We’ve all heard that Content is King. This is nothing new and has been stated many times over the years on SEO blogs, forums, and during keynote speeches.
That being said, more and more studies are showing how important site speed is in relation to growth, sales, and overall satisfaction. If this is the case, and Content is indeed King, that makes Speed it’s Queen.
Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager
Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...
Damn kids. They're all alike.
But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain,
ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what
made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
I am a hacker, enter my world...
Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of
the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...
Damn underachiever. They're all alike.
I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain
for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms.
Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."
Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.
I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is
cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I
screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me...
Or feels threatened by me...
Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...
Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.
And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through
the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is
sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is
"This is it... this is where I belong..."
I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to
them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...
Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...
You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at
school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip
through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or
ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us will-
ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.
This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the
beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying
for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and
you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek
after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color,
without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us
and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.
Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is
that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like.
My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me
I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual,
but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.
I wonder how many of us who work in and around technology can relate to this. Personally, the first time I read The Hacker’s Manifesto I was 13 and it was very beneficial knowing that there were others out there like myself.
Something that I’ve been playing with and testing recently is the use of miscellaneous symbols in email subject lines. I draft and send out a good deal of emails for several internet retailers so I’m always looking for new ways to keep things fresh and open rates above industry standard.
While I’m still testing this technique here are my findings thus far:
I was worried that using special symbols in the subject line would trigger spam filters and ultimately lower the delivery rate of our emails. I’m happy to say that so far this does not seem to be the case as delivery rate has not been effected.
By using special symbols in the subject line, I believe that our emails stand out among the rest. Our open rates have definitely improved. Some days dramatically.
So at this point I say ‘so far so good’. If you plan on using this technique I highly suggest you do your own testing (Perhaps an A/B split) since we’re all marketing to different demographics and use different email marketing services.
I just wanted to post a quick thank you to Obey Giant and Sticker Robot for sending me an Occupy Movement Hope Sticker. If you’re interested in one of these stickers quantities are limited and the offer is time sensitive but you can try to send in for a free sticker here.
Like any brick & mortar, your online customers ought to be able to checkout as a guest. In my opinion as the industry matures this is something shoppers have come to expect. Just imagine for a moment being required to sign up for one of those Red Cards at Target just to move through the checkout line. That wouldn’t go over too well would it? I bet they would lose a lot of business (mine for starters). So why should it be any different online?
By this point in time most of us have far too many user names and passwords to keep proper track of them all. I probably have hundreds of them, most of which I’ve only used once or twice and then forgotten. Though it’s true many customers who visit your retail website will (hopefully) come back again and place future orders, forcing these first time shoppers to register during the checkout process can make an alarming number of them abandon their carts before they ever complete their order.
Why is this?
In my experience they will abandon for 3 main reasons:
They don’t feel that they have time to sit through all this right now.
They don’t have any immediate need or desire to return.
*sigh* It’s just one more log in and password to keep track of.
The reasons above are why I highly recommend enabling guest checkouts. If for some reason your shopping carts software doesn’t allow for this method then either have it programmed or move to a new cart. I also suggest giving your customers a bulleted list of the benefits of registering assuming there are benefits on your website for doing so (managing addresses, tracking packages, submitting returns, etc). But keep in mind it’s important to ultimately leave the choice up to them. If you don’t, you’ll be losing out on a lot of sales and those customers you lost will be placing their first and subsequent orders elsewhere.
Reaching out to bloggers and webmasters isn’t that difficult. Generally they are happy to hear from manufacturers and retailers, and if you ask correctly, they will grant your favor. There is however a wrong way to reach out. Here’s one such example sent from a large marketing agency which apparently handles Search Engine Optimization for Macys.com:
Title: URGENT REQUEST – Incorrect link to Macys.com
Body: I’m contacting you on behalf of Macy’s, Inc. We completed a recent analysis that indicates your blog is linking to Macys.com, which we greatly appreciate. Per Macy’s guidelines, we are requesting you make updates to the hyperlink text when you link to Macy’s. Providing clearer anchor text will give your visitors a better user experience.
Please respond at your earliest convenience, so we can discuss the changes.
Now maybe I’m overreacting, but as both an experienced Webmaster and fellow SEO Strategist I can’t help but be bothered by this email. I’m glad that they appreciate the link, and reaching out is always worth a try, but the request simply doesn’t feel genuine and use of the phrase “Per Macy’s guidelines” is something I don’t like to hear. I don’t work for Macy’s.
Merriam-Webster definition of guideline:
an indication or outline of policy or conduct
Certainly there’s a better way to word their email.
First - Don’t come at me, a niche blogger with absolutely zero agenda within my post, pushing corporate policies.
Second - If you want more specific anchor text for SEO purposes just come out and say it. Don’t claim that my visitors will have a “better experience” because of it. In this case they honestly wouldn’t.
Third - Don’t be so damn robotic about the whole thing.
What was the anchor text in question? It was in a blog post from 2007 mentioning a new clothing brand. Macy’s was the anchor text (it could be much, much worse). Macy’s… consider your link removed.
For most if not all internet retailers, Black Friday is absolutely huge. But make no mistake, getting to Black Friday can be a long, stressful road full of competitive intelligence, haggling with manufacturers, search engine optimization and pay per click. – but when done right can be extremely rewarding in several key areas:
Customer Loyalty / Retention
My advice? Get caffeinated and ride the wave. Black Friday & Cyber Monday are two of the best performing retail days of the year. But don’t forget to take a time out and enjoy being with your family and buying something nice for yourself (it is Black Friday after all).
QR Codes work.Use them. Best of all they are free to generate.
The use of iPhones and Androids are on the rise. Not only that, but tech-savy mobile users are everywhere. Whether you are a new or established internet business you can absolutely benefit from the use of QR Codes in your marketing.
Do you hand out flyers? Use a QR Code.
Do you ship an invoice or catalog? Use a QR Code.
Do you have a business card? Use a QR Code.
Get my drift? They’re actually really handy, and as mobile web browsing and commerce grows, they’ll become more and more important. Why not adopt the strategy now and be ahead of your competitors?
Subscribing to your competitors’ (yes, all of them) email lists and newsletters can be extremely useful for several key reasons.
Stay on top of any sales, coupons, or specials they might be running. This is probably the most obvious reason. By knowing exactly when competitors are running sales, you can effectively counter them with your own.
Learn about new brands and products that you may have missed. If you’re like me, you receive a lot of email and unfortunately new brands and products are sometimes missed. Or perhaps you were on the fence about picking up a new brand and wanted to see how it would play out in your niche market first.
Keep up to date about competitors’ new website features. It can be time consuming to surf your competitor’s sites to compare features and flow. Marketer’s love to brag so by subscribing to their lists many times you’ll also be able to stay up to date on new features and design changes.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s a good introduction to the Google +1 Button:
If you haven’t installed it on your website yet, I’m happy to say that setup is a snap. Practical eCommerce just released a nice little write-up on the new service along with instructions. Here’s the official Google +1 page where you can grab the necessary code.