Tag Archives: tips

Blog Talk Radio Interview | Digital Marketing

Last week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Damond Nollan (@damondnollan) and the Room 3026 crew on Blog Talk Radio about Digital Marketing.  I’ve known Damond for a few years now and was excited to be a guest on his show.  My interview starts around the 24 minute mark.  Thanks again for Damond Nollan for inviting me to be a guest.

Click here to listen to the episode.

Stack up Your Delicious Links

Last year Twitter was all abuzz about Yahoo! possibly shutting down Delicious the social bookmarking site. Myself along with several other quickly voiced our frustration with Yahoo! Within 15 minutes we were tweeting instructions on how to download your bookmarks and debating what site to migrate to. Eventually Yahoo! did sell Delicious to AVOS systems in April of this year.

About a month ago I logged into Delicious and noticed that the front page had changed. Gone was the clean and simple interface of links that I was accustomed to. Now the front page looked like every other media and news aggregator on the web. I know that people love pictures and I do as well, but I was not digging the change. Frustrated, I pondered once again about migrating my links to one of the other bookmarking sites.

I’m glad that I did not give up on Delicious. Upon further investigation I found that the new design offered some interesting new features to make my links come off the page more. Also the new stacking feature allows you to group links and display them in different layouts. Previously grouping links was done through what Delicious called link bundles. The bundles allowed you to group links but I found it unnecessary and just more work. Unless I was sharing link bundles there was not much benefit in grouping links that I could aggregate via the individual tags.

With stacking you are grouping links in a stack (i.e. bundle) but the big difference is now you can choose from and I’ll explain and provide a sample of each in this post.  The example I’ll be using is the stack I created for the recent Internet Summit held in Raleigh.

List View

Delicious Link View
List view is the traditional view of links, with description and tags that the legacy version of Delicious displayed.  This is bookmarking at it’s most basic, text, links and tags.  Nothing fancy here but good view if you’re a text scanner like me.

Grid View

Delicious Grid View

Grid view is the view that many news and aggregator sites use these days.  The grid view snags a photo or image from the page and creates a large thumbnail.  Some links will create a thumbnail of the whole page. Delicious should take a hint from LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook where you can scroll through possible images to use.  Grid view is good view if you want to create a more visually appealling stack.

Full View

Delicious Full View

Full view uses the same thumbnail as grid view in the left column and then displays the title, link URL and any description text in the main column.  If you take the time to enter descriptions into your links or if the site uses excerpts this is a good option to list view.

Media View

Delicious Media View Scroll Bar

Media view is good to use if most of your links are videos, presentations or photo libraries.  This view will not include all links like blog posts or basic web pages unless they have rich media embedded on the page.  Media view uses a left/right scroll bar for the thumbnails with the selected link media played below.

Some other observations from creating Delicious stacks:

  • You can create a header for the stack that includes either text or images.  At this time you cannot upload images, you must select images from one of your linked pages.  Test different images as Delicious will stretch and center the images and sometimes you get a grainy, messy result.

Delicious Stack Header

  • There is a comment box that you can enter text in below the header image with some basic formatting options.
  • I have not been able to determine what view is he default for the stack.  It appears that the full view is used but I was able to set the media view but could not replicate it.
  • Once you create a stack you can then share the stack via email with the share link on the main stack page.  I’m surprised there’s not more social sharing options/buttons.  Let’s hope to see them in future releases.
Delicious also has a nice video (who doesn’t these days, right?) that demonstrates how to create stacks.
So what are you waiting for, go create your Delicious stack and share it with me in the comments along with any tips, tricks, likes and fails you discover.

Mobile Site, App or Both?

Do you need a mobile site, smartphone app or both?With mobile usage and traffic growing by huge numbers recently there is a rush to create mobile friendly versions of your website.  But it does not end there, what about a iPhone or iPad app?  What about other smartphones: Droid, Blackberry, etc? Just thinking about it can make your head spin!

I’ve had many discussions with my peers and others about what the best choice is and always come back to the same answer.  It’s contingent on your customers both current and present.  Here are the questions I find myself asking those seeking advice on mobile marketing.

  1. Should you have a mobile website? The answer to this one is easy, yes! At the very least having a mobile site gives your brand a presence that can be viewed on mobile devices. With the continued growth of smarthphones and our demand for information, having a mobile website just makes sense.  What you should do with your mobile site plan is determine what information is necessary to have on it.  You don’t need everything your main website has.  Two key items I find are a must are easy to find contact information including your phone number and your location addresses so people can call and find you on the road.
  2. Does your company or brand need an iPhone app? An app is different from a mobile website in that it does more.  An app should have some functionality that mobile users need and provide value for mobile users.  Creating an app because everyone else is doing it is a waste of money.  Plus people will download it, use it once that’s it.  Do some creative brainstorming around your product and service and ask what simple tasks would I use on a smartphone.
  3. What about an iPad app? If your website is good then it can be viewed in Safari or Opera browsers on an iPad and you don’t need an app.  But if you can come up with creative uses mentioned in the previous point above, then maybe you have the basis for creating an iPad app.
  4. Should you design for Apple iPhone, Droid or Blackberry? The answer to this question depends on your customers.  Are they iPhone or Droid users? Or even the last of the BlackBerry die hards?  Google Analytics has a Mobile report that shows how many visitors are viewing your site and the device they are using.  Another way to find out is put a survey on your website or create an email campaign and ask them.
As with any interactive project flesh out what your requirements are after brainstorming.  Don’t just tell your agency you want a mobile app or site, tell them why it’s important to your business.  They will appreciate it and most likely you’ll get a better end product.  Also if you’re seeking proposals from several vendors a good requirements doc makes it much easier to get accurate price quotes and a finished product that makes you and your customers happy!

More WordPress Plugins: Keywords, Performance and Social Share

I love discovering WordPress plugins that work and help with marketing your website. My first WordPress plugin post listed 3 awesome plugins for search engine optimization (SEO), link tracking and personalization. This time I’ve found 3 more awesome wordpress plugins for keywords, site performance and social share.

Keyword Statistics

Keyword Statistics helps optimize your WordPress blog for search engines. It can automatically generate meta informations (like keywords and description for example) needed for the SEO of your blog. What I like about this plugin is that it scans your content on the page or post for keyword density and updates it every few seconds. The most common keywords are presented in lists of single words and optionally 2- and 3-word phrases.

Keyword Statistics WordPress Plugin
Keyword Statistics WordPress Plugin

Keyword Statistics also will generate meta tags and page titles for a single page or the whole site. It features options for canonical URLs, 404 pages, robots, no follow, and the ability to turn on/off the setting so they don’t interfere with other plugins. The way I use it is to research the keywords and then write the meta tags using WordPress SEO plugin.

W3 Total Cache

Wordpress plugin W3 Total Cache Page Speed Report
Page Speed Report dashboard widget

W3 Total Cache bills itself as the most complete WordPress performance framework that can improve site performance and user experience via caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support. W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration. With page load speed now a factor in search engine rankings this plugin is invaluable. The dashboard widget gives you a quick analysis of your page speed report listing areas for improvement. The dashboard report clicks to a detailed report with specific areas to improve load speed and performance.  From there you can make the adjustments to your site to improve performance. W3 Total Cache promises at least 10x improvement in overall site performance.  As you can see from my report above, I still have some work to do to improve performance, and now I know exactly what items to tweak.

AddThis

I’ve tried most of the social share WordPress plugins and have finally settled on AddThis for a couple of reasons. First they have all of the networks with the ability to customize the buttons and the order they appear on the page. All you have to do is list the account codes in the order you want them to appear. They list what services perform best on their services directory page. Sign up for a free AddThis.com account to see how your visitors are sharing your content: which services they’re using for sharing, which content is shared the most, and more. The dashboard widget allows you to view stats for current day, past week and past month.

AddThis WordPress Plugin Dashboard Widget
AddThis dashboard widget shows social sharing stats

I’ve also found AddThis to work well on iPhone while testing for my site.  Some of the other social share plugins performed poorly in this area so that was a big factor in using this plugin.  Other features include bit.ly and Google Analytics integration.