Software Marketing Resource Articles: February 2006

You wrote the code, now how do you sell it?

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Top 10 Unique Ideas for Content Creation

Building Content
A website is more than just merging photos and graphics. Webmasters must also integrate quality themed content into their website. A "sticky" website is one that attracts individuals and encourages them to return. "Sticky websites" contains content that is related and of interest to the prospective customers. A sticky site is a place people will visit again and again. By creating an atmosphere people like to revisit, will increase their exposure to your product or service.

1. Top 10
Create a top 10 list of industry sites resources, and products that are related to the website's theme. The list should contain helpful resources or authority sites that are respected and have genuine useful information. Providing a credible top 10 will help web visitors and showcase tenability of the website. Hey wait a minute, you're reading one of these right now!

RSS Top 10 -

2. Product Comparisons
If you managed an industry website, consider creating a product or service comparison guide. Use a grid to illustrate the differences between the specific products or services. The comparison guide will be of interest to website visitors and contain unique aggregated data to assist in the visitor's decision making.

Podcast Directory Comparison -

3. Consumer Reports
Product warnings, recalls or alerts are generally issued by government agencies. The product alerts contain a list of related products, and any critical information related to that product. Consider syndicating the RSS feed of products from a specific industry or sector, displaying critical information will generate goodwill with potential customers and demonstrate social-consciousness.

Overview of Toilets -

4. Buyers Guides.
Creating a buyer's guide is especially useful in the holiday season. A buyers guide or gift guide will attract both advertisers and web surfers. You can create a Buyers Guide using a web form, which effectively makes the process easier to manage. You can take the the Buyers Guide a step further, by making the guide interactive. Ask website visitors questions and offer helpful suggestions, based on their preferences. Analysis of product specifications, features, reviews and comparisons can be provided as part of an online buyers guide, important products or services can be highlighted in the guide.

Active Buyers Guide -

5. Tutorial
Creating educational tutorials or demonstrations about how a technology or service is effective in a specific industry or sector, is not only useful but it helps website visitors consider how they might further use a product or service. Consider providing wizards, tutorials or educational material that will assist in educating users. Educational materials also distinguishes the website publishers as knowledgeable in a specific area.

Tutorial -

6. Glossary.
Decipher those difficult to understand words, for your website visitors. Despite sometimes being entrenched in an industry, consumers often remain unaware of what specific terminology means. Provide a clear, concise glossary of terms related to a product or service. Educating users about the lingo will help them better understand a product or services benefit.

Medical Terminology -

7. History.
Profile the history of an industry, event, or individual related to the product or service that you are promoting. The historical perspective will educate and attract those who have an industry interest.

What is Shareware / History of Shareware -

8. Online Tool or Service.
Provide a online web tool or service. Webmasters or search engine marketers may provide a free website critique or a free tool related to the product or service they are marketing in order to attract web traffic. The tool or free service will act as a lost leader bringing web visitors to their website for an indefinite amount of time.

CSS Scrollbar maker -

9. Interviews or Success Stories
Generate content by interviewing industry professionals. Not only are interviews interesting to website visitors, but also webmasters might find a number of interviewees provide links back to the interview from related industry websites.

Software Success Stories and Interviews -

10. Interactive Content.
Content that is interactive will not only generate buzz, it will draw in website visitors. One of the first examples of interactive content, the Subservient chicken, generated not only buzz, but a good amount of traffic for Burger King. Marketers have adapted interactive content allowing webmasters to cater content based on web visitors choices or behavior.

Subservient Chicken -
My Virtual Model - (select clothes to be modeled)

Creative content building techniques can draw interested website visitors. Create timeless, unique content and watch your webtraffic and visitors grow.
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Sunday, February 26, 2006

What is Google Base?

In order for Google Base to succeed, it will need the support of both publishers and users. Quite frankly, most are having difficulty seeing the value in Google Base. Google Base, is a new service in beta, from Google that requests that publishers add their information to the "Google Base". Google Base is hosted by Google. All types of item submissions are accepted online and off-line information in a variety of formats. Google Base uses tagging similar to that found in many social-bookmarking applications, though Google refers to it as labels. The labels are used by Google to categorize or add attributes to the information, that better describes the content. The more popular specific attributes become, the more often Google will suggest them when others post the same or similar items. Additionally, items that become more popular will show up as suggested item types in the "Choose an Existing Item Type" drop down menu.

Based on the relevance of the submitted items, they may also be included in the main Google search index, and other Google products such as Froogle and Local Google Search.

Because the individual submitting the content can define the content using labels, the system is left open to rampant spam. While there does appear to be a "checks and balances" in place with each listing showing a "report a bad link" button, that allow searches to report and indicate that content has been improperly tagged, contains adult content, or is otherwise inappropriate content. It is unclear whether Google will create a hierarchy of web surfers. DMOZ and many Wiki systems, create a leadership structure of users to minimize spam, but the fact remains that both systems are prone to abuses. It is unclear whether Google will implement a similar system.

Google Base is currently available only in English. Web surfers can experiment with Google Base and browse through existing items at any time. However, to submit items, a Google Account must be created. Google Base will currently accept bulk uploads in CSV, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0 and Atom 0.3 formats.

Content providers who already have RSS feeds can easily submit their content to Google Base without requiring a lot of additional work. Unfortunately at this time, each Google Account only allows for 10 feeds to be submitted to Google Base. Many content publishers have merged content topics and multiple RSS feeds into a single RSS feed. This is inefficient and may ultimately hurt the structure of Google Base, as each RSS feed may contain items that are unrelated.

One nice feature of Google Base has is a geo-targeting search feature that produces results for a very specific region. However at this time many submission do not include a product location so the geo-targeting feature, while a nice addition, will need some refinement as well.

Google Base currently produces far less relevant searches than a vertical search engine. Why Google is relying on tagging (labels) rather than the contextual spidering makes little sense. And why Google has taken the step of content hosting is unclear. Search Engines historically devalue duplicate content, the Google hosting may provide a unique twist to the duplicate content debates.

While Google Base is still in beta, it is clear that it needs to be polished. In order to garner the support from publishers and users Google articulating the purpose and intent of Google Base might help in gaining support.
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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Great Online Resources for Webmasters

As the web becomes increasingly more crowded, it is important for webmasters to take the extra step to make their web sites user friendly. There are a number of free resources available to webmasters:

What is a Favorite Icon - Favicon?
Favorite icons, also known as favicon, appear in the URL bar. When a user bookmarks a specific Web page, that Web page loads a customized icon into the user's browser, typically a tiny version of a company or Web site's logo. Because the favicon is usually displayed next to the web site address, it can act like a small logo or an icon that visitors can use to remember the web site or the site address.

The favicon is displayed next to the Web site's name in the Favorites list and can also be displayed in the Links toolbar. When a site has not created a favicon, IE will load the IE logo into the browser by default. When a user bookmarks a page, the browser will request a favicon.ico file from the directory of the Web page. If such a file exists, then the Web page is using a favicon and will return the file to the browser. Many browsers support favicons including all current versions of the major browsers support favicons, including Internet Explorer 5/6+, Firefox 1+, Mozilla 1+, Netscape 7+, Opera 7+, Konqueror 3+, Safari and more. If a particular browser doesn't have support for the favicon feature, it'll simply ignore the favicon and the presence of a favicon won't affect that browser.

Webmasters can establish branding by customizing a favorite icon. The free service from HTMLKit

Custom 404 Pages.
Urls are often mistyped into browsers. When a domain is correctly entered, but the web pages full url is entered incorrectly, it is possible to display a custom error page to web site visitors. By providing users a navigational bar or assistance rather than a generic error page. The customized error page will help keep prospective customers on your site providing them alternatives.

Webmasters should also routinely check their log files and correct any pages that result in errors. Most log analysis software will provide the referring document information for a webpage (the page that the user was at prior to the current page). Use the web log to track faulty links, if the links are out of the webmaster's control (a 3rd part), consider setting up a re-direct and forwarding the traffic to the appropriate webpage.

Sample Custom 404s - or

Clear and intuitive navigation is important so that web surfers can locate the material of interest. Many web surfers will enter your website and land on a variety of pages. It is important that they navigate your site regardless of the webpage they landed on. Links on the site, should contain text that relates to the linked webpage's content.

Consider recruiting a child or inexperienced adult to test your website's navigation. Webmasters can often learn how others view their website, by just watching.

Webmaster Tools
There are a number of freely available web tools that will evaluate a site for a variety of things. Most of the online tools will generate a report and highlight the positive aspects of the website and possibly the negative aspects of the website, as it relates to the evaluation.

Web Analyzer Tool -
Search Engine Assessment Tools -

Take a few extra steps to make your site stand up and out from a competitors.
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