Archive for the ‘Online Business’ Category

10 SEO Tools for Small Business

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a small business website’s best friend. From driving traffic by ranking higher on search engine results to maximizing content marketing campaigns and improving Web advertisements, SEO can help a business build its brand, expand its reach and, ultimately, increase revenue. SEO doesn’t just happen on its own, however. It requires meticulous planning and Web savvy to be effective. If you don’t know the first thing about SEO, don’t worry. Here are 10 SEO tools to help you understand and improve SEO for your small business.

What better way to improve your SEO than by going straight to the source? As the leader in search, Google offers several SEO tools for small businesses, namely:

  • Google AdWords — Find the right keywords to use based on search volume.
  • Google Webmaster Tools — Get access to detailed reports, website data and a library of resources to improve your website in Google Search results.
  • Google Analytics — Track if and how keywords are driving traffic to your website.
  • Google Trends — Discover what’s currently trending on Google Search and explore trend histories.

If you need help with SEO-friendly keywords, you can get thousands of keyword ideas instantly with a keyword suggestion tool such as Ubersuggest. Start with a single search term and use this free service to automatically find related keywords and keyword phrases to strengthen your SEO. Ubersuggest works by taking your base keyword and expanding it by adding letters or numbers based on real-life search queries. For instance, if your base keyword is “T-shirt,” your keyword suggestions will include: “T-shirt art” and “T-shirt and jeans” (T-shirt + a), “T-shirt business” and “T-shirt brands” (T-shirt + b), “T-shirt company” and “T-shirt custom” (T-shirt + c), and so on. [5 Steps to Building a Great SEO Strategy]

Is content marketing part of your business plan and branding strategy? Scoop.it is a content curation platform that lets you find keyword-based, SEO-rich content that you can publish to your own website, blog, newsletter and social accounts. This service is for businesses that don’t have the time or resources to create their own content, but wish to generate leads and build their brand awareness around content marketing. SEO and Brand Awareness plans for small businesses start at $79.99 per month, which supports up to five team members.

SEO covers everything from your website to social media accounts and everything in between, but this doesn’t mean you need to log in to multiple services to measure performance. Moz Pro, an inbound marketing software, lets you track SEO, social efforts, links, brand awareness and content marketing using a single platform. It includes more than a dozen research and reporting tools to improve SEO, such as Moz Analytics. This feature presents all of your search, social, mentions, inbound links, content and other data in a single place, as well as compares how your website is performing over time and against that of your competitors. The Moz Pro software starts at $99 a month.

How SEO-friendly is your website? Find its strengths and weaknesses for free with WooRank. This website review and SEO tool offers in-depth analysis of your website (or individual Web pages of your site) using metrics like SEO, social media, mobile optimization, usability and more. It also lets you automatically monitor analytics, backlinks, search engine rankings and other key factors to improve website performance. You can check a single website for free, but paid plans with advanced, unlimited reviews are also available, starting at $49.99 a month.

SEO can mean the difference between a website that converts and one that simply collects visitors. Optimizely is a website A/B testing tool that can help you make better decisions on the best ways to use SEO for your website to increase sales and revenue. A/B testing basically tests two versions of your website or landing pages — for instance, a current version versus another with SEO changes — then uses live traffic and visitor data to determine which version is likely to convert. Optimizely plans start at $17 a month, which includes unlimited testing for up to 2,000 monthly visitors.

Don’t know where to start with SEO? Whether you’re an SEO beginner or need a refresher, AdWords and SEO Secrets can help. This iOS app offers a plethora of resources to help you better understand how to use SEO to increase traffic and revenue. It includes more than 30 video interviews with AdWords and SEO experts, as well as a knowledgebase covering topics such as an introduction to SEO, SEO tips, AdWords tutorials and advanced SEO tools and tricks. The AdWords and SEO Secrets app is free from the Apple App Store.

Save time by automating SEO. Inbound marketing software HubSpot offers an all-in-one SEO platform that does everything from SEO analytics to SEO recommendations. One of its standout features is as-you-type SEO, which offers real-time SEO advice as you create content to improve optimization and rank higher on search results. This tool also offers advanced keyword targeting to determine the right keywords, research tools to improve keyword ranking over time, Google+ integration to expand social media reach, and mobile optimization capabilities. HubSpot pricing varies.

SEO doesn’t just apply to websites — social media plays a significant role as well. Use a social media management dashboard like HootSuite to track mentions of your brand, monitor social media traffic and discover relevant, trending keywords across multiple social media networks. Then, use this information to create highly optimized content, posts and status updates to drive further traffic to your website and social media accounts. HootSuite is free for up to three users. Paid plans for additional users and advanced features start at $8.99 per month.

Link building is an essential element of SEO, and highly shareable infographics can help. But you don’t need any coding or design skills to make an eye-catching infographic — DIY infographic creators like PiktoChart let you create professional- looking infographics by simply choosing a template, and then modifying its contents using a drag-and-drop platform. Make sure to craft a visually stunning infographic with high quality content, post it on your website or blog and share it on social media to start gaining traction and build links back to your website.

– See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6948-seo-tools.html

The Best Online Marketing Services

Thanks to the Internet, attracting new customers has never been easier for small businesses.

Online marketing gives small businesses the ability to promote their products and services to customers not only in the towns where the companies are located, but all across the country. Internet marketing, also known as online or digital marketing, refers to the use of digital assets for marketing brands and selling products or services, said James Barry, an associate professor of marketing at Nova Southeastern University’s H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship.

“It entails the use of social media, online advertising, search engine marketing and email marketing together as a way to connect with audiences completely through our computers and smart devices,” Barry told Business News Daily.

All of the various online marketing strategies — search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, content marketing and link building — are designed to increase a business’s online presence.

Companies using Internet marketing say they have seen tremendous benefits from it. Louis Leibowitz, owner of owner of Walt’s Sleep Shopin Middletown, New Jersey, said online marketing has given the company the chance to make sales throughout the country.

“It offers greater visibility of our products all over the U.S, and it represented a great opportunity to increase our sales, and reach a bigger target market with less costs,” Leibowitz said. “Thus, instead of selling sofa, RV and marine mattresses only to people around Middletown, we now ship orders to states like California, Florida, New York, Texas and so on.”

Online marketing is also significantly cheaper than traditional forms of marketing, such as print, radio or television advertising, according to Leibowitz.

“It is a cost-efficient way to compete with big chains that offer similar products to ours, like Ikea and Walmart,” Leibowitz said.

Rather than conducting online marketing on their own, many small business owners employ Internet marketing services to do it for them. These firms provide a variety of services that help businesses improve their search engine rankings and build a stronger online profile.

Business News Daily’s sister site, Top Ten Reviews, conducts in-depth reviews to help business owners find the best online marketing services. Here are Top Ten Reviews’ top three recommendations for the best online marketing services:

#1. Increase Visibility

Increase Visibility was the highest-rated online marketing service by Top Ten Reviews due to its ability to maximize a website’s efficacy and profitability. The company specializes in a wide range of Internet marketing services, including search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, affiliate marketing, brand management and mobile marketing. When working with new clients, Increase Visibility’s experts design a comprehensive campaign to improve deficiencies, maximize the efficacy of the site and boost its traffic. All of the company’s campaigns are planned and customized to suit the needs of each client. In addition to using social media to build relationships with current and potential customers, the service also works to increase traffic through local searches that help build local clientele and brand awareness. Additional services offered include website design optimization, copywriting, and the creation and management of YouTube videos.

Promotion and performance: In order to promote a positive image of its clients, Increase Visibility helps businesses with online brand design and management. This includes blogging and syndication, writing press releases for the media and conducting in-depth analyses of competitors’ websites. In addition to receiving biweekly or monthly reports on the success of their campaigns, businesses can also access campaign statistics every day to ensure things are progressing as desired.

Education and support:Increase Visibility offers clients an instructional blog, as well as links to articles about industry trends and Internet marketing news. The company also provides an educational video and a variety of information related to the services it offers. For those in need of a bit more help, the company provides telephone, email and live chat support for all clients.

Cost: To compare costs, visit Top Ten Reviews’ best online marketing services.

[For a side-by-side comparison of the best online marketing service visit our sister site Top Ten Reviews.]

#2. WebiMax

WebiMax earned high rankings from Top Ten Reviews for its effective practices, customized service and dependable performance. The company offers a variety of Internet marketing services, including search engine optimization, search engine marketing, website design, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, affiliate marketing and mobile marketing. WebiMax also employs in-house writers for all content creation and copywriting. For businesses that already have SEO strategies in place, WebiMax provides a dedicated consulting and training team that can boost those efforts. The company prides itself on using only ethical and effective SEO techniques to drive traffic to each business’s site. On-site optimization, link building, social network advertising, contextual search advertising and video SEO are among the other services offered.

Promotion and performance: WebiMax provides an online marketing client center that lets users review their campaigns as often as they like. The dashboard gives clients the opportunity to review reports, rankings and results in real time. WebiMax also has the ability to handle brand management, performance reporting, competitor analysis, blogging, syndication and press-release writing.

Education and support: The WebiMax website features a variety of educational videos, a company blog and a host of services-related information. The firm also provides users help and support via email, live chat, phone and an online form.

Cost: To compare costs, visit Top Ten Reviews’ best online marketing services.

#3. Server Side Design

Server Side Design scored high marks for its focus on search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, as well as its ability to serve clients of all sizes. In addition to SEO and PPC advertising, other services the company offers includes website optimization, onsite and offsite Web marketing, copywriting, link building, local search optimization, video SEO, keyword research, affiliate marketing, mobile marketing, contextual search advertising and social network advertising. Server Side Design also designs and manages its client’s social media profiles, including those on Facebook and Twitter. Additionally, the company offers the upLOCAL service, which helps businesses rank prominently on map searches.

Promotion and performance: Server Side Design’s performance reports track a variety of metrics, including site traffic, rankings, social media and pay-per-click results. The company also provides competitor analysis, branding design and management, blogging, and press releases.

Education and support: To better understand each aspect of a campaign, Server Side Design’s website provides information on the company’s entire suite of “up” services, including upRANK for SEO, upLOCAL for maps, upCLICK for PPC and upSOCIAL for social media. Additionally, the company provides an analysis of each client’s website, examining the site’s directory structure, navigation, database, content, file names, metadata and site code.Server Side Design offers telephone, email and live chat support for those needing extra assistance.

Cost: To compare costs, visit Top Ten Reviews’ best online marketing services.

 

Originally published on Business News Daily

30 Internet Marketing Services for Small Businesses

As the Internet has grown in popularity, so too has online marketing.

Online marketing, also known as Internet or digital marketing, involves using the Internet to promote a business. The goal of online marketing is to spread awareness about a business and its products or services via the Internet.

Internet marketing encompasses a variety of different strategies, including search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, reputation management and both social media and content marketing. The majority of businesses today use at least one of these strategies to promote themselves.

Rather than doing the work on their own, many businesses turn to Internet marketing services to help set goals, design strategies and run campaigns. Here are 25 Internet marketing services that tailor their offerings to small businesses.

1st on the List Promotion

1st on the List Promotion is a full-service search engine optimization company based in Canada. The company focuses on search engine optimization, SEO website design and redesign and pay-per-click services.  1st on the List Promotion focuses on making Web page improvements so its clients’ sites are more accessible to search engines and more relevant to the searcher. The company’s search-engine-friendly website design and redesign services encompass usability improvements plus mobile website design so that websites can be easily found and properly displayed across all platforms, including PCs, laptops, tablets and other mobile devices. 1stonthelist.ca

435 Digital

435 Digital is a full-service digital marketing company. Among the services the company offers are search engine optimization, website development, paid search marketing, social media marketing and branded content development. Based in Chicago, 435 Digital also has offices in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, California and Florida. 435digital.com

Acumium

Acumium is an online marketing company that specializes in developing digital marketing strategies for online businesses of all sizes. Among the marketing services the company provides are search engine optimization, paid search and display advertising, content marketing, Web analytics and reporting and branding, identity and value proposition. Acumium also offers a range of Web development and IT services, such as e-commerce website development, business website development, website design and IT consultancy. acumium.com

All My Web Needs

All My Web Needs is a full-service Internet marketing and Web design company based in Nashville, Tenn. The company’s services revolve around designing and upgrading websites, increasing a site’s visibility on search engines and maximizing exposure online. All My Web Needs’ SEO services include keyword research, customer targeting, visitor tracking, creating title and meta tags, creating site maps and indexes, cross linking, hyperlinking, code optimization, URL normalization, code optimization and increasing page speed. Social networking, Web hosting, domain registration, blogging and display advertising and graphic design are among the other services All My Web Needs offers. allmywebneeds.com

ArteWorks SEO

ArteWorks SEO offers online marketing services to both small and large businesses. The company specializes in search engine optimization, pay-per-click campaigns and social media management. ArteWorks works individually with each client to learn about its business needs, its industry and relevant search engine demographics. When providing social media services, ArteWorks incorporates any number of social media sites into their customized plan, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Linked In, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. ArteWorks SEO is based in Austin, Texas. arteworks.biz/

Ask8

Ask8 provides Internet marketing services to small and medium sized businesses. The company’s services include website design, search engine optimization and pay-per-click marketing, email marketing, video marketing and social media management. Other services the company offers are content marketing, logo design, banner design and retail consulting. Ask8 provides potential clients a free, no obligation consultation. ask8.com

Brick Marketing

Brick Marketing, a search engine optimization company, provides a comprehensive approach to white hat SEO marketing, including SEO strategy, competitive website SEO analysis, SEO keyword research, on-site optimization, technical SEO implementation, white hat link-building strategy, content marketing and social media marketing management. The company, based in Boston, serves companies of all sizes, including both B2C and B2B businesses. brickmarketing.com

Bruce Clay Inc.

Bruce Clay Inc. is an Internet marketing company that provides search engine optimization services, pay-per-click advertising management, SEO-friendly Web design, information architecture, and social media and conversion rate optimization services. The company also offers its SEOToolSet, which includes integrated research tools, a comprehensive page analyzer, a search engine ranking monitor and initial link analysis. Bruce Clay Inc. is based in California, but also has offices in Europe, Japan, India and Brazil. bruceclay.com

Customer Magnetism

Customer Magnetism is a full-service digital agency. The company offers a variety of search, social, content and design and development services. Specifically, their services include search engine optimization, link earning, reputation management, paid search engine advertising, local SEO, social media management, social media advertising and social media consulting. Among the other services they offer are content marketing, infographic marketing, email marketing, website design and development and mobile SEO and development. Customer Magnetism is based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. customermagnetism.com

Cyberset

Cyberset is an all-in-one Internet marketing company. Its services include search engine optimization, local Internet marketing, public relations and media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, video marketing, email marketing and mobile marketing. Cyberset also offers a range of website development services, such as custom Web design, e-commerce development, Web-based application development, eBay store design, YouTube channel design, website redesign, information architecture and blog design. Other services offered by Cyberset include analytics conversion tracking, AdWords conversion tracking and automated Google base-feed generation. Cyberset is based in Canoga Park, California. cyberset.com

DigitalSherpa

DigitalSherpa is an online marketing company that specializes in content marketing and social media marketing. Its content marketing services include writing customized and unique content for websites, writing blogs and creating branded social media content. Additional services include social media management, social media marketing analytics and custom-built Facebook and Twitter pages. DigitalSherpa is based in Norcross, Georgia. digitalsherpa.com

Etude Technologies

Etude Technologies is an Internet marketing company based in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company offers a wide range of services designed for small businesses, including creating direct response websites, email marketing, search engine marketing, website analysis and video marketing. etudetech.com

First Port Marketing Solutions

First Port Marketing Solutions specializes in helping small business owners connect with current and future customers on the web. The full-service digital marketing agency works one-on-one with clients and offers website development, search engine optimization services, paid search marketing and social media management especially tailored to the small business niche. firstportmarketing.com.

iMajestic

iMajestic is a Los Angeles-based search engine optimization and Web design company. Among the areas iMajestic specializes in are SEO, pay-per-click optimization, local search optimization, Web development and design, conversion optimization, reputation optimization and management, professional content development and management, linguistic search behavior and social media marketing. imajestic.com

Increase Visibility

Increase Visibility is a California-based full-service digital marketing agency. Among the company’s portfolio of offerings are search engine optimization services, which include keyword research, conversion tracking, website optimization, code optimization, broken link audits, URL structure and formatting, orphaned page checks, HTML code and optimization, and image and data caching. Other services Increase Visibility provides for its clients are social media management, reputation management, local optimization, mobile marketing, pay-per-click management and professional Web development. Increasevisibility.com

Internet Marketing Ninjas

Internet Marketing Ninjas is a full-service Internet marketing and search engine optimization services company. Its Web marketing services include social media marketing, link building, local search optimization, pay-per-click advertising, content creation, Web design and conversion videos. The company offers a variety of SEO and Web tools, including a broken links tool, redirects and site crawl tool, an image and link analyzer, an on-page optimization tool and a social image resizer tool. Internet Marketing Ninjas is based in Clifton Park, New York. internetmarketingninjas.com/

Intrapromote

Intrapromote offers a mix of search engine optimization, social media and content marketing services. The company creates custom strategies for each client, which ranges from small businesses to large brands. Specific search services include website analysis and optimization, keyword research, content marketing and Google + and maps optimization. Social media services include long-term social planning, crisis management planning and execution, community and channel management and in-house staff training. Intrapromote is based in Hudson, Ohio. intrapromote.com

Key Scouts

Key Scouts is a full-service inbound marketing agency providing website promotion services and diverse Internet marketing solutions to clients worldwide, across all major industries. Among the services Key Scouts offers include on-page optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, reputation management and Web consulting. Based in Oregon, Key Scouts also has an office in Israel. keyscouts.com

Marketeering Group

The Marketeering Groups provides all-inclusive digital marketing packages for small businesses. Packages include search engine marketing, social media marketing, website management and blogging. In addition, the company offers optional services such as graphic design, website updates, email marketing and ad management. marketeeringgroup.com/

The Marketing Zen Group

The Marketing Zen Group is a full-service online marketing and digital PR firm that provides strategy and implementation services for businesses, organizations and nonprofits. The company’s online marketing services include search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, website design and development, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, mobile marketing and reputation management. marketingzen.com

Main Street ROI

Main Street ROI provides online marketing services, consulting and training. The company specializes in search engine optimization and Google AdWords management, including specific SEO services in keyword research, competitor analysis, on-page optimization, local SEO optimization, blogging, white hat link building and SEO penalty repair. In addition, Main Street ROI sets up and manages Google AdWords campaigns for clients both big and small. mainstreetroi.com

Netmark

Netmark provides a wide range of services, including search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, conversion rate optimization, conversion value maximization, social media marketing, comparison shopping, reputation management, email marketing, mobile marketing, consultation services and premium hosting. In addition, Netmark also offers web development, with staffers who specialize in php, asp, application development and website design. netmark.com

Search Agency

Search Agency is a Web.com company that specializes in online marketing for small businesses. Among the services offered include natural search engine optimization, link building solutions, pay-per-click management, SEO consulting, social media marketing, reputation management, local search optimization, and tracking and website analytics. Search Agency also provides website design and redesign services. The company also offers a variety of free SEO tools, including competition reports, page rank checkers and link popularity checkers. submitawebsite.com/

SEO Image

New York-based SEO Image offers a wide range of online marketing services to both small businesses and large corporations. The company specializes in search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and reputation management. SEO Image’s search engine optimization services include SEO audits, conversion marketing, content marketing and mobile SEO. Its social media marketing revolves around establishing brands in social circles so visitors gain an understanding of the business and what it has to offer. try.seoimage.com

SEOP

SEOP is a digital marketing agency that offers a wide range of services, such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, mobile marketing, social media marketing and reputation management. The company’s services also include link building, affiliate marketing, Google analytics and website development and copywriting. SEOP has its own lab where it tests more than 10,000 different websites in order to see in real time how their SEO impacts against the algorithm shifts. This allows the company to collect data faster and test what works before it becomes a large-scale rollout of the newest algorithms. Based in California, SEOP also has offices in New York and London. seop.com

Server Side Design

Server Side Design, also known as SSD Fair Marketing, is a Texas-based website marketing and website advertising company that specializes in search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, local marketing, mobile marketing and video marketing. The company’s SEO and social media marketing campaigns are tailored to meet each of its client’s goals. Fairmarketing.com

Steven Cortez Digital Marketing Consulting

Steven Cortez Digital Marketing Consulting offers a range of small business services, including online marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, email marketing, web design and graphic design. The company provides all potential customers with a free consultation. stevencortez.com

Straight North

Straight North is a digital Internet marketing agency that provides firms throughout the U.S. with a wide range of online marketing services, such as search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, display advertising and email marketing. Specific SEO services include keyword research, on-site optimization, content marketing and link building. The company’s display advertising services include retargeting, contextual targeting and site targeting. Straight North also offers Web design and development services. https://www.straightnorth.com/

Updentity

Updentity provides online advertising solutions for non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. The company creates one-of-a-kind advertising campaigns for specific organizational goals and objectives. In an effort to provide low cost, to no cost online advertising, Updentity pairs nonprofits with for profit sponsors. The company, an operating unit of Bashpole Software, Inc., also performs marketing functions including database cleaning and lead generation. updentity.com

WebiMax

WebiMax offers businesses of all sizes a range of online marketing services, including search engine optimization, search engine marketing, paid search advertising, social media advertising, social media monitoring, website design and development, reputation management, link removal, email marketing and lead generation. When working with its clients, WebiMax starts with a strategy and discovery phase and then creates a complete marketing plan encompassing development, design, implementation and analytics. Based in New Jersey, WebiMax also has offices in New York City, London and Sydney. webimax.com

WebMetro

WebMetro provides services to all types of businesses, ranging from online companies to Fortune 500 corporations. The company specializes in search marketing, user engagement and online media. Its search marketing services include search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, content marketing, mobile search optimization and comparison search. Among its user engagement offerings are creating landing pages, building microsites, conversion rate optimization, prospect cultivation and social marketing. WebMetro’s online media services include display advertising, email advertising, social advertising, video advertising and affiliate advertising. WebMetro is based in San Dimas, California. webmetro.com

– See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7168-internet-marketing-services.html

Compare the 5 Best Online Brokers

Hey everyone, thanks for joining us for this weeks review. Today, we’re going to try something a little different. Throughout the past several months, we’ve been reviewing all kinds of investment platforms and brokers. So, today, we’re going to pick out what we believe to be your 5 best online brokers, and compare them against each other.

What Are The 5 Best Online Broker Options?

As you know, we’ve done tons of these reviews. After going through all of the broker and investment platform reviews that we’ve done, we’ve finally dialed the list down to the top 5. They include everything from peer to peer investment platforms to online brokers and more. So, what are they? Below is our list. Keep in mind that this list is in no particular order. They are our favorites, but choosing just one is going to be up to you. Hopefully this comparison will help.

  1. Prosper – Prosper is a peer to peer lending service. They are arguably one of the largest, and oldest options for peer to peer lending out there. To read our full review of Prosper, click here!
  2. Betterment – Betterment is a stock market investment broker. However, they take a very unique approach. Instead of choosing stocks one by one, all you need to do is set the allocation of stocks and bonds. This is why they promote their services as “Perfect for busy investors”. To read our full review of Betterment, click here!
  3. OptionsXpress – OptionsXpress is another stock market investment broker. Like most online brokers, they allow you to choose your own trades. One of our favorite aspects of OptionsXpress is their virtual trading options. Learn more about OptionsXpress in our full review here!
  4. eTrade – eTrade is another online investment broker. They are one of the top in terms of technology which is why we love them so much. Their research and education tools seem to be some of the best in the market. Read our full review of eTrade here!
  5. Scottrade – Scottrade is another giant in the online brokerage industry. One of our favorite things about Scottrade is that they don’t charge for small things like streaming quotes, keeping prices down for investors. To learn more about Scottrade, read our full review here!

A Comparison Of Online Broker Costs

Below, we’re going to give you a chart that tells you a bit about the differences in cost with these different platforms. When it comes to cost, most online investment platforms will reduce the price with high volume. That being said, please keep in mind that this chart is for their lowest volume, highest cost. If you’re a high volume investor, these numbers will most likely be much lower with all platforms.

  Prosper Betterment OptionsXpress eTrade Scottrade
Stock N/A N/A $8.95 $9.99 $7
Options N/A N/A $14.95 $9.99 $7
Options Contract Fee N/A N/A $1.50 $0.75 $1.25
Broker Assisted Trades N/A N/A Standard fees, no addition $45.00 $32
Annual Membership Fee 1% of principal
balance.
.35% of total
balance.
N/A N/A N/A

Now, Lets Compare the Best Online Brokers

All of our top 5 investment options offer various services. Some may overlap services, while others offer something completely different. That being said, putting the services into chart form like I did above would be not only a pain to do, but it’d also be a pain for you to read. So, instead, below you’ll see the names of each of these options followed by the services they offer.

Prosper Services – Prosper is a peer to peer lending company that offers services to both investors and borrowers. In their platform, investors are able to search through borrowers that need loans, and choose the loans that they’d like to fund. In turn, the borrower repays the investor with added interest.

Aside from their standard peer to peer lending services, Prosper offers a secondary market to help liquidate investments when needed. So, if you need to liquidate, you have the option of selling your lending contract to another investor. However, be prepared to take a loss if you need to liquidate before the investment matures.

Betterment Services – Betterment offers services that they say are designed for “busy investors”. However, busy investors aren’t the only investors that can benefit from their services. I’ve found that they are great for the new investors as well. When it comes to services, they offer only one. It’s a pooled investment system. This means that you give Betterment the money you would like to invest. They in turn invest that money into their pool of stocks and bonds. All you need to do is adjust the allocation of your money in stocks and bonds, they will do the rest.

OptionsXpress Services – OptionsXpress offers a wide range of services, most of which you would expect to see at an online brokerage like this. In a nutshell, they offer stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, ETF’s, options on futures, and penny options.

Aside from the types of investments that you can make, OptionsXpress offers a wide range of research and education services. They offer just about any training that a new investor would need. One of our favorite services in this realm is their virtual trading platform. If you’re not interested in trading your own money until you see what your strategy will do for you, this is a great way to go!

eTrade Services – eTrade is one of the most recognizable names in the online brokerage industry. They offer just about any form of investment that you can think of. Their investment options range from stocks to options, mutual fund, ETFs, bonds, IPOs, features, forex, margin trading, global trading, even extended hours trading.

Aside from the types of trades that you can take part in with eTrade, they are another great option for research and training tools. eTrade is known for it’s intuitive online platform that provides the tools needed for beginners to trade like pros.

Scottrade Services – Scottrade is another giant that offers a wide range of investment products. Their investment products include stocks, bonds, options, retirement investments, IRAs, margin trading, ETFs, mutual funds, CDs, treasuries, Coverdell ESAs, and global trading.

Aside from the different types of trading that you can take part in, like eTrade, Scottrade is a great option for research and training tools. On of our favorite tools that they offer is streaming quotes.

Drawbacks Of Each Investment Broker

As you probably already know by now, there is no investment service that is a one size fits all option. That being said, they are all going to have their own, unique disadvantages, just like they all have their own unique advantages. That being said, below is a list of the things that we don’t like about each different option in our list of the 5 best online investment platforms!

Prosper Cons – Prosper is a peer to peer investment platform. That being said, there is no guarantee that your peers are going to pay you back. Although, this isn’t a huge drawback, it’s definitely something to think about. The reason I say it’s not huge is because there’s no guarantee that any of your investments will pan out. Even in the stock market, a company could go out of business and you could lose it all. As with any other form of investment, to protect your investments with Prosper, it’s important to diversify.

Betterment Cons – The cost is the biggest drawback with this option. Their prices are relatively straightforward. You’ll pay a percentage of your total balance as an annual fee. However, if you really delve into the numbers, it’s easy to see that the cost of investing with Betterment is a little higher than the cost of choosing your own stocks and bonds through another platform. Essentially, you’re paying this added cost to reduce the headache associated with choosing and tracking your own investments. Although the price is a bit higher than average, for many busy people, it’s worth paying to avoid spending so much time in another platform.

OptionsXpress Cons – As you can see from the cost chart above, the prices you pay with OptionsXpress are going to be higher than the average leading investment broker. It’s not much, but we all know that pennies add up. Another thing that we noticed about OptionsXpress is when it comes to novice investors, their tools can be a bit overwhelming. That being said, this is probably not the best option for you if you’re a newbie.

eTrade Cons – Our biggest beef with eTrade is their pricing. Although they are incredibly competitive for the big time investors, their pricing is not at all competitive for the smaller guys. So, if you’re looking into eTrade, it’s important to remember that they’re best if you make 150 trades per quarter or more. If that’s not the case, you’re probably better off looking into another option.

Scottrade Cons – Some investors like to take part in advanced trades like straddle or spread trades. For these investors, Scottrade may not be best for easily accessing and managing your investments. If you’re interested in advanced trades, you’ll have to apply for a different platform. Once you’re approved, you may find yourself managing your investments in 2 different areas, which can add a bit of confusion to the management process.

Who Should Consider Which Online Broker?

Before I get into this, I’ve gotta bring up a cheesy disclaimer. The truth is, everyone has a very unique financial portfolio. Without looking directly into your portfolio, I can’t tell you exactly what you need. That being said, below, I’m going to go over who I think each broker is best for. However, the ultimate decision to choose one broker over another is your decision to make. That being said, let’s jump right into who I think each option is best for…

Prosper – Prosper is one of those options that can be good or bad for anyone depending on what you’re looking for. If you want to find an alternative to investing in the stock market, this is a great way to go for you.

Betterment – Betterment boasts that their platform is best for busy investors. That, I’ve got to agree with. It’s just very simple to go in and manage your investments in a very short period of time. However, I think they’re missing another market entirely. When it comes down to it, in my humble opinion, Betterment is great for new investors too!

OptionsXpress – When building their platform I think that OptionsXpress kept larger investors in mind while completely forgetting about the smaller guys. Between their pricing, research tools, and education tools, I can definitively say that if I didn’t know what I was doing before I signed up, I would be lost. However, for expert investors, this is a great option! It’s low cost, they’ve got great research tools that experts will be able to understand, and they offer a wide range of investment types.

eTrade – This is another option where their pricing makes it clear that the platform is best for the larger investors. Choosing to go with eTrade really boils down to one question. Are you planning on making 150 trades or more per quarter. If the answer is yes, eTrade is great for you! If the answer is no, they will be a more pricy option, and you can probably find another one that’s more appealing by way of cost.

Scottrade – Scottrade, like Betterment is great for beginning investors. They provide the tools you need to learn and get started, and they do it at a relatively low cost. However, expert investors that need more advanced trade abilities would be better off looking into something like OptionsXpress or eTrade. The simple fact is, Scottrade limits your ability to go with advanced trades and easily manage all of your investments at the same time.

Final Thoughts

Wow, I had a great time coming up with this post! I hope that this comparison offered everything that you need to get a good idea of who to work with.

Reader Question
Do you invest with any of these options? If so, who, and how are your experiences with them? If not, after reading this, which do you think will be the best online broker for you and why?

How To Use Periscope

You might be wondering why I’m holding a phone up as I’m filming today’s Juicy Bit. I’m using a new technology called Periscope. Periscope is a live broadcasting social media network. Right now I’ve got 21 people on here right now interacting with me, which I’m going to show you. They’re liking up the screen with hearts and saying different things. The people on Periscope just get to see behind the camera, and they see Allie filming this.

Periscope is really cool because I’m the only one on camera, and all of these people on here can give me feedback through tapping the screen or they can actually type in a question and I can interact with them. Just before this video I asked my Periscope followers to give me their best tips for using Periscope as a marketing tool. Periscope is great because what makes social media marketing so effective is the transparency, the interaction that you’re able to have with people that you do business with as well as brands that you follow. If someone is on Periscope they could actually be showing you what’s going on in the warehouse as you’re shipping out products, or maybe what’s happening in the back of the house of a theater screen or a restaurant.

I’m going to give you some tips today for how to use Periscope when you’re marketing. When you start to market on Periscope you want to make sure that you take a lot of attention and time to name the broadcast something that people are going to want to watch. Because anytime I start live Periscoping, all of these people get a push notification on their phone if they’re following me. They’re only going to see who it is and they’re basically going to see a title of the Periscope broadcast. It’s really important that you name it something that people are going to want to watch.

When you start Periscoping, the first image that’s taken also becomes the cover photo for that Periscope video, so you want to take a lot of attention. Today when I launched it, instead of putting my face on I actually pointed it at Allie behind the camera, so that’s the thumbnail for today’s Periscope. You want to do things that I’m not doing right now, which is actually interacting with people on the phone. This is a bad example, but when you go through this you basically want to ask them, “Where are you guys chiming in from today?” You’ll find out that you may have an international audience. It’s really cool for your followers to be able to see that they may be on the same Periscope with somebody in a different time zone or a different continent, or all the way around the world.

You want to basically shout out to them so they say things to you, and you want to answer their questions. You need to be engaging enough for them to actually want to show up and watch your video. It has to be entertaining and informational, but it’s not a video. It’s not just a live streaming video. You want to be able to interact and ask them questions. When you have your normal followers come back you want to make sure that you shout out to them when you realize that they’re around and they keep coming back to watch your videos.

Those are some of my Periscope marketing tips, but most importantly, my number one tip for Periscope is just to sign up, start watching other people’s Periscopes, and start Periscoping. It’s the wild west of Periscope. It’s like Twitter back in 2007 or whenever that started. Most people don’t know how to use it well yet, but people are starting to use it and it’s another great way for you to interaction with your fans. Go to Periscope, download the app. The videos are all live broadcasting. When you’re done, this video will be available for about 24 hours. You can see people are tapping on the screen and giving me hearts. This is what it looks like. They’re seeing what’s going on here.

The video is available for the next 24 hours after you finish the broadcast, but if you go into settings you can actually tell it to autosave the video. If you have a great video, a great Q&A chat, you can actually then upload to that to Facebook or YouTube or anything that you want to make that video available for later. It’s a good mix of the old and the new when you’ve got Periscope integrated with all of their other social media channels. Does anybody have any other last tips or any advice that I should give other than to actually interact with my fans while I make the video? I appreciate you guys all showing up and being part of this Periscope. We’re going to sign off now. Check out Periscope. It’s an app; it’s on iPhone and Android. Need a mobile device to be able to broadcast, although you can watch Periscope videos from your desktop computer.

Juicy Results is a social media marketing agency. Contact us today to see how we do social media right for our clients.

– See more at: http://www.juicyresults.com/2015/how-to-use-periscope/#sthash.pEXBzSX8.dpuf

Is Dreamforce getting too big for its boots?

More than 160,000 people have registered to attend Salesforce’s annual conference this week in San Francisco but the city can no longer house them all.

Dreamforce has grown so large that the cloud software giant has been forced to pay for a 964 foot cruise ship to be docked at San Francisco’s Pier 27 due to a shortage of hotel rooms in the city.

The Celebrity Infinity cruise ship, which currently has a Salesforce balloon attached to its bow and has been dubbed “Dreamboat” for the week, can accommodate up to 1,100 people.

In addition to accommodating a number of conference attendees, Salesforce is also using the boat for a number of parties, including a media welcome party this evening. 

Last year, 135,000 people registered to attend Dreamforce, equal to approximately 12 percent of San Francisco’s overall population. 

The size of the conference means that it causes some disruption to locals, blocking roads and making it nearly impossible to book a table at certain restaurants.

But the overall economic impact is hugely positive. Last year more than $220 million was infused into the local economy during Dreamforce and that figure will only rise with more visitors. 

During this year’s Dreamforce, a number of well known figures from the business and entertainment world will make an appearance.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella are both due to make appearances, as is actress and businesswoman Jessica Alba. The conference will be closed with a gig on the waterfront that will see Foo Fighters, The Killers and Gary Clark Junior play.

Box CEO Aaron Levie is also speaking at Dreamforce. He took to Twitter to explain his feelings on the conference.

Several other large technology conferences, including Apple’s WWDC and Google I/O, take place in San Francisco every year, with most of them centred around the Moscone Centre, which has close to a million square foot of space.

Business Phone Systems Glasgow

Moving away from the days of analogue, Abica are improving the performance of phone systems for businesses in Glasgow through the use of VoIP solutions.

By working as a business partner and suggesting the best suited phone system for your business we will ensure you make the most of your investment. For example, if you don’t have a large in-house IT department to install and maintain new or additional hardware to support your new VoIP software, then Hosted VoIP is a good solution.

Abica will show you how to integrate the latest VoIP systems into your business in Glasgow so that you can make the most of them, whilst looking at ways to reduce your monthly phone bills. Cloud based and full of features, our business phone systems provide a wide range of business benefits including cost savings and increased productivity.

Further business benefits of using Hosted VoIP with Abica include:

  • Free calls: All your sites will benefit from free calls to each other.
  • Call abroad: If you have suppliers or offices overseas – a VoIP phone can be used to call them for free – they become an extension on the phone system.
  • Multiple phone numbers: Multiple incoming phone numbers, and the ability to differentiate between them. A VoIP system can have as many incoming numbers as you want, so you have a number for sales, a number for support, etc.
  • Plug and play technology: Handsets are pre-configured meaning they can be easily installed at any site where a live internet connection is present.

To find our more about any of our phone system solutions, you can call us on 0141 404 1219 or use the form shown and our team will get in touch.

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