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E-consultancy has just released its Travel Website Benchmarks Report - an interesting insight into the good and not so good practices being adopted by travel agencies, car rental firms, hotel aggregators and airlines on the web.
Compiled by Adam Goodvach of Global Reviews, it looks at ways travel sites are enabling users to search for and book products and services, while minimising abandonment rates.
We've listed some of its recommendations after the jump....
Another nugget of wisdom from Jakob Nielsen - website visitors will often ignore heavily formatted areas of a website as they look too much like advertising.
The usability guru says surfers have trained their brains to ignore 'fancy formatting', in a form of banner blindness. This suggests that ads should be made to look more like actual content in order to attract attention - something Jakob also covered recently.
Best practice was a great safety net for marketers when campaigns cost tens of thousands of pounds to execute due to physical print, production and distribution costs.
If sales plummeted, the marketer in question could point to a text book or previous campaign performance and the directors would settle back down again.
Publishing brands Penguin and Dorling Kindersley, both part of the Penguin Group, recently completed a project to relaunch their websites and improve interaction and navigation for users.
The revamp was pretty far reaching - the team took a user-centred approach, with extensive usability testing and planning, and found new ways to think about marketing books via the site.
The group is also set to launch new sites to increase its engagement with customers - one is a youth-oriented site called spinebreakers.co.uk, which is employing teenagers in its development.
Here, Penguin and DK's online development manager Jeanette Angell speaks about the reasons behind the project and the techniques it used.
James Balmain is the founder of Webtogs, a new outdoor equipment and clothing retailer that’s set to launch a shop and very professional looking site in the autumn.
We asked James, who has little previous retail experience, how the Webtogs team is coping with the various challenges of launching an e-commerce start-up, especially in a sector that’s not as web-savvy as others.
For any budding etail entrepreneurs, it's well worth a read...
Jakob Nielsen has released another eyetracking study that throws unethical advertising techniques into the spotlight. Only this time, it is from a publisher's perspective, and while interesting it's nothing particularly new.
The study investigates the effectiveness of 'making ads look like content', and concludes that more users will take notice of such an ad.
Just under 50% of online customers abandon their purchases during the checkout process - one of the biggest causes of lost revenue for online retailers.
While many of the reasons for this are beyond the control of the retailer, such as comparison shopping by users with no intent to buy, there is still much that can be done to reduce abandonment rates.
Shopify, a website that allows users to set up their own e-commerce store with integrated payments, has launched an online marketplace for shoppers to search for products from all Shopify's stores.
Behavioural targeting will give the best returns when a wide variety of on and off-site factors are pulled into the equation.
The technology can give great results with site content and isn't just something you should be asking your ad network about.
Seedcamp, the VC-backed project which aims to help foster the next wave of European startups, has said it has received over 260 applications from over 40 countries.
The project, backed by Saul Klein, is running a week long event in London next month, where the five best startups will receive funding of €50,000 to launch their business, in return for a 10% stake.
Polar Rose is a Swedish startup that's developing photo search and facial recognition technology for use on the web. It has recently launched in a private beta.
Polar Rose aims to use the technology to make images on the internet as searchable as text documents and web pages. It raised $5.1m in funding from Nordic Venture Partners last year to develop its product.
Trinity Mirror has continued the revamp of its regional news websites with the relaunch of two of its North East titles, Gazette Live and ne business.co.uk.
Trinity Mirror is making both websites more interactive, with the addition of blogs, videos, and other user-generated content. This is part of a wider revamp of its web properties, which began with its Liverpool news sites in June.