Good piece on the importance of search engine optimisation and a snapshot of the basics on the Channel 4 News Blogs:
A former journalist colleague of mine worked for an SEO firm; her job was to write about anything. Literally any subject she fancied covering. Her copy would be used on one of the firm’s network of websites, and because it was well-written, journalistic text, Google would assess the site as more authentic and give it a higher rank.
The fact that my former colleague was paid hundreds of pounds a day gives an insight into how much value companies place on having a good Google rank.
via Getting to the top of Google – it’s a matter of survival | Geoff White on Technology.
It often seems counter-intuitive to explain to academic colleagues that blogging frequently – even if it’s not about academic topics, can tangentially result in higher rates of applications to their courses, greater public interest in their research or larger conference attendances.
Yet, that’s the way it is, at least until Google’s next change of algorithm anyway.
Admittedly, this particular blogger comes across as fairly obnoxious, but he does give a good overview of what content-based marketing is about:
It’s not about being pushy. It’s not about slamming people with endless pitches and sales efforts.
Your site/email newsletter/podcast/whatever should consist of something like this:
- Some posts that are just friendly and storytelling.
- Some posts that are gentle pushes towards a next action or an ask.
- Some posts that are pure selly-sell, as I like to call it. Apparently over here they call that an offer.
- Some (but very few) totally off-topic posts.
via Why Content Marketing is Not Branding | Copyblogger.
I’ve long banged-on about the importance of brevity and clarity when writing online copy.
More often than not, ‘informational’ content seems to be simply written for print or just copy and pasted from *shudder* administration documents straight into a website, with very little consideration for how many website users will:
- Visually scan webpages
- Get bogged down or navigate away from unnecessary content or jargon
- Ignore unsubstantiated adjectives / platitudes.
In short, web content should get to the point.
Funnily enough, one of the best (unintentional) approaches to developing a good copywriting style for the web can be found in a 1946 essay by George Orwell:
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
- What am I trying to say?
- What words will express it?
- What image or idiom will make it clearer?
- Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And he will probably ask himself two more:
- Could I put it more shortly?
- Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
- One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails.
I think the following rules will cover most cases:
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
via George Orwell: 6 Questions/6 Rules.
Hello! This blog has been created mainly as a repository for links and posts that concern blogging and social media use within universities.
I will endevour to share useful links I’ve found on the interwebs, along with writing the occasional, rambling blog post when something comes to mind.