The sum of all parts Get a quick snapshot of your site and compare to industry benchmarks with Quarkbase

Posted by maggie.hunsucker September 15, 2009 at 9:12 am

quarkbase logo

There’s no shortage of website monitoring tools.  While most are free and easy to use, it can be a lot of grunt work to compile data from all those sources.

Try using Quarkbase instead.  This services provides a quick snapshot of your website or blog, including a site overview (surprisingly, dead-on), traffic stats, similar sites, social popularity, and much much more.

All information is presented clearly and concisely, so you don’t have to root around for the good stuff.  Actually, Quarkbase only gives you the good stuff.  It took a single glance for me to see:

  • My traffic is increasing, but social activity is low
  • I have a new crop of competitors (some I didn’t know existed)
  • Who’s Tweeting, Digging, and Delicious bookmarking my articles
  • How my blog is publicly perceived

The latter tidbit being very useful if you’re trying to get a better handle on who your audience is and why they come to your site.

Quarkbase is a free tool.  All you have to do is enter your URL (or any URL) in the search bar, and you’re set.  There’s also the added benefit of checking out stats on your competitors.   Given that there are blogs of all sizes, shapes, and flavors out there, it’s hard to tell how your site should be performing.

Quarkbase website information

Quarkbase even gives you a rundown of all the tools used to power your site. For example, it knew all the analytics software installed on this blog.

Quarkbase also provides a list of Fastest Growing Websites, Top Web Tools, Top Hosting Providers, and Sites with Competing traffic, so you can see who the players really are.


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  Blinded me with Science Get site demographics and audience insights through Crowd Science polling

Posted by maggie.hunsucker July 17, 2009 at 11:06 am

Crowd Science logo

It’s hard to get a handle on who your audience is and what content they enjoy on your site or blog.   We know visitors only as IP addresses.  Engagement is measured in raw clicks and time spent on page – impersonal and often inaccurate markers for audience preferences.

A service called Crowd Science can help you get a more informed read on your visitors.   Crowd Science uses random mini-surveys to collect audience demographics and insights.  Based on the information you feed Crowd Science during the sign-up process (i.e. your blog’s category), the service will administer relevant and research-tested questions to site visitors.  Of course, you can add/edit questions to suit your needs and preview the “audience experience” before turning the surveys on.

The surveys are relatively innocuous (usually a small pop-up) and can be customized/branded to your liking.   They’re arbitrarily served to audience members and administered on site. You can view all data in real-time from your Crowd Science interface, but the service suggests having 50+ responses for a statistically significant analysis.  Crowd Science runs harmoniously with other analytics tools and ad platforms.  Like Google Analytics, you need only add a small script to the HTML of your page to activate the service.

Learning more about your audience and maximizing content engagement is reason enough to use Crowd Science (why not, the basic version is free).  You can also use this service to help monetize your site or blog.   Crowd Science gives you the ability to create a custom media kit and share it with advertisers and interested parties.  The audience data you’ve been collecting all along will make a stronger case for advertisers who want to target specific audience segments.

Crowd Science offers periodic webinars on best practices in online research polling and how to develop more targeted questions. The next one will be held July 20th on Getting higher CPM's with better demographic research

If you truly want to connect with your audience, don't extrapolate insights from web data (i.e. Google Analytics); get it straight from the horse's mouth. Regular blog readers often enjoy the opportunity to tell you how they feel and what type of content they dig.


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  Northern Lights Keep an eye on web analytics with Polaris desktop client

Posted by maggie.hunsucker June 25, 2009 at 1:45 pm

I have a confession to make.  I don’t look at my web analytics as often as I should.  I know – the sacrilege!  Luckily, we have a search guru on staff to pick up the slack, but for most businesses, this isn’t the case.  Website monitoring is often relegated to the first available hand, who may or may not be as forgetful as I am.

Try using a desktop widget for Google Analytics called Polaris.  It gives you all your website stats in a user-friendly desktop interface, including:

  • Dashboard
  • Visits Overview
  • Map Overlay
  • Traffic Sources
  • Referring Sites
  • Top Content
  • Keywords
  • Goals

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You can edit the date ranges for each report or toggle between different profiles if you’re monitoring more than one website.  Granted, this is the same information you can pull from your Google Analytics account, but Polaris puts it in a convenient little package.  For data phobes, it’s an easy way to digest your web activity, and might I add, an attractive addition to any desktop landscape.

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Polaris is a free download and only requires your Google Analytics login to work.  The real idea, plain and simple, is visibility.   By keeping your most important data front and center, you’re more likely to act on it.   Websites aren’t meant to run on autopilot.   They require constant monitoring and optimization.

Polaris runs on a Adobe AIR, which lets you deploy rich internet applications outside of the browser and on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Why make analytics the domain of only one person (or an outside vendor)? Polaris is the type of tool you can distribute among your staff and let them keep an eye on how your digital investments are performing.


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  New from Hasbro! Measure and optimize your mobile marketing investments with Bango

Posted by maggie.hunsucker May 6, 2009 at 1:26 pm


Mobile marketing has arrived, but oddly, mobile analytics hasn’t.  We can’t imagine one without the other.  After all, how do you know if any of your investments are working?  But, the majors haven’t stepped up and produced a viable mobile analytics platform yet.

That’s where Bango comes in. Bango is an independent analytics provider that gives you real-time stats on your mobile website, ad campaign, or search marketing efforts. It can even keep tabs on smartphone users who access your regular site and advertising through their phone’s web browser – regardless of their connection.  A nifty feature since most smartphone users toggle between WiFi and their phone’s network, like 3G.  The service works by assigning each visitor (more accurately, their device) a unique identifier.  Bango then tracks individual user data and history (e.g. what device are they on, where are they located, which network they are), as well as general website analytics like page views, time on site, unique visits, referring sites, conversions, etc.  In other words, actionable data you can use to measure and optimize your mobile marketing efforts.


So how does Bango work? Simple, just add an invisible image tag to the webpages your want tracked or a tracking link to your search and banner ad campaigns.  Users won’t know it’s there, and Bango doesn’t interrupt any of their site activities.   Of course, you will need to sign up for the service, which will run $50-500/month depending on the level of data you want and your web traffic.  Bango also offers custom pricing for corporate packages.   You can demo Bango by signing up for a free starter account (30 day trial).

There’s no need to stumble around in the dark.  Mobile analytics exist, and they can help you make informed decisions when it comes to your brand’s mobile prescence and marketing efforts.

Bango is also a mobile payment gateway, so you can set-up subscription or pay-per-download services for your mobile content. Coupled with Bango's analytics, you can analyze transactions, see what campaigns are leading to the most conversions, and even identify who your most loyal/returning customers are.

It may seem like everyone has a smartphone these days, but the reality is, most cell phone users have limited internet access and rely on mobile versions of your website. If you haven't already, it's a good idea to create one. Mofuse, an idea we discussed in Moe's Tavern can crank out a simple mobile version in minutes.


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  Mixmaster Measure site interactions and content engagement with Mixpanel

Posted by maggie.hunsucker May 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm

mixpanel-logoThere’s more to web analytics than just visitor counts and page views.  In fact, the right data can tell you what people are doing on your site and drive design decisions that capitalize on these interactions.

That’s the idea behind Mixpanel.  It’s an analytics solution that focuses strictly on user behavior.  It measures interactions with individual design elements, like which images get more views or if a blue button is clicked more than a green, as well as on-site media and applications, like how many people watch a video or what features are getting the most use.  You can then apply this information to your site design and create a better user experience.   Another nifty feature of Mixpanel is the ability to do A/B Testing, which means you can measure the effects of your various site changes.  No guess work, just smart design decisions based on real user data. Here’s a few other things you can do with MixPanel:

  • Measure returning visitors over time – who comes back and interacts with your site days later
  • Categorize and label user actions into a hierarchy to improve understanding
  • Compare analytics for the same day over time to understand traffic trends
  • Measure average interactions per user or total interactions by week
  • Create projects within Mixpanel and invite team members

Mixpanel is a similar to a white label solution, which means you don’t have to develop from scratch, but it’s not as cut-and-dry to implement as say Google Analytics.  MixPanel does offer free trials, but you will have to contact them directly to get a quote.   For now, you can demo the product on their site.

Mixpanel also offers up their API to developers and makes it easy to create custom metrics and reporting - so you can actually add on to Mixpanel's capabilities. The service has libraries available for Javascript, Python, Ruby and PHP, as well as an API Console for testing.

User experience is an important factor, if not "the" important factor, when designing or altering your website. It's part art, part science, and until now, there weren't many tools available to the public to collect this type of data and test design iterations.



  • quarkbase logo
  • Crowd Science logo
  • Picture 5
  • bango-logo
  • mixpanel-logo

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