BBC Homepage: Clock

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Ed’s intro (PM): Last month Jo Wickremasinghe, the Head of Homepage and Syndication Services, blogged about the new BBC homepage which had just launched in beta. A number of you lamented what appeared to be the demise of the much loved clock on the homepage. This one’s for you:

Good news! The clock has returned to the BBC Homepage.

clock.png

When we launched the Beta Homepage we received feedback from a number of you who missed the clock, so we’ve turned it into a module allowing you to position the clock where you want it on the page (or shrink it or remove it altogether). It continues as before to show your computer’s local time and date.

Read the rest of BBC Homepage: Clock and leave your comments on the Web Developer blog.

April 30th 2010 News

David Byrne is angry with me

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I recently bumped into David (he of Talking Heads fame) at a conference. Our paths have crossed before, we share a few friends, I’m a big fan and he uses permission marketing to sell his records now. I said “hi.”

David’s eyes flashed, he turned his shoulders, muttered something and rushed away.

What did I say? What did I do? Why he is upset with me?

Of course, David Byrne isn’t angry with me. David Byrne doesn’t even remember who I am. In fact, David Byrne was busy, or late, or trying to figure out where he was supposed to go next. The last thing he wanted to do was patiently spend a few minutes figuring out who I was and then a few more minutes making promises he wouldn’t be able to keep.

The next time you’re sure someone is angry with you, perhaps it’s worth considering that you might be mistaken. Perhaps that customer or prospect or boss has better things to do than being angry with you. Each of us has a huge agenda, and while it’s comforting for some to jump to the conclusion that we’ve offended, it’s far more likely that the person you’re talking with merely has something else going on.

In a digital age, our cues for social or marketing missteps might be mistuned. Sometimes, believe it or not, it’s not (always) about us. (On the other hand, and just as often, people are annoyed and don’t have a clue…)

April 30th 2010 News

Yoast: WordPress-to-Lead for Salesforce CRM

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Lorna Li, an Online Marketing Manager at Salesforce.com reached out to me on a definitive list of must-have WordPress plugins for her green marketing blog and other websites she was working on. During our conversation about the world of WordPress plugins, I thought, wouldn’t it be great to have a contact form builder that captures leads and delivers them directly into Salesforce CRM?

At OrangeValley, we’re avid users of Salesforce CRM. We tend to use it most for lead tracking, and until a few weeks ago, we had this really weird workflow: we’d let people enter their credentials in web forms, which would then turn into emails, after which we’d copy paste the contents of those emails into Salesforce. So we decided there should be a better way of doing this, thus, WordPress-to-Lead was born.

From Lorna’s perspective, WordPress-to-Lead is great contact form solution for all the small business owners who use WordPress as their CMS. WordPress plugin installation and activation is relatively simple, for many low tech people, way simpler than cutting and pasting the right code in the right location, which is the current way you would add a Salesforce integrated web lead form to your site. However, other contact form plugins for WordPress route lead information into your email inbox, where they can get buried, and not to a CRM system, which is a far better way of managing leads and customers. Because the WordPress-to-Lead plugin had the potential to really help their SMB customers, Salesforce.com enthusiastically offered to sponsor the program.

So, we’ve done it: we’ve created a new plugin called WordPress-to-Lead for Salesforce CRM, with an awesome array of options to create and modify your lead form and insert it into your posts & pages or even your sidebar.

Want to see it in action? Check out the cool video Lorna made:

Click here to view the embedded video.

If you’re still stuck, like we were, getting leads through email and are having issues following up and taking care of those leads correctly, this could very well be the solution you need.

How WordPress-to-Lead works

If you are already a Salesforce CRM user, just follow these easy steps:

  1. Download, install and activate the WordPress-to-Lead for Salesforce CRM plugin (just search for Salesforce in your WordPress Admin Plugin Install panel, or on wordpress.org.
  2. You go into your Salesforce account and find your Salesforce.com Organization ID (you’ll find it under: Setup » Company Profile » Company Information). You enter that ID into the WordPress-to-Lead admin panel.
  3. Configure your contact form the way you want it and insert it, either into a post or page with a simple shortcode, or into your sidebar using the widget that comes with the plugin.
  4. You’re done. All leads will now flow into your Salesforce.com account.

Not a Salesforce.com Customer?

If you’re not a Salesforce CRM user, be sure to register for a free trial of Salesforce.com for WordPress before downloading the WordPress-to-Lead plugin. Salesforce CRM is a great way to:

  • Track all conversations and interactions
  • Organize your contacts and tasks in a single spot
  • Easily synch with Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo!, and more

Trivia

Is this plugin GPL?

Of course it is!

Did you get paid for building this plugin?

Yes.

Will you be maintaining this pluign?

Yes, feel free to leave all your questions in the support forum.

WordPress-to-Lead for Salesforce CRM is a post from Joost de Valk‘s Yoast – Tweaking Websites.A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don’t want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!

April 30th 2010 wordpress

Part 2: More Blogging Results: Reaching Your Conversion Goals

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By Alice Seba

In part 1, we talked about knowing the traffic and conversion purposes of your blog posts. Both are important, but it might be time to start taking a practical look at things. It’ll save you plenty of hard work and help you get a lot more out of the work you put into your blog.

If you’ve been putting most of your focus into traffic, let’s step back and worry about it less and focus on getting more RESULTS from the traffic you do have.

Because let’s get serious, big traffic can come with its share of big headaches. More email and comments to manage. Readers who have unrealistic feelings of entitlement and can suck your energy dry. See you don’t need a ton of raving fans, you just need some dedicated consumers who love to spend their money buying your stuff. Theyíre two completely different things. Don’t mistake popularity for profitability.

Here are a few tips to help you increase your conversions.

1. Know Your Conversion Purpose: Once you know the reason why for your post, create your post within that frame. That includes:

– The title
– Topic
– Angle/Opinion

That doesn’t mean title your blog post “Buy Hamster Wheels” Here and say, I think you should buy a hamster wheel because Not at all, you can be informative while you sell.

Choose a title, topic and angle/opinion that would be of interest to someone who would sign up for your mailing list or would buy the product you are promoting.

For example, if you’re selling an info product about flat abs, some post titles might be:

– 5 Starter Tips for Flat Abs
– How what you eats affects your abdominal muscles

While you can write on a wide variety of topics, keep it focused when you want to sell a specific product. In this example, you probably wouldn’t write a general weight loss or eating healthy article if you specifically want to sell the flat abs product. You’d probably promote something else that is more fitting.

2. Call-to-Action: If you forget everything else about this blog post, remember this. You have to tell your reader what you want them to do or itís not likely theyíre going to do it. You have to guide your reader to EXACTLY what you want to happen. If you think they should sign up for your newsletter, tell them to do it and give them a good reason why. If you think they should buy a certain product again, tell them to do it and back it up with a good reason why.

Make sure your call-to-action is:

Strategically placed: Don’t simply put your call-to-action at the end of the post as an after-thought, put it into the context of the post wherever it is appropriate. For example, if you’re sharing tips for cleaning silver jewellery make a bulleted list of tips and one of those tips is to use your favourite silver cleaner.

Make it compelling, yet conversational: I know what you’re thinking, you donít want your blog to turn into a sales pitch. It doesn’t have to be. When you believe in the products you sell, it’s a natural fit to your conversations. Think of it as a conversation with friends. You wouldn’t hesitate to recommend and encourage them to buy a product they need.

Repeated: Say it again in future posts. Don’t just mention a product once and expect that to do the trick. Mention your best products and your newsletter frequently whenever itís appropriate to the topic.

A Link is Not a Call-to-Action: Just linking keywords to a product isn’t enough. For example, if you include a link like this:

it is NOT a call-to-action. It’s just you talking about and linking to some shampoo. You can link that way for keyword purposes, but you also need to give your readers a more direct call to action For example, “You can buy it here”, “If you buy it at X, you get a X discount. It’s an amazing deal”.

What About Blog Design?

You can fiddle with the design of your blog, test different ad positions but it usually comes down to your blog post. Keep your overall design simple and add your sign-up box and a compelling reason to subscriber in a prominent place. But calls-to-actions must be in your posts for best results. It’s the area of your blog where your readers are focused (reading your posts) so use that space to your advantage.

Confident for Conversion

– Act like you know what youíre talking about, because seriously, you DO. And if you don’t or your ghostwriters don’t, maybe it’s time to find someone who does or move onto something else.

– Be confident in your writing (see above), but be even more confident in the product recommendations you make.  Think of the recommendations you make to friends and people you talk to in person. You talk about movies, TV shows, stores and special deals and you do it naturally, without even thinking about it.

– Observe other bloggers who sell confidently and informatively. What language do they use? What language do they not use? What are their calls to action?

Be Natural, but Work Toward Being a Naturally Informative Sales Person

You should always be yourself, but continue to stretch your comfort zone. The more you get accustomed to incorporating a call-to-action throughout your work, the more natural it will be for you and for your readers. Get rid of the guilt and hesitation because when you give your readers a call-to-action, you are giving them exactly what theyíre looking for. Whether it’s a subscription to your newsletter for more tips, a product that will help them with what they’re looking for you’re doing your readers a favor.

About the Author: Alice Seba is the creator of Contentrix.com and one of the first to get Ed interested in growing organic search traffic. But what good is the traffic without the conversion? Click here for your free Profit with Content guide.

April 30th 2010 News

Seeking Hosting Advice

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A friend and I have decided to build a web service/site/whatever the kids are calling them these days. A thing on the web to help you out from time to time.

As a result, we’re looking for a web host with great service, reliability, and scalability, and I was curious about your experiences. Here are a few details on what we need:

  • A managed server where patches are applied automatically. Neither of us are Linux experts, and we want something secured for us without us having to worry about whether some patch breaks the system.
  • mySQL with phpMyAdmin. (Don’t judge.)
  • PHP w/cURL, mySQLi, and mCrypt, as well as an editable php.ini file.
  • Apache!
  • Some sort of CVS (Subversion and the like) built in.
  • Bonus: some experience on the hosting side with the ability to escalate to Memcached and other noSQL techniques.

The mySQL and PHP bits are of course incredibly common, but still, no point not mentioning those requirements. In our case, the bigger issue is really “Who can we trust to provide support for what may turn out to be a reasonably large-scale service?” So the features aren’t nearly as important as the reliability and trust.

Thus: what say you, friends? Who rates as a great place to plant a web service seed that could one day grow into a mighty forest? Let me know!

April 30th 2010 News

Google and Microsoft: Signs of Hubris and Signs of Humility

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From my admittedly limited vantage point, I’ve noticed a subtle but significant shift in what’s coming out of the respective campuses of Microsoft and Google. And it’s not so much the innovations, although it certainly resonates there. This has to do with attitude and culture. This is the touchy feely stuff that I chalk up to gut instinct, with no empirical backing. So, take it for what it’s worth, but I will say that my gut has a pretty good track record.

The Age of Cockiness Returns

Google has gone full circle. They started with a cockiness that was understandable, given their immediate success. Google was everyone’s online Golden Child. The founders (from which the brash attitude was inherited) surrounded themselves with an equally cocky, equally audacious group of young geniuses. The collective culture was bold, arrogant and had little patience for the mediocre or mundane. They also had little respect for anything beyond the bounds of “Google-world”. If it wasn’t part of Google, it somehow was less relevant, less valuable and less interesting. This was a company that fully intended to conquer the world, and it seemed that world conquest was within reach. Google was getting their fingers into everything, and it seemed that everything they touched would turn to gold.

Then, 4 or 5 years ago, Google’s attitude changed. They started reaching outside the walls of “Google-world”, sincerely looking to forge relationships with partners. Googlers developed a quieter confidence: less bold, less brash. They actually sought other’s opinions. Now, it appeared that Google might be accepting the fact that conquering the world might be, at a minimum, a collaborative effort.

But in the last year, I’ve seen a return to Google’s original attitude. The humility is disappearing and hubris again rules the day. It’s almost as if, now the Google is the King of the hill and is drawing more than their fair share of scrutiny, much of it negative, they’ve gone into defensive mode. They’ve circled the wagons and drawn more inside. As I said, the changes are subtle, but noticeable. I believe they’ve grown up as a company and have had to face some harsh business realities. But in the process, they have responded by becoming defiantly self-confident and dismissive of dissenting views. They seem to once again be retreating into the safe and welcoming arms of “Google-world.” Somehow though, this time the cockiness rings a little hollow.

We Really Want You to Like Us

Contrast this with Microsoft. Microsoft was the company everybody loved to hate. For years, it was the brunt of jokes in the search marketing world. The only question wit Microsoft, it seemed, was which foot were they going to shoot themselves in next? Miserable failure after miserable failure exasperated everyone, both inside and outside of the Redmond mother ship. If Mack Sennett (or the Three Stooges, or Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen – pick your cultural context) ever ran a software company, surely this would be it.

But in the last year (roughly about the same time Google started circling the wagon) I’ve seen a different Microsoft. It’s humble, but it’s also ready to deliver. They’ve knocked the chip off their shoulder and seemed to have put the bumbling behind them. They’re executing and cranking out some pretty decent stuff. Somehow, they’ve pulled back from the brink of irrelevance and are now ready to be a contender. I’ve had varying shades of criticism of Bing, but I’ve never said it wasn’t a much-needed step forward in their search offering. It’s miles ahead of anything Microsoft had done in search previously. But it’s not this battle that interests me. It’s the next fight that Microsoft chooses to pick. Given the change in attitude, I’m not sure I would be betting against them. As one Microsofter confided to me, “We’re at our best when we’ve had the crap kicked out of us.”

I have no idea what this means in the big picture, but I do know that the tone and temper of an organization is a pretty reliable indicator of future success. Perhaps I can sum it up best in this way. It’s almost as if Google is already prepared to defend themselves against future criticism. Microsoft, on the other hand, is doing everything in their power to rebuild a broken relationship by impressing the hell out of you.

Originally published in Mediapost’s Search Insider April 29th 2010

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April 30th 2010 News

More relevant traffic estimates now in the updated Keyword Tool

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In late September, we launched a beta version of the updated Keyword Tool. This tool is a new, streamlined way for you to identify additional keywords and add them to your account. Previously, we offered two distinct tools to expand your keyword list. The Keyword Tool generated keywords based on the content of the URL, words or phrases you entered into the tool. The Search-based Keyword Tool gave you insight into keywords that you may have been missing out on by identifying actual Google searches that were relevant to your site’s landing pages. Now, with the updated Keyword Tool, you can search by words or phrases, websites, and even categories (where available) to receive the results of both the Keyword Tool and the Search-based Keyword Tool in one central location.
Our beta launch began what will eventually be a permanent transition from the previous Keyword Tool to the updated version. Over the next few months, you’ll be able to switch back and forth between the two tools as needed. We’ll post again on this blog when the transition period is over. At that point, the updated Keyword Tool will be the only version available in your account.
In the meantime, as you get accustomed to the updated version, we’ll continually improve it and add functionality that we hope you’ll find useful. Over the next few days, we’re adding a new feature to the tool that will help you get more relevant search traffic estimates for your keywords.
To do this, you’ll select specific keywords from the list of suggestions and click on the ‘Estimate Search Traffic’ button.
From there, you can choose the ad group to which you’d like to add those keywords and see the average estimated CPC, total estimated clicks, and total estimated cost for the keywords you selected on the previous screen.
This enhancement enables you to see how your keywords might perform in a specific ad group. Keyword traffic estimates in the context of an ad group can look at the interactions between keywords, and can give you a more accurate prediction of performance than you’d see from a full list of keywords.
It’s important to note that due to these changes, we’re removing some columns that you had previously been able to add to your Keyword Tool results: Estimated Avg. CPC, Estimated CTR, Estimated Ad Position, Estimated Impressions, Estimated Clicks, and Estimated Cost. While you won’t be able to access these columns in the updated version, you’ll still be able to see much of this information in the context of an ad group. If you’re interested in seeing keyword-level search traffic estimates, you can do so through the standalone Traffic Estimator tool, which also has a new, more intuitive interface. To access the Traffic Estimator tool, click on the ‘More Tools’ link under the ‘Tools‘ section of your Opportunities Tab.

April 30th 2010 Tools

March 2010 Search Market Share

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Recently the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke the 11,000 mark, and The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had decreased in February, rebounded in March.  Both are good signs for those of us looking for positive indications of an economic recovery, but is the search market exhibiting a similar trend and helping to paint a […]

April 30th 2010 Online Marketing

Looking Deep into the Science of the Web at WWW2010 this Week

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This week a host of Yahoo!’s scientists and researchers, along with their colleagues from academic institutions and other technology companies across the world, converged on Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina for WWW2010. WWW (World Wide Web conference) is an annual event held in late April or early May that focuses on the evolution of the Web, the standardization of Web technologies, and its impact on society and culture. And since 1999 at WWW Toronto, Yahoo!’s big thinkers have been vocal and influential participants in the discussion.

At last year’s conference held in Madrid, Spain, Yahoo! presented 14 refereed papers and Ricardo Baeza-Yates, head of Yahoo! Labs Barcelona, gave a keynote on mining Web 2.0 data for Search. This year, Yahoo! raised the stakes again, with 21 papers accepted at the 2010 event (out of a total of 105 accepted papers for the entire event), as well as a variety of posters, demos and panels, including a featured discussion on the future of Search and the core technologies of the Web.

As usual, the Yahoo! booth at the conference attracted a lot of interest from attendees. Some of the highlights include demonstrations we are giving of some experimental projects to gather data and test our theories. Because not everyone can attend WWW, we thought it would be fun to give everyone a quick look-in from the booth with some short clips of our scientists and their demos.

First up, is Predictalot, a combinatorial prediction market game we debuted to test the “wisdom of the crowds” during March Madness and that will be making a global return to prominence for World Cup 2010 in South Africa:

Next up is Statler, a tool for developing a model of engagement for how users interact with content over time. In this case, Statler is analyzing public Twitter feeds around major events, like the 2008 Presidential debates and Barack Obama’s inauguration. The goal of Statler and the associated research is to be able to predict which items are likely to resonate over time, rather than spike in popularity before quickly fading away.

Our next demo, Ranking Entity Facets, is a technical name for a technology we’ve deployed at Yahoo! Search to make it easier for people to explore all kinds of people, movies, locations and other “entities” related to what they’re searching for at any given time. What makes this capability exciting is that it relies on the science and technology powering Yahoo!’s Web of Things platform where Yahoo! is able to mine all kinds of content and data sources to synthesize a Web page for you with all the information you need on a topic, rather than just a list of Web links.

And then there is Wrapper Induction, developed by our data mining group in Labs, which is all about extracting valuable information from Web pages.

For a full recap of all the events at WWW2010 this week, make sure to check out the Yahoo! Labs Web site and follow us on Twitter @YahooLabs. You can also see all Tweets related to WWW2010 at #WWW2010 and follow our Flickr stream.

Lin Koh
Yahoo! Labs

P.S. If you want to check out what fun is, here’s a cryptogram we shared with folks at WWW as part of a booth contest. Perhaps you’d like to take a crack at solving it too.

April 30th 2010 yahoo

Be Prepared This Mother’s Day

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Attention! Mother’s day this year is on Sunday, May 9. Since it’s usually one of those holidays that sneaks up on you before you get a chance to run to the store to pick up a card or nice flowers (for me anyway), consider this your reminder! With less than two weeks to go, you can now be prepared. Now what to get? We can help there too.

Bing has teamed up with celebrity mom, Brooke Burke to share her tips on some easy Mother’s Day gifts. Brooke suggests; photo frames highlighting special moments, handmade cards, personalized jewelry, spa days or homemade coupon books. All these gifts are thoughtful, personalized and most of all, won’t break the bank. 

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We’ve also created a Visual Search gallery for the occasion. Just type in Mother’s Day and you’ll see a link to The Mother’s Day gift guide full of great ideas with images for all kinds of mom’s including new mom’s, working mom’s or tech savvy mom’s. You can even narrow by price range or category such as baby & nursery, jewelry & watches or electronics.  

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So between Brooke Burke’s suggestions at www.Bingmothersday.com, the Mother’s Day gift guide and the great deals in Bing shopping, we’ve got you covered! What are you waiting for? Get shopping and come with a great gift in hand for Mother’s Day.

Kristin Meldahl – Bing

Brooke Burke on Fox and Friends

April 30th 2010 News