Page Load Speeds and Your Online Community – by Gina Narramore, 4-Roads

Please enjoy this first post from new Guest Blogger, Gina Narramore of 4-Roads! #Follr Gina & 4-Roads on Twitter and check out more about Online Community Strategy Org 4-Roads here

There is no denying – the way the Internet is presented is constantly changing. In today’s hyper-connected world, web pages are much richer and contain more functionality, which results in increased amounts of page data and external resources to power them.

As technology advances, web users have become to expect a visually appealing community sites, and fast page loading times. The speed at which a browser loads your community content, means the difference between engagement or abandonment – a problem which could be detrimental to your online community.

Often, efforts to optimize web code, including the reduction of overall site density to improve download performance, are not enough to ensure a healthy and successful online community.

Page load speeds have to be considered. This post shows how a decrease in page load and rendering times benefit an online community.

Reduce Bounce rate

A web user may be searching for a particular type of online community to satisfy a certain motivation they may have. Your community may appear in their results due to keywords you’ve selected or ads you’re displaying on search engines. But, when this user lands on your community site, they immediately see that you don’t have what they’re looking for and they click away.

If your messaging is correct and your keywords accurate, it is important to take a closer look at website download speeds as a contributing factor to higher bounce rates within your online community.

A key factor contributing to high bounce rates is slow download speeds, especially for mobile site downloads. A user may initiate a visit to your online community and because the page takes too long to load, they abandon the community almost right away.

Enhance SEO

Since 2010, Google announced that the speed at which a web page loads would impact search rankings. Additionally, at SMX Advanced, Google’s Matt Cutts said that mobile sites, which are slow in performance, would be penalised.

Research, carried out by Zoompf, concluded that both front and back-end performance factors do correlate to increased rankings. They also state on the Moz Blog:

“We do know that fast loading websites gain more visitors, who visit more pages, for longer period of times, who come back more often, and are more likely to purchase products or click ads. In short, faster websites make users happy, and happy users promote your website through linking and sharing. All of these things contribute to improving search engine rankings.”

This statement is also valid with regards to online communities – if members are happy, they return, engage, become brand advocates and promote the community to gain new memberships.

Increase customer satisfaction

According to Kissmetrics, a one second delay in page loading time will decrease customer satisfaction by about 16% and 44% will people will tell their friends if they have a bad online experience.

This is supported in a study by the Aberdeen Group, which estimates that this one-second delay in page load time also results in a 7% loss in conversions and 11% fewer page views. This successfully provides evidence that optimising how quickly your community site loads, can have a significant impact engagement, response, conversions, and sales.

Higher engagement

If a user can’t find the information quickly on your community site homepage or their search is hindered by slow download performance, they will go elsewhere – likely to be a competitive site that can provide the expected content and download speeds – resulting in loss of online community engagement.

The order of how community content is delivered through the browser has an impact on whether someone engages quickly with your community or not.  Ultimately, it matters more how quickly a user is engaged than it does how fast an entire page loads.

Increase conversions

As page-load time increases, likely conversion rates will drop. This is confirmed by Kissmetrics, which shows 47% of consumers expect a page to load in 2 seconds or less. After this peak the rate drops by 6.7% for each additional second.

A conversion is when a visitor takes any type of action on your site. Within an online community, a conversion could be a membership sign-up or when a member submits a post within the community. As these are obvious benefits – which could ensure the health of your online community – taking steps to increase conversions should be considered.

An online community may already be seeing an adequate number of visitors, but there is failure to convert them in to members. Other than providing engaging and relevant content, download speed could be a factor that is impacting conversion rates.

For more of Gina’s expertise stay tuned to the #FollrBlog as she’ll be guest-posting on a bimonthly basis! 

Five Reasons to Start an Online Community

To Inspire FollrCreating an online community – especially one on Follr.com! – can be so rewarding. One of the first steps is to get in the mindset of  your target audience and define what it is you want he or she to gain from your community. Do you have special or unique knowledge a member could benefit from? Could you provide a new connection or idea for their business? In order to have an active and thriving group of members – or customers! – on your site, stay true to one of the reasons below.

  1. To Entertain

How many people spend a portion of their day reading blogs or visiting other social networks? I’ll tell you: everybody and their mother. People have long used the internet to relax, zone-out or just take a short break from work so use this fact to your advantage and create a community around perking up people’s down time! Pick a favorite TV series, movie franchise or book as the launch pad for your community.

  1. To Boost Business

Giving your small business a leg-up online is one of, if not THE, most popular reasons for starting an online community. Whether you choose LinkedIn, Facebook or a custom community platform like Follr, building an online presence for your business is a crucial – if not imperative – key to success.

  1. To Connect

One HUGE reason potential members join online communities is affirmation and praise. Completing the registration process and clicking “Join” means they want to be heard, appreciated and noticed for their accomplishments and accolades. Online communities for scholars, writers or more specific groups of achievers are great reasons to start or join and online community. Remember to engage with members directly and often!

  1. To Inspire

Another hot online community focus is self- help and improvement. In this current news era, happiness and mental health are more prominent that ever. Everyone wants to do what they can to better themselves. Offering a quick, easy and welcoming online group with which to do so is bound to have members flocking.

  1. To Fix a Problem

If I had a dollar for every time I looked online for a solution to a problem or a quick fix, I could probably retire! The Internet is so accessible that most people reach for the keyboard before the user manual. Establish an online community as an expert of something you love or create a question and answer forum for specific issues/needs – cooking tips, smart phone fixes, travel and vacation ideas, etc.

Do you have any online community ideas like the ones above? Tell me about them in the comments section below and you could be featured on Links We Love!

Follr Features – Your Personal Profile Website: Timeline

The Follr Timeline features allows you to tell your story in the most unique way!

Timelines gives others a far deeper understanding of who you are, what you’ve done and why connecting with you matters. Talk about your favorite team, a special memory, your life story or all of the above.

Digital Identity

For a live example visit:

stephenfells.com/timeline

For more information log into your account and start adding content today!

The Currency of the New Economy is Trust

In the following excellent TED.com video Rachel Botsman, a ‘social innovator who writes, consults and speaks on the power of collaboration and sharing through network technologies’, talks about “collaborative consumption.”

Rachel explains:

“At it’s core it’s about empowerment. It’s about empowering people to make meaningful connections, connections that are enabling us to rediscover a humanness that we have lost somewhere along the way by engaging in marketplaces [] built on personal relationships versus empty transactions.”

She adds:

“We have wired our world to share, swap, rent, barter or trade just about anything. [] Collaborative consumption is creating the start of a transformation in the way we think about supply and demand but it’s also a part of a massive value shift underway where instead of consuming to keep up with the Jonesy’s people are consuming to get to know the Jonesy’s. But the key reason why it’s taking off now, so fast, is because every new advancement of technology increases the efficiency and the social glue of trust to make sharing easier and easier.”

Rachel is essentially describing Follr Community Websites when she talks about the need for a “complete picture” a “real-time stream [] that will live together in one place.” As she points out “The future’s going to be driven by a smart aggregation” adding “ultimately, when we get it right, [] capital could create a massive, positive disruption in who has power, trust and influence.”

She adds:

“In the 21st century new trust networks and the reputation capital they generate will reinvent the way we think about wealth, markets, power and personal identity in ways we can’t yet even imagine.”

We can imagine it, it’s at the heart of everything that Follr represents. You can find Rachel’s book on Amazon and while you wait for it to be delivered I hope you enjoy the video then start to create your own community base with Follr.

Follr Features – Your Personal Profile Website: Social Wall

The Follr Social Wall is quite simply our most popular feature.

It displays dynamic, real time content from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Blogs, Pinterest, blogs, YouTube and more. All of your content brought together into a single location for others to discover.

Digital Identity

For a live example visit:

stephenfells.com/wall

For more information log into your account and start adding content today!

Follr Features – Your Personal Profile Website

The Follr platform boasts many features – over the next few weeks we will be focusing on many of them starting with your personal Profile Website.

A Follr Personal Website is the single best way to represent yourself online. Tell your story, share your passion and thoughts, advance your career and build your network, all in real time.

It contain your links, content and background curated by you into a single location, a compelling presentation of who you are, told your way.

Digital Identity

For more information log into your account and start adding content today!

Companies With The Most Successful Online Communities Have These 4 Things in Common

4 Things in Common FollrCreating a thriving online community of customers is no easy feat, yet companies succeed at doing it every day. Sure they probably have teams of social media experts and customer care professionals, but at the heart of it, it really comes down to having these four things on lock. Read on to see if you’re putting any of best practices to use… and if you’re not… well you know what to do.

 

  1. All innovation and R&D is done IN CONJUNCTION WITH customers. These companies no better than to make changes without soliciting loyal customers’ advice.
  2. Every single employee has been trained to put the customer first. No matter which department you work in or what your job description entails, you know that customer service is paramount and feel compelled to act accordingly. Zappos, anyone?
  3. Employees are encouraged to interact candidly with customers online. None of that stiff business language allowed – these employees are expected to be real, open and honest with customers over social media. Simply put, transparency is key.
  4. There are protocols in place for negative feedback. Each and every employee tasked with handling online activities knows exactly what to do should a customer get frustrated. Situations can be mitigated easier and faster because there are practiced steps in place.

Do you practice any of these online community engagement principles with your business? Let me know in the comments below!

Is Week One Form For Rookie Quarterbacks Reliable?

Source: Statista

This season, two rookie quarterbacks made their debut in week one – Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles) and Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys). Wentz made a great start, being widely praised for his 101 rated game which included two touchdowns and a near 60 percent pass rate. The question many will be asking though, especially those with a fantasy team, is if this form can be carried into week two.

Statista has taken a look back over the last five NFL seasons to see to what extent week one form is a reliable marker for the next game for rookie quarterbacks. The results are mixed. Brandon Weeden, for example, had a nightmare debut for the Browns in 2012 with a catastrophic 5.1 rating. While things could hardly get worse in week two, he managed to bounce back in a big way to take home a 114.9 in his next game.

Over this time period, the most consistent start to a debut season belongs to Andy Dalton who back in 2011 followed his week one 102.4 with an equally solid 107. Overall though, it would appear to be a bit of a gamble to rely on any week one form being carried over into the next.

This chart looks back at all rookie quarterbacks since 2011 and compares their week one and two performances.

Infographic: Is Week One Form For Rookie Quarterbacks Reliable? | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista