Archive for September, 2007
- Posted by Tengku Zahasman on September 30th, 2007 filed in Marketing, Advertising
- 1 Comment »
- (2,713 Views)
One of the most costly part of a web app deployment will usually be on the marketing stage. Web startups spend tenth of thousands of dollars in advertising to get a bunch of audience to use their app. They send hundreds of emails to the many Web 2.0 medias out there such as TechCrunch and Read/Write Web to get some coverage and generate the buzz. They hire expensive PR firms to do the harsh marketing works on their behalf, and they also spent numerous amount of time/money doing offline marketings by participating/sponsoring in seminars, opening up booths and so on.
Nothing’s wrong with any of them. Afterall, a marketing is a marketing. But if you can code your application to do 90% of the effective marketing for you, you can save a huge amount of time and money and focus more on delivering high quality service to your users. Here are some of the ways to do that:
5 ways to let your web app market itself
1. Emphasize on SEO
Search engine is one of the best marketing tool out there on the net. If you can tackle search engine, there’s a high chance that you’ll receive a consistent flow of new users stumbling onto your app each day. Simply focus on the content of your app (allow UGC), use friendly URLs all the way, craft relevant page titles, use tagging folksonomy… and you’re on your way to the top of the search results for a lot of keywords. And remember, meta keywords and meta descriptions DO have its place in SEO, so don’t forget to utilize them as well.
2. Create useful/interesting widgets
People love widgets… especially bloggers. Widgets are small embeddable programs which can be included into any webpages by just pasting in some small chunk of codes into the site. This widget can make use of the information you have in your app to do interesting things. Take an example of Kiva.org, the microloan application which provides a widget that shows the loan status of a person you’d like to help (see example here). Or simply take a look at Flickr which allows users to create a widget of their own photo album and publish it in their websites. Meebo becomes more successful after launching their Meebo Me and Meebo Room widgets. YouTube, SlideShare and many other famous web apps out there also becomes famous because of the availability of embeddable widgets. If your widget is creative enough, everybody will start to use it and it will spread like virus. That’s massive ‘free’ marketing for your app without you having to lift a finger.
3. Allow members to send invites to their friends
Provide a simple page in your app which contains some hassle-free HTML forms to allow your users to invite their friends through e-mail. Call it a “Tell Others” or “Invite Others” page. They can simply key in a few of their friends’ email addresses into the form with a template invite message automatically inserted for them, and hit submit. This method of marketing makes use of the proven “word of mouth” marketing. Believe it, a simple function like this can do wonders. So make sure you have a function like this before launching your app.
4. Provide buttons/badges for members to help spread the word
Happy users will happily volunteer to promote your app — as long as you provide them the tools. Design some nice and cute buttons or badges and place it in a page called “Help us promote” (be sincere) along with the HTML codes of the imagelinks so that your die hard fans can easily help you promote your app without costing you a dime. The cuter your buttons are, the more likely that people will voluntarily place it into their sites. Not only will this help you reach more audience, it will also create the brand for you. Meebo used this method with their GoMeebo and they worked perfectly. You’ll be surprised to see how many people will voluntarily place your buttons into their sites.
5. Leverage RSS
If your web app allows user-generated content, there’s a high chance that you can convert their contents into RSS. As long as the content has a title and a timestamp (and possibly a category), you can definitely ‘RSS’ them. A huge amount of Internet users today rely on RSS on a daily basis. If you don’t provide RSS subscriptions for your app, you’ll lose that amount of potential users. The good thing about RSS is apart from allowing your users to stay updated, they can also be submitted into many relevant websites that accepts RSS feeds. What happens next is when your RSS is updated, it will also be updated to the thousands of readers on those sites, thus reaching more potential users.
Of course there are more ways that you can do to make your web app do the marketing by itself. But I think the list up there are some of the most basic and yet most effective method for passive marketing. It’s a good idea to have all these functions ready before launching your Web 2.0 app.Tags: marketing SEO strategy web 2.0 web app development
- Posted by Tengku Zahasman on September 22nd, 2007 filed in Web2.0, Technology
- 3 Comments »
- (2,919 Views)
The Web 2.0 universe is getting bigger and larger every day. It’s a huge multi-billion industry with lots of passionate entrepreneurs and startups that want to make a change in the world. Hundreds of interesting web apps are being launched every day these days, from small apps to huge apps, simple to complex, mashups and social networks, brilliant new services emerge from every corners of the world.
Last August, SimpleSpark (a human-edited Web 2.0 directory) has indexed a total of 5000 major web apps in their directory, and they have put up together one nice video to present all of the 5000 Web 2.0 brands in one swipe which spans for over 5 and a half minutes. Sit back and watch:
Don’t you wanna have your own Web 2.0 brand to be listed among them? I do…Tags: internet startups web 2.0 video web application
- Posted by Tengku Zahasman on September 12th, 2007 filed in Web Programming, PHP, CakePHP, Web App Development, Thoughts
- 14 Comments »
- (7,938 Views)
When the funny guys at RailsEnvy.com published a video comparing RubyOnRails with PHP, they received a lot of criticisms from the viewers for making an unfair comparison between jets and cars, when they should be comparing jets with jets. The viewers were right. PHP is a language. RubyOnRails is a framework. If they wanted to compare RubyOnRails with something, they should be comparing it with another “framework” instead of a language.
So here is the video commercial I’m talking about (I find these guys to be very entertaining):
Soon after they realized their mistake, they created another video comparing CakePHP with RubyOnRails to be fair to the PHP community. While it’s not really a “comparison”, I still find it so hilarious. Check it out
LoL. These guys should seriously consider becoming movie actors Anyway, it’s true that CakePHP functions the same way RoR works, and I don’t think any Cake Bakers would deny that Cake was initially designed to work like RoR, only in PHP. In fact, there were times when CakePHP used to be nicknamed as “PHP on Rails”. But the way I see it, CakePHP is starting to move on its own way now and becoming more independent the more it grows. Bravo to the CakePHP developers!
CakePHP vs Ruby On Rails. Which is the better framework?
It’s not for me to judge since I never fiddled around much with RubyOnRails before.. at least not as seriously.
What I do know is that both of them follow the MVC design pattern. Both adhere to the “Convention over Configuration” philosophy and Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) concept. Both of them also support AJAX. They have an almost identical directory structure. They’re built with testing in mind. They are very OOP-like. They have their own shells for command-line interface stuffs. They both support caching. They support different databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc…). And they’re both released under the MIT license.
The reason why I’m sticking with CakePHP instead of jumping into the RoR bandwagon is because I know I’m already fluent in PHP, so why would I want to learn a new language (Ruby) and a new framework (Rails) when I already have a very Rails-like framework written in PHP? If you strip off “Rails” from Ruby, you’ll realize that Ruby is just another programming language. Sometimes I keep wondering myself why some of those hardcore PHP-ers would migrate completely to RoR and go through the hassles of learning the new syntaxes & built-in functions of Ruby all over again when there’s Cake that does almost entirely the same thing. Even the 37signals guys (the brilliant minds behind RoR) uses PHP in many of their sites. Get real.
To set things straight, RubyOnRails is an awesome framework and I have nothing against it. CakePHP is also an awesome framework. I am no way saying that one is better than the other. They both have their own place and strengths in the web development scene. What I’m saying is unless you want to learn all the programming languages that exists out there, why not just stick with the language you’re currently strong at and use the available framework which works with your favorite language to build the applications of your dream. Save “learning a new language” for your next spare-time hobby.Tags: cakephp Ruby on Rails web application framework