Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Web Analytics *yawn*

Hello again, it seems I am truly utilizing this blog after all.  School certainly has me working.  This blog is about Web Analytics.  As you can see from my title, analytics bore me.  My mind deals with the realm of fantasy, and while numbers can certainly occupy that realm, any real numbers are a sure way to put me to sleep.  Just like the difference between data entry and writing, creating a formula that may never work, or even really make sense it another thing entirely from analytics.

Secondly, as a Socialist, I have a real hard time grasping much that is born out of Capitalism.  Like the theory behind driving a stick-shift (that’s a manual transmission, y’all) I technically know how to drive one, but if you want your car to head to the shop in a quick hurry, just put me behind the wheel.  Same thing here, I know I need to be successful in the world and to do that I need to sell my services.  With the competition out there, I need to be aggressive with my selling techniques and I need to tell the world why I’m unique and better than the other guy while not sounding so arrogant that I turn them all away.  Know this and doing this are two totally different things, and analytics are what I need to see how my self-praise is working.  Am I drawing the crowd I want and need to make my business successful?  In short, I look at the Clicky stats on my page and say “Oooh, I was visited by someone in China. Cool!”  It doesn’t take root and certainly does not find fertile ground in which to sprout.  This is my shortcoming and I own it. I know I need a business partner who is so turned on by business that he or she will grow the business like mad or I will fail.  I believe that is my current reason for not being the successful writer that I want to be. I write; I don’t sell.

Okay, that said, for my class (Hi, Mac!) I have looked at three different web analytics sites and promptly fell asleep.  (Just kidding, but yeah, I took about an hour’s nap here)  I looked at Google Analytics, Clicky Analytics, and Piwik Analytics.  All offer to look at your stats and filter them to your settings.  They will look at your presence on social media as well on the mobile apps you’ve made.  That said, they all vary in different aspects, all claiming to be better than anyone else.  Rather, Clicky and Piwik claim to be better than Google.

So let’s start with Google.  Google offers to analyze the users that come to your site. They measure your sales and conversions and will tell you how visitors came your site and what they did when they got there. They have a dashboard that allows you to customize how you view this data and tell you which of your pages are most popular so you can make them better and sell more.  It will tell you how you’re selling and what so you can tailor your ads.  Also, because it’s Google, they will track the users on your social media presence like on Google +1, but also on other social media platforms.  You can also link your ads to your website and Google will keep track of how effective they are so you can tweak them and make them more effective. (Google Analytics)

Clicky claims to be like Google, but better.  They offer you Real Time stats, and claim that Google gives you your stats a day too late to do anything about them. About 514,721 websites use Clicky, including  With Clicky, you can compare users from one region to the users from another region.  You can add filters to single out users with specific criteria that you want to keep track of.  They say that all you have to do is click on the main trait and a drop down menu will give you the options you want to add.  Also, you don’t have to go back to go forward in the navigation. They claim Twitter for their social network platform and allow you to respond to tweets as well as retweet right from Clicky.  You can also keep track of key words used in tweets and Clicky will report them to you. You can also filter what tweets you see. Clicky also has a free option that lets you explore certain features, a sort of try before you buy option. (Clicky Analylitics)

Piwik is an Opensource software that you download for your own use. It is available in 40 languages and currently more than 320,000 websites use it. They also compare themselves to Google, but they’re free, so that’s lots better. J On their website they say they are “a PHP/MySQL software program that you download and install on your own web server.” They then have you watch a five minute installation video and give you a JavaScript tracking code that you then use to track the websites you want to track.  They also use Real Time statistics, allowing you to see who is visiting, when how and why. They then list the reasons they are unique (though to be honest, free is a good reason.) However, real time statistics, you own the analytics data software, it boasts a modern and intuitive user interface, offers plugins, and supports an international open community. They also have advanced web analytic capabilities.  Also, if you don’t have a web server to upload the software to, they do have a list of recommended sites. (Piwik Analytics)

In conclusion, if I were to use one of these services for my website, I’d first choose Piwik. I’m all for Opensource and free.  However, as I don’t have a webserver, I’d choose Clicky second.  Because of my website at I am somewhat familiar with them.  My only barrier is cost! Right now anything onver a few dollars a month is crippling.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fashion Retailers - a case study

Fundamentals of IMD Fashion Case Study:                                                            

                This will look at six fashion websites and how they reach their consumers. The assignment only called for five, but since my fashion sense tends toward two distinct trends, I went with three of each.,, and are three Goth clothing websites.  They all have facebook pages and rss feeds. You can follow them on twitter and flicker.  They do not have print ads or mailers, but you can sign up for email alerts. Like them,,, and are exclusively web based clothing retailers.  They sell steampunk wear and accessories.  They also have facebook accounts and twitter pages, as well as email newsletters.
 I have looked for stores that carry this type of clothing, and while shops like Hot Topic have commercialized the alternative, you just can’t find some things in the stores.  There are also seasonal shops, such as Renaissance Fairs, that sell some of these things, but to have access to this style of clothing whenever you can afford it, you really need to have online access.  The six “stores” I looked at online are exclusively web-based retailers.  I have never gotten an ad insert in my Sunday paper for any of them. Neither have I seen any ads for them online, save for on facebook.  They are set up to be found. Consumers interested in this type of clothing already have certain keywords that they can put into the search bar.  These websites are among those that come up on the first page of the search.  They all have facebook accounts, and come up in the search.  Of all of them and are the only two that list an actual address and both are in California.
 The second point asks how consumers are being reached, and while I touched on that in the above paragraph, I reiterate here.  They all have facebook accounts, which I follow, twitters, flickers, and rss feeds.  They each of them have connected their sites to certain keywords, such as goth clothing and steampunk clothing.  I don’t use my twitter much, so I can’t speak for that site, but on facebook, after I followed, was suggested as a page I might like.  When I followed Steampunk, a page devoted to the genre, was suggested as a page I might like. So while these stores are not sending out print mail or ads, they are slowly getting their name out there.
 Again, this topic asks if they are using unique integrated approaches to the use of tools at hand.  Like the paragraph above says, they have definitely taken advantage of the search engines by attaching the keywords to their sites.  They also have themselves advertised on facebook with links in the ads to their websites rather than their facebook page.  Although, each of their home pages has a link to their facebook page as well as their twitter, flicker and rss feeds.
 I’ve always like the style of clothing that fits in with the Goth and Steampunk scene.  Yes, I even attend the Renaissance Festival in costume.  I was disheartened when Hot Topic opened up in the malls, though as ashamed as I am to admit it, I did shop there on occasion.  I felt like the store was taking an alternative lifestyle and making it mainstream, taking the power out of the style to allow the individual to feel unique.  The Goth kid wearing the Cure t-shirt is no longer set apart because the cheerleader saw it in Hot Topic and loved it.  Now along with her cheers, she's singing Lovecats, the only Cure song she knows.  Instead of the Goth kid feeling more a part of the in-crowd, the Goth kid wants to burn the shirt and mourn the introduction of Robert Smith to the greater public.  So, are these websites missing opportunities? Probably.  But unlike Hot Topic, they mean what they sell and they cater to those who truly love and want the style of clothing they offer.  So in conclusion, I think they’re willing to lose some business just to gain the loyal following they get from those who seek them out. I just wish I could afford the clothing myself.  It took me a few years to get my Renaissance outfit complete, and now that I’m back in school, I think it will take just that much longer to get the rest of the clothes I really want. *cough* corset *cough* *cough* boots *cough* *cough* goggles *cough* (oh the list is pretty long.)

Information in this blog was gleaned from the websites:

Patronize them! They rock!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Social Media - A Beginning

Blogging is already an old art, even this early in the 21st century.  Starting in the early 1980’s, Usenet featured moderated newsgroups that allowed people to post going-ons.  Online diaries evolved into the modern blog, and in 1994, Justin Hall became one of the earliest known bloggers.  Early bloggers referred to themselves as escribtionists, and early blogs were hosted on blogging hosting services, or created with blogging software.  Jorn Barger was the first to call the online diary a weblog but it was Peter Merholtz who broke the word up into we blog, and Evan Williams coined the term “blog.”

Mark Zuckerberg created facebook in 2003 while attending Harvard.  His first site, facesmash, compared two pictures of students and let fellow students vote on who was the hotter of the two.  It was only up for a few days before Harvard shut it down.  The actual site, facebook, began under controversy, Zuckerberg being accused of stealing the idea; it was originally set up just for Harvard students.  A year later, it expanded to several other colleges.  It started a high school version in 2005, and in late 2006, facebook was opened to all users, 13 and older with a valid e-mail.  In 2010, Columbia Pictures presented the story of the beginning of facebook in the movie, The Social Network.

Three former PayPal workers created YouTube in 2005.  The intent was to create a site where users could upload videos.  Google bought YouTube in 2006.  The first video uploaded was by Jawed Karim called, Me at the Zoo.  It is still available for viewing.  Twitter was created in 2006 as a microblogging site.  Jack Dorsey said of the name that as a short burst of inconsequential information, twitter was the perfect name.

All information was taken from

Monday, August 6, 2012

A New Direction for Now

Hello. I'd say "everyone" but I'm not really sure how many people actually look at this blog. So I'll simply say hello.

I originally set up this blog to keep track of some of my friends from EditRed when that site died. (sadness) I had planned to continue to post samples of my fiction here, but since the end of my creative circle, I've somewhat retreated into my own world. I've continued to write, and have participated in NaNoWriMo for the last 5 years and The Other Side is still available on Amazon. I spend a lot of my time on facebook.  Actually, a lot of my friends from EditRed, as well as the ABNA are on facebook. So if you really want to see what I'm up to, just look for me over there.

Back to this blog. I seem to have used this space more for ranting.  I say "more for" even though there are only a few posts, but I'm not sure what else to call it.  For now, though, my blog will change course.  This quarter at school, I'm in a class called Fundamentals of IMD and for this class, I need a blog.  I have two "papers" that I know of right now that I have to write and post on my blog

First, for those of you that read this and say "She's in school?" Yes, I'm currently at the Art Institutes, International, Minneapolis in the Photography program.  When I graduate, I will have a BfA (YAY!) and I plan to work in retail photography (hopefully in furniture [Ikea, Ashley, Hom, or even Becker])  This quarter, I have three classes: Fundamentals of IMD, Typography for digital media, and Advanced Lighting.  I will be putting my papers for IMD here.

Secondly, this change is temporary. After this quarter, I will most likely leave this blog for whatever strikes me, but keep it reserved for school work when necessary.  So bear with me or find me on facebook, either way, this will be assignments for now.