Ron wrote a post the other day about WhoIs, the site that helps you find out who's looking at your website. Which led me to ask, "What do you use to find out those IP addresses in the first place?" Not only is it important to keep "creepies" away from your site, it's also important to know that your average Joe or Jane is looking at your website.
For us, the solution was Google Analytics, which is a good package that comes up with new add-ons every so often. Rob [Banker, DigitalMailer COO/CIO] dislikes programs Google offers that come with the word "Beta" attached (for those who don't know, Beta versions of software generally mean there are kinks to be worked out), which Google comes up with a lot. Gmail, for instance, is considered a Beta by Google. I write that off as Google coming up with new add-ons every other week, but others consider this non-committal to the point of lazy.
If you're being harassed by a certain person or group, or if you've been plagued by a particular person stalking your website and throwing off your analytical data, it's helpful to know that person's IP address. For those who don't know, the IP address is a digital fingerprint of sorts that is assigned to a computer, device or ISP. If you know nothing else about them, know that they're the Internet's way of tracking who goes where, does what, and shows what to whom.
Which is why it's important for you to get the hang of WhoIs. When you get unusual traffic around your website, visit the Whois website and use the "search by IP" function. This will give you specific information about who's looking at you.
Want more out of WhoIs? They also keep track of purchased domain names and tell you who owns what website. Use the URL and keyword checker and get all kinds of information.
I suppose you're wondering why you'd need all this "big brother-esque" technology. The truth is you want to know more about the people who might try to hack or upset your website than they know about you. There's no such thing as too much information.
There was a time when I didn't see the point of RSS feeds. I didn't care to get all the information I wanted from one source. Who needs that kind of headache?
Turns out I do. When I'm here in my office, I'm usually working on twelve things at once (thanks, TV, for giving me the attention span of a three-month-old puppy, an asset of my personality that's both depressing and productive). Why go to 19 different news/magazine/blog sites when I can go to one site and get all the information?
So I use Google Reader, which comes with signing up for a Google account that gets you your gmail and your personalized Google information. It's not the fanciest thing in the world, but it does what I want. And when there's new sites that might interest me, I can look them up with Google's feed finder and they're all right there for me. Convenience, thy name is RSS.
So you're not into getting yourself a reader? Fine...here's another golden egg that's just been laid. It's called Tabbloid, and it's a service offered by Hewlett-Packard that takes RSS feeds and turns them into a PDF that gets delivered to your email account. The service is pretty new and it takes very little know-how to get going, so jump on it while it's fresh (go to tabbloid.com by clicking here). How did I know about Tabbloid? It came up as an article on a blog I read called "brand new". Which I have in my RSS FEED READER. Is this sinking in yet!?! (Thanks, brand new, for being great! A Link to their Article on Tabbloid)
But what if your site doesn't use RSS? Odds are if you're reading this, you're a professional our company works with or just someone with a curiosity about Web 2.0 type stuff. Well, your site can have an RSS feed and not be a blog site. It's true! There's a service called Feedity that turns static web pages into dynamic RSS feeds. It's a nifty tool and it's free (for the stripped down, ready-to-run version). Just type in your web address and use Feedity to start generating RSS feeds about your frequently updated content. Then offer that feed as a service to clients/people who use your site a lot. Go to Feedity by clicking here.
I get tired of repeating myself, so this is the last time I'll say it: you're wasting time "surfing" when you could be just reading. Web 2.0 is a way of making the internet come to you. So start getting in! You don't want to be standing on the dock when Web 3.0 (whatever that is) leaves port. Get in the game now and start eating up those feeds.
CUES, the Credit Union Executives Society,published their most recent copy of Credit Union Management magazine. And lo and behold, resident Gen-Y representative Jimmy Marks was mentioned in an article! His insights on credit union membership warranted a mention. To read the article (and Jimmy's comment), click here.
This election season, both presidential candidates have turned up the heat with their email programs. They know email is an efficient, fast, and cost-effective way to reach supporters and to bring in donations. But according to Email Insider’s Jordan Ayan, both campaigns are “abysmally poor at executing based on today’s best practices.” (The Real Presidential Debate: What’s up with Candidates’ Email Campaigns, Oct. 1, 2008).
While we won’t have a winner until tonight, the presidential race is a dead heat when it comes to email no-no’s. Here are a few examples:
Sending too many emails. Like many companies, presidential campaigns have many departments and offices, making it hard to keep track of the various messages being sent out on behalf of the candidate. Both the McCain and Obama campaigns regularly send numerous emails within the same day, giving recipients the impression of not just a poorly managed email policy, but a campaign that doesn’t value their time or respect their inbox.
Using multiple and irregular “from” addresses. When trying to build a brand or establish consistency, the email rule of thumb is to use familiar name(s) in the “from” line, which improves open and readership rates. Both the McCain and Obama campaigns send emails under various names – some are familiar, like their VP candidates and spouses, but many are unfamiliar, like state chairpersons and major supporters. This tactic is confusing and increases the likelihood that the messages will go unnoticed.
Ignoring CAN-SPAM guidelines. The FTC ruled that emailers must provide a simple unsubscribe process that doesn’t make the recipient give information other than their email address and opt-out choices, and does not require them do more than send a reply message or visit a single Web page to unsubscribe. Neither campaign follows these guidelines … Obama’s sends recipients to a designated webpage to receive a special code number that they must enter on a designated browser form; McCain’s requires recipients to give a reason for unsubscribing.
Today, many financial institutions recognize that email is a valuable tool when it comes to communicating with members/customers and marketing products. The secret to success is knowing the right way (and wrong way) to plan your email strategy – and putting that knowledge into practice.