You sit down to write an amazing post for your blog.
Everything feels right.
Your creative juices are flowing.
Your mind is forming sentences faster than your fingers can type them.
You feel excitement building.
And then you hit a snag.
It’s small, but it slows you down.
Should you write it “internet” or “Internet?”
Is it email or e-mail?
SERPS, SERP’s, or SERPs?
You go online to search for the answer. Spend 20 minutes reading grammar rules. When you come back to your blog post, you’ve lost your vibe.
How can you prevent this from happening?
The best way is to learn the basic capitalization rules for online writing.
You don’t want to appear sloppy and ignorant of the basic capitalization rules sophisticated bloggers use.
But you also don’t want to seem stuffy and overly traditional.
Keep these four simple capitalization rules beside you each time you sit down to write.
Lesson 1: Don’t Capitalize Terms That Have Entered Common Usage
Brand new words are usually capitalized when they’re introduced into a language.
For instance, take the word scuba.
In 1952, SCUBA was coined as an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Later, as the word became common and generic, it was changed to lowercase and became “scuba.”
Here are two examples of online words that have been changed to lowercase because of common usage.
Is It “Internet” or “internet”?
When the word “internet” first appeared, it was capitalized.
“In its generic sense, internet is a common noun, a synonym for internetwork; therefore, it has a plural form and is not capitalized. In its specific sense, it is a proper noun, and therefore, without a plural form and traditionally capitalized.” – Search Engine Journal, March 18, 2011
According to this Computer Hope, we should capitalize the specific “internet” we’re using to distinguish it from other internetworks.
However, as the word became a huge part of language and everyday life, experts began arguing that it should be lower cased.
After serious debate, style guides began adopting the popular trend.
In 2016, the AP Stylebook announced it would no longer recommend capitalizing “internet”.
On March 23, 2017, The Chicago Manual of Style followed suit.
So, while “internet” is technically a proper noun and should be capitalized, common usage and the evolution of grammar allows us to write it in lowercase letters.
Is It “Web” or “web”?
The word “web” stands for “World Wide Web.”
Like “internet,” it was capitalized when it first appeared in the English language.
However, it was changed to lowercase at the same time as “internet.”
Lesson 2: How to Spell Words with “E” (Short for Electronic)
Is it E-mail, Email, or email?
Is it E-commerce, Ecommerce, or ecommerce?
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the correct spelling is “e-mail.”
The same goes for e-commerce, e-store, and e-business.
When two words are joined to form a compound word, a hyphen is required.
However, style guides take another view and suggest removing the hyphen because of popular usage.
— Peter Sokolowski (@PeterSokolowski) March 23, 2017
So, should or shouldn’t you use a hyphen when you spell words with “e” for electronic?
According to Grammarly, both spellings are correct.
What it boils down to is how you want to appear online.
Do you want to be thought of as a scholarly grammarian? Or do you want to be techie, relevant, and mainstream?
Also, if you’ve chosen a style guide to follow, make sure you know how it spells these words.
For instance, if you follow the AP Stylebook, you should drop the hyphen in words with “e.”
Remember, consistency is key when choosing how to spell words with “e.”
If you don’t follow a style guide, choose one spelling and stick to it.
Lesson 3: Capitalizing (& Pluralizing) Common Online Terms
As you blog, you’ll bump up against common internet language and be unsure about their capitalization.
For instance, is it Keyword or keyword?
Is it SERP or S.E.R.P?
How do you pluralize acronyms?
Is It “Blog” or “blog”?
Words like “keyword,” “blog,” “website,” and “data,” are all common nouns.
Use lowercase letters when writing them unless they come at the beginning of a sentence or as part of a proper compound noun.
Is It SEO or S.E.O.?
If you abbreviate the United States of America using periods (U.S.A.), it’ll feel natural to use periods when abbreviating terms like search engine optimization.
Don’t do that, however.
According to APA style, periods or spaces shouldn’t be used in abbreviations unless they’re proper names.
So, it’s always SERP, SEO, and PDF.
Is It SERP’s, SERPS, or SERPs?
Making an acronym plural is tricky. Do you add a capital S to match all the capital letters of the acronym? Or do you use an apostrophe?
Here’s the general rule:
Add a lowercase “s” to form the plural of an acronym.
Examples of correct usage:
Examples of incorrect usage:
- SERP’s shows possession
- SERPS is just confusing.
However, there’s an exception.
To assist readability, you can use an apostrophe in acronyms.
For instance, SOS’s is easier to understand than SOSs.
Lesson 4: How to Capitalize Brand Names
You’re writing a blog post and want to mention a brand.
How do you capitalize it?
To be honest, visiting its website can be confusing.
For instance, look at this.
The logo uses all lowercase letters, so do you say “semrush” when talking about it in your blog?
As you’ll notice, the URL also uses lowercase letters: semrush.com.
The trick is to scroll to the very bottom of the page.
Look for the company’s copyright sign.
Next to it, you’ll see the correct capitalization of the brand’s name.
SEMrush is the right way to do it, not semrush or Semrush.
How to Keep Updated with Online Grammar Rules
Both online and offline, grammar rules are not set in stone.
According to William Strunk Jr. in his book “The Elements of Style”:
“…language is perpetually in flux: it is a living stream, shifting, changing, receiving new strength from a thousand tributaries, losing old forms in the backwaters of time.”
To make sure you don’t commit any grammar gaffes, you can:
- Choose a style guide (AP, Chicago, Microsoft) and follow its updates.
- Read the blogs of industry experts and note how they spell and capitalize words.
- Know (or create) your own style. You can either be traditional or trendy, depending on your audience.
Drawing the line between uneducated and outmoded is not always easy.
However, if you follow these three steps, you’ll never again be confused and slowed down when you’re writing content for the web.
All screenshots taken by author, March 2020
Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She’s earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.
12 Tools and Resources for Software Developers in Insurance
If a developer designs a system for Big Data analysis or creates programs for processing and analyzing application data for mobile gadgets, in any case he cannot do without analytics tools and services. Big Data is understood as the basis of the business of insurance companies that depend on information, that is, probabilities, statistical data, customer information, and so on.
Today, for programmers whose responsibilities include insurance software development, many useful tools have been created that are suitable for their needs and corresponding to their skills.
TOP-12 tools for programmers of insurance companies
Every developer who works on coding for insurance products will need the following 12 “helpers”:
- BitDeli. It is a startup that has been operating since November 2021. With its help, programmers are able to analyze various data using a variety of metrics through Python scripts. An important plus of it is that the scripts can be of different levels of complexity, which will depend on the needs of the developers. They can even be self-taught. Suitable for analytics. The solution is easy to use.
- Continuity. It is a platform that was created with the aim of pulling businesses to the same level as the companies of its creators – Yahoo and Facebook. The guys created a data structure to implement a new level of abstraction over complex connections in HBase and Hadoop. The main advantage of the platform is the facilitation of Big Data development processes for programs that are designed to work with external and internal audiences.
- Flurry. This application is in the “store” format, which is intended for the creation of mobile programs, as well as for the analysis of their data. This allows the application to be improved.
- Google Prediction API. Suitable for developers who have the necessary knowledge to work with the Prediction API. This interface will provide a wide range of diagrams and topics, and will also allow the application to give correct answers.
- Infochimps. We are talking about a platform, despite the fact that the brand today is trying to become a company and become even more successful. As for the platform for the programmer, he gets the Wukong framework, which has a key task – to interact with Hadoop and its data, while using Ruby scripts.
- Keen IO. In 2012, this tool was recognized as the best and most effective in its category, and it is used in analytics by mobile application developers. Its plus lies in its ease of use. You need to apply just one line, which is inserted into the source code to be able to track all the necessary information from the programs.
- Kontagent. A tool for processing huge amounts of information.
- Mortar Data. It is a cloud service that has managed to replace MapReduce with a combination of Python and Pig. It differs in simplicity and clarity in operation.
- Placed Analytics. A tool that provides programmers with ready-made products. With its help, it is possible to obtain complete information about the use of the application by customers: where, when and how long it lasted. The data is especially useful for app owners and advertisers.
- Precog. It is an interactive environment for developing insurance analytics products based on Quirrel, an open query language.
- Spring for Apache Hadoop. A tool that greatly simplifies the creation of programs that use Hadoop, and also provides integration with other Spring applications.
- StatsMix. It is a tool with which developers can collect and analyze data received from programs using only the languages they have learned.
Take a look at the Fireart site for more interesting and useful information. The main thing to remember is that analytics not only assesses the quality of traffic, looks for ways to increase conversion and reduces the cost of attracting customers, but also determines the most effective advertising channels, compiles portraits of visitors and their behavior patterns on sites, identifies site shortcomings up to technical errors.
From Creation to Stellar ROI
Reaching the right customers with your Google Ads campaigns is critical to increase conversions. While it’s possible that scattershot advertisements could catch the interest of Internet users, it’s far more likely that this general ad approach will result in a disconnect between dollars spent and sales made.
To help ensure your ads are reaching the people in the right place, it’s worth leveraging a function in the Google Display Network (GDN) known as affinity audiences. Using these audiences helps pinpoint customer segments that may be more likely to purchase your products, in turn driving more effective and efficient ad spend.
But what exactly is an affinity audience? How do they work, how can you create your own — and what can you expect once you dial in the ideal customer segment? Let’s find out.
What are Affinity Audiences?
Affinity audiences are used by the Google Display Network to deliver your ads to relevant locations online. Given that Google’s network reaches more than 90 percent of Internet users worldwide, it’s well worth the time and effort to understand and apply these audiences at scale.
But what is an affinity audience?
Let’s break the term down into its component parts. Audience is easy — it’s the group of people that will see your ad. Affinity, meanwhile, is defined as “a feeling of closeness and understanding that someone has for another person because of their similar qualities, ideas, or interests.” The result? An affinity audience is a group of potential customers that share similar interests or qualities (similar to a buyer persona).
Using affinity audiences allows your brand to better align ad campaigns to buyers who are interested in what you have to sell. For example, if you’re in the coffee-making business but also have a focus on reducing plastic waste, your affinity audience might contain both people who love coffee and those who love the environment. Groups with both of these qualities are far more likely to buy your product than either group individually.
Affinity targeting, meanwhile, is the process of identifying the ideal affinities that align with your product or service. Consider the coffee example above. While targeting buyers who love coffee helps improve your brand placement, it also puts you in direct competition with a host of other brands all producing similar products. Additional affinity modifiers that narrow your focus — such as sustainable growth processes, fair labor practices, or environmental priorities — can help set your brand apart.
Do note that it is possible to get too specific with your audience targeting. For example, if your coffee brand targets audiences that prefer beans from a specific region that are collected, packed, and shipped in a specific way, you may end up with a handful of very loyal customers but almost no broader appeal. As a result, targeting needs to narrow the focus without preventing you from reaching the greater public.
What are Custom Audiences?
GDN and the Google Ads platform contain a host of pre-built Google affinity audiences — also called segments — that you can use to focus your marketing and advertisements. These include everything from pet lovers to do-it-yourselfers, TV comedy fans and users with an interest in news and politics.
But they can’t cover everything. You may have a product or service that doesn’t dovetail with existing segments — here, custom affinity audiences can help.
Understanding Custom Affinity Audiences
Custom affinity audiences are those you create yourself in your Google Ads platform to align with the interests of your target customer base. While Google will suggest different potential segment tags depending on what you input, it’s worth taking the time to do some market research before diving into the custom affinity process. This lets you pinpoint the audience preferences that align best with your brand.
You can create custom affinity audiences related to four criteria: Interests, URLs, places, or applications. In general, places and applications are the least useful of the bunch. Here’s why. In our coffee example above, there aren’t a lot of coffee-related applications that would set your audience apart. And while geography has some impact on buying behavior, it’s usually not enough to justify an entire segment.
Interests and URLs, meanwhile, can help you dig down and identify potential affinity options that may be shared by your target market at large.
How to Create Affinity Audiences
Ready to create your own affinity audience? Follow these steps:
- Log into your Google Ads account.
- Select “Tools and Settings”, then “Audience manager.”
- Select “Custom Segments.”
- Enter segment name and interests.
- Save your new segment.
Let’s tackle each step in more detail.
1. Log Into Your Google Ads Account
First, log into your Google Ads account. Here, you can see any active campaigns along with the associated affinity audiences.
2. Select “Tools and Settings”, then “Audience Manager”
Next, head to “tools and settings” in the upper-right-hand corner and then find “Audience manager” in the drop-down menu.
3. Select “Custom Segments”
Now you’ll see a list of any data segments you’re currently using to target prospective buyers. To create an audience or segment, click on “Custom Segments” and then the blue “+” icon.
4. Enter Segment Name and Interests
Now, give your segment a name and add a few potential interests. For example, if you enter “coffee”, Google will return interests or purchase intention ideas such as “coffees to make with an espresso machine”, “how to make coffee with coffee beans” and “coffee makers that make different coffees.”
5. Save Your New Segment
Finally, save your new segment with use for ad campaigns. You can create as many segments as you like until you’ve covered all relevant market bases.
The Impact of Effective Affinity Audiences
Ideally, affinity audiences lead to a definitive result: Increased ROI.
Here’s why: When your ads are shown to audiences that are interested in what you’re selling, they’re more likely to click through and purchase your products. As a result, the money you spend on advertising is directly offset by the conversions driven by these ads, in turn creating positive ROI. More generic campaigns, meanwhile, may still increase overall sales but not enough to balance out the spend required to reach larger audiences.
The right audience makes all the difference. Targeted, customized affinity audiences help you reach the people that want to buy your products, in turn boosting conversions and making your overall ad spend more cost-effective. Custom affinity audiences further narrow your market targeting, increasing the likelihood of revenue and reducing the gap between what you spend on ads and what you get in return.
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