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Saturday, 16 October 2010

Using Your Website as a Content Hub

Not too many year ago, but ages ago in internet time, everybody was building personal websites. No knowledge of html or css or xml needed; services like GeoCities or Homestead (etc.) made it easy to use ready-made templates, upload your photos, type out your life story, and have a website.

Those services are now long gone, as people started considering their "home" as their profile page on a community site such as MySpace or Facebook. Another development was the replacement of the static content web page, with the dynamic content blog. Blogger (where this site is hosted) was one of the pioneers and still a major player, but WordPress and others have also risen to dominance here. Now add twitter to the mix, and podcasts, and photostreams, and videos..., and pretty soon you've got content spread across a half-dozen sites or more.

Personally, I regularly post content to three or four blogs, two Twitter accounts, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr (photos), Soundcloud (music), and Audioboo (podcast). Okay, maybe I'm a bit on the extreme end. But this is a social media blog you're reading, so I'm going to guess you just might appreciate my situation.

For some time I've struggled with how to effectively combine all these different content streams into a single, well-designed, website that presents all of my online output. I must not have been the only one wrestling with this issue, as two new services have recently popped up offering a solution: About.me and Flavors.me.

Flavors.me was the first to launch, and I quickly signed up (see my page here). I was given a choice of several basic layouts, simple instructions on choosing a background image (I uploaded my own), and a list of services to import my feeds from, including blogger, linkedin, facebook, flickr, twitter, etc. Within a few minutes my page was up and running and looking great.

The feed from each service (blog, twitter, etc.) is displayed as part of the page. Without leaving my flavors.me page you can seamlessly click through my content from a variety of sources. This was it - exactly what I'd been looking for forever. I finally had that one, single destination website that I could point people to and have all my content readily visible.

The free version of flavors.me did limit the number of feeds I could import, but I was happy enough to pay for the full version. I've also assigned one of my personal domains, kengoldstein.ca, to the page.

Then About.me launched. Even though I was happy with my Flavors.me site, I still wanted to try it out (see my page here). On first glance, it appears to be almost a clone of Flavors.me; choose a template, upload your background image, select your feeds to import, bang, you're in business.

But immediately frustrations surfaced. I still cannot get my background image to scale correctly. It either tiles or expands way beyond the window. And it will only allow me to include one blogger account or twitter account at a time. The other other blogs can be added as extra links, but will not display inline. For my purposes, these problems add up to a huge FAIL.

On the positive side, I gotta admit that About.me has the much better domain name. Flavors.me is, well, kinda silly. I don't care, as I use my own domain name, but still.

If you have multiple content streams and would like to combine them in a single, personal hub, you really should test them each out. Leave a comment below with which one you prefer, or if you use a different (and better?) solution.

Flavors.me - FTW! Silly name, and fee required for full features, but works like a dream. Exactly what I wanted.
About.me - When you launch second, you're supposed to improve on the original idea, not mess it up. FAIL!

1 comment:

  1. I don't think i have quite so many different streams as you. But, i could still use a place to gather them all together.
    I'd never heard of these services. I'll have to check them out.
    Thanks for the info & the reviews.

    ReplyDelete