Friday, June 15, 2007

‘Digital Mums’ to the web

‘Digital Mums’ to the web

Three quarters (75%) of women with children under the age of 18 now regularly access the internet across the UK, marking a growth of 7% since 2005, according to new research.

The findings form part of a new ‘Digital Mums’ study from the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA), revealing insights into the digital lifestyles of Britain’s online mums.

The research highlights that 76% of the time digital mums spend online is for personal reasons and that online activities are becoming a valuable and crucial part of their busy everyday lives.

Keeping Mums in Control
The research reveals the wide array of websites that digital mums are using to enrich different areas of their life, from saving time, to carrying out research and making the most of online entertainment. 73% of British digital mums who use all media find that the internet provides what they want quickly and saves them time and 47% state that the internet helps keep them ahead of the game.

Mums in the UK are increasingly using the web as a reference point for their family’s health needs (an increase of 37% year-on-year). Their use of auction sites has grown by 33% and 39% of digital mums are now using price comparison sites.

Not ones to fall behind on local and national news and events, they are also researching and catching up via the web - 58% regularly visit news sites and 58% look for local information online. (7% year-on year growth since 2005)

Age Matters
The research also indicates that across Europe, the websites that digital mums visit, their online activities and shopping habits vary accordingly to the age of their children. Mums who use the internet and have babies and very young children (0-4 years old), are far more likely to visit family and kids websites (61%) and banking and finance sites (63%), whereas women with children aged 16-18 take time out to focus on film websites (49%), possibly a reflection of their family’s interests as well as their own.

Online shopping
Digital mums in the UK are even more frequent online shoppers than women without children. 94% of all digital mums have bought items online, spending an average of €1022 and buying 19 items in just six months. Across Europe, mothers of younger children are the most likely to buy online - 86% of women with children aged 0-9 years old bought a product or service online compared to 75% of women with children aged 10-18. This indicates that online shopping is proving a useful way for mums to get jobs done whilst saving time spent on the high street or in the supermarkets with their babies or very young children - something that is often seen as an unwanted challenge!

Entertainment Value
The research clearly highlights how British digital mums are developing a deeper involvement with online content in using the internet for relaxation and entertainment. There has been a 28% increase since 2005 in the number of mums who regularly listen to the radio online, a third (34%) regularly download music and 18% enjoy online gaming sites. Broadband penetration amongst all UK women has now reached 83% and penetration amongst women with children who use the internet in the UK has increased 49% since 2004.

Keeping in touch
Mums in the UK are also using the internet to engage with other people. The number of mums making telephone calls via the internet has increased by 300% since 2005 and 40% of mums now use instant messenger. They are also getting increasingly connected with tools made popular by Web 2.0: 24% regularly access social networking sites, 14% get involved in blogging and the use of forums grew by 31% – evidence of digital mums’ desire for personalisation and participation.

Media Multi-Tasking Mums
It also seems clear that once the kids are safely in bed, mums are taking advantage of the peace to tackle tasks online or use the web for ‘me-time’ as logging on in the evening is most popular – 65% access the internet between 5.30pm-9pm. Adept at multi-tasking, mums are also likely to mesh their media: 26% use the internet whilst watching TV and interestingly 66% of women with children do something less often as result of the internet.

Alison Fennah, Executive Director of the EIAA says, “For time-pressed, multi-tasking mums, the Internet is increasingly playing a crucial role in enriching their busy everyday lives. Not only does the Internet help mums maximise time and keep control of family life and demands but it is also proving to be a valuable networking tool. It’s great to see a bigger presence of mothers online and to see how the online community is meeting their unique needs.”


Social Commerce Revolution

Seven steps to social commerce revolution

How can the growing popularity of user-generated content be best applied online?

Word of mouth has always been the leading form of marketing. But now, with the growth of web accessibility, web commerce, and tools to share opinions, word of mouth is critical for customers and marketers alike.

If a brand surveys customers after an online purchase and asks how they found the site or why they chose a product, it’s likely the majority will reference something like ‘advice from a friend’.

On the web, word of mouth takes the form of user-generated content. Shoppers desperate to find authentic, credible and relevant sources of product advice follow these dances to make their purchase.

Analyst firm Forrester found that 77% of online shoppers in the US seek out ratings and reviews before making a purchase. 97% of consumers said they trusted recommendations from peers. In addition, a study by Edelman Public Relations (US-based) found that ‘trust in someone like me’ has tripled in three years, from 20% to 68%. Why are people turning to the advice of strangers?

Early Learning Centre, a multi-channel store for children’s products, will soon launch ratings and reviews using the Bazaarvoice platform.

“Due to the increase in social networking and the focus on user generated content, it’s become increasingly important to effectively engage with our customers and give them a way of contributing towards the site. Adding a ratings and review function is an ideal way of enabling this,” said Matthew Legge, e-Commerce Manager at Early Learning Centre.

“Peer reviews are so much more effective than the brand reviewing its own products – Mums value and trust what other Mums think.”

The steps to a‘social commerce revolution’, and the resulting benefits, look something like this:

1) Get to know your influencers: According to the book The Influentials, approximately 10 to 15 percent of a brand’s customers are ‘influencers’; meaning they have a psychographic profile to share their opinion with others. The profile of an online reviewer spans across multiple demographic segments, but in the main they are the most loyal and frequent purchasers. According to a study by management consulting firm McKinsey, users who post reviews revisit the site nine times more than users who don’t participate, and are twice as loyal. With a ratings and reviews system integrated with a site’s “My Account” login, brands can invite and identify their most valuable customers to share their voice; further cementing the relationship between brand and consumer. From there, companies can launch new relationship campaigns such as discounts or early bird notifications.

2) Accelerate customer purchase decisions: Once authentic reviews from a brand’s most influential customers are visible online, shoppers then have the credible and relevant content they need to make a purchase. With ratings and reviews next to a product, customers get what they need to accelerate a purchase decision. Bazaarvoice clients have seen anywhere from 16% to double conversion rate on products and categories that have reviews. With ‘top rated’ product merchandising, navigation and sorting, brands can create a new purchase path delivering up to 60% higher conversion than other purchase paths.

3) Attract user-content-seeking customers: One of the key benefits of product reviews is that they attract new customers through natural search optimisation. Search engines, and the shoppers who use them, feed on this authentic content, and an increasing percentage of shoppers are searching for phrases and keywords that match review text. Bazaarvoice has analysed web analytics for several clients and found that more detailed searches, such as “Puma shoe reviews”, are growing faster than generic searches such as “football shoes”. Brands can also use ‘top rated products’ merchandising in emails, RSS feeds, and other online marketing to improve the impact of these vehicles. Golfsmith, a US Bazaarvoice client, saw 46% higher revenue per email featuring top rated products.

4) Market and advertise with customer voice: Now that you have the voice of your customer as a digital marketing asset, it’s time to take it offline. Brands can also feature top rated products and quotes from customers in catalogues and advertising to boost their impact.

5) Improve products and assortment: I once attended an online retailer industry conference where the Director of eCommerce for Gap suggested he saw their job to be a ‘trusted editor of fashion’. The best retailers are the trusted editors of products for their customers. What they choose to put in catalogues, online and in stores is a key part of their brand and shopping experience. Product ratings and reviews help retailers choose the right products to buy, promote and merchandise. Moreover, brands can help suppliers improve products they carry.

6) Power your partnerships: Many online marketers short change the impact and opportunity for reviews, limiting their usefulness to the product page. However, they can use the rich data from product ratings to improve their site search and web site navigation (top rated products), integrate with a web analytics platform, improve personalisation and cross-sell algorithms and integrate into email for automated campaigns. One Bazaarvoice client saw a 49% higher conversion and 60% higher average order value when featuring the “Top Rated Products” navigation filter to each category, through an integration with their search partner.

7) Develop a customer-centric culture: The final step of evolution in a user-generated marketing strategy is a change of the culture. Ultimately, brands need to integrate the voice of their customer into their day to day activities, so that employees pay closer attention to what customers are saying about products. As the results from user generated marketing become clear, they will start to look at the reports and leverage the data in many of the ways described above. Once that happens, a higher level of customer-centricity will be achieved than could ever be reached with research reports and focus groups.

Over the past few years, several factors have conspired against marketers to remove them from the driver’s seat. Customers have more control, more choices, more information and more access to opinions of others. At Bazaarvoice we have a Latin motto for the new marketing strategy of today and tomorrow: Aquiro, Sermo, Dilato. Translation: Acquire the conversation and amplify it. With the right tools and strategy, brands can enable their ‘scout bee’ customers to do their waggle dance on their web sites, for the rest of their shoppers.

By Sam Decker

Sam Decker is VP of Marketing and Products for Bazaarvoice (, a hosted and managed solution for ratings and reviews and social commerce.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Get Credit for Links

"How to Get Credit for All Your Inbound Links - Consolidate WWW and non-WWW Links"

Strangely enough, the following addresses are considered separate websites by the search engines: (the "www" version) (the "non-www" version)

Though visitors see the same content, in the search engine world this situation poses a serious issue relating to link popularity. If the "www" version of your website has 300 inbound links and the "non-www" version has 300 inbound links, then each version is getting credit for only 300 links rather than the total 600.

Here are some immediate steps you can take to minimize the problem:

I recommend the "www" version because this seems to be the most common method used to type in an address. If you agree, use the format on every link you can control.

Website Review.

Review your website and fix any links that use the "non-www" version. For example, if you have a link on every page back to your homepage and it uses the non-www format, switch it to the www-format.

Fix What You Can Offsite.

Repair any offsite links that may be directing traffic to your website using the wrong version of your address. If you have partnerships with other websites or advertising campaigns that use the wrong URL, ask them to change the links where possible.

Remove the Problem Entirely.

Next minimize the damage of incorrect backlinks from any other sites by having your webserver "tell" the search engines that the non-www URL is now permanently redirected to the www-version.

After you do this, if someone types in or clicks on a non-www version URL, they'll be automatically redirected to the proper www-version URL. Best of all, search engines interpret this redirect positively and will forward all link popularity to the www-version URL.
Consequently, you will have consolidated the popularity from both URLs into a single website which can significantly increase link popularity and search engine rankings.

Implementing this "server-side 301 redirect" will require the aid of a technical person comfortable with making website alterations. Refer your technical aide to the following tutorial:

"How to 301 Redirect Non-WWW to WWW URLs" (

Google offers a feature in Google Webmaster Tools ( that allows you to tell Google which version of your domain to use within the Google search engine.

You'll need to login to an existing account or create a free one for your site. Once you verify that you control the domain, on the Webmaster Tools My Sites page, click on the link to "Manage". In the left navigation menu go to Tools > Preferred domain to make your selection. Realize, however, that is a Google-only work-around and not a fix. It's far better to implement the 301 redirect described above which corrects the problem for all search engines.

Once you've consolidated the value of all the links pointed to your site you are another step closer to securing better search engine rankings.

Source: Ross Dunn, CEO StepForth SEO Services

Friday, March 30, 2007

Exit Traffic Strategies

Exit Traffic Strategies : What are you doing to stop people leaving your site?

You spend lots of time, effort and probably money attracting people to your site. So what do you do about those that come in and leave straight away - do you just let them go? If you are, you are crazy...

...So [in terms of Exit Traffic Strategies] what are we talking about?

The trusty pop up window. Before you scoff and leave, my finance client hated pop ups too! Until it added £1 million worth of income to his bottom line that is...

...[and] I'm not talking about delivering adverts via popups when people visit the site. No, No, No. This is what gives popups a bad rap!

These are popups with a difference. In fact, they should be called exit consoles!


What you put in that popped up window is key! Don't just put in a banner ad or an advertisement! Give them something of value or use.

Why are they leaving? Because they didn't find what they were looking for. So help them do that. Give them options. Open with something like...

"Sorry you did not find what you were looking for."

This shows them you are trying to help and gives the visitor the impression that the resources being delivered are recommended.

Secondly, brand it like your site but don't open it as a full window. Create a mini branded console. This tells them where this window has come from.

In this window, you can do lots of things but in the main, you want to try and direct them back to your site, get them to leave an email address, or give them a 'phone number so they can call you.


There are other clients that used their Exit Console to carry out customer research, build a mailing list, offer exclusive deals, drive traffic to their call centres and generally earn an income from people that were leaving their website.

So if you have a high traffic or medium traffic site, you could be generating a revenue from those that are leaving your site.

Obviously there is a bit more to it than that. But this article was just to get you thinking about the possibilities.

If you would like to discuss your website and what you could be doing with Exit Consoles why not drop me a line or visit our Exit Traffic Strategies section?

by Jason Hulott, Director
[article shortened, to read the whole article get in touch with]

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Enhance your search engine results

How to enhance your search engine results with the professional network 'LinkedIn':

In addition to your name, you can also promote your blog or website to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Your LinkedIn profile allows you to publicize websites. There are a few pre-selected categories like “My Website,” “My Company,” etc.

If you select “Other” you can modify the name of the link. If you’re linking to your personal blog, include your name or descriptive terms in the link, and voila! instant search-engine optimization for your site.

To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to “Full View.”

according to Guy Kawasaki

Improve your Google PageRank

Have you thought of improving your Google PageRank with a professional network? Here is how you do it:

The network LinkedIn allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index.

Since LinkedIn profiles receive a good PageRank in Google, this is a way to influence what people see when they search for you.

To do this, create a public profile and select “Full View.” Also, instead of using the default URL, customize your public profile’s URL to be your actual name.

To strengthen the visibility of this page in search engines, use this link in various places on the web. For example, when you comment in a blog, include a link to your profile in your signature.

View Karl Ortenburg's profile on LinkedIn

Friday, March 23, 2007

Youngsters less open to Online Ads

Youngsters make far more use of the Web, but are less receptive to online ads than their elders, according to a new pan European study.

The 14th session of the NetObserver Europe study looked at the online behaviour and perceptions of more than 210,000 Internet users in 5 European countries; UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

The research focused on the web characteristics which distinguish the younger generation (ages 15-24) from their elders (25 years and over).

The Novatris/Harris Interactive study examined the behaviour of the European Internet users focusing on time spent online, communication and entertainment activities, the perception of ‘Web 2.0’ and views of online advertising.

There is a higher proportion of females amongst young Internet users

Whatever the country, the feminisation of the Internet has a larger impact on the younger generation. Indeed, within the group of 15-24 year olds, females are either of the same ratio to males (Italy, Spain) or in a majority (UK, Germany and France).

On the other hand, there are more males in the over 25 age group, even though their proportion is similar to that of women in the UK and France.

The younger generation undoubtedly spends more time online than their elders

The majority of young Internet users connect several times per day. However it is not just the frequency of connection, but the time spent online that distinguishes the younger generation from their elders.

For each of the 5 countries studied, there are more young Internet users who spend more than three hours per day online in comparison to their elders. Reversely, a higher proportion of users aged 25 and over spend less than one hour per day online.

Above all, for the younger generation the Internet is a communication tool

Young European Internet users are larger consumers of various online available communication tools than their elders.

15-24 year olds regularly use more direct (through instant messaging, telecommunication software with the Internet, chat rooms) or indirect (through discussion forums or blogs) communication tools than those aged over 25.

Looking at the main differences from one country to another, it is clear that young Spanish Internet users use instant messaging the most (80% regularly use instant messaging) and that young German Internet users use ‘chat’ the most (46% regularly use ‘chat’).

But the Internet is also a medium of self-expression and entertainment

The younger generation is more likely to not only consult blogs and community sites, but also to create their own online personal space (blog or personal page). They are also more likely to listen to radio online, play online videogames and use an audio or video podcasting service.

The five countries studied countries have their own characteristics:

46% of young British Internet Users regularly listen to the radio online. Whereas nearly half of young Germans regularly play online video games. As for the young French Internet users, 46% of them regularly visit blogs, personal pages and community sites.

Finally, regarding Spain and Italy, their young Internet users come out ahead in the usage of podcasts and videocasts: 36% of young Spanish Internet users regularly use podcasting services (audio or video) in comparison to a quarter of young Italian Internet Users.

Young Internet users perceive ‘Web 2.0’ more useful than their elders

Owing to the younger generation being larger consumers of the new features allowed by the technological evolution of the Internet (Ajax, XML…) it is understandable that they are more likely than their elders to consider these features useful.

The publication and sharing of information (text, audio or video) amongst a community (Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo! 360°…) is the feature considered to be the most useful by both generations. Besides, one can note that this feature is appreciated even more by the young Spanish and Italian Internet users because no less than 88% of them consider it

Customisation (My MSN, My Yahoo!, Netvibes...) is the second feature of ‘Web 2.0’ which strikes a chord with a large majority of young people. Nevertheless, its degree of usefulness is somewhat close to that of the contribution to collaborative sites (Wikipedia) and that of RSS feeds.

On the other hand, for those aged 25 and over, RSS feeds are more useful than customisation or collaborative contribution. This is not surprising as European Internet users aged 25 and over, regularly receive more RSS streams than the younger generation.

For the younger generation, the contribution of content to collaborative sites or wikis (Wikipedia) lies in third position. For the young Germans, this collaborative aspect of ‘Web 2.0’ even has the same degree of usefulness as the publication and exchange of information.

RSS feeds are the least popular in terms of the most useful features according to young people. Nevertheless, it is not a matter of rejecting this functionality outright because there is always more half of them who consider it useful.

Consequently, the level of usefulness received by RSS feeds is similar between both generations. Yet the level of usage of RSS feeds is lower amongst young people as they use the Internet less to keep them informed than their elders do.

With the exception of the United Kingdom where advertising is considered to be particularly creative, young European Internet users are less appreciative of online advertising than their elders.

Overall 15-24 year olds are less interested by the majority of advertising that they see on the Internet than those aged 25 and over. All the same, fewer young people in comparison to their elders estimate that advertising helps them make better purchasing decisions. They are also less numerous in thinking that advertising helps them find products and services that they search for in comparison to those aged 25 and over.

An important part of young Internet users recognise, however, that advertising helps them to discover new products and services.

Finally, the majority of young Internet users find that online advertising is creative and innovative. In other words, advertising agents are compelled to adapt their communication strategy when using the Internet to reach young people. They could, for instance, refer to the communication, self-expression or entertainment aspects that constitute the main motivations of young people when using the Internet.

Source: NetObserver, March 2007
Novatris/ Harris Interactive

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The future of advertising

Hi everyone, the following is a bit lengthy but I think an interesting article so I thought I'd share it with you. If you do naything around advertising or PPC the following might be of interest to you:

"Ad revenue-sharing - The future of advertising?"

Paying users a share of ad revenues for submitting content to websites is becoming a popular practice. Andrew Davies, Marketing Director at idio, looks at the impact this emerging business model could have on the advertising industry at large.

YouTube's introduction of an advertising-revenue-sharing scheme for contributors, a story that even 6 months ago would have been confined to the technology press, made the mainstream news a few weeks ago. YouTube is not the first company to offer contributors a share of advertising revenue, but its market-leading position does in some way legitimise this method as a valid business model.

Advertising-revenue-sharing allows contributors of content to be remunerated based on their content's popularity. Although looked down upon by traditional publishers, it provides a great way for contributors to be rewarded for their (often considerable) effort, for online publishers to attract better quality contributors, and for advertisers to better reach the increasing millions of eyeballs that view the social web every day.

However, traditional publishers do have a valid point: User generated content will, for the foreseeable future, be limited to certain (they would say "cheap") subject types. For example, whilst user generated content might create an abundance of funny videos and semi-professional industry opinion blogs, it certainly doesn't yet produce documentaries with the depth and reputation of Planet Earth or Panorama.

A similar quality issue faces advertisers: Because controversial content attracts viewers, the new "popularity equals revenue" equation for contributors exacerbates the much-discussed fear of unknowingly placing advertising alongside unsuitable user generated content.

So how can advertisers balance the necessity of effectively marketing to the mass audiences/participators in social networking, with the need to secure quality delivery and positive placement of advertising? An obvious answer is through some form of publisher moderation/editorship of content, whether it is on a user level (where user know they will be rewarded fairly for the value they actually deliver to advertisers), on a site level (where publishers endeavour to select and deliver only the best user generated content), or on a network level (where advertising networks develop a method for categorising content into marketable verticals).

However, fully exploiting the inventories of social networks is not the final frontier. The big step up in campaign effectiveness needs to come when forward-thinking advertisers start to use the mass of personal information to actually personalise their advertising. Publicly available profiles, and the behaviours of these online personalities, provide immense opportunities for adverts to become so targeted, and so linked to user action, that they reflect the same characteristics (relevant, helpful and unobtrusive) as Google AdWords and the search advertising phenomenon.

This leads to another key question arising when marketing to the audiences of social networks: What should the relationship be between the content and the advertising, both contextually and spatially? Although it obviously varies between product types, most advertisers see the benefit of advertising that is contextually relevant (i.e. a user interested in the content will be more likely to be interested in the advert) and spatially suitable (i.e. catching the eye of the user without intruding to the point of annoyance).

For example, many of the generic networks (eg MySpace and YouTube) have not been able to connect their advertising with their content, leading to a situation where the advertising generally drags down the user experience, with the company forced to rely on increased pageviews to gain more revenue. On the other hand, many of the more specialised social networks are integrating the advertising to a much greater extent, not only improving the user experience, but adding value to the advertiser. And especially where the advertising-revenue-share model is used, the value and acceptability of the advertising in the community's eyes increases significantly.

Instead of users being force-fed advertising; it needs to be subconsciously accepted and even sought out. As adverts start to actually add value to users (whether by being humorous, engaging, or just plain relevant) the increasing effectiveness of campaigns will ensure that, through the strengthening of the advertising-revenue-share model, contributors get their just rewards.

Andrew Davies

Andrew Davies is the Marketing Director at idio, a personalised digital magazine that matches quality content and immersive advertising with the interests of the individual. This is achieved through a unique system of weighted tagging which intelligently adapts to readers' interests as they rate the appeal of the content they view. idio therefore allows advertisers to dramatically improve the targeting and effectiveness of their campaigns via non-intrusive, full screen rich media formats. Advertisers are charged on a CPM basis with revenue shared between content providers based on their content's popularity

Source: Netimperative

Effective Business Emails

The Creative Group, a staffing service, surveyed advertising and marketing executives about annoying aspects of communicating by email with colleagues and business contacts.

The most oft-cited annoyances were "receiving unsolicited large files" and "unnecessarily being copied on reply-to-all messages”. These were followed by “messages that are too long”, “typos or grammatical errors” and “having to scroll to find information”.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Top 10 men’s magazines online

"UK Top 10 men’s magazines online"

Maxim is most popular online men’s lifestyle magazine in the UK, while Bizarre is fastest growing, according to new research.

The findings, from Nielsen//NetRatings, also indicate that Monkey has the most loyal audience, while Loaded has the greatest affinity with men. Maxim is currently the most popular men’s lifestyle magazine online with 479,000 Unique Visitors in January 2007 – 27% more than second-placed FHM (378,000).

FHM was the most popular in October 2006;
Monkey the most popular in November and December 2006

Most popular men’s magazines online by Jan 07,

Rank Magazine Unique Audience Jan 07(000’s) Publisher

1 Maxim 479 Dennis
2 FHM 378 Emap
3 Monkey 347 Dennis
4 Zoo 198 Emap
5 Nuts 176 IPC
6 GQ 113 Condé Nast
7 Men's Health 81 NatMag Rodale
8 Loaded 80 IPC
9 Bizarre 78 Dennis
10 T3 73 Future

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, UK NetView home & work data, Oct 06 - Jan 07"

4 Basic Web Design Skills

Four basic skills your web designer needs to do a good job for you.

1. Graphics software ability and an artistic sense.

Geeks can run graphics programs, but unless the geek has a trained artist's eye, these graphics won't look right -- and neither you nor the geek may know the difference. You need to pay a person with graphic design experience. An alternative, if you must, is to use a pre-designed template included with build-it-yourself web tools, such as Site Build It! or Yahoo! Small Business Hosting. At least these templates will have been designed by a professional.

2. HTML ability.

Lack of HTML knowledge isn't usually the problem. You can find good website design tools, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage. With one of these tools, you don't really need to know much actual HTML code. The design program creates the code for you. Yes, they tend to build websites that are a bit bloated, in terms of the amount of mark-up code used, but this isn't usually the fatal flaw.

3. Navigation and usability design experience.

Without such experience your designer is likely to produce a website that can't expand beyond five or six webpages as your business grows and which will cause a poor visitor experience. Software is no substitute for experience, since there are no one-size-fits-all rules of thumb here. Yes, a novice can read a basic website design book like Web Design for Dummies or a usability book such as Usability for the Web. However, the chances are very high that he will bumble through your website without realizing the mistakes he is making. It's better to pay an experienced professional to do the basic design. If you're a budding website designer, don't despair. These things can be learned with practice. Build a first website for your own online business; you'll learn a lot in the process.

3. Basic search engine optimization skills.

Sadly, some website designers don't have a clue how a site is found by the search engines. My friend with a life coaching website ended up with the home page titled "Home Page" in the title tags. With a title like that, the site will never appear under a search for "life coaching," and if it were to, no one would click on a search result entitled "Home Page." Before you contract with a website designer, make sure that she knows something about SEO. If need be, buy her a copy of Dr. Wilson's Plain-Spoken Guide to Search Engine Optimization to educate her on the basics. Your designer doesn't need to be an SEO guru to understand and insert appropriate keywords in the title tag, description meta tag, headings, and body text. But your designer must do this or you'll be dead in the water.

4. Provision for the site owner to make changes.

Far too many websites look beautiful but can't be altered by the site owner. If all changes must go through the site designer (who is now working on someone else's project), they probably won't be made in a timely manner. Two easy ways to fix this are: (1) Have you site designer build your site within the structure of a site-building system with a web interface, such as Site Build It! or Yahoo! Small Business Hosting. That way you can add webpages that will be based on the existing template and will have automatic links to the navigation system. (2) Use a tool that allows any webpage to be edited by the site owner using a web interface. Two applications to consider are (monthly fee) and's Page Publisher (one-time fee).

by Dr. Ralph Wilson

For more information on webdesign go to:

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Google Offer: Click Fraud Protection

Beginning April 2007, Google plans to give advertisers the ability to prevent their PPC (pay-per-click) ads from being shown to competitors suspected of repeatedly clicking on the ads.

The move, to be announced in Google's AdWords blog on Thursday, is an effort to curb click fraud, which involves generating clicks solely for the purpose of increasing the cost of an advertiser's pay-per-click ad.

Google, will allow advertisers to specify which Internet Protocol addresses--numerical addresses assigned to individual computers--will be blocked from receiving the ads.

Increase Conversions Quickly

Here are ten quick ways to increase your web site conversion rates:

1. Blue and underlined links
2. Custom 404-redirect
3. Links in body content
4. Visible phone number
5. Fix typos and grammatical errors
6. Fix broken links
7. Show prices and shipping info
8. About us page
9. Calls to action
10. Answer emails and phones

For information on how to use the above correctly, click here.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Skype landline calls: €2 p.m.

Skype has lauched a premium service across Europe that combines the Internet telephony firm’s most popular features with calls to domestic landlines and Skype Certified hardware, for a flat fee of €2 a month.

The Skype Pro’s subscription package includes zero cents per minute calling to domestic landlines in UK previously €0.017 per minute.

Users also get: free Skype Voicemail (normally €15 per year) and a €30 discount on SkypeIn numbers, and various discounted offers on hardware.

The service is available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Spain or the UK, with Skype promising to release it to other countries worldwide later in 2007.

The standard Skype services, video calls, instant messages, transferring files, conference calls for up to 10 participants or joining in Skypecasts (live moderated conversations with up to 100 people) remain free to all Skype users across the world.

Skype users can also make free calls from one Skype account to another.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blog Marketing Tips

Here is a “short” list of tips for marketing and optimizing a blog:

Decide on a stand alone domain name or directory of existing site Sub domain is also an option Avoid hosted services that do not allow you to use your own domain name!

Obtain and install customizable blog software - WordPress and Moveable Type are my favorites.

Customize blog look and feel templates - aka design.

Research keywords and develop a glossary - Keyword Discovery, WordTracker, SitePoint, SEOBook Keyword Research.

Optimize the blog:
- Template optimization - RSS subscription options, social bookmark links, HTML code, Unique title tags, URLs, Sitemap
- Add helper plugins specific to WordPress or MT
- Create keyword rich categories (reference your keyword glossary)

Enable automatic trackback and ping functionality.

Create Feedburner Pro account and enable feed tracking.

Setup Google acount for Sitemap, validate and prep for future submission.

Identify authoritative blogs, web sites and hubs for outbound resource links and blogroll.

Format archived posts, related posts.

Enable statistics for tracking - Performancing, Google Analytics, ClickTracks.

Submit RSS feed and Blog URL to prominent RSS and Blog directories / search engines.

Engage in an ongoing link building campaign.

If podcast or video content are available, submit to Podcast and Vlog directories.

Submit blog url to paid directories with categories for blogs - Yahoo, BOTW, bCentral, WOW, JoeAnt.

Optimize and distribute a press release announcing blog.

Request feedback or reviews of your blog in relevant forums, discussion threads. If you have a resourceful post that will help others, point to it.

Research and comment on relevant industry related blogs and blogs with significant centers of influence.

Post regularly. If it’s a news oriented blog, 3-5 times per day. If it’s an authoritative blog, 3-5 times per week, but each post must be unique and high value.

Monitor inbound links, traffic, comments and mentions of your blog - Google Alerts, Technorati, Blogpulse, Yahoo News, Ask Blogs and Feeds.

Always respond to comments on your blog and when you detect a mention of your blog on another blog, thank that blogger in the comments of the post.

Make contact with related bloggers on AND offline if possible.

When making blog posts always cite the source with a link and don’t be afraid to mention popular bloggers by name. Use keywords in the blog post title, in the body of the post and use anchor text when you link to previous posts you’ve made.

Use social networking services, forums and discussion threads to connect with other bloggers. If they like your stuff, they will link to you.

Remember when web sites were a new concept and the sage advice to print your web address everywhere you print your phone number? The same advice applies for your blog.

by Lee Odden

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Yahoo rolls out mobile ads

Yahoo! has launched a mobile display advertising platform in 19 countries across Europe, Asia andthe Americas.

The ads will run near the top of the Yahoo! Mobile Web home page, letting consumers clickthrough to directly call the advertiser or to learn more information about the advertiser's offer.

The service has already attracted a number of global advertisers including Hilton's Embassy Suites, Infiniti, Intel, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble Asia Pacific and Singapore Airlines.

Yahoo!'s Mobile Web service ( is available on most mobile phones across a number of major mobile operators around the world.

Microsoft &Vodafone in IM pact

Vodafone and Microsoft are working together to deliver an enhanced co-branded Instant Messaging (IM) service that can be accessed from both the PC and mobile phone.

The new IM service will be launched in select European markets later this year, available on a range of Vodafone handsets, including those on the Windows Mobile platform.

Mobile Comparison Site

"PriceRunner launches comparison site on mobile."

PriceRunner has struck an exclusive partnership with mobile software provider Picsel to launch a mobile version of the price comparison website.

The company, owned by ValueClick Europe will launch the new service in the early second quarter of 2007.

Consumers will be able to download the free application from or by sending a text to a shortcode, where the application will be sent back to the user; only standard data roaming charges.

Users will see a full colour mini-version of with full functionality to compare prices.

Brits lack Interest

"Brits lack interest in mobile search- survey."

Just one in five (20%) UK subscribers actually search for content on the mobile internet, despite an industry perception that 89% do, according to new research.

The survey, from Mobile Entertainment Forum and Ovum, questioned MEF members including operators, content providers and technology enablers to gauge industry views, as well as 1,000 UK consumers.

Despite subscribers not searching on the mobile internet as often as the industry expects (only 2% searching on a daily basis), those that do are downloading premium material, rather than just surfing.

Amongst consumers using mobile search once a month or more, the most commonly searched for content is ringtones (54%), closely followed by full track music downloads (47%). Of the top four types of content looked for ringtones, full track downloads, sports results and games all featured.

Ringtones, music tracks and games all command a premium and subscribers appear willing to pay for it - only 17% of respondents were put off searching by cost.

This is particularly important with industry respondents citing 'increased downloads' (50%) as the most important quantifier of successful search mechanisms followed by return visits (31%).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Rich Schefren on: Time

These are distinctions from Rich Schefren's brilliant seminar. I hope you can use them too:

1. If you want to build your online business, concentrate on the 'What' not on the 'How'!

2. If your business depends on you and you have no plans on cahnging that ... You don't own a business (you own a job).

3. Why you need to build an Internet business: The Interrnet is still in the wild west days --- but just like every other industry and media channel sooner or later businesses will smother the self-employed.

4. All time has value - there is no such thing as 'free' time, there is only leisure time. They way you think about time and think about yourself will affect everything that happens to you the rest of your life. Do you know the value of your time and how to increase it?

5. Calculating your magic number:
- What is your goal? e.g. $ 1,000,000
- How much did you make in the last 3 months? e.g. $ 40,000
- Current Reality = $ 40,000 * 4 = $ 160,000 for this year

- Your Goal $ 1,000,000 - $ 160,000 = $ 840,000 (your magic number)
- How do you get from where you are today to your Goal?
10% of $ 840,000 = $ 84,000
- Your next step gets calculatd this way: Current income $ 160,000 + $ 84,000 = $ 244,000
That is what you should be thinking about achieving.

- Designing the steps to get there:
How much do you want to earn in the next 12 months? e.g. $ 244,000
How many days/week do you work? e.g. 6 !
How many hours a day do you work? e.g. 10 !
How many productive hrs per day to you work? (productive time is time directly related to making an income, not for example reading an e-book) e.g. 4 (to be optimistic)

Calculate 4 hrs * 6 days = 24 hrs / week; 24 * 50 weeks = 1,200 hrs p.a.
$ 244,000 / 1,200 = $ 203 / hrs
-> That's what you need to make per hour to get to your next step towards your goal.
(Your minute rate: $ 203 / 60 = ca. $ 3.40)

Ask yourself:
- "Is what I am doing worth my hourly rate?"
- "Can I pay s.o. significantly less than my hourly rate to do this for me?
-> If you think of your time as actually being worth what you just calculated, don't be too surprised if before long you are making this kind of money.

What happened to Bob (Proctor)?

Recently I attended a talk by famous Bob Proctor at the YES! Group in London. Bob gave a great talk and here are a few tidbits:

Bob Proctor made it from cleaning floors into a multi-millionaire.

How did Bob develop into such a successful human being?

Basically because he made a lot of money from one day to the other and he tried to find out what had happened to him. How he had changed, why he suddenly became so successful.

That question kept him busy over 20 - 30 years and enabled him to show others what he found out.

His most successful formula to earn real money is: To have multiple sources of income.

The most important question for anyone to answer he said is:

“What do you REALLY WANT?”

(Not what you are prepared to settle for.)

If you find that out, then make a DECISION (not a wish) to get it!

When you settle for less, than you can get, you will get less than you will settle for.

There is a difference in wishing for a thing and another being ready to receive it.

Most people are extras in their own movie. They should be the Star!

There are 3 Income Strategies:

M3. Turn your Annual income into your monthly income.
M2. Invest money to earn money.
M1. Trade your time for money (ignore this one as you can run out of time).

The Mind is the Greatest Power in all Creation.

Because we treat the symptom and not the problem, the problem reoccurs.

His most important tools (?):

-> Reading ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill every day …
-> And ‘As A Man Thinketh’ by James Allen

The Yes Group’s MC Martin Boothe asked Bob these questions:

Q: What is THE most important ‘thing’ to take away tonight?
A: Writing down on a card what you really want in life (even if you don’t believe in it today) and reading it loud every day, at least before bedtime for the rest of your life. The more you repeat it the more your mind will believe it.

Q: What kept Bob going for the last 40 years?
A: His love to share what he learned from life.

Three questions to ask yourself:
What am I doing?
What works?
What doesn’t?
Then stop doing No. 3!

Great lines from his talk:

- You are a spiritual being and any (self help) program without a spiritual foundation is incomplete.
- Your thoughts are your most potent weapon. All the thought and the energy is in the present.
- Think in pictures.
- When you understand you can Change. When you can change you have Hope. When you have hope you have Options.
- You are attracting what is in harmony with you. If you don’t like what you are attracting – see what you really have been asking for.
- Your results are an expression of your level of awareness. Effective education and professional coaching over a reasonable time will expand your level of awareness.

- Calm down and speed up.

- The main thing is to keep the Main Thing the main thing …

- If you can’t believe in yourself, find s.o. else who believes in you!

- Money can't talk but it can hear. Call it and it will come.

- Believe and your Belief will create the fact. William James

He ended his fabulous talk with the Poem

“ One And Only You.”
Every single blade of grass
and every flake of snow-
is just a wee bit different...
There's no two alike, you know.
From something small
like grains of sand.
To each gigantic star
all were made with THIS is mind:
To be just what they are!
How foolish then, to imitate-
How useless to pretend!
Since each of us comes from a MIND
Whose ideas never end.
There'll only be just ONE of ME
To show what I can do -
And you should likewise feel very proud
There's only ONE of YOU.
That is where it all starts
With you, a wonderful, unlimited human being

James T. Moore

------------ --------- --------- --------
Many thanks to the YES! Group London for organizing such a great evening and providing fantastic speakers on an ongoing basis.

Property search engine

"Property search engine gets funding boost."

Investment vehicle Howzat media has completed its investment in Zoomf, an early stage Web 2.0 residential property sales and letting search engine.

Still in its beta test stage of development, Zoomf plans initially to cover agents offering property in the Greater London Area before rolling out nationally with more product enhancements.

Consumers can drill down to desired property specifications, for location and price range, along with 'deeper' specifications, such as 'with garage/ off-street parking' or 'river view'.

Zoomf also offers consumers local market intelligence and information on local amenities in their area of choice, via map and listings.

These provide users with useful additional information about local schools, transport, shopping and recreational facilities, assisting them in their property search.

Source: Netimperative

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Google opens email service

"Google opens email service to all"

Google has ended the invite-only policy for Google Mail, allowing anyone in the UK to use the Web-based email service.

The service, known as Gmail outside the UK, offers nearly 3GB of online storage space and an anti-spam filter. GoogleMail also groups email exchanges together to help users keep track of ongoing conversations in one folder."

E-mail marketers tracking ROI

Email marketers still struggle to track ROI- survey

Almost half (47%) of marketers are not tracking how much revenue their email campaigns are making, according to a new survey.

The research, from email services provider Adestra and E-consultancy surveyed over 500 in-house and agency respondents across different industry sectors

The findings suggest that many companies do not know which campaigns are generating sales and which are not, or which ones have increased awareness, for non-transactional campaigns. The email marketing sector is growing fast, with 78% of companies are set to increase their email marketing spend according to DMA, November 2006.

Meanwhile, the email services market is growing at 20% per annum, according to E-consultancy’s Email marketing Platforms Buyer’s Guide. However the growth cannot continue in the longer term without the systems in place for tracking the results back to spend.

Around £178m was spent in the UK on email marketing platforms and services in 2006,according to E-consultancy, therefore a significant £84m is untracked marketing budget which may or may not be working. Which other channel would be able to get away with spending this much without knowing the impact?

Paul Crabtree, marketing director at Adestra, says: “It is critical for future growth, and makes basic business sense, to be able to measure ROI. In fact, it can severely stunt growth if you can’t measure ROI as it will make proving the business case for extra investment almost impossible.

The point is that email marketing is probably the most direct channel to be able to measure ROI – and it is a relatively simple process to enable it.”

In the survey over 80% of respondents say their email marketing could be more effective.

Crabtree explains: “Despite most marketers wanting their email campaigns to be more effective – and who doesn’t - as half can’t measure their ROI they have no basis for improving in future. The first thing they need to do is have a system for accurately tracking deliverability to the inbox, through to actual sales and therefore ROI.”

More than half of company email marketers (55%) say that their ROI from email is three times or more. Almost a third of company respondents (32%) say that their ROI is five times or more.

By way of comparison, 64% of Agency / ESP respondents say that their clients’ ROI is typically 3 times or more, and 28% say the ROI is five times or more.

Adestra has offered a top 5 tips on how to measure ROI, reproduced below:

When sending targeted, personalised campaigns to the designated database, ensure the following steps are taken to help measure ROI:

1. Ask each customer how they found out about you
2. Invest in web analytics to track all orders back to where they began their web session from
3. Use an email marketing provider that can integrate with your web site to track orders
4. Monitor other inbound channels (telephone lines) and use discount codes/ special offers/ unique phone numbers to label enquiries and orders. Database systems like Wyvern Magic make this possible without massive investment
5. Allocate and spend unrushed time analysing the performance of each campaign

Source: Netimperative

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Emap snaps up mobile social network for £8.7m

Emap snaps up mobile social network for £8.7m

Emap snaps up mobile social network for £8.7m

Emap has bought YoSpace, a UK mobile user-generated content business, as the publisher looks to expand it digital presence.

Yospace provides a mobile community based around user-generated videos. Its products include “See me TV” and “Look at me TV” services.Its customers include a number of major mobile networks in the UK. "

Google Earth for local advertisers

Google Earth offers sponsored links for local advertisers:

Google has incorporated adverts into its world imaging system Google Earth.

The search giant has deployed it Adsense contextual advertising system into Google Earth, which will let advertisers place sponsored local ads in map markers on the site.

The ads can include clickable links, contact details and logos that give the precise location of a certain business.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Top online categories

The top gaining worldwide online categories in 2006, in terms of unique visitors, according to research firm comScore:

Growth in Selected Online Categories by Unique Visitors (UVs) Dec. ’05 vs. Dec. ‘06

Total Worldwide - Home and Work Locations Overall, the top-gaining categories worldwide in 2006 included:

- Multimedia (up 37 percent),
- Community (up 33 percent),
- E-mail (up 16 percent),
- News/Information (up 15 percent) and
- Games (up 14 percent).

A major driver of growth in the multimedia category was, which grew 1,972 percent versus year ago to reach 120 million worldwide visitors in December.

In the Community category, which includes social networking sites, MySpace and Blogger were both significant growth drivers, growing 159 percent to 90 million worldwide visitors and 90 percent to 93 million worldwide visitors, respectively.

Growth in the e-mail category was driven largely by the rapid adoption of Google Gmail, which was up 71 percent to 60 million visitors year-over-year.

Growth in the News/Information category was driven largely by MSN News & Weather (up 131 percent to 25 million worldwide visitors), Yahoo! News (up 44 percent year-over-year to 104 million worldwide visitors), and New York Times Digital (up 20 percent to 68 million worldwide visitors).

Source: Netimperative

WPP invests in mobile search ads

Netimperative - WPP invests in mobile search ads

WPP has invested in mobile search and advertising firm JumpTap as the advertising giant looks to expand in the mobile arena.

JumpTap's suite of products and services, which includes its recently announced Advertising Suite and Mobile Search Index, offers advertisers multiple ways to reach their customers.

The firm currently works with eight mobile operators in the US and Europe, as well as advertising networks and vertical content providers, to roll-out these services to mobile subscribers.

News Corp invests in online video

Netimperative - News Corp invests in online video firm:

Media giant News Corp. has agreed to purchase as much as a 10% stake in an online video technology provider ROO Group.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Overture keyword tool deactivated

The day that many of us were expecting has finally come. The Overture keyword research tool has been deactivated.

So where does that leave the folks who relied on this keyword research data?

Well there are still a few free tools around you can access if you are on a very tight budget.

They are pretty limited in scope, but still of some use. For example:

Google's Keyword Tool

Trellian's Keyword Discovery Tool

Miva's Keyword Generator

7Search's Advertiser Tools


Wordtracker's Keywords Tool

Unfortunately, if you are already making a few dollars online (or plan to), I wouldn't recommend these. The data they provide is simply not good enough to base a professional online business upon.

If you haven't already, you should seriously be looking at using a more robust and accurate keyword research tool now.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

US Companies selling online

56% of U.S. companies will sell their products online by 2000, up from 24% in 1998. (NUA)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Google shares YouTube ad money

Great News:

Internet giant Google is going to share ad revenues generated from YouTube with the millions of users that create video content on the site.

YouTube has not yet decided how much content generators will be paid or what mechanism will be used to issue the payments. No launch date for the new scheme has been set.

Hurley of YouTube said: We didn't feel it was a great way to build a community. We wanted to keep it pure."

“We are getting an audience large enough where we have an opportunity to support creativity, to foster creativity through sharing revenue with our users. So in the coming months we are going to be opening that up," He added.

Google bought YouTube last year for $1.65bn in November. Around 70 million videos are viewed on the site each day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

New UK Company Legislation

From 1st January 2007, Company Law requires UK Limited Companies to show on their website and e-mails the standard statutory information which should be shown on the bottom of every Limited Companys headed notepaper:

The address of their Registered Office
The Company registration number.

Place of registration (e.g. the company is registered in England and Wales). This information needs to be shown on all business e-mails and therefore it is recommended that Limited Companies show it as part of their standard e-mail footer.

For websites this information does not need to appear on every page.It could be shown on the front page or perhaps on the about us or legal info pages.

Under the UK E-Commerce regulations the minimum information that must be shown on any Limited Companies website is as follows:

The name, geographic address and e-mail address of the service provider.
The name of the organisation with which the company is contracting must be given so if the company is operating under a trade name details must be shown e.g. XYZ is the trading name of Blogs Limited.
Registered Office (see above).
Registration number and the place of registration (see above).
If the business is a member of a trade or professional association, membership details including any registration number.
If the business is registered for VAT the number should be shown.
Prices given should make clear whether they are inclusive or exclusive of VAT (and delivery costs).

e.g Newman Consulting Limited Registered office 58 Devonshire Road, London NW7 1LL Registered in England and Wales Company number: 5164897

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

User generated video revenues

"User generated videos slow to generate revenue."

The honeymoon for user generated content is over, according to new research which indicates that while consumer usage exploded in 2006 revenues will prove slow to develop.

Research from Screen Digest shows that user generated videos accounted for more than half of all online video content, but will make up just 15% of total revenues.

The user generated online video market (UGOV) exploded in 2006 and by the end of the year, user generated videos made up 47% of the total online video market in the US.

Screen Digest believes that advertising will be the principal source of revenue for UGOV sites. In the US ad revenues will grow from $200m in 2006 to almost $900m by 2010. This represents only 15% of all online video revenues.

So whilst there is no shortage of consumers ready to use these sites, the key challenge facing the many companies that now operate in the UGOV arena is finding a business model that will make them financially viable.

According to Screen Digest, there are five business models currently being used to make money from UGOV:

- Advertising
- Content Licensing
- D Commerce (digital sales and rental of premium movie and TV content
- Subscriptions
- Technology Licensing

Whilst they are experiencing a period of trial and error searching for the right advertising formats, the sites risk losing their ‘cool’ factor as users are turned off by finding mainstream advertising on their personal videos. Arash Amel, Screen Digest Senior Analyst and the reports author, comments: ”As yet though, no one has found a way to make real money from the huge audiences who participate on these sites.

"User generated online video will drive the majority of Internet content consumed in the future, but despite its huge popularity with web surfers worldwide, the major players have yet to find a way to generate significant revenues from it."

Why has user generated online video proved to be so popular now?

The popularity of user generated video online reflects what the Internet has emerged to be all about – empowering and connecting people.

In 2007 expect to see videos on, YourkindaTV and Putfile in the UK, MyVideo and Clipfish in Germany, DailyMotion, YooTribe and Wideo in France and Flurl Media in Belgium.

Source: Screen Digest

Google stretches lead

Google stretches lead in US market

In December 2006, Google Sites captured 47.3 percent of the U.S. search market, gaining 0.4 share points from the previous month.

Yahoo! Sites grew 0.3 share points, maintaining its second place ranking with 28.5 percent of U.S. searches, followed by MSN Sites (10.5 percent), Ask Network (5.4 percent) and Time Warner Network (4.9 percent).

Americans conducted 6.7 billion searches online in December, up 1 percent versus November. Annual growth rates in search query volume remained strong with a 30-percent increase since the same month a year ago.

Google Sites led the pack with 3.2 billion search queries performed, followed by Yahoo Sites (1.9 billion), MSN-Microsoft (713 million), Ask Network (363 million), and Time Warner Network (335 million).

Source: comScore qSearch

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

UK Behavioural Ad Campaign

Ocean Finance runs behavioural ad campaign

UK finance broker Ocean Finance is to roll out a targeted banner ad campaign using a new ad serving solution from PositiveFeedback that responds to browser behaviour.

Managed by TBG London, the campaign follows a test campaign in December. The campaign consists of a number of offers and propositions for loans and mortgages.

PositiveFeedback will be used to calculate which offer and creative will work best for each viewer, serving them with the most relevant banner in real-time.

PositiveAdserver automatically optimises creative rotation using Predictive analytics -technology that takes a number of factors into account, including click-history, before deciding which banner is best to serve the viewer.

Paul Cook, founder of PositiveFeedback said: “Self optimisation is a powerful marketing tool that will be used by many more businesses with an online presence as they realise its potential and ROI. The days of random ad rotation are numbered, I’m sure that intelligent banner targeting will become as common as post-click tracking within the next year or two.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Germans shop later

Germans shop later but spend more online than Brits.

Germans spent the most online during the holiday period but shop later, according to a new report comparing the Christmas shopping habits of British, French and German consumers.

The figures, from comScore Networks, reveals that German shoppers spent an estimated 5.4 billion EUR from 30 October - 31 December, 2006.

UK consumers spent an estimated 4.0 billion EUR online during the same period,

and the French spent an estimated 1.9 billion EUR.

This compares to an estimated 18.8 billion EUR ($24.6 billion) spent in the U.S. during the holiday shopping period (1 November to 31 December).

ComScore said that these online spending estimates are based on estimated purchases made at sites within comScore’s retail category and exclude travel and auction sites."

Source: Netimperative

BBC teaming up with Google?

The BBC will possibly make it's programming available via a branded channel on YouTube, according to a report in the Guardian this morning.

Friday, January 19, 2007

How to Maintain Rankings ...

How to Maintain Rankings after a Redesign

If your site has no, or very few rankings, some of this advice may be safely ignored.

However, if your site ranks very well in the search engines, or even has 1 or 2 key positions that you would not want to lose, here are some tips how to maintain your rankings:

Site Structure

The existing structure of your site is in most cases the single most important factor behind a safe redesign. If your structure changes, even just a little, you could easily see your rankings plummet.

With the redesign you will want to do everything in your power to maintain your existing site structure and page file names. The second you move or rename a file you risk losing valuable rankings.

Unless it is absolutely necessary to restructure the file hierarchy, don't. In cases where it must take place, the use of a 301 redirect is your best friend.

The 301 redirect will save your existing customers from head aches when visiting now-moved pages by seamlessly directing them to the new location. Permanent 301's will also help you retain your rankings – sometimes.

Change in site structure can also include your domain name. If your domain name is the only change you make to your site, the above rule still applies. Even when proper 301 redirects are in place, you can expect to see your rankings drop significantly if not entirely.

The 301 should help to reduce the down time, but it is not uncommon to see a sites rankings slip considerably, sometimes indefinitely with a domain change. Changing your domain name can be a complete rankings killer.

If you have implemented the new site to include a new site structure, a valuable tool combination is an XML sitemap combined with an HTML sitemap. For sites with current rankings many will have these two items already in place, but if you don't they can be your best friend. This is one more way to help Google index the new location of your site pages to ensure an easy and faster recovery from the change.

Be Safe! Even if you move all your files around and implement the appropriate 301 redirects and everything looks all nice and perfect, ensure that you also have a 404 redirect in place.

Either direct “page not found” traffic to a custom 404 error page, or to your site's home page. Displaying to a potential client (or search engine for that matter) a 404 error can be tragic. Customers and search engines can lose confidence in your site. The custom 404 page is your best bet for retaining their attention.


Undoubtedly, navigation is one of the most important aspects of your site contributing to positive site rankings. Drastic changes in the site's navigation can be fatal to your existing rankings.


With newer design applications and technologies available these days more and more webmasters are incorporating Flash into their designs. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if used incorrectly it can destroy your rankings since search engines do not like Flash one bit.

If introducing a new Flash based site is essential to your master plan, you would be best to offer users, and search engines, a non-flash version of your site.

The best middle ground between Flash developers and SEO's is use “spot-Flash”. Incorporate pieces of Flash into the html based site. This will allow the search engines all the content they require, while leaving the aesthetics in place for your visitors. In order to retain your existing rankings, you are best to retain the existing means of site navigation.

While spiders are fully capable of following image based links, as well as a number of dropdown menus, basic text links offer the most ‘bang for your buck'.

Image Links

Alt tags help, but the best way to link to main pages is through standard text links. The text helps add key phrase relevance to the linked page. If your current site utilizes text links, ensure that they are carried over to the new design.

Even if the new site switches over to image based navigation, be sure to include the text based links somewhere on the page.

Content Management Systems (CMS)

If you decide to make the switch to a CMS you need to ensure that changed URL's are properly covered with 301 redirects. Where at all possible retain your existing URL paths.

Many Content Management Systems create a site structure with very unfriendly URLs that contain a number of extraneous characters. Do your best to find a system that will offer clean simple URL strings with minimal extra characters.

Try to find a system that will still allow you to edit all aspects of a given page. Can each page have unique title and meta tags? Can you adjust alt tags? A good search engine friendly CMS is money well spent, especially if you have existing rankings you wish to maintain.


Chances are if you are redesigning the look of your site, the majority of the content will not be changing. If this is the case ensure that all textual content makes it over to the new site, as it is most likely playing a significant role in your existing rankings. Changing up your content significantly can cause a drop in rankings if not done properly.

If your new site will contain entirely fresh textual content you will want to ensure that keyword densities and focus remain as close as possible to the old copy.

Be sure to keep items such as mid-sentence (inline) text links (especially if they link to internal pages on your own site), heading tags, and keyword placement within the top portions of the new site.

If your SEO has implemented text above the header image (often referred to as Search Engine text, or SE text), be sure to keep it in place also. This text was probably placed there to ensure that the search engines saw relevant content immediately when visiting the page, and there is a strong chance this text is contributing to your positive rankings.

Meta / Title tags

Be sure to copy over your title tag, meta keyword tag, and description tag from each page to the new version.

The title tag is especially important as there is still significant value placed here. You want to ensure that each page retains its old, optimized title tag.

The description tags do still carry some weight, and also can have an influence on the copy used in the search engine listing.

The meta keyword tag can really go either way. While these days it provides little to no value, if it is optimized and unique for each page, you may as well carry it over. It will provide some value for some of the smaller engines, but really have next to no impact on Google, Yahoo and MSN.

Alt tags

For images remaining on the site be sure to keep the optimized alt tags in place. These alt tags do have some value in your search engine rankings, and removing them entirely could cause a ranking decline.


Redesigning your site, even when following all the rules, can still result in your site being demoted. You may still find your rankings disappear. Redesigning a ranked website is really a gamble any way you look at it. Your rankings could drop, they could skyrocket, or they could stay exactly where they are. There is no way to know for sure without moving forward.

Scott Van Achte (article shortened)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Beyond Traffic and Conversions

Search Marketing 2.0 – Beyond Traffic and Conversions

As sophisticated businesses and marketing agencies embrace the world of Internet Marketing, Search Engine Marketers are being asked to deliver a level of strategy and value never before expected. With the bar raised, we must now focus on targeted business goals to prove ROI.

In today's market, it has become important to prove how SEM will

- increase sales,
- lower customer acquisition costs,
- decrease customer service expenditures, and
- achieve or exceed overall, pre-set, business goals.

I've even been asked to provide accurately projected and guaranteed ROI ratios from one enterprise client. That can be a dangerous corner to stand in when your success relies on Search Engine response.

Though someone within your client's organization is likely accountable for broad planning, budget creation, and ROI development, they will most likely not have the expertise to understand how

- various search patterns,
- landing pages, and
- targeted conversion paths will affect their bottom line.

If you're a Search Engine Optimizer who knows how to get top organic rankings on the Search Engine Results Page through ethical, white-hat methods, great!

If you're a Pay-per-Click expert who understands how to drive traffic through thousands of word variations, geo-targeting, and broad/exact phrase settings, excellent!

But if that's all you know, then your future in this industry is limited.

Here are the some facts:

If your skills do not include business analysis and strategic consulting, even though they may be well developed and important, you're missing the big-picture.

Right now, Directors, VP's, and C-level executives all tell the same thing:

"If you expect us to transfer 10 – 20% of our traditional marketing budgets to the Internet, you must be able to substantiate the broad and granular successes - both in the short-term, as well as through on-going trends."

I could just say, "Sure, we can do that." – But how do I know what I'm promising, unless I truly understand what "success" means for the client?

When you engage a new client for Search Engine Marketing, what's the first step in your campaign?

Is it…Keywords?


It should be an analysis of the client's business.

Some items from the list to investigate:

Marketing plan
Branding initiatives
Sales channels
Prior successes/failures
Past goal patterns
Current goals (broken down by variables)
Obstacles to these goals
Current audience segmentation
Internal structure
External image
Site metrics (usability, trends, baseline)

The thorough business analysis you perform will allow you to build a targeted list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) based on

- the type of site,
- conversion points,
- branding, and
- several factors specific to the site in question.

The assigned KPIs will then be used to track the success of the campaign and your work.

Finally, once you and your client are in agreement on the KPIs and the broad and granular goals of the campaign, then, and only then, should you begin working on key term development.

I understand many will say that's way too much work to go into a campaign before even starting search term development.

If that's your stance, that's okay, but realize that the rest of the industry is developing sophisticated ROI processes and demanding 10 to 20 times the professional service fees of those stuck in the old, simple-ways of SEM.

So, to review, what is the overall goal of an SEM campaign?

A. Drive traffic to the site
B. Create exposure on the search engines (branding)
C. Improve online sales (e-commerce)
D. Improve offline sales (leads to phone, form, or other contact)
E. Elicit downloads (indirect conversion)
F. All of the above
G. None of the above

Goals of a campaign differ for each client. If you don't develop KPIs and business goals with your clients in the beginning, you'll have no idea what successes to strive for; nor will you know whether or not your clients agree with your assessment of success.

Know your client's business, and understand their goals.

Most importantly, get the client's sign-off on the goals of your campaign and stick to them. If the direction changes mid-stream, get new sign-off; ensuring that you are always on the same page as your client.

By Scott Orth

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

If you are planning for a year

If you are planning for a year, sow rice;
if you are planning for a decade, plant trees;
if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.

– Chinese Proverb

Fastest growing Internet sites

Research firm ComScore revealed the fastest growing UK internet web sites
(by percentage change in UK visitors).

The top gaining web site is Deutsche Telekom (driven by its T-Mobile ISP service), with 3.9 million visitors (an 89-percent increase).

Comp. Name Oct.-06 (000) Nov.-06 (000) Percentage Change

Deutsche Telekom 2,106 3,943 87%

Boots Plc 1,649 2,725 65%

Toysrus Sites 1,604 2,611 63%

HMV 2,380 3,262 37%

Woolworths Group plc 2,602 3,542 36%

John Lewis Partnership 2,151 2,893 35%

Dixons Stores Group 4,177 5,393 29% Sites 3,639 4,627 27%

Marks&Spencer 2,445 3,106 27%

Wal-Mart 2,277 2,870 26%

GUS 6,993 8,652 24%

Arcadia Group Limited 1,867 2,300 23%

Ticketmaster 2,704 3,261 21%


Littlewoods Shop Direct Group 3,888 4,555 17%

Netsolut 1,804 2,097 16%

Sony Online 2,840 3,279 15%

Kingfisher 3,815 4,315 13%

ITV Sites 3,818 4,285 12%

NEXT Group 3,150 3,528 12%

Total U.K. Internet Audience, Age 15+ 29,553 29,498 0%

Top 20 Gaining Web Sites by Percentage Change in U.K. Unique Visitors*
November 2006 vs. October 2006
Total U.K. Visitors, Age 15+ – Home and Work Locations**

* Ranking based on the top 100 U.K. web sites in November 2006.
** Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes

Source: comScore World Metrix