Category Archives: Websites

Stains Down Your Front?

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Would you turn up to a business meeting with a honking great food stain down the front of your shirt?

You’re welcome of course to present anywhere in any which way you choose, and granted, you’d still be the same cool individual underneath regardless of your appearance. But why force yourself to push uphill against the weight of a negative first impression? That dance-step we know as the initial business introduction can usually be reduced to one inner-thought in the mind of the person opposite: demonstrate why I should trust you.

Nobody wantonly sabotages their professionalism, yet a shit website will cruelly and silently undermine the credibility of the brand and people sitting behind it. For many of us the organisational website will be our first touch-point when undertaking pre-selection research: decisions on who we will select for a purchase, for an interview, for an invitation to speak, to partner with, to fund, or to work for. The website is a brand’s 24/7 reception area – make it a solid visitor experience… nay, make it bloody amazing. You’re only setting the scene for all future engagement after all.

So why do so many business-owners and brand guardians let themselves down by presenting an ugly, confused, piece-of-rubbish website to the world? The very same people who wouldn’t be caught dead walking into a business meeting with tomato sauce down their shirt-front? Here’s why: people will readily check themselves in a mirror before entering an important room, but rarely ever do they look at their own website. Business owners and executives are often shocked when somebody holds up a mirror to their primary online branded asset, finally getting to see what the rest of us have been painfully labouring through for years.

The underlying truth is that a website needs constant grooming – left on its own for an extended period it starts to take on a deranged, even menacing appearance… parents can be seen protectively turning the heads of their children away, and decent folk will cross to the other side of the street to avoid making eye contact. And to think it all started with one lousy little food stain.



Strange things oft seen

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Strange things oft seen:

  • A website without a telephone number
  • An ‘About Us’ section devoid of information about people
  • A website without installed analytics
  • A website with installed analytics that no-one is analysing
  • A contact form with no response-time commitment
  • A cheesy stock image already seen on 1089 other websites
  • A negative online business review without an owner response
  • A positive online business review without an owner response
  • A social media profile page without fully customised branding
  • A query/ complaint/ comment on a social media account gone unacknowledged
  • A personal LinkedIn profile without a profile pic
  • A blog post posted from a person named ‘Admin’
  • A Facebook brand page with no codified and visible House Rules
  • A public or private event of size without a centrally communicated hashtag
  • A repetitive hard-sell newsletter
  • A repetitive hard-sell newsletter

Ooh, look over there!



How to Embed Tweets into Your Website or Blog

Embedding specific posts from Twitter into a webpage or blog post is a simple 2-step process. The embeds render as fully interactive and look smart within their individual frames. Embedded tweets can be displayed as customer testimonials or as part of a narrative from one or several Twitter users.

Here are a two embed examples from people who tweeted about my courses:

 

Here’s the 2-step embedding process in action:

Step 1 – hover over the bottom of the tweet, click on the ‘… More’ link and then select ‘Embed Tweet’

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Step 2 – grab the embed code from the dialogue box and paste into your website or blog via the HTML or text editor of your CMS

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Google+ Releases a New Set of Interactive Badges for Your Website or Blog

 

If you don’t have a brand presence on Google+ you should correct that sooner rather than later (yes, that’s what I’m saying). If you are on board already Google has released a smart new set of badges. These interactive badges are designed to lift the visibility of your personal profile, brand pages or G+ communities by allowing people to add any of them to their own circles directly from a badge on your website or blog. Customise and grab your own own G+ badges here.

Layout Examples

Personal Profile
 

 
 

 
 
Brand Page
 

 
 
G+ Community
 

 
 



27 Tasks Every Marketer Should be able to Perform Online

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There are DIY skills every modern marketer should have in their virtual toolbox to handle the numerous small tasks which need to be frequently performed online. Tackle the simple stuff yourself when you can – quickly and inexpensively – and only outsource the big hairy jobs. So, do you have the digital chops to get the everyday basics out of the way?

You Should Know How To:

1. Customise the branding elements on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ (if you have a presence on these platforms).

2. How to activate and deactivate automatic cross-posting between social media platforms.

3. Adjust your personal privacy and visibility settings on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

4. Use permalinks to link to specific posts on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.

5. Comment on a blog post, and comment on a comment.

6. Use a wizard tool to manually create one or more of the following social share buttons for a webpage: Facebook Like, Google +1, Twitter Tweet, Pinterest Pin-It or LinkedIn Share.

7. Upload a video file to YouTube, and then embed that same YouTube video back onto your webpage.

8. Subscribe to a specific blog, YouTube channel or podcast series.

9. Apply hashtags to a post, search on specific hashtags within a social media platform, and know the meanings of basic courtesy hashtags such as #HT (hat-tip).

10. Compress the file size of an image for web use, change its horizontal or vertical orientation, or resize it to a specific pixel width and height.

11. Add text as an overlay to a digital image, e.g. general text, a brand name or a URL.

12. Customise the metatitles and meta descriptions on your own webpages or blog posts.

13. Insert a hyperlink into a webpage.

14. Insert an image onto a webpage and add alternate text to it for increased search visibility.

15. Create a basic customised Google Map.

16. Embed an interactive Google Map or a Streetview frame into a webpage.

17. Post an online review for a specific business (and how to delete it later if you choose).

18. Run a search engine keyword query which is limited to blog or forum results from a specific country.

19. Clear cookies from your browser and surf the web anonymously using a free proxy server.

20. Open a Google Analytics account and set up visitor tracking for your website or blog.

21. Scan a QR code, and how to create your own QR codes selecting from multiple response options.

22. Reuse other people’s digital content under the conditions of an assigned Creative Commons licence.

23. Apply Creative Commons licencing to your own original online content.

24. Claim the Google+ Local business listing for your organisation or business.

25. Provide an ‘owner response’ to a Google+ Local review of your organisation or business.

26. Use a free voice and video conferencing platform such as Google+ Hangouts or Skype.

27. View the cached search engine version of a webpage when a website is down or the page has recently been deleted.

 

Image by  Visit Greece



Looking into Your Website’s Past Using The Wayback Machine – ANZ as a Case Study

Looking at old photos of yourself can be jarring: past iterations of your physical self that are familiar yet detached. Websites are no different – if you look at past snapshots of any organisation’s homepage it’s like watching a child growing up through an awkward adolescence.

If you want a glimpse of your own website’s past try the Wayback Machine at archive.org, a digital time capsule created by the Internet Archive, a non-profit organisation based in the US. You won’t be able to find snapshots from every date since your website was launched, but you will be able to retrieve enough to marvel at how far you’ve come.

I’ve used ANZ’s homepage as a case example with snapshots spanning from 1996 to today.

1996

 

1997

 

1999

 

2000

 

2001

 

2003

 

2008

 

2009

 

Today