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.

Move WordPress Site to a New Host

This has been an interesting summer and beginning to the fall. After being with the same Web Host since 1999 I decided that I no longer had confidence in the hosts up time. After doing some research I decided to move to Host Gator. That was the easy part.

The hard part was going through the process of moving a number of WordPress and Joomla sites to the new host. If you’ve decided to move hosts but are unsure how to transfer your site its not that difficult. Hopefully this step by step guide to moving a WordPress site to a new host will help.

Step 1: Download your files via FTP from you existing site. We will upload these files to your domain account on your new server.

ftp files Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

Step 2: Export WordPress Database from phpMyAdmin

In the backend of your host (CPANEL) click on phpMyAdmin and click on the DATABASE Tab. You will see the databases you have on the left side. Click on your WordPress database.

database tab Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

After clicking on your database name you will see the database tables. Click on the EXPORT Tab.

database files Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

After clicking the EXPORT Tab you will see a simple interface. You should be able to export the file with the existing settings. Click the GO button to begin your download and save the files to your computer.

export database Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

Step 3: Import your Database to Your New Host. (You should have created your domain account before doing database upload).

Log in to your backend (CPANEL) and Create a new Database by clicking on MySQL Databases.

MySQL databases Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

After creating your database you need to add a user to your database. Add a username and password, then click the CREATE USER button.

add username Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

Now that you have created a username you need to add it to the database. Be sure to grant all privileges to the user.

add user to database Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

Now go into phpMyAdmin and click on the database you created. Then click on the IMPORT Tab. Once on the IMPORT page click the Choose File button and select the database you previously downloaded. Once again you should be able to use the existing setting. Click the GO button to import your database.

import database Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

Once your database is finished uploading we need to make some additional changes to the database in the OPTIONS table. Click on the STRUCTURE Tab and you will see a list of database tables to the left. Click on the Options table.

database options Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

The first option we wan to edit is SiteURL which should be the first option. Click the edit button and change the URL to your new http:// address.

siteurl Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

The second option we want to update is on page two, the Home option. Click the edit button and change the value to your home page url.

home option Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

The final option to update is on the second page as well, Upload Path. Once again click on the edit button and input the url where you upload files to your wordpress installation. (In the sites I have moved I have not had to change this value.

upload path Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

Step 4: Upload Site Files Via FTP (Files you downloaded in Step 1)

Step 5: Update wp-config.php File

Your wp-config.php file currently has the information from your previous database. We need to update the Database Name, the Username, the Password, and you may need to update the Local Host name.

update wp config Move Wordpress Site to a New Host

Once you have made the changes upload the file via FTP.

That’s it. Your site should now be up and running on your new host.

Can Your Facebook Presence Be Hijacked?

Do you have a Places or Community page for your business?  If so you may be at risk of your information being hijacked.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were looking for a place to eat on Lake Lanier, a lake just North of Atlanta.  I went to Google and searched eventually clicking on a Facebook page link for Pelican Pete’s (PP’s).  I went to their page to find out more information on PP’s and in the process discovered a potential flaw or potential issue to businesses relying on Places and Community pages on Facebook.

pp mock 300x187 Can Your Facebook Presence Be Hijacked?

As you can see in the video below I had the ability to go into the PP’s page and edit the basic information including Tags, Address, Phone Number, and URL.  Why is this an issue?

For starters let’s look at a hypothetical situation that is reasonable.  Let’s suppose that I make money by using Google AdSense to display relevant ads on pages.  With the ability to go into certain Facebook pages and customize the URL, I can set up a number of money making pages in Facebook by hijacking ignored Facebook Places pages and placing links to my pages with AdSense running on it.

In the case of PP’s, I simply would create a website called LakeLanierToDos.com.  Under the domain I could then create a page called /pelicanpetes and place the relevant information about PP, but in the sidebar include Google Ads for other Lake Lanier businesses. Something like this:

 

Now imagine if you did that across 1,000 sites how much revenue you might generate by hijacking ignored Facebook places pages.  Watch the Video.

 

Think its just the little guys who could be hijacked?  Here is a Facebook Places page for a local Starbucks in Alpharetta, GA that I was able to go in and edit their info.

starbucks page1 Can Your Facebook Presence Be Hijacked?

So what can you do to avoid your Facebook presence being hijacked:

  1. Create a Company, Brand, or Product page that you have 100% control of.  Avoid Community and Places accounts.
  2. Claim you Place.  If you look below the photo in the left bar on the Places Page you will see a text link that asks “Is this your business?”.  Click on the link and claim your business.  From what I have seen verifying the business doesn’t prevent the ability of someone else editing your info and URL.
  3. Merge the Places Page with Your Company, Brand, Product, etc. page.  This appears to be a good idea that has disappeared for the time being.   Facebook may be changing the process and planning on reinstating the process once completed.  Last info I saw (on 8/2/11) was that Facebook was not responding to questions sent on this topic.  Google+ anyone?
  4. Create a Company, Brand, Product page, then claim your Places page and delete it.  If you can’t merge the Places page then kill it.

I’d like to think that Facebook would see this post and correct the issue.  But in the real world Facebook likely knows about the issue, has decided it doesn’t really care or that it isn’t a big enough issue, and has no plans to address it.  Social networks move at their own speed, based on their own priorities, and I’ve yet to see one that really cares what their users think.  They may exist to help the rest of us be social, but they themselves really are more interested in figuring out how to make money rather than having a conversation with you or me.

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.

LinkedIn Infographic

Today’s post, LinkedIn infographic is the third in the series.  You can view the first two, Twitter Infographic and YouTube Infographic by clicking on the links.

LinkedIn continues to be the only major social network focused exclusively on business professionals.  Its not as casual as Facebook and not as flippant as Twitter.  Today’s infographic focuses on how to be “the man or woman” on LinkedIn.  It includes 10 tips that will help you:

  1. Optimize your profile
  2. Extend your reach
  3. Leverage the tools

All three are equally important if you want to drive new business from Linkedin.

If you have a great profile and no one sees it you’ve accomplished nothing.  If you have a great network and belong to several groups you’ll still miss out on opportunities if your profile is lacking.  Finally, if you are using the available tools such as Answers, Polls, Status Updates, etc. but still have a poor profile, you may drive people back to your inadequate profile, but you’ll likely find that you have nothing to show for your work.

Your profile is the hub of your Linkedin existence.  Its your landing page.  It should tell people who you are, what you do, how you help people, where they can get more information, and even how to take the next step if they want to engage you or your products and services.

Next I would start naturally building your connections.  Connect to you natural network, to people you meet at networking events, and even reach out to those you would like to know.  Start looking for groups to join such as:

  1. Those where potential your customers or clients are
  2. Industry related groups where you can make connections that can become partners, vendors, or referral sources
  3. Alumni groups, whether corporate or school based, where you can reconnect to old friends or find new ones
  4. Topic related groups where you can expand your knowledge
  5. A group that you start and grow

Finally, kick start your activity by answering questions to help others and demonstrate your knowledge, engage in group discussions by joining existing conversations or start your own, post status update to share content, ask questions, or share success stories, and finally using the search function to prospect.

Success takes time so be patient and consistent in your activity.  My LinkedIn infographic should help you get started (click image to view full size).

 

linkedin infographic1 LinkedIn Infographic

 

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.

 

Two Cool Website Tools

I learned web design the old fashioned way by diving in with my eyes closed and never really knowing where I, or the site, would wind up.  My first site in 1998 was built with NetObjects Fusion, a wysiwyg editor.  Over the years I went from version 3 to version 11, avoiding learning to write code, since most of the sites I was designing were for my own businesses.  Eventually  I  ditched NOF and began to focus on using WordPress and templates, learning as much code as I needed to tweak things.

I still do not like writing CSS from scratch and choosing color schemes gives me a headache.  But two tools that I’ve discovered have made things much simpler, and if you are someone who likes to DIY then you should love them as well.  Here they are:

1.  LeanDesigns claims to be the first visual web design tool built specifically for web developer.  Not sure about that but I would describe them as a web creation tool that allows you to create a site using drag and drop functionality and then instantly export the html and css that makes up your design.  Its fast and simple to create a layout, making it also a perfect tool to create wire frames.  Here’s a graphic of a design I created in about 15 minutes.

lean designs 300x248 Two Cool Website Tools

One of the features I like is that you can apply a 960 grid guide behind your design making it easy to create a visually appealing design.  Then once you’ve completed your design you can export the html and css code.

The design to the left is actually a layout for a page in a WordPress Template site that I’m working on.  The header and footer are supplied by the template and I use my design and the code to customize the body section.

LeanDesigns has a How It Works page that walks you through the creation process with a set of screenshots.

They offer a free trial version that allows you to create and save one design.  The Pro version allows you to create and save unlimited designs for only $9 a month.

My Verdict:  A low cost tool that can be an advantage in your tool set.

2.  Color Scheme Designer allows you to create custom palettes for websites and more.  The interface is simple and allows you to quickly create a color scheme that works together.

I met with a client earlier today to discuss redesigning their website and color scheme (the current scheme was red and royal blue).  The first step was to redesign their logo with the new colors, the only caveat being that one of the colors had to be red.  I took the red color and put it into the tool and it generated the following color palette.

smart tools color scheme 300x282 Two Cool Website ToolsThere are six different choice for choosing color combinations:

1.  Mono
2.  Complement
3.  Triad
4.  Tetrad
5.  Analogic
6.  Accented Analogic

You can adjust the saturation/brightness, contrast, and see a full color list with color swatches and hexagon codes.  They even have a tool to see a light or dark page example allowing you to see how the colors might interact on an actual page.

Using the palette generated I was able to quickly put together a logo in the new colors to show my client.  Here is the logo design (company name changed because the client is not ready to make the actual logo public):

blog company logo Two Cool Website Tools

Without the color scheme designer I’m not sure I would have chosen to mix red, blue, and green together.

My Verdict: An absolute must have if you do anything that requires color selection.

There are thousands of tools out there and they may be some that are better, but so far these two do exactly what I want them to do.  They are perfect tools to add to your DIY tool kit.

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.

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.

When to Tweet?

Every day it seems like there is a new social media related application released.  While I tend to try out a number of the applications that I encounter, the reality is that few of them do enough or specifically what it is that I am looking for.

I look for apps that:

  1. Simplify Workflows
  2. Save Time
  3. Expand Functionality
  4. Better Clarify Information or Data

Some of the tools I encounter are one trick ponies, others have more than one of these features.  Either way the the apps I choose to use have to make sense from a business perspective.

A recent tool that I discovered is When to Tweet, created by Niklas Agevik and Stefan Alund.  Whentotweet analyzes when your followers are active and gives you a personalized recommendation on what the best time of day for you to tweet is. Its a simple but powerful concept …Your tweets are most likely to be seen and responded to when your followers are most active.

It only addresses one of the four criteria listed above but better understanding when to tweet can help drive more traffic, engagement, conversions, etc.

I ran a report on @seanenelson, my Twitter account, and it showed the following graph:

whentotweet When to Tweet?

 

The times listed are in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) so you will need to adjust the data to your time zone.  You can do so at http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com.  Here in Georgia I subtract 4 hours while in Daylight Savings Time and when we switch to Standard Time in October I would subtract 5 hours.

Looking at the chart right now I see that the best time for me to tweet is around 12:30 PM (adjusted from GMT to EST), but I also see that I have a window from 10 AM to 2:30 PM.

The current Free tool  analyzes your first 500 followers and 200 tweets of each follower to determine the best times for you to tweet.

A Pro version, not yet available, is expected to analyze up to 1,000 tweets from up to 1 million followers.  The current projected cost for a Pro report is set at $20.  Not a bad one time or even annual cost to determine when you should be tweeting.  My only request is that the Pro report return times based on the time zone the recipient lives.

You can sign up at the site to receive an email when the Pro Version is available.

My Verdict:   A interesting tool worth checking out.

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.

Twitter Infographic

Infographics seem to be a hot trend among internet and online marketers. An infographic is simply a graphic representation of information, date, knowledge, processes, etc.  And while they may seem to be a new tool to communicate, they have been around since the first caveman decided to practice graffiti on the walls of his cave.

Since 1980′s USA Today has used mini infographics to present data in quick, easy to digest manner.  With the emergence of social media they seem to have hit a resurgence, moving from the simple USA Today model to more complex, visual representations of data.

If a picture is worth a thousand words than an infographic may be worth a million or more.

Yesterday as I was writing a new blog post about a new Twitter tool I discovered I decided that it would be cool to maybe add a Twitter infographic to the post.  Eight hours of work later I decided that the infographic was strong enough to stand on its own and better the focus of its own post.  I’ll post next week on the tool that I found that analyzes your followers to show you the best times for you to tweet, but for now I offer my Twitter infographic.

 

Twitter Infographic Twitter Infographic

If you like the infographic please retweet it. (thanks)

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.

Why LinkedIn is Important to Small Businesses

linkedin for small businesses Why LinkedIn is Important to Small BusinessesIn the summer of 2006 I read an article about a networking site that was for business people. I had heard of MySpace and Facebook, but those were networks for high school kids and people in college. A network dedicated to business professionals was definitely worth checking out. That network was LinkedIn.

I signed up for an account and started looking through it to see if I knew anyone and to also see if there were any ways to use it as a prospecting vehicle. After numerous searches my conclusion at the time was that this was a good site for people in technology industries but not necessarily relevant for anyone else.

At the time you could connect to other business professionals, participate in Answers, and join groups (although there really wasn’t any additional functionality to groups).

Five years later I have a different perspective, having used the service to build a network of business professionals and driven new business from being a member of the site. I wasn’t wrong in my initial assessment; it’s just that LinkedIn has evolved into a great tool through the increase in membership and functionality. It just had to mature a little bit, much like the internet of the late 90’s.

In the late 1990’s the internet was starting to gain traction and companies were starting to get in on the action. For a while, having a website was a cool thing to do but not a make or break decision. That changed and eventually having a website was as much a credibility play as it was a functional part of any businesses marketing efforts.

Social networking/media has followed the same path, although at a much quicker pace. Two years ago having a presence on the various social networking spaces was a cool thing to do for a business but once again not a make or break decision. Today if you’re not on a social networking site like LinkedIn you’re missing the boat.

Social Media/Networking has expanded the opportunity to [Read more...]