Remember what you read online

Here is a great way to dramatically improve memory when reading articles online.

This week I finally get to sit down and do something constructive with Bryan Eisenberg, the founder of the Web Analytics association (now renamed the Digital Analytics association). He’s been around forever and it amazes me that so few businesses are able to get to grips with his essentially obvious mantra that business online needs to be underpinned with good decisions based on good data. Recently, the mantra changed a bit though, as we all start to realise that some of the power within the mass of data that some companies have managed to harness, lies not in analysis – but in knowing what the “Big Idea” is that you want to get out of the Big Data.

But that’s not the full point of this post. Bryan gave me a bunch of posts he had written on the subject. As I started to read, it dawned on me that I really wasn’t taking in the words like I used to. I think ADT is growing in all of us involved on the web. Age doesn’t help and the glass of red wine was the final straw. I closed the laptop and left it for a few days.

Well I am glad to report that I have now taken in the articles and found an excellent way to aid memory retention online. I downloaded an app from iTunes onto my iPhone that turns web pages into audio. The idea for the app is that you can turn any news feed into a podcast. That’s useful in itself. But the real “deep” recall occurs when you read AND listen at the same time.

By reading and having computer generated spoken word, you combine two senses, dramatically improving recall. We all use PowerPoint (or in my case “Prezi”) to help us elaborate and communicate in different ways, because a picture can say a thousand words, but we rarely combine senses when reading online. I heartily recommend that you change that now.

Using different senses online to communicate is one of the reasons I use WebmasterRadio.fm to broadcast My Search Kingdom Radio Show. (Next show is on Thursday). Using those senses to RECEIVE information is just as important.

If you want to look at the iPhone App I have started using, it’s called “Speakably”. It looks new, so not perfect yet, but it does the job. What’s more, you can speed up the speed of the spoken word. Going at double speed won’t work just by listening alone, but it is pretty easy to read fast with the audio running at the same time.

It turns out this is especially effective. A few months back I was at the Glasgow Science Museum. A great day out by the way. In there, in the top floor, is a whole interactive experience about sound. One exhibit let’s you hear something spoken very fast. It is hard to understand. Then you hear it at normal speed and of course it make sense. The “Wow” moment comes when you hear it fast a second time. Now your brain has a pattern to follow and this time it all makes sense at the faster speed.

Put a computerised audio over web pages when you want to read fast and take in the content. You’ll be amazed at how much faster… And effective… Your reading will be.

If you want to read the posts Bryan sent me:

http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/ecommerce-moneyball-chasing-the-market-leader/

http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/claiming-your-unfair-advantage/

http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/the-must-have-big-data-tools/

http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/how-to-catch-up-to-and-compete-with-amazon-com-video/
http://www.bryaneisenberg.com/big-data-does-not-mean-big-amounts-of-people/

Pass the word. Please share the post if you find it useful.

At SES, Bryan and I are heading up the “Big Data” Meet the Experts table at lunch in San Francisco. This year I have been pushing Majestic SEO within a new but growing conference circuit based around Big Data and Predictive Analytics and along the way I have found some great ways to mine Big Data.

Charlie Likes This

Yesterday I got to speak a bit about Majestic and mention the new enhancements announced today. Below is what the audience thought of the new enhancements.

I am at BlueGlass – an SEO conference in Tampa, Florida.

Yesterday I got to speak a bit about Majestic and mention the new enhancements announced today. Below is what the audience thought of the new enhancements. (The banners people are holding up say “Charlie Likes This”. I am not altogether sure who Charlie is, but I am grateful for their votes of confidence.)

Blueglass show their "Likes" for the new Majestic enhancements by waving banners

 

The conference has taken place in an Air Conditioned tent next to the hotel pool! The weather, though, has been far from perfect, with the rain coming down – but at least this kept the sold out group in the tent rather than in the pool I guess.

The speakers have been really insightful and I hope to blog some of their thoughts over on Receptional. Some of the content, though, has been listed as “not for public consumption”.

Some Conference Discounts

I am at a few conferences in the US over the next few months, so I asked the organisers if there were any discount codes. Take them quick, as they may not last forever. Certainly, the Pubcon one expires in less than a month.

Search Exchange: 3-5 Oct, Charlotte, NC, USA. Get US$250 off with this: “majesticnews”

eMetrics: 18-20 Oct. and IMC: 19-21 Oct. New York, USA. Again, use this: “MAJNY1115”. (sorry – I don’t know what the discount amount is)

Pubcon: 7-10 Nov, Nevada, USA. Get 20% off before 15th October using “ex-4565120”.

If you are coming to any of these events, let me know. Maybe a beer?

Out and about – places to find Internet Marketing types socially

If you are an Internet Marketer who does not get much chance to meet other like minded people, you are missing out. There are plenty of places to meet up socially and with more of a business agenda. You’ll often find some pretty well known people at these kinds of events.

Here re a short list of events – most of which I’ll be at – which are available to you over the next few months. They range from the “I’ll need to check my bank balance” to free. Hope to see you at one?

Thinkvisibility 4th September in Leeds. This is clever. It’s on a Saturday. That’s because plenty of the audience are only part time blogging or “dabbling” with websites and have another job during the week. Don’t be fooled though… some of these guys turn up in rather nice cars!

Re:Fresh £195 (but look out for discount codes) London. This is one I haven’t been to before – but the speaker list looks pretty nop notch. John Straw from Influence Finder is on the Keynote – which works for me!

London Blogger Meetup – September 14th. Free in London. You can’t argue with the price – but when I looked there’s only 20 places left, so do go and sign up. It’s usually a talk in a pub, followed by drinks in a pub. We’re thinking of buying the drinks at one of these events, so I’m going to pop in and have a chat with the organizers.

Social Media Advertising day. 20th September in London. £149. This one is a bit more heavy duty – but I would imagine taht there will be some useful information and some great contacts to be had. I’m sadly at another event in Bormingham that day, but by colleague Alan McIvor will be going along to pick up all the tips and tricks.

A4U Conference and Expo 12th-13th October. This one is the “big” event as it runs over two days and is usually chocablock with parties. I recommend the party the night BEFORE the event if you get the chance. The cost is going up, and the hotels at London’s Excel aren’t cheap though. But fear not… I happen to be speaking at this one, so use my discount code “SPKLON50″ to get £50 off or just go to the Expo, rather than the full conference and then slip into a party after hours.

There. That’s your diary sorted for six week. After that, I’m off to Vegas.

What was your speaker rating?

How did you fare on your last speaking gig? Here’s the feedback I got.

When I speak at SES I get rated by the audience. Always scary. Here are my scores for my presentations at SES in San Jose a few weeks ago. I spoke on two sessions:

Session: SEO Through Blogs & Feeds

Session Score: 4.11
Speaking Score: 4.12

Session: Beyond Googling: Where Will Your Customers Be Searching in Five Years?

Session Score: 3.55
Speaking Score: 3.80

I did check… the scores are out of 5, not 10!

I do agree with the audience. I think “SEO Through Blogs and Feeds” offered real, practical ideas that people can take back to their businesses. “Beyond Google” is – by its nature – a little bit of crystal ball gazing. Interesting, but less readily affecting the bottom line.

My next presentations are:

I am also running an intensive training day in London at the end of October, with Andy Atkins-kruger from Webcertain.  Not sure if this is public yet, but it is looking like a pretty decent organic SEO training day if you want to get to the heart of your SEO issues.

Landing Page Testing

A couple of experts at a conference in Dublin put together a compelling case for multivariate landing page testing. If you don’t have someone doing landing page testing for you, then it’s pretty clear that even smaller companies are losing out on getting to grips with your website users.

My company, Receptional Internet Marketing are now making use of a new Google product called Website Optimizer. I am at a conference in Dublin where Jon Myers and Russell Sutton from Conversion Works are talking about landing page optimization.

I know that Russell is one of the few Google Optimizer professionals in the country (we have Nick Gaunt at Receptional) but up first was Jon Myers who is from Mediavest. Like Receptional, Mediavest is a Google Certified Adwords company. Their presentations give a compelling case for using this technology.

Jon talked a little about Website Optimiser, but then really started to concentrate on the “quality score” metric in Google Adwords. He pointed out the need to ensure that the quality score of your advert is “good” or “great”.

To improve your Adwords campaign, you can test different landing pages for your adverts. Within the Google Adwords system, you can set Google up to alternately send traffic to first the home page and then alternately the product specific page, for example, and Google helps to tell you which page engages the user better and – assuming you have conversion tracking set up in Adwords – you can work out which page generates a higher return on investment.

Jon also noted a few other tools. www.usertesting.com was recommended as well as a particular favourite of Receptional – crazyegg.com. Jon also noted that www.conversion-rates-expert.com has all the decent  free tools listed in one place for conversion and landing page testing.

Jon than went on to the main course – A:B Testing and Multivariate testing and used a case study  of Skype, who tested three different layouts for their “buy” page (which is pretty close to their home page). Using Google’s website Optimizer, they were able to randomize the three variants for the users and track the orders and revenues generated from the three layouts. The audience were asked to guess which page worked best… and most got it wrong.

Jon showed some nice screenshots from  Website optimizer that showed how you can easily drill down and understand the effects of what you test, but did warn about the issues of some mathematical principals surrounding test using limited amounts of data.

Jon feels times are changing and that the marketer is really starting to get in control of the message from search, but you only have 1.8 seconds to attract your user from search these days. This means that you now need to start treating Google itself as a landing page. Local business listings in Google can have phone numbers ON the Google results, for example, meaning that  now your customer doesn’t even have to come to your wesbite to convert.

As an aside to Jon’s presentation, Receptional have a number of technologies that allow us to track users by ohone number – one of which can even tie phone numbers into Google Analytics results.

Russell came on next. His business really only concentrates on conversions, not traffic generation. He started by asking the question: “What’s in it for you”? and said that it is all about outcomes – in terms of money or actions or market share or any other chosen metric. Knowing what you want to get “more of” is key to knowing what to test.

Russel; says that when you know what you want more of, you then need to use analytics to find the pain. (Receptional has Google analytics and Yahoo analytics expertise in-house). He took an example from Google analytics which clearly showed two pages that had a much higer bounce rate on a site than any other and chose these to start testing variations. He pointed out that the higher the traffic to those pages, the more the pain for your business.

He recommended starting with a super small test to get used to the Google Website Optimiser technology. You then need a hypothesis of why you think a particular page may be broken. You then should be bold – try some  changes that look really different and test the outcomes.

Russell used a courier company case study. The home page had a huge bounce rate and their hypothesis was that the “get a quote” button was tiny. They then came up with 8 variations on a theme – not just one.  Again – the audience was asked which variation worked best. It turned out again that we all guessed wrong.

The winning result increased the click through to the quote page by 101%.

Russell and Jon’s presentations – together with Receptional’s own experiences – show that Google optimizer can make an incredible difference to your buttom line. The maths is compelling. At Recetional, Nick Gaunt has taken on this specialism and has taken the Google website optimizer exams. If you would like to contact him, you can do so via www.receptional.com/contact .

 

Best Search Conferences for Speakers

I have been to many conferences on search over the years. If you are – or want to be – on the speaker circuit, here’s my pick of the best.

Over the last 10 years I have thoroughly enjoyed speaking at conferences around the world. My first real out of the UK speaking gig was in Vancouver. It was great. I took the chance to ski down Blackcombe Mountain and see Vancouver Island. I haven’t been to that one for a long time though – so I don’t know how it fairs. If you are trying to get onto the speaker circuit, some conferences are better than others. Here are my fabourites:

No 6: SMX Sweden. This is a lovely conference. I enjoyed it when it was SES driven and I am still enjoying it now. Mostly for the conference food, which is the best I have had consistently. I always feel saddened when I bust a gut to do a presentation because I know the audience paid a lot… then the audience sits down to eat a sandwich from a box. Not in Stockholm though!

No 5. Affiliates4U Amsterdam. To be fair, this conference hasn’t even happened yet, but having seen just how professionally run A4U was run at London Excel (which doesn’t make my list due to the location), this looks to be a great show for speakers. 

No. 4: SMX Advanced[Edit-add: The one in Seattle] As a speaker in pure business terms, this must be seen as a pinnacle. I have to be honest – I’ve not been a speaker here. It’s a conference where everyone in the room seems to have been a speaker at some conference or other… so getting a speaking gig here is a bit rarer than some others.

No. 3: Pubcon, Las Vegas. I like the diversity of speakers, attendees and sponsors here. Some people think that this conference was for “mom and pop” companies but they really should have gone to the last few. After one talk I did, the people that came up to ask questions and shake my hands included Facebook and Ebay. It’s also in Las Vegas… if you like that sort of thing…

No. 2: SES San Jose. It’s huge… and it’s really nice and warm. For a Brit, we are not used to either. The hotels have massive pools and the whole town seems to be connected to WiFi. You also get to go to the Google Dance… although I have heard that may be coming to an end 🙁

No. 1: RIMC in Iceland. You just cannot beat this conference as a speaker. I have gone twice and I have been taken to Hot sulpher baths, Massive Ice-covered waterfalls and Geysirs. I’ve been to Viking villages and eaten everything from Argentinian steak to rotting fish. The rotting fish was voluntary. It is THE event that speakers go for not as a means to an end, but as an end in itself.

Tata for now.

Dixon.

Web Design Contest Winner

I was very impressed with the way in which 99designs gve me over 50 different “look and feel” designs for my blog. If you want a decent designer, here are many!

After receiving over 50 entries, I have chosen a winner for the new look and feel to my website. Congratulaions To Malique for this winning design.

Malique’s design won for the following reasons:

  1. Great calls to action
  2. He kept to the brief very well
  3. He showed me the internal pages, not just the home page
  4. He cleverly blended in my company colours without making it obvious

The while experience of using 99designs was great too. You set out the design spec as a contest and let the designers run wild. The interface is very intuitive for me and the Intellectual Property gets properly handed over at the end. On the down side, you have to commit to a prize, regardless of the quality of the entries – but there were many entries and if Malique hadn’t been in the batch, others woud have won and I would still have been happy.

The other finalists (who deserve the “nod” after all their hard work) were:

Runner Up: Hammer aka Luis Fok 

Finalists: 

Webcosy

Ritesh

Cyrixian

Authenticstyle

GoldenPearl

Gdesigns

Crearc

Ckolic

There was also another very close contender, but he has withdrawn his design, presumably for use another day. You can see most of the contestant entries here.