Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Is Google Analytics Showing Wrong Data?

I was analyzing the site traffic for LifeMojo with Google Analytics when I saw couple of things wrong:

  • Traffic from Referral Sites: Google reported a lot of traffic coming from a particular site. When I checked the landing page for all this traffic, I found it to be completely wrong. There was only a single link on that site pointing to LifeMojo, but the landing page was the page not even accessible to the users coming from there.
  • Traffic counted under wrong dates: I noticed that Google is counting the traffic coming today on the website to the last date. I don’t know if this is a problem caused by Google because of different timezone, but I have set the timezone for LifeMojo to be IST on Google Analytics. May be Google doesn’t respect timezones much.

Apart from these, Google Analytics also does not show the correct “Average time spent on Site” because Google Analytics is the last thing to load on the page and user may click on some other link by then.

I guess it is better not to rely fully on Google Analytics to give you the exact analytics. May be it is time I install awstats to analyze the apache logs.

Getting Ideas Across Visually

Video is the best way to get your idea across, and if you make that video interesting with the help of some visuals made from Paper, Pencil and hand motion, you are sure to attract the attention of your audience. Just look at the introduction video on Criterion Collection done by Jason Polan and you will know what I am talking about.

Also, check out some of the cool videos done by CommonCraft. Here is the one explaining RSS in Plain English.

When should you launch your Product?

There is always a lot of debate on when should a startup launch their product. Should it be launched after it has been made perfect with all the features added and it is fully tested with all bugs removed ? or, should it be launched as soon as you have something working which customers can start using (there  might be still many features missing and the product might have lots of bugs).

I believe that it is best to launch as early as possible because it lets you test your product and your assumptions quickly. This will enable you to know whether customers really need your product or not before you spent more time on improving it. If the customers are not using your product then you get an early signal to either shift to a new product or rethink on the product strategy.

Here is what some industry people say about product launch:

  • Sunil Bharti Mittal: In his interview with Wharton, he said:

    Our theory was: If you’re caught between speed and perfection, always choose speed, and perfection will follow. You never wait for perfect positioning, because in business you don’t have the time; especially if you’re small, you can’t do it.

    And the large companies took their own time. They were months behind us, and that made us pick up a market niche for ourselves, which in turn made us big.

  • Guy Kawasaki: Don’t worry, be crappy:

    Don’t worry, be crappy. An innovator doesn’t worry about shipping an innovative product with elements of crappiness if it’s truly innovative. The first permutation of a innovation is seldom perfect–Macintosh, for example, didn’t have software (thanks to me), a hard disk (it wouldn’t matter with no software anyway), slots, and color. If a company waits–for example, the engineers convince management to add more features–until everything is perfect, it will never ship, and the market will pass it by.

  • Dharmesh Shah: In his latest talk at “Business of Software”, he said:

    if you are not embarrassed by your first product launch then you are too late to launch it.

Review of LifeMojo on WATBlog

Rajiv Dingra from WATBlog has published a review of my startup LifeMojo as part of their Saturday startup review.

The product is a comprehensive product when it comes to health and lifestyle management. The features which really catch your attention are the ability to set goals, track weight and manage your health by managing your eating habits and exercise. The product also provides a lot of in depth content into nutrition, health tips etc.

Another killer feature is analyze me which is a health and body mass index analysis tool based on your height and weight. This adds to the motivation especially for those who are not fit to get fit.

Check out the complete review here.

[On Web] Marketing lessons, press release, SEO and more

Here is the list of some good articles I read this week and last week:

  • Marketing Lessons from the US Election: Seth has written this great post on some of the marketing lessons from the US Elections. Some main points:

    Stories really matter: Mainstream media isn’t powerful because we have no other choices. It’s powerful because they’re still really good at writing and spreading stories, stories we listen to and stories we believe.
    TV is over: Your challenge isn’t to scrape up enough money to buy TV time. Your challenge is to make video interesting enough that we’ll choose to watch it and choose to share it.
    Permission matters: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages will always outperform spam. Regardless of how it is delivered.

  • Dharmesh Shah talk at Business of Software: Dharmesh Shah has posted the video of his talk at “Business of Software” conference on his blog OnStartups.

    Your idea can suck. Just get started.
    You can be in the middle of nowhere and still build a great business.
    Not having cash breeds good behavior. It’s helpful to have constratints.
    You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your message out there.
    The real issue with VC is not the cost of capital (which is high), but how hard it is to actually raise it.

  • Making Press Release more SEO friendly: Sarah Evans has posted this article on Mashable with some good points to be kept in mind when doing a press release. Also, do read the this particular comment with a different view on the post. Some of the good points from the post:

    Use key words
    Hotlink and bold critical words (and phrases)
    Optimize first 250 words.

  • SEO Tips : Found this good article listing 55 quick SEO tips.

Incorporating a Private Limited Company in India

Himanshu has written a great post on this much asked topic on “Incorporating a Private Limited Company in India”. If you are new to the startup world or are planning to enter it soon, then do read it here.

Managing Information Overload

In todays world, there is so much (good and useful) information out there that it becomes too difficult to follow and remember all of it. A few days back, I was having a discussion with my partners at LifeMojo on how can we keep track of so much good information out there with the very little time that we have in our hand. In the discussion, I mentioned about the schedule that I have been following for the last 2 years without any problem for reading more than 50 good blogs daily:

  • First of all, use a good RSS reader. I prefer Google Reader.
  • Make a schedule to go through the blogs that you subscribe two times in a day. I prefer checking the blogs in the morning and night.
  • Read the article which interests you (based on your topic of interest) and if you think it might be interesting to others then share it with them.
  • If you think that there are too many good articles to read, keep the longer articles unread or bookmark it for future read.
  • Take out 60 – 90 minutes of time from your weekend and make sure you read all the articles that you could not read during the weekday. This way you don’t have a growing list of some good unread articles.
  • For the past 2 months, I have also started to blog summary of some of the very good articles that I read during the week and I think it has really helped me in going through the article in more detail.

Please also share your way of managing this information overload.

If you are new to the blogging world and need a list of some of the good blogs out there, just drop me a mail ar varun.vgupta[at]gmail[dot].com.

Key Elements of Top Websites

When you are designing and developing a web application, there are lot of details to consider. I stumbled upon this post on “15 Key Elements All Top Web Sites Should Have” and found some  excellent points. Here are some points that I would like to add to the list:

  • Web Optimized Images: The post also mentions this points but talks about using 72 dpi images for your website. I think there is a lot more you can do over here. You need to reduce the number of images. One way to do it without making any compromise to your visual design is to use sprites. Sprites is a way to create a single image containing multiple images and using the CSS background property to display these images.
  • Faster Page Load: Even if you have made a visually stunning website with a very good product, visitors are not going to stay on your website if it takes more than 8-10 seconds to load your website. Read this post on Yahoo’s developers Network if you haven’t already.
  • SEO Design: From the start, keep your design in favour of SEO. You just need to know of the key points in SEO design (listed in my previous posts here and here) and keep them in mind while developing. You will notice that your website is already SEO optimized.

Airtel displaying Ad Filled page on domain typos

I noticed it around 2-3 weeks back while setting up a sub-domain that Airtel (my ISP) is catching all the non-existant/non-available domains and subdomains and displaying their own page filled with ads.