The iBegin Weather Widget: Powering it Up

19 May
2007

I said I would come back to this.

We released iBegin Weather on May 10.

The site isn’t amazing. It isn’t ground-breaking. What it is is useful. It is clean, fast loading, and gets the damn point across (the weather) with a minimal of intrusions and confusion. I’ll do a comparison with other websites another day :)

So to me it is a form of evolution – taking data and presenting it in a more viable way.

So on the first day of operations we got 148 unique visitors. These were greatly driven by my own sites – from blogs like ForeverGeek and Blogging Pro, to our own iBegin Blog. The next few days it leveled off a bit (~125 unique visitors a day), after which it has gone up every day since. Yesterday it did 421 unique visitors.

I realized early that weather is a personal thing – people not only want to read it quickly, they want a quick way of getting it (be it RSS) or even displaying it on their site (widget).

So we spent quite a bit of time on the widget. We made sure it was fast (cached). We made sure it was customizable (a lot of options). And we made sure (again) it was simple – no flash interface, no heavy-graphics loading, none of that crap.

And then we promoted it. We emailed a few bloggers. We bought a few paid reviews (which led to a crappy experience). We did PPC.

In 9 days, I can only chalk this up as success. The widget is driving traffic and searches to the site. Yahoo reports 28 backlinks to the frontpage, but 1156 links to the entire domain. We have almost 150 sites using the widget (most of which don’t exist to Google). Our #1 referer is a high school in Kentucky!

This post is powerful. Stop for a moment and think about it. We found an enterprise provider of some essential data, we put up a clean website for it, we built an intelligent widget system that is both customizable and loads blazing fast, and then spending a little time emailing/paid reviews (~5 hours) and PPC (very little ongoing cost – I am stunned by how little widget promotion is done through PPC), we are building backlinks and traffic at a fantastic rate. The site almost has 10,000 pages in Google (in 9 days, no sitemap).

If you wanted a recipe for a site where you drive non-SE traffic while also driving SE-traffic, this is it.

1 Response to The iBegin Weather Widget: Powering it Up

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iBegin Introduces Weather Widget : The Blog Herald

May 22nd, 2007 at 10:13 pm

[...] Aside from being able to present useful information, Ahmed Farooq of iBegin also lauds the link-building potential of their releasing such a widget, even though the widget’s being branding-free essentially means users could opt not to link back to iBegin. [...]

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