The EU Cookie Law

The EU Cookie law is coming and we all need to be ready. Well, we all need to show we’ve tried…

The first thing to remember is that the UK, at present, aren’t introducing a “opt-in” scheme where users have to click a pop-up to allow cookies (or other technologies) to be used. Secondly, that the law is not just about Cookies. It’s about any technology used to collect and process information on a users device (and it’s probably not worth getting cocky by producing a server-side solution – we all need to solve this together as an industry – we need Good Practice).

There are no definitive guidelines to how to deal with this law but the key to avoiding trouble with the law is to be able to demonstrate you have tried.

There are a number of ways you can demonstrate your efforts:

Firstly, audit your site and the technologies you use.  Your Analytics package will drop cookies (these are first party cookies) and if you are re-targeting technologies with an ad network for example you may allow each of these networks to drop cookies all over your site (3rd Party Cookies).  So to know that you use these cookies and why will be a good place to show the law you know what you’re talking about.

Secondly, you can address the users concerns over privacy. Users don’t really understand what’s happening on their devices and why it is important and beneficial to them. So trying to educate users is a good way for the industry to gain acceptance of the technology and earn trust (and to show the law “you have tried”).

Update your privacy policy to ensure you are clear and transparent on the technologies being used.  You can reference other websites such as www.aboutcookies.org or www.youronlinechoices.eu.

You can re-enforce this transparency by making privacy information more prominent.  For example, place the privacy link above the fold and use a different font or colour.  Perhaps use different wording for the link – “how does this website work?” or “how do we collect and use your information”.

An extension of increasing the prominence of the privacy information is to really prominent communications.  Use a one-time overlay or pop-up to explain in plain in English what data is being used and why.

Finally, if you’re involved in 3rd party activity like behavioural advertising (including re targeting) you should be involved in the EU self-regulatory initiative.  This mainly involves including an icon on ads and websites that links through to a page detailing clear information and mechanisms of control.  You can learn more about his here: http://www.youronlinechoices.eu/goodpractice.html

Also if you want to hear what the IPA have to say about it all you can read this.

 

Google’s mobile education – http://www.howtogomo.com

Google are helping companies go mobile and are evangelising best practices in how to go mobile on:

http://www.howtogomo.com

Read the best practices for mobile design & development here.

Keep it Quick
Mobile users are often short on time, squeezing in online tasks as they go about their day. To help them, design your site to load fast and make copy easy to read.

  • Prioritise the content and features that mobile users need most. Use your desktop site analytics to see what mobile users are doing.
  • Reduce large blocks of text and use bullet points for easy reading.
  • Compress images to keep them small for faster site loading.

Make it easy to convert

No matter what your site’s objective is, your customers need to be able to do it with a virtual keyboard and no mouse. Make it easy to buy something or contact you!

  • Focus on information that will aid conversion (i.e., product details).
  • Reduce the number of steps needed to complete a transaction.
  • Keep forms short and use the fewest number of fields possible.
  • Use check boxes, lists and scroll menus to make data entry easier.
  • Use click-to-call functionality for all phone numbers.

Simplify Navigation

No one likes to be confused. Clear navigation and, on large or complex sites, search functionality, will help your customers easily find what they need.

  • Minimise scrolling and keep it vertical only.
  • Use a clear hierarchy in menus and avoid rollovers.
  • Help users navigate between levels with clear back and home buttons.
  • Use seven links or fewer per page of navigation.
  • Have a search box prominently available on complex sites.

Make it Local

Consumers look for local info on their phones all the time—from locating the nearest gas station to finding an open pizza place. Include functionality that helps people find and get to you.

  • Have your address or store locator on the landing page.
  • Include maps and directions. Use GPS to personalise when possible.
  • Allow users to check stock at nearby stores.

Be Thumb-Friendly

People use their fingers to operate mobile devices – especially their thumbs. Design your site so even large hands can easily interact with it.

  • Use large, centred buttons and give them breathing room to reduce accidental clicks.
  • Pad smaller buttons to increase the clickable area.
  • Pad check boxes by making the text clickable.

Make it seamless

People now use multiple screens throughout the day. Convert as much of the functionality of your desktop site to mobile as you can to create a seamless experience.

  • Allow users to save popular searches and shopping cart contents.
  • Maintain key features of your site across all channels as much as possible.
  • Display the same information for products/services.

Design for visibility

A mobile-friendly site gets its message across without causing eyestrain. Make it easy for your customers to read – remember they may be in a place with low light.

  • Create contrast between background and text.
  • Make sure content fits on screen and can be read without pinching and zooming.
  • Use plenty of negative space.
  • Use size and colour to indicate link/button priority.
  • Use 3D effects and shadowing for buttons.

Use Mobile Site Redirects

A mobile site redirect is code that can automatically tell if visitors are using a mobile device and send them to the mobile-friendly version of your site. Have your site developer implement this redirect code so your customers get the best version of your site for their needs.

  • Give users a choice to go back to the desktop site, but make it easy to return to the mobile site.
  • Let users choose which version they prefer to see for later visits.
  • Include key information, such as your address or a store locator, on the redirect page.

Make it Accessible

Ideally, your mobile site should work across all mobile devices and all handset orientations.

  • Find alternatives to Flash – it does not work on some devices.
  • Use HTML5 for interactivity and animation.
  • Adapt your site for both vertical and horizontal orientations.
  • Keep users in the same place when they change orientation.

Listen, Learn & Iterate

Good mobile sites are user-centric, which means they’re built with input from your audience. Ask your desktop site users what they want in a mobile website and make testing and optimisation an ongoing process.

  • Use analytics to understand how people use your site.
  • If possible, especially for complex sites, do user testing before implementation and collect user feedback after launch.
  • Iterate often and continuously improve your site based on your research.

DFP: Dart For Publishers Training Videos

If you’re looking for a cheap adserver look at DFP – Dart For Publishers. It’s free.

You need to open an adsense account in order to gain access to it. Google can be a bit picky about who they let open account – due to the fact that so many abuse it as a revenue stream (search for SEO Blackhat). But an easy way to get a account is to open a Blogger account and open a Adsense account – this will give you an automatic approval.

You can apply for your DFP account here.

You’ll need to learn about DFP and you can start by visiting there YouTube channel – http://www.youtube.com/user/dfp?feature=watch

I’ve embedded the basic video’s below.

An introduction to ad serving

Getting Started with DFP Small Business

Inventory: Ad Units (Video 1/3)

Inventory: Placements (Video 2/3)


Inventory: Generating Tags (Video 3/3)

Trafficking: Orders & Line Items (Video 1/3)

Trafficking: Forecasting Inventory (Video 2/3)

Trafficking: Uploading Creatives (Video 3/3)

Targeting: Targeting a line item (Video 1/2)

Targeting: Custom targeting (Video 2/2)

SEO: Keyword Research Competition

There are several ways you can determine how competitive a keyword is.  What makes a keywords competitive is the number of other pages that are optimised for the phrase.

You can get an idea of competitiveness by just searching that phrase in google. The phrase solar panel returns 182,000,000 results.  But these pages could just have these words in any order on the page or that the words are used inlinks pointing to the page.  This doesn’t meaen that these pages are optimised for the page.

So to refine our results we can use an “exact match” search.  It tells how many pages Google knows about that use that exact phrase. You search by putting the phrase in speachmarks.  In this case “solar panel” returns 29,400,000 results.  Which is alot less but still v. competitive.  However, this still doesn’t mean they are optimised for the phrase – just that they feature the phrase on the page.

The trick to telling if a page has been optimised for a phrase is to see if it is featured in the Title of the page (part of the pages meta data). You can research this by using a Advanced Command Operator called “all in title”. you type the following into google search bar with the search phrase in speach marks, like so:

  • allintitle:”solar panel”

There are 7,120,000 pages with term in the title.  This is very competitive and probably way out of reach.

What you need to do is continue this process untill all you keywords have their competition researched and you can identify terms that have high search traffic and low competition.

SEO: Keyword Search Traffic

To understand if a keyword is worth targeting you need to understand two things:

  1. Are people searching that term?  If people are it’s likely that the keyword will generate traffic to your site.
  2. Is how competitive is that keyword? Are you going to be to rank for that word and get ROI

The perfect storm is high Search volume and low Competition.

This post concentrates on working out Search volume.

There are 3 main tools you can use to understand search volume:

I tend to use Google Keyword tools because:

  • it’s free (the others offer free trials and they are good)
  • it draws data directly from google

You begin your search by either entering your Keywords into the search box or by entering your website address (google will scan your site and suggest relevant keywords).

For us we’re going to use the keywords we have brainstormed:

Hit Search and you’ll get results relating to this keyword.  Make sure you click the “only show ideas closely related to my search terms to ensure smaller ammount of more relevant keywords.

These are the results I got for Solar Panel:

Download these terms into Excel.  Delete the local searches (you only need these if you were looking at seasonal differences) and competition column (this is more geared towards adwords competition not SEO competition).

Now rank your keywords by Search volume (largest to smallest) and scan thm for any irrelevant terms (delete these).  You now have a list of keywords and a clear idea of the highest generating keywords.

The next step is to check how hard they’ll be to rank against – how Competitive are they?

Social Media Insight Tools

http://klout.com/

  • Klout measures your influence on your social networks.

http://www.postrank.com/

  • PostRank social engagement data measures actual user activity, the most accurate indicator of the relevance and influence of a site, story, or author.

http://www.howsociable.com/

  • Measure the magnitude of your brand

http://www.socialmention.com/

  • Real-time social media search and analysis:

http://tweetscan.com/

  • Microblogging Search Engine

http://www.twitalyzer.com/index.asp

  • know who and where people are in your social network

http://technorati.com/search

  • Blog search engine

9 Types of Emails

There are 9 primary types of emails which can be leveraged for further communications beyond their primary purpose:

  • Opt-in Drive – focused on aquiring new subscribers to an email
  • Transactional – email delivered inresponse to a transaction (e.g. confirmation notice of purchase to include cross or up sell opportunities)
  • Customer Service (Telesales) – email response or confirmation to a customer service call (to include additional associated product information)
  • Direct Marketing – Targeted email to specified target audience to achieve a specific response (win back lapsed customers, special offer, retention – re-purchase, member get member)
  • Newsletter – Email designed to provide valuable information to the recipient and position sender as a Thought Leader
  • Event Marketing – Email sent to raise awareness of a specific event that the receiver may have attended in the past or may be interested in
  • Sevice Updates – Ad-hoc comunication based on service updates (to include related product info or services)
  • New Product Releases / Announcements – Gather emails in order to keep interested customers up-to-date with the latest product developmeents and release date info.
  • Surveys – Understand the customers point of view about a given subject.