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 `` 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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    links for 2010-01-16

  • First-Person Tetris
  • No matter what topic, you should always be focused on where your pages will be placed. When creating a page, the first thing to check is where it will rank once it hits the search engines. The following 6 steps will show you how: 1 – Make a list of all possible keywords Brain storm lists of all possible keywords that may be relevant to your business. Try to figure out what possible searches someone would be typing into a search engine and would like to find your content at the other end. You're not trying any sort of linkbait here. What the goal is here is to picture someone saying "I was searching for XYZ and I came across the perfect site." This is the time to get far out and come up with words and phrases that your competition may have not. It is true that the more out there you go the less search traffic there will be but, the less traffic, the less competition for these keywords. If your just starting out, there is a good chance that you don't command the authority to rank for
  • Every semester I agonize over how to help my students learn to write more meaningful, interesting papers. Not just in my class, but altogether. Writing well is a key skill in today’s information-heavy society, and above all else my job is to help prepare students to become active participants in the society we live in. Writing well is about far more than proper grammar and spelling. In fact, good writing often violates the rules of good grammar, sometimes violently. It is also about more than simply developing a good style. Hemingway and Proust have very different styles, but both were good writers. One piece of advice often given to students is to write conversationally, and while that can be helpful – particularly for students (and others) who feel that good writing means using a lot of big words and complex sentences – not all good writing is conversational. Malcolm Gladwell’s writing is very conversational, and is quite effective for it; on the other hand, David Mamet’s writing i
  • No Windows geek or PC support pro should be without these must-have utilities
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