I’m mourning the announced death of my beloved Google Reader later in the summer. It only seems like yesterday that I watched that YouTube video with Scoble showing how he processed through thousands of articles in a matter of minutes. Ah, good times.
While Scoble ( and apparently a majority of others ) have move on, I’ve used Reader to monitor blogs and find interesting stuff. It’s the first thing I hit in the morning. So, it’s impending demise has left me a little depressed. However, I believe that I’ve found an alternative.
Feedly coupled along with Pocket has become my goto solution. I’ll run through Feedly pretty quickly as I send interesting items to Pocket where I actually read them and then further tag them for sharing on Twitter through Hootsuite. In a way, it’s very similar to a process I had set up where starred items in Reader were shared through Twitter, but I shut that down because I felt like it was a firehose of information. This second layer helps me further prune my list down to the more interesting stuff.
First, let me apologize for the delay. I got hit by the mother of all colds on Tuesday and have pretty much spent the remaining time curled up under a blanket with a bottle of NyQuil and some hot tea. It wasn’t pretty.
Now, on with the important stuff.
Before we start picking out colors and stock photos, we need to know what the content is going to be. We can build the most amazing looking site that has ever graced the data lines of the internet, but if we don’t have good content, it’s all for naught… or nothing if we’re from North America. We also need to organize it well, so we’ll fall back on that trusty old high school English tool called “The Outline”.
- Home Page
- Introductory Paragraph
- Points 1
- Point 2
- Point 3
- Introductory Paragraph
- About Us
- History of Our Company
- Our Future
- Service 1 & Description
- Service 2 & Description
- Service 3 & Description
- Service 4 & Description
and so on and so forth. Organizing it in this way gives us a bird’s eye view of things and helps us keep the structure logical & simple. This is the key to keeping information easy to find.
The next step is to sit down and write the actual copy and get a general idea of any images ( pictures, illustrations, graphs, etc.) that are needed. There are a lot of tricks to writing for the web, but my main touchstones are to
- keep it conversational
- keep it scannable.
People have short attention spans online, so you’ve got to hurry up and say what you’re going to say. You also have to make it easy for them to see it, so good titles, bold print and lists are all your friends.
There’s a lot more to it and if you want to consult with people that are far brainier than I, check out the archived Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox: How Users Read on the Web .
I had to create a few videos this month walking clients through the process of updating their WordPress sites. Somehow during that process, something clicked in my head and manifested itself in the idea for a DIY section of the business blog that I never have time to post to.
Sometimes, I doubt the sanity of the little voice in my ear. I am, after all, trying to make a living at this so why go to the effort of giving away information for free?
I have no good answer for this.
So, beginning tomorrow, there will be a semi-regular section here called DIY Web Design. In this section, I’ll try to impart a bit of knowledge, provide some interesting links & resources and generally try to help you out without killing my business completely.
Sound like fun? Cool. Let’s go!
**This was originally shared over the summer on Facebook (Like Meeeee!), but I thought it’d be good to share it here too.
Someone tell Britt’s Donuts that they’re doing it wrong. No web page. They have Facebook ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Britts-Donut-Shop/189424071099111 ) & Twitter ( http://twitter.com/BrittsDonuts ) but never update either one.
But, hey… look at that Facebook page. 5,946 likes, 4,601 checkins, 327 mentions? How can they do that without engaging?
Not everyone needs a website or a social media strategy. I think the world would be a slightly happier place if we spent more time being awesome instead of feeding quarters to the hype machine… just don’t tell anyone that you heard that from me.
I’ve watched this way too many times this past week. It just captured our imaginations in our home.
On a completely unrelated note, I realized that I have a business blog that I’ve been completely ignoring. Again.
Shame on me.
Physician, heal thy self… or in this case, Web dude, promote thy self online.
I don’t know if it’s effective or not, but I sat through the entire thing.
Admittingly, I was waiting for some poor unsuspecting soul to sling the bag across the tarmac…
Yes, I know. It’s almost 50 minutes long, but you really, really need to watch this. Listen to it as you work this morning.
So much good stuff and it’ll open your eyes to how we annoy the living daylights out of customers.