Here’s what I learnt online businesses need to be doing this year:
- Iterate. Listen to your customers, watch your analytics, learn what needs improving and optimise like a crazy person. The website that is most agile will win.
- Don’t be late to the mobile party, be early. How does your online audience want to engage your business via mobile? Does that exist? Is there a business case for it?
- Be wary of “gut feel” or “I just know” interpretations of data by your staff or your third-party providers. Expect empirical evidence that backs up that gut feel.
- “If you review the first version of your site & don’t feel embarrassed, you spent too long on it” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn.com
For Barack Obama’s US presidential campaign, his online team were tracking how dollars spent on online ads were turning into dollars received via fundraising. If a campaign that complex can achieve it, no-one has an excuse for not knowing their ROI from online spend.
- Jeff Attwood’s description of social software was very good: “tiny slices of frictionless effort, spread across an online community”. A good reminder that to leverage user-generated content you need your users to want to contribute and make it super-easy to do so.
- I thought Daniel Burka’s recommendation that “subtraction is iteration too” was a good reminder. Don’t be afraid to subtract.
Source: Things I learnt at Webstock 2010
In June 2008, roughly around the time when Google made Trends for Websites available, I wrote a post about some sites & their trends. Mainly just trends I found interesting. It’s now June 2009 so I thought it would be fun to revisit the same graphs.
This time I’ve limited the graphs to ‘last 12 months’ as opposed to all-time.
ALL GLOBAL TRAFFIC: The rise & rise of Facebook
I’ve put Twitter in there just for fun. I wonder though if Google can’t see all the Twitter ‘views’ that occur on feed readers, iPhones, smartphones, etc.
NZ TRAFFIC ONLY: Bebo hangs in there
I am actually surprised Bebo isn’t showing more of a decline. I suppose it’s that tween/teen demographic I kind of don’t really care about (sorry!)
It’s tight in E-Commerce
I get to answer my question! We might assume Ferrit’s sale didn’t help because Ferrit is now gone. I think their press release at the time was a combination of “this idea was ahead of it’s time” & “we’ve moved online business in New Zealand forward with Ferrit”. It just sounded hollow. What is that analogous to? The Titanic? The Hindenburg? Thanks for coming Ferrit.
What is that thing they say about slow-moving giants?
I actually find this the most interesting graph. Compare it with a year ago. For TradeMe, let’s call that roughly a 15% decrease in traffic on the average in 2008. Still, I don’t think anyone would be predicting their traffic to drop off over the next 12 months.
The irrelevance of Slashdot
As noted by John Gruber. People are obviously still visiting Slashdot but it is a shadow of its former self. I think it needs editors choosing & writing up its news rather than republishing user submissions.
Google Trends for Websites is an approximation of the amount of traffic Google thinks your site is getting. So while not 100% accurate, it provides some interesting insights.
The rise of Facebook
But for NZ traffic only, it’s all about Bebo
Ferrit’s sale is seemingly helping their traffic (but is it helping their bottom line?)
TradeMe is bigger than the internet
This is TradeMe compared with some signicant international sites. And it dwarfs them.
The fall of Slashdot
Where I live we get our broadband via Xtra who are probably New Zealand’s largest ISP. In the past three or four weeks we have noticed problems downloading large compressed files. This started with trying to download the EVE client and later just trying to download and run any large compressed files: .zip, .exe, .rar. The downloaded executables would display “missing files” or “corrupt file” errors or, for archive files, would get CRC errors.
We’ve progressed from testing the local network and the router for connection problems to today when I came across a couple of forum posts that suggest the problem may lie further upstream with Xtra: Corrupted compressed files, Completely different problem with Go Large Plan.
The Xtra Help Desk guy I spoke to hadn’t heard of any similar complaints so the problem may yet lie with our hardware here or our phone line. I’ll update this post if I learn more.
This morning we confirmed the issue can affect compressed files as small as 10MB or 15MB. Large files are more guaranteed of having missing parts of files because of the longer download time.
We’ve tested the connection with a different router and the problem is stilling occurring which suggests the issue is either with our phone line or Xtra. I spoke with the same Xtra Help Desk guy and although he didn’t know what is causing the problem, he says the problem is with Xtra and they are working to identify the cause and fix it.
And via Hard News, it looks like there are a bunch of problems over at Xtra at the moment:
Meanwhile, PA reader Janet Digby reports that Telecom is now trying to switch people back from the new accounts it is marketing:
“You are probably aware of this, but there some Xtra customers are experiencing major delays with mail sent through Xtra.
Some mails were delayed up to 8 hours yesterday and some are yet to arrive.
While all this was happening I had an odd call from Xtra asking whether I would like to change plans – from Go Large to one with a data cap. The person calling seemed unable to answer even basic questions including why I would change to a plan with a data cap – except to say that there was less ‘interference’ with the plan she was suggesting. When I commented that all plans were supposed to be max speed she seemed confused regarding her mission.
Perhaps they are trying to encourage customers to pull back as their system can’t handle the additional traffic resulting from their new plans.
Customer service acknowledge they are having problems (I understand some people can’t get on to their broadband connection too) I asked why these issues weren’t listed on their website and he didn’t know.
To top it all off – their phone system is on the blink and the opening recording tells you that you might get cut off – which I did, twice!“
(Last updated: 2nd December 2006)