Apple’s Website 1996 – 2011

I’ve been writing a white paper that included a section on website design and thought it would be interesting to pick a site and see how it had evolved over the last 15 years. Apple has been a design innovator over the last 30 years so who better to look at to see how their site has changed with the times.

Using Wayback Machine I was able to go back and walk through the changes in the Apple site. I expected that with Apple’s creativity I would see a continuous evolvement of their site, but was surprised that over the last 15 years there have only been four significant evolutions to the site.

So let’s take a stroll back the the Apple site circa 1996.

july1996 Apples Website 1996   2011

Not the prettiest site but considering the time it was pretty much par for the course. I am curious about the choice of maroon since the color never shows up again.

Next we jump ahead close to two years to May of 1998. this is the first major shift in the apple site.
may1998 Apples Website 1996   2011

You can see a precursor to the large hero shots that have recently given way to sliders. Considering this is 1999 they are well ahead of the times.

Next we jump ahead 5 months to October 1999.

october1999 Apples Website 1996   2011

Not a big change but just continued development of the hero graphic.

Next stop is February 2000.

february2000 Apples Website 1996   2011

The famous tab navigation makes its appearance. There was a time when it seemed that almost every site had tabbed navigation. It was cool then; today it just seems clunky.

Next we move to November of 2000.

november2001 Apples Website 1996   2011

The big change is to the content boxes below the main graphic. gone are the colored tables cells replaced with a cleaner graphical element. Not a big change but a huge improvement.

Over the next five years the site would remain unchanged until November 2006.

november2006 Apples Website 1996   2011

After five years of nothing Apple updated the footer making it cleaner with added text link buttons. Not that interesting but an update. More interesting to me is watching the product changes.

Next we move forward to June of 2007 where we get a huge change.

june2007 Apples Website 1996   2011

There are two major updates. First the top navigation changes from the tabbed navigation to a cleaner bar navigation. Second the site changes from a white background to a black background. This design change appears to have been coordinated with the iPhone, released in June of 2007.

We only have to wait about 30 days for the next update.

august2007 Apples Website 1996   2011

In August Apple reverted back to the white background.

The site would once again remain static until January of 2011 and the change would be minor.

january2011 Apples Website 1996   2011

The only change after four years would be a darkening of the grey navigation bar. Not much of a change after four years. As of November of 2011 the site has remained unchanged.

For the most part since 1998 the Apple site has not changed significantly. It appears that they had a vision for the site and have stayed the course with minor updates and long periods of no change. Like all Apple products the design is simple and clean, with a understanding of the value of white space. It’s amazing that the seeds of todays site were sown 13 years ago.

YouTube Infographic

Last week I finally took the leap and created my first official infographic, my Twitter Infographic.  Today I’m back with number two, a You Tube version.

As I’ve created my first two I’ve also started paying more attention to other ones that I find.  I stumbled on to a couple of blogs related to the subject that, if like me you’re into it, you should enjoy:  the first is Cool Infographics by Randy Krum which has a wide assortment of graphics. OMGeureka has infographics that tend to relate to online topics.  And finally Submit Infographics which not only has a collection of work but lets you submit your creations as well.

Here’s my second foray that was inspired after reading Jeff Bullas’s 50 Awesome YouTube Facts and Figures.  I didn’t use all of the facts Jeff wrote about, but enough to want to give credit to him for his post.

YouTube Infographic2 YouTube Infographic

 

If you like the YouTube Infographic please consider retweeting it and sharing with others.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

Are You Lacking Social Media Faith?

faith Are You Lacking Social Media Faith?Rob Liano, the Sales Rock Star, has faith. He shares it in a one hour romp through sales training that is part biography, part sales training 101, and 100% engaging.

Rob and I have spoken at several events together and this past weekend we shared another event in the National Funding Associations’s conference in Atlanta. I’ve never failed to sit in on his session when we speak together at an event, and I got to thinking about why I’ll sit in on his session at the next event we share.

Then it hit me. I’m not necessarily learning anything new. Is there really anything original left to say about improving sales?  No, just new ways to introduce the concepts so that you can see them in a new light.   It’s Rob sharing his faith that I and everyone in the room can be a better salesperson if we just have a little faith in ourselves, in committing to a process, and in the simple act of taking action. Rob helps you believe in yourself and in sales that can be a game changer.

The same can be said for social media. Most social media campaigns take time to work, especially if you’re starting from scratch. My first sales from social media (LinkedIn) happened before I even had a campaign, only 20 connections, and had not logged in for a couple of months. I lucked out because I had a dormant LinkedIn account that I had created in June of 2006 and somehow someone found it in December of 2007, leading to developing a referral relationship.That one initial relationship not only produced my first revenue through social media but made a believer out of me.

I realized quickly that LinkedIn and social media could help me grow my business. I had faith that social media would work, I only needed to figure out how to make it work consistently.

Fast forward to 2011 and I still see lack of faith as an obstacle that needs to be overcome. It takes faith to invest time, money or both when its likely to be a while before you see a return on your investment. Once I committed to using social media to grow my business it still took months to drive a second lead and almost a year to create a consistent flow of leads.

Having faith is what will keep you on track when you’re not seeing results. It will help you keep your foot on the gas when you begin to see results, knowing that if you slow down so will your results. And it will help you continue to learn and explore new tools, strategies, and tactics

If you’re sales team isn’t performing up to par maybe you need Rob to come in to do a little faith building. He has enthusiasm and will travel.

If your social media plan is not performing or non-existent maybe you need a little social media faith.

Social Media Sonar provides the following four resources for FREE… 1.  The Blog, 2. The Online Marketing/Social Media Blueprint, 3.  Conversion Rate Optimization Guide, 4.  Resource Center.  If these help you implement your own online marketing program, great. We love helping people. If you decide you need some help, great. We love new clients.  Contact Us if we can help you.

QR Codes Extend Marketing

I’ve been reading about and seeing QR codes for a while and finally this week I took the dive and created some QR codes.

qr code discount QR Codes Extend Marketing

QR Codes
QR codes are not new but over the last month or so I seem to be seeing more conversation, more codes in windows, and on business cards.  I’m working on new business cards for my Conversion Optimization company Surge Labs and decided it was a great time to incorporate QR codes.

If you are not familiar with QR codes, they specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones, sort of like a bar code.

I used Kerem Erkans QR Code and 2D Code Generator to create a code that when scanned takes the scanner to a page to download Surge Labs Conversion Optimization white paper.

Here are some things you can embed with his QR creation tool: [Read more...]

Is Your Social Media in the Toilet

social media toilet Is Your Social Media in the ToiletI was heading home from a meeting recently and stopped at a QT (Quiktrip for those not in the know) convenience store for some gas and a quick bathroom break. When I walked in the bathroom the first thing that caught my eye was a large Facebook sticker on the wall directing me to “Like” their page on Facebook.

My initial reaction was great job QT. I’m obviously going to be looking towards the poster for the next 30 to 40 seconds and will naturally read it. Second I’m not likely to forget that they have a Facebook page that they provide offers on. So far so good.

Now the not so good. The sticker itself was in terrible condition and looked like it should have been replaced months ago. Now I wonder if this was a hot idea at QT at some point but now their enthusiasm as faded.

I’ll have to pay the bathroom another visit in about 6 months to see.

With QT inspiration here are 4 ways to keep your social media out of the toilet.

1. Remember if you want it to be about you, it has to first be about them

If you are using social media to drive business its natural to want to tell the world about the great deals you offer, how great you are, and why they should buy from you. You can do that but you need to share this information in the form of value.

What are the top 5 questions people ask [Read more...]

Online Strategy Using Social Media part 2

syndicate content 300x242 Online Strategy Using Social Media part 2In our previous post we looked at Building a Cohesive Social Brand as part of your online marketing strategy. Today we look at the second part, Syndicating Your Content. Syndication is just a fancy word for publishing, or even better “sharing”.

When you think about social media and online marketing what really differentiates a business in the long run is the content they share. Businesses that talk about themselves constantly are eventually ignored, but those that use their content to address problems, educate, inform, and entertain potential customers and clients have a shot at earning some business. And not just any content but relevant content of quality.

Creating content is a time consuming endeavor. If you are a large company you probably have people in your marketing department whose sole job is to develop new content regardless of the medium. For smaller companies without the resources you need to utilize the concept of “re-purposing content” For this strategy everything starts with your Blog.

For every blog post that you write your goal should be to re-purpose the post content as an article, a video, a podcast, as part of a monthly email newsletter, and where possible into an online news release.

Blogs are like the Swiss Army Knife of online marketing. They allow you to easily publish content in written, motion, and audio formats so that regardless of how your audience likes to consume content you can provide it. You can use keywords, links, and tags to improve your chances of being indexed by search engines. And its a lot easier to refresh content on your site through your blog rather than trying to update pages that were designed to be static. So we start with a blog post and re-purpose and syndicate away. [Read more...]

Online Strategy Using Social Media

cohesive social brand Online Strategy Using Social MediaStrategies are like excuses.  Some people have them some people don’t.  Some are good and some not so good.  Some are so good that you file it away should you need it in the future.  Today I offer you an online marketing excuse of a strategy that incorporates social media.

2 Parts of the Strategy

The strategy that I’ll layout has two parts to it:  1.  Build a Cohesive Social Brand; 2.  Syndicate Content.  Then as you can see in the video I’ll show you how the two components work together.  The goal is to generate an impact in your social media marketing while also looking to benefit from being indexed by search engines.  Its a push / pull strategy that relies on one key component …quality content.

In today’s post I’m going to walk through part one.  Tomorrow I will add part two, Syndicating Content.  Of course you can watch the video and see everything at once.

Cohesive Social Brand

There are thousands of social media and networking sites out there and you could drive yourself crazy trying to sign up for everyone.  You should focus on establishing a presence on the major sites and then add in some specific sites that fit your niche.  Each of these components should [Read more...]

Five Social Media Key Performance Indicators

roi salsa Five Social Media Key Performance IndicatorsIf you search the internet you will find a lot of information regarding tracking social media and ROI. ROI will always be the standard in determining the ultimate success, but many metrics will provide an indication of whether or not you are on the right track.  In working with our clients, we’ve focused on tracking five key performance indicators to help determine if we are on the right track. [Read more...]

Putting the Social Web to Work

Going into this weeks Super Bowl both Green Bay and Pittsburgh will have game plans. Those plans will likely evolve throughout the game but before the first snap there was a plan.

Most successful businesses have an overall business plan that likely includes an individual marketing plan. It makes sense, right. So why, when I talk to people about social media, do I find many that have no social media plan?

You need to have a social media strategy in place with goals and objectives. This plan needs to be incorporated into a marketing plan, which is then part of your overall business plan. Without these, how do you know what actions you should be taking?

Before we go any further lets make sure that we understand the landscape. [Read more...]

Showing How Social Media Works Beats Selling the Hype

Most companies providing social media solutions are busy selling the statistics and the hype. They’re quoting stats such as the 3 year growth on Facebook, that Dell earned $3 million dollars from using LinkedIn, the number of new LinkedIn members … and so on and on.

Don’t get me wrong, I love statistics. But “how can you use social media to grow your business?” That’s where it gets exciting because most of the tools are free or relatively in-expensive in terms of cost. You just have to be willing to invest the time required to engage and interact.

So while many people are focused on talking about how they can help small businesses, we choose to show small businesses how to do it themselves.  We knew that those who can, will do it themselves, and those that understand the need for social media, but lack the time or resources, will seek to outsource the work.

As a full fledged member of the David clan (small businesses), we continue to help businesses understand how to use the Social Web, making sure they understand the need for a strategy, and the tactics to accomplish their goals and objectives.

In business there is a process of familiarity that most people go through prior to making a purchase. The first step is they have to know that you exist. Next they need to like you or your product or service. Finally they have to have some level of trust. If they know, like, and trust you then you have a shot at earning their business.

Social media provides numerous opportunities to introduce you or your company to other, to capture their attention through sharing content, or build goodwill through being a resource. [Read more...]