VigeWeekly: Surviving, Mapping, Migrating, and Converging
As part of our new blogging strategy, we're going to be providing a weekly re-cap in the FourLabs Blog for all our loyal (thank you) readers interested in keeping a finger on the pulse of our discussions -- but who might not have the time to follow all the posts from all our blogs. So, thanks for reading the inaugural VigeWeekly. Enjoy! The chatter this week spanned everything from how the web is like surviving the wilderness to finding solutions for no query strings to pining for analytics answers. Here are some quick takes from our blogs. Steph's post on making copywriting a priority hammers home a point we discuss with clients regularly -- that content can make or break launch deadlines, affect the design and development efforts overall, and -- in the end -- set apart a predictable site from one dedicated to enlightening its users. When clients make copywriting a priority early in the process, everyone wins. Jackson's post on how building a web community is like surviving the wilderness was a good one (particularly since it makes us web professionals seem more rugged and less nerdy). So, how do good projects survive? Tinder, Spark, Kindling, and Fuel, of course. Everyone's talking about Facebook, including us, but when should a client tap into this community? Laura tackles this fundamental question plaguing the next great niche social network idea by giving some facts on Facebook's popularity and viability across various business goals. So, next time you're thinking, "Should I Build a Facebook App?," check out some of what's involved. I know I'll be referring lots of people to this post in the future. Erik hung out in our Durham office this week, which was great since that meant he could meet some new folks at the Raleigh-Durham Adobe User Group's meeting, where he learned about PHP services for Flex plus some on PHP Data Objects. Erik also gave a promising review of Yahoo! Maps' new API for Actionscript 3, saying, "Getting started with the API really is very simple. All you have to do is download the swc and sign up for a free API key. Within about 10 minutes, I had the zoom component and the Map, Satellite and Hybrid views fully functioning." Doug's post relayed a fix to an issue we encountered with line wrapping with PRE code and our blogs' (relatively narrow) column layouts. His post accomplished at least two things: first, it spread the knowledge for other ExpressionEngine users out there looking for this solution, and two, it admitted that we don't have all the answers ... yet. SP, like Doug, passed along some of our own learnings that happened when launching the new viget.com and blogs. His post tackled the topic of how, without a query string, to redirect users to a new site. This proved perfect for allowing us to move away from ID-based URLS to SEO-friendly slugs, instead. Ben addressed how consolidation has been tackling some of the negatives of Rails' database migrations, like slowness due to accumulation or conflicts with early migrations caused by later code changes. After developing with migrations normally -- that end up as a release to production -- we consolidate the existing migrations into a single file. How? Check out Ben's post, Migration Consolidation for Fun and Profit. Ryan's detailed post on how the evolution of digital marketing is further blurring the lines among technology, entertainment, and business goals addresses the marketing-as-service notion. The theme of Convergence of Product and Marketing is one we discuss with many of our clients -- users are defining their experiences online, and so the product ultimately is being formed increasingly by this community, as well. This idea is especially important as talk of an economic recession takes center stage and marketing dollars get cut. In Leveraging Social Media to Success in the Recession, Ryan contends that reaching consumers doesn't have to suffer thanks to the (typically inexpensive) direct relationship social media applications like blogs offer. Josh was all about analytics in a couple posts this week. Clients come to us often asking about analytics -- how to use them, and how to learn from them. Josh breaks it down in "Talk, Analytics! Talk!" In Persistent Marketing, he touches on Seth Godin's definition of persistence ("Persistence is having the same goal over and over") saying, "Leveraging a relationship between your analytics data and your social media will enable you to quickly create new tactics while maintaining your original goal." We're always working with clients to define goals and help find solutions to meet them. Having persistence (without being annoying) is key. Phew! That's a lot of great discussion for one week! Any other topics you'd like us to cover? I'm not certain that we'll be able to keep up this much detail in our weekly re-caps, but I promise we'll do our best. Thanks for reading and Happy Easter!