Archive for June 2009

What can we learn from Travel in a downturn?

June 30th, 2009 — 2:21pm

What happens to people’s online behaviour when summer comes around in the middle of a recession? Whilst spring and summer is traditionally a strong time for visitor numbers to airline websites, research from Hitwise UK out last week showed that the recessionary woes of the airline industry are being played out online too.

Traffic to airline and flight websites was down 19.2% between April 2008 and April 2009.

I used to think that everything stopped in a recession. That people stopped buying stuff and stayed at home. But the truth of the matter is that everyone still needs to buy stuff, its just that they buy cheaper versions of the same stuff they were buying before.

Everyone still wants to go on holiday; it’s just that they can no longer afford the flights. So what do they do instead? The answer is; they look for a cheaper way of getting away. The sectors that are bucking the downward trend in travel are the train and coach websites, whose traffic has increased almost 4% over the same period.

Of the 500 most popular travel websites in the UK, 39 were about either trains, buses or coaches The official National Rail website was the fourth most visited site out of all travel websites in May this year, And that’s out of 18,390 travel sites in all. Finally, searches for ‘train times’ is up 1.5% over the last 12 months too.

So a downturn can be a good time for people in the travel sector, especially if you are seen to offer a ‘budget’ version of something that others charge more for.

What does this mean for us website builders? If you run a travel or holiday website, it makes sense to emphasize your cost effective prices at this time. You could include prominent promotions on the site, and give away discount and voucher codes wherever you can. Another idea is to incentivise repeat business or recommendations by giving away a discount with ‘your next stay’. Because people still want to go on holiday, it’s just that they want to find a cheaper way of doing it; if they think they’ve saved money by booking with you then they will be happier

Have you done well or suffered in the downturn? Have you found a way of turning people’s modified online behaviour to your advantage? Leave us a comment below.

Its all about the Bing

June 29th, 2009 — 2:14pm

Research from Hitwise UK out this week shows how well Microsoft’s the new search engine ‘Bing’ is getting on in the UK. We revealed just a few days ago how the US market has taken to the Bing. But whilst Americans are bombarded with a $100m advertiBing campaign (do you see what I did there) to promote the new engine, over here we’ve had to be content with a few niche press releases.

The UK stats show that following the official June 3rd launch Bing’s market share grew significantly. If you exclude Google US and UK, Bing was the third ranked search engine, making up almost 11% of the UK market. After the launch hype, traffic has declined although the average length of visit has grown to over 8 minutes.

And what are people looking for on Bing? Well the top search term for the week ending 6th June was ‘facebook’, which made up 3.94% of all searches.

Branded terms (those that include a company or product name) make up the other big numbers (as usual), but despite that there are 5 generic terms in Bing’s top 100.

More of a concern for Bing is that a significant proportion of its ‘downstream’ traffic – those websites that people visit after having been on Bing -were other search engines. This suggests that people tried Bing our before returning to their favourite search engine.

And another concern for Bing is who they are stealing market share from. Most people visiting Bing came from MSN UK- another of Microsoft’s search engines. There’s obviously not a lot of point in building a brand new search engine if the only people who end up using it were previously customers of your other search engine. Microsoft would clearly rather convert users from Google and Yahoo.

Here’s a graph showing UK visits to Bing, from Hitwise.

Have you tried Bing yet? If so, what do you think? And does your WebEden website rank well in Bing’s Search Engine Results Page? Leave us a comment below.

Facebook hit by accusations of Click Fraud

June 26th, 2009 — 4:52pm

Have you tried advertising your WebEden website on Facebook? It has a self service advertising platform that allows you to target Facebook users on their age, gender, job, and a whole range of self confessed interests.

It works on a ‘Pay per Click’ (PPC) model – you only pay when someone clicks on your advert and visits your website. That the same way that Google, Yahoo and MSN charge for advertising too.

Facebook has now come in for criticism from advertisers who are saying that Facebook is charging for clicks that never actually happened.

If you install a web analytics programme – such as Google analytics – on your website, you can see how many people are arriving on your site, and where they’re coming from. US advertisers are saying that their web analytics is showing them that the number of visitors that Facebook sends them is between 20% and 100% lower than the number of clicks that they’re actually getting charged for.

When advertisers get charged for clicks that aren’t ‘real’ it’s called ‘click fraud’. Facebook for its part are saying that they take click fraud “very seriously”. A spokesman said: “Over the past few days we have seen an increase in suspicious clicks. We have identified a solution which we have already begun to implement. In addition, we are identifying impacted accounts and will ensure that advertisers are credited appropriately.”

Google – which has previously been the target of the click fraud complainers – is open to a different type of click fraud to Facebook. This is because Google’s ‘AdSense’ programme lets website owners place ‘Ads by Google’ on their site. Those same website owners take a cut of the revenue when those ads get clicked on.

Of course, if you’re a website owner and you earn money every time someone clicks on an advert on your website, you might be tempted to click on a few yourself!

This idea has been taken to extremes in the past; programmes have been written that automatically click on adverts; and supposedly there are warehouses of people clicking in some countries.

And there’s other types of click fraud too: how many of you, on seeing a competitors advert, would click on it if you knew it would cost them a few pence each time?

All the clicks are ‘fraudulent’ in the sense that they’re not from people who are specifically looking for the product or service advertised.

So how can click fraud be stopped? Well Google say that they have very complex ways of determining what a fraudulent click is, and that they automatically don’t charge when they detect click fraud. They won’t actually reveal how they detect click fraud, since – they argue – that would allow people to ‘work around’ the system.

Despite this, the most generous estimates place click fraud at somewhere between 15% and 30% of all PPC advertising costs.

Having learned how to build a website, if you yourself want to earn money through having ‘ads by Google’ on your site, then you can do so from your WebEden control panel. We have integrated fully with Google’s AdSense programme. Just choose ‘edit’ and then ‘Google Adsense’ which will launch the ‘site settings panel, with the ‘Google ads’ tab open.

Don’t be tempted to click on the ads on your site though – you probably won’t earn any money from it…

Website Builder Tutorials: How to extend your page length

June 26th, 2009 — 2:53pm

Having done a few tutorials of a really complex nature, its back to basics this week. This tutorial shows you how to extend your page length. It might seem quite simple using our website creator, but you’d be surprised how frequently we’re asked how to do it. Have a watch:

Let us know if you have any problems.

Service Disruption – Now resolved

June 26th, 2009 — 9:11am

Yesterday WebEden suffered a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack from unknown parties. We were flooded by an attack on one of our sites with 75% of all incoming traffic from over 2,300 IPs, which caused all traffic to be congested and page load times to be affected.

This DDoS overloaded our firewalls.

This meant that some customer sites became very slow.

We quickly responded and our engineers managed to dynamically block this content. This resolved the issue by around midday on 25th June.

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