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Check Out the New-and-Improved ASICentral Search

Filed under: site updates

Google Custom SearchNever discount the importance of a good website search engine. You can have the greatest content in the world, but if someone comes to your site and your search is shoddy, they may just abandon their experience altogether. I’ve done it in the past, and will continue to do it if I can’t find quickly the content I’m looking for. In this day and age, time is money and if your site search is not yielding great results you’re either a) employing poor SEO practices, or b) employing a poor search engine (Or both!).

In the past, ASICentral.com‘s site-search results haven’t been what we would’ve desired, and we’ve tried several ways to improve it, including increased concentration on SEO. However, a recent addition of Google Custom Search as our site search engine has really helped improve the experience.

If you have a few minutes, take a look for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments area. Just click the image above to go to ASICentral.com and start searching. Chances are you’ll see a big improvement in the experience!

New Changes for Wearablesmag.com

Filed under: site updates, Wearables

CJ MitticaGuest blog from Wearables’ Editor C.J. Mittica:

Have you noticed the new changes at Wearablesmag.com? No? Good, that’s sort of the point. Our ASICentral team, under the guidance of team leader and France’s very own Yann Perrin, have instituted a number of subtle changes that have seamlessly improved the browsing experience. Here’s a rundown:

  • Custom Site Search: The pages from Wearablesmag.com were already searchable through Google, but now our website has a search function that allows you to cull through several years of Wearables content. Powered by Google, the search will allow you to sort by most recent date or relevance.
  • Archive Reorganization: Perusing our magazine archives has been made much easier. Issues are sorted by year and month, and pre-digital edition content is broken down by article, all for quick and easy reading.
  • Improved User Experience: I won’t bore you with all the technical details, but we cleaned up the site structure, moved the site to a new server and updated the navigation options. Basically, browsing the site will be faster and easier.

We still love the print medium (call me old fashioned, but that’s how I still read my magazines), but there are plenty of digital options available to our readers. Wearablesmag.com in particular has online exclusives and our latest videos and newsletters. And if you haven’t tried it yet, you should check out the digital edition of the magazine, which can be read on the iPad. (You can find it by searching “Wearables magazine” or “Advertising Specialty Institute” on the Apple App store.) Admittedly, it’s pretty swank.

Introducing Score! from Wearables Magazine

Filed under: Fun, site updates, Wearables

ScoreOne thing that’s certainly not lacking here at ASI Central is a fraternity for professional sports fanatacism. From rooting for our favorite teams to managing our fantasy ones, pro sports provides not only a valuable and tempory escape from the rigors of the day, but ample opportunity to rib a rival fan over his team’s shortcomings. (Being a Yankee fan working among Phillie Phanatics, I took more than my share of liberties in 2009!)

And anytime you can combine sports and the job, well that’s just gravy man! Which brings me to the point of this blog …

Beginning with the January 2012 issue and occurring every other month, Wearables magazine has unveiled a brand-new section called Score! that will drop some knowledge on how to win more sports business through sales strategies and trends. In addition to the great magazine content, Editor C.J. Mittica has included an online component that includes everything from case studies to favorite sports lists.

The inaugural Score! focuses on basketball. Read the article here, and check out the online exclusive here.

And as a quick supplement to the blog, the following are the top 10 most-popular NBA jerseys (Source: InsideHoops.com), followed C.J’s top 3. Enjoy!

  1. Los Angeles Lakers
  2. Boston Celtics
  3. Miami Heat
  4. New York Knicks
  5. Chicago Bulls
  6. Oklahoma City Thunder
  7. Orlando Magic
  8. San Antonio Spurs
  9. Denver Nuggets
  10. Phoenix Suns

C.J.’s Top 3:

  1. Celtics
  2. Lakers
  3. Warriors

What’s your take? Which NBA team jersey do you think is the best?

ASICentral Mobile

Filed under: site updates

ASICentral MobileLike the band The Who, ASICentral.com is going mobile!

Now from any smartphone of your choice, you can access some of the features of the full site in a simple, easy-to-read and — most importantly — quick-loading mobile site. Just go to http://m.asicentral.com and you’ll have the following mobile-friendly features available from just about any place you can get a signal:

  • Latest Industry News
  • Find a Supplier
  • Make Money
  • Education
  • Member Benefits
  • Contact Us

Looking to access asicentral.com from a tablet like the iPad? Try the full site first — we find it works best in a tablet environment.

Go mobile!

Oh, and any time I can fit a cheesy reference to a great band like The Who, I’m definitely gonna take that liberty.

Introducing Counselor’s Tech Tactics

Filed under: site updates

Tech TacticsStarting with October’s issue, Counselor magazine will be offering a new department to it’s print and online magazine called Tech Tactics.

Billed as a “hot-to guide to improving business technology,” Tech Tactics will not only provide great tips and advice each month on specific topics, but Q&A sessions with industry experts, case studies, social network feedback and online exclusives like the Counselor How-To Minute and monthly chat.

This month’s topic: How To Succeed With Online Video

So, if you’re looking to expand your business with video marketing you don’t want to miss this installment. In the meantime, here are the top 6 steps to developing quality videos online:

  • Step 1: Develop A Strategy
  • Step 2: Shoot For Success
  • Step 3: Get Equipment
  • Step 4: Present Like A Pro
  • Step 5: Transfer & Edit
  • Step 6: Upload & Share

For more Tech Tactics, click here.

Introducing Counselor’s Monthly Online Chat

Filed under: site updates, Video

Counselor ChatStarting Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. EST, Counselor magazine will begin hosting a monthly online chat (www.asicentral.com/counselorchat) where you can ask our editors any question you have regarding a topic. Chats will being promptly at 2 p.m. and last approximately an hour. After the chats are over, an archived transcript will be posted at the bottom of the page for you to access at your leisure.

This month’s topic: How To Succeed With Online Video

So if you’re looking for ways to succeed with video, join us on Tuesday at 2 p.m. and ask our experts like anything about online video — they’ll be ready to answer your questions and share their own experiences and case studies about video marketing.

Save the date and don’t miss this month’s live chat!

Business Strategy Tips from Counselor Magazine

Filed under: site updates, Video

Counselor How-to MinuteYouTube is an amazing social network. Not only do I frequent it for the music and viral videos (both funny and bizarre), but I often use it as an educational resource for visual tips on how something should be done. Example: When I couldn’t figure out how to play the guitar riffs on Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good”, I simply YouTube’d it and found this.

There at my fingertips, tons of video clips for people just like me looking for quick tips on how to play a familiar guitar riff. Quick, comprehensive … brilliant! Sure, reading a guitar tab on paper is nice, but *seeing* it in action adds so much more. From brewing the best beer to changing your brake pads, YouTube is a vast resource of how-to knowledge and one of the first places I turn when I need instructions.

Which brings me to the latest video from ASI TV, the “Counselor’s How-to Minute,” which we’re now uploading to YouTube. Billed as “a business strategy video that will focus on how distributor firms can overcome a specific challenge,” this video is perfect for those looking for quick tips on how to succeed in the industry. Thus far, the Counselor How-to Minute has covered three topics:

Watch these videos if you want some quick advice in any of these areas … and stay tuned for more business strategy tips from Counselor!

ASI Education Gets A Makeover

Filed under: Education, site updates

For those of you who frequent our Education pages on ASICentral, you might’ve noticed that we’ve recently revamped some of the sub-pages, like Distributor Success, Sales and Marketing. Here’s why …

For instance, each of these sub-pages — which directly correlates to Education Tracks offered at our 5 annual ASI Shows — appeared very similar, almost identical upon first seeing them. Solution: Change the color of each page. Now, each one has an identifiable color associated with it. So if you see the color green, you know you’re in the Distributor Success page. You see blue? You’re now in Sales City, baby!

Next, our on-demand content was useful, but unaccredited. Solution: Offer users the same content, but give them the opportunity to get credit for it. By participating in our Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program users can achieve their BASI/MASI degrees, which can only enhance their expertise and standing in the industry. Now, each page’s “On-Demand Courses” section offers a Featured Course as well as several links to other online courses, which links directly into our Online Learning Center (if you’re not a member, you’re prompted to join) where you can receive credit for watching/listening to our courses!

And as an added bonus, all of our content in the On Demand Courses section lets the user know how long the time investment will be and how many credits they will get for it (1 or 1/2)!

We’re really excited our new Education pages and how you are too. Let us know what you think by posting a comment below or emailing us at feedback@asicentral.com.

— Vinnie.edu

Top 300 US Cities for Promotional Product Sales

Filed under: Research, site updates

Top Promo Product CitiesDid you know? The best large, mid-size and small cities markets for promotional product sales right now are:

  • Large: Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, CT
  • Mid-size: Waco, TX
  • Small: Wichita Falls, TX

If you did, then you must already be familiar with Counselor’s May issue, which includes a feature about the top 30 cities for promotional product sales. (Top 10 for each size market.)

For the online version, however, we wanted to do something a little different. Since Counselor Editor Andy Cohen had enough data to fill up three magazines, we decided to do an online resource tool that feautured not just the 30 cities in the magazines, but 300 cities – extending each size market from Top 10 to Top 100!

Introducing the 2011 Top Cities for Promo Product Sales Interactive Resource!

With this resource, not only can you toggle between the market sizes (Small = less than 200,000 people; Mid-size = 200-500,000 people; Large = more than 500,000 people) for all the cities, but you can sort by various fields, including 2010 Sales, Percentage of Market, Population, and even Grade!

Yes, we’ve even taken the liberty of grading the city market based on its performance against the rest of the field. The top 20 receive an A; the next 20 a B; the next 20 a C … and so on.

So, what are you waiting for?! Check it out now! And please let us know what you think by emailing us at feedback@asicentral.com.

–Team ASICentral

Stitches.com Gets A Makeover

Filed under: site updates

Hey stitchers, decorators and embroiderers, have we got great news for you!

If you haven’t already noticed, we’ve completely changed the look and feel of the online site for Stitches magazine, Stitches.com, creating in the process a friendlier and more visually pleasing user experience. The following is a breakdown of what’s new and exciting with the NEW Stitches.com:

  • Color Palette. Gone are the blues and greens in favor of a muted white background, and a more dominant primary maroon color that allows the page’s content sections to “pop”. Since the popular concensus is that everyone loves the design of the Stitches Social Site, we decided to use the dominant maroon of that design as our primary Stitches.com color. 
  • Content Modules. All the content is organized into comprehensive, free-floating “modules” starting with the Features at the top – which includes the cover story. Under the Features and down the left-hand column are: 1) Stitches Social Site Module; 2) Blogs Module – All three Stitches blogs, with a tabular toggle feature allowing you to browse the latest content of each one without leaving the home page; and 3) Videos and Podcasts Module. Down the right column under the Features are: 1) News Module – All the latest industry news, starting with most recent; 2) Columns Module – Featuring Editor Nicole Rollender’s letter; and 3) Poll Module. 
  • Subscribe, Newsletters, Archives, Digital Mag. This content used to reside on the left-hand side of the home page; it has now been moved to the right-hand side of Stitches.com, offset by clever imagery by our Sr. Designer Craig Veltri – an Embroidery needle and red thread!
  • Top Navigation. The old design contained two horizontal lines of navigation, which was one too many. Content has been consolidated and now the navigation is cleaner and more succinct. The new nav items are: Free Product Info | Sourcing Guide | Swap Meet | Blogs | Glossary | Calendar | Contact Us | Advertise

Stitches Redesign

So what do you think? Drop us a line at feedback@asicentral.com and let us know what you think of the new design.

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