For over a month, my blog was not being indexed by Google. I recently upgraded to a dedicated server, and apparently something wasn’t toggled correctly, and some websites found my blog to be a 403, permission issues. Although I was being indexed by Yahoo, MSN, ASK and others, google was no longer displaying my blog in any search results.
I’ve never spent money on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) nor do I go to any great efforts other than blogging best practices, to make sure I score well. I’ve been using Google as the main way to find my own blog posts, as it’s the fastest way, the native blog search returns way to many values, and not necessarily sorted by relevance. I wasn’t the only one, as a few readers emailed me and told me they couldn’t find my blog, apparently they use search to find me, rather than bookmark or subscribe.
Thanks to the various folks that have tried to offer some advice, although I ultimately found the solution by logging into Google’s webmaster and doing a site verify (have you done that?). I then contacted my host, and a few days later, it’s now easily found in the search results. Here’s what my web host said:
“Ah!, i found that you have any ip starting from 66.249 blocked, im not sure why this is here, probably to block google when you site was hosted on shared. I dont have any notes on your account that we did this for any issues on your private server, so i`ll go ahead and remove it.”
It’s now fixed. While many social media purists look down on SEO, one only realizes how important something is once it’s gone.
Update: I suggested to Dreamhost that this was an opportunity loss for me and it would be appreciated if they credited me a reasonable amount, they did, thanks, that was the right thing to do.
I’m starting this series of posts tagged On The Move (click to see archives) to recognize and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. We should congratulate the following folks:
Sheila Scarborough is joining Connie Reece and Mike Chapman at Reece and Company as a social media writer and consultant. Her other passions includes writing about travel and NHRA drag racing.(Twitter handle)
Steven Mandzik formerly of American Intelligence Community is now moving to a different group, one that will allow him to be a community leader, in an entrepreneurial shop at the CIA. He left a comment in my previous post.
Jeff Glasson joined PerkettPR .
Dan Schawbel is EMC’s first Social Media Specialist
Tris Hussey, a friend of mine joined B5 as a Training Manager, and is blogging on Maple Leaf 2.0, news here.
Mitchell Ashley is now blogging for Network World and will be starting another podcast (for Network World this time.) as well as maintaining his company Converging Networks LLC.
Will Pate, formerly of Flock is now at ConceptShare
Scott Parent at MediaTrust was appointed VP of MediaTrust’s Search and Social Media Optimization Division
How to Connect with others:
Submit an annoucement
If you know folks that are moving up in the social media industry, leave a comment below, or if you’re feeling shy (it’s cool to self-nominate) send me an email.
Seeking Social Media Professionals?
If you’re seeking to connect with community advocates and community managers there are few resources
Also see my Web Strategy Jobs powered by Job o Matic
Also see my community manager group in Facebook
Check out Jake McKee’s community portal for jobs
See Chris Heuer’s Social Media Jobs
SimplyHired aggregates job listings, as does Indeed
Hiring? Leave a comment
If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, or I’ll delete it.
Connie Benson is a community advocate, and is the community manager at ACDsee photo management software that I’ve used when I was a UI designer. Aside from that, she helps me co-moderate the Community Manager group in Facebook, and has been a big contributor in my research, defining the four tenets of community managers, and is becoming a great friend.
I asked Connie what to do when detractors criticize your company, brand, or products, we also talk about dealing with an overwhelming negative community or forum.
I also recommend setting up a process in advanced that helps to identify what type of detractor you’re dealing with, as some should be responded to quickly, and some should never be responded to (ongoing trolls). Develop a plan on what to do, as you’re going to have to deal with different personalities throughout your community program.
Update: Nicholas Butler says in twitter that Connie’s direct actions helped him give the ACDsee products another try, talk about understanding the value of having a community advocate like Connie.
For the web professional, there are various activities that occur on a consistent basis, I’ve boiled them down to three succint types of activities. Working as a lowly production UI designer to managing a global website, I’ve had to do all.
The Three Web Activities: Task, Project, and Business Programs
What: A web task is a short term undertaking that could involve any type of activity that supports a website.
Examples: These could be content changes, database checks, stylesheet changes, or reporting and monitoring.
Who: Typically assigned to the content, development, web analysts, production, or engineering team, these are the core activities that keep the website running efficiently.
What: A specific-duration activity, this project involves the completion of a goal, and success is measured upon completion and timeliness to complete.
Examples: Several projects may be going on during any given time such as a redesign project, code upgrade, cms install, or language translation.
Who: Often assigned to a web manager, business analyst, or dedicated project manager, this person may call upon resources from various teams in the company from the web team, marketing, and often IT.
The Business Program
What: These ongoing business programs (not to be confused a web application ‘program’) are the heart of a web managers purpose, their job is to manage these ongoing programs with a specific goal in mind: increase revenue or decrease costs. These web programs are designed to fulfill objectives of a web strategy.
Examples: the Intranet program, the Extranet program, the International website program, the Community Program, the Blogging Program, or the corporate website program.
Who: This duty is typically relegated to the Web Strategist (titles include web manager, web director, vp of web marketing). They will employ a number of ongoing resources to properly allocate for content, code, production, management, and ongoing maintainence.
While any of these activities can be outsourced, it’s ill-advised to outsource the entire activity, as control and management will be needed. Learn more, see the three spheres of web strategy, or my employer’s Forrester POST methodology for social computing endeavors.
I’m both passionate about communities (having created the community advocate group in Facebook, as well as held the community manager role at HDS) and am now doing research on this topic. I’m on a quest to find an accurate, reliable, and timeless definition of the term “online community”.
I vetted this definition with my Twitter network, received nearly 50 responses this morning. I’ve boiled down a definition to the following:
An online community is: Where a group of people with similar goals or interests connect and exchange information using web tools.
Also good reads are other ways to define community, (quoting Jake McKee). Amy Jo Kim has a book and online resources that are very helpful.
Your feedback wanted (as always) how do you define community? Please note this needs to be succint, yet comprehensive and stand the test of time.
I embedded all the responses I received on twitter about the community definition. I think it’s appropriate to note that I’m working with the community to define the term.
I just saw Shel defined this from his blog as “Communities are bodies of people loosely joined together by a common interest”. That’s the most succint one so far, I’ll add to it to suit the requirement of an ‘online community’: “Communities are bodies of people loosely joined together by a common interest that exchange information using web tools”.
Update 2: In the comments below, Jake suggests that time and relationships are a factor, I don’t think they are. People don’t have to have relationships to be part of a community (although he suggests that skirts into a community of practice arena) and I think someone can be part of a community, time not being a factor.
As a result, I’m getting fond of this second definition:
“Online communities are bodies of people joined together by a common interest”.
Working this definition out in public has proven fruitful, even some of my colleagues are chiming in.
The day after. I’ve given this more thought, and in my quest to “boil down” the essence of the term, it’s clear to me that folks do NOT agree on the following being attributes of every community:
Relationships: From deep to none
Time (long time to develop vs short time)
Interaction: from exchanging ideas to just observing.
Agreement of all ideas
The two attributes that everyone seems to agree are always part of a community are the follwoing
A group of people
So the second definition listed above, really has the potential for staying power.
Update Jan 31st: Jake brings up more points, that an online community is too broad, there’s got to be a more definitive attribute to describe a ‘bunch of people standing around’ vs a ‘community. Could it be interaction, duration, or the building of relationships?
I’m used to being online 12+ hours a day, just to keep up with the news in the rapid fire tech industry.
This week is so quiet, that even press were asking me to see if I had any stories or anything interesting to share, usually they have a story in mind they are on rapid deadline to complete.
Many companies launched their features and products in Mid Dec or earlier as business folks take up to two weeks off.
This really reinforces why I love the tech industry, as this ‘ketchup week‘, is a good reminder what it’s like in many other industries.
I was telling my colleague Josh Bernoff today that if I talk about my employer I get called a ‘shill’, if I don’t talk about my employer, I’m “witholding information” from behind the ‘paywall’. Ya’ can’t please everyone.
What really encourages me to spur on is great posts of appreciation from Beth Dunn, who recognizes the work that goes into sharing. Thanks Beth.
Before you join that next company, consider asking for a look at the corporate intranet first. Why? The intranet is a direct reflection of the ethos, soul, and culture of a company.
An intranet is important, it’s the collective knowledge of your employees, a collection of resources, and directories that should enable business to move forward faster (cost savings) and to grow and support customer focused teams (revenue generation). I’ve read research that indicates that 40% of the United States population will retire in the next few years, (Update: US Census reports that 26% of all Americans are baby boomers. 78M over US population of 298M, since youth and elderly are not working, 40% isn’t much of a stretch) and intranets are a key way to harvest the tacit knowledge from these information wealthy individuals.
[An Intranet is an accurate reflection of the inner workings and 'Corporate DNA' of a company]
My German uncle (I’ve a diverse family) runs the health department for a major county in California, his roots are with health inspection of restaurants. He told me one indicator of a cleanliness of a kitchen is to first check out the restroom, it’s often managed and cared for the same way. Intranets are often the same indicator for it’s internal culture. I know as I was an intranet manager, and have been involved with those programs in four previous roles.
You can tell a lot from the intranet, the way it’s designed, displayed, organized, the content all reflect how the corporation is run. Take a closer look at your intranet and compare it to the following attributes
What are the comparative attributes of a corporate intranet?
Structured Organization or Loosely organized
Is the architcture of your site tightly wound around the features of an existing CMS system, or loosely created by different collaborative groups? This is an indicator of how the company may be managed, either centralized or run by different factions.
Static or Dynamic
Is the content rarely updated, or is frequently changing with the speed of business? This could indicate how information is being shared (or not) within the enterprise.
Text based or Media Focused
Is the content primarily text and information geared, or are there uses of more ‘human’ mediums like images, maps, videos, audio? Is your company focused on delivering hard raw data, or sharing the human and ‘life’ stories among employees.
Disparate or Centralized
Is the user experience of your intranet different with every business group? or is it centralized within a single framework. This is a clear indicator of how your company is likely setup.
Product/Customer focused or Employee focused
Is your intranet focused on selling of products, or customers, or on the lifestyle of employees, and how they communicate. I’ve worked for a company where the sole purpose of the homepage was to push sales and marketing information to employees, nearly brainwashing. This indicates the true focus of a company. For example, Intuit is truly employee focused, and former employees tell me the intranet is setup this way.
Top down publishing or Bottom up publishing
perhaps the most telling attribute, if your intranet a publication of just a few key members with power, or are the voices and knowledge shared from across the enterprise? Does management lead with an iron fist, or are the suggestions from the employees on the ground floor (ones dealing with customers/products from day to day) taken into account?
Publishing from Business or Technology Group
Is the content published by a technology group, or is it in the hands of business? I’ve seen some intranets (a business tool) be controlled and owned by IT, which is clearly a mis-use of human tool to empower business units to communicate. This is a reflection of how business information is handled or respected, from a technology perspective or from a business perspective.
[By looking at the organization, content, and publishing of your intranet, will indicate how your company is managed, prioritized, and focused]
You can learn a lot from your enterprise intranet, it’s a telling mirror of the culture and ethos of your company. Now to hear from you: So how was/is your intranet organized? Does it reflect the corporate DNA of your company culture?
I’m respecting your limited time by publishing this weekly summary, read the summary, then quickly scan headlines, read the bullet, then click to learn even more.
I’ve created a category called Digest where you can start to track and access these going forward. Quickly scan the succinct and categorized headlines, read summary for analysis, and click link to dive in for more. You can subscribe to this digest tag only, which filters only these posts tagged digest.
Need to make decisions about your web strategy? I’m here to help: subscribe to my blog, sign up for emails (right nav), follow me on Twitter, I’ll add you back.
Web Strategy Summary
A very, very quiet week, there’s just a few pieces of analysis from bloggers and media after the flurry of anouncements two weeks ago (everyone was trying to push out features before the Holiday). Most interestingly, Bebo has widget growth from opening up it’s container for other applications to publish on it’s social network.
Container: Bebo’s Applications proliferate
Just a few weeks ago, on Dec 12th, Bebo announced that it would open it’s social network up to third party developers, starting with a push form existing Facebook applications. Development partners include: NBC Universal, CBS, NBA, Yahoo!, The Gap, Flixster, Gaia Online, RockYou, Slide, BeFunky, iLike, WidgetBox, Wallo Bebo has informed me last week that there are currently 4,250,409 installs of applications. Two weeks growth at 4 million is pretty successful, considering there are over 12,000 apps total in FB. We’ll compare direct numbers (installs to instances) later.
Widgets: Worklight provides business Applications
This February, we’ll see a growth in productivity applications from Worklight, a widget that sits on Facebook (and then likely other social networks) that will provide secured communication for employees. See? The intranet has already left the firewall.
Profiles: Many new social networks emerge and grow
BBC summarizes the various social networks of interest, including: Habbo, Perfspot Freecycle, Webjam, Capazoo, Wayn, Realbuzz.
Social Graph: IBM to launch mapping tool in Lotus Notes
IBM is launching a tool that will map and track the mavens within the usage of a community, this one, in Lotus Notes. This tool, called Atlas, will help large organizations map out important topics, networks, and people.
Ubiquity: Social Networks a Commodity
I’m surprised to hear Marc Canter say this, just a few months ago he violently opposed others saying that it was a feature, and now he suggest that these social features are a commodity. Either way, the scope of this very digest grows every week, it’s difficult for me to keep up.
Money: Kyte gets $15 million, to grow mobile social network
Raising a considerable amount from a Spanish telephone carrier, Kyte will continue to provide a platform for mobile web users to publish, share, and connect with each other. One challenge is going to be able to create a common platform or utility that will work with all carriers and phones.
Usage: Majority of teens interact on the web
Pew releases some helpful technographics data of teen web usage: “Content creation by teenagers continues to grow, with 64% of online teenagers ages 12 to 17 engaging in at least one type of content creation, up from 57% of online teens in 2004.” I’ve compared this to some of the data from work and it’s very close.
Features: Add Digg like features
Build your own Digg=like feature for your online community or social network. Pligg suggests that it’s 5 minute installs can move a static site to member interactive in a few easy strokes.
Ownership: Corporate program management of community programs
Respected community expert Bill Johnston asks the important question of who owns the community? For the many companies that are struggling internally to understand the social media sphere, the question of program ownership comes up, Bill gives a few scenarios.
Privacy: Social Ads invasive
David Berkowitz, of popular blog Marketer’s Studio was surprised to find out that he was an brand advocate for Blockbuster, after I sent him a screenshot. He suggests that social ads need an opt out and was frustrated to find out there was little he could do, read the extensive comments.
What else should be on this list? Leave a comment, feedback, or suggestions, I’m listening. The next digest will be in the near year, kind of exciting!
As I travel around, I do quick interviews with interesting folks, some of them are speakers, thought leaders, or people I interview for my reports. Marcia immediately impressed me as she was asking very key questions during my keynote, and we furthered the conversation over lunch.
Marcia Kadanoff, who I met at the Web Community Forum up in Seattle, gives her insight on the future of the web. Search will be the common interface, yet the future is distributed, and people will be communicating in many different locations. She suggests that we stop focus on interruption marketing, focus on engagement marketing, and look at widgets.
So what do you think? Is her predictions for 2008 right? I’m in complete agreement, the distributed web is a concept I’ve been discussing for some time.
A few days ago, I asked in public how could I better improve myself. I received over 20 comments of recommendations, (10 emails, or private message) and all of them were genuine and helpful. This was a healhy (yet humble) process, and I think that every bloggers should consider doing this.
Although I won’t be incorporating every suggestion, as I need to have self-focus to make myself happy, but many I will. In either case, I’m acknowledging I heard you, thank you, twas a wonderful holiday gift. Message Received.