digital marketing, experience, automation, developer

6 months between posts – use-case thoughts

There I was showing a co-worker my “wordpress” site. I was learning the core differences between Drupal and WordPress. Besides the obvious difference – one is for building sites one is for writing inane posts… like this.

So where does a corporate site go for it’s cms-light site? Drupal gives you a site, but not much social savviness. WordPress gives you the blog with addtional pages. Both setups still need a solid creative and development effort to bring the site to life. It’s not until post-launch that the client get’s to update content. Even then, the agency needs to provide the top 3-5 use-case scenarios for the client.

Each use-case gives the client a roadmap to their top site-updating needs. And it allows the development team to polish up those sections and make them as user-friendly as possible.

It’s refreshing being able to apply basic UX principles to projects. And make site updates palatable for the client.

I may have to break down and build a fan page on facebook

Yes folks, i admit it. I don’t have a fan page for madtm. Quite honestly I’m not sure what value it would bring. I’ve read several posts on b2b companies profiting from their facebook fan pages, like this article on mashable. And b2c especially CPG’s must build a fan page, if they haven’t already.

So what does a freelancer, with a full-time job need with a fan page? I tweet, or more like, I RT all day long. I find this a great way to learn and swap information with other geeks. Then there is this blog. I send a tweet about any blog post. Maybe it’s time I publish them on a fan page as well. Hmm…, I think i’m catching on to this Facebook fan page trend after all.

Stay tuned!

twitter rhymes with litter

I recently noticed that twitter rhymes with litter. Random observation. Or is it. They’re both everywhere. You see people posting what amounts to junk. I myself am guilty of it.

That’s why i’m writing this post. I checked in on my blog and noticed that it was collecting daily roundups of all my @madtm tweets. I was embarrassed to say the least. I felt as though I walked into my backyard and saw several piles of leaves. Piles that I swept up weeks ago and never did anything with. They just lay there taking space. I even perused the piles of daily tweets and wondered what i had said to who and why.

Now let me get one thing clear, i enjoy using twitter. I have two accounts, one for my personal thoughts and one for my professional ones. I also maintain several client twitter accounts to make sure they stay up-to-date and bot-free. It’s a useful tool especially for my clients. They combine their website, facebook fan page, twitter account, and blog into a roundhouse punch of media exposure. And I make sure they do it right.

twitter digests look like layers in a landfillSo why litter? Well, did i mention bots. It’s a 4-letter word, especially when you’re caught doing it. My daily digest of tweets stacked one on top of the other for the days i didn’t update my blog.

They offer no insight. Visually, stacked on top of each other, they look like code. A bunch of random words mixed into a stew of RT, #, @, d,, yfrog.

So i’ll turn off my own bots, and reclaim my blogosphere from my twittosphere. It’s interesting to learn something new. And it’s a bit embarrassing to be caught doing something that you despise, even if it was on accident.

In the meantime i’ll sweep up these piles of daily tweet digests.

60′s sportscars, Speed Racer, and the ultimate shape

coolest car

childhood car still makes me go wow

I’ve spent 30-some years going from school, to college, to work, and work and work. During those years I’ve always found one thing that instantly sends me back to childhood – a 60′s sportscar. There’s a few that pull my strings; Porshce, Jaguar, some MG’s. But they all remind me of the spinning wheel background and the title “Speed Racer” zooming into the screen.

Why cars? Maybe because i’m a boy. Why cars shaped liked rockets? again – i’m a boy. I’m sure there’s a M.I.T. or D.A.A.P. class offering a metaphysical explanation to my fascination.

Muscle cars, or monster trucks don’t do it for me. And watching racing? The bug never did bite. Myself, I own a pre-2000 Toyota 4runner. So the 60′s sportscar style never came to fruition for me. Nor would i want one, to be completely honest.

But when a friend of mine posts a tweet about the 1967 Porsche 910 Spyder Coupe… (Speed Racer them music begins) I see the wheel, and the title, and am transfixed to screen for at least 20 seconds.

Google Website Optimizer

Google Optimizer Code – or How I learned to survive the “test”
I was fortunate enough to have a client in need of comparing two callouts on one page. Like most clients, they use Google Analytics. They wanted to run the Google Optimizer tool on a couple pages. This is also supposed to enhance SEO performance.

Initially they wanted to try two different layouts of one page. So we ran a simple A/B variable test. After running the test live, they found that users interacted with option B almost twice as much as A. These were great results.

Developing and refining the code was not so simple. There are several forums out there that helped me determine the correct way to implement the test. There are at least 4 different ways to integrate the optimizer code into the existing GA tags. Each integration depends upon how the tags are included on the page – SSI’s, hard-coded – and the type of server – apache, jsp, .Net.

Google provides a “testing” page to check your code. It has to pass the test in order to be recognized by Google. I finally finagled the code into the existing GA tags. And it passed the Optimizer testing page.

The client was happy and now wanted more testing. This time they wanted to see compare callouts on one page. In other words, 1/2 the users would see callout A on page 1 the other half would see callout B also on page 1. Now I really had to flex some code muscle.

I built the two versions and ran them through the Optimizer test page. After several modifications, I still couldn’t get a “pass”. So I had to delve into the world of “multivariate” testing.

I’ll save the gory details, and just say that it took a good week of development to successfully build the pages. I think i held a small party when the Optimizer test gave me a “pass”.

The client could see click-thru rates on the same add with different wording. A very granular test with amazing results. Who knew that a couple words could change a buyers’ mind so drastically.

After surviving such a code-intensive workout, I kept all the clips, bookmarks, and trial code for future use.

If another client decides to test, I’ll be ready. Let’s just say, it wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

I would like to add that other sites use the A/B testing as well. Just saw this note from Nieman Lab about how the Huffington Post uses A/B testing for their headlines. Pretty cool stuff. Then again Nieman Labs is just plain amazing!