Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bring Your Photography To Life With Stunning Video

Article Presented by:
Copyright © 2011 Adam Harding

I want to let you in on my little secret.

It is about how I bring photographs to life by creating professional video slideshows that look like they cost hundreds of dollars.

My secret is that I am not an expert in video editing. My secret is that anyone can create their own professional video slideshows using the online video creation software that I use.

My secret is Animoto.

There. I said it. And I must admit that I feel a lot better for it!

When I first started out with these videos, I would guard this secret with my life in the fear that people would rather go away and make these videos by themselves instead of paying me to do so!

I have since realised that my fear was somewhat unfounded and that my job is safe.phew.

Most people do not want to have to spend the time and money on making their own videos. Most people don't care how these videos are made.they just want one made for them!

But there is a certain group of people that I believe will be interested in learning how to create these videos for themselves. This wonderful group of people is known as.photographers.

I now see just how valuable Animoto videos can be to photographers, whom are much more likely to want to go away and create their own videos of their photos than the typical "normal" person. Not that photographers are not ormal people, of course.

The creative freedom to be able to go away and put your photography together in a slideshow with emotionally moving background music is likely to be very appealing to many photographers.

How To Create Your Own Video Slideshows

Animoto videos are created online. You log in to your account, upload your photos, and drag and drop them into place.

You then add in your own custom text and select a backing track from their huge royalty free music library.

Now, this is the best thing about the videos.the photo transitions are done in time with the music. People will think you are a genius when they see how amazing these videos look!

Once you have added your photos, text and music, you just click "Done" and Animoto magically creates your video.

It really is that simple, and it does not cost too much either. I have seen professional looking videos on photographers websites that have obviously cost them hundreds of dollars. If only they had known about my little secret!

3 Ways To Use Your Video

Here are some great ways of using a professional video slideshow of your photographs.

1. Showcase your work

A video slideshow is an excellent way for someone new to your photography to get an overview of your best work in just a few minutes. The videos really do make a great first impression, and it is much more exciting for your visitors than having to trawl through your portfolio, photo by photo.

2. Social networking

Whether a professional or a hobbyist, you will easily be able to share your videos online. Simply upload the video to YouTube, post the link on Facebook, and a nice viral effect may start to take place as people share your video with their friends.

3. Sell the videos

Many photographers choose to show their clients (from a wedding or senior photo shoot etc.) a video slideshow of their photos. They then offer their client that video for free if they upgrade to the premium package.

Clients are usually so blown away by the video, that upgrading to the premium package is a no-brainer for them.

It's A Wrap

So there you have it: a quick and easy way to create your own exciting video slideshows and use them to get your photography out there.

There are many ways to use video to show off your work. The opportunities for are endless.

Whether you go away and make your own videos or decide to hire someone to make them for you, I just hope this post has got some exciting ideas floating around in your head!

About the Author:
To learn how to create your own professional video slideshows that look like Hollywood movie trailers, check out the Animoto tutorialvideos posted to the website of Adam Harding at

Read more Articles written by Adam Harding.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How To Build a Strong and Powerful Business During a Recession

Article Presented by:
Copyright © 2011 Trey McMartin

If you are watching the news, you are seeing daily stories about how another government institution is in financial trouble.

And while I despise the phrase "too big to fail", it is true that governments are actually, "too important to fail".

At home and in business, we don't have the luxury to be "too big" or "too important" to fail, so we must be more responsible and either reduce spending or increase revenue. Unfortunately, most politicians feel like they are exempt from having to reduce spending, so they are inclined to always seek methods to increase revenue, which makes our jobs harder when managing our personal or business budgets.

While politicians tend to put too much focus on increasing revenue, small business owners tend to put too much focus on reducing spending.

Bring Balance To The Force, Young Skywalker

During a recession, most business owners pull the reins on advertising budgets, fearful of what tomorrow might bring...

Those who remain fearful have forgotten what made them the success they are today... They have forgotten that they have a God-given talent to overcome the incredible obstacles in their paths.

Some of the largest companies formed in the history of man owe their success to HOW they adapted to the economy during a recession. They reduced unnecessary expenses and focused completely on those things that made them the most money!

Examples of large, successful companies that launched during a recession include:

  • Burger King - Started during a recession in 1954.

  • FedEx (Federal Express) - Started during the 1973 recession, a recession that resulted from the 1973-1974 oil embargo.

  • GE (General Electric) - Started in 1876, by Thomas Edison during the Panic of 1873.

  • HP (Hewlett-Packard) - Founded in 1939 at the end of the Great Depression.

  • CNN - Started during the recession of 1980, at the tail-end of the Carter administration, when the economy had been struggling for nearly a decade.

  • Hyatt Corporation - Opened its first hotel in 1957, during the Eisenhower recession (1957-1958).

  • IHOP - Also started during the Eisenhower recession.

  • LexisNexis - Launched as a computerized legal research service in 1973, during the 1973-74 oil embargo.

  • Microsoft - Started in 1975, during the recession created by the 1973 oil crisis.

  • MTV Networks - Launched during the economic slump of 1981.

  • Sports Illustrated - Was launched at the tail-end of the 1953-1954 recession.

  • These companies illustrate that a bad economy will not prevent success, but rather offer opportunities to grow fast and strong.

    Studies have shown that rather than to reduce advertising during a recession, the wisest business persons will increase the advertising budget during the recession.

    It Seems Counter-Intuitive, Doesn't It?

    The truth of the matter is that recessions bring consumer volatility, which means people are primed to change their spending habits.

    Most consumers buy goods and services based on habitual behavior. This is the reason that Bing is having such a difficult time taking market share away from Google...

    If you have used both, most people agree that Bing consistently delivers more relevant results. But consumers are habituated to using Google, because they believe that "Google provides the best search results..."

    Since the summer of 2009, Bing has been the clear winner in the quality contest... In fact, the quality was so good when Bing was launched that Google raced to upgrade its own search algorithms... In a record time, about six months, Google completely rebuilt its search engine from the ground up...

    Lucky for Google, its users never noticed how much better Bing was, because they had been drinking the Google Kool-Aid, forever believing that Google was "the best".

    During the fall of 2009, Google released the Beta-version of its new search engine, and then in Jan 2010, Google took its new search engine public with the Google Caffeine Update.

    Once Google's new search engine had been released, I imagine that its owners and managers sighed a collective sigh of relief... They had managed to return from the quality-underdog to an almost equal search engine, without losing any market share!!

    Your Competition Wants You To Drink The Recession Kool-Aid

    During a recession, your competitors are weakened, because its customer base is also looking for cheaper or better alternatives.

    If you tightened the noose on your marketing department, then you will have given your competitors the breathing room they needed to retain their market share, the same as Bing seemed to have done with Google.

    Lessons From Failures and Successes...

    Bing did not tighten the purse strings on its new search engine, but opened the flood gates of spending. And in the end, Bing's campaign floundered, because they did not clearly define for the global audience what made them better than Google.

    Bing had the best opportunity in the history of Google to steal market share from Google. And they blew their opportunity to win market share!!

    Let Bing's experience be a lesson to you... Open the taps for your marketing and advertising budget, but also be aware of the message you are trying to send to consumers...

    Don't leave consumers wondering why they should test their money at your company.

    Be clear, concise and forceful that your product or service is better... And tell consumers how they can find you.

    When the recession finally ends, consumers will fall back into the habits they had before the recession began, unless they have adopted new habits in the meantime.

    You have absolutely got to convince consumers to give you a chance, and while they are taking their chance on you, convince them that you should be their new, favorite habit to keep!!

    Burger King did it; CNN did it; IHOP did it, and Microsoft did it!!

    And if you are clever, you can do it too!!

    Recessions are an opportunity for the business-savvy to win new customers and market share... Are you going to accept the challenge before you, or let this opportunity pass you by?

    About the Author:
    If you are not competing for new customers on the Internet, you are making it easy for your competitors to crush you!! Your future customers are on the Internet NOW, looking for new merchants in your local area to serve their needs. Will those people find and choose your competitors or YOU? If you need help with your Local SEO and Local Marketing, then make it a point to find us at: Author: Trey McMartin.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Blog Writing - Finding the Right Person

    Article Presented by:
    Copyright © 2011 Enzo F. Cesario

    Every blogger has a different approach to things. Some talk about politics, others about their personal fiction projects. Some adopt a more serious tone, while others go for satire or outright comedy. Certain blogs might be more confrontational than others, and the topics covered can range from niche to popular appeal, often within the same blog.

    There are a host of articles and sites covering advice on how to address various topics, but one area that doesn't get a lot of attention is what "person" to write the blog in. Each linguistic person has its own strengths and weaknesses, depending on the message that needs to be covered. Ultimately, most will simply write in whatever person is most natural to them, but there is some merit in taking a bit of time to think about the implications, advantages and disadvantages of each.

    First Person

    I think, I want, I feel, I know... the first person is generally the default for blogging purposes. It's an instinctive way to think: We view the world from our own frame of reference and it's entirely natural to carry that perspective into the realm of blogging. After all, they're our own thoughts, so we're going to frame them from our perspective.

    First person is an excellent choice for writing a personal blog. As said, it's a natural voice to write in, so extending that to speaking about highly personal topics is a good way to capitalize on the effect. People like the inside look at things, and want to feel they have a special understanding of a subject. When people they care about — be they authors, politicians, theorists or actors — talk about their personal feelings, it offers a glimpse into their window of thought. This effect can be lost in a third-person blog.

    On the other hand, the first person can portray a degree of self-involvement that might put readers off. Not everyone cares what any particular individual thinks about a particular topic. If you say, "I believe the following..." then some readers have a natural tendency to ask, "Well, who are you?" This effect can be countered with the citation of facts and figures or quotations, but it's still a phenomenon the first-person blogger has to overcome. The reaction may not even be a conscious one on the part of readers, further complicating this choice.

    Third Person

    Third person is the perspective of choice for blogs about business or broad-reaching topics that aren't specifically focused on the personality of the blogger. The third person displays a degree of detachment and professionalism that allows for cool and apparently impartial assessments of any given matter. However, third person writing can also be emotionally powerful. Telling the story of a third party without the overt interjection of the writer's opinion is an excellent use of the third person device. It allows readers to get past the idea of someone writing the blog and get right to the emotional impact of the story itself, to get drawn in and engage with the subject matter.

    Comparatively, few blogs about personality are written exclusively in the third person. After all, the point of such a blog is to get into the mind of the writer, so what value would a more divorced approach like third person have? In such cases, the use of third person should be employed selectively rather than as the default. The personal "I" is too important to a blog centered on the personality for the third person to make any impact.

    Second Person

    Very few perspectives are as controversial as second person. Less than one half of one percent of any written works is published in the second, or "you," person. It's just not something that people instinctively work at. Folks don't know how others think — it's a defining trait of individuality. Assumptions can be made, but without the ability to actually get into someone's head, the ability to understand and interpret their thoughts is limited to context, past experiences and a healthy degree of intuition, so most people avoid writing in second person because it's too unpredictable. The weakness hinges on, "You know that..." often being answered, "No, I don't."

    For these reasons and others, the second person is often ignored. It makes people too uncomfortable when used on its own, and it's often dismissed as nothing more than a literary attention getting stunt rather than a serious writing effort.

    However, once again, there is a value to the second person, particularly when mixed with first person. An instructional blog talking about something of interest to reader and writer is a great example of this. "I find that you'll want to spoon the mustard before the honey, so the honey doesn't stick to the spoon." This blending of persons makes the entire discussion more personal, drawing the reader in to a cooperative element with the writer.

    Furthermore, the second person is an excellent choice for confrontational blogs. Sometimes a blog is written for an angle of activism and education, and presenting uncomfortable facts and figures with the association of "you" can do a lot to bring the message home to the audience.

    So whatever choice I/you/one uses, spend a little time thinking about the others, and if they might find a place in a particular piece.

    About the Author:
    Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the "voice" of our client's brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to or visit

    Read more of Enzo F. Cesario's articles.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Leveraging the Social in Social Media

    Article Presented by:
    Copyright © 2011 Enzo F. Cesario

    So, social media marketing is about the conversation, not the pitch. People are starting to get that. This is a good step, but what does it mean in practical terms? Having conversations with people is nice, but the goal of a brand is ultimately to get people interested in spending their time or money on the brand, after all. What does having this conversation accomplish, and just how does a brand use that conversation to get the critical conversion from conversation to customers?

    The Key Thing: Customer Investment

    Just about everyone's familiar with the smart and trendy Mac commercials. They've been seen, redone, spun off and parodied just about to death, and will stand as icons of excellent advertising. But think about it — when was the last time you saw one of these commercials on TV? How often do they actually come up anymore?

    The fact is, Mac's most consistent and open advocates are its users. People with an Apple notebook can't wait to tell their friends about it, take it around in public and talk up its virtues. This is true in other areas as well — Honda users have fan sites for their chosen vehicles, most people get into novelty diets or exercise programs as a result of their friends' influence and so on.

    So, give people a reason to talk about your brand — by making it their brand.

    Step 1: A Place to Talk

    There is no reason whatsoever not to have a public, open discussion forum for your brand on your site. This can take the form of the comments section if your brand consists of a simple blog, or it can be a whole message board. Definitely have a Facebook page and enable comments so that people can provide input on your frequent, informative updates.

    Step 2: Other Places

    People like to put up fan sites of their own, in addition to official ones. This should never, ever be discouraged. Yes, there are some risks with having a site that isn't under your direct control. However, very few people are going to respond favorably to "big business" quashing the "little guy" who only wanted to show off how much he liked a certain product the business makes.

    Instead, leverage this as an excellent opportunity. Contact them as an official representative and mention how much you appreciate their interest. If someone has a whole webpage dedicated to your bestselling line of how-to books, make a friendly "how to be an awesome fan" spotlight on your page showing off their site. When people see how well the brand treats its fans, they will talk about it.

    Step 3: Talk it Up

    Wherever people are talking about your brand, make sure they have good quality information on things, and that the information you give them is tailored to your audience's expectations. If your brand is high-class technical engineering tools, provide rigorous specifications your users can dig into. If it's a fashionable line of casual Sunday wear, offer interviews with the fashion designers and what their inspirations were. Give them some real meat to talk about, and they'll be chattering for months.

    Further, remember the reciprocity principle. If a conversation seems to be really taking off, jump in on it. If someone raises an interesting point in an otherwise quiet thread, give it a boost with some official insight. However you see fit, get involved in the discussions and help people see that you want to talk about the brand as often and as early as possible. Spur the discussion, encourage the argument, do whatever you need to keep the party going just one point longer.

    Step 4: Reward Interest

    This was touched on slightly in Other Places, but it can be expanded further into its own point. McDonald's recently gave an award to one of its most loyal customers, Don Gorske. The restaurant recognized him as the world's premier Big Mac enthusiast, since Gorske has eaten more than 23,000 Big Macs over the course of his life. An odd award by most lights, but McDonald's certainly reaped the attention, and Gorske has gone on to be a guest on Super Size Me and The Rachel Ray Show.

    Most brands can't quite leverage that degree of influence, but there are many ways to reward a fan for loyal interest in a brand. Perhaps your biggest fan deserves an advance shipping of the newest product you're planning. Maybe she's read every one of your novels to date and maintains such an active author-fan community that you'll use her name for the heroine of your newest work. Or perhaps the reward is a friendly lunch where you talk about ideas for the brand, and other things you have in common. Maybe you even hire your No. 1 Fan because he has some genuinely excellent ideas.

    In General, Think Humanely

    No list can comprehensively contain all the material that will get people interested in and talking about any brand. There are so many verbal tricks, psychological cues and special gimmicks that even trying to Google them would take months of research.

    The biggest key is to think like a human. Remember the advertisements or conversations that got you interested in something, that made you want to participate in a brand as its advocate. Try to extend those same thoughts into what you put into your brand, and you'll draw in people just as interested as you.

    About the Author:
    Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the "voice" of our client's brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to or visit

    Read more Articles written by Enzo F. Cesario.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    Dynamic Content: Using Analytics to Write Your Blog

    Article Presented by:
    Copyright © 2011 Enzo F. Cesario

    The role of web analytics in setting useful metrics for a site has been discussed in-depth in any number of places, but this is far from the only useful function that web analytic practices can offer. As in any field, a little thinking outside the box can offer extensive rewards to the creative researcher. Perhaps most usefully, creative cultivation of web analytics can help conquer blogger's block and help a good writer come up with some unique angles for content they thought they had peaked out on.

    First, of course, there are keywords. Analyzing keyword trends is an important part of any attempt to create an optimized site. There are some people who can get away with ignoring this because they write gripping enough topics, but by and large a good site will make at least a few genuflections in the direction of keyword-oriented content.

    If stuck without a good topic idea, a blogger can easily hop over to Google's AdWords or any other publicly accessible keyword-evaluating site and put in words relating to the topic the blog tends to cover. Once about 10 high-ranking keywords are identified, he can pick the best ones and build a solid article around them, using the trends others are talking about as inspiration.

    On the other hand, some keywords are particularly unwieldy, and are only useful for their broad relation to a topic. Take a blog focused on popular vacation destinations: If the main keyword that comes up is "places to eat on vacation," that's a bit of a bulky keyword to try to optimize around. However, creating a series of posts on "places to eat" with subtitles appropriate to each entry could be just the ticket to taking advantage of that keyword without shoehorning it in. Remember, titles are part of a good optimization effort as well as the body of the text.

    Next, a blogger should focus on analyzing his own blog's performance and trends. By the time it's generating significant traffic, the blog's analytics should show that certain topics are producing more hits and page views than others. This is a bellwether that should nudge the attentive blogger into writing toward those trends. After all, the audience drives the success of any brand, be it blog or book.

    However, there is a lot to be said for remaining true to one's creative vision. Bloggers generally start writing because they're passionate and informed about a particular topic. Looking at the page views and tailoring content is important, but it should not extend so far as to compromise or completely change the message of the blog. People still enjoy the unexpected from time to time, so if a particular topic takes a writer's fancy, it should be written. As always, the key is to strike a balance between integrity to vision and attention to readers.

    Now, new content is vital to any production, but there is something to be said for a look back at the classics. Older content is what initially drew readers to a blog in the first place, and it can remain topical over time. There are a number of techniques for refreshing older content, each of which has its own advantages.

    The first is the straightforward reposting: A year or two after an old post, put it back up on the front page with a small addendum or introduction explaining why it's relevant again. This is particularly popular with political blogs that make major predictions that end up coming true, but it can also apply to any other blog. A cooking site might post the same classic holiday recipes once a year, or an educationally minded one might post a major article to remind people of a specific message.

    Alternatively, there's the linkback and update approach. A new post is made with a link to the old post. The new post goes into brand new content that refers back to the older post, raising views on both pages and increasing the sense of relevance over time. This approach also can cement the overall message of a blog in reader's minds quite handily.

    Then, of course, there is the retraction or redaction. Our content is like our lives, both growing and changing as we gain more experience and, hopefully, wisdom. Sometimes we write something that makes a great deal of sense at the time, but makes less sense as the years go by.

    In cases such as these, the linkback or reposting strategy can be modified to include a bit of commentary explaining how one's views have changed, what new information is available and the reasons for the adjustment. This kind of honesty takes a lot of courage; shows great respect for readers and can often create a lively commentary thread.

    Speaking of commentary, this is also a great way to refresh older posts. A blogger can go to the oldest threads, find the ones with the best views — say the top five — and ask the readers to rank them in a voting contest. The best one will be reposted with new commentary. This is a clever way to get more readers to look at older posts, and give some old content new and exciting life at the same time.

    About the Author:
    Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the "voice" of our client's brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to or visit

    Read more Articles written by Enzo F. Cesario.

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    That First Impression: Title Considerations

    Article Presented by:
    Copyright © 2011 Enzo F. Cesario

    While it certainly isn't as much work as crafting the body of a superior article, selecting a title for a piece is definitely an important element of the entire process of content creation. The title of an article is a multifunction web tool, providing opportunities for engagement with the reader and search engine in equal measure. Putting some thought into the title and how best to leverage its effects will help title choices provide a solid return on investment instead of burdening an otherwise good project needlessly.

    Making Wordplay Work

    The necessity of a good title is rather self evident if one plays a small game. Borrowed from Christopher Hitchens' autobiography, Hitch 22, the game basically goes like this: Pick a popular movie title and change it just slightly to get a "title that didn't quite make it" — Quiet of the Lambs, American Pastry, Mister Zhivago, the American Samurai and such all demonstrate the importance of getting things just right. A small change can eliminate the value of good wordplay or an entertaining twist of phrase in favor of something more bland and pointless.

    To that end, try to put some thought into the title. Reference popular works — for example, a comparison piece doesn't go wrong by referring to "A Tale of Two..." Alternatively, the title could reference a key quotation or phrase within the body of the text itself. Don't ignore something that seems to work, but double check creative title ideas against someone else's opinion, just to be sure.

    Words are Key

    The title is a crucial part of the Search Engine Optimization process. Keyword spiders and algorithms often look at the first words in an article, and the title is no exception. Having the core keyword worked into the title will consistently help return better results within Internet searches.

    However, this comes with particular caveats: Some keywords, particularly keyword phrases, are long and clunky and can interfere with the aesthetics of a title. If the keyword phrase in question is "how to brew your own beer," that's one thing. A clever preface can be put before it, with how to brew your own beer as a subtitle or addendum to the main line. On the other hand, the keywords might be "Legal Advice Auto Accident," which is more difficult to work into a clever title. Experiment with a few approaches, and consider putting only a few of the keywords into the title or breaking them up into a fresh sentence.

    Another trick concerns where to put the title. In many blog posts the title will have its own section. However, also consider putting the title and its keywords into the body of the paragraph itself. Some search engines ignore separate title fields and focus on the content of the article itself, so this can help keep a writer from robbing themselves of good keyword return.

    Brevity, Please

    Particularly in the academic world, titles of articles and papers tend to be long and quite dense. "An Analysis of the Savior Archetype in Modern English Literature" certainly tells us what the paper is about, but could also easily be summed up as "The Savior in Modern Literature" and loses nothing of its statement of intent.

    Further, keyword optimization becomes less effective the further into a document one gets, and this includes the size of the title. Proper keyword effect selects for shorter, more efficient use of titles, so avoid the temptation to put the whole topic into the title line. Go for simpler, brief word choices that allow expression of the important information without going on and on.

    Hyphenated titles are very popular for this reason. A single word can capture the intent of the message, such as "Betrayed," and then be followed with keywords. To take an example from the news, perhaps the keywords are "WikiLeaks" and "PayPal." The title could then be "Betrayed — WikiLeaks Banned from PayPal."

    To Joke or Not to Joke

    Not every lighthearted article responds well to a joking title. People are oddly finicky and picky about when they'll accept humor, and the use of puns in a title is a risky gamble. Yet it undoubtedly works — consider the example of the Focker movie trilogy starring Ben Stiller.

    Obviously if the article is a serious piece, a pun should be avoided unless it's executed in the vein of dark humor. Serious work demands a serious title.

    However, an important rule of thumb is to be very cautious about industries or groups in jokes. Consider for whom the article is intended. If it is aimed at a wider public audience, such as a newsletter or advertisement intended to bring people into a site for discussion or purchases, then an excellent inside joke would be misplaced. Not everyone understands the jargon, so it should be limited. On the other hand, a specialty letter crafted specifically for professionals of the plumbing craft could easily get away with jokes about piping and other internally-recognized puns. As with any online venture, the goal is clearly to keep the audience first and foremost in mind when selecting a title, rather than simply hoping they'll "get" it.

    About the Author:
    Enzo F. Cesario is an online branding specialist and co-founder of Brandsplat, a digital content agency. Brandsplat creates blogs, articles, videos and social media in the "voice" of our client's brand. It makes sites more findable and brands more recognizable. For the free Brandcasting Report go to or visit

    Read more of Enzo F. Cesario's articles.

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    Understanding Cloud Computing for SMBs

    Article Presented by:
    Copyright © 2011 Audre Hill

    The buzz about cloud migration , or taking your business to the cloud , is all over the internet. But between the geek speak and the sales copy, it's hard for small and mid-sized business owners to put cloud computing in perspective with their real business needs.

    Here's a brief overview of the different types of clouds and the various vendors in those markets right now. As you read, keep in mind that the internet changes quickly. Cloud vendors will continue to come and go, so longevity, stability and portability will become increasingly important factors when choosing vendors.

    Cloud computing for SMBs

    The three main types of clouds right now are SaaS, PaaS and IaaS (descriptions will follow). As a SMB owner, you and your staff will usually only have direct experience with SaaS – the applications that deliver software like Microsoft Office and Google Docs. Here's an example of how the three layers work together.

    SaaS (Software as a Service)

    You and your employees use it as off-the-shelf application software. For example, if you use SalesForce to manage your customer database, you're using SaaS. It's hosted on the cloud, and you download apps to connect with the cloud version.

    PaaS (Platform as a Service)

    As an example, let's say you decide that the off-the-shelf version of SalesForce still requires too many hours of manual data manipulation -- you're paying overtime in the accounting department because they need to use create spreadsheets every month to sort and extract data that's specific to your company.

    At this point, you hire a custom software developer to code SalesForce to produce the reports your accounting department needs. He'll code and test your customized version on (owned by SalesForce) --a bare-bones software platform, or PaaS.

    IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

    These are the virtual machines that developers love because they provide a basic development environment in a push-button scalable form: processing, storage and networking can all be sized to fit the project almost instantaneously. There's no waiting for a human to configure and network a new server to create more storage space. And there's no large up-front hardware investment necessary to expand a system because the fees are set up to pay-as-you-go.

    As a business owner, you won't need to get involved with the details of cloud migration, PaaS or IaaS – especially once you have your custom software developer on the project. Good developers are lifelong learners and have a network of professional contacts they can tap into for news about the latest software trends. Your time will be freed to run your business and manage customer satisfaction – which is the real goal of adding custom software to your operations.

    About the Author:
    To see a cloud computing infographic for a visual perspective, check out Visit the website to find out more about how this Los Angeles custom software development team can handle your cloud computing needs and add value to your business.

    Read more Articles written by Audre Hill.