improve your marketing
With smartphone uptake growing at the pace of Greek debt, here is the astounding news. For many people, smartphones are taking over as their preferred way to access the web.
Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their hand-held. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer. Roughly one third of these “cell mostly” internet users lack a high-speed home broadband connection. More
What you really need to do. Now.
If you're in business and you don't have a smart phone, get one. Until you have in your hand you may not realise what is occuring:
- Google desktop made search relevant by monitoring your behaviour.
- Mobiles go a stage further and overlay this knowledge with location.
- Your phone knows exactly where you are.
- It even knows the weather; exactly where you are.
- If it's raining, your phone can show you the nearest place to buy an umbrella. Or suggest a tavern where you can take refuge.
Q. What is the consequence for your online strategy?
A. Profound for most businesses.
We've long argued that 'website as destination' has been usurped by 'website as a hub'.
In other words, unless your website is connected to every aspect of the cloud it is a tiny desert island that may be pretty and quaint but is rarely, if ever, visited.
In this context, the 'cloud' is primarily websites and social networks, but it is beginning to include cloud applications such as salesforce, Microsoft's Office 365 and Google apps.
What is 'website as hub'?
People dip in and out of websites. Effective websites syndicate content so that it appears in multiple ways. Somebody may click a link to your site from Facebook for example. Or open a link to your site from a friend's Twitter 'tweet'. So traffic that lands on your content may come from many sources.
Your site will become interactive by being part of live conversations.
Why is handheld different from desktop?
Obviously the screen is smaller, and there's a touch screen. This means that traditional web sites are generally cumbersome to use compared to 'apps' or sites designed for mobiles.
It's common for content to be 'aggregated'. This means that content from multiple web sites is available in a single place. This allows the user to view a headline and synopsis before deciding whether to 'drill down' into the content.
A leading example of this is Pulse. Users can add content from any source (including your website) and will be alerted when fresh content appears. Your website is no longer a 'destination' for the user, but you have increased the reach of your message dramatically. If your content is liked, it can literally be 'liked' on Facebook, tweeted on twitter or emailed/sms'd to a friend.
Like it or not, this is becoming the way of the world.
How do you budget for your website? "Get a few quotes" is the normal response. That, surprisingly, is probably the worst thing you can do. There's a cookie cutter process (we'll call it CCP) that graphic designer-led web developers use that is almost always based solely upon graphic design and coding. Typically, this may be 70% graphic design and 30% coding = price. There's often reference to SEO being 'built in' to the design but this should sound warning bells, since without resaerch this is meaningless.
If you want a 1999 style web brochure, and you've got very deep pockets to get visitors to your website, then the CCP approach may work for you. But if you want traffic, conversions, visitor engagement and an ROI then it's a no-no.
The plan for monetizing your website should never happen after the site is built. It should be the reason the site is built, and the blueprint for building it.
What's the alternative to CCP? Well, effective websites usually comprise 1.) research to find a viable keyword niche (not to be confused with 'research' that simply counts search volume; 2.) wireframing, where the site is built with (gulp) NO creative to figure out the SEO structure, usability and call for action(s); 3.) initial content population, to determine how it presents, keyword optimization and structure options for the target mediums (browser, phone, PS3 ....+ whatever); 4.) then, and only then, creative development to skin the content in a way that reflects your ID and desired market position; 5.) testing, to discover what search engines actually see Vs what you perceive they see; 6.) social networking linkages; 7.) a content development plan since you will not outrank incumbents without providing enough relevant content; 8.) Link building (in certain markets), since popular sites outrank isolated ones.
What does this all mean? It means that if you have a limited budget, don't blow it on graphic design. CCP is 70% graphic design, 30% coding and 0% consideration of your ROI. Consider setting a budget of 10% for creative and you'll spend your money much more wisely. The process should always start with research, never with graphic design.
Pursuit of the Original - why web design doesn't always need to be original
A lot of web designers strive to be original, to make each site design unique. The motivation is to differentiate yourself as a creative artist. This is a worthy goal, but (like the call of the mythological Sirens) the call to continuous creative originality can also be deceiving. It leads many virtuous designs onto the rocks.
The fundamental problem is: most truly new things (ideas, products, or genetic mutations) fail. That is the way of the world.
- One in every 11 minutes online globally is accounted for by social network and blogging sites.
- The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to 'Member Community' Web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group (+11.3 million).
- Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking. Nielsen found UK mobile Web users have the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23 percent (2 million people) doing so, compared to 19 percent in the US (10.6 million people).
- These numbers are a big increase over last year – up 249 percent in the UK and 156 percent in the US.
Full Neilsen article
Don't be gloomy; the time is just right to be like me - Times Online
Fortunes are made out of recessions. A lot of entrepreneurs get going in the economic depths because the barriers to entry are lower.
Early beneficiaries of the downturn are fast food joints. All over the western world, demand for burgers and pizzas has gone up faster than you can say 'calorie density'. Anyone for low price 'fine dining'? Want to piggyback on 'pizza' search terms?
Health clubs subs would be the first to go in a downturn. Right? Well, no actually, they have gone up in every recession. It seems that without the structure of a job to go to, the gym equals the place to go think. Without overtime, the opportunity to go to the gym is there. In the USA, Health clubs have become big business. Multi state clubs can't optimise for local markets. Check out the gaps.
Americans’ Online Search Behavior Points to Significant Increase in Personal Financial Turmoil
Searches for several terms related to the economic downturn showed dramatic gains during the past year. Among the most notable increases were searches relating to the deteriorating job market, including searches using the term “unemployment” (up 206 percent to 8.2 million searches) and “unemployment benefits” (up 247 percent to 748,000 searches). Meanwhile, terms relating to personal asset situations, including “mortgage” (up 72 percent to 7.8 million searches), “bankruptcy” (up 156 percent to 2.6 million searches), and “foreclosure” (up 67 percent to 1.4 million searches) also grew strongly. And Americans, resilient as they are, are seeking ways to save money, as evidenced by the increase in the number of searches for “coupons” (up 161 percent to 19.9 million) and “discount” (up 26 percent to 7.9 million).