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On the subject of Datadial

Steff Steff

October 12th, 2010.

Dowce : Screen capture for the masses!

We’ve all been there, needing to show a friend or colleague something we’re seeing on our monitor but don’t want them to see the entire screen, so we reluctantly fire up photoshop (or paint!), then crop the image, save the image (thinking up some temporary filename and cluttering up yet another folder) and finally email the resulting image – wasting precious time and losing focus on other tasks at hand.

I got tired of this monotony so came up with a solution… dowce - Easy screen capture

Using the tool that sits next to your clock  you can very quickly highlight a portion of your screen and either copy to clipboard, save to your computer, or upload to – where you’ll be given back a unique short URL to send out to people.  You can even add a caption and password protect your capture. It literally takes a few seconds and lets you get on with your other jobs.

Pre-launch, members of the team here at Datadial installed it on their office computers and found it to be really useful when composing emails to clients which needed to contain screenshots of statistics and website layouts.  Friends have also started using it to show each other winning (and losing) hands of online poker! It’s one of those tools that once you pick up, you use more than you would expect.

To give you an idea of what’s on offer, here’s a screenshot of the options you get after you’ve made your selection:

If you choose to Save to you’ll receive a unique link to your capture…

It’s as simple as that! For a full demonstration of how it all works and to download dowce for free, visit


July 30th, 2010.

Cycling to our office just got better

We’re a very healthy and environmentally concious bunch here at Datadial – 7 out of the 10 of us that work from the office are commuting cyclists. So we now have our very own dedicated Datadial Bicycle stand right outside the office!

Bicycle stand

If you are coming in for a meeting and are cycling distance, please feel free to bring your bike and park it here, there’s plenty of room :-)


July 22nd, 2010.

A glimpse into the future of E-tailing over and beyond traditional e-commerce

I recently went to a talk on the different forms that e-tailing is taking over and beyond the traditional e-commerce site.

Below is a distilled version of the talk with just the best bits.  A lot of these examples are only availabe in the US at the moment but by reading this  you are getting ahead of the curve!

(The talk was by the big cheese at Pod1 – Fadi – so credit to him for researching it all)

E-commerce via Apps
Start accepting cash and card payments with Square. No contracts, monthly fees, or hidden costs. Effortlessly manage the money you take with an easy and intuitive interface. US only at the moment and only for payments less than $60 but one to watch for sure.

See corporate video

And a review on how it works

Google shopper (Android only)

This APP allows you to scan barcodes, the co

vers of books and media, and even search by voice – the app will tell you where you can buy the same product and at what price.  Pretty nifty if it works!


It took 12 months for the location-based social network to attract one million users and by stark contrast; the second million only took three months. Ever since February 2010, the site has been registering over one million ‘check-ins’ a week.

See how it works:

New e-commerce software


Vendr create POP-UP shops – They say that you can create your e-commerce site within 15 minutes.   These are basic obviously sites now but I guess they will improve. In any event they will probably do for many home based businesses.

from their site: “Works with your current website:  Add a “store” button to your blog or website, and your store will simply pop-up over your content — no more sending your customers elsewhere to make a purchase. Vendr functions as a part of your existing site. ”


Alvenda software allows you to create e-commerce shops within sites such as Facebook – Alvenda’s first customer,, launched during the Mother’s Day holiday in 2009 and recognized a 10.5x lift in shopping activity by making it easier for people to shop.

New E-Tailing concepts

Cutting out the middle man – Harnessing the power of social media to revolutionise product manufacture and pricing.

For furtniture design and manufacture: You choose what makes it into our collection. Vote for your favourites and the most popular will be made available to order.

Buy early, pay less
The earlier you buy an air ticket, the less you pay. Now you can do the same with wine. Save £££!

Car Rental

WhipCar is the first service in the world where a car owner can rent out their vehicle for money, whenever they are not using it. WhipCar pairs sensible drivers with spare car time


June 23rd, 2010.

London Bikeathon

Sergio Davison and Matthew Sawyer have signed up for the London Bikeathon Challenge.

We will be cycling 50 Miles through the streets of London on Sunday the 27th of June 2010.

Please sponsor us in our challenge and help those great guys and girls @ Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

 Any amount you  give big or small will be greatly appreciated.

 It’s easy to donate online with a credit or debit card – just go to my JustGiving page:–Matt-Sawyer

 JustGiving sends your donation straight to Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research  and automatically reclaims Gift Aid if you’re a UK taxpayer, so your donation is worth even more. I hope you’ll join us in supporting Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research .


June 14th, 2010.

Presentation on building a successful search engine friendly website

Many thanks to the Biblical Suppliers Association for listening to my talk on:

How to build a Successful Search Engine Friendly Website.

You can download the presentation here.

Seminar-powerpoint – 20 minute version -Biblical

I have also added some extra slides on attitudes to Social Media at boardroom level.

Also there is a slide of Resources slide for links to keyword tools, Datadial’s Reputation Management tool and a few other links worth looking at.




May 19th, 2010.

Best & Worst of FOWD Day 2

FOWD logo
Following on from my post after Day One

The Best

John Hicks giving his talk

John Hicks giving his talk (image from m-king)

My favourite today definitely has to be Aral Balkan‘s session. He really knows how to present and make learning fun! It was very inspiring and encouraging on how to make your designs that little bit better by adding an emotional element to your apps/sites. He got the longest applause I have heard at a conference!

But then the loveliest thing was when he acknowledged my tweet of thanks on twitter and his blog. What an awesome guy!

The Worst


Nope… I really can’t think of anything for The Worst… did I miss something?

Honestly, the whole thing was amazing. I’m really shattered now, but it’s a good tired because I’m also really excited to start doing so many of the things that were presented.

If you couldn’t make it to FOWD this year, I would definitely recommend buying the video pass. It would be really worth it. I’m looking forward to the videos myself because I wanted to go to both tracks so many times today… shame we can’t clone ourselves when the need arises!

In summary…

(I’ll add links to slideshows and downloads as I get them)

  1. Progressive CSS3 Design (Molly Holzschlag)

    Molly presented the plans and workings of the W3C and asked for any web designers who are keen to be voices to the W3C. What I found most exciting was her mention of IE9’s capabilities – it sounds like my optimism about CSS3 in IE9 may be closer to reality than I first hoped!

  2. What will Web Design Look Like in Two Years? (Simon Collison)

    According to Colly it’s going to evolve quite a bit, growing up and getting comfortable with the medium of being online. For example, no longer will we mimic tables with paper and coffee stains; but instead embrace the pixel, the grid and typography. Of course this does require a more mature understanding of grid systems and design fundamentals, but this will make the professionally designed sites stand out from the sea of online content.
    View Slides & Examples

  3. The Art of Emotional Design: A story of pleasure, joy, and delight. (Aral Balkan)

    As I mentioned above, the whole presentation was a pleasure, joy and delight. Aral showed us examaples of how he has made his apps come to life by adding in little emotional attachments, like his famous bird turning red and singing in Feathers.
    Read Keir Whitaker’s write up on Think Vitamin

  4. How to Build a HTML5 Website – Live Demo (Bruce Lawson)

    Up until today I haven’t dabbled too much into HTML5, but Bruce did a live demo which helped to demystify it all. HTML5 is definitely going to be mainstream, and soon. The capabilities of it are awesome, and it is so easy to still support older systems that don’t understand it. In particular I’m looking forward to the day where we can use the <video> tag without having to provide a Flash alternative for IE.
    Another good introduction from Smashing Magazine

  5. Rethink Your Job (and Earn More Money). (Brett Welch)

    Everyone knows Web stuff is becoming increasingly commodised, but where the value remains is in expert knowledge, advice and helping your client’s goals. Brett also emphasised starting small, growing in iterations, and the importance of having a marketing plan in place following the site’s launch. We all really admired him for not actually plugging his product in the talk.

  6. Icon Design (Jon Hicks)

    I don’t do icon design very often, so it was really valuable to hear these tips and guides for when I do need to. It’s also very exciting to hear about future abilities like using SVG for icons.

  7. Blending Usability Testing with Interface Design, Prototyping and Rapid Iteration (Dan Rubin)

    I always want to do more and more usability testing, and Dan’s excellent talk really got me excited about it even more. He talked us through a case study of how they had assessed a current site, found the good things and bad things about it, and came up with some suggested changes. He then detailed their technique for testing the changes and how they were able to accurately test them while keeping it in a format that was easy to change and adapt as they went (basically using image maps with an exported Photoshop comp). Definitely a great technique for getting the most value from a test.


May 18th, 2010.

Best & Worst of FOWD London Day 1

FOWD logoThe Future of Web Design conference is amazing this year – here’s a quick update after Day One.

The Best

jQuery for Designers session

jQuery for Designers session

The format of this year’s conference is tons better than last year. The atmosphere of the Brewery is great, and the food (which is also outstanding) at the break times gives people a chance to talk to each other and network. It has been much easier this year to meet people and talk to other designers.

It’s really hard to choose a favourite speaker because they’re all so great! I think jQuery for Designers is probably going to have the most impact on my day to day work because it has encouraged me to take a new step into jQuery.

The design clinic time was great, and it was a wonderful opportunity to talk to designers you really respect. I got some great feedback from Mike Kus, who has to be one of my all time favourite web designers because of his original work.

The Worst

Definitely had to be’s sponsor slot. Not only were they the ugliest slides of the day, the introduction was dated (we know about using @font-face already) and then followed by a whole sales pitch on why we should all buy their service. It was very amusing to see the tweets coming in during the talk!

Don’t get me wrong, their service is great and no doubt I’ll be using it soon, but the talk and presentation definitely  gets labelled the worst, after everything else was so amazing.

More to come tomorrow, but in summary…

(I’ll add links to slideshows and downloads as I get them)

  1. Play. Destroy. Create. from Brendan Dawes

    I loved his reference to maths and nature, and seeing how he had turned that into something new. It’s about observing things like the trend of technical stuff to non techy people. Some of the things he was showing was simply play to explore and provoke reactions. He encouraged us to play, have passion and love what we do!

  2. How to Get Started with CSS3 from Dan Cederholm

    After doing a lot of CSS3 work already, I wasn’t expecting to get much from this session, but was very pleasantly surprised. I now have a list of things I want to try, tools to use, and new ideas generated from this session. Definitely ideal for people new to CSS3, but still lots of great stuff in there for those of us who have already been using it.

  3. jQuery for Designers: All You Need to Code (Remy Sharp)

    Very inspiring stuff, and I’m now eager to take the plunge into jQuery!
    Download slideshow

  4. Accessibility in Web Design Robin Christopherson

    I’ve seen Robin speak a few times, and each time he has something new and very informative. This time he encouraged mobile versions of websites, as the format of them is also much more accessible. He also encouraged the use of Text Captcha because it’s accessible, free and offers a comprehensive API. You Tube are now also providing automatic captioning on their videos!

  5. Learning to Love Humans: Emotional Interface Design (Aarron Walter)

    Making things usable is not enough – we should also make them enjoyable. Don’t compromise on the base needs for t»he user, but look for ways you can add that extra layer of emotive enjoyment – like the Mailchimp quotes!

  6. UX Masterclass with Web Standardistas Web Standardistas

    This flowed on really well from the Emotional Interface Design and looked at the secret for making something that is usable really great. The secret is YOU!

  7. Smart Tips for Wireframing Brad Haynes

    Wireframes help communication, focus and workflow. This session was a good practical reminder of why we should be using them and looked at which techniques to use where, including some good tools.

Also check out summary of Day 2 »


January 14th, 2010.

Don’t forget to follow up

As much effort needs to be put into offline follow-up as your website itself. You are the main event of your website, and whether or not you follow up enquiries is a huge reflection on your organisation as a whole.

Check out this whole comic from The Brads
Check out this comic from The Brads

I like to use a website contact form because they’re quick and easy. It’s not always convienient to pick up the phone, especially when you may be on hold for half an hour.

Lately I have had a couple of enquiries for Camden City Council. Although I get an instant confirmation email (from it includes a disclaimer reading “If you do not hear directly from the team involved within 10 working days you may contact the Central Complaints unit direct on….
If it was suitable for me to call them then I would have in the first place, but for whatever reason I have chosen to email them, and it’s not unreasonable to expect a reply. I still have not had a proper response from them about my enquiries.

Likewise, an enquiry to Traid for some photos following a revamp event I attended fell on deaf ears – I didn’t even get an aknowledgement.

These are just 2 examples; unanswered enquiries happen all the time. It’s so common that you’re probably thinking “Well that’s what you get from filling in an enquiry form.”

But I have huge faith in websites, and I know encouraging contact is the main goal of many sites – so why is this rudeness acceptable and website enquiries go ignored?

Janey at Basically Black is an example of how to do offline follow-through well. We recently did a survey of her customers and almost everyone said how friendly and helpful she had been with choosing sizes, placing orders and managing returns.

It’s no surprise she’s seeing a lot of repeat customers and verbal recommendations – and it’s a shame others are missing the trick.


December 2nd, 2009.

Datadial Launch Their Reputation Monitoring Tool

overviewDatadial are pleased to announce the launch of their online reputation monitoring tool. Designed for business and agencies that wish to monitor the online profiles of their brand, products, key staff and competitors.

We have designed the user interface to be as intuitive as possible, with an emphasis on speed of use and productivity, while at the same time a feature-rich interface gives in-depth data about the source of mentions and enables you to tag, comment or share mentions for further action.

  • This service should be seen as part of any effective online marketing strategy.
  • You will be able to track and measure what is being said.
  • Armed with this information you will be able to see the effectiveness of your campaigns, gain customer insight, learn how your brand, products and services are being perceived and also join in the conversation and, if necessary, react to any adverse publicity.
  • The results will help you with planning for future campaigns, enabling fine-tuning and therefore saving you money.

At this point the software is still at a beta stage, so we are inviting as much user feedback and suggestions as possible on design and functionality. Signup to track one phrase is free, so please go here to signup for an account.



September 29th, 2009.

The differences between Helvetica and Arial

Thank you to Steff for passing on this lovely graphic illustrating the differences between Helvetica and Arial.


May 21st, 2009.

SMX London Roundup – More News, Tips, Tricks, Tools And Links

smxlogoAs I mentioned yesterday, we have just returned from the  recent SMX London search marketing conference. Below is our roundup of the best hints, tips and links that we picked up over the two days.

There are also some fantastic posts over at SEOptimise and Distilled that are well worth a read.

The State Of The Search Industry

  • The search industry must focus more on, analytics, holistic search and education for senior management. Cooperation between companies is required in order to grow the industry.
  • During the keynote, Brian Fetherstonhaugh from Ogilvy One pointed out that although search marketing is seen as the holy grail of marketing by the top 1000 CEOs, this still only occupies around a 1.5% mindshare. Search marketers should focus on how search can ad value to existing advertising mediums and can be sold as a research tool.
  • The US has a greater buy-in from senior management. This could be due to an increased understanding/awareness of the technology, or better and more organised education.
  • Integrated search is set to be a huge growth area, both in the form of integrated digital campaigns (SEO, PPC, Digital PR) and also increased synergy between online and offline PR.
  • 46% of respondents to the Guava/E-Consultancy Research were spending a minimum of £10,000 p/a on SEO.
  • 32% are spending a minimum of £100,000 on paid search.
  • 55% of companies predict an increase in SEO spending despite current economic conditions.
  • SEMPO research indicates a shift from paid search back into natural search.
  • SEO is increasingly being used for branding as well as direct response advertising being driven by an increase in local, video and news results visibility.

Keyword Research Tips And Advice

  • Download the Microsoft adCenter Excel Add-In for keyword research. This will help to quickly build keyword lists and give additional demographic information.
  • Don’t just use traditional tools for keyword research. Initial brainstorming with client sales teams is usually an untapped resource for potential keywords, as well as looking at internal site search queries.
  • The credit-crunch has altered search behaviour. Consumers are searching more, researching more but buying less.
  • There has been a 3-fold increase in informational and a fall in navigational search queries. Less brand searches, more price-led queries.
  • Optimise category pages for plural search keywords, product pages for the singular.
  • Use Google Trends to find and keep ahead of topical search terms in your industry.


  • Wordle is a great tool for finding which keywords a site/page has been optimised for.
  • Using a keyword query you can find the most important pages on your site for a specific keyword.
  • Mis-spellings can be targeted using a glossary or a ‘similar searches’ widget.

Link Building

  • Before releasing online PR/link bait you must understand the reasons that people link to pages. If your content doesn’t encourage people to link in some way, then it isn’t linkbait.
  • A successful linkbait article has an average of 2.7 seconds to grab a bloggers attention. The solution to retaining this attention? A Great Headline. These great headlines should be continued into the subject of the text, and should also be continued into the headlines of whichever social media distribution channel you choose (Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon etc).
  • Websites Don’t Link to Websites- People link to other people’s work. To improve the response from your linkbait, look into the mindset of the blogger reading your piece- why would you link to it if it was your blog?
  • Discussion sparking content – Create content that can spark controversial discussions. Not everyone in your industry will always have the same view, and providing content that sparks such discussions allows readers to get involved in the discussion. Invite other bloggers to get involved in the conversation (subconsciously inviting the blogger to link to the discussion and make a comment on the discussion on their own blog).
  • Actively promote your own content. Build a directory of targets and inform them when you publish linkable content to increase the take-up rate.
  • Link your articles with current affairs, topical news stories, or hot topics in your industry to increase the chances of publication.
  • Link building is very much dependant on the kind of website you’re working on. Big brands can get away with a far lower link quality than smaller companies and brands.
  • Analise the current inbound links- Big brands should have a range of authoritive links, meaning less authoritive links with optimised anchor texts can help when optimising for a particular phrase.
  • Install ‘Links From Images’ Plugin on WordPress. People still hotlink images… why not provide them with the HTML code and include a link back to the page the image.
  • Where possible, remove all social media buttons (‘tweet this’ buttons etc) on linkbait articles- remove the option for visitors to share the content on other networks to encourage linking to the article instead.
  • Six degrees of seperation works online… target the bigger sites in the industry that the smaller bloggers will read to get links from both the bigger and smaller blogs (and scraper sites!)
  • Build a Promotion Network-
    1. Research sites in the industry and see what they link to
    2. Create an email list
    3. Create the linkbait article
    4. Social media promotion- this is mainly for show- the more powerful links will come from the bloggers you email directly
    5. Send a personal email to the bloggers on your email list informing them of the post ahead of the buzz
    6. Watch the links come in
    7. Show gratification- thank the bloggers and show gratification (Tweet/Stumble/Digg their post in return)

Social Media

  • Social media is now sending significant amounts of traffic to many sites, for the right industries/demographics it’s crazy to ignore it.
  • Utilising Facebook connect and the Twitter API is an excellent way of encouraging your visitors to interact on social sites and linking that interaction with your brand.
  • Use the RIOT principal – Relevant Interaction = Optimised Traffic – Massimo Burgio
  • Bear in mind the 4 P’s of social media – Passion, Proactively, Perseverance and Patience
  • Twitter may well become more important in the search engine world as it starts to index the content of links in tweets and starts to rank these.

Reputation Management

  • There are several basic strategies for dealing with negative listings in the search results. 1) Legal action 2) Purchasing the offending site 3) Organic strategies to push other listing above it 4) Paid listings to argue your case/divert attention5) Hacking – not recommended!
  • Resort to legal action only if sure of your legal footing and as a last resort. It’s very easy for aggressive tactic to blow-up in your face.
  • Sometimes authority domains that have negative listings may also contain positive pages that can easily be used to replace the negatives.
  • Reputation management shouldn’t just be thought of in crisis situations. Effectively monitoring and managing online reputation before a crisis occurs can save time and money later.
  • Bear in mind that if people want to look hard enough for negative stories and articles, they will find them.


  • SEO is not a ‘free’ medium – everything has an ROI that should be measured.
  • When monitoring the performance/conversions of large groups of keywords, separate them out into groups for more manageable analysis – Top 10, Top 100, Top 1,000 and 1,000+
  • Brand engagement can easily be worked out using BE = #brand searches + #direct visits / #search visits + # direct visits
  • Another metric worth measuring is the % of pages yielding search traffic. Consider replacing or amending under-performing pages.
  • Link building counts are a metric that people should be using. The most accurate tools for tracking this are Linkscape and Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Use the 2nd page traffic filter to spot keywords sending you traffic from the second page of search results. Pushing these phrases onto the first page are your low-hanging fruit.
  • Use multi-touch tracking to find the initial referrer for a sale rather than the final one. Often a sale initially comes from a long tail search query, then possibly a branded search or PPC ad which then incorrectly gets the credit for the sale.

Digital PR

  • Get Known- build a brand, attend conferences, seminars and other industry engagements. Comment in forums and become a noticed resource.
  • Build a Platform- Speaking slots, interviews, trade shows. Announce your presence at these industry events ahead of time
  • Find industry news and get on it

Presentations/Write-Ups Currently Available Online

Dean Chew – What’s New With Social Media?
Lyndon Antcliff – Smash A Brick In The Face Link Building
Richard Gregory – The Latest Stats About The Search Engines
Patrick Altoft – Blow Your Mind Link Building Techniques
Ciaran Norris – Old Or New? The Future Of Media
Will Critchlow- Analytics Every SEO Needs to Know
Lucy Langdon- What’s New With Social Media?
Rich Cotton- Paid Search & Tricky Issues
Rob Ousbey- Brand & Reputation Management Strategies
Guy Levine- Writing Killer Search Ads
Massimo Burgio – What’s New With Social Media Marketing?
Richard Baxter – Diagnosing Website Architecture Issues
Richard Gregory – Paid Search And Tricky Issues
Nick Abramovic – Multivariate Testing

Anything I have missed? Let me know :)


May 20th, 2009.

Epic 2015

I’ve just returned from a frantic couple of days at SMX London. As usual there were some really great discussions on the current trends in search marketing, SEO and Social Media. Many of these made more sense in the bar afterwards for some reason. There will be a complete roundup of the best tips coming over the next couple of days.

In the meantime I really wanted to post a video that Ciaran Norris from Altogether Digital showed during his session – “Old Or New – The Future Of Media” Slideshare here

Certainly the most thought-provoking session of the day for me, the original version of this was made in 2005, and it’s scary to think how close to reality many of the events and prediction in the short actually are, and how many aren’t too far from reality.

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