Most Clicked-On through Twitter This Week

Some of you follow our company’s Twitter stream  @PauliSystems or follow Birgit  @bph on  Twitter, where we share mostly other people’s blogs posts, links to particular interesting news or just point to our favorite books.  Sharing the most clicked on stories are worth sharing it  to a broader audience and keep a permanent record of them. 

E-Consultancy: 25 Reasons why I leave your website in 10 seconds. 

What makes people press the back button, shortly after visiting your website? Why do they bail out so quickly? And what can you do about it?

@paulisystems: A MUST Read for any business with a website. 

The Online Giving Study.

The Call to Reinvent Donor Relationships

@bph : Great Charts: NetworkForGood Multi-Year Donation Study.

Twitterâ’s Official Analytics Product Has Arrived

With Twitter Analytics, users will be able to see a plethora of data about their account; for example, information about which tweets are most successful, which tweets caused people to unfollow, and who the most influential users are that reply and retweet their messages. (To be released end of 2010)

Retweeted by @paulisystems


Gravity introduces system that studies your social interests

Robert Scoble interviews the founder of Gravity, Amit Kapur, formerly COO of MySpace. Gravity shows a future where the content world could bring you new experiences based on what you Tweet or Facebook about. Here’s the founder showing more about how it works.

@bph: Great interview w/ Gravity by @Scobleizer 

Our Favorites on Twitter Right now


It’s By Design

Creating Your Website’s Look & Feel

Working with the client to design the “look and feel of a new website, (or, refreshing the look of an existing site), is one of my favorite phases of the development process.  Creating a distinctive and cohesive brand? is crucial to building your business, and that brand should be used as the common thread that weaves through all your marketing efforts, both online and print.  When embarking on the design phase, it is helpful if you already have a logo or theme in mind that can be used as the jumping off point for inspiration, (perhaps in the form of print material, or examples of other websites that catch your eye).  Your technology and/or design partner can then get the ball rolling by providing you with an initial mock-up (including 2 or 3 variations) of the overall design scheme. Once the mock-ups are in hand, the next step will be to review and provide your feedback.  Here are just a few thoughts on the review and feedback process:

1) Remember, it’s a mock-up. The idea behind the first couple of design drafts is to determine the direction of the general layout and theme, including the header graphic. As you’re reviewing the mock-up, ask yourself a few basic questions: do the colors, font, content placement, use of sidebars, etc., compliment your overall brand strategy? What changes would you make? Do you have examples you can reference? (Hint: it’s OK to look at the competition’s website for inspiration!) The better able you are to articulate the changes you’d like to see, the better able your technology partner will be to provide subsequent drafts that comes closer to the overall vision for the site. Try to avoid vague feedback such as “it needs to be spiffier”, “can we spruce it up a bit”, “I think I’d like to see something else, but I’m not sure what”, and the like. Instead, make specific statements about color preferences, fonts, (bolded, larger, etc.), inclusion of additional graphic images or enhancements to existing images, (for example, placing a frame around an image to make it stand out), etc. Keep in mind that, since the design theme will carry over to the other pages and sub-pages included on the website, certain aspects of the initial design mock-up, such as the menu options included in the navigation, menu option labels, content, etc., will be discussed and dealt with after you’ve approved and signed-off on on the overall design.

2) To pull your brand and marketing strategy together, make sure you are using the same header graphic in your e-communications. Use that graphic to build your identity and foster brand recognition.  For example, a client I’ve recently been working with is using the same header graphic on his website, as well as in his e-newsletters. In this case, he made only a slight tweak to the header graphic on his website, by changing the “catch” phrase text; the catch phrase in the e-newsletter graphic states “There’s no substitute for experience…”, The e-newsletter is his first line of communication to prospective buyers, encouraging them visit to his website;  the “experience” text conveys the idea that he is the resident  expert, and will provide top-notch service. Once on the website, the catch phrase in the header graphic changes to “Live the dream…”, which sets the tone for the information presented within the site, (i.e., visitors to the site can view properties for sale, receive buying/selling tips, etc.).  However, all other elements in the header grpahic remained the same, color scheme, fonts, etc., again, to create and build upon the client’s brand identity.  The value of a cohesive approach cannot be emphasized enough.

3) If at first you don’t succed… If the first or second design draft isn’t a “WOW”, (note to self, they rarely are), do not despair.  The review and feedback process is an important one, so spend the time needed to give it the thought it deserves, and to provide your technology partner with concrete suggestions and guidance.  The back and forth will most likely result in some great conversation and idea exchanges, and help bring your design goal into focus…and make it a “WOW”.

(Brush and palette image courtesy of www.mytwocents.wordpress.com)

NCDevCon: A Beginner’s Guide to Load Testing w/ JMeter

This week I received notice that a talk on the same topic has again been accepted for this year’s NCDevCon.

As time passed by and 12 months is like eons in web/online technology, I will update the talk with more CF-related information as CF10 provides a few more tools and the other products also have a new version released.

Please feel free to submit questions you’d like to see answered in this year’s presentation via e-mail to bph@paulisystems.net or in below comment section.

I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the conference!


Fantastic Team of TACFUG Volunteers

Presentation, Recording, Resource

A well organized, most inspiring and content-rich conference has ended but the collective knowledge, ideas and solutions live on. Through the competent and quick crew of volunteers and with the incredible support from the NC State University, College of Textiles, the sessions were recorded and are already available for consumption. I am very grateful for it, as with four tracks the decision which session to visit was excrutiating and sometimes a toss up among great topics.

A big Thank You to the team of TACFUG and all Sponsors!

It seems that since the original post, the video of the talk has been deleted from the server.

The Slidedeck is still available, though.

More Resources for Load Testing & Performance Testing

Tools


Apache JMeter

Fusion Reactor

List of More Tools: CF411 Charlie Arehardt – Keyword:Page Performance Test

How-To’s


YouTube: Website Stress Testing using JMeter:

Stuart Marsh, beardygeek.com

CFMeetup recorded session Kurt Wiersma: Search for Load Testing with JMeter. (May 2010)

Articles:


Testing load balanced environment through distribute/remote testing (Pdf)

Improve the quality of your JMeter scripts

http://twitter.com/#!/bph/status/116351455786565633

Some very nice comments on Twitter!

Jean Lotz, AAUW Social Media Task Force

Blase Ciabaton, Naples Print Source

Nancy Shoemaker

Speaker Spotlight on #NCDevcon site

Change Management

This post was first published on the community pages of Fast Company.

 

Nobody likes change! Even I don’t like change. I consider myself comfortable exploring new things, new ideas and new ways to accomplish tasks. I adopt new technologies pretty early in their life-cycle. I left my home country for the adventure of life in the USA. I travel a lot and I constantly read about new ideas and concepts. But, in certain areas of my life I don’t like change. I don’t like to change my morning routine – I avoid breakfast meetings. I don’t want my workspace changed. And, I don’t like to update my work computer. Don’t disrupt my workflow! 

Since I realized I don’t like change either, I look at people resisting change in a different way. I credit Mari Peck for opening my eyes during one of her recent seminars. Here is the little exercise Mary had has done. It may help you,  a manager tasked with implementing change,  to understand the nature of change resistance:

Have the members of a group write their name on a piece of paper. Then have them switch hands and write their name underneath the first. Ask how people felt writing with the wrong hand in comparison with their usual. People will describe a variety of feelings — awkward, uncomfortable, stupid and so forth. Then ask them about the difference in time spent. You’ll get answers like, “Much longer” or “Three times longer.” When you ask about the quality of their second signature, expect comments like “Very bad,” “Abysmal,” or “Horrible.”

And, that’s why nobody likes change: It makes us uncomfortable. It’s awkward. The new way takes too long; in the beginning, the old way is much faster. The outcome is poor – certainly not the quality we are used to. These are the barriers to change! 
Now, as a “change manager” you have to overcome those barriers. Recognizing them is the first step. Your staff needs to hear from you that it’s ok that during the transitional phase the job takes longer to finish and that the outcome may not always be top notch. Then, you need to share the benefits you expect for them enduring this torture.

Here are the three things you must put on your list when implementing any change:

  1. Communicate ten times over
  2. Consider the WIIFM factor – What’s In It For Me?
  3. Never let yourself (or staff) lose sight of the big picture.

 

TELL THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN

During implementation, everyone needs to hear repeatedly that it’s ok to feel stupid and awkward. Broadcast success when someone accomplishes a milestone, major or minor, on their quest to master new things. Regularly publish reports of progress. And, don’t shy away from sharing what didn’t work. You want everyone to learn from the mistakes. Separate the results of transition from the results of change. The difference can be difficult to communicate, but it builds trust in the process and in you, as a manager.
I could write more about training and testing, but that’s the easy part for you to figure out. 
The theory is it takes 21 days to change an exercise routine. A swimmer or golf pro changing a stroke needs to practice it a thousand times before regaining their previous level of proficiency. How long will it take to change a daily work place routine or something even bigger?

REMEMBER THE WIIFM FACTOR

Of course, employees need to know how they benefit from the change. And, what’s in it for them may not be the same thing that’s in it for you. For example, doing work faster is not necessarily a goal they’d share. Sometimes, completing a task faster, gets translated into: When I accomplish my work faster, I’ll end up with more work on my plate and I am already overworked. 
More work is not what most employees want. Increased productivity is a benefit for the company—a big picture item. You need to find a better WIIFM answer—maybe the quality will improve or the work will be less tedious. Work enrichment can be an attractive benefit for some employees. Be aware, though, that there are as many different motivations to change as there are employees and stakeholders. A good change manager will provide many variations of the answer to WIIFM.

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BIG PICTURE

Don’t let yourself be dragged down by minutia and resistance. Implementing change gives you a great opportunity to reconnect with your people, but on a totally different level. In this process, the staff most outspoken against change is your greatest gift. Focus on them; address their issues. Once you convert them, they will become the loudest cheerleaders for change. Don’t forget the big picture, though. Keep your eye on where you and your crew are headed.
Change is hard work and should not be underestimated. The technology is easy to teach. But, it’s how you manage the change that ensures a successful outcome.

Demographics & Online Usage

As successful online communication strategy needs to be based on good data related to your target audience. Pew Internet, a non-profit organization studying internet behavior, has been an invaluable resource since 1999.
“The share of adult internet users who have a profile on an online social network site has more than quadrupled in the past four years — from 8% in 2005, to 35% at the end of 2008.” After the news that 60% of Twitter users abandon their accounts, this number is certainly to be taken with a grain of salt. The most common internet activities remain e-mail, searching and finding information on various topics and the news. So, a successful online strategy starts with great website content, and an e-mail notification system.
A snippet of the most popular activities among the different generations is shown in this graphic (click on it to see a larger version):

Quoting the Report summary:
“Compared with teens and Generation Y, older generations use the internet less for socializing and entertainment and more as a tool for information searches, emailing, and buying products. In particular, older internet users are significantly more likely than younger generations to look online for health information. Health questions drive internet users age 73 and older to the internet just as frequently as they drive Generation Y users, outpacing teens by a significant margin. Researching health information is the third most popular online activity with the most senior age group, after email and online search. “
The full stats are available in this report: Pew Interent: Generations- Online in 2009