Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Facebook To Launch A Subscribe Button For Websites

Facebook subscriptions are about to blow up! At Le Web, Joanna Shields, VP and Managing Director for Facebook Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), announced that the company is planning to roll out a “Subscribe” plugin for all websites. The plugin will allow a website’s visitors a one-click way to begin following all of the news from an individual reporter, public figure, politician, celebrity, or anyone else who wants to post public updates via their Facebook user profile.

You may recall that Facebook launched its “subscriptions” feature earlier this fall at its annual f8 conference. The button, available as an optional addition to your Facebook user profile, introduced a Twitter-like functionality to the social networking service. It introduced one-way friendships (at last!) where a user could follow someone, like a public figure, celebrity, politician, journalist, etc., without that person having to “friend” the subscriber in return. This benefits both parties – the subscriber who wants to use Facebook to receive the news, and the public figure who wants to reach their audience on Facebook, but isn’t a brand or company deserving of their own Facebook Fan Page.

Now this same one-way follow option is going to become easier to access through the new subscribe plugin. Publishers will be able to add the button to their websites, much like they do with the Twitter “follow” button today, allowing users one-click access to a person’s public updates. The updates from that person will then begin appearing in the subscriber’s News Feed, alongside updates from friends and the pages the user had previously “liked.”

While the introduction of a website button is typically relatively minor news, for Facebook, this is huge. It means that the company is directly attacking the entire Twitter model head-on, by allowing for these one-way subscription buttons to be as easy to use and as ubiquitous as they are for Twitter.

There is one downside to posting publicly on Facebook, however. If you’re a public figure who begins sharing your news at Twitter’s same pace, you’re sure to annoy your real Facebook friends. To fix this, uur writer Josh Constine proposes that Facebook users choose to publish to “Subscribers Only” and exclude the rest of their friends. ( )

Facebook’s subscribe button is coming “soon,” but Facebook isn’t confirming the launch date or time.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

What is Squidoo and How to Use it For Business

Squidoo is a web 2.0 site which is almost completely made up of user generated content. Users, known as lensmasters, create single page websites called lenses which can be customized with the addition of various types of modules such as video, Amazon, and voting modules. Lenses are given lensranks by a proprietary algorithm which is obviously kept under wraps, much like the Google algorithm is kept secret. The factors which are generally understood to have a positive impact on a lens’ lensrank are things like traffic, quality content, lens ratings, how often users share the lens with others, and more.

Unlike many other social media sites including Digg and Twitter, Squidoo is more receptive to promotional content as long as you provide valuable information such as a review of a product in your lens. Twitter is a social networking site and Digg is a social news network which is why marketing does not fit in with those sites. However, Squidoo acts as a kind of search engine of user generated content where people can find lenses on virtually every topic imaginable as long as they comply with Squidoo’s terms of service.

You are allowed to simply use a lens as a review page and to send your visitors through your affiliate link. This works great if you do not want to set up your own website or if you do not know how to. However, if you don’t mind setting up your own website, then Squidoo can be a powerful tool to help your main website rank higher in the search engines and to provide some traffic for you.

With search engine optimization, your goal is to create a network of powerful sites like Squidoo, which Google loves, which are strategically linked to other sites within the network. Ultimately, you want to point the majority of your network’s sites to a smaller inner circle of sites within your network which are in turn linking to your main website, known as your money site. By creating a strategic network of web 2.0 and other authoritative sites, you are giving your money site extreme link juice, which, if you pick the right niche or subniche to go after, can catapult you to the first page of Google. ( )

Squidoo is similar to social media sites like Digg and Twitter in that if other users don’t like you, you and your content will be ignored and you won’t get any traffic nor make any money. So while Squidoo does allow some marketing to be done on their site, you shouldn’t take it overboard. The cardinal rule in social media of providing quality information and value still applies. Lenses do not have to have too much content, but it is generally favourable to have more. Obvious, if you’re providing a product review, you won’t want to bore your visitor, but if you want to drive traffic and to increase your lensrank, you would do well to regularly update your lenses with additional content. In addition to having just text, having a healthy mix of other types of content will make your lens more attractive.