search engine

PagesSizesDimensions

facebook sizes

I’m often advising clients that they should make sure that they have a business page on Facebook.  If they have information that they want people to know about, it’s another handy avenue to generate interest and business.

I just stumbled upon a page that helps you to know what size the images that you use for the profile and cover sections should be.  And now that you want to be aware of smartphones too, they also show where images will be cut off on smaller devices too, so you can plan accordingly.  Check out https://www.facebook.com/PagesSizesDimensions

Native Advertising

Apparently, the new way to get to the top of the heap in SEO (and get people to read your posts/site etc) is through something called Native Advertising.  I attach a video below.  Basically you don’t let it look like an ad and you offer something for your potential prey client for free.  I’m not sure if that is the next new thing or something you should be doing in all your posts, Facebook posts and Twitter feeds.  80% value and only small 20% or less in actual selling.

Here is an example, but as we all  know.  Cats can sell anything.  They are the great marketers.

idreambooks.com

I don’t know about you, but when I read a review about a book in the paper, I often like to go to Amazon or Chapters to hear what readers think about it too.  If I like the sound of the story still, I put it on my Wish List and buy it when I have enough books to get free delivery.  (I could read it on my iPad, but I like to lend or give books away later so I can share a good book, not something you can do easily with a book for a kindle, kobo etc.)

Another website has been launched called idreambooks.com.  They’ve used automated software that links to reviews of more than 1,000 books (now, but soon more) from book critics from around the world to come up with a score that is depicted by a little blue cloud.  If he is smiling (and his percentage is above 50%) then the reviews are mostly favourable, if he is frowning, well,  you get the idea.  Books that get 70% or higher get a “must read” tag.

Eventually they will have more and more books, but at the moment they only have the more recent books and reviews.  So it may at first be frustrating if you want to look up reviews for a book, only to find that it isn’t there.  But in the meantime, there is always google!  A good idea that may be what imdb.com is to movies and stars in the future.  In the meantime, it is a great way to find a new book you may not have heard of!

100 Ways to Design better Websites (well, only a dozen really)

I cut out an article in June 2001 about 100 ways to design better websites, and came across it recently. Although technology and the guidelines for building a better website (according to WC3)  have changed dramatically in the past ten years, due to smartphones, tablets and just advances in the tools we use, the basic ideas are pretty much the same. I’ll list a few of them here:

Layout:

  • The message: What are you trying to say? You really have to focus on what your message is, and getting to the point.
  • Define the Audience: Knowing the type of user will help you know how they will use the site.
  • Use great images: That saying “a picture says a thousand words” is still so true.

Graphics:

  • Balance: You want graphics, but not so many that it takes too long for the page to load.
  • Graphics look darker on a Mac than a PC. Make sure you adjust somewhere in the middle so it works on both platforms.

Information Design:

  • “Three clicks to information” rule was true then and it is still true now. If you make someone click numerous pages to get to what they wanted to see, you’ll lose them. I favour navigation where you can see and get to it with one click!
  • Calls to action on every page. If you want someone to buy something on a page, you need to promote it on the appropriate page.
  • Keep it short. People don’t read much on the internet, so if you want to say something, keep it as short as possible.

Navigation

  • Simple navigation names that are easily recognized.
  • Consistency in navigation. Keep it the same on every page.
  • Get your most technically challenged friend or colleague to navigate your site. You want to make it really easy, and not annoying.

Animation

  • Poorly created animation can destroy the look of a website. It slows download time, and sometimes is just not necessary.
  • Only use when animation is going to illustrate a point when words just won’t cut it. That means no dancing dogs running across the page, if dogs have nothing to do with your pages.

Sticky Content

  • This phrase sounds a bit icky, but it just means having content that keeps your visitors coming back. Either for your blog, for your reference material, or for other changing information.
  • Most important is keeping the content up to date! People won’t come back if the content never changes.
  • Create a mailing list of visitors (by asking them to join) so they will know when you have new content to share.
  • Create something on your site that they have to come back to use. Like a forum, for example.
  • Add a voting or polling system so people can vote on issues.

Music and sound effects

  • My first words on this subject is “Don’t!”  Most sites are not improved by sound and will upset people who come to your site at work (you can’t help where they look at it) when music is not part of the subject at all!.
  • You must make sure any music on your site is professional and licensed. You can get into a lot of trouble just putting someone’s compositions on your site without asking permission.
  • Make sure that if you do include music, you have an obvious and easy way to mute it.

Streaming media

  • Embedding a file from Youtube or other video site, is a great way to bring people to your site.
  • It’s good to have the best quality file you can manage.

 

Video Scribing

My friend, Kevin Frank, whom I’ve mentioned before, recently did a job for

Storybook Solutions, promoting Sarnia. If you watch the video in Vimeo you will see how interesting it makes the topic they are talking about.

Kevin Frank

Kevin's drawing for Storybook Solutions

They’ve filmed the drawings, sped it up and had someone do a voice-over about what Kevin is drawing. It shows how important images are on your website, and visualizations work far more than words alone do. Let’s face it, talking about $3 million compared to $30 million is just words, but an image of big bags of money vs a pile of bags of money makes that point so much better.

Just another idea to make your website stand out and to help people want to read it. We may be all grown up, but it shows that a picture is still worth a thousand words, and we like when they are drawn for us too!

YouTube

Did you know that YouTube is used to search for things more than any other search engine next to Google?

This is an interesting fact because if you want to be noticed (professionally or personally) it seems that a video on YouTube is the place to do it.

A video has recently gone viral about melanoma cancer called Dear 16 year old me.  What better way for a charity to get their message out than with a well thought out video.

Remember the Will it blend? videos?  That company has a following, and a healthy bottom line now, because they took humour to show how good their product is.  It’s an idea that many of us could incorporate into our businesses. Your video could be about your charity’s cause, a help video or interviews with customers at events.

Add humour and it could be the next YouTube sensation!

What is a Permalink?

A permalink, or permanent link, is a URL that points to a specific blog or forum entry after it has passed from the front page to the archives. Because a permalink remains unchanged indefinitely, it is less susceptible to link rot.  Link rot, what a great expression.  It basically means a broken link to a page that doesn’t exist any longer, or at least in that location.

New Search er Decision Engine

There is a new “decision” engine out called Bing that is apparently a replacement for Live Search. It looks a lot like Google, only with a pretty picture in the background. I’m not sure if that changes every day, as I only found it. I did a quick search and it came up with what I wanted. So that’s something. Robert X Cringely (I’m not sure if that is his real name, but he’s pretty humorous)writes a pretty funny review of it.

He mentions another “decision engine” called Hunch that asks you a lot of questions in order to help you make a decision about something. Doesn’t sound like the time it would take, and it could help them with selling your answers somewhere down the line.

Just ask your Mother, she’s likely keen to tell you what to do anyway.

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