Tag Archives: social networking

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Minimalist Web Design

kartandtinki1_minimalism-wallpaper_07
The Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus defined “The bigger the better” as: how much you value or want something is decided how big it is. But does this really counts for everything in life?

No, definitely not when it comes to web design. Yes, I know there will always be that someone who “knows” better or “thinks” that he knows better.

 

Get rid of needless things

Why would you want to include unnecessary elements and content in your web design? Certain designs can affect the usability of a website so you need to focus on the things that are important to your target market. Keep it simple – decide whether you want to include images etc. but you also need to make sure that you don’t lose the impact that you originally had in mind.

 

Keep colour to the minimum

Bright colours definitely do stand out but black, white or grey can add significance when it comes to minimalism. Choosing the right accent colours is vital but there is always room for any colours of the rainbow. Just be careful when it comes to bright colours – you don’t want your website to look like the exterior walls of the nursery on the corner of the street.

 

White and Grey emphasize

Take your minimalist web design to a larger extent with white spaces. To emphasize some elements over others, it is critical to use white space but try to avoid “empty” spaces. Shades of grey can be used for backgrounds and works beautifully when combined with black, white or other colours.

 

 Make every detail count

When you decide on doing minimalist web design, it is important to realize that all the other details have significance. Borders, spaces, colours, – the overall look – must all come together when there are just a few other elements.

You can still put your individual “stamp” on your website despite the minimalism. It can basically be anything: elegant or sophisticated, modern, fresh or even funky.

 

Typography

This is one element of minimalism where bigger is allowed to be better. Making use of big typography can make a huge impact on a website. It is a popular choice for headers, accents, and to add visual interests.

Circles are also very popular for minimalist websites. It can be used as accents in headings, logos and for navigation.o, next time you are planning a web design, remember you can keep it simple but beautiful.

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Archive

How much time do you spend online?

According to the UK Online Measurement company (UKCOM), the amount of time people spend online has mushroomed by 65% over the last three years. The average Briton now spends almost a day a month surfing the web.
Most of that time is spent either on social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace, or on blogs. These account for almost 25% of all time spent online.

Not all web activities have grown: Instant Messaging (IM) used to be a real favourite in the UK, but its use is in decline. Whilst three years ago people spent around 14% of their time using IM, it now comes in at just 5%.

Meanwhile, that old favourite ‘Email’ continues to play an important role, up from 6.5% to 7.2%.

Other risers include classified adverts & auctions (up to 4.7%) and online news (up to 2.8%).

Here’s the full list:

Social networks / blogs – 22.7%
E-mail – 7.2%
Games – 6.9%
Instant Messaging – 4.9%
Classified/Auctions – 4.7%
Portals – 4%
Search – 4%
Software info/products – 3.4%
News – 2.8%
Adult – 2.7%
Source: UKOM

Since there are 85 different categories, the fact that ‘adult’ makes it into the top ten shows that it continues to be popular.

What does this mean for you

If you’re a website builder, this survey makes interesting reading. To start with, increased net use shows that your website will have an ever growing opportunity to gain visitors.

Second, the online activities of Joe public point to the areas that you should be using to boost your visitor numbers.

The increasing popularity of social networking sites shows that you should be looking to get visitors from both Facebook and Twitter. Here’s a Video Tutorial on how to integrate your website with Facebook and Twitter. And here’s one on how to add a Twitter feed to your website.

Email is also an important way to reach visitors. Make sure you give users the chance to sign up to a newsletter from your website.

And search engines should also be a good source of visitors. Here’s a link to the first part of our SEO Guide.

Do you know where your visitors are coming from? Has that changed? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

Are you Ridnick that you don’t know your ROFLOLs from your MWI?

We bang on a-plenty here on the WebEden blog about the importance of using social networks to market your website.

Whether its integrating your website with Facebook and Twitter, sending updates to Facebook and Twitter, or developing a social networking policy, it’s clear that social media has a lot to offer website owners.

But according to new research, if you’re trying to market to younger people your success might well be down to your use of language rather than any of the techniques we’ve mentioned.

A New Language for Social Networking

And that’s all because teens have developed a new social-network language that they’re using to communicate on the Facebook, Bebo and Twitter. It’s all about trying to prevent adults from finding out what they’re up to.

Popular codes include ‘Getting MWI’ – or Mad With It – which means drunk; or ‘Ridnick’ which is derived from ‘Redneck’, and means embarrassed. Those who are in a relationship refer to themselves as ‘Ownageeee’.

Keeping it Exclusive

Psychology PhD student Lisa Whittaker of the University of Stirling – who is carrying out the research – said that youngsters ‘use the opportunity provided by their personal social-networking pages to develop a ‘cool’ language that is specific to their age group and unlikely to be used by adults”.

Losing traditional language skills

The age old worry is that these language skills develop at the expense of traditional ones, something that Lisa rejects. “I think it is too easy to assume that these young people are illiterate. I think young people are responding to the technological age they are living in and becoming very creative in their use of language,” she added.

So it might be time to ‘cool up’ your use language of social networks, in order to ‘convert’ a few youngsters into customers.

Why do I feel like my use of ‘cool up’ automatically makes it, well, not cool?

If you’ve any experience of using your social networks to reach new customers, leave us a comment below.

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How to

How to Develop a Social Networking Policy: 14 questions you need to answer

Today we’ve got another Guest Blog by Alison Cross from AlisonCross4Webs.co.uk. Its all about how to develop a Social Networking Policy for your business. Over to Alison.

Last week we had a (cue Mrs Merton) heated debate about whether or not its OK to use Social Networking websites at work. There’s no doubt that some businesses lose money because employees are spending time on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, blogs and Twitter. On the other hand, some actually benefit from employee involvement in Social Networking.

Time Wasting or Money Making?

These sites CAN be enormous spinning vortexes of wasted time and energy, but they can also provide a brand new channel through which your target audience can access your goods and services.

Today more than ever it is important that companies are seen to be part of the discussion about their own goods and services. To stay out of the discussion suggests that your customers’ opinions don’t count. Who needs that kind of reputation?!

It requires courage to join the discussion because you won’t be able to control the comments, but to be seen to be listening to clients’ comments and opinions can help your business/brand enormously.

Developing a Social Networking Policy

But – before you create your Facebook account, jumping into the social networking waters for business purposes without some kind of plan is to court death by drowning in Tweets!  Having a plan – a flexible, regularly updated plan – will help you turn social networking from a Business Suck to a Business Success.

If you have many employees, this would be a task for your Human Resources Department (Personnel!).  However, if you are only a small business with a handful of employees and no distinct HR Department, designing that policy is going to fall on your shoulders.

This post is aimed at YOU, the small business who needs to get a grip on those man hours lost by employees adrift in cyberspace and busy doing the work that YOU are paying them for.

I don’t recommend creating your Social Networking policy without consulting your employees in some way.  It’s such a fast-developing area, they may be more clued up than you! Listen to their input fairly.  You never know, it might just result in a truly inspired business presence on the networking sites!

I envisage that there are two types of employee here:

A)    The employee whose job remit is to be the public face of your business on Social Networking platforms.
B)    The employee who’s just faffing around on company time.

14 questions you need to answer in order to develop your social networking policy:

1.   Goal – what is it that you want to achieve with your involvement in social
networking?

2.    How will you quantify your business’s success in social networking?

3.    Will it be a project with a time limit or an ongoing involvement?

4 .   To which social networking platforms are you directing your efforts and why have you chosen them?  E.g. – is there any evidence that being present will have a positive influence on your business/customer interface?

5.    Which employees are working as your official social networking staff?

6.    On what basis are they acting on your behalf?
Are they working as a team (anonymously involved under business name)?
Are they to be recognised as named individuals?
How will your logo/brand be used?

7.    What kind of communication is permitted? Eg – Product information on Facebook? Discount vouchers on Twitter? Personal comments?

8.    What kind of communication is not permitted? Eg – disparaging the company or a client?

9.    When is communication permitted (for type 1 and type 2 employees it will probably be different – if you are taking social networking seriously as a business tool). For type 2, only after certain specified tasks carried out?

10.    What are the consequences for breaching the communication rules?  Verbal warnings, written warnings, instant dismissal?

11.    Will there be different consequences depending on the level of position within the company? Is it more serious if your Director of Finance is found slagging off the CEO’s dinner party in his blog than the junior store-keeper blogging the same gossip?

12.    Do these regulations apply solely within business hours?

13.    Consider the consequences of possible identity fraud on these sites. Do you know what to do if someone steals your logo/details and sets up as YOU?

14.     Bullying – your bullying policy may need to be extended to cover cyber-bullying.  The tragic results of sustained bullying on networking sites are well-documented in the press. Make sure your company/school has a policy in place.

This list of questions is not by any means exhausted, but should be able to get you started in formulating your own policy.

What else would you add to a social networking policy for your business?

About Alison Cross
Alison Cross lives on the Isle of Bute where she has built over a dozen websites using our software. She also helps people use Twitter to market their business. For more info or advice about social media or web design, visit her website alisoncross4webs.co.uk.

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Archive Social Media

My, haven’t you grown! And look what you can do now!

The latest UM ‘Power to the People’ study has revealed that the number of people now online has hit 625million. Of these, nearly two thirds have joined a Social Networking site such as Facebook, Twitter or Myspace.

The growth of social media has been of particular focus to the study. The study questioned 22,729 internet users in 38 countries, which makes it the largest global analysis of social media usage.

It shows that not only are people using social networking sites more and more, but they are using them to do far more things. Users are more likely to use social networks to blog, upload photos & videos and to use their widgets too.

In terms of specifics: 76% of social networkers upload photos; 33.1% now upload videos;  29.1% now write a blog; and 34% install widgets on their profile page.

“Social media is a very fast evolving landscape and one that’s taking an increasingly important role in consumers’ digital lives”, said Glen Parker, research director at UM EMEA.

What does this mean when you’re building a website with WebEden? At the very least, it shows the potential power of people’s online social networks to recommend websites and products. The latest WebEden release allows you to integrate your website with both Facebook and Twitter; invite people to become ‘members’ of your website’; and to update your status from your WebEden website. These call all help you start to harness the power of social networks, in order to drive visitors to your website.

Who has so far had success integrating their site with their social networks? Leave us a comment below.

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Social Media

Older people take to Social Networking

Here’s a story that might surprise the marketing people: despite social networking sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter being aimed at ‘young things’, a recent study has shown that it is the older generation who are adopting social media at the fastest rate.

Research from online measurement company comScore has shown that people over 55 are more likely to spend their time on Facebook than visit a travel, business or technology website.

In May, almost 70% of those over 55 visited Facebook, Myspace or Twitter.

That being said, these figures still lag behind a younger demographic: 89% of 25 to 34 year olds spending time catching up with friends on social networking websites.

Social Networking for older people is more than just a passing fad, or a quick glance: the average 55 and over spends 3.7 hours per month on Facebook.

Mike Read, MD of comScore Europe said:  “There continues to be a misconception that social networking is the preserve of the young. While those under 35 years old are certainly the more prevalent users, there is both a sizeable and heavily engaged audience of those 35 and older as well”.

What does this mean if you’re building a website that targets this demographic? Well to start with, you might want to consider advertising on Facebook. Facebook has a self serve advertising program that allows you to reach people based on not just their age, but their gender and interest group too.

Mike Read confirms the idea: “Advertising on social networking sites has a better chance of reaching these older demographics than site categories such as business and finance, which is a critical insight that might be lost for those trying to optimise their campaign against target audience segments.”

We’ll be showing you how to advertise on Facebook in an upcoming tutorial.

The second is that this should encourage you to get to grips with the new social networking tools available within WebEden. We’ve made it really easy for you to reach out and market to people in your social networks; invite them to become members of your site; and update Facebook from your WebEden website.

Even if you thought you are targeting people ‘who wouldn’t be into that social networking thing’, this research indicates you might be wrong.

Is social networking trans-generational?  Are you using your social networks to create interest in your website? Leave us a comment below.

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Softwate Update

Update to our Social Networking Membership Tools

In May, as we never tire of pointing out, we catapulted your WebEden Website Builder into the dizzy world of social networking.

Lots of you have grabbed the new tools and are making really good use of them. You’re setting up membership permissions; inviting people from your social networks to become members of your site; and updating Facebook from your WebEden site.

We’ve had feedback too about how the tools could be improved, so we’ve worked hard to upgrade them.

Here’s what we’ve done:

Setting a redirect page after login

Hopefully a popular one this. The update allows you to your members to a ‘success’ page after they have logged in to your site. This is a great opportunity to redirecting them to the ‘members home page’, or another page that you want them to look at. You can set the ‘post login page’ on the Settings tab of the ‘People’ section when editing your site.

Disabling Facebook Connect login

Facebook Connect allows new or existing members of your site to login using their Facebook credentials, so they have no need to create a new user account on your site. This speeds up the joining process, and makes it easier for you to attract new members.

It also ties together with the ability to post out a note to your Facebook wall from the ‘Send a message’ section of ‘People’, which is a great way to invite people to join your site.

This update allows you to disable the Facebook Connect login options for members This update allows you to turn Facebook Connect off!

If its so great, why turn it off? Well it seems that it doesn’t always fit with your plans to grow your websites: some customers (especially business users) had requested this.

Once again, you can change the settings to disable Facebook Connect on the ‘Settings’ tab in the ‘People’ section.

Have a go with the updates, and let us know what you think.

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Social Media

What are your customer saying about you? Part 1

Before the Internet came along, it wasn’t always easy for companies to find out what their customers were saying about them. If a customer had a good or bad experience, the most they would probably do is share that with a few friends down the pub, or mention it over a meal with the family.

If companies wanted feedback they had to ask customers to fill out a ‘customer feedback’ form; and ask their customer service agents what customers were actually saying about them.

Both these channels give a very partial view. People giving feedback would be at either end of the spectrum: they had either loved dealing with your company, or had completely hated it.

Now of course, in the era of social media, customers have lots of channels to spread both their good and bad experiences of dealing with a company. Aside from leaving comments on that company blog, they can submit reviews to reviews websites, leave posts on relevant forums, and of course give feedback through Facebook and Twitter of their experiences.

This makes it so much easier for companies to find out what their customers are saying about them. And it means there is a lot more ‘colour’ and texture to their feedback, rather than a polarised view of ‘brilliant’ or ‘rubbish’.

And apart from finding out what customers are saying, it also gives companies the opportunity to take part in that conversation. If its a good comment, then a company can  give thanks; and if its a bad one they can respond by trying to resolve that customers’ issue, or at least put their side of the story.

And from a product point of view, listening in to what your customers are saying about your product has to be one of the best ways to find out what you need to do to improve that product.

Despite all these opportunities, research out this week from digital communications company Quba has revealed that only half of businesses monitor what people are saying about them on the web. Just a third of businesses have someone who actively manages their online reputation.

Here’s a graph showing it all, published in New Media Age magazine:

For reasons we’ve stated, the reality is that all business should monitor what people are saying about them, and respond to it too. Doing this is called having a ‘social media strategy’.

Check out how to develop your Social Media Strategy in ‘What are your customers saying about you part 2‘.

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Social Media

Cyber Squatting gets a lot more complicated

We’ve talked before about cyber-squatting. This is when someone registers a domain name that is the same or similar to a company or brand, in order to profit from that supposed association.

And last month – just as Britain’s got Talent was reaching its teary zenith – we revealed that not only had many of the contestants names been registered as domain names; but that some had had Facebook and Twitter accounts opened in their name too.

The registering of brand or celebrity names with social networks is a new development in cyber squatting. Now that Facebook has started to give out customised web addresses, and of course MySpace and Twitter allowing users to select their own /name extension, the cyber-squatting game has got a whole lot more complicated.

Consumers are increasingly using social networks to communicate with businesses. Sow now, not only do companies and individuals have to defend their brand by buying up all variations of their brand name as domains; they also have the dizzying task of registering their brand name with social networks too. And as new social networks are springing up all the time, this is going to be quite a task.

The New York Times put it like this: “somewhere out there on the Web, another new service or social network is on the rise, threatening to start yet another online land grab”.

To fill this need of brand owners, a few new services have been launched, which claim to protect brand names on social networking websites. Here’s a couple:

Namechk.com: Lets you check that your brand name is available across hundreds of social networks. Just type in the username you want, and it will let you know on which sites that username has been taken.

And then there is:

KnowEm.com: does the same sort of thing, but will also register your name at the sites, and then send you the username and password. For a fee of course.

I guess the first question is: are you using Social Networks to market your website? We hope that with our latest social media release you’re starting to get to grips with that! And have you found your name to already have been registered? Have you yourself tried registering a company name with a social network? Leave us a comment below.

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