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Monthly Archives: December 2010

Understanding Facebook Groups

When Paul Adams, a senior user experience researcher at Google, announced on Monday he was joining Facebook, it probably came as no surprise to those who have viewed his Slideshare presentation (below) more than 400,000 times.

The presentation was a foreshadowing of Facebook’s Groups and outlines the way forward for online communities to better reflect the realities of life offline.

It’s a looooooooong presentation but it’s a quick read.  Does that makes sense? If you are at all interested in getting a firmer grasp on social media and drilling down into why Facebook Groups make sense, this is well worth your time.

Alexa Rankings and Your Small Business Website

AlexaIf you are going to invest the time and money into building a decent website for your small business, then it makes sense to monitor its performance.

Even if the tools you use are not perfect.

Alexa is Amazon’s web site traffic ranking tool and while it is debatable how truly useful its insights are, people pay attention to it.

Alexa ranks the traffic of a website and is based on three months of historical data collected from users of the Alexa Toolbar.  So unless a visitor to your site has the Alexa Toolbar downloaded, they will not count in your ranking.  And who tends to have the toolbar? Internet marketers mostly and webmasters.  Techies don’t really care for it as they see it as a kind of spying and a bit outdated.

You can also check out Compete and Quantcast as alternatives.  Compete gets positive reviews while Quantcast attempts to combine various data sources to get at their rankings which includes demographic information.

At the end of the day you can’t go wrong just using Google Analytics.

But while you can see what your competition is doing with the others, Google Analytics is for your eyes only.

What I find is that Google Analytics works great for most small business websites and if you combine that with the Google Chrome SEO toolbar, you’ll be able to see how well your competition is doing too.

10 Things Web Designers and Marketing Consultants Can Not Do

Work for free

Make you tea

Read your mind

Find the time

Meet you now

Show you how

Please your spouse

Clean your house

Talk all day

Make everything and I mean EVERYTHING ok.

By |December 17th, 2010|misc|5 Comments

Should You Climb on the Groupon Bandwagon?

GrouponThe success of Groupon is staggering.  40 million subscribers in 150 cities around the world.  From startup in 2008 to the recent offer price of $6 billion by Google.  It’s no wonder that Forbes declared Groupon as the fastest growing company ever.

The PR message they push is that they care deeply about two things:

a) giving people a new reason to rediscover or be introduced to interesting local vendors

b) helping small businesses

In fact, if you caught the ever eccentric, never-a-dull-moment Andrew Mason (Groupon CEO) on Charlie Rose recently, he flat out stated the Groupon was “a savior for small business”.

This is chutzpah and quite likely a sort of unspoken mission statement for the 3,000 Groupon employees, many of whom are cutting deals with local small businesses every day.

But let’s be honest.  You don’t get to $500 million in revenue in two years without a pretty healthy focus on making yourself a truckload of money.

In fact, one of Groupon’s founders Eric Lefkofsky, states on his blog that “for most people who are interested in business or attend business school, the primary motivation is simple – to get rich.”

And even though Groupon is “get rich quick” for it’s founders, they sort of stumbled onto the “quick” part and it’s not a fad.

Groupon is not going away.

So what is a small business to do?

First you’ll have to get in line.  Some cities have a six month waiting list.

Then, once you get over the intoxication of the new car smell, just know that you are dealing with some pretty savvy characters and it’s caveat emptor all the way.

Results for small business have been mixed.  Entrepreneur has an article about that here.

A general rule of thumb seems to be that if you have a service business you are more likely to end up on the net positive side of the ledger than if you have a product-based business.

This is because you split revenue 50/50 with Groupon.  And because Groupon encourages offers that are at least 50% off.  And we all know that margins are bigger in service businesses.

Groupon also runs the transaction so you can guess who gets paid first. So they have no receivables and they get to manage the float which brings them more revenue.

Groupon is smart and backed by smart money.  There is nothing else out there right now that has the potential to turn on a firehose of customers like they can. You just need to negotiate yourself a good deal if you decide to use their service.

PS: Another great local service that is similar but has a philanthropic bent is DealGooder.  We wrote about them recently.

DIY Themes on Small Business Website Best Practices

Thesis

This blog runs on the WordPress platform with the incredible, amazing, SEO blazing Thesis theme.

And that means that we subscribe to their blog over at DIY Themes.

And today they posted a great article on small business website best practices.

It was written by Chris Johnson who runs Flat Rate Biz, a company that “specializes in low-cost, highly effective websites that include coaching, support and training.”

Chris Johnson of Flat Rate Biz

We thought we would share it with you because it is so spot on in terms of what small businesses should really be doing online.

You can read it here.

Getting the Gist of Gist


So Gist looks pretty cool. I am just starting to play around with it and it as an extension to my Chrome browser. It basically pulls in social information to your gmail acccount.