I’ve been thinking about the state of this blog for the last several weeks. I upgraded my virtual server and had the opportunity to bring over the blog and associated software dependencies and data. When I first started this blog it actually had a fair bit of traffic on several of the posts that had information relevant enough for enough developers. That was the intent. Find something interesting while developing software, write a bit about it.
Then sites like Stack Overflow started coming online. I remember when one of my blog posts was linked to by an answer on Stack Overflow and my traffic for that blog post spiked. Since then, I, like many others, have created profiles on the various Stack* sites and probably am more likely to answer a question on there instead of take the time to write up a blog post on something.
Anyway, just some random thoughts. Perhaps I’ll think of a new direction to take this blog.
read more | digg story
Here is another article from Digg.com highlighting some effective web design techniques. I’m stockpiling these for the next time I have a new project that requires a new face. This one is particularly informative since it gives examples at the beginning of how users use the web and then shows how you can take advantage of that. From the article:
Since the visitor of the page is the only person who clicks the mouse and therefore decides everything, user-centric design has established as a standard approach for successful and profit-oriented web design. In order to use the principles properly we first need to understand how users interact with web-sites, and how they think.
read more | digg story
I decided to make a blog entry for this so I can come back again and review it later. I fall exactly into the category of “developers creating websites”. Luckily, most of the work I do, at least professionally, has someone else to be in charge of how it looks! I found the tips mentioned here very useful however.
From the article:
An excellent website takes a particularly savvy blend of both great design and great code. Because of this, you often find designers having to figure out code and developers trying their hand at design. Speaking as a developer who spent his university years studying among other developers, I can safely say that programmers are not designers.
read more | digg story
So what is all this RSS hype? I’ve known about RSS feeds, what they are for, and how to use them for quite a while. It’s not like they are new or anything! It wasn’t until recently that I started to actually use them though. I didn’t know what I was missing. RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication”. You can read a whole definition for RSS here. Basically, an RSS feed allows you to easily keep yourself up to date with the publisher of the feed.
There are all kinds of interesting feeds available. Instead of checking a favorite blog for instance, you can subscribe to their RSS feed and go back when new content is available. There are feeds for Podcasts, products, and there is even a feed available for letting you know which stores have the Nintendo Wii in stock.
I decided to list here a few ways that I’m using and enjoying RSS feeds. Continue reading “A Few Cool Ways To Use RSS Feeds”
There are a few key statistics that every website operator selling a product or service should track. Of course, these are useful for other types of sites too, but when you’re attempting to sell something, you need to know where to spend your time and/or money to be most effective.
Unique vs New Vistors
A lot of website statistics software, e.g. Awstats, Webalizer, will tell you how many unique visitors you have each day. These are important numbers, but you don’t get a good picture from day to day of how many of those users are new, i.e. how many of those users have visited your site on a previous occasion.
New Visitors are certainly a part of the unique visits, but you have to track them separately. Why? This number gives you insight into how many people your marketing effort is driving to your site. If you have 100 unique visitors each day but only 100 unique visitors for the month, you have a pretty good retention rate on your visitors but certainly not a very good acquisition rate.
One way to track new visitors programmatically is to test for and set a cookie upon a visit. If you have the capability of doing this, and then storing a record each time you set a new cookie, you’ll be able to watch your acquisition rate from day to day. Another alternative would be to find a 3rd party service, e.g. Google Analytics, that provide you with code to place on your page.
Acquisition vs Conversion
Once you have the number of new visitors, you can start to form statistics based on that number that provide insight into the effectiveness of your site. The number of new visitors that purchase a product for the 1st time give you a conversion rate. These two numbers together can provide insight into where promotion money will be most effective.
- Increasing Traffic
There are a number of different ways one could spend marketing dollars to attract new visitors. Assuming that your conversion rate holds fairly consistent, more users ought to translate into more conversions. If you have a pretty good conversion rate, spending money on driving more traffic to your site could be the way to go.
- Increasing the conversion rate
If you are getting a pretty good number of new visitors, but your conversion rate isn’t very good, driving more users to the site might not translate into more profit. In this case, it may be best to evaluate how effective your website is at selling your product.