links for 2010-12-20

  • Quality product descriptions can transform e-commerce conversion rates — it’s common to see increases of 30-100%. As well as converting more visitors, search traffic increases drastically when unique copy is written for each product. Most online retailers use manufacturers’ copy or rely solely on images to sell products. They then use inadequate copy elsewhere on their site and fail to achieve a consistent tone to persuade their audience. This creates a compelling opportunity for savvy retailers — by writing quality e-commerce copy you will create a unique competitive advantage.

    Essentially, your copy must achieve two goals:

    1. Establish trust and
    2. Convince visitors that your product is right for them.

    Potential customers cannot see or touch the product since it’s not physically there in front of them. This is why it’s important that your copy anticipates the needs of your visitors while convincing them that your company can be trusted to provide excellent products.

  • Wirify is a bookmarklet that lets you turn any web page into a wireframe in one click.
  • Web Highlighter and Sticky Notes, Online Bookmarking and Annotation, Personal Learning Network.
  • After giving millions of users a good 24 hours to express their anger and frustration at wide reports of a plan to kill off web bookmarking service Delicious, Yahoo got around to explaining that there was no need to panic.

    A leaked internal presentation had showed on Thursday that Yahoo was planning to “sunset” some services, including Delicious, and Yahoo statements to the press that it was “cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products” encouraged the idea that this meant Delicious was doomed.On Friday, Yahoo said something new: “We are not shutting down Delicious. While we have determined that there is not a strategic fit at Yahoo, we believe there is a ideal home for Delicious outside of the company”, officials wrote on Friday on the Delicious home blog. The service will stay up as Yahoo talks to potential buyers.

    Perhaps the company changed plans after a torrent of criticism.

  • (No joke. This is actually how I deal with Lawyers. This isn’t just theory, this is my experience.)

    Have you ever seen the movie “Monsters Inc.”?

    It’s a cute animated Disney film about Big Scary Monsters. All day long they go through magical doors, each leading into a bedroom of a young child sleeping at night, and the monster’s job is to scare the shit out of that kid and extract screams for money.

    That’s very much like the life of a lawyer. He goes about his work day, new situations come up, he gets involved and scares some people, he gets paid. The better he is at scaring people, the better paid he is. I’m not attacking lawyers for doing their job, everyone’s got to eat and earn a living. I just want to show you how best to deal with him.

    You have to understand this fundamentally: When someone hires a lawyer to threaten you, he’s not hiring someone to figure out the legal matters involved, he’s hiring someone to threaten you.

  • We are all obsessed with sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin at the moment but rewind a few years to when the term Web 2.0 first popped up and a whole host of different sites were the hot young startups destined for great things.

    It’s amazing what a couple of years do though because as we can see below, some of the biggest sites from the “Web 2.0 generation” are either on a massive decline, facing huge competition or about to be closed down. There’s a good lesson here to highlight; how the hype cycle around websites and services can come and go and what was once lauded and destined for great things can within a couple of years shut down and be abandoned…

  • In a blog post today, Delicious says “No, we are not shutting down.” But they aren’t staying at Yahoo either.

    Yesterday, it was all but confirmed that Yahoo! was sunsetting Delicious, one of the most popular social bookmarking services. They do admit that they are not a strategic fit at Yahoo!, and are looking for a home outside of the company.

    From the blog, “We’re actively thinking about the future of Delicious and we believe there is a home outside the company that would make more sense for the service and our users. We’re in the process of exploring a variety of options and talking to companies right now. And we’ll share our plans with you as soon as we can.”
    In the words of the Hitchhiker’s Guide, “Don’t Panic.” Delicious says they are maintaining the site and encourage users to stay active.

  • For busy websites, using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to transfer static content such as images, javascripts, stylesheets, Flash etc. is highly recommended (as listed in Yahoo!’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site) as it reduces server load and bandwidth thus improves stability and availability.

    There is a catch – Commerical CDN’s like Akamai and Limelight are not cheap at all. Good news, we have an exception however – the free, P2P-based CoralCDN allows us to take full advantage of a powereful CDN without spending a dime. How to use it? Well, basically, just append `.nyud.net` to the hostname of any URL, and that URL will be handled by Coral – simple.

    This plugin takes that simplicity one step further (or closer?) by rewriting your static files’ URL’s (JavaScripts, CSS, images etc.) so that they are served from Coral servers instead of your own. You don’t have to touch anything! Just enable it, and boom! your static cont

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