Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Agile Computing, Release Management , CRM

Agile Computing: Article

Danger: Don't Build Your Online Future on Shifting Sand

Be Careful With Your Future

Surely you know the parable. One guy builds his house on rock. It's tough, it's expensive, but the house is secure and it lasts. The other guy constructs his home on sand. Easy, cheap ... but then it slides into the ocean. Everything's lost.

A story to encourage children to work hard? Perhaps. But a surprising number of new businesses are building their online futures on foundations that are just as unstable.

Free ... and worth every penny

Too many otherwise sensible business people see an offer for free web hosting and leap at the "opportunity." Some think that adding a top-level domain name makes it okay: that it hides the underlying weaknesses.

One way or another, they won't stay hidden for long. The host might employ the term "free," but you can be sure it expects to profit. At best, that host will start you for free but the service is so restricted you simply have to pay for "extras."

At worst, you'll get stuck with advertising on your site over which you have no control. Think you're going to sell baby clothes in that kind of environment? An extreme example, perhaps, but I'm sure you understand what I mean.

And having inappropriate ads on your website is not the most serious problem; visibility is. While the search engines don't actually penalize free sites simply because they're free, according to Google's own webmaster blog the search engine does downgrade hosts who allow multiple junk sites.

Most free hosts aren't concerned about who builds what -- they actively encourage quantity -- so no matter how good your website is, if it's on a platform that's considered sub-standard, it will inevitably get dragged down.

Why would you take the risk? Professional hosting will cost you $5 a month or less. It used to be more expensive if you wanted to run things like ASP or .NET -- because you needed a Windows server -- but today, specialists such as Accuweb offer the same competitive pricing as you'll find with traditional Linux sites.

It's about as big a no-brainer as you get on the Internet. Professional hosting that will enable you to do pretty much anything you want, without risking the wrath of Google ... and it costs less than a family pizza.

If that's too rich for you, you need to re-evaluate whether you're cut out for online business at all.

The big myth of social media

Social media is huge. Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. -- all those places offer you the chance to build a tremendous following for your products and services, and it requires nothing but your time.

Then there's the giant that is Facebook. That's a superb place to promote a business ... and free, too. It may only have been around for ten years but it's got so much critical mass, it'll be with us forever, right?

Tell that to people who previously used Myspace or to Rupert Murdoch, who reportedly paid $580 million for that one in 2005 when it was THE social media site. Back then, MySpace had more daily visits than Google, in excess of 1,500 employees, and a turnover of $800 million. Yet six years later it sold for just $35 million and today ... ?

Through growth can be extraordinary online, so can decline. Nobody is suggesting you shouldn't use social media in your business -- very few can afford to ignore its potential -- but you need to employ it in addition to your other Internet activities.

Building a business presence based solely on social media is a dangerous choice. What popular opinion can build, it can very quickly destroy.

Solid foundations

The immediacy of the Internet and modern media can distract us from core business principles that are as rock-solid now as they always were -- except that today, firm foundations are as easy to construct as those built on sand.

First, establish an Internet presence that you control: one that isn't subject to the vagaries of fashion. Get professional hosting, build a site, and generate content that appeals to the search engines and your human visitors.

Don't ever try to game the system, particularly not Google. Even if it works in the short term, when Google eventually finds out -- and it will -- that means the end of your website. Period.

As you develop your site, foster your social media presence alongside it. Don't just duplicate content; learn what works best for each platform. The result will be a comprehensive strategy that can survive just about anything.

More Stories By Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is a writer, as well as a tech, social media and environmental enthusiast, living in San Francisco. He is a contributing writer at Forbes, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Early Bird Registration Discount Expires on August 31, 2018 Conference Registration Link ▸ HERE. Pick from all 200 sessions in all 10 tracks, plus 22 Keynotes & General Sessions! Lunch is served two days. EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2018. Ticket prices: ($1,295-Aug 31) ($1,495-Oct 31) ($1,995-Nov 12) ($2,500-Walk-in)
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Nicolas Fierro is CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions. He is a programmer, technologist, and operations dev who has worked with Ethereum and blockchain since 2014. His knowledge in blockchain dates to when he performed dev ops services to the Ethereum Foundation as one the privileged few developers to work with the original core team in Switzerland.
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...