彙整 | 五月, 2011

How to Manage Your Boss

31 五月

So, if you want to screw up your chances of getting somewhere, by all means, play all the games and tricks you like. Come to think of it, you may get somewhere. Canned.

If, on the other hand, you want to learn how to really manage up, keep reading. You see, where I come from – the real management world – managing up means two things, as we discussed in 10 Things That Good Bosses Do:

  • Keep management off employee’s backs. Most people don’t get this, but the most important aspect of that is giving management what they need to do their jobs. That’s what keeps management happy … and away from you.
  • Take the heat and share the praise. It takes courage to take the heat and humility to share the praise. That comes naturally to great bosses; the rest of us have to pick it up as we go.

Now, if you want to avoid pissing off your boss and being perceived as a complete waste of cubicle space, benefits, and headcount, you’d better pay attention to these …

10 Ways Not to Manage Up

  1. Try to manage his expectations. As an executive, nothing annoyed me more than knowing that an employee was trying to manage my expectations. All your manager wants is your genuine assessment of the situation: how much it’ll cost, how long it’ll take, the probability of success. He’ll take it from there.
  2. BS or sugarcoat the truth. Same as the above.
  3. Promise the impossible. Opposite problem as above, same result. If you make promises your management knows you can’t deliver on, it’ll destroy your credibility and that’ll be the end of your potential.
  4. Tell him what you think he wants to hear. That may work for a time, but in the end, you’ll fail to deliver, the truth will come out, and the game will be over. Managing an organization or leading a company is a long-term deal; Band Aids and quick fixes don’t work.
  5. Make everything about you. Business is about beating the competition, winning customers, and keeping them happy. Business is about business. If you take the drama queen route and try to make it about you, management will write you off as a PITA.
  6. Make excuses. Nobody cares. Nobody wants to hear it. Whining is annoying and doesn’t age well. Don’t do it.
  7. Try to get chummy. Sure, sharing a personal anecdote or two is fine; most managers enjoy getting to know their people. Just don’t overdo it by trying to “get in bed” with the boss. Nobody likes being manipulated.
  8. Kiss her you-know-what. I don’t care what anybody says; good managers and executives do not want their butts kissed. They want people to do their jobs and help them do theirs. That’s pretty much it.
  9. Waste her time. These days, everybody’s overloaded, everybody’s on 24×7, everybody gets too much information. Time is everybody’s most precious commodity. Don’t waste hers.
  10. Say, “trust me.” “Trust me,” “believe me,” “listen to me,” here’s the problem with that. If your boss really does trust you, he’ll wonder why you keep saying that and probably stop trusting you. If he doesn’t trust you yet, you can’t compel him to. You have to build credibility over time. Either way, it’s bad.

By: http://www.bnet.com/blog/ceo/how-to-manage-your-boss/7425?promo=713&tag=nl.e713

廣告

6 Ways to Grow Your Business With Content

25 五月

social media expert interviewAre you wondering why your business needs content? When you produce high-quality content, it’s a gift to your audience that they appreciate.

If you think of your business as a rocket, content is the fuel that moves it forward. Be sure to watch this edition of Social Media Examiner TV where I’ll share 6 effective ways to grow your business with content and take it to the stratosphere.

Share your feedback and see the show notes below!



There are two different types of content to fuel your business: primary fuel and nuclear fuel.

Primary Fuel

This is the content you produce regularly to attract people to your business. Here are some different types of primary fuel:

#1: How-to articles

How-to articles, such as 21 Creative Ways to Increase Your Facebook Fanbase, are great resources for your readers.  Be sure to provide details, give screenshots to illustrate things clearly and tell people exactly what to do. This way, your audience will want to share your content.

#2: Expert interviews

The right experts have valuable content for your audience. One example of this on Social Media Examiner is my interview with Guy KawasakiRemember to both record and transcribe your interview to share it in multiple formats with your audience.

#3: Case studies

Share stories of the people who are doing great things in your industry.  Have a look at the story of Logos Bible Software we recently published.

#4: Breaking news

Your audience appreciates good sources of breaking news. Think about doing a weekly wrap-up of the hot news of the week like we do on Social Media Examiner.

rocket fuel

What fuel do you use to grow your business?

.

Nuclear Fuel

This content is a special type of fuel to propel your business beyond the competition. It’s a bit more complicated to produce, but it has a much longer impact.

#5: Reports based on surveys

At Social Media Examiner, we create an annual industry report and distribute it for free.  We ask thousands of marketers lots of questions and then our team puts the report together and we give it away.  Often it’s read by tens of thousands of people. To make it easy to share, we embed a retweet button in the report.

#6: Contests

On Social Media Examiner, we do a Top 10 Social Media Blog contest.  Allow your audience to nominate the winners to activate your community.  And consider creating a badge for winners to put on their website and bring traffic back to your own website.

5 Easy Ways to Liven Up Your Facebook Stream

25 五月

As more advertisers and brand marketers realize the value of social media, they are flocking to set up Pages on Facebook, the largest social network of them all.

The stats are impressive. 50% of Facebook’s more than 500 million active users are creating and consuming content on the social network on any given day, and the average U.S. user spends nearly six hours per month browsing around on the social network.

With the shift to growing social media consumption, brands should be taking every step to improve their presences on social platforms, starting with the behemoth that is Facebook.

Whether your business is new to the platform or it has been around for years, there is always room for improvement. Here are five quick and easy ways to make your Facebook stream more lively for fans.


1. Showcase Your Customers


Paint Along NYC, a New York City-based company offering painting workshops, uses Facebook to build its online community. After each painting class, the instructor uploads photos of the attendees with their works of art to the Paint Along NYC Facebook Page. Each photo album is labeled with the date of the class and the item that was painted, so that customers can easily find and tag their pictures.

During class, the instructor makes sure that attendees are aware that their photos can be found on the company’s public Facebook Page.


2. Have a Sense of Humor


Humor is said to increase a person’s levels of happiness and hope, so why not share happiness via Facebook?

Jules Thin Crust, a group of organic pizza shops in Pennsylvania, runs its Facebook Page with humor and community in mind. Operated by owner John Ordway and multiple store managers, the Jules Facebook Page has a very homey feeling. The Jules social media team doesn’t take itself too seriously — an advantage that many small businesses have over large branding-dominated corporations. When Facebook fans joke around, Jules Facebook admins are comfortable jumping right in there with the fun. The casual tone used by Jules staffers — and the fact that they personally know some of the fans — makes the updates more personable, relevant and relatable.


3. Give ‘Em Something To Consume


With such high engagement stats, Facebook has brands and content creators turning heads. Etsy, the commerce platform for handmade goods, is among the brands on Facebook that understands its following and then creates and curates content to fit its needs.

As expected, Etsy’s Facebook Page features a stream of the quirkiest products that are offered on its site. But the page also features a fair amount of original and curated content, including blog posts and videos that would be of interest to its followers. Some of the content originates from the Etsy Blog. While many of the links and videos are purely for fun, these pieces often start conversations among Etsy fans on the Page.


4. Ask Questions


It’s not enough to be broadcasting promotional messages — brands should make an effort at engaging with their audiences. Asking questions is a great way to kick off that two-way dialogue.

Take a look at any brand page on Facebook — it’s quite likely that posts with questions get more action than ones without questions. ReadyMade magazine, for example, mixes up the format of posts on its Facebook Page. Posts with questions seem to prompt more conversation, especially if the question is easy to answer. People are inclined to offer their opinions, especially when it’s so simple to get involved.


5. Take Us Behind the Curtain


Whether you own a restaurant, a tech startup or a construction company, your customers are interested in who works at your company and what goes on behind the scenes. And so, providing a glimpse behind the curtain can be an effective and engaging way to populate your Facebook Page.

You may think there aren’t many ways to make a car dealership more interesting or welcoming, but a well-run Facebook Page helps one New Jersey dealership exude a friendly vibe. Lester Glenn Auto Group uses Facebook to promote the cars it sells, announce philanthropic projects and make small talk with customers. Recent posts about holidays and summer camps have seen success relative to other posts, probably because of their non-promotional and down-to-earth tone.

The page also features lots of pictures from inside the dealership, including ones that highlight employees and events. A recent post, for example, celebrates the birthday of Internet Sales Rep Stacy Myers. These depictions of life at the dealership give fans a look inside the company, and they also help to humanize the brand.

By: http://mashable.com/2011/05/24/facebook-tips/

How to Build a Free Social Media Monitoring Dashboard

17 五月

social media how toDo you need a better way to manage the monitoring of your social media? Don’t want to spend a lot of money? How about a free alternative?

Keep reading to learn how…

Google Alerts has its uses, but it is simply not effective as a stand-alone tool for monitoring social media conversations on a day-to-day basis. Dozens of paid options exist, including Radian6, SAS and Lithium.

However, with an RSS reader and some Internet savvy, you can build a powerful social media listening post at no cost. This article will show you how.

Knowing where your company is mentioned online, who’s doing the mentioning and how others are responding is crucial to 1) understanding the “buzz” about you, 2) addressing complaints and negative mentions quickly, 3) knowing the impact (or lack thereof) of your marketing efforts, and 4) shaping social media marketing efforts to reach the right people (key influencers) on their preferred platform.

Start With a Feed

A “feed” is a summary of web content that is updated on a regular basis. It allows users to keep informed of a website’s latest changes. The predominant feed format is Really Simple Syndication (RSS) 2.0.

Feeds allow you to easily see new content. A summary or “headline” view lets you quickly scan recent content changes, and headlines are linked to their appropriate content. RSS readers are very useful because you no longer have to search for relevant information; you simply save your search queries in the reader and the relevant information will come to you.

Unless you have another blog aggregator that you prefer, I recommend you sign up for Google Reader.

dashboard

The first time you log in, the screen will look like this.

The remainder of this article will show you how to use an RSS reader to build a social media dashboard.

#1: Track News and Blogs

Go to Google News and enter a query into the search box. I recommend you use complex queries when possible, as they provide more focused results. If your query returns items that are relevant, scroll down and click the RSS button at the very bottom of the page. On most sites they appear as orange badges.

rss

After clicking the button, copy the URL of the page that comes up. This is the RSS feed for your search query.

google news

You just want the URL (indicated by the arrow). The rest of the page is not intended for humans to read, but for an RSS aggregator like Google Reader.

Go back to Google Reader and click the “Add a Subscription” button in the upper left corner.

add a sub

I’ve marked it in the screenshot above with an arrow.

Paste the URL into the form field that appears.

Now every time a new article that fits your search query goes live, it will be added to your Google Reader. Add as many query feeds as produce articles relevant to your brand or industry.

rss badges

Here’s a selection of RSS Feed badges, both traditional and creative, that you may find on blogs.

Go to Google Blog Search and run search queries, pasting the RSS feeds of queries with relevant results into Google Reader as above.

#2: Track Wikipedia

Wikipedia is where experts, industry leaders, researchers and other key influencers talk. You may have thought it was just an online encyclopedia, but it has a forum for every single article posted. Lively discussions are often ongoing behind the scenes, as each article has its own discussion page where Wikipedia editors debate and discuss.

You’ll want to know what people are saying about your page, your competitors and your industry.

Subscribe both to edits made to each article you select as well as its corresponding discussion page, in order to monitor what people are saying.

wikepedia

View History shows you a log of all edits made, along with the time, editor and often a summary of the changes.

To do this, select the “History” tab above the article, then on the left sidebar click “Toolbox” and then “Atom” with the orange RSS badge next to it. Paste the URL into Google Reader.

If you want to subscribe to discussion on the article as well, click the “Discussion” tab above the article, then click “History” then “Atom” as described above. You may also want to subscribe to pages about your competition or about the industry itself.

dashboard

Atom is a type of RSS feed and works exactly the same way. Find the button in the left sidebar.

#3: Track Tweets, Comments and Discussions

Twitter is one of the main places online that comments go viral. Companies like Dell and Southwest Airlines monitor Twitter in real time so that a negative tweet about a product or service can be addressed quickly by customer service.

It is also important to note that Google indexes tweets. If your company, product or brand is being tweeted about, you’ll want to know. Luckily, Twitter is equipped to send information to your social media dashboard.

Go to Twitter Search, run a search query, click the “Feed for this query” link next to the orange RSS button, and paste the URL in your aggregator.

twitter search

Twitter searches can be imported to your social media dashboard.

All tweets you monitor will be stored for you.

Are you regionally focused, or is your audience in a single country? Click the “Advanced Search” link to the right and set your parameters. You can even specify whether you want to see positive or negative tweets, or tweets that ask a question!

twitter advanced search

Advanced search in Twitter is a powerful way to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Go to Samepoint. This is an engine searching millions of conversations taking place on blogs and social media sites. User-generated discussions (other than Twitter) are typically not indexed by major search engines, such as Google, as they do not reside on static pages.

SamePoint converts these discussions into web pages, or permalinks, and organizes them within a tag cloud. Enter your search query and subscribe to the feed, just like above.

samepoint

Samepoint search results actually show sentiment analysis with their “social tone" indicator.

Go to BoardTracker. This engine searches over 2.4 million live message boards and discussion groups. While Google searches message boards as well, BoardTracker serves up better results. Run your search query and grab the RSS feeds.

boardtracker

BoardTracker will draw back the curtain on Internet forums, showing you what people are saying about your product, service or brand.

#4: Optional Tracking

The above feeds are required for in-depth monitoring of your brand and/or industry. The following feeds are optional, depending on your particular circumstances.

If your industry has strong aftermarket sales, you may wish to monitor prices. eBay and Craigslist are the top aftermarket sales sites. The prices people are paying for your products there will help you determine aftermarket value.

Go to eBay. Enter a search query. Scroll to the bottom and click the orange RSS button, and paste the link in your aggregator.

Go to Craigslist. Enter a search term. Look for the RSS feed. You know what to do.

If you want to monitor your competition, or any webpage in particular, subscribe to an RSS feed at WatchThatPage. It will notify you any time a page is changed.

watch that page

WatchThatPage can extract new information from multiple web pages.

#5: What About Facebook and LinkedIn?

Facebook and LinkedIn are noticeably absent from this social media monitoring dashboard. Why? Because both platforms have privacy settings that preclude interacting with the general public.

Users must register, and then they can only interact with their friends/contacts (with the exception of Facebook Pages, which are indexable by the search engines, and LinkedIn Today, which is an aggregation of other news sources).

There’s not a search engine around that can search a closed network, at least not as of this writing.

social meda dashboard

This is a screen shot of the social media dashboard for my company, Sterling Rep Social Media.

As you can see, I can quickly scan the list for items of interest. While most of these are mentions of my blog posts, if someone mentioned my company (or me) online in a blog comment, forum, on Twitter or in the news, it would show up here.

The above plan will allow you to construct a powerful social media listening post, free of charge. It is searchable, saves all records indefinitely, and is updated upon refresh. Using it will give you a significant advantage over your competition if they’re still just using Google Alerts.

By: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-build-a-free-social-media-monitoring-dashboard/

Social Memories Facebook Book App

17 五月

Is It Time to Shut Down Your Website?

16 五月

Just last month, the U.S. State Department announced that it was shutting down http://www.America.gov, the website launched to provide cultural and policy content to the world. Instead, the State Department will focus on using social media to get out its message. The aim is to communicate in a more interactive way with today’s networked audiences around the world—like those blogging Egypt’s revolution from Tahrir Square or documenting Syrian unrest on YouTube.

Shutting down your website to communicate solely through social media channels might seem like a crazy idea for any large organization. But then again, there is some logic to it. The Wall Street Journal reported that Starbucks receives over ten times as much traffic to its Facebook page (19.4 million unique visitors each month) as to its corporate website (1.8 million). For Coca-Cola, the divergence is even starker: 22.5 million visitors on Facebook vs. just 270,000 to its website—over 80 times as much traffic.

A decade ago, the corporate website had become the new “must-have” communication tool. But now, as web users spend increasing amounts of time on social media, traffic to static corporate websites appears to be on the decline.

Facebook vs Website Traffic for 2 Brands

Facebook vs Website Traffic for 2 Brands

But before you rush out to pull the plug on your own web site, it’s worth considering the benefits of each approach.

Benefits of Social Media

1. Inherently interactive. That’s where the term “social” comes from. Unlike a static HTML website, designed to read and click, social media like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are designed around sharing, responding, and interacting.

2. Where people are spending time. With over 500 million active users on Facebook, most Web audiences are spending more time there than browsing company sites. Just be sure that’s true for your own demographic (e.g. Facebook is a nonstarter in Japan) and your own industry (most users still do not use Facebook for learning about b2b topics).

3. Easy to acquire. Clicking a “like” button on Facebook or “follow” button on Twitter is a lot easier than filling in the sign up form on a web page. So it’s no surprise that many companies find it easier to build a large following on social media platforms.

4. Virality. When your audience interacts with you on social media platforms, it is instantly visible to their own friends and contacts. This digital “word-of-mouth” can be one of the most powerful tools for reaching new audiences.

Benefits of Your Own Website

1. Control the design. Have you ever tried designing a page on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube? The experience is like trying to swim with one hand tied behind your back. Having your own website allows you complete control, which may be essential if you have a lot of content or options that you need to organize for different audiences.

2. Own the data. Social media platforms are owned by the companies that run them, and, as such, they are the only ones holding all the data on your customers and your interactions with them. On your own website, you own all the data.

3. Targeting and personalization. Owning data and controlling design allow for much more targeted interaction with your customers than is possible on social media platforms. If you know which emails a customer in your database is clicking on, you can ensure her follow up emails, Web landing pages, and ecommerce experiences are much more suited to her particular interests.

4. Reach all your audience. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or other services which might reach large segments of your customers, your own website is available to 100% of them. (That is, as long as your website has been optimized to work on a mobile phone.)

So, unless you are so small (e.g. a one-person enterprise) that you lack the resources to maintain both a Facebook page and a website, you almost certainly need both. (Even the State Department still kept its main website after shutting down America.gov.)

Fresh Approach Needed

But as you hold on to your familiar company website that’s grown a little musty over the last decade, be sure to give it a fresh look. Are you using the unique design capabilities of a stand-alone site? Are you capturing and leveraging data? Are you interacting and building a database with your most loyal customers who care enough to do more than press a “like” button for you? If not, your website needs a revamp to be worth keeping it alive for next year.

By: http://www.bnet.com/blog/digital-marketing/is-it-time-to-shut-down-your-website/133?promo=713&tag=nl.e713

Increasing Time on Site – 3 Simple Steps

9 五月

The Time Has Come to Increase Your Time on Site

Most online marketers and website owners tend to measure the success of their online business by the amount of traffic they are able to generate (and, of course, revenue).

While increasing the number of unique visitors is most definitely important (and something that everyone should be concerned with), it is arguably only half the battle. Unique visitors and visits alone should not be the only means by which you are measuring success.

It is easy to understand that there is little in the way of benefit from attracting a visitor to your website that quickly clicks the back button and leaves. Often, website owners and online marketers spend more time thinking about how to attract people to a site and less on how to encourage those visitors to spend considerably more time on your website. Take heed – there is a a direct correlation between the amount of time spent on a website and its success. So how can you increase time on site (and profits)? Follow these three simple strategies.

– Design Smarter (and Write Longer) –

Of all the different site types, it is the content marketers that either have the best or the worst time-on-site averages. While one suggestion might be to simply write longer-form content, another option would be to take the longer-form content you have or will develop in the future and commit to splitting it into multiple sections. This is a common approach that has been used on sites like About.com and many newspaper sites for years. For example, a 1,000 word article could be split into four sections of 250 words each. Some content management systems have this functionality built in, so explore that feature if available to you. Another benefit of splitting content is that it gives publishers the ability to generate more advertising impressions – a big draw particularly for those selling on a CPM basis.

– Create More Relevant Jump Points for Content Showcasing –

Would you rather feature content that is timely or timeless? There are arguments for and against both, but those publishers that concentrate on identifying areas where they can showcase their best information are those that often have the highest time-on-site averages. These jump points are areas where publishers can profile/push the most popular pages, the most heavily commented upon content items or most linked-to items. There are, of course, many places to do this, including at the end of articles/posts, within sidebars, and within the content itself. There is actually some SEO benefit to creating links to this type of content on your site as the number and relevance of links to internal pages is (arguably) an important factor in search engine ranking.

– Introduce Supplemental Formats: Multimedia & Applications –

Many content publishers, to their own detriment, opt to stay with the content format most familiar to them – whatever that may be. Consumers, however, often have very different demands when it comes to their consumption preferences – offering just one only gives you one chance for one type of visitor. Start introducing supplemental formats and you’ll be surprised about the positive effect it has on time on site. For example, if you’ve got a long-form article, why not fire up the webcam and produce a short-form video about that article’s key points or takeaways. If you publish a list of events, why not introduce a calendar application which is a terrific way to increase the number of clicks on your site as well.

When it comes to increasing time on site, remember the following: your website visitors are willing to be engaged with your site (and spend more time on it), but content publishers absolutely must commit to repurposing content into new design formats, providing jump points wherever necessary to expose them to content that should be showcased, and they should introduce supplemental formats to satisfy the Web’s diverse content consumption needs and wants.

Make no mistake – increasing time on site is no easy task. Keep these three simple strategies in mind and you will not only see significant percentage increases in time on site, but revenue as well.

By: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2011/05/06/increasing-time-on-site-3-simple-steps.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Website-Magazine+%28Website+Magazine%29

Google Fellow Amit Singhal, as posted to the Google Webmaster Central blog

9 五月

In recent months we’ve been especially focused on helping people find high-quality sites in Google’s search results. The “Panda” algorithm change has improved rankings for a large number of high-quality websites, so most of you reading have nothing to be concerned about. However, for the sites that may have been affected by Panda we wanted to provide additional guidance on how Google searches for high-quality sites.

Our advice for publishers continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus too much on what they think are Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals. Some publishers have fixated on our prior Panda algorithm change, but Panda was just one of roughly 500 search improvements we expect to roll out to search this year. In fact, since we launched Panda, we’ve rolled out over a dozen additional tweaks to our ranking algorithms, and some sites have incorrectly assumed that changes in their rankings were related to Panda. Search is a complicated and evolving art and science, so rather than focusing on specific algorithmic tweaks, we encourage you to focus on delivering the best possible experience for users.

What counts as a high-quality site?
Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find “high-quality" sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content. The recent “Panda" change tackles the difficult task of algorithmically assessing website quality. Taking a step back, we wanted to explain some of the ideas and research that drive the development of our algorithms.

Below are some questions that one could use to assess the “quality" of a page or an article. These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves as we write algorithms that attempt to assess site quality. Think of it as our take at encoding what we think our users want.

Of course, we aren’t disclosing the actual ranking signals used in our algorithms because we don’t want folks to game our search results; but if you want to step into Google’s mindset, the questions below provide some guidance on how we’ve been looking at the issue:

•    Would you trust the information presented in this article?
•    Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
•    Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
•    Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
•    Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
•    Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
•    Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
•    Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
•    How much quality control is done on content?
•    Does the article describe both sides of a story?
•    Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
•    Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
•    Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
•    For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
•    Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
•    Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
•    Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
•    Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
•    Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
•    Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
•    Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
•    Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
•    Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

Writing an algorithm to assess page or site quality is a much harder task, but we hope the questions above give some insight into how we try to write algorithms that distinguish higher-quality sites from lower-quality sites.

What you can do
We’ve been hearing from many of you that you want more guidance on what you can do to improve your rankings on Google, particularly if you think you’ve been impacted by the Panda update. We encourage you to keep questions like the ones above in mind as you focus on developing high-quality content rather than trying to optimize for any particular Google algorithm.

One other specific piece of guidance we’ve offered is that low-quality content on some parts of a website can impact the whole site’s rankings, and thus removing low quality pages, merging or improving the content of individual shallow pages into more useful pages, or moving low quality pages to a different domain could eventually help the rankings of your higher-quality content.

We’re continuing to work on additional algorithmic iterations to help webmasters operating high-quality sites get more traffic from search. As you continue to improve your sites, rather than focusing on one particular algorithmic tweak, we encourage you to ask yourself the same sorts of questions we ask when looking at the big picture. This way your site will be more likely to rank well for the long-term.

In the meantime, if you have feedback, please tell us through our Webmaster Forum. We continue to monitor threads on the forum and pass site info on to the search quality team as we work on future iterations of our ranking algorithms.
By: http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2011/05/07/listen-up-google-finally-talks-panda.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Website-Magazine+%28Website+Magazine%29

Tuning Out: TV Ownership Drops, and Advertisers Have to Get Smarter — Fast

9 五月

Home ownership of television sets is down for the first time, according to “advance” and “preliminary” data from Nielsen. Using U.S. Census data, the company estimates that household television set penetration will have dropped a full two percentage points — from 98.9 percent now to 96.7 percent in 2012.

It’s a stunning development that suggests any company using TV advertising had best start thinking hard about how to adapt its messages for an online audience.

Cutting the cord, plugging into the Net

Although the information is preliminary, it certainly feels right. Observe how younger people watch video. They often go straight to a computer and hop on Hulu or YouTube. Which is an earthquake itself, because it means that people aren’t just walking away from cable or satellite subscriptions, but the TVs themselves.

“Consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms — rather than replacing one medium with another,” Nielsen said in an announcement sent to clients around 10 p.m. (ET) Monday night. It added that “a small subset of younger, urban consumers seem to be going without paid TV subscriptions for the time being.” As the Nielsen study said:

While Nielsen data demonstrates that consumers are viewing more video content across all platforms — rather than replacing one medium with another — a small subset of younger, urban consumers seem to be going without paid TV subscriptions for the time being. The long-term effects of this are still unclear, as it is undetermined if this is also an economic issue that will see these individuals entering the TV marketplace once they have the means, or the beginning of a larger shift to online viewing.

Call it unclear if you want. I’d say it’s another sign of — brace yourself — the convergence of television and online video. Aside from what that potentially means for the actual producers of video, it has some huge implications for video advertising tactics, according to experts I’ve recently spoken with:

  • New formats — As viewing habits cross between televisions, computers, tablets, and smartphones, screen sizes and proportions change. You can’t film once and expect to convert on the fly to other formats, particularly as any such conversion could unexpectedly impact the meaning of the images.
  • Length — Online, the optimum length of video ads seems closer to 15 seconds than 30, let alone 60. Ads have to be constructed carefully to allow editing for shorter versions, or else advertisers have to create separate material for online use.
  • Sound — You can’t count on people watching online video to have the sound on when an ad runs. That means the visuals have to be able to carry the ad’s message by themselves.
  • Color — If a web site’s color scheme is too close to that of the ad, the video might effectively fade into the background.
  • Supporting programming — Ads don’t exist by themselves online. You can overlay material, have surrounding text messages, or include visual hotspot links, for example. An ad becomes more than the audio and video alone.

These tactical changes require significantly different approaches to creating ads, and that need will only grow, even if people do keep their television sets, so long as they start watching video entertainment on aan increasingly diverse set of devices.

By: http://www.bnet.com/blog/technology-business/tuning-out-tv-ownership-drops-and-advertisers-have-to-get-smarter-8212-fast/10407?promo=713&tag=nl.e713

6 YouSendIt Lessons for Increasing Customer Conversion Rates

9 五月

Any business depends on converting prospects into paying customers. For a technology business like YouSendIt.com, which uses a freemium business model of giving away service and getting a small portion of customers to opt into a paid account, conversion rates are critical.

But there’s more to conversion than hoping that someone will ask you to dance. That realization, combined with practical applications of direct response marketing, is what has helped YouSendIt, which lets people send large files, to increase its conversion rate by 200 percent to 300 percent. A phone conversation with CEO Ivan Koon offered lessons for companies that are heavy on tech but less savvy on the necessary direct marketing.

In-product promotion

The first step was to add promotional elements when people sent files. “We used to do zero promotion as you sent a file,” says Koon. “Now at a critical moment, like you’re trying to attach a second file, we’ll say a multi-file [transmission] is a premium service and click here to upgrade.”

Lesson 1: Hit people up for paid conversion when they need a service you charge for.

At first, YouSendIt would pull a person out of the process and force them through a sales process:

  1. Look at a comparison chart of account types.
  2. Choose the account type.
  3. Enter credit card information.
  4. Press send.

Many people abandoned the process. Now, when someone tries to send files that are larger than the free option or multiple files, the person gets a form offering premium service. “It drastically changed the conversion rate,” Koon says. “Don’t take the customer out of the send flow ”

Lesson 2: Make the upgrade process as simple as possible, or you lose customers.

For a while, the company offered a pay-per-use (PPU) option, but dropped it from the form. “We don’t want you to buy PPU. We want you to buy subscription. It makes more business sense to us,” he says.

Stretch the price

Next step was to test price elasticity. For years, customers bought monthly subscriptions over annual at a 9 to 1 rate. But monthly increases the chance of someone discontinuing use. “In the second half of 2009, we started to target different people based on [things like] usage frequency and offer them the annual plan at a lower price,” Koon says.

Lesson 3: Often you make more money when you charge less, so test pricing.

YouSendIt’s annual premium price is $109. The company tested $99, $89, and other prices until it found “a pretty optimal annual price” that maximized the total revenue from subscribers. During these trials, YouSendIt kept the $9.99 a month price fixed. “We want to set a main street price,” says Koon. “We don’t want to confuse the user too much. ”

Lesson 4: Give customers a perception of stability so they can compare pricing or other terms and have the sense of getting a bargain.

Not only did YouSendIt make more money overall, but the churn rate of annual customers is much lower than for monthly, which reduces overall customer acquisition costs. The company’s paying customers are in a roughly 50-50 split now between annual and monthly plans, with only about 5 percent remaining pay-per-use.

Get by with a little help from some friends

Up through the end of 2010, 70 percent of customers came from word-of-mouth, with the remaining being people who had received files through YouSendIt and decided to use the service to send files as well. The company was missing many other opportunities, so began to test search marketing and, starting January 2011, became the large file attachment solution for Yahoo Mail.

That last step doubled new registered traffic overnight, from 320,000 to 600,000 by February. In March, the number jumped to 800,000. YouSendIt has begun an in-product conversion program with Yahoo. Through the rest of the year, it will strike deals with other sites to increase the flow of prospects.

Lesson 5: Experiment with different ways to reach customers. Don’t sit on your laurels.

YouSendIt has found that the direct marketing process is a real grind. “If you just make an assumption, 75 percent of the time it will be wrong,” Koon says. “The kind of people that will fail in direct marketing are the people who are adamant that their ideas sounded good.”

Lesson 6: Keep trying and don’t be discouraged. If it was easy, everyone would do it and you’d have no competitive advantage.

Later this year, YouSendIt plans to introduce new product lines: persistent storage, file synchronization, and electronic signatures. “I think we’re going to have to test like crazy to figure out how to package it,” Koon says.

By: http://www.bnet.com/blog/technology-business/6-yousendit-lessons-for-increasing-customer-conversion-rates/10457?promo=713&tag=nl.e713