Archive for February, 2009
Posted on February 18, 2009 - by Khaled
Success... A word that might carry many different meanings! It can range from riding a bike without falling for a young boy, to making billions of dollars and be as famous as Bill Gates. Just remember Brendon Sinclair’s quote: “Success is whatever you want it to be!”. But here we are talking about a specific field which is the web design and the web development business. In my opinion, being successful as a web design agency is measured by the quality and the prestige of your clients that were attracted by the quality of your services (You have to provide outstanding Web development services and have excellent technical skills along with an excellent capability of selling those skills). The number of clients is important too but if you are working for ten small unknown companies you won’t be as exposed as someone working for just one big well known company. This is going to be translated, of course, into dollars language. I started being involved in Web Design since 1999. I worked as a freelancer, started few LLCs here and there that were more or less successful and earned/lost random amounts of money. The real first success was when I started a Web Agency that was based in Paris, France back in late 2005. Since then I’ve sold the company 16 months after its launch as I had to move out of France and I was offered a nice amount of money to sell it to a communication agency that merged it to be an in-house web department.
A handy guide about creating a successful Web Design Agency!
After merely one year, the company grossed more than 5 million dollars. Here are few tips that truly helped me achieve this. I am posting this for educating and informing sakes, so I won’t include any names/brands etc… Of course 5 million dollars are not a huge amount of money for many people but I think it is a really good start for a new web agency.
1. Planning, researching, setting goals and benchmarking
First of all you must identify the reasons that might help you succeed if you start your own company. Clearly set your goals and define the meaning of success for you: When/Why will you consider that your Web Design company is successful or a failure? How are you going to grow? What staff do you need? How much should you pay them?
Plan for everything, consider wisely your investments and keep them minimal, have your own specific marketing plan, think about how are you going to create a positive aura around your company? Ask professionals and business acquaintances for good free advice and make your research to validate their recommendations. Don’t just get their thoughts for granted. You should also avoid asking close friends and family members as they will tend to be subjective, but if you have a ‘successful’ relative/friend just ask them how did they achieve that? And learn! You must be confident when you take your decisions.
Do some market research; are you choosing the right region or area for your company? Is there enough business for you? What clients can you possibly target to get started? Are there any well established competitors? If yes then you must benchmark against your competitors, get to know their clients, the number and the qualifications of their staffers, their prices, how do they market their business, which ones are the leaders? Try to find out why? etc…. Now that you know a lot about them (While they know nothing about you yet) try to establish the methodology that will help you be competitive and to enable you to surpass them. Focus on their weaknesses and try to match their strong points.
Do all the previous by yourself and take the time to do it correctly this is really important as you’re going to save money (you won’t hire someone to do this for you) and you’re going to learn a lot of useful things that will help you to start, to survive and then to fully thrive.
This first point is the basis of all the upcoming points as you will notice! If you don’t elaborate it the right way then all the next points will not help you a lot as you won’t do them correctly. This phase took me a little bit more than three months (40 hours per week) and all I needed is computer, an internet connection, a phone, a library access and a means of transportation (you don’t even have to own a car, public transportation is just fine!)
2. Create a remarkable, recognizable brand to build your business around
Unlike what you may think, this is a something tough to achieve. It has to both translate how you perceive yourself and how people must perceive you. Both impressions should be almost identical. Otherwise your branding is not working properly! You should set your goals, decide what will you do and what kind of specialty are you going to offer to which niche and start from there.
After clearly setting your goals, knowing your targeted audience, deciding how you want to be perceived (that’s how you perceive yourself too) convert the whole thing into material. Choose your company name (keep the domain name issue in your mind: preferably .com, easy to remember, easy to spell, avoid dashes, avoid words that may be written with different spellings such as color/colour etc…) Create a logo (if you are not good with logos hire someone), a professional looking one! Take your time, long session of brainstorming and sketching on a paper are inevitable. Choose carefully the colors (Royal and Marine blues are good colors to have in a logo by the way!) A logo should be created in a vector format and remember… A logo should be able to look good on a golf ball!
Once you have a nice, recognizable, unique, remarkable, professional logo you need to create your business card (make it stand out from the crowd, don’t just have a plain white business card with some black or blue text!) and the rest of your stationery (Cover letters, letterheads, envelopes, Fax covers, brochures…) and make them also unique and clearly inspired from your logo.
The next step is your website with your online portfolio and references. Don’t stuff it with tons and tons of data! Make it nice, appealing, unique, usable, accessible, Standards compliant, simple and a tiny bit sophisticated.
You may also create an offline Portfolio presentation to show during meetings with clients and that can include more content and details. Also create a PowerPoint / Keynote template for your presentation.
Make your email account look professional and avoid using nicknames and/or lots of numbers! Such sweetieses87799(at)website.com! john(at)website.com or john.doe(at)website.com or even j(at)website.com are a lot better.
Start using social networks proficiently and create professional Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Stumble Upon etc… accounts. If you are just starting use the same profile image/logo in all of them. Also create a professional IM accounts (don’t use your own) and customize them adding your company logo and so on…. All these components constitute your personal brand! So they must be unique, professional and share the same design/feeling/spirit.
Try to create an aura around your brand! Start an educational blog, write articles, write columns for a newspaper, attend conferences and speak during them, launch training cycles, meetings, events and educate people, write books, participate in radio programs or in podcasts, Join and help people in some web related communities ( i.e. SitePoint.com)… Make yourself visible!
3. Brand yourself as a specialist/expert in something and pick a good niche
You should present yourself and your staff as being specialists in some given fields. You are not handy or the ‘jack of all the trades’! You are THE Company that can do this specific kind of work as you are, by default, the expert team that specializes in resolving these particular issues. When I started my “former” company in late 2005, Web standards were not widely used by the Parisian Web companies. Semantics, Accessibility, Usability and full-DIV CSS designs were not popular. That was a good starting point! Let’s just brand the company to be the one that fully respects Web standards and creates semantic, usable and accessible web sites totally relying on CSS tableless designs! But wait! This plan lacks something! Why would a client be interested in such web sites? There was a real need to educate the clients so we created a buzz around web standards by preparing documents, brochures and flyers to some potential clients, we carefully chose (point #1). We targeted fairly important companies that had old, outdated and clunky web sites. We sent them the prepared documents about the benefits of Web standards and we asked if we can visit them in their offices to make a presentation/speech about web standards and to point out problems about old-fashioned sites etc… We were not selling anything we were just educating. ~70% answered our correspondence and most of them were OK to ‘hear’ us. After the presentation, they were able to see the problems with their own sites and more than 50% of them immediately hired us to redesign their sites. That was the real starting point! We also started the same process about PHP Vs ASP (not that ASP is bad, but we used PHP and we had to sell that!). Soon we were regarded as the PHP specialist company of the moment. We were passionate and committed about Web Standards and open source so we were able to convince and to educate our prospects.
Another opening for us was the choice of a specific niche of clients to target. In addition tom y web studies, I have a Biology Ph.D. (was preparing it at the time I started the company) and this helped me a lot. When we contacted (or were contacted by) Biotechnology firms, food industries, research laboratories, pharmacology industries to have a proposal about the development (or re-development) of a web site or a web application I was able to discuss their needs and propose a solution that was by far superior to our competitors as I was able to understand the slightest details about what they were doing and what kind of solution they actually needed! And that was a huge advantage! Rapidly we were recognized as specialists of the Biology/Biotechnology/pharmacology field and we were even contacted by clients from outside France and Europe. I, then, dedicated all my efforts to pitch and make presentation for companies involved with this sector. I hired another person to do the same for the other types of companies and clients. Do the same pick up a fairly big niche about something you quite know! Are a sports fan? Target clubs and teams web sites! Are you into Music? You know what you should target and so on!
If you are specializing in solving some unique issues you will have less competition, you will provide better quality of services and you will be able to charge higher rates. A good example of a unique service is Webnotes.
Posted on February 12, 2009 - by Khaled
WordPress is the leading blogging platform! And it will probably continue to be so. Among the top 100 bloggers, 32% use WP.
After almost 5 years of blogging using WordPress and after trying, testing, tweaking and running literally hundreds of plug-ins and extensions, I found some really noteworthy WP plugins, that are easy to use, to customize and to install yet they are really useful and they can improve drastically your whole blogging experience. The current trends are taken in consideration while choosing this list!
1. Akismet This one just rocks! Almost perfect when it comes to dealing with comments spam! It checks new comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. You can review the spam it catches under Comments/Spam.
2. All in One SEO Pack All your Search Engine Optimization needs for your blog.
3. Bird Feeder A tiny little plug-in that automatically Tweets your published posts to twitter.
4. cforms II For now, no forms are better than cforms! Unless you have some bucks to spend! cformsII offers unparalleled flexibility in deploying contact forms across your blog. Features include: comprehensive SPAM protection, Ajax support, Backup & Restore, Multi-Recipients, Role Manager support, Database tracking and many more.
5. FD Feedburner Plugin Easily redirect your feeds to your feedburner account feed. Just install, set and activate!
6. Flickr Photo Gallery This plugin will retrieve your Flickr photos and allow you to easily add your photos to your posts.
7. Google XML Sitemaps Google sitemaps are, as you know for sure, a must have for blogs and web sites in general. This plugin will generate a sitemaps.org compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by Ask.com, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO!….
8. Gravatar Gravatar allows you to add a face to your comments! Make yourself recognizable all around the blogosphere. Add the Gravatar plug-in to your blog to generate a gravatar URL complete with rating, size, default, and border options.
9. IntenseDebate Comments A revolution in the comments world! IntenseDebate Comments enhance and encourage conversation on your blog or website. Full comment and account data sync between IntenseDebate and WordPress ensures that you will always have your comments. Custom integration with your WordPress admin panel makes moderation a piece of cake. Comment threading, reply-by-email, user accounts and reputations, comment voting, along with Twitter and friendfeed integrations enrich your readers’ experience and make more of the internet aware of your blog and comments which drives traffic to you!
10. Lightbox 2 The famous well known and really useful JS effect used to overlay images on the current page.
11. Limit Posts Limits the displayed text length on the index page entries and generates a link to a page to read the full content if its bigger than the selected maximum length.
12. moodlight Moodlight allows your visitors to add their mood on posts via comments.
13. Related Posts Returns a list of the related entries based on keyword matches. If this is your first time using this plugin you will need to run the setup script first in order to create the required full text database index.
14. RSS Footer Allows you to add a line of content to the end of your RSS feed articles.
15. Scissors This plugin adds cropping and resizing functionality to WordPress’ image upload and management dialogs. Additionally, images that are resized in the post editor are automatically resampled to the requested size using bilinear filtering when a post is saved.
16. Sociable Get yourself some traffic via enabling your visitors to post/Share your blog posts in lots of Social networks. It automatically adds links on your posts, pages and RSS feed to your favorite social bookmarking sites.
17. StatCounter All the stats you might really need!
18. Subscribe To Comments Allows readers to receive notifications of new comments that are posted to an entry. If you don’t the full powered Intense debate or disqus you could at least use this to engage your visitors in endless discussions.
19. Theme Test Drive If you love experimenting with your themes this is an interesting choice! Instead of having a stand-alone installation for testing sakes just use this plugin. Safely test drive any theme while visitors are using the default one. Includes instant theme preview via thumbnail.
21. WordPress Database Backup Don’t ever loose your blog Database ever again. On-demand backup of your WordPress database. Have it saved on your disk or emailed to you.
22. WP-Polls If you only need a good nice light weight poll plugin here you go! Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog. You can easily include a poll into your WordPress’s blog post/page. WP-Polls is extremely customizable via templates and css styles and there are tons of options for you to choose to ensure that WP-Polls runs the way you wanted. It now supports multiple selection of answers. Use WP-Polls Widget to add the polls to display single or multiple polls from WP-Polls Plugin.
24. WP Security Scan Perform security scan of WordPress installation.
25. WordPress.com Stats The easiest way to monitor rapidly the traffic of your blog.
I hope you will find these plug-ins useful and handy to increase your blogging productivity and to improve your blog. Please do share with me the plug-ins you are already using on your blog. Don’t forget to share using the buttons below and to subscribe via RSS or E-mail. Or just follow me on Twitter!
Posted on February 8, 2009 - by Khaled
In the previous blog post I mentioned 46 Essential FireFox Extensions Every Web Designer Should Have. Among these WebNotes. I really liked this useful FireFox extension (available for IE and for Safari and Google Chrome in a light version) as it turned to be a fast and truly easy to use giving a whole new meaning to the online notes. Whether you are using it for academic sakes, for communicating with your clients or “just” to organize yourself, your business and collaborate with your team, WebNotes is really outstanding.
I had the oppurtunity to have an interview with Alex King, the Director of Marketing at WebNotes, and I didn’t want to miss such a chance. So here are few insights about WebNotes.
– I am really glad to have you answering my questions! First of all can you introduce yourself and WebNotes?
We appreciate you writing about us! My name is Alex King and I’m the Director of Marketing here at WebNotes. I’ve been here about 5 months and I am having a great time working with these guys.
WebNotes is essentially a service for anyone who wishes they had an online highlighter or sticky note tool to markup the web. Aside from being able to highlight/sticky note, annotations can be organized into nested folders (by client, or project, etc), and shared with colleagues via permalink or email. Many of our web design users like to use WebNotes to interact with their clients when iterating through various site proposals.
– What about the team can you quickly introduce them?
Right now there are 4 other full time employees and 1 intern. The 4 full timers (Ryan, Bennett, Peter and Matt) are all brilliant engineers from MIT and Roger, our intern, is a serial entrepreneur who is helping us with marketing.
– What sort of technology lies beneath WebNotes?
– Any specific reason for these choices?
– What inspired you to create such product?
Ryan Damico, our CEO, was doing research for a class at MIT a few years ago and found the available tools for organizing his research woefully inadequate. He soon realized that other people had the same issues and decided to create WebNotes.
– What advantages and features do you think are the most attracting for Graphic/Web Designers and Developers?
As a whole, WebNotes has been designed to be extremely easy to use such that it integrates naturally into a developer/designer workflow. That said, the sharing features are probably the most attractive for designers so that they can keep their team and clients up to date with new revisions of their work. For designers and developers doing research on their own, WebNotes is also a great tool to quickly manage online content and keep track of their thoughts.
– WebNotes is still in public beta, when a final version will be released?
We are looking to release a new and improved version of WebNotes in the next few months.
– What are the main differences between WebNotes toolbar and WebNotes Bookmarklet?
First and foremost, the bookmarklet doesn’t require any sort of installation (it’s just a bookmark that you place in your browser). This allows it to run on a greater variety of browsers such as IE, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. The toolbar works on Firefox and IE and allows the user to access the organizer directly from a side panel. At the end of the day, however, the difference is based on what the user prefers and whether they want the fully featured toolbar or the more lightweight bookmarklet.
– I noticed that your web site and the toolbar itself are nicely designed! Do you think this is a plus?
Yes! I’m sure that you and your readers realize the importance of good UI, and we have spent painstaking hours focusing on this area of our product. In fact, it took us an entire day just to pick out the colors to make available in our highlighter tool!
– In the footer of the WebNotes site one can read: “Go green… make notes online!” is it just a slogan or do you mean what you say?
A substantial number of our customers used to print out websites for the sole purpose of annotating them and distributing them to their team or clients. We firmly believe this wastes paper and printer ink on resources that are easily lost and misplaced. While our number one goal is to improve the productivity of our users, we want to let them know that saving paper is a great ancillary benefit.
– Did this kind of ecological concepts help shaping your initial idea of creating WebNotes?
As per this question, we started off as a productivity tool and quickly realized that there were ecological benefits to be had as well.
– Is there a grand plan for the future of WebNotes?
There are many directions we can take at WebNotes as we move forward, but our goal will always be to offer the highest quality, easiest to use research tool on the Web. Right now we’re focused on building up our core services, listening very carefully to feedback from our users, and scaling up; where we take our service after that will depend on the needs of the market.
– Do you have a business model? how do you make money?
Later this year WebNotes will be releasing a premium version of its service. After that, we plan on continuing to add functionality that will greatly enhance the productivity of our users.
– Anything I didn’t ask about and you want to add?
We’d love to give your readers access to WebNotes. Would you like any Beta invites to distribute?
I hope that thanks to this interview you have a clear idea and a better knowledge of WebNotes. The excellent research, annotation andorganizing tool. For the invitation code (you need one in order to register) just click here. There are 50 invitations available for the moment. But once they are all used we can probably have more offered here.
Posted on February 6, 2009 - by Khaled
FireFox is becoming more and more popular. This is due in part to its great extensibility and easy customization. Here are 46 essential FireFox addons that I have and I think that they are really useful to help you with your daily activities related to web design, web development, graphic design, blogging and keeping yourself informed , productive and up to date. Feel free to post your own extensions that you use and love and that I missed in this list.
17 Essential Web Development & Web Design Add-ons:
1. Abduction! Enables you to capture screenshots of an entire web page or just of a part of it and saves it as an image.
2. Fire Vox Think of it as an open source screen reader that is designed especially for Firefox! Now you no longer have any excuse for not testing your site with screen readers! Probably the easiest Screen reader I’ve ever used.
3. Codetch by Zachary Carter is Dreamweaver-like text editor for firefox.
4. ColorZilla Advanced Eyedropper, ColorPicker, Page Zoomer that also enables you to work with palettes.
5. CSSViewer Very handy and light. A simple CSS property viewer.
6. Dust-Me Selectors a cool little extension that finds unused CSS selectors. Released by SitePoint.
7. FireFTP a free, secure, cross-platform FTP client for Mozilla Firefox.
9. FirePHP An extension for the Firebug add-on. It enables you to log to your Firebug Console using a simple PHP method call.
10. FireScope Another extension for Firebug. It enables Firebug with HTML and CSS refrences. This one too was released by SitePoint.com
11. FireShot An excellent and ery complete solution for Web development, maintaing blogs and much more. It creates screenshots of web pages or parts of web pages, it provides a set of editing and
annotation tools for those screenshots (insert text annotations and graphical annotations). The captures can be: uploaded to FREE public screenshot hosting, saved to disk as PNG, GIF, JPEG or BMP, printed or copied to clipboard, e-mailed or sent to configurable external editors.
12. Font Finder Get all CSS styles of selected text in Firefox (or thunderbird).
13. MeasureIt Lets you draw out a ruler to get the pixel width or height of any element on a web page.
14. SEO Toolbar Displays ILQ and other important SEO numbers for a given web site.
15. Stylish Customize the look of the application and of websites you’re visiting with Stylish, a user styles manager. Great for testing.
16. Total Validator Web standards rule! A 5-in-1 validator that Performs multiple validations and takes screen shots in one go.
17. Web Developer Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools. An excellent replacement of Firebug although I believe you can combine the use of both of them for an optimal result.
8 Essential Bookmarking, Socializing, blogging and Micromessaging Add-ons:
18. Netvibes Adds RSS feeds to your netvibes.com account
19. Delicious Bookmarks Delicious Bookmarks is the official Firefox add-on for Delicious, the world’s leading social bookmarking service. t integrates your bookmarks and tags with Firefox and keeps them in sync for easy, convenient access.
20. Digg Toolbar lets you Digg, submit content, and keep track of Digg even when you’re
not on the Digg site itself. With a notification window built into the
toolbar, you’ll never miss a popular story or when friends Digg,
submit, or comment on stories.
21. Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer If you use Firefox on more than one computer, you’ll want Foxmarks.
22. StumbleUpon StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests, learns what you like and brings you more.
23. Shareaholic If you use sites like Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Gmail, Twitter you’ll want Shareaholic.
24. TwitterFox TwitterFox is a Firefox extension that notifies you of your friends’ status on Twitter. You can use it to post Twitter updates and it will convert your URLs to tiny ones.
25. ScribeFire Blog Editor ScribeFire is a full-featured blog editor that integrates with your browser and lets you easily post to your blog. Anfd it helped me a lot while creating this post
5 Essential Organizing and Executive Assistance Addons:
26. WebNotes a nice highlighter and sticky tool that’s still in Beta but works fantastically good! With WebNotes stop copying and pasting… Start making your notes online. For more info read this Interview with Alex King, marketing director at WebNotes.
27. ReminderFox ReminderFox displays and manages lists of date-based reminders and ToDo’s.
28. FEBE Firefox Environment Backup Extension allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up
29. Sxipper Forget your passwords! Sxipper accurately fills in forms, manages passwords and your OpenIDs. it really helps keep organized and spend a lot less time filling in forms.
30. Glue I hesitated to put glow in this category or in the preceeding one. I believe it fits perfectly in both. Glue is simply Outstanding! Alex iskold and co did amazing work for this one! I started using glue since it was called BlueOrganizer. connects you with friends around things you visit! Glue works automatically as you browse popular sites about books, music, movies, wines, restaurants, gadgets, stocks, actors, tv shows and other everyday things around the web.
3 Essential Shutterbug Addons:
31. Cooliris An outstanding extension! Cooliris transforms your browser into a visually stunning, lightning fast way to search and enjoy online photos, videos and more.
32. Fast Video Download Download video files from popular sites like YouTube, Dailymotion, Break.com and more.
33. Fotofox Drag, drop and arrange pictures adding photo titles, and create albums by multi-selecting photos, and then upload to one of a selection of online photo services – all of this without interrupting your Internet browsing. A greattime saver IMO.
6 Essential FireFox Functionalities, Appearance and Tabs Addons:
34. FaviconizeTab Let’s you just reduce the size of the tab to restrict it to just displaying the favicon! If you open many tabs like I do this will be really helpful.
35. Morning Coffee A very useful extension that keeps track of daily routine websites and opens them in tabs.
36. Personas for Firefox is a extension that adds lightweight theming to your browser. It’s an experiment in personalizing. If you are a graphic designer then this enables you to style the browser without having to code.
37. Session Manager I love this one! Saving sessions and pages is so easy! and restoring a session of 100+ after a FireFox crash shouldn’t be a problem with Session Manager. Same when you restart your computer or FireFox. It saves and restores the state of all windows – either when you want it or automatically.
38. Tab Mix Plus Tab Mix Plus enhances Firefox’s tab browsing capabilities. It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. I don’t use its session manager as I prefer using “Session Manager” extension -see above-
39. Undo Closed Tabs Button How many times did you accidently closed a tab you still need? Tired of going to History -> Recently Closed Tabs just to undo a closed tab? Then this extension is for you! This extension allows you to undo closed tabs via a toolbar and/or tab bar button or the right-click context menu.
7 Essential Miscellaneous Addons :
40. GooglePreview Inserts preview images (thumbnails) and popularity ranks of web sites into the Google and Yahoo search results pages.
41. FlashGot Download all the links, movies and audio clips of a page at the maximum speed with a single click, using the most popular, lightweight and reliable external download managers.
42. Flagfox Displays a country flag depicting the location of the current website’s server and provides quick access to detailed location and webserver information.
43. FoxyTunes Music and Web/Graphic Design/Development are quite tied together in my opinion. FoxyTunes lets you control almost any media player and find lyrics, covers, videos, bios and much more with a click right from your browser.
44. Better Gmail 2 Based on GreaseMonkey, it adds useful extra features to Gmail, like hierarchical labels, macros, file attachment icons, and more.
45. Gmail Manager Allows you to manage multiple Gmail accounts and receive new mail notifications. Displays your account details including unread messages, saved drafts, spam messages, labels with new mail, space used, and new mail snippets.
46. eBay Sidebar for Firefox Keep an eye on your eBay trading wherever you are on the web when you install the eBay Companion for Firefox. It’s a free tool built with eBay users in mind that will help you get more out of your buying and selling.
Posted on February 4, 2009 - by Khaled
Twitter Effect Vs Mash Effect: Experimenting how Twitter traffic can crash your server!
Twitter and it docile little blue bird is not that inoffensive! If you are not careful it could literally crash your server! How? By sending huge amounts of traffic to you! If you don’t believe me just ask the poor server hosting http://www.litmanlive.co.uk…
It all started when the rock star twitterer and blogger Pete Cashmore linked in one of his tweets to a blog post entitled “How to use Twitter to find your next job“. And a retweeting snow ball started causing the litmanlive server to collapse! Pete called it the “Mash Effect” whereas Pingdom dubbed it the “twitter effect” or more exactly the “dawn of the twitter effect“! And I agree it is the Twitter effect rather than the Mash effect (despite the huge popularity of Mashable)!
“The Twitter Effect” formula!
Believe it or not the “Twitter effect” can be mathematically calculated via a formula:
The Twitter Effect = (Original tweet * followers) + (retweets * followers of retweeters) + (retweets of retweets * followers of those)! (etc.)
Thoughts and predictions:
I would just add “potentially active” in front of each repetition of the word “Followers”. The tweet effect will really vary according to the tweeting time and to the importance and the relevance of the topic during that period of time! Speaking of getting work in recession and firing times like these days is really and highly relevant in my opinion and that might explain why this very special tweet by Cashmore had this effect!
Twitter can be a source of great direct traffic and all of us are interested in building traffic to our web sites and blogs especially a traffic constituted by visitors that already know why are they checking this very specific web page. Twitter has been unceasingly offering an increasing source of traffic. And it is probably going to continue to do so. So prepare to witness the “Tsunami Twitter Effect” that I believe will reach new heights in the next years in comparison with other sources (i.e. Digg, stumble upon or FaceBook) as Twitter is more accessible and a lot easier to use by everyone than the other tools. Twitter is probably less famous than Digg or FaceBook but soon the great buzz/boom about it will happen and everyone and his dog will be using Twitter! Just look how many blog posts, media and news items are focusing on Twitter!
Twitter might even cause a drop in the use of RSS organizers such as Netvibes. It won’t probably replace them completely but it will make you want to visit them less! Netvibes even has a Twitter widget now!
Anyway I think it is important to start monitoring the traffic coming to you from twitter which could be quite challenging. I would suggest reading this article to help understand how you should proceed.
So what do you think? should Twitter be sorry for crushing servers? or may be not? Anyway it is time for you, Twitter, to get a clear business model!
Posted on February 2, 2009 - by Khaled
Matt Mickiewicz is the co-founder (along with Mark Harbottle) of the giant Australian online media company, SitePoint.com. SitePoint is growing quite fast since few years now and doesn’t seem to be affected by the recession. Matt, kindly accepted to accord this interview to talk about the huge success of his company and to reveal key points about how SitePoint has become what it is now. Some really great insights and advice to follow if you want your business to fully thrive! This interview will be really inspiring for most of you! Especially if you learn (and this is not a secret) that Matt started the whole thing in a very young age!
-.Hello Matt, Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of SitePoint and 99designs
-.How did it all start for you? What led the jump from Webmaster-Resources.com to sitepoint.com?
It started as a hobby for me. I started compiling useful links & resources related to web development and online marketing back in 1997 and I put it up as a one-page site on Geocities. It quickly gained traction and popularity.On April 1st, when the price of domain name registration at Network Solutions dropped from $100/2 years to $70/2 years, I decided to purchase the domain name Webmaster-Resources.com.Unfortunately, the choice of domain name came to haunt me, as another website occupied WebmasterResources.com (without the hyphen). When WINDOWS Magazine – with 1 million subscribers – did a write-up about my site, they left out the hyphen, which was a sign that it’s not a name for the long-term. We moved quickly to find a better alternative when Mark joined me in the Fall of 1999.
The name SitePoint was inspired by a billboard for Microsoft’s CarPoint that Mark Harbottle, my business partner, saw while driving in Melbourne. When he hopped online to find out the availability of SitePoint.com, we found ourselves in luck as the domain name had *just* expired. We relaunched as SitePoint in March of 2000 and opened our Melbourne office that summer.
-.Almost ten years after can you give us a brief timeline? And how SitePoint became what it is right now? What worked the best during the start? the forums? the articles?
There’s a great timeline of the company in the right hand sidebar at: http://sitepoint.com/about/
What really worked the best in the very early days was helping as many people as possible. I participated in forums and discussion lists related to online sales, marketing & web development. I critiqued websites for free and offered advice on improvements. I answered every email I got, and tried to help out everyone as much as I could.
-.Surviving and thriving after 10 years including the dot come crash, and without venture capital, is a huge achievement. How did you do it?
In the early days, we never turned down a dollar in revenue. Since we were seen as experts in Web Development, it wasn’t all that shocking when Melbourne companies approached us to do Web Design work for them – and we did.
We’ve also been very moderate in our growth. We only hire people when we have the revenue to support them, and we never took on too many financial obligations before we were ready for them.
In a way, we’ve always been ultra-conservative with expenses & hiring.
For example, we’ve had to move offices 3 times since 2000 as our staff has grown. That’s counter-intuitive for many Silicon Valley based companies which rent 20,000 sq feet on day 1, expecting that they will grow into it eventually.
Likewise, we’ve always been very in touch with what people are doing on our site. When we learned that they were printing our articles through the “print” feature so that they could follow-along with our programming tutorials, we decided to do it for them and as a result published our first every book.
The design contests, which morphed into 99designs, and the buying & selling of Websites forum that turned into a full-featured Marketplace were also all born out of the Community. We didn’t come up with the ideas, just realized their potential and invested manpower and resources into executing upon them.
-.A question I always had in mind: Why did you choose Australia over Canada for the HQ of SitePoint?
Mark was based in Melbourne, Australia as were the first people we hired who came from Sausage Software – makers of the Hotdog HTML editor. As an unexpected bonus, the 2:1 exchange rate between the USD and AUD dollar at the time allowed us to stretch our revenue lot further than we otherwise could have in North America.
-.When you visit the sitepoint forums, where do you go?
I read the SitePoint Feedback & suggestions, Marketplace Feedback and “Forum Help” areas the most.
-.What is your favorite book or kit from the SitePoint collection that you would recommend?
-. What about 99designs?
99designs was spun off as its own separate company in February of 2008. It now has its own brand name and the focus and resources that it deserves.
You can always follow Matt on Twitter.