- Beyond audience analytics and editorial review, what are some other ways to suss out how well your website content is performing? Here are seven website graders you can try today.
- We’re all hoping for a silver bullet for email management, but Google Inbox isn’t it. While the Material Design approach makes the app look slick, the default bundling of conversations and multiple message management options are confusing.
- With 14 newsletters, and merely one on the topic of cats, Buzzfeed has increased its website traffic from email by 700% year over year. Read how Buzzfeed overhauled its email strategy to become among the top traffic drivers to their site.
- Quartz reports that while 80% of the web remains dominated by just 10 languages, another 6,990 are out there. Read how web platforms are gearing up for a truly multilingual web.
- The early web was all about community — and then swiftly yielded to a mountain of Flash animations and brochureware. Now community management is emerging as a discipline and, increasingly, a job title.
Weekend fun: The Thanksgiving season is upon us, and Facebook has made it easier to say thanks by auto-generating videos to construct a narrative of your friendships. Creepy or clever? You be the judge.
- This week Google Maps is rolling out a new redesign with improved ease of use. Beyond the clean look and brighter palette, note the increased surfacing of transactions through the map, like making a restaurant reservation through Open Table or booking a car through Uber.
- Reddit’s Bit of News bot summarizes news that’s shared on Reddit as it reaches a certain click-popularity threshold, and then pushes those summaries to an app. It’s a great example of ideal human-algorithm partnership. The humans do the smart discernment, and the algorithm figures out when and how to share more broadly. Check out this good write-up about the Bit of News bot.
- With Google Analytics, you can create so many custom reports that it’s hard to know where to start. This article compiles and reviews 12 useful, downloadable report templates created by GA experts. Hours and days and content efficiency reports are particularly useful for bloggers.
- As we all store more documents far from our hard drives, there’s a greater need for seamless integration with daily office applications. This week Microsoft announced a new integration with Dropbox, just as Google launched a Chrome extension to let you access Drive files from apps.
- Big Moose Is Watching You tells the fascinating story of LL Bean’s strategic use of customer data from the very beginning, when they targeted nonresident Maine hunting license holders with direct mail. Today, the company uses data to provide sophisticated “omnichannel” presentation, and takes an approach that favors highly relevant offers to customers over brand awareness.
Weekend fun: Geek out with Brian Cox in the world’s largest vacuum chamber, minus 800,000 cubic feet of air. Watch to the end for the full child-like glee when the predictable occurs.
- Benedict Evans demonstrates how mobile is eating the world. It’s worth reading for the astonishing growth metrics, like 80% of all adults in the world owning smartphones by 2020. One larger point is that tech is rapidly moving beyond the tech sector to transform all industries. And for now, that starts mobile first.
- Product managers are critical in the software industry — and this discipline is spreading as every company develops a software capability. We need more ways to educate people into becoming product managers, as well as to provide ongoing professional development opportunities.
- Reddit added a crowdfunding capability to allow community members to raise money and support causes they care about. Already an early adopter of cryptocurrencies, Redddit is expanding the suite of services that keep community members happy and engaged on the site.
- Google now surfaces a sitelinks search box to branded search results — a box that allows you to search a website directly from the Google results page. Here’s how you can disable it.
- MOOC 1.0 has emerged from its first hype cycle a little worse for wear. How can we ensure that next generation MOOCs will deliver effective and compelling online learning? Here’s a great roundup of lessons to be learned from other online experiences from commerce to social networking.
Weekend fun: Dancing with drones? Someone’s gotta do it, I guess.
- Analytics firm Chartbeat has opened up its measurement methodology, limitations and all. By exposing their thinking and technology, they give the service’s users better insight into their reports — and simultaneously ramp up the pressure on the competition to go transparent.
- Now that we’ve all given up on comments, annotation is on the rise. The Genius platform continues its quest to annotate everything through social reading. Spend a little time with Tech Genius to see how people dissect and discuss noteworthy texts.
- Pew released a sobering report on the state of online harassment. Younger adults are more likely to have experienced some kind of harassment, from name calling to physically threats. Young women experience particular, severe forms of harassment, with a full 26% reporting that they have been stalked online. See also: #GamerGate.
- Before you respond to that email, pause. This HBR post explains how to improve your communications by being a little less quick on the draw with the send button.
- It’s the end of apps as we know them. The mobile experience will be less about sifting through app icons spanning multiple screens, and more about apps sitting in the background, serving up relevant content as needed.
Weekend fun: How many times has your heart beat? How has the planet changed around you during your lifetime, from animal extinctions to solar eclipses? Check out this clever, interactive visualization from the BBC.
Web thought leaders and authors Karen McGrane and Ethan Marcotte now publish a popular responsive web design podcast. Each episode features an interview with the people who make responsive redesigns happen, and covers the various complexities from change management and organizational readiness to design optimization and monetizing mobile.
You can see my interview here, which talks about the current content strategy shift toward mobile, and a recent responsive redesign at Harvard.
- Google has enhanced its search results with an “In the News” box. These results include blogs and other content sites that are not traditionally indexed as news. This would explain the travesty above, where a Chelsea blog is listed related to a search for Arsenal F.C.
- Here’s a thoughtful recap and lessons learned from the NYTNow and soon-to-be-shuttered NYT Opinion apps. Being smart about mobile can draw in new and younger audiences, but it’s still a challenge to figure out what users will pay for, and to avoid cannibalizing existing channels with lower priced offerings.
- Did you ever wonder what the advertisers know about you based on your web habits? Data researcher Jer Thorp paid 10 users $5 each to profile him based on the ads he’d been shown, and shares the results. If you are curious about the data online advertisers are gathering about you, download this Chrome extension, Floodwatch.
- Creative types proficient in Photoshop or InDesign can make anything look good. For the rest of us looking for ways to improve our graphics, here are 23 useful tools to create images for social media.
- Diehard location check-in fans may like the new Swarm widget for iOS 8, which lets users check in with a single tap. Foursquare is taking another run at serendipitous in-person socializing with a “nearby friends” feature.
Weekend fun: Jimmy Fallon runs down the pros and cons of Ello, the new ad-free social network.
- Pageviews and clicks provide some insight into your content’s performance, but understanding if and where your users are paying attention is far more valuable for content producers and advertisers alike. Chartbeat announced that it’s been certified by the Media Ratings Council for a new way of measuring reader attention: active exposure time.
- Are we actually reading the articles we share on social networks? Buzzfeed’s new data blog has some encouraging news: on average, users who share spend 68% more time on page than users who don’t.
- Google Ventures shared these five rules for creating great interface copy. The rules offer designers and developers a useful reminder of the importance of well-crafted microcopy, and how all those little, big details add up in interface design.
- Reddit received $50 million in funding, to be used in part for product development, community management, and mobile tools (maybe an app, finally?). Reddit also announced plans to share back 10% of equity with the site’s users via crypto-currency.
- Overwhelmed by your inbox? Try Eric Schmidt’s 9 rules for email. I’ve been rescued by the LIFO strategy more times than I can count.
Weekend fun: Anyone else remember using an SE/30 for wordprocessing or playing Dark Castle? A team working at the Harvard Innovation Lab has visualized the evolution of the desk from an old-school Mac with accessories to your laptop today. Spoiler alert: there’s an app for that.
Last week, well over 10,000 digital marketers and technologists arrived in Boston for MITX’s Future M, and Hubspot’s Inbound.
For Future M, I was fortunate to participate in a fireside chat led by industry pro Sarah Fay on how to cultivate a digital team. Smart question from the audience: who are the three members I would bring to a desert island digital team? My answer: developer (always be building), storyteller (it’s vital to have a narrative, be it words and pictures), and strategist (define why are we doing what we’re doing — and what we’re NOT doing).
At Inbound, I presented the deck below on the Rise of the Chief Digital Officer. Not clear what the future is for that curious title, but the need for a digital competency that favors integration over education will certainly endure.
Thanks to all who attended and followed up later with great ideas and insights.
What do L’Oreal, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and McDonalds have in common? Like Harvard University, they all have CDOs. But what on earth does a CDO do in a world where almost everything is digital? A CDO is a means to catalyze change and to empower one person to accelerate digital capabilities across the enterprise. This session will focus on practical ways that CDOs, CMOs, and other enterprise leaders can create and innovate through digital strategy.