Content Performance is the notable absent of the New York AdWeek -

On this blog we sometimes have friends and family to also their views of the world. Today we have Nicolas Arrive, head of the Market Analytics team at PwC in London share his thoughts. To read more from him, visit his excellent blog called Analytics made easy.

Whilst AdWeek New York is full on, the main topics of conversation are fraudulent online activities some advertisers may still be billed for and the rise of videos and video streaming as a mainstream medium. I am still surprised at the prevalence of the “view” or “impression” as a metric to measure performance. Bot and robots generating views are easy to design. As soon as you elevate the conversation to more meaningful ways of measuring performance, I sense that alleged fraudulent view based activities matter a lot less. Ads are no more no less than pieces of content aiming at attracting the right individual at the right time toward the right offer. The proliferation and the ubiquitous of “free” content turned content into an advertising medium on its own and should also be evaluated beyond the simple view count. Buzzfeed turned the creation of content into a science driven business and over the weekend Medium raised enough £ to be value at an estimated $400 m! That speaks volume.

On 8 September 2015Steve Rayson published an interesting long study on content marketing and the relationship between shares and links. The article, titled "Content, Shares, and Links: Insights from Analyzing 1 Million Articles" is well written and complements my own findings on a much smaller scale here.  In my opinion SharedCount is an awesome tool giving anyone free access to the real human driven proliferation of your successful pieces of content. SharedCountcombined with basic web analytics data manipulation means that content can be measured and evaluated on the same level as ads. This is taking the conversation to a very different level.

Virtual waiting lines + gamification

While I've been online for a bunch of years I am always fascinated how offline ideas, now used online, work.

My favorite one, that I recently discovered,  is this virtual waiting list for a newsletter. On the example below, 60k+ people are supposedly on the waiting list. I guess it is more difficult to get this very important newsletter than meeting the pope!

But that's not all. Like in real life,  I can be an ahole and jump the waiting list. In this case  I can tweet FB or do other stuff to jump the line. I  wonder if you could reverse engineer that and bring the same waitinglist and gamification concept back to the offline world. 

Anyways..if you are interested in doing the same, Waitlisted does it for you. 




A few thoughts on why marketers should look into Etsy

While the stock market is finally getting a bit of a hang of Etsy's business, marketers still haven't taken it seriously.  Some time ago digital marketers moved their focus away from the search engines, towards new platforms such as FB, Twitter, Youtube and even Amazon. Etsy, however, is a massive marketplace, that is still completely underutilized and I am surprised, that gold digging marketers, who usually jump on anything that promises to make a quick buck, haven't gotten into optimizing Etsy's algo. Especially shops, that sell digital goods, show massive sales numbers without many people noticing.

A few examples:

I) Posh Patterns - A knitting pattern shop for children's hats. ~40000 sales. Look close: These are not the actually hats, but PDFs of patterns!

II.  ThinkPinkBows - Children's bows. Almost 200k sales and 51000 admirers. Baby pics always work!

Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 8.56.51 PM.png

III. Distingtly - Handstamped jewelry with almost 100k sales and 20k admirers. Customized jewelry is easily to buy and should be easy to market. People love to get unique gifts and I am sure social sites are driving most sales here.


Goodbye Wordpress, Hello Squarespace!

I get it: Wordpress is for the nerdy kids and Squarespace is for the...well.. spoiled hobby webmaster Millennials. Whatever! After sitting on my Wordpress blog(s) for several years generating passive income without really doing much,  I finally decided that it is time to move on.

Here my reasons why switching from WP to Squarespace made sense:

1. Maintenance

Yes, a common excuse, but I am just tired of making sure, that stuff in Wordpress is upgraded and running properly. Automation is there, but if I don't check the updates and test server performance regularly,  I just don't want to blog. 

2. Security

My WP blog got hacked several years ago. A small SQL injection. Nothing major, but I've never wanted to go in and dig into the site, even after seeing that some of the traffic got re-directed.

3. G! Updates

Managing your own theme is annoying, esp. when G! starts requesting a mobile-friendly site or just a move to https. 

4. Functionality

Squarespace is well done & it covers all basics. Period!

5. Time

Obviously a loser excuse, but I blame my kids on this one. It's just more fun playing bumper cars than diving in another WP issue all weekend.

Long story short: I still love WP as I still have tons of sites running on it. But Squarespace, Wix and a bunch of others earned their right for existence. In this case consumer friendliness beats hyper-customization. 

 

 

 

The 7 Best On-Page Crawlers

Understanding the architecture, content, internal linking and other onpage factors of your website becomes more and more important.  As such, the reliance on spider tools to crawl and optimize websites is rather unsurprising. The largest problem here is the crawl depth, quality of findings, display of results Here are 7 of the best on-page crawlers (in no particular order) currently available to webmasters looking for an edge:

Screaming Frog The Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool is a comprehensive crawler available for Windows, Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux. First things first, it'll give you a complete rundown of all the pertinent information pertaining to a domain such as outgoing links, incoming links, meta tags and keywords, titles, images and response codes. Furthermore, it allows users to export their data to CSV files for further dissemination. The free version will only index 500 links per domain, so you'll need the paid version for big projects.

Xenu A longstanding favorite of SEOs around the world, Xenu's Link Sleuth is the go-to spider tool for many. Though a bit long in the tooth at this point, it's still a robust program with a lot to offer. It provides basic link intelligence for any domain and doesn't cost a penny. Originally designed to check domains for broken links, it's a spartan yet effective link crawler. It works on SSL domains, can scan Java applets and will spit out reports on redirects of all kinds quickly.

OnPage Currently only available in German, OnPage is nevertheless a powerful on-page crawler regardless of your native tongue. So much more than a mere link spider, it'll give you loads of information on any domain including ranking keywords, ranking pages, click-through rates, meta tags and links from the "bad neighborhoods" of the web. Of course, it also gives you alerts on broken links and re-directs. Available online, OnPage can also export your raw data to either the CSV or Excel file formats. Overall...extremely powerful tool, that saves you tons of time!

 

DeepCrawl The self-proclaimed "ultimate site auditor" known as DeepCrawl is a combination link inspector and analytics powerhouse that covers most if not all of the SEO bases. It goes beyond simple link indexing and digs deeply into the internal structure of a domain to give the user a thorough dossier on a site's SEO health. In particular, DeepCrawl places an emphasis on rooting out potential pitfalls like duplicate content that factor heavily into Google's current ranking algorithms. If you need serious SEO intelligence, DeepCrawl's a safe bet.

80legs Already known by many search experts, 80legs is a page crawler built for today's highly social web. The primary selling points of 80legs are its detailed, pre-compiled "crawl packages" for popular social networking sites, real estate directories, consumer review portals and more. Basically, 80legs is all about providing link reports on sites with a lot of data that changes frequently. They offer serious, enterprise-grade web analytics services to SEOs who work with major corporate clients. Though 80legs is by no means cheap, it's one of the best crawlers around.

Searchmetrics One of the most versatile SEO tool kits you can get your hands on nowadays, the Searchmetrics Suite will tell you everything you need to know about a domain's link structure and then some. Searchmetric's highly customizable dashboard puts you in the driver's seat when you're analyzing pages for areas that could use improvement. In addition to serving up detailed synopses of inbound and outbound links, it allows you to filter out irrelevant data as you see fit and even compare your pages to benchmark domains to see how you're doing. Their new SEO Optimizer was a valuable addition to anyone doing onpage audits.

SISTRIX Smart Like OnPage, SISTRIX Smart is a German crawler program that delivers extremely accurate and timely reports on any domain. Absolutely free to use, it allows SEOs to quickly visualize traffic, link structures and negative aspects of a site at a glance. If you're performing basic link cleanup on a site, it will give you pointers on the most effective ways to optimize pages for the best SERPs results possible. Though not the most full-featured crawler found online, it's one of the best free tools on the market.

Use What Works, Lose the Rest Just as it's important to stay current on the latest trends in search, it's also vital that you stay up-to-date on the best crawlers to use in pursuit of your goals. While some programs are renowned for their longevity, many quickly fade away due to lack of interest or innovation. As such, it's important to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the tools you rely on for SEO work to ensure that you're getting the most from your efforts.

Do you know of any other great onpage crawler! Contact me!

25 Content Discovery, Analytics and Distribution Platforms

I haven't blogged here for a while, but every few months I use this blog as my own public notebook for specific topics, that I've picked over some time.  I've listed 25 content discovery, content analytics and content distribution platforms  that can rapidly boost all content marketing efforts. These tools all work in different ways to aid in efforts of maintaining a professional social media presence. Some might be already known to you, others are fairly new and not really public yet: 1. Wildfire

Recently acquired by Google, this app is a Swiss army knife for most of your social media news. You can monitor, post, generate reports and compare the effectiveness of multiple campaigns using a simple interface for every channel.

 

 

 

2. Percolate

The premise behind percolate is to allow CMOs and brand managers to sample different ideas before tweeting or posting them to their online followers. Most of the social media tools allow you to monitor and post messages, but only a handful help in the content creation process. Percolate eliminates the need for a creative social media agency and lets the brand managers take charge of their social media again.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Outbrain is a discovery platform that aids in promoting your website by driving engagement and acquiring traffic organically. The platform delivers personalized links for every user and distributes your content in thousands of websites from around the Web.

4. Stumbleupon

Stumbleupon is an established tool that's noted as being a powerful platform for new brands. They introduce visitors to your site that enjoy browsing and who wish to continually discover new online properties in precise categories. Your site enters a raffle and, if selected, is introduced to the targeted visitor. Stumbleupon has some of the lowest CPCs in the industry, and you only pay per visitor. In most cases, the cost is lower than say, placing Facebook ads.

5. Zemanta

A pioneer in social content promotions, Zemanta is known for their powerful algorithms that help bloggers generate content for their pages and increase conversions and stickiness. After helping you generate this content, Zemanta also recommends you content to audiences from around the Web.

6. Linkwihtin

Promote your old posts with this widget that boosts your page views an exposes relevant articles form the past. The program appends beautiful thumbnails to each related post and is highly customizable.

7. nRelate nRelate is a powerful platform that joins publishers and marketers to match qualified readers with content. After uploading your content to nRelate's platform, it will be featured in relevant pages as "suggested content" and drive targeted visitors to your site.

8. ContentDJ

ContentDJ is like magic. Your role is to type in relevant hashtags and select a handful of options for your content, and the tool keeps your stream updated and maintains the contentment of users with quality content. ContentDJ is a great tool for those who wish for a more automated way to manage their social media accounts.

9. Visual.ly 

This is a great tool to create info graphics and have them spread virally. The idea is to use one of their professionally designed templates and, from then on, apply the necessary customizations to craft a compelling info graphic. It helps to have relevant and never before shared data. After your graphic is created, it can be shared in traditional blogs as well as mainstream social media websites.

10. Taboola

This tool helps with boosting video relevance. Taboola digests your video content and, according to your editorial goals, allows you to curate videos in large scale sites. It includes pre-made widgets and turnkey integration with major video platforms.

11. Sproutsocial

This is a freemium alternative to monitor your social media. It is a very easy to use, flexible platform that provides nice filters and reports to keep track of your social media impact. The paid version is a good investment if you have a large followership.

12. Delicious

This is the original social bookmarking site. While it is now a Yahoo property, it is still a good foundation to gain link juice from. The idea here is to create a strong portfolio of links that are keyword filled and point back to your content in a highly targeted way. Some users browse this site as a catalog so, indeed, some direct traffic is to be expected.

13. Reddit

The "frontage of the Internet", as its founders call it, is one of the most effective promotional tools for Internet marketers. Reddit is able to create ‘memes’ or social media vitality by displaying your content in one of its pages (it has several depending on the subject). Anyone can post content to Reddit. A good strategy is to create high quality content and then give it a boost with votes from your friends and associates.

 

14. Flipboard

If you want to gain traffic that comes from iPad or iPhone users, Flipboard is a solid alternative. Join their publisher program and start gaining access to a myriad of iPhone and iPad visitors. This traffic converts very well and is also significantly targeted.

 

15. Trapit

Trapit is a social discovery platform for iOS devices. Trapit promotes your content through a highly intuitive discovery platform and tailored the display of information depending on customer feedback. The better your content is, the more your traffic will grow and grow.

 

16. Skyword

This tools helps you acquire leads and users for less by reducing your content production and lead generation costs. Is a very intensive platform rich in scorecards and data that help you fine tune your campaigns.

 

17. Social Bakers

This brand pack a broad suite of products for your social media needs. They offer social media intelligence (competitive intelligence), measurement, industry benchmarking, social media management, post optimization and scheduling and campaign management.

 

18. Integrasco

If you have complex needs and could use a professional services firm to integrate and customize your social media tools, look no further than Integrasco. They provide monitoring, analytics and implementation services.

 

19. Brand Satisfaction

This tool offers research and marketing services for all your social media needs. It is a seasoned provider of products and services for companies of every size.

 

20. Strutta.com

This is a very mature platform used to create social promotions. With Strutta, creating contests and sweepstakes that run on Facebook is a breeze. The platform also has applications to rapidly create social coupons, welcome pages, forms and media galleries to spruce up your Facebook page.

 

21. Followup.cc

Followup is a powerful task scheduler that guarantees you'll never forget to engage with your audience. It integrates with your calendar, Salesforce and email system. This tool is recommended for the busy social media manager.

 

22. UnMetric.com

Ever wished to compare your social media performance to that of the competition? With Unmetric, your wish has come true. This tool analyzes the social media performance of six thousand brands to give you a panoramic view of the performance of your competitors in social media.

 

23. Prosodic.com

The magic of Prosodic is in real-time analytics. They are the only real-time Facebook-integrated solution that allows you to fine tune your message according to the immediate response of your customers.

 

24. Reputationobserver

This reputation software allows to follow discussions and re-act in real-time to them.  Ideally to follow product news and have an outreach team go after instantly.

25. Pinterest Bookmarklet 

Create a portfolio of images and inspirational motives that link back to your content and help consumer discover your content using the Pinterest Bookmarklet, a social tool that connects your portfolio with interested Pinterest users.

Every company is different. Remember to try as many of these tools as possible and to select that ones that best cater to your workflow and needs. There are many to choose from, and a number of them can work together in order to satisfy your marketing needs to the fullest.

The Top 14 Tools To Find A Great Domain

Owning a great domain has never been as important as of today. Having a similar name to another online business is just asking for trouble. Also all the search engines, the various browsers, the ISPs & even mobile companies have made it harder and harder to find a good domain. Having a domain name offers a unique identify, but it can be difficult to figure out which ones are available for purchase. If you do not want to pay too much for your identify, then you will need to get creative and think of names that are unique and are available. Buying domains that are owned often means having to pay more. These 14 tools can get you started on finding a great domain:

1. DomainTools.com: With a novice account, users can look up domains, whois, screenshot histories and check for typos in their chosen domain with limited use, but a professional account removes the cap and offers alerts for reverse IP, hosting history, name servers and registrants.

2. Domain Typer: This website offers a very simple interface; all you need to do is visit the website and start typing the domain you're interested in. In real time, it informs you whether the .com, .net and .org versions are available and offers alternatives and aesthetically appealing variations.

3. Name Spinning: Just as the name suggests, you can spin one or two English words together to create a relevant domain name to register. This is best for defining a brand through SEO, such as spinning "auto repair" into "autorepairkits.com." The words must be recognizable English, however.

4. Archive.org: This is a permanent archive of Internet history, and it serves as a good means of looking up what type of website once was housed by a particular domain. For example, it works best in your favor not to pick a domain that has an unscrupulous history to it.

5. Name Bio: Similar to the previous, Name Bio is designed to provide a history on a domain but focuses more on the sales that domain has undergone. This works well when you are interested in an owned domain and want to know some more about its value.

6. Google Hot Trends: If you do not have a particular website idea in mind but want to bank on the latest trends, Google Hot Trends is the best place to go to know what those subjects are. This provides insight on popular search terms that you can use to decide on a domain name.

7. Domain Groovy: With this groovy tool, you can quickly insert a domain you are interested in checking and see whether it is available with up to four domain registrars. It will also suggest alternatives whether the one you suggest is available or not.

8. Acronym Finder: For a twist on your domain, consider using an acronym instead. For example, CINO stands for Coastal Is Number One. A similar approach can make your domain and website easier to remember and identify by readers.

9. Bust a Name: This website lets you bust out a name by entering a few keywords so it can generate an available domain. You can save suggestions for review as you generate more using different keywords as you wish, and then you can buy them all if desired.

10. Lean Domain Search: Using Lean Domain Search, users can enter a single keyword they want in their domain and generate available suggestions that are related to that keyword. For example, "Boston" generates 869 available domains waiting to be purchased, such as "brainboston.com" and "bostonly.com."

11. Premium Drops: This is more for those looking to invest in a dropped domain and who need to do research on its worthiness. It will provide the Alexa rank and Google Pageranks for expired domains, as well as offering a host of different metrics that suggest whether the offered value is worth it or not.

12. Drop Day: Another useful website for premium investors, Drop Day lets you know which expiring domains are a wise investment and why.

13. Sedo: Sedo offers a marketplace that hosts various tools to help both buyers and sellers of domain names connect with one another, such as domain appraisals, domain parking, promotion, brokerage services and much more. As a testament to its success, Sedo has seen over six million domains transferred in its lifetime. Also competitor Moniker.com should be mentioned here

14. Domains Bot:

With Domains Bot, you can enter either a domain idea or a keyword related to the website you want to build, and it will automatically start building domains that are relevant to what you typed in. If available, you will have the option to buy the domains.

The Top 13 Tools For Social Media Analysts

As the use of social media grows, so does the need to track and analyze its use. Social media marketers need to understand where their efforts are best utilized on social media platforms. Other analysts and researchers need to understand the overall impact of social media. For this reason, social media analysis tools are emerging. Most tools gather and analyze text data from various social media platforms. Some are platform-centric, while others gather data from a variety of sources. Thirteen of the most awesome tools for social media analysts include: 1. Author Crawler: http://www.tomanthony.co.uk/tools/author-crawler/

Author Crawler is an interesting tool that examines a site’s backlinks and searches for author identification for each link. Reports for the tool list the backlinks, along with the author, their social media membership, their circles and number of followers. This tool utilizes the SEOmoz API and generates easy-to-understand reports. The tool is very useful for understanding the value of each backlink and for follow-up with selected authors. Author Crawler is the only tool that tracks backlinks to author for an analysis of the author’s social media participation.

2. Datasift.com

Datasift is a Twitter analysis tool that examines tweet data in real-time. Datasift also utilizes MySpace and Klout data to create profiles of social media users. Datasift filters and organizes massive amounts of raw social media data and provides output in an understandable form.

3. Openamplify.com

Openamplify is an Natural Language Processing (NLP) analytic engine that processes text to extract valuable knowledge from social media conversations. Openamplify operates within the Insights dashboard. This tool analyzes social media conversations for intent, such as intent to buy, to choose, to sell or to go. The tool picks up social conversations about a particular brand and tracks users discussing their intent with regards to the brand.

4. Opencalais.com

OpenCalais enables authors to submit content and have tags and metadata automatically generated by the tool. The data is then used to enhance SEO for the content. The user may build maps or networks, connecting content with people based on the data. OpenCalais analyzes HTML, XML and text documents.

5. Peekanalytics.com

PeekAnalytics is a Twitter analysis tool. PeakAnalytics identifies the other social media platforms in which Twitter users interact, providing psychographic and demographic insights from Twitter aggregate data.

6. Venuelabs.com

Venulabs distributes software for “storefront listening” for many major brands, including McDonalds, Chevron, Mercedes Benz, Domino’s Pizza and many others. Venulabs tools monitor social media sites, mobile sites and local listings for brand reputation management and analysis.

7. Clarabridge.com

Clarabridge is another company with a host of major brands as clients. These brands include Dell, Marriott, Best Buy, Nissan, and H&R Block, among others. Clarabridge provides “sentiment and text” analysis to capture the tone of social media interactions about specified brands. Clarabridge integrates data from other sources into the analysis, such as data from call centers, email and surveys. Three versions of Clarabridge analysis tools are available for purchase: Enterprise, Professional and Technology/Service Providers.

8. Solariat.com

Solariat finds and filters posts on several social media platform enabling quick response for brand and reputation management. Solariat monitors Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media platforms to enable analysts to quickly identify positive, negative and neutral posts, tweets and comments.

9. Measure.ly

Measurely monitors social media platforms, as well as content marketing initiatives, for social conversations about brands. Results are compiled into an easy-to-read dashboard format with key performance indicators and intuitive graphs. Measurely provides analyses of channels, content and community members to identify where social media marketing efforts are best implemented.

10. Appstats.eu

Appstats is a Facebook-centric tool that is utilized to analyze games and apps on the social media platform. Because many social media marketing campaigns employ the use of Facebook apps and games, this tool is a great way to monitor the popularity of these marketing strategies.

11. Honestly.de

Honestly provides a platform for users to send instant feedback to companies. This interesting tool manages customer contact for companies after the sale of their product or service. The tool is marketed to restaurants, retail, hotels, educational and public institutions, beauty services, event and exhibitions, and healthcare providers.

12. Cageapp.com

Cage App is a collaboration tool that is used by developers and creative content generators, but also works for social media analysts. The tool allows sharing of creative product and provides workflow for the approval process. The tool utilizes Twitter for collecting feedback about a creative work. Interestingly, the app allows the user to instantly create a task from the Twitter feed interface.

13. Fliptop.com

Fliptop markets their tool as a way to turn a social media ID into a complete digital ID with a usable profile. The tool gathers data from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media platforms. Fliptop serves major brands, including Cigna, Land Rover, Toyota, Volvo and many others.

15 Brilliant Products For Web Analysts

As a web analyst, your job is incredibly important: Without you, how do developers, designers, marketers, and website owners know who their visitors really are, let alone what they enjoy? Well, they might have a hunch, but your job is to give them exact information. While the field was once a combination of guesswork and vague data, web analytics is slightly less “foggy” nowadays: With easier data tracking and a wide array of comprehensive tools, getting to know a website’s visitors is becoming easier with each passing day. The following list highlights our 15 favorite analytics tools that range from visitor analyzers to email trackers. 1. UserTesting.com | www.usertesting.com

Usability testing is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your website: There’s really no better way to see how effective a website’s design is than looking over the user’s shoulder! Doing this, however, tends to be both time consuming and expensive. Thanks to UserTesting.com, however, it doesn’t have to be. Their software not only helps you keep track of who visits your website, but also tells you what exactly they’re doing! With prices starting at around $39 per participant, UserTesting.com is one of the web’s most affordable usability programs.

2. Follower Wonk | www.followerwonk.com

When it comes to tracking Twitter users, Follower Wonk is an analyst’s best friend. Comparable to an in-browser plugin, Follower Wonk allows its user to log into Twitter through their website so that they can access a wide array of analytics tools. These tools include specialized profile searches and user comparisons, as well as follower sorting, analytics, and tracking.

3. Nielsen Prizm | www.claritas.com

There’s a reason this is near the top of our list: Nielsen is the world’s leading consumer tracking company that’s most commonly seen telling us what different demographics watch on television. Web analysts can harness the power of Nielsen by using their Prizm tool, which tracks visitors and breaks them down into 66 different demographic segments. The tool also features information about lifestyle segmentation, urbanization classes, social groups, lifestyle classes, and lifestyle groups, ensuring that you receive the most accurate and comprehensive data possible.

Nielsen Prizm

4. Rapportive | www.rapportive.com

With so many different forms of social media nowadays, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s profiles, statuses, and information. To help make everything a little easier, Rapportive provides you with all you need to know about your contacts inside of your inbox. Best of all, they don’t even need to be your contacts: If a new person e-mails you, you’ll not only be able to see all of their profiles and information, but a picture of them as well!

5. ToutApp | www.toutapp.com

Writing and sending out e-mails can be a pain, especially when it’s part of an e-mail marketing campaign. Even after the e-mails have been sent out, the questions still linger: Did they receive it? If so, did they at least click on the subject line? These are questions which normally go unanswered, leaving the effectiveness of the campaign in question. With ToutApp, however, you can write emails more efficiently and keep track of who receives, opens, and reads them.

Toutapp

6. Experian Simmons | www.experian.com

Similar to Nielsen, Experian has a long history of tracking consumer behavior and demographics. With their Simmons tool, you can access their information and learn more about your market. All of their tools can be accessed by Simmons OneView, a feature-packed online interface. You can also keep track of the media usage of different types of consumers through Simmons Connect.

Experian Simmons

7. Google Customer Surveys | www.google.com/insights/consumersurveys/home

Sometimes simply tracking your visitors isn’t enough to find out about them. When you really want their opinion, it’s usually best to ask them for it. With this in mind, Google has developed Customer Surveys to help gather opinions by asking questions. What makes the system unique, however, is that it’s mutually beneficial: Consumers access premium content by answering questions, publishers get paid to post them, and you get well-organized and compiled information about your target market. With prices starting at only $0.10 per response, what’s not to love?

Google Survey Insights

8. Yahoo! Search Clues | clues.yahoo.com

When it comes to maintaining an effective and successful marketing strategy, keeping on top of trends is incredibly important. Although Yahoo! isn’t quite as large as Google, their Search Clues system helps them – and you – keep track of the most up-to-date searching trends.

Yahoo Clues

9. Usabilla | www.usabilla.com

Similar to UserTesting.com, Usabilla is a usability service which helps you keep track of how your users navigate your website. With partners consisting of marketers, web developers, user experience specialists, graphic designers, and much more, it’s safe to say that Usabilla’s knowledgebase is extensive. On top of that, the service is very affordable: Their base plan is free, with the starter plan at only $19 per month.

Usabilla.com

10. Trello | www.trello.com

Managing, planning, and keeping track of big projects can get a little bit messy, and you may often find yourself wanting to see the “big picture.” Trello helps you do so with their Intuitive Interface which not only keeps tracks of tasks and assignments, but also features virtual Boards and Cards. Their free system goes a step further by also helping you keep track of your entire team, ensuring everything – and everyone – is organized.

Trello

11. Social Crawlytics | www.socialcrawlytics.com

Social Crawlytics is an incredibly simple and free system that delivers reports on the social network usage of both your websites and those of your competitors. All you need to do is type in the address, and you’ll receive a comprehensive report instantly.

Socialcrawlytics.com

12. FiveSecondTest | www.fivesecondtest.com

On the web, first impressions are everything: If your design doesn’t grab your user’s attention, your conversion rate is bound to drop drastically. With FiveSecondTest, however, you can upload a web page or image and ask up to nearly 1,000 test takers a few unique questions of your choice. Shortly thereafter, you’ll receive well-compiled results that help you identify what parts of your website are effective and which aren’t, allowing you to adjust your pages in a way that ensures user satisfaction.

www.fivesecondtest.com

13. WebStarts | www.webstarts.com

webstarts.com is one of the web’s easiest tools to create a free professional website. Although website template services haven’t received much praise from developers, WebStarts is a little different. Instead of limiting a user’s design options to a few different templates and colors, they allow complete customization. On top of that, WebStarts will also give you a free custom domain and help you get noticed in major search engines. Perfect for testing out new website design and usability.

14. Unbounce | www.unbounce.com

Unbounce allows marketers the ability to create and launch landing pages without having to get involved with developers or the IT department, making it a very valuable tool for testing advertisements and new web pages. Although plans start at $50 per month, the service is so cram-packed with features – such as custom domains and email notifications – that it nearly pays for itself!

www.unbounce.com

15. Optimizely | www.optimizely.com

Optimizely allows developers to carry out A/B testing the easy way. By simply copying and pasting a single line of JavaScript into a website’s code, developers can easily track the effectiveness of different variations of a certain design.

Optimizely.com

Radian 6 Review

Radian 6 is social media monitoring software that allows companies and social media marketers to track and analyze their brand’s marketing efforts on popular social networks. Radian 6 provides the user with measurements and metrics of social media marketing campaigns. In addition, the software offers guidelines and best practices for utilizing social networks for business marketing campaigns. Image representing Radian6 Technologies as dep...

 

What is Radian 6?

Radian 6 aggregates data from conversations surrounding a brand. The software provides analyses in real time to enable marketers to adjust their message and target a particular audience within minutes. Radian 6 is a product of Salesforce.com, the well-known cloud-based CRM platform.

The makers of Radian 6 note on the website that the software enables marketers to develop and effective social media strategy that allows the brand to engage with current customers as well as expose the brand to potential customers through making new connections.

Radian 6 is not just one software application. It is a suite of programs that work together to help the social media marketer understand the impact of their marketing efforts on social networks. Radian 6 includes:

* Insights Insights allows the user to track new posts that relate to their brand, but it does not stop with mere tracking of new posts. Insights considers the author, sources and the actual content in the analysis.

* Engagement Console The Radian 6 Engagement Console is the tool that tracks how the brand engages with users on social networks. The Engagement Console is equipped with a workflow module that enables users to route and assign posts to different teams or individuals. Macros may be created to automate workflow within the tool.

The Engagement Console tracks posts across several social networks including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, video sharing sites and more. Radian 6 also allows the assignment of an administrator, or SuperUser, that may enable the console for other users, and/or change permission levels for users. Users may collaborate across teams or departments using the Engagement Console.

The Engagement Console also provides users with the ability to see a snapshot of profile activity. Perform analyses at a glance with an easy to understand graph display that shows post volumes in real time.

* Summary Dashboard The Summary Dashboard provides an easy to read summary of the health of your brand across social media networks. The Dashboard analyzes of post volumes, overall brand sentiment, influencers and demographics of those who are posting about your brand. The Dashboard allows users to perform similar analyses for their competitors, too.

The Summary Dashboard pulls data from other Radian 6 components, such as Insights, to provide a compact view of a brand’s social media performance. The Dashboard is a useful tool for determining the effectiveness of a campaign, as well as developing new strategies for brand exposure.

* The Salesforce Social Hub The Salesforce Social Hub is an automation engine for the Social Enterprise component of Radian 6. The Social Hub features allows users of Radian 6 to track comments and posts in real time. The Salesforce Social Hub provides the user with extensive reporting functionality, historical data and data cleansing. Users may create communities and find brand advocates on the Social Hub, as well.

* Integration with Salesforce Apps Radian 6 seamlessly integrates with other Salesforce applications, such as the Salesforce CRM platform and Jigsaw.

Radian 6 Training The makers of Radian 6 provide many opportunities for training to best utilize the software. Demos and training materials are available on the Radian6.com website. The makers of Radian 6 will also provide private demonstrations of the software upon request. Ebooks, webinars and classes are also available for training users of Radian 6.

Radian 6 Mobile App Radian 6 also provides a mobile app so users may access the Radian 6 platform and tools while on the road. Utilize any mobile device with an Internet browser to access components of Radian 6.

Radian 6 is an all-inclusive social media marketing platform that enables marketers to track and analyze the impact of their brand campaigns across popular social networks. In addition, because Radian 6 is sold as Software as a Service, the price is as scalable as the platform. Depending on the size of account you need Radian 6 can be as cheap as $600/month

5 Benefits of Integrating All Your Enterprise Data

Enterprise data integration is incredibly beneficial and it presents many advantages, but few enterprises ever do it the right way. According to many studies, only about 10% of all enterprises have ever performed data integration, or actively support that integration. This is mostly because data integration takes a lot of time and money, and the short-term benefits are not quite as great as the long-term ones.However, once the integration is complete, this can help enterprises better survey data and decrease costs by need less people and making it easier for workers to go through the enterprise’s information. This comes especially important in a time where social, search, web analytics and other online and offline harvested  data is available.  Here a few interesting concepts and benefits of integration your enterprise data:

1. Minimize Inconsistent Data If you collect image, text and video data from a multitude of users, you are sure to have inconsistent data. The files have different names, formats, specifications and other inconsistent factors. This can lead to a lot of problems, and it can become very difficult to go through this data and get exactly what you need. Even professional IT workers find this hard, meaning you cannot properly use the mass of data you have collected.With data integration, the format and specifications will become much less inconsistent. This enables people to find exactly what they are looking for when they need it, making it easier to use the data you gathered.
2. Less Redundant Data If you received 50,000 files, would it be easier to look through one or all 50,000 of them? When you collect data, you will most likely receive redundant information, because people can only have so many answers or preferences.A great example forredundant data is a sales organzation that uses Salesforce, while the customer support division uses Zendesk to answer support questions. Both data pools if not merged can turn out into a nightmare. Salesforce alone has the problem, that different sales reps enter data differentially and therefore duplicate contacts appear.

By performing data integration, you can quickly digest the data you get, allowing you to make effective decisions much quicker than your competition. Not only that, but since all those files take up a lot of memory, this will reduce the amount of computer resources being used, allowing your enterprise to optimize its servers.

3. Less Interface Software To go through the information, workers need to use interface programs. These tend to take up a lot of memory, requiring more servers and computer resources. Not only that, but more power and electricity is needed, making you spend a lot of money on programs that really shouldn’t be needed.

This is probably not the biggest argument to integrate your data, but with data integration, you eliminate the need for these interface programs, and make it easier for workers to go through the data. Considering the amount of workers most enterprises have, this can help you save hundreds or thousands every month.

4. Fewer Human Resources Since it is easier for people to search the data you get, data integration allows you to use fewer human workers to interpret that information.  Assign IT workers to other projects and use them on resources that matter, which optimize their talents, and it can make it easier for you to reach out and do other things with your enterprise.

5. Lower Risk Sometimes you need to make quick decisions, but this isn’t practical when you can’t quickly interpret your data. This has lead many enterprise owners, about 80% of them, to make decisions on intuition alone. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. However, when you can quickly interpret data and make good decisions, you drastically reduce your enterprise’s risk.

Data integration for Enterprises:

Data integration is a necessary factor for any enterprise if it wishes to survive. Not only that, but you need a powerful team that can support you during this integration time, ensuring that everything goes well.

If you choose the top companies such as Pervasive Data Integration, SAS Data Integration or others you are choosing  development teams that will make the whole process run very smoothly. These companies usually make a data integration seamless and the benefits will outweigh the disadvantages of sitting on different data pools.

Updated: Febr. 10th 2012. 7:37

Social Graph Gaming

I usually don't post about SEO anymore, but if I hear all this paid, owned, earned social stuff out there I just feel like I have to defend SEO and especially the value of links a bit. SEO is currently and will be in the near future the online marketing techniques that drives the highest ROI (if done properly). Social engagement or whatever you want to call it is still in the early days and until Facebook, Google Plus and Co. are gamed like below...I just don't see a chance that the simplicity of the "link system" will be taken over by a social graph.

Nowadays it is way easier and especially much cheaper to acquire social likes, shares, tweets from real users than getting  a valuable link from an authoritative website! The example  below is just one sample of how you can game the social graph. There are plenty of other "tricks", such as contests or third party software products like Tweetthis.com, Buytweets.com, Fiverr.com or Tweetfordownload.com.

Long story short (No...I don't write a 20 page post to pretent thought leadership): We are far far away from having the social graph taking over the SERPs in Google & Co.. Social is an imoportant part of  marketing, but it is not a replacement and rather a supplement to SEO.  Especially at a time where Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook accounts can be sold, traded and gamed way worse than anyone ever could imagined.

 

updated:  2/6/2012 19:38

 

 

Google Offers Paid Inclusion- Good To Know

A few years ago I was really impressed by everything Google did and it remained like that for years. However,  recently I really have to wonder were their ethics went. It's been reported all over the web that the Google+ integration is "a bit" too much and the Google privacy rules might turn into a Spy world. I guess it sucks, but they will probably get away with it. Today I noticed another fun little feature, that should make the Groupons of this world a bit upset:

Google started pushing the Google Offers product into the SERPS (top right above all Adwords). The banner and ad appears not only when you are logged in, but also at times when you are logged out of Google.

In other words: Google is giving their own deal products a premier paid spot with image in the SERPs. Now did they ask all the 2000 Groupon clones and all e-commerce sites with deals  to get the same treatment? Or are we back to the old transparency tactics?

Logged in view:

 

Logged out view:

 

No wonder the NYC subways are plastered with Google banners promoting the new Google good to know campaign. Personally I am just glad to see that we are back to the 2004  paid inclusion days :)

Project Management Software For Streamlining Development

When it comes to project management usually users have strong opinions.  Not only the big shops like SAP got a fair share of criticism, but also small companies such as Basecamp usually get tossed after a while since user adaption just goes to hell. The project management field is one of the hardest things to pack into software sind needs are different and can be quite complex while users are used to very simple UIs.

A new approach apparently  was launched by  the company 6 Wunderkinder: Wunderkit, a software that tries to be Google Wave on steroids. A project management software that not only solves work projects, but also helps solve real life problems:

Using FB or Twitter to sign into Wunderkit is something that's really awesome. It's not only going to help people to use it, but also makes it usable across someone's entire life. An approach a lot of enterprise solutions should take.

Tenrox enterprise software is another company, who is however more focused on enterprise project management software. Tenrox provides a set of tools to handle the workflow that comes with planning out a product and launching it. In the same breath, the software allows organizations to handle the eventual distribution of the product.

That being said, it can essentially be run anywhere. The workflow management suite is web-based, so that any computer with an Internet connection and a modern browser can interface with the software. While this certainly cuts down on installation time, it also means that the software can be extremely portable. Members of the development team could theoretically check the project from home, or perform work from a remote location. This is also a positive boon for those that contract out with other organizations. In a pinch, other computers could be used if machines assigned to a project end up going down.

That being said, the Tenrox solutions can do plenty for those that do all of their work in house as well. Many organizations act as though they are made up of many smaller groups that aren't related to one another. The management software can help each of these teams work together. Risk and issue tracking keeps everyone updated on what problems might arise, but no one should think that project teams should always have to focus on the negative aspects of development. Project tracking software helps to keep everyone on task, and project dashboards clearly spell out everything that still needs to be done. With scheduling and skill availability resource software, capacity planning can even be accomplished without any tears.

Accountants will be pleased with the earned value tools. These can work to calculate how much work is actually being done, and how long a project will genuinely take. Anyone that finds that the teams are often going over budget will be amazed at how useful this sort of solution really is. Since it may also be used to estimate the project's completion date, it might also serve those that have trouble budgeting time more than financial resources.

When it comes time for someone to take a vacation, the web based project time tracking software can take the pain out of travel. It can also be used to make notes of overtime and leave time. Whenever the time data is validated it is sent to a compatible payroll system that easily processes the payroll data.

Human capital management involves not only strategic capacity planning, but also a strict adherence to quality practices and government labor laws. The enterprise project management software offered by Tenrox combines the aspects of project and resource management. In addition, project accounting and resource management solutions are also included. This streamlines the process while making sure that the organization always sticks with quality standards, and does not violate any government legislation.

Naturally, collaboration between team members and the project heads are of paramount importance. With this sort of a system in place, problems can be brought out into the open before they explode. This means that a respectful discussion can begin before a project gets stuck in the mire. Tenrox enterprise project management software is the perfect package to get any development organized.

Social Link Building Strategies

Since people like, share, tweet more than they traditionally link, the influence of social mentions in SEO is currently a hot industry topic. Some SEO experts consider them essential for improving rankings. Other professionals give them a very low influence value . And several SEOs could care less about them one way or the other. Then there’s Google and Bing. The two search engines are desperate to understand social metrics in order to improve their algorithms, so much so that they are trying to coax Facebook and Twitter into sharing more data. This should be a signal to those in SEO that a unique opportunity exists to successfully leverage the knowledge gap and aggressively build out their social mentions. Of course, this is easier said than done. In addition to the technical issues that both search engines face, Google’s Webmaster guidelines do not cover any third party services, freeing spammy Facebook accounts and Twitter shares of any violations. Welcome back to the pre-Florida update days! But there are ways to effectively build your social links; some you may already be doing and others you probably should start doing. Facebook Likes When Facebook Likes came on the scene in 2010, few could anticipate their search significance. The fact is obtaining likes is a necessary component of any SEO strategy. Though integrating a Facebook social plugin or comment feature is the standard method of attracting likes, there are many approaches to increasing this metric. White hats swear that great content will attract more likes. SEOs employing more grayish practices buy likes via Fiverr.com, Ebay or other services. The really dark forces goes as far as faking like buttons. Marketers with deep pockets will create contests, full-fledged Facebook campaigns or run traditional advertisting campaigns to build a great like-base. The value of a like is as dependent on the competitive landscape as it is the number of accumulated thumbs-up. Take the like temperature of brands in your industry to determine how aggressive you want to become. Same rules and assumptions apply for Facebook shares, which should carry more influence on search since they are harder to get.

Tweets and Re-tweets Generating an impressive amount of natural looking, quality tweets and re-tweets is something that only larger Twitter accounts can accomplish. Utilizing paid tweet services is certainly an option, but efficiency might be limited due to the fact that most of them are marked as disclosed ads. A more interesting option is Paywithatweet.com or Tweetfordownload.com These services allow users to generate Tweet plugins, which then enable users to download a file for a tweet or share. This could obviously be used for any downloads or for simply replacing long form fields, which usually come with a high drop-off rate.

Another important part of building followership and increasing re-tweets is keeping an informative and constantly updating Twitter news stream. Bufferapp.com is great for developing steady tweet velocity. Sharing content by scheduling relevant tweets helps keep your followers engaged. It also allows an easy way of collecting quality tweets while surfing the web.

Google +1

With Google’s recent move into the social space Google+1 is shaping up to be the equivalent of a Facebook Like. The average user tends to share a link only once or twice, mostly via Facebook and Twitter). The +1 browser extension , developed by Ashkan Soltani and Brian Kennish, allows users to do both with one click.

If you plan to increase your social backlinks with Google+1, share the browser plugin on your site. This step is similar to the one you took to share the Alexa toolbar way back when to boost your Alexa ranking.

Google + 1 can also be leveraged to drive paid search traffic via sites like Stumbleupon or Plentyoffish.com.  But in order to truly gage your social traffic performance, you need the tools. When it comes to Google, it’s best to keep tracking in the family. Google Analytics, as do a host of other web analytics vendors, now supports social plugin tracking. Before setting up your campaign, be sure to measure the best converting Google+ page on your website and track accordingly.

For Social Backlinks, it’s Value over Volume

Just as there is a right way and a wrong way to drive SEO results, there are definite social metrics building strategies to follow; use creative approaches to attract new social mentions ; utilize new software to support and track your social efforts just like you track your backlinks.  Understanding SMO best practices and the constantly changing search engine guidelines  ranking factors can give your campaign a competitive edge.  Simply stated, it’s not a matter of how many social mentions you have. It’s about maximizing and recognizing their value.

Visibility Indexes And The Super Long-Tail

In 2011 the major headlines of the search publications covered the Panda update and Google’s war on the long-tail. Within the search industry, but also in larger publications it has been widely reported that Google’s Panda update was introduced to eliminate rankings for sites of little value. Companies such as Demand Media have been literally trashed across the web for polluting the web with low quality content.

Influential bloggers and even main stream media called “Panda” the end of content farms like Howstuffworks.com, the of price comparison portals such as Pronto, the death of review sites such as Ciao.com and ultimately a great thing for the internet.

This data was all backed up by SEO Visibility scores from various vendors across the globe. But what did really happen:

The Panda update hit only a tiny fraction of the search queries that are daily going on. This has to do with the fact that up to 25% of the daily searches are complete new queries. This could be new words, trends, inventions, brands or other stuff that just nobody typed in before.

That’s why everyone in the industry needs to make sure to remember that visibility scoring is based on a limited amount of data. It’s a great indicator about where the wind might be blowing at that particular moment in time, but it’s far from being accurate.

The issues with accuracies just has to do with the fact that the SEO Software market is very fragmented and larger companies, which would allow significant infrastructure investment, do not exist in the SEO industry. Even the leaders in SEO enterprise software have active revenues under $15 million / year.

If you take all this in consideration it is not surprising why companies like Demand Media still print a good junk of money despite their visibility score being down.

Even certain industries such as e-commerce shops with lots of products such as Custom Printing by Print Lion or massive content download sites such as Tradebit are still doing very well b/c their super long-tail traffic hasn’t been affected.