WordPress

10 Blogging Tips to Break the 30 Seconds Barrier

33 Seconds Clock
I don’t want to spoil your day but there’s a lot of evidence suggesting that people spend less than a minute on a web page, perhaps as little as 30 seconds. So you really are going to need to make things easy for people if you wan’t them to read your blog posts.

Now, I have a bit of a guilty admission, I don’t read terribly well. I’m not stoopid or owt, but reading has never come overly naturally to me. Nowadays this isn’t helped by my already very long arms refusing to get any longer and, hard as I try, the printed page always seems a tad too close.

I know I am not alone with the oldies and I know too that there are many school children out there who have more difficult learning experiences than others because they don’t find reading easy: frequently young boys, often rubbing their teachers up the wrong way as they get more and more marginalised.

I’m off on one again aren’t I?

Anyway, it may seem a bit of a paradox that I am investing so much of my time writing at the moment, this writing being principally for blogs. I do write, I don’t think I’m an expert but do I know people are reading what I write and post. For the record I also ghost write for other peoples’ blogs. (sssh, you ain’t heard that). But, perhaps most importantly, given what I have just told you, I am aware of what makes reading less onerous.

So let’s look at ten tips that might help break the 33 second barrier.

1 Open With A Bang

A nice strong shocking declaration. A statistic, a side splittingly funny joke, the offer of a lifetime. OK well we are wise to the last one but you get the idea.

2 Be Human

Don’t be scared of being human, it’s what blogging is all about. Show your emotions and your passion.

3 Be Focussed

Do try to keep a focus. If you find you have ‘gone off one one’ cut the offending words and maybe save it as a new draft post to be expanded on.

4 Titles

The post title needs to do two things,

  1. Attract the reader’s attention. Something that is clever, witty, inviting and descriptive
  2. Work for Google and search engines. This means that if you want your post to be picked up by Google your clever, witty, inviting and descriptive will need to be keyword rich too!

5 Headings

Break your post up with relevant subheadings. These aren’t so important for search engines but will make the page a lot easier to scan and navigate through.

6 Use Short Paragraphs

peoplewillnot readgreatblocksoftext thatcannotbeeasily scannedororganisedandfiltered peoplewillnotreadgreat blocksoftextthatcannot beeasilyscannedororganisedand filteredpeoplewillnotreadgreat blocksoftextthatcannotbeeasily scannedororganisedandfiltered peoplewillnotreadgreatblocksoftext thatcannotbeeasily scannedororganised andfiltered peoplewillnotread greatblocksoftext thatcannotbe easilyscannedororganisedandfiltered

When you write it may come out as a stream of consciousness but when it’s on screen you need to make your text easy to look at, to scan, to filter. This puts the reader back in control.

7 Lists

People love lists and they can be very useful tools to,

  • simplify
  • order
  • clarify

the information that’s on a page.

8 Use Bold and Italicize but don’t Underline!

Text styling can help you to communicate more effectively. You can format text easily by making it bold or italic, adding an implied strength or emphasis. At a push you can use capitals and exclamation marks but beware of SHOUTING AT YOUR READERS!!!!! It is my belief that the only places for underlining are in primary school exercise books and to indicate a link on a web page. Don’t do it, bad things will happen to you if you do.

9 Links

Don’t be afraid to use links it’s easy enough to add them in blogs but don’t overdo it. At best links can add depth and value to a post, at worst they can totally overpower the content.

10 Images

Images can really communicate a lot very effectively. Sadly, although Google is considering introducing face recognition technology, images aren’t as yet very searchable. So a good strong hero image probably won’t get people to your site but it may keep people’s interest up long enough for them to start reading.

The bottom line is that you are both helping and empowering your reader, if you put them back in control they will hopefully make the right choice and read your blog.

This post was originally written as a guest blog for the rather impressive Mediocre Mum blog. Many thanks

WordPress Blog For Techserv by Exeter’s Design Credo

Techserv Online Design

Techserv Online Design

Yorkshire’s Techserv Cutting Systems continue to move forward with their online presence. Last year DesignCredo created a new fluid 3-column site which immediately showed a huge improvement for Techserv’s organic search results, both in the UK and more importantly on a worldwide basis. Techserv regularly appears top of page one for relevant Google searches.

New WordPress Site

As part of Techserv’s move forward they have launched a new WordPress blog site developed by Design Credo in Exeter. This site will be used to communicate the huge range of applications that the Techserv cutting machines are used for worldwide.

Techserv have a wide range of stories begging to be told, communicating the strengths of their CNC cutting equipment. WordPress based websites make an ideal platform for dynamic companies to communicate from.

Twitter

Early days yet for Techserv and Twitter but Design Credo have helped Techserv put their best foot forward by bringing the @techservcnc Twitter status page into line visually.

Need To Resize or Edit a Photo But Don’t Have The Software?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jft6KyoisM

Google won’t thank you for it, any more than your customers will. Worse still WordPress may well throw overly large image files straight out of the pram.

If you don’t have PhotoShop why not try PicNik.com? I’m not on a commission, I just think it’s neat, a great online resource as recommended through Twitter.

Large image files slow websites down. Google increasingly penalises poor page speed and your viewers will tire of slow pages. The bottom line it is good practice to optimise your images before you upload them. PicNik will let you resize and edit your image and save a copy back to your computer ready to upload to your website or blog.

WordPress Guides

This video is part of a series aimed at those new to WordPress

  1. Creating a simple post
  2. Images for the website (part 1)
  3. Images for the website (part 2)

Footnote, Unfortunately the bottom of the screen has been trimmed, there is a dialogue box that gives the image dimensions (bottom right). Also when I am referring to the screen size (1440 x 900) it is for the mac that I am working on, yours may differ.

Improving Your Image (Part 2)

Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole

Is Your Image Bigger Than Big Iz?

Can’t see the linked video on anIPAD?

Who says Twitter doesn’t do anything useful? I put a Tweet out the other day and within a couple of minutes the following suggestion had been made,

“Anyone out there able to recommend an online image resizing tool, not that my image needs resizing you know?”

mediocre_mum @designcredo “picnik.com???”

“excellent work @mediocre_mum, award yourself a mid-afternoon drink”

So why am I looking for online editing, as a pro photographer surely I use fancy software ‘n’ stuff?

In short my customers need a way to manipulate images and somehow I have to bridge the gap between what I know and do and what they could really do to know and do. Putting it simply I am trying to erect some scaffolding for those learning WordPress

My Workflow

I now work entirely digitally having sold my trusted Mamiya RB67s some time ago. I generally use Nikon equipment. What customers don’t always get is that the taking of the photo is a relatively small part of the process. Nowadays quite a bit of time will be spent at the computer but compared to the costs incurred pre the full digital era this is a worthwhile investment and a step forward.

Typically then I will

  • Shoot the image
  • Transfer the image to computer and open up in Photoshop
  • Adjust levels, curves, colour balance, verticals, crop
  • Save a PSD and a High Res JPEG (retaining the original file)
  • Let the customer proof the JPEG
  • Backup computer before deleting originals on camera card

So the first problem here is that Photoshop is a hugely powerful program that isn’t the easiest to learn. The second problem is that the program alone costs several times more than most reasonable compact cameras.
 Read more

Don’t Gamble With Your Image (Part 1)

PNG transparency demonstration

PNG transparency demonstration (click image)

It may not always seem so but things really do change, look in the mirror if you don’t believe me.

1990 no internet, 1991 internet starts. Digital cameras? Texas Instruments patented a film-less electronic camera in 1972, August 1981 the Sony Mavica was giving single image capture and back to 1991 where Kodak introduced a Nikon F3 based digital ‘pro’ camera.

This is recent history for me, for the young it is a lifetime though. When I first started in design getting images ready for print, or for that matter screen was a tedious and expensive process.

  1. Shoot Image
  2. Process Film
  3. Scan Negative or Transparency
  4. Watch Money Leave Bank Account

Yes the last aspect was hideously expensive. One had to take an original to an expert in a white coat in a dust free environment in a repro house and get the wallet well and truly drained to digitise an image, £50-£150 per shot. Further to this it was far from quick, days running into weeks could pass.

It is worth reflecting on this for those occasions where the technology isn’t quite doing what you want. If it isn’t now it may well be doing so soon but the bottom line is that now, if you want you can photograph something, get it posted on the internet and for that matter get it listed on Google in less than a quarter of an hour. Things really do change.

So in this DIY era a bit of knowledge may help, because in the moments when we are doing it ourselves creating our WordPress blogs, from our offices in Topsham or Exeter and things aren’t going quit right I suspect a reminder about the above won’t necessarily help.
 Read more

New WordPress Website for Topsham’s pdm Architecture

pdm website

pdm website

Topsham based Design Credo have worked with Phil Domville-Musters of PDM Architecture to create a new WordPress based website. Although PDM had an existing site they were unhappy with the existing content management system which meant that they were struggling to update the site themselves. The brief for the site was quite simple,

Make one that looks like our existing site but works.

 Read more