Brownbook S23 now live – latest updates

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Brownbook S23 went live yesterday, with a raft of new features designed to help your business get found more online.  Here’s a full run-down of the changes:

ShareThis – We’ve replaced our ‘Tweet this’ link on each Business Page with a more extensive ShareThis link.  The new link lets you share the page through your Twitter feed, plus around 45 other social sites including Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and more.  Use this to pump up the social capital of your Business Page.

Add Widgets – Yes, its true, we’ve brought back a NEW and IMPROVED ‘Add Widget’ feature for all business owners.  You can read about it right here.

Include customization in ‘Latest Edits’ – Want to get on our home page?  Getting on the home page helps your Business Page get found more in search engines.  We made a minor change so that when you customize your Business Page (add units or edit units) you’ll appear in the ‘Latest Edits’ panel on the home page. Recently updated pages get more relevance in many search engines, so remember to keep your page fresh and current.

‘Edit mode’ after adding a unit – This is a minor change that places you in ‘edit’ mode when you add any unit to your Business Page.  Previously you had to click ‘edit’ after adding a unit, so we just slickened that up a little for you.

Messaging of endorsement events – A few months back we enabled a neat feature to allow you to invite and request endorsements from other business owners, creating valuable trusted links to your Business Page.  We just made a minor change to make it more obvious when you have any pending ‘invites’ or ‘requests’ that you can action.  When you have any pending endorsements you’ll now see an indication of this, just after the ‘My Account’ link right there near the top of the page.  This lets you stay on top of your endorsements and ensures you get all the links you can.

Bugs resolved – Bugs resolved in this release include: zip codes beginning with zero can now be used; the problem with registering on http://m.brownbook.net (missing checkbox) is now resolved, page views and click stats inconsistent between Business Page and Hall of Fame is now resolved.

That’s about it for now, I’ll have some more very exciting news in a few days, so come back soon.

NEW – Add Widgets to your Business Page

I’m excited to reveal the work we’ve been doing on enabling widgets on your business pages. Previously I wrote about how we withdrew the HTML unit pending the reintroduction of it in a better form. Well here it is, let me talk you through it.

Way back when we introduced the the ability for you to add HTML units to your business pages we had the vision that you’d be able to use it to add helpful features to your page, like a Skype button, MSN widget and other weird and wonderful things. The great benefit of the HTML unit was its flexibility, but the drawback was how did you know where to get these cool widgets?

Well, now we’ve helped you out, and you can select widgets directly from a drop down, we do all the configuration for you, its simple.

Here’s a quick summary of each and how they can be used:

Skype, MSN Live Messenger, and Meebo
Consumers and businesses are working more and more in real time. As consumers if we don’t get instant answers we often move on. Adding a Skype button, an MSN Live Messenger chat window, or a Meebo chat window (Meebo supports MSN, Yahoo!, MySpace, AIM, Facebook, Gtalk, ICQ, Jabber, MyYearBook) let visitors contact you in real time, allowing you to respond to sales enquiries, product queries, technical support, booking requests, you name it. You can even show whether you’re ‘online’ at that moment. When people interact with the widget on your Business Page, their enquiries come straight into your Skype, MSN, or Meebo – there’s nothing special you need to do.

Twitter, WordPress blog, Blogger blog
Increasingly businesses are using these channels to connect and converse with customers and prospects. Add any of these widgets if you actively use any of these services. These widgets connect your Business Page to your Twitter, WordPress and Blogger, so that any tweets or blog posts you make in the normal way are also presented on your Business Page, maximizing the reach of any such activity.

Facebook profile, LinkedIn profile
More and more businesses are using Facebook and LinkedIn as marketing channels, developing loyal groups of followers. LinkedIn, particularly, is directed at professionals, whilst Facebook’s amazing social networking features are finding favor with businesses as much as consumers. You’ve already built up your LinkedIn profile or Facebook profile, so adding these widgets connects your Business Page with those profiles, automatically pulling in and displaying your profile information and updating it automatically whenever you update your LinkedIn or Facebook.

Flickr photostream, YouTube channel
Do you have photos or videos about your business on Flickr or YouTube? Maybe you want to display a slideshow of multiple photos or videos? Add one of these widgets to do just that. These widgets connect to your Flickr photostream or YouTube account and display a neat slideshow of your photo or video content. Viewers can scroll though photos and videos, and choose which to play or view. Great for showing product shots, demonstrations, or even customer testimonials.

Google Streetview
Google Street View is busy digitising street-level view images of every major town and city. Add this widget to give people a view of exactly where you’re based, let them see your shop front, or even the view across the street. This widget defaults to your business address, and you can override that to fine tune the location, plus you can change the pitch (though +90 and -90 degrees) and orientation (through 360 degrees).

BookingBug online bookings
BookingBug is a great online service for showing availability and taking bookings right there through your Business Page. You must create an account with BookingBug to use this widget (a link is provided in the widget), and once you’ve done that you can add booking and availability to your Business Page and your own website or blog.

Here’s how to get started…
The best way to understand these is to give them a try, remember its FREE in Brownbook to claim your listing and customize it, including adding widgets, so give it a go now and let me know how you get on.