If you take the time to browse through this site you will see several articles that discuss Social media and its effect on websites. My personal opinion is that spending most of your time on Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Tumblr has a negative effect on small businesses. My business opinion is based on the fact that it is absolutely necessary to reach an audience today to integrate each of these social media outlets into your marketing strategies. The question is why are my personal and business opinions such an extreme paradox/contradiction?
I spend at least a couple of days per week telling people to put together a list of websites to visit consistently. The reason I do this is because while most people are unaware of how websites generate money, I know that your decision to visit a site can generate income for a site. When I write a post on Facebook or Google, I do it because I know for that moment, someone will go to visit a smaller site. In One Hour To Wealth I discuss that a website can make money in three ways: ad revenue, donations or by selling something. Most small websites focus on ad revenue, because it is difficult to compete with ebay and amazon in selling something. This focus on ad revenue means that in order to make money from companies like Adbrite or Google adsense, people have to visit the site and the website owner can earn impressions or clicks that generate money.
This is why I am in turmoil. The way most people find websites is by using search engines. The problem is search engines have equations that dictate who shows up in the first page: This is important because most people only look at the first 1-3 pages. If you are an author or website owner of a small website and your site has to go up against the industry giants then your site inevitably will be linked to less often which means your position in Google search falls to the pages no one ever checks. A quick bit of clarity, the more your site is shared, linked to, or liked, increases your ranking. In short when you share a story you help to increase the rank on Google which translates to ad revenue and higher page rankings.
I’m straying here. In the title is the name Huria. Troy Johnson, founder of www.aalbc.com is attempting to rectify this problem for Black websites. Before other cultures and races get riled up on race, instead of being offended think of this as an opportunity for you to launch a business. If you know that your culture’s websites are consistently showing up in the last pages of a Google search you can begin an incubator and look at making your own company to promote your culture’s content. Johnson has taken the time to launch www.huria.org: a search engine that focuses on African-American website content. What is unique about this is that it reminds me of the time early in the development of the www when we had netscape, askjeeves, yahoo, excite, alta vista, lycos, hot bot and a host of other sites to search the web. Johnson’s www.huria.org allows you to submit a website to be indexed. I haven’t done this in years. Today I took the time to submit my site to the search engine.
I spent some time this morning browsing the search engine and came up with a couple of suggestions. The banner is not clickable after a search. While many people will simply go backwards on the browser window, this is a small detail that can enhance the usability. The logo uses a papyrus font, but it is not exactly marketable and catchy. While Huria is not Google (for one it is currently not for profit) the branding could be a bit better. As a matter of fact in order to create brand awareness, it would be great to extend an offer to design the Huria logo to HBCU’s. The home page layout could be better also. These are all aesthetic comments. Currently there are not a lot of websites submitted so the search is limited to only a few sites.
Overall I like the idea of an African American search engine option. Any time there is an addition to the web that allows for a completely different search experience that is a good thing. Google has a monopoly on the search engine market, just as Facebook now monopolizes many of our browsing experiences. In this changing economy, just like with the Occupy Wall Street movement, people have to change the way they browse. Doing so could mean a lot to small business on the web; a place where many people may have to begin working in order to find their place in a changing economic world.
Please take the time to visit or donate to the Huria Project and make sure you bookmark the site www.huria.org