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James Royal-Lawson

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The state of Swedish websites 2012

Each year Web Service Award surveys Swedish web responsibles and web managers their opinion about the quality of their web sites and working environment as well as how they are intending to develop them.


Picture of a stage with a large projector screen in the background and audience in the foreground

570 Swedish web managers were surveyed during January of this year for the 2012 trend report including representatives from companies, public services, councils, and other organisations.

The proportion of each type of organisation (and indeed size) is not representative of Sweden as a whole. Large companies and organisations are hugely over-represented (76% of those surveyed, whilst only 0.56% of the total in Sweden), and smaller companies are massively under-represented (24% of survey, but 76% in Sweden as a whole). So some care has to be taken with the figures.

This survey gives us an insight into what web managers think and how they feel about the world of web they work with. It’s not a survey of the visitors of websites, neither is it a survey of management or, ultimately, decision makers.

The report (in Swedish) is a whopping 98 pages. There’s a huge amount of data in there. I’m just going to write about a few points which I feel deserve highlighting.

The year of mobile development

Almost half of respondents said that they will be increasing their digital investments in 2012 compared to 2011. It would appear that a good chunk of that money is going to go into developing mobile solutions. 42% said that they are planning to produce a mobile ready version of their website, and 21% said they were planning a mobile app during 2012.

Graph showing that 61% have no mobile solution at all

61% said that they didn’t currently have any form of mobile solution (neither app of mobile ready website), so if the web responsibles surveyed manage to achieve what they’ve planned then next year this figure should drop through the floor! 2012 is looking like the year of mobile development.

Lack of resources internally

Despite a constantly increasing amount of investment in digital channels, there hasn’t been a corresponding increase in internal resources that take care of them.

I find it quite shocking that despite the importance of websites for organisations, and the money invested in (re)developing them, a staggering 50% of respondents only work half-time with their sites. Only 23% at most are dedicated web managers working full time with their sites. Only 32% say that they have enough resources to manage their website’s content.

graph showing 36% work up to 25% with their websites

Given that almost half of the organisations surveyed are large organisations with over 500 employees (44%), the low number of dedicated web responsibles cannot be explained solely by a corresponding percentage of SME sites where it is would be more expected that a person has multiple roles.

With the time and knowledge needed to order from and work with external agencies, analyse and reflect upon visitor statistics and KPIs, take on board usability testing results, deciding what to A/B test and tweak on your website, chase content owners, meet and work with internal stake holders – amongst many other things – it’s no wonder that so many websites under deliver, or need to be (at often great cost) totally rebuilt every few years,

EpiServer dominates

Amongst the sites in the survey, EpiServer dominates overwhelmingly as the CMS of choice for the larger organisations (over 50 employees) with 50% using the Swedish platform to server up their websites.

graph showing 43% of all surveyed have EpiServer

It’s a different picture amongst the smaller organisations surveyed (less than 50 employees). Here we see EpiServer’s being used as the publishing tool for 22% of surveyed websites. 36% responded with “other”, which presumably includes an array of CMS tools created by smaller companies.

I’m surprised that WordPress didn’t feature higher amongst smaller companies. My experience is that it’s pretty much the default CMS choice for this size of company, but only 1% across the entire survey irrespective of organisation size (which is presumably just 5 respondents) said that WordPress powered their website.

Positive trends

Generally speaking most stats in the report point to positive developments with websites and how they are managed. One of the exceptions is the lack of (dedicated) resources to run, maintain and develop the web and digital presence of an organisation.

We’re learning and moving forward as web managers and web professionals, but It’s still early days, and I think many of the answers show that.


James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

Webbstrateg Skatteverket

I’ve been self-employed now for 6 years. I’ve been a web and intranet consultant for the past 8. It’s not been often I’ve seen a job advert during that time where I’ve really thought – the person they are describing is actually me.

It’s even less often that an advert has been such a good match and so appealing that I think straight away – yeah, let’s apply, let’s get this job!

The job in question is as web strategist (and web responsible) at the Swedish tax authority (webbstrateg hos Skatteverket).

Skatteverket logo

So how do you apply for jobs these days? I’ve spent recent years bringing in work to my company rather than applying for jobs. But if I stop and think for a moment; the job is for a web strategist.

I’m one of those, obviously, as well as a web manager. So how about I approach this like a digital project? And how about I write about it here? That way, this post can be not only part of the application but also something to share.

One of my mantras (or tools in my toolbox if you will) is “Why, what, how, measure!” (Repeat as needed). So let’s try following that template for this application.

10 WHY
20 WHAT
30 HOW
40 MEASURE!
50 GOTO 20

Why?

In this case, the why is quite straight forward. We’re doing this for one quite obvious goal – to get the job as web strategist. This also helps a bit later on, as measuring the success of this mini-project is also quite simple (or brutal!) I either get the job or I don’t. There is also a secondary goal – sharing – which is one of the principles in my manifesto.

The goal of getting the job can then be broken down into a number of sub-goals. One of them is making sure that I make the shortlist for an interview. The creation of a short-list is often handled by HR (or a recruitment firm), especially in larger organisations.

Another sub-goal is to get the attention of those choosing their new employee – those working within communications, and in particular Anders from the web group, who is listed as a contact person in the job advert.

Those are my goals – but what goal does Skatteverket have? A good indication is the opening line in the advert: utveckla skatteverket.se så att webbplatsen möter användarnas behov. That translates as “develop skatteverket.se so that the website meets the users’ needs”.

What?

The basics: I need to submit an application for this position, including a CV and a covering letter. Such traditional steps can’t be avoided and are essential in order to stand a chance of reaching the shortlist. It would be nice to submit a link to my LinkedIn profile and this blog post, but that isn’t enough on it’s own. I have to meet the requirements of the application process.

But I don’t need to stop there – this blog post can be used as the centre piece of a short (and intensive) content marketing campaign that would also include the Beantin Index rating for Skatteverket and perhaps an annotated reply to the job advert.

I’d normally analyse the competiton too. In this case, that’s awkward as most applicants will apply without letting the world know. Given the closed nature of everyone else’s applications, being open with mine gives me a differentiating factor.

How?

My CV needs to be dusted down and updated, LinkedIn needs to be checked over and the chance taken to improve some parts (checking over your LinkedIn profile is something I recommend doing regularly anyway). A covering letter needs to be written – that, in part, can be an introduction and link here.

I could include this entire post as the covering letter but there are some risks with that; This blog post lacks further details of my motivation and specific responses to the requirements in the job announcement. Both of these items (to be submitted via the website) will need to be produced in Swedish.

Target audience

Time to do a bit of research about the target audience. Who are they? Do I know them, or have contacts that know them? What do they do? What do they want to hear?

Well, of the 5 names listed at the bottom of the advert, only one of them – Anders Åhlund – has a linked in profile. I can see that I’ve got 3 connections who have Anders in their network. Next step is to contact those 3 and talk about the application.

Eva Corp (Director of Communications) doesn’t appear to be on LinkedIn, but she is on Facebook and we have one mutual friend. I’ll get in touch with that friend too.

Of the other names, none of them appear to have a Facebook or LinkedIn profile that has any connections in my “circles”.

Anders is present on Twitter and we’ve already had a brief conversation. In fact, since I started work on this blog post he’s also followed me. We’ve also a number of shared contacts.

Although only one of a number of people involved in the recruitment process, Anders is clearly the best target audience for our small, fun, content marketing campaign.

Analytics fun

Part of Anders’s role at Skatteverket is working with web analytics. This is something else I could perhaps make use of. A quick look at Skatteverket’s website reveals, like so many other website, that they make use of Google Analytics.

One feature of Google Analytics is its campaign tracking variables. This is where you can “tag” links to content on your site with details of which campaign, source and media they are part of. This makes tracking and measuring of their performance possible.

As these campaign tracking variables are simply passed as attributes in the URL, and don’t need to be “created” within Google Analytics, you can have a bit of fun with them and create your own. In this case, I can use the variables to send a message to Anders. Although it requires a bit of help by getting people to click on this specific link.

I have, of course, no way of knowing if Anders will check his campaign reports soon enough for it to get noticed during the recruitment process – but it’s a simple (and fun) tactic, with little time needed to action it.

Measure

Did I get it? Well, the deadline is on March 8, so we’ll have to wait a little while yet before the result can be measured. But of course, I’ll update this post with more details later on. In the meantime, entertain yourself by giving this link another click

Also by James

Here’s some further reading…

And here’s some further listening…

Update: 20120329

Skatteverket have called me for an interview (via email with instructions explaining how to log in to their website and choose an available timeslot). What came as a bit of a surprise was the instruction to bring proof of Swedish citizenship to the interview. This requirement wasn’t mentioned in the job advert. Skatteverket got back to me and said that there was a miscommunication and the job isn’t security classed after all…

Update: 20120426

Yesterday I received a phone call from Eva Corp, Head of Communications at Skatteverket. They had finally come to a decision about the position. It had taken them a fair while – almost a week longer than I’d been told it would be.

The decision was that they’d gone with one of the other candidates – A candidate that had experience of working in the public sector, which I haven’t. I received some glowing feedback from Eva with regard to all other aspects of my presentation and interview, and that i’m thankful for and proud of.

So, as far as measuring the success of this “project”, the result is in. I failed. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s been a fun and giving process, and as I’m staying self-employed Skatteverket could always make use of me as a consultant…<grin>


James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

Swedish internet usage 2011

.SE (Stiftelsen för Internetinfrastruktur) has released their yearly report (in Swedish) about Swedish internet use. It covers a wide spectrum of internet use, from file-sharing through to social networks.

I’ve previously written about the 2009 report with specific focus on Swedish blogging statistics. This time I’m going to give a more general summary of interesting findings from this year’s report.

Internet usage

86% of the Swedish population over the age of 18 use the internet. This has risen by just 1% in the last year. Additional people are still coming online, but they are largely limited to the over 65 age group.

In 2011, 69% of adult Swedes are using the internet daily.

Amongst Swedish internet users, two activities are so widespread that they could be considered to be done by everyone. Those are searching using Google (97%) and reading/writing email (95%). Searching for news (92%) and timetables (90%) are not too far behind in their popularity.

49% of three year olds are occasional internet users (64% within the 3-5 age group). The age-group in which the majority have used the internet has become younger year after year.

That the “start age” for internet use has reached such a young age as three is perhaps connected to the rise of smartphones and the mobile internet, as well as tablets such as the iPad.

More intensive internet usage – that is to say daily usage – amongst 3 year-olds has remained relatively constant (2-3%) during the past 3 years, whereas it has risen for every other age between 4 and 9.

Swedish blogging

46% of internet users read blogs (up from 37% in 2009), with 8% writing a blog (up from 6% in 2009). 16% of women and 5% of men read blogs daily. The number of young girls reading blogs has increased dramatically in recent years. 52% of Swedish girls between 12 and 15 read blogs daily. The equivalent figure for 12-15 year old boys is 1%.

Blog reading is predominately a female activity for every age group until the age of 76+. Reading blogs on a daily basis is overwhelmingly a female activity from 12 year-olds up to 45 year olds.

Social Media usage in Sweden

Half the population, 52%, use social networks. All of them have a Facebook account. This figure has increased 10% each year in recent years, and shows no signs of slowing.

In the 16-25 age group, the use of social networks has reached the point where you can say that pretty much everyone in that age group (95%) now uses social networking.

35% of those who use the internet use social networking sites daily, with Facebook obviously dominating. 7% though said they have used Twitter at some point, with 2% saying that they use it daily.

Digital natives

The age group that dominates in so many of the statistics in the report, is the 16-25 age-group. This generation is undeniably the digital generation. Many activities and usage patterns of this group can be routinely described with phrases such as “everyone” or “majority of”.

Despite high overall levels of adoption, the internet in Sweden is far from being a level playing ground. This is important to bear in mind in your digital activities.

Update: 2012-01-13

Swedes and the Internet 2011 has now been released in English.


James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

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