Ideas for improving your site

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I'd like to share my digital improvement ideas with you and hope they help you improve your digital presence.

How to get more from your CMS UPgrade

8 MArch 2016

Having a digital improvement specialist on your team could turn frustration into success

How to optimise your website

2 March 2016

The 5 Ws (and 1 H) on how to get more value out of your digital assets

How do you know if your website is succeeding?

3 February 2016

I recently worked on a website that was all about conversion. Every week, the marketing and sales people would get together and look at ‘the figures’.

Don't make me scroll

28 January 2016

When I started work in the online world, we had to fit all our content into quite small screens. The first site I managed was built for 800 x 600 px screens. The site was an intranet, serving content to 9,500 postal employees, ranging from corporate desk dwellers to posties, couriers, truck drivers and everyone in between.

The content writer who knew too much

4 December 2015

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and wondered ‘What on earth are they on about?’

You heard every word they said, almost all of the words were in plain English and the sentences were grammatically correct, but at the end of it you were no more the wiser.

The power of the dark side (of online conent)

30 November 2015

I've been watching a lot of Star Wars recently, and I think I may be missing something. It seems too easy to turn to the Dark Side.

Be a rebel - say what you mean!

17 November 2015

Why do we feel we need to write our web content in "grown-up" language?

Will customers ever learn? (your site)

17 November 2015

A few years ago, I ran a website that sold software.

Now and then we released patches to our software, as you do, and I remember having the oddest conversation with our server guy.

Servant of many masters – how do you create content for all digital devices?

12 November 2015

I’m fascinated by how we use our different devices these days.

I was in a café the other day with a friend of mine and her phone rang. She pulled it out of her bag to answer it, but didn’t put it to her ear. She just plugged in her hands free.

And no wonder, her phone was huge.

Change is good – but how much is too much?

11 November 2015

It’s amazing how much time you can waste, tweaking a website. I launched a new site a month ago and not a day goes by that I don’t make some small change to it. This morning I spent four hours trying to get it to render nicely on a mobile.

What's so cool about optimising content?

4 November 2015

I've decided to start up my own business. "Yay me!"

It's quite exciting being your own boss and having control over your working day, but there's one thing I didn't think of when I started this...

What exactly do I do, that other people don't, that's 'valuable'?

Why do I like my iWatch?

23 October 2015

When Apple first released the iWatch I was dubious at best, verging on scornful. “Another iDevice” I thought. One that seemed to have more form than function. The function it had only worked when it was slaved to another iDevice.

Why bother with navigation structures?

24 September 2015

I was arguing with a colleague of mine the other day about the importance of a good navigation structure. My colleague didn’t think they were important any more: “These days everyone uses Google. They don’t need to navigate a site, they just search for the page they want and click on the link”.

Why do we design websites to confuse our users?

22 May 2015

When you look at a book, you see a front cover, usually with the title, the author’s name and some artwork capturing the ‘essence’ of the book. Open the book and you see a page with publication details, a cover page, often a table of contents and then the meat of the book itself – the story.

Banner-style home pages – beautiful design or annoying barriers

6 May 2015

Call me a luddite, but I have an issue with banner-style home pages. You know the ones. The page is just a series of ad-style banners laid one on top of each other down the page.

How do we know we’re listening to our customers’ voices?

30 April 2015

Usability testing is a funny thing. On the surface, it’s a vital key to unlock the all-important “voice of the customer”. But how do you know it’s the customer’s voice you’re hearing?

Websites don’t always tell us what we want to know

24 April 2015

Have you ever looked at a web page and found you have more questions than answers? If you’re anything like me, this happens to you quite often.

Lies, damn lies and web statistics

22 April 2015

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before. It was made famous by Mark Twain in the 1800s and more recently by the TV program The West Wing.

In both those cases, the phrase referred to the way politicians can make numbers say whatever they want. I think the same applies to web statistics.

Are we really happy to scroll?

17 April 2015

Someone said to me recently “people are happy to scroll” on websites.

That comment got me thinking. People are happy to scroll. Are they? Is it really that simple? Does this mean we can create pages with as much content as we like, confident that our site visitors will happily scroll down from screen to screen until they find what they’re looking for? 

Responsive templates – are they really the answer?

15 April 2015

There’s been a lot of talk lately about responsive design. Do you know about ‘responsive’? It’s the magic new template style that displays your content beautifully regardless of the device your customer is using.

Don’t blame the CMS

13 April 2015

Have you ever noticed that when a web site is hard to manage, the Content Management System (CMS) almost always gets the blame?

Search engine optimisation – it’s simple if you try

9 April 2015

There’s a lot of talk about SEO at the moment. With every woman and her dog using Google as the ‘home page’ of the internet we all want page 1 SERP (that’s Search Engine Results Page for those playing at home) rankings for our preferred keyword, or words.

Distributed authorship or a central web content team?

23 March 2015

When I began my journey through the wide world of web management, websites belonged to the IT department. They were hand built creations, coded in HTML, JavaScript, SQL and harder codes.

Are FAQs really frequent?

17 March 2015

Three customers go to a website… None of them can find what they’re looking for. What do they do?

Now where did that come from? – Why won’t my old pages go away?

13 February 2015

Try this trick…  Find our your site’s top ten internal search terms. Ask Omniture or Google Analytics, they’ll know.

Now type them into your site search. Better yet, type them into Google, using "site:your URL".  Look at the results. 

So you want to write online content

12 February 2015

Why wouldn’t you? Online is cool. It’s where all the action is these days. And you? You’re a great writer. You’ve written heaps of stuff – direct mail letters, brochures, magazine articles… and you’re a gun at emails. 

What is it with social?

11 February 2015

Can someone please tell me when online content became all about ‘social’?

I get that ‘social’ is an important part of any content strategy, but surely there’s more? Aren’t well written, informative ‘content’ pages still vital parts of any good online presence?