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Travel Bloggers’ Secrets You Can Use: Part 2

 

As promised here is Part 2 of our “Travel Blogger’s Secrets You Can Use” blog post! If you missed Part 1 be sure to click here and check out all the amazing blogging tips we covered in last week’s post. This week we’re talking about the best marketing, monetizing, and travel tips our lovely panelists, Tamara Gruber of We3Travel, Lillie Marshall of Around the World “L”, and Priscilla Pilon of The Weekend in Paris, shared at our August #NIMRI event. So let’s get started!

Top 8 Marketing/Monetizing Tips

1. Soliciting Sponsors: The emphasis should always be on the content you’re creating. “Write it, and they will come,” said Priscilla sagely, “Produce high-quality content, and they will come.”

The Work With Me Section of the We3Travel Website

The Official “Work with Me” section of We3Travel’s About Page

2. Doing Business With Brands: There are a few ways a blogger can work with a brand: being contacted by people to place ads, contacting people to place ads, sponsored posts, or, if you’re lucky, a sponsored trip.“If I work with a brand or do a sponsored post, it has to be something I believe in. Once your audience doesn’t believe you, you’re done,” Priscilla warned.

“Native Advertising, which is when you have content that is already successful and then work with advertisers who would complement that content, can work very well,” said Lillie.

3. Navigating Negativity: It can be very difficult to figure out what to do when you have a bad experience as a blogger, particularly if the trip is a sponsored one. It is especially tricky because, depending on the country’s laws, you could potentially be sued for a negative review. “Contact the PR people and be sure to start with the positive things and then talk about the disappointments,” advised Priscilla, “I always give them a chance to fix it. If they do, I won’t write a bad review. If they don’t, I will offer to not write about it.”

“Steer away from negative content, even though it can be very effective. Everyone gets fired up over a bad review and they like to share it, but it doesn’t reflect very well on you and can get you into trouble,” offered Lillie.

4. Create a Community: “Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform. You can pay $5 to promote a post (and I do that sometimes), but you won’t see a big difference in your analytics. What’s really powerful is to form alliances and private Facebook groups, not just with other travel bloggers. People who like wine, food, lifestyle, even interior design share readers. The cross-pollenization that happens helps everyone grow,” Priscilla said.

5. Know Your Worth: “It depends on your reach and your demographic,” reasoned Tamara, “I have a group of travel blogger friends, and we share that information.”

“This is why you need the group mentality!” proclaimed Priscilla, “Building your blogging network is key. Whatever you do, don’t write a post for someone for free – it brings the rate for everyone down to $0. You’re time is worth something.

“I would argue that there is a value in giving content to high-traffic sites, so it can be OK to do something like that for free as long as there is some ROI. It’s a value to your resume,” Lillie said.

One of We3Travel's Pinterest boards

We3Travel on Pinterest © Photos by Tamara Gruber

6. A Photo’s Worth a Thousand Shares (nope, still not right): “For me, Pinterest is very important. It drives traffic to my site, often more than google,” Tamara shared.

“Be sure to link all of your photos: photos on Google and Pinterest should link to your website and have descriptions,” Priscilla said.

“Selling your photos can also be another source of income,” Lillie pointed out.

The Newport Interactive Marketers' Hootsuite dashboard

Here’s a look at the Newport Interactive Marketers’ Hootsuite dashboard

7. Tally Your Toolbox:  “Don’t be afraid to automate! Hootsuite can schedule your posts at the best time for your demographic. You could write the best blog post ever, but if no one ever reads it, it won’t matter,” explained Lillie. To find out when the ideal time for your demographic is, be sure to check out Tweepi. 

“The Tail Wind app is great for automating Pinterest,” shared Tamara, “Paying a little for the right tools can be worth it.”

Google trends is an invaluable SEO tool,” said Priscilla, “In WordPress there is a feature where you can try a bunch of different options and put them in Google Trends to see where you are in searches.”

Snapchat logo

Snapchat! If you want to learn more about using Snapchat as a blogger, check out AdventurousKate

8. Socialize, Socialize, Socialize (your media, that is):  “Learn and get busy on all social media sites and thank everyone who follows (NOT by direct message),” Priscilla advised.

“The biggest mistake people make is to just stop for an extended period of time on social media,” Lille said, “Be consistent and don’t be afraid to self promote!

“Snapchat is the newest thing people must be on, although it does appeal to a younger demographic,” said Tamara, “Its important to know who your audience is and where to find them.”

 

Top 3 Travel Tips

“Use Trivago or another trip-cost comparison site to look for the lowest fare. Then, take a screenshot and call the hotel. They will always match it, and it’s always better to book through the hotel because they tend to have a better cancellation policy and you also will be eligible for upgrades,” advised Priscilla.

“Tuesday is the best day to book airlines usually,” shared Tamara.

“People would pay a lot of money to stay in your home in beautiful Newport so rent it out on Airbnb to get money for travel and also find places to stay in yourself!” Lillie suggested.

All-Time Favorite Hotel

The Phoenix Resort in Belize

Balcony view from the Phoenix Resort in Belize © Photo by Lillie Marshall

Lillie’s Pick: The Phoenix in Belize “No better place for a babymoon!” 

 Kona Village Resort in Hawaii at Sunrise

The now closed Kona Village Resort in Hawaii © Photo by Tamara Grub

Tamara’s Pick: Kona Village Resort in Hawaii “Unfortunately, after 45 years, this resort was forced to permanently close their doors after the March 2011 tsunami.”

A hammock overlooking the ocean at The Bitter End Resort in BVI

The gorgeous Bitter End Resort in BVI © Photo by Priscilla Pilon

Priscilla’s Pick: The Bitter End in the British Virgin Islands “I’ve never been sponsored to stay at this hotel, but I visit every year!”  

And, of course, we had to ask about their favorite place in Newport! 

Castle Hill Inn from the sea

Castle Hill Inn from the sea © Photo by Priscilla Pilon

Priscilla’s Pick: Castle Hill Inn “They have the best lunch and the best views!” 

hotel viking

The beautiful Hotel Viking (#NIMRI venue sponsor for our annual networking event!) © Photo by Lillie Marshall

Lillie’s Pick: Hotel Viking “This is the place to go to feel like royalty!” 

Here’s what #NIMRI members were saying on Instagram and Twitter: 

 

Great turnout at #NIMRI! A photo posted by Suzanne McDonald (@newportinteract) on

 

 

Learning about travel blogging at #NIMRI at @ParlorNewport. #NewportRI A photo posted by The Newport Blast (@thenewportblast) on

Many thanks to our venue sponsor Parlor Kitchen & Bar

Register for the next #NIMRI event now! 

100% Networking at Newport’s Best Sunset Spot

On July 30th, Newport Interactive Marketers held our annual networking event on the Rooftop of the Hotel Viking, Newport’s Best Sunset Spot, which overlooks Newport Harbor. Unfortunately, we were a bit short on sun but that didn’t stop our #NIMRI members. It was an extraordinary success despite the downpour and having everyone huddled together under the tent just made the networking easier!

Our annual rooftop 100% networking event was co-hosted by:

Here’s some of our favorite moments from that rainy night:

NIM members networking under the tent 2015-07-30 19.26.04

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All the lovely snacks provided by @HotelViking!

All the lovely snacks provided by @HotelViking!

Such an amazing giveaway! Lucky #NIMRI member Pieter van Gool won 2 tickets to the Newport Jazz Festival and he had a blast!

Such an amazing giveaway! Lucky #NIMRI member Pieter van Gool won 2 tickets to the Newport Jazz Festival and he had a blast!

 

 

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Jameson on the rocks at a rainy #NIMRI. #NewportRI   A photo posted by Drink Newport – Newport, RI (@drinknewport) on

The rain couldn't dampen these #NIMRI members spirits!

The rain couldn’t dampen these #NIMRI members spirits!

 

 

And here’s our lucky winner at the Newport Jazz Festival! 

Many thanks to our venue sponsor Hotel Viking

Simple Tips for DIY Videos

“You can talk all day about SEM and SEO. What your client needs is great VIDEO,” said photographer and video producer Marc Creedon.

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Panelists speak to the #NIMRI attendees at Caleb & Broad in Newport, offering tips on how to make DIY videos look professional.

Video is increasingly important on social media – even Facebook has begun to feature it heavily. If social media is becoming more focused on video, so should your social media marketing strategy.

But video is expensive, right? How can you do-it-yourself without compromising quality?

Newport Interactive Marketers brought a panel of professionals who can give you tips and tricks of the trade in order to begin incorporating video more prominently in your social media strategy.

Each panelist has decades of experience but has also kept up with current technology. We’ve brought them to Newport for you, because that’s how we roll here at NIM.

Meet Our Video Pro Panelists

Hal Landen is a cameraman, producer, and author who has traveled the world on assignments and written how to books to assist businesspeople incorporate video in their marketing strategy. He says to check your equipment before you start shooting so you know that when the time comes, everything will be working correctly.

Jim Egan, who was a commercial photographer for 30 years and now runs the Newport Tower Museum on weekends, has also written 12 books and now shoots web content for agencies and businesses in Rhode Island. Egan says the key to a successful image is gesture and proper lighting. Motion, emotion and visual appeal are essential to a good video.

Marc Creedon, a photographer and video producer, says the best camera is the one you have with you. Journalists often use their phones to document what is happening, so learn how to use your phone to make your video look professional.

Scott Indermaur is a former journalist who is now a commercial photographer, handling multimedia projects for clients. It’s important to interview well, he says, but make it feel like a conversation, with moments of true emotion.

Shooting Tips2015-05-19 18.56.03

  • Don’t be afraid to shoot with your phone.
  • Make sure adequate battery and memory is available.
  • Close all other apps.
  • Shoot in landscape mode.
  • Instead of using zoom, use your legs and get closer.
  • Pan the camera sparingly.
  • Don’t be afraid to get the shot.

Editing Tips

  • Don’t edit on your phone; edit on the computer.
  • Take advantage of free photo editing software.
  • Use short snippets to show different aspects of a scene.
  • Leave cliffhangers to entice people to watch your other videos.
  • Music is essential to make a video professional. Try Free Stock Music for free downloads.
  • Create a look by trying Font Squirrel for free fonts and Fiverr for logos.
  • Shoot a lot, edit a lot, and make mistakes.

What were participants tweeting during the panel?

 


Many thanks to our venue sponsor, Caleb & Broad. It’s a familiar location for longtime NIM folks, but it’s totally renovated inside and has excellent food at locals’ prices.

Check out NIM’s upcoming event here. Make sure you preregister because events fill up quickly!

Generate Leads on Instagram

With more than 300 million active users, Instagram is now the fastest-growing social media platform – and when trends online change, your social media marketing strategy needs to shift with it.

Luckily, NIM brought #InstagramExpert Sue B Zimmerman to Newport June 9 to share her expertise on making your Instagram work for your business.

Zimmerman is founder of Insta-Results, the world’s first comprehensive online Instagram course, and author of the No. 1 e-book “Instagram Basics for Your Business.”

An entrepreneur and founder of 18 businesses, including her own boutique, Zimmerman is passionate about teaching other business owners, execs, and marketing professionals how to best leverage social media platforms, such as Instagram, to see tangible results.

Zimmerman’s Instagram photos portray a lot of excitement and enthusiasm as part of her branding.

Keys of “Insta-Success”

Zimmerman says there are three components of Instagram that are essential to success.

  • Bio
  • Compelling Content
  • Active Engagement

Tips to Making Your Instagram Bio Pop

  • Name – Use the same name as your Twitter account so that your accounts are recognizably linked. If the name you want is taken, don’t be afraid to use underscores or symbols.
  • Avatar – Make this image pop! You can use a logo, but you want your audience to feel that they’re doing business with a smiling human, not a robot. Use bright colors here, and feel free to use props.
  • Bio – You have 150 characters to tell your audience who you are. Make every character count. This is a great place to use emojis and show personality!
  • Call to Action – Instagram is a great funnel for leads, meaning by the time they get to your bio, they’re likely to be very interested in your brand, so carefully consider what you want someone to do once they get to your account.
  • Link – You have space for only one link, so make sure you’re sending your link where you want them to go. Try sending them to your online store, email newsletter sign-up or strategy guide.

Creating Compelling Instagram Content

  • Stick to your niche market – don’t confuse people.
  • Add value to every post by including useful information in the image’s description.
  • Create images that stand out. Use third-party apps to make picture collages or to edit images.
  • Post daily. If you have fewer than 500 followers, post two times a day.
  • Humanize your brand. People want to see the person behind the business.
  • Engage with other accounts. Giving a shout out to accounts you like will encourage them to check out your account.
  • Hashtags are so important for potential followers to find your content. But instead of putting the hashtags in the description of the image, which makes the post look cluttered, post a comment on the photo immediately after you post with as many as 30 hashtags. Try Keyhole, to help find the most useful and targeted hashtags to find your key audience.

Six Mistakes to Avoid on Instagram

  • Never post a blurry photo. If it’s your only image, use a sharpening tool in Instagram to make a photo less blurry.
  • Don’t post irrelevant “stuff.” You may lose followers if too much of your content seems useless or unrelated to their interests.
  • Don’t over-post. If you saturate your feed with images, people will unfollow you.
  • Don’t under-post. If you aren’t active enough, people won’t follow you in the first place.
  • Don’t repost the same images. Instagram posts have a life of about 24 hours, so there’s no need to post an image more than once.
  • Avoid posed, catalogue-type shots. Your audience doesn’t want to feel like they’re being sold to online.

What were #NIMRI attendees saying on Twitter?

 

 

 Sue b NIMRI

 

Check out NIM’s next event here. Make sure you preregister before it fills up!

A special thank you to the event host 41 North in Newport.

Newport Interactive Marketers is sponsored by web and social specialists Designated Editor, named Newport County Chamber of Commerce Microbusiness of the Year and International Business Award Internet/New Media Company of the Year.

Competitive Intelligence: Ask Why?

Competitive intelligence is the key to making smart and educated decisions for your business strategy – and understanding why a competitor’s business strategy works is the key to integrating that information into your own business model.

Big Fish Results founder Tony Guarnaccia presented at NIM’s April 15 networking-learning event, and emphasized the importance of competitive intelligence and of asking “Why?” Drawing upon 15+ years of experience, Guarnaccia gave an animated and detailed lecture to help Rhode Island’s local businesses, bigger brands, and agencies improve their strategic planning.

5 Big Questions to Ask

When conducting a competitive analysis, Big Fish Results uses a top-down process to answer five questions:

  1. How much traffic do you generate versus your competitors?
  2. Where is this traffic coming from?
  3. How much does your competitor spend on advertising?
  4. What are the specific search terms they use to create SEO?
  5. WHY? What’s triggering certain types of data and data points?

Tools to Use to Aquire Competitive Intelligence

You can use online tools to acquire data on your competitors and work toward answering these questions. But Guarnaccia reminded everyone, “The tools aren’t the secret. It’s what you do with them that makes a difference.”

Here are just a few examples:

  • SEMrush – Online software that offers keyword research and other data on competitors.
  • Google Trends – Offers data on keywords and shows trends in topics online.
  • Google Keyword Planner – Find data and conduct tests on keywords before you use them.
  • SimilarWeb – Allows you to compare your traffic data to that of your competitors.
  • Simply Measured – Provides data on audiences, competitors, and conversations to help develop a targeted strategy.

Competitive Intelligence

Once you’ve acquired information on your competitors, learn how to use it. This is what Big Fish Results would do:

• Segment your data – Keep your outreach relevant to each target audience by personalizing information.
• Look at trends – Find out what your target audience cares about and what your competitors are doing well.
• Benchmark – Have measures to compare your results to your competitors’ and set goals.
• Filter – Only use the strategies that apply to your brand and your audience so you don’t confuse or turn away people who you want to reach.
• Exclude Brand Keywords – Use keywords that your potential clients will be searching for.
• CREATE ACTION! – Use calls to action that inspire your audience.

About Tony Guarnaccia

Now the “captain” of Big Fish Results, Guarnaccia formerly ran digital advertising for ADP, where he worked with dozens of Fortune 500 companies, such as Ford Motor Company, Lithia, General Motors and BMW. Guarnaccia uses his experience with these big-name brands to make Rhode Island’s local businesses, bigger brands and agencies compete with huge names and become Big Fish in their market.

big-fish-results-logo

Here’s what some of the Newport Interactive Marketers were saying on Twitter about NIM’s event, “Secrets of Your Competition”:

Mia Lupo: For traffic trends, compare long-term performance; identify surprising peaks and dips then WHY this happens #NIMRI #trends

David Englund: Getting “schooled” from Big Fish Results is like drinking from the fire hydrant at #nimri

Ryan Belmore: So much great information was shared last night at #NIMRI! Nice to see everyone and thank you Midtown Oyster Bar and @sue_DesigEditor!

Newport Restoration: Archive.org- a good way to see how far a company’s come & what they can do to improve. #NIMRI

Join the Conversation on Twitter using #NIMRI. Or sign up for NIM event announcements using the box at the top right of this page.

Check out the next NIM event here. Make sure you preregister to get a spot before it fills up!

Eeyore or Elvis?

In an age where we can’t seem to put down our phones, it was nice to hear Gail Lowney Alofsin give a presentation involving face-to-face communication at last week’s Newport Interactive Marketers Networking event.

Newport Interactive Marketers (NIM) was established in 2010 as an assembly of new media talent. NIM attracts speakers from across New England to share their marketing experiences.

Thursday night’s speaker, Gail Lowney Alofsin is the Director of Corporate Partnerships at Newport Harbor Corporation as well as a professor in the Communications Department at URI. Alofsin is also the author of her first book, “Your Someday is Now.”

Alofsin began her speech, drawing philosophy from her book, explaining the power of networking. While giving many helpful tips along the way, here are a few that stuck out to me:

Mindset

Every networker needs to begin with a positive mindset. It is easy to sit back and not take part in something. Particularly when an opportunity allows you to build relationships, Alofsin advises that you check your “whether report.” No, I didn’t make a spelling mistake…the “whether report” is a way to address a situation to decide whether to go or not. Take advantage of any opportunity that comes your way (or make your own opportunities).

Clearly making an impact, newportFILM even used the expression in a tweet, “@sue_DesigEditor glad my “whether report” told me it was going to be friendly & awesome at #NIMRI 😉 THNX for the wise words @gailalofsin!”

Network before you need it: Meeting new people can be fun! Remember to spend time with your colleagues and reinforce current relationships. You never know when you might need them, or whom THEY know.

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You, Inc.: Alofsin also stresses the idea that EVERYTHING communicates. It is important to pay attention to how you present yourself. When networking, try to “disconnect to connect” by putting away your phone and communicating with the people around you.

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 12.24.52 PM

Attire, body language, attitude, as well as what you say, all contribute to a person’s perception of you. Are you going to enter a room like an Eeyore or an Elvis? When communicating with people: be present, be interesting, and be your best.

After all of this inspiration, the NIM event also provides its attendees with the opportunity to utilize some of these skills. With over 50 people in attendance, all were able to mingle and create new contacts.

Filled with old-timers, newcomers, and great food…the NIM Networking event was a success!

Newport Interactive Marketing

Simple Tests to Improve Your Website

Which Test Won logoWhichTestWon publisher Anne Holland’s quiz-show-style presentation at February’s Newport Interactive Marketers focused on how to use simple tests to improve website sales, signups, and conversion rates.

Holland provided copious examples of how small – often nontechnical – tweaks can result in huge improvements. Here are the highlights of the presentation.

Why Synchronous Testing?

  • Create two versions simultaneously
  • Traffic engine splits it into two different versions to see which does better
  • Super cheap and easy to do
  • You can go to Google Experimental Engine or Visual Website Optimizer
  • Great for an agency: You’ll impress your clients

Why You Shouldn’t Go With Your Gut

WhichTestWon’s founder Anne Holland says: If you’re just using your gut you are probably wrong.  “I’m still surprised by the results,” she said. “I follow my gut, knowing what I know, and it’s the opposite. If my gut is wrong, yours can be wrong.”

Knowing the product or the client too well can actually be a drawback. You’re not the visitors, so you don’t look at the product the way they do. For this reason, you’ve got to test. Amazon tests, LinkedIn test, Dell tests, and you should, too!

Where to Start Testing

Do not start testing on pages with high abandon or bounce rate because you won’t see a much change.

Pages to Test & Track

  • Thank you & receipt pages
  • Follow up
  • Emails
  • Digital Marketing Campaigns
  • Landing Pages
  • Search Results
  • Category Pages
  • Product offer description pages
  • Abandons

How to Decide What to Test

  • Use the same size screen that your traffic will be viewing: a 15” monitor, 1-24x 786 resolution (Hint: 980 pixels across, 520 down)
  • Quickly glance at page to see what you notice that needs to be changed
  • Remove clutter
  • Vary headlines
  • Big images, change images
  • Buttons: sizes, colors, wording

Make One Change at a Time

  • If you test two changes on the same page, your results won’t be useful
  • Don’t change the headline and the image because you won’t know which worked better
  • Example: If you change the size of the button, don’t change the wording on the button

Or Test a Radical Redesign

  • Radical redesign means you make the dramatic changes.
  • Then you compare your old page to the redesigned pages and see which does better
  • Then tweak the winning page to see which elements made the difference

What You Want to Achieve by Testing

You don’t want just more clicks. If extra clicks don’t increase sales, no one cares.

Instead of simply more clicks you want

  • More sales
  • More qualified leads
  • Lower cost per lead
  • Higher revenues per cart

How Long Should You Test?

Typically you should run a test for 21 days

Testing Examples:

1) Dell Mega Image Test

  • Mega Image Won (Mega Image is an image that fills the majority of the homepage screen)
  • Increased leads generated by 36%
  • Lowered the page bounce rate by 27%

2) Dell Search Box Test

  • Test between a button that says search or a magnifying-glass icon
  • Search button won
  • Resulted in a 6.3% Lift in RPV (revenue) avg.
  • A winning test is usually results in a 3% lift

3) Local or Toll Free Number Test

  • Toll free number or local phone number
  • Which would generate more sales?
  • The local number increased sales (checkout page visits) by 18.3%

4) Email Test

  • Should it say: “Click here for more info” or “Find out more”?
  • “Click here” won
  • 97% lift in unique clicks
  • 16% increase in page views

5) Overlay Test

  • Overlays are like pop-ups on your website
  • They are much more responsive than saying: Please join our email list
  • Often come free with email service provider or free WordPress plugin
  • Test was how wide should the overlay be
  • Smaller overlay won
  • Results 8.8% More Opt-Ins

Don’t miss  Newport Interactive Marketers’ FREE monthly networking-learning gatherings.

How Can URI’s Business Concierge Help Your Brand?

Newport Interactive Marketers partnered with the URI Business Engagement Center (BEC) to explain the valuable resources available for businesses at URI.

Think of Katharine Hazard Flynn as your concierge if you have a question about how to work with interns, sponsors research that could become product, or host an event at URI.

Think of Katharine Hazard Flynn as your concierge if you have a question about how to work with interns, sponsors research that could become product, or host an event at URI.

Leading the new Business Engagement Center, Katharine Hazard Flynn, serves as the University of Rhode Island’s connector to the private/nonprofit sectors, helping brands leverage URI’s resources for the betterment of the state.  A Brown alum, she also has significant finance experience in senior positions at Prudential Bache, Alex Brown & Sons, Toronto Dominion Securities, and Societe General.

Think of Katharine Hazard Flynn as your concierge if you have a question about how to work with interns, sponsors research that could become product, or host an event at URI.  Flynn discussed how the BEC was created to give businesses a place to come and connect with URI.  This center was modeled after successful programs such as University of Michigan’s BEC.

In addition to the BEC, URI also has another new initiative, the Small Business Development Center. The center is primarily for small businesses to get counseling and financial support in variety of different counseling mechanisms.

The BEC acts a one-stop destination for business owners to connect with the university. Through the BEC businesses can be connected with URI’s students, faculty, equipment and facilities. Here are some of the resources the center offers.

Find Talent

The BEC’s main goal is to increase industry engagement. URI wants to connect their students with jobs, internships, and faculty research. Some 60 percent of the university’s students are from Rhode Island. According to Flynn, this means that students want to stay here, work here, and thrive here.

The BEC is able to connect businesses with students from all disciplines including business, engineering, healthcare, arts and sciences, technology, and many other fields.

Sponsor Research

Whether you have a manufacturing issue, new product concept, or business challenge you’d like to do research on, URI can help. URI student and faculty researchers have experience working with businesses and can help you solve these issues. Use the BEC to aid you in accessing URI’s research expertise.

Develop Your Workforce

The BEC provides customized workforce training and skills development to help you achieve your business goals.  It offers opportunities to help your staff polish their skills as well as specialized training programs. Here is the full list of training programs the Business Engagement Center offers.

Facilities & Equipment

URI has facilities perfect for accommodating small and large groups. Its meetings rooms range from small meeting rooms to auditoriums accommodating up to several hundred people, and everything in between.

URI also has equipment that can be a valuable asset for businesses.  From the 3-D Imaging capability, to equipment in URI’s Sensor and Surface Technology Lab in chemical engineering, its equipment can fit the needs of many different businesses.

Here are some examples:

Meeting space and planning

Equipment Usage

BEC Success Stories 

Although new, the BEC has already partnered with many local business. One example is their partnership with the Pizza Gourmet. Co-Owner Jack Parente approached the center to help him create a better, and safer, grill for his pizza crusts. Hazard connected him with with professors at the engineering school and five seniors. They are now working on a capstone project to help improve Parente’s grill. The owner has been thrilled by the students’ discoveries and suggestions.

Another example of the BEC’s success is its YMCA partnership. When the center was approached by the YMCA looking for students to provide physical therapy, the Y was not disappointed, connecting with the URI physical therapy department for and  interns.

Lastly, the BEC has helped to connect GTech with writers from URI. Not only does GTech utilize members of URI’s writing and rhetoric majors as interns, but the global giant also often hires these students after graduation.

URI’s BEC has helped a wide range of businesses find what they are looking for.

Looking for help with any aspect of your business from internships to research? Be sure to URI’s Business Engagement Center Executive Director Flynn.

 

Must-Have WordPress Plugins

On Tuesday, August 13th, WordPress expert Matt Medeiros highlighted “Must-Have WordPress Plugins” to the Newport Interactive Marketers audience at the International Yacht Restoration School.

To better understand the difference, Matt explained the relationship between a website, WordPress, and plugins in this analogy:

318px-IPhone4SWhite_no_shadow

Website : iPhone

WordPress : iOs software

Plugins : Apps

Before installing, make sure that your web host can support a lot of bandwidth in the long run. Once your web host is set up, do thorough research on any plugins you are considering for your site: read reviews, check the number of installations and the dates of the most recent updates.  Staying up to date for safety’s sake avoids malware, site lag, and loss of data.

Free and Premium versions are available. Although free ones are great because they’re “accessible, fast and free,” Matt pointed out that there is a difference between Free and Premium—Premium is better.

Premium plugins have more features, better quality, great support, longer product cycle and higher compatibility. If you get what you pay for, it’s worth paying for premium plugins for contact forms and e-commerce.

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Matt Medeiros explains the effectiveness of WordPress plugins

In addition to explaining the basics, Matt also shared his favorite WordPress plugins:

  • Ultimate Coming Soon Page
  • Redirection– great for transitioning domain change to WordPress
  • Yoast– WordPress SEO and Video SEO
  • BackWPup-Wordpress backup plugin
  • BackUp Buddy– premium version of BackWPup
  • Gravity Forms– premium, very powerful; creates contact forms and can create users
  • W3 Total Cache-“cache-ing” helps server, which ultimately helps drive the bottom line for business
  • Paid Membership Pro– available in free version and premium version
  • Responsive WordPress Slider by Soliloquy
  • WooCommerce– E-commerce plugin, also provides extensions for shipping
  • bbPress– “be all, end all” discussion platform for WordPress
  • JetPack-“a single plugin that does a thousand things”; it has its own analytics and has the capability to cache images and speed up load time
  • WPtouch– premium mobile version of WordPress site
  • Powerpress– the only one for podcasts

**Can’t find a plugin you want? Matt advises to have a developer create it

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Thanks to the International Yacht Restoration School and Bridge Liquors for hosting!