Review: 5by5 Web Ahead Podcast on Content with Kristina Halverson

My job is to help my clients get new clients. My main method of doing this is online via their website. Pretty much everything I do revolves around the content on their website yet the majority of my time is spent on projects where the content is an afterthought. For years I have known that this is a poor situation that I need to rectify by placing more focus on content strategy.

How do we get good content on the web?

Recently I listened to the 5by5 Web Ahead Podcast on Content with Kristina Halverson.
5by5 content podcast

Content with Kristina Halvorson
July 27, 2012 at 4:00pm – 1 hour 5 minutes
How do we get good content on the web? Kristina Halvorson joins Jen Simmons to talk about the discipline of content strategy, where it came from and where it’s going. We also get into fear and life and how to make change in an environment that needs it.

As web marketers we spend a lot of time talking about standards, browsers, mobile, SEO, conversions, UI, and anything else that is geeky and cool. The problem is that clients and customers are more interested in getting information that pertains to their needs. A user searching for an accountant is less impressed that the website shows up on my iPhone formatted and fast, they expect this. What they are impressed with is when the content on the accountants page is exactly what they looking for and leads them to call the business for services.

Therefore the things that we as web marketers spend the most time on is what users care about the least, yet the thing that for the most part we spend the least amount of time on, content, is what users care about the most. We need to put content first and then frame the rest around that. When designing the site we should not be using Lorem Ipsum but placing the actual content that will go live just like we do with images.

What’s the point?

The Discipline of Content Strategy by KRISTINA HALVORSON
This is Kristina’s initial article from 2008 getting everyone in the web world to take notice that content has been relegated to a lorem ipsum status for too long. By making content a secondary concept it has lead to greater frustration amongst everyone involved with creating websites. This article gives a roadmap of questions and guidelines to start considering when putting a content strategy together.

But who among us is asking the scary, important questions about content, such as “What’s the point?” or “Who cares?” Who’s talking about the time-intensive, complicated, messy content development process? Who’s overseeing the care and feeding of content once it’s out there, clogging up the tubes and dragging down our search engines?

Kristina on Twitter
She is very active and has a lot of followers.

Braintraffic Blog
Kristina’s company blog. has a number of updates per month all pretty in depth.

Contents

Contents is an online magazine for readers who create, edit, publish, analyze, and care for the contents of the internet. We publish in open, themed issues that run for about eight weeks. When we’re publishing an issue, a new article appears most Wednesdays.
We are biased toward open access, reader-friendly design and policy, quality over quantity, and the creation of usable beautiful things.

Conclusion

Overall this podcast is a great jumping off point in talking about Content Strategy. There are numerous references to tools and techniques but you will want to search further to get more information on the specifics. In the mean time I would suggest making content a more integral part of your team and client conversations.

If you are not a writer you may want to practice becoming one. Even if you don’t create anything for your clients it will help you when talking with them about it. Knowing how difficult a task is will help empathize more when the client cannot get you what you want. When you go to hire a copywriter it will help you understand deadlines and how to create a brief more completely so you will spend less time re-editing and more time moving forward to the next project.

What do you think? How is your content created? Are you happy with what you are filling the tubes up with?

Converting Windows Media Audio to MP3 on a Mac

WMA to MP3 Converter for Mac for Free

Its a multimedia world out there and you need to get as much of it for your business as you can. In some cases this means doing a radio show. Today one of my clients sent me some radio interviews he had done and wanted uploaded to his website. Slam Dunk right? Yeah right up until I saw that the file was a Windows Media Audio file.

WMA to MP3 Converter for Mac for Free
WMA to MP3 Converter for Mac for Free

Fourtunately I found this program for converting WMA to MP3 on a Mac for Free:
MediaHuman Audio Converter

The program is pretty easy to use as well. You open your WMA file in it, select the bitrate you want it converted to and hit go. It creates a Folder in your Music Folder by default and puts the converted file there. Then you can upload the MP3 to your website or convert it into a movie using iMovie or Final Cut Pro X and upload that to Youtube.

Happy converting yall!

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2012 Trends for Web Design

Mobile and Responsive website design
Some rights reserved by jiraisurfer

Two Words: Mobile and Responsive

Great read about where web design is headed in 2012 over at .Net Magazine. The big ones to focus on here are mobile and responsive though.

Mobile is obvious as more people use their phones to find your business online you need to make sure your website presents itself appropriately. Which ties in with Responsive perfectly.

Don’t think you can make two websites: one for desktop and one for mobile, because you then need to make one for the iPad and now the iPad retina display. Don’t forget about the 14 different mobile phone screen sizes out there and more to come. Instead build one website that responds to the device viewing it so that the text is readable regardless.

Customer First Web Design

Couple of excellent comics showing the disconnect between what website owners think we want versus what we actually want.

This is from the xkcd about university websites:

XKCD's take on university websites and their disconnect with what users want and what they provide.
Virtual Tours are awesome! Not!

Here the Oatmeal explores restaurant websites and what customers want:

The Oatmeal discusses restaurant websites and how disconnected they are from what we want them to be.
Yes I agree this is what I want.

Then they give us an excellent representation of the majority of restaurant websites we come across:

The Oatmeal shows us a typical restaurant website.
PDF menus are the best!

When I talk with clients about their website I have two jobs. In the first job I am building a site that meets their expectations, hopes, and dreams. In the second job I am fighting their expectations and focusing on their hopes and dreams.

What I mean by this is that generally a business owner expects their website process to be like their traditional media process. Pixel perfect branding of their business image. I make it my job to break them from that cycle as much as possible and instead see their website as a door into their company where prospects and customers can start interacting with their business. This means putting the phone number and address at the top of the page so it is immediately visible and available on all devices. This means updating the site with timely information about your business and industry. In the last few years this has also meant thinking mobile first as over 10% of the traffic coming to your site is on a mobile device and those folks are ready to buy.

Dont make the errors pointed out in the comics above. Think customer first with your website and see the revenue grow.