March 26, 2009

Help Your Small Business Customers Feel Smart: Search Engine Strategies, NY

By Kim (cre8pc)

There is good news for small or large businesses and start-ups who desire an on-line presence and felt that large search engine marketing conferences didn't care to help them.  As evidenced by the Small is Beautiful: Search for the Small Business track at Search Engine Strategies in New York city this year, it was smart of conference organizers to heed their needs.  Every session in this track overflowed in attendance.  And, when asked in this particular session, they indicated that each session in this track was followed along, session by session.  They were inspired and had every intention of catching every session targeted to the small business owner.  If you were there, and enjoyed this special attention, by all means let conference organizers know in your session feedback surveys.

The title for this Wednesday afternoon's session is "Turning Simple Change into Big Profit".  The thrust of this session is that paying attention to even the smallest details on your web pages makes a gigantic difference in site abandonment and low conversion rates. 

Andrew Goodman was a last minute replacement for a speaker who had to unexpectedly leave .

Moderator: Jennifer Evans Laycock, Site Logic Marketing and SearchEngineGuide

Matt Bailey, Site Logic Marketing
Kayden Kelly, Blast Advanced Media
Andrew Goodman, Page Zero

Matt Bailey led off the panel with illustrative screen shots of web design errors and bad practices.  If your web site design contains any of these problems, chances are good your site visitors are confused, frustrated and unable to complete tasks.  The bottom line is that you're unable to generate sales, meet customer expectations, rank well in search engines or create excitement and demand for your products or services.  As Matt says, "If you can't find it,it doesn't exist."

User Friendly Web Design

1. Remember to put your company address on your web site. If customers need it and can't find it, they are gone.

2. Calls to action should be big, bold and "everything should be built around the call to action".  It is confusing when there are several calls to action before the big action that you wish site visitors will take.

2. The color red and other vibrant colors can overshadow the call to action prompt.  If your headlines are in red, subheadings in red, navigation links in red, logo is mainly red, and your "buy now" button is a light purple pastel text link or small button, readers will scan right past it.  Set aside a clear area for main tasks. Organize primary tasks and sub-sets of tasks. 

3. Make sure your images match your content and theme.   Puzzlegirl

4. Avoid a FLASH splash page. If you have one, make sure your entry buttons are clearly labeled with logical tasks so that visitors know how to enter the site.

5. Customize Error 404 pages by directing users somewhere.  Write friendly error messages.  Invite them into the site.

6. Avoid "over information" before call to action and or complicated and scary terms, conditions for use and policies.  (Kim's note: Law firms and insurance companies are famous for this.)

7. Don't use generic navigation such "products", "services", "about us", "contact us", etc.  Users navigation by need.  Be specific in your navigation labels to create confidence in where they (Kim's note: You can insert keywords this way too.) Mulit-level web sites need a sound information architecture, requiring sub-navigation, breadcrumb navigation and other navigation assistance.  Never force users to click "Home" to go forward again from where they were.

8. Don't forget basic SEO on your sites. Make sure you content has your company name, products, services in the content. (Kim's Note: Matt shows an older Cottenell page that has no terms like "toilet paper" on the homepage, just pictures of puppies. I decided to check to see if they had improved and sure enough, it is not optimized, still emphasizes puppies - like their commercials, and the first hint of "toilet paper" is in very tiny font size text, in the text navigation, below the page fold.  While figuring out they sell toilet paper, You can Meet the Puppy, enjoy Puppy Playtime, make puppy wallpaper, color puppies, view the puppy ads and get a desktop puppy.)

9. Never make your homepage one FLASH image.  Do not create your website entirely in FLASH.

10. Allow user generated content because it helps to add content on your pages. 

11. Too many bold colors make it hard to see other important content.

12. Cross-sell in a catalog and up-sell in the shopping cart. Select the product first, and then get the fun gadgets that go with it.

12. If you call to action is out of the screen - flex width lose right hand side, don't put call to action there

13. Don't force pre-registration before ordering.

14. Never yell at users with red text, all caps and negative words.

15. Remember who you're targeting.  Only 11% of people use RSS.  Many do not know what it is.  Simply putting icons (Stumbleupon, Digg, Reddit, Sphinn, RSS, etc.) on the site and expecting people to take action will not work because most will have no idea what they are for.  Add text to clarify and be sure to offer a basic email subscription or contact option.

There are actually sometimes where certain odd situations may limit a small business and increasing conversions.  Sometimes a Google ads campaign presents a mysterious situation and its wise to investigate to see uncover the problem.  It can be a matter of removing clutter, which is a well known conversions-killer.  This includes security verification information placed inside the header, along with your logo, and leading task links.  One case study, where some serious digging around was necessary, resolved into a matter where credibility was a customer issue.  The company had been in business for over 50 years but online, only a few years. It was an acute reminder of brand awareness both on and off line.

Absolutely be sure that your SEO "gets it".  In other words, don't hire an SEO who is ready to mind-meld with your products or services.  (Kim's note: This goes for usability services too!)  They can't assist you presenting your USP unless they understand what it is.  Your SEO must be prepared to set up various campaigns and test results to see what works.  An objective SEO can optimize in ways that are not obvious to you because you're too up close to the project. Allow third party testing by giving them a task and watching.  Ask them what they like and dislike.  Get real world responses.  Invite user generated content because this can give you an idea on what to improve. 

Be aware of 3rd party services and content management systems (SMS) that aren't flexible and let you change content, or they force unnecessary content that interferes with SEO or usability.  People bounce around web pages and don't all enter via the homepage first.

Helpful Tools

Conversion rates translate into millions in revenue.  Make sure nothing is broken on your web site.  A good strategy is to get to know your audience and understand what their challenges are. Tools offer ways to identify bottlenecks on your site, track 404 errors, locate broken links, and help you to organize, track and log page activity. 

1. Set up the free Google Optimizer and keep testing your pages.  Look for what people are doing on your web site. This tools allows you to set up goals and create funnels.  Set up an internal site search so you can identify what users are looking for on your web site.  This helps you see what's missing. Look for top entry points, where "bleeding" occurs.  Create a shopping cart funnel, for example, and you will find top exit pages.  Sometimes the problem relates to product pricing.

2. Try Crazyegg for heat maps testing. While not free, it is inexpensive.  You can see where each click occurred, view destination and get a better understanding of where they're clicking. 

3. A free tool to help you understand why visitors do what they do on your web site is 4Qsurveys.  With this application you can study tasks.  Did they complete them? Use this to get feedback.

4. User testing can be cheap. Try the 5 second test   There are various tools like Morae and Silverback .  (Kim's note: There are a lot of new and free tools for listening and recording.)  User testing helps you become more objective about your web site and offers proof to stakeholders  that changes are necessary.

5. If you improve just 5 things on your homepage, category page, details page and your shopping cart, your conversions will automatically increase by 2.5%.

March 24, 2009

Make Money Per Conversion, Not Click: Search Engine Strategies, NYC

By Kim (cre8pc)

It is day one for sessions at the NYC Search Engine Strategies Conference being held this week at the NY Hilton. There are over 5000 attendees, and believe me, every session I've sat in on has been overflowing with people. There is strong interest in Advanced topics, with a keen eye on what the future holds for the Search Marketing industry.

 I'm delighted to report that although I'm not there in any official capacity as a usability speaker, the relationship of user experience, persuasive design and conversions is inching its way into many sessions and conversations.

The following is are my takeaways from a talk called "Pay Per Conversation" from today's sessions.

Moderator: Jeff Rohrs, ExactTarget

Speakers: Jeffrey Eisenberg, FutureNow
Sandra Cheng, Product Mgr, Google

Jeffrey is standing in for his brother, Bryan Eisenberg, because his wife just went into labor. This room is filled to capacity. Unlike the first session I attended this morning (SEO: Where to Next?"), where it was overflowing and I had to sit on the floor, this time I'm firmly planted in the front row.

Jeffrey leads off the session by having us consider the typical PPC (Pay per click) term and reworking it to "pay per conversation". The reason for this is that we don't want to make money per click. We make money per conversion. He also pondered that rather than "SEO", we view it as "search experience optimization". As he says, "There is a signal by the searcher and if we hear it right, we can get them to take action." So let's look at his ideas on how we can listen and meet user/searcher expectations:

 1. Web Analytics consulting can show you were the disconnects are. These are where our user expectations are not met. Did they search on a phrase and your page appear but not meet what they expected? Your goal here is to study your data to discover traffic patterns and unmet needs.

 2. There were several references to what we now called "information scent". While there are many different definitions, essentially "scent" are cues to your visitors to keep them interested. They'll stick around when pages are relevant and click paths are goal driven. Links, for example, should contain content that will promise to take your users where they want or need to go. Where there is scent, there is momentum. Study your drop off data and note where they have lost the scent of what put them on the trail to your site. Information Scent creates motivation. The objective is to avoid losing so many users up front. Pay attention to the signals users are looking for.

 3. Keywords don't fail to convert. Rather, how pages are relevant to keyword searches makes the difference.

4. Personas. There are simple vs robust" personalities, logical vs emotional, quick vs deliberate, methodical vs spontaneous. User behavior absolutely is taken into consideration when determining design, content, and tasks. Eye tracking studies have proved different patterns of page usage can be traced to different types of personalities. Some people will find something quickly and then move on. Motivation is where users will focus. Geico appeals to an emotional need with the use of its lizard, who promises to save you hundreds of dollars. However, if you have sold the idea and then present your visitor with a technical and complicated form to fill out, you risk losing your visitor.

 5. (I loved this!) "Plan, improve, measure and plan again, over and over...." Conversions are a continuous improvement process. Align customers with business objectives and consider their behavior patterns. By studying patterns, this changes what you add and enhance on your web pages. Don't throw anything against the wall and see what sticks.Darts

 6. There is a White Paper on creating personas on FutureNow. Their Twitter account is twitter@thegrok Jeffrey had a great set of slides to compliment his talk and also showed several case studies from some big brand companies, where something as simple as changing the content on a call to action button increased conversions. He illustrated the value of testing several pages to see what converted best.

Sandra was next. She's an excellent speaker. Very clear and easy to follow. She strongly emphasized the value of using Google Analytics in her presentation but any testing is fine. She showed how testing can help you figure out what works best for your users. Some highlights from her talk include:

1. Not everybody who comes to your site will do what you want them to do (but lets try to nab what we can).

2. Try to avoid bounces and abandonment by making sure the directions are clear.

3. The best way to understand what's confusing is to watch a friend use your web site. You know where everything is already. Where did they get stuck?

4. Get analytics to get data. You need an idea where people are going on your site and what happens when they get there. Reports will prompt you to ask the right questions about your traffic. Data shows where they come from. You will ask questions, get answers and make fixes, all with the help of your reports. Look at landing pages. Where do they enter your site? Google Analytics shows bounce rates. Do they land and leave before clicking anywhere? Bounce rates represents opportunity. What changes can you make to help them to stay? Look at funnel reports. These are goal paths and show Where they come in and out/ Page leaks (where users leave) are also opportunities to patch leaks.

5. Internal site search are great sources that show customer intent. People type into your site what they are looking for. This is how they tell you what they want. Study where they go when the search and also investigate where they left. Look at search terms and un-met needs. Perhaps the search results page is too confusing. or you don't carry the product they're looking for. You can get a great picture of customer intent with on-site search.

6. Test page or ad copy. Look at non-paid keywords and bounce rates and compare with paid keyword strategies.

7. Let visitors design your pages for you. Compare page content by making and testing 3 variations of the page. Google will track responses and show you the winning combination. Run mulit-variate testing. Test an image vs without an image near a call to action prompt. It is not rare for 20-50% conversions improvement by making small changes that appear in this kind of testing

8. Remember that "best practices" aren't always the best for YOUR site.

April 24, 2008

Online Content Strategies: One Hit Wonders or Writing for Your Audience?

By Li Evans

While I was at Unleashed, I got the opportunity to sit in on Matt Bailey's Analytics presentation.  If you haven't gotten the chance to see Matt speak, you should make it a point to do so in the near future.  Matt has a passion for relating information to an audience in a very enthusiastic way.

During SES, I let Brian Cosgrove have the honors of blogging about his session at SES NYC.  Brian's got a great summation about Matt's session at SES, which people were spilling out into the hallway to hear him speak.

Why I mention Matt's presentation, is because another post on Seth Godin's blog really got me to thinking.  Add that together with all the furor over Jason Calacanis' reported comments at SMX Social, (by the way Danny has clarified and I also got some clarification on this direct from Jason and he has promised a video response).  It really got me to thinking, seriously thinking.

Do you know, truly know who your audience is?

Are you creating content for your audience, or are you creating content for the search engines, or for the hopes of getting to the top of Digg, or maybe making it big at StumbleUpon?  Sure, these sites (search engines included) bring in, as Matt stated in his presentation, "butt loads" of traffic an links, however, is this really who you want coming into your site?

Jason isn't far off the mark, and neither is Seth, and Matt's right on the money.  Creating content for your audience is what website owners should be doing.  Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm not in the slightest way saying "SEO is bullshit", you still need the SEO to have that content found.  However, if all you are doing is constantly creating "Top Ten Lists" or insane videos, and these really don't reflect your brand, product or service - you are just going to get that spike in traffic and nothing more.

One_hit_wonders One hit wonders in viral marketing and linkbait tend to create nothing in the way of decent targeted audience members.  While viral marketing can be great and wonderful for that bounce in traffic and maybe to get a new site discovered, can you sit down and analyze that segmented traffic and see if it was truly successful?  Did these visitors just come and view one page (your linkbait or viral piece) and leave?  Did they navigate any further in your site?  Did they subscribe to your newsletter or blog?  Did they read another article on you blog or even leave a comment?  Did you even have a goal for that viral strategy to begin with, because honestly "just getting hits" really isn't enough these days.

If you can't see that your content isn't appealing to your true audience, and is only being a one hit wonder to sites like Digg and Stumbleupon, maybe you should be rethinking your online content strategy.  Do you even have one to begin with or are you just hoping that with each launch of a viral campaign, this will be the "thing" that launches you into stardom on the internet?

Write content for your audience first, they are the ones that will buy what you are selling - not the "one hit wonders."  If you don't believe me, take a look at your analytics and see how high your bounce rate is for that segmented traffic.

February 02, 2008

Google, That NoFollow Thing? Could You Explain How To Use It, Officially?

By Li Evans

Google Webmaster Central has no FAQ Page on 'nofollow'Can anyone from Google explain to me (and the rest of the search industry) why on earth you have no documentation on how you want website owners using the "rel = nofollow" attribute on links?  Honestly, I'm really frustrated and quite frankly annoyed about "speculation" and "theory" about what nofollow should be used for and not used for.

While I respect Matt Cutts, a lot of time Matt treads a very thin line between giving too much information that can be totally misconstrued, and yet not enough information.... which again, can be totally misconstrued.  See the little predicament here!? 

I would like to request that Google - OFFICIALLY, put a page in your FAQ's on the webmaster central area, about NoFollow and a link to that FAQ page in its Webmaster Guidelines.  Please explain what Google views it as, how it should be used and how it shouldn't be used.  Give examples, give webmasters something concrete to work with rather than summations from people within the search industry, who don't work at Google.  You see, by not having something official, you confuse webmasters or website owners who have no clue about optimizing their site.  It creates confusion, rumors and misinformation, all things that are BAD for your search engine.

I've searched, and I've wrote about this before, throughout the Google Terms of Service, the Webmaster Guidelines, the FAQ pages, the About Us section, and I can find nothing that states what nofollow is, nor how Google wants webmasters to use it.  I do find that Google wants you to Report Paid Links and to use nofollow stop spiders from falling into Calendars that create spider traps.  I've found a posting in Google Groups about nofollow (btw, no one from Google's posted to this thread yet), but beyond these drips and drabs of small information - there is nothing official.  I don't understand why Google hasn't done this already.  Maybe they like to see the search engine industry run around and try and figure it out? (I have an inkling they do LOL)

Take a look at all the interesting theories, mentions in drafts and even comments from your lead Spam Engineer all within the last couple of months:

See that last one in the list?  Why does it have to be Matt Cutts on someone else's blog (not on Google's site, and not on Webmaster Central Blog) clarifying what the "proper use" of NoFollow is?  How does someone who doesn't really know the ins and outs of this particular industry find this information when it's not on your site?

Google Webmaster Central Blog - search for 'nofollow' produces no resultsEven on the Webmaster Central Blog, I have found advice on lots of things but nothing about NoFollow.  I found FAQ's on Sitemaps, best practices given to the audience at Pubcon,  and how to remove my content from Google.  Where's the stuff on NoFollow?  Come on guys and gals - it's really not that difficult to produce a page that can be easily understood by not just the search community but by any webmaster whether they have SEO experience or not.

Google, since you've been the most vocal and the search engine who's change the meaning and use of nofollow the most since it was introduced at a SES Conference so long ago, could you please, pretty please, pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top - produce an FAQ page on the use of NoFollow!  It probably wouldn't be a bad idea either for Matt to post about it on Webmaster Central since you do have over 25k in a subscriber base!

September 16, 2007

Yahoo! Mash - First Impressions, It Needs Some Work

By Li Evans

Yahoo_mash_logo Yahoo!'s 2nd attempt at social networking, Yahoo! Mash, has taken off with full steam this weekend.  Across my Twitter I kept seeing people asking for Yahoo! Mash invites all weekend.  I had gotten a few a couple days ago, but didn't start digging around till Alex sent me one.

Notice I said this is Yahoo!'s 2nd attempt at this social networking site space?  Yahoo! has Yahoo! 360, that's it's first attempt.  It's pretty popular with the messenger audience - I know this because I've had a Yahoo!360 account for a heck of a long time (in social media time) and the folks who I have as friends - 90% of them come from my instant messaging clique of friends.

Yahoo! Mash, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed.  Yes, it's a beta, but I think I was expecting much more from Yahoo! in this anticipated beta.  This is sort of like Yahoo's trying to be a cool "Facebook-like" alternative to the MySpace crowd.  I just keep coming back to question - Do We Really Need Another Social Networking Site?

Yahoo_mash_flickr_module Yahoo! - if you are going to own this Social Marketing space, why aren't you putting your best foot forward?  This is incredibly lacking, I expected to see cool widgets from your other social media acquisitions integrated into this beta from the get go.  All I get is a Flickr module?  Wow, that's just lame.  There's about 15 to 20 modules - be warned some of these broke my page (granted these are 3rd party created). 

However, beyond the 3rd party apps, I'd expect for something you've released would have had at least some of your top modules have integration to your other great services - like the following:

  • Integration - have a module for your top bookmarks to share them
  • Yahoo! Videos - integrate your accounts for the videos you upload
  • Yahoo! Answers - this is likely your strongest product, why in the world you didn't create a module for this is beyond me!
  • MyBlogLog - Great product, your widget is on thousands of blog, why can't I have widget for here too?
  • Fantasy Football League - Dude! It's football season (if y'all didn't know I'm a rabid Eagles fan), Fantasy Leagues are HUGE!  People could integrate these into their Mash profile and brag at how great a fantasy football team they have (or cry... in my case I'd cry, I'm not good at Fantasy Football)
  • Any Sports Fantasy Leagues you have - NHL soon starts, NASCAR is now down to its "Chase", but a whole new season starts in February, and I'm sure there's NBA fantasy leagues and what about all those college sports?
  • Integrate some kind of Blogging RSS feature that actually works and doesn't cause me to break the page (see error screen shot below).   Cute dog though.
  • Make it easy to integrate what I have in Yahoo! 360, either combine the profile, or import in what I have there and delete the old one.
  • Make it easy to integrate what I have in "MyYahoo", either combine the profile or import in what I have there.
  • Make it easy to access my Yahoo Mail (and Messenger).   If there's one thing I like about using your other Yahoo properties, its that usually in 1 click, I can easily access my Yahoo! email account - I can't do that with Mash.
  • Integrate Yahoo! Games - Allow a module to see how well you do on the games you play.  Many of my friends play your free games, and brag about how good they are.  Mash would allow them to boast the scores, while promoting this property
  • Integrate Yahoo! Groups - Whatever forums I like, allow me to integrate my most recent posts in Yahoo! Groups.

All of these things are Yahoo! based programs, properties and applications.  These should have come standard, who better than your own programmers to make sure these things work and function properly.  Look to the community to adapt your API and create modules like they currently are (Twitter and YouTube are two nice examples).

Honestly, I'm pretty disappointed in this offering.  I don't really see a reason to use this social network in favor of Facebook, or to switch from Yahoo!360.  I'll keep checking back to see what's updated and offered, but I'm not moving off of what's already working for me, for something this "Beta".

January 18, 2007

Mini Rant: No I Don't Want to Change My Default

By Li Evans

Yahooarrow Anyone from Yahoo! out there that can tell me how the heck to get rid of that annoying red arrow thing that says 'Search With Yahoo! From Your Browser', other than switching my default search engine in my FireFox browser?

I find it really annoying that I used the Yahoo! toolbar to do the darn searches, and yet this still comes up.  Isn't there a way Yahoo can detect if their toolbar is installed and NOT show that annoying arrow?

--Here Endeth The Mini Rant--

December 12, 2006

Forget about Savings - Site Vistors Want Performance

By Li Evans

A little over a month ago I presented the question "Is Your Site Ready For The Holiday Rush?".  I focused in on how impatient visitors to your retail site can be.  The most time you have to make the first impression is 4 seconds, you either hook them or loose them in that amount of time.

I read another interesting press release from Gomez, Inc.  Gomez, if you didn't know, is a company that tracks performance issues with sites.  A few times a year, they will issue a press release about how the Internet Retailer Top 500 are doing performance wise.  When you match that up against some of the survey results that Gomez does, it shows that some of the top 500 have a long way to go - usability & performance wise.

Userfrustration This latest survey featured in the press release shows that over 90% of visitors to a website will give up and never return after 3 unsuccessful tries at a retail website.  It doesn't matter what kind of savings the site offers, nor the brand loyalty.  If the site doesn't work - forget it, you lost the customer.

Not only have you lost that online customer because of bad website performance, but you could stand to loose other potential customers too, both online and offline.  Those 9 out of 10 visitors that just give up, do you know what they do?  They tell their friends about their bad experience (some even blog about it!).  The study found that 47% of those who had a bad online experience at an online retail store would in turn tell 5 other people about it.  That's not the kind of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) retailers are looking for.

Userfrustration2 Furthermore, the study also found that 30% of all purchases made in brick and mortar stores are researched online first.  67% of those surveyed said if they had a bad experience during that research period, it would affect their decision to go to the brick and mortar store.

Although it's a little late in the holiday season, all retailers and marketers should be looking at the usability and functionality of their sites.  Go to an entirely different computer, heck, go to your Grandparents' computer with a dial up connection and try out your retail site.  If you encounter problems there, just think about how many other customers you are loosing each and every day.

November 28, 2006

Google Promotes Use of Audio CAPTCHA

By Li Evans

Captchaexample Google has a great post out on its official blog from T.V. Raman.  I've heard about T.V. Raman from a fellow SEO/Usability friend of mine, Matt Bailey.  Matt was to meet with T.V. Raman at the Google Dance this past year, and he told me a little bit about this man, that little bit had me amazed. 

T.V. Raman does a great job at giving a great definition about CAPTCHAs and how the visually impaired can use the audio CAPTCHA Google now provides.  He also points out that it's not just for the blind, but great for use when you can't quite make out those funky graphic letters/numbers or when you are on a browser that is strictly text based with no graphics.

November 14, 2006

World Usability Day

By Li Evans

Worldusabilityday Did you know that today is World Usability Day?  Until this morning I didn't!  That's why I love RSS and the ability to read a lot of different types of blogs and find out things I have never had a clue about before.  I'm still a "newbie" in the usability area, but here's a "Link Round Up" on some great posts from bloggers highlighting the day.

And check out Matt Bailey's blog on Accessibility Issues, like Cre8pc, this blog focuses on usability and accessibility issue for websites and search marketers.

November 09, 2006

Is Your Website Ready for the Holiday Shopping Rush?

By Li Evans

Hueydueylueyduckpresentschristmas All of the Internet Marketing in the world won't save you if your website isn't up to handling the traffic you will reap if your online marketing strategies are a success.  According to a recent report done by Jupiter Research which was featured on Internet Retailer, searchers who are utilizing the web to purchase their gifts this holiday season rank website page loading speed the top priority when they are looking to shop and purchase.

The days of the 8 second rule are gone.  If your site doesn't load up in 4 seconds or less, all of your online marketing efforts are for naught.  Why?  Because if the user's experience is a bad one, especially with slow loading pages, 75% of them won't come back.  To add another number to that, 30% of those shoppers will form a negative opinion of your company itself, and you'll have one heck of an uphill battle to turn that back around.

Alarm_clock_1 What's even more compelling is that according to another report by Gomez, Inc. (they are a company that frequently reports on the performance and speed of the Internet Retailer 500) found that 9 out of 10 people they surveyed, will shop online more this year for the major percentage of their gifts than ever before.  Out of that number over half have experienced problems with website retailer sites, from issues with shopping carts to website loading speeds.  Nearly all of those surveyed made complaints that the websites they were going to, to shop on, loaded entirely to slow.

So here's some advice for all the Internet marketers out there (whether your a black hat, gray hat, white hat, seo, sem, womm, blogger, or a pr person optimizing for the web) go to the slowest computer you can find and time how fast your site loads.  Then go to the slowest Internet connection you can find and time how fast your site loads.  If either is more than 4 seconds, you should be getting on the phone with your IT department or your technical people or your site designers before all of your online marketing efforts are wasted.

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