Welcome to another edition of Sites Weekly.
I hope this week’s edition finds you in the midst of an ultra-productive week in which you are making significant progress with your website.
And speaking of progress with your website …
I want to take this opportunity to welcome questions — your questions. We’ve been humming along with this newsletter and the new Sites podcast, and both are going well. But now it’s time to incorporate your feedback into the content planning and production process.
So, what questions do you have about your website? What obstacles are preventing you from taking the next step? What challenges are you facing?
Send us your questions, and we’ll make every effort to find answers for you and include them in future editions of the newsletter, the podcast, or even separate blog posts.
I will be personally reviewing every submission, so I look forward to seeing what you send in.
And now on to this week’s links:
Content: How to conduct more compelling interviews
Interviews are ubiquitous.
Late-night TV. Podcasts. Magazine articles. Everywhere you look, content is either delivered in a straight interview format or based on an interview but presented in a prose or narrative format.
There’s good reason for this.
An interview is a magnificent way to create good content — whether you present the words of the interviewee verbatim or use parts of the conversation for a larger story.
The question is: how do you get good at interviews?
A blog post he published recently on Copyblogger includes this gem:
“Once the interview begins, your job is to be fully present in the conversation — so let go of your research. Following your notes is distracting.”
In fact, this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from Jonny, and I always appreciate being re-exposed to it.
Because it’s so easy to get pulled out of the moment during interviews — wondering what question to ask next, trying to jot down bullet points for show notes, etc. But doing so puts a wall between you and your guest and makes it impossible to elicit the comfort and rapport that produces truly engaged and candid discussions.
And while Jonny’s post is specifically geared toward podcasters, there are lessons here that are valuable for anyone conducting interviews.
Design: Best practices for using icons to support content
I am a non-designer and non-visual thinker who has (fortunately!) been forced to learn a lot about what makes web design work.
And one of the biggest lessons I have learned is about the importance of subtle details, and how much seemingly insignificant elements can make a design work and be such important complements to content.
You’ve seen icons all over the web, but do you know the techniques and strategies for employing them effectively?
This 2009 post from Nathan Barry still holds up today and provides a crash course on how to get the most out of icons.
And, as a bonus, here are some free business-related icons you can use under the Creative Commons license.
Technology: Tech tools that can help you build better personal connections
Ignore for a moment that this post inexplicably skips from #5 to #7 without mention … 😉
The premise of the post is that the
seven six highlighted tools will help you make your personal brand more personal. And they will.
But the upside of the post is that these tools are valuable even if you aren’t aiming to develop a personal brand.
I was most intrigued by Quora. I’ve landed on the site from Google searches but haven’t participated much as a contributor. That might need to change. It’s certainly a great place to conduct market research and listen.
See which of these tools can help you build better personal connections with your audience members and potential customers.
Strategy: The essential principles of data analytics
If you’re a grizzled data analytics veteran, then this post may not offer you anything you don’t already have ingrained in your mind, body, and soul.
If you’re still new to data analytics, however, then the six principles outlined in this post are well worth your time to read and reflect on.
It can be so easy to get lost in a morass of numbers, unsure which ones matter most and are more trustworthy than others.
But if you follow these basic principles, you will be well on your way to following data down the path toward good decisions as opposed to being misled down a path of confusion or, worse yet, conclusions that are actually contrary to reality.
And finally, here is a helpful bit of inspiration from Seth Godin, especially if you’re just starting out on your audience-building journey. “If you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.”
Which of the ideas in these posts will you put to good use immediately?
I’ll be back with a new edition next week.