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Newsletter #736: The “Lessons From Hulu” Issue

{Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the left.}

Though just over a year old, Hulu has become one of the most popular places to watch videos online. Here's a few lessons they can teach us:

   1> Descriptive URLs
   2> Great widgets
   3> Helpful suggestions
   4> Check it out: Hulu's Father's Day collection

1> Descriptive URLs

Instead of using cryptic and lengthy URLs, Hulu's are short and relevant to the content. For example, the URL to the complete series of Exosquad is simply "" Not only do descriptive URLs with important keywords help search engines find your stuff, but they also make it easier for fans to share, both verbally and online.

The Lesson: Make sure your URLs pass the "say it to a friend" test.

2> Great widgets

Hulu's widgets — portable chunks of code that automatically pull content from one site to another — are simple and professional looking, two important features to ensure fans will actually use them on their sites. They offer basic widgets for the general website owner, as well as advanced code for experienced webmasters. When making your widgets, remember that a) It can't just be an ad for you, the content has to make their site more interesting and b) It has to be easy — no code, just cut and paste.

The Lesson: A great widget helps fans advertise for you, for free, forever.

3> Helpful suggestions

Having a lot of content can actually be an obstacle if users feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to check out. Hulu does a great job of constantly suggesting content throughout their site. With categories like "Popular Episodes," "Popular Clips," and "Hulu's Pick" right on the homepage, as well as recommended videos on each page, you're always presented with a manageable amount of suggested new content. The same theory works for the chef's recommendations and house specials on your restaurant menu, as well as featured and highlighted new products on your store shelves.

The Lesson: Don't let all your great content get in the way of a good experience. Pull out the best, most popular, and most recent to make it easy to find the good stuff.

4> Check it out: Hulu's Father's Day collection

To pump yourself up before writing that Father's Day card, check out Hulu's collection of father-son related clips which includes scenes from Field of Dreams, The Simpsons, and 30 Rock. And if you dig that collection, be sure to check out other ones such as "SNL Game Shows" and their "Famous Firsts" collection of pilot episodes.

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  1. Paul (from Idea Sandbox) June 18, 2009 at 10:23 am #

    Sadly, Hulu can only be viewed within the United States. International streaming rights prevent access.

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