Here are 3 things that I really wish Ning could add to product roadmap to boost everyone's traffic. They could be all 'in the background' changes that are extremely valuable to Network creators. Please add comments if you support these changes.
1) Allow a setting to 'Claim a Facebook page'
Why this is important: As far as facebook is concerned, likes to our actual URL, our faceook fan page & likes/uses of our facebook-app-created-for-ning-likes-login are 3 different things. If you claim your page, these IDs are pushed closer together & you can see insights of anyone talking about your URL anywhere on Facebook.
Why this is first: It could be simple to implement. It requires a change to the META in the <head> tag which Ning can't allow for stability reasons. However, I suggest they add a text-entry box to the Network Details page which would allow us to input our facebook claim id, similar to how we can enter simple text to add meta keywords.
Facebook just needs something like this - <meta property="fb:page_id" content="123456123456789" />
So we just add the numerical 'content' number to a text-entry box on the network details page & then we're set to go.
2) Configure Google Plus 'Author' tags
Why this is important: Google allows you to add some meta tags to your pages to indicate who the 'author' of a post is and associate that with their google plus profiles. One really great benefit to this is how a properly tagged page shows up in Google Search result. The faces & by lines really draw attention. ->
Why this is second: On our sites already, we have name fields that act like an author's by line already. blog post by Brandon Owens. I'm sure there may be some hacks to this or manually, but it would be much nicer to have a real integration where NCs &/or users could specify their Google Plus page URL in a profile & have all this information properly linked up.
3) Utilize the Social Graph 'verbs' on Facebook
Why this is important: Early testers of Open Graph saw massive spikes in traffic, such as Yahoo News with 600% increase & read more here. I sincerely hope that there are already projects underway to support this integration as all the common actions that users take on all Ning networks could be broadcast using open graph configurations. Really even if we just started with Read -> Blog, Watched -> Video, Commented -> Discussion (or photo), it could be a huge amount of traffic.
Why this is third: Of the three, this seemed the most valuable & most work to configure. But really the rewards gained by both Ning itself & all Network Creators would be the largest so it's important to do right.
I chose these 3 suggestions because they are all very specific, can be applied to all networks, require few front-end changes (that impact users) and would benefit everyone, including NCs and Ning itself. Sometimes the invisible things on our networks have the biggest potential for growth.
Thanks for reading & I really hope that these back-end changes can happen or are added to the product roadmap / backlog.
Please add your comments below.
1 and 3 are on my list as well. Good explanation and thanks for bringing this to our attention! And hopefully Ning will feel the same..
Amazing that nobody is interested in this.
Yeah - I hoped for more response. I went ahead & started manually messing around with # 2 author tags & it's making a difference.
As you can see below they initially only tagged 10 pages as "author verified". The big jump just came below when it went up to 25 pages as author verified. The clicks went from 15 up to 60.
Displaying Author Stats (just added under Labs in Google Webmasters)
You can imagine the kind of impact this could have once the hundreds to thousands of pages are verified & shared on gplus.
Thanks for these suggestions and we agree they are good ones. Some clarification and q's for you:
I'll come back to this thread to post more once we've made progress on any of the above.
rohit / Product Manager
Excellent, thanks Rohit. Good to hear.
Yes 1 is claiming my network URL as far as facebook is concerned - (which includes associating it with my facebook page, as that is the ID I put in the meta property tag). I don't know if more than one page can be associated with my network url but perhaps you guys can investigate. ideally I could get them all together so that I don't have 2000 likes here, 50 there, 100 on the login app.
2 - okay - I'm not sure the best solution there but it could be disabled for pages behind membership wall or something else. I would like to suggest though that if implemented it applies to all situations where the 'by member name' tagline is used. So for example, even videos shared or discussions started would be tagged as 'by' that author as far as google plus is concerned. That would boost the rankings for some of my highest trafficked pages.
3 - this one just has so much potential across all networks, all actions, that it could be a game changer. would be hundreds to thousands of impressions per network, per day. If we're able to implement this sooner than other companies we'd be able to benefit from the novelty of these shares. I'm sure that this could have a big boost for all the Glam properties as well.
anything that can be done would be great. I'm sorry I didn't reply here sooner. Thanks for suggesting these.
any updates or steps we can take right now as network creators?
excelent suggestions id add 2 more
a actual proper sitemap thats updated at reguklar intervals and lists all pages in the site mobu=ile site pg=hotos etc not just the main features (nings sitemap lists 10 pages mine lists well over a million )
just this use of a proper sitemap has drasticly increased other niong sites traffic
built in share widgets with a wide ranf=ge of social share sites like addthis or sharethis but built into the site for faster load times
and easy copy "link to this" code for all content auto generated from title/url simular to how photobucket has click to copy link codes for photos ..html direct link bbcode etc more ppl would link to your content o=if it was as easy as 1 click to copy then paste
@Brandon is #1 still in the pipeline?
@soaringeagle - great suggestions, I agree those should be added.
@Rowald - I haven't heard any new updates so I'm not sure.
@Rohit Sawhney any updates from ning for this post?
#1 from you original list above is most promising at the moment. The issue is filed and pretty straightforward it seems. Trying to get it prioritized and determine if it makes sense to add now or as part of the Dashboard redesign efforts taking place later this year. Will update with any news I have on this.
Great thanks Rohit.
If anyone else is interested, for #2 above for google plus author tag, you can 'hack it' & and just put a properly tagged author link in a text box in site wide column (or other locations if they are on every page) and it will read it.
It's a little unfortunate as I end up being listed as the 'google author' on pages that other people actually wrote but it's better than putting the author tag manually everywhere else.
how do you do this Brandon? Do you put the meta element in this text box? and then the rest of the code underneath as shown in this post? http://www.bloggingehow.com/2012/02/how-to-show-your-picture-beside...