The statistics are staggering, for example, as of July last year, if Facebook was a country then it would be the 4th largest country in the world popping in just behind the United States. Or that Ashton Kutcher and Ellen DeGeneres have more people following them on Twitter than the populations of Ireland, Norway and Panama combined – that is a good audience by any advertising standards and yet it is completely free.
These figures are all possible because the Internet is the first medium where you can record almost any amount of information about the people reading, watching and using it. Statistics on TV viewing figures are calculated by sample groups (you have no way to know who actually watched it, or if it was just left on while someone did the ironing), newspaper sales are accurate but you have no idea who has read what or why they brought that newspaper that day. With the Internet you can see every single page, every single click; every moment you are online the site you are on is collecting information about you. And most of this information is stored for long periods of time and can very quickly find new trends which would go un-noticed.
From a website owner’s perspective it can be vital to know where your visitors are spending all of their time. It might be worthless spending thousands on improving your search functionality if no one ever uses it – on the opposite side, if most of you users try searching for something and leave because they can’t find what they are looking for then it would be worth spending that time and money on getting your search working correctly.
After all you have one chance to impress a visitor; if you disappoint them or frustrate them then there are a hundred of your competitors one more click away on Google and that is just another statistic…
Don’t forget to Follow juicy on Twitter]]>
Recommend someone you know to become our new digital project manager and we’ll give you £1,000 readies. Yes you
heard right, we’ll give you a couple of monkeys as a reward
(no not the furry banana eating type).
All you need to do is get them to send through their CV to email@example.com and don’t forget to tell them to mention your name. Should they be the one and stay at juicy towers for 6 months we’ll give you a whopping £1,000.
Don’t forget to have a gander at the terms and conditions
below to make sure you’re eligible for the reward.
Now get head hunting!
P.S. A few T’s & C’s apply
1. To recommend a candidate, the candidate must apply personally for the position by sending their
application/CV/Portfolio to the following email address firstname.lastname@example.org and stating
the name of the person who recommended them within the body of this email as such:
“I was recommended by [first name, last name]”. Should the candidate be successful and be given
a permanent employment contract and stay in this post at juicy for the minimum of 6 months the
£1,000 reward fee will be eligible.
2. The reward is for £1,000 (inclusive of tax) and will be paid on completion of 6 months employment
at juicy by the successful recommended candidate.
3. No spamming of CVs – all applicants must apply for the job personally through sending their
application/CV/Portfolio to email@example.com. The reward (finders fee) will not be
paid out to recruitment agents or companies.
P.P.S This isn’t for beastly recruitment agents.
You’re too expensive and some of you are frankly pretty beastly.
There are probably ways to make friends with us.
But if you were any good you’d have figured those out by now.
Here are some useful tips in getting the most out of your business’s page:
1) Use your Facebook page like a community meet and greet. Create a buzz around your brand by integrating entertaining videos, photos, quirky statuses and allowing consumers to feel in control of the conversation by opening up your comment wall. The transparent nature of social media has brought with it a desire for your customers to have a greater say in how they interact with your brand so embrace this.
2) Facebook filtering means companies can no longer blast out offers and advertising for free to increase revenue, therefore creativity and originality are beating age old “Half Price” offers hands down. The revolution has come and it’s in the form of pictures of a Meerkat exploring the land http://www.facebook.com/Comparethemeerkat. The lesson here…don’t try and sell too hard! Instead show some personality. Simples.
3) Live Streaming… if you think that live video streaming will help get your “brand message” across then check out this new (and free) app http://appbistro.com/facebook-business-app/products/livestream#
4) It’s an obvious one…however are you promoting your facebook page on your website? Install a like button and get everyone in the company to change their email footer to include a link to the fan page. Nice and Easy for recruiting fans.
5) New business cards? Pop your Facebook page on them!
6) Have you claimed your “vanity url”… this is the URL facebook assigns you. To begin with Facebook will give you one along the lines of http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bournemouth/Juicy/111353905587266. You need to go to http://www.facebook.com/username/ so that you can set the page to your company name. Looks more professional and is easier for fans to find you. (Note you need over 25 fans to claim your name)
7) Make sure you link your Facebook fan page to your twitter account… this makes it quicker to update both in one go! http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=2231777543
Take a good look at who you want to gain as followers on Facebook – remember the main users are 18-30 year olds…is it worth marketing your brand on Facebook in a different light to the way you currently do? Offering rewards for students perhaps?
9) Get organised with the admin! Keep your Facebook page up to date (daily) – add fresh content and be sure to answer fan’s questions. Its that two way communication that is the holy grail of social media management.
10) Competitions and Sweepstakes… a great way to get your fans involved with your brand, however make sure you’re in line with Facebook rules on this one! Facebook can be used alongside a competition however this needs to be hosted on your own site… we’ve just developed a top competition for GAME and will soon be integrating this with Facebook so…
…if you fancy some advice on social media, branding and anything Facebook then give us a call J 01202 312312]]>
These all centre on “Jump Lists”. Basically in Windows 7 you can “Pin” a program to your taskbar and then right click it to see a list of common tasks. So in Word you get a list of the recent documents you’ve opened, other browsers such as Google Chrome show you most visited sites and recently closed tabs – pretty useful if you’ve just closed something you actually wanted to keep!
What IE9 allows us to do is drag the website to the taskbar and create our own “pinned” item with Jump lists. So in relation to our specialist issue tracking tool, we’ve added a few quick links to so users can jump straight to the list of issues or straight to a page were they can add the issues.
Adding these jump lists isn’t days of work and I think will start to become common place across browsers and operating systems; once you start using them, you realise how useful they really are.
Microsoft has also provided more in depth and complicated options to control these jump lists and allow us to create categories and special preview windows all of which will be useful for the ever-growing world of the internet.
At juicy we’re already well involved with deploying IE9 jump list options onto some of our client’s sites in preparation for early adopters and the general public in a few weeks. We are a full service agency and we can help you achieve your development goals through smart business process design and speedy development.
There is one flaw, you do need Windows 7 to even install IE 9 and get these options but this is certainly the future…
Connect on Google+]]>
Whether it’s the two for one deal your mate got on kidney beans this weekend through “micro blogging” on twitter or the lengthy intrinsic nature of the theory of relativity you’ve stumbled upon in a chrome blog search. Everyone’s at it.
Q. So is this purely our society’s contemporary form of mass self-expression or a cleverly honed marketing trick that your site could well be missing out on? A. We’d say it’s a bit of both… and here’s some quickies outlining why?
1) Blogging allows you to communicate to your clients, the public and your competition. With all companies communication is key- your blog will allow you to express ideas, create individualism from the others in your field and also sell yourselves!
2) The “Blogging” phenomena falls under the bracket of “SMO” This quick to lift off Social Media Optimisation is big business these days; link your blog to a Twitter, Facebook, Linked in, and Squidoo lens account and bam you’re up with the inbound links and not being smothered by the competition who’ve been at it since the beginning.
3) Push some decent content in your posts (both relevant and fresh) this will increase the frequency at which the search engine family (Google, Bing, and Yahoo) crawl your site. Increase in site crawls = greater opportunity for improvement in search engine ranking.
4) For a web user it heightens the interactivity of your site, creating different dimensions aside from the “buy me” message. Users can respond, comment and link to your opinions. This opportunity for some quality feedback is surely invaluable?
5) Blog Updates are simple, effective and easy to control for even those who aren’t techno whizz’s…soon to replace the good old pen and paper.
6) As highlighted in a blog by Mario Sundar (far more eloquent a writer than I) – The process of writing a blog offers the challenge of organising your thoughts within areas you are passionate about. Check his posts here.
If you’re looking at updating your site to incorporate a blog, or know it’s time to assess how your site performs against the competition within the SEO rankings then get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.]]>
HTML is currently at version 4. This was released over a decade ago (and worked on for years before that) in 1999. Everything has moved on since then – PC power, smartphones, tablets, internet speeds and wireless connectivity. Yet HTML 4 has remained the centre of this.
HTML5 is supposed to allow us to do so much more. It has true power and will open up web designers to be even freer with their designs and developers can build websites faster and better than ever before.
There are some major problems to overcome first. The people who look after the HTML standard and tell us what we can do (and tell browser companies what they should do) is called the W3C and they have a bad habit of taking a long time to decide on anything. In the world of the internet when 10 seconds ago is old news, they tend to take years to decide on standards. Everyone agrees that standards need to be correctly discussed and all issues captured before we start using them but there cannot be much excuse for the length of time these standards take to be “Recommended” (which is W3C language for approved).
Work on HTML5 started in 2007 and was due to be ready this year. But it is already months and months behind. A year behind schedule at the last count. Ian Hickson is the man in charge of HTML5 and in a recent interview he said he didn’t expect HTML 5 to be fully complete, signed and sealed until 2022. 12 years? It’s unlikely we’ll have HTML in 12 years. Or at least I’d hope to be on HTML10 by then.
The good thing about the internet though is that it’s run by geeks who can’t wait that long and already most of the browsers in use support HTML5 elements (I say most because Internet Explorer is way behind yet again). Once IE catches up with IE9 then and users start to upgrade then we as developers can start to use some of these new tools even if W3C are still discussing what to call some never-used tag over a coffee on the US east coast.
The Why Do I Care factor…
Ultimately what is possible on the net is dictated by these standards. These new standards give us much more flexibility to bring you ideas, brands and ideas alive across more platforms than ever before with much less time and cost. The sooner we have new standard made official and launched, the sooner we can start to harness their power and offer new exciting possibilities. So keep an eye on HTML5 and start dreaming of what your website could ultimately do for you – and you never know, we might be able to make some of that happen for you today.
If you have a non-IE browser then you should be able to play with some of these examples of the new HTML5 Canvas – a tool which lets us play video, create instant custom animations and much, much more:http://www.chromeexperiments.com/]]>
The headline news for much of a cloudy day a few or so ago was that a list of names of people on Facebook had been published. This was billed has a massive “leak” and a display of Facebook’s “privacy problems” yet this actually showed an impressive miss-understanding and drastic over-reporting of a news snippet.
Facebook is a directory of people – same as the BT Phone book. Except, you have to Opt-in to Facebook (by actively signing up). By default you are added to the Phone book when you have a phone line and then you have to ask for yourself to be removed. Facebook only displays your name and maybe your profile image (depending on your settings). The phone book displays your home number, the area you live (area code) and your full name. So which provides more information?
The real worry…
There are two real worries associated with Facebook and the data it contains. Firstly is the reason this list of names was compiled in the first place; hacking into other sites. When you have to create a username online you normally use your name or some part of it. If you are trying to gain access to your username then you need to guess usernames. If you have a massive list of peoples real names (100 million+) then you are able to generate a list of possible common usernames. So now all you need to guess is passwords – you are half way through to hacking into someone’s account. So this threat isn’t from Facebook, it is purely the availability of such a large source of real data which can be used to increase how successful a hacking campaign is.
The second concern is the information people freely allow to share without thinking about its consequences. Banks, credit card companies, government agencies use information such as place of birth, date of birth and mother’s maiden name to make sure they are talking to the correct person – it is meant to be information everyone has but only that person is likely to know. Facebook allows you to add all of this information to your profile. While most of it is locked down, permissions on each account can be completely customised. In some instances a friend of one of your friends can see all of your information on Facebook. So someone you don’t know can get your mother’s maiden name, your DOB and place of birth along with current address etc. Even if you don’t put your date of birth on Facebook, if a friend posts on your wall “Happy 30th Brthday!” then it doesn’t take a genius to work it out.
You are responsible but developers need to be aware.
Often developers are targeted when there are privacy questions. But in this case, and many others, is it not actually the developers who are to blame. It is the way people use the site. If your friends post “Happy birthday” on your Facebook wall then whose fault is it that someone else knows your date of birth? Facebook didn’t ask them to provide that information – you are the person who signed up to Facebook and allowed people to contact you online and you left the happy birthday message on your public wall. Ultimately users need to take responsibility for their own information.
If you wrote your PIN on your credit card and dropped it in the street then you wouldn’t blame the bank when someone used it would you?
Why do I care?
These media scares affect the average visitor’s view of websites and information you collect via your website. Visitors are often happy to provide information where they can see its use but they are becoming more and more aware of what information they provide, who they provide it to and what it will be used for. An example would be; do you need to collect someone’s date of birth or just their age, or even just they day and month of birth? Collecting just the small part of information you actually need means you avoid collecting the sensitive date of birth and this could save you a lot of negative attention in the future.
Ultimately make sure your website is created by a responsible development team and hosted on secure systems to minimise the risk to your reputation.
Contact juicy straight away if you have any concerns over your current development team or hosting provider and we’ll happily talk you through how to improve the situation or provide you a full security review.]]>
There’s a few options when it comes to CMS
Bespoke / custom content management
90% of the work juicy has undertaken in the last 7 years has been bespoke CMS. This basically means we look at your individual requirements and build a web based CMS system to suit your exact needs. We’ll make sure it covers all the functionality you need, it gives you the ability to change all the important sections of the site, and most importantly it’s super, duper simple to use!
The huge advantage of taking this route is that the system is totally developed around your needs. Through a consulting / brainstorming process your requirements are developed for now and the future. The system would be built to exactly fit any business process, it can integrate with other internal systems as required. We build the majority of our bespoke CMS in Microsoft .net which means the standard technology used can be picked up and taken to any server or any agency with .net skills. The systems are totally reliable, robust, license free and can offer a limitless amount of functionality.
Yes the costs for developing this route can be more expensive than buying something off the shelf, but you get what you pay for, and this is the best route for clients with specific needs and requirements, high transaction or users numbers, bespoke business processes etc.
Portsmouth Football Club has a complete custom CMS designed and created by juicy which allows them complete control over each page including banner adverts, Flash-based galleries, PFC TV and everything in-between. It is incredibly detailed and does exactly what the marketing team need.
Virto Group have a multilingual, bespoke CMS system allowing them control over 80% of their content and imagery in multiple languages.
Out of the box
A small amount of the work we’ve done in the past has been using out of the box CMS systems. This has mostly been as a result of inheriting a site from a previous agency, taking over maintenance and support of a site, or very occasionally there’s been a technical request to build using a particular solution.
There are some great out of the box solutions out there that can provide a huge range of functionality for you the client, however there are lots and lots of drawbacks…
1 size fits all – Most of these systems are notoriously hard to customise in terms of functionality and look and feel. So if the system doesn’t quite match your requirement or business process then it can be timely and costly to modify. You may then be restricted in the agency you choose to work with as without some previous experience or knowledge it may be hard for them to produce the project to your spec.
The kitchen sink – Some out of the box CMS systems do literally everything under the sun. Great, loads of functionality you might think? However when you only need to use 10% of what it can do you’re left with confusing, complicated and unnecessary user interfaces showing a hundred functions you don’t need.
Tied in – Some third party systems, and particular CMS systems developed by many web agencies themselves, tie you in by license or technology which mean your site HAS to be hosted by them at a premium cost, the databases sit with them so you can’t take the data away, the source code sits with them so you can’t take it with you etc, you get the idea! We’ve come across this issue time and time again that client basically end up getting stitched by the agency they originally chose to work with and can’t take their site anywhere with them. Some clients have been suckered in with the incentive of cheap monthly licenses which basically mean in the small print they never own the site or the system. This doesn’t give our industry a good name and usually ends up with a big fall out from client & agency somewhere down the line!
Training – Most of the off the shelf systems are complicated to learn. You might even need to pay for training to understand how to use them. They are often built by developers, who (bless them) don’t always think about the end users. So you often find the interfaces aren’t very intuitive. Because you often have too much functionality and control (because the system has been built to try and fit all eventualities) then you can often very easily break your site unless you have really good knowledge of web development and coding. In our opinion this defeats the object of a CMS which should really meant that you don’t have to be a web developer to maintain your site!
Can you tell we’re not fans of off the shelf CMS solutions yet J
Kentico CMS (www.kentico.com)
Web service simple CMS
The new breed of digital technology has spurred a huge number of excellent web services. These are basically systems that are set up and built to provide functionality to a limitless number of other sites. Great examples are WordPress blogs, and the gambling engines that power almost all gambling websites.
juicy have developed a simple web service CMS system to clients to maintain their entire site content if they wish (or we can lock down and limit to certain pages). The service is absolutely perfect for smaller, content rich sites. It allows you to maintain and change any of the content you need using a really simple web based interface. You can access the system anywhere as long as you have a web connection. It will even work on most mobile phones! The system lets you change your text, upload images, add new pages and more. It’s all very controlled though so you can’t break your site (unless you try really, really hard!)
It’s been thoughtfully designed for the end user so they don’t need to know any web design. You just have to be familiar with using the web itself, as it’s just like browsing a website. There’s a really, really simple editor that allows you to style they text within certain controls.
The system is a really great low cost, high functionality way for clients to maintain their own sites without having to invest in complex systems (bespoke or out of the box). Because of the way we’ve built the system if can be plugged into any site regardless of technology (except for Flash at the mo, we’re working on that). We don’t own the site or the content, you don’t even need any databases or anything complex so if you decide you wanted to go your separate way from juicy the site is yours to take away. Basically you’re just renting a simple system to maintain the content and when you don’t want it anymore you don’t have to have it.
Demo of our CMS coming soon!
If you want some advice or help choosing the right content management system for your business please feel free to drop us a line, we’re more than happy to help. Call us on 01202 312312]]>
There are a combination of factors which make this interesting from both a technology and a PR side. The PR side is probably the most complex part of the story and potentially is the reason for the problem in the first place. Apple branded the iPhone 4 as the most advanced phone ever made – rewriting the history books again they told us. But signs were not good. Even in the press launch the iPhone had issues and lost signal in the hands of its maker; Steve Jobs. However the press train wheeled on, at launch the media spoke of the massive queues and high turnout (actually turned out to be low but that doesn’t matter to these media folks).
Issues are bound to be found with new devices and even more so when so many are produced so quickly. Apple’s first mistake was to say their clients’ were wrong. Steve Jobs himself told users who were concerned with their $800 phone not working correctly that they “are holding the phone wrong”
Even die-hard Apple fans found this a touch harsh. How can you hold a phone wrong – even more so when Apple marketing material shows the models holding the phone in the same way.
It is perfectly possible that in all of the hype about the new phone and the new technology in it that someone forgot to test if it could do the basics – make a phone call. In reality, that is unlikely. All phone parts are mass produced and use pretty much the same technology. Many use the same chips. It is far more likely that the PR machine around Apple was the cause of this issue in the first place.
Such is apples obsession with the “big unveiling” that all the test iPhone were camouflaged when used out in the real world. These special cases made it look like another phone but also meant that the antennas in the phone were protected from human hands. Thus the problem of losing signal strength was not discovered, all because of a couple of millimetres of rubber.
Apple now informs us that it is just a software issue causing the drop in signal. Many experts doubt this is unlikely and expect Apple will just soften the reporting of the drop in signal but until the software is released there is no way to test.
Such was the media storm over this problem that Apple was forced to have a news conference where Steve Jobs had the unusual role of defending his product. A role he does not like. So instead of just saying sorry and here is a free cover to fix the problem, Apple tried to say that all phones have this problem so it’s not *really* a problem. Considering the marketing material for the iPhone has always been about how special it is, their assertion that all phones have this problem (coupled with the fact no one else has the problem, at least not as bad) has meant a very unimpressed fan base. It was a press conference which Apple would rather forget pretty quickly.
Looking back at the whole story, it seems obvious that Apple lost sight of the actual users and concentrated far too much on their big PR unveiling. If they had just tested the phone in the way people would actually use it then it might have just been the most successful launch in history… but it wasn’t. Far from it.]]>
1995. Microsoft realised they’d missed a trick and so licensed some code from another company to build Internet Explorer. It came as a free add-on on to Windows 95 and this is likely to be where the problems started. Being included for free meant that it became the default option for anyone wanting to use the internet – without technical knowledge you had to use it to download a different browser so why bother? IE 1 was just as good as all the others… and it was free!
IE2, 3,4,5 and 5.5 all followed quickly after the initial launch. By 1999 Microsoft was spending 100 million dollars a year on IE and had 1000 developers working on it. Up to this point Microsoft was relatively respected by the internet community – the browser worked pretty well and supported most of the things people wanted to do.
Late 1999 and IE6 is released. It was seen as the answer, the best browser out there by far. It’s inclusion with XP for free resulted in the word internet being defined as IE for the majority. IE6 wasn’t a bad browser. It was pretty good for its day. A few niggles; however nothing anyone shouted about too loudly.
Suddenly… nothing. To all intents and purposes, Microsoft halted developing Internet Explorer. We’ll never know why they stopped working on IE but they did. At this point usage of IE6 was up to an average of 97%. This caused those in the industry to hold off developing systems for other browsers. Internal systems for companies were only being developed for IE6 at this point – it was a nice cheap option which made work smooth for the IT guys (Windows would keep IE6 up to date without any more work). WIN.
Then…IE started to fall from grace. Websites pushed to use modern technology which IE could not support. As other browsers started to take hold, IE still sat dormant. Almost all other browsers obeyed the “new rules” but IE was stuck in the past. The misalignment between IE’s capabilities and website developer’s vision began, and with it the frustrations grew. Website developers had to start building websites for the new modern browsers (easy and straight forward) and then make the sites work on IE6 (neither easy nor straightforward). This in effect doubled the workload!
The Impact? Website development took longer and cost more £… (Not to mention the lawsuits-which I won’t go in to).
2006 came and Microsoft released IE7; half shiny and new and half old and nasty. This version of IE had various modes to attempt to seduce IE6 websites into working within its IE7 frame; and although inconsistent in its successes, at least IE was alive and kicking again!
IE8 soon followed suit after some much needed support and the removal of many nasty bugs from its predecessor. However, MS had a real problem; the internet community didn’t (and still don’t) like IE but most casual users employ it by default and are quite happy with it. So it is the focus of many campaigns to get people to use another browser; any other browser, just not IE.
IE9 is coming out this year and promises to drag IE back up to the level of Firefox; Chrome, Opera and Safari. To be fair it does look good. Not as good as some of the new Chrome and Firefox work but still good. However, there is a key sticking point. It doesn’t work on XP. All XP users will be forced to upgrade to Vista, Windows 7 or just stick with buggy IE8 (so again we have to start making sites work for different browsers). XP is nearly 10 years old which is a lifetime in the software world but you try telling that to the 51% of internet users out there… All new browsers and IE8… and so the cycle of IE hatred continues.]]>