Thursday, December 17, 2009

Google Science and what gets seen.

Reprinted from Mashable. What is it that the web user really sees, and what is it that gets overlooked? This article delves into some of the science of usability.

We already know that Google is obsessed with their own speed and efficiency, but the search giant is also trying to make everybody else faster on the web as well. Google Site Performance, for example, provides tips from Google on how to speed up your website, while Speed Tracer increases the efficiency of web apps by tracking performance.

The company is once again tackling the realm of website efficiency with a new tool that doesn’t track site speed or app performance, but the size of the browser window. The app, Google Browser Size, aims to help website owners solve one of the most fundamental problems in web design: How should I lay out and design my website for higher engagement and conversions?

Browser Size is very simple: It overlays a transparent image on top of any website, displaying what percentage of users (on average) will see your content without scrolling. Because people use various browser settings, monitor sizes and screen resolutions, it can be tough to know when a key button, like a “Donate” or “Subscribe” button, is visible and easily reachable by your users.

On the top and left are numbers depicting the length and width of the screen, in pixels. In the middle you’ll notice an array of colors and percentages. Based on research the company did during the 20 percent time of several engineers, they were able to extrapolate at what pixel height and width Internet surfers could see the page without scrolling, from 99 percent to essentially 0 percent.

What the company did to gather this data is rather fascinating (you can read more about it on the, but the end result is a deceptively useful tool that will really tell you if you’ve designed your website efficiently or if you need to move key buttons around.

Try Browser Size out on your website, and tell us about the results. Will you be changing anything because of this tool? Let us know in the comments.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Linked In Tips by Kawasaki...

Recently saw this over at the LinkedIn FAQ area... There were a few more pertinent to job search, but these were the best tips for Sales and Web Strategy.

5 Profitable Ways to Use LinkedIn - Guy Kawasaki

How can I use LinkedIn to my advantage?

The following text is a blog article titled 'Profitable Ways to use LinkedIn' by Guy Kawasaki. Numbers have been modified to reflect more current membership.

Most people use LinkedIn to 'get to someone' in order to make a sale, form a partnership, or get a job. It works well for this because it is an online network of more than 40 million experienced professionals from around the world representing 170 industries. However, it is a tool that is under-utilized, so I've compiled a top-ten list of ways to increase the value of LinkedIn.

  1. Increase your visibility.
By adding connections, you increase the likelihood that people will see your profile first when they're searching for someone to hire or do business with. In addition to appearing at the top of search results (which is a major plus if you're one of the 67,000 product managers on LinkedIn), people would much rather work with people who their friends know and trust.

  1. Improve your connectability.
Most new users put only their current company in their profile. By doing so, they severely limit their ability to connect with people. You should fill out your profile like it's an executive bio, so include past companies, education, affiliations, and activities.

You can also include a link to your profile as part of an email signature. The added benefit is that the link enables people to see all your credentials, which would be awkward if not downright strange, as an attachment.

  1. Improve your Google PageRank.
LinkedIn allows you to make your profile information available for search engines to index. Since LinkedIn profiles receive a fairly high PageRank in Google, this is a good way to influence what people see when they search for you. To do this, create a public profile and select 'Full View.' Also, instead of using the default URL, customize your public profile's URL to be your actual name. To strengthen the visibility of this page in search engines, use this link in various places on the web. For example, when you comment in a blog, include a link to your profile in your signature.

  1. Enhance your search engine results.
In addition to your name, you can also promote your blog or website to search engines like Google and Yahoo! Your LinkedIn profile allows you to publicize websites. There are a few pre-selected categories like 'My Website', 'My Company,' etc. If you select 'Other', you can modify the name of the link. If you're linking to your personal blog, include your name or descriptive terms in the link, and voila! instant search-engine optimization for your site. To make this work, be sure your public profile setting is set to 'Full View.'

  1. Perform blind, 'reverse,' and company reference checks.
LinkedIn's reference check tool to input a company name and the years the person worked at the company to search for references. Your search will find the people who worked at the company during the same time period. Since references provided by a candidate will generally be glowing, this is a good way to get more balanced data. Companies will typically check your references before hiring you, but have you ever thought of checking your prospective manager's references? Most interviewees don't have the audacity to ask a potential boss for references, but with LinkedIn you have a way to scope her out.

You can also check up on the company itself by finding the person who used to have the job that you're interviewing for. Do this by searching for job title and company, but be sure to uncheck 'Current titles only.' By contacting people who used to hold the position, you can get the inside scoop on the job, manager and growth potential. By the way, if using LinkedIn in these ways becomes a common practice, we're apt to see more truthful resumes. There's nothing more amusing than to find out that the candidate who claims to have caused some huge success was a total bozo who was just along for the ride.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Facebook Marches On - Now One Out of Every Four Pages Viewed...

Here's something to think about for every business that considers their web strategy a serious part of their marketing. If you don't, you can bounce out now.

What he considers to be a startling conclusion - by Perry Drake of Drake Direct:

Facebook accounts for 25% of U.S. online pageviews.

Perry's analysis was prompted by a study showing that the figure in the U.K. is 1 in 7. He pulled some Compete charts and concluded that the number here is 1 in 4.

Google, meanwhile, accounts for 1 in 12 pageviews (8%). And Facebook is rapidly closing in on Google in terms of visits and uniques.
Facebook's power, in other words, continues to grow.

Mr. Drake Reported:

My research revealed some very interesting facts. First of all let me say, that in the US, Facebook accounts for a significantly higher percent of our total page views than in the UK. In the UK, Facebook accounts for 15% of the total pageviews (or 1 in 7). In the US Facebook accounts for, now get this, 1 in every 4 or 25% of our total pageviews. Unbelievable!

Google on the other hand accounts for only 8% of the total pageviews (or 1 in 12). See the figure below that I generated using data from

Page Views: Google (blue) vs. Facebook (green)

Is this surprising? Not really. Facebook is, by design, much more engaging. So we should expect this fact. User experience and content are kings of usability.

However, when we look at total number of visits to these two sites, we notice that Google does have an edge as the figure below shows. But, surprisingly, that edge is quickly slipping away. Ouch!

Visits: Google (blue) vs. Facebook (green)

Even for the metric "monthly unique visitors," we can see that Google is also losing its edge here as well.

Unique Monthly Visits: Google (blue) vs. Facebook (green)

Do you think Google is a bit concerned?

I would imagine so. Are you concerned yet, you should be --- if, you're not considering Facebook for your business.