What makes a good viral video?

We have all seen them videos that appear on social media, from out of nowhere they land on your timeline, start playing and all of a sudden you realise it is either funny/informative/shocking. But what makes a good viral video?

Naturally popular

If a video is hilariously funny then people will share it. Take this example of the kid who was spotted on the screen at a sports match in America. It is really simple the camera points at him he is so excited that he starts doing a dance. Someone picked up on it posted it to social media and now it has had over 69,000,000 views on Vine.

Not only that but the videos themselves can be taken out of their own context. That particular video is not used in relation to other posts like “when you realise it is Friday” and then link the video to simulate doing the dance because it is Friday. These kind of re-posts just add to the videos popularity.

Videos manufactured to go viral

As with anything there are people who play the system and even get paid to do it (unbelievable hey?). Well no where there is money to be made people will try and cut corners. Companies have taken measures to setup thousands of fake accounts which simultaneously share content in order to get it out there. Sometimes videos/vines/tweets get popular because of the work put behind them to do so rather than people naturally liking the content.

Making a viral video

There is no easy way to make a video go viral even if it is the most interesting video you can make. The only way to get it out there is to get influencers sharing it. An influencer is someone on social media who is seen as an expert or very knowledgeable in their field. For example a comedian would have lots of followers who like comedy and if they shared your video their followers would see it. It is not easy done but you have to get them to like it enough to share it but if it pays off you could get a lot of people re-sharing and then eventually it “could” become viral.

A First Look at Twitter Analytics

You may or may not be aware that Twitter has opened up analytics for all users. If you have not seen them yet go to https://analytics.twitter.com and sign in with your twitter username and password.

Firstly you will notice a stream of your tweet activity from the last 28days. Here you have a list of all your tweets and conversations you have taken part in. You can see an overview of impressions, engagements and your engagement rate. Engagements are interactions with your post or profile and you can dig down deeper into these by clicking on a post to see the key metrics. Under key metrics you can see how many impressions a post has had, user profile clicks, replies, retweets, favourites etc.

This information is very useful and gives you a good idea of what posts or comments you made got the most interaction. It also helps you to see which #hashtags work well for your industry.

From the top menu you can click a followers link which takes you to information about your followers. You see straight away a graph showing the rise/fall of followers over time. What is even more interesting about this section is the information it gives on the different followers from their interests, locations and even gender. Knowing this information is a great way of getting to know your audience and helping you mould your tweets to specific interests.

Next along the top is Twitter Cards. Under this section you can see snapshots of how well your account is doing overall. If you have a website related to the twitter account you can link these up and get stats on how many click-throughs you have had from twitter to different pages on your website. You can measure which Twitter Cards are working for you. If you are not sure what a Twitter Card is it is a way of showing information from your website when someone copies a link from your site and posts it to twitter more info can be found here on these.

Overall from my first look over I certainly see the benefit of Twitter Analytics in enabling you to improve your tweets for your audience and also allowing you to see what works in terms of your Twitter strategy. And like anything the stats will only get better and more useful as Twitter improves them.

If you would like any more information or a quick chat connect with me below

Linkedin – http://www.linkedin.com/in/thomaslinn
Twitter – @tomlinnuk
Blog – http://www.tomlinn.uk
Google Plus – https://plus.google.com/+TomLinnuk/posts
E-Mail – tom.linn@thomascole.net

Google and https what have we learned so far?

You will have probably have heard by now that Google is now throwing some weight on websites having https as a ranking factor. How much of a ranking factor we do not know but it is rumoured to be very low maybe in the 0.5 % region.

What is interesting though is the fact that Google have come out and openly said that this is the case something they do not normally do. They normally spend time changing their algorithms and keeping everyone second guessing about how much effect a change will have.

So what is https?

“Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a secure version of the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (http). HTTPS allows secure ecommerce transactions, such as online banking.”

These websites when you view them in your browser show a padlock near to the address bar at the top so you know it is secure. When a user connects to the website the website encrypts the connection with a digital certificate. It’s all really about keeping you secure so nobody can intercept and decrypt any information you are sending back and forth to the website like credit card numbers for example.

What do I need to do?

At the moment having https is only a very small ranking factor but it is still worth building it in now to any website or any future websites. It may be a small ranking factor now but they may increase it in the future.

If I change my website links won’t it damage my website ranking?

When changing over to https it is important to keep the following in mind. Some website hosts do not allow you to add SSL to a shared hosting environment so you would need to move your website either to another host that does or to a virtual or dedicated server.

Make sure to 301 redirect all your old links. You website company can do this for you making sure any link to your site starting with http get automatically forwarded to https via a 301 link.

Change your address in Google webmaster tools this allows Google to know the site has moved and pass any rank your pages have onto the new secure pages.

If you need help with any of the above then feel free to contact me for a chat.

How to choose a good domain name

At the start of any business or new online venture it is one of the first things to come into a conversation. You have a great idea, you have researched your target market and you have a product or service to sell.

“What should our domain name be?”

How it used to be

It used to be that search engine and Google in particular took a lot of notice on the domain name text. So it you bought the domain name cheaptrainers.com you had a good chance of eventually ranking for the key phrase “Cheap Trainers”.  This meant everyone was looking to buy up their main key phrases or keywords domain name equivalent in order to gain an advantage. This process worked for many years until Google moved the bar. See this video from Google regarding this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAWFv43qubI

How it is now

As explained in the video since 2011 less emphasis is placed on keyword filled domains so it makes a more even playing field. It makes sense to match your domain name with your brand that way people searching for your brand will find you but also you can still optimise your domain for key terms. It also means you can usually get a shorter domain name especially with the new domain name extensions that have come out. See here for examples https://gtld.123-reg.co.uk/

So to finish up

 Get a domain name which compliments your brand, make it as short as possible but easy memorable. If your company has a quirky side then get a quirky domain name to compliment this. And remember you can now optimise any domain name for any key phrases so long keyword filed domain names are no longer necessary.

How to spot a scam e-mail

It can happen multiple times a day, an e-mail from your bank or from a well known company you recognise. It all looks very convincing it has your name and is sent to your e-mail address and even has the company logo on the e-mail. They are sending you some really important information on this e-mail and have kindly attached it as a zip file. This is the point when you need to stop and think “why are they sending me a zip file?”

What is a zip file?

A Zip file is a file containing compressed data and looks like the image above. People use zip file to compress large or multiple files into one handy compressed file that can easily be sent by e-mail. The only problem is you cannot see what is in a zip file before you open it and that means that hackers or spammers can exploit you by hiding viruses inside them.

What can I do?

The first thing to do is not panic as long as you do not open the zip file you are ok. The second is to think that your bank will never send a zip file so if you get an e-mail containing one delete it straight away. A Good rule to go by is never open an attachment on an e-mail unless you are expecting one. So it a client of customer is sending you an e-mail with an attachment then fine otherwise don’t open them.

Should I report it?

If the E-Mail is a spoof pretending to be your bank then it is a good idea to report it to the bank directly so they can get it stopped and warn other customers about the e-mail. Usually they have a section on their websites for reporting this kind of thing just Google “Your bank name report spam” and you should find the necessary page.

Other types of scam E-Mail

Another type of scam e-mail is what is called a phishing e-mail. A phishing e-mail is an e-mail sent again to make you think it is from a company you know and may use but they include a link to their website in the e-mail asking you to login. However the link is not to the company website but to a website setup to look like the company website on a different url. The image below shows a spoof e-mail notice the logo is squashed and they want you to click on a link.


So for example if it was Natwest bank the correct web address would be


But a hacker may send you in a phishing e-mail


An easy was to tell is by hovering over the link and it will show you where it leads.

The best thing to do however is to just open a web browser and go to the bank or company page yourself without clicking the link that way you will be safe.