Archive for February, 2010

Where should your online content live?

Posted on: February 23rd, 2010 by Fransgaard 3 Comments

Home sweet home…

We all have a place we call home. If we live a life of travel there will still be one place we refer to as home even though we are mainly spend our time elsewhere.

So what does that have to do with your online content? Traditionally your online content has lived on your website a single-lane communication road.

Now you can choose go have a bespoke gallery developed but why not just use the readily available Flickr? And you need to maintain that Facebook/MySpace/LinkedIn profile so you are where your friends are. Social media is changing where your content live and the options are all good.

But it can become an increasingly bigger task to maintain your content as you start to have more and more online presences, often with duplicated content.

So how do you harness the power of social media channels and save time?

I think you need to look at each of your content blocks independently from your website and find a suitable home that may well be outside your website. Let’s look at a simple example:

You want feature your videos both on your website but you also know your viewers are heavy users of YouTube. You can either upload to both channels, or you can decide that the home of your videos is actually YouTube and get your site to pull them in automatically leaving you one place to manage the videos.

Imagine the time saved if your video is a daily video blog.

Let’s look at another more complex example: Your news.

Your website has a regular news feed. You know a broad section of your users are on Twitter and you also know a few but very valuable customers are on Linkedin.

As your news is quite time sensitive manually uploading to all three channels is slowing this process down and you realise that adding channels in the future will only slow it down further.

You already have a news feed on your site and the CMS you use has a plugin for posting automatically to Twitter. But as it turns out there isn’t a plugin for Linkedin.

You could choose to commission a company to build an auto-post-to-LinkedIn functionality, but before you rush off with that RFP document stop and think a second; If you news is that time sensitive maybe you need to post on the go and your CMS isn’t really cut out for mobile browsing.

There are lots of mobile apps for Twitter so maybe the home for your news should be on Twitter to manage it the easiest possible way. This also works in favour of auto posting on Linkedin as well as the two networks support each other.

What does all this mean for your website?

I think there will always be a need for a website environment where all your content is gathered in one place, but thinking smarter about where your content lives will speed up your site and reach a bigger audience.

Ofcourse all channels don’t have to feature identical content. For example while your Facebook group posts the same news as your Twitter, LinkedIn and website, you could also post Facebook exclusive offers only to your Facebook users.

There is a social media app for each type of content these days and you probably know them all so make sure to keep them in mind.

Here are a few I can think off. Please feel free to share any other useful ones:

Social media optimisation – What can you do?

Posted on: February 15th, 2010 by Fransgaard 1 Comment

Facebook directs more online users than Google…

…says the headline of an article I just read (via http://twitter.com/hnshah).

My first reaction is “wow” same as most people I’d suspect, but when I think about it it is actually not that surprising.

The web has grown insanely since it first became a space for the general public and I have in quite a few years relied on portals filtering all the sites out there for me… I have even set up one myself which forces me to filter cool links I find down to three links a day rather than spamming everything I find to friends.

But it is a change we have to get used to fast. As the article says:

Web content creators had to worry whether they had the proper level of search-engine optimization to make sure search engines listed them among the top results. Now, they have to consider what companies like Gigya offer – social-media optimization.

So what can you do?

I don’t (yet) know what Gigya mentioned in the article offers but there are some immediate easy steps to look at.

1. Ease of sharing
Make sure users can share your webpages as easy as possible. Use readily available tools such as AddThis or look at plugins for your CMS such as Sexy Bookmarks for WordPress.

2. Encourage participation
If users actively participate, they are more likely to share to “show off” to their connections. this could be…

  • …allowing users to comment on your content.
  • …a simple “tweet this to win” competition.
  • …an cool social media application (no, they do not cost a fortune to make).
  • …a socially engaging, but time limited campaign.

3. Migrate and share your content
Facebook seems to facilitate a lot of traffic, but what could you make it even easier by letting your content live in Facebook or any of the other social media/social news channels your users spend time in?

Don’t be afraid of managing content across several channels. Yes, managing social media channels does take time, but a lot can be automated.

  • Your news such tweet itself automatically.
  • The content on your about us page could live on Linkedin for then to be imported into your site.
  • Think beyond channels. Find the perfect home for each of your content blocks.

That is not to say all your content should be automated, not at all, the personal, human touch is becoming ever more important, but that’s another story for another time.


You need a website… or do you?

Posted on: February 14th, 2010 by Fransgaard No Comments

I am a web professional, these days mainly on the design and communication side of it, but I can handcode HTML and CSS… so the fact I am writing this post on Posterous is quite telling of the way the web is going.

I could have made an HTML page or I could have deployed a WordPress CMS on one of my domains, but fact is I am still typing away in Posterous. Why? Because it is easy.

In fact it isn’t even Posterous that has triggered me to write this post, it is another new kid on the block called Flavors.me.

Flavors is not a site, Flavors is a shell effectively pulling in all your presences on the web into one Lifestream, be it your Twitter, your Linkedin, your own blog etc. It means that anybody who can set up any one of the many readily available social media channels can combine them in Flavors to effectively create a real site without any technical skills.

However, it got me thinking: Traditional websites are becoming less important as users can access and manipulate content via various online applications.

And I can easily see how the Flavors concept can evolve into a shell that hosts all the content you find relevant, not only your own, maybe like a more advanced twitter.

In the near future users will increasingly read your content in their preferred delivery mechanism, RSS was just the front runner for this and Twitter the first real attempt to make it easy. The challenge will be to get users to actively seek, want, embed and share your content.

Facebook seems to be one suitable framework for this development, esspecially if you look at how Facebook’s messaging service is overtaking personal emails. I think one of the keys will be to create such a framework that delivers across all technologies, screen, mobile, TV etc

To answer the headline question: Yes, you do need a website, but increasingly it will play the role of the fallback solution in case all other communication channels fail, a place your customers can feel confident is there, but a place they rarely visit as your communication will reach them more regularly through their chosen interface.