I am pleased to announce that I have been invited to the 2012 Microsoft MVP Global Summit, taking place primarily in Bellevue and Redmond, Washington, near the Microsoft Campus headquarters, at the end of February. The exclusive 2012 Microsoft MVP Global Summit event, taking place for about a week, will feature various workshops and networking opportunities regarding the development, marketing, operation, and production of Microsoft products and service offerings. While I was unable to attend Microsoft’s BUILD Conference, which was open to developers and the general public earlier this year, I hope to make this upcoming year a different occasion. Many Windows forums all over the Internet have become a resourceful and invaluable utility, allowing information to be shared by people all around the world. Most importantly, I recognize the millions of visitors who have used Windows7Forums.com to find and harness information. From very basic operations on home computers, to server configurations and entire network configuration, Windows7Forums.com has become a fantastic place for Windows 7 customers and technology enthusiasts. All of that success can in no way be attributed to any one person or group of individuals, but to the countless and relentless use of the website by both technology specialists and those many thousands of people brave and patient enough to ask for help.
Just this month, over the last fourteen days, we have received over 3,883 internal search related queries that were answered in 0.009 seconds. That number is still nothing compared to the vast millions of page views we have received from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo in the last thirty days. As technology changes, so must the way we distribute and handle the information we safeguard at this website. Just this month, over 44,398 visitors came here using mobile devices. A year ago, those types of numbers would have been unthinkable to some. But we invested the time, resources, money, and energy, to develop a Google Android application for smart phones that would help people get to the forums and navigate them more easily. Development in this new arena continues. And while we have made great strides in promoting our Android marketplace application for forum access, we still have a long way to go to provide access to a Windows Phone app (a project that Public Relations Manager Mitchell Anthony has been working on), as well as iOS (Apple compatibility). However, even with no forum application on your phone, you can still see and use all of the website’s resources. The phone apps just allow you to use the features of your phone to navigate and use the website with the features of your smart device. That is all going to change soon enough, when we unveil a new innovation that will bring the forums to an entire other level. And with that, I am talking about bringing the forums themselves to Facebook. I know that not everyone uses Facebook, or even likes It, but a billion people use it, and we will soon have the ability, in 2012, to bring the entire website onto Facebook using a Facebook application. This will open the website to a massive audience, if successful.
Our data shows that this month alone, we have seen 1,173,231 page views. Serving this data, without interruption, takes an enormous investment of resources and a careful management of server resources. Every day, I communicate with other experts on our admin team to ensure that access to the website is going uninterrupted in the face of traffic volume that is always changing, and always posing a challenge to us. When we make announcements like this, it is very rare, because it is important that ideas are articulated to our visitors (you) properly, that you understand the role and burden placed on all of our volunteers and members. It is a major priority for us that you know that we are using all of the resources available to us to make your website browsing experience the best. For instance, we recently rolled out automatic updating of threads, so if you just idle around on your message, or a thread you have contributed to, and someone else does respond in a timely manner, you will find that this post will simply materialize, without the need to refresh any page. And various bugs and errors that I have reported to the vBulletin Development Team continue to be discussed and resolved, even today. It was from taking some risks that we were able to, I am proud to say, improve forums for everyone, not just here at Windows7Forums.com.
We were very reluctant to make some of the latest forum changes public. For one, we are looking at Windows8Forums.com under a bit of a microscope now, and seeing how best we can improve that site. But also, so many of the changes that we make are internal. Members and returning visitors are unlikely to notice a great deal of difference when these changes are implemented, but they often include programming improvements. For example, the last few updates to the forum have not been made public, but have included updates to the LiteSpeed web server, our server management technology, our firewall, and various libraries that help power our main server and database. An upgrade to vBulletin, the forum software that most well-known Internet forums use, was also updated to the latest gold edition of the software.
We have implemented asynchronous real-time monitoring of the website through Google Analytics. In plain English, this allows authorized members of our team to view live data of what pages people are accessing, in what volume, and from what countries, live, and in real time. As this technology, which is currently in beta, progresses, we will be able to find weak spots on the website that can be improved.
We have made some changes that we have seen improve our search engine visibility. For one, we began a marketing campaign over the Internet to promote the website through online advertising. We have done this before, with varying degrees of success. More valuable than any advertisement, however, has been the use of social media and the conveyance of knowledge to attract visitors and members. This is best exemplified by the dozens of YouTube videos we have made explaining, in great detail, for audio/visual learners, how to perform certain functions in information technology.
Another aesthetic, but important change, was to make the Google +1 button and Facebook Like buttons more noticeable on our main page and on other areas of the site. Viewers who like a post can not only rate it with our internal system, but can use the Google +1 feature. This feature has the potential to be very powerful if used widely. With enough Google +1 ratings on a forum discussion, that discussion is augmented as having “social relevancy”, and can appear more prominently in the search engines. And that is one of the reasons we are very excited about the way Google is competing with Facebook on so many levels now with their social networking technology. From all of this competition, we will see innovation.
An additional change to many of our pages, which also went unannounced, was an ability to capture what people on the web are searching on before they land on Windows7forums.com.
This is a legitimate and useful way that any thread author can gather information about how people are finding their page. It helps us understand it as well. And it very much highlights the importance of articulating your message very carefully, using a detailed title and clear, concise message that can be found by others on the Internet. This helps create keyword relevancy for search engines, in a legitimate way, because it provide a service to viewers and the original poster.
I hope I have articulated the many ways that we are trying to make anything you write on this website accessible to the world. As we have grown over the years, it has become apparent to us all on both the admin team and the entire team we operate as a whole, that we count on our members to make the website such a great place. One of our largest projects, then, is to make sure that the messages being posted here are relevant, categorized correctly, articulated in a coherent fashion, devoid of spam, and most importantly: accessible. Accessibility has been a key component of our website strategy in 2011, and will take on a different type of meaning in 2012. These advancements will allow us to bring the website to entire new audiences.
That accessibility now extends to the real world. As I travel to Redmond in early 2012, I will be bringing with me all of the experiences I have gathered from pioneering Windows7Forums.com, achieving various milestones in my career and with clients, and I hope to bring those experiences, and so many others, with me to this conference, and to meet with other Microsoft MVPs and Regional Directors.
I will be attending this 2012 Microsoft MVP Global Summit event for the same reason any interested technology enthusiast would: to learn, socialize, and communicate with individuals who have the same passion for technology and contributing to the community as I do. Because Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals are chosen for their contribution to the Windows community, I know that my contributions here have made a difference, as well as the contributions of so many others. That is why I find it important to make those contributions known, and would not pass up an opportunity to represent the great library of information we have created here at this site.
So many hours of effort have gone into Windows7Forums.com, and soon, Windows8Forms.com, that it would behoove me not to attend this event. Because Windows7Forums.com and its related sites are dedicated to the open support and discussion of Microsoft technology, I believe that I will find myself in rooms full of innovators during a time of change. So many innovations have led to this moment, and so I come to the belief that there will always be a place for websites, and websites like it. It Is my hope that through a physical presence at an official Microsoft event, I will be able to reach out to other community contributors and forge real, lasting partnerships with them. Even if those partnerships mean a simple exchange of website links. But I will also take this opportunity to remind myself that millions of people still have questions they want answered, and it is the reason I have arrived.
As the event date approaches, I will be in contact with the event coordinators to see if it will be possible to record or interview persons of interest whom I may meet at this event for our viewers. While not a public event, if you have questions which you would like to see answered by the various community leaders at this event, I will try my best to represent your question when I am there. And while there will no doubt be some information that I will be unable to disclose to our audience publically, I will document my trip to the summit, hopefully meet up with some friendly community leaders there, and discuss with them their excitement, goals, and reasons for being at the 2012 Microsoft MVP Global Summit as well. I will dedicate my time to doing this, because you have dedicated yours, to coming to this site, using its resources, and making all of us that much more excited about the future of computer technology.
More than anything else, I believe that this summit has the opportunity to unite technology enthusiasts from all around the world. The community leaders who attend this summit are simply the ones who have been recognized with a trophy and an award. But so many others contribute on a daily basis: whether it is helping to fix a problem at work, or explaining to someone online how to fix their computer problem. That is why I will be there.
For more information on the 2012 Microsoft MVP Global Summit visit 2012 MVP Global Summit home. I look forward to responses to this thread, and will continue to update you with any information I can share, as it becomes available and authorized for disclosure.
All the best,