Monday, 12 March 2007
I'm still reading Buzzmarketing (only a handful of pages left) but I've already started implementing the ideas.
Therefore, I now present to you Modern British Political Debates at How To Solve (http://www.howtosolve.co.uk)
Before I go any further, this is not a project website but it will help to enhance the performance of the project sites if it takes off.
So what is How To Solve, how does it work, where did the idea come from, is it an affiliate site and does it create buzz?
1) WHAT IS IT
How To Solve is a website where anyone from the UK can have their say on the topics on the site. It is a site where anyone and everyone living in Great Britain can express their thoughts, feelings and opinions on current affairs.
2) WHERE DID IT COME FROM
You may remember I posted a seminar not so long ago called User Submitted Content. I talked about user centric websites - websites that grow and depend on it's users. I also said that forums were an example, but hard work.
So I created a site that is not a forum but takes it's inspiration from a forum.
There are plenty of forums out there that deal in politics. There are Web 2.0 style sites that deal with polls and debates. I'm not competing with any of them. I'm complimenting the content on such sites but orientating it to the UK.
3) HOW DOES IT WORK
Visitors have to sign up for an account to be able to post.
Once they have registered they can post their own solutions to the questions posed. HOWEVER - the twist that makes this site different to a forum is that each user can only post once per topic. As soon as they have posted, the system blocks the user from posting again for that topic.
The reason I've done this is to reduce spam (forums attract spammers), increase the quality of responses, and to differentiate the site from forums. I could have installed PHPBB and run a forum. Great, but that's not exciting. that's not different. That's not buzzworthy.
The site is hand coded (by me) from the bottom up. The database is my code, the site is my code. That means I can add any feature I want and make the site different.
Forums only survive if people post on them regularly. I have a forum on another site and that is dead. It never took off. Why? Because it's no different to any other forum on the web. I'm hoping How To Solve is more successful!
The site is user-centric so why should I monitor the site? Forums employ respected forum members to moderate the boards. I didn't want to do that. Why should one person determine whether something is shown or not.
We live in a democracy people!
So I have implemented a spam system. If something thinks a post is spam or offensive, they can report it. If enough people agree, the post is removed automatically. I don't get involved.
Accounts have to be validated before they can be used. Also, on the registration page, the visitor has to add up two numbers correctly to proceed. It's the same anti-spam device as seen on blogs.
Accounts that remain inactivated for over a week are deleted.
IS IT AN AFFILIATE SITE?
Yes. But no.
No in the sense that it isn't a site that uses a product feed. No in the sense that I am not endorsing a product. No in the sense that the site is politics and not shopping.
Yes in the sense that one banner will be shown on each page. That's it.
The clever bit is that the banner will be specific, unless a relevant banner cannot be displayed in which case it reverts to a generic banner.
So, if you look at the Taxing Air Travel topic, you will eventually see a banner that relates in some way to transport. Hopefully, on a topic about air travel, airline banners would be good.
Banners are not live yet but they will be soon.
At the moment, there is no mailing list. But there is scope in the future to run a mailing list.
RSS feeds are plentiful around the site. There's a roundup feed plus an individual feed on each topic page.
Social bookmarking icons also appear on the topic page.
When logged in, users can see a tell a friend facility and are urged to do so!
At the moment, I envisage several new topics a day. I am not sure how many different topics I can post - probably quite a few!
As for the future, I would expect to add a new post every weekday.
DOES IT CREATE BUZZ?
It's different. It's novel. It's unique.
I'd say it's buzzworthy. We'll see!
THE OVERALL AIM
The purpose of creating a site like this is it is different. I am not interested in revenue generation from banner ads as I don't expect a lot of clicks. I could be wrong and it could be lucrative. Again, we'll see.
What I do expect is residual traffic generation for the project sites, plus other DBFCS sites. On every page there are half a dozen links to other websites in my entire portfolio.
If this site can create buzz, the traffic it generates should raise the profile of my other sites.
If this is the case, network traffic should be high and so revenue generation on other sites should increase.
It's a plan. Hopefully it will be reality!
*** FEEDBACK ***
Let me know what you think of How To Solve. It's still early days as it is launched today but I'd appreciate some suggestions on what you would like to see on the site.
You may also be interested in reading:
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