Monday 30 April 2007

Crowd-Sourcing - What the crack?

Recent trends on the Internet have been to use the crowds. mySpace use crowds, YouTube use crowds, every WEB 2.0 application relies on users, community and customisable features.

The newest concept using WEB 2.0 is the Federal Police in the UK. The government have published cold cases in the hope that the public can help them crack the cases. Video have been uploaded to YouTube, information on what, where, how and who is all public. By using the Internet as a means to build a collaborative environment, now-a-days is the only way is Crowd-Sourcing. Can you imagine how popular mySpace would be if no one uses it? It's the cornerstone of it's purpose.

So how does this relate to you?
  • Need a collaborative environment?
  • Need to bring people together?
  • Got a cause and need to constructively build movement?

Talk to us today about the range of applications we can use to capture the Crowd-Sourcing concept into your required solution.

Thursday 26 April 2007

The Google Story

I recently read the Google Story and if you haven't heard it before, it is seriously amazing. Two guys, the founders of Google, while at Uni doing their PHD learned that there was no relevance in current search engine results, there was no formula of rank to determine which page is more important than others. Over that year the two guys set out to download the Internet, index the results and return highly fast & relevant results. The conclusion of that year saw available on the Universities' intranet.

Googles' name comes from a spelling mistake of Googol. (Great name though!)

Over the next two years Larry and Sergey set out to make Google public on the global scale and meet the demand of searches the had gathered. They used old computers in a complex array of load balancing to achieve this. But in the end they had no money to continue. Of course they didn't, they didn't have any income opportunity providing free searches.

A few angel sponsors and seed funding went by but it wasn't until they meet up with the founder of Cisco Systems and other large corporations in Silicon Valley did they invent another ground breaking way of how information is sort and marketing is performed.

Sit back at this very moment and consider, what if there wasn't Google, what if they wasn't relevant ad marketing on Google. This product has changed the way we use the Internet.

There's a few motives for me writing this article, mainly to just tell you a good story but here are a few take home points.

  • Meeting the niche in their market. This is the best way to be successful. Find something, be DAMN good at it. This is Googles approach.
  • Google started with nothing and achieved lots. Do you have a great idea? Lets help you make it a reality.
  • We know how Google ranks, we know it as good as the best. Come talk to us about eMarketing your website.
  • Digerati Solutions are on the fringe of producing a very big product. Want to support us? Please contact Digerati.

Friday 13 April 2007

What the deal with SEP?

Most people are now familar with the term SEO or Search Engine Optimisation, but theres a new wave of cutting-edge developers that are now offering SEP or Search Engine Preparation.

SEP is a style of web development which supports SEO in the fact that it is essentially a subsection of SEO, but it also makes the job of optimising your website a lot easier.

In short, SEO is the whole package, a seemingly unlimited number of steps to take to ensure that your website can be indexed and listed by search engines. SEP is a subset of SEO in the fact that it's still focusing on the same end result, but while customer-side SEO usually focuses heavily on content and the text in your pages, SEP is the code and the development behind the website, that you dont usually see.

As an example...
If you've done research on SEO you'll be aware of how header tags work, and how important they are in terms of making specific text 'relevant'. SEP takes this a step further, and can make images have the same impact, but with more keywords.

With advances in CSS and the evolving WC3 and browser standards, its important to ensure that your website is developed with all of the new technological tools, but at the same time you cant afford to compromise compatability, speed and efficiency. The team at Digerati Solutions pride ourselves on our advanced SEP development and customer-centric functionality.

The content you add to your website is always going to be crutial, but when combined with SEP, you've got the whole page working for the same cause, and not just 1 small text area.

So next time you talk to your developer - ask them if they understand the fundamentals of SEP web development.

Thursday 5 April 2007

Online Design Funamentals

The question that has annoyed me for many years as a web designer is 'Why don't people think like a customer when they build websites'?

Design fundamentals have been around forever. Nature works on the principals of instinct and 'the desired outcome for the least work'. We need to start to think this way when we design online services. We need to think like a consumer when we sell, not the other way around.

Online shoppers are much more fickle when it comes to purchasing than their in-store counterparts. Generally we walk to the back of the supermarket to buy our bread and milk, simply because the store owners know we will walk past hundreds of other products on the way there. Online shops do not, and can not expect to operate the same way.

I've put together a list of 8 fundamental design rules that all websites (shops or otherwise) should adhere to.

1) Make it FAST. This covers not only the time it takes for the pages and images of the website to load, but the whole process of using the site should be extremely fast - especially for the shopper who knows what they want. The majority of online shoppers will continue to shop at the same place as long as they feel that they are getting what they need, and can get it without a fuss.

2) Keep it simple. Don't try to be all things to all people. Pick your market, and do it well. This doesn't necessarily mean that you only sell 1 product, but it means that if you're starting to compromise usability and speed for diversity - you will usually lose.

3) Navigation should be simple and clear. Theres nothing worse than a website that is hard to find what you're looking for, especially if you know it's there. Fancy fonts and buttons have their place, but it's NOT in the navigational part of the site.

4) Don't give people too many options. Find the 3 or 4 main things that people want to do on your site, and build your site around those things. Move everything else out of the way. Just think - if a visitor came to my site and i only wanted him to look at 2 things, what would they be? Generally the answer to that question should be the overall target of our website.

5) Invest in the design. Knowing 'how to use Photoshop®' is not enough to give someone the ability to design a website. Generally, I find graphic designers are some of the worst web designers because they think in terms of design and aesthetics, not functionality. A good web designer understands how customers think and how elements need to join together. A good design will win you a large chunk of the market initially, so spend that bit extra to give your site the edge over your competition.

6) Don't take a 'set and let' approach. Having a lot of content on your site can be great, but if you never update it, never change it, never show any sign of moving forward, then your customers will notice. Don't add a 'newest products' section if you're only going to add a new product every 6 months, and don't add a 'latest news' section if you don't intend to keep on top of keeping it current. Some people spend thousands of hours and dollars developing their site, then leave it to do its own thing. All of the effort dies once it starts breathing. I'd go as far as saying that businesses should be redesigning their whole site look every 2-3 years.

7) Don't expect to get rich overnight. Online users are cautious about new services that cost money. Trial periods are a great way for people to try-before-you-buy. Especially with websites that require a huge userbase. Theres no point charging $100 to be a member of a networking site with 3 other members - theres no pull, and no initial incentive. Get the in the door & show them how good it is first.

8) Make sure its a good idea. Too many online ideas are only half-baked. Generally as a designer and online advisor, I will try to persuade some people to develop an idea further before talking to me. I have told at least 4 clients that they should not go ahead with their project. 2 have listened to me and 2 have not. Of the 2 that did not, they have both lost substantial money in development costs and ongoing fees that have not been recovered.

These pointers can be - and generally should be overwhelming to the average business owner. This is why a team such as Digerati Solutions, a team that doesn't just 'do websites', will be your best friend. The team of professionals at Digerati can help to guide you through the complex world of online business, as well as show you some groundbreaking ways of doing your business more efficiently and to a wider market.

Don't waste your investment. Use the internet to make your business better, faster and more efficient. Every day you delay - your competitors could be stealing your clients one at a time.