Category Archives: News

Communicating the ROI of Web Design with Web Forms

It is often hard for those needing a website to justify the costs of design. Design is often viewed as a ‘talent’ before a learned skill, and as something that we either have or we don’t, and it naturally follows that if you ‘have it’ should be able to produce it without greart expensive.

Luke Wroblewski gave an excellent presentation at the An Event Apart 2007 conference (Chicago) that helps communicate the complexity and process of design, and the value a strong design can contribute.

SQL Server 2005 Express with the Full-Text option greyed out

I’ve just been struggling to enable full-text search on my installation of SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, and so want to share the solution.

If, like me, the ‘Use full-text indexing’ checkbox was greyed out under Database > Properties > Files, you first need to test whether Full-Text Indexing is installed or not. To do this, execute the query.

use [dbname]
select fulltextserviceproperty(‘isfulltextinstalled’)

If this returns 0, you need to install Full-Text Search.

Firstly, did you install SQL Server 2005 Express Edition Advanced Series? Only the Advanced Series contains full-text. If not, you may need to reinstall.

10 statistics that demonstrate the value of SEO

These statistics source from a compilation of SERPS behaviour studies for which I’ve listed source information at the end of the article. If you disagree with a figure, or have additional figures or sources, please do post them to the discussion.

  1. 42% of search users click the top-ranking link. 8% click the second-ranking link, and the click-through rate (CTR) continues to drop thereof.
  2. When these two top-ranking links are artificially switched, the click-through ratio of 42-8% drops to 34-12%, demonstrating the importance of engaging copy in addition to rank position.
  3. 62% of search users click a link on the first page of search results

UK Google Market Share – March 2007

The latest figures on Google’s market share compared to its primary search competitors Yahoo, MSN, and Ask (formerly Ask Jeeves) have been published by Hitwise. As always, the numbers are astounding, revealing that Google holds a 77% market share, meaning overthree quarters of UK internet searches are made through Google. Yahoo is now holding 8%, and while MSN and Ask are both at 5% and falling.

March 2007 UK Search Market Share

Comparing the UK to the US figures, for which Google has just broken 66.6% or two thirds market share, it’s clear that UK internet searchers even more than US searchers turn first to Google.

Improve Website Performance – 10 Fundamentals

  1. Are you using Google Analytics (or require and use an alternative)?

    You can’t gauge success unless you measure performance. Google Analytics is a free and very effective tool for just this. For businesses that depends on local custom, it will qualify the proportion of your visitors that reside nearby and are therefore of value. eCommerce sites can drive sales by adjusting their site layout or structure based on the analysis of search terms used within their site when people can’t find information. The available measures are extensive.

  2. Is every page of your site connected to every other via a site map?

    Page Rank is a measure of how valuable or important Google considers a web page to be. It is based largely on the number, page rank, and relevancy of web pages that link to that page. The pages of a site can also inherit Page Rank from other pages of their website, but the more links to reach those pages, the less page rank is inherited.A site map thus maximises this inheritance by ensuring every page is just one page from every other.

10 Direct Routes to Reduced Website Costs and Risks: That’s what web standards are about!?

“Web Standards” is like another of these modern-day web buzzwords, like “Web 2.0” and “The Blogosphere”. But buzzwords become popular for a reason – let me give this one a simple definition, and explain the business benefits of web standards, namely reduced website costs and risks.

Web standards are, quite simply, a set of coding guidelines developed by a consortium of experts to reduce the risks involved in producing a website. The simple principle is that if everybody codes in the same way, the standard way, then everybody is compatible.

SEO: Evidence for the importance of Organic Search Engine Optimisation

This is a great image from an eye-tracking experiment that clearly demonstrates the importance of organic SEO. Check it out.

Website Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – How Do You Measure Up?

If you are still using just hits and pageviews to measure your website’s performance, it’s time to ask yourself a few questions about how well you understand the performance of your website. How do these metrics contribute to understanding of how well you are acheiving your business objectives? eMarketing is just like offline marketing, in that requires measurement followed by optimisation. Only better, because we have more data.

Thus, central to every web project should be a Website Performance tracking sheet outlining targets and progress across a variety of measures that together communicate to your web management teams a picture of performance towards objectives. Use your imagination to find those indicators that provide into the performance of your website.

Business-Oriented Web Design

This presentation by Cameron Moll outlines very effectively how the business-oriented web designer, which I would argue is not the norm, will have a positive impact on your business objectives. The presentation is entitled Nine Skills that separate good and great designers, and is well worth a read if you’re designer developing your skills or a project manager interested in understanding how elements of design can forward your business objectives.

You may also be interested in my post discussing the value of design, specifically web design.

Jeffrey Zeldman on Style vs. Design

This article by Jeffrey Zeldman on the difference between web style and web design rings very true. I’ll be returning to this point in an article I’m writing about understanding the both the artistic and engineering elements of web design.

I’ll keep you ‘posted’.
{ah hem. sorry :0) }

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Denise Ross
UX Designer Barclays Bank PLC

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