It's been one week since we launched TalkinCloud. The site came online December 6 but we officially announced it to the world on December 7. So, how is TalkinCloud performing so far and where are we heading next? Here's a recap of our first week in business -- plus a look at some steps we're taking for our emerging readership: VARs, managed services providers and aspiring cloud services providers (CSPs).

I've got to admit: We had some moderate goals for week one...

Goal 1 - Stay Online: We quietly beta tested TalkinCloud behind a firewall for several weeks, making sure all the site components were in place for the December 7 announcement. But I must concede: We were a little nervous since we had never built a video-centric blog before. Plus, TalkinCloud is hosted on the same cloud platform as its sister sites -- MSPmentor and The VAR Guy. If TalkinCloud was a resource hog it risked bringing down our entire business.

Next Moves: I'm pleased to say that we haven't suffered any outages (so far...). But we realize site performance has been a bit slow from time to time. We're testing some new caching approaches plus a potential content delivery network to further enhance multi-site performance.

Goal 2 - Get Access to Top Executives: If we built TalkinCloud, would cloud-centric channel executives come? So far the answer is a resounding yes. Fortunately, most of the sources we contacted were familiar with The VAR Guy and MSPmentor, so they trusted us when we said the TalkinCloud video blog would provide a lively platform for sharing their cloud/channel views.

In recent days we've posted FastChat video interviews with Google Apps Channels Director Stephen Cho, Microsoft US Partner Strategy and Programs VP Jenni Flinders, VMware Senior Director of Global Channels Doug Smith; and IBM Software Group Business Partners and Midmarket VP Sandy Carter.

Next Moves: Each business day, we update the TalkinCloud FastChat Video Center at 7:00 a.m eastern. In the weeks ahead, we'll double our efforts to ensure executives from small and midsize companies also are represented. It's no secret that MSPmentor and The VAR Guy gained momentum quickly because we offered smaller companies and channel upstarts equal time. We'll repeat that approach here on TalkinCloud.

Goal 3 - Get Multiple Bloggers Involved: When we launched Nine Lives Media Inc., The VAR Guy and MSPmentor in 2008, the "business" consisted of me and my business partner (Nine Lives Media Inc. CEO Amy Katz). Amy built the business (thank goodness...), I built the content.

Thanks to your readership and support, we've added some fantastic talent to our team. Contributing Associate Blogger Matt Weinberger is covering SaaS and cloud partner programs for us; Contributing Associate Blogger David Courbanou is taking on mobility and the cloud, and Contributing Senior Editor Charlene O'Hanlon brings 15-years of IT channel experience to our team, helping us to raise the quality of our editorial content across our sites.

Meanwhile, Senior Sales Consultant Kim Daniels has been working closely with Amy on business development and customer service.

Next Moves: We're in the process of interviewing multiple blogger candidates, and we hope to further expand our team of contributors in early Q1 2011. If you work with us on the business side of the house, you'll see some new customer support steps in 2011 as well.

Goal 4 - Generate More First-Week Traffic Than Our Previous Site Launches: This is a tricky goal, especially since one week of traffic doesn't guarantee long-term site success. Also, it's easy to generate bogus web traffic by launching slide shows and multi-click stories ... but often, those traffic tricks wind up alienating readers who tire of the forced labor.

So, we avoided bogus traffic tricks and stuck with what we know: Compelling blog entries married with FastChat Videos. The net results are promising: TalkinCloud's first week of traffic was 41 percent higher than MSPmentor's launch week, and 32 percent higher than The VAR Guy's launch week.

Next Moves: We're working overtime to further search engine optimize (SEO) TalkinCloud's content. Plus, we're beta testing the TalkinCloud Forum area for the next few weeks. I'm actually in the Forum right now working through a couple of bugs. Also, we continue to grow our following across Twitter (@talkin_cloud), FaceBook (www.facebook.com/talkincloud) and other social media platforms. But here again, we're avoiding email spam and other unsolicited steps to lift our social media following. And in January 2011, we'll be launching the TalkinCloud weekly e-newsletter (you can sign up now).

Goal 5- Focus on the Channel, the Cloud, the Chatter: Instead of launching a broad-interest cloud computing site, we want TalkinCloud to serve the channel -- VARs, MSPs and aspiring cloud services providers (CSPs) that are navigating the cloud.

We concede: Some of our initial posts were a bit broader in nature, and didn't mention the channel partner hook. During the Channel Happy Hour podcast last week, co-host Brett Martin called us out on the disconnect. We took the constructive criticism to heart.

Next Moves: Before we press publish on every story and video blog, we promise to carefully review the content to make sure the channel hook is clear, compelling and timely.

Bottom Line: We're thrilled you're visiting TalkinCloud. But we've got lots of work to do as we strive to build community engagement. As Contributing Senior Editor Charlene O'Hanlon reminded me late last week: Rome wasn't built in a day.

Heck, I wish it was. I'm impatient. But I'm also tireless. As is the entire Nine Lives Media Inc. team. Thanks for reading, and for joining yet another wild journey with us.

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