Category Archives: Website Management

Wooden Letters forming the word Guest Blogging on a Wooden Table with a Red Cup of Coffee.

Inviting a Guest Blogger to Write for Your Website

We all know how much value is added to your website by having unique and new content added on a regular basis. It is absolute gold for your site, both in terms of reaching your valued clients and in keeping search engines happy.   Blogging is an excellent way to keep your website alive and kicking in terms of content.  But it is not always easy to find time to write blogs and when the actual revenue generating aspect of your business demands all your energy, certain tasks inevitably get put on the end of the ‘to-do’ list. 

But blogs and an updated website ultimately generate income too! There are ways to write blogs quickly and easily.  See our blog on tips for new bloggers which includes advice on titles and ‘listicles’ for the days when you need to get words on paper quickly.  However, you may want to consider that you don’t always need to be the one doing the writing.   Guest blogging is a perfect way to access expert advice and information for your website. Invite a guest blogger to write for your site.  By adding informed content and links to other industry experts, you elevate your own website and make life a little easier at the same time.

Who should be your invited guest blogger?

2 Young Couples Speak to Security personell outside a cloakroom.

Obviously the voice you showcase on your site should reflect your ethos and appreciate the work you do.  You might choose a valued client, an industry expert or an all-round awesome writer to contribute to the regular blog spot on your website.  It will add a new voice, new expertise and bring a whole new readership.  Of course the sneaky people among you are thinking that this is the equivalent of getting someone to do your homework.  It is.  But while someone is doing the homework, you still have to do management, the edits and the organising. But if you have a fear of the blank page and don’t find that words flow too easily, then guest blogging may be just the thing for your website.  The advantages for you is the imparting of new information and the adding of an authentic voice to your website for a minimum amount of effort.

Things to consider before you invite to write.

There are many things to consider when asking a guest blogger to contribute to your site and the management of the publication may take up as much time as actually writing content.    There are a number of things to seriously consider BEFORE you issue the invite.   Does the person share the same ethos and principles as your own Company? Can they actually write? Will they be upset if there is an edit on their work?  For you, retaining editorial control is essential as you may well invite a valued customer or an industry boffin to blog for your page, but find that their information is ultimately incorrect or, horror of horrors, lauds a competitor or a retail item that you actually don’t sell.   Agree the terms before they start writing to avoid embarrassment later. Suggest the topic that is relevant and reaffirming for your business and make full use of the expertise that the guest blogger may have.  Consider whether you can use a hyperlink to the website of the contributor also, as this increases traffic and the search ranking of your own page.  Most of all guest blogging should be seen as collaboration rather than a carte blanch for the writer. 

Guest Bloggers: What is in it for them?   

White Tag with the Blog & SEO Written on it against a blue wooden background.

So why would another blogger write for your page.  The trick is to make this a win-win situation for you both. Perhaps they have something to sell themselves.  If you stock their product, then a blog which details its amazing properties and the care taken in the manufacture, is a win-win for both of you.  .  For others, you might be able to trade blogs. You contribute to their site and them to yours.  Barter the blog for preferred services or products.  For some of your contacts being asked might just be enough, but it is useful to consider the motivation before you issue the invite.   Links from one site to another does increase the value of both from an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) point of view, so this is absolutely a selling point when inviting your guest blogger.

Reasons why you should accept an invitation to guest blog

I know, first we tell you that guest blogging can take the pressure off you and let someone else do the work while you do the supervising and now we suggest you write for others!  Take a moment to consider the benefits and you may well be rushing to the keyboards.  Guest blogging on other websites demonstrates your expertise and authority and shows that the other site recognises you and your company as someone trustworthy and of note.  By writing in your own specialized area, you build up credibility and reach a new audience.  Building your brand by increasing your exposure is always a positive business move.  You may well attract new leads for your business.  (Google+ is ending or is already gone) Always request a direct link back to your own website so that you can have the full value of the blog writing in terms of website traffic.

Website Content on Computer Screen - Dmac Media

Five Common mistakes that take the Oomph from your website content

The content on your website is vitally important and not just because you have spent ages writing it.  It’s the content of your site that engages potential clients and repeat customers. It is the content that contributes to keeping you high in the search rankings with Google. 

Easy functionality is essential. Zippy Design is important, but it is the actual content which brings people to the page.    There is no doubt that unique, vibrant and interesting content is the cornerstone of your web-site that not only informs potential customers, but goes a long way to keeping your website alive and vibrant.

Good content is worth investing the time and effort.   However, there are a few common content pitfalls. Small mistakes that take the value out of the script and wording on your site.  Here are some of the common content errors that can adversely affect your website.

Social Media

Update me

The most common mistake with a website is thinking that it is done!  Change the content on your website on a regular basis. Add news, special offers and a cute new image every now and again.  Link to your regular blog (Of course, you have a regular blog!).  Keeping things fresh will assist with the ranking of your website.  Staid and old content does not reflect well on your business in general. 

Plagiarism – write your own stuff! 

Yes, we know there is nothing new and amazing in the world. No unique revelations or wondrous new words, stories and facts that have not been uttered, retold or rehashed. But if your website content does not register as new, Google will disregard it or even worse, attribute it to the original writer (and rightly so, write your own stuff!).    Over 60% of the text on your site must be completely new and unique. 

This is not as hard as it may seem.    You can get ideas from other sites, blogs, magazine articles and Facebook posts and then just take some time to write it in your own words.  You can rehash your old content by taking it out and updating it for a re-post.  Keep an eye on the most popular items and use it as a guide to choosing subject matter.

Hootsuite Tutorial

Keywords     

Identify the keywords for your industry or services.  These magic words should be liberally sprinkled across all your writing.  Don’t be afraid of overusing words similar to your keywords. Literally mix it up so that you have a better chance of ranking. Competent keyword research is a complete tutorial and workshop all of its own, but in simple terms, it means using every word and phrase that you feel our customers will search. 

Spacing it out – designing it out

The way in which people read websites is different than you may think.  Basically, you are best to space out the information and content in easily readable sections. Design it out in bite size pieces.  Don’t waffle.  Keep it relevant. Less is more, as long as the less is relevant, smart and interesting.   Remembering how the reader’s eye works and cognisant that they are scanning rather than reading will keep you on-point.

Spelling errors bad edits

Use the spellchecks folks! There is nothing that screams inefficiency and sloppiness like a badly edited piece of work.  Run your content through the spell check, but don’t stop there, as spellcheck cannot tell the difference between ‘their’ and ‘there’ or whether you meant ‘form’ or ‘from ’!    So it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a pedantic friend, preferably one with freakishly correct grammar tendencies, to edit your work.  

By adding fresh and new content we are telling the search engines that the website is active and keeping our regular and our potential clients interested and engaged.  It is worth the time it takes to create new site content, so keep that steady stream of articles, blogs and images flowing for success!

Help Me Read Your Website

A guide to helping your visitors to read the important bits on your webpage.

There’s no easy way to say this so I’m just going to come out with it…. Your visitors don’t even bother to read the text on your webpage…….
they just about manage to scan it.

They scan over all your carefully thought out text skipping huge chunks of vital information because they have far more important things to be doing and unless something jumps out and grabs them by the eyeballs they’re closing this tab and jumping onto facebook to see how Fiacra is getting on in Finland.

We all do it, our behaviour when reading a webpage is different to printed material, our attention span is reduced and we are always searching for the bit that is relevant to us.

So how do we at least get them to read the important bits?

First we analyse the problem. How do we know they scan?

Thankfully some clever people have already done all the hard work for us. If we look at the revised F shaped pattern study 2017 by Nielsen Norman Group we can see a common behaviour pattern of  people scanning a webpage. This is the same pattern that existed in the original study 11 years prior.

The F-Shaped Pattern from a study by
Nielsen Norman Group

The F-pattern is the default pattern when there are no strong cues to attract the eyes towards meaningful information. This means users can easily miss the info we really want them to see. This isn’t the only scanning pattern but is very prevalent when no clever formatting has been applied.

We can’t manipulate this pattern to suit us  (like sticking the important words in the path of the pattern) as when the text responds to a different screen size the layout of our text will change. The important sentence on line 3 when browsing on my laptop has now moved to line 5 when I have a look on my tablet.

This F-Shaped pattern happens when these 3 things exist:

1 A web page or a section of the page includes text that has has not been well formatted well for web. For example, it has a “wall of text” but no bolding, bullets, or subheadings.

2 The user is trying to be most efficient on that page.

3 The user is not so committed or interested that he is willing to read every word.

Source: Nielsen Norman Group

The F Shaped pattern due to very little formatting on page.

What can I do to improve my text layout and avoid the F-Shaped pattern.

Point 1 you can actually do something about. Points 2 & 3 are harder or impossible to control so lets focus on point 1 and look at some clever formatting techniques.

Clever Formatting Techniques

Include the most important points in the first two paragraphs on the page.

Don’t save the best for last dish it out straight away. A webpage is not a book.

Use headings and subheadings.

Ensure they look more important, and are more visible, than normal text so users may distinguish them quickly.

This breaks up the page. The reader can categorise the info quickly.

Start headings and subheadings with the words carrying most information:

If users see only the first 2 words, they should still get the gist of the following section.

Visually group small amounts of related content.

Try using a different background colour or border. This helps the brain understand the info is related and separate to the surrounding content.

Bold important words and phrases.

This gives the reader a feel for the content at a glance. When reading a paragraph the introduction of some key phrases in bold breaks up the text and keeps the reader intrigued to read on.

Take advantage of the different formatting of links

Ensure that links include information-bearing words (instead of generic “go”, “click here” or “more”). This technique also improves accessibility for users who hear links read aloud and will help improve your SEO

Use bullets and numbers to call out items in a list or process.

Our brains can then instantly jump into list mode and again it breaks up the layout of the page.

Cut unnecessary content.

Cut the fluff and filler text. Adding in text just to fill out a page will result in none of the text being read. Remember, an image can say a thousand words!

Good vs Bad Text Formatting on a web page
Good vs Bad Text Formatting on a webpage

No more ‘F’ing pattern

Find a bit of text on your site that could do with a lift (the terms & conditions page is usually a good place to start) and apply the above. You will see that every word has more purpose and the page as a whole is more aesthetically pleasing.

You have now avoided the F-Shaped pattern and made the internet a more user friendly place.

If you want any further advise or a quick review of your site please contact us at dmac media.

Walkthrough: How to optimise images for mobile

Google now looks at your ‘mobile first’ when deciding your website ranking. One of the key ways to improve your ranking is to improve your page load speed. When improving the load speed of any webpage the first thing to do is Optimise your Images. Images are the main culprits for slowing down a web page as they generally have a large file size and often unnecessarily so. So how do we Optimise Images?

Go to Page Speed Insights

Visit  https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ and enter your website address:

 

page-speed-1

 

 

Next you will see a quick overview of your page speed. By default your mobile score is shown first.

 

Your Mobile Speed test

 

 

Scroll down until you see the heading ‘Optimization Suggestions’. Beneath this again is the sub heading Optimize images with a link to ‘Show how to fix’

 

page-speed-3

Click on the text ‘Show How to Fix’ and the page will list a summary of images below that can be optimised (reduced in size with minimal loss to quality)

 

Beneath this again, you can see the text ‘Download optimized image’.
Clicking on the word ‘image’ will download a .zip folder to your computer containing all the optimised imagery.

 

page-speed-4

 

 

Now its time to replace all the old bulky images on your site with your new speedy optimised ones. Run the test again and see your score improve.

 

good-page-speed

 

Note, some loss to image quality may occur but the flip side is you have fulfilled one of Google’ most basic criteria and worked towards your site ranking better in search results.

 

In Summary.

This is the quickest way to optimise images and keep Google super happy but there is more you can do. This process simply compresses your image as much as possible it doesn’t resize the width or height. If you have uploaded an image that is 2000px wide and it only displays on your page at 1000px wide, then you should resize this image first to further increase your page speed. Here’s a quick walkthrough on Resizing imagery for web

 

Of course if you need to know more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Dmac Media

A quick way to resize & crop imagery without buying photoshop

So you have found the perfect image but the proportions just don’t fit with your layout!

Fear no more here’s some free tools that allow you to resize and crop imagery. No expensive software or graphic design services required!

 

Whether you are managing a blog, website or newsletter we all know how a layout can quickly look unprofessional with the wrong shaped images in situ.  Taking full control of how your images display is the key to a slick & professional presentation. Images should be consistent and neatly fit in the area you are trying to place them. A landscape image in a portrait sized box always looks awkward and lazy so take 10 minutes to click through these suggestions and give them a go next time your adding an image to your site.

 

Befunky.com

This is a basic online image editor tool that allows you to resize and crop an image quickly and easily. No login required just click the link and get started www.befunky.com/create/

 

resizing website imagery

 

 

 

 

‘Open’ a photo to choose one from your computer. Once you have selected your image a toolbar of options appears to the left…

 

laeft-hand-menu

The first two tools are Crop & Resize. I always resize my image first and then crop it to the required dimensions.

 

Resizing your image.

Images that are too big will slow down your web page. Find out the largest width your image needs to be displayed at and resize down to that pixel(px) amount.

 

resizing

Always ensure that ‘Lock aspect ratio’ is ticked so that your image doesn’t get stretched. Don’t worry if your height is too big, we will crop this next.

Be careful when making a small image bigger as this will result in a loss of quality and may appear pixelated, better just to find an image large enough to do the job.

Cropping your image.

Cropping is the most important tool when trying to make your image the correct size. It allows you to extract a portion of the image in whatever size you need without distorting the image. For example if your website layout needs a square shaped image but your desired image is rectangular, then you can crop out a square shape and trim away the leftovers. It’s best to find out the exact image size required for your layout and just type them into the required fields.

 

cropping

As well as typing in dimensions you can also drag visual guides to your desired size. Have a play around with the options as this will soon become your new best friend!

 

Save your image

And that’s it. Click on save up the top of your screen and save the image to your computer ready for upload to your website.


Some other tools for resizing imagery

The above tool, BeFunky, is all you need for resizing & cropping but here’s a quick overview of some more online tools I recommend on a regular basis.

 

Shutterstock Editor

https://www.shutterstock.com/editor

This is very similar to Befunky.com but offers more in terms of design and also gives you some quick templates for creating facebook covers, twitter headers etc. You have to create a free account to use the tools but this is a handy image editor for making quick mock ups.

 

photopea.com

This is a free online tool based on photoshop. It is more advanced than the tools mentioned above but offers so much more once you get the hang of it. If you are doing a lot of image editing it is worth your while learning the basics. Photopea really comes into its own when you have to quickly resize multiple images to certain dimensions.

 

Photo Razor.

This is a tool we use a lot in the web industry when we want to reduce the size of an entire folder of images for example a folder of product images that are all way too large to display on web. It allows you to select a folder, set the max width and click go! This is great for bulk resizing of images but not cropping

Photo Razor can be downloaded for free from softsonic here.


If you need a few quick pointers don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Dmac Media