2008 Olympics Website Reviewed

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jul 7, 2008

The 2008 Olympics website will be one of the most visible websites in the world for the next two months. You would expect their website to also be an Olympic example of what a website should look like, feel like, sound like and smell like. This purpose of this post is to examine the qualities of the 2008 Olympics website in hopes that the rest of us can model after what their developers have done well and run as fast as we can in the other direction from repeating the mistakes they’ve made.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being best, I’ll give it a vote of 5.  Why such a harsh grade?  Well, let me cover some good things first.  There are several things I think they’ve done a good job with for the site:

1. The immediate question is answered as to exactly “when” the Olympics will be held.  I’ve had 4 people ask me that over the past week, so the date is not something people know.

2. I like their use of the Upper Right Quadrant (URQ) where they provide links to alternate languages of the site, their tagline stands out “One World One Dream” and gives me a little entertaining countdown which is at today “31 days to go.”  In the URQ also answers another question for me as I’ve always wondered what the temperature in Beijing China is.  And then there’s a search box for me to type just in case the navigation doesn’t give me what I’m looking for.

3. I sort of bypassed the Flash rotation (which I’ll come back to in a moment) and went to the left navigation which is simple and categorized, pretty easy to follow.

4. The overall look of the site is welcoming and entertaining.  I like the use of green and blue which sends a warm, let’s-unite-the-world kind of message.

Here are several areas where I believe the site could “still” be improved:

1. I’ve looked at this site on various screen resolutions and I just feel that the Ticketing Info section on the mid-right column should be more pronounced and part of the URQ.  Buy Tickets Now would be much more appropriate.

2. Maybe I haven’t had enough coffee yet, but the scrolling images in the middle of the page under the Olympic Q&A completely missed me.  Only after I spent 15 minutes on the site looking at other things did I discover you could mouseover them to discover they were links to event descriptions.

3. If people are not coming to the site to find the general date, or to buy tickets, they’re wanting to know what the schedule of events is.  This is another item that should be right in the forefront of the site.  This can be found under “Sports & Venues” on the left nav…but it doesn’t say “Events Schedule” until you get into that section.

4. Okay, so, the Flash part. Um, guys, you have video lower right on the site.  Why not just use the video clips so that people see them right away when they land on the home page?

5. The Olympic Q&A section is worthless.  They should remove it entirely or build it into a real Q&A that has potentially hundreds of questions answered.  If I was even thinking about attending the olympics, I would have tons of questions.

6. The banner photo of the China girl scared me!  It looks like something out of an old wax museum movie.  There are far more beautiful photos of China girls you could find for that banner.  Don’t scare me like that!

7. Finally, there’s not enough emphasis on getting me to “register.”  You’ll see the register/login next to the search text box.  But, there’s no reason mentioned for me to register.  To even get me to click on that register link, they need to tell me why I should.  Othewise, I’m kinda lost.

So, there’s my justification for giving a 5 for a review of the 2008 Olympics website to be held in Beijing China on August 8-24, 2008.  Many important pieces have been added to give the site its entertainment value and ease of navigation and welcoming warmth.  But, several things as mentioned could be added to get more results.  We’re still in July at the time of this post.  Hopefully they will make some changes by the time I start looking for event schedules.

How would YOU review the Olympics website?  Give it your rating 1-10.  Just fill in a comment below and make sure to put a link to your website or blog.

Test Your Website Now for Mobile Readiness

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jun 17, 2008

Mobile Readiness TestHow does your website score on the mobile readiness chart? As of this date, here’s the report for my Website Waves Blog. As you can see, there’s work to do. And, that’s okay. A blog is a phased-in process, y’know? The important thing is what got me interested in paying attention to mobile readiness for websites.

Rene LeMerle reported a statistic yesterday on webprowire that kicked me right in the tushy. He said Nielson Mobile counted 9 million purchases from cell phones during the month of April 2008. That’s more than 70% up from April 2007 folks. When it comes to marketing techniques, I love to stay on the cutting edge and try new things, but when it comes to equipment, I’m old school I guess. And, anything to do with a cell phone has taken me a while to come around and “see the light.” But, today is different. A 70% increase in a year is DEFINITELY a marketing thing and not a “cell phone” thing. And, I’m ready to take it seriously now. Hopefully you are too. So, what to do?

I’ve just run a test of this blog at ready.mobi and you should make a similar test of your websites and blogs. Later, I’ll post a checklist for you to go through so that you can take some action toward making your website mobile ready. Pay attention to mobile readiness! Hopefully the idea of 9 million potential buyers a month will be enough motivation for you. Sure was for me! Take the free test.

And, you can be sure that once I implement my own checklist to get in the good graces of cell phone users everywhere, I’ll be posting a new picture of my test. Hopefully it will be a “5″!

PayPal Turns Their Back on StatCounter

Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 29, 2008

I awoke this morning to an email from StatCounter, one of the systems I’ve used to track visitation.  They were sending a warning message to their list that they’ve had a major falling out with PayPal citing double billings and late arrival invoices as the biggies.  No surprise there I suppose.  I’ve heard all that before about PayPal.  But, c’mon now, this is StatCounter we’re talking about…one of the veterans in Internet tracking and PayPal is IGNORING them!

Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the StatCounter blog where they tell the whole story. I mean, listen to this from their post: “At StatCounter we have tried phoning, emailing, posting on the PayPal forums… Many of our contacts are ignored, but even when we do get an answer all we are told is that “Upon review of your account, unfortunately we do not have a time frame for a resolution to your issue…”

Now, how does this relate to Website Waves? Well, for many reasons probably, but as I posted a comment to their blog post, I believe this act on PayPal’s part is reassurance to us in the Internet marketing world that you MUST offer an alternative way for people to purchase things from your website (either in addition to or instead of PayPal).

News like this from StatCounter could be reported from any company.  And, once those PayPal users hear of such craziness do you think they’re very motivated to use PayPal for anything ever again?  Heck no.  If they even see a hint of PayPal in the buying process, they’ll abandon the checkout process immediately. So would I in the mood I’m in right now over all of this!

So, if you use PayPal, watch your charges and payments very carefully.  Do WEEKLY audits (if not daily) of all transactions going through your PayPal account.  And, if you take online transactions using PayPal as your only gateway, find an additional payment mechanism quick!

Or, you may one day soon find yourself sending out a similar email to your customers.

Top 50 Domain Registrars Ranked

Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 28, 2008

Came across a great report on a website featuring the top 50 domain name registrars. It’s fascinating to look at the report but I’d also like to point out that I believe their ranking criteria is a little flawed. So, first checkout the top 50 domain name registrars report as shown on the Website Magazine website that featured in their May 2008 edition. Then, come back to Website Waves and listen to my 9min50sec audio posting of the criteria I would use to rank registrars.


This was of particular interest to me because I’m so frequently asked the question “Where should I register my domain name?”

When I attended the last Internet conference where probably half the audience was just starting to get involved with the Internet, I was probably asked that question a dozen times.

So, enjoy the article and my audio and let me know which ranking criteria you believe is more accurate. And, don’t be afraid to cast your vote for your favorite registrar and add your comment why of course.

Landing Page Speed Increases Quality Score

Posted by Marty Dickinson on May 27, 2008

David Utter of WebProNews wrote today that Google will soon be including “page load time” as part of their Quality Score criteria.  What that means, simply, is if you run Google Adwords to a page on your site that takes a long time to appear on screen, your ad could be dropped further down the list in Google pay-per-click search results…no matter how much you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

I can see the many reasons Google would make this addition.  Think of all those LOOOOONG sales letters that take forever to load.  Think of all those Video sales letters that have to pre-load before you can even watch them.

Well, from a sales standpoint, Google could be shooting themselve in their own foot because those loooong sales pages seeeeeellll!!  And, those big video sales letters are growing more and more frequent…because they convert too.

Google would love to see text-only…and just a paragraph or two would be best.  But, the problem as I see it, as I originally learned this from Simon Leung who was on the original Adwords team at Google, is that Google staff are NOT Internet marketers.  And, the Quality Score criteria they use makes that point obvious.

So, this response to David’s announcement is just a heads-up that you could see your positions in Google Adwords going down over the next few weeks even though you didn’t touch anything.  If so, you better take a look at your page load times and the landing pages used by your competitors.  Because, all things being equal, page load time will be impacting your Adwords positions shortly.

Because that’s how Google wants it.

Boss Bailey Proves Marketing Skill Can be from Birth

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Mar 14, 2008

Boss Bailey… now, just think of that name for a moment. BOSS Bailey. The name all its own was designed to stand out and command a position. What position? Maybe the “boss” of a strict manufacturing plant. Or, maybe an upper management leader.


Maybe Boss Bailey is a formidable force on the football field!

For the Denver Broncos, we’re about to find out as Boss Bailey (Brother of Champ Bailey) will join the Denver Broncos in training camp this summer.

Boss Bailey and Champ Bailey. Did their parents have a marketing degree? I mean, these names were pre-meditated for marketing glory!

Some things related to sales and marketing you really are born with. For other things related to how to sell and market, they CAN be learned!

All you need is a place to learn them and that place is The Capital Factor. Check out The Capital Factor Blog and learn what it really takes to bring your business to the next level.

Internet Safety Makes News

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jul 24, 2007

What do MySpace, Miss America and Seatbelts have in common? They all promote safety. Yahoo! News reports that MySpace has identified and deleted 29,000 sex offenders’ listings from their system. Congrats to MySpace for taking this long awaited action. Bet that sex offender sting on that television show brought some motivation their way.

And then there’s Miss America who even got into it with congress today! Awe, how sweet that she’s begging congress to require education of children to protect themselves from online predators.

I’m happy for MySpace and MA for their contributions. But, who will bring awareness to the masses about the dozens of ways we are at risk by using the Internet on a daily basis? There are so many ways that so many people have no idea that the damage is being done. And it’s happening right under their (and my) nose.

iPhone Hackers are More Dangerous than Just Spam

Posted by Marty Dickinson on Jul 23, 2007

Today I heard that hackers hacked into the iPhone through an Internet connection and all I heard about was the potential threat of a malicious hacker sending thousands of spam messages to the phone. This would of course cost the iPhone user a wee bit of change to take all of those spam calls and text messages.

But it seems to me the bigger threat was not mentioned at all. And, that would be if a hacker got into an iPhone and had their phone ring at the same time the actual recipient’s phone rang. Imagine not even knowing that a hacker has hacked into your iPhone and every call you make gets listened in on.

Be careful what you listen to…it might only be the tip of the iceberg.