Taming Taxonomy Interview with Jessica DuVerneay and Alberta Soranzo

Last month's Los Angeles User Experience Meetup event regarding Taxonomy offered the Media Contour team an excellent opportunity to learn about and develop a better understanding of website taxonomy. Media Contour had the chance to conduct a pre-show interview with speakers Jessica DuVerneay and Alberta Soranzo.Jessica DuVerneay is an information architect at the Understanding Group. Alberta Soranzo is both the manager of user experience and strategy at the UCLA Center for Health Policy and Research and senior information architect at the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. They are both highly regarded in the fields of information architecture and user experience. Below are excerpts from the interview which cover the main ideas of their presentation.

Why Add Taxonomy to a Website

The first major topic of discussion focused on the core definition of taxonomy in the context of website design.

JESSICA DUVERNEAY: The first thing I want to say is that it's not something you just add to your project. It's not like if you get this service you should get this service too, and if you get wireframes, you might as well get functional specs. At least that’s the way that I look at it. It’s like, is it even a problem? For some clients it may not be a problem. If you're working in a really small property and your language is very clear, very domain specific or there's industry standards that are really easy to follow, not everybody needs a taxonomy. It is more for you know the thing that I'm seeing, why it's really relevant right now is because so many people are taking their old kind of main site and they are trying, they are realizing that the strategy of creating 15 micro-sites each time they have a new launch or a new iteration of a product. It has not been serving them well because they have confusing language. Something is called a shirt over here, it is called a blouse over here. You can't track SEO events. And really, I mean if you are going to look at it from a high level taxonomy, it just gives you an agreed upon structure that increases learnability and the findability of the your content on your website. That is the high level answer.

“Something is called a shirt over here, it is called a blouse over here. You can't track SEO events.” Jessica Duverneay

Practices of Taxonomy

The second major topic allowed for the team to distinguish between the traditional meaning of the word taxonomy and the meaning of how it is used for websites. Here we learn that taxonomy is inherent of its company culture.

ALBERTA SORANZO: I think it is tricky because we use the word 'taxonomy' which is a scientific word. And so if you look at taxonomies in science, you think of taxonomy as a categorization. That is generally how people understand it. In sciences the categorization of things is relatively simple because we construct families and you can easily place objects in one group rather than another. When we think of a taxonomy for a website, we deal with meaning and perception, which are highly subjective concepts. Which is why research—reviewing existing taxonomies, keyword research, user and vernacular research, is crucial to building a meaningful taxonomy. The goal, when building taxonomies, is to essentially identify and outline a consensus of meanings.

Taxonomy As a Service

The third significant topic discussed was how taxonomy is provided as a service. Understanding taxonomy as a step in the website design process supports the practice and reason for it in the first place.

JESSICA DUVERNEAY: We have had clients come to us and say we need a taxonomy. “When our team is writing an article they are using eight different words for the same thing in the article titles and it is really confusing to our consumers.” My consultancy never really try to sell taxonomy. Clients come to us with their problems and we say here are the activities that we can do to mitigate these issues. So somebody comes to us and they do not know what to label things. We have all these different things and they are called different things in different places. We are like, oh, it sounds like you might need some taxonomy work then it is our job to do the burden of proof -- here is why this is a problem and here is a case study where this has helped a client in the past.This pre-show interview was the perfect lead into this beginning / mid level practitioner-focused event. A case study was presented to provide an example of how to create and implement a successful taxonomy. A tool demo and peer to peer learning activity provided the chance for audience members to learn through application. The speakers and the audience members acted as one in the peer to peer learning group to help fully realize everything taxonomy has to offer for a website. Overall it was an excellent opportunity for the members of the Los Angeles Web Design Community to learn about taxonomy. Many thanks to Jessica DuVerneay and Alberta Soranzo and the The Los Angeles User Experience Meetup. A stream of the event can be found here: http://vimeo.com/66485666.http://vimeo.com/66485666

8 Common Web Design Mistakes That Ruin User Experience (UX)

Throughout the Internet you can find all manner of articles and blogs dedicated to telling you exactly what you need to do to create the perfect website design for mobile devices. You’ll hear different opinions on content, context, and outright design features that are a must for your site to be successful on the mobile web. However, few of these articles and blogs address the mobile website design issues that could be holding your site back, like these.

Overwhelming text

People who are using the mobile web are often people who are on the go. They want to look information up quickly and with as little pain in the process as possible. Don’t make them scroll through a ton of information they don’t need in order to find what they’re looking for. Less, really is more, when it comes to mobile website design content.

Use of Pop Ups

Pop ups are annoying in the best of times, and downright loathsome in the worst. On mobile devices, they can be completely problematic. It’s best to disable them altogether on your mobile website design for the convenience of users if nothing else.

Burying Your Call to Action

Mobile screens are small. Keep your call to action above the fold (in the visible screen people see when they land on your site) or your conversion rates will suffer.

Not Having a Responsive Design

Different devices are different sizes. You need to have a mobile website design that accounts and adjusts according to these variations. Failing to do so renders your content unreadable to some, if not most, of your target audience.


Links and Objects Too Close

Some fingers are fatter, flatter, or altogether less nimble than others when it comes to navigating around on their mobile devices. Placing links and objects too close together on the screen leads to a great deal of wasted bandwidth (a real problem now that so many characters have dropped their unlimited data options).

Buttons Too Small

Again the problem comes down to fingers. Not only do the buttons need to be large enough for the fingers to fit, but they also need to be spaced an appropriate distance apart so that fingers aren’t constantly tapping the button to the left or right of their intended targets.

Long, Complicated Forms

Mobile devices are portable, and are designed for people on the go. Often times people are in a hurry trying to get to the information they want in a timely, painless manner. Long, complicated forms make this impossible. Ask for as little information as possible from users if a form is absolutely necessary. If it isn’t necessary, save it for your desktop-friendly sites and skip it on the mobile websites.

Not Testing

Test, retest, and then test again. Test your site on multiple devices, multiple platforms, and in multiple conditions to ensure that your mobile website design is firing on all cylinders – not to mention providing a favorable experience for users on each of these mobile platforms.

These things are all small adjustments you can make in your mobile website design that will decrease user headaches and improve user experiences. Give them a try today and enjoy great improvements in response to your mobile sites.

Make Life Easier With An Efficient Content Management System

There was once a time when updating a website – even doing a very minor update – required you to have a working knowledge of HTML. That time has long since passed. Today, website designers can provide you with ways to update your own site using a content management system that makes it just as easy as updating the newsfeed on your social media profile or updating your Twitter feed. Here's how it works.

Content Management Systems

Content management systems are backend features for websites that make it easy to add content to pages. They include well-known names such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and others. These content management systems give you an interface that is very similar to what you see when you update a social media feed.Using a content management system properly does require a few steps. For instance, before you add written content to your website, you'll want to write that content into a word processing program, so that you can do a spell check, proofread it and take all the other necessary editing steps before you actually put it online. There are simple proofreading features built into many content management systems, but it's still a good idea to use a word processor first.[newslettersignup]


A content management system also provides a great deal of efficiency. For example, with a good content management system, you can actually upload a great deal of content and have it posted on a schedule. This completely automates the process. This is a great way to cut down on the amount of work that people have to do to keep your website updated and, of course, it's also a great way to make certain that any vital information you need to have posted on your website on a particular day isn't overlooked.A good web designer can integrate content management into your website. This allows you to update your content whenever you need to without having to worry about ruining any of the code that underpins your site. It also allows you to spend your money with web designers on updates that are complicated and that require the services of a professional, rather than having to contract a web designer to do very minor updates on your site. Using these systems, it really is just as easy to update your website content as it is to add more information to your newsfeed, your social profile or any other social media feed.

Update Your Website: What Social Media Feeds Do You Need?

If you're going to update your website, one of the things you're going to want to do for certain is to take advantage of what social media has to offer. There are some elements of social media websites that are vastly overblown in terms of how their advertising potential is described. There are other elements of the sites, however, where the realities do live up to the hype. Here are some of the feeds you will definitely want to have connected to or displayed directly on your own website.

Image Feeds

Flickr and other image sharing websites can sometimes be added to your own website in the form of a stream. If you happen to be a photographer, this is a sensible and useful addition to your website. Many photographers use these websites because it allows them to store a huge number of photos online without having to have those photos stored on their own server. Ask your website designer about having your photo feeds included when you update your website.


Twitter is definitely a service that you will want to include as you update your website, if you use it for your business. Twitter is used by many businesses to offer customers coupons, promotional offers and real-time information about what's available at their retail establishment, restaurant or eCommerce site. Remember that some of your visitors may be visiting your website but not following your Twitter feed. If this is the case, including that feed on your website enables you to get more out of the money and time you spend updating it.


You will most certainly want to post any content that you put on your Facebook newsfeed on your website, as well. You'll also want to make certain that you make it easy for people to share your website content on their Facebook news feeds. Having this sort of cross connectivity between Facebook and your website can be enormously useful. It also helps you to keep Facebook useful for advertising, as some changes to the terms of service for businesses have made it more difficult for businesses to reach out to their followers without paying.


LinkedIn is so strongly associated with people's professional lives that you will definitely want to include this when you update your website, as well. If you have a LinkedIn profile, it should be easy for your visitors to get to it from your website. Your website designer can take care of this for you when you update your website.

Update Your Website : Tips On How To Collaborate With A Designer

If you're not a particularly technical person, it's always a little bit intimidating to go into the offices of a service provider and discuss what you need. If you are looking to update your website, here are some things you can do to make the process easier and to facilitate better communication with your website designer, ensuring that all of your needs are met and that the website designers themselves are aware of those needs.

Meet In-House First

If you don't own and operate a website on your own, there are probably quite a few people involved in maintaining your website. You want to make certain that you meet with all of these people first so that they can voice any concerns they have so these are taken in to account when you update your website. In particular, talk to the people who are responsible for updating your website. You need to know if they are having any issues that are making work difficult for them that can be resolved as you update your website.


If you're already working with a website designer, consider asking them to put a small survey on your site so that you can ask your visitors themselves what they would like to see changed about your website. This is a great way to get some ideas as to what you need the web designers to do as you update your website. Most web designers can add such an element to your website fairly easily and it would be well worth the modest cost to do this, particularly if your website is a venue for delivering products and services.

Write Down Ideas

When you have a good idea, write it down or e-mail it to the designer so that you don't forget to bring it up. It's a lot easier to spend a little bit of extra time meeting with the web designer and bring up all of your ideas than it is to start throwing ideas at them after they've already started developing your site.Remember not to be intimidated when you go to meet your web designer. You don't have to be technically versed in how websites work to get what you need out of the web design firm. All you need to be able to do is to give them some solid ideas about what how you want to update your website, be ready to take in some new information about how those ideas will be realized and to keep in a creative frame of mind when you're dealing with the web design firm.

Update Your Website : Maximizing Your Site’s Social Media

There is a great deal of marketing information these days that has to do with social media. In fact, social media, in some regards, is being played up to the extent that businesses may be becoming a bit too grand in their expectations of what it can do. It's important to remember that the website you actually own is much different than any social media site in an important regard: you have complete control over it. If you're updating your website, you may want to do so while keeping in mind that you can update your website in a way that takes social media into account but that does not make your entire marketing effort dependent upon social media.

News Feeds

The general consensus about direct advertising on social media websites is that it's not worth the money. Advertisement on social media sites gets very low return on investment figures, in the vast majority of cases. Businesses quickly found out, however, that they could get good results by updating their newsfeeds with information about their products. Facebook has since adopted a paid system that has taken away the ability to do this for free.You can update your website with features that allow you to push updates on your website to your social media feed. Depending upon what type of program you've taken advantage of from your social media account providers, these feeds may or may not be visible to the people who follow you. They will, however, be visible on your website. By making the website the main venue for the information that you are putting out, you're putting that information out in an environment where you have complete control over the advertising ecosystem.

Like and Share

As you update your website, it's a very good idea to have any website updates you undertake include updates that allow your visitors to share or like your posts easily. People do this almost reflexively these days when they find something interesting. If you want to take advantage of this somewhat Pavlovian response to things that people like, make sure your web designer includes "Like" or other sharing icons when you update your website so that people can share your content. You will most certainly want the "Follow us on…" links on your site, as well, so people can add you to their friends list without having to hunt you down on the social media site itself.When choosing to update your website for social media compatibility, convenience is a major factor in the usefulness of any update.

Update Your Website : Optimize Your Site For Retina Screens

The display quality of desktop computers, mobile devices and just about everything with the screen on it is increasing constantly. Lately, HD and retina displays have become standard features on just about every new device. These displays have some beautiful resolution. Watching videos on them is amazing compared to what it was before the new generation of displays hit the market. The iPad and other Apple mobile devices, in particular, are known for their tremendous display quality. This has some important implications for when you update your website.

Old Graphics Don't Cut It

Some companies have been using the same graphics for many years, porting them to their new websites when they have them redesigned. This worked very well for quite a while but, with the new display qualities available, older graphics tend to look rather amateurish and shouldn't be reused when you update your website. Updating a website isn't a one-size-fits-all procedure. Some companies will only need content updated or maybe a few features added here and there. Other companies, however, particularly those who have been recycling a lot of their content over the course of several updates, may want to take a serious look at updating the graphics.The danger in having dated graphics on a website is that it tends to make the entire website look cheap. No matter how much work was put into layout, navigation and all the other elements that make a website excellent, the presence of graphics that look pixelated, that have gaudy or ill-chosen colors and that have ragged pixels where smooth lines should be will inevitably detract from the visitor experience.  Take this in to strong consideration when you are ready to update your website.

Working with a Designer

A web designer may very well want to revamp your graphics when you update your website, nearly from scratch. They may want to put bitmap graphics into a format called scalable vector graphics, which allow the graphical elements of your website to be enlarged or reduced in size without any loss of quality. It's hard to convey just how much of an advance in web design capabilities this is. One of the biggest hindrances to getting excellent results that graphic designers faced was the fact that much of their work would end up degrading in quality when it was expanded or reduced into different screen resolutions and screen sizes. Today, the scalable vector graphics offer a good solution for a world where mobile devices are rapidly becoming almost as popular as desktop computers for browsing the Internet.A great deal of your website impact is based on what visitors see. As you update your website, take into account that today's monitors, mobile devices and other screens allow visitors to see a whole lot more than they used to be able to.

Update Your Website : Implementing Changes That Help Fight Spam

Spam is one of the greatest threats to your website.  Luckily, there are strategies you can employ to help fight spam as you update your website.  Today, there are more types of spam than there were in the past. In the past, the term referred specifically to unsolicited commercial e-mails, but today it refers to blog posts that are designed to advertise something rather than to inform or entertain, pages that provide links to sites that have no value to the person clicking them and to other online scams that trick people into clicking on something that is malicious, deceptive or otherwise undesirable.Fighting against spam oftentimes employs technological and human solutions. Here are some basics that you should understand.

Form Spam

Sometimes, spammers will use web forms as ways to propagate their schemes. The best way to fight against this as you update your website is by using what's called a captcha. A captcha is something you've probably seen before. It consists of an image that contains text that the bots that spammers use cannot read. In order to submit a form, the user has to fill in a field that verifies that they're human beings by proving that they can read the letters in the captcha. A website designer can implement these on your site very easily as you update your website.

Forum/Blog Spam

Spamming forums and blogs is one of the most established ways that spammers go about their business. The way it works is that they will post a reply to something posted on the blog or forum and fill that reply with links to sites that they make money off of or thinly concealed advertisements for products. Sometimes, the links will go to sites that present a genuine hazard to the people who visit them. It's important to control this.Depending on what type of blogging technology you use, your website designer will be able to install automatic systems that look for spam and eliminate it when they find it as you update your website. These, however, are only part of the solution. The other part of the solution is human control over what goes up on the blog. Having posts reviewed and replies reviewed before they go online is the best solution to this. Your website designer can set you up with a system that makes it easy enough to do.If your website gets a reputation as a place where people are at risk due to spam, they're going to quit showing up to it. It might be because of irritation or a legitimate concern for their safety. As a website owner, you should take advantage of any technological and procedural methods of controlling and eliminating spam and employ these when you update your website.

Update Your Website : How Old Web Design Harms Your Business

Poor website design can make your website look outdated. There are very real consequences to this. For example, if a customer has the option of shopping on your website or a website that looks much more current, it's likely that they're going to pick the current site. Here are some ways that web design can make your company look as outdated as your website and the importance of refreshing your design as you update your website.

Security Issues

Everybody who uses the Internet understands that security is a major issue. When your website looks outdated, it's a natural conclusion for people that your security is probably outdated, as well. If they're asked to enter their credit card number on a page that looks like it was designed in 1997, they'll likely have some justifiable hesitation.  This why it's important to update your website with a fresh design.Keeping your site fresh looking gives the impression that your company spends a lot of time developing and redeveloping what they put on the web. If you have a well-designed, modern site, it's a lot easier for people to have confidence in it.  Keep this in mind when you are ready to update your website.

Never Updated

Websites that look like they have never been updated make it look like the company may well be out of business. If they don't give that impression directly, there's still a good chance that they give the impression that your company is probably one person working out of a basement or something similar. Keeping your site fresh with a new design as you update your website ensures that people know that your website is, in fact, updated regularly and that your business is very much alive. Having an outdated website makes your business look like it failed a long time ago and that it might not be the most reliable choice to do business with.

No One There

Outdated websites also make it look like a company may be a truly fly-by-night affair. Most companies these days spend a lot of time keeping their websites up to date. If you have an outdated website, it looks like you're not even taking care of this, very basic, requirement of doing business in the 21st century. This is the last impression that you want to make with customers.Outdated websites, make no mistake about it, make your business look bad. You don't have to put out the cash to have a huge website built or to update your website effectively.  Simply having a web designer make a few improvements here and there and bring your site up to more modern standards can go a long way toward making the right impression on customers.

Update Your Website : Noticing Trends and When to Update Dated Sites

Take a look at your webpage. Does it look as good as your competitor's webpages? Does it look dated and maybe like it was made sometime in the 1990s? There are a lot of different ways that you can make this assessment and determine when to update your website, but one of the most useful is to take a look at the current trends in web design and to see whether or not your site is incorporating any of them. Remember, not all trends are good ones, but there definitely are some great ideas out there right now.


One of the most common features you'll see on modern webpages is a columnar layout. Most webpages these days are two- or three-column affairs. This allows the website owners to get a great deal of content on the webpage without crowding it out. If you're still on a primitive one-column website, it's a good idea to talk to a web designer about adding columns when you update your website. One of the reasons you may want to do this is that it actually allows you to cut down on the number of pages on your website.

Contact Info All Over

Some of the worst and most outdated websites out there have a separate contact page, which is the only place you can find contact information on the entire site. Others don't even have a clearly indicated contact page but, instead, have tiny text on the bottom of the page that users are expected to find if they want to talk to a human being.One really useful trend out there is putting contact information all over the site. It'll show up in the columns, on the footer, at the end of articles and so forth. You may want to consider taking advantage of this trend when you update your website. It makes it very easy for people to take an action after reading a call to action.

Short Paragraphs

Short paragraphs are actually a pretty significant website trend these days and should be something to consider when you update your website. Over time, it's become apparent that people prefer their information in short, easily digested paragraphs. If your content is entirely made up of long, intimidating paragraphs, consider hopping on the bandwagon and chopping it up a bit or having it rewritten altogether as you update your website.Whenever your website looks outdated to you, it's time to update it. Take a look at the current trends in website design and see which of them appeal to you. Chances are, quite a few of them will.

Update Your Website : The Importance of Updating Static Content

Just about 100 percent of the websites out there have a combination of content that is more or less static and content that is dynamic. For example, many websites have a blog section that is updated on a regular basis. This would be an example of a dynamic form of content. It's always changing, it's regularly renewed with new materials and the search engines tend to notice this. The static content on the website includes things such as the "About Us" page, the "Contact Us" page, and so forth. It is important to update static content as well and not only your dynamic content when you are update your website.Believe it or not, it's a good idea to update the static content once in a while. Obviously, a lot of this information isn't going to change. There are real advantages to updating, however.

New Technology

If you take a look at most of the contact information pages on modern websites, they'll have a map on them – usually from Google Maps or another, similar, service – along with the phone number, address and so forth. It wasn't too long ago that most contact pages only had the name, address and phone number that applied on them. Updating these pages when you update your website to include new content that's only recently become available is a great way to keep your site fresh and offer your visitors something at the same time.

New Format

The costs of having websites designed have actually decreased over time for many businesses. This means that some of the basic pages that just about every business has were created very quickly and very minimally to save money. Reformatting them to have a bit more style is a great way to make your site more interesting and can be easily done when you update your website. For example, if your About Us page is nothing more than a paragraph of text, you may want to consider revamping it a bit as you update your website. Add compelling content. Add keywords. There's a lot you can do with a page that's just been sitting there gathering digital dust for a long time.

Old Articles

If you have old articles on your site that are not part of your blog section, make sure that the information in them is still current as you update your website. If the information is outdated, you're not only giving your visitors bad information, you may be ruining some of your search engine optimization efforts.It's important to keep sites updated, and that includes the static pages on your website. If you do, there are a lot of different benefits that you can be sure to reap.

Update Your Website : When To Consider Updating Your Graphics

Even if your website is very content heavy, your graphics play a huge part in the impression that people take away from it. If your graphics are looking dated, you may well want to consider having them updated when you update your website. Even if you're not ready for a full site redesign, simply updating your graphics can do a lot to improve the quality of your site. Here are some things that should make you consider having your graphics updated.


Some outdated graphics suffer from pixelation. Pixilation is usually seen in the form of rough edges around the borders where colors join or where the graphic actually starts. You may also notice it in some types of lettering.Having a graphic designer take care of this when you update your website can make your website look much more professional. Computer technology where graphics are concerned is much more advanced than it used to be. There is absolutely no reason that your graphics should not look as clear and sharp on a computer screen as they would in print.

Outdated Trends

Lettering and graphics are both subject to trends. If your logo was designed to make use of a current trend, you may want to consider having it redesigned when you are ready to update your website. If that trend has passed, it simply makes your graphics look dated. There are examples of dated graphics, however, that look very current. Coca-Cola, for instance, uses a script in their graphics that is not commonly seen in new graphics. For most modern companies, however, having your lettering and your graphics redesigned to look more modern is generally a good idea when you update your website. Provided it's not too drastic, it shouldn't impact your branding.


If you happen to be relaunching your website, it's a great time to have your graphics redesigned. People will expect it, in fact. Aside from adding new functionalities and a new look, adding little graphical enhancements here and there can make your website look very modern and very advanced. A good graphic designer will know how to make this happen for you.Graphics are among the most cost-effective elements of your website that you can have enhanced when you update your website. Whether you want a professional web designer to update your graphics alone or to overhaul your entire site, it's always worth considering whether or not the graphics your site uses are contributing to an outdated look for your site on the whole. If they are, it might be time to make a change that gives your site a whole new look.

Update Your Website - Budget Friendly Ways To Refresh Your Site

Not everybody who approaches a website redesign project has a lot of money to spend on it. Fortunately, there are ways that you can update your website and make it a lot more modern and attractive without spending a great deal of money. Here are some strategies to help you do that.

Get a Consultation

The first thing you want to do when you update your website is get a web designer to consult with you about what really needs to be done with your website. They'll be able to identify things such as technical shortcomings, elements of the website that might be out of compliance with World Wide Web Consortium standards, navigation menus that are broken and so forth. It might not cost that much for you to get all of these items fixed. If you want to proceed with a more extensive redesign when you update your website, you will at least be starting from a good point.

Replace Your Graphics

If you have old and outdated graphics on your website, you generally don't need to get the entire site updated to have those graphics updated. Talk to a web design firm and ask if they can update your graphics for you without updating the entire site. This is a small but meaningful improvement that might go a long way toward making your site look great without you having to spend a lot of money to do it.

Change the Layout

Changing the layout of a website is also inexpensive, in many cases. Talk to a web designer about whether or not they could port your content to a new layout without it costing you a great deal of money when you update your website. They may have a template set up already that could be used to give you better looking content pages and so forth.

Have a Long Term Plan

Instead of thinking of a site redesign as a one-time project, think of it as something that you'll do over the long-term. This way, you can divide up the costs of the site and determine what needs to be done first, what needs to be done second and so forth. This makes the price a lot less intimidating when you update your website, even if you need a complete overhaul.You might be surprised at how much a web designer can do without having to redesign your site from the ground up. In fact, if you have a good site to start with, a web designer might be able to give it a few improvements here and there that go a long way without costing a lot of money.

Update Your Website: Changing Your Site's Multimedia Content Delivery

Multimedia content delivery is a very big consideration for any website. If you're streaming or offering multimedia content from your own server, you're likely utilizing a great deal of bandwidth to do it. There are improved ways of delivering content compared to what was available in the past. Having a professional web designer take a look at this and see if there are improvements that could be made could be very beneficial for you when you update your website.


If you started offering video or audio on your site a long time ago, there's a good chance that you're using a format that may not be optimal. When formats for streaming improve, it's generally an improvement in compression. If you are using very large files to deliver content, you may be consuming unnecessary bandwidth for no appreciable benefit. Having a web design expert take a look when you update your website at how you are delivering content in terms of format may reveal that you have a lot of options available for reducing bandwidth without compromising quality.


If you have content on your website that is available from another website that allows you to embed, you may want to switch to that model of delivery when you update your website. A good example of this would involve the site YouTube. If you have a promotional video available on the YouTube site, there's no sense in having it delivered directly from your own servers. Simply switching this content to an embedded form when you update your website may allow you to save on bandwidth and provide no form of diminishment in service to the people who visit your site.


Web designers can use the newest layout techniques to make sure that your multimedia content is presented in the most attractive way possible when you update your website. Videos can be set up so that users can enlarge them to a full-screen size, watch them in a popout window or take advantage of other options. Pages can be arranged so that thumbnails of videos are presented alongside written content, giving people the option to watch or read, depending upon their preference.If you need to deliver multimedia content off of your website, there are plenty of ways that you can increase the efficiency of it and make sure that your visitors are having the best experience possible. This starts with talking to your web designer when you are ready to update your website. Web designers deal with multimedia sites all the time and will know the best way for you to set yours up for your visitors.

Update Your Website : 5 Great Updates For Tired Sites

Are you sick of looking at your website? When getting ready to update your website, consider these five ways to make your site a lot more interesting place to surf.

1: The Colors

Even if you have a color scheme to which your company is very attached, you may be able to update it a bit and give your site a new look. Talk to a web designer about enhancing the colors by making them brighter, sharper and so forth when you update your website. You may also want to talk to them about incorporating your color scheme into areas of the site such as borders, which can make your site more interesting to look at.

2: New Menus

There are many different types of navigation menus available now that are relatively new. The simple, underlined links of the past no longer have to constitute your main navigation. Ask about drop-down menus, popout menus and so forth. These may make your site much more interesting to look at when you update your website, as well.

3: Graphics

Consider having your logos touched up or having your graphics redesigned completely when you update your website. This is a great way to get an idea of how you would want to continue enhancing your website. Graphics are obviously among the most important parts of your website and, because of that, it's generally well worth the money to update them now and then.

4: Text

Consider rethinking how you have your text presented on your page. Typographical changes are great ways to make your website a lot more readable. Today, there are more fonts available for the web than there ever were before and web designers know a lot more about making websites accessible by making them easy to read. You may also want to consider adding a feature that allows people to reduce or increase the size of the text on the page, depending upon their preference.Remember to consider headings and subheadings, as well. They make content much easier to digest.

5: Layout

If you don't want to generate new content for your website, consider simply changing the layout when you update your website. This can make your site a lot easier for people to read. For example, if you have a lot of long articles, consider adding a "continue" button at the bottom of a short excerpt. This allows people to look at a summary of a lot of different articles on a page and to go to the full article if they like it.Any one of these small enhancements can make a website much more interesting and should be considered when you are ready to update your website.

Update Your Website - Revising Layouts for Content Heavy Sites

Ideally, your website will grow and thrive once you get it online. One of the difficulties associated with this type of growth, however, is the fact that a website that grows very quickly may end up becoming very crowded and hard to navigate. This necessitates an update in layout, which is something web designers can help you with when you update your website.

Old Sites

Older websites used to have very simple layouts. In fact, one-column websites were relatively common. These are fine if you have a very simple promotional website with a little bit of content on it; a few pictures and so forth. When you start adding content, however, it becomes increasingly difficult for people to find their way around your site.Even if they find the page where a piece of content that they want to read is printed, the user may have to scroll a lot to actually locate the article and that can make them go away in frustration.Updating the layout on old sites oftentimes means updating the scheme under which the content is arranged. If you have a professional web designer take a look at your site, they may be able to identify ways in which they can improve the layout when you update your website so that it is easier for people to find specific content. This may include adding different types of headings for articles, adding or removing columns and so forth as you update your website.


A web designer may well want to re-organize your content, as well. Over time, if you've added a lot of content to your site without considering where that content should go first, you may find that your content ends up in a serious state of disarray. Re-organizing the content and redoing the navigation menus when you update your website can solve this problem. It's definitely worth it if you have a lot of good content that you want people to read.


There are different ways that people can browse websites these days. They can use tabs, carousels, image sliders, regular navigation menus and so forth. A web designer can likely find ways to feature a great deal of content on a page without making it so over-the-top that you can't find anything.If your website is confusing to you, it's probably even more confusing to visitors. If you want your website to be as accessible as possible, consider having a web designer take a look at it and see what they could do as far as rearranging your content and improving your navigation goes when you update your website.

Update Your Website - Add Automatic Social Media Feeds To Your Site

One of the truly innovative things you can do to update your website is to add features that allow you to automatically update your social media feeds. This eliminates the need for the people who handle your Internet marketing to update your social media feeds individually after making an update to your website.

The Concept

Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants do have tools that work with them and that allow you to update them regularly. In fact, there are tools available that you can incorporate when you update your website that allow you to update your social media sites on a schedule. Your Internet marketing people, using these tools, could make several updates for these feeds and schedule them to deploy automatically.This can save a great deal of time and money and increase the return on investment you get from your website and is a great addition when you update your website. It also allows you to do something very important, given the fact that many social media sites are coming up with various payment schemes for companies that use them for largely advertising purposes.

Redirect the Traffic

The value of having a Facebook profile and a Twitter account for a business has been discussed endlessly in many different media outlets. This tends to underrate the value of actually having a real website. As was said previously, many social media outlets are finding ways to charge business customers for the advertising that they do that was formerly free. Your website is something that you control and, of course, you don't have to pay for advertising on your own website.Integrating your website updates with your social media feeds provides you with a way to direct traffic to your website from those social media sites.  Keep this in mind as you update your website. Provided you have a good website, you may be able to retain some of those people and have them start visiting your site preferentially, rather than looking for your Facebook profile or other social media presence.

Add or Not?

There's really no reason not to update your website with these tools. They're far too easy to use and far too economical to pass up. They also allow you to, perhaps ironically, enjoy a bit of freedom from being completely dependent on using social networks. Because you can handle this directly from your website, you don't have to expend the extra time involved in going through all of the different interfaces, making updates and, on top of all of that, trying to keep the updates consistent across many different social media networks.

Update Your Website - Renewing Color Schemes To Revitalize Your Site

One of the most important aspects of your website is the color scheme that you use. Sometimes, a site that looks dated and stale may benefit from a new color scheme. Here are some things to consider if you want to update your color scheme to breathe some fresh life into your old site when you update your website.

What Colors Mean

People tend to interpret colors in particular ways. For example, red is commonly associated with power. The same is true of black. Blue tends to be associated with trust and green tends to make people feel relaxed. You'll want to learn a little bit about the psychology of color before you decide upon a new color scheme when you update your website.Remember that a color scheme doesn't have to involve many different colors. For example, many banking and other financial sites utilize blue color schemes because of the trust that the color tends to engender in people. You could utilize several different shades of blue rather than trying to find a good two- or three-color theme for your website.


If you had your website designed long ago, there's a good chance that the graphic designers who did it, even if they were very good, did not have access to the same types of tools that today's web designers and graphic designers have. Today, web designers can utilize sophisticated tools to create very vibrant color schemes and this can truly revitalize the look when you update your website. They can take a dull version of your company's color scheme, for instance, and update it so that it is every bit as vibrant as it appears on your printed materials.The quality of people's monitors has increased tremendously over the years, as well, and that means that slight variations in color are easier to detect. One very smart way to update the color scheme when you update your website is to have a professional graphic designer take a look at it and look for discrepancies in color when those colors should be exactly the same.


Color is definitely something that is subject to trends in design. Sometimes, dull and even distressed color schemes are very popular and, at other times, vibrant and dynamic color schemes are popular. If your website was designed 10 or 15 years ago, you may very well want to have a graphic designer take a look at it when you update your website and see if updating the use of color could give it a more modern look. Changing the color here and there can make a huge difference in the look of any website.

Update Your Website : Using Minimalism to Improve Speed and Usability

Because just about everybody is on a broadband Internet connection these days, site designers have become bolder about including sizable elements in websites. These include videos, complex animations, very large images and complex page structures. Unfortunately, for some users, these elements do slow down their computers quite a bit and make websites load more slowly. Given a choice between a fast loading website and your slow loading website, most visitors are going to choose the fast site. Here are some ways to speed yours up when you update your website.

Check the Code

Have a web developer look at the code that underpins your website. This is particularly useful if your website has been online for a long time and has had many alterations made to it or if your website was worked on by several different designers over the course of its lifespan. A designer may be able to go through and find code errors that will cause the site to load more slowly or that will cause certain elements not to function correctly.Use Images WiselyBefore you start plastering images into every available spot on your site, make sure you're doing it for a reason when you update your website. Adding images for visual appeal can be very effective, provided you do it intelligently. The image should add something to the user's experience. If you're putting too many images up, you're likely slowing down the speed at which your website loads and you're merely creating distractions for your visitors rather than giving them something particularly useful.Clean Up Your NavigationNavigation does not speed up the speed with which your site loads, but it certainly makes it much easier to use and makes it quicker and easier for your visitors to find their way around. It's not a bad idea to review your site's navigation structure, to have it changed where it is outdated and to eliminate pages that no longer serve a useful purpose when you update your website. Part of maintaining a site is taking out what doesn't work anymore, as much as is adding elements that make it better.Revisit Flashy FeaturesIf you have a lot of animations or other elements on your site, reassess them when you update your website to make sure that they are worth the space they take up on your page. Some sites will benefit greatly from animation and other enhancements. For example, if you ran a news site, having a feature that automatically ran a slideshow of images that go with your most important stories would be useful. If you ran a used car lot, pictures of your newest items for sale might be useful in a similar configuration. If you run a site that has to do with literary reviews, however, animation may not be particularly useful and may just slow your site down. The investment you would put into having animation redesigned could be put into a different design element when you update your website that would be much better for your readership.New TechnologiesHTML5 and CSS3 are the latest, greatest things in the web design world. They include advances that allow you to make sites faster because of how they load animations, control layouts and other features. Talk to your web developer about updating the technology that underpins your site. Sometimes, some of the things you may have wanted that weren't available when you had your site designed initially will prove to be available when you are ready to update your website because of advances in technology. Likewise, some of the elements on your site that are slow and clunky may be able to be re-created in a way that makes them leaner and faster loading.Redesigning a site can be as exciting as designing a site for the first time. It can be even more so, in some cases, so be sure to talk to your designer about your options when you update your website.

Update Your Website : Retaining Visitors and When to Link Offsite

Internet users are easily distracted. The Internet, when it works the way it should, provides one of the best ways for people to get information and to find related information by simply clicking on a link. This is a great set up for research and learning, but it's not always the best set up for commerce sites. If you need to retain visitors on your site, you have to know when you should not encourage them to leave by presenting them with a rather interesting link. Here are some great linking strategies for when you update your website.

SEO and Linking

Anyone who has studied search engine optimization knows that adding links from your site to useful resources tends to make your site appear more worthwhile in the eyes of the search engines. The trick is not to overdo this when you update your website. You want the benefits you get from those links for search engine optimization, but you don't want to create a situation where most of your visitors show up on your page, read a few paragraphs and then immediately go elsewhere because one of your links encourages them to do so.You'll definitely want links off of your site to other sites that have genuinely useful and related information, but you need to do it in a way that retains visitors, which is something of a challenge when you update your website.

In the Middle of Articles

It's essentially the convention at this point to denote when you're referencing a site by linking to that site in the text. For example, you might have a sentence that reads "Be sure you put chocks behind your tires to stabilize your vehicle when it is up on the ramps." If you happened to be linking to a site that sold vehicle ramps, it would be intelligent to link to a site where the reader can buy those ramps, encouraging them to leave the site but making a sale and the process. Putting a link to the word "chocks", however, that simply led to an informational site about those devices might end up sending the visitor off to that site, never to return to your own.If you're going to put a link in the middle of an article, be sure it is advantageous to you in some way when you update your website. If you've ever lost yourself in a Wikipedia article and ended up hopping through several related articles because you clicked on a link in the first article, you'll know exactly the effect that putting an interesting link in the middle of a story can have.

Only Once

You don't have to link to a site you use as a reference more than once in an article. In the above example, for instance, you wouldn't need to link to every instance of the word "ramps". Doing it once is sufficient and it encourages people to keep reading your article by not presenting them with constant distractions.  Keep this in mind when you update your website.Linking too many times from your site can also have negative impacts on your search engine optimization efforts. If you're not certain how much linking is good for your site, talk to your web designer and get their opinion on the matter when you update your website.

Check Your References

If you're going to link to an off-site destination to offer more information about a topic that you're covering on your blog or other site, make sure you thoroughly inspect that site before you make the link. You'll want to look out for obvious problems, such as the site you're linking to linking directly to a competitor's site. You'll also want to make certain that you read the entire article that you're linking to be certain that you're actually sending someone to a good information source.Linking is a great strategy for making your site more interesting and more useful, make certain that you do it right when you update your website.

Update Your Website : Avoid Elements That Frustrate Mobile Users

If you depend upon the Internet for business purposes, there's a good chance that you already have a mobile device. Mobile device usage has skyrocketed as the devices themselves have become more powerful, more flexible and people have begun to use them for the types of tasks that they used to perform only on their desktop computers. When you're planning to update your website, you want to make certain that you avoid some of the common pitfalls that make mobile sites very frustrating for users.


Mobile devices come with screens in many different sizes, but human beings, for the most part, are similar in size from one to the next. This means that just about everybody's fingers take up a certain amount of room on their mobile device's screens when they try to navigate a webpage. Generally speaking, any navigation link on your site should be between 30 and 40 pixels in size.  Keep this in mind when you update your website.Small navigation links – or other types of links – are intensely frustrating for mobile users. If you haven't experienced this frustration for yourself, open the normal version of a website on your mobile device and try to tap on a link with your finger. You'll find that, not only will you tend to hit the wrong link, you'll have a hard time figuring out exactly where your finger actually presses onto the screen. When you update your website, adding navigation elements that are adequately sized can make your site much easier for your users to navigate and will encourage them to explore your site further.

No Regular Option

The sites designed for mobile devices are typically streamlined versions of a regular website. Sometimes, your users will prefer to access your regular website over your mobile website. Be sure you give them an option to do so on your site.While most smartphones will have very small screens on them that make the mobile versions of websites much more useful than the full-sized versions, some devices – such as the iPad – have screens that are large enough to allow people to choose between the mobile version or regular version of a website. Not having that choice can be frustrating, particularly if you need to access something that is more easily available on the regular version of the site.

Big Pictures

One of the things you might want to discuss with your web designer when you update your website and you're having your mobile site crafted is reducing the sizes of some of the images that are displayed on your site. If a mobile device user has a small screen and you have very large images, you can create a situation where they cannot see the entire image and, to make it worse, where they cannot manipulate the image enough to get to the button that closes it out so that they can return to your site.This holds true for gallery features, as well. When you are ready to update your website and have a mobile site constructed, be sure that any of the enhancements are designed to be easy to use on mobile devices so that you do not frustrate your users.

Consulting Designers

A good website designer will be able to give you quite a few different options in terms of mobile site design when you update your website. Mobile devices are likely to become increasingly important in the future. Already, people are using mobile devices to go Internet shopping, pay bills and take care of other tasks. If you have specific needs out of your site – such as making it easy for visitors to fill out forms, make purchases and so forth – be sure to talk to your designer about how you go about accomplishing those goals when you update your website without creating a site that isn't as friendly as it should be to mobile users.

Update Your Website : Should You Change Your Fonts?

When you are ready to update your website, there is a temptation to update every single aspect of that site. One of the things, however, that tends to get overlooked is the font selection on your site. Most of the time, font selection is rather easy. If you have a very content heavy site, however, you may want to consider this as a way to give your website a new look.


Different aesthetic effects can be achieved by combining many different fonts onto the same website as opposed to having one font that serves for all of the text when you update your website. Generally speaking, you will at least see variations in font selection where graphics are concerned. This is not always the case, however.Over the years, the look of fonts used in graphic design has become cleaner. There  has also been a trend toward utilizing the same font in the majority of the content on the site or, for that matter, in a print advertisement. This consistency is held by many designers to make it easier for the reader to focus on the content that's being delivered rather than focusing on the differences between the fonts.You'll want to speak with your designer as to whether the aesthetics of a very diverse selection of fonts or the selection of a single font would suit your site better when you update your website.


Readability is where font selection really comes into play. Generally speaking, where content is concerned, it's better to stick with very simple fonts when you update your website. Sans serif fonts are generally the best selections of all. These are fonts such as Arial and Helvetica that don't have any ornamentation on them that makes it difficult for people to read on a screen. While the venerable Times New Roman font is very attractive on printed materials, it is difficult for some people to read because of the more ornamented letters.Font selection is actually one of the things that you will want to discuss with your designers when you are ready to update your website. If you're looking for a more modern look, switching to a more streamlined, straightforward font may accomplish that for you. If you want something very ornate and fancy, using a font that has a lot of ornamentation on it may give your site an entirely new look. This decision may not seem to be all that consequential but, when you see the same site with different fonts used on it, you'll quickly see how much of a difference it makes.

Update Your Website: How to Write Great SEO Headlines

If you remember the days of newspapers, you'll remember that what got you to read them wasn't actually the news, it was the headlines. Writing headlines is equally important in the world of search engine optimization. If you understand how to write headlines, you'll do a lot better at getting the maximum value out of your search engine optimization content when you update your website. Because we're talking about blogs and not newspapers, however, headlines are referred to as titles. They do serve the same function as headlines, however.

Match Your Content

One of the worst possible things you can do for search engine optimization is write titles that do not match the content that follows them. In order to give your visitors the greatest value out of your website, they should be able to understand that any title on your site does relate directly to the content that follows. The advantage in doing this is not only for your visitors. Making sure your content matches your titles gives you a reason to use your keywords in your title, which is vital for search engine optimization and is an important tool when you update your website.


The most engaging news stories almost always have a picture with them that illustrates what's being described. You'll want to do this for your blog entries, as well. The more closely that your image matches your title the better it will be for your visitors and for search engine optimization. Make certain that your images have their alt tags filled out so that the keywords can be used in these, as well. Robert Caruso of BundlePost.com told us, "My best advice for making your blog articles SEO friendly is ensure your title matches your content. Always include a picture and be sure that it also matches the title of the post and the content within the article. This has worked very effectively for us."

Word Choice

Use action words in your titles when you update your website. For example, if you had the option of using a title such as "This Computer Tool Makes Things Easier" or "Computer Tool Simplifies Workflow Process", you would want to go with the second. It utilizes almost the same keywords but it's more specific in terms of what the tool actually does. Specificity and words that convey action are very good ways to motivate people to actually read your content.

Don't Write them First

Write your titles after you've written the content when you update your website. Quite often, you'll find that the original title you had in mind doesn't really fit with the text that you ended up with. It's easier to change a title to match a blog entry than it is to change the entire blog entry to match a title.If you want some assistance writing titles, you may want to check out the tools ScribeSEO and SEOPressor.

Update Your Website : Using Columns To Organize Content

Of all the innovations that have come into the web design world in recent years, columnar designs are among the most compelling. This is a great technique to use when you update your website. These designs allow a great deal of information to be placed on a page in a very logical way. If you're not clear on exactly what defines these designs, it's basically dividing the page up vertically so that each of the different vertical sections can hold different information and keep it separate from the other information on the page. It's very similar to how newspapers are laid out.

Using Columns

The great thing about columns is that they tend to organize themselves in the perception of your visitors. For example, if you have a three-column design, people will tend to naturally gravitate towards the middle column and assume that the most important content must be right there. This gives you a powerful way to place your content so that people notice it right away when you update your website. If something really needs to be seen, put it in the middle. If it's something that is imperative, put it in its own section above the three columns so that people reflexively know that the importance of whatever is located in that area of the screen outweighs that of whatever is in the columns below.Your web designer can use columns in creative ways to make it easier for people to find their way around your site when you update your website. For example, most people understand that navigation will generally be found on the left side or top of a website. Putting your navigation elements in the left side column can make it easy for people to understand where they need to go if they want to switch pages.In some designs, the right column will be used for less important content or content that is purely functional and not informational. For example, many people choose to put their social networking icons and other search engine optimization content in the right column.  Keep these in mind when you update your website.If you have a great deal of information that you need to get on your pages, talk to your designer about utilizing columns for that purpose when you update your website. They may have some very good insights into how you can use this layout tool to your advantage and make sure that, when you do use it, you're getting the maximum benefit. There are plenty of different layout options out there but, because they are so well understood, layouts that incorporate multiple columns are very sensible options for many projects.

Update Your Website: How To Find Stock Images That Grab Attention.

If you’re trying to update your website and you do not have the financial means to take all your own original photos (don’t worry, most companies don’t), then it is likely you will be travelling to what seems to be an infinite well of stock photos. This well is chock-full of images ranging from the useful and generic “businessman holding a smartphone” image:

to something much more specific and downright unusable:[caption id="attachment_936" align="alignleft" width="367"]

In our constant efforts to help you update your website, we have come up with a small list of guidelines to help you find a stock photo that is perfect for your message.

What are you trying to say?

What is your message? How can you convey this message without words? Is it as simple as showing the activity or is there a corollary? Certain ideas can illustrate what you are saying without really saying it. For example, a photo of a lighthouse may insinuate your brand is trusted, or has the right answers in an uncertain area. Create a word bank of emotions you wish to elicit from the viewer and associate those emotions to images.

Who are you trying to say it to?

While a certain image may get the point across in your head, what about your audience? After all they’re the ones who you want to strike a chord with. If you decide to update your website or blog with images that are only relevant to you, why bother? Update your website with images that have saliency to your client. While you may think that a lighthouse is a sign of trust and certainty, a customer in the landlocked midwest may not feel the same way.

Is It Clever? Too Clever?

“When creating imagery, ‘don't see and say’ is a rule some advertises swear by” says Media Contour’s Art Director Luke Swenson. “You want viewers to make the connection themselves, that way you get the ‘ah-ha’ moment. These connections don't have to be rocket science or difficult to figure out, if you have a headline that says the exact same thing the image says visually, there is less the user has to do.” It’s also known as the ah-ha moment; that moment where they make the connection themselves. That little bit of connection will catch viewers off-guard and create a warmth in the viewer that will surely raise the time people spend on your site. Update your website with stock photos that are just grabbing enough to make the connection but not too clever that they miss the connection.Do you have any other ideas on how to better update your website? We would love to hear them! Leave us a comment below or send us a message on Twitter or Facebook.

Update your Website: 3 Common Website Design Mistakes

When you update your website design, there is a lot to take into consideration. Sometimes, along the way, some common website design mistakes tend to manifest. These are things that you can avoid by simply doing a bit of planning ahead and by working closely with your designers to make certain that when you update your website they adhere to good practices.


Sometimes, people will get so focused on the content of their site that they'll forget that it needs to be organized in a logical way. Make certain you put some thought into how you're going to organize your site, particularly if it is a large site. The more information you have, the more imperative it is that people are able to navigate their way through it without getting confused, becoming frustrated and simply giving up.When you update your website, it's a good idea to have a plan mapped out for your pages. You can do this with your designer or you can do it on your own. One good way to do it is simply to use a flowchart format to indicate how each of the pages is linked to one another and the position that each of them occupies in the hierarchy of your site.

Font Soup

Be careful with your font selections. In addition to making sure that you pick fonts that are easy for people to read or that reflect your business appropriately, make sure you do have consistency within your content. Using a variety of different fonts in graphic design can be great for creating a unique image but, when people are reading, switching between different fonts tends to distract from the content that they're trying to take in.For maximum readability, choose a sans serif font that displays correctly in any modern browser.

Too Much

Website designers can put together enormously complicated sites these days. Using columns, tabbed sections and other tools, they can get a great deal of information on a page or, if it doesn't fit, make it accessible from that page without actually having to navigate off it. Don't overdo this when you update your website.People like to read information in small, easy to understand chunks. If you start filling up your pages with so much information that it only causes confusion, you can be almost certain that people are going to avoid reading anything on your page, much less trying to take all of that in. Make sure that your information is placed on your page in a logical way that allows people to see exactly what your point is and why it matters to them.Thanks for reading, and we hope that when you update your website, you make sure to avoid these 3 common website design mistakes.

Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro. PART 1.

Just like every good idea, a good blog starts with a plan. In an effort to help your team produce better articles, I have compiled this in-depth itinerary to plot out your future texts, no need to thank me, a statue of gold and gift card to Etsy will suffice:

Step 1: Select/assign positions

Before stepping into battle it is important to define the roles and responsibilities of each job necessary to craft an excellent piece of writing. Keep in mind that these parameters are made for a “best-case scenario” type of situation; meaning that you have the access and resources available to staff each of these positions and set enough time aside so there isn’t a deadline looming ominously over everyone's head (although some seem to prefer the tight deadline situation). If you don’t have the aforementioned resources, jobs may overlap or even be all one person.


Your writer is the one who crafts the words. The builder of the story. A good writer or blogger needn’t be stout with honors or have the smooth prose of Hemingway. A good writer merely needs to be passionate about the subject he is writing on and stick to the point. Consider the type of piece you are writing and determine who is the best suited to create that article. Sometimes it’s the guy with the English background who can build flourishing worlds and create descriptive narratives that enthrall the reader more and more by the line. But for other projects, you may need the methodical accountant tucked away in the back room who can pragmatically spell out detailed lists in a way that a reader can digest. The abilities of a writer come from his grey matter, what he or she does special outside of pen and ink. Tap the right person for the right topic and anyone can become a journalistic dynamo.


Your editor is the man with the overall theme. Your editor defines the flow and topic of the article and makes sure that the writing sticks to the framework of what the piece is about. Sometimes a writer can lose track of the topic and go off on a tangent or try and make points in a way that stray into other conversations. A good editor understands how to make a point and support arguments. Editors are also responsible to remove any conflicts of interest potential readers may have, this includes making sure the wrong people aren’t offended by bold statements, off-jokes, or flat out don’t understand what your article is talking about. Look towards upper-level employees with a clear company vision and ability to stick to the script to fill your editorial needs.


Your proofreader is the one checking for grammatical guffaws, redundancies and making sure you get your facts straight. This job should be saved for the most English-savvy person on your team, at the very least the one with OCD reorganizing your fridge by color. If you don’t have either of these people do this: find out the two people who showed up to work the earliest, choose one of them and give them a dictionary. Tie goes to the one with the best-pressed shirt.

Step 2: Prepare

Gather Research

Research is best done en masse. Naturally, the more heads on the research portion, the more research can be gathered. The general content and direction of your article comes from a background of great research. This means doing a little bit more than Googling your topic. There may be some actual footwork to do; making phone calls, scheduling interviews (more on that later), and doing some off-the-internet-based research (remember libraries? They have databases of journals and scholarly articles that may provide some good facts.).


A series of intensive blogs can be written on this subject alone, and there aremuch better articles out there on the subject than I can write so I will just touch on a few basics to help out the journalistic novice:

  • Make sure to cover your 5 W’s and the How: The who, what, when, where, what, why, and how should be addressed in your interviews. Take special care to make sure that the conversation doesn’t veer off-topic by sticking to the why. Why is this question important to my article? Why does this conversation matter to the context of my article?
  • A live interview is always better than one done via correspondence: Getting someone in a room always makes for better conversation and grants you the ability to ad-lib the conversation and creates a more comfortable environment for candid answers and responses. The more distance you put between you and the person you are interviewing creates a less dynamic interview which in turn will give you less information for your piece as well as make for dull quotes. Avoid over the phone and the dreaded email interview at all costs, new video chatting software can make due when the distance is too far, but a face-to-face interview is always best.


Once your information is gathered, it is now time for your writer and editor to meet and discuss the flow and possible new direction of your story. Outline your talking points, bullet points, and where you want to start and end the article. If possible use some time now to create a grabbing opening sentence and title. Create a skeleton of how your article will go, make bookmarks for where research and quotes will go. A well-made outline will take a lot of the time out of creating your article, not to mention add to the overall flow and style of the article.Click here for part two of this article.Liked this article? Check out these blogs:Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro PART 24 Ways Your Small Business Can Reach Out On Pinterest

Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro PART 2

This is part two of our article on structuring and preparing a blog for part one click here. This half of the blog will cover the topics of writing, proofreading/editing and publication.

Step 3: Write


Now we finally get to the creation of your article. If your research, interviews, and outline were done thoroughly, this shouldn't take too much time, just a matter of plugging in the pieces and bridging the gaps with some opinion, summary statements, and maybe even a joke or two. Once you feel like you’ve compiled something worthwhile, put a period at the end and go to the next step: editing.


This stage of editing should be done with the writer. Check for spelling errors, grammar, subject-verb agreements, and the like. Have you covered all your bases? Could you say something better? What about run-on sentences? If you have any of those things, go back to the draft stage and make your corrections, then re-edit again. Repeat these steps until you feel it is perfect.

Step 4: Check


Now we step into the group-edit portion of your article. This is where your editor checks back in and your proofreader makes their first appearance. The writer has little say in this portion of the process, except to sit back and wait for edits. Editors will be looking to make sure that the piece sticks to the original script, the research is thorough and that there are no loose strings in the article (does it answer all the readers' questions?). Proofreaders should be checking for any grammatical/formatting errors making sure that the research/quotes are factual. Once each of these people have taken a pass over the writing, send it back to the writer for a final re-check.

Step 5: Recheck


This is the writer's chance to look over the edits of the editor and the proofreader to make sure that their voice is still coming across the way they intended. When you see things on shows about a writer trying to stand up for his/her integrity or for a part to stay in an article, this is the stage where that happens.


It is important for both the writer and editor to be on the same page as for what the purpose of the article is. Is it to shed light on a subject? Is it to inform the reader of how or where to do something? Is the article meant to expose hard truths? All great writers lean against a great editor and vice-versa. This is each person’s final chance to make sure that the final product fits the scope originally intended and that it is written in a clear voice with a succinct statement. Once the writer and editor have come to a final agreement over the article, it’s only two more stops until you’re finally ready to publish.


Another quick stopover to the proofreader to check any re-edits and do a final once-over on the article for grammar and factuality. The final stop is to the PR department where it will be run through a final battery of tests before publishing.

PR Department

The PR department will check for AP formatting, conflicts of interests and that it contains the material that parties interested in what your organization has to say is prevalent. The latter of the two should have been accomplished by the editor, however, the PR department sometimes has insights that the editor may not have. Make sure the PR department is satiated and then get ready to publish.

Step 6: Publish

You’ve done it! Post your article to your site, your blog, wherever you feel it needs to be posted. Consider alternative places to post like forums, groups and other social media portals interested in your article’s subject. Your PR department will also make some submissions to various wire services, article depots and newspaper services. Congratulations! How does it feel to see your name in ink?Like this article? Check out these blogs:Smart Writing: 6 Steps To Plan Your Blog Like A Pro. PART 1.Crowdsourcing 101: How To Gather Consumer Data And Feedback And Still Be Their Friend.

Keep Your Website Alive and Thriving with Regular Maintenance

Practically every business knows they need to keep their services and offerings fresh and up-to-date if they want to please their customers. The same is true for websites. Search engines and visitors alike become bored with old, outdated websites that fail to offer anything new. Broken links, antiquated news and dated content cripple your website, impairing your ability to attract new traffic.

Just as your car needs a tune up now and then to run at its best, your website needs regular maintenance too. Regular maintenance is what enables your site to perform at peak function and stay profitable in the long run. Depending on your business, your website and your visitors, keeping your website current can involve a variety of procedures.

If you rely on your business to attract visitors who then contact you to purchase services, your website maintenance schedule is likely to involve:

  • · Adding or updating content such as copy, pictures, and blogs at least bi-weekly.
  • · Deleting or archiving old content.
  • · Adding new services or special offers.
  • · Updating, repairing or removing broken links.
  • · Verifying and ensuring website security.
  • · Analyzing and reporting on site traffic and other relevant statistics.
  • · Submitting your site to search engines, directories, and niche sites.

Websites that are strictly designed for e-commerce have an additional set of processes that should be included in the site's regular maintenance schedule:

  • · Product and service updates, including graphics, text and files.
  • · Visitor and lead conversion analysis.
  • · Feature additions to improve usability.
  • · Customer support.
  • · Database management.
  • · Enhanced security monitoring.

Depending on your business and your website maintenance needs, you can either learn to perform maintenance yourself or you can hire a third party to manage it for you.

Whether your maintenance needs are large or small, it's often more efficient and economical to hire someone to manage website maintenance for you. Out-sourcing website maintenance guarantees it will get done regardless of how busy you may be. It also helps ensure maintenance is done correctly. You won't have to train yourself or an employee on the details of website maintenance—an expert will be able to spot and correct issues before they develop into problems.

Regular website maintenance doesn't have to be a complex, expensive undertaking, but it is crucial if you want to protect and make the most of your investment in your website. Developing and implementing a maintenance schedule will enable you to keep your website alive and thriving in the long term.

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