Content For Your Blog

One of the best sources of content ideas are the statistics for your website.  If you run your own website, your host should have a statistics package that gives you summary information, or you can look in the raw log files.  What you want to find are the search engine referrals–the phrases people typed into the search engine that led them to your site.  You want to dig through these search phrases, and find ones that relate to your business.  By focusing a blog posting on these phrases, you’ll draw people to that blog post when they search for these terms.  Make sure you link to specific products or categories on your site.

If you remember Chad and Bob talking about “search engine optimization”, this is one part of doing that.  The idea is to put content on your site or blog that is interesting to potential customers, and that will be found in the search engines, hopefully turning searchers into customers.

Protecting Files in Shared Hosting Environment

In a previous post (, I showed one way to protect files from direct download by configuring IIS.  In a shared hosting environment, this usually isn’t possible, so I’ll show another way to protect these files.

First, a little review.  Out of the box, only certain file types are mapped to the ASP.NET ISAPI filter.  These include .aspx, .ascx, .ashx, etc.  If these pages are requested, IIS hands off processing to the ASP.NET filter.  Otherwise, IIS serves the file directly (or hands it off to another ISAPI, as necessary).  There are also a number of file types mapped to ASP.NET that are protected by the HttpForbiddenHandler.  This is an HTTP Handler that prevents direct download of files of the specified type.  If you examine the <httpHandler> section of your machine.config file, you’ll see the list.

It would seem that simply adding a file extension to the <httpHandler> section and have the HttpForbiddenHandler prevent its download would be great, but unfortunately, you need to also configure IIS for any new extention you want handled, which is the problem in the first place.

However, there’s a little trick we can use.  Let’s say you have a file named “protected.pdf” which you wish to prevent direct download of.  You can rename this file to “protected.pdf.resources”, and since the .resources extension is already forbidden, users will not be able to download this file directly even if they can guess the file name.  Try it and see.

When it comes time to allow users to download the file, you can use the System.Web.HttpResponse.WriteFile method to send the file to the user.  You may have to clear the response and add a content type to make this all work correctly, as shown:

strFileName = Server.MapPath(“protected.pdf.resources”)

strFileId = StrFileName.ToString.Replace(“.resources”, “”)

With HttpContext.Current.Response



   .ContentType = “application/pdf”

   .AddHeader(“Content-Disposition”, “inline; filename=” & strFileId)



End With

Slide Notes

In addition to all the information I have on my slides, I was making notes all through the breakfast and early session to work into my presentation as well.  I’ve numbered the slides here, but you’ll have to count them on the printed copy:

Slides 9-10: Why blog?
As we heard in the breakfast session, consumers want/need educational material.  A blog is a great place to put some of this information.  You could create a section on your blog for “Care and Handling Tips”, and have posts for the different types of flowers and arrangements.

Mike’s study also found that the greatest barrier for younger consumers is that they don’t know how or what to order.  These consumers probably do know how to read a blog, so adding content to your blog that is very basic could help draw younger customers to your shop.  I can almost guarantee a series of posts about corsages and boutonnieres as prom season approaches would be a great draw, and you could probably sell some different styles merely by highlighting them.

Slide 12: Blogs as a marketing tool
“Customer evangelism” is a fancy new term for “word of mouth”.  This is where your loyal (or PO’d) customers talk about you, good or bad.  Be careful what you say or do, as it may be easily broadcast to thousands.  Personal blogs will tip the balance of business to consumer interactions back toward the consumer again.

Slide 13: What to blog about
Do you have e-mail newsletters like Chad, Marty and Tina?  Put copies on your blog!  You can keep the newsletter special by delaying posting for a couple of days.  As I mentioned in a previous slide, there is a growing reluctance for consumers to give out their e-mail address.  Blogs are anonymous, so there will be a certain percentage of consumers who would rather read a blog.  But, if they see great value in your newsletter, they might sign up.  Blogs and e-mail marketing are complementary technologies, and it would be good to do both.

Slide 14: Where to get content
SAF gave us great “Hip givers guides” at breakfast.  You have a number of great ideas in there.  Mike’s presentation has some interesting statistics–some you’ll want to share, and some you’ll want to use to plan content.

Presentation Posted

I’ve posted my presentation at  To navigate the menus, go to, and then Articles & Presentations >> Presentations.

The file is PDF format, so you’ll need Acrobat Reader to open it.  Almost everyone has Acrobat Reader, but if you don’t, you can get it for free at  If you need the slides in a different format, let me know (you can catch me at rich-at-bloomery-dot-com).