How To Build A Mobile Website

February 28, 2011

The mobile web reintroduces several issues that have been largely ignored in recent years. First, even with 4G networks, bandwidth becomes a serious issue for mobile consumers. Additionally, mobile devices have a significantly reduced screen size, which presents screen real estate issues that have not existed since the days of projection monitors. Combine these issues with cross-platform compatibility problems, and it isn’t hard to see how mobile development is a lot like ‘stepping backwards in time’. So let’s tackle these issues one at a time and create a road map for mobile web development:

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22 Hot New Social Media Tools Worth Exploring

February 25, 2011

Are you looking for the hottest new social media tools and services?

What follows is an amazing list of social media tools you’ve likely never heard of—covering a wide range of categories:

  • Tools for pictures, video, audio and screen capture
  • Tools to measure and track results
  • Tools to manage content
  • Blogging tools
  • Twitter tools
  • Other social media tools

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How to Use LinkedIn With Twitter for Better Networking

February 24, 2011

If you have profiles on LinkedIn and Twitter, you may already be aware that these two networks are integrating. In fact, LinkedIn has a specific application called Tweets that can help you keep tabs on the Twitter updates from your LinkedIn connections.

As more professional LinkedIn users create Twitter profiles, I believe this application will become more and more powerful for building influence and visibility with your network connections.

The primary benefits of the LinkedIn Tweets application are:

  • Follow your LinkedIn connections on Twitter
  • Post status updates simultaneously to both Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Monitor and interact with your Twitter streams from within LinkedIn
  • Create a LinkedIn-specific Twitter list

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Improving site design for a better user experience

February 23, 2011

Having understanding of how the 80/20 rule works, designers are equipped to take action in a number of ways, summarized below:

• Where possible, analyze analytics and usability data carefully to determine your website’s 20% most-used functions
• Prioritize; that is, focus on the most important aspects of your website or web app, and enhance those
• Don’t spend too much time optimizing stuff that falls in the 80% that’s not often used
• Simplify your designs and layouts based on data that determines what falls under the 20% most-used functions
• Remove noncritical functionality or content that’s not used often
• Don’t invest too much time and money optimizing lesser-used functionality since the return on your investment will likely be poor
• Find ways to improve the functionality and design of lesser-used more critical elements that could have a larger impact on conversions if those elements of the design were used more often

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Why Most Facebook Marketing Doesn’t Work

February 22, 2011

For almost four years, since the Facebook Platform was launched, I have been involved in delivering Facebook apps for top brands such as CBS, NBC, Lifetime, Universal Music, Visa and more. Here’s what we have learned doesn’t work, and more importantly, what does work.

First, deep campaigns don’t work. Digital agencies love deep, expensive campaigns on Facebook, with tons of pages, interaction, and art. It fits in with how agencies build microsites and websites, and justifies the $100,000-plus price tag that they like to charge. Examples include lightweight games, prediction contests, treasure hunts where you include friends, and such. Unfortunately for agencies and the brands that drop a lot of cash, Facebook users decidedly don’t like deep campaigns.

dislike_button_150x150.jpgFor almost four years, since the Facebook Platform was launched, I have been involved in delivering Facebook apps for top brands such as CBS, NBC, Lifetime, Universal Music, Visa and more. Here’s what we have learned doesn’t work, and more importantly, what does work.

First, deep campaigns don’t work. Digital agencies love deep, expensive campaigns on Facebook, with tons of pages, interaction, and art. It fits in with how agencies build microsites and websites, and justifies the $100,000-plus price tag that they like to charge. Examples include lightweight games, prediction contests, treasure hunts where you include friends, and such. Unfortunately for agencies and the brands that drop a lot of cash, Facebook users decidedly don’t like deep campaigns.

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Guest author Peter Yared is the vice president and general manager of Webtrend Apps, a platform used by top brands to engage their customers on Facebook, iPhone and Android. He has has an extensive background in highly scalable Internet infrastructure and tools, and has authored patents on fundamental Internet infrastructure including federated identity and data marshaling.

They do not like to spend 20 or 30 minutes on a single brand’s page, unless they are consuming innovative, funny, or exclusive content. So a travel site looking for a long time spent on a page should not put up a treasure hunt on a world map where you invite your friends and can together find great prizes after exploring cities. Sounds good in a pitch meeting, but it results in abysmally numbers of active users.

Facebook users are very sophisticated, and there is no way a single campaign is going to compete on game mechanics with CityVille. If you want to build CityVille, it might work. But, even Netflix pulled their Facebook app. You’re better off putting up a bunch of funny videos from around the world and leave it at that.

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5 Website Features You Can Offload to Reduce Costs

February 21, 2011

The term “offload” or “offloading” in information technology and computer science refers to the transfer of something from your system to an external system. In the context of websites, your system is your website (and your Web servers/Web host), and the external system consists of third-party Web services.

Why You Should Or Shouldn’t Offload

There are advantages and disadvantages to having parts of your website catered to by third-party Web services. In order for you to decide what should and shouldn’t be on your system, let’s first talk about the pros and cons of website feature offloading.

Pros of Offloading

  • Reduced Cost: Whether it’s lower Web server costs or fewer employee hours to commit to maintenance and management, the Web solutions listed below will generally lead to cost reductions.
  • Generally Better: Third-party solutions are often built by innovative companies, which are highly regarded as experts in the products they offer. The research, talent and manpower they’re able to commit to solving problems are more than most companies can handle.
  • Faster/More Reliable Service: Companies such as Google and Yahoo have massive IT infrastructures and server farms to ensure that their services perform well and with little to no service interruption.
  • Data Security: If a site feature requires user data management (such as credit card information and phone numbers), the Web solutions mentioned below are known to have great security features

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90% of B2B buyers are using social media tools

February 18, 2011

According to the report, traditional tactics just aren’t providing the return on investment that they used to. Our B2B buyers are spending less than 25% of their time paying attention to TV, print and outdoor advertising.

Where are they spending their time? Social Media. Hundreds of millions of blogs, thousands of tweets per second and huge growth in user numbers across the main social sharing sites Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. B2B buyers are taking part in this trend with as many as 90% reporting that they use social media tools.

The report lists 7 reasons why B2B Marketers should use Social Media:

1. Social media provides the multiple touch points the B2B buying process demands
2. Social media can help identify hard to reach contacts within organizations
3. B2B professional are already actively networking
4. Social media enables 3rd-party influence on the purchase decision
5. It’s easy to showcase thought leadership through social media channels
6. Social media is cost effective
7. Social media enables rapid response to the unique requirements of the B2B buying process

How To Get Started

* Plan Your Strategy: I have always said the first objective of social media is to define your objective. Whether you are looking to support your brand, drive leads, support customers or all of the above, it is important to have a clear set of objectives going in.
* Do Your Research: Define your audience. What channels are they using most? What are they talking about?
* Set Your Guidelines: I was proud to see B2Bento use the SAP company guidelines as a leading example along with other B2B IT names IBM and Intel and B2C brands Kodak and the BBC.
* Get Cracking: The paper emphasizes that it is not enough to be visible. You also have to add value to the conversation through content, insight and thought leadership. It also highlights the need to be “transparent and genuine with their reader base.”

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