Archive for the ‘Information Architecture’ Category

WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Integration for SEO

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

The best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tricks out there are the ones that don’t require a lot of work. We all have other things to do than to go to a bunch of different sites all day long, composing messages. The benefits of doing all the posting are large: Each post increase your visibility enormously, so many people are going to all the trouble to do exactly that.

One of the beautiful solutions is the circular posting capability involving WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s like hiring a sign-shaker to dance on every corner.

In WordPress, it’s relatively easy to add a plugin that allows people, with a single click, create a link to an article in your blog, or one of your pages from FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more. Sociable is a good WordPress plugin for this. In addition, you can add a Twitter ‘Follow’ button, and links to your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. All that is important (in fact, why haven’t I finished doing it on my blog..? oh yeah, it’s awaiting the re-design I never get around to doing)… but it’s just the start.

The next step is a bit more involved. Twitter Tools is a multi-part WordPress plugin that allows you to do round-trip posting. It can show your tweets automatically in a sidebar, or as a post, it can turn your posts into tweets automatically (using the post title, and a link back to the post), and it can do things like url shortening, and more. One key feature is the hash (#) handling part of Twitter Tools. By adding #li or #ln to this plugins settings, each post also goes to LinkedIn.

In addition, a WordPress plugin called “WordBook” allows cross-posting between Facebook and WordPress. At the moment I was writing this, however, there was some conflict keeping it from working. The author was trying to solve it, so by the time you read this, it may be resolved. However, if you’ve installed a Facebook ‘share’ button using Sociable (mentioned above) you can just click this, when your post is complete, and quickly share the WordPress post to Facebook.

If all this seems a bit confusing, it is. But once you get it set up, it’s magic for getting your site out to the search engines, and to get people seeing it through Twitter and Facebook. Every blog post you do is multiplied with a single click to the Publish button. None of these benefits are available if you have a static website, or a cheap ‘build it in a day’ site.

As a web developer, I’ve seen a lot of site-building tools come and go. This is the most powerful combination I’ve seen for businesses to compete for the best search engine results. If you’re ready to rebuild your site to take advantage of all this, or already have a WordPress site but don’t know how to implement all these cool tricks, contact me.

The joy of technical writing and web design

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The joy of technical writing, and of web design, is discovery, exploration, and mastery.

There are few businesses where one is always learning, not just how to do the basic work, but also about how the client’s businesses and their products actually work.

From nitty-gritty technical details (how does video get converted to an image on an array of LEDs?) but also, how does the client reach their customers? How do they brand their product? How do they get it out the door?

Technical writing is about translating the engineering details to the reader’s learning style, and delivering the critical ‘how-to’ information in a way that anchors to their pre-existing basis of understanding.

That’s relatively easy compared to modern website design, which is about translating the business details to the reader’s learning style and delivering the critical ‘why buy’ information in a way that anchors to their pre-existing basis of understanding, as well as their desires — All while executing the high-wire act of making it look good across a half-dozen browsers, and making it interact and flow in a predictable and pleasing manner… and considering how search engines will interpret the code, how the programming code works at a technical level, how the server works, and finally, how it should interact with several social networking sites, email systems, and lately, smart phones.

Regardless of whether the end result is a user manual, created in InDesign, delivered as a PDF, which will be printed and bound a thousand miles away and delivered with the product… or a web site, where the domain is pointed and suddenly the world can see your work… there’s that joy of creation.

Of finally pulling it all together into a coherent message. Mastering complexity.

It’s fun.

But, I’ll hire someone to do my taxes. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

Top 10 ways to get traffic on the web, and the best video I’ve seen on that subject…

Monday, July 13th, 2009
  1. Get WordPress. These techniques require blogging… yes, it is a good thing to blog!
  2. Install Google XML sitemap plugin… this insures rapid inclusion in Google search.
  3. Install Twitter Tools & get a Twitter account.
  4. Get a custom design. Templates may look good, and may be a good starting point, but they don’t represent you as a unique entity. It’s all about branding!
  5. Hire a company or individual who can do a quality design AND a quality WordPress template. The template code matters when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I can help with this (*SSP).
  6. Post at least twice a week.
  7. Post 2-3 times on your subject-matter, then throw in something humorous or personal.
  8. Use an image on most posts. Make them large. They don’t have to be literal, they can be symbolic or conceptual… but they must be LEGAL. If copyright isn’t EXPLICITLY granted to your type of usage, it isn’t yours to use. It is theft.
  9. Use video. Upload to YouTube, and/or Vimeo, then embed in your site. This’ll get you more traffic than just putting video on your blog, and it’s easier, too.
  10. Keep at it, the payoff starts 3-9 months after you begin!

There are many other great things you can do. Costs vary. The amount of effort required will also vary. Generally there is a trade-off between cost and time commitment. Less time = more money and vice-versa.  But if you do just these 10 things, you should build traffic. What level of traffic is partly chance, partly subject-matter, and partly your talent at writing and targeting your content.

By the way of *Shameless Self Promotion (SSP), I can help with design and implementation for a reasonable fee. I used to get unreasonable fees, for great websites that weren’t so darn easy or cheap, but, in the end, this stuff works for a cost that is relatively low.

Below is a video by Tim Ferris. It’s the most useful single video I’ve found, but it may not entirely make sense to people who haven’t lived this for awhile. Still, worth a watch. Check it out:

Awesome Women at Ted Talks (all sharing the same body)

Friday, May 1st, 2009

This blog post, created on iPhone

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

…using a free WordPress iPhone app called, simply, WordPress. Not the easiest way to post, but handy to have around.

I can easily add a photo, and then, voilà.