Category Archives: Web of Interest

The value add of Google Analytics.

Will the real obu please stand up, part 2.

google-analytics.jpg Google Analytics is a pretty slick package offered by the big G that is free to use. It gives you tombs of website visitor and traffic data to poor over. The obvious benefit is to track visits and visitor behavior on your website. But deep into a long session of analyzing data I stumbled upon an additional easter egg not advertised in the brochure.

Look at the highlighted regions of this next image. On the surface you say big deal. Wait for it…


These highlighted pages DO NOT EXIST on our website. So this then begs the question, why is our Google Analytics report showing pageviews of pages that are not present on the website.

It seems that in the act of stealing our website, a few wiseguys neglected to remove the tracking code.

Examples. (these are ripoffs of our old layout pre May,1,2007 see below)

This is a real bad rip off of our old site.

This web designer even took credit for his bad ripoff

This UofA student is probably upset with us because he was pulling our CSS file which we moved.. so all his layout went bye bye.

We had problems with this guy before

And Finally this guy

I don’t make a habit of pointing things like this out. But It really really bugs me when someone steals our stuff and passes it off as thier own. And do it poorly at that. Another good tool to use to find content thieves is

So finally here is one more way to spot interesting visits in your Google Analytics. Click Content > Content by Title, if you see any page titles that do not look like yours, grab them and then do this search in Google: allintitle:<page title> and the first or second result it probably the culprit.

Here is the real question, Does this hurt our website? We know that Google tracks all this stuff for their own reasons. They give Analytics away so they get behind the scenes access to your website, and mine that data for all sorts of Google projects. So if they are tracking data on that does not match the REAL, are we getting slammed?

Be a good client.

This blog post I am about to link to is rather tongue in cheek, and in no way reflects my feelings toward our beloved clients. It is however very representative of the types of prospects we see everyday. Thankfully our clients are not like this, because we only take on work from good folk that understand the value of our services.

If I had a nickel for every time I heard #1, I would have retired many years ago. Be a good client, your web designer will love you for it.

Read: Nightmare web design clients.

I will follow up with the clients perspective one of these days to be fair.

Web 2.0 Design hurting users?

In a recent article I found on Digg, Jakob Nielson attempts to make the point that current design trends with all their promise are actually hurting users.

Describing Web 2.0 as the “latest fashion”, Mr Nielsen said many sites paying attention to it were neglecting some of the principles of good design and usability established over the last decade.”

I have to agree with this statement.  Many sites are simply high on “cool” and low on substance.  If you have used Myspace, you know how terrible it is from a UI perspective.  But lets not through the baby out with the bath water.

We have gone through a few iterations of, the first of which was a showcase in cool web2.0 UI  and browser tricks.  We made the mistake of focusing on the cool over the actual use of the website, which is to plan parties. However that iteration was key to our development plan as we were testing new methods of organizing and displaying data [read innovation].

These new websites like flickr, facebook, twitter, etc. are the leading edge of web application development.  In an effort to push web applications to resemble a desktop application with the same ease of use familiar to many, web design firms have to explore new ground in website design.

“Good practices include making a site easy to use, good search tools, the use of text free of jargon, usability testing and a consideration of design even before the first line of code is written.”

Again I agree. Yet with today’s “launch early, launch often” mantra in web development, sometimes the basics in the traditional sense do not apply.  Mapping out a multi-layer UI for some new world changing whiz-bang website simply cannot follow the existing mold.

What’s it mean? Don’t forget that the user is still the most important stake holder in the website design equation.  Creating an interface that is easy to use is paramount, yet trying to apply old standards to new technology may not work as Mr Nielson is trying to do.  Also there is an air of web2.0 backlash going around that always happens whenever a trend hits the peak of the adoption curve.

Site Reboot. New CSS Design, New website that rocks.

We are happy to unveil the new design for As part of the Annual May1reboot and the CSS Reboot, we thought it was a good time revamp the already award winning We opted to keep the same feeling, yet attempted to clean up the layout by adding spacing, and removing some elements.




Well you are looking at it. Comments, Thoughts? Please share them in the comments section. Also if you feel so inclined please go the following 2 sites and vote for us.

Vote at

Vote at (search by name, find obu)

Back to your regular scheduled programming. on the move…

So our little project is moving forward in a big way.  Just in case you dont know what it is, is an online party planner that will help you plan your next party.

We have come to an agreement with some local talent and will be executing our phase 2 plan.  The additions to the website over the next 6 months will be fairly significant and really add value to our special event advertisers and users.  Keep and eye on the website over the next few months as we re-define what you know about event planning.partyplanning.jpg Enters Beta


We have been plugging away for about 5 months on our new website builder application, is a simple and easy to use website builder that will allow you to create your own website without hassle. Built upon WordPress 2.1, flare9 has automated the hosting, domain registration, site install and setup process, to create a website in a matter of minutes. And the best part is, We (obu) have designed the website templates so it is virtually impossible for the customer to build an ugly website. Well almost impossible.

The go to market strategy of is thus: Medium and large web design agencies simply cannot serve low cost clients (-$3000) effectively. Therefore the client leaves unhappy and the firm looses out on potential revenue. We are targeting these web design agencies as affiliate partners to refer these low-yield clients to for a referral fee. The agency makes money, makes money, and the client gets a great professional website they can edit themselves within their budget. Everybody wins. is entering beta this week for a 2 week final testing cycle before an official launch early March.

Trust will set your Free

LinkbaitPreface: Increasing exposure of an existing online asset is tough, almost as tough as getting that first market push for a new business underway.

For much of the last 10 years Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was loosely defined as: optimizing your website content (verbiage, Meta data, naming conventions) for maximum keyword relevancy, and the procurement of relevant incoming links.

English: Make sure your website content is relevant to the topic, and get people to link to you. If you packed in enough keywords, and built enough links (quantity) regardless of quality, rankings came easy.

Fast forward to today. SEO is about TRUST, and Trust shall set you free.
It is still very important to optimize your content and ensure that you are utilizing on page factors for building relevancy. But now SEO is really a game of trust. For a website to rank well, it needs to be deemed trustworthy. TrustRank as it is sometimes called is a way of assigning value to a website, the higher the value, the higher it will rank.

“PageRank is to The Bubble Up Theory as TrustRank is the Trickle Down Theory. Google chooses [x] number of sites it trusts as a seed, and let’s the TrustRank flow down through other sites via on page references (links)” says Chris Hooley, a leading name in the SEO field.

Links are the primary method of passing trust, and gaining trusted inbound links is the primary way of building top search engine rankings. Chris makes a further economics analogy:

“Think of links as cash. Link Equity. Now think of them in light of those two ways economists look at the flow of cash. You need to accumulate lots of links to PUSH your market position up, and you need to collect big, fat, trustworthy, important links to PULL your market position up. Links can be viewed as currency, and link marketing is no different than brand marketing. It’s just the way we measure the effectiveness that differs. Gaining market share, or gaining link share.â€?

So according to Chris, building trust is the golden chalice of top search engine rankings. So how does one go about getting these links from trusted sites? Enter stage left: Linkbaiting. Odd word but very important concept. I’ll let link guru Todd Malicoat define it.

“Linkbaiting is all about the bait. In the same way that you can’t catch a giant tuna with a bag of Doritos – you’re not going to get the attention of important bloggers, journalists, or other folks with some garbage content or news.â€?

What Todd is saying is simple: write/publish something worth linking to. He goes on to describe “Linkbait Hooks� or methods to present information that can be used to attract the attention of a link happy audience.

JTTo summarize then. Today’s SEO game is not about stuffing your website full of keywords. To build solid rankings you need to create content that is worthy of being linked too by other websites that are already deemed to have Trust. They pass this trust on to your website, and little by little your website climbs the charts like the latest Justin Timberlake Album

So how does this all work for the average small business in Middle America in need of website traffic? Stay tuned for Part Deux for the answer.

Author: Joshua Strebel – President Obu Web Technologies a leading web design agency.