Today Facebook announced its latest feature, Deals. Facebook’s Deals will compete against Groupon, LivingSocial and Google Offers by offering discounts to local businesses and attractions.
Deals is currently available in:

§  Atlanta

§  Austin

§  Dallas

§  San Diego

§  San Francisco

Facebook is planning to expand across the US later this year. Facebook is hoping to redesign the way users find discounts by combining it with social interaction. Deals is primarily targeting coupons directed towards group activities as opposed to those intended for individuals which plays into the social networking aspect.

Facebook is looking to expand social networking beyond the World Wide Web and into reality such as when they introduced the check-in feature.

Facebook users will be able to access the coupons by clicking on the Deals tab from their homepage, signing up for emails as well as seeing what deals your friends are interested in. Privacy and safety are still concerns with Facebook users. However, you will have the option to not share every purchase with your friends. There is a privacy option allowing you to keep certain purchases private. By offering so many options to learn about deals users won’t be forced to seek out discounts.

Facebook Credits will allow users to take advantage of those coupons more easily. Credits is a virtual currency that can be purchased with a credit card, PayPal or mobile phone. Until now Credits has only been used to purchase virtual and digital goods.

By allowing users to plan group outings such as concerts, wine tastings, rafting, etc. online with a discount expands not only the reach of Facebook but our need regularly check out our Newsfeed updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image used is from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fudyma/5224898383/



PPC is an important strand of your web analysis. One of the cool things about PPC data is that you don’t need a lot of history to draw conclusions from it – a few weeks is enough time to give you an idea of how well a campaign is performing.

 

Google Adwords data is included in your Google Analytics data and includes metrics like click through rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC). Google recently released AdWords API v201101, which allows you to more efficiently run reports, as well as implement campaign experiments and other recently released advertising features at scale.

 

But how do you track success after PPC visitors are on your site? What metrics should you investigate to ensure that you are getting high quality traffic and capitalizing on opportunities to convert?

 

For these types of performance metrics, you need web analytics! Here are 4 important metrics you should review on a daily basis to evaluate PPC campaign performance.

 

1. Conversions

It pretty much goes without saying that conversions are the best metric to determine how a PPC campaign is performing. You should have your web analytics set up to record both online conversions (newsletter subscriptions, content downloads) and offline conversions (phone calls, offline campaigns).

 

To track online conversions, configure your web analytics to record a conversion every time someone arrives on a specific URL. In the case of web forms, this URL would be something like a thank you or confirmation page. For downloads, you might need to add a piece of tracking code that will register the download as a pageview.

 

To track offline conversions, see one way of doing this in our previous post on Measuring Success of Offline Campaigns in Google Analytics. There are plenty of other solutions out there for tracking other offline conversions (e.g. by telephone) which will integrate directly into your web analytics program so you only have to access one dashboard.

 

2. Bounce Rate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bounce is when someone lands on a site and leaves without viewing any other pages. Your bounce rate will vary for each campaign. A high bounce rate may be an indication that your content is not relevant or engaging to visitors.

 

3. Pages Per Visit

The interesting data comes from a very low or a very high number of page views. Very low could mean that visitors are not finding content useful or interesting, and have resigned to go back to search results to find a more relevant page. A high number of page views could mean either you are producing interesting and engaging content (look at time spent on page for engagement), or that the visitor cannot find the content they are looking for.

In both cases, review the relevance of the page content to traffic-producing keywords, and make sure the information people appear to be seeking is on the landing page, or a click away.

 

4. Average Time on Site

It goes without saying that a higher time on site is better than a low one. Extremely low (0-1 second) — There is no way to read a page’s content in this amount of time. If there are a lot of visitors spending less than a second on the site, it may be the result of one of two things:

•         Invalid clicks – Check with your PPC platform to ensure you are not being charged for these.

•         Slow site load time – May cause people to get frustrated and hit the back button before ever arriving on the landing page.

 

Low (less than 15 seconds) — Generally, those visitors who spent 10 seconds or less on a site quickly decided that they were in the wrong place. This may be because at a first glance they didn’t find any relevant information, see their keywords anywhere on the page, or were confused by the landing page’s layout.

 

Look at these 4 web analytics metrics and you will have a better idea of your PPC performance. Once you have gathered enough data to draw conclusions about which parts of your campaign work well and which don’t work so well, you can start implementing small changes and tracking the different outcomes. By taking this methodical approach you should be able to optimize your campaigns to get the best ROI.

 

Written by Kirsty Lee of We Are Cloud. We Are Cloud produce the SaaS Analytics solution Bime.



Online shoppers tend to be a bit indecisive.   Just about anything can have them abandon their shopping carts, anything from expensive shipping and handling fees, a second thought about spending money, thinking they can find a product cheaper somewhere else or simply taking another day  to think before they make the final “confirm” click.

Whatever the situation may be, there is no longer a reason to lose customers, or even worse, having them surf off to a competitors site.  There may be a way to track them down and close the sale through behavior retargeting, also referred to as behavioral remarketing or simply retargeting.

Let’s say a potential customer visits your site, adds a few items into the shopping cart and walks out the virtual door before completing the transaction, you may be able to get them back.  Sites that use Google AdWords or a retargeting vendor record a snippet of computer code to identify each visitor. The next time that person visits a participating site where you advertise; your banner ad will show up. Possibly enticing them to come back to your site and complete the original sale they once intended to purchase.

The idea behind retargeting is that once you have attracted visitors to your site, they have already shown an interest in your products and are likely to be more open to coming back.   Chances are good that you have invested resources to attract visitors to your site.  Retargeting gives you additional opportunities to convert those lost sales in a relatively cost-effective manner.

Though retargeting isn’t a guaranteed solution to getting customers back into pushing their cyber shopping cart, the technique is definitely worth exploring.



A little bit of research will reap large rewards when deciding on what keywords to target for your website or blog. It may be just a difference of a few words that will take you from a low ranked site to a high ranked one. But the key is finding the right keywords. Follow these tips to find the best keywords and ultimately increase your web traffic by connecting with targeted traffic.

The More Specific the Better

Be smart and specific with the keyword you go after. A contractor in California will benefit little from using ‘contractor’ as his keyword. Once you add a location and specialty, he will have much greater chance to connect with those looking for his service. So, ‘Bay Area general contractor’ would assuredly produce better results.

Use Available Tools

Many sites offer keyword search tools for free. These include Google’s Keyword Tool and SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool. There are other paid versions that may be worth the cost for a subscription. The paid sites are not affiliated with a search engine and may be the superior choice.

Relevant to Overall Goal

If you have not already focused on a specific goal for your site and business, now is the time to spell it out. Write it on paper and then evaluate whether your keyword options will lead you to achieve this goal. As you match the best keywords to the goals you have in mind you will have a more cohesive strategy. Also, the relevancy of the keyword will be easier to determine if your goals are clear.

Check out the Numbers

Looking into the popularity of the search terms will help you determine what niche to target and whether your search terms are too narrow. You want to make sure that enough people are conducting searches with your keywords to make it worth your while. In order to not be too specific but at the same time specific enough to reach your niche market, a look at the numbers is your best tool.

Not Just a Word

We talk of keywords, but frequently it’s the phrase that we really want. You will want to hone in on all kinds of phrases that someone could use to reach your site. Along with the rest of the research you are conducting, you will be able to weed out the non-contenders and determine which phrases will best suit you.

My Name is Lance Williams and I am what some might call H.A.D.D. (Hobby Attention Deficit Disorder) I love everything from rock climbing and snowboarding to building websites and searching for the Best moisturizer for men.



The governing bodies of IP address assignments conducted a press conference this morning to announce the assignment of the last available IPv4 addresses; This meeting also provided an opportunity to discuss the major global transition into the next generation IPv6 addressing.

Today marks a significant point in the movement towards the new system, known as “IP version 6” (IPv6).  This is a result of the last unassigned major blocks of IPv4 addresses being assigned, and available for use.  This means the true push forward for IPV6 worldwide support and transition starts right now.

You can catch the press release: Free Pool of IPv4 Address Space Depleted , and view ICANN’s: Available Pool of Unallocated IPv4 Internet Addresses Now Completely Emptied (PDF).

This press conference was brought together by The Number Resource Organization (NRO), along with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).

Ok, so what’s the big deal?

The evolving issue with the current IPv4 system is that there are severe limitations on the number of usable IP Addresses for devices that need to utilize the Internet.  This IPv4 addressing system has a maximum of 4.2 billion available IP Addresses. Thus, with the rapid growth of internet-enabled devices, which now even includes late model televisions, the number of IP addresses left for future additional devices is rapidly declining.

This is where IPv6 comes into save the internet (so to speak).  The next generation IP Addressing system, takes the problem of only having 4.2 billion addresses maximum and transforms the system to make an infinite amount of IP Addresses available. The new system ratifies this address storage problem, and most likely will never have to be switched out again for address limitation issues.

A couple of prime examples to really grasp the addressing space available;

  • For every square meter on Earth’s surface there would be more than four million unique IP Addresses available. This address space is so mind boggling, that it is quite literally, astronomical.
  • Like the numbers that describe the stars in a galaxy, another way to think about this is there will be more than 250 IP Addresses for every star in the currently known universe.

What does this mean for me?

For the average Internet users the only thing that might temporarily affect your internet usage during this transitional period in the near future is that some websites might not be available for short periods of time.

The current overall plan for this transition is to run what is called a “Dual Stack” IP Addressing. Until the majority of the world is in compliance and running on the new IPv6 addressing system, the “Dual Stack” IP Addressing system will be running. This means you would effectively have both IPv4 and IPv6 based addresses in your devices. Therefore, you will have the ability to utilize both systems at once.

The majority of computers, cell phones, and any brand new technology devices already have IPv6 support built in. This system was originally designed, tested and approved more than a decade ago, the main concern currently is with your routers.  Routers do not seem to have much support for IPv6.  However, when it comes time a simple Firmware Upgrade should solve that problem.

So in a nut shell, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about…

I’m not the average internet user! Now what?

If you are an IT person, such as a Systems Admin, Networker, Server Admin, Programmer or anything in between those fields of expertise, this means that you are going to need to become IPv6 aware.  You will need to become familiar with how it differs from IPv4 and understand at least the basics of it. In addition to this, you will need to be getting your systems ready to use IPv6 addressing.

On top of preparing your software, operating systems, network and devices for IPv6 address usage, you should also consider getting a block of IPv6 addresses right away. Having your websites and related be supported on both networks will help you during this transition.

Most modernized Data Centers already not only support IPv6, but actually have fully routed IPv6 addressing space available to their customers. In fact, some Internet Service Providers are already trialing this Dual Stack network addressing system.  A quick Google Search for “Dual Stack” reveals the Internet Service Providers offering Dual Stack.

For those of us not directly in an up-to-date data center, or want our home PC to have IPv6 connectivity, you may use such services as the Hurricane Electric’s Tunnel Broker. The Hurricane Electric Tunnel Broker simply routes IPv6 to your network via your existing IPv4 address via a Tunnel protocol.

In order to keep the planned “Dual Stack” transition period working, the Domain Name System (DNS) added an official new type of record for IPv6 replies. This is called the “AAAA” record entry type. The IPv4 DNS records are stored under the “A” type (A is short for address).

This means that you can have your website supporting both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses at the exact same current URL and domain name. The devices which are IPv6 enabled will attempt to look up the IPv6 address first, and then default back to the IPv4 as needed (assuming you are on the Dual Stack setup).

Quick  facts about IP Addressing

IPV4 actual usage began in the late 1980’s. It is a 32-bit based addressing system, resulting in a maximum of exactly 4,294,967,296 unique IP Addresses.  Today, all available blocks within this system are now assigned and used by everyone and there is no spare space.

The next generation IPv6 system, which has been in tested for a decade now, provides a new 128-bit based design, along with a staggering number (see infinite) of available IP addresses.  There basically won’t ever be a shortage again.

IPv6 Addresses Available: 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000; or three hundred forty undecillion, two hundred eighty two decillion, three hundred sixty six nonillion, nine hundred twenty octillion, nine hundred thirty eight septillion!

Where can I learn more?

Amongst the many resources available on IPv4, IPv6 and this transition, I found the following to be the most resourceful and updated information:

So, in conclusion, are you ready for IPv6?



The Department of Justice with help from the International Association of Chiefs of Police is asking internet service providers to keep customer usage data for up to two years.  The DoJ said it was a matter of Homeland Security and that internet and cell phone records are becoming increasingly important in both federal and local crime investigations.

Sometimes these records are the only available evidence that allow prosecutors to investigate who committed crimes on the internet, many times leading to crimes in person. Accessing this data maybe the only way to learn a certain internet address was used by a particular person to engage in illegal activity, therefore helping in their capture and conviction.

Unfortunately The DoJ learned this the hard way.  If this new procedure had been implemented sooner, there would have been a number of heart-breaking cases solved.  However since internet providers dumped the date early, all evidence was lost and authorities of law were unable to reach perpetuators of these crimes.

Not only would this act help in regards to justice but the DoJ suggested that the retention of such records could actually boost users’ privacy.  For example; cyber criminals, frequently and unlawfully access data in the United States that most people would regard as highly personal and private.

In this case data retention can help those threats by enabling effective prosecution of those crimes. Making it more risky for those intending to do such acts and discouraging mischievous online activity from taking place.



As you know the title tag is one of the most important on-page ranking factors for a webpage. So it is unfortunate that I constantly see people stuffing a few keywords into a title tag and then calling it a day.

Bellow are a few best practices that hopefully will remind you to revisit those title tags and make sure they are doing their part!

#1 Put your most important keywords FIRST.


You should be able to work at least two to three keyword phrases into a title tag. Make sure they appear by order of importance. I have seen the simple change of keyword order make a huge difference in a sites ranking.

Think about the word order, proximity of keywords and repetition. I hesitated to put repetition in because it is so often abused. However, if you use a keyword at the start of a title tag and then work it in at the end that can be a good thing. Just don’t over do it!

Also, make sure you are using singular and plural versions of keywords where it makes sense.

#2 Move your Company Name to the end.

To be honest, I usually tell clients to include the company name at the start of their description tag and not to waste the space in the title tag. However, this is not a hard and fast rule and if you are a “known” brand it can help to have your name in the title. I rarely find it beneficial to start a title tag with your company name unless that pages main goal is for branding.

#3 Avoid stop words


Try not to use stop words like “and”, “a”, “the” etc. in your title tag. They are just skipped by Google so only use them if you have to for readability. However, if you are clever you really shouldn’t need to use them.

Make sure to you use dashes “-“ or pipes “|” to separate content and it will take up much less space and still aid readability.

#4 Keep it brief

In general about 65 characters “including spaces” is about the max you want for a title tag. Google will start to truncate your results after that anyhow. Simply paste your title tag into Word, highlight it and it will tell you how many characters “including spaces” you are using.

#5 Stay focused

While a homepage can usually target several keywords effectively, most internal pages should only target a specific category or product. When you are writing your title tags make sure to stay focused on the topic at hand and not to go too broad.

Bonus: If users don’t click you have failed

Always remember the end goal of a title tag is not only to rank you but to entice a user to CLICK! Think about your title tag like an advertising headline. Would you be grabbed by a headline of just keywords?

Experiment with your title tags and se what gives you more traffic.  Do you have free shipping, price match guarantee or something In Stock that’s hard to find? Make sure to try working that into your title tag and or description.

I hope these quick tips got you thinking about your title tags again. It’s a great idea to review your title tags every few months and make sure you are getting the most out of them.

Feel free to add more tips in the comments.



The internet has been basically around since about the early 1970’s, those of us who have been involved in at the very least, just surfing the internet, let alone developing internet related projects; for the past roughly 20 years have really watched it emerge.

Today the internet, amongst many things is; a massive worldwide e-commerce platform, with an astronomical amount of information, including more useful abilities at your fingertips than you could possibly imagine.

The way internet users access these ever evolving websites and online services is constantly improving with new technologies, faster computers and networks, smarter mobile devices, and of course can’t leave out the enormous growth in the social media sectors.

With websites, such as The Internet Archive’s: Wayback Machine; which has been around since the late 1990’s, we have the ability to take a look back at how websites used to look, on almost a monthly snapshot basis. A few recommended sites to Wayback are: Yahoo, Microsoft and Google.

Most social media and social networking websites, got their origins in the early 2000’s. MySpace while founded in late 2003; was later named most popular social networking site in the United States in 2006. Facebook was founded in early 2004; Facebook overtook the title of most popular social networking website in April 2008; as of July of 2010 Facebook has more than 500 million active users.

In between the battling MySpace and Facebook in the social networking front; in 2006 the ever-popular today social networking website Twitter began its journey in the short messaging, status update, and content sharing via short URL services. Currently, Twitter’s users are sending more than 50 million tweets per day. Twitter has more than 70,000 registered applications.

Sites such as Gowalla and Foursqaure now allow people to be ever more connected with their family, friends and colleagues; by updating where they currently are located via these “check-in” style websites; typically via mobile device updates on smart phones; and announced to Twitter via tweet. Thus allowing their contacts to learn new places or gather at a local place together.

Technologies such as HTML5 being implemented within web browsers such as Google Chrome, are pushing to make interactive audio and video data available directly in the browser, versus the current standard of requiring Adobe’s Flash to be installed and used, thus making websites more lightweight, faster loading, and solving long time problems associated with flash.

There is even social programming websites these days, such as Github. Not only is Git the latest code repository system, but github.com’s goal on top of being a top repository provider is to allow developers and the like to directly socially communicate about the code it publically stores, while having private repositories as well.

With how much the Internet truly evolved to become what it is today over even just the past decade, can only scrape the very bottom of what we might see become available, or the next biggest thing in the next 10 years, only time will truly tell.

Are you ready to take on the internet’s ever evolving challenges, and to keep up with the times? From simple internet surfers to web developers and in between; the internet will be always evolving, improving and drastically changing; you must stay on top of it; or you could be out of the loop very quickly.

What do you think will be the next biggest internet related service or website?



Skype

Out of all of the video apps Skype was the last to implement the video chat option. With CES just around the corner I personally expected them to wait until then to launch it. CES is the world’s largest consumer technology trade show. It will run from January 6 through 9 in Las Vegas. Only three of the iPhone/iPod Touch are able to share video chat; iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th Generation. You can also chat from your apple device to computer using Skype. This app can be used not only with Wi-Fi but 3G as well. Currently, mobile Skype is only available through the Apple App Store. Skype has yet to comment on Android support but with CES in the near future more information may become available. I personally tested this application from an iPhone 4 to an iPod Touch 4th Generation. When using Wi-Fi on both devices there was good quality; while using 3G on the iPhone 4 there were occasional glitches. For my next test I used my iPhone 4 to Windows 7 computer. Since both devices were using Wi-Fi the video call quality was good.




Yahoo!

When Yahoo! updated their mobile application to support video chat they were the first to give you the ability to video chat from an iPhone to a computer. Just like Skype Yahoo! Messenger can use both Wi-Fi and 3G. The video quality over Wi-Fi is very good however; the video box itself does not take up the full screen real estate. Over 3G the video quality is lower. Yahoo! added the video support on October 11th and about two months later Android received their video chat update.





Tango

After getting my new iPhone 4 with the new front facing video camera I was very pleased with using only FaceTime. However, only being able to call Apple mobile devices using Wi-Fi was not optimal. I wanted to be able to call Android mobile devices with 3G capabilities. Over Wi-Fi, Tango was the first app to resemble FaceTime quality. With a strong 3G connection the quality is usable but like all the other apps it still does not match the quality of Wi-Fi. One of Tango’s unique and user friendly features is the ability to synch up with your address book by using your telephone number as your login. When it was first released you could only use Tango on a cell phone however, after numerous user request you can now use with an iPod Touch 4th Generation.  When using the iPod Touch instead of your mobile phone you set up your account with an email address as opposed to your telephone number. Currently, there is no Tango software for computers so you are limited to using the app with hand held devices.




Fring

Fring was the first application to support video chat capabilities. In the beginning, the quality was very ugly and Fring’s entire interface was unfriendly on both Apple and Android mobile devices. For the first few days you could add your Skype add-on to your Fring account. Then without warning the Skype option disappeared from the add-on section. You could then only video chat using Fring to Fring on mobile devices only. On December 6th, Fring updated their iPhone video application. Fring’s video calling now uses DVQ “Dynamic Video Quality” Technology. With the new update the quality is much better as is the overall experience. Just like Skype, Yahoo and Tango you can use this over Wi-Fi as well as 3G but as with all the other applications I recommend Wi-Fi for optimum quality.


FaceTime

When it comes to quality FaceTime is your app. The iPhone 4 was the first device to have FaceTime capabilities. Since then, the iPod Touch 4th Generation was launched with FaceTime capabilities. Apple has listened to their loyal users and have made a Beta version for Mac computers available through Apple.com. FaceTime is currently only supported on Wi-Fi only. However, with a jailbroken apple device you can download a third party application that tricks your device into thinking it is running Wi-Fi when actually using 3G thus, giving you the ability to make FaceTime calls while using 3G. I personally, have used FaceTime on an iPhone 4, iPod Touch 4th Generation, MacBook Pro and the new i7 iMac. Over Wi-Fi on all of these applications I have been very pleased with the overall high quality. I was surprisingly satisfied with the quality when making calls on a jailbroken iPhone 4 using 3G. There is one feature I would like to see added to FaceTime the ability to leave a video message. Currently, when you call someone on FaceTime and they do not pick up it eventually just hangs up. It does tell that user that they missed a FaceTime call but it would be nice to leave them a short message if they are unable to receive the call.

In conclusion, I am very happy to see these large companies updating their applications to include video support. Tango and Fring are great apps however; they do not have the large user base that Skype, Yahoo! and Apple have. Overall, FaceTime is my personal favorite video chat app but not being able to be compatible with Android and Windows limits its usage. The best part of these five applications is their price, FREE.


1) Shopping Cart Email

This is a fairly new feature that many of the top sites have started implementing.  If you add a product to your shopping cart and enter an email address and do not purchase the items in your shopping cart, an email reminder will be sent out.  The reminder will let you know that you still have items in your shopping cart and will include an incentive for returning to the store to purchase the item(s). Usually a discount code or special offer will be part of the email.

2) Turn Up the Volume

Increase the frequency of email campaigns to your customer email list. Let them know what promotions and new products are available at your store.

3) Coupon Code Distribution

Post coupon codes on sites like Retail Me Not, Current Codes, Coupon Cabin and Ultimate Coupons.  These sites are a great way to distribute your store’s coupon codes to the masses.  When customers search for your store’s name and the words ‘coupon code’ these sites will likely be the first listed.

4) Holiday Countdown

Show customers how many days are left before the upcoming holiday.  Display the number of days left before the last shipping day available for your products.  This will help decrease the number of phone calls and emails inquiring about the fast shipping methods and availability.

5) Facepile

Take the Facebook “like” button to the next level with a “Facepile”. Display a Facebook “Facepile” on your site’s homepage showing all the profile pictures of the people who have “liked” your site.

6) Shipping Communication

Increase communication with customers about the status of their order. Stay on top of any backorders, delays and tracking numbers.  This will help decrease WISMO (Where is my order?) questions, which will in turn help free up time to help potential customers with orders.

7) Mystery Shoppers

Make sure your site is in tip top shape before the holiday season begins.  Test the site with mystery shoppers, or use UserTesting.com to find any potential problems with the ordering process, or navigation on your site.

8)  Holiday Spirit

Spread the holiday spirit with graphics and related promotional names on your site.  Let customers feel the spirit of the holiday on your site.  Simple graphics are easy to update and will make your site feel fresh.

9) The Last Minute Gift

The Christmas Eve is typically the biggest holiday shopping day of the year for physical stores.  So, what can online stores do to take advantage of this big day?  Giftcards.  Allow instant gifts with emailed giftcards to your store.

10) Extended Opportunities

Allow customers to reach your store outside of business hours.  Extended hours for phone operators, live chat availability and order processing will help to reach customers shopping online after work and on the weekends.

11) Be Prepared

Know the days of the holiday season that will be the busiest.  Historically, the Monday after Black Friday, known as Cyber Monday, and 11 to 12 days before Christmas are the largest online shopping days of the entire year.  Be prepared to handle a large volume of calls, emails and orders.

12) Suggested Gifts

Guide customers to the best deals and most popular products.  Use an “Editor’s Pick” or Review Ratings to help customers navigate their way to the perfect gift. Feature these products with banners, promotions and placement on the site.