The Secret to Keeping Your New Years Resolution

We all know how it works, on January 1st we are motivated and completely focused on what we want to achieve, but how many of us keep our resolutions past January? According New Years Resolutions Statistics, only 8% of people are actually successful in achieving them. That is pretty sad if you ask me.

So, what’s the secret to keeping your New Years Resolutions?

  1. new years resolutionsPlan ahead: don’t decide on January 1st what you want your resolution to be (since you will probably choose what is on your mind at that moment). Take time to really think about it ahead of time. Think of the changes and improvements you want to make. Make a list of them and then choose the ones that are most important to you.
  2. Start small: start by breaking larger goals into smaller actions. Focus on the process instead of the end goal. If your goal is to lose weight, start by cutting out sugary snacks or go to the gym twice a week instead of five times a week.
  3. Ask for support: you’ll be ten times more likely to stick to your resolution. Look for other peoples ideas, advice, and feedback to help keep you going. Even share it via the web, social media is a huge motivator.
  4. Keep track of your progress: start on January 1st. Tracking your goals helps to maintain momentum. Stay grounded and motivated.
  5. Set realistic goals: keep it simple and tangible. It is often the more smaller resolutions that are the most effective.

What do you want to accomplish in 2014?

Reflection of My Internet Marketing Class

internet marketingAnalysis of Google Analytics

Google Analytics generates detailed statistics about your websites traffic and sources and measures conversions and sales. I used this quite a bit in my Internet Marketing class. As I explore my performance over the semester, I found that I received 255 visits over a few months, with 152 being unique visitors, which is great for my recently created website. As for PPC, 15% of my visitors came from paid search. 8.15 is my number of pages/visit, which means visitors browsed around my website for a fair amount of time, so 8.15 is a pretty good number.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools allows you to optimize your site visibility. It is very useful in the internet marketing world. It helped me check the crawl rate of my site as well as internal and external links that connect back to my site. It also let me see how Google indexes my site and if it found any errors. Another tool Webmaster lets me do, is see what my top pages are and which keywords were being used that made my site show up in the SERPs.

My Experience in MKTG 470

Overall, I really enjoyed MKTG 470; it is easily one of the most useful classes I have taken at JMU. I learned so much about internet marketing and I am even considering it as a career choice. My favorite part of this class was having to develop my own website, from then on I learned so much about Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and AdWords while actively being able to experience it. Before I took this internet marketing class, I didn’t know how to use any of those tools, so I took away a lot from MKTG 470 .

internet marketingInternet Marketing in my Future

As I said before, I would definitely consider any area of internet marketing as a career field in the future because of this class. I would really enjoy working with Google AdWords again. After this class, I want to continue to work on my website, mainly because I love blogging and I like the idea of having a website dedicated to my thoughts and interests while being able to share them with the world. Overall, internet marketing has drastically impacted how information is shared and this field is only growing and I would love to be a part of it someday.

Optimization and Link Building Results

Over the semester, my Internet Marketing class gained experience with on-page optimization and off-page SEO factors, such as link building, by enhancing our skills with search engine optimization. I chose to optimize my JMU Experience page using the keyword, JMU Experience. I used many different strategies in order for this to happen.

When using on-page tactics, I made sure my content on the page was focused and clear. I also strategically placed keywords in specific areas of the head and body of my text and made sure to include bold and italicized keywords. I made my URL structure readable, which hopefully led to better crawling of search engines. I created a title tag and took advantage of the meta and description tags using the JMU experience keyword as well. My off-page strategy was link building. I used one-way, internal, and reciprocal linking. When one-way linking, I used Twitter and LinkedIn as a tool that pointed back to my page. I linked back to myself on different pages, which is called internal linking. Last but not least, I used reciprocal linking by exchanging links with other classmates for them to put on their site.

SEODuring the semester, I completed four SEO diagnostic tests to determine my page rank and overall SEO issues with my site. I also found out different scores from marketing sites such as Crawler FX and Hubspot’s Marketing Grader. When I first tested my Crawler FX score, it was only 25% but over the past few weeks, it improved to 43%. My Marketing Grader score was only a 58 out of 100 and now it is 71 out of 100, only increasing a little, although still making progress. What the Marketing Grader does is grade you on your social presence, lead generation, mobile optimization, and the quality of your website content. My Crawler FW Report indicates that I have good keyword page density and excellent social media mentions. I also have a excellent heading and image summary, as well as meta description and title tags.

In the future, I could greatly improve my organic search rankings by increasing my page and domain authority, as well as increasing the number of links pointing back to my page. It also wouldn’t hurt to create more blog posts so Google recognizes that my website is being consistent while contributing quality content.

Italian Dinner Recipe

Since I am Italian, it is a sin if you do not eat pasta. However, I am not a huge fan of spaghetti or a lot of other kinds of macaroni, so I had to find a pasta I liked in order for my grandpa to stop yelling at me; “how are you Italian if you do not like pasta?” So, a few years ago I discovered a pasta that was delicious and something I wouldn’t mind eating every Sunday: Gnocchi.

My fifteen year old brother loves to cook. One day he decided to start making homemade pastas, with gnocchi being on his agenda. Not only does he make homemade pasta but he makes homemade marinara sauce as well (he learned that recipe from our mom who makes amazing sauce). It is one of my favorite homemade meals to have when I am home, so I wanted to share his recipe for all of you to enjoy too.

Recipe for Homemade Gnocchi and Marinara Sauce

Gnocchi Recipe

Gnocchi Ingredients (triple the batch when cooking for larger group):

  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  • Step 1: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel potatoes and add to pot. Cook until tender but still firm (about 15 minutes). Drain, cool, and mash.
  • Step 2: Combine 1 cup of mashed potatoes, flour and egg in a large bowl. Knead until dough forms a ball. Shape small portions of the dough into long “snakes”. On a floured surface, cut snakes into half-inch pieces.
  • Step 3: Drop gnocchi in large pot of boiling, salted water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top; drain and serve (serving size 3-4 people).

Marinara Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 28oz of Red Pack Purée sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • Basil (desired amount)
  • Parsley (desired amount)
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 tablespoon red wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  • Step 1: Put olive oil in a pan and sauté garlic until you smell a strong fragrance of it. Do not overcook garlic.
  • Step 2: Quickly add the basil, parsley, and sauce to the garlic.
  • Step 3: Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red wine. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

My Top Rated Places to Dine in North Jersey

 

#1. GOLDBERGS FAMOUS BAGELS: Wyckoffgoldbergs

  • Hands down the best taylor ham, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel (salt, pepper, no ketchup) you will ever find. Not only do they have delicious bagels, but they have a wide variety of huge deli subs. This is probably the number one thing I miss while being down in Virginia for school. I suggest grabbing it for breakfast during the week, before work, to avoid the long lines on weekends.

#2. CAFE AMICI: Wyckoffcafe amici

  • I’d call it a “high class” cafe. Delicious but pricey salads, but also great personal pizzas (I love the mushroom pizza with white truffle oil) and pasta dishes. I really have enjoyed every meal I have had there, which is a lot considering my friend and I dine there frequently. Great for lunch and dinner as well as brunch! B.Y.O.B.

#3. FLIRT SUSHI LOUNGE: Allendaleflirt

  • I have tasted a lot of sushi, so I know what is good and what is not and this is the best sushi I have ever eaten. It has a funky atmosphere, making it great for a date night with your boyfriend or girlfriend or even a girls night out. Their menu will give you a good laugh considering all the sexual innuendos. The only down side is that it is super expensive, with specialty rolls costing around $20 – $28. B.Y.O.B.

#4. GEN SUSHI: Ridgewood

sushi

  • This place is located in the heart of the town. It’s great because the menu is big, consisting of sushi, hibachi (delicious), and chinese. In the back of the restaurant they have hibachi tables where the chef cooks in front of you. They also have the option of all-you-can-eat sushi for a great price. Gen’s has awesome lunch specials as well. B.Y.O.B.

#5. SAKURA JAPANESE RESTAURANT: Wyckofftuna pizz

  • Sakura is great for take-out or for dining in, although it is usually mine and my brothers go-to take-out place. My favorite option on the menu is the tuna pizza. Yes, the two best things in one: sushi and pizza. They also have great lunch specials! B.Y.O.B.

#6. THE BRICK HOUSE: Wyckoffthe brick house

  • If you are looking to splurge on the juiciest steak in town, this is the place to go. This is my favorite steakhouse and it is a highly recommended restaurant by most people including myself. They also have a great bar inside. This is definitely a high quality restaurant and is great to go with other couples or your boss.

#7. WYCKOFF PIZZA & RESTAURANT: Wyckoffpizza

  • This is another thing I miss about home; the pizza. Definitely a flaw of going to school in the south; you can’t find that New York style pizza. This is the food I look forward to when I go home and it is the best in town!

#8. BLUE MOON MEXICAN CAFE: Wyckoffblue moon

  • Delicious Mexican food. This is a great place for a night out to grab dinner and drinks with your friends. It has a fun atmosphere and amazing drinks. Their bar gets super crowded on the weekends.

#9. ROSARIO TRATTORIA: Midland Parkchicken

  • I know good Italian food when I taste it and this place is great! I love the calamari Rosario for an appetizer; it’s fried calamari with a balsamic glaze on top. Every meal I have had there has been delightful. B.Y.O.B.

#10. BOOM BURGER: Rochelle Parkboom burger

  • Awesome place to get burgers and drinks! Limited menu but everything on it would be a good choice. My favorite is the Jersey Guido; which is mozzarella, roasted peppers, and a balsamic spread on a burger. Good drink menu and also great for a night out. Perfect place for networking events!

#11. PORTOBELLO: Oaklandportobello

  • Very classy and romantic atmosphere! Their lunch menu includes everything on the dinner menu but half the price which is awesome! Delicious Italian food, good steak, and they even serve sushi! They also have a nice bar. I dine here often with my family and always have a good experience. They also have a separate buliding just for parties so it’s great for weddings, sweet sixteens, or any other occasion.

#12. GOLDEN DYNASTY: Franklin Lakesgolden dynasty

  • Best Chinese in town (also serve sushi)! Prices are on the higher end, but it is definitely worth it. It is a 12 page menu so there are many options to choose from. Also great for take-out! B.Y.O.B.

#13. MATTHEWS DINER: Waldwickmatthews diner

  • Good diner food is important in New Jersey. Having a 24-hour dining destination is key after late nights out. If you need that midnight snack, this is the place to go. This is also a perfect place for breakfast. I love their chocolate chip pancakes and the mouthwatering milkshakes.

#14. EL CID: ParamusEl Cid

  • If you like Spanish food and not afraid to spend some money, this is the place for you. They have amazing seafood paella, lobster, and steaks, it is totally worth it because they give you huge portions! It is perfect for special occasions. Their sangria is probably they best I have had.

#15. PIZZERIA MANDARA: Wyckoffpizzeria mandara

  • Only being one year old, it has already received a great reputation. The pizza is delicious, along with the salads and main dishes. They also serve Italian ice which is the perfect end to a great meal. B.Y.O.B.

#16. THE MARKET BASKET: Franklin Lakesmarket basket

  • Although this is a high quality grocery store and not a restaurant, I suggest you try their deli. They have the best sandwiches and paninis in town. I highly recommend trying the turker on a baguette or the smoked turkey avalanche panini, you won’t be disappointed. Really, anything in the store would be a delicious choice.  

I hope I was helpful in deciding where to eat in northern New Jersey. Click on the links to find out what else is on the menu and where it is located. I encourage you to comment back with your insight on these places!

Bon Appetit!

 

AdWords for Search Engine Marketing

Silverback StrategiesNowadays, companies are putting a lot of money into digital marketing and this type of industry is always changing so you need to be on your feet at all times. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to learn about a search engine marketing firm called Silverback Strategies that are in this type of industry. Director of Search Marketing, Andrew Nelson and PPC/SEO Account Manager, Shay Meadows were the guest speakers and they spoke with us about SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click). In particularly, I gained insightful knowledge about Google AdWords which was helpful since I just set up an AdWords account last week.

Google AdWords has evolved into Googles main advertising product and main source of revenue. For those of you who don’t know, AdWords is used for marketers to promote a website and it is based on a CPC (cost-per-click) auction, meaning you only pay for your advertisement when someone actually clicks on it. I learned that all you have to do is choose certain keywords that you think people will search for. Keywords are important and AdWords allows you to pick a lot. Since you most likely will pick a bunch, you are able to separate them into different theme groups and create unique ads for each group.

Google AdWordsIn order to claim your keyword, you bid on them as if you were at an auction to stay ahead of competitors. Usually, the higher the bid the better chances you have to be at the top of the search results. The winning bid is the price you are willing to pay for each click you receive. Your bid may not be the only factor that counts. Google AdWords reward more relevant advertisements with a higher ad position and a higher quality score. So if your competitors bid a greater amount than you, you can still win a higher position at a lower price. So how does that work? Basically, people use keywords or phrases for specific searches on Google. If the keywords you have chosen match what people search, your ad will appear on the right side of the results or above the search results (usually in the yellowish box).

Andrew and Shay also talked briefly about Google AdSense and Google +. I learned that AdSense is for a website owner and allows you to make money via clicks from web surfers on your website. So, what you do is display certain advertisements on your own website that suits your audiences interests and just wait for them to click on those ads in order for you to earn money. Good to know! Google + on the other hand is great when it comes to increasing your online presence. Google treats your Google + content like another website page. Therefore, when it comes to SEO and social media, your Google + account trumps content on any other social media platform. Lastly, I want to say thank you to Silverback Strategies for allowing Andrew and Shay to speak to my class and provide me with more knowledge about SEO and SEM!

How to License Music

Every song is licensed.

When you listen to music on the radio, that music is licensed. When you hear a song playing in a store or your favorite restaurant, that music is licensed too. Well, in the summer of 2012,  I had the opportunity to intern in NYC at MPCA Music Publishing. MPCA is an independent publisher founded in May 2006. It is a boutique company based on the model of old time music publishers. Their goal is to focus on what drives the business: the songwriter and the song. While I was there I did basic intern tasks including, assisting my co-workers with copyright tasks as well as performing general office duties and utilizing Microsoft Excel as an organizational tool for song demo inventory tracking. Since it is such a small company, I was able to meet with and talk about licensing with Music Producer and CEO, John Titta, frequently. Besides doing copyright tasks, I also learned how to determine copyright and approval requirements and how to analyze licensing models, rates, advances, and other contractual terms.

Music licensing has been made possible by the protection of the U.S. copyright law provided for artists. There are several things in a song that can be copyrighted, such as:

  • The actual sounds themselves; the performance of the work
  • The notes that musicians play to create the song; they could be embodied in sheet music
  • The lyrics in the song; they could be written down on a sheet of paper

The label owns the actual sound recording, while the music publisher works on behalf of the composer and the songwriter. So, if you want to sing a song on American Idol, you have to obtain rights from the publisher. Here are a few more examples of when you need to obtain rights:

American Idol always needs to license music and contact music publishers.

  • You are making a commercial and you want to use a song in it; (this could cost anywhere from $25,000 to $500,000 per year)
  • You own a radio station and you want to play a song on your station
  • You are making a toy and you want it to play a song when a child pushes the button
  • You want to use a song in a movie or on a T.V. show ; (when using a popular song on T.V., it could cost $3,000 and when using one in a movie, it could cost $25,000, while a theme song for a T.V. show could cost anywhere between $50,000 to $75,000)

Guess what, “Happy Birthday to You” brings in about $2 million per year in licensing fees!

12 Ways to Become a Better Social Media Marketer

Do do you want to be successful in the social media world? Social media is not the next big thing, it’s already here; if your business is not a part of it yet, then you are behind. So, here are a few tips to help your social media marketing be effective:social media

  1. To attract and engage social media followers and fans and convert them to customers, you need to clearly map out a social media strategy
  2. Post on all social media sites two to five times a day; if you only post once a day, most users will not see it due to timing
  3. But when using Facebook, post 10 to 20 times per day
  4. Short messages work better on Facebook, but long messages work if they are compelling
  5. When using twitter, tell a story through your tweets
  6. When using Pinterest, show your companies personality with images of your employees interacting with your product
  7. If your company is mainly B2B, you should be on LinkedIn and Slideshare to reach influencers in your industry
  8. If your company is mainly B2C, being on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest is a must
  9. When using Slideshare, spend time on your title, make it eye-catching since it is the first thing the user will see
  10. Google + is essential to be on, even if it is only to boost your search engine optimization
  11. If you are trying to network with potential clients or other useful contacts, it is best to spend time finding out which networks they tend to use most
  12. Last but most definitely not least, social media is constantly changing so you need to be ready to change and adapt

…and remember, social media takes time and careful strategic thought, it doesn’t just happen by accident.

Sources:

Entrepreneur

Freelance Switch

Post Planner

Stitching a New Design

After searching for a very long time to find the right theme for my website, I came across “Stitch” by Caroline Moore. It is an elegant, modern theme with an optional fixed header. You can customize the site title & tagline, colors, background image, and navigation. When I first heard that my assignment was to change the theme on my website, I thought that would be quick and easy and for a lack of better words, a piece of cake. It was actually very time consuming trying to find the perfect match for me.

Stitch ThemeOnce I installed and activated “Stitch”, I realized that it was exactly what I wanted. The colors worked well together, so there was no need to change them, and I liked the font and layout of this theme. It was professional and creative. “Stitch” didn’t cause any changes to the dashboard, so I highly suggest this theme to beginners. It was a seamless transition from my previous theme, “Delicate” by NattyWP. Only small changes occurred to the actual layout of my website. The navigational bar was moved to the left side along with my recent posts tab, twitter feed and RSS. Unlike most of the themes that I had previewed, I thought the theme “Stitch” was the easiest for people when navigating through my website, which is something everyone should be aware of when creating a website. I suggest reading How to pick a WordPress theme that doesn’t suck if you need help finding a theme for your website.

 

My First MKTG 470 Blog Post

Welcome to my post about MKTG 470 at JMU

MKTG 470 at JMUWelcome to my blog.  I am currently enrolled in MKTG 470 at JMU taught by Dr. Theresa B. Clarke at James Madison University.  As one of the course requirements, all students will be completing some of the assignments as blog posts.  This is my first official blog post for Dr. Clarke’s course in the JMU Department of Marketing. MKTG 470 at JMU is my first Internet Marketing class I have taken. MKTG 470 at JMU is a really useful class to take if you want to learn more on how to be successful in Internet Marketing and increase you online presence using search engine optimization.

Four reasons why you should take MKTG 470 at JMU:

  1.  You will learn how to research and comprehend the major internet marketing challenges and opportunities based on historical and current events in the global business environment
  2. You will learn how to evaluate and apply current technologies to support and enable the strategic internet marketing function
  3. You will learn how to recommend and justify the appropriate internet marketing strategies to market and communicate with relevant stakeholders
  4. You will learn how to assess the impact and effectiveness of the internet marketing strategy in achieving an organization’s business objectives