Monthly Archives: February 2008

Gawker editor’s position under threat – not enough page views?

Jemima Kiss of the Guardian’s PDA blog (titter) says Gawker boss has fired his site editor after just five months because the site was under performing.

The story talks about not pulling in over 670,000 page views a month. Fair enough – publishers sack editors of newspapers for falling readerships, but this all feels a little grubby if true. Can an editor alone be held responsible for poor page view figures? More so than print publications?

Also, we don’t remember reading about a £4 per post fee for Shiny Media’s bloggers (see comments).

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When mobile websites change main websites – Facebook’s iPhone site

It happens every time we develop a mobile ‘lite’ version of a client’s website. We boil their website down to the basics for easier use on the mobile web. Then users of the mobile website ask why the main website isn’t as easy to use as the new mobile site.

It happens because all the crap that everyone in the organisation was too scared to do away with is tossed aside because of content and technical limitations of mobile screens. Core functions of the site – the main reasons why users visit the site – are rescued from posture led obscurity and placed right at the start of the user journey. Users can do stuff faster, web copy is made more concise and pages are uncluttered. Ego and indecision go out the window if you’re given very strict technical specifications. Thank you mobile web.

It happens to Facebook according to Wire.com, which says that the social network is redesigning its main website to be more like its mobile iPhone friendly ‘sister’ site.

The iPhone is probably going to open up the mobile web in 2008 after a few false starts (i-mode sites in the UK: where are they now?), but in a way, I do hope mobile screens get no bigger. Less is more when building websites based on user needs and you can’t argue with technical limitations.

This is a big topic for web copy professionals. Having trouble convincing your client to reduce the amount of words (read ‘clutter’ or ‘noise’) on a website? Suggest a mobile version of the site and show them why mobile sites work.

Do you know any examples of mobile websites that have caused change on main websites? Email us.

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How to drive traffic to your blog in four easy steps

Getting people to visit your blog or website isn’t rocket science.

  1. Create your blog/forum/website.
  2. Write lots and lots of award winning blog posts.
  3. Visit similar, market leading blogs and forums and contribute lots, adding your original site’s URL/email address.
  4. Watch as people react to your comments and follow the link to your website.

There. The ‘award winning’ bit might be a bit difficult, granted, but do at least make your posts engaging (yes, we hate that word too, but it’s better than ‘good’) and worthy of a click.

Actually, screw all that. Read this blog post by Seth Godin.

How to create a content matrix – advice

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A good content matrix can make all the difference when launching a website. Given that delays in content production is often cited as one of the most common reasons a launch date slips, it can even have a positive effect on your career. As in not being sacked.

A content matrix, usually an Excel spreadsheet, ensures the smooth running of the content production or migration process.

The matrix is managed by a content editor, producer or project manager and aims to track all elements of the content development process, page by page.

Used in conjunction with sitemaps and wireframes (preferably ones which have been signed off) , the matrix includes elements such as a page’s title, description and purpose, production status, related links and micro-content like metadata and alt text.

It should also detail who will be providing the content, the content source, who owns the content, any sign off processes, language or format information and, most importantly, all deadlines for delivery.

If you detail all of the above, you should have a clear critical path of content delivery and launch the site on time.

Social networks and teens: Wrecking youth clubs

Social networks may harm the already challenging task of getting young people to join community projects according to a report by Big Lottery Fund Scotland.

While young people interviewed for the report said they were still interested in local face to face group initiatives, many said they preferred to spend time exploring online groups.

A lack of time among teenagers was blamed for the lack of interest, but the report wasn’t all dot doom and gloom. Sites like MySpace, the report said, “gave young people a chance to interact and communicate with other, find out information and learn about new things.”

Fortunately, the report also recognised the value of the web for those in rural areas facing transport issues, as it “gave them a chance to chat with people from long distances who they wouldn’t be able to talk to face-to-face.”

Our two penneth on the report? So much more could be done to build on the huge popularity of online platforms. Even go so far as to partner with them, rather than try to compete with them.

Use them to bring young people together offline at computer clubs. We’re not suggesting Islington Council youth clubs start a flashmob, but why not start some ‘how to’ youth club sessions on modding your MySpace or Bebo profile?

We all want to be popular and get more friends to visit and join our online groups – so show teens how, along with value-ad advice on web safety and walk throughs of local health and career information websites they can explore further in their own time, should the need arise.

Read more about the New Communities report at Big Lottery Fund Scotland

Ocado drivers deliver irony as well as online groceries

This is a real email from Ocado. Considering all their PR about how they recycle their plastic bags, we thought this email was a tad amusing.

As Juliet, our eagle eyed Ocado customer confided, they obviously felt their carbon footprint has been reduced so much that they wanted to give it a little boost again.