Web & Programming

The 8 Questions To Ask When Hiring an SEO Expert

So you've finally decided that search engine optimization (SEO) is important for your business. You have heard for far too long that SEO is a great deal compared to print advertisements (up to $40,000/month) or banner ads ($10,000/month) on major sites. You've done the research and you know the opportunity is there–however there is one problem. There is too little time in the day and you need to focus on running your business.

You've decided that you need to hire an SEO expert to help you bring more traffic and conversions to your website. The question is:

What kind of questions do you need to ask yourself when evaluating SEO candidates?

1. Can they provide any case studies or examples of sites they have worked on?

Asking this question immediately gives you a glimpse into their 'portfolio', so to speak. Web designers and developers have their portfolios. Expert SEO  professionals should have a portfolio ready to show you, and their Elance portfolio is the perfect place to display it. In addition to samples, they should be able to discuss why each project was a success and what methodology they used to attain success. If the portfolio looks unimpressive or the candidate has a hard time explaining their methods to you, that should be a red flag.

2. Do they have their own sites? What is an example of a recent success and why do they consider it a success?
Asking this question gives you insight into other skills the candidate might have, such as affiliate marketing, paid search, web design, web development, WordPress expertise, and more. This is a great gauge to see just how valuable they can be to your company. Ensuring that they have examples and why they consider each site a success is important to seeing their different approach to websites and whether it is a fit for your business or not.

Understanding 4 Types of AJAX Frameworks

AJAX is a group of leading web development methods for creating rich, Web-based applications that look and work like traditional software, even though they are browser-based and use a fraction of the resources of software. Elancer Mayank Saxena, an experienced IT writer, speaks on the four main frameworks and their respective capabilities.

AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML) became extensively known when Google used it as part of the core technology Gmail and Google Maps. Web applications that are based on AJAX send and retrieve data from a server in the background, without interrupting the existing page. Due to this feature of AJAX, many sites are making a huge investment in developing the AJAX approach, seeing Google and others (Netflix, Flickr) have effectively used AJAX to their benefit.

AJAX Frameworks: Support to work in AJAX
AJAX frameworks are used to develop web applications that use AJAX. These frameworks are mainly categorized into the four following types:

1.    Direct AJAX frameworks
This type of framework needs HTML, CSS and AJAX expertise. It comprises of pages that are authored in HTML and the framework deals directly with HTML elements. Cross-browser APIs of these frameworks are used for many purposes, including communications, DOM manipulation, event handling, and altering the graphic loaded elements.

Distimo: 91% of Top Global Brands Have Apps

Just how important is it for your brand to have a mobile app? As it turns out, it's very important. We were a partner at last week's App Developer Conference, where many leading brands gathered to discuss the importance of having a mobile application presence for consumers.

Then in a report release late last week, app store analytics firm Distimo released The 2011 Top 100 Global Brands and Their App Store Status, a study of the leading corporate brands and the number of apps they had (or didn't have) in the major app stores—covering the Apple App Store for iPhone, Apple App Store for iPad, Google Android Market, Nokia Ovi Store, BlackBerry App World, Windows Phone 7 Marketplace and Amazon Appstore for September 2011.

According to Distimo, the major findings are:

  • Ninety-one percent of the top brands (as defined by the Interbrand 2011 Best Global Brands report) have a presence in at least one of the major app stores. This is a significant increase compared to 18 months ago when only 51% of the brands published or licensed an application.

Magento: The Ecommerce Solution For Your Business

Recently we've recognized the growth of Magento by showcasing companies who have used it to rebuild their core business, and even sponsoring the X.commerce Innovate Developer Conference last week. Still unsure of how Magento can help your business better sell your products? Writer and editor James Well has worked with a number of online retailers, and provides an introduction to Magento and what he sees as the core features that have led to its growing adoption as an ecommerce solution.

Magento was first introduced in March 2008 and quickly rose in popularity to the point where eBay saw its intrinsic value and bought an initial 49% stake in it in 2010, before going on to purchase the remaining amount in June of this year. As an open source ecommerce application, Magento, in my opinion, offers the best platform for providing solutions for companies in the retail business sector enabling them to completely manage their online stores.

Today, Magento helps to generate billions of dollars in online sales from all over the world and offering highly skilled and experienced Magento developers, programmers and designers lots of opportunity to build Magento extensions, themes and templates. Here we discuss some of the core aspects of what has become the hottest ecommerce platform.

Magento as the First Choice of Online Stores
Ask any of the online retailers who have found success by deploying Magento in the day-to-day operations of their online stores and you will likely hear about Magento’s ease of use, the excellent templates that make storefronts and content look great, its versatility, rich interface, attractive layouts and highly customizable features.



Join Elance at App Developers Conference and Hackathon

The mobile app ecosystem continues to grow and exceed everybody’s expectations, gobbling up news headlines along the way.

Some recent examples include:


  • According to a recent research report from analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of mobile app downloads worldwide will reach a staggering 98 billion downloads by 2015
  • 1 billion apps are downloaded on the Apple app store every month, with 18 billion apps downloaded in the past three years
  • Apple has paid $3 billion to its app partners, and has sold more than 250 million iOS devices
  • There are 500,000 apps in the Apple app store, with 140,000 of them being iPad apps. Android’s Marketplace had over 250,000 apps all the way back in July, with 6 billion downloads

Realizing the growth and excitement of the mobile ecosystem, Elance is excited to be a partner of the App Developers Conference (ADC) and Hackathon taking place October 26-27, 2011 in Santa Clara, California. This event addresses key components of app development, plus marketing and revenue on mobile devices and tablets. With an emphasis on cross platform development and revenue strategies, ADC provides key insight for both the developer and business community looking to stay at the forefront of the mobile movement.

iOS 5: A Developer’s Perspective

Last week, Apple released its long-awaited iOS 5 operating system, after months of beta testing from developers around the world. With over 500,000 apps available in the Apple ecosystem, there's never been a better time for developers as iOS veterans Septillion Developers take a look at Apple's exciting new release.

I've been an avid iOS developer for the last three years, and developers, in general, hate having limitations and I’m no exception to that rule. We want power, we like to push technology to the limits, and we never seem to be satisfied with what the platform offers them.

Having known the highs and pitfalls of iOS 4 development, I was hoping that iOS 5 would be worth the wait. I downloaded the iOS 5 SDK beta literally the minute it went up on Apple’s Developer site and played around with the iOS 5 SDK for several days and nights, and have been looking forward to the official release since. Here’s my take on iOS 5 from a developer’s perspective:

Network Neutrality: How It Could Change the Internet For Us

You simply can't overstate the impact the Internet has had on our lives, and with constant innovation in technology, we're spending more time than ever online—on desktop computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs with browsers, etc. We break news online, organize campaigns that mobilize us, and connect with each other in ways that would have been unheard of ten years ago.

However, according to a recent study by the Institute for Policy Integrity, some technology advances haven't been for the better, with one area of concern being how Internet Service Providers can threaten "net neutrality"—the status quo in which all content on the Internet is treated equally—by creating an unevenful playing field that affects what we as consumers see on the Internet.

Some highlights from their study:

  • In the late 1990s, Internet traffic in the United States was about 1 terabyte a month, and doubled in size every 90 days. Today it takes only 25 Netflix users to generate that the same terabyte amount of traffic.
  • Network neutrality refers generally to treating equally all the information that flows across the Internet no matter the source, destination or type of content.
  • The distinction between Internet content and Internet infrastructure plays a crucial role in the network neutrality debate.

Mobile Update: Android and iOS Grow; Apps To Reach 98 Billion Downloads

Headlined by Apple's always-anticipated iPhone announcement, this was a big week for mobile. The race between Google's Android and Apple's iOS continues to be of the two-horse variety, backed up by the latest numbers released by comScore, which show that over 70% of all U.S. smartphones run on one or the other operating system.

From comScore:

84.5 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in August, up 10 percent from the preceding three month period. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 43.7 percent market share, up 5.6 percentage points from the prior three-month period. Apple strengthened its #2 position, growing 0.7 percentage points to 27.3 percent of the smartphone market. RIM ranked third with 19.7 percent share, followed by Microsoft (5.7 percent) and Symbian (1.8 percent). 

Infographic: How the Patent War Is Stifling Innovation

MBA Online recently published an interesting infographic on the state of patent law—in particular the growing patent war between major technology companies in the mobile space.

Here are some of their key stats:


  • Number of lawsuits over mobile technology in the U.S. this year: 270
  • Possible number of patent claims over a single smartphone: 250,000
  • In Q2 2011, Microsoft earned three times more than Android than from Windwos Phone 7 through HTC's use of Microsoft patents
    • Windows Phone 7: $21M
    • HTC/Android: $60M
  • Of the 10 largest patent lawsuits in the past 10 years:
    • 6 were tech-related
    • 4 saw Microsoft as the defendant
    • $6B was awarded
    • The number of patent cases files per year has nearly doubled since 1991

 Read on the view the full infographic!


Join Elance at the X.commerce Innovate Developers Conference

The e-commerce economy continues to grow leaps and bounds, and X.commerce is the new open commerce platform that brings together the technologies from three of the biggest players—eBay, PayPal, and Magento—while providing developers with the tools to build better end-to-end commerce solutions in a single, flexible environment.

That’s why we’re proud to be sponsoring the X.commerce Innovate Developer Conference at Moscone Center West in San Francisco on Oct. 12-13, as it’s one of the first events to truly connect e-commerce developers and merchants through technology. There will be solutions from beginning to end for any system and storefront will be available for discussion and often demo, and X.commerce will even be debuting its open commerce operating system there.

We’ll do our part to make it easier for you to get there. As part of our Elance sponsorship, you can register for the conference using the promotional code SPONSOR200 and you’ll instantly get $200 off the registration cost prior to the start of the conference. Whether you’re a developer or a client looking to make a splash with your online business, this is one event you can’t afford to miss.

Lastly, while you’re there, make sure to stop by booth #16 and say hello to the Elance team. We’ll see you in San Francisco!



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