Published 2010.
Useful. Sets a series of questions along the way for reader to determine their own answers. Practical yet not overly prescriptive. Case studies to reinforce online/ social media marketing & web development concepts.

Suggests the key on online engagement includes these 3 aspects: Have to be real, Have to offer something, Have to be interesting.

Covers RSS, blogs & microblogging, content management systems, metrics/ analytics, social media, web video, mobile.

Formatting content to suit the display platform.

Use tools to listen in to social media conversations (giga alerts, Keyword search on twitter, technorati search, google trends, search in relevant social media sites, subscribe to experts or relevant ppl)

Being practical; don’t spam others with info just because they are on your list. They can unsubscribe anytime.

Developing a web strategy:

  • Strategy (statement, description)
  • Strategy elements (required parts to make it whole)
  • Goals/ targets Approach (how to do it)
  • Analysing the competition
  • Content (what type of content to provide/ what sort of community do we want)
  • Email marketing (is it needed, how frequent)
  • Resources/ staffing (do we want continuity in our social media platform, who edits, Editorial calendar Etc)
  • Budget (author’s opinion is there is a cost to social media, e.g. Staffing, time)
  • Technology (which I interpret as considering maintenance costs, re-development/ enhancement costs; mobile & multiple platform costs)
  • Considering analytics (technical ways o measure web use)
  • Deadlines
  • Documentation (suggests using a wiki as means to document)
  • User generated content (ask: ownership, privacy, profanity, Illegal use, moderator transparency)
  • The returns (suggests Trust and Community are two big ones)
  • Emphasizes regular content updates drives traffic (SEO partly?)

Social Media plan: use the list of questions from chpts 2 & 3 (relationships, online presence, digital footprints through content, onsite & offsite techniques) as starting points, experimenting, assign tasks & resources, documenting, reviewing.

Chpt 2 – onsite strategy.
List of questions about:

  • system specs,
  • user profile,
  • Figure 2.3 info architecture,
  • Content strategy (how much content over time, how many users, how many authors How to approach user-generated content, what do we want from site visitors, SEO needs)
  • Usability strategy (suggests it’s not about customer segmentation or personalization but giving the same awesome experience to visitors; being able to accurately answer what users want from landing on the site, and what we want from users. See “web design for ROI”, loveday & neihaus, http://www.webdesign4roi.com; presenting too many options is a problem)
  • Mobile platforms
  • Web Standards
  • SEO (black & white SEO; question: can we create metadata that helps search engines crawl better?)
  • Syndication strategy (RSS)
  • Flash, pros & cons (2008 Adobe and Google announcing Flash SEO initiative; google analytics for flash tracking)
  • Managing user generated content
  • Analytics

Chpt 3 – offsite
“those who find success in online community building is there to help, not to sell”.
On being truthful & transparent. Questions: who do we want to align with? Who can benefit from what we have to offer? How can we help ppl in ways they cannot? What value does our expertise provide? How can we provide helpful context over time?

Safko & brake.Social media bible, 2009. Suggests 5 types of social media participants. Lurkers, novices, insiders (consistently add to community), leaders/ experts, elders (those who have moved on).

Reasons for ppl abandoning their blog: lack of traffic. Two main reasons for lack of traffic – not providing the content that readers want; not spending enough efforts building a community around the blog. Commenting is a way to build a community.

On Commitment: how much time to spend? How much resources? How to expand? Says maintaining momentum for the long haul is important.

Questions on monitoring & metrics. What resources are needed to maintain the monitoring tools? Can data be exported? How will you use the info (I think this is most impt)?

Chpt 4: content
Breadcrumb trail, usability (intuitive rather than instructive), main page requirements, info architecture (hierarchy & structure to info), cross navigation (e.g. “people who bought this also bought…”), search box, forms, testimonials.

Steps in building site navigation: list all items/ pages, group them, prioritize, link/ draw connections. (showed appl.com site map as example). See also XML site maps; for search engines understand site structure; XML-sitemaps.com.

Register site with google webmaster tools (www.google.com/webmasters)

Keywords Vs metatags; suggests freekeywords.wordtracker.com

Googletrends; http://www.google.com/sktool

Suggests the following steps: write down 5/ 10 words that describe the site offerings, write down 5/ 10 words that differentiate your site from others, narrow the list, combine the words in phrases that are likely to be search terms.

Section on tags, metatags, encoding them.

Web Image optimization; smush.it
Suggests: website optimization, Andrew b. King, o’reilly 2009; the smashing book (smashing magazine)

Gutenberg rule; 4 quadrants. Top left: primary optical area. Top right: strong fallow area. Bottom left: weak fallow area. Bottom right: terminal area.

Adapting a sales &marketing model for web design – AIDA: Attention (create content that attracts), Interest (provide info that creates interest), Desire (link info to the desires of the potential customer), Action (provide clear easy path for user to take action)

Idea of “invisible navigation”; navigation becomes an extension and focus of user is on the experience rather than the design (not talking about graphics).

Tips/ considerations on links, mouse overs. Font workarounds. Sidenote: Case study/ explanation of a award winning website.

Content Management Systems (chapter focuses on open source tools that run on MySQL and PHP). Many types: web cms, enterprise, document, Mobile, media, component. Provides an overview & outlines pros/ cons of some CMS platforms like Drupal, Joomlah, Expression Engine, SquareSpace, WordPress, Tumblr. Blog or CMS?

“the whole point if the blog is to humanize and provide information from a personal perspective, so the primary difference lies in content creation and how it is approached.”

Chpt 7 outlines development issues: security, load testing, CSS expressions/ optimization, script placements, redirects, microformats, APIs (covers APIs quite extensively), facebook apps, etc.

Chpt 8 on blogs/ blogging.
Outlines various blog platforms: blogger, wordpress, Tumblr, Squarespace, Moveable Type, features of blogs, terminology. Case study on a company “Intercultural Talk, Inc.”, essentially outlining their social media plan.

Quite in depth on RSS, including outline of its origins and chronological development, and syntax.

Email marketing.
Subject line is the strongest. Recommends stating it in simple, direct, less gimmicky way.

  • Tips for email content (applies to web writing, to me):
  • Killer topic sentences
  • Follow with short smart paragraphs
  • Use headers & sub headers where relevant
  • Create text blocks that are easily digested (white space)
  • Bullet highlights in lists
  • Bold, italicise, highlight for emphasis
  • Provide links for more info
  • Write not in flowery prose; use ability to communicate in as little space as possible

Outline of email campaign tools

Other considerations: width 600 pixels or less; use tables for layout, test ability to view videos/ flash etc, provide alternatives/ backups if these can’t be viewed.

Subscription management: groups, opt-in/ out, invite, add friends.

Case study: shorter email has better response rate, avoid writing about personal success/ write about company success, key message: refer people here with confidence, keep subject lines short & pithy.

Off-site techniques
Covers social media, context, use, relevance (more for the uninitiated).
Outlines (including popular sites) video sharing sites, photo sharing, social bookmarking, microblogging, wiki (didn’t include wikispaces), directories, review sites, social apps
References for this chpt:
http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2007/tc20070314_884996.htm
http://www.managementconsultingnews.com/interviews/safko_interview.php

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/135/app-mania.html

Chpt on Social media optimization – covers tips, areas to watch out, tools. Dangers (news references)
http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bar-tender/2009/07/exhibit-a-will-one-chicago-womans-tweet-cost-her-50000.html
http://www.circleid.com/posts/a_look_at_the_facebook_privacy_class_action_beacon_settlement/

Case study: Chicago office of tourism. They offered a “online concierge service” for a blogher conference; answered directional questions via twitter. Gained over 300 followers. They apply the following to their online engagement efforts: helps to be proactive; takes a lot of staff to offer a good service; what works on one platform doesn’t necessarily work on another. Concludes that good (great) service creates word of mouth effect.

Chpt on Web video production. Characteristics of viral videos: usually no overt sales message; often not politically correct; show something out of the ordinary; show dangerous/ comedic (may not be intentional)/ emotional; topical/ tie to current events. Covers some technical aspects, process, equipment.

Considerations for video sharing; tools for tracking videos on multiple sites. Indexing video metadata, Google Audio Indexing (Gaudi). Transcribing audio – adobe premiere pro; soundbooth. SEO for video pages. Open source tools.
http://www.seashore.sourceforge.net/
Www.gimp.org
http://www.scribus.net/
http://www.squared5.com/
http://www.aviary.com/
http://www.handbrake.fr/

Part 4 – The Return
Reality is that people will talk about your company online. Suggests liking at the first page of the search engine results page to see if you are being mentioned. You cannot control what they say but can choose how to react. Need not react to all.
http://www.gigaalerts.com
http://www.alerts.com
http://google.com/alerts
http://alerts.live.com
http://alerts.yahoo.com
http://tweetalarm.com

A consolidated case study: “Book of Odds” online publisher of statistics (www.bookofodds.com). Digital user experience requirements. http://www.kurani.com/Work/Book-of-Odds (it’s also about offering differentiated content).

Hired Kurani Interactive. “an engaging experience that would increase the value and meaning of the data”. Started as a book idea; expanded to web. Took 9 months to build. Overall strategy: introduce wide range of audience to concept of probability and chance as part of everyday conversation”. Driven by ad-based revenue/ performance-based ad revenue (in short the activities directed towards building site traffic). Started sketching a profile of audience. User experience was centered on “similar to me” idea. The site recommended a visual history of what people are looking at; visual browsing; user to realise who unique/ different they are from others. Their considerations for content, stickiness, conversion, using Flash, data visualization, tag cloud as a solution to presenting so much data, wrireframe, choice of CMS, search & browse, blogs (they have one for founder and one for the team); custom-build w integration to site CMS. SEO.

Considers ROE as the climb in search rankings and featured on mainstream coverage. Using twitter & fb as social media outlets; directing replies to main site.

Intro to mobile platforms & mobile marketing (e.g. iPhone apps build on Objective C; app store clearance process; blackberry JavaME, android, flash lite). Discusses trends; augmented reality

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