One of the best things about Google Analytics …

1 06 2011

is the way that it gives you the search terms people have used to find your site. And if you’ve set up a Goal on your search box, you’ll know what they’re searching for on your site. Which in the case of my personal website, can be pretty bizarre!

Currently the top searches are “rattling mango, porno teby, where did angela langford train”. None of which make much sense. Except I do have articles on there with content about rattling mangos and Angela Langford. I’m not sure where the “porno teby” comes into play though but it amused me.

Google Analytics is great. Here is why-

  1. It tells you what pages people like.
  2. It tells you how they found those pages – which search engine and which search terms.
  3. It tells you how long people spend on your website.
  4. It tells you where your visitors come from
  5. It tells you who is new and who has been to visit you before.

So you know what to aim for when you write your copy. So you know whether your content is engaging enough. So you know whether to aim content at certain people. Which will make your users happy and they will come back again and again. And you’ll have a successful website.





Local Council logo madness

17 03 2011

Think of all the money that could have been saved if the Head City decreed that all councils would have the same logo?

Like maybe just their name. Written in a font. 





Social Media vs The Real World

7 03 2011





Social Media Auto-response dealbreaker

1 03 2011

Follow a business on Twitter and get “Thanks for the follow, let’s hook up on Facebook too”. No thanks. Fan a company on Facebook and get an update in your feed to follow on Twitter too. No thanks. What’s the point?

It’s like subscribing to a feed in Google Reader and then getting an email inviting you to register for the same content in newsletter form.

Social Media is a brilliant permission based marketing tool – but do you really want the same subscriber twice? Surely not. Your click-through numbers will be lower, and while your fan/follower numbers might look healthier in a dashboard for your executives, you’ll lose subscribers to boredom and irrelevance in the long term.

I can appreciate that a person who follows you on more than one Social platform might be a ‘Super Fan’. And that might well be the answer to my question, but surely better to let those ‘Super Fans’ rise to the top of the heap themselves instead of encouraging it with an impersonal auto-response.

And while a Social Media strategy might be advanced enough to have defined different propositions for each channel, it might be a good  idea to tell me, your new fan or follower, what the point of the invitation is.

I’d like to know how many people un-follow after getting an auto-follow or auto-response… My new rule – if a business is going to be purposefully impersonal on a social channel, It’s Over. Now that’s a dealbreaker ladies!





When is an infographic really an infographic?

25 02 2011

I’ve probably been spending more time reading ‘stuff’ online than is healthy. Consuming ‘The Internet’ in such a wide and general way does leave you somewhat frustrated – issues with identifying authorative writers, the inability for the masses to make specific statements rather than speculate (of which I’m guilty), and now – the latest soap box on which I can stand.

Pimping up day-to-day data and calling it an ‘infographic’.

An infographic is data visualisation, taken to new levels by communications specialists like Xplane and vastly awe-inspiring people like Hans Rosling. Thanks to Sébastien Pierre’s fabulous infographic explaining data visualisation we know that a table is still just a table – pure data, no knowledge.

There are some really interesting debates about what an infographic is, and some excellent points made about bad infographics.  But what is not an infographic? People around me rhapsodise about infographics – and why wouldn’t they? When they are real and well designed, infographics bring Real Insight. Knowledge – not information. But so many graphics are called (sometimes pompously) ‘Infographics’ when they don’t give the viewer immediate insight – only a prettier access point to get the insight out of. So, I’m not going to speculate, I’m going to state (look at me, all forceful and um, authoratative):

An infographic is not*:

All of these hover around data, information architecture, dashboards – all at least 2 steps away from actual data visualisation according to Sébastien Pierre.

So I appeal to culprits. Let’s call a table a table, not a supportive work implement.

*No offense intended to the people who made these graphics. Some of them are awesome, they’re just not quite infographics. Also, not all of them are in fact called an infographic, but are just included in a vague pimping brushstroke.





Interesting tactic, el Foursquare

24 02 2011

Earlier today, a colleague tweeted generally to ask how many Foursquare users there are. I happened to have that stat, so pinged him a quick link back about the US stats, but including a comment that I’m not sure about the UK stats.

Scenario over. Or so I thought. A few hours later I noticed a tweet to me and others.

Odd, I thought – I’ve not contributed anything today (except I suppose, to the economy and my company, and the general good cheer around me of course). Click the link and it takes you to a newsletter – filled with content about Foursquare. Relevant content, organised neatly and published simply. And each article is credited to a Twitter account, with original Tweet in a hover box.

Clearly, Foursquare wanted to publish content, but instead of writing their own, they have a Social Media listening tool that enables them to easily collate the content that other people are talking about or sharing, and publish to their followers/subscribers. Idio have a platform that do this, I presume there are more offerings in the market.

How to make content easy and always relevant? Re-publish conversations happening now. Genius. No mess no fuss.

Also, if Foursquare want to step up efforts and add other components of ‘content’, it’s easy to build up from the bottom of the pyramid, innit?





Quora: Only for USA?

13 01 2011

So buzz buzz buzz about Quora. I haven’t yet formed a solid opinion about it, but at the moment it seems a bit hype-y and, like the rest of the world, suspect that it may deteriorate rather fast into Yahoo Answers. Even if co-founder Charlie Cheever thinks that the ‘onboarding process’ will educate people on how to use it well.

But I’m using it. Probably not in the right way but trying to do a little research at the same time. I posted a question yesterday and then, reading this article about how to Hyperlocalise Quora, I was reminded that I had a question going and to check the responses. And I found this.

Who is Alison Stanton? Looks like an editor to me. Does she work for Quora? If so, then Quora’s drawn a line in the sand and stipulating that content must be American-ised. And therefore missing out on one of the biggest trends in Digital – Localisation.

Petulantly, I’ve changed it back to ‘prioritised’. Let’s see what happens!