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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Website Comes of Age – Self Service Listing Updates

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Up until recently, the main focus in the development work on the site has been on getting the listings out to as many people as possible via the social networks where we have communities.  Now, at long last,  I’ve finally finished coding up the listing update facility.

If you have posted a listing on the site and need to amend it, you simply go to your listing page and choose the ‘Manage’ tab at the top of the listing.  You will now find a link there to initiate the update process.  When you click that link, we send an email to the email address originally posted with the listing which contains a link to a web page which allows you to update your listing, add a photo, amend the gender etc – basically whatever you need to change.

Initially at least, we won’t have an approval process, so updates you make will be immediate.  The listing will retain its original web address so links to the listing you have already shared and posters you may have printed out will still point to the correct location on the site.

In addition to updating the information displayed on your listing page, we automatically send out a post to our Facebook page, and a tweet on our Twitter account to alert folk that the listing has been updated.  In the case of Facebook, we also add a comment to the original post, alerting anyone who may be subscribed to the comments that the listing has been updated and that they should go check it on the main site.  We also alert the search engines again to let them know that the content on your listing page has been updated and that they should re-crawl it.

If your listing didn’t originally feature a photo but now does, this photo will be also sent to our Flickr account, as well as to our accounts on Twitpic.  Same thing happens if either your listing keeps its original photo or you decide to replace the original one with a better/clearer one.  In those cases we also upload the new photo to Flickr but this time we also add a link to the original photo to the new photo and vice versa so folk can find any previous information that may have been added before and after the update.  The photos are also reissued on Twitpic.  With the launch of Google Plus, we are ceasing support for Picasa for which we have exceed our upload allowance for in any case by a factor of 4 at this point.

You may have noticed there is no mention of Bebo and MySpace in the update process described above and that is intentional.  With the virtual demise of these sites in terms of their popularity here in Ireland, and with the launch of Google Plus, I feel it makes more sense at the point to put our limited resources into the communities which are thriving and engaged and neither Bebo or MySpace has ever really shone for us in terms of user engagement or interaction in any case.  Eventually my intention is to phase our presence out on those networks entirely.

I hope you find the new features useful.  They will also hopefully free up a little time for me to add yet more new features to the site.  If you have any questions  or comments, feel free to leave a message below or drop me an email.

The Poster Child for Social Petworking – Literally!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

A preview of our offline promo posterI know, I know, the post titles are getting worse but bear with me because this one is to let you all know that following a conversations over on the Facebook page, I have just uploaded a poster which you can download and print for distribution in your local area to help us promote our service in the ‘real’ world.

The poster is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format and will produce an A4 sized poster when printed.  In the unlikely event you don’t already have Adobe Acrobat already installed on your computer, you can download a copy for free from here.

Possible venues for you to get the poster displayed in would be your local vets, groomers, butchers, convenience stores, hairdressers and any other community noticeboards you know of.

Let us all know where you put yours via the comments facility below.

Irish Web Awards Finalists 2010

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

So the little site that could has been shortlisted for the Best Facebook Page for a Business or Organisation category of the Irish Web Awards 2010 sponsored by Realex.  I am thrilled with this though the competition is certainly stiff.

No doubt it will be a fun night and I wish all who are up for awards the best of luck – except the others in our category, well damnit, I want to win!!!

Lost and Found Pets Get All Up in Your Face(book)

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Since I started the site back in June I’ve been planning to really dig into Facebook. With users claiming to be located in Ireland numbering about the million mark at this point, and with many of those engaging on a daily basis, it seemed like the perfect vehicle for getting the listings out to a wider audience.

My initial feeling about this has been more than backed up by the success of the site fan page which now has around 350 fans, with that number steadily growing. It has been really great to see people engage with the listings and other content I have posted there, both commenting and sharing, and it has also been a great source of feedback on the main site too.

Basically Facebook applications, some developed Facebook itself but most mainly by third party developers run inside Facebook and add extra functionality to the site – everything from games and quizzes to full-blown e-commerce portals. I had been using the platform these applications are built on to provide the ability to share listings from the main site and to bring them into Facebook since the start but it is only now I have begun to use its full potential.

Introducing the Lost and Found Pets Ireland App

Our application allows users to:

  • View the latest lost and found pets without leaving Facebook.
  • Display the latest pet posted on your profile page automatically.
  • Share any posting displayed here with your Facebook friends.

Facebook App Widget

It comes with three interfaces. The first is a widget that both regular users can add to their profile pages and page administrators can add to their fan and application pages which automatically displays the latest pets posted to the site with a photo where applicable along with links to both share and view the full listing. Others viewing the widget are also offered the opportunity to add the widget to their own profile or page. The second is the tab interface which, once again, both regular users and page admins may opt to display. The tab shows a summary of the latest blog posting from the site, a selection of the latest pets posted on the main site (with links to share) and a link to give feedback as well as links to both our site and app fan pages.

Finally we have the main application interface which features all the elements of the tab interface above with the important addition of a link to invite friends to use the application.

Now anyone who has used Facebook for any length of time is bound to develop ‘app fatigue’. Many of the applications on offer range from simple to annoying amusements, built purely for revenue making purposes. I’m hoping that the practical nature of the app will encourage people to install and use and share it. I guess time will tell.

Facebook App Tab

I intend to develop out the application some more in the coming weeks and I am looking forward to hearing people’s thoughts and feedback on it.

So What Happens When I Post A Pet Here

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I have just realised I have never explicitly outlined on the site what happens when a new lost or found pet is posted to the site.

Basically when someone completes the relevant posting form for a lost or found pet, I receive an email alerting me to a new posting. I then log in to the site’s administration section, review the posting, making any changes I feel will make the posting more useful to site visitors and indeed the search engine spiders who index the content on the site frequently, and then mark the posting as approved which in turn initiates the following actions.

  1. The geotagged  posting goes live on the appropriate section of the site. We are currently seeing around 9,000+ visits per month.
  2. The site contacts the major search engines (Google, MS Bing, Yahoo, and Ask) and alerts them that there is new content to be indexed and tells them explicitly where they can find it. It is only when these search engines come in and index the posting that it can appear in the search results.
  3. A text message with geolocation information is sent out on our Twitter account which appears in our followers (currently numbering around 3,250 Twitter streams and is also publicly available from both our Twitter page and from our own site where we republish our Twitter stream.
  4. If the posting is accompanied by a photo, this photo is sent to our Twitpic account so that people using Twitter can easily view it – currently we are seeing an average of about 50 views per photo this way.
  5. If the posting is accompanied by a photo we also automatically publish it to our Flickr account along with its geolocation information which allows it to appear on our Flickr map and also to our own Flickr group and to other relevant Flickr groups we are members of such as the Irish Flickr Users group. This brings a potential audience for the posting to about 4,000 people on Flickr alone and in addition makes the posting even more visible in search engine results.
  6. If a photo is included it is also published automatically to our Google Picasa account.
  7. The posting is sent to our Facebook page and will appear in all our fan’s activity streams unless they explicitly prevent it – almost 6,100 more sets of eyeballs seeing a posting.
  8. Full details of the posting including the photo if included are posted to our MySpace account.
  9. The posting appears in our main RSS feed (geolocation information once again included) and all relevant filtered feeds so is automatically distributed to individuals and other sites such as Galway SPCA, Topdog.ie and TailsandTrails.ie – we have provided some tools and help to easily display our feeds on third party sites so we hope more sites will syndicate our feeds in time.
  10. Listings are also exposed via our Google gadget to those who have installed it on their personalised iGoogle homepage or indeed on any other web page where it is installed.
  11. The individual submitting the post is informed that it has been approved and published and they are provided with the direct URL for the posting where they can then share it via their own social networking sites and, if the posting includes a photo, print out a custom poster to distribute locally.
  12. I am now also manually publishing the listings to Google Plus where we have a page at http://gplus.to/lostfoundpets – be sure to add us to your circles.

I also carry out a number of other actions to ensure that the posting is indexed in as timely a manner as possible. Since I use these techniques on some of the commercial sites I have built and/or maintain I can not discuss them here but in general, a listing will be available in the Google search results within 30 minutes of approval and often less.

With current monthly traffic of around 9,000 monthly visits to the site alone,  I believe that currently no other site offers the breath of distribution and therefore exposure of postings this site offers. It is also worth noting the extra benefits in terms of exposure one gets by including a photo with the listing.

I will be updating this post as I add more features – we are a long way from done!