Friday, August 31, 2007

Viral Website Part Four: Natural Search Engine Optimization

This is a huge way to leverage content into traffic. Don't do
anything blackhat or you will eventually get caught and killed.

Just organize the site well. And follow fundamental SEO rules. It's
best to start this from the beginning.

Ok. That's it for the series.

Viral Website Part Three: Give Them Something to Talk About

This has two meanings.

First, create something unique. If one person loves it, the chances
are good someone else will as well. People that love something tell

Second. Let users communicate on the site. Comments, forums, chat,
and email are ways to do it. This makes a site sticky and keeps
people coming back.

Viral Website Part Two: Contribution

Once you have lots of people signing up, people need to get value to
continue to use it.

When it's new, there isn't that much there, so it must be easy for
people to contribute. Digg lets users submit stories, which is easy,
but even easier is to leave a comment and even easier than that is a
one click Digg vote.

The key is to figure out how people will contribute and to make sure
there is something very easy that anyone can do to add value.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Components of a Viral Website: Signup

If you learn by seeing what is successful, what do the large social
networks have in common? It's a well integrated signup process that
connects you at the beginning with people in your address book that
are already using the service as well makes it seamless to invite

The downside is this technique has been criticized for being spammy.
So make sure users can opt out of sending emails.

The upside can be tremendous with thousands of people signing up
daily. The experience for each new user is also enhanced when they
are connected with more people they know.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Trading Up Problems

I try to be aware of the type of problems I'm dealing with daily. I
have two buckets. Good and bad.

Bad problems are ones that should have been prevented. I screwed up
and now it's biting me in the ass. Like a bug. Or a legal issue where
you're at fault. Or even worse, you lose customers.

Good problems are trying to decide which features to build. How to
scale because more people are using your service. Or where to invest
because your business is throwing off so much cash.

The key is to understand the type of problems you have. Then you'll
have a picture of where your business is heading.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Picking a Better Name

Don't you think they could have picked a better name for their thrift

This store is located smack downtown Ventura.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Losing Weight

I've been thinking of trying weight watchers to see if I can lose 20 lbs by Christmas. That would put me at about 210 lbs. One thing I like about Weight Watchers is the point system. If you're not sure what it is you can read about Weight Watchers Points and tell me what you think.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Nice Day in Noe Valley

A very comfortable day in our neighborhood. Perfect for sitting on a

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dry Ice

Someone left dry ice outside our office. Good thing nobody stepped on
it with bare feet or picked it up.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

When Do You Hit The Gas

If you read other bloggers in the VC area there has been a lot of talk
about time. The short of it is that things don't work out as quickly
as we would like, but if you can hang in there long enough, you will
make it.

There is a spend to grow formula and a save cash until you figure it
out formula. The big question for new companies is what are the signs
that it is time to switch from figuring it out to spend to grow.

Probably the worst mistake you can make is thinking you have it
figured out when you don't because it usually means increased spending
which takes away time.

In the end it's time that matters.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Guadalupe California

I snapped this picture coming down Division Street out of Nipomo on
our way to the Far Western.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Brothers Arm wrestling

Family arm wresting championships tonight.

San Luis Obispo County Free Cigarettes

General Hospital in San Luis Obispo has a sign posted that says the
county is nolonger providing free cigarettes. Shocking.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Google Power on Public Markets

For the most part, when Google updates it's algorithm it's a million little webmasters that hunker down and discuss it in forums such as webmasterworld. They talk back and forth and try to understand the changes. When an algorithm change goes against you, it can mean that you lose a substantial portion of your income.

Public companies like - owned by the NY Times, and have a huge dependency on Google traffic as well. Last week Google tweaked it's algorithm and just like that, Answers is down 28%. Ouch. Also, last week Associated Content announced a $10 Million round of funding for a site that lives on Google traffic. Venture Beat calls it a bold strategy. And, just to be clear, Google is by far the biggest source of traffic for HubPages.

When it's a million little webmasters that feel this pain it goes fairly unnoticed in the main stream press. When it's a big company that screams it could be different. It may also be different because Google has the ability to change the value of a public company with a very small tweak. is down 11% today. Think it has another 17% to go?

Customer Problems

When you have a new site that is growing there are pain points in the
administration. It could be things like deploying new builds or
simply moderating the site.

Most people defer the infrastructure work until it feels like a
nagging two year old and can't be ignored.

One thing to be cautious of is that there is probably something that
is just as painful for your customers that use the site everyday.

Fix your customers problems before you fix your own.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Making Progress

Through the last year we have continually worked to improve the
Hubpages website and monetization. Progress, measured by monetizable
traffic has come in big steps that doesn't line up with new features
or improvements.

The biggest gains in traffic have been where few things change for a
longer period of time. While the biggest step backwards has been
after our most major changes.

However, after each major update the site does recover and hit new

A good thing to keep in mind when updating the site is can you
pinpoint causality for traffic changes and adjust quickly for unwanted
side effects.