Optimise Your Website with NLYZR.com

“You don’t have to run faster than the bear, just faster than your slowest friend”

When I first started building websites, the web was a very loosely joined collection of sites, boards, pages and applications. It was hard work finding what was “out there” – and we all spent a great deal of time finding, collecting and curating lists of sites and bookmarks. And then along came Google and everything changed.

Suddenly you could search and find what you wanted.

Google’s search results were powered by a complex mathematical logarithm that calculated the number of other websites linking to each other, analysed the text on the page and the images that were shown – along with dozens of other criteria – and then sorted this list of websites into an easily navigable list. And in our impatient, time poor world, those websites that ranked highly – on the first couple of pages – received the bulk of search related traffic.

But just as the web became easier to search, it also became easier to create. With cheap or free blogging and content management systems, you can have a website up and running in minutes. Literally.

But having a website doesn’t guarantee traffic. Remember, there are millions of sites out there. The challenge is finding the time to not only update your website, but to optimise it so that it can be easily found by your customers.

The thing to remember about search rankings is that it’s like the quote above – you don’t have to rank #1, you just have to outrank your competitors.

The team at Newcastle digital agency, Sticky, have recently launched a tool – NLYZR – that helps you do just that.

This web based tool has been under development for over two years. I remember being excited to see a very early – and very manual – version some time ago. Back then, Sticky founder, Craig Wilson, knew he was onto something special, but has invested a great deal of intellectual and practical knowledge into the system. From the beginning the vision was to automate as much as possible – so that business owners and web masters could easily and quickly see improvements.

These days, you simply put your website address into the NLYZR site together with preferred search keywords and the system comes back with a ranking and some recommendations. From there you can change, tweak and update your site to improve your search results.

The thing I like is that it provides practical suggestions – like reducing the length of the titles in your blog posts or adding descriptions to the images on your website. And that’s just the free version. Those who want to dig deeper and optimise an entire website can subscribe to the service from as little as $149 per year. It may be just what your business needs.

What Happens in Retail Stays on Dropbox – #gaspfail

When you live in a city you get used to poor retail service. You get used to attitude.

But what happens when your retail experience becomes big news in social media – for all the wrong reasons? Retailer GASP Jeans is finding out.

Shopping over the weekend with friends, Keara O’Neil experienced the style of “customer service” that is all too common in many of our retail spaces. She then emailed the GASP Jeans customer service team to describe her experience to which she received a response which has since “gone viral”.

Here is the “complaint” email:


And here is the response: 


Now – this is clearly not good customer or brand management from GASP Jeans. But these emails have been quickly transformed not just into links or stories, but “social objects”. So even if websites are modified or Facebook pages closed off, screen captures such as these can be taken shared and promoted via many other types of social media – for example, this copy of the email was passed on via Twitter with a link to dropbox.

And the “conversation” on Twitter is spurning a completely different style of brand engagement.

But while #GASPfail continues on its merry way, the question really is – where is the follow-on response from GASP Jeans? One small incident has been amplified across the web and the PR and management team are nowhere to be seen.

Could this happen to your brand? What would you do? Do you have some crisis planning in place? Maybe you should.

Social Media Around the World

After surveying more than 9000 consumers in 35 countries, Insites Consulting have released their Social Media Around the World 2011 report. Coming in at a whopping 167 pages, the data and information is bound to find its way into many a pitch between now and the end of the year.

The results overall, tend to reinforce what we already know – and what we are, ourselves, experiencing:

  • Big social networks are winning and new entrants will find it hard to gain traction with consumers
  • Offline brand experiences are the main conversation starters online
  • There is significant interest in co-creation of products and advertising
  • Social network usage is set to grow even more
  • People connect with people, not brands

Some of the more interesting items include:

  • Twitter use does not impact Facebook (ie they are not mutually exclusive)
  • Twitter users are early adopters and tend to engage in multiple social networks
  • Consumers tend to react to brand content rather than initiating conversations
  • 33% of European businesses restrict access to social networks – yet employees remain the strongest brand ambassadors of all
  • Smartphone owners have strong social media profiles and levels of adoption – but location based services have a way to go

While there is an obvious European skew in the data, the data seems to also bear out for other markets. And interestingly, for all the hype around social media, it appears that corporations have a way to go before they catch the socially-savvy consumer.

Who Makes Snow?

Good copywriting is hard work – and hard to come by.

But this ad from National Australia Bank is a winner in my book. Some great visual storytelling – often in juxtaposition to the narrative – combined with sharp editing and a nice balance between landscape, industry and faces bring a warmth to the often bland branding associated with financial services.

What do you think? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Meh?

Via @acatinatree

We are the 99% – #occupywallstreet

When protesters across Tunisia and Egypt took to the streets to demand more transparency in government, democracy and equal rights, the West stood and cheered. Dubbed the Arab Spring, these people powered movements saw the disenfranchised 99% of the population rise up and protest the concentration of ownership and privilege controlled by the 1%.

But how do we respond to the same situation in our own backyards? The 400 richest Americans at the top of the economic pyramid have been able to amass more wealth than the 180 million Americans at the bottom – and I’d wager there is a similar disparity in Australia.

In an open letter to Join the Wall Street Occupation – The Revolution Begins at Home, Arun Gupta explains:

Our system is broken at every level. More than 25 million Americans are unemployed. More than 50 million live without health insurance. And perhaps 100 million Americans are mired in poverty, using realistic measures. Yet the fat cats continue to get tax breaks and reap billions while politicians compete to turn the austerity screws on all of us.

At Liberty Park in New York, hundreds if not thousands of people are gathering each day to discuss, debate and protest the state of democracy in the United States. The campaign #occupywallstreet is spreading to other cities and countries – from San Diego and Omaha to Toronto and even Brisbane.

We Are The 99% from socially_awkwrd on Vimeo.

And while there is a lot of conversation on Twitter and on social media, the mainstream media outlets are yet to deeply engage on this subject. And it makes me wonder – where is the tipping point … what level of social movement or activism is required before traditional media can no longer ignore the unfolding situation? And at which point does it become “contagious” – shifting gears from a protest to a movement?

Perhaps financial traders like Alessio Rastani, shown here in interview on the BBC will help galvanise such a movement.

Or maybe not. We may be part of the 99%, but many aspire to the 1% – and while a culture of aspiration (and entitlement) dominates our thinking, non-traditional media will have to work harder to reach that tipping point. If Duncan Watts is right, then we need about 15% of a closely linked social network to act before contagion begins. And that means we have some way to go.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Last week’s Facebook developer conference unveiled a series of upcoming changes to the Facebook platform. But the social web is not just about Facebook – there’s lots more out there and I suspect, there always will be. This week’s five must-read posts largely skirt around the Facebook avalanche which you can read elsewhere – except for #1. Enjoy!

  1. Interesting angle on the Facebook announcements from Noah Horton, CTO and Co-Founder of social media publishing platform, Involver. In this post he looks at The Semantic Social Web and ponders the question of value.
  2. Starting a new blog can be daunting – and Michael Brenner explains why with his post Content Strategy Visualized. But, as he explains, content can help you drive an inbound marketing approach – so long as you understand the connections between blogs, marketing, PR and social media. Good luck!
  3. Great post from Amber Naslund on the personal challenge of social media. It’s not just about creating and sharing knowledge and content – it goes deeper. It’s about being a wayfinder. And I couldn’t agree more.
  4. Short but sweet, John Haydon shares How to Get Heard.
  5. Julian Cole explains just how easy it is for digital strategists to learn Photoshop in 8 hours (note, I didn’t say “master”). Great stuff. After all, a bit of coding and some graphic design will take you a long, long way – and most don’t even know the basics. Get to it!

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

Last week was a busy week for me – with travel, conferences and back-to-back meetings for what felt like a whole week. And while it was exhilarating and energising, it also left precious little time for much else.

These posts popped out of my RSS feeds as I was travelling between destinations. Be prepared, there is some great and challenging thinking ahead of you.

  1. What does the future of work look like? Will we continue to walk the work-life balance tightrope, or will global trends force us to change our thinking, disrupt our career plans and transform our futures? Bryce Roberts takes a 1000ft view of the job market and ponders the idea of continuous partial employment.
  2. Speaking of the future – or at least the near future, this week Facebook is likely to make a whole series of announcements at the F8 developer conference. Lauren Fisher previews the changes.
  3. While Facebook continues to innovate, so too does Klout – finding new ways to measure the slippery notion of online influence. Now, I am yet to be convinced – but Mark Schaefer mounts a strong case explaining Why Klout Matters. A Lot.
  4. Is social media right for your business? Drew McLellan says it is – but only if it makes you money or saves you money. He even gives you 20 questions to help judge for yourself.
  5. Has anyone ever offered to give you 110%? Have they ever delivered? Valeria Maltoni suggests that we need to be realistic. That we need to be clever. And that we need to listen to our clients, customers and bosses. Maybe they don’t want 110% – maybe they just want us to deliver on our promises.

Do You Read Your Past Posts?

Over the last half a dozen years I have written almost 1800 blog posts. That is about 300 per year and yes, almost one per day. I would hate to think how many words this translates into.

But there is more. I have also written articles for Marketing Profs, guest posted from time to time on other sites and contributed articles for publications like Marketing Magazine and for books, ebooks and so on.

I dare say I could find many others who have produced a similar amount of content. Or more. After all, there are many people far more prolific than I.

But whether you write one article a day or one article a month, I'm wondering – do you re-read your writings?

I know I do – but perhaps not as much as I should.

I am reading Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, and I have been struck by the linkages between writing, review and breakthrough ideas. He uses the example of the "common place book" – a book of ideas, cross-referenced by the author to improve memory. Interestingly, Johnson explains how Charles Darwin's theories benefited from this process, allowing him to formulate, refine and build upon ideas over time. This is what Johnson calls the “slow hunch”.

Now, it seems that blogs with their readily available tagging structure and inbuilt search functions are like commonplace books on steroids. But who amongst us use them in this way? How many of us revisit a category area each time we sit down to write our next post?

Not me. But then, I think i'll change this approach. I have a hunch that I am going to unearth some valuable slow hunches in the process.

A Cup of Chaos #71: Don’t Risk Coal Seam Gas

Having watched Gasland the movie late last year I was astounded to learn that coal seam gas mining was planned in Australia. Surely, I thought, we’d learn from the tragic lessons of others. Imagine my surprise then to learn that not only was CSG mining already taking place on a large scale – but that mining exploration rights were being granted in rich and fertile farm lands (you know the ones that feed Australia’s growing population) – as well as under the homes of Sydney siders.

In an attempt to provide an alternative view of the personal impact of CSG mining (the impact on families and on farmers – and even farming families), GetUp! have created this video. They are aiming to raise funds to have this appear on TV across the country – in part to combat the mining industry’s advertising blitz.

Using Fascination to Trigger Behaviours

Let me tell you a secret.

It’s just for you.


I think you’re really going to like it.

This idea.


Innovation in marketing practice.

In fact, better yet, read on. Read this. Buy it .


Did you see what I did there?

Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate, describes seven triggers that we can (and should) tap into to help us tell stories and engage our audiences. They allow us to go beyond the simple concept of “personal branding” – to a deeper, more authentic place.

The seven triggers can be woven into our stories and drive a response from our audiences.

  1. Power – Take command
  2. Passion – Attract with emotion
  3. Mystique – arouse curiosity
  4. Prestige – increase respect
  5. Alarm – create urgency
  6. Rebellion – change the game
  7. Trust – Build loyalty

Sally is presenting at the Content Marketing World conference, and thanks to Nate Riggs, we can see and hear a little of what she has to say. But don’t just watch this – think about what you can do today to impact your work. How can you put the power of storytelling to work? Which triggers can and will you use (and why).

I like this better than my own P-L-A-Y framework – or perhaps, in practice, I can see ways of extending that framework in new ways. I’ll let you know what I find out after a few experiments. But in the meantime, let me know how this works for you. Does it fascinate you and your team? What about your clients or customers? For it seems that telling the story of telling the story is, itself, one of the many ways to fascinate. Get to it!

Sally Hogshead Live at Content Marketing World from Nate Riggs on Vimeo.