Fast Five in Search – Week 19, 2014

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In my travels around the crazy web, I’m amazed how many web sites still use a boring server-generated 404 error page instead of a custom 404 error page. Even large brands with deep pockets aren’t immune to the dreaded vanilla dead end.

Thankfully, there are lots of clever web designers out there who recognize that there’s no excuse for un-inventive 404s. Web site usability can be fun!. This week’s Fast Five pays homage to them and their entertaining ideas for custom 404 error pages.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Five Clever Custom 404 Error Pages:

1) Mint.com – This page combines humor with helpfulness. Not only does it make a joke about the missing content, but it offers up some useful alternative links in a pleasing visual format. No blame, no suggestion that the searcher was at fault. I like that.

2) BlueDaniel.com – This is my current favorite 404. Not only is it Flash based – which I’ve not seen before in a custom 404 – but it’s exceedingly cool. The powerful visuals and sound of an underground train station are bang on target for a motion picture design company. This page alone would probably win them new business.

3) Heinz.com – So an empty ketchup bottle might be a little predictable, but what I like best about this page is the intuitiveness and the very clear calls to action. Did you try searching? Perhaps one of these links will help? Perfect.

4) Mashable.com – Again, another humorous yet helpful Custom 404 page. This one uses the missing sock analogy, combined with a giant call to action in the form of an internal search field. They also keep the main nav menu at the top of the page in case you’d rather resort to standard navigation.

and finally…

5) ApartmentHomeLiving.com – Being in New Zealand, this custom 404 page caught my eye straight away. You can’t really go wrong with a sheep on a toilet. Apart from using an amusing mouseover effect, this page steers lost visitors back to the homepage or to the regular navigation menu. Sorted.

What’s YOUR fav custom 404 page? Would love to hear about it in the comments.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 18, 2014

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If you’re a search marketer, or even a marketer in general, time to have a deep dive into your site analytics may be a luxury you don’t have. That’s why I’m often asked what are the most important site metrics that marketers should look at.

That’s where dashboards can make your day. Google Analytics dashboards are pre-created templates of custom metrics that are then shared. The data isn’t shared, just the template, so they can be shared across different Analytics accounts and different profiles.

So this week’s Fast Five features 5 of my favorite Analytics dashboards. You simply need to click on each link and you will be prompted to add the dashboard to your analytics account. Feel free to share!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) SEO Standard Dashboard – I can’t remember who originally shared this dashboard with me, but I use it pretty much every week. The metrics in this dashboard configuration include most of the important SEO ones you need to check. Top organic landing pages, top organic keywords, highest converting organic keywords etc.

2) Social Media Dashboard by Justin Cutroni. This dashboard was created by a Google staffer and works just like it says on the pack. It includes all the social media related site metrics you’ll ever need to look at and some that you won’t, including traffic from social sources, most socially shared content, value of socially engaged.

3) Revenue Dashboard – Again, I don’t know who shared this one with me, but thank you. It includes metrics such as visits and revenue, top keywords by revenue and top referrers by revenue.

4) Ecommerce Dashboard by Blast Analytics. This one includes the standard revenue metrics such as conversion rate and total product revenue, but also ecommerce-specific metrics like average order value and number of transactions.

and finally…

5) Occam’s Razor Awesomeness by analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik. This one’s not for the faint-hearted. Named for Kaushik’s blog, this dashboard incorporates all of his favorite custom segments and custom reports – nearly 20 views in total, plus a custom digital dashboard.

Happy dashboarding!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 17, 2014

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Last week I treated you to five of my favorite Social Media Marketing News Sources. This week I share the remaining five that wouldn’t fit on last week’s list.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Social Media News Sources (continued):

1) Social Media Today – This site claims to pull together “the world’s best thinkers on social media”. While that statement is always going to be relative, I can vouch for the consistent freshness of their content. Be sure to check out their infographics channel while you’re there.

2) Social Fresh – Themed in a happy orange, this blog provides exactly what it says on the label – a collection of fresh updates about social media. What makes Social Fresh unique is their angle toward social media education. Their goal is to inspire people to create better businesses through social media via social media conferences and online training programs.

3) Expanded Ramblings Social Channel – As a reminder, Expanded Ramblings have an extensive library of Internet statistics and Infographics. Much of their content is dedicated to social media and this link will take you straight to that good stuff. If you need to find recent social media usage statistics or related stats, you’re bound to find something here.

4) TechCrunch Social Media Channel – As I’ve blogged about in the past, the TechCrunch network reaches over 12 million unique visitors and draw more than 37 million page views per month, with more than 2 million friends and followers on the various social media channels. This is their exclusive news channel for all things social media.

and finally…

5) Social Times – A recent discovery, this site is dedicated exclusively to social media news and is published by Media Bistro – a long time provider of jobs, news, education, events, and research for the media industry.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Free Bing Ads Credit – Be Quick

Bing AdsSo remember I posted a few weeks back about Search Engine College having $100 Bing Ads credit vouchers to give away? Well we still have a few vouchers left, but they need to be claimed by 30 June 2014.

So if you have been wanting to try Bing Ads, now’s your chance to test the waters with USD 100 in free ad credit, courtesy of Bing Ads and Search Engine College. Simply sign up to become a subscriber and the voucher is all yours. Heck, we’ll even throw in a $75 AdWords voucher for good measure.

Don’t delay though, as we only have a handful left!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 16, 2014

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After posting my list of Top Digital Marketing News Sources a few weeks ago, some of you asked me if I could recommend some sources that focus exclusively on social media and social marketing news. I’m happy to oblige with this week’s Fast Five. There’s more than five, but let’s stick to the format and reveal five at a time (more next week).

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Social Media News Sources:

1) SiteProNews Social Media News – SiteProNews is probably the largest single source of daily social media news that I visit in my morning rounds. Because their article feed is collated by author tags, the stories can be filed under several categories, including social media (linked above), social media marketing and social networking articles, so be sure to check each category for the latest stories.

2) Social Media Examiner – Pitching as the world’s largest online social media magazine, Social Media Examiner was founded by well known copywriter Michael Stelzner. With a flock of well known self-help gurus as guest bloggers, Social Media Examiner helps businesses discover how to best use social media, blogs and podcasts to connect with customers, drive traffic, generate awareness and increase sales. Technorati ranks Social Media Examiner as one of the world’s Top 5 business blogs.

3) Social Media Explorer – Headed up by social butterflies Nichole Kelly and Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer is a strategic services agency focusing on both social media marketing and digital marketing. As well as articles about social media marketing and search engine marketing, this site also provides an extensive selection of articles about public relations, media and journalism.

4) VentureBeat Social Media News – A little bit Huff Post, a little bit Mashable, this quirky site aims to “provide deep context to help executives, entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts make smart decisions”. With 11 million monthly pageviews, the site is growing in popularity and seems to source more unique social media news than some of the bigger players. A handy bookmark if you’re looking for a new perspective on social.

and finally…

5) MarketingLand Social Media Channel – MarketingLand.com was developed as an offshoot of the successful SearchEngineLand run by Danny Sullivan and his team. Given the constant morphing of search engine marketing and social media marketing, it made sense to expand topics across separate sites under more relevant category headings and domains. This is the new and improved social media newsfeed now hosted on MarketingLand.com, but you can see older social media archives over on SearchEngineLand.com.

I’ll complete the list with my five remaining Top Social Media News Sources next week.

Happy news hunting!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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