At the end of September, Google announced that they have switched to a brand-new search algorithm named Hummingbird. This is the biggest change that Google has made to the search algorithm in years. So, what is Hummingbird, why was the change made and what does Hummingbird mean to the world of SEO?
What is Google Hummingbird?
Unlike the previous system updates by Google, Hummingbird is a completely new system, not just a reformulation of the old one. It is a more intuitive algorithm that focuses on why people are searching, not just what they are searching for. This new system is less focused on keywords than any of the previous systems used by Google.
The way people search the internet is changing, and Google intends to keep up with the changes. It is now estimated that over 50% of internet searches are made on mobile devices. Many of those searches are made using voice search, which means they are asking questions instead of typing keywords into a search bar. Named for “speed” and “precision”, Hummingbird is the first search algorithm designed to quickly interpret the intentions of searchers and deliver only relevant results.
For instance, with the old algorithm, a voice search of, “Where can I buy paint supplies in Brisbane?” would most likely return results using “paint supplies” and “Brisbane” as the key terms. This might give you results including Australian painting history, a few paint stores, descriptions of paint, and any other combination of results. Hummingbird is designed to take words like “where” and “in” into account as well, and return results that are a closer fit to the whole question that was asked.
Why Did Google Switch to Hummingbird?
Google made the switch to Hummingbird because it was time. People don’t search online the same way they did ten years ago, and it’s time to have a search engine that reflects that change. Having an intuitive and relevant search engine makes the internet more accessible whilst providing the ease and convenience that people are coming to expect of every product they use.
How will Google Hummingbird Affect SEO Strategies?
The short answer to this question is: It won’t. Hummingbird is designed to improve search responsiveness. If anything, this should be viewed as good news for anyone who is already applying best SEO practices. Websites that feature high-quality, relevant content will increasingly rise to the top of the Google index since those sites already answer the questions that people are asking when they search.
Though announced at the end of September, Hummingbird has been operational since August. This means if you haven’t seen a drop in traffic and ranking yet, you probably never will, at least not because of Hummingbird. Regardless of your current rankings, the changes that are being made to the way searches are handled present the perfect opportunity to improve your site content and SEO strategies. It is a good idea to take a look at your website and make improvements where needed.
SEO Best Practices that will Improve Your Website’s Google Ranking
Hummingbird is focused on improving the search experience. You can follow Google’s example by applying these tips and improving your website so that it will be attractive to search engines and the people who are searching.
1. Make Sure Your Brand is Clearly Defined
Defining your brand is about more than using the same logo and colour scheme for all your content. You also need to use a consistent voice and express clear values. Every page of your website should reflect your brand in a way that is interesting and likeable to readers.
2. Remember that Every Word on Your Website Matters.
It is not enough any more to have a great blog on your website, especially if the content on the other pages is thin or lacking in some way. Every page of your website should have rich, relevant, interesting content that provides a solution of some kind. Read through every page on your site and rewrite the content so that it has a clear direction.
3. Incorporate Social Media
If you haven’t already, now is the time to incorporate social media into your website. People love to share content that they find useful and interesting. If you make it easy for people to share your content with the world, they will be more likely to do so.
4. Make Your Content Interesting and Direct it Towards Customer Needs
If you look back at tips one through three, you’ll notice that all of them refer to interesting content. This is probably the most important improvement to make on your site: Learn what your customer base wants and needs, and write interesting content that your customers will want to read and share. If every customer that finds your site enjoys what they read and finds it relevant to them, they will be more likely to read more, and share your content with their friends.
5. Leverage Analytics to Make Regular Website Improvements
The content on your website should never be left alone and thought of as “good enough”. By keeping up with the analytics that are available to you, you will be able to see how people are finding and interacting with your site. Use this information to further refine your target audience and make your content more relevant to what their needs are.
Google Hummingbird is a big change that is helping to further the cause of improving the internet for everyone. If leveraged correctly, this change can be very helpful to people who are willing to apply best SEO practices and improve the user experience on every page of the websites they are responsible for.
Google has been making some major changes in the last few months. These changes range from minor inconveniences to complete game changers for SEO professionals.
Website owners and SEO professionals have been using Google Analytics for years to track the impact that their websites have on the general public. Possibly the most useful tool was the ability to see the search terms that led visitors to your site. Knowing these terms made it possible to quickly see what content needed to be refined to make each page of the website more searchable.
In October 2011, Google made a change in the way they delivered these results by blocking the search terms for users that were logged into their Google accounts when they made the search. These searches returned a “keyword not provided” result on the search terms section of the analytics page. Recently, Google flipped the switch and began using secure search for all users, whether they are logged in or not. This has resulted in a much greater percentage of keyword not provided results. Currently, 75-80% of search results are being blocked, but this is expected to increase to a full 100% by the end of 2013.
Many people have speculated about why this change was made, and the rumours are flying. Google claims that the switch was made in an effort to protect the privacy of internet users everywhere. A representative of the company was quoted as saying:
“We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”
No one from the company has been clear on what they are protecting people from considering that full keyword data is still available to paid AdWords users.
Gathering Keyword Data Under the New System
Regardless of the rumours and reasons, secure search is apparently here to stay, which means that web professionals everywhere are going to need to make some changes to the way they do things. If you apply a little creativity and patience there are still a few ways to get valuable keyword data. Following are the most accessible strategies for gathering this data.
Use a Paid Adwords Account – Though Google is blocking keyword search data from the average user, the information is still available for paid Adwords users.
Apply Information from Google Webmaster Tools – Webmaster tools will allow you to see keyword data from the last ninety days. Webmasters will need to frequently check the data and keep their own lists of keywords in order to track terms over a long period of time. It has been reported that soon this feature will be increased to show a full year of data.
Leverage the Available Search Data – All of the data is still available to show you which of your pages have the highest rank and are visited most often. You can leverage this data by cross referencing it with the terms that the page is ranked for. You can also test new terms to see what differences they will make in the page rank and search data.
Finding New Keyword Opportunities
Under the old system, it was easy to see which terms people were using to find a website and to adjust the keywords on the website to better match what searchers are looking for. Although this information is not as readily available with the new secure search system, you can still find new keyword suggestions by using the other tools that are available. Google Suggest, Keyword Planner and other keyword suggestion tools are easy to use and can show you what terms people are frequently searching for within your industry. When you gather these terms and test them using the methods listed above; you can create a very effective system for improving and tracking your SEO strategies.
What Secure Search Means to the Future of SEO
The good news is that keyword not provided data is not the end of SEO, as some rumours would indicate. It will always remain important to have a well planned and well-executed website. It seems that Google is making a lot of changes in an effort to take the advantage away from sites with great keywords but poorly written content. This change will merely usher in the new evolution of web marketing and help level the playing field for small businesses and companies that are just emerging.
As more changes are rolled out in the future, and as search engine crawlers become more advanced, website owners and SEO professionals will have to improve their strategies or be left behind. It will no longer be enough to have great keywords. Instead, the focus will be on great content and improving the overall experience of website users.
Google has officially retired the External Keyword Tool and replaced it with a new Keyword Planner. This switch was made in an effort to combine the Keyword Tool and the Traffic Estimator that Google used to offer. Just as it is true with most re-branding efforts, this change has been met with mixed reviews.
Supporters of the change love the new filters and ad ideas. Still, others are faithful to the old tool, some going so far as to call the new Keyword Planner a mistake. Now that the change has been made and the dust has settled a bit, we can see that the Keyword Planner is a big change from the Keyword Tool, but not all the changes are bad.
Today we’re going to take a deeper look at the Keyword Planner: What changes were made, and what advantages and disadvantages you can expect when you begin using the new Keyword Planner.
Keyword Tool vs. Keyword Planner: What has Changed
The most obvious difference between the External Keyword Tool and the Keyword Planner is that you need to have a Google AdWords account and be logged in to use the new Keyword Planner. The good news is that you don’t have to set a payment type or post any ads, you just have to add an AdWords account to your Google profile. Since the switch from Keyword Tool to Keyword Planner was made in an attempt to create more adwords users it makes good business sense for Google to do this, but having to log in every time you want to use the Planner is an extra step that feels like wasted time.
Another big change you may notice is that the numbers returned for each inquiry differ greatly from the Keyword Tool to the Keyword Planner. Google has explained this difference by saying that the old tool showed statistics from laptops and desktop computers by default, whereas the Keyword planner includes data from all types of devices.
Other noticeable changes include:
- There are no longer separate columns for local and global searches. Instead, there is one column titled “Average Monthly Search”.
- The “Search Share” and “Extracted from Webpage” options have been removed.
- “Approximate CPC” has been replaced by “Average CPC”.
- There is no longer a column for “Search Local Trends”, but this information can still be accessed by hovering over the Average Monthly Searches icon.
- The options for “Broad Match” and “Phrase Match” have been removed. All data is now returned as “Exact Match”.
- There are new filter categories added to help narrow search results.
Advantages of the Keyword Planner
The major advantage that has been added to the Keyword Planner is the ability to search by city or region. This function is perfect for small businesses that want information on how to target their local area. Google has also added the ability to upload large lists of words to compare performance data.
Another new feature that has been added is the ad group ideas page. This feature groups keywords into individual categories, making it easier to find the specific keywords that apply to your business. Admittedly, there is some dispute as to whether this is an advantage or not. Many people skip the ad group ideas feature in favour of the keyword ideas feature. The feature is listed as an advantage here because of the versatility it offers.
The last advantage to the Keyword Planner that will be mentioned here is the new Include/Exclude filter. This feature enables you to add or delete terms from search results in order to gather more tightly focused search results. This is especially helpful for eliminating competitors names, brand names, and broad terms that may not be applicable to your search.
Disadvantages of the Keyword Planner
There are also some notable disadvantages when comparing the Keyword Planner to the Keyword Tool. The new system initially eliminated the ability to search for closely related terms, however this has since been added to the tool due to heavy demand from users. They have also chosen not to include an option to target specific devices in your keyword search. Instead, all terms are returned for laptops, desktop computers, phones and tablets.
Finally, the biggest disadvantage of the new Keyword Planner is the fact that it is so narrowly focused for Google AdWords users that many of the other filters and options that have been added are virtually useless for SEO and SEM data gathering. Not only do users have to log into the page before using the tool, but all of the extra filters can create needless confusion for people who are just trying to gather a small amount of keyword data.
Regardless of the changes that have been made to the keyword search functions, Google remains the largest search engine in the world, and is the best source for keyword data. If you are willing to explore the new settings and change the nature of your queries you will be able to get the same helpful information as before.
In order to continue providing the most accurate and informed SEO services possible, Keyword Intent has made the changes necessary to support the Keyword Planner within their Keyword Strategy Processes and keyword management tools.
Video SEO (VSEO) has gained a reputation as the latest and greatest marketing and promotion technique on the Internet. Tutorials are popping up all over the place that are designed to help you leverage the power of VSEO. Though it is true that VSEO can be a wonderful marketing tool, it is also true that there is a lot of misinformation available on the topic. Today we’re going to explore video SEO: Why you should use it, how to use it, and the truth behind the most common VSEO myth.
Why Does Your Business Need Video SEO?
This is a very common question, and a very easy one to answer. Your business needs video SEO because it is a powerful marketing tool when it is used correctly. Currently, there are more text-based pages on the Internet than videos. Videos that are properly indexed have less competition and are more likely to appear in searches than text pages.
Adding video content to your site may not necessarily push you to the first page of Google, but it will make it more likely that people will click on your link when they see it. People love videos. They are easy to follow and can pack a lot of valuable information into a short amount of time. This means that people are more likely to click on video links than text links. Not only are people more likely to click on videos, but they are more likely to stay and explore the site after they have watched the video because they feel actively engaged in the content.
How to Use Video SEO
Since most search engine crawlers do not register the content of the videos themselves, the power of VSEO comes from adding keyword rich titles, tags and descriptions to the videos. Though this is based on the same basic principles of regular SEO, there is a major difference that needs to be recognised: Your descriptions for videos need to be much more concise than an SEO article would be.
People are often put off by a long description on a video. So, though it may attract the attention of search engines, a long description may keep viewers from clicking. Instead, you should pick just a few highly targeted keywords and use them to their best advantage. Write short, clear titles and descriptions that will please both the search engines and the viewers you are trying to attract.
To YouTube, or Not to YouTube: Addressing the Most Common VSEO Myth
One of the most common pieces of misinformation circulating on the Internet regarding video SEO is that you have to use YouTube to be found in a search. This is not true at all. It is true that most of the video searches you do will turn up results from YouTube, but that is just because there are so many videos available on YouTube. The truth is, you have just as much of a chance of being indexed for videos on your own site as you do for videos that you embed from YouTube.
If you post your video to YouTube, even if you then embed it on your site, that video will be more likely to convert traffic to YouTube than to promote your site or increase your sales. This is because YouTube makes it so easy for people to click on related content, leaving your site altogether and reducing your chances of getting a sale.
This is not to say that you should never use YouTube. Right now, the YouTube search engine is ranked second to Google. This means it is still a very powerful marketing platform. The key is to understand that typical YouTube viewers are seeking information and entertainment. They are not usually looking to buy a product or service.
You should think of YouTube as another social media marketing tool to add to your business. Since you know that people who view your videos on YouTube will most likely stay on YouTube, these videos should be used as a social media tool rather than an attempt to drive sales. In fact, posting these videos will increase your credibility and exposure in your field whilst creating an opportunity to get more link exposure for your site, which is always a good thing.
Video SEO works the same no matter which video platform you use. If you have great video content and professional video SEO, then the views will come. If you want to drive traffic to your site, keep people there and create the potential for leads and sales, then you need to create videos on a separate platform and have all of the search results point directly back to your site.
The best thing for any business would be to use a combination of video platforms. Use the power of YouTube search to boost your online presence and branding, and use another video platform to create videos that will direct viewers directly to your website. Just remember, no amount of videos, no matter where they are posted, are going to do the job alone. You have to have great video SEO so the viewers can find you, and you need great video content to make them stay.
Few people could say that it is easy to start a successful business. No matter what field you are in, you are guaranteed to come up against big challenges and heavy competition. There are times when it is easy to look at the seemingly insurmountable wall of challenges ahead and just give up. This is the point where many new businesses fail.
The most successful businesses are the ones that are filled with people who can look at that wall and see that if they can just get over the top it will be easier to continue on the other side. Today we’re going to take a look into some marketing concepts that address this very issue. Use this information to help you grow your business, build the marketing momentum you need and find encouragement along the way.
Get Your Marketing Flywheel Moving
A flywheel is a large wheel that is used to create perpetual energy. The wheel has a lot of inertia, and takes some serious effort to get going. Once it is rolling, though, watch out. It takes much more force to stop a flywheel than it took to get it going.
Flywheel marketing is a popular marketing concept because it takes the principles of the flywheel and uses them to explain marketing. It takes a lot of time, effort and energy to get a business going, just like the flywheel. Once it gets going, your marketing strategies will create perpetual interest and returns for your business. Just like that flywheel, if you give up too early and stop putting in the effort, then the process will grind to a halt and leave you right back where you started.
Another great analogy for this is the “Prime the Pump” analogy from Zig Ziglar. He pointed out that in order to really get a water pump going, you sometimes have to put water into the top of the pump to prime it first. Building a business is the same way. You have to do a lot of work to receive a paycheck.
So how do you apply these analogies to your business? Rather than dabbling in several marketing strategies for a short amount of time and then moving on because they don’t seem to be working, you have to think of every piece of content, every top ranking SEO keyword and all of your email marketing and social media as the effort you are putting in to get the flywheel, or the pump, moving. You have to keep putting in the effort, believing that the rewards will come in time. Don’t let yourself get discouraged when things don’t go as smooth as you would like them to. As Zig Ziglar says, “Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well.”
Modify Your Marketing Strategy as You Build Momentum
Though it is true that you should never give up on a marketing strategy too early, it is also true that you should be applying your energy to strategies that will actually work for your industry. It takes constant monitoring and attention to identify the methods that are just not going to work. For instance, if you are using high ranking keywords that are too general, you will sometimes not see as high of a return as when you use lower ranking words that are more specific to your field. Likewise, it does no good to throw all of your effort into social media if the audience you are reaching cannot provide good networking relationships or turn into loyal customers.
These situations don’t mean you should give up on SEO and social media altogether. Instead, you should modify your strategies by subtle degrees as you go. This way, you continue to build marketing momentum whilst refining your sphere of influence.
Don’t be afraid to leave some things behind as you refine your marketing strategies. In his book, “The Dip”, Seth Godin talks about how successful people are the ones that know what things to quit, and when. Don’t be afraid to abandon parts of your business that are not producing results. Instead, focus on one or two things that you are great at, and build your business offerings and marketing strategies around these strengths.
The People Who Do the Marketing Matter
Another area that may need constant attention and modification is the staff you are working with, including yourself. In his book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins outlines the strategies that make the difference between a good company and a great company. He points out that for a company to be truly successful they need to start with great leadership. You need to be able to take responsibility for everything that happens in the company. Bosses that play the blame game may have some success, but they will never be great.
Also, staff members that are not a good fit for the company, for whatever reason, should be released immediately. Having an undependable staff can only hurt your business. It is always better to be understaffed than fully staffed with the wrong people.
The simple truth is; no business is going to grow all by itself. You need to keep going, even when it seems too hard. You need dedicated people who are willing to put in the time and effort necessary to build enough marketing momentum to get through the tough times. The good news is that eventually, all that hard work and dedication will pay off and carry you into the success you dream of for your business.
Blogging is a great way to increase your web presence and since it has become so common, it is only natural that comment marketing would also become popular. Unfortunately, comment marketing is so often done just to generate links that many people view it as more of a spam tactic than the effective networking and traffic generating tool it should be. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the possibilities of good comment marketing.
Why You Should Use Comment Marketing
The internet has given people more purchasing power than they ever had before. Modern consumers still want to buy from people they like and trust. They want to know that their money will make a difference in some way. That they are contributing to good businesses and good people with every dollar they spend.
When used correctly, comment marketing can be a valuable tool to help your business grow. A well placed, thoughtful comment will strengthen your credibility and professional image by showing people who you are and why they should take notice of what you are doing in your field. As with every other type of marketing, there is a right way and a wrong way to use comment marketing.
Black Hat and Grey Hat Comment Marketing – What Not to Do
Comment marketing should never be done by a bot. We have all seen these comments. They usually contain a bit of gibberish, or a snippet of code, and have the single purpose of adding a link to the comment box of a blog or forum. Make no mistake, this is spam. This is called a black hat tactic because it adds no value whatsoever to any conversation happening online, and not even search engines are fooled by this method.
Comment marketing should never be done by someone who has the sole purpose of creating backlinks. This grey hat tactic is usually used by real people who leave comments like, “Great article!” or “Thanks for writing this!” As flattering as these statements are to a blogger, they serve no purpose, and when they are followed with a link to another website these comments are often deleted as fast as the bot comments mentioned above.
Tips for White Hat Comment Marketing
These seven tips will help you understand how to leverage comment marketing as an effective tool for your business.
- Don’t Go Looking for Customers: The goal of comment marketing shouldn’t be to increase your page rank or get customers. Instead, work on building credibility and likeability in your field. Eventually, this may turn into more traffic to your site, or more sales, but then the people will be coming to you because they believe you know what you are talking about. They will want to buy from you because they trust you.
- Choose Your Target Blogs Carefully: It does no good to anyone for you to comment on every blog on the web. Instead, stick to the blogs and forums in your industry that you actually read and find interesting.
- Don’t Advertise: Effective comment marketing comes from building a good image, not a series of backlinks. Your comments should reflect your professional attitude and knowledge about a certain subject. They should never be an advertisement for your products or services. Remember, this is your chance to let your expertise show. If you have nothing valid to add, don’t say anything at all.
- Stay Positive and Respectful: Make sure that every word you write will leave others feeling good about what you’ve said. Don’t be afraid to disagree with other people in your comments, but do it in a respectful manner and back up your points with valid information.
- Don’t Try to ‘One-Up’ the Other Posters: At no point should you try to draw attention from the blog or other comments to put the focus on your blog or website. This type of comment usually looks like this: “Great marketing post! If you guys like this, you should come see what I have to say about marketing and buy from my website!” This is one of those grey hat tactics that will draw the wrong type of attention to your business.
- Be Easily Recognisable: In order to build an image, you need people to remember who you are. You wouldn’t walk up to a speaker at a conference and have a discussion from behind a mask. Likewise, you shouldn’t hide behind a logo or a generic silhouette online. Instead, choose one high quality photo of yourself and use it for all your business networking on the web. People will appreciate being able to associate a real face with the insightful comments you make.
- Use Good Link Etiquette: Before you post a link, stop and ask yourself these questions:
- Am I trying to one-up anyone?
- Is the content I want to post to going to add anything valuable to this conversation?
- Am I adding this link just to drive traffic to my site?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, DO NOT LINK. If you have answered no to all the questions, and really think that the link you want to share is necessary, then share the link in text form only. Remove the http tag from the front to avoid creating a live link. If the owner of the blog agrees that your link is necessary then they will have the option to make it live themselves.
Good white hat comment marketing tactics are effective because they don’t really look like marketing. These comments add value and insight to everything else on the page. They make valid points, add to the discussion and get people thinking. This type of comment is welcomed by bloggers, consumers and other business owners because it respectfully acknowledges that the others in the conversation are real people, not just words on a page.
Last week Dan and I soft launched our latest SaaS product “Way We Do”. No big fan fare or speeches, although we did buy a bottle of bubbly to celebrate and acknowledge the hard work we have put into this new product. The good news is that we have a few customers already trialling Way We Do, providing positive feedback and ideas for future development.
Way We Do was an inkling of an idea when we enrolled in a Turn Key Program at the National College of Business (a school for business owners). Although the course material was great, we discovered that the tools available to help business owners to create operations manuals felt like antiquated software platforms. The software was to be installed on one PC only, it wasn’t in the cloud and was using out dated design and technology. Additionally, this software was not cheap, costing small business owners a large upfront fee which was prohibitive for many participants in the course.
Planning, Prototypes and Customer Validation
So, we set out to transform small businesses and help them to behave like big businesses with the support of a customised Operations Manual. We spent approximately 2 months planning the software and creating a prototype.
Before developing the Way We Do platform, we wanted to be sure that we had validated the concept with real business owners. We approached a number of small business owners and consultants to get their feedback and they loved the idea.
The Way We Do solution was developed to allow businesses to:
- Place their team’s work instructions into the cloud, so that they can access it from any location.
- Purchase individual pre-written procedures and policies to reduce the time involved with writing them.
- Allow procedures to be visual with the use of videos, photos and images.
- Create organisation charts so the team can understand communication lines.
Why do all of this? As we know, successful entrepreneurs and business owners who create a repeatable and scalable business model often document their businesses. They move their vision of the business from their head into a documented Operations Manual, they test the systems created and train others to implement them.
Developing the Way We Do Solution
Dan was unavailable to develop the Way We Do platform full-time and since we were self funding the project, we decided to look abroad to lower costs. Outsourcing software development is not an easy task. Our plan was to hire a development company, rather than an individual directly so the project was completely managed for us.
Spurtree Technologies in India was selected, which was a good choice, although there were a few hiccups along the way. Their account management, service and professionalism was superior to many organisations we have had contact with in Australia and New Zealand.
Dan who is a highly experienced technical lead and developer has high standards regarding code structure and web standards to ensure that a robust, scalable solution was developed. Reducing technical debt from the outset helps to create a product that can scale quickly in the future.
Despite selecting a good development team, the code was not at a level that we required so after several conversations with Spurtree, Dan decided to guide and manage a single developer directly from their company. Spurtree conducted themselves professionally and were genuinely interested in seeing the project succeed.
Design and the “Right Bros”
Writing procedure documents can often be seen as a boring, tedious task so when we designed Way We Do, we wanted it to be fun and upbeat. We wanted small business owners to realise that they could create a unique business and that implementing systems and documenting it within an Operations Manual, is the basis of a successful enterprise.
We came across Fairhead Creative, owned by Adam Fairhead in the US and loved the illustrative designs that he produces. One of our goals was to create a mascot to represent Way We Do and so
the “Right Bros” were born. Based upon real life entrepreneurs, our “Right Bros” were centred on the famous “Wright Brothers” who were inventors, pilots, manufacturers, publishers, trainers and retailers. These chaps were highly entrepreneurial!
Along with creating our beloved mascots, Fairhead Creative designed the logo for Way We Do. It reminds us of car emblems such as Bentley Motors, portraying distinction and class. My vision is to one day present gold or silver Way We Do pins to those business owners that build successful organisations using our platform and saying “now you have your wings”.
Fairhead Creative designed the marketing site incorporating these new brand elements. Although we had tested the prototype of the Way We Do application with customers, we didn’t do any testing of the marketing website design. Since the marketing site had been completed several months before the application was ready for launch, in hindsight, we should have started testing interactions and conversion rates as early as possible.
We’re currently testing the marketing site which is located at www.waywedo.com, so I aim to share the results in another blog post down the track.
The Product Development Journey
Creating any product or service is a journey of which there will be highs and lows. Resilience and perseverance are key characteristics to keep pushing through the “are we ever going to get there” moments.
One lesson that I have learnt during this particular product development round is that we should have been out selling while we were developing the product and is something that we will certainly do more of in future products.
I look forward to sharing both the successes and challenges that we experience along the way, so that others can learn from what we do well and not so well. Of course we want to minimise the latter!
Keyword Intent Pty Ltd
Many of the web developers I have met in Brisbane use their own proprietary content management systems (CMS) as the base of the websites they build. Their justification for doing so is the same across the board… no bloat ware, you only get the functionality you need, low probability of the site being hacked.
However, I have always been wary of such an approach and do not necessarily believe it is always in the best interests of the client. Whenever I mention the use of WordPress as a CMS for a website, they inevitably start sprouting out-dated excuses of why you shouldn’t. Lack of security, scalability and performance are usually the responses. Another is, WordPress is a blogging platform, not a CMS for a website.
When a platform like WordPress powers at least 16% of the world’s websites, and some very large ones at that, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
This week, Facebook announced they have created integrations with WordPress, allowing website and blog owners to publish their content to the social network with a simple click of a mouse. There is no coding required as WordPress administrators can install the Facebook plugin that allows them to publish content to their Facebook timeline or page.
The Facebook integration is another example of why I am a supporter of WordPress. Following are reasons why I believe small business owners should consider using WordPress, or another commercial or open-source source CMS, instead of using a developer’s own proprietary software.
- Most developers do not have the funding to develop their software. They use the budget of their current customer to build the latest functionality into the CMS, however older clients don’t receive this benefit (unless they pay a lot of money to do so). On the other hand, WordPress and other open source and commercial software have a roadmap for their CMS product and have the funding to implement changes so that all customers can benefit from upgrades.
- Many developers who build websites using their own software, do not allow their clients to take the software when they decide to leave. This means that business owners have to pay for the site to be built again on a new platform.
- Clients that are allowed to leave with the proprietary CMS find it difficult to find another programmer to support it. Usually the software has poor documentation and standards are not always adhered to.
- Proprietary CMS products are not known by large web platforms like Facebook and therefore miss out on any useful integrations or plugins that are released. The developer therefore has to build this functionality in at their own or client’s expense.
- Proprietary CMS and blog software often has missing functionality such as comment spam detection and management. It becomes a nightmare for the business owner and their team to manage the site going forward.
My final advice to business owners is to learn more about the CMS software that your developer uses before you engage them. Think about the consequences of not using popular CMS platforms such as WordPress or other open source or commercial software.
My recommendation to web developers is to not build your own CMS, unless you want to commercialise it. Focus upon building really good websites using a fully functional open source or commercial CMS platform that you support. It will be much more profitable and life will be easier if you do that.
As of Monday 21st November 2011 Yahoo Site Explorer has been shut down. Yahoo made their offical announcement on 18th November on their blog. This marks the loss of a vital tool to the SEO industry.
Yahoo site explorer was an incredibly valuable tool as it allowed users to perform searches and explore the link profiles of any website. This allowed users to evaluate their competitor’s incoming links and devise strategies to gain the same or similar links to boost their own rankings. Similarly SEO consultants were able to view the highest performing sites in a particular industry, analyse their incoming link portfolio and strategize with their client in methods of gaining similar links.
Since the move to Bing webmaster tools most of this functionality has been lost. Both Bing and Google Webmaster tools only provide link data about a site that has been claimed within their systems. Therefore neither provides information about a site that is not owned by the user.
Google has deliberately suppressed link information and does not condone the reporting of link data through any of their services, therefore loss of Yahoo site explorer equates to the loss of all free comprehensive link reporting tools.
Third party tools such as SEOMoz Open Site Explorer and Majestic Site Explorer are available; however, they are subscription based and their resources are not exhaustive. Blekko, is a search engine that offers link data reporting tools, although it is much smaller than search engines giants Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
As of November 22nd Google will no longer offer their Gmail app on BlackBerry smart phones. They are also removing the application from the Blackberry app world marketplace so it is no longer available to be downloaded.
For those who already have the app, it will not disappear or stop wording and users can continue to use the service as usual, there will just be no Google customer support team to assist with issues.
Google claim these changes are being implemented to provide a great Gmail experience in the smart phone browser.
BlackBerry users are currently accessing their emails is through the BlackBerry application software and the improvement lies in Google being able to deliver updates through their own platform straight to users.
As the new BlackBerry 6 and BlackBerry 7OS systems use webkit browsers this provides a better experience than previous models and allows Google to update their system more directly instead of relying on the BlackBerry application standards.
This comes after a three day outage last month that left millions of BlackBerry users across Europe, North and South America.
What do you think? Should Google allow users to choose between a browser or an app, or is it okay for them to make this change because they know best?