|Letting users build their own web page as a method of marketing?|
Viral Marketing side topics.
This one is an absolute surefire winner for me. My site allows people to create their own webpages. The button to tell their all friends about their pages is so obvious, I don't know why didn't I see it before.
I love this place it makes you think.
Split this off since it was such a great side topic Mark.
I've been thinking of doing "my own page" myself. I keep coming back to the question of how do you police/monitor it?
How have you got it setup? Are you using a precanned script? Can users build more than one page? Graphics?
Is it really all that attractive for users? What do you get out of it beside promo and power branding?
Can you email me your script (if it's a freebie from one of the cgi resource pages. I did find a good homepage community, but am always on the lookout for a better one before inplementation.
>Are you using a precanned script?
HomeFree [solutionscripts.com] is the best I know. It has EXTENSIVE admin monitoring capabilities. For very, very large sites its drawback is that it's perl.
Sorry, for the delay in responding. I have only just found this new thread.
Firstly a quick update on the "tell a friend" button. It's not working particularly well yet, only had a handful of uses so far. I haven't publicised in my newsletter yet, hopefully usage will improve then.
The site in my profile was specifically created to allow dog breeders to create their own "website". Unfortunately it consists of 1000s and 1000s of lines of custom written spaghetti code. I would love to get rid of it, but with virtually no comments in the code. It would take months for anyone else to understand just how it all works :)
The basic page just allows breeders to input name and address type information, so there is no real problem in policing that information. The more advanced pages, which allow pictures and text cost cash to have, so again there is no real problem with policing. The biggest drain on resources, is answering dumb (and not so dumb) questions.
To answer your last question Brett
"What do you get out of it beside promo and power branding?"
Nothing other than sleepless nights and grief :(
I know this question probably belongs in another forum, but I would love to hear opinions on how I could try and earn some revenue from my site. I know the site is unique and is very good at what it does, it just needs to be marketed better (have I come to the right place :) ).
We do have good name branding, with my biggest search phrase referer now being "Champdogs", although we are not quite in the Yahoo or Hotmail league regarding numbers :)
I don't run any banners ads at all, this has been a consious decision to keep the site looking clean. I do like the look of Brett's Text ads, are they working well Brett ?
Brett if you want to try the site out to get some ideas, feel free to join and I will delete your info later.
I use Northsky's service as a co-branded feature. (they take about 50% of the advertising) and I tend to get a lot of signups (30-40/day) however, I do not see much traffic on the websites created by the users.
For me its just one more cool feature to add to the site.
Our co. does 'internet solution' stuff and this is one of the things we do, not so much as a marketing thing on our part, more like just another option for your site. E.g. Suppose you were the organising party behind a group of certified whatevers, you'd take this 'create your own page' tool and offer it to the members of your group for a small amount - they can choose their official logos like 'union of this' or 'certified that', add their own text, they get four pages, and so on. I suppose it's a useful marketing thing for the group members who are doing business with their page, but we're two steps removed from them so I honestly can't say if it works well for them or not.
Obviously the one we do is not free and I don't want to tout it so I won't go into detail about it, but I can say that one of the clients we did it for, whose setup is along the lines I mentioned above, told us that loads of their members went for it so from the webmaster's perspective it does work well.
Shri's post does seem to confirm this, and also my uncertainty about how well it works for the end user.
Mark_roach, how many cash sign-ups do you get? Have you thought about adding official logos yourself? There must be official certifications for dog breeders out there, you could add some of those. (I don't know if you'd have to police the logos to make sure people have the accreditation they claim to have). Could you build up a directory site of dog breeders by state, with their pages in sub-divisions? Are there any sites like this out there? If you could be 'Prime Mover', that's a lot of residuals right there. I would suggest buying a pile of dog breeding magazines and start cold-calling the breeders with adverts: If they'll pay for one passing ad which is only as long as its shelf life, I suspect they'd bite at a permanent one on the web. That's my theory, anyway.
Oh, I forgot to add one more thing. The website feature destroyed me on Altavista for spamming. Lots of users were signing up .. adding a few words of introduction "Hi I am so and so" and submitting to the search engines. Guess what! Next thing I know I lost my rankings on Altavista :(
So be very careful if you run a domain that is well ranked. You will not be able to control what your users do in terms of meta tags and content. Inktomi picked up a page that someone used for publishing passwords / cracks and that cost us a fair bit in good traffic.
Since this is a SEO forum, you may want to consider the side effects of several users submitting their sites to search engines and the effect it could have on your domains. I'm no expert, but I think it did hurt with Alta and Ink.
That is exactly what I was talking about Shri - how do you police it? I've thought about going the route of full cgi based urls to address that.
Appreciate the info Mark. I'm not real worried about the code - that is doable. I was curious if it was something off-the-shelf.
What is the url to your site Mark?
I mainly was trying out the system and working the bugs out of the fresh code. I want to start doing text ads on many sites, and this seemed like a starting point. (actually, I want to use the code mainly for PPC work). I knew I was jumping the gun on it just to get the kinks out. However; something surprising happened - I sold banner ads over as SEW due to the advertising here - just a case of contacts I guess. I took them back off for a bit for some biz reasons I'd as soon not mention at this time (they may reappear shortly).
Georged, you have just about described what the site is all about. We have only had about 20 paying customers so far, but we have about 100 customers who are nearing the end of their free trial. That day will be an interesting one. There are quite a few dog breeder directory websites around, and the search phrases are surprisingly competetive.
Shri, I am not aware of any problems caused by our members submitting their pages to the engines. We control the META tags and we only have 4 or 5 new members a day so the volume currently would not be an issue. I am actually going to encourage them to submit their pages to the directories (yahoo, looksmart, etc) in my next newsletter. Do you think this is a good idea ?
Brett, I have sticky mailed you the URL. I think if I do advertising on my site I will sell it at flat rate, so I wouldn't need any click-thru code behind the links. I liked the way that your text ads grabbed my attention without being obtrusive. How did you find the click thru rate compared to tradditional banner ads ?
I've not done enough testing with true rotation to say yet Mark. Ads were getting stale.
The best way to get around the SE spam problem is to use a different domain. An example wold be to offer free websites and email addresses fo webmasterworld.net and have the main site a .com that way you would not be effected if someone was to spam the se's with the site they just made.