www.facebook.com facts

by Yang Yang on November 26, 2011

Facebook world mapStop! For a minute of break, feed yourself with these very interesting infographics, numbers, statistics and facts about www.facebook.com, the zoo of people. There are also data and survey about other social networking sites such as Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace that are listed in comparison with Facebook for your curiosity.

An Average Day on Facebook – What do People Do?

  1. What do people do everyday on Facebook?
  2. What are your categories of friends?
  3. Engagement with the Facebook platform compared to that of Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace?

Average Day on Facebook

Google vs. Facebook on Privacy and Security

  1. With the launch of Google+, Google and Facebook now compete in even more areas.
  2. Comparison of Google+ and Facebook on income, unique visitors, etc.
  3. Privacy checklist and security checklist against Google and Facebook.

google vs. facebook on privacy security

Facebook vs. Twitter – Breakdown of Demographics

  1. Facebook users gender, income, age, education, location, etc.
  2. Twitter users gender, income, age, education, location, etc.

facbook vs. twitter demographics

Facebook Random Stats, Funding and Top Likes

  1. Facebook is available in 70 languages.
  2. 75% of Facebook users are outside the U.S.
  3. 250 million photos are uploaded on Facebook every single day.
  4. 2 billion posts on Facebook are liked and commented every single day.
  5. There are 800 million users actively engaging on Facebook and 50% of them log in Facebook every day.

infographic graphics facebook numbers

Facebook’s Criticisms, Missteps and Outright Failures

  1. Facebook persuaded millions of people to share stuff about themselves under the guise of privacy.
  2. It remembers everything you do and make them publicly accessible.
  3. Blah blah blah….

Facebook's criticisms, missteps and outright failures

How Many People are Obsessed with Facebook?

  1. There 500 million active users on Facebook, which means 1 in every 13 people on earth actively use Facebook.
  2. 48% of 18 to 34 year-olds check facebook right when they wake up.
  3. Blah blah blah….

How many people are obsessed with facebook?

A World without Facebook

Yeah, right….

World without facebook

Facebook Generates Business for Companies that Use It.

Businesses are found to get positive results engaging on Facebook with their own pages, by a recent survey conducted among small business owners.

Facebook survey for businesses 2011

The Demographics of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter

A demographic breakdown of who uses the most popular social sites against the U.S. Population: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter.

The Demographics of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter

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Reducing Bounce Rate, A Quick How and Why

by Yang Yang on November 19, 2011

It is vital to have a web presence in today’s digital world. With the large availability of high speed internet providers, it is also crucial to provide content that gets the attention of the visitor right away and makes them want to stay on the site.

Bounce rate is the amount of “single page” visits a site receives and this number must always remain low. The following list outlines ways for a site owner to reduce bounce rate and improve chances for success.

Focused Content

Site visitors will not be inclined to stick around if the content is not focused. It is better in the long run to choose a niche and write about it well rather than be more general and aim for hits. Also, the content should be based in fact and not opinion. The audience can always tell the difference and will also want to see facts backed up with evidence.

Post Presentation

The way a topic itself is presented in a post can make or break a site. The reader’s attention must be engaged from the first word or that person will not stay. Good presentation not only reduces bounce rate but also encourages the visitor to promote the site to friends or other interested parties. Word of mouth is the best advertising and it is free.

The right approach to presentation also promotes engagement through comments, subscribing to the site and sharing the link on social media. A high level of engagement can improve search engine ranking, as well, as site statistics improve with each visitor that doesn’t leave the site.

Good Navigation

Any website can be the most beautiful on the internet but if it does not have proper navigation, it will fail. Inability to find what is needed quickly is one of the top contributors to a high bounce rate. It is frustrating for both the visitor and site owner.

Let’s discuss some benefits of reducing bounce rate.

Conversions

Keeping visitors on a site can result in higher conversions for things such as sales, services, signups, downloads, etc. This can translate to greater PPC, as well. Offering digital downloads is a simple and convenient way to deliver goods, especially with most people using high speed internet providers.

Content Sharing

As discussed above, presentation is king and will encourage sharing of content. A link shared on Facebook or Twitter has the potential to go viral and lead to a huge increase in traffic. This in turn can translate into more conversion and more sharing. Proper presentation is invaluable and can only build upon itself.

Search Engine Ranking

A harsh truth about web presence is if a site isn’t well placed in the search engines, it can struggle to be noticed. Search engines can ultimately take into account a site’s bounce rate during indexing. This is why keeping the bounce rate low is so vital.

The online world is a very competitive place and this is especially true when running a website or blog. Taking some very simple steps to create an interesting presence will go a long way toward long term popularity and profitability.

Blake Sanders is a writer of news and information on high speed internet providers at broadband comparison site Broadband Expert. He also specializes in wireless internet, cell phones, and other technical news.

 

Note: Photo courtesy of Alaskan Dude via FlickR Creative Commons.

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A Brief History of Video Games [Infographic]

by Yang Yang on November 18, 2011

Gaming sites. Of all the money making blogs, eCommerce, or even corporate websites on the web, perhaps none is more effective at bringing in the cash than those hosting game communities. The “why” of this is pretty obvious, kids and grownups spend huge sums at play, particularly digital playground play.

So, the reader is asking; “How did all that game frenzy thing start?” Well, games are about as old as mankind actually. But, for the digital age, or at least the age of electronic equipment, games and the graphics that support them have made an amazing journey. Perhaps the best way to understand why games and the sites that support them are so popular and profitable, is to take an insightful look at just how graphics have played their role.

What exactly are human beings able to put up with in order to play pretend they are really snuffing out those aliens, hitting that tennis ball back at an opponent? The cool infographic below reveals the graphical trip games have made into our lives and minds.

COLOURlovers History of video game colors

Created by COLOURlovers

So, as you can see, a lot about playing games early on was about “tweaking” the imagination only.” Not many people would sit and play pong for hours on end nowadays, not with Wii Sports around, not to mention Kinect by Xbox. One has to wonder what the next progression into graphical child’s play will be? But, for anyone considering starting up their own blog, the game space has to be a top choice if making money is the goal. Make no mistake though, the competition is tough out there.

Be sure to find more infographics at my W3EC blogs.

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Moredays: Cool Productivity Tool That’s Fun

by Yang Yang on November 4, 2011


Productivity tools don’t necessary make money for you, but they save money, especially those that help you keep organized, and save large amounts of data in one place so that you won’t have to access multiple sources to get much needed information. For people on the go, there’s no better, and more affordable solution, than productivity tools designed to sync between various devices, such as PC, tablets and smartphones.

Moredays is such a productivity tool – a cool calendar-cum-scrapbook  time management application based on photos and drawings. While many users will probably focus on creating cutesy calendars for their families, the business mind might reject it – and that would be a mistake. One of the best features of Moredays is that it records everything that is important to you.

When you add a new contact to your address book, Moredays can save complete information about the record, such as; when you added the contact, as well as notes, pictures and everything important related to that person. You can easily keep track of when you met your contact, and when you consult your notes related to that person, you will learn exactly what you were doing. To put it simply: Moredays is your personal diary, that can be accessed anytime, anywhere – because the information is saved safely in the cloud. Moredays is also a time saver, because, it’s so easy to use that even a child could figure it out, and because instead of having to type thousands of irrelevant tags to organize data, you can use a set of virtual “stamps”.

Another potential “cool” use for business, at the end of a contract with a customer, you can send her a printed version of your Moredays calendar together, as a reminder of the way you two conducted business every step of the way. A much better corporate gift than a keychain, if you know what I mean.

Moredays was designed to sync with Google Apps and Evernote – in the current beta these features don’t work yet, but they will with the public beta release in two weeks time. There are other features curently missing, like apps for iPhone and iPad – we expect to see them soon as well. In the meanwhile, why don’t you give Moredays a try? You’d be among the “early adopters.”

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skype site status buttonI was checking out some live chat services and it came to my mind that Skype might be a great alternative. It’s free and it’s widely adopted. Depending on the merchandise your website sells, Skype would be a great live web chat solution, such as in the niches of technology, digital productions, online applications, etc.

However, Skype may not be a good live chat solution for retailer sites selling common consumer goods, unless they offer some sort of web chat window when the visitor clicks the button.

Add Skype Live Status Button to Your Website

To enable your visitors to initiate live chat sessions with you, you need to add the Skype online/offline status badge (clickable) on your website. Follow these steps:

  1. Register an Skype account if you haven’t got one yet.
  2. Go here to get a Skype button by entering your Skype name and selecting a button style. The code is dynamically generated. Just copy and paste it on your website where you want the status tab to appear.
  3. Download the Skype desktop program and install it.
  4. Log in with your registered account in the desktop program, go to: Tools –> Options –> Privacy, and check “Allow my online status to be shown on the web.”

Click paths may vary in step 4 depending on the version of your Skype, but it’s definitely there, in the Options. Lots of people ask why the button they added to their websites doesn’t show Online when they are actually online. That’s why. You have to explicitly allow your status to be shown on the web from within your desktop program.

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When you get the gift card or certificate number (a series of alpha-numeric strings) such as this:

MASP-78DRUB-XCX9

You may add it to your Amazon account so the gift amount is added to your Gift Card Balance before you can spend it.

After you have signed in Amazon, go to “Your Account” and scroll to the “Payment” section and you would see the link “Apply a Gift Card to Your Account”.

Or, just click this link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/css/account/payment/view-gc-balance.html/ref=ya_35

amazon_gift_card

Enter your gift card number and click “Apply to Your Account”. If the amount is successfully added to your gift balance, you’d see something like this:

amazon_gift_card_successful

Easy, huh!!

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PHP: Crontab Class to Add, Edit and Remove Cron Jobs

by Yang Yang on October 30, 2011

Provided that your user account on the server has the privileges to access crontab thus can create or remove cron jobs, you can use this PHP class to integrate crontab in your application. I created it for many of my own projects that need crontab to do scheduled jobs. It’s pretty straightforward.

Don’t know what crontab is and how it works? Read here and here. With this class, you or your users can easily set up crontab jobs and automate tasks by schedule with the web interface.

The Crontab Class

class Crontab {
	
	// In this class, array instead of string would be the standard input / output format.
	
	// Legacy way to add a job:
	// $output = shell_exec('(crontab -l; echo "'.$job.'") | crontab -');
	
	static private function stringToArray($jobs = '') {
		$array = explode("\r\n", trim($jobs)); // trim() gets rid of the last \r\n
		foreach ($array as $key => $item) {
			if ($item == '') {
				unset($array[$key]);
			}
		}
		return $array;
	}
	
	static private function arrayToString($jobs = array()) {
		$string = implode("\r\n", $jobs);
		return $string;
	}
	
	static public function getJobs() {
		$output = shell_exec('crontab -l');
		return self::stringToArray($output);
	}
	
	static public function saveJobs($jobs = array()) {
		$output = shell_exec('echo "'.self::arrayToString($jobs).'" | crontab -');
		return $output;	
	}
	
	static public function doesJobExist($job = '') {
		$jobs = self::getJobs();
		if (in_array($job, $jobs)) {
			return true;
		} else {
			return false;
		}
	}
	
	static public function addJob($job = '') {
		if (self::doesJobExist($job)) {
			return false;
		} else {
			$jobs = self::getJobs();
			$jobs[] = $job;
			return self::saveJobs($jobs);
		}
	}
	
	static public function removeJob($job = '') {
		if (self::doesJobExist($job)) {
			$jobs = self::getJobs();
			unset($jobs[array_search($job, $jobs)]);
			return self::saveJobs($jobs);
		} else {
			return false;
		}
	}
	
}

Public Methods

You may well ignore the private methods that do the internal chores. And keep in mind that any cron job is a text string.

  1. getJobs() – returns an array of existing / current cron jobs. Each array item is a string (cron job).
  2. saveJobs($jobs = array()) – save the $jobs array of cron jobs into the crontab so they would be run by the server. All existing jobs in crontab are erased and replaced by $jobs.
  3. doesJobExist($job = ”) – check if a specific job exist in crontab.
  4. addJob($job = ”) – add a cron job to the crontab.
  5. removeJob($job = ”) – remove a cron job from crontab.

This class has been tested on Rackspace Cloud and Wiredtree. Feel free to post your comments below and let me know how it works on other web hosts.

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personal developmentMaking sense is NOT what I’m known for. You are warned.

Success is a shadow of rarity. Try to be rare before you try to be successful.

99% of the people takes whatever they can while 1% gives whatever they can. 1% is a rarity. So they are 100 times more likely to get what they want than the 99%.

The idea of owning something is the source of suffering. It worries you and occupies your mentality, keeping you from achieving more because you are afraid to lose the things you have earned.

One should not try to own something. Owning or getting something such as wealth should not be the overall goal of his or her endeavors. Instead, one should try pushing the limits.

Want to be more financially successful? Don’t think of target numbers, but think about these questions – Why am I limited at where I am now? Why are the few others so ahead of me? What can be done to lift that limit and go farther? What can be done to be more productive or more creative? – And answer these questions by very very specific answers.

For example, I worry that one day I would lose the revenue streams of the many sites I created in the last 4 years, so I spent considerable time each week maintaining and promoting them. While results are slightly better and better by month, it’s ultimately not exponential growth which you would need to be a billionaire. It’s just a linear growth. Linear growth would only get you a millionaire at the best.

And this LIMITS me. It keeps me from getting better.

While these old sites occupy large portions of my schedule, I can’t concentrate enough on projects with “better outlook”. AND because I am dedicating my time to so many different projects at the same time, hardly any of them would eventually roll into an exponential growth at all because none of them are good enough to hit critical mass.

Even worse, it costs a lot when you multi-task.

It’s hard to give up on something you’ve been working so hard to build, because you are emotionally attached to it. It produces little yet you hold it dear.

Stop! Don’t get married to your projects. Move on, when you find out the niche isn’t as good as you thought it would be.

So I found one of the things that are limiting me – multi-tasking on too many projects at the same time. And my solution to this is: I’ll concentrate on one project at a time from now on.

Caring too much about the results would lead you to “copy” what the successful guys are doing, which is exactly what you don’t want to do if you don’t want to be mediocre.

You can do much better when you don’t care about the results than when you do.

Only when you lose you grow.

“Do one thing good, so the rest doesn’t suck. ”

(This line was from one of the movies. Can’t recall the title though.)

There is NO such thing as a saturated niche.

Be stubborn. Don’t seek advice. People are stupid. Don’t listen to them. Do what you think is right. Fail? So what!!

Take care.

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ssh consoleFew know that those who have web hosting are at the same time endowed with a free VPN (Virtual Private Network, a very safe connection to transfer important data). With a few simple steps by the help of PuTTY, the tiny legendary SSH program, anyone with a web hosting account can have a private VPN that’s dedicated, premium and only limited by the monthly bandwidth of your hosting account. This is the safest VPN because it’s not even monitored by the VPN company. It’s completely YOURS.

Before proceeding, you need to make sure your hosting account has SSH enabled. Most hosts offer that nowadays.

What you will get?

You will have an awesome auto-login VPN program on your Windows desktop via SSH tunnels, based on PuTTY. Should get you the same thing on other systems following the same steps outlined below.

Double click to start the program, and a dedicated socks5 proxy will be established on your local computer which connects to your hosting server to form a VPN you can use.

How to get it?

To turn your web hosting account into a private VPN so you can use it to surf the web safely and anonymously, simply follow these steps:

  1. Finish these steps: http://www.shanghaiwebhosting.com/web-hosting/use-your-web-hosting-ssh-session-as-a-tunnel-for-socks5-proxy-server
  2. In step 4 at the above URL, you will save the session and give it a name, e.g. ‘my_server’.
  3. Create a shortcut of this command: C:\tools\putty.exe -load my_server -l your_user_name -pw your_password

Make sure to use your own path to putty.exe rather than “C:\tools\putty.exe”.

The 3rd step is what makes all the difference – manual login or auto-login.

Without the 3rd step, you could still establish the VPN connection but you need to manually enter user name and password every time you start the SSH session. To make things simple, you want PuTTY to auto-login with pre-entered user name and password. That’s where the command line shortcut comes in.

The -load directive loads the saved session, -l specifies the SSH login user name, and -pw specifies the SSH password.

Double click, and that’s it!

Double click the shortcut and an SSH session window will be opened, PuTTY then automatically logs in with the user name and password you provided. If the auto-login is successful, a connection to your hosting server is established, thus VPN created.

Simply leave the session window open and configure your web browser to use ‘localhost’ as socks5 proxy on port ‘8844’ (you can specify a different port in Step 3 of this article), and you will be surfing the web safely and anonymously on a privately premium VPN!

Note that all your browsing traffic is counted on your web hosting’s monthly bandwidth bills. Think twice when you want to perform large downloads (such as 5GBs or larger) because they might end up being a bit costy.

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Magento goI officially signed up with Magento Go‘s Going Places plan for $25 / month and paid $99 for my SSL to be installed. It’s been 3 days and I wish I had better things to say about them.

And this is my review.

Uptime: 4.7 / 5

It’s too early to tell because I’m only with them for 10 days (in trial for 7 days). Sometimes it’s a bit slow. Magento is known to be resource-intensive. But as of now, Magento Go has been constantly up and responsive for me.

Price: 2.5 / 5

I would have given them 5 / 5 if I don’t have to pay $99 for my SSL to be installed – yes, that’s JUST for the installation service, not the SSL. You have to provide your own SSL certificate purchased from a CA to them. And this didn’t turn out to be very pleasant. I’ll come to that later.

The $1 million stimulus package that they promised to discount the monthly subscription fee by $15 for a year hasn’t been activated for me – and I contacted them about this twice – got NO responses of any kind. Waited nearly 24 hours and still no emails. So I logged back in to see the tickets. You know what I found? The tickets are all DELETED, like it’s never happened before.

What kind of support does that?

So the $1 million stimulus program is pretty much false advertising. Chances are, you won’t get it. Or you will. We are totally at their mercy.

Features: 4.1 / 5

If you are ever building an online store, once in your life time, you should use Magento Go. It simply makes sense.

After trying a few more online store builders, I think I’ll unsay the above saying.

Everything seems good, if not great. There are some parts that can be improved, such as the theming system, backup system, etc.

Their top plan for $125 / month offers a tingling of just 32GB monthly bandwidth. Anyone with decent SEO skills would easily hit that mark in half a year, especially if you’ve got lots of large images for the products. And extra bandwidth are charged $10 / GB. Pretty expensive. AND they don’t even have a bandwidth meter where you can see how much you’ve gone so far. So good luck…My tip is to use external website for hosting the product images.

Otherwise, Magento Go is simply NOT an magento go: not for growth. Be prepared to pay premium when you are locked in with them.

Support: 0.8 / 5

Appalling. If you are ready to pay $xxx per month for the top plan, you would probably be treated much better. But that’s just a theory.

I opened a total of 9 tickets, they DELETED 3 of them and responded to 3 of them.

They sent a very important message to *my* email. I didn’t receive it. Because that’s NOT my email, not even close. How hilarious is that!

Ticketing system is very hard to use. You would view the message and then click “Back” to return to the previous page to reply to it – if you have to quote something, you click “Forward” to view the message sent to you and then click “Back” again to continue writing. Very user-UNFRIENDLY ticketing system.

I posted a “Problem” message to the collaboration site (a collaboration support community to help dilute the workload of the REAL support team) about how my SSL hasn’t been installed after paying $99 and why my tickets got DELETED in the ticketing system. You know what they did? They changed the “Problem” status to “Question“. You know, it doesn’t look pretty in red.

Quick Facts about Go’s Support

People love interesting facts. Here are them.

  • A total of 3 tickets that got NO responses and simply got DELETED:
    1) A request for installing my SSL attached with my certificate files from GeoTrust
    2) A request to be enrolled in the $1 million stimulus package they promised – $15 monthly discount for next 12 billing cycles
    3) A question why my store home page doesn’t display the newest products after I added them in the backend – tried 2 different approaches but none of them worked.
  • After I complained about the SSL installation, they claimed to have sent an email to me at yanghit (@@@@@) gmail dot com. Apparently I didn’t receive it. Because that’s NOT my email, nor anything close.
  • For me, their support turnaround is about 12 hours, sometimes as long as 3 days, IF they respond at all. (I just recalculated the actual turnaround based on tickets’ and questions’ time stamps)

12 Hours Support Turnaround

Any support turnaround that’s 12 hours or longer is just unacceptable for mission critical sites such as eCommerce stores. Ordinary content sites have an eCPM of about $5 – $50 per thousand visits, however, online stores generally averages $200 – $2000 per thousand visits. Every hour of problem or down time causes substantial loss; the greater the traffic & conversion rate, the greater the damage.

People who choose Go are generally not technically oriented and would require a lot of help along the way. It would be a very painful experience for them should something get haywire yet they can’t get anything done in 12 hours.

Magento Go has got to seriously work on that.

Busted?

They got a final score of 60.5 / 100. Merely passed.

I will keep you updated on my experience with Magento Go. Even though their support isn’t the best in the world, I’d still recommend them to you. Hopefully they can see this review and give their support department a revamp.

I would love to see Magento Go becomes the go-to brand for online eCommerce solution. However, as of now, you would be better off with CE and do your own hosting, if you’ve got some technical nerves. In this case, I would like to recommend the Avalanche Magento theme.

What other folks are saying…

Seems I’m not alone on the bad experiences with Magento Go:

  1. http://www.shoppingcartsforwebsites.com/general/magento-go-review/
  2. http://www.commercestyle.com/e-commerce/magneto-sucks
  3. http://www.magentogoreview.com/list-of-magento-go-reviews~123

 

Update: I submitted a ticket and a *problem* at the collaboration site asking for a refund of the $99 SSL setup fee and they finally got back to me, addressing a question I asked 23 hours ago. After a few more tickets (each taking 2 – 3 hours for them to respond), my SSL is finally up and working.

 

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