How would you like generate a boat load of traffic to your web site without filling someone else’s boat with money to do it? Well, it could be just as simple as coming up with the right idea. Or to be more specific, an idea that people will talk about.
We all stand around the water cooler talking about the latest neat thing we heard about on the radio or that a friend mentioned to us. Maybe it is a product, service or just something funny that was on TV the night before. But what if that water cooler was actually a complex social network that connected with thousands of other people? Suddenly what you thought was interesting is being discussed all around the world. Then somewhere along the line all of these people stumble across a web site, video or some sort of content that is related to this topic of interest. Suddenly links to that content start popping up all over the place. As a result traffic to the web site that is hosting that content goes through the roof and prominence in search results increases. Now what if you happened to have that content of interest on your web site? That would not be so bad, would it?
So how exactly does something spread like wildfire through these social networks? Well first, there needs to be that good idea. This idea does not have to be groundbreaking. In fact it could even be something that seems downright silly. But what it needs to be is something that people will talk about and more importantly send to other people online. So long as it generates some sort of buzz or interest, then the word will start to spread. This interest can be the result of something people find humorous, silly or even controversial.
Recently we had the pleasure of developing an online contest for KFC Canada’s website, which was able to reap the benefits of this phenomenon. The contest was tied into a promotion for their new spicy Wicked Crunch Sandwich. In the contest a video shows a fictional heavy metal band playing on stage. The singer in the band screams over the music and ends the song by breathing fire. They then cut to a shot of him backstage taking a bite out of a Wicked Crunch, to which he states, “Oh man that is hot.” That may or may not seem humorous to you. However, due to the fact that a company such as KFC chose to use a dark, leather and spikes heavy metal band in their contest, it was deemed a rather bold move by many people. Because of this bold move, people online started talking about the contest, posting links to it and even clips of the video started popping up on YouTube. Suddenly contest submissions started increasing and went from a couple hundred a day to thousands. In addition to that, the contest page on the KFC web site started showing up prominently in search results. All thanks to the interest generated by the links back to the KFC site from numerous blogs and message boards.
I was recently flying in from Boston when I noticed my native West Pubnico from the air, clearly distinctive because of its 17 power-generating windmills, and I remarked how it reminded me of looking at Google Earth on my computer.
Then, it occurred to me how strange a thought this was: that reality was reminding me of a virtual image rather than the other way around. It was life imitating illustration, if you will.
That’s pretty much the way it is. Our sense of reality is becoming viewed more and more through the lens of the Internet, and this is something you need to take seriously if you’re depending on your website to carry your message.
Many people think that all you need to do is create a website and people will find it. That’s akin to printing stacks of marketing brochures and putting them in a warehouse, hoping someone will stumble upon them.
Others think that registering their website with search engines will do the trick. That would be like putting an ad in a few newspapers telling people where they can go to get your brochures.
Still others feel that if you put in enough keywords, then that will make your website popular. It will definitely help, but it’s far from the full story.
If not done correctly, it will hurt more than help. Why? Because search engines don’t like to be tricked. If the keywords don’t match the content and follow search engine rules, then the search engines may downgrade the site in their listings.
But help is available. There is a whole industry around making sure your website gets found by the right people via search engines, a process called search engine optimization. Here are some of the important facets of search engine optimization:
The ASP.NET MVC team released their Release Candidate product last Tuesday. The team is still tracking well to their 1.0 release later this month.
You can download the RC version from the ASP.NET MVC web site.
On a semi-related note, there is also a MEAP (Manning Early Access Program) update for the ASP.NET MVC in Action including a handful of new chapters. Currently the first 11 of 14 are available.
Rich Internet Applications (RIA’s) represent a growing proportion of our custom software development. Using such libraries as jQuery or Prototype we are able to deliver rich client-side functionality that is cross-browser compatible with greater ease than ever before.
With this announcement, it is clear that Microsoft understands the trend and is looking for opportunities to capitalize on it.
For us as developers, VS2010 will allow us to build even better, more robust web applications that can run on a multitude of browsers and operating systems.
Gotta love it! Go BG!
So am I. I decided to at a look at some well known software development publishers to see what they have available for Silverlight books.
Apress has five titles listed for Silverlight, but as of this blog posting, all are “NOT YET PUBLISHED”. It doesn’t look like they are offering a Silverlight 1.0 book as most titles reference specifically Silverlight 1.1. I like Apress books and I highly recommend their “Pro” series. I am a little disappointed in their lack of a decent Silverlight 1.0 book.
O’Reilly has three titles that are currently in print, all three at an introductory (or essentials) level. Their “Getting Started with Silverlight” began shipping back in April 2007. There are not many reviews listed with this title, but the average rating is five stars out of six.