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What is Social Networking?

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Everyone is talking about it. Everyone is doing it. So what is social networking?

In simple terms, social networking is building an online community of people who share common interests or are interested in finding out about the interests of other people. Majority of social networking is done using the social media services available online for free.

And why should you care about the social media frenzy?*

  • Because 2/3rds of the global internet population visit social networks
  • Because visiting social sites is now the 4th most popular online activity – ahead of personal email
  • Because time spent on social networks is growing at three times the overall internet rate

Still not convinced? Watch this short video on Social Media Revolution to help you understand the power of social media in the world today.

Common social media options

Twitter is a social networking device that allows users to send and read other users' updates, which are known as 'Tweets'. Tweets are typically short and sharp as they can only be up to 140 characters in length and most messages by default are published publicly. This service is widely used by businesses to launch campaigns and to increase brand awareness. Twitter is also great for posting reviews and comments so it can be used a powerful platform for improving customer satisfaction by being able to directly listen to what the customer is saying about your brand. To find out more about using this tool read our article on 'How to use Twitter effectively for your business'.

Facebook has become an extremely popular tool for individuals to connect with friends and family online and share personal information such as pictures, social events and birthdays. Facebook can also be used to connect with customers. Tips on how to use it for your business.

LinkedIn is a professional tool used by businesses to network online. Individuals can use it to build an online portfolio by listing their work experience and gathering references so companies can use it as a tool to hire staff. But it is really only used by businesses and does not reach customers.

Then there is Bebo which is like Facebook but largely used by teenagers to share gossip and personal information.

Myspace was one of the first social networking sites, though over time it has lost a lot of its popularity to Facebook. It is still being used by musicians as a way to promote their albums and concerts.

Youtube and Flickr are designed for sharing images and video. They offer free space where users can put up holiday pictures or videos of things they are interested in. This medium is less about the conversation and dialogue.

Delicious was designed as a simple tool that allows users to categorise and save their favourite web links to one centralised online space and share them with other like minded people around the world.

*(Stats taken from Nielson, Global Faces & Networked Places, 2009)

Topics: Social Media
 

How to write good anchor text

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Anchor text is the visible, clickable text of a "text link" on a web page and is often made obvious with an underline, a blue colour or both.
Good anchor text will give visitors and search engines an “idea” for what the page being linked to is about.

Writing good anchor text makes it easy for website users to navigate and will also help with the ranking of a web page in the search engine results.
For example if someone liked this article they could link to it with the following anchor text:
Read this great article from Zeald
Unfortunately this does not let the search engines or the users know what the article is about. A better way to construct the same link might be:
Read this great article from Zeald about how to write good anchor text

Good for the users

Quick navigation - When users navigate a website, they will often “scan” a page looking for information of interest to them. By describing the page we link to in the anchor text, we make it easy for users to navigate to the areas they are interested in.
It is not helpful when all the links on a page say “click here” The user is forced to read the context of the link, or the text around the link to learn where it might take them.....often the user may not have the time or patience to do this.

Confident navigation - Descriptive anchor text in a link helps the user feel confident in their navigation. If all the link says is great article, the user will be unsure whether it is of interest to them, or if it will answer their question. It is very frustrating for the user when you force them to “guess” where the page will take them and even more frustrating when they guess wrong.
Of course when we don’t tell users to “click here” we need to make it obvious that they can “click here” We need to ensure that the link is obvious. Nothing says “link” like electric blue text with an underline. But sometimes more subtle variations will also suffice.

Good for the search engines

Inbound links build the trust and credibility of a web page when they are “judged” by a search engine during the ranking process. The text used around and within a link is very important for the search engine to determine the subject matter of the page that the link is connected to.
A good example of this is Google bombing. Google bombing is internet slang for an attempt to raise the ranking of a page in Google search results, using the Anchor text of external links (for humorous or malicious reasons). The most famous case targeted the phrase “miserable failure” and linked to the biography page of George Bush on the White House website.
Write good Anchor Text
When a user searched for “miserable failure” on Google they could find the official biography of George Bush at the top of the results page. Due to a targeted Google bomb
 

So how do we optimise our anchor text for the search engines?

Use good keywords. It is a waste of time optimising a page using a search terms that no one searches for, just as it is a waste of time optimising a page for an extremely competitive search term that would be impossible to gain a first page rank.
As is the case for most search engine optimisation efforts, you need to carefully research the keywords you want to target. You need to determine the search terms that will generate the greatest amount of conversions for your website business, and of course that you will be able to achieve a high ranking for.

Learn more about how to find the best keywords. Did you see what I did there?

Don’t use the same anchor text for all inbound links. Try to use variations of your anchor text. Mix it up. Google are continually looking for “spam” websites, and nothing says “automated links” than keyword stuffed repetitive link text.

It can be a subtle difference and should fit the context of the page that the link appears on. Try replacing some less important keywords or using plural. For example:
A great article explaining how to write good anchor text
Or like this
A great article about optimising your anchor text

The links should appear natural. That is what Google is looking for.

External links and internal links

We need to incorporate our search terms in the anchor text of the links that point to the page. By links we mean both the internal links within your own website and also the external links from other people’s websites.

Internal links are easy, but getting backlinks has got to be the greatest challenge of Search engine optimisation, especially backlinks that have meaningful anchor text.

You will have more control posting links to directories, forums and paid advertising, but outside these more obvious methods, we lose that control and it becomes much more difficult to dictate your anchor text.

But that is a separate article.....
 

The Importance of Having a Clear Vision and Goal for your Web Site

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

If you don't know what you are trying to achieve with your web site design then you will probably achieve … nothing!

Just as your company (hopefully) has a clear vision of where it wants to be in the future and what it wants to develop into - your web site design also needs to have a clear vision.

The vision for your web site design should be aligned with your company’s overall vision.

Ask yourself:

  • what is the vision for this web site design?
  • why are we getting a web site?
  • what is the purpose of your web site design?

Next, think, what are the goals for this web site design? Be specific. What do you want to achieve through a web site? Think about the following areas:

  • Enquiries
  • Sales
  • Brand development
  • Business efficiency

Put specifics on everything. How many enquiries or sales would you like to generate through your web site? What would make your web site an amazing success? Many people decide to get a web site without defining the reasons behind their decision. Once again, know exactly what you are trying to achieve!

 

Convert Pantone Colours to RGB

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

We are sometimes asked to use a Pantone® color in a website design. We use the following colour conversion chart to convert Pantone® spot colors to RGB color values (Red/Green/Blue) and Hexadecimal color values.
source: http://www.seoconsultants.com

PMS     R       G       B       Hex     Colour
100     244     237     124     #F4ED7C       
101     244     237     71      #F4ED47       
102     249     232     20      #F9E814       

103     198     173     15      #C6AD0F       
104     173     155     12      #AD9B0C       
105     130     117     15      #82750F       
106     247     232     89      #F7E859       
107     249     229     38      #F9E526       
108     249     221     22      #F9DD16       

109     249     214     22      #F9D616       
110     216     181     17      #D8B511       
111     170     147     10      #AA930A       
112     153     132     10      #99840A       
113     249     229     91      #F9E55B       
114     249     226     76      #F9E24C       

115     249     224     76      #F9E04C       
116     252     209     22      #FCD116       
116 2X  247     181     12      #F7B50C       
117     198     160     12      #C6A00C       
118     170     142     10      #AA8E0A       
119     137     119     25      #897719       

120     249     226     127     #F9E27F       
1205    247     232     170     #F7E8AA       
121     249     224     112     #F9E070       
1215    249     224     140     #F9E08C       
122     252     216     86      #FCD856       
1225    255     204     73      #FFCC49       

123     255     198     30      #FFC61E       
1235    252     181     20      #FCB514       
124     224     170     15      #E0AA0F       
1245    191     145     12      #BF910C       
125     181     140     10      #B58C0A       
1255    163     127     20      #A37F14       

126     163     130     5       #A38205       
1265    124     99      22      #7C6316       
127     244     226     135     #F4E287       
128     244     219     96      #F4DB60       
129     242     209     61      #F2D13D       
130     234     175     15      #EAAF0F       

130 2X  226     145     0       #E29100       
131     198     147     10      #C6930A       
132     158     124     10      #9E7C0A       
133     112     91      10      #705B0A       
134     255     216     127     #FFD87F       
1345    255     214     145     #FFD691       

135     252     201     99      #FCC963       
1355    252     206     135     #FCCE87       
136     252     191     73      #FCBF49       
1365    252     186     94      #FCBA5E       
137     252     163     17      #FCA311       
1375    249     155     12      #F99B0C       

138     216     140     2       #D88C02       
1385    204     122     2       #CC7A02       
139     175     117     5       #AF7505       
1395    153     96      7       #996007       
140     122     91      17      #7A5B11       
1405    107     71      20      #6B4714       

141     242     206     104     #F2CE68       
142     242     191     73      #F2BF49       
143     239     178     45      #EFB22D       
144     226     140     5       #E28C05       
145     198     127     7       #C67F07       
146     158     107     5       #9E6B05       

147     114     94      38      #725E26       
148     255     214     155     #FFD69B       
1485    255     183     119     #FFB777       
149     252     204     147     #FCCC93       
1495    255     153     63      #FF993F       
150     252     173     86      #FCAD56       

1505    244     124     0       #F47C00       
151     247     127     0       #F77F00       
152     221     117     0       #DD7500       
1525    181     84      0       #B55400       
153     188     109     10      #BC6D0A       
1535    140     68      0       #8C4400       

154     153     89      5       #995905       
1545    76      40      15      #4C280F       
155     244     219     170     #F4DBAA       
1555    249     191     158     #F9BF9E       
156     242     198     140     #F2C68C       
1565    252     165     119     #FCA577       

157     237     160     79      #EDA04F       
1575    252     135     68      #FC8744       
158     232     117     17      #E87511       
1585    249     107     7       #F96B07       
159     198     96      5       #C66005       
1595    209     91      5       #D15B05       

160     158     84      10      #9E540A       
1605    160     79      17      #A04F11       
161     99      58      17      #633A11       
1615    132     63      15      #843F0F       
162     249     198     170     #F9C6AA       
1625    249     165     140     #F9A58C       

163     252     158     112     #FC9E70       
1635    249     142     109     #F98E6D       
164     252     127     63      #FC7F3F       
1645    249     114     66      #F97242       
165     249     99      2       #F96302       
165 2X  234     79      0       #EA4F00       

1655    249     86      2       #F95602       
166     221     89      0       #DD5900       
1665    221     79      5       #DD4F05       
167     188     79      7       #BC4F07       
1675    165     63      15      #A53F0F       
168     109     48      17      #6D3011       

1685    132     53      17      #843511       
169     249     186     170     #F9BAAA       
170     249     137     114     #F98972       
171     249     96      58      #F9603A       
172     247     73      2       #F74902       
173     209     68      20      #D14414       

174     147     51      17      #933311       
175     109     51      33      #6D3321       
176     249     175     173     #F9AFAD       
1765    249     158     163     #F99EA3       
1767    249     178     183     #F9B2B7       
177     249     130     127     #F9827F       

1775    249     132     142     #F9848E       
1777    252     102     117     #FC6675       
178     249     94      89      #F95E59       
1785    252     79      89      #FC4F59       
1787    244     63      79      #F43F4F       
1788    239     43      45      #EF2B2D       

1788 2X 214     33      0       #D62100       
179     226     61      40      #E23D28       
1795    214     40      40      #D62828       
1797    204     45      48      #CC2D30       
180     193     56      40      #C13828       
1805    175     38      38      #AF2626       

1807    160     48      51      #A03033       
181     124     45      35      #7C2D23       
1810    124     33      30      #7C211E       
1817    91      45      40      #5B2D28       
182     249     191     193     #F9BFC1       
183     252     140     153     #FC8C99       

184     252     94      114     #FC5E72       
185     232     17      45      #E8112D       
185 2X  209     22      0       #D11600       
186     206     17      38      #CE1126       
187     175     30      45      #AF1E2D       
188     124     33      40      #7C2128       

189     255     163     178     #FFA3B2       
1895    252     191     201     #FCBFC9       
190     252     117     142     #FC758E       
1905    252     155     178     #FC9BB2       
191     244     71      107     #F4476B       
1915    244     84      124     #F4547C       

192     229     5       58      #E5053A       
1925    224     7       71      #E00747       
193     219     130     140     #DB828C       
1935    193     5       56      #C10538       
194     153     33      53      #992135       
1945    168     12      53      #A80C35       

1955    147     22      56      #931638       
196     244     201     201     #F4C9C9       
197     239     153     163     #EF99A3       
198     119     45      53      #772D35       
199     216     28      63      #D81C3F       
200     196     30      58      #C41E3A       

201     163     38      56      #A32638       
202     140     38      51      #8C2633       
203     242     175     193     #F2AFC1       
204     237     122     158     #ED7A9E       
205     229     76      124     #E54C7C       
206     211     5       71      #D30547       

207     186     170     158     #BAAA9E       
208     142     35      68      #8E2344       
209     117     38      61      #75263D       
210     255     160     191     #FFA0BF       
211     255     119     168     #FF77A8       
212     249     79      142     #F94F8E       

213     234     15      107     #EA0F6B       
214     204     2       86      #CC0256       
215     165     5       68      #A50544  


Topics: Web Design Tips
 

3 Reasons Not To Put Music On Your Website

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Sites with music are neither quick nor convenient. A few years ago they may have been the rage, but today music or voice playing on a website is somewhat dated.
It won't work, and chances are you will annoy your customers and they will be relaxing with a competitor where things are more peaceful.
Why is noise such a bad idea? We could fill pages, but here are the top three reasons:

1. It will slow down your site. Waiting for your music file to load will add to the daily stress of a website user as opposed to relieve it.

2. It will embarrass and annoy your visitor. Often website users access a website from work. With a normal silent site, one may efficiently and quietly multi-task. But a blast of music (you never know where the volume is set) will alert the guy in the next room or professor in the midst of a lecture that the user is surfing. That's when the user vows never to visit your site again!

3. Chances are the visitor will hate your music. Do you really know what each of your visitors would like to hear at the moment of their visit to your site? Even the Itunes website does not play music.

Adding these kinds of extras to a website really sends the message that you are not thinking about the user's experience. There is no reason that your site can't be just as elegant without music. The form of your website should follow its function. If your function is to give users information about your business or an efficient way to transact business with you, it's hard to justify the kind of tinny, repetitive website music that makes the "off" or "close" button the most used icon on your website.

Thanks to www.spaboomblog.com for this great article
Topics: Web Design Tips
 

Animation and websites

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

There are a number of important issues that you should consider before you decide to introduce animation to your website, including:
  1. Quality Animation is expensive to design and create
  2. Animation adds to the page load times
  3. Animation often requires additional software and plugins to play
  4. Animation is difficult and expensive to maintain and kept up-to-date.
  5. Animation makes it difficult if not impossible for search engines to find text content within
  6. Animation can serve to distract the user from reading the page content
With these issues in mind we should carefully consider the use of animation on a website and ask, Is it really necessary? Is it a worthwhile investment of time and money? or is there something better that we could invest in to improve the results of our website?

To answer this question we must ask the question what are the primary objectives of our website? and does adding animation really help us to achieve these objectives? How does adding animation to our website help us achieve these objectives?

Some common forms of animation on a website:

  1. A logo that moves in some way
  2. A slide show of images highlighting products or services
  3. Help videos or product information video
  4. Animated Banners, advertising important features of the website or third party websites.
  5. Interactive and animated navigation systems

These translate into 3 primary objectives

1. Building brand recognition
Using animation to create a memorable user experience and generate positive feelings towards the website and the company.
 
2. Product / service Information
To help sell more product and generate more revenue using video to convey important information about a product or service that is difficult to do with text and images
 
3. Advertising
To sell more product and generate more revenue using animation to upsell or crossell product / service offers.

Building Brand Recognition

42below.jpgAnimation for enhancing brand, come in many shapes and forms:
from something as simple as a moving logo to a fully animated and Interactive website or movie designed to tell a story, perhaps in the form of a viral marketing campaign designed to create a memorable user experience that encourages the user to bookmark and tell their friends about. Such as www.42below.com or www.coke.com

One must consider the primary objectives of the website. First of all is the primary objective of the website to promote and convey the company brand? If so how will animation on a website achieve this? will it achieve it?
 
Animated websites come at great cost and the return on your investment is very difficult to measure
.....so one should ask, will the money that I spend creating and incorporating animation in my website really enhance my brand positively and will I get a return on my investment? Or will my expensive animation only serve to frustrate my users...maybe my users will be impressed by the animation the first time but soon realise that the website content is out of date and not be interested in visiting again? Maybe they don't even find my website because the search engine content is hidden within my animation.

If the answer is no and the animation and the negative impacts are justified.

Zeald is possibly not the right company. A website such as this is primarily a branding exercise and possibly less of a website exercise. We would recommend the use of a company that specialises in animated websites and branding / marketing concepts.

Product / service information

Sometimes it is difficult to convey all of the information about a product or service using just images and text. On some occasions video is the best method. For example a company that creates and sells video or animation online. Realestate websites use animated fly throughs to help the user imagine the building and move about it. This is application for animation on a website is much easier to justify.

Although animation may be justified in these circumstances we recommend that it is used carefully. The animation should be setup to allow the user to choose to "play" the animation, if they have a fast connection or the time. Introduction pages should be created that carefully outline to the user the file type, the file size, where they can download the software required to view it etc.

This type of animation or video is not a specialty of Zeald. We recommend that you speak to a specialist, such as a video production studio, a virtual reality photographer or a 3D animator. Zeald has connections with photographers who specailise in the VR tours especially for Realestate.
 

Animated Slide show

An animated slideshow displaying examples of your products or services allows you to highlight multiple images on one page without the user having to click or scroll.

It is hard to measure and so determine the effectiveness of this method for highlighting product / service information, but if the animation is kept simple, it can be produced for little cost. It can be designed in a way to allow for a progressive download. IE images display as they load. It can be designed to allow the website administrator to update the images easily and because it contains little or no search engine content, it is of little concern.

Alloy Yachts are a Zeald client who utilise such a feature. This is a plugin product for the Zeald website solution with limited features.
This is a javascript powered animation that maybe setup to display on any page of your website. It allows you to display 5 images at a set size in a set order. The images load progressively and fade in and out from one another on a set timer. the application selects images from a folder which you are able to administer yourself. To learn more about this product please contact the Zeald support team.

Advertising

Using animation as a method to highlight important information may be effective when planned and designed carefully. But again the website objectives must be carefully considered.
1. Banner advertising
A website selling advertising to third party companies may find that animated banner adverts have a higher click through rate and so the client may charge more money. However unless the primary objective for the website is to earn revenue through banner advertising we would not recommend the use of advertising full stop as this is a great way to lose traffic and the revenue may not justify the loss of traffic.
 
2. Animated promotions
Sometimes animation maybe used to advertise or highlight important features or products or services of the clients of your website.
graphic impact use an animated banner for this purpose.

Apart from the issues already stated regarding animation there is also a condition known as "Banner Blindness": which is when a user has seen so many websites with so many banner ads that they soon learn what a banner ad looks like and begin to subconsciously ignore or block out images or animations that resemble this common format.

It is very difficult to determine if animated features such as this really do increase sales or whether they provide a return on investment.

Formats

There are three common formats for producing and displaying animation on the internet that are specifically designed to load quickly. The choice of technology and the cost depends on the requirements and the purpose.
 
Flash
Users require the flash player, and additional time is required to load the flash application, but usually the quality of the animation is greater and the file size is smaller, especially for illustrative styled animations
 
Animated GIF
No player required, but often larger file size and noticeably reduced quality, especially for animations with larger dimensions and greater number of frames. Good for animations with small dimensions such as a logo

Pricing

Because there are so many more variables involved in animation it is difficult to quote. An animation is not the design of a single flat graphic but a number of frames. The cost depends on so many variables including: the graphic design, number of frames, the type of technology, the load times, the way it loads (progressively, pre-loaders etc) sound and music, The timing, interactivity, ability for the client to update.

If you choose to have an animation created for you, you may use the Zeald website administration software to position and display the animation on select pages of your website
Topics: Web Design Tips
 

Websites with Wow Factor

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

"WOW factor" is a very abstract and subjective method for describing a website design. It means different things to different people. and it really depends on the persons definition of the term 'wow' and the individual users aesthetic tastes.
To some 'WOW' means something that is unique and different from other websites. To others 'WOW' means something that is quirky and has a fun factor. While to others 'WOW' means something that is very professional, intuitive and easy to use.

The only way that the designer is able to produce a website that has WOW factor in the eyes of the client is to first of all find out exactly what the client means when they say they want a design with the 'WOW' factor.

More often than not the WOW factor that the client may have in mind will conflict with a number of important website design criteria, such as, following web standards, intuitive and easy to use navigation, persuasive conversion pathways and Search engine friendly content; important if you are looking to generate results. - Which is the objective of most commercial websites

Also The website design that the design team produces is very dependent upon the material that they are provided to work with. One of the key factors that influences the quality of the website design is the quality of the photography used within the design. If the team are provided with poor or no imagery then they will look to source stock photography online.

Often the websites that are referred to as exhibiting WOW factor are actually very minimal, very simple and plain. Such a design enhances the quality illustration or photography that the website displays. Imagine the http://www.porsche.co.nz/ website with an average image from a home camera, taken out in the car park on a cloudy day, .....suddenly the WOW factor has gone.

The WOW factor comes primarily from the images, which are a component of the companies visual identity or brand. A companies brand or public image is made up of, logos, illustrations, colours, photos, design elements and text messages.
Good quality branding images are very expensive......Stock images are the cheapest option and range from between $200 and $1000 per image, depending upon the use, the resolution and the period......Custom Illustration or photography could be more, depending upon costs of studios, makeup, models etc......
Read more about the main online suppliers of stock photography, their pro's and con's, pricing etc.

But the image itself is the inexpensive part....I always like to use the Zeald Levitating man as an example, if we added up the hours and resource that it took to find and decide that one image, the money we spent for the royalties seems very insignificant.

While you're at the Porsche site, also imagine how well such a homepage would do with the search engines.....often WOW factor means simple, minimal designs, which means minimal content......remember the search engines rely on the text content of a page to provide a ranking. Something that a large brand such as Porsche have less concern with.

So in summary, when it is WOW factor that you are looking for in your website design, first of all think exactly what do I mean by WOW factor?
To help you determine exactly what WOW factor means to you and for you to best convey this abstract and subjective description to the designer we recommend that you find a website that in your eye conveys WOW factor. You should then check the design of this website and compare it with the objectives of your website. You should also check that the properties of this website that conveys WOW factor do not conflict with the objectives of your website.
Your Zeald consultant or designer can help you determine this.
Topics: Web Design Tips
 

Banner Blindness

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Wikipedia describes Banner blindness as a phenomenon in web usability where visitors on a website ignore banner-like information.
Usability tests and heat maps have shown that users may subconsciously block out and avoid viewing images that look like banner adverts.
It is believed that this condition, known as "Banner Blindness" occurs when a user has seen so many websites with so many banner ads that they soon learn what a banner ad looks like and begin to subconsciously ignore or block out the images that resemble this common format.

The results of the studies contradict the popular web design belief that larger, colourful and animated elements on a website are more likely to be seen by users.

A recent eye track study by Jakob Nielsen  proves "Fancy Formatting, Fancy Words = Looks Like a Promotion = Ignored"
.......or does it?

Such formats also rely heavily on graphics which increase the load times, make it difficult to update and are search engine unfriendly….yet so many high profile websites highlight important information in this manner. One of the highest performing ecommerce websites Victorias secrets uses Banner promotions to the extreme.

What if the "Banner Blindness theory was all myth? What if a fancy graphic promotion actually increased conversion rates?

The banner blindness theory certainly sounds plausible and eye tracking results support it....The only real way to find out for sure is to test it ourselves, time to find out for sure!

Hypothesis

Information presented on a website with fancy formating, that looks like a promotion or banner advertisement stands a higher chance of being ignored by the target user.

The Experiment

To test this theory we propose to split test a real live promotion on the Zeald homepage. One of the primary calls to action for the Zeald homepage is an offer to "Download a Free E-book"
We have been running this offer for sometime now with reasonable results. The promotion appears at the top of the page in the right hand column above the fold.

The Original (the Control)

Banner Blindess Test
This original promotion has been design in a simple text format and follows usability guidelines. Beneath the headline a small amount of text introduces and describes the benefits of downloading the ebook, with a call to action at the bottom to "Download now"
The promotion fits the formating of the information around it.. It does not stand off the page, and it does not look like an advertisement.

Combination 1

Banner Blindness Test
We would like to introduce a second promotion with the same call to action, and the same headline, the only difference; this one will be designed to stand out from the page, to look like an obvious promotion or banner Ad.

I do this by colouring the background, making the text headline large and bold and I introduce a large graphic of the ebook. In doing so I have to remove the introduction text so that the ad does not take up any extra space on the page.

The Results

Combination Conversion Rate (% change from original)
banner-blindness-test_original_thmb.jpg
Original
Original
banner-blindness-test_1_thmb.jpg
Combination 1 - graphic
109% increase compared to original
   

The results show an overwhelming response to the graphic banner. Over double the visitors not only noticed the graphic banner, but they clicked on it. These results would suggest that in this scenario the banner blindness myth is busted.

Reviewing the initial experiment I wonder if the banner that I have designed is not obvious enough. Perhaps the blue colouring and the images I have used are too consistent with the Zeald brand and it does not appear detached enough from the website. A true Banner advertisement would appear very detached form the website look and feel. I would like to test this theory further by creating a third banner with colours and images that do not fit the Zeald brand; red for example, an obvious promotional advertisement colour.

Check back soon for part 2....
 
 

US E-Commerce Website Conversion rates - April 9 2007

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Online merchants convert an average of 2%-3% of their site visitors into buyers, according to the e-tailing group's "Sixth Annual Merchant Survey."

That's about the same as last year. And the year before that.

US Website Conversion Rates

Shop.org conducts a similar annual survey with Forrester Research called "The State of Retailing Online." Conversion rates in that study also average about 2%-3%.
 

Outlook Express

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Here is a short video outling the steps to setup an email account in Outlook Express

Text instructions

If you cannot view the above video or would prefer a textual description, here are the steps involved in setting up a new email in OutlookSetting Up Your Email Account

  1. Open Outlook Express
  2. Click ‘Tools’ on the toolbar. A menu of options will be displayed. Click on ‘Accounts’
  3. Click on the ‘Mail’ tab
  4. Click on the ‘Add’ button. A menu of options will be displayed. Click on ‘Mail’
  5. Enter your name. This will be displayed on all your outgoing mail.
  6. Enter your email address. This will have been provided to you by Zeald.
  7. Enter your POP3 and SMTP server addresses.

    Zeald provides a pop3 server (pop3.zeald.com) for your incoming mail, so in the ‘incoming mail’ input box you will need to enter the following; pop3.zeald.com

    For your outgoing mail however you will be required to use your ISP's SMTP server. An example of an SMTP server address is as follows;
    smtp.xtra.co.nz

    where the ‘xtra’ is the domain name* of the ISP.

    If your ISP is not xtra, you must replace the ‘xtra’ with your ISP's domain name. Enter your SMTP address into the input box labelled ‘Outgoing mail (SMTP) server’.
  8. Click on the ‘next’ button.
  9. Enter your account name and password that were provided to you by Zeald and click ‘next’.
  10. You will see that the account has been created. Select the newly created account by clicking on it.
  11. Click on the ‘Properties’ button.
  12. The Properties box for this account will be displayed. Click on the tab labelled ‘Servers’.
  13. Click on the checkbox labelled ‘My server requires authentication’. A tick will appear in the box.
  14. The ‘Settings’ button will become active. Click on it.
  15. This will display the ‘Outgoing mail server’ dialogue box.
  16. Click on the radio button labelled ‘log on using’.
  17. This will activate the login details input boxes. Enter the login details (username and password) for your Internet Service Provider account and click ‘OK’.
  18. This will close the ‘Outgoing mail server’ dialogue box. Click ‘OK’.
  19. This will close the ‘pop3.zeald.com properties’ dialogue box. Click on the ‘close’ button.

You have now configured your Zeald email account.

N.B To set up your email account in Microsoft Outlook follow the above instructions. The procedure is virtually identical, it is only the appearance of some of the dialogue boxes that will differ.

*A domain name is a unique identifier that is used to locate a specific company on the Internet

 

Mozilla Thunderbird

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Here is a short video outlining the steps involved in setting up an email account in Thunderbird

Text instructions

If you cannot view the above video or would prefer a textual description, here are the steps involved in setting up a new email in Thunderbird

Setting Up Your Email Account

 

1. Open Mozilla Thunderbird

2. Click ‘Tools’ on the toolbar. A menu of options will be displayed. Click on ‘Account Settings’

3. In Thunderbird you setup the sending (SMTP) and recieving (POP3) of emails seperately

4. Outgoing Sever (SMTP) option in the left column, Click on the ‘Add’ button.

5. A popup will appear for you to enter the SMTP server details

For your outgoing mail you will be required to use your ISP's SMTP server. An example of an SMTP server address is as follows;

smtp.xtra.co.nz

where the ‘xtra’ is the domain name* of the ISP.

If your ISP is not xtra, you must replace the ‘xtra’ with your ISP's domain name. Enter your SMTP address into the input box labelled ‘Outgoing mail (SMTP) server’.

 

5. Enter your account name that was provided to you by your ISP and click ‘OK'

6. To setup the recieving (POP3) of email click the 'Add Account...' button on the bottom left

7. Make sure 'Email account' is selected

7. Enter your Name that will be shown in the email 'From' field and your email address and click next.

8. Zeald provides a pop3 server (pop3.zeald.com) for your incoming mail, so in the ‘Incoming Server’ input box you will need to enter the following;

pop3.zeald.com


Click on the ‘next’ button.

8. Enter your account name, that was provided to you by Zeald, in the 'Incoming User Name' field and click ‘next’.

9. The Account Name is where you will see the emails listed in Thunderbird's interface. You can write whatever you like here and click 'next'.


10. All of the Account settings will be shown to you for verification, if they are correct clikc 'finish'.

11. You will be asked for your passwords when you first connect to the servers, either through the 'Get Mail' button on the top left, or when you click the 'Send' button after you have written an email.

12. You can let Thunderbird remember your passwords for you if you prefer.

*A domain name is a unique identifier that is used to locate a specific company on the Internet

 

 

Email Accounts

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

When you need to setup your email accounts, Zeald will provide you with information about the details you need to enter into your mail client to setup the account.

Here we have detailed instructions on how to setup Zeald-hosted email addresses in a variety of mail clients.
 

General information

When you setup a mail account your email client will generally ask you for the following information

Your name, your email address

These appear in the "from" address of emails you send using this account

Username and password

Zeald will have provided you with an email and password.  If you do not have this information you can obtain it from the Support Team.

Incoming (pop3) mail server

Type: pop3
server: mail1.zeald.com
Ensure secure password authentication/ssl etc is turned off
 

Outgoing (SMTP) mail server

Your ISP will have provided you with the details of the SMTP server you should use.  Zeald cannot provide you with an SMTP server because many ISPs block access to external SMTP servers as a measure to control spam. 

If you dont know what SMTP server details to use you should contact your ISP's helpdesk, however you may find it in the following list
 

 ISP  SMTP Server
 Xtra  send.xtra.co.nz
 Orcon  mail.orcon.net.nz
 IHUG  smtp.ihug.co.nz
 Slingshot  smtp.slingshot.co.nz

How to setup your email

We provide specific information to setup various email clients.  If your email client is not in this list refer to help provided with your mail client for further information on how to setup your mail account from the information above.

 

Key Phrase Analyzer

Written by David Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Key phrase density is a very important factor when search engines are determining how highly they should rank your web page for a particular search phrase.

The Zeald Key Phrase Analyzer will help you to see which words and phrases are currently used the most on your web pages.  You can also use it on your competitors web pages to discover exactly what phrases they may be targeting.
Enter a url to analyse:

Options: Text to analyse:

Ignores
If these options are selected, matching words will be ignored from the the single word phrases. They will still be used in multiple word phrases.
Ignore standard ignored words
Ignore words less than characters long

 

Meta Tag Analyzer

Written by Hamish Braddick on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

The Zeald Meta Tag Analyzer will help you to see what meta-tags you currently have on each of your web pages.  Correct use of meta-tags within your web pages can improve your rankings on some search engines.  You can also use the analyzer on your competitors web pages to discover exactly what meta-tags they are using.

Please enter a URL below and click the 'submit' button to see how a search engine would view the specified page.

URL:
 

Eye Dropper - Colorzilla

Written by Brent Kelly on April 1st, 2008.      0 comments

Firefox ColorZilla Extension

ColorZilla is an extension for Mozilla Firefox and the Mozilla Suite.

It assists web developers and graphic designers with color related tasks - both basic and advanced.

With ColorZilla you can get a color reading from any point in your browser, quickly adjust this color and paste it into another program. You can Zoom the page you are viewing and measure distances between any two points on the page. The built-in palette browser allows choosing colors from pre-defined color sets and saving the most used colors in custom palettes. DOM spying features allow getting various information about DOM elements quickly and easily. And there's more...

Download Colorzilla here http://www.iosart.com/firefox/colorzilla/
 

About Zeald

Zeald was formed in 2001 by three young guys from the small New Zealand town of Mangawhai Heads. Now, Zeald is the largest SME website design and digital transformation agency in New Zealand and has clients throughout both New Zealand and Australia. This is the Zeald story …

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0508 932 748
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1800 224 032

 

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