Listed in order of severity
#6 is the least severe, #1 is the most


This rule of journalism applies to electronic journalism as well – avoid using terminology that someone outside of your industry may not understand. Remember, they are going to be the ones looking for your services anyway. Jargon is OK on downloads and white papers, but not on general pages.


If you want people to visit your website, lose the sound. Think of an example of someone at work visiting a website they should not be on and having unnecessary attention drawn to them because of music or ‘blips’ during navigation. Not referring to ‘adult’ sites, but sites that someone should not be on at work such as a competitors site when they are trying to apply for a job. If you use music, allow the user to dictate when it starts/stops – ALWAYS.


In the late 1990s, Flash became a popular platform for building websites because of the ‘wow’ factor.  In 2011, web users are finding Flash-based websites more annoying than anything else.  Long load times are nothing compared to the fact that Flash sites don’t get indexed by major search engines and are not view-able on many handheld devices (including iPhone & iPad).


7-out-of-10 websites evaluated by AI Software do not even contain an appropriate title.  8-out-of-10 do not contain meta data.  9-out-of-10 contain irelevant or way to general meta data.  ANY website should have SOME consideration given to SEO – most should have a campaign in place.


Your website is a VERY IMPORTANT part of your marketing strategy – it opens your organization to the world.  However, it should not be 100% of your marketing strategy.  When a professional, functional website is coupled with tried & true marketing strategies – that is when your organization gets the most out of a web presence.  Internet-based companies such as Constant Contact and GoDaddy have become successful due to a top notch web presence as well as traditional marketing efforts. 


Easily the biggest ‘no-no’ in web design.  Seasoned and successful people who run businesses and organizations would never think of having someone without sufficient experience perform tasks such as accounting, management, operations, etc. – yet, many of these people still trust unqualified individuals to build their web site – the only piece of marketing collateral that can be seen by anyone and everyone in the world. 

We would love it if you trust AI Software with your web presence, but if you’re not going to use our team . . . . PLEASE HIRE A PROFESSIONAL!

For additional information, contact terry@aisoftwareinc.com


Does My Organization Need a Mobile Website?

Would having a mobile website help my business sell more products and services?
People are searching evermore using their mobile phone. Many business owners have had a dot com website for years and say they've never experienced an increase in business, especially locally. They have asked how a mobile website would help. A mobile website and traditional dot com websites are very different. A dot com website usually has focused on the early stage of the sale, a mobile website is normally used more in the later part of the sales process, and potential buyers are looking and ready to buy at that point.
Mobile users want information about how they can buy your product or service. They want to know your hours, location, how to contact you, about specials or promotions, etc. Without having a mobile website in place, your competitor's will be found.
So whether your business is a pizza place, you're a consultant, lawyer, a plumber, your customers/clients are still going to be looking for you and if you have a mobile website the better chance they will find you.
Monetizing components of Mobile Marketing and Increase Customer Loyalty
You have customers that come in once every 2 weeks, once a month, once every two months. By offering mobile opportunities and engagements aggressively to existing customers, your mobile database will grow rapidly. When this happens, timely notification of special VIP only deals and discounts, friendly reminders of events and promotions will get them to come in 2 more times this year.
Lead Generation: Your brand may be attempting to reach out to new customers in a variety of ways; radio, newspaper, direct mail, events, networking, signage, flyers, word of mouth, email, are just a few of the possibilities.
When these potential clients see or hear your message they frequently ignore it, forget it, or simply disregard it because it isn't the right time of the day, or possibly the right time of their life for your product or service.
When you put the immediate "call-to-action" of Text BUSINESS NAME to 72727 in the center of "traditional" advertising, it gives customers an easy and immediate way to interact with you and your brand.
These customers already love you and your business, and have requested updates and offers. Now when we promote to this loyal database anywhere between 2 and 4 times a month on average (frequency varies greatly by industry), data shows that this branding and timeliness of additional communication will trigger additional engagements over the course of a year.
Since the amount of cell phones and smart phones are growing at an alarming rate, along with local searches, mobile websites are the tool to drastically help increase the speed of the buying process.

Customers are looking to buy and the mobile website is designed to answer just the questions they need to find you and buy from you.

For more information, email terry@aisoftwareinc.com


To APP or not To APP. . .

These days, a large percentage of the population uses an iPhone or Droid (Android) for their preferred method of communication. These users are used to being separated from their money - $1 at a time – through the ‘APP Store’ offered by either Apple or Android.

Increasing adoption and usage of ‘APPs’ is creating a buzz for businesses and organizations to wonder – do we need to create an ‘APP’?

. . . That is the question!

When examining whether or not your organization should create an iPhone or Android APP, perhaps the question should be:  What will my APP accomplish?

Here are some potential benefits of creating an APP:

  • Create a new marketing channel.
  • Create a new revenue stream.
  • Create a viral promotion with a fun APP.
  • Allow customers to remotely access data including placing orders, access important information, place instant orders and more.

You Better Recognize!

While APPs are certainly ‘cool’ and ‘sexy’ (thanks in large part to the brilliant marketing team at Apple) – Mobile Web is actually less expensive and can be much more beneficial and easy to manage.

Mobile web refers to a website that is built and optimized for display on mobile devices.  AI Software uses BROWSER RECOGNITION – this means that the web application actually recognizes what type of device is accessing the site and displays a different interface accordingly.  So, the actual mobile web application ‘knows’ if it’s being viewed by an iPhone, Android, iPad, Dell Streak, HP Slate, etc. and display itself accordingly. 

A Mobile Web Site offers the following benefits:

  • Create 1 product with multiple displays, rather than multiple products for each platform (save time, save money).
  • Updates are made in real time – your stakeholders do not have to download updates from the APP Store constantly.
  • Give customers instant access to the Mobile Web Application – no download necessary.  Access via URL – don’t have to find it in a ‘store’ environment.
  • Can be the same URL as your company page and use browser recognition to display accordingly.
  • Because it is browser-based, this product will function on ALL current and future portable devices.

Regardless of the direction you take for your mobile marketing strategy, count on AI Software to help you every step of the way!

Email me for more information:  terry@aisoftwareinc.com


Search Engine Wars

It is common knowledge now that Google dominates the search engine wars.  While Bing, Yahoo! and Ask.com continue to hold their own, a new leader is quickly emerging. 

When looking at the aggregate amount of queries/searches done across all of the major websites, portals, etc. we find that the second largest search engine in 2011 is not Bing or Yahoo! – but YouTube.

Web users are getting used to video responses to their queries . . .

Is it really that hard to believe that YouTube (purchased by Google in 2006) is the second largest search engine?

It is more than just the traffic that is generated from web users looking for an entertainment venue – it is about education.  Hundreds of thousands of video tutorials exist on YouTube today!

YouTube is what future generations will use instead of an encyclopedia.

Not sure how to wash a dog? Change a diaper? Jailbreak an iPhone? Build a deck? Do a magic trick? Play the solo in Van Halen's 'Running With The Devil'? Understand what Google TV will be? Whatever random question you have, someone, somewhere has created a video with the answer and the tutorial on how to do it.

It begs the question: how well are you leveraging the power of YouTube online videos to connect with your customers?

Want some ideas – let us know!


Quick Tips for Promoting Your Website

Promoting your website is the first and also the most important step post-launch. Your website is the way you will be creating income, promoting your message(s) and building your brand online.

Here are three quick and easy tips to promote your website: search engine submission, social network marketing, and creating articles.

Search engine submission is the first tip to promote your website. This part is one of the most crucial steps for any newly launched website. Once your website is live, you'll want to be sure to submit it to the various online search engines – or make sure your web design vendor is doing this for you!

The next tip to promote your website is to use the various social networking sites to build and maintain relationships with your friends list. This can be a great way to promote your site, but you'll need to be aware of a few social networking no-no's first.

The main “no-no’s” are as follows:

  • Do not blatantly try to sell your products to people on your friends list, as this is considered rude. Plus, people like to buy and absolutely hate being sold.
  • The second no-no is to spam; nobody likes a spammer. This could ruin your efforts on trying to build relationships, and it could even ruin your entire business. Don't spam.

The last tip to promote your website is to write articles. Now, you might be asking, "how in the heck could articles help my website?" Well first of all, writing articles can help you make a name for yourself online, and also helps to generate lots of quality traffic to your site. All you really need to do is pick a topic that you know about, write about it, and then submit it to article directory sites and local/regional/trade publications.  Share your knowledge on your topic of choice with the world! This will help you gain credibility as an expert in your field.

In summary, promoting your website is crucial in your online endeavors. Make sure you submit your website to search engines, take use of the various social networking sites, and create quality articles. Following these three tips can help increase the number of visitors and potential customers to your site.

Need more information?  Let me know!

Terry Robinski | terry@aisoftwareinc.com



LinkedIn | the 2011 résumé

acBy now, we all know about Facebook and Twitter.  It would be surprising if you are not using one of both of these services on a weekly (if not daily) basis.  If you keep up with this blog, you are aware of the benefits of these services and how to use them appropriately . . . but what about LinkedIn?

LinkedIn can be described as: ‘professional Facebook’, however, LinkedIn describes their service as follows:

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 80 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.

There’s the official definition, but let’s look at how you can use LinkedIn to get the maximum amount of value.

NOTE:  the following ideas are just a few of the excellent ways to use LinkedIn.

If you are a Salesperson . . .
If you are trying to penetrate an organization and having trouble getting an appointment – try searching the company name and seeing if you have a connection there.  If not, does a contact at that company have a shared connection with you?  Reach out – it’s safe and easy.

Also, in sales, your prospect is buying ‘you’ as well as the company, make sure your profile is up-to-date and you have lots of good recommendations.


If you are in Human Resources . . .
As you are interviewing prospects, ask yourself what it says about someone who has a solid LinkedIn profile vs. someone who has a weak profile (or no profile at all)?  What does it say about someone who has taken the time and effort to stay on top of this vs. someone who hasn’t?  What level of enthusiasm do they have about their career in either case?

If you own a company or are a C-level executive . . .
Why not occasionally check your employee’s profile to make sure they are not actively pursuing employment or setting themselves up for a career change?  Could be the insight you need to retain great people or let not so great people find greener pastures.

If you are a Job Seeker . . .
If it is not apparent to you why you should be using LinkedIn, then you may want to do some soul searching. . . .

Looks like it’s time to join the “IN” crowd!! 
If you want some more info, please let me know:

Terry Robinski | terry@aisoftwareinc.com


Rating Your Website | Four ‘Fs’ = An ‘A’

During the course of a regular business day, many of our clients and potential clients ask a very important question . . . .


Well . . . if you ask 20 people this question, you will get 20 different answers.  So . . . we have come up with a bulletproof rating system.  This rating system is the AI Software ‘Report Card’ – where Four ‘Fs’ = An ‘A’.  In 2011, it’s no longer about just having a ‘cool’ website, there are four fundamental items (or ‘Fs) that will get you an A+ on your website. 

The Four Fundamentals are:  Flare | Functionality | Findability | Friends

I get it, that’s a lot of Fs, but if you use this system, you can very quickly evaluate and improve your web presence.  Let’s take a look.

Flare | how does my website look?
This is the fun part, take a look at your website and ask the following:
  • Is my web layout appealing?
  • How does this compare with my competitors’ web sites?
  • Are the graphics crisp and clean – and optimized for digital display?
  • Are you (and your users) comfortable with the navigation?

Functionality | how does my website behave?
This is a little more tricky – and best left to your development team.
  • Can you update web content without contacting/paying your IT team?
  • How does your website look and behave on mobile devices?
  • Is your website user friendly to a novice web user?
  • How scalable is your website (i.e. how quickly can features be added)?

Findability | how do people find my website?
This is becoming the most important aspect of having a website.  Commonly referred to as Search Engine Optimization (or SEO), this covers how you are being indexed by search engines and found by your stakeholders.
  • Has your IT team added meta data/keywords to your site?
  • Are your keywords relevant and appropriate?
  • Are you being properly indexed by Google, Yahoo, Bing?
  • What keywords are you submitting to these search engines?

Friends | are you making the most of social networking?
This is the most mishandled portion of most websites in 2011.  The social network (like most new-to-market technology) is a powerful tool – but only when used appropriately and effectively. 
  • Are you on the social network?  Should you be?
  • Do you have a strategy – that is tailored to your industry/business?
  • Are you being efficient with your updates?
  • Does your social networking strategy match / mirror your brand?

If you are able to make the most of these Four Fs, you can bet that your web strategy will complement and enhance your business and marketing plan in 2011 and beyond.  Send me an email if you’re interested in the Four Fs that get you an A+ on your website.

Terry Robinski | terry@aisoftwareinc.com
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Twitt-Tips | 10 Suggestions on how to ‘Tweet’

twitterAre you a novice or experienced Tweeter?

Do you have a clear focus in mind as to why you are planning to or are using Twitter?

Are you just tweeting aimlessly, in the hope that other Tweeters will decide to follow you or like what you tweet about?

Regardless of the answer to those questions, one thing is likely:  You will have to get creative and consistent to gain credibility and followers on Twitter.

Here are some tips that should help increase your exposure as you ‘Tweet’:

  1. Create a list of 100 top tips (outside of Twitter) that are relevant to your business. Post 1-3 per week. Use, reuse and add to your list as you find interesting topics through the course of doing business.
  2. Post "Did you know" trivia and quirky facts about your business.
  3. Share industry updates and news stories sourced from blog posts, online articles, newsletters, etc.  There is nothing wrong with linking to others in your industry if the information is credible.
  4. Use Google Alerts keyword search tool to source up to date articles and features.
  5. Automate your tweets using Pinglater or Tweetlater. However do have "real" conversations to retain your human element.
  6. Participate in conversations. Join a thread and chat.
  7. Comment on other peoples' posts. Retweet posts that you feel offer positive and progressive help for others.
  8. Offer your helpful advice and opinion. Give to receive. Thank people who retweet you and reply to you. Help others to grow and achieve success.
  9. Link your Twitter account to your other online social media platforms to maximize the viral spread of your business message.
  10. Be consistent. Stick with it to build positive connections, with the potential to do business.

Want to know more – email me!

Terry Robinski | terry@aisoftwareinc.com

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2011 Web Design Predictions

Mobile Web Goes Mainstream

The mobile web has been the dominant subject in web design for the past 2+ years. A quick peek at Dribbble, a social media site where designers share their projects, will show you that many of us are working on mobile device apps and interfaces.

However, it’s still safe to say that most websites have given little to no attention to their mobile web presence. Most of the innovative mobile device web designs we’re seeing are on big, industry-leading, tech-centric sites such as Amazon.com, Google, and Digg, or niche sites targeted toward web designers (such as A List Apart).

Where we’re not seeing mobile web design implementations are in run-of-the-mill company and corporate sites. Small- and medium-sized businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and government websites are sadly falling behind instead of in line.

However, companies are beginning to see the rewards of meeting the needs of mobile device users. In the years to come, there will be a significant shift in attention toward the mobile web presence in all websites.

There are already several mobile web tools you can use for creating a mobile web version of your site; it’s time companies seriously look into implementing these cost-effective and relatively simple solutions as either a stop-gap solution or a permanent one.

Web Design as a Profession Will Become Specialized

Web designers are increasingly contending with many roles and tasks. What used to be just HTML, CSS and designing static brochure sites for the desktop has extended to designing web-enabled solutions for mobile devices, web apps, rich Internet application (RIA) interfaces, content management systems (CMS) and much more.

We’re tasked with making harmonious designs that carry a website’s brand across all platforms and situations — designs that establish the company’s brand whether it’s being viewed in a 28-inch desktop monitor or an Android smartphone.

This leads to two things. Job security is one, but the other is the need to distribute these tasks so that we can specialize and excel in one specific area.

In the future, there will be greater stratification of the role of web designer. Right now, web app designers, mobile app designers and traditional website designers are clustered under the umbrella title of “web designer.”

Just as the profession of being a doctor and the field of medicine are branched out into sub-fields such as oncology, dentistry and neurology, we may see a similar division in the field of web design. I can see specializations such as mobile web designer, content management system designer (with further sub-specializations such as WordPress theme designer or Drupal theme designer), and RIA interface designer becoming a reality and being in demand as we move forward.

Simpler Aesthetics for Websites

There’s been a sweeping trend in the way new websites are being visually designed. Web designers are forgoing complex visuals and overdone design techniques, opting instead for clean and simple web designs with a high attention to detail, a greater emphasis on typography — with the help of web fonts and the upcoming open web font format (WOFF) specifications — and stronger interaction design for richer and more captivating user experiences.

Not only that, but simpler aesthetics means lighter web pages, which translates to a better experience on mobile devices where Internet connectivity is lower in speed and less reliable when compared to the traditional broadband connection, and where screen sizes are too small to fit excessive design elements. This web design trend of “less is more” seems like it will extend, if not dominate, the aesthetic tastes of web designers in the near future.

Web Design Will Replace Print Design (Even More)

Print designers are typically tasked with brand identity design, such as logo design, letterheads, business cards and other print materials.

However, companies are seeing the great opportunities and effectiveness of business networking online. Businesses are a lot more concerned about their brand’s visibility on the web. Business cards are being replaced by social networking profiles on Twitter and Facebook. Newsletters, brochures and company letterheads sent out by snail mail are being dismissed for HTML e-mails and e-newsletters.

We’ll be witnessing design budgets earmarked toward traditionally print-based branding materials shift toward web design solutions such as Twitter profile page designs, Facebook fan page designs and HTML e-mail and e-newsletter template designs.


2011 Digital Advertising Predictions

Once again, we’re looking into our ‘Virtual Crystal Ball’ with some predictions on what to expect from digital advertising in 2011.

Local Advertising Becomes Relevant Again With Location

Location-based advertising will continue to grow in 2011 as Facebook expands the technology with its location platform, Places. In addition to Facebook, many other players in the checkin space, including Foursquare, Yelp, Shopkick, and last but not least, Google, will condition shoppers to expect a deal or coupon for alerting friends of their whereabouts. Relevance will distinguish these services from each other as the two biggest players, Facebook and Google, have the most powerful social graph data to customize deals for consumers. Don’t count Groupon out, though. It more than makes up for its comparative lack of technology with brand equity and scale, as its massive sales force will remain dominant in 2011 by further monetizing local commerce beyond the recently launched self-service platform.

Silicon Valley Will Be the Next Madison Avenue

The coolest job in advertising used to be working for an agency in New York City or Chicago, but these days the dream jobs are at Facebook and Twitter. Not unlike Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies) attracting top bankers from Goldman Sachs, as Facebook and Twitter start generating more revenue, advertising and marketing talent will start heading West to cash in.

Influencers Will Be the Celebrities of the Social Web

Consumers are constantly scouring the social web to decide where to eat, shop and stay; so it comes as no surprise that brands are desperately analyzing Twitter, blog posts and reviews to understand not only who has the largest audience, but how much influence individuals have. YouTube’s Partner Program is being joined by new services such as Klout to create an official layer of social credibility.

Klout scores are being used by The Palms Hotel in Vegas to gauge discounts for hotel guests, including through the “Klout Klub,” which “will allow high-ranking influencers to experience Palms’ impressive set of amenities in hopes that these influencers will want to communicate their positive experience to their followers.” Creating thoughtful ways to leverage your influencers is the thing to focus on. People have always said it’s cheaper to keep and please the customers you have, than acquire new ones.

Small Will Be the New Big for Social Networks

Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s unwavering belief that an open and connected social web is best for society, early adopters are starting to experiment with new platforms designed to communicate and share media with smaller audiences. Path has shown us the potential of limiting our social networks to 50 people. Fast Society is a new iPhone communication service that allows the user to create small groups to text with on the fly, and the groups last for three days. Facebook also realizes some of us may prefer communicating with smaller networks. Facebook’s new Groups feature allows us to segment our friends into personal, professional and interest-based communities, and openly engage in conversations not meant for our mother or colleagues to hear. Watch for more of these smaller, closed networks to launch in 2011 as people seek deeper connections online.

Brands Will Become More Like Media Companies

Social media has empowered brands to break their own news instead of relying on advertising or PR to disseminate their message. As brands become increasingly comfortable with social media on the whole, more budget and attention will be focused on high quality content created specifically for the social web. We will see more Facebook Pages like Skittles that appear to employ comedy writers to keep the content fresh. It would seem that “a brand’s best bet in social media is randomness.

Facebook “Likes” Will Be Important for Your Brand

While it’s still unclear exactly how much a Facebook “Like” is worth to a brand, the following video sums up why Facebook is so important. 

Brands will be tripling down on Facebook advertising in 2011, and the process for acquiring Facebook “Likes” has evolved to accommodate this increase in demand. Instead of doing A/B testing between two photos to see which generates more Facebook “Likes,” the savvier brands and agencies are leveraging technology that can simultaneously deploy 10,000+ ad variations to yield the lowest CPA (cost per acquisition) of those “Likes.”

Terry Robinski


5 Predictions for the Web in 2011

We’re taking a look into our ‘Virtual Crystal Ball’ and making some informed (yet bold) predictions for the coming year regarding web trends.


websitesSmall businesses are predicted to increase online marketing spending, with websites taking the front seat, according to a recent survey. The survey found that 54% of respondents indicated that their businesses currently have websites. Unfortunately, most of those websites contain nothing more than general information, and less than half of them incorporate customer service features.

The importance of being easily findable on the Internet() has still not been fully recognized by small businesses, but increasingly, smart entrepreneurs are taking notice. Next year will be marked with increased spending on website development, lifting small business sites from their current iterations as online brochures to more prominent positions as useful resources for customers.

Those making valuable upgrades to their online presences will increase functionalities revolving around e-commerce, reservation systems, corporate blogs and social media integration. Furthermore, we may see increased attention on better web design.



A whopping 49% of small business owners use smartphones, outpacing the rest of America in smartphone adoption, according to a recent Forrester study.

As more small business owners are exposed to smartphones on a daily basis, it’s inevitable that they will begin to innovate with mobile technologies. In 2010, business owners were tweeting on the go, using location-based services and investing in mobile advertising.

In 2011, the smartphone revolution will continue to ensue, with ever increasing smartphone adoption. Mobile devices will continue to change the way that companies of all sizes do business. With most business needs at the tips of their fingers, small business owners will experience more flexibility than ever before.


ecommerceWhile a number of small businesses benefited from social shopping in 2010, others were left wondering if group buying was really worth the risk.

Regardless, it’s evident that e-commerce is a huge advantage for small businesses taking part in it. Offering their products online, businesses have widened their customer bases beyond their local markets.

While only 30% of small business websites currently incorporate e-commerce abilities, the increased buzz around online and social shopping will probably push more small business owners to experiment with the medium in 2011.



socialThis year was a time of social media experimentation for many small business owners. Testing many social media services in the past year, small businesses are becoming more knowledgeable about which platforms their customers use most and how their companies can benefit from staying connected on each platform.

It isn’t uncommon to visit a small business’s website to find a mass of social icons pointing to less-than-utilized profiles all across the web. It seems that anxious entrepreneurs have spread themselves thin in the social media realm this year, trying out every platform that got buzzed up.

The simple truth is that not every platform is right for every business — it’s all about where your customers are.

Having answered quite a few social media questions from small business owners this year, I have a feeling that next year is really going to be about paring down to the essentials based on proven successes and strong metrics.


cloudEarlier this year, a group of Internet and tech experts and social analysts predicted that Internet users will “live mostly in the cloud” by 2020. While I don’t have the expertise to analyze that prediction, I can point to the fact that I and many of my friends and co-workers already do live and work mostly from web-based and mobile apps, relying less on software installed on our desktops.

Cloud services have already simplified many processes for businesses. Google Apps and Google Docs(), for example, make hosting and collaborating on spreadsheets, presentations, forms and word processors much simpler. Box.net and Dropbox have also made online file sharing and collaboration much easier. Meanwhile, 37signals supports a full line of business tools for project management, CRM, internal communications and group chat.

In 2011, businesses will be increasingly exposed to cloud services as tech companies introduce more and more products geared toward moving our digital lives into the cloud.

Terry Robinski