If Content Is a Performance, Is It Ever Authentic?

Producing more effective content that helps you build an audience of interested prospects is a common theme in my articles. In the past few months, I’ve written about ways to show how likable you are and how to make your writing personal, but not self-indulgent. And I realized that neither of those posts mentioned authenticity,
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The post If Content Is a Performance, Is It Ever Authentic? appeared first on Copyblogger.


Ecommerce Optimization in 8 Minutes: How to increase the performance of your category pages with a clear value proposition

A clear value proposition is at the heart of any business. But in the ecommerce space, where commodities are much more common, it’s incredibly difficult to compete and also be clear about the value your product brings to the market.

In this eight-minute video, Flint McGlaughlin optimizes a page submitted by Ruby of Armstrong Ceiling Solutions and talks mainly about how this page, and pages like it across the industry, can benefit from a clear, compelling value proposition.

You might also like:

Homepage Optimization: 5 Marketing blind spots that inhibit conversion (and how you can correct them)

Powerful Value Propositions: How to Optimize this Critical Marketing Element – and Lift Your Results

Customer Value: The 4 essential levels of value propositions

Value Proposition Development Training Course

MarketingExperiments Blog: Research-driven optimization, testing, and marketing ideas

Intel Drone 500: The World Record Performance

Last time Intel launched a light show made of drones, they nailed the Guinness World Record for it, with 100 drones flying simultaneously. Now, Intel’s engineers have created a 500 drone light show for the world to enjoy. Set in Germany, thousands of tiny propellers powered the crazy hum of 500 Intel Drones, programmed to […]

Digital Buzz Blog

Introducing the Tag Report: Analyze Performance Across Your Tagged Messages

Sprout’s recent message tagging update provided users with a robust set of tools for organizing inbound and published messages from Sprout’s Smart Inbox or Compose.

Today we’re excited to introduce the Tag Report. This feature rounds out our message tagging toolset and creates an end-to-end tag management system. With the Tag Report, social media managers can analyze the effectiveness of tagged messages with insights on volume and performance patterns.

Analyze Tagged Messages

The new Tag Report provides a summary of messages tagged from Compose and in the Smart Inbox. The report offers a comprehensive breakdown of each tag so you can quickly understand message volume and how your team is applying tags.

Sprout Social Tag Report Overview

If you’re using tags to categorize published messages, the report provides engagement metrics. If your team is primarily using tags to organize incoming messages in the Smart Inbox, the report provides a breakdown of received metrics. You can also use the network filters to toggle between data for Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Sprout Tag Report Filter by Network

How to Use the Tag Report

Sprout’s message tagging system was designed to fit a myriad of use cases ranging from measuring campaigns to understanding brand sentiment. How the Tag Report can compliment your social strategy is dependent upon how your team is currently using message tagging.

Below, we’ve outlined two common ways marketers are using message tagging and how the Tag Report can help support each effort.

Measuring Campaigns

Your team can use the Tag Report to measure inbound and outbound messages that are associated with a specific social campaign or promotion. For instance, let’s say you’re a retail brand that runs a social campaign around a summer promotion.

From Compose your team can apply specific, campaign-related tags to outbound messages. This same tag can be applied from the Smart Inbox to inbound, campaign-related messages. The corresponding tags will help your team organize related messages and analyze the success of your campaign.

Your team can use the Tag Report to dig into the metrics and compare tags by volume or engagement metrics such as impressions or Likes. This will help you gauge participation and make informed, strategic decisions in the future.

Sprout Tag Report Stats by Tag

Understanding Brand Sentiment

Analyzing brand sentiment is important, especially when it comes to the messages fielded by your business’ social customer care team. Your team can use Sprout’s message tagging feature to keep track of pre-emptive, proactive and reactive communications.

To understand how your audience feels about your services, products or updates, apply sentiment-based tags to incoming and support-related messages. Then use the Tag Report to understand message volume and which tags are commonly used together. These findings can support your future customer care efforts.

Sprout Social Tag Report Commonly Used With

To learn how your team can utilize Sprout’s message tagging to its fullest potential, download our guide.

Continue Working Smarter as a Team

The release of the Tag Report enables teams across your organization to categorize, organize and analyze social messages. Whether you’re using tags to keep track of your social media marketing efforts, social customer care initiatives or for campaign management, the Tag Report can help your team make better informed business decisions.

This post Introducing the Tag Report: Analyze Performance Across Your Tagged Messages originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Sprout Social

Indian government ranks ministers on their Twitter performance



The Indian government has ranked its ministers on the basis of how quickly and efficiently they respond to people’s requests on Twitter. The survey, which was reportedly conducted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, put foreign minister Sushma Swaraj in the top position.

Modi is famous for his use of social media and has the third-highest number of Twitter followers in India, behind Bollywood actors Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. Several ministers in his government have also been using Twitter as a tool of governance Read more…

More about Twitter, India, Social Media, and Internet Governance

Social Media

Measuring Content Performance for Higher Sales Conversions

In the Mad Men era, marketing was considered a cost center where “creative types” made glorious advertising campaigns but had very little ability to measure their impact on sales. Now, thanks to the Internet, marketing automation, and marketing analytics solutions, we can measure nearly everything in marketing, tracing our impact all the way down to influence on revenue and ROI. This ability to measure marketing’s performance and receive instant feedback on what works has revolutionized marketing.

Analytics are the key to performance optimization. Real-time feedback on what is working empowers us to improve message quality, creative, channel and offers to quickly improve the outcome. Without accurate performance analytics, we’d be back in the Mad Men era of creating content and launching campaigns into a black hole with no idea if they worked.

And yet, that is exactly the scenario in which most organizations find themselves today when it comes to content—no ability to measure whether their content has any impact at all.

Most marketers and sales enablement professionals (research shows greater than 85%) have no ability to objectively measure whether sales reps are using their content, how often it is being used, how effectively the content engages the customer, which customers, and whether the content has any impact on sales. Without this feedback loop, these content publishers lack the technology and processes to systematically optimize content.

Why is it, that a practice we consider de rigueur in top-of-the-funnel (ToFu) lead generation marketing has not been adopted in bottom-of-the-funnel (BoFu) analysis?

Well, ‘best-in-class’ organizations have figured out that closed-loop sales enablement is the answer and are seeing incredible gains from it including 3x higher revenue growth and 50% greater sales quota attainment (compared to ‘average’ companies). By closing the loop on the ‘content value chain’ between marketing, sales and the customer, organizations have created a systematic process to improving customer engagement, communication and sales’ ability to sell.

9 Metrics for Measuring Sales Content Performance

Content Management

Content Coverage of Buyer’s Journey – To ensure that the right content is available for each of your sales teams, map content to the buyer’s journey in each of your sales segments (could be product line, geo, industry segment, or whatever else makes sense for your business.)

For instance, if you have targeted 4 stages of the buyer’s journey with your sales content (interest, education, solution assessment, decision validation) and you have 3 product lines, you want to ensure you have the right content for each stage for each product line—12 squares in the matrix. Similarly, if you have teams in Brazil, Germany, Japan and the U.S., you’ll have 16 buyer’s journey needs and 16 matrix cells to consider.

Content Freshness – Ensure that content does not get stale and out of date by tracking content age and version dates.

One of the primary activities of content managers is to keep track of the content in the system. And one of their primary checks is whether the sales teams are using outdated content.

A simple report to watch for outdated or stagnating content is to run a content aging report based on last versioned date. Content that hasn’t been updated in a long time, or before the last messaging or branding refresh should be reviewed.


Content Awareness – Are sales teams aware of new content? Can they find it? Are they adopting updated versions?

A fundamental question for sales content management teams is “Are the sales reps not using my content because they can’t find it or because they are choosing not to use it?” A report that measures the views (has a rep viewed the content), pitches (have the pitched or emailed the content) and downloads helps content owners understand why or why not their content is being used. In the figure shown, you can see that the case study “Freezone Holdings” was viewed by nearly everyone, but hardly ever used. The content owner could then follow up with sales teams to discuss why they weren’t using the new case study.


Content Usage – What content is being used in various sales deals? Which pieces are being used the most? By what segments?

SiriusDecisions research in 2015 stated that 60% of the content generated for sales is not used. One of the first things sales enablement teams must do after implementing a sales content management platform with good analytics is to understand what is being used, what isn’t, and why.

Start with a basic report on content usage (shared with the customer), first by looking at top performers and then by worst performers. Then drill into the data by sales team group, region, and product line. This often surfaces pretty useful insight. The last step is always to follow up with front line sales reps to ask why they don’t use the content. This is key to understanding how to fix it. But proper analytics will point you in the right direction and help you identify which questions to ask.


Pitch Activity – Track pitch activity by content piece, rep &/or account. Measure what is working and what’s not. Understand the pitching practice of your best sales personnel and share best practices with the rest of the organization.

Customer Engagement

Customer Engagement – How is the customer responding to content and pitches? Measure opens, views, downloads and shares. Measure how much time customers spend on each particular page to understand what topics interest them the most.

In many respects, measuring customer engagement is the same as measuring content usage, but focused on the activities of the customer, not the sales reps. Measuring how a customer engages with your content is a powerful measure of content quality and effectiveness.


Content Evolution

Content Evolution – Most sales content, and particularly sales presentations, are modified in the field to customize to a specific selling situation. Often this entails updating the title of a sales presentation to customize it to the intended prospect, adding a prospect’s logo or modifying key messages to adjust to the particular sales situation. These are all practices that help engage the prospect and increase sales effectiveness. In short, these are modifications that you want your sales teams doing.

This helps marketing, too. Marketing needs to know how the content is being modified in order to improve content quality, by aligning with sales teams’ needs and getting real-time feedback on how the messaging needs to change to more effectively engage its audience.

In the image below, the presentation in the column on the left is the original file. The columns to the right show slides (pages) that are similar enough to the one on the left to be considered part of the same family. In this way, content owners can see what other “similar” content is out there and how the message is evolving.


Performance analytics that track how content evolves provide insights into what new messages are more successful in the field are very powerful in improving content quality.

Additionally, all the content performance metrics discussed here should account for content “families” –all content that evolved from the same original piece. This is a deep pothole that many analytics solutions fall into and should be avoided. If a single sales presentation is pitched 1000 times in one month, but modified for each presentation (even a little bit), many analytics solutions treat that as 1000 different pieces of content, and in so doing, throws off all analytics on content usage, pitch performance, influenced deal conversions or influenced revenue. Only by grouping this content into a “family” of virtually the same presentation, do these analytics become useful again.

Business Impact

Influenced Revenue – Measure how content has been used to help drive revenue. What content has the biggest impact on revenue? What content is being used, but not helping close sales?

While ROI on content is not achievable, at least not yet. (I have not seen the complex attribution models necessary to accurately measure return on content. But they will come.) This is a good early proxy. By measuring the amount of revenue a piece of content has influenced, marketer’s finally have one data point on the value of content. Inherently, we know some content is used in nearly every sale. By measuring content’s usage in Closed Won deals, by revenue, it gives us a much better picture of content’s importance in the sales process.

Conversion Uplift – Measure content usage against sales stage conversion rates. What content is most effective in moving a deal to the next stage?

Content should be designed to solve a specific need for a specific stage in the buyer’s journey. Measure how effective that content is in progressing the buyer to the next stage by measuring content usage in deals that advanced vs. content in deals that didn’t advance. Between this reporting capability and the content to buyer’s journey mapping exercise, content managers have the tools to know which content is most effective in advancing deals in their specific buyer’s journey stage. And that is the holy grail to improving sales content performance.


A Phased Approach

Technology has advanced considerably in the last 3-5 years to help you with this analysis. Modern Sales Enablement platforms have moved beyond being just a content repository to also providing customer engagement (email, online pitching), integration with CRM systems and content performance analytics. Most Sales Enablement platforms provide some level of reporting—often starting with content awareness and usage. Pick a platform that meets both your short-term and longer term needs. For a complete list of Sales Enablement solution providers go here.

After you have put a closed-loop sales enablement solution into place, you can begin to take advantage of its features to enhance your engagement with customers. We have found that companies typically start with the basics, and then over time move to applying data-driven techniques to their entire sales process in order to analyze and optimize it.

Here is a typical path that companies follow in applying the analytics capabilities of the system.


It’s an evolution in which companies can very quickly establish a process to get the analytics they need to drive improvements, and then work continuously to optimize and drive greater impact. But once they have the closed-loop process for measuring content effectiveness, the improvement in content quality and sales practices drives a significant uplift in sales effectiveness.

About the Author: Jeff Day is the VP of Marketing at Highspot and a veteran of sales enablement for over 10 years. As a marketing leader for companies including Apptio, HP, Sun and PolyServe and the VP of Sales for DomainTools, Jeff understands the need to train and enable the sales force from all sides. Jeff’s current soapbox mission is to elevate the role of the sales enablement professional and help them drive continuous effectiveness and productivity improvement among their sales teams. Learn more at

The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Poll Results on Performance Culture

Our latest poll asked:

What’s the web performance situation on your main project?

Then provided five possible answers related to the general attitude of the team as it relates to web performance, ranging from “everybody cares” to “nobody cares”.

With over 13,000 votes, the data is in!

See the Pen Data on Performance Culture by Chris Coyier (@chriscoyier) on CodePen.

The good news is that between “Everybody cares and actively works to maintain and improve.” (19%) and “Some people care, but isn’t often an active priority.” (34%), that’s 54% of projects where that at least multiple people caring about performance. For a subject that feels like it’s only recently been in the spotlight, that seems pretty good.

You gotta feel for the quarter of people who voted “I care, but I’m the single lonely voice.” (26%) and especially for the projects where there is no consensus “There are warring factions. (e.g. dev is on board, but management isn’t)” (8%).

That leaves only “Nobody cares at all.” with only 13% of projects.

You gotta wonder how this will evolve. Will performance awareness and active effort become a bigger thing on projects? Perhaps entire teams like DevOps has become? Or are we at peak performance-caring-abouting?

Poll Results on Performance Culture is a post from CSS-Tricks


7 Genius Ways to Jumpstart Joomla Performance

Joomla is one of the richest frameworks on the web. Easy to develop, integrate and launch both simple and complex websites, its flexibility and user-friendly interface makes it an incredibly popular content management system. Not to mention one that has also birthed a strong community and many extensions.

One question remains in the midst of such success however. The issue of speed.

Where Joomla itself isn’t necessarily slow, its when customising it that it can slow down, coupled with ever expanding sites hungry for data. Luckily optimising Joomla isn’t too complex as there are a fair number of things you can do.


Plugins can really help add extra functionality to your site but you want to ensure you only use the plugins you think are absolutely necessary and eliminate and remove the deadweight. Overloading your site with plugins is one way of slowing down Joomla’s performance.


Use a simple and light template whenever you can. If you’re unsure about the current template you are using and whether it is causing you problems it might be good to run it through an analyser first. If you really can’t switch templates and are fixed on your design then cut down on its features instead, including specialised login modules and users tools.

Code Optimization

Cleaning up your code is a pretty important step in helping to ease Joomla along and get the best out of it. Backup your CSS and Javascript files, run them through optimisers and reduce their file sizes. Manually scan the code to see if there aren’t redundant elements causing complications too.

Related: Beginner’s Tutorials for various Content Management Systems


Both HTML and CSS images can be huge culprits when it comes to causing upsets within Joomla. Take care to never get your browser to scale large dimension images for you and resize appropriately and ‘save for web’, especially if you’re using photo editing software.

Inside Joomla

Clean up inside Joomla itself by removing all plugins, components and modules you neither require nor use. Once complete, check the database tables for old modules and remove as required. Head to the database tables and optimize and repair using PhpMyAdmin.

Combine CSS and JS Files

Combining your CSS and Javascript files together can really help speed up Joomla by reducing HTTP requests and overall file sized. Use tools like Minify can help do this directly from the root directory of Joomla itself.

Gzip and Cache

Another great trip you can try to speed things along is to compress your pages use Gzip Compression which can help shank your site’s pages between 70 and 80 percent. Doing this from Global Configuration in the Server tab can really help reduce your bandwidth and create faster page loads. Couple that with enabling the ‘System Cache’ plugin and you can get even more benefit.

Hopefully the aforementioned tips can help fine tune Joomla and get your website running smoother and faster than ever.

Image source

The post 7 Genius Ways to Jumpstart Joomla Performance appeared first on SpyreStudios.


Performance Tools

Weekend roundup time! From the multitude of Grunt and Gulp plugins to web apps that can help us visualize our websites with data, learning all the ins and outs of performance tooling is tough. I thought it might be useful to catalogue as many tools out there as I could find.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

A CDN distributes your website’s assets across the world in order to deliver them as fast as possible, regardless of the geographic location of that particular user.


CloudFlare works all it’s magic (CDN being just a part of that) by being your DNS server, so all requests to your site go through them.

CloudFlare designed its CDN without the legacy of the last 15 years. Our proprietary technology takes advantage of recent changes to hardware, web server technology and network routing. In other words, we’ve built the next-generation CDN. The result is a CDN that is easier to setup, more affordable, and performs better than any legacy CDN you’ve tried before.


CSS-Tricks uses MaxCDN to host all our static assets. It integrates nicely with WordPress and W3 Total Cache such that we really don’t do anything special, assets are just moved to the CDN and linked to properly.

That’s quite a bit of bandwidth for a blog! Especially considering that largely just JavaScript, CSS, and Images, not large files like videos.

Our network is equal part site accelerator and realtime control center. We built it so that both your customers and DevOps will get the maximum benefit of a next-gen CDN.


Amazon Web Services version of a CDN.

Amazon CloudFront is a content delivery web service. It integrates with other Amazon Web Services products to give developers and businesses an easy way to distribute content to end users with low latency, high data transfer speeds, and no minimum usage commitments.


There are CDNs out there that don’t host your own arbitrary assets like the above do. They just host popular files and welcome you to link to them there. Typically not the greatest idea for production sites (you might as well concatenate your assets and server from your own CDN), it’s still useful for easy (and quick!) access to these assets.

CDNperf finds you fast and reliable JavaScript CDNs that make your websites snappy and happy!

Performance Testing

These services use metrics such as time to first byte or the render time of a website to grade its performance. Some will also check as to whether or not particular assets have been cached or whether there are multiple CSS or JS files that should be concatenated together.


WebPagetest is kind of the gold standard in performance testing, as it gives you all kinds of useful metrics to work with, like a general score to work on improving, a filmstrip to see what is visible when as your site loads, network waterfalls in browsers that don’t normally offer that, and more.

Run a free website speed test from around the globe using real browsers at consumer connection speeds with detailed optimization recommendations.

WebPagetest’s services are also available as an NPM module and command-line tool with the API wrapper.

  • webpagetest-mapper: Map WebPageTest result data into human-readable document formats.
  • WPT Bulk Tester: Use Google Docs to test multiple URLs using WebPageTest (either if you have an API key, or another publicly accessible instance)


YSlow analyzes web pages and why they’re slow based on Yahoo!’s rules for high performance web sites.

Google PageSpeed

The PageSpeed tools analyze and optimize your site following web best practices.

PageSpeed Insights

There’s also a CLI for access to PageSpeed Insights with reporting:

Run mobile and desktop performance tests for your deployed site using Google PageSpeed Insights with tidy reporting for your build process.

psi screenshot

What does my site cost?

Find out how much it costs for someone to use your site on mobile networks around the world.

What does my site cost?

Pingdom website speed test

Enter a URL to test the load time of that page, analyze it and find bottlenecks.

Pingdom example


SpeedCurve allows you to track your own performance as well as the performance of your competitors. With SpeedCurve, you can start making speed one of your competitive differentiators. Speed is especially important to mobile users who expect websites to load faster on phones than desktop, and are quicker to abandon pages that are too slow.

An example of Speedcurve


Calibre tracks how long your pages take to load, how big or small your pages are becoming. Janky page? You’ll know about it straight away.

GT Metrix

A service that utilises Google PageSpeed and YSlow to help you develop a faster, more efficient and all-around improved website experience.

GT Metrix


Super simple example of adding perf timing to the page display during dev work.

perf bar

Simple way to collect and look at your website performance metrics quickly, that supports budgeting and adding custom metrics.


Grunt task for Performance Budgeting. grunt-perfbudget uses either a public or private instance of WebPagetest to perform tests on a specified URL. It compares test results to budgets you specify. If the budget is met, the tasks successfully completes. If it the page exceeds your performance budgets, the task fails and informs you why.

Sitespeed is an open source tool that helps you analyze your website speed and performance based on performance best practices and timing metrics. It collects data from multiple pages on your website, analyze them using the rules and output the result as HTML or send the metrics to Graphite.


This site allows you to point Speedgun.js at any public facing website to gather important web performance data. It runs five times providing a good view on understanding how a web page is loaded.

gulp size

Display the size of your project.

gulp size example

Browser tools and plugins

Chrome’s Developer Tools

Two super useful tabs in Chrome’s DevTools for measuring performance: Audits and Network.

The Audit panel can analyze a page as it loads. Then provides suggestions and optimizations for decreasing page load time and increase perceived (and real) responsiveness.

Audits tab

The Network panel provides insights into resources that are requested and downloaded over the network in real time. Identifying and addressing those requests taking longer than expected is an essential step in optimizing your page.

Network tab

Firefox Developer Browser

The only browser made just for developers, Firefox Developer Edition was created with your workflow in mind. Build, test, scale and more all from one place, for the first time ever.

Visit Firefox’s Network Monitor on MDN

Page performance

This extension is a hack that provides a quick analysis, of page performance, on a modern Chrome browser. If multiple tabs are open, the extension automatically provides performance analysis for the page on the active tab.

Page performance extension



We audit the page load and rendering performance of your website. Hating slow and janky websites, we are on a mission to help load websites in milliseconds and perform jank-free.


PerfMonkey makes it very simple to keep track of your website’s rendering performance.

SVGs + Images


ImageOptim is a free app that makes images take up less disk space and load faster, without sacrificing quality. It optimizes compression parameters, removes junk metadata and unnecessary color profiles.

ImageOptim GUI

Also available as a Grunt or Gulp plugin.


SVG Optimizer is a Nodejs-based tool for optimizing SVG vector graphics files.

If you need an interface rather than a CLI to do that then you can download the app.


SVGOMG is SVGO’s Missing GUI, aiming to expose the majority, if not all the configuration options of SVGO.

SVGOMG example

Manually optimising SVGs

Like it’s raster brethren, SVG should be optimized before being used on production sites. There are several great tools for that, but as Raymond is about to show you, the best results come from a deeper understanding and a little manual work.


Trimage is a cross-platform GUI and command-line interface to optimize image files for websites, using optipng, pngcrush, advpng and jpegoptim, depending on the filetype (currently, PNG and JPG files are supported).

Trimage example


CSS Triggers

A website for working out which CSS properties effect the layout, paint and composite operations of a browser.

You can read more about CSS-triggers in the complimentary explainer post.

CSS Stats

Webapp to visualize various stats about your CSS.

CSS Stats

CSS Shrink

CSS minified. Because CSS is on the critical path to rendering pages. It must be small! Or else!


UnCSS is a tool that removes unused CSS from your stylesheets. It works across multiple files and supports Javascript-injected CSS.

Available as a Grunt or Gulp plugin.

Critical path

Critical extracts & inlines critical-path (above-the-fold) CSS from HTML.



HTMLMinifier is a highly configurable, well-tested, Javascript-based HTML minifier, with lint-like capabilities.


gulp plugin to minify HTML.


Minify HTML



JavaScript parser, mangler/compressor and beautifier toolkit.

Also available as a Gulp or Grunt plugin.

You might not need jQuery plugins

jQuery and its cousins are great, and by all means use them if it makes it easier to develop your application.

If you’re developing a library on the other hand, please take a moment to consider if you actually need jQuery as a dependency. Maybe you can include a few lines of utility code, and forgo the requirement. If you're only targeting more modern browsers, you might not need anything more than what the browser ships with.

You might not need jQuery

More information about performance

Performance Tools is a post from CSS-Tricks