Mike Blumenthal pointed to a New York Times article yesterday that allows consumers to make online appointments for doctors, dentists, dinner and da like, er, the like. I’m a big believer in this sort of technology (Full disclosure: My company has a stake in a booking engine for hotel and spa reservations, primarily for the luxury market). These types of tools represent “the last mile” for many businesses that haven’t embraced ecommerce, and more importantly, couldn’t, due to the nature of their businesses (i.e., service providers). Check them out. And give me a call if you’re looking for a great luxury spa or hotel booking engine
A couple of weeks ago, I led with the economy, and this week is no different. Not because I think we need to be overly concerned. No. I think we should be focused. A tough economy is the right time to evaluate what works, what doesn’t, and what to do about both. The least you can do is often the best. So, this week’s pitcher of link juice flows to folks focused on optimizing – getting the most from the least. Drink hearty, lads and lasses.
- Seth Godin starts us off strong by questioning priorities, asking how you manage urgencies.
- Rebecca Kelley at SEOmoz looks at driving traffic most efectively, with 10 tips for getting the most from paid search (PPC).
- Mike Moran reinforces that theme, offering some useful thoughts about direct navigation as a marketing strategy.
- The GrokDotCom team shows what happens to major companies like Borders who don’t have an effective ecommerce strategy. And they show small companies how to avoid the same fate with 7 tips for optimizing low-traffic sites.
- Once you get folks to your site, you’ve got to keep them coming back. While email is one very effective tool, it can also turn customers off. Linda Bustos helps you avoid this with a look at what customers think email spam is. Here’s a hint: it’s all the email they don’t want, not just the email they didn’t ask for.
- And in these tough times, just in case you think the web (or Web 2.0 or Social Media or what-have-you) is overblown and you should bail, take a trip down memory lane. Ben McConnell points out a Newsweek article from 1995, discounting the business and social potential of the Internet. The best part is on page 2, where Clifford Stoll scoffs, “Then there’s cyberbusiness. We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts… So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month?” I’m just sayin’.
- Finally, GigaOm founder and tech blogger Om Malik talks about what he’s learned since his heart attack. At the end of the day, optimizing means making the most of every minute. And that’s important in life as much as business.
Have a great weekend, all.
Jimdo announced today that they’ve added social features to their web hosting tool. Take a look at the screencast:
What they’ve added looks similar (in a good way) to the types of activity sharing common within Facebook. For certain types of sites, these could be a real plus. For instance, a local bicycle shop, bookstore or club could get great value by incorporating an online social aspect to their site. Whether a lawyer or doctor (or any profession that must maintain its customers privacy; see Client 9), would find value is unlikely. But, these still represent an intriguing upgrade to Jimdo’s service. Mashable reports on Chris Pirillo’s attempt today to make a simple CMS and notes, “if you want simplicity, you lose on power and features; if you want power and features, then there’s not way it’s going to be simple.” While it’s tough to argue with the underlying sentiment, the features that Jimdo, and folks like Weebly, WordPress, and SynthaSite, provide offer greater power than you might expect. Are they for everyone? No. But they’re not a bad match for many people.
I’ve got an email out to Matthias Henze, Jimdo’s CEO, to learn whether Jimdo plans to join OpenSocial or something similar. One of the great benefits of social features such as these is allowing your customers to incorporate these items into other parts of the their online life. I’ll update once I hear more.
Saying I’m bullish on the Internet is a gross understatement. Unfortunately, while penetration of Internet access has reached significant levels among most consumers, adoption into people’s everyday lives doesn’t always reflect that. But that’s starting to change. Three posts over the last week show why:
- David Armano looks at how social networking will become ubiquitous. Once customers use the net to stay in touch with their friends, their online usage increases.
- And Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/Write Web asks whether Oprah is going to save the Internet. Look at what’s happened to reading since Oprah’s Book Club, for instance. Once you’ve got Oprah onboard, things start to move.
- Finally, every silver lining has to have a cloud. Steve Rubel looks at 3 careers that won’t exist soon. The downside for you: if this is your job today, you’ll need to broaden your skills. If you’re paying someone for this, you can either learn it for yourself or find folks who understand these skills and others, too. And that’s not so bad.
I’m a big believer in Occam’s Razor. No, not Avinash Kaushik’s blog – though, I like that, too. No, I mean the concept that the simplest solution is usually the best solution. So, in simple terms, check it out, er, dawg:
- Seth Godin talks about the world’s worst toaster and the importance of letting your customers accomplish their goals.
- Linda Bustos hits another home run this week by focusing on simplicity. Do you let your male customers view all your products at once? You may want to. Speaking as a male customer, the lack of a View All is one of my biggest pet peeves, so I think they’re onto something here.
- I know it’s one of my more popular posts, but you might want to look at these simple solutions for creating your small business site. If you have a site and just need hosting, I’d check out Dreamhost, too. They’re who I use for this site and I’m very happy with them.
- And finally, MSNBC has a human interest story about a mathemetician who solved a problem that’s stymied “…some 100 other scientists [for over 38 years]. All failed, until Trahtman came along and, in eight short pages, jotted the solution down in pencil last year. ‘The solution is not that complicated. It’s hard, but it is not that complicated,’ Trahtman said. ‘Some people think they need to be complicated. I think they need to be nice and simple.’” Just sayin’.
Have a great weekend everyone. If you’re celebrating Easter, I hope it’s a great day for you and your family. And to everyone, catch you next week.