The Importance of Visuals in Social Communication

Visuals in Social Communication

November 13, 2013 | Posted in Social Media Engagement | By

Visuals in Social Communication

Visuals in Social Communication

If you want to effectively deliver your message today… you need to understand the importance of Visuals in Social Communications!

“Did you know humans process images 60,000 times faster than text? Or that people remember only 20% of what they read alone, compared to 80% which they see!”(Clementi)

Well don’t feel bad because this was news to me too and then I started to do a little more research into the matter to see just exactly what was going on.

As it turns out, we as human beings are visually wired for survival.  The need to see what is happening around us served to keep us fed and to keep us alive and any one working in Social Media today knows that things really haven’t changed all that much when it comes to giving your audience what they want.

We all remember writing those epic blog posts of a thousand words or sometimes more, to then be abbreviated by our Facebook posts and shortened once more to our Tweets, now at 140 characters and still people just don’t respond nearly as well as they do to Rich Media.  So let’s take a look at the importance of visuals in social communication.

  • Facebook, photos are ‘Liked’ more than twice as often as text updates, and some 700 videos are shared on Twitter each and every minute.
  • 700 Youtube videos are uploaded and shared every minute.
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business whose images appear in local search results.
  • 37% increase in engagement is experienced when Facebook posts include photographs.
  • Pinterest generates the 4th largest amount of web traffic worldwide.
  • Engagement on Instagram is 10 times greater than on other social media platforms. (Clementi)

That fact is, “a picture is worth more than a 1000 words“.  People respond, connect and retain far better when given the choice between text and visual.  I would much rather watch a visually compelling documentary than have to read about the topic – for the longest time I thought I was just lazy, turns out – I’m supposed to process information better this way.  What a relief.  I do spend more time imagining myself with a Brand’s product and how I would use it when I see a picture or video of it.  Visualizing leads me to imagining, which turns into feeling or developing an emotion towards everything that image or video had initiated.

Truth be told, I do enjoy that same process when reading a good book but we are talking about Social Media Marketing in this case and so we need to understand that delivering our message as Marketers to our audience needs to be delivered in the quickest and most effective manner that our audience is going to positively respond to.  As our devices advance, our interactions with them seem to cause us to act more instinctively as opposed to cognitively.  The science behind Social Media Marketing is advancing at a rapid pace and the predictability of the consumer is increasingly becoming more and more refined.  Visual Communication and Rich Media taps all of us at our most instinctive core and so if you  want to really move your audience, my advice to you is, “Get Visual!”  


Work Cited:

1. Clementi, Justine. “The Importance of Visual Communication.” Red PR Public Relations The Importance of Visual Communication Comments., 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.

2. Moritz, Donna Moritz. The Shift to Visual Social Media – 6 Tips for Business [Infographic]. Digital image. Socially Sorted. Http://, 15 Dec. 2012. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.

Read More →

How to Engage People on Social Media

How to Engage People on Social Media

November 13, 2013 | Posted in Social Media Engagement | By

How to Engage People on Social Media

How to Engage People on Social Media

Are you having are hard time trying to understand how to engage people on Social Media platforms effetively?

Could using a few simple tactics to engage be a game changer for you on Social Media?

Remembering how things used to be done could just be the easiest way for all of us to excel in this digital age, especially when it comes to connecting on Social Media Platforms…


Now, I certainly was not around at the time this photo was taken but I am old enough to understand how important it was to be social, embrace my community, share equally, have manners and respect for others and treat people the way I wanted to be treated.  Before this digital revolution and global community took off, people understood that word of mouth was the most effective way of spreading the word about, well… everything.

If you were a local business owner, you took pride in delivering the best service or product you could because in your city, town, village or neighborhood, one bad experience from a single customer could spread like wildfire simply by word of mouth and in no time at all you could lose your customer base to the shop across town.  A sense of pride in what you represented parlayed into accountability and more importantly a mutual respect between business owner and customer… who more times than not were very much connected on a personal level to the goings on of each others lives.  This is the type of relationship we should all be striving for when we aim to connect and engage on Social Media.  Embrace the opportunity to have a two way conversation with your customers.  Listen to what they are telling you, as in this day and age, these people are your partners and you should treat them as such.

As an individual back then, business was done on a handshake and having “Face” meant something.  You couldn’t hide and were taught not to… “Say what you mean and mean what you say“, actually made you think before you spoke or acted.  Consider this as “self filtering” and take the time to truly think before you post because once you have posted something to your Social Media Networks it is there for all to see, so make it count.  Being helpful, respectful and timely in your communications will demonstrate to your community that you are listening and that you do care.  Engage with them sincerely on a personal level and leave the Marketing Messages for your Landing Pages…  If your not solving a problem, graciously accepting or giving accolades or legitimately trying to understand your customer better… save it for your website.

Find your community on the Social Media Platforms that they have decided to be on.  Listen to what is being said about you, your business, your product or service first.  Then respectfully join the conversation by adding value.  Answer or ask questions to initiate and direct the conversation.  This is your community and they want to see leadership… not a Dictatorship.  And if you just aren’t sure  how to proceed take a lesson from Hemingway –

How to Engage People on Social Media

How to Engage People on Social Media

I really hope that everyone that has taken the time to read this post slows down just a bit and spends some time truly being Social on which ever Social Media platform they choose… and although I spend my days on just about every Social Media Platform (online), my favorite is my front porch, around 6pm, with cold one in hand, catching up with my neighbors and saying hello to anyone that stops to pat my dog… engage – community – social – sharing – it’s all there and I don’t even need an internet signal.

ps – I want to know what your favorite Social Media Platform is, so take a minute and drop it in the comment box…. Thanks!




Read More →

Social Media Insights – Klout vs. Kred Podcast

Klout vs. Kred

November 8, 2013 | Posted in Social Media Engagement | By


Klout vs. Kred

Klout vs. Kred




Are you a Social Media Marketing Professional?

Are you up to date on Kred and Klout?

If you are looking for the hard and fast on these two relatively new Social Media Marketing Influence Measurement tools, then I suggest you take a minute and strap in for a this short but highly charged Podcast on Kred and Klout.

You will get an easy to understand, no nonsense review of what each of these two platforms due, how they deliver that information to you and whether or not either of them are worth your time exploring…  Let me just say this, “I certainly had one opinion going into this and have come away with a completely different view… I wonder if you will too?”

Thanks for listening and don’t forget to comment, “Like” and share – because as one of my professors likes to say, “sharing is caring!”

Ya gotta love the big “B”


Work cited:

Levy, Scott. “Klout Vs. Kred: Which, If Any, Is Better For Your Business?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 04 Mar. 2013. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.

Hewko, Geoff. “Klout vs. Kred”. Img. Web. 3. Nov. 2013

27971_bcjordan_youareontheinternet. Web. 3. Nov. 2013

Shah, B. “Sharing is caring”. Web. 7 Nov. 2013






Read More →

Learning How to Use Google Analytics – SMD103

How to use Google Analytics

October 31, 2013 | Posted in Uncategorized | By

Do you want to learn how to use Google Analytics to improve your website rankings?

 Follow along with me as I learn how to use Google Analytics in an effort to increase my websites traffic, ranking and visibility…

Let me first start by saying I have had my website up for a short period of time and it is primarily used as a place to post my assignments for Seneca College’s course on Social Media Marketing.

The posts on my website are exercises in developing my abilities to produce content that is relevant to my assignments, optimized for Search Engines to see and to serve as items to be shared on the many platforms of Social Media that are used by Businesses, Government Organizations, Not for Profits and your everyday Social Media user… who by the way, are really the most important out of the four.

So let’s take a look at a screen shot of what my website is doing and then we can have a decent place to start to learn how to use Google Analytics to improve.

geoff hewko analytics Oct 2013


As you can see, we are starting with a clean baseline except for 1 visit… thanks Mom!  When learning how to use Google Analytics it’s important to know what we are looking at so we can figure out what we could be doing better, promote what is already working well, see who are visitors are and where they came from.  My website started off with a few posts that had no optimization, no keywords or keyword phrases selected for posts or pages and no action was taken to promote to any Social Media Platforms to let anyone searching for this type of content know where it could be found.  In other words, Google Analytics is clearly showing me that I need to go back to my posts and pages and assign effective keywords and optimize them correctly.  Once that has been done I can then share these pages and posts through my Social Media Networks.  In taking these two simple actions I will increase my chances to be found through Google’s Organic Search and also be able to direct my own stream of visitors from letting my Social Media Networks know where they can find this information.

Although there are no visitors to the site to speak of, it is important to at least discuss a few of the areas on your Google Analytics page.  The first thing we see is Visits.

Visits and Unique Visitors are not the same thing.  You are striving to gain as many new Unique Visitors (people new to your site in a measured timeframe) all the time in most cases but it could be equally as important to have a high number of visits to your website depending on the type of site or business you are in or operating.  Repeat customers coming back to your site to take an action.

Pageviews are the total number of pages seen, including if there are repeat pages viewed.

Pages/visit tells you the average number of pages that were viewed by visit and include repeat pages viewed.

Visit Duration lets you know how long the average visit to your site was.  Typically the longer you can keep a visitor on your site the better but that may not always be the case.  Your visitor may find exactly what they came for immediately and be off your site to do something else with that information.  In this case you will have provided an excellent user experience and can expect either a return visit from that person or possibly a referral to your site due to it’s effectiveness.

Bounce Rate indicates to you how quickly a visitor came to a page and then left without any further action taken.

% of New Visitors gives you an estimated idea of how many new people came to your website.

These are just the basic insights that Google Analytics provides you at first glance, a point of quick reference before you actually dive in deeper to track, measure and truly begin to understand who your visitors/audience really are, where they came from and what they want to see from your website.  Click the link for a more detailed explanation of how to use Google Analytics.

I will be going back over each page and post to add keywords to my content and make sure that they are correctly optimized so Google can index them correctly.  Then I will be promoting each post to my Social Media Networks and when there is an opportunity to comment on a related blog post that allows me to link one of my related articles, I will be adding my websites url and adding anchor text for my keyword phrase pointing it back to it’s related page.

Make sure you check back with me as I update my website and show you how my Google Analytics page has changed or feel free to add any comments or suggestions to help me improve this site.









Read More →

Why I learned how to Fly Fish

You can never fish the same waters twice.

October 11, 2013 | Posted in Fly Fishing | By

How to Fly Fish

How to Fly Fish

Have you ever want to know how to Fly Fish?  Here is my story of why I learned how to Fly Fish…

 It is said that “you, can never fish the same waters twice.”  This is something that I wholeheartedly agree with because it has been my personal experience.

About seven years ago my life as I knew it came crashing down around me.  Everything I thought was real, solid, tangible and forever, was about to become the  proverbial carpet being yanked out from under my feet.  Maybe that’s why I have a new found appreciation for country music after being a life long fan of Chuck D and Public Enemy.

My relationship with my partner was over, home gone, job gone, money gone and my father was just diagnosed with stage 4 (a terminal case)  gallbladder cancer.  I had to recover or get past a 16 year relationship, find a new place to live, get new work, decide how I was going to spend my last few dollars and be a strong son for a father who knew he was dying and a mother who had no idea what was going to happen next.  The only thing I could think of at this time was, of the time I had spent trout fishing with my dad when I was a kid.   All I wanted to do in the midst of this chaos was go fishing.

Living in Oakville by  now, about ten minutes away from one of my father’s favorite Salmon Run rivers, I decided I was going to go fishing.  I taken my last few dollars and bought new spin fishing gear.  I went down to the river, geared up and went fishing.  Life was looking good.  As I started to walk the riverbank to find a spot to wade in, I noticed garbage everywhere, gutted fish carcasses smelling to high heaven, guys yelling and screaming at each other over who had the spot first.  I realized that this was nothing of the fishing with my father that I remembered.  I decided I would keep walking.

As I rounded a quite bend, away from the commotion, about a hundred meters upstream from me, I saw a man fishing by himself and fly casting.  I stopped to watched and was captivated by the grace, rhythm and complete connective-ness  I remembered when I  was  fishing with my dad as a kid.  I got out of the water and found my way up the bank to get close enough to say hello to this man.  To my surprise he stopped what he was doing, reeled in and said hello.  About an hour later, when our conversation was done,  I knew I needed to return my newly purchased spin gear and learn how to fly fish.  You see, it is rare to find many people today that will stop to take the time to engage you in your interests any more.  Especially when we’re talking about fishing.

I spent the next 3 months trying to learn how to fly fish on my own.  I quizzed endless shop owners, watched hours of  YouTube videos, lost about $400 dollars worth of flies but I was on my way to learning how to fly fishing.  I was having the time of my life.  Learning how to fly fish was teaching me patience and it was giving me a sense of clarity I had long needed.

My relationship anxieties were melting away, the  conversations I had to have with my lawyer made him feel uncomfortable and as my father was slipping away, we had something to talk about that wasn’t related to his fleeting end.  And to this I owe my deepest thanks to fly fishing.  When you can connect with someone emotionally to an interest or passion, the world as you know it ceases to exist.  If learning how to fly fish is not for you, I would encourage you to find something that you can truly loose yourself in.

I fish with my father’s old fly fishing rod and reel he used when he was learning how to fly fish over 30 years ago.  It’s the only thing I wanted from his estate.  I have several other much more expensive and technically advanced rods and reels but this one is priceless to me.  Fishing with this old rod makes me feel as though he is right there with me.  I am connected.  My wish for you is that you find your connection too.

I had the equipment, found lots of spots to fish, caught lots of fish but there had to be more.  I wanted a bigger connection.  I came upon an organization while Googling an assortment of fly fishing topics.  PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Veterans came up in the search and I really wasn’t sure how this all came together, until I checked out this website…  Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing was a group of people who either had experience with fly fishing or PTSD and the Military.  I wanted to know more and I wanted to know if I could help.  Turns out, I was some one who could relate to these experiences and could help.  I engaged.


How to Fly Fish - Lewis and Son

How to Fly Fish

Lewis is a Purple Heart Recipient, POW,  Fly Fisher and all around great guy who suffers from PTSD.  He was my first participant that wanted to learn how to fly fish.  I was there to help Lewis any way I could.  The young man standing next to Lewis is his son.  On this day, Lewis and I shared an amazing moment.  I had taken Lewis fly fishing a couple of weeks earlier and his wife was so impressed with how big of a change one day on the water had made with Lewis that she asked him,” if  we could take their son on our next outing.”  I said “absolutely” and we were off.  That day, Lewis’ son skunked us.  He caught all the fish, we caught none.

Lewis and I were standing about 20 meters down stream from his son, he turned to me with a tear in his eye and told me that this was the first time he had remembered seeing his son smile in years.  At that moment, I knew that the quickest way to get what you wanted, was to help as many people get what they wanted.  This was the spirit of everything I had learned through fly fishing and a father and son were connected again.

you, can never fish the same waters twice.”

You, like the flowing water of the river are constantly changing and moving.  It is impossible to be the same when you next meet.  Be a better person the next time you find yourself at the waters edge.  Know that the water too will be different and embrace the new experience.  In fly fishing, the term is to “lean in” or “lean forward”.  Move forward.  Leave what is behind you in the past.  Look ahead and find your next cast.

I am leaving you with a quick little video that I hope you will all watch.  It covers everything I failed to mention as to why I learned how to fly fish.  If you can make it through this short video I would like to ask you to remember to take the time to thank a Veteran or any one for that matter that has affected the betterment of your life.  And if you are really bold, head over to Project Healing Waters Canada and check us out, thank a Veteran or make a donation if you can.


Tight lines and if anyone wants a lesson on the water – comment on this page with your details and I will get in touch.

Read More →

A Competitive Analysis of Tim Hortons and Starbucks


October 10, 2013 | Posted in Strategy and Tactics | By



Source: Google Images

A Competitive Analysis of Tim Hortons and Starbucks

In an effort to keep things as equal as possible we will look at the .com addresses for both companies.


Competitive Data From

According to, Tim Horton’s has a Global Rank of 46, 272 and a local Canadian Rank of 1452.

Their audience demographics are predominantly female with a college or university level education, searching from home.  The majority of search comes via by 26.6%, followed by 15.1% coming from and another 5.7% coming from Facebook.  When on the site, visitors have a Bounce Rate of 42.4%, with an average number of 2.89 pages viewed and for an average time on the site of 2.22 minutes (mm:ss). There are 3,185 sites linking to Tim Horton’s.

This data suggests that the people (mostly women) coming to this site want very specific information rather than spending time on the site to browse and engage (

Competitive Data From –

In the case of Starbucks – they have a Global Rank of 2077 and a Local US Rank of 444.

Again, their audience is predominantly female with a college or university level of education but in this case there is an even spread of searching from home, work and school.  89.3% of the searches are US based and there is 1.39% of searches coming from Canada.  23.7% of Starbuck’s traffic comes by way of – which seems to be a wifi platform supplier that helps with advertising and brand engagement.  The next major source of traffic comes from at 21.8%, 9.4% from and finally 4.7% from Facebook. is another hotspot/wifi supplier through AT&T.

When on the site, visitors have an even higher Bounce Rate of 61.1%, with even less pages viewed at 2.58 and at an even lower length of time on page at 2.19 minutes (mm:ss).  I find it very interesting that the wifi/hotspot providers are a decent source of search results with the case of Starbucks and are almost non-existent in the case of Tim Horton’s, with the exception of  There are 17,566 sites linking to Starbucks (

Competitive Data From

According to, Tim Horton’s has a Global Rank of 40, 967 and a local Canadian Rank of 1571.  There is also a Category Rank indicating Industry Players, in this case – Food and Beverage.  Tim Horton’s Ranks 71.  This gives Tim’s the opportunity to look and see what 70 other competitor’s sites are doing right, that they are not already doing when it comes to their online presence.  You also get to see that an estimated 620k people visited the site for the month of September.

Search Traffic Results are broken down to 50.07% from Search – 93.23% of that from Organic and 6.77% from paid.  33.25% of traffic is from Direct, another 10.85% from referrals and finally 3.39% from Social Search, with Facebook responsible for 82.48% of that traffic. (Truth be told, I am still unclear as to the definition of “Search” when it comes to, even after reading the description).  The Bounce Rate according to is 35.99%, with pages views of 3.4 and a Time on Site of 2.31 (mm:ss) (

Competitive Data From –

According to, has a Global Rank of 4927 and a local US Rank of 1273.  Their Category Rank is 9, in the Food and Beverages Sector.  Pretty impressive, considering that their primary product is coffee and really not a wide menu like some off their competitors.  There is also a very impressive numbers of monthly visitors around the 4.4 million mark for the month of September.  That number is almost scale, when you consider the size of population in comparison to Canada and the US.

Traffic by way of search is less than half of Tim Horton’s at 22.38%, 38.96% comes from Direct Traffic, 34.17 from Referral and 2.41% from all Social.  89.37% of the traffic to the site comes from the US.  96.86% of Search is Organic and 3.14% is from Paid Search.  65.92% of Social Search is directly related to Facebook and slightly just over 12% from Twitter.  The Bounce Rate is 33.41%, with Page Views at 4.79 and Total Time on Site at 3:01 (mm:ss) (

Why do we see differences in data?

When researching our two sources, Alexa and SimilarWeb, I did a Google search on each to see which one was more credible.  Surprisingly, having never heard of SimilarWeb and always being told to refer to Alexa as “The Source” for intel, I was surprised to see that many people have commented on Alexa’s poor ability to provide clean data.

In an article titled “How Does Alexa Track Traffic – Do They Really Have a Grasp of Your Traffic?”  It is explained that Alexa gets most of its Traffic from the Alexa Tool Bar that is installed on some people’s browsers.  You, as an individual must choose to install it.  Usually these people are marketers looking to track their own Alexa Rankings.

The traffic data they use is based on their toolbar, so naturally the more people that visit your site that have the toolbar installed will improve your Alexa rank (hint, hint).”

Then Alexa claims to get data from other sources but does not specify which source or sources (Kyle).

Comparatively, SimilarWeb says – “Our data comes from a combination of our powerful crawler and click-stream data from our proprietary panel of tens of millions of users who have installed our apps.  We always try to make sure that our panel will be big and diversified” (

And in another article, this time from Techcrunch – we are told that it is widely known that Alexa’s results can and are being gamed and SimilarWeb has taken precautions to prevent this with technical fixes that use web crawlers, big data while working alongside real people confirming the information is as accurate as can be.  Some other differences are that Alexa is very US focussed while SimilarWeb takes a Global look at the information available (

As for me, I actually liked the look and feel of SimilarWebs website and found the information easy to read and it made sense.  UNTIL I decided to look at the Industry Ranking numbers I mentioned earlier.  I knew where both Starbucks and Tim Horton’s ranked but I wanted to know who was number one and what they were doing on and off site to be in that position.  Competitors in second and third position were easy enough to understand but who was this company in first position?

The number one position is held by a company called .  They should not even be on the list.  I am not sure what it is they do but I do not see any relevance for them being there, which leads me to believe someone has already found a way to game SimilarWeb.

The only real reliable source of data is your own sites data.  Sites like Alexa, SimilarWeb, Ispionage and many others, free and paid, will give you fairly reasonable data to get an idea of what your competition is doing.  I don’t think you should totally rely on this information alone.  Take the time to install your own analytics tools, monitor, measure and know exactly what your own data says.  Then you can compare your findings with some of these other sources and make a better, more informed decision of what your data really means.  This will allow you to focus on areas of improvement and areas of success.

Who wins this fight?

Having looked at the numbers from Alexa and SimilarWeb, for both Tim Horton’s and Starbucks, I am left to make a pretty close call as to which organization is doing a better job managing their online presence.  When we look at Bounce Rate, Pageviews and Time on Page from the above numbers, I would have to say that Tim Horton’s has done a slightly better job at keeping their customer engaged.

When we look at the Global Rank and Local Rank for each of these companies, Starbucks certainly has a much better result.  Having said that, by scales of comparison there is a population factor of 10x in the United States alone.  Not to mention that Starbucks has made a concerted effort to be a Global Brand and will inevitably have a broader reach.   So, I would still say Starbucks has done a better job at reaching a bigger audience but Tim Horton’s has done a respectable job too.

Another very strong advantage Starbucks has capitalized on that Tim’s could take a cue from is Starbucks’ offering of “Hotspot” or “wifi” connectivity.  This simple, low cost complimentary service encourages Starbucks’ customers to stay in-store longer and connect through their network.  Their network automatically sends you to the Starbucks Homepage and as the data shows, substantially increases their online strength.

I think Starbucks could certainly take a lesson on how to engage their customers on Facebook better when compared to Tim Horton’s though.  Tim’s has a much better conversion rate when when we consider the number of people they are engaging with.

By in large,  both companies have a very low response via their Social Media Networking efforts, which makes no sense.  When you look at either of the company’s Facebook Pages you will find very high numbers of “Likes to Page” and “Talking About”.  In each case we can see about 10% of the population of each companies respective country has stepped up and identified themselves to these brands and approximately 10% of those people have taken the time out of their busy day to try to engage with each brand… and “what do each of our two brands decide to do with all of this attention?” you ask.   Sell more product and market to them.  I am not saying that you should never try to sell or market to your Facebook audience but I will say that the quicker you can get your audience believing that they are communicating with another person and not just a Company Profile, the better the relationship will be and the better the business experience will be for both sides.

Both Starbucks and Tim Horton’s have very good Facebook Pages when it comes to letting their customers know all about what is new with them (as a company).  I was stretched to find any posts on either company’s page wanting to know more (from either Brand) about what was new with their audience/friends/customers of these Facebook Pages.  I did see very good response times to customer complaints which means that the companies are listening and really do want to help but where is the real and genuine two way conversation?  In short, both companies have great Breadth of Brand but Depth of Interaction is lacking and this is where the battle is won for all Social Media Engagement (Tim Horton’s, Starbucks).

When you just have to have more data, be sure to check…

When you are investigating a company’s strengths and weakness as it relates to online data, you may also want to consider looking at these areas of importance of “onsite data”.

  • Home page. How informative is the home page? Does it set the proper context for visitors? Is it just an annoying splash page with multimedia? How fast does it load?
  • Meta Data. What descriptions are listed beneath the website pages in the search engine? Are the descriptions weak or confusing?
  • Page Titles. What page titles are listed for your web pages in the search engine results page? Are these titles unique and relevant? Do they describe the page content in a compelling and descriptive manner?
  • Search Engine. Where are the website pages appearing in the search engine results page? What keywords can a user search for to find the website pages in the search engine results page?
  • Keywords. Has keyword research been completed to identify the most relevant and highly searched terms in the industry? Are these keywords used in the most efficient manner possible?
  • Link Popularity. How many web pages link to the website? What sources are these links coming from?
  • Search Engine Saturation. How many of the pages are indexed in Google’s search engine? Yahoo’s? AOL’s? MSN’s? AllTheWeb’s? etc.
  • Navigation. Is the global navigation consistent from page to page? Do major sections have local navigation? Is content useful? Is there wasted space?
  • Site organization. Is the site organization intuitive and easy to understand and use?
  • Links and labels. Are labels on section headers and content groupings simple to understand? Are links easy to distinguish from each other? Or are they ambiguous and uninformative (“click here” or “white paper”)? Are links spread out in documents, or gathered conveniently in sidebars or other groupings?
  • Search and search results. Is the search engine easy to use? Are there basic and advanced search functions? What about search results? Are they structured and easy to understand? Do they give relevance weightings to provide context? Do the search results remind you what you searched for?
  • Readability. Is the font easy to read? Are line lengths acceptable? Is the site easy to scan and read?
  • Performance. Overall. Do pages load slowly to quickly? If present, are graphics and applications like search and multimedia presentations optimized for easy web viewing?
  • Content. Is their sufficient depth and breadth of content? Does the content seem to match the mission of the organization and the needs of the audience? Is the site developing its own content or syndicating other sources? Is there a good mix of in-depth material (complete case studies, articles, and white papers) versus superficial content (press releases, marketing copy)? Is too much or too little content provided? Is the information above the fold (i.e. without having to scroll down the page) recognized as more important than content below the fold?
  • Broken Links. Are all links on the website working properly?
  • Contact Us Information. Where is it? Is it on every page? Is it part of the navigation? Does the contact us page include an email link?
  • Products/Services. Where is the information regarding product/services located? Does the user have to explore multiple layers of the site before they find product/service information? Is it easy to purchase products/services?
  • Press. Does the site contain a news/events/press page? What is it called? Is it cluttered with information? How is it linked to the homepage? Are archives of information present? Are there images or video present?
  • Proper Image Text. Is there text displayed when the mouse scrolls over an image or logo? Do all images contain this text? Does this text label the image properly?
  • Breadcrumbs. Does the site provide breadcrumbs for the user so that they are able to follow their path back through the site?
  • Headings. Are headings identified? Are they used effectively?
  • Page URLs. Are page URLs cryptic and full of unreadable letters and symbols? Or do page URLs contain keywords and a relevant description of the URL?(

Now here are some of the things you need to look at for “offsite data” comparison.

  • Do they have a blog?
  • Do they have downloads?
  • Do they use video?
  • What conversion points do they have (contact, live chat, email, phone etc)?
  • Which social networks are they on?
  • What reach do they have on the key networks for your industry?
  • What are their most shared pages?(

Not only is it important to know and understand this data, it is equally as important to routinely run an assessment of such to stay on top of possible problem areas with your onsite and offsite effectiveness.  It allows you to keep an eye on what is working for your competition and make the changes needed to be competitive.  Sometimes fixing an issue as simple as your broken links can make a noticeable difference.

All of this talk about Tim Horton’s and Starbucks has made me quite thirsty.  And “yes”, Starbucks won this one but I think it’s time for me to go and get a Timmies!

I hope this helps and please take note of all the valuable source for this article.

Works Cited:

  • Alexa. “timhortons.”. siteinfo., 08/10/13. Web. 08/10/13.
  • Alexa. “starbucks.”. siteinfo., 08/10/13. Web. 08/10/13.
  • SimilarWeb. “Timhortons.”. siteinfo., 08/10/13. Web. 08/10/13.
  • SimilarWeb. “Starbucks.”. siteinfo., 08/10/13. Web. 08/10/13.
  • Kyle. How Does Alexa Track Traffic – Do They Really Have a Grasp of Your Traffic?.., June 25, 2013. Web. 08/10/13.
  • “Where does SimilarWeb get the data from.” SimilarWeb, N.d. Web. 08/10/13.
  • “Would be Alexa killer SimilarWeb raises an additional 3.5 million.” Techcrunch, 09/24/2013. Web. 08/10/2013.
  • Tim Hortons. “Tim Hortons Page.” N.d., N.d. Web. 08/10/2013.
  • Starbucks. “Starbucks Page.” N.d., N.d. Web. 08/10/2013.
  • “How to Conduct a Website Competitive Analysis.” . Psycray Web Design. Web. 2013. Wed. October 9, 2013
  • “Website Competitive Analysis and Review: A Guide for Marketers.” Econsultancy. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2013.


Read More →

Is it really necessary to understand the nature of network influence?

smd 102 graph

September 26, 2013 | Posted in Social Media Engagement | By

smd 102 graph

Image courtesy of: Linkedin – member, Geoff Hewko. Infograph. 25/09/13

If you don’t think understanding Network Influence is important, you may want to keep reading… It is how “we”, as human beings, have learned to survive.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?  Well it should because it is as true now as it has ever  been.  For thousands of years human beings have inherently understood the importance of being linked to one another in a social capacity for the simplest of reasons… SURVIVAL!

Where did you find water?  How did you make that fire? Do you know know where I can get food?  Where is the enemy? 

In order to answers these life and death questions, we as human beings and more importantly, social creatures, have depended on our ability to develop social networks, stay connected  and help each other not only survive but thrive, establish position and create the world we have today.  The risk of not being connected to a social network put you on the short list for a character appearance with Darwin in his clever little book on Evolution.

Click forward a few thousand years and Network Influence is as important today as it has ever been.  Considerably more fine tuned and definitely further reaching.   The telegraph, phone and fax machine gave us a further reach to expanding our networks and therefor giving us a greater ability to influence one another.  Factor in Network effect and  Metcalfe’s Law illustrates the value of a network based on the ability to link the number of nodes/unique connections to establish it’s value.  This ability to connect grew by leaps and bounds but had its limitations.  (Metclafe)

Thanks to Berners-Lee and his clever little invention of the World Wide Web, we now have group forming networks made possible by Social Media Platforms, allowing for sub-groups to develop alongside of our immediate social networks.  This brings us to Reed’s Law which explodes Metcalfe’s Law exponentially.  Our connect-ability has never been easier.

The matters in which we knowingly or unknowingly influence our connections is staggering.  Our social circles are affected by all that we do and by all who we are connected to.  We live in a time where it is possible to actually see just how far reaching the Butterfly Effect is.



“Metcalfe’s Law.” Metcalfe’s Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.


Read More →

What is the effect on Business, Government and Not-For-Profits in the Age of Social Networking Platforms?


September 24, 2013 | Posted in Social Media Engagement | By


Not-for-Profits take the lead… “Well, they do have the easiest hand to play.”

Now that Not-for-Profits have a very cost effective way to enroll and engage with an even larger number of potential donors, their understanding of how to use social media to its fullest has given them the opportunity to play to all of our most basic emotions and capitalize on our altruistic behaviour.  Simple public displays of appreciation on our favourite Social Media Platforms by Charities, to its Donors, for their efforts, feeds the Charity’s bottom line and our egos.

Pretty fair trade, don’t you think?

Charities beware, step out of line with your reporting or let Joe Public find out how much of what you raise actually gets paid to your cause and it might just be the last dollar you take.

Businesses jumping on the Social Media Band Wagon… “More may not be better.”

Yes, yes, we get it.  It’s new and you think you need to be there because maybe, just maybe, you might have a potential customer there.  NO!  This is neither a “strategy” nor a “tactic” to follow for any business looking to try their hand at Social Media.  Surely you know who your customers are, so please do some research to see what Social Media Platforms they use are and be present there.  Be helpful there.  Know that this is no longer a one way street, your customer, believe it or not, is now your partner and you would be wise to listen to what your partners are trying to tell you.  Although you may believe that your product or service should be used by everyone, not everyone is going to be your customer.  So why don’t you treat your customers that you do have, like they are the ones writing your paycheck and keeping the lights on… Oh wait, they are.

Treat your customers like the human beings they are and maybe they will see a face of a friend behind that expense corporate logo of yours… and who knows, if you’re lucky, they might tell a friend or two on that Social Network thingy, site, stuff your kids are always talking to you about.

Governments… “Not as clever as Not-for-Profits, not as Clueless as most Businesses.”

Democratization and transparency of real-time information in the hands of everyone has put Governments Worldwide on notice as they adopt and implement the use of Social Media.  It is actually fascinating.  Their public embrace of this new medium fuels the “wag the dog machine” at the same time lets the world see things from many different vantage points with the illusion of no filters or staging.  “Reaching a tentative partnership” is putting it lightly.  More like, “Oh wait, they might actually figure out they are the majority.”

As Governments try to not only catch up but get ahead of the Social Media curve, you, the average citizen, now has the responsibility of disseminating even more news, noise and nonsense than before.

Our World today is a very interesting place with all of this Social Media buzz.  I hope we are all responsible with our actions on Social Media Platforms.  Be helpful, inspire, educate, and treat each other like we all want to be treated.  Let’s put an end to all of the behaviours that are objectionable to us.  It can all start with a simple “Like”.

Read More →