mobile

Marketing Monday: Mobile Phones 101

Have you ever looked at your website on an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone? Have you looked at your website on an iPad? You might want to test it out because more and more people are getting to your website that way.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Here are some fun facts about mobile websites:

  • 93% of the population in the United States owns a cell phone.
  • 20% of mobile phone owners own a smartphone.
  • Businesses distributed 2.3 million mobile coupons in 2010 (and that number is expected to be 70 million by 2013).

(More facts and source links here: http://www.momares.com/blog/mobile-marketing-facts-and-predictions-for-2011)



In other words, more and more people are accessing the web via mobile devices, so it’s only logical to think about how your website looks on these different platforms.

It’s clear that larger companies have the resources to have thought of this earlier on. But smaller sites are also getting in on the action:

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

How do you know if your device is mobile friendly? Opera has a demo where you can try out your website in a typical mobile browser: http://www.opera.com/mobile/demo/ Not to say this is the be all end all but it can at least give you an idea. (You could also ask friends or your web designer to do some testing for you.)

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about your mobile website:

1) Don’t use Flash. iPhones (and iPads) can’t load it.
2) Be conscious of load time. To test how quickly your site loads, try this simulator. Slower load times mean better loading on cell phones.
3) Make sure your contact information is on your main page.
4) Your mobile site is prime real estate; put essential information (versus all information) on the mobile version of your site.

So as the mobile web continues to grow, think about where your website fits in. It only makes sense. It is 2011 after all!

Anyone know of websites with really cool mobile versions? Link them below in the comments so we can all check them out.

Marketing Monday: Mobile Phones 101

Have you ever looked at your website on an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone? Have you looked at your website on an iPad? You might want to test it out because more and more people are getting to your website that way.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Wikipedia's mobile site gets rid of the sidebars but still let's you do the most important thing: search.

Here are some fun facts about mobile websites:

  • 93% of the population in the United States owns a cell phone.
  • 20% of mobile phone owners own a smartphone.
  • Businesses distributed 2.3 million mobile coupons in 2010 (and that number is expected to be 70 million by 2013).

(More facts and source links here: http://www.momares.com/blog/mobile-marketing-facts-and-predictions-for-2011)

In other words, more and more people are accessing the web via mobile devices, so it’s only logical to think about how your website looks on these different platforms.

It’s clear that larger companies have the resources to have thought of this earlier on. But smaller sites are also getting in on the action:

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

The side effect of making your website more mobile friendly: it makes it easier for people using mobile devices to buy stuff.

How do you know if your device is mobile friendly? Opera has a demo where you can try out your website in a typical mobile browser: http://www.opera.com/mobile/demo/ Not to say this is the be all end all but it can at least give you an idea. (You could also ask friends or your web designer to do some testing for you.)

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about your mobile website:

1) Don’t use Flash. iPhones (and iPads) can’t load it.
2) Be conscious of load time. To test how quickly your site loads, try this simulator. Slower load times mean better loading on cell phones.
3) Make sure your contact information is on your main page.
4) Your mobile site is prime real estate; put essential information (versus all information) on the mobile version of your site.

So as the mobile web continues to grow, think about where your website fits in. It only makes sense. It is 2011 after all!

Anyone know of websites with really cool mobile versions? Link them below in the comments so we can all check them out.

Marketing Monday: Acadia National Park Application by Chimani

I had a case of ‘Holy crap it’s a small world!’ this past weekend that finally made me write this blog post.

Chimani Logo- Doesn't it look techy and outdoorsy at the same time?

Chimani Logo- Doesn't it look techy and outdoorsy at the same time?

I was volunteering at Take Pride in Acadia Day, which is this yearly event at Acadia National Park that organizes volunteers to do outdoor projects like raking leaves and cleaning out culverts to get the park ready for winter. In exchange for manual labor, participants get a t-shirt and a lunch of chili and cornbread (which is so good, I heard about it before I even moved to Bar Harbor). In other words, this event could have been a whole Marketing Monday post because it was so well organized and publicized.

But this is about a random coincidence.



To organize the masses of people, everyone is put in a work group with a number. My friend Sarah and I were in group 13, as was a very familiar looking couple. (Keep in mind there are at least 50 people in each of the 21 groups.)

The woman I recognized as someone I went to college with and her husband also looked familiar.

“Wait a minute, do you blog?” he asked.

“Wait a minute, did you design the Acadia National Park application?” I asked.

Phone screenshots, lifted off Kerry's website. Way better than I could have done!

Phone screenshots, lifted off Kerry's website. Way better than I could have done!

So Kerry is this super nice guy who gave me a preview of the Chimani Acadia National Park application when it came out. A review of it has been on my to-do list for months. Seeing him reminded me to finally do it. (Full disclosure: He was so nice that he didn’t nag me at all…Those of you who read this blog regularly know me a little better!)

Mobile web is getting bigger with a 230% increase this year alone. And anyone who has ever been in Downeast Maine knows that ATT (iPhone) coverage here is spotty to say the least. So what does Kerry do? Designs an app that requires no cell service. Brilliant! Because the last thing you want to do is carry heavy guidebooks up Cadillac Mountain.

I’ve fired up the application a few times and see that the GPS capabilities and maps alone will keep me from getting lost (again). I have yet to do the voice over audio tour of the Park Loop Road. Information is up to date, including bus and tide schedules (handy for those venturing to Bar Island as every year a tourist parks there and comes back to a flooded car).

For $5, this application costs less than a guide book. You can buy it on iTunes or get it on the Android market.

And to those of you going to other national parks, Chimani has applications for several other national parks and historic areas already created and some in progress.

But my favorite part is Kerry Gallivan, the developer, was actually in Acadia National Park taking part in service event this past weekend. It’s clear that Kerry’s passion is the real deal and I as a user of the application appreciate that.

So Kerry, I’m sorry this review is so late. Your application for Acadia National Park is fantastic!

These Three Weeks In Business: Crashing Edition

These past three weeks, my Mac, my PC, and me have all crashed. Let me explain.

Many people think if you happen to be good at internet stuff you are also good at computers. Not so.

I am truly terrible at physical computer issues. And in the past three weeks, both of my computers have bit it.

My Mac was the first to go. I was giving a group presentation when it decided to do software updates. So I could continue with the presentation, I did a force quit. Two friends, one week, and a lot of Mac Forums reading later, I had to reinstall my operating system. I get it, if the Mac is updating its programs, let it finish. Lesson learned.

While dealing with my sad Mac, my PC (which is a desktop computer I do a lot of my work on) began acting wonky. It quit programs mid-use, stopped backing up my files with Mozy, and other nonsense. I tried the usual stuff: defragmenting, running virus scans, etc. but nothing worked. Hundreds of registry errors and a few days with a computer savvy colleague, it’s back.

Then I crashed. I was sick for a week and last Saturday, I slept until 11 am. And I’m a normally early riser. Must be all these late nights working, which I am finally going to do something about. But more on that in a minute.

Besides all the crashing, here’s what has been going on:

I got a smartphone.
I finally bit the bullet and got an Android phone. Verizon has much better coverage in my area than ATT and since I do a lot of things with Google anyway, it was a good choice for me. On a recent trip, I found I had much less anxiety when I was able to check my email once in awhile and not walk into hundreds of emails after the weekend was over. Also when I was in computer limbo, it was nice to be able to check email and keep up with what was coming in.

I turned down work.
I got an email from Elance saying someone wanted me to bid on a project. I was flattered… until I went to look at the specifics. The bid was $25/hour below my minimum hourly rate and it was a very short term project. It felt good to turn something because I didn’t need to do it but at the same time, it made me wonder how many legitimately cool projects I was missing working on, which made me realize.

I realized I needed help… and no, not that kind of help.
It’s time to hire someone. And before announcing this in a formal way, I thought a lot about the kind of person I wanted to hire and why.

What I really need help with is administrator type stuff: invoicing, answering emails, and some basic copywriting to start. That’s not to say there couldn’t be more but to be able to work on big project, I need some help taking care of the small details.

I’d love to pay someone $25-$50/hour but this is such a gamble that I have to start off much lower in terms of pay. If I take on someone else in terms of being responsible for their pay, I need to know I can make payroll. If I can’t, I’ll never sleep. Plus it’s much easier to say “Wohoo, we’re kicking butt, I can pay you more now!” than “Wow, I’m paying you too much, I need to cut your salary.” That would not go over well.

The second thing to consider is if I am going to train someone, I need someone who is going to stick around, preferably in my geographic area which is where I am and where a majority of my clients are. Downeast Maine is an expensive place to live that alternates between a busy summer season and a dead winter season. That said, I need the help year round and I can’t have someone who disappears in the summer.

And thirdly, I  need someone who is going to listen to me. Now I’m not a big ‘power’ person but I do need there to be a bit of professional distance for my first employee.

I’ve put out the call to the guidance counselors at my local high school and to a contact at the local liberal arts college. We can debate the pros and cons of high school versus college students but in terms of the trainable tech savvy person who can be happy with a part time job and stick around for a couple years, students seem to be a logical choice. But we’ll see.

When things happen like this in a business, it’s really easy to get bogged down trying to fix it all yourself. But at a certain point, it’s smart, and even just sane, to say, “Hey, I need help” and throw some money at the problem.

Have you crashed anything recently? If so, how did you uncrash it?

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