Category Archives: Features

Whether we blog about something of interest around the world or around the corner, our Features category examine graphic design trends and viewpoints that are interesting and helpful.

Viral content is a video, article, picture or website that gets spread around via word of mouth or social media. Like a ‘virus’, it spreads from one person to another, normally fairly quickly. It was originally user-generated content that became viral, but now marketing managers are adopting this phrase to describe campaigns in which they attempt to create content that they know will be spread around by users. It is typically understood that viral content has to be quirky. While this is the case most of the time, viral content comes in all types of formats. Here are some examples.

Charlie Bit me

Uploaded in May of 2007, this video of Harry and Charlie, one biting the other, was filmed by their dad and uploaded amongst a multitude of other typical childhood memory style video clips. This 56 second video became a smash hit on YouTube and now has over 84 million views.

Miss Teen America

The complete meltdown of Miss South Carolina in attempting to answer a simple question regarding the American educational system was posted on Youtube and laughed at mercilessly by the world. It currently has 33 million views. The viral power of this clip was made popular with its ability to make almost anyone blush with embarrassment.

“101 Simple Meals” Article

This article gives out 101 recipes which will be ready in under 10 minutes. It was passed around the web frequently, and as a result has become widely known as a great example of viral content. As you can see, viral content does not have to be quirky.

It’s important to be very careful when handling viral content, as anything you upload to the internet could become viral, with potentially disastrous results.

As an example, a couple of years ago a video was uploaded to the internet of a student using a golf ball retriever to perform Star Wars moves. The video was titled “Star Wars Kid”, and it received attention from news networks, as well as millions of views on YouTube. The upload of the video resulted in a lawsuit, as the uploader did not have permission to do so. The student in question suffered years of name calling, and still does.

Viral Content as a marketing technique can be an easy way for companies to get their message out via word of mouth, without spending millions on traditional media. Many times, pure luck and good timing plays a big part in determining how far reaching a viral marketing campaign will spread.

In the event that an organization fails in producing something valuable enough to prove viral, they may consider purchasing the rights to an existing viral phenomenon and brand it as their own. This technique was used by Stride gum, when it capitalized on the now infamous travels of dancing Matt, who started traveling and dancing for his own entertainment but now does so as a testament to the long lasting nature of gum.

If you’ve ever wondered what you could do to make your website more popular, SEO is the short answer. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a loosely assembled theory of best practices. Here are some tools to help you put your web presence on the map.

1. Advanced Meta Tag Generator

Meta tags are really important in Search Engine Optimization as they are one of the first things that Search Engine Spiders look for. Why not use this generator to create a really great meta tag for your site?

2. Search Engine Spider Simulator

Search engines use “Spiders” to crawl your website. The spider then reports the pages which it has found back to the search engine. This great tool will simulate a search engine spider to show you what a real spider will find when it crawls your site.

3. Robots.txt Generator

The robots.txt file of a website tells search engines which pages they should access and which pages they shouldn’t. This automatic robots.txt generator will save you some time, as it will generate the file for you automatically.

4. Domain Typo Generator

The Domain Typo Generator allows you to protect your brand by finding mis-spelt versions of your site’s domain. For example, Google has registered domains such as goolge.com and googel.com to prevent other canny entrepreneurs from registering the domans themselves.

5. Keyword Density Analyzer

Keyword density is very important to search engines. It is used to determine the theme of your site, and with the correct keyword density, you can acheive better search results. Try this tool out to analyze your site and tell you what keywords to use, and what density of them.

6. XML Sitemap Generator

Sitemaps are used by most major search engines to navigate your site for content. This generator will automate the process of creating a sitemap, which is normally tedious and lengthy, by scanning the site in question and allowing you to download the generated sitemap for free.

7. Domain Backlink Checker

A backlink checker is one of the most important SEO tools. The backlink checker displays exactly how many sites have linked back to yours.

8. Search Engine URL Submission

The submission of URLs to search engines normally takes a long time, but with this simple form, you can submit your site within 1 minute. Be sure to enter an email address as well, or the submission script will not work.

9. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of the best statistics programs for websites. It provides advanced data, such as the percentage of new visitors, the bounce rate, the average time spent on your site and what visitors clicked on. Best of all, it’s absolutely free!

10. Firefox Rank Checker Plugin

This plugin for Firefox displays your sites rank on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Live Search. The plugin makes it easy to see your rankings at a glance.

If you’ve ever wondered what a wiki was, simply put, a wiki is an open encyclopedia, to which anyone who accesses it can contribute. It’s main purpose is to remain un-biased and objective in an effort to store information that is correct and informative.

Wikis have many useful features and uses, as well as risks.

Perhaps the most famous Wiki is Wikipedia. Wikipedia was launched on the 15th January 2001, and since has expanded to being available in 236 languages. Wikipedia has around 1,000,000 articles available, most of which are editable by users, whether they are registered or not.

There are some misconceptions about the use of a wiki like Wikipedia. Many people, because of the site’s popularity, seek to use encyclopedia for self promotion or for advertising their websites. Fortunately, there are restrictions in place that prevent self-motivated editors from doing this including a “no-follow policy”. This means that if your website was linked from Wikipedia, it would not be recognized by Search Engines as a valid link to your website. By implementing this policy, Wikipedia is negating the incentive many people have for posting biased information.

Wikis have many uses, from project management systems to operations manuals. Other great uses for wikis are FAQ directories, a contact book, writing down notes and snippets, keeping progress reports and managing client work. The main reason people choose to use wikis is to collaborate and share information in a central, easy to access location. This way, everyone who is involved in a group project can add, delete and revise information as it becomes known.

Private wikis are great ways to work together. If you are planning to make your wiki public, be prepared to deal with some risks.

The number one issue with wikis, due to their shared nature is spamming. It’s also some unsavoury individuals mission to destroy articles written by other users for the sheer pleasure of it, as well as adding links to their own website to article pages for personal gain. This kind of online vandalism can be very annoying to users and may turn them away from your site.

The final risk of running a wiki is flame wars. When users do not post articles with a neutral point of view, other users may object to what they have posted. This may result in users arguing on a particular page, resulting in incorrect, damaging or un-necessary information being posted.

However, there are some systems that you can use to ensure that the perpetrators are stopped. On many wiki software packages a feature is installed where articles can be locked. This prevents users from editing an article. Often there
is an option to only allow registered users to edit. Again, that can be very useful for preventing spam.

These packages also come with edit history, which will display the IPs of users who have edited the article in question. This means that you can ban the IP of an offending user.

Now that you have heard about the uses and risks of wikis, you will probably want to get one for yourself. You have two options: Self hosting and hosted.

If you are planning to go down the route of self hosting, I highly recommend using MediaWiki. MediaWiki is used to run the most popular wiki on the internet, Wikipedia, so it is obviously a solid system with many great features. It’s simple to download and install. More details are available here.

However, if you do not have web hosting and would like a wiki hosted for you, PBwiki is recommended. It includes many of the features of MediaWiki, but as mentioned before, it is hosted. It has a really quick sign-up process, and you can sign up here.

Have your experiences with Wiki’s been good or bad? Let us know.