Posts Tagged ‘portals’

What The Television Industry Needs To Do

Thursday, January 31st, 2008
Posted in Web Development · Tags: ,
  • Register a good domain name with SEO in mind. Better yet would be to setup a subdomains based on city.
  • Hire staff that can know the web. People that know not to make images 250k or flash files that are 500k. People that know what SEO is and how it can help.
  • Give prominence to weather and local news. These are the two reasons anyone goes to a local television website.
  • Put up your videos. The local television has the advantage in this area, but they are not concerning themselves with it.
  • Many local stations are owned by a big corporation. They should have the corporation create templates of a web site to push down to the local stations. The local stations can then hire people that know the web and maintain the site. They might not have full control over the site, but they could create ads, graphics, and modify any scripts or HTML needed. This would lessen the amount of staff for each station to hire, while big changes could happen with the developers at the corporate headquarters.

I think the main reason local television stations are not putting more importance on their web site is because they don’t see it as a threat. With sites like YouTube, people are starting to get used to watching video on the internet. Advertising is moving to the web. Newspapers understand that video and the web is their only saving grace in coming years, so they have the advantage over any local television station now and in the coming years.

Another reason is the fact the stations prefer to put out there news 3 times a day, once in the morning, 5/6pm and 9/10pm at night. Occasionally they will interrupt a show or insert a quick news brief throughout the day, but live in a 24-hour news world. They are going to have to learn that putting news on their web site is not competing with themselves but giving people another method to access it.

The last reason would have to be staffing, but it really doesn’t take that big of a staff to maintain a site. Many local newspaper sites get by with about 2 or 3 people dedicated to creating ads, html, css, javascript, minor coding and graphics. Most television web sites look like they should be hosted on so it’s no wonder not many people are not using their sites. They are ugly, take forever to load, have too many graphics, blink all over the place and lack any kind of interactivity. In a day and age when throwing up a free open source PHP forum, CMS, blog, wiki is so cheap, you would think they would.

Unfortunately I think they will continue to ignore the web, similar to how the newspapers saw the web several years back.

Fox Creates MyFox Portals for Local TV Stations Nationwide

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007
Posted in Web · Tags: ,

Another smart move by improving local television web sites. I wrote earlier about Nexstar doing this before, but now Fox Interactive Media is doing this as well. Their design and templates are much better done than Nexstar, and they have some SEO in place. It’s not just big cities either, seems any city with a FOX station is getting a site like this.

Here are a few examples:

The SEO could be a lot better than it is, but at least some of the portals have the city name in their domain name. Which makes me wonder why they didn’t just use subdomains instead of registering a bunch of seperate domain names. They could of used and saved a lot of money. The Metro Guide offers a lot of local data such as history, real estate, jobs and more. Seems that local data is powered by Local Matters. A lot of sites have yet to enter in data on many of the pages and most of the news seems to be National. It will be interesting to see if other companies that own television stations will continue this trend.

Build Your Own Portal

Sunday, June 24th, 2007
Posted in Web · Tags: ,

I’ve never liked having to re-login to portals to get access to my setup and information again, like iGoogle and My Yahoo require. Of course Microsoft has which used to be Even though iGoogle and My Yahoo will let you share a tab, it requires the other person to be logged in or requires cookies, plus the information won’t be there, it basically just gives them what modules you have without any of your settings.

However the following sites will let you share your page and then it makes it public to where anyone can see it. Good thing about this is that you can easily type in the URL (or bookmark it) and bring it up without having to login. Of course if you need to make changes then you’ll have to login, but its nice to be able to see a quick glimse of weather, stocks, events and other information that really doesn’t matter if its public or not.

  • Pageflakes – Nice url for sharing your tab. Themes coming soon. They keep the options a little simpler than Netvibes
  • Protopage – Items can hover over each other or be locked into grid. Easy url for sharing. Some of the interface seems a little to “jumpy” to me but its a pretty good site. You can setup a theme and “wallpaper”.

The following sites you might keep your eye on as they will probably add this feature soon.

  • Netvibes – Will soon be able to share “universe”, right now if you share something it basically sets up someone else with the same widgets in the same place, which isn’t that great. You can select a theme or setup a wallpaper. They seem to have more options for each widget than the other sites such as: minimize in place (collapses the widget), text links to move it, color options for every widget, and a few others.
  • Webwag – Its like Pageflakes and Netvibes. The best feature is the fact you can create your own widget from any website, basically it has an interface to create an iframe for any site on the web. So even if something isn’t available in a Feed or Web Service you can get it. I believe Apple’s desktop widgets allow for this also. Sharing requires it to be approved and won’t give you a unique URL, it just gives the person viewing it the same modules.

Of course there are other ways to build your own portal. You could put try to find a good JavaScript library or extension that supports drag and drop and build your own widgets. So far I’ve yet to do any research into which ones are good, I know jQuery has one called Interface, but I haven’t tried it out.

There aren’t any open source apps that do this, but eyeOS and Brim come close. eyeOS is considered a Web Desktop and Brim is a WIM/PIM.

Another way is to put up a static web page and use some gadgets/widgets/whatever you want to call them that will work on a web page. Most ISPs will give you plenty of web space, so you could build your own. Google provides plenty of gadgets for your web site, some of them are made by Google, others are done by individuals or companies. Yahoo also provides badges for your web site, so far the only one I like is their Finance Stock Badge. Some sites are offering JavaScript based modules on their site, for example Digg does this and AccuWeather and have weather modules. The main problem with this is that your site will look pretty lame. But if you are building your own portal, chances are its just for yourself so it won’t matter.

Nexstar Broadcasting Enters Online For Real

Saturday, May 26th, 2007
Posted in Web · Tags: ,

If you look at your local TV station’s web site, chances are it sucks. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen a local TV station have a good web site. It’s kind of a shame also as they have lots of video and resources to put together good content for a local market. Most people go to local television web sites for one thing, weather. While the local market online gets more and more heated with Craig’s List and Topix jumping in and of course your local Newspaper’s web site, it makes sense someone in the local television industry finally woke up and realized that with everyone else putting video online, they need to get on the ball. Nexstar Broadcasting seems to understand that their future is not just more and more television but to reach out online as well.

They have started pushing out templates of their local portals to their stations across the nation. Here are a few:

They feature weather (current conditions, 7 day forecast and a radar), free classifieds (auto, real estate, other), business directory (with Google Maps), forums, news, web cam, and video. I can’t say I like the layout and how you can position things around, because its not really necessary, and their glossy buttons don’t go with he rest of the site, at least they got the content part right. Their sites are really terrible SEO-wise.

Problem is that most television stations don’t have their own web development staff (maybe the really big stations, but I’m talking about medium/small city America). Local TV web sites have a ways to go before they can really compete online, but it will be interesting to see if this trend spreads to other television companies.