Archive for the ‘networks’ Category

Importance of Constant Content Creation (3C)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

The importance of constant content creation for any website cannot be understated. Not only are returning visitors greeted by new material, but more importantly, search engines are. For this reason, every site should have a content strategy to capitalize on this potential opportunity.

Without a blog or dynamic solution (CMS), most websites remain static between launches and updates. This does not bode well for traffic. Ongoing content creation preserves the attention of visitors, while addressing the needs of the search engines. A focus should be placed on the homepage in particular. Keep in mind that when a search engine returns to a given site, it can sense whether new content has been added. Recognition of this ensures that the search engine will crawl the site more frequently. On the contrary, static websites grow cold with the search engines.

3C creates more opportunities for traffic - the more pages a site contains, the more keywords and phrases it can be optimized for. This is where long tail search queries can really make an impact on the bottom-line. Neglected by many sites, these obscure, unique queries accumulate over time and drive a considerable amount of traffic once content levels increase.

Even if a company lacks current news - such as a press release, launch, update - content can (and should) still be generated. I suggest discussing current industry conditions. This creates industry credibility and status, while further developing current customer/user loyalty. Being recognized as the market expert or leader in a given space may provide that added edge when it comes time for financing or acquisition talks.

Is Too Much Collaboration a Bad Thing?

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Collaboration, wikis, and crowdsourcing are at the heart of web 2.0. The whole basis for social media is dependent upon these concepts. Value is achieved when numerous parties converge and aggregate knowledge. But a fundamental flaw still exists.

In all cases, collaboration on a document or article creates clutter. Unnecessary additions are all too familiar. Furthermore, what one person might find important, another may find completely irrelevant, in which case they may delete it. The point is that all these changes and modifications create inconsistency. Many voices do equate to more knowledge, but a lack of unity. For this very reason, often a single expert author can provide a more compelling, informative piece.

Ego is a huge issue at hand. Everyone wants a say. Everyone wants to feel like they’ve contributed. Ironically, the best way to participate may simply be to not participate at all.

I came across this very problem during my studies at university. Group projects create this dynamic. Everyone is assigned a section and all sections are amalgamated at the end. The problems with this approach are numerous. Most notably, different individuals possess different writing styles. Moreover, some points may be skipped over or reintroduced due to a lack of communication.

Google Docs and Wikipedia are two poignant (perhaps obvious) examples that come to mind.

My stance on this topic is relatively neutral. I acknowledge both the advantages and disadvantages to collaboration. I do, however, lean cautiously toward a positive take on the situation. Nevertheless, I understand that there is no perfect solution. I would wager that most agree that the benefits outweigh the downfalls, but that’s not the point. Education and awareness need to take center stage. Most are ignorant and oblivious that disadvantages even exist with respect to Wikipedia and other such systems. Acceptance isn’t the hard part. Putting your ego aside and overcoming denial is.

What is your take on wikis and collaboration? Do you think social media is the greatest thing since sliced bread or do you think it is fundamentally flawed?

Tell MappingTheWeb Readers About Your Company

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Now is the time and place to tell MappingTheWeb readers about your company or start-up. In response to being bombarded with countless e-mails and press releases, I am opening the floor to everyone. For once, shameless plugs and self-fulfilling promotions are encouraged.

So, if you are interested in telling the world about your company, start-up, project, or initiative, please do so in the comments. Also, be sure to check out the other companies :)

The Notorious Craigslist Interface

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Craigslist logoThe Craigslist interface is the epitome of “ugly design”. Keep in mind that “ugly design” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad design” or “unattractive design”. Many people, including myself, love the design and are against any changes. Thank God the company has the same philosophy. With the exception of a few small, necessary tweaks, the interface hasn’t changed much since inception.

Many have begged Craigslist to modernize the interface - even just a bit. At SXSW 2006, a six-person panel of leading designers and interface experts did a basic redesign of the layout. A more sophisticated look and feel was the goal. Here is the design they came up with: Craigslist redesign. It is actually quite nice. Although, as expected, the company never implemented any of the changes.

I think the lesson to be learned is that simplicity and utility cannot be over-emphasized. Though aesthetics do play a role, users most often favour efficiency, which leads in to my next point.

Usability remains number one. How do we know this? Any destination page is only two clicks away. First, click your city. Then, click your link of interest. Add to that familiarity with the navigation. Since the layout hasn’t changed for so long, people have become accustomed to it. If changes were to occur, there would be a learning curve involved.

At this point, Craigslist can do no wrong. Though the company is structured as a for-profit corporation, most perceive the company as a non-profit due to its unconventional approach to business. The .org domain also helps. The combination of free listings and a constant focus on the user are two main drivers that have kept Craigslist at the top and disallowed any competitors from making in-roads.

What do you think of the Craigslist interface? Do you think it’s great? Do you think it’s ugly and should be changed?

Techmeme Bandwagon Jumpers

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

TechMeme Leaderboard logoLet it be known that I love Techmeme. Along with Digg, I read it every day. I would imagine this is the daily routine of many other bloggers as well. I think there is some great content on there. This blog has hit the front page a few times and witnessed a surge in traffic. For this reason, I’d love to be promoted within the “Techmeme ecosystem”. The added exposure and increased subscribers are wonderful byproducts. But in order to do so, I may have to conform to the unwritten rules.

Techmeme is a “club”. Only a very small percentage of blogs will achieve front page status. I think it’s safe to say that 0.1% of blogs receive 100% of the coverage. These include TechCrunch, Engadget, and the New York Times to name a few. To attain membership to this club, there are a few ways to expedite the process. These involve “selling out” to some extent:

  1. Writing about any and every breaking tech story, following the lead of many of the top tech blogs. This usually involves regurgitating the news on a time-sensitive basis.
  2. Linking, trackbacking, and adding blogs to your blogroll just because they are the A-listers. Obviously, if value is present, then do so. But flattery and conformity are just plain weak.

In other words, writing about popular topics and linking to popular blogs will facilitate a boost in the Techmeme hierarchy.

Much has been said about the Techmeme system. Is it a manual process? Does it involve complicated algorithms? Who knows… One thing is certain though: promotion should be based on the value and analysis provided rather than political reasons.

Assuredly, I’m not willing to link to blogs that I don’t care about just for the sake of Techmeme. I’m also not willing to blog about a certain topic because it is “hot” at the moment, even though all the top blogs may be doing so. In any given blog post, it is my goal to add value and provide a new perspective. If I fail to achieve either, I have failed myself and my readers.

Note: I do link to some of the top tech blogs on my blogroll, but only because I find them informative and insightful. I do not have any ulterior motives.