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Category: blog

There are 4 posts published under blog.

Creating Tablet-Friendly Blogs

The love of tablet computers is growing exponentially, according to a report by International Data Corporation.


The IDC Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker shows a definite increase in shipments of tablet computers all over the world, with growth potential expected to outpace other devices by 2015. What does this mean for blog owners looking to stay ahead of the curve? Better start tweaking your website now to make it tablet friendly.


Get Your Own Tablet for Testing


One of the most important steps you can take is to test your blog regularly on your own tablet. Browser features and coding changes often. It is vital that you get in the habit of viewing your blog on a tablet to make sure everything is working properly. You will never know if the changes you make work unless you see them in action. The price of tablets drops as their popularity grows. For example, you can get a Lenovo Yoga Tablet for just under $200. It is a worthwhile investment for a blogger looking to draw in tablet traffic.


Nix Autocorrect in Form Fields


Form fields are a problem with Mobile Safari, the Apple Web browser for their iOS system. Autocorrect and autocapitalize are default features for most form setup that trips up case-sensitive input fields. Asking your readers to each take the time to turn off the functions themselves is not practical. Instead, add a snippet of code to your page that turns it off on the blog side.


 <input type="text" autocapitalize="off" autocorrect="off">


Put this piece of code into every form field that is case sensitive. It is a quick and easy fix that alleviates frustration for readers trying to subscribe, post a comment or fill out a contact form.


Think About Space


In order for a site to be truly tablet-friendly, it must be tap-friendly, explains UX Magazine. That means not bunching together your text, links and navigation. The average finger size, according to the magazine, is 45-57 pixels. If your tapable assets bunch up, the readers get frustrated and give up.


Improve tapability with a few simple design tricks:


  • Make font size a little bigger, at least 16 pixels, especially on menus, suggests Mobify.
  • Adjust the line height to around 1.5 to open the text up.
  • You can also increase margins for buttons and critical links. Remember, buttons are just images, so use any image editor to expand them to at least 44 pixels tall for easy tapping.
  • Make sure you increase the size of form text boxes, too. Adding width and height adds definition. Set text boxes to width 250 x 30 pixels.


While you are fine-tuning the size options, increase the page margins as well. This reduces that cluttered look by enhancing white space – giving everything a crisp, clean feel.


Lose the Hover


Hover is a cool trick for desktop viewing, but tends to impede movement in the tablet environment. You can save the day for tablet readers by removing the hover action from your page code. Simply open up the source code and do a search for “a:hover” then delete it. Your desktop and laptop readers won’t even notice it’s gone.


The Future of Content Marketing is Owned and Embeddable

When we, as content creators and consumers, first engaged with the internet, we did so via platforms.


We chatted with Usenet, we built websites using GeoCities, and we distributed electronic mail through Yahoo! Groups. This technology, as primitive as it was in retrospect, allowed us to communicate in a way we never could before. And these platforms were necessary for reaching each other.


Until they weren’t.


As new breeds of platforms cropped up, we were allowed to steer clear of the noise on these legacy platforms and be the sole voice – control the mic, if you will – for a significant amount of the screen real estate. These new services, such as and Open Diary, seemed to almost completely distribute content creation and consumption back to the source. We even included comments after each post to encourage the dialog missing from this new content methodology. And these platforms were essential in stimulating a conversation that was owned by its creator.


Until they weren’t.


All of this disparate content creation seemed to require aggregation, if you look solely at the next wave of content platforms. Disqus aggregated our comments, SlideShare collected our presentations, and YouTube pulled together our videos. The promise was that we’d reach even broader audiences or build even more powerful relationships with other content creators and consumers if we gave up our content to these platforms. These aggregated distribution platforms were great for driving engaged traffic to us.


Until they weren’t.


One by one, these distribution platforms were acquired by mega corporations. And these institutions required growing revenue to appease their shareholders. YouTube inserts ads into your videos. SlideShare charges you for leads. Who knows how Disqus will change if and when they are acquired. The good news is that this uncertainty is swinging the pendulum again, although, this time, again in our favor. Just as the original content creation platforms gave way to individual content creation tools, these distribution platforms will give way to individual-owned, personal distribution networks.


And this is happening today.


It was revealed last year that WordPress now powers a fifth of the internet. That’s twenty percent of all sites, completely disaggregated, and entirely owned by their creators. And not just micro-sites, CNN, TED, and even the NFL all host sites on this powerful tool. Together, content creators using this technology write 33 million new posts and receive 48 million new comments each month. Maybe even more impressive is that these creators receive visits from over 384 million people, who view more than 12.9 billion pages, each month. And all of this happens with the creators retaining ownership of their content.


Our content is increasingly owned and controlled by us.


However, those 384 million visitors don’t just appear from thin air. We, as content creators and consumers, still rely on huge platforms to drive this traffic. We have to care what Google thinks of us. We have to troll for engagement on Twitter. We have to game the system at Reddit. And the worst part is that these platforms won’t let us get anywhere close to the top of our lead acquisition funnel. We may own and control our content, but not our relationship with our consumers from soup to nuts.


A critical element has been missing.


Not entirely missing, only missing to us content creators. Control over creation is one thing; control over distribution is a whole other. We’ll always seek out a new and novel way to distribute our content, just as we’ll always seek out a new and novel way to create it, but that doesn’t mean we should always have to give up control.


And that is what owned and embeddable content becomes all about.


Embeddable content opens the door to new and novel distribution sources, new ways to measure engagement, and new means by which to promote our work. Imagine, instead of comments, visitors embed your content on their own site, responding in kind, and linking back to you as the source. And even more interestingly, imaging all the new and novel ways in which this new distribution would free you create content. Consider this: If you were able to host high-quality, embeddable videos on your own site, would you create those videos differently than if they were only going to YouTube?


You would. So would I.


We’d build in more engagement. We’d paint the canvas wider than the video screen. We’d maybe even add a lead form. How about other content? Presentations, for example. We’d build the narrative with flexibility, especially if we could granularly measure engagement. We’d slide active links and videos early into the deck. We’d maybe even add a lead form. We’d take even more ownership and pride over the entire experience.


Experience is the key, it increases engagement.


When that experience is as engaging as we want it to be, then we, as content creators and consumers, will start to care again about integrating into these massive distribution platforms. Yet this time, those visitors will be seeing our content, on our sites, as we intended. Those embedded content backlinks will go to us and not to some faceless, corporation. Our analytics, leads and customers will be ours, without a platform standing in the way. The only platform will be the one enhancing our way forward, tying into what we’ve already created. We are really just waiting for the right kid, in the right dorm room, to make that certain future a reality.


And the pendulum will swing again.


9 Advantages of Blogging

Blogging is a powerful tool for startups, particularly when it comes to increasing awareness of your business, engaging with followers, and demonstrating your expertise.


61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog, but only 1 in 8 companies have an active blog. Are you making full use of blogging? If not, take a look at these advantages of blogging for startups and reconsider.


A blog leads to more social sharing


If you’re developing a social media strategy for your startup, having a blog that’s optimized for promoting your product and engaging with your target audience will give you so much content to share. In turn, readers of your blog can also share your content on their own social channels, increasing your readership and audience.


A blog humanizes your business


Use your blog as a platform to keep followers up-to-date with your projects and life inside the office. We naturally trust businesses with people behind them, whose faces we know and whose stories we are familiar with. Let your followers get to know you and your team, projects and milestones through your blog.


A blog is good for SEO


Regularly updating your blog with high-quality content increases links to your startup sales site and multiplies mentions of your brand name on the web. Fresh content also encourages regular crawling of your site. See your blog as a door to your startup that helps users arrive at your site through organic searches.


A blog increases awareness of your startup


Create a blog and make it easier to find your startup through organic searches. Each blog article containing your target keywords will increase your online visibility and help drive traffic to your startup’s main site, and companies that blog have up to 97% more inbound links. Social sharing of your content by both yourself and others will also encourage further awareness of your startup.


A blog leads to more engagement


Having a blog for your startup adds an extra way for your target audience to contact you. You can use your blog as an addition to your customer service, perhaps with some FAQs on a static page, or you can encourage users to use your blog comment system for any questions or comments. Reply to comments promptly and write content with your audience in mind and your engagement will surely benefit.


A blog can help you network


You’ll meet all sorts of interesting people through your startup, but having a blog makes networking even easier. Potential contacts can use your blog as a way to get to know you and your startup, and it can trigger and facilitate collaboration.


A blog builds your skillset


Having a blog for your startup has advantages for you too. By creating great content you’ll be able to hone your content writing skills and figure out the voice and tone you’d like your startup to have. These skill will undoubtedly help you out when it comes to writing content for your main site and campaigns too.


A blog demonstrates your expertise


As founder of a startup, you’ve shown that you know a thing or two about your field. Creating a blog is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and encourage readers to go on and purchase what your startup offers. 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs.


A blog lets you create informative content


If you came across a link to a sales website that was purely promotional, would you click on it? What about a link embedded within useful and informative content? We thought so. A blog allows you to provide your audience with useful and informative content that they can learn from and use in their own lives. This will encourage users to trust your startup and what you offer, and it may well lead to more sales and interaction.


Every day blogging is becoming a more relevant and powerful tool, particularly for business. Consider these advantages of blogging and make the move to start a blog for your startup, or use this post as motivation to continue sharing great content on your existing one. Can you afford not to?


Medium Provides a Refreshing Change to How We Blog

Back in August of 2012, Medium — the new-publishing-platform-on-the-block — was launched with mixed reviews. 13 months later, it’s high time we cast an eye over what all the fuss was about.


There was justifiable excitement surrounding this fresh venture from Twitter founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone. With a history like theirs, there was an understandable air of hope and confidence that Medium would bring something unique to the web (as we’ve demandingly come to expect from this duo).


But, when the reviews started coming in, there was a tinge of confusion and disappointment at what was presented.


Several critics complained (or unexcitedly commented) that Medium is, at least at first glance, little more than a dolled up mixture between the nice features of already existing platforms. Wired claimed it was a cross between Pinterest and Reddit. ReadWrite compared it to a ”categorized Tumblr.” There was nothing, really, to ignite any passion here. Nothing to sit back and say ”Why haven’t we done this before?!” Nor was there anything to prompt a “say Whaaat? This is ridiculous!“ as was the oft-heard view on Twitter soon after its launch. Medium just seemed a bit…non-descript — A bit lacking.


There was no denying that Medium was nice, for sure. But few people regarded it as being disruptive and even doubted whether it brought anything of value to the somewhat already crowded online publishing sphere.


But when we look at Medium now (taking into account its evolution since the launch) the answer of what Williams and Stone likely had in mind with this project has become somewhat clearer. And from an outsider’s perspective, they’re succeeding in this hypothesis (especially noting their current, very respectable Alexa rank of 6575), but this angle of success is not what some were expecting.


Recently, Williams published a short article on Medium which read:


“Not all products can be the hero. Some play supporting roles. Some have bit parts. People need to understand your character’s role. It can’t have too many dimensions. Choose wisely. Don’t confuse. Don’t be too greedy.”


Is this William’s response to people’s lack of clarity on Medium’s purpose? Perhaps. But it also shows the thought pattern that goes into Williams’ projects: the end product doesn’t need to be the king of the arena, but it needs to do something well. It needs to stand out in at least one respect. And why should Medium be any different?


Here’s my take.


Consider personal blogs: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Blogger, Instagram etc. Each and every one of these platforms has the spotlight shining firmly and strongly on the author. Each of these platforms is a soapbox for the protagonist of the story, for the individual involved at the heart of the operation.


From each of these pedestals, we can paint a picture of exactly who we want to be. We can fake our way to being interesting, thoughtful, intelligent and fun. We can flood our networks with proof of all we’ve done with our lives, and how wonderful (or miserable) our world is. Pure vanity or not, we are, each and every one of us, given the means, and power necessary to create celebrities of ourselves.


We can command sympathy, jealousy, awe and respect. With these personal, instant newsfeeds, it’s all possible. All that’s at stake is our online reputation. How ‘fixable’ that may be is another article entirely, but many never even consider this potential downside.


But Medium steps away from this in a refreshing, and, arguably, much needed way. For the first time (on a larger, more successful scale), we can see people from all forms of backgrounds with hugely diverse interests coming together to simply write (you can’t fault Medium’s ability to attract contributors who write exceptionally well, and it’s unlikely you’ll find a contributor who claims they write on Medium simply to ”build their influence”, or ”enhance their reputation.” It’s just not that kind of place.


Egos have little place here. Granted, your personal influence can have somewhat of an indirect impact on your popularity among the ranks of Medium’s invited contributors, but in general, given the way Medium is structured, with recommended posts, editors, picks etc, this is kept to a minimum. All writers are, pretty much, on an equal footing. This isn’t so much a meritocracy, or even democracy (even though Medium is cited as ”democratising publishing”) as it is communism (in a good way).


To get a more personal perspective here, I asked a couple of Medium’s contributors to tell me what they found so special about the platform, and the answers shine an interesting light on what’s going on here.


Financial Times contributor Ian Sanders, mentioned two aspects of Medium that made it stand out among other publishing options. “1. I love writing and editing on the platform. 2. It delivers an audience for my ideas”. Entrepreneur and Journalist Espree Devora explained that she chose to use Medium “When I want to express myself in a specific way,” and tellingly explained “I have taken chances sharing insights into my life I hadn’t shared before on other blogging platforms…Medium’s objective is for people to only write quality posts worth reading”.


The common thread here is the ability to express ideas more efficiently than other platforms. And this is the thread I believe Williams and Stone are taking with Medium. No other platform is quite as adept at getting across more contemplative ideas. Twitter is too short-form. Blogs are often more focused on the writer than the idea. Facebook networks just don’t seem to have the patience for ‘ideas’. News oriented websites are too fast moving. The list goes on. When Einstein said “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive,” he unlikely had any of the above in mind.


But Medium is a platform centered not on people, nor on fame. It has little interest in publishing ”timely” content — in fact, it seems to discourage it. What Medium is interested in is the ideas that its contributors can offer.


For once, a platform is interested not just in the numbers of people visiting its pages (well, not openly), or on the number of users is has, but on the quality of ideas it’s releasing to the world: primarily ones which will stand the test of time, or in marketing terms, that will prove to be ”evergreen” ideas.


Medium has become a site where people who enjoy the more platonic ideals….the thoughtful and contemplative of us, can congregate, contribute, and find a disparate array of interests and ideas, all of which will tickle the cognitive taste-buds far more than you would expect from a traditional news site, most blogs, or any of the social networks.


And this is all thanks, I believe, to the curatorial approach taken to recruiting contributors (invite only). The weight behind the names of Williams and Stone mean that, when writers such as Ian Sanders are invited to contribute, they will take notice, providing a self-fulfilling prophecy of the publication of decent, well thought out ideas.


It’s this ”confidence” in the founders that’s responsible, I believe, to a large degree for the calibre of writers that have been recruited so swiftly that other entrepreneurs would more than likely have failed at.


And therein lies the irony of Medium; the platform that defies egotism, and personal celebrity, is succeeding largely because of the personal celebrity of its founders (not that this matters of course, but it’s an interesting footnote nonetheless).


So where can things go from here for Medium?


Granted, I’m in no position to second guess the motives or aspirations of Williams and Stone, but to be able to create a site with such high calibre  contributors, and with such influential founders, seems to set the site on course to become, perhaps, a more philosophical version of the Guardian newspaper.


The same thoughtful, insightful content, but with a more permanent air to its relevance, which will demand a loyalty (as the Guardian has), of die-hard readers. Maybe even the same kind of thoughtfulness and ”ideas” that Martin Luther King, Jr. was appealing to when he said “Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” Could Medium be a remedy to this symptom?


Either way, whether this can turn a profit remains to be seen. The guardian is openly struggling, but maybe Medium can pull something out of the bag here., But, right now, let’s just make the most of the fact that at least there is somewhere where we can retire to after a hard day’s toil, confident that we will find thoughtful, well written (or drawn, or photographed, or recorded) content that actually aims to give some real insight into our myriad situations, written by those who (largely) seem capable of writing something actually worth reading.


Long live ideas!