Chapter 18. Launching, Marketing, and Evolving Social Applications

You need to introduce your application to people you do not know, and you need to listen to them tell you what they really want from it. Once you launch, the focus will be on making people aware of your application, refining the functionality you offer, and adding new functionality.

Loving and Hating the Home Page

Home pages are hard work; I’ve deliberately avoided talking about them too much until this chapter because I think there is too much focus on them. In some instances, they are the first place that new people will come to, but much of your first arrivals’ experiences will come via a search result or from a link to someone’s content or profile page. The idea that people enter a social software site through the home page and that it therefore acts as a front door is largely dead and buried.

In fact, there are two versions of the home page, as we looked at in Chapter 13. One is the personalized version for people with an account, and the other is for people who have never visited your site before and ended up on it when a search engine result led them to an internal page. These people do not have the social context that a link from someone’s personal page would bring, so in this case, the home page is very much a marketing exercise. You have a brief period to capture their attention and get them to read more or click the sign-up button. As Figures 18-1 through 18-4 show, different sites take different approaches ...

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