Feedback, whether from customers, clients or industry peers, is absolutely vital to business success. Businesses that fail to recognize this don't last very long.

Business owners are often tempted to limit the feedback mechanisms made available to their community. However, in today's online market, he says that business owners must encourage feedback from as many online platforms as possible and a business's blog is no exception.

Your blog is not only a publishing platform, but a repository for your organization's feedback and communication tools. It is the perfect place for showcasing the feedback you receive and the communication tools you use.
If you want to use your blog as your business's primary portal for feedback, consider the following:

Polls

Polls can provide you with more feedback than almost any other mechanism.

People can't help but vote. It's such a simple way to have one's voice heard and it's difficult to shake that impulse to weigh in just see how others have voted.

Surveys

Surveys are similar to polls except that users typically don't participate due to their length. There are ways, however, to increase participation.

Ask for reader participation through a pop-up. When your page loads, deliver a pop-up asking your user if they would like to participate in a short survey.

It's important to keep it short and clear.

Live Chat

Adding live chat to your blog is fairly easy, but keeping up with it can be difficult.

Studies show that live chat increases sales and enhances support. Many live chat tools now offer a wide range of features that make using live chat much easier and less costly.

These are just a few of the ways a business owner can increase feedback through their blog.

Copyright 2011 dzine it, Inc. web marketing All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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While the information that goes on our business card has changed with the advent of social media, replacing fax numbers with Twitter handles, the business card is still a critical part of your real-world networking strategy. Much like your online real estate, when you meet potential clients and contacts in person, your business card is not only the first thing they see, it makes a lasting impression.

A well-designed, compelling business card can help you make important connections and boost business. If you are not in the position to hire a professional designer or spend a fortune on business cards, there are five things you need to know before moving forward.

1. Image is everything! Design your business card appropriately, keeping in mind the kind of customers you are looking to attract. Potential customers will form an opinion about who you are and what your company is about based on specific visual attributes of your card, including paper thickness, font choices and color scheme.

2. Avoid clip art! Clip art will ruin your business card because it almost always looks cheap and diminishes the image of any company. In fact, you should only add graphics to your business card if you are sure it will help reinforce your branding.

3. Consider using a QR code! A QR code is a matrix barcode readable by smartphones and is great for connecting your offline and online marketing materials. QR codes can be used to create memorable features on your website and reward those you meet in person for reaching out to you. QR codes are all the rage these days and putting one on your business card shows that you are on the cutting edge.

4. Avoid clutter! The two most important pieces of information on an effective business card never change; your phone number and email address. The simpler the business card, the more effective it will be. In this day and age, it is tempting to add your Twitter handle, Skype alias, Facebook links and IM nicknames to a card, but these are extras that you can introduce into the relationship once it is solidified.

5. Don't be a cheapo! There are lots of places where you can get 1,000 business cards for free. However, if you want your card to stand out, the cost of shipping isn't enough to offer true distinctiveness. You will need to invest time and money into producing a quality business card if you want to make an impression.

Copyright 2011 dzine it, Inc. graphic design firm All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Amazon Web Services has opened a new data center in Oregon that will cost less to use than the company's other West Coast facility, which is located in California. Amazon Web Services offers a number of services to business clients including Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Storage Service and Virtual Private Cloud from the Oregon data center. Services are priced ten percent less than in the Northern California region and about equal to the Northern Virginia region, according to company officials.

Amazon seems to be passing cost savings on to its customers, realized by locating its data center along the Columbia River. Many companies including Microsoft, Yahoo, Dell and Facebook have built massive data centers in the region because of access to cheap hydroelectric power.

While the company has been reluctant to offer up any details about the exact locations of its data centers and will not confirm the location of its new Oregon facility, The Oregonian newspaper reported in October that Amazon had opened a 120,000-square-foot data center in Boardman, a town in central Oregon, located on the Columbia River.

While municipalities often compete fiercely for such data centers, by offering huge incentives to locate in their towns, the facilities are often controversial. That's because such data center facilities employ only a handful of people, can generate pollution and often have an impact on utility rates for individuals.

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