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What Feature Should Facebook Add to Improve the User Experience?

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What Feature Should Facebook Add to Improve the User Experience?

What’s one key thing that you would like to see added to Facebook?

We recently put the question to our SMT community, and we got a heap of suggestions as to how Facebook could be improved, some of which have been repeatedly suggested over time, and will likely never come about (dislike button), while others that do have some merit, and have been tested by the platform to varying degree.

Here’s a look at some the top suggestions shared, and where Facebook seemingly stands on each as present.

1. Dislike Button

The most requested feature addition was, unsurprisingly, the dislike button, giving users a way to quickly signal their disapproval of a post or comment in the app.

Which, in some ways, would likely help to improve Facebook’s algorithms and user experience. Reddit, for example, has long relied on its downvote option to better prioritize the best content, but on Facebook, the concern is that it would be weaponized to bury dissenting opinions, and would generally lead to a more negative user experience.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been pretty clear on his stance on this over time:

“Some people have asked for a Dislike button because they want to be able to say ‘That thing isn’t good’. And that’s not something that we think is good for the world. So we’re not going to build that. I don’t think there needs to be a voting mechanism about whether posts are good or bad. I don’t think that’s socially very valuable or good for the community to help people share the important moments in their lives.”

Zuckerberg has reiterated this many times, though Meta did add Reactions to provide more post response options back in 2015, and it has also experimented with downvotes on comment replies, though not specifically as a mark of dislike.

The biggest potential concern in not having dislikes is that it can give the impression of broader agreement with a comment or post, without adequate context. At a glance, if you see a post with hundreds of Reactions, with the Like being among the first listed, that can make it seem like more people actually agree with that opinion than it would if downvotes could be displayed to balance out that response data. But then again, the nuance then comes in the comments, where people can argue and debate, adding to Facebook’s overall engagement stats.

I do think there would be some value in a dislike option, but it doesn’t look like that’s ever going to happen on The Social Network.

2. Improved customer support

This one was also expected, with Meta’s customer support often being criticized for failing to provide adequate responses, or even be contactable in any direct way, with most of its guides and notes referring users to its online help forums instead.

Meta’s well-aware of this, and it has been working to improve. In December, it began testing live-chat support for some users in some regions, while it’s also still working to get its moderation teams back to full capacity after various COVID-induced disruptions.  

There’s no easy answer here – when you’re operating a platform used by 3 billion people, there are going to be issues with providing direct service at an adequate scale. But Meta is working to improve, and it’ll be interesting to see if its trial of live chat gets expanded at some stage.

3. Expanded keyword blocking

Several users called for keyword blocking tools on Facebook, which would also apply across all of Meta’s apps when implemented (and your profiles are connected) to help users better manage their in-app experience.

To be clear, you can currently block specific keywords from appearing in posts or comments on your profile or your business Page. But you can’t block them from your view entirely – although Meta did test exactly that at one stage, so it is technically possible.

Back in 2018, Meta tested a ‘keyword snooze’ option which was designed to help users avoid TV show spoilers and the like by temporarily hiding posts that included your chosen terms for up to 30 days at a time.

Keyword snooze

But it didn’t stick – in January 2021, Facebook ended the keyword snooze experiment, effectively shutting down keyword muting in the app.

But it is technically possible, and it does seem, based on the number of users calling for it, that there could be some merit to pushing for the option once again.

It may be unlikely that Meta would go back and try it out again – as it did run that initial test for two and half years. But maybe, it could happen, and it could still become an option in the app one day.

4. Chronological feed

Yes, the algorithm-free, reverse-chronological feed of old, which some believe would make Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and every other social platform a much better place.

The truth of that is unclear, as Meta says that when users don’t have an algorithm-defined feed, they actually end up missing a lot more of the most important updates from friends and family in the app, as well as posts from Pages that they care about.

But some users are still calling for it – while it is worth noting that Facebook actually does have a variable ‘Recent posts’ sorting option for your News Feed, so you can actually experience the app without the algorithm right now. It’s just not a default setting – you can’t set your feed to display the non-algorithmic feed every time you open the app, you have to manually sort it each time. Which is not the same, but it is still technically possible to view your News Feed in posted order.

Would Meta consider making this a settable option? I suspect not, and it’s currently in the process of implementing the same manual sorting in Instagram as well, reiterating that approach.

Again, Meta’s executives have repeatedly noted that the user experience is demonstrably worse without the algorithm, so they’re not likely to let users shut it off completely. Even if they think they would prefer it.  

5. Audio posts and comments

Meta has actually been experimenting with audio posts and comments for some time, though they’ve never made it to the main version of the app.

Meta ran an initial experiment of audio posts with users in India in 2018, which is still available (I believe) to Indian users, providing an alternative way to engage in the app. You can also post audio clips as replies in Messenger, catering for a similar use case.

Would there be value in adding audio replies, and potentially complicating the engagement process?

There are probably a few challenges here – most notably, the inability for Meta’s moderation tools to accurately detect comments in spoken word, which could reduce its overall effectiveness in removing violative content.

Maybe that’s enough of a deal-breaker to halt this development entirely, while it would also be a big change in how people interact, with some doing so in text, in between audio clips, etc.

It feels like it would probably complicate things too much, so I wouldn’t anticipate this coming – but then again, Meta is still experimenting with a range of audio elements in the wake of the Clubhouse-led audio explosion last year.

Maybe, eventually, audio clips will come as part of this.

6. Page lists for custom feeds

Some users also suggested a way to either select certain Pages and profiles for different News Feeds, or a way to separate posts from Pages and profiles into their own feeds for easier sorting.

Meta’s actually tried both of these options, in different forms.

Back in 2016, Meta ran a short trial of topic-focused variable News Feeds to help users better navigate their various interests in the app.

Facebook variable news feeds

The trial was indeed short, and small-scale, and Meta abandoned the idea pretty quickly, which suggests that it didn’t help improve its key metrics or user experience.

In 2017, Meta ran a test which split the News Feed into two – one feed for posts from profiles and the other from Pages. It ran the test for four months, in six smaller usage markets (Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Serbia, Slovakia and Sri Lanka) before shutting it down, with then News Feed chief Adam Mosseri noting that:

People don’t want two separate feeds. In surveys, people told us they were less satisfied with the posts they were seeing, and having two separate feeds didn’t actually help them connect more with friends and family.”

Maybe, if users could create their own custom lists of Pages and profiles for their own, variable feeds, maybe that would work, but it does seem like Meta’s done the experiments on this.

Other potential Facebook feature suggestions included sorting your lists of friends and Pages you follow by location (you can sort of do this for friends by entering a location into the search element of your friends list), improved demographic targeting for ads, like job title and salary (not likely), faster video playback speed options, review certification to stop people using bad reviews due to ulterior motives, and broader account verification as a measure to weed out scammers and spammers.

Some users also re-raised the idea of paying a monthly subscription fee for Facebook in order to avoid ads, which Zuckerberg has also ruled out several times in the past. Maybe, there could be a scenario where this becomes a more viable option, but with its business model built on ads, it seems unlikely that Facebook would move to provide an ad-free model, especially when it’s already generating so much money.

It’s definitely interesting to see where people are looking, and the features that they most want to see in the app, but as explained, most of these options have been tested and considered in the past, and they haven’t made it through to the next stage.

That doesn’t mean that Meta won’t do any of them, but given the history of each, and its evolving focus on the next stage of digital connection, it seems unlikely that we’re going to see any significant change in approach any time soon.

But at least this provides some context for those asking, as to why each might not see the light of day.


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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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