Posts tagged: Content

Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content (Voices That Matter)

By , February 25, 2014 11:06 am

Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content (Voices That Matter)

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Results. Everyone wants them, whether to sell more products, spread good ideas, or win more funding. In our busy digital world, the way to results is influencing people on the web. But how? An ad campaign won't cut it. A Twitter account doesn't guarantee it. Manipulative tricks will backfire. Instead, you need quality, compelling web content that attracts people and engages them for the long haul.   Clout explains the key principles of influence and how to apply them to web content. Along the way, those principles come to life with practical examples from HowStuffWorks.com, Newell Rubbermaid, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many more brands. With this book, you'll:Discover why a technology feature, marketing campaign, SEO effort, or redesign aren't enough to influence online. Understand the business value of compelling web content.  Learn 8 principles for influence from the art of rhetoric and the science of psychology. Find out what context is and why it's so important to influence. Jump start your planning for content with a content brief. Learn how to evaluate your web content and determine whether it's making a difference.Foreword by Karen McGrane, managing partner of Bond Art + Science

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Content Strategy for the Web

By , October 15, 2013 11:06 am

Content Strategy for the Web

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If your website content is out of date, off-brand, and out of control, you're missing a huge opportunity to engage, convert, and retain customers online. Redesigning your home page won't help. Investing in a new content management system won't fix it, either. So, where do you start?  Without meaningful content, your website isn't worth much to your key audiences. But creating (and caring for) "meaningful" content is far more complicated than we're often willing to acknowledge. Content Strategy for the Web explains how to create and deliver useful, usable content for your online audiences, when and where they need it most. It also shares content best practices so you can get your next website redesign right, on time and on budget. For the first time, you'll:  See content strategy (and its business value) explained in plain language  Find out why so many web projects implode in the content development phase ... and how to avoid the associated, unnecessary costs and delays   Learn how to audit and analyze your content Make smarter, achievable decisions about which content to create and how Find out how to maintain consistent, accurate, compelling content over time Get solid, practical advice on staffing for content-related roles and responsibilities  

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Launch your site, before it is finished

By , June 4, 2013 6:48 am

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When you launch a site, you face three major problems: The search engines don’t know you, the users don’t know you and you might not have any meaningful amount of content. These problems can cost you time, before your site starts to pay off. Three solutions to hit the ground running on launch day.

internet, web, online marketing, website, usability

Launch your site, before it is finished.

When you launch a site, you face three major problems: The search engines don’t know you, the users don’t know you and you might not have any meaningful amount of content. These problems can cost you time, before your site starts to pay off.
Three solutions to hit the ground running on launch day.

Waiting for the search engines
Telling “Google?your new web-address is only getting you a spot in its sandbox. The sandbox is like a queue. You line up until your have gotten to the front-gate. Only if you are passed it, will your site be spidered. Word on the web is that this takes 6 months – regardless of how fancy your submission technique is. There are of course other search-engines who process you faster. But can you afford not to be found in “Google?

Once your domain is listed, they need to be found by their spiders and ultimately by the user. Although your DNS entry should cascade very fast around the globe, there are bottlenecks. It can happen that you wait for the update a couple of weeks – regardless of your TTL-definition. Nearly unbelievable, but it happens. You should get a very wide dissemination within a few days, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Getting the users to the launch
Every web page is made for its visitors. If you don’t get them, all your efforts and money spent have been in vain. Unless you have a substantial marketing-budget for your launch, it takes time for users to reach your site, to tell other people, to list it or to write about it in blogs. The shorter the time you need to reach that critical mass of users, the sooner your site pays off. Also you will quicker get to the point when it is really fun to look at your web-stats.

Welcome to our empty pages
Users will not repeatedly visit your site just because it is nicely designed and structured. You need enough content already on launch-day to have something interesting for most of your visitors. Any “coming soon?on a fully operational site is very likely to be a frustration to the user. A database of 2 articles does not inspire confidence. It is like peeking into an empty restaurant on a Saturday night – you might think twice about even looking at the menu.

Waiting for the search engines, having very few users visiting your site and not offering any content will unlikely result in a good start.

“Under Construction?revisited
What was considered very bad form some years ago, might just be one way of solving the problems. When development work begins, you need to set up a page or a mini-site. When search engines are visiting they have a place to go. At the same time it solves the DNS update delay you might encounter from some backbones.

Unlike the classic “shovel and hard-hat?logo, even this simple page or site needs an identity and content. It will be visited and looked at by your potential costumers. Have you noticed how real-world construction-sites start to be tidy and nicely wrapped up – sometimes even following corporate design guidelines. Many people are walking past construction-sites – and they just might link the image of the company to the piles of bricks carelessly lying about. Sometimes you even find a little description what the new store will look like, offer and when it will be opened – a smart move.

The visual design can be much reduced, but still should convey the appropriate message. Have your designer create a layout, using your corporate identity or claims. The visitor, even the search-engine, should know on an emotional as well as a factual level what will be up and coming.

The best thing would be to have some content available. Put up an article every week for example, a review, a recipe or whatever content is related to your site. This shows search-engines that something is happening; boosts your placement and the visitor sees some activity. And you will already have some content ready for the day your site goes really life.

Getting the users to the launch
There is no other way but to directly address them. Most effective is some meaningful content, not simply a note that your site will start in three weeks time.

The indirect approach might work best. If you receive an email by someone you know or someone who has a positive reputation, it is likely to be read. Find some opinion-leaders related to your products or services. Maybe you can get this person to write content and distribute it to the community while linking to your site? You could organize an event together or simply ask for input – they might just have this great idea that you can use to make your site known before it is even fully life. Blogs are often published by “opinion leader?and you can find them as strong voices in forums.

The goal is to increase you link-popularity, get email-addresses and get access to a network of people who can avalanche information from your site to their communities.

Having Content
It is not likely to have on launch-day the same amount of content like a site that is already up for five years. But usually you only have one chance to interest and satisfy a fist-time user. One key element here is having content available. Empty article-listing or three reviews are simply not enough to interest me to delve into the site. If you would launch a print-magazine, you would also have every page filled with the best content available – the same applies to the new site.

Another advantage is that search engines love content – especially if it changes. If you have a reasonable turnover, your chances for a good ranking are high.

If you can’t create content in-house, articles and reviews are relatively easy to get. You can either peruse article directories or collaborate with blogs. The quality of the content reflects on your site. Editorial-work and selection is essential.

A word of caution; It is easy to republish what is already out on the web. But original content is still best. Since you cater to the interests of your prospective visitors, the article you re-use was likely to have appeared on a site similar in target to your own. Quality over quantity is still what counts.

Launching a site starts well before you put it online. A well prepared launch will let you hit the ground running and might save months in getting the visitors you need.

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Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies)

By , November 27, 2012 11:01 am

Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies)

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"Redish has done her homework and created a thorough overview of the issues in writing for the Web. Ironically, I must recommend that you read her every word so that you can find out why your customers won't read very many words on your website -- and what to do about it."-- Jakob Nielsen, Principal, Nielsen Norman Group"There are at least twelve billion web pages out there. Twelve billion voices talking, but saying mostly nothing. If just 1% of those pages followed Ginny's practical, clear advice, the world would be a better place. Fortunately, you can follow her advice for 100% of your own site's pages, so pick up a copy of Letting Go of the Words and start communicating effectively today.”--Lou Rosenfeld, co-author, Information Architecture for the World Wide WebOn the web, whether on the job or at home, we usually want to grab information and use it quickly. We go to the web to get answers to questions or to complete tasks - to gather information, reading only what we need. We are all too busy to read much on the web.This book helps you write successfully for web users. It offers strategy, process, and tactics for creating or revising content for the web. It helps you plan, organize, write, design, and test web content that will make web users come back again and again to your site. Learn how to create usable and useful content for the web from the master ? Ginny Redish. Ginny has taught and mentored hundreds of writers, information designers, and content owners in the principles and secrets of creating web information that is easy to scan, easy to read, and easy to use. This practical, informative book will help anyone creating web content do it better.Features* Clearly-explained guidelines with full color illustrations and examples from actual web sites throughout the book. * Written in easy-to-read style with many "befores" and "afters."* Specific guidelines for web-based press releases, legal notices, and other documents.* Tips on making web content accessible for people with special needs.Janice (Ginny) Redish has been helping clients and colleagues communicate clearly for more than 20 years. For the past ten years, her focus has been helping people create usable and useful web sites. She is co-author of two classic books on usability: A Practical Guide to Usability Testing (with Joseph Dumas), and User and Task Analysis for Interface Design (with JoAnn Hackos), and is the recipient of many awards. * Clearly-explained guidelines with full color illustrations and examples from actual web sites throughout the book.* Written in easy-to-read style with many "befores" and "afters."* Specific guidelines for web-based press releases, legal notices, and other documents. * Tips on making web content accessible for people with special needs.

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