Archive for the 'online presence' Category

21
Aug
07

The pitfalls of sending out newsletters

Jakob Nielsen has published the results of new eye-tracking studies along with a component based on people’s use of newsletters. Some of the results, such as the fact that newsletters have such a positive emotional aspect that they can create much more of a bond between user and company than a website can, are good news if you happen to have a website with a large subscriber base. The rider to this result is that a poorly presented newsletter can have a more damaging impact on a company’s relationship with a consumer than a bad Web site.

Other statistics such as users spending 51 seconds reading the average newsletter, are less helpful. 51 Seconds basically means that if your newsletter is going to survive to inbox wars then you are going to need world class layouts and writing. Averaged across the study, newsletters lost 19% of potential subscribers due to usability difficulties in their subscription processes and designs. People often stay subscribed to newsletters they don’t want, so the unsubscribe process is also worth improving.

To my mind, newsletters have to be slick, easy to navigate and grab my attention straight away. Even if they happen to be free, at 400+ emails a day, a newsletter is easily lost in the clutter. The solution? A short subject line, pointing out the benefits of my reading the newsletter and it better be relevant to me.

In essence newsletters should be designed as time savers by pinpointing specific content or providing shortcuts to larger amounts of information. Therefore, newsletters should be conducive to scanning. In the study, 23% of the newsletters were read thoroughly, 50% were skimmed or partly read, and the remaining 27% were never opened.

12
Aug
07

Open Source Content Management Systems

It seems that these days we spend most of our time at the office, installing and trying out new content management systems or blog systems. Figuring out which would be easier and more intuitive for our clients to work with, or which open source version would work as a base framework for one of our projects.

We recently found OpenSourceCMS.com, this website gives you an opportunity to try out different content management systems of different types before you install them on your own server. It’s not always easy seeing what a content management system might be like by looking at a demo or even having a scan through the code. Its always useful to be able to dig in and just start working with it and see what it can do and how easy it is to do it.

They have quite a few portals, blogs, ecommerce applications, wikis, forums, and even elearning systems, in fact pretty much most things you’d want to be able to test out before installing. The best part is that you can log in as an administrator, and make as many changes as you want to the content. Every four hours, they clean out the database and install a new version, so there is always a clean version for you to fiddle about with.

If you’re a business owner or web developer who has worked on web sites, but never gotten around to using a content management system before, this is a great place to learn about them.

11
Aug
07

Ten Reasons Why You Need A Website

A lot of new businesses are asking themselves why they should have a website, it’s a good starting point to understanding what the goals of your website should be. These goals can range for example from getting prospective customers to download a brochure for your services to getting those who might be interested in your field to sign up for a newsletter service. So to kick off this blog we’ve decided to start with a Ten Reasons Why You Need A Website post. Add yours in the comments section.

  • A website makes it easy for people to get your contact details without having to drag out the phone book or look for your business card
  • It acts as a proxy for you when your customers, clients and associates are looking for information and you’re trying to get in a bit of time with your friends and family
  • Because there’s never enough room on a business card to answer all the questions that someone may need to ask you at 10pm
  • Because there are only so many times that you can answer the same questions, like how long you have been in business and what your hourly rates are
  • Because some people prefer to send emails to the address that they find there, rather than picking up the phone
  • Allows you to connect and have one-on-one conversations with many different people. Some of whom are prospective clients
  • Carries your voice around the world, and you never know from which country the next big opportunity is going to come from
  • Lets you let friends and business partners know what is going on in your world
  • Enables you to share your expertise and experience in your field
  • Gives you an opportunity to give your business presentation a personal touch

Got another reason? Add it to the comments section.