Building Audience for your Website

If you build it, they will come -- is a philosophy that only works in the movies.

Building audience for your website is constant work. It begins with delivering relevant web content to a specified audience. And because the web is continually evolving and growing, your tactics for building audience must evolve and grow, too.

From search engine optimization and content development, to the creation of audience building campaigns that include promotions, partnerships, public relations, and email, we know how to build and retain the right audience for your website.

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whatis?com

  • CREATIVE DIRECTION
  • WEB DESIGN
  • CONTENT DEVELOPMENT
  • MARKETING
  • PUBLIC RELATIONS

The award-winning online encyclopedia of technology terms

Goal:

  • To shape and develop a small collection of online technology definitions into a dynamic, recognized and profitable web enterprise.

Results:

  • 85,000 + unique users each day
  • Over 8 million ad impressions per month
  • 12,000 links
  • 50 awards and press mentions
  • Successful acquisition by Boston-based technology company, TechTarget

     

THE CHALLENGE

The late 90s was a time of unprecedented growth in technology and the Web. Lowell Thing, a technical writer for IBM, and creator of whatis.com, began writing useful technology definitions to help anyone who happened to stumble upon his home-grown Web site.

When whatis.com hired us, they were receiving 700 users each day to the site. small packages, inc was to become the creative, marketing, and PR departments for this exciting entrepreneurial adventure. Our challenge was to shape and develop a small, but growing collection of online technology definitions into a dynamic, recognized enterprise.

THE SMALL PACKAGES SOLUTION

Creative Direction
We chose a simple, black and white (and red) color scheme. We put enough white space around discrete sections and unique elelments, so nothing would look "crowded". We omitted ANYTHING that wasn't related to the core material: search, read definition, search again. The identity system was small and memorable: the "?" mark over the dot in whatis.com. A la Tufte, we made all division lines and subordinate elements a light grey. Clarity, simplicity, elegance.

small packages also designed banner ads, new content sections, and custom promotional products to reinforce and reward users.

Marketing and Public Relations
Building and retaining web audience was key. We decided to target technology users and decision-makers since they would be more likely than home users to attract the advertising dollars we hoped to attain. To reach a large number of potential users quickly, small packages implemented a press campaign. Within several months, whatis.com was highlighted in Wired, Inc. Technology, Information Week, and USA Today, among many others, bringing the number of unique users to well over 10,000 per day.

Ongoing Press outreach over the next few years brought whatis.com the attention of many other renowned publications including Brills, PC Magazine, The Washington Times, ZD Net, Parade, Time Digital, and Discover Magazine. small packages developed an ongoing program of requesting links, registering at online directories, and reviewing search engines to maintain top results.

By 1999, small packages became a partner in whatis.com. We acquired an online ad agency, negotiated licensing agreements to translate the site into German, Spanish, and Korean, and syndicated content back to print. In 2000, with a sizeable revenue stream, and a loyal audience of mature IT professionals, small packages, together with Lowell, successfully negotiated the sale of whatis.com to the Boston-based technology company, TechTarget.

THE RESULTS

With over 85,000 unique users, 8 million ad pages per month, 12,000 links, and over 50 awards and press mentions, whatis.com was established as an indispensable resource for technology professionals and corporate managers worldwide.

Press & Awards

2000
Smart Computing (December)
Nielsen Silver Award (October)
Learning Fountain Award (October)
Working Woman magazine (October)
The Internet TourBus (September 28)
Miami Herald (July 31)
Time Digital (May)
Parade magazine (April)
The Scout Report "Site of the Week" (April 21)
Brill's Content "Best of the Web" (April)
Seven Wonders, "Technical Support Site of the Week" (February 27)
Kingston Daily Freeman (February 18)
Planet IT "Web Site of the Week" (February 16)
New York Daily News (Sunday, February 13)

1999
Internet Cool Guide "The Best 1000 Web Sites" (November)
Goto.com GO Network Award for "Outstanding Computing site" (September)
ZDNet "Internet Tonight" television show (August)
PC Magazine "Top 100 Web Sites" (July)
101 Ways to Promote Your Web Site by Susan Sweeney (July)
Windows Magazine "101 Best Business Sites" (May)

1998
PC Magazine "Top 100 Web Sites" (April)
Starting Point "Top 500 Web sites" (October)
JBLingan Award for Internet Excellence (October)
EditPros News (June)
Computing (UK) "The Top Ten" (May)
Welcome Home to the Web (Toronto) Site of the Week (May)
The Washington Times "Site of the Week" (May)
Telstra Big Pond (Sydney, Australia) "Site of the Week" (April)
Investors On-Line (Canada) television show (March)
Tasty Bits from the Technology Front (February)
News-Talk Radio, 920 AM CJCH, in Halifax, Nova Scotia "Web Site of the Week" (January)
TipWorld Newsletter (January)
Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch. (January)
VisionX Software "Site of the Day" (January)

1997
Home Magazine (December)
The Web Magazine (December)
Inc. Technology (November)
P.O.V. Magazine "Top 100 Web Sites" (November)
Wired Magazine (November)
User-rated Web100 (since October)
Virtual Institute of Information at Columbia University award for best reference site (October)
Elsevier Science Trends Guide to the Internet - 1997, published in (October)
Martin's Page "Sites of the Week"(September)
Information Week Magazine "Site of the Week" (August)
USA Today's Web site "Hot Site of the Day" (August)
@NY Newsletter (August)
APC, the Australian PC magazine (April)

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