Future of the web


Better later than never: Adobe makes effort to have Flash index in search engines

Flash designers all over are jumping for joy, thinking they’ll no longer have to build dual sites so that their clients don’t get ignored by Google, with this announcement from Adobe. But, read my comments after the blockquote to fully understand what this means for your business:

Adobe Advances Rich Media Search on the Web
“Until now it has been extremely challenging to search the millions of RIAs and dynamic content on the Web, so we are leading the charge in improving search of content that runs in Adobe Flash Player,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “We are initially working with Google and Yahoo! to significantly improve search of this rich content on the Web, and we intend to broaden the availability of this capability to benefit all content publishers, developers and end users.”

Google has already begun to roll out Adobe Flash Player technology incorporated into its search engine. With Adobe’s help, Google can now better read the content on sites that use Adobe Flash technology, helping users find more relevant information when conducting searches. As a result, millions of pre-existing RIAs and dynamic Web experiences that utilize Adobe Flash technology, including content that loads at runtime, are immediately searchable without the need for companies and developers to alter them.

“Google has been working hard to improve how we can read and discover SWF files,” said Bill Coughran, senior vice president of engineering at Google. “Through our recent collaboration with Adobe, we now help Web site owners that choose to design sites with Adobe Flash software by indexing this content better. Improving how we crawl dynamic content will ultimately enhance the search experience for our users.”…

“Designers and Web developers have long been frustrated that search engines couldn’t better access the information within their content created with Flash technology. It’s great to see Adobe and the search engines working directly together to improve the situation,” said Danny Sullivan, editor-in-chief, SearchEngineLand.com. “The changes should help unlock information that’s previously been ‘invisible’ and will likely result in a better experience for searchers.”

But there are many reasons not to get that excited, especially for small businesses, and here is why:

Flash is generally dependent on screen size- ie- it’s built to run on a standard computer screen- of a certain size. If you want it to work on a cell phone (and right now- it still doesn’t work on the iPhone) you have to build your files for each screen size.

Updating and creating content in Flash requires the Flash software- and the smarts to use it. Unless your Flash designer builds a database driven site- with a browser access portal, you are going to continue to pay out the yang to update and change your site. I don’t know what the percentage is of DB driven flash sites, but from my travels on the web- it’s pretty small.

Even if the site is built using a database, and works on all screens, and manages to meet all ADA and W3C standards for accessibility, it’s ability to interact with Google and play with other sites through social tools is nascent. It’s like getting on the web 2.0 bandwagon 4 years too late.

If you have a huge budget for a website and you like to keep your web monkeys in bananas, Flash may be the tool for you in about a year or two. However if you want the fastest, easiest, most compliant solution that puts your company in charge of your website without a web monkey, look to the many Open Source Content Managers that can have you up and running and indexed by Google today.


Websitetology Seminar on Monday, January 21st, 2008

The next Websitetology seminars will be held, Monday January 21, 2008

8:30am to 5 pm

Location Nehemiah University, 750 S. Main Street Dayton OH 45410

If you are wondering if you should take this seminar: http://websitetology.com/?p=91

Sign up for it here: http://websitetology.com/?page_id=247


New York Times on Blogging as a small business tool

You are a small business, or a big business, you know you need a website, but developers are expensive, keeping the site updated can be a pain, and paying to get on the front page of Google sounds like another headache.

Well, never fear, Websitetology is here. We use Open Source (Free) software to run business websites for maximum payoff and low cost maintenance. Yes, the software is for blogging- but, it can do so much more. That’s where most people get hungup- even the New York Times keeps thinking that there is a difference between a blog and a website (both can do the same thing for your business- and are available online).

The reality is, we average over 9000 unique visitors at www.thenextwave.biz/tnw  and it helps position us as leading edge thinkers in our field. It’s also a lot easier to maintain than our old style main part of our site.

It’s the reason why we teach the seminar, and help others learn how to position themselves as the leader in their field— but, look at what the NYT has to say too:

Blogging’s a Low-Cost, High Return Marketing ToolTO its true believers at small businesses, it is a low-cost, high-return tool that can handle marketing and public relations, raise the company profile and build the brand.

That tool is blogging, though small businesses with blogs are still a distinct minority. A recent American Express survey found that only 5 percent of businesses with fewer than 100 employees have blogs. Other experts put the number slightly higher…

Blogging requires a large time commitment and some writing skills, which not every small business has on hand.

But some companies are suited to blogging. The most obvious candidates, said Aliza Sherman Risdahl, author of “The Everything Blogging Book” (Adams Media 2006), are consultants. “They are experts in their fields and are in the business of telling people what to do.”

For other companies, Ms. Risdahl said, it can be challenging to find a legitimate reason for blogging unless the sector served has a steep learning curve (like wine), a lifestyle associated with certain products or service (like camping gear or pet products) or a social mission (like improving the environment or donating a portion of revenues to charity).

Even in those niches, Ms. Risdahl said that companies need to focus on a strategy for their blogging and figure out if they have enough to say.

“As a consultant, blogging clearly helps you get hired,” she said. “If you are selling a product, you have to be much more creative because people don’t want to read a commercial.”

Sarah E. Endline, chief executive of sweetriot, which makes organic chocolate snacks, said she started blogging a few months before starting her company in 2005 to give people a behind-the-scenes look at the business.

The kind of transparency is a popular reason for blogging, particularly for companies that want to be identified as mission-oriented or socially responsible.

A typical post on sweetriot’s blog described the arrival of the company’s first cacao shipment from South America and how Ms. Endline met the truck on Labor Day weekend after it passed through customs at Kennedy International Airport.

She wrote about climbing aboard to inspect the goods and then praised the owner of Gateway trucking company, who helped her sort through the boxes so that she could examine the product.

“At sweetriot we don’t use the word ‘vendors’ as we believe it is about partnership with anyone with whom we work,” she wrote….

He added: “I’m trying to create a community of help for small Internet businesses like mine. My blogging philosophy is like the open source model in software. It’s sort of a hippie concept. If I can help other people, it’s personally rewarding. And those people will likely pay it back in some ways.”

Mr. Stubblebine said he gets new customers largely by word of mouth, and he uses the blog as a way to share news with friends and people who wield influence in his industry as well as a reference check for customers. “That’s why I cover the growth of the company.”

David Harlow, a lawyer and health care consultant in Boston, said he started his blog, HealthBlawg, as a way of marketing himself after he left a large law firm and opened his own practice. Besides, he said, blogging was easy to get started and the technology was straightforward.

Now, after about two years of blogging, Mr. Harlow said he was pleased with the results. He gets about 200 to 300 visits a day, he said. He has also become a source for publications looking for commentary on regulatory issues in the health care field and has even gained a few clients because of the blog. In addition, he has formed relationships with other legal bloggers (who call themselves blawgers) and consultants around the country.

Many small business bloggers achieve their goals even if only a handful or a few hundred people read their blogs….

If you don’t think a few hundred people are important, there are many small businesses who have websites that don’t get a few hundred visits a year. We’ve found that using the blogging tools properly, can help you get to the top of search for many more terms than your company name or the name of the founder.

It won’t be long when all websites have bloglike components, including comments, RSS and easy maintenance. If you can’t wait, come take the seminar and get ahead of the curve.

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