of the world has a friendly government, which makes it easy for anyone that wants to settle up a startup here.

Asia is a new startup world, filled with opportunities. Even though it’s only at the beginning, there are major changes each year, which can be seen in the numbers of investors and VCs that take interest in the startups that are already established here. This can only be a good thing.

Would you agree on the fact that Asia is becoming the hub of the startup world? Let me know what your thoughts on this topic are, in the comments.

This is Why You will Win, if You Buy Articles for Your Website

Writing quality content for your customers is probably one of the most important things that keeps them engaged with you. You may find a lot of excuses as to why you don’t want to shift your attention toward creating content, but have you ever thought about buying articles? This can solve your problem, and will also bring much more value to your business. If you buy articles, both you and your customers will win. Here is how.

buy articles

You will have time to focus on the important things

Quality content creation takes time, there’s no reason why we should deny that. Content marketing is all about engaging your customers and establishing a relationship with them, always providing them with valuable information and something new to learn. Unfortunately, there are more important things that a CEO needs to take care of during a day than focusing on creating content. The truth is, most of the time, you have absolutely no idea how time flies so fast! So why not buy articles from someone who knows how and what to write?

Writers write with passion

Apart from the time efficiency reason, buying articles will bring you much more value, because they know what they do, and they will invest their time in engaging with your audience and focusing only on that. If you don’t like to write, it’s better not do it at all, because your readers will be able to figure it out. When you decide to buy articles from a writer, you will have the certainty that the person is already experienced, and knows how content marketing works. Also, that person will be able to create an awesome content strategy, and decide the best choices for you.

Buying articles from a writer is cost-effective

If you take into consideration the possibility of hiring a content writer, you should reconsider it, and I will tell you why. Although it may sound like a good idea, in the long run, it will cost you a lot of money. Before you decide to do it, first you need to ask yourself if you need a full time content writer, and if you really want that much content creation. You can compare the pricing we have at Squirrly, with the salaries of web content writers.

buy articles

Do some research on the people/agency you want to buy articles from

If you decided that this is the right thing to do, the next step is to do some research, and make a list of some potential writers or agencies that offer this type of services. After you’ve made up your mind, and you’ve chosen the person you want to buy articles from, it’s time to publish the first article. Of course, it needs to resonate with your audience, and with your brand. Get feedback from your readers, and see whether they like the content. If they do, then you’ve found your match.

Do you want to win?

For things to work out in a company, it’s all about efficiency, at all levels. That’s why hiring people who are good at certain things is probably the best thing you can do for your business.

Now tell me, does your company need content? If so, is buying articles a solution you care to consider? Do you think that if you buy articles, it will help your company’s development?

Let me know your thoughts on this topic.

Automatic SEO software keeps you on the same level with the Google

If possible I’d like for this article to eliminate some of the prejudice we have integrated into the internet marketing world.

Automatic SEO software, Guest Posts, Social Bookmarking are not necessary a negative aspect of the digital marketing world. The persons that use them are the ones that choose if they are used for good or evil.

Today we will see what Automatic SEO software represents and how you can use it in a positive way to improve the quality of the content you create.

It’s quite funny in my opinion how people have this concept that we necessary have to be the underdog in order to be fair in the SERPs battle. Why do you I say, underdogs?

Well just as Commerce360 has presented in an interview, Google has lots of Ph.D.s to write code and acres of servers to perfect the search algorithm and we think that one marketing person with some spreadsheets can crack their ever changing algorithm.

That is one of the arguments for using automatic SEO software wisely and getting the advantage we need to actually attain our inbound marketing goals. But in the process, we would also become better at creating quality content that our targeted audience will enjoy. Let me explain why and how.

good automatic seo software

When Automatic SEO software is a good thing

Search Engine Optimization has a lot of aspects that we need to take care of. It takes a team with lots of expertise to actually make a site be fully optimized. There are the On-page Seo elements like the ones that Squirrly SEO live Assistant reminds you of at each post.

But there are other elements that Squirrly even does that you don’t see. It automatically creates your meta-description for each article, it gives you automatic data about the keyword you want to use, it automatic gives you information on how well your articles have done.

I have stressed it a bit on the automatic SEO software there but in the end, all it does it collect data and present in a way that you, the user, can make sense of. And why is that important?

Well in order to make good decisions you need to be informed. Receiving the information isn’t much use if you can not understand what it is telling you.

So what automatic SEO software does it generate the answer based on a big bulk of data in order for you to make sense of that answer and take action accordingly.

Now the important aspect here is for you to decide the action, you are taking. This is the happy-right case, but there is also a way this software can generate the unwanted kind of activities.

What I call a no-brain. In that case based on one or two situation, you generate all your responses. Now when you create an Automatic SEO software you first take into consideration a lot of events that might happen.

You compare your date to values that are changing and try to do as much as possible of the users work. That’s because the software can do this task faster and more accurate but when decisions are involved or creation you let the user do it’s own thing.

You need his input because he can take different decisions based on the same information or data. In the same way the creation process is something that can not be emulated by a software (yet).

So even if you use an Automatic SEO software you need to be active in the creation process and the SEO tasks you are taking care of. These plugins and widgets make your work easier but don’t do it for you.

If you use them in such a way or scale them so hard that it become just a push of a button. You are definitely doing it wrong.

Making it happen with the Automatic SEO software

The main idea is that you should use Automatic SEO software but to use it wisely. In the next lines I will present you some automatic features of Squirrly and where is the input you give to them.

The Squirrly SEO live Assistant it generates a present of list of requirements you need to establish in article in order to make the On-page SEO work. It automatically gives feedback if the task is finished accordingly or not. What you need to do is adjust your content in order to contain these tasks as well.

The negative idea concept of automatic SEO, in this case, would be for the live assistant to add a keyword every 250 characters. It would be out of context it would generate low-quality content for your readers.

The keyword research part of the automatic SEO software gives you information about the keyword but you are still the one that choose what keyword to use. Because you the creator knows what makes sense in a phare and what your audience wants to read about.

The wrong thing would be for the feature to always take the keyword with the highest values and create low-quality content on a high ranking keyword.

The inspiration box generates images, tweets, wikipedia articles and many more based on your keyword. You choose if you use them, where and how in your article. You can read the full articles so you don’t just add a quote out of context.

The wrong thing from an automatic Seo software to do would be to add random tweets in your article based on which were the most popular but with no connection to your article.

Squirrly Snippet generates the meta-information for your article. When it creates your meta description it basically take the first lines of your article and integrates them there.

It also checks that your keyword already appears in that text portion. The wrong thing to do for an automatic Seo software would be to not give you the opportunity to customize your text and would take the same one that uses for the main site for each page, therefore generating duplicates.


So in the end what you have to ask yourself is not if you should or shouldn’t use Automatic SEO software but rather how you use them. Do they generate a higher visibility for your great articles or do they destroy the plus value you want to create ?

Making sure that you deliver great content to people on the internet is the first and most important task you need to full fill the other ones are just to make sure that it spreads to more people that need it.

What has been your exprience with Automatic SEO software and how do you use it ? Tell us your story and any questions you might have in the comment section bellow.