Welcome to another edition of Sites Weekly.
In this week’s edition, you will find links to articles about the following:
- Content: Five A’s you can use as a checklist for higher-quality content
- Design: 6 design decisions for your next redesign
- Technology: The future is now for optimizing paid-search marketing campaigns
- Strategy: Could offline promotion help you build your online business?
- Bonus: What if Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple all worked together?
But first …
Last week on Sites
What content should you give away for free, and what content should you sell? It’s a tricky question. There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all answer. But there are guiding principles.
And some of the best guiding principles I’ve ever come across for this question come from a blog post that Chris Garrett wrote years ago on Copyblogger. That blog post was the inspiration for last week’s episode of Sites.
Last day to join The Showrunner Podcasting Course!
Jonny Nastor and I want to help you develop, launch, and run a remarkable podcast.
That’s why we created The Showrunner Podcasting Course — which is currently open, but closes today at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
We think you’ll find our lessons, which focus on the fundamentals of creating a great show, to be illuminating — from deciding on a format to conducting smart interviews, all the way to applying multiple monetization strategies to maximize your revenue.
And we think you’ll find great value in our Q&A huddles and Showrunner community, where we can deliver tailored advice and also discuss the latest tips, tools, and strategies that will help you continuously grow and become a better showrunner.
It’s all in The Showrunner Podcasting Course.
So join us. The doors close today!
Here is the URL: http://showrunnercourse.com
Genesis tips from Brian Gardner
Last year, Brian Gardner and a group of his friends took a trip to the mountains of Colorado.
Naturally, he had to design a website for this event (which they call Brocation). And one of the things he wanted on the site was a section to showcase members of the trip — a way to display photos with links to their Twitter accounts.
In this blog post, Brian shows you how he did it — so you can add it to your website too.
And now, on to this week’s links …
Content: Five A’s you can use as a checklist for higher-quality content
I’ll give you the first one: accuracy.
Makes sense, right?
A piece of content filled with falsehoods, intentional or not, will erode trust faster than just about anything. And if you’re not in the content creation game to build trust with an audience … then what exactly are you doing creating content?
So accuracy. Your content must be accurate.
That is the first ingredient in Ronell Smith’s recipe for higher-quality content. And because alliteration rules, all five ingredients begin with the letter A.
Here’s a question to pique your interest: does “authority” make the list as one of the A’s, or is “authority” the result of the 5 A’s of quality content combined?
Find out here:
Design: 6 design decisions for your next redesign
The site on which this article sits is gorgeous.
The header logo is sublime. The page title is large and clear. There is ample white space to make reading easy, but also useful tools like sharing buttons and a small notification that shows how much more time it will take you to finish the article.
I say this because the design of the site immediately gave me confidence that the headline — 6 Design Hacks I Used When I Redesigned My Blog — would deliver on its promise.
And it did.
Pay special attention to #4 and #5. Those two definitely made me think.
Two of the most important decisions you will make about your WordPress website are your theme and your hosting. Wouldn’t it be great if they worked together to make your website more powerful?
Now they can.
Technology: The future is now for optimizing paid-search marketing campaigns
Here’s a simple question to add to your list if you ever find yourself looking to hire someone to manage your paid-search marketing for you:
Do you employ machine learning to optimize your campaigns?
The results of a recent study showed that machine-learning optimized campaigns delivered a 71 percent better conversion rate than those campaigns not utilizing machine learning. The costs per click were lower too.
What is especially interesting is that the results don’t just hold true for big-budget spenders.
“The company added that machine learning-supported accounts also experienced lower churn on the platform than those not using machine learning, and this was especially true for accounts operating at less than $500 per month. ‘Businesses with the lowest spend actually had the highest success in terms of lifetime value,’ the report states.”
The future is now. Make sure that if you’re doing paid search marketing that machine learning is part of your strategy.
Strategy: Could offline promotion help you build your online business?
This may sound counterintuitive at first, but Keith Elton makes a reasonable point …
“You could be promoting a completely online service that’s available to anyone in the world, but there will be people living near you who are completely unaware of the opportunity because they simply didn’t know it existed.”
Yeah … mind blown, right?
I love articles that get me thinking about a simple strategy I hadn’t even been considering. It doesn’t mean I always run right out and do it, but I do appreciate the opportunity to explore whether making it a priority is smart.
And now I’m thinking about how I might be able to do some offline marketing for my online projects.
- How about a local podcasters meetup for The Showrunner Podcasting Course?
- How about a local WordPress meetup for Sites?
- What about an IU alumni association meeting for The Assembly Call?
So many options once you start thinking about it.
Bonus article: What if Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple all worked together?
I know. It sounds like a line from a modern-day parody of a John Lennon song.
But hear Chris Brogan out. He has an interesting idea that is at once fantastic and enticing, but also a little bit terrifying … since, you know, any reminders of how much data these companies have about us is terrifying.
Which of the ideas in these posts will you put to good use immediately?
I’ll be back with a new edition next week.