How to Use Google Analytics

A site, no matter what, should use Google Analytics to keep track of visitors and statistics. It’s the easiest tool for managing a Web site to track and analyze data about its visitors and demographics. It’s a free and powerful tool to help you get to know your audience better and know what it is looking for.

How to Use Google Analytics

To get started, we first need to get a Google Analytics account by going to http://google.com/analytics and clicking on the Sign Up button to create an account. If you already have a Google account, you can sign in to your Google account and enable Analytics from there.

When you get into your Google Analytics account, you have to set up a profile for the Web site where you want to implement the code. The wizard will guide you through a simple setup process that will ask you for your Web site address and some other information about your site. Once you go through the setup wizard, you’re given a code to input on the Web site so that Google can track this data. It works with all platforms including WordPress, Tumblr, and any site where you can customize the HTML.

It’s suggested that you place the code in your footer right before the closing body tag of the site. You may also put the code anywhere on your Web site, but that’s the suggestion. Adding the code to your site will not affect anything with your theme layout or content; it’s just there to run in the background.

How to Use Google Analytics

As soon as your site is enabled on Google Analytics, you can view a vast variety of statistics including visitors, traffic sources, content, goals, and e-commerce. The information is organized into sub-menus and allows you to track almost anything and everything, including keywords that are hitting your site the most.

After about a month of data tracking, you’ll be able to see long-term graphs and your history with a long graph. The longer you use Analytics, the better the graphs will be able to tell you about your audience. So, if your site isn’t enabled for Google Analytics, you’re missing out on learning what your audience wants.

‘Find the Best’ is a New Way to Search the Internet – But Will It Work?

I must admit I really enjoy the television commercials from Geico, which provide very entertaining skits that are actually humorous. Progressive has the girl who helps people find the right policy at a rate they state is the lowest of any other insurance company. Allstate still wants us to believe that, using it, we are in ‘good hands.’ But are these the best companies to meet your auto or home insurance needs?

According to the Web site Find The Best, it has a different idea on how to find information that is sometimes biased by affiliates trying to create advertisements, rather than useful, unbiased information. The thinking is that consumers need a Web site that is unbiased and that uses reliable databases of information to form their opinions. These sources of information can include information from businesses, corporations, governmental agencies, researchers, and other trusted sources. By doing this the folks at Find The Best believe that consumers will be able to make a more informed decision when buying a product or service.

One of the first things you will notice on the Find The Best Web site is that there are no advertisements, ads by Google, or other advertising banners. Towards the top of the home page are an assortment of recommendations for you to choose from as well as a listing of popular searches that have been made on the Web site itself.

As a test to try the Web site, I asked which the best anti-virus product is. I have my own personal opinions and wanted to see what the unbiased results would be. The results were as follows:

  • Vipre Antivirus Premium
  • Norton Internet Security 2010
  • Norton AntiVirus 2010
  • McAfee Total Protection
  • Avast! Free Antivirus
  • Norton Antivirus 2010
  • Norton Internet Security 2011
  • Norton Antivirus 2011
  • Panda Internet Antivirus Pro
  • Webroot AntiVirus with Spy Sweeper 2011

You may notice that both the #3 and the #6 software products are the same. I double checked the results page and both list the same methodology of testing and the same companies whom rated the software. I don’t understand why the same product shows up twice with two different ratings.

Putting this aside, I think that Find The Best Web site may just be an added search engine which we can use when we are looking for specific information. I also hope that the Web site owners will keep the Web site advertisement free. Placing advertisements on the Web site will dilute the credibility factor.

The New York Times Paywall – Have You Found It Yet?

When the N.Y. Times first mentioned that it was going to install a digital subscription service for its Web site, I felt that it was its right in trying to protect its content. I also thought that the N.Y. Times paywall would hopefully generate revenue for the company in these tough economic times. Everyone is familiar with the financial difficulties that printed media is facing and I personally wanted to see news companies like the N.Y. Times survive and not go the way of the dodo.

On March 17, 2011, the N.Y. Times announced that a digital subscription would begin in Canada on March 17, 2011 and followed by the U.S. paywall going into effect on March 28, 2011. Where there seemed to be some confusion is when the N.Y. Times tried to explain the limitations and exceptions to the paywall rules. It seemed that we would be allowed to view some 20 articles a month before being blocked from the site and offered to pay for a digital subscription.

But the N.Y. Times added this exception to the paywall rules:

Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.

Since the paywall went into effect, I have purposely visited the N.Y. Times site every day. I have not gone through a search engine of any kind, nor a blog or social media site. Yet I have successfully navigated through over 50 articles a day without incident. I have received no messages about a digital subscription offer nor have I been barred from the N.Y. Times site because I have exceeded the 20 article a month limit.

I first thought it might be my browser that was blocking scripting by the Times site. But I tried three different browsers, all with the same results. I even tried with Adblock on, off, or not even installed — all with the same results.

Just to be clear, I am not using any type of workaround to get the N.Y. Times articles. I personally believe that the N.Y. Times needs a paywall for its own survival in this digital age. I am just inquiring if anyone else has been able to freely access the N.Y. Times site without being informed that they have exceeded the 20 article limit?

What has your experience been on the N.Y. Times site? have you been blocked or have you been free to roam without interruption?

Comments welcome.

Source – N.Y. Times

Are You A Savvy Internet News Reader?

The New York Times and their adoption of a pay wall system that requires a subscription, is scheduled to go into effect on March 28,2011. There will be tired pricing depending on how much news a subscriber wishes to receive and how they wish to make payment, whether monthly or yearly payments. You can check at the link below for pricing options, or if you receive the N.Y. Times newspaper, access will be free.

But there are some strange exceptions to the N.Y. Times policy that makes on wonder just how effective their pay wall will be. Some of the exceptions include assessing N.Y. Times articles through Twitter, Facebook or Google. If a non-subscriber accesses the N.Y. Times web site via one of these search or social networking sites, they will be allowed to view 5 articles a day for free. If a non-subscriber accesses the N.Y. Times directly, the limit is 20 articles a month.

The N.Y. Times in their news release states they do not want to alienate their 30 million monthly visitors who having been reading the news for free during the past 15 years. I must count myself one of those who enjoys reading articles from the N.Y. Times and have used their website extensively for research for articles. So it will be interesting to see just how effective this pay wall plan will be for the N.Y. Times.

Some of the problems that I can see the N.Y. Times having is how they intend to enforce these restrictions. If they do have some 30 million readers a month as they state, that seems to me like quite a few people to monitor. Which makes me wonder how much more it is going to cost the N.Y. Times in IT costs to justify this major move?

Once the traffic from the Internet starts to wane, will the company try to return to the free business model? This could potentially alienate those who previously viewed the N.Y. Times web site for free. The biggest challenge for the N.Y. Times will be the fact that pay walls appear to be short-term solutions for a long-range problem. The Internet has changed the way we live and it is going to be around a lot longer than the N.Y. Times will be if they continue their current strategy.

Consumers who are savvy can get all the news they want for free. Why would we want to pay anyone for the news?

Source – N.Y. Times

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Blogging Died Yesterday And No One Told Me

Yesterday the New York Times posted a story, or maybe I should call it a tale, of two young people who quit blogging. Nobody was visiting their Web sites so they fled on over to Twitter or Facebook where the world recognized their talents. The youths were then able to reach their target audience, which in the article was vaguely described.

Citing facts from PEW, in its ‘The Internet and American Life Project,’ blogging in the 12 to 17-year-old group fell 50%. We are than presented with other facts that claim that older folks seem to read blogs and their numbers have increased by 4%. But it was this one statement that best describes what is really going on:

“If you’re looking for substantive conversation, you turn to blogs,” Ms. Camahort Page said. “You aren’t going to find it on Facebook, and you aren’t going to find it in 140 characters on Twitter.”

Writing this article I already exceeded the 140 letter limit and I am not finished with what I have to say. In the original PEW report cited in the article, it also went on to state that some 14% of all online users blog, up from 11% from 2008. This fact alone is fairly amazing. That means that at least 1 in 10 people are writing something online, in addition to what they post on Twitter or Facebook.

So the title of the New York Times article, ‘Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites like Twitter,’ is slightly misleading. If the numbers show that blogging has actually increased overall, maybe the title should have been ‘Young Tweet More Than They Blog.’ Blogging isn’t dead and I am extremely glad it hasn’t died. I enjoy writing here at Lockergnome and I am looking forward to doing so for many years to come.

I believe many of us who blog also post on Twitter and are members of Facebook. I know I belong to both and enjoy social networking. I believe that blogs and social networking sites work very well together.

I am sure that everyone here at Lockergnome appreciates you, the loyal readers, for stopping by and reading our blogs.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Source – NY Times

Source – PEW report

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Have Firefox Add-Ons Caused You Problems?

I have kept something quiet for the past few months, that I haven’t shared with anyone. I have stopped using Firefox on my Windows machine running Windows 7 Ultimate for about two months. The problem began several months ago when one of my add-ons named Zemanta disappeared on my web sites here at Lockergnome. I contacted Chris and he assured me that nothing was changed to prevent Zemanta from working. So I installed Google Chrome on my box, installed the Zemanta extension and it worked perfectly.

So what is Zemanta? Zemanta is designed with the blogger in mind. The program provides relevant images, articles, links and tags for the article you are writing. I find Zemanta as great asset and use it often. When it stopped working, I really missed it, so I switched to Chrome to get it back.

When I switched over Linux Mint I was happy to se an old friend waiting for me. Mint uses Firefox as the default browser, so I fired it up and added all of the add-ons I used, including Zemanta. All was well until yesterday. When I fired up Mint and launched Firefox, I had trouble accessing my web sites. I did all of the trouble shooting, rebooting Firefox, clear cache, reboot router, modem, all to no avail. All other sites I visited worked perfectly.

So I once again contacted Chris, The sites were checked and all was well. This morning it dawned on me. Could it be Zemanta causing the problem once again? I uninstalled Zemanta and the web sites worked perfectly for me. But since I like using Zemanta when I blog.I downloaded and installed Google Chrome and installed Zemanta and it worked perfectly.

This is the first time I have experienced a problem with a Firefox Add-On.

Have I been lucky in the past? Or is this an exception and all other add-ons work well?

So my question is this. Have you had problems with any Firefox Add-Ons?

Comments welcome.

Orbitz & Expedia Drop American Airlines – Will It Have Any Effect On Your Travel Plans?

I have used Orbitz in the past for my traveling needs, including booking flights through them on American Airlines. My experience on American Airlines has been anything but pleasurable. They are arrogant and their flight attendants border on being rude. Now it appears that both Orbitz and Expedia have a conflict with American Airlines and both travel agencies have dropped the airline from their web sites.

What seems like the motive for American Airlines is that they seek to drive consumers to their own web site and not through a ticket vendor which they need to pay a fee. The airline seems to think that this is not going to have any affect on their business and that consumers will check flight fares using a direct link to the airlines web site. Interesting concept if it works. But I personally have no brand loyalty to any airline and book my flights on cost and convenience.

In one recent article it stated that:

American doesn’t expect a “significant” drop in sales from Expedia’s move, said Ryan Mikolasik, a spokesman for American Airlines. On Dec. 23, Expedia omitted American fares from prime search displays on its site, though customers could still buy tickets. This drove consumers to other ticket sites, Mikolasik said today.

American spokesman Mikolasik said that while consumers can’t buy American tickets on Expedia anymore, the airline’s fares and schedules remain on Egencia, Expedia’s corporate travel website.

I use companies such as Orbitz, Expedia and others to find the lowest fares and if American Airlines is not listed I will look no further.

But what about you? Will you go directly to any airlines site for your flight needs?

Comments welcome.

Source – Bloomberg

Walmart Is Offering Free Online Shipping To Increase Sales

Walmart is going to be providing free shipping on their online Web sites beginning now until December 20, 2010, The retailing giant is hoping to increase its sales by using free shipping as an incentive to consumers to do their shopping with it. They company hopes that this offer will lure shoppers from the likes of Amazon and other online retailers this holiday season.

One recent article states that:

But given Walmart’s scale and influence in the marketplace, its free pass for shipping sets a new high — or low — in e-commerce. And it may create an expectation among consumers — free shipping, no minimum, always — that would make it harder for smaller e-commerce sites to survive.

Walmart says it will not raise prices to offset shipping and will not press shippers, like UPS and FedEx, to absorb the costs. But Walmart and other big retailers already have low-price contracts with shippers, and the stores maintain distribution centers nationwide that reduce shipping distances and costs.

For smaller retailers and Web sites, which pay regular mail rates and may ship from only one location, free shipping is not nearly as affordable and often must be added into prices.

This is one statement that I agree with:

Retailers say that shoppers have already started to revolt against shipping fees. While consumers are sensitive to what an item costs online, shipping costs can have even more influence, according to market research.

I will not order an item online from any retailer when I see a high shipping and handling rate. I have seen some items offered for sale on Amazon or eBay where the shipping fee is more than the cost of the item. If online retailers want my business, they’d better offer free or low-cost shipping on the items they sell.

What about you? Are shipping costs a factor in your online purchases?

Comments welcome.

Source – NY Times

Bloggers Beware – High Traffic Articles Do Not Guarantee Ad Clicks

The mysteries of blogging and the elusive click rate always mystifies me. I will never understand how Google decides which ads are placed on a Web site and how they relate to an article that is written. I also will never understand why readers will click on one ad but not another, when the ads are basically the same. So having blogged here at Lockergnome for the past four years, I have basically come to the conclusion that blogging and ad clicks is a black art confined to better minds than mine. Or is it?

After reading this article over at the WSJ it seems that writing baited ads may not work.

Perfect Market, a company that helps newspapers make their Web sites more profitable, examined the advertising revenue generated from more than 15 million articles from 21 news sites over a three-month period this summer.

Perfect Market measured revenue per page view and found that articles about Social Security were the most valuable, generating an average of $129 for 1,000 page views. Articles about mortgage rates made $93 for every 1,000 page views. On other topics, values for every 1,000 page views were $28 for items about unemployment, $33 for articles on jobs, $20 for articles on the egg recall and $26 for pieces on immigration reform.

By contrast, articles on Lindsay Lohan generated $2.50 for every 1,000 page views.

“There are not a lot of contextual ads on Lindsay Lohan stories,” said Robertson Barrett, the chief strategy officer at Perfect Market.

I have basically given up trying to understand how ad clicks are generated or how the pricing of an ad is decided upon. I just go with the flow, write my articles, and move on.

Comments welcome.

Source – WSJ

Phone Scoop Offers Cell Phone Reviews, Info., News, Community & Deals

Thanks to reader Michael who passed along the website called Phone Scoop. I stopped over at Phone Scoop to take a look at what they had to offer those who want or need information concerning specific cell phone models or carriers.

The website is very easy to navigate. You can find information about cell phones by carrier or by specific model. I did notice that not every model was listed, because Phone Scoop was missing some prepaid carriers. Noticeable MIA were Straight Talk, Net10 and Common Sense. Since these carriers were not listed, the cell phones specific to those plans, likewise were not listed.

Here is how the folks at Phone Scoop describe themselves and their site:

Phone Scoop is a comprehensive resource for mobile phone shoppers, users, enthusiasts, and professionals, focusing on the U.S. market.

Our flagship feature is the most comprehensive, detailed database of mobile phone information on the web. The database includes specifications, feature lists, photos, links, and user reviews. Our database is fully searchable, down to the finest detail, using our exclusive Phone Finder, the most powerful search-and-compare tool for mobile phones on the web. Users can also choose specific phones in a variety of ways and view detailed side-by-side comparisons.

We provide up-to-the-minute market and industry news. We continuously monitor numerous sources from around the web and beyond, and feature only the most relevant news for our target audience.

We regularly publish in-depth phone reviews and special reports, covering various topics, including event reports and technology guides.

With that being said, if you are looking for information about companies that offer contract plans and cell phones specific to those companies, Phone Scoop is worth taking a look at. They have included a glossary of terms page as well as links to sites that can also help in understanding which cell phone to purchase or which carrier to use.

Phone Scoop also has a forum in which general questions or those specific to a carrier or phone can be asked.

So I have a question? Which site would you recommend or use to find cell phone and cell phone carrier information?

Share your thoughts.

Comments – Phone Scoop

Textaurant – Wait Online And Not In Line At Your Favorite Restaurant

One of the things that I do not like is to wait in line at a restaurant. I have previously mentioned that the Olive Garden is a thorn in my side, since where I live we have to wait in line even when tables are vacant. Grrrr…… But now there is a new application called Textaurant. Instead of having to carry a pager you can receive a notification on your cell phone. This allows you the freedom to do other things without the annoyance of waiting in line.

According to their web site, Texturant will offer:

You’ve already got a device that buzzes in your pocket – why do you need one from the restaurant? Restaurants that use Textaurant are not only ahead of the curve, but they also care about their patrons’ time – and health.

Right now, you have to walk into a restaurant or call them to find out the wait time and get on the list. This wastes your time, especially if there’s a long wait. With Textaurant, you can see wait times online or on your mobile device, choose a location, and get in the queue remotely – from wherever you are.

Wait where you want, do what you want, and get a free alert before your table is ready.

We will never share your information with businesses. Period.

Exclusive discounts and freebies (only if you want them).

This idea is so simple it makes one wonder why with all of the apps available, no one has done this before? Though this is specifically designed for restaurants, one could imagine it could be used by other businesses. My first thought was doctor offices. This is another thorn in my side. If I have an appointment and I am still sitting in the lobby for over an hour, I leave. But if I was able to do other chores while waiting to see the doc, I think it would be a benefit to me and to the doctors staff.

What do you think? Is this an app you would like to use? I know I would.

Comments welcome.

Source – Textaurant

Kindle On The Web Released By Amazon

Amazon has released Kindle On The Web in which books can be reviewed and shared right from your web browser. The company has set up a demo page with a ‘Read first chapter FREE button’, which will display in the chapter in your web browser. The main purpose for Kindle On The Web is to hopefully drive readers into purchasing the complete e-book which should also benefit authors and publishers alike.
On their FAQ page Amazon states:

Kindle for the Web Beta

Kindle for the Web Beta is a new experimental feature on Amazon.com that allows you to sample Kindle books through your web browser. Click the “Read first chapter FREE” button while shopping for selected books at Amazon.com to view the sample in your browser window. To purchase the book, click the “Get Kindle Edition” button. You can then read your Kindle book on your Kindle or any free Kindle reading application.

Kindle for the Web Beta will also allow you to sample Kindle books through other websites and blogs that use the Kindle for the Web Beta to share samples of their favorite books.

Kindle for the Web Beta is designed for the latest web standards and is best viewed with Firefox 3.6, Safari 5, or Chrome 5.

Did you notice the supported browsers?

best viewed with Firefox 3.6, Safari 5, or Chrome 5.

Odd. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is not even mentioned.

Comments welcome.

Source – Amazon

Are We Raising A Generation Of Nincompoops? I Don’t Think We Are

Should mom, dad take the blame for kids who can’t tie shoes, fill ice-cube trays?

Over at the NBC Today Web site, there is an article that asks the question: are we raising a generation of nincompoops?  The article attacks a generation of youngsters that don’t know how to tie their shoes. The author blames this on shoes that come with Velcro fasteners instead of shoelaces. Next, it’s cited that the current generation doesn’t know how to remove ice cubes from an ice cube tray. The article goes on to state that:

Susan Maushart, a mother of three, says her teenage daughter “literally does not know how to use a can opener. Most cans come with pull-tops these days. I see her reaching for a can that requires a can opener, and her shoulders slump and she goes for something else.”

Teenagers are so accustomed to either throwing their clothes on the floor or hanging them on hooks that Maushart says her “kids actually struggle with the mechanics of a clothes hanger.”

Many kids never learn to do ordinary household tasks. They have no chores. Take-out and drive-through meals have replaced home cooking. And busy families who can afford it often outsource house-cleaning and lawn care.

The issue hit home for me when a visiting 12-year-old took an ice-cube tray out of my freezer, then stared at it helplessly. Raised in a world where refrigerators have push-button ice-makers, he’d never had to get cubes out of a tray — in the same way that kids growing up with pull-tab cans don’t understand can openers.

Mark Bauerlein, author of the best-selling book “The Dumbest Generation,” which contends that cyberculture is turning young people into know-nothings, says “the absence of technology” confuses kids faced with simple mechanical tasks.

I believe that these assumption are flawed. I can see my grandfather telling my father he was a nincompoop for driving a car and not knowing how to ride a horse. Or that my dad’s generation was mechanically challenged because he was dependent on a refrigerator and didn’t have a clue how to put a block of ice into an icebox. I must have come from a dumb generation because I used a typewriter and had lost the skills of handwriting.

I am a youth leader at my local church and last Sunday my male student group of 9th through 11th graders took on a project to build a computer system. The computer, when completed, will be donated to one of our local food pantries. In 45 minutes these young people had the computer case ready to install the motherboard, the CPU, fan/heatsink, and the RAM. The time also included my instructing them on how to install the hardware as well as how the hardware functioned. The current generation is lacking mechanical skills? I think not!

What is your opinion? Are we raising a generation of nincompoops? I personally do not believe we are.

Comments welcome.

Source – NBC