Some like it hot Get real-time visual analytics for your site with Crazy Egg

Posted by maggie.hunsucker February 20, 2009 at 12:25 pm

crazyegg_logo1Ever wonder what visitors are doing on your website?  Most analytics tools can give you the raw breakdown – 50 clicks on this page, 3 minutes on that page – but no real insight into visitor behavior.  For example, are your ads getting more attention than your content? Do more people linger over your RSS subscription icon than actually sign up?

Wonder no more. Crazy Egg can help you demystify visitor behavior and patterns.  This service adds a visual layer to search analysis, and because not everyone digests data the same way, it offers 4 different “views” or interpretations of that data.  Overlay is the most straightforward view, pinpointing visitor actions and data directly on your site as one might a tack on a map.  Individual points expand and display the number of clicks, the percentage of user interest, and referring sites.


Heatmap is a definite crowd pleaser, giving you an infrared overlay of site activity; the brighter the light, the hotter the interest.  In the screenshot below, I can see that advertising has gotten a lot of attention over the past 2 days.   Supported by the breakdowns in the Overlay view, I now have actionable data that can help drive my editorial decisions (i.e. look for more advertising ideas on feed growth!). There is also a basic List view and a Confetti view that shows you the Top 15 referring sites, search terms, operating systems, and browser types – information that tells you who your audience is.


Crazy Egg packages range from $9 to $99/month, depending on your traffic and the number of pages you want to track.   If you’re getting more than 10,000 visitors a month, you probably want to upgrade from the basic.  Adding CrazyEgg is a breeze too, just paste a line of JavaScript into your site and you’ll have real-time visual analytics.

Real-time reporting and RSS/email notifications will keep you on top of your site activity. CrazyEgg even allows you to set up tests, so you can monitor specific behaviors on pages during a set time frame - say during a promotion or when you're testing a new site design.

Crazy Egg data can be useful for your advertisers too. Heatmaps can illustrate user interactions in a way traditional analytics can't. For example, a concentration of heat around a particular ad may prove that people are hovering over an advertisement, though not always clicking on it.


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  Tongues Awagging Track and manage your online brand reputation with Trackur

Posted by maggie.hunsucker February 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm

trackur-logo1We’ve made the business case for monitoring your online reputation in Danger, Will Robinson and Name Dropper. However, sometimes you need to know more than just the number of times your brand is mentioned. You need to know how individual campaigns are performing, too.

Trackur scours social media sites (blogs, bookmarks, etc), as well as news, image, and video sites to give you a comprehensive picture of your brand’s health.  It then takes this information and identifies trends associated with your personal keywords and who your key influencers are, complete with an analysis of their site, traffic, and your history on their site.   So if you’re looking to evaluate a marketing campaign’s effectiveness or discover new channels for advertising, Trackur has done the leg work for you.

Setting up a Trackur search is pretty straightforward.  Depending on your account type, you can save 3, 15, or 150 keyword searches (with a sophisticated filtering system to keep out the riffraff) that update daily.     You can opt to receive real-time notifications through email or RSS – or just check your Trackur dashboard.   You can also share matches with your colleagues, bookmark for easy retrieval, and add comments.  A personal Trackur plan will set you back $18/month, while corporate and enterprise packages run from $88 – 197 dollars.   There is a a two-week free trial, which we love to hear.

The reality of the situation is – you can’t stop or censor online conversations, but you can learn to harness them to promote (or in some instances defend) your brand.

Trackur offers an agency version of their services to accommodate professionals in the marketing and public relations business. You get a co-branded product with unlimited searches and unlimited client profiles and reporting.

Trackur builds on the same concept as Google Alerts, but makes it more comprehensive (Google Alerts only monitors content through its own search engine) and adds features like Trackur Trends and Trackur Influence to help you quickly identify the most important conversations and name mentions.


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  Saves Nine Annotate and share screen captures with Skitch

Posted by maggie.hunsucker February 10, 2009 at 12:30 pm

skitch-logoWe frequently cover tools that make the collaborative process possible. Sometimes, like today, we have the chance to discuss something that we know and use just about every day.

That tool is Skitch.  Skitch lets you grab photos or images online, edit or annotate them, then easily share them through your email and chat, or publish them on a web page or blog.  In other words, no need to waste your precious time or energy trying to communicate what you really want to illustrate.

To get started, download the Skitch application and sign up for an account.  While Skitch is free, only users with a Mac operating system can use the service (sorry, PC’s).   When launched, Skitch appears as a small application window. From here, you can snap screenshots of your browser or take a webcam picture, then use Skitch’s mini arsenal of editing tools to draw on or resize your image.   When you are finished, push save and Skitch will upload your image to your personal Skitch page.  You can share this url with people, drag and drop the image into your email or text editor, or generate an embed code for your web site or blog.   All in all, the process takes 10 seconds.

Check out my Skitch below:


While Skitch is just plain fun to mess around with, it’s a great tool for communicating with your colleagues, especially when you’re editing just about any kind of marketing or selling materials.   In today’s digital landscape, team members often live in different cities (or countries).  Tools like Skitch make it possible to share your work, and perhaps more importantly, point to exactly what you want others to see.

Listen up Twitterheads! You can even sync your Skitch and Twitter account so that every time you save an image to Skitch, it automatically publishes to your Twitter page - making it, perhaps, an even better way of telling everyone what you are doing.

Skitch is like a screenshot on crack (for lack of better terminology). It lets you take a snapshot of what you are working on or viewing, comment directly on the image, then instantly share with anyone and everyone. The same process would require you to take a screenshot, convert the .png file, annotate with a photo editor or drawing application, save, then attach to an email or upload to your site.


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  Who made the salad? Create rapid interface or web mockups with Balsamiq

Posted by maggie.hunsucker February 5, 2009 at 4:03 pm

balsamiqTranslating a great idea, like a new web app or site design, into a conceptual prototype is no easy task.

That’s where a tool like Balsamiq Mockups steps in.  Created by a former Adobe software engineer, Balsamiq is a user interface mock-up tool.   It lets you create the look, navigation, and functionality of your new product without wasting development resources.  Balsamiq is simple and user-friendly.

Just download the free desktop client (requires Adobe Air , which is free and Balsamiq will automatically install it for you during the download) and start dragging and dropping the different controls on your work screen.  The service comes with a built-in library of the most popular controls – a browser window, navigation buttons, text, media player, charts, and more.  It’s broken down into categories, as well as a quick add feature (i.e. search bar).  Don’t see what you need?  Upload your own image from file or suggest a new control to Balsamiq.  Each element in Balsamiq can be manipulated through an easy edit box, with an unlimited number of “undo’s” and “redo’s”.


The client itself is free, but you will have to pay $79 per user license if you want to save your mock-up or upload to another application.  The service does offer some unique ways to sidestep payment, so if you’re a current Atlassian or XWiki license holder, a do-gooder, journalist, or education professional, you can get Balsamiq for free.

User interfaces and usability have become branches of design and development in their own right.  Here’s a way to digitally sketch out the look and feel of your product or application without investing any money – or too much time – in the initial stages.

Balsamiq is written in BMML (a version of XML), offering easy duplication and integration with other applications. Balsamiq files can be easily integrated with collaborative software like Confluence or JIRA.

Balsamiq is what we like to call the right tool for the right job. Even if you sketch your interface design, it inevitably has to be translated digitally, and more often than not with a more challenging program like OmniGraffle. Users with no technical expertise can easily move through and master a service like Balsamiq.


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  Talk to the hand Collect, manage, and promote customer feedback with RatePoint

Posted by maggie.hunsucker January 9, 2009 at 1:44 pm


People are increasingly using customer feedback to sway their online purchasing decisions. It’s funny how a review written by a complete stranger or a single star becomes the gospel truth when it’s time to buy.

Here’s the good news – customer feedback tools are no longer accessible to only those with deep pockets. A service called RatePoint offers a full suite of customer feedback tools at a reasonable price point. Even the smallest online retailer can afford RatePoint’s $18/month basic package, which includes feedback functionality, a dispute resolution center, survey and email-marketing tools, a user-friendly console, and analytics.

The core component of this package is the customer feedback center. After a customer leaves a rating (the 5 star system) or a review for your product, you can easily view and manage these comments in your personal Business Center. Most platforms only allow you to place feedback next to the product itself, but RatePoint lets you dynamically stream feedback on your testimonials page. The beauty here is the page actively updates from your account, eliminating the hassle of manual entry and supplying always-fresh and relevant site content. You can also add a rotating review spotlight widget to any page on your site, providing yet another avenue for promoting customer feedback.

The RatePoint Resolution Center is your safety net and a nice little feature at that. It provides you with a channel for managing and, if handled properly, eliminating negative customer feedback. When customers leave a bad review, the resolution center allows the parties to open a dialogue and address the issues before the bad review goes public. And we can’t forget the survey tools that come standard with this service. You can easily create and send customer satisfaction surveys, then review and analyze results within your RatePoint account.

Bottom line, if you are selling, people are talking. Here’s a service that will help you protect your online reputation and harness customer feedback as a powerful sales tool.

You can also place a feedback button on your website, allowing customers to weigh in on your products in general, as well as survey links on your invoices, business cards, or letters, directing clients and customers to your RatePoint feedback system.

There's something about that third-party seal of approval that lends your site instant credibility (think of Good Housekeeping). With this service, you can place the RatePoint seal on your site, letting your customers know that your business will at least listen to customer feedback.


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