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Welcome to ErwinVanlun.com!!

A new season, a new appearance, an international approach! With pride I present the first international version of Mensmerk.nl, in the domain ErwinVanlun.com. With many new functions, with much new content, and especially a completely new image. An image that very much is part of me. An image that really feels like: 'that is me'! I think I have been able to combine my personality, my competence, and my ambition, in one website. A site that took 9 months to develop, a site various people have helped me build, and an site I am proud to present to an international public. In this posting much more detail, but of course you can just read the next postings. At this site after all I will closely follow the developments in media, marketing, en brands. That stays the same! And it keeps going. Every day.

The objective

The site to my opinion was a fine site until yesterday. Its content is highly valued, new content is added regularly, and old content is not (too) outdated. The buttons work well. It was well-organized and fast. But that wasnt enough. The objective of this site is that people who think of hiring me as a speaker, as a moderator or as a workshop facilitator, after visiting the site really have an idea of who is Erwin van Lun. And the other way around: people I have met at a seminar, a conference or a client day, who I refer to my site to download something, should think: yes, that site exactly reflects Erwin van Lun. My personality, my competences and ambition have to be clear from view points.

From 0.1 to 1.5

I started mensmerk.nl at the end of 2004. After several tests with Blogger (now part of Google), I had my first posting ready on January 1st, 2005. A symbolic date, as after all that is exactly 10 years before the predictions I make in my book for 2015. The URL however I seldom communicated. Only a limited amount of involved people have been able to see this beautiful version. This was version 0.1. I myself was very enthusiastic about the site which contained a beautiful rainbow, but others didn’t agree with me. Version 0.1 thus had a short life span. In the spring of 2005 my publisher decided what the cover of my book would look like. I then adapted the layout of the site to the book. That was version 1.0. Typical of this version was the blue Blogger bar on top, and the automatic resizing of the browser window, what irritated lotst of people.

After the publication of the book in August 2005 it was a mad house. A mad house dictated by the season from September until June. That is why only in July 2006 I started taking the next step: a professional blogging tool Expression Engine in a professional hosting environment from Your Hosting. The most important changes thus took place under the surface. Visitors mainly saw the new categories, improved possibilities to react, and no more Blogger bar. That was version 1.1. I then already had 1001 new ideas, but no more time to execute them: after all, the season was about to start again. At the end of 2006 I decided I had to give priority to the site. In December I visited a color advisor, that was step 1, and after a very busy first half of the year, and working very hard over the summer, finally this result. Even so, only version 1.5. This to connect to the web 2.0 hype of the moment. In 2.0 it is all about the visitor, and in this version that is not completely the case yet. Thats why I donҒt call it 2.0 yet. But I still have many, many ideas so the next version will follow too! And although I would like to have this in December already, realistically it will just be summer 2008.

The approach

In the new approach I wanted to integrate the web log and a website in one concept. Not in the least because still a lot of people dont know exactly what a web log is, but they do know the type of websites on which items are in a chronological order and where you can react. In that sense I find that the web log hype is over, and is slowly integrated in the normal web developments. The idea for this site slowly came into being. In fact, it evolved. In the summer of 2006 I got myself a new look. I thought by myself: in what kind of clothes do I feel good? I quickly found: nice black pants, nice black shoes, and a nice shirt. From then on, I started wearing that, choosing colors by gut feeling. Then in December I first visited Thea Samuel from Colorific.  Around the same time I designed a navigation layout, and made a mood board as shown in the figure above. In February I met Meike Sillevis Smitt from Winning Letters. She agreed to translate my postings in English. In March I further developed the tab idea with photo in concept, in cooperation with my good friend Rijn Buve from Atelier Odette . After that Lourens Thalen, who I found through Messenger, made the first start on the design. In April I was busy putting all references of the books in the system. In May Frouzan Soltani (who I found through Hyves) helped me find all links to all books stores and pictures to go along with the references. In June I was very busy speaking, and therefore the website developments slowed down. In the summer it really took off. I met Lodewijk Schutte from Low Design who very professionally took care of the technical implementation in Expression Engine, somebody referred me to Arnout Wittebrood who designed the logo, icons and forms, and I found Casper Lautenbach through Flash Forum, who made for me the flash header. As a team we worked towards this result, and I would like to thank everybody very much!

The functions

With the new tabs I have much more room for more content and functions. The following new functions are available:

  • search: the search function moved to a very prominent place. In the earlier versions it was hidden in the corner right below. Besides it is now possible to have more extended searches, to search by date, by fixed parts of sentences, or to search through the static pages. I think it is done in a very logical way. Try it. And also try to search for something that canҒt be found. The set-up of the site now is very logical too: content access is on the left, content itself in the middle, and related information or external links on the right. This to satisfy the visitors objectives as much as possible. People after all come either to look (the most recent web log content, to just check it out (the tabs and categories are immediately visible), or to search for an old item (they come with a specific question). ThatҒs why the search function now is in a logical place. I think that the search option will be used a lot more in this set-up, and we will be able to see that in the statistics.
  • brand cloud: starting January 1st, 2007 all items in the category brand evolution are tagged with the brand in question. They then appear in the brand cloud. The more often a brand is mentioned, the more I have written about it, the bigger it is shown. Thus, the most innovative brands are shown biggest. Although tag clouds are seen on many websites, I have never before seen a brand cloud anywhere. Premire!
  • fold-in archive: a simple solution to make every month directly and quickly accessible is the fold-in (and out) archive. I had not seen it anywhere this way before, but this is exactly what I think works best.
  • contact possibilities: exept for by phone and e-mail, it is now also possible to contact me directly through Skype and Windows Live Messenger. Furthermore my LinkedIn profile is shown, where people can contact me too (also my regular e-mail adress can be found there). Besides in Skype one can see my presence : am I available at the moment? My regular e-mail address by the way is not shown to prevent e-mail harvesting (raking e-mail addresses by spammers).
  • last reactions: at the home page the latest reactions can be seen.
  • related postings: detail pages of postings now also show related postings. These are based on the categories.
  • references: in the tab books I listed all references I use in the book. The books, if available, can be ordered at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and European book stores, Bol.com, Proxis.be, Azur.be en Managementboek.nl.
  • print: at most pages it is now possible to directly print the page, in a printer-friendly lay-out.
  • E-Mail through: when you read an interesting page, you can immediately e-mail the link to your contacts.

Less visible but even so present are the following functions:

  • spam avoidance: the site has a very efficient way to avoid spam. Through that I can make sure that people who want to react dont have to copy a word (the so-called Captcha). Besides, they don’t get reminders if someone has reacted to their posting and who was a spammer. Then visitors would pointlessly go to the site, and I try to avoid that with this function.
  • google analytics: finally I can really monitor the visits of my site.
  • google site map protocol: anyone who googles me, sees directly how the site is built up, and can directly go to the right tab.
  • optimized summaries: the summaries per page have now sufficiently been taken care of.
  • event handling: in the tab workshops, upcoming events are automatically transported to the archive when the event is over. I can type a report of the event, then the report appears. I can also add a text for downloading the handout. This all goes automatically.
  • improved RSS feed. In the new feed pictures can be seen, the logo has been placed, the naming has been improved, there are clickable links to reactions, and hyperlinks are directly clickable.
  • dynamic favicon: more for fun, but every tab has its own favicon. Only supported by Firefox.
  • automatic handling Trend Update: the amount of subscribers to the free e-mail Trend Update is sky-high. I still did this manually with Excel. Now it is much simpler to subscribe. And I have many more ideas for this part in the future.
  • integrated ‘change’  button. People who are logged in can automatically edit texts in the site by clicking a button change under the posting. Other people don’t see this button.

The content

Like on every website, content is king. When you don’t regularly have new content, nobody visits your site. A beautiful rule, formulated in the beginning of the internet era, which is still true. The copy concept of erwinvanlun.com to my idea is very clear, consistent, and Җ as I understand from visitors very recognizable. I always write short postings. People don֒t have much time and want to scan through the headlines. Headlines however often are just too short to tell what you want, and so I limit the essence of the news to just a couple of sentences. This is almost always news about specific, visible changes in brands, media and marketing, and also more and more about people, society, and technology. Visions, strategy and deals don’t always have to lead to specific results, and I myself find those less interesting. Besides, specific visible (brand) activities for many people are directly inspiring. And so it is very practical. So I try as much as possible to follow the specific and visible results. If, for example, I read somewhere about something that will be accessible ґstarting next week, then I write about it when it is really live. That way I tire the visitor with the news only once. Besides I always provide a link to the source so the reader can check more, if he likes. Finally I always give my prediction for the future. That to my idea is the real power of this content: it tells where it is going, and through that I can support the relevance of the development. These kinds of postings are fun to write: sometimes you can creatively go crazy.
Because content is and will be very important, I put a lot of time and effort in it for this version too. The most important content is and will always be the web log part in the tab day to day. That is the only reason for thousands of people to regularly visit my site, react, or contact me. The most important addition is the full international site. Besides all static pages, all day to day postings from April 1st, 2007 onwards have been translated in English. This to shape my international ambitions (I want to live in Sydney for a couple of years, and work from there. My Australian domain name erwinvanlun.com.au is already active). Dutch however will be my primary language for a while, as I still write much faster in Dutch than I do in English. ThatҒs why I found a partner who translates basically all postings from Dutch to English. Not all static pages have been translated however: I omitted the pages with less international value (for example local sources, local speakers, and local events).

This is the content which has been added:

  • external sources: finally some room to mention some external sources. I chose a selection, and after clicking I explain why I think the external source is worth a visit.
  • other speakers: by mentioning other speakers in my area, potential clients can see who they can compare me to.  Most speakers I know in person, but not all of them. I also incorporated links to their websites. I accept the risk that somebody then may choose for a different speaker. I just hope to get a reference back some time (only on Dutch pages)
  • colofon: in the colofon I mention companies and people I work with in a pleasant way.
  • testimonials: where possible and available I incorporated testimonials.
  • workshops: this part I extended tremendously. Many companies ask me for a standard workshop. I might work on that in the future, but at the moment the world changes so fast, that the needs of my clients are changing too, so that I would have to change my product again anyway. Thats why at the moment I only give tailored workshops.
  • trends: this part is completely new. These trends are based on the long term drives of humans I found in the research I did when writing my book, and on observations I make on a daily basis when looking at society. In this tab, long term predictions and day-to-day evolutionary changes come together.

Some items disappeared, for example the much consulted overviews of chatbots and webbots. I have an idea on how to redo these pages, but I donҒt give this priority at the moment. For the moment, I leave them in the old layout. They dont bother me, and people like using them.

The business model

Although the site primarily gives me the possibility to get in touch with my target group, also many possibilities for making money are built into it. Advertising however is never the starting point. As a publisher you canҒt control advertising, and thus anything can pop up, which is not why the visitors come to your site. I want to avoid that. The most important money-making model is in the book references and review. Every book I referred to in my book, can be bought through this site. Through various national and international book stores, so the visitor can make his own choice. I earn money when a visitor of my site buys one of the books. That can go as high as 10% of the sales price of the book including shipping costs. I would like to state that I am very positive about all the books I refer to in my book. I didn’t just cite them.. In reviews, books I read later and have reviewed, I am more critical. There you can read my opinion. If I donҒt think anything of the book, I will say so. Through the sales of books I hope to cover the costs of hosting, software, and domain names, which is about 800 euros a year. Besides I refer to Expression Engine and Your Hosting through affiliate links. If people then decide to also start using Expression Engine, I receive affiliate provision. I don’t expect too much of this, but if I link to this parties anyway, then I might as well do that through an affiliate link. In the future I also want to sell event tickets for events I speak at myself, or which I visit myself. And I have some more ideas about how you can make money with such a site. However, I always keep the interest of the visitor in mind. If I canҒt add value to the visit, I wont do it.

The Brand ‘Erwin van Lun’

Through this site I hope to shape the brand Erwin van Lun in the virtual world too. Literally everything has to radiate Erwin van Lun. The clothes I wear on this site, I wear in reality. As a speaker for example I prefer to wear a purple shirt. When I am ґoff stage (as a participant at a conference for example, as a participant in a network meeting, or during a preparation meeting), I wear a shirt in a less vibrant color, as you can see in the tab ‘about me’. The colors by the way were the source of the only compromise I had to make in the design: the order of the tabs was determined by the order of the colors. I would have preferred to have ґabout me as the last tab, but that wasn’t sensible in light of the disharmony of colors. Besides the six colors had to be easy to read on black as well as white. Also the logo, the hand, is not just a hand, but my hand. The pictures behind each other in the animations show movements which together should give an impression of the person Erwin van Lun. In communication the emphasis is more and more on Erwin van Lun instead of Mensmerk.nl. The reason for this is that I cant use ‘Mensmerk’ internationally, and to slowly let go of the link with the book to make room for new activities, new books, and new ambitions.

What’s Next

For version 2.0 I have 1001 ideas. I haven’t even started these though. Although in principle I would like to do this in December, it looks like a real big upgrade isn’t realistic until the summer of 2008. In the mean time of course I can work on 1.6, 1.7, and 1.8. If you have suggestions, write them to me here, and tell everybody! Have fun exploring erwinvanlun.com!

Reaction by Erwin van Lun on 27 September 2007 20:54

So this is my first reaction on ErwinVanlun.com. I will soon start my little English campaign and hope for thousands reactions more the coming years..

Reaction by Edwin on 30 September 2007 19:18

gulp Very good R! Thats worth a drink (or two)

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