Category Archives: Content review

The Perfect WordPress Sharing Plugin

Traditional sharing plugins such as DIgg Digg and Alternative Digg have been around so long that they look dated, and their position on the side of the page can lead to either unwanted effects or a lack of confidence that they work in all circumstances without plenty of testing.

Enter Simple Share Buttons Adder.  It sits either before or after your primary content, or in both places, so you can be sure it is consistent across multiple devices. It offers 8 gorgeous button types and keeps things nice and simple by limiting itself to around ten of the most popular sharing platforms. It just works.

Simple Share Buttons Adder

Simple Share Buttons Adder

I haven’t placed it on this site, but rather instead I have placed it on Cycle Ireland, where I am active on my supporting social media accounts.

If you want a simple sharing plugin, this is it.

Proofing and grammar

A lack of knowledge or skill in proofing will kill the credibility of your website faster than almost anything else. Everybody has different levels of proficiency but it is important to be self-aware and to understand your own.

Grammar

They are two separate issues. Your knowledge of grammar is important in the writing stage. If you don’t have the basics nailed down you are seriously limiting your potential as a web content writer or strategist – it is a key business skill. There are plenty of books available on the topic, such as Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.

If you are weak in this area you should set aside some time regularly to improve your skills.

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Website redesign: 5 good reasons

So you want to redesign your website. It’s exciting. But before you jump into what could be a gamechanger for your business or a nightmare that sucks time and money out of it, why do you want a new website?

There are good and bad reasons for doing this and it is important to understand which are prompting the change that you are making.

5 good reasons  for a website redesign

You want to change CMS

If you feel that your content management system is not serving your needs as well as another option can, you face a significant job to transfer your site. Redesigning the site can kill two birds with one stone and minimise disruption.

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Web content review: purpose

So you have decide to conduct a web content review. Great. You need to examine what you have already and why you have it. Every piece of web content that you create must serve a purpose for the user. You thinking that something is cool is not enough to justify putting it up. Engagement or entertainment value is a reason to justify creating the content. There are other reasons:

1) Information – you can place additional or obscure information on your site that can be easily searched by your users. Generally, the more detail the better for your users, as long as it remains navigable.

2) Sell – if you’re selling products, a lot of your content will be oriented solely towards selling, whether you do it explicitly or subtly.

3) Persuade – you may be selling nothing but using your content to persuade people to act or think specific things.

4) Entertain – some content will only need to engage and entertain users for a variety of reasons – e.g. to sell advertising, to gain visitors or to generate social media attention.

Whatever the reasons for creating your various pieces of content, it is important to know them and to assess whether they are achieving their aims. More informational content may lead to a reduction in customer service emails needing to be processed and pay for itself in that way.

A web content review and your web strategy

By identifying why your content is there you can more easily identify its deficiencies and identify the areas in which it can be improved. Identify what works well from analytics and feedback and determine if this content can be expanded. Similarly, you can move the site away from the content that is just not working for you.

If you define yourself as being the most user-friendly online worktools shop, your product demonstration videos might set you apart from your competitors. Are they working? Are they prominent enough? Are they the right length? Are the scripts good enough? Are they easy to follow? Are the presenters likeable? Do you need more of them?

Answering such questions is part of your web content review. Go for it!

Miles Fisher on online engagement

Who is Miles Fisher? He is the prototypical actor of the future. Is that too extreme? Ok, let’s try again. He is a talented and successful actor who approached the business from the off with a hardnosed mindset. In this video he talks eloquently about how he exploited the possibilities of online media to carve out a career for himself.

‘Even before I made the first video that really popped off, I was in dialogue with people that were doing it on a bigger level than I was’. He didn’t make something and hope that it went viral, he researched the area intensively, planned his impact and made his first video.

‘We went all out – I took a little bit of a risk, I paid for it out of my own pocket’ – on his first video – he committed to it fully.

‘Be a good consumer – always looking around’. Being a good consumer is almost his first rule of being a good creator of online content.

‘I want to create a very-high production value, very cinematic-type videos that come out less often, so they are kind of an event.’ This is his way of differentiating himself from the surfeit of video blogs which often use webcams and are weekly – he was not content with following the crowd.

‘I put a lot of emphasis on everything I do – I think about not what the marketplace wants right now but where it’s going down the line and what sixth-graders (12-year-olds – LOC) are doing right now. And it’s not so much what they are watching but what they are making is amazing… and it’s only going to get more and more.’

‘Boredom has just evaporated… there are so many things to do now.’

‘Prove over and over again that you are worth people’s time.

Miles Fisher on Youtube:

Miles Fisher: How a Viral Video Star Is Reinventing the Acting Biz

This Must Be The Place (NSFW)

Don’t Let Go

New Romance

First website mistakes to avoid

Setting up your first website for your business can be a minefield. Most people make too many simple website mistakes. For most business owners the web is not their primary area of expertise, and it is very difficult to be sure of what you need. Often, it is just a holding page with your contact details, while you develop your product. But you can easily end up being sold a platinum version CMS and site that you simply do not need until later.

If you do have some aptitude, there is a lot to be said for doing it yourself at the start. Often your holding page will last for 6 months or so, and by then you will have a better idea of what you will need for your site. With WordPress this is a straightforward process (if you know your way around a computer). But people get it wrong with their first website and make astonishing (to others) website mistakes.

Real-life first website mistakes

I will give a real-life, unnamed example of an early-stage company. I checked their site after reading about them in a newspaper article.

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Site review: cycleireland.ie

Cycle Ireland is a solution to the problem of navigating Ireland’s backroads by bicycle. We apply the internet to so many aspects of our lives yet there are many areas where we can do so much more. Cycling is one of them.

In 2011 I cycle toured in the US, Slovenia, Austria, Switzerland, France and Italy, along with doing a few short trips in Ireland. There was no all-encompassing solution for choosing good routes. Decisions were made by picking through google maps and blogs and miscellaneous websites. There are numerous sites with user-generated routes which did not have enough information to be useful.

So I got to thinking – how can this be done better? Specifically, how can this be done better for Ireland? I had bought the url cycleireland.ie a couple of months previously.

The descent to Ashleam Bay near Dooega on Achill Island

The descent to Ashleam Bay near Dooega on Achill Island

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Content review: traveltoanewcountry.com

Traveltoanewcountry.com was conceived when my lifelong love of geography and travel led me to create a list of countries that I wanted to visit. I didn’t want to be there in the future thinking “I wish I had gone there, and there, and there – I guess I just never bothered.” I am not the sort of person who sits around hoping that things happen on their own.

Over a period of several months I read about as many countries as I could, and was surprised by the charms of many places that do not have a reputation for being travel destinations.

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