3 Cs that Reveal the Quality of Your Blog Post

By Kelly Exeter

how to check your content for quality

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of purchasing a diamond, you’re probably familiar with the four Cs that determine its value: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat.

As the Editor of a national online publication, I’m faced with the task of assessing the “value” of articles that are submitted to me every day.

The value of an article depends on its ability to resonate with readers.

Any editor will tell you that predicting what will strike a chord with an audience is an inexact science. But, over the years, I’ve developed my own system of three Cs that help me effectively evaluate the quality of an article.

I check for:

  1. Clarity
  2. Continuity
  3. Connection

And the beauty is, you can also use the three Cs to decide whether or not your work is ready to be published.

Let’s break down how to use each of these factors when reviewing your own writing.

1. Clarity

Sometimes I read an article and can’t pin down exactly what the writer is trying to say. What idea is he trying to communicate? If it’s not clear, the writer hasn’t spent enough time creating a precise message.

Similarly, a writer may begin an article with one idea and then veer off on a related, but separate, tangent halfway through the text. We’ve all done it — even me.

For instance, my last post on Copyblogger was about getting comfortable with throwing away your words. In the first draft of that post, I also covered self-editing. Those two ideas are related, but the introduction of that additional idea weakened my main message. In my second draft, I deleted everything related to self-editing to bring clarity back to my primary message.

After you’ve written a first draft, here’s a three-step process for bringing clarity to a piece of writing:

  1. Communicate one big idea. If your article contains two big ideas, save the second one for another piece of content.
  2. Craft a magnetic headline. Your headline must make a strong promise based on your one big idea. If it doesn’t show how a reader will benefit from the article, rewrite it.
  3. Cut extra text. Eliminate every word in your article that does not deliver on the promise made in your headline.

Once you’ve brought clarity to your article, you can move on to the next C.

2. Continuity

This C improves the structure of your article. Now that your headline makes a strong promise and you know the big idea you’re trying to communicate, it’s time to ensure your article takes the reader on a logical journey.

Here are three elements that promote continuity:

  1. State your premise. For example, the premise of this article is that it’s helpful to have a framework to evaluate the quality of your content before it’s published.
  2. Introduce and support your big idea. The big idea here is that measuring Clarity, Continuity, and Connection will help you create high-quality content. Use subheads and bullet points to reinforce your message.
  3. Give readers a payoff. Highlight how the big idea will make their lives better and motivate them to take action now.

In short, your blog post needs to be structured in a way that naturally leads the reader to your desired conclusions and delivers a genuine payoff for them: a big “aha” moment.

3. Connection

This final C is the key to creating an article that readers will be inclined to share. It doesn’t matter how clear your ideas are, how well-structured your article is, or even how informative it might be … if your readers don’t connect with it, they won’t feel compelled to pass it on.

The fastest path to connection is showing vulnerability. The easiest way to get vulnerable? Share a story. It doesn’t need to be long, but the story must be honest — just like my confession above about the mistake I made when writing the first draft of my last Copyblogger post.

Speaking of that post, I told a longer story in that article about getting critiqued by a writing teacher who told me my work was completely vanilla. That made it very easy for readers to feel connected to me because we’ve all had a cringe-worthy experience like that, right?

Use the 3 Cs to transform the quality of your content

The three Cs remind you to remain audience-focused when creating content, and you can use them when you write content for clients as well as when you’re promoting your own business.

They’ll help you produce useful content readers will engage with and share.

What techniques do you use to evaluate your writing?

Share in the comments below.

The post 3 Cs that Reveal the Quality of Your Blog Post appeared first on Copyblogger.

Source: Copy Blogger

    

73% of marketers believe UX in digital advertising needs to be improved

By Tereza Litsa

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 08.38.20

Digital advertising is experiencing a shift towards a mobile and multiscreen world, and despite all the available opportunities, user experience is not always satisfactory.

Interactive Advertising Bureau, Kargo and Refinery29 conducted a survey among 283 marketers and media agency executives, discussing how the advertising experience can be improved.

According to IAB’s Improving Digital Advertising Experiences with Liquid Creativity report, 73% of marketers feel that user experience has to be improved in digital advertising.

There is consensus about the many different challenges they need to overcome when creating a campaign, with ad clutter, creativity and user experience being chief among their biggest problems.

In fact, ad clutter has led many users to ad blocking, due to the quantity, irrelevance and disruptive nature of many ads. According to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report, the use of ad blocking has significantly increased over the past few years…

Michael Lebowitz, Founder and CEO, Big Spaceship, is not surprised by this increase:

“We added negativity with more tracking and more cookies; we increased negative values to consumers progressively instead of adding new value to them.”

User experience is more important than ever for consumers and that’s what brands tend to forget when creating a new ad. It’s the combination of speed, relevance, quality and security that make users appreciate an advertising experience and modern marketers should focus more in this direction.

How important is the user experience then in a mobile world? Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer of FCB, replies:

“If you don’t get the design right in the mobile-first world, you will miss the largest audience. If users have to do all the work, scrolling, moving back and forth on mobile, the odds of me sticking with you is small. The mobile-first world has a lot to do with UX, understanding design over creatives.”

The challenges of UX in mobile advertising

In order to improve user experience in mobile advertising, it is important to begin with the realisation that a mobile screen is different from traditional media and “bigger screens.”

As people use a mobile screen for different reasons than they do for a laptop or a TV, so marketers should seek new approaches to stay relevant and get their message heard.

According to Steve Wax, Managing Partner, The Cooke Wax Partnership, the key to success in the mobile world is to “provoke people, move and engage them. Build into the experience you already have on mobile, while understanding the utility unique to mobile.”

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 08.38.12

IAB’s survey showed that 79% of marketers and ad buyers consider the overall site/app experience and the page’s load time very important, while creative quality and content relevance are also close. A positive advertising experience should focus then on offering the necessary value to the user, establishing a relationship that is both useful and rewarding.

It’s becoming clear that user experience in mobile advertising will always have areas of improvement and as the challenges keep increasing, it will be even harder (but possibly more rewarding) to stay up-to-date.

How to improve the digital advertising experience

Despite the challenges in mobile advertising, there are still many ways to take advantage of the rise of mobile, and these tips may form the start of a seamless advertising experience:

  1. Know the audience. No matter how many changes mobile UX may bring, the proper understanding of your audience is always the first step to a successful campaign. It’s all about delivering the right content for the right audience.
  2. Integrate the right content in the right context. By the time you learn your audience, it’s time to create the best content according to the context. The quantity and even the quality of the content may not be enough if you don’t take into consideration the context.
  3. Shift user approach from transaction-driven to relationship-driven. Engagement may be easier if you start building a relationship with your consumers. Start with one step at a time and loyalty might become easier.
  4. Improve UX design. A better user experience leads to more positive results. Whether it’s the page load time, the responsive design, or the ad clutter, there are certainly many areas to consider in mobile advertising.
  5. Take risks to innovate and maintain creativity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new trends and it’s a good idea to use the creativity along with technology and data to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors, capturing the attention of your audience.
  6. Improve upon efforts at industry standardisation and collaboration. Don’t forget to be part of the industry in key areas that are constantly changing.

Source: Search Engine Watch

    

SEO for Etsy: three tips to improve your store’s search visibility

By Maddie Silverstein

etsy trends

We live in the age of personalization and customization.

Businesses are trying to find ways to personalize their services to better connect with overarching trends. With the Internet at your disposal, you can have a custom shirt with your dog’s face on it and also get a shirt for your dog with your face on it.

This is just one example of the growing customization culture and interest for the weird that has cropped up, causing an uptick in the amount of Etsy stores out there.

As of 2014, Etsy had 54 million users —up from just 5 million users in 2004. 1.4 million of these Etsy users are active sellers. As more Etsy stores pop up, the space becomes more competitive.

Optimizing your Etsy store and products will help you stay visible whether customers search on Etsy or Google. Here are the fundamental tips and tricks to help enhance your Etsy store and product listings to increase traffic from Google to drive sales.

Etsy keyword research

Having an understanding of your customer’s keyword for your own business is beyond powerful and can help potential clients and fans find you.

Marmalead is a great tool to find keywords for Etsy shops. With it you can type in a tag (or keyword) and see total results or competing products and shops, total views, average views per week, average favorites per week, and much more. F

or a more in-depth explanation of this tool and how to use it for keywords, check out the Ultimate Etsy SEO Guide on Marketing Artfully.

dog beds etsy

Another free option to find keywords for your business – whether you’re a painter or sell custom koozies – is the Google Keyword Planner Tool.

In the Keyword Planner, you can enter one or multiple keywords and Google will tell you a rough estimate of how many searches there are a month, the competition, suggested bid (if you were running an Adwords campaign), and related keywords.

This provides insight as to how people are searching for products related to what you offer.

Let’s say you sell celebrity prayer candles, which I hope you do. Instead of using the keyword “celebrity prayer candles”, you can also try “celebrity candles” or even “funny prayer candles.”

adwords keyword planner

Although “celebrity prayer candles” may be your exact item there is an opportunity to take a top spot for “funny prayer candles” since no shops are currently optimized around it (see screenshot below).

Choosing keywords that have lower search volume, less competition, and are specifically related to your products may be better choices to pull in relevant traffic.

Slight variations in keywords can make all the difference, and having keywords at your disposal is great ammunition, whether you have an Etsy shop or a blog on a WordPress site. You need to know what people are looking for and how to reach them.

Make sure to keep a list of applicable keywords ready whenever you are creating a new product listing.

Optimize your Etsy shop for Etsy and Google… but also your customers

You’ve got those awesome keywords at your disposal. Now it’s time to use them!

The coolest thing keywords can do is show you how people are actually searching for your items. Instead of guessing in the dark, you can use terms that potential customers are using to find your products.

Optimizing both your shop and products are essential to being found on Google and to have people click through. Let’s return to our favorite prayer candle example.

celebrity prayer candles search

Above are the top two results for ‘celebrity prayer candles’. The first result has a meta description that is the proper length and tells you about the business, but the business name is cut off from the page title.

On the other hand, the second result has the business name in the page title (but before the keyword) and the meta description is loaded with too much information and is not succinct.

A page title should be max 65 characters and the meta description should be a maximum of 140 characters. Your page title/store title should quickly summarize what your business does and its name.

A better page title for the first Etsy store might be “Celebrity Prayer Candles | Granny’s Hope Chest”. This title is short, but lets you know what the store offers and what it’s called.

A great tool to preview what your shop title and announcement will look like is the Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool.

Optimize your Etsy product listings

If you’re trying to move specific product on Etsy then you need to optimize: 1. title description, 2. tags, 3. the first sentence of the product description, 4. categories and materials.

Google pulls this information to create what shows up in search engine result pages, so optimizing properly can help boost traffic on specific products.

The Etsy product title is what Google uses for your listing’s title tag, H1 tag, and image alt tag for each page so make it informative and keyword optimized.

etsy optimise product listings

Scott Taft does a great job of further explaining how your Etsy store translates on Google.

Let’s say you not only create celebrity prayer candles, but you really kick it up a notch and specifically create Steve Buscemi prayer candles.

Yes, there are an average of 30 searches a month for “Steve Buscemi Prayer Candle,” according to Google Keyword Planner. Since Buscemi prayer candles are a little more popular than you would imagine, optimizing your product listing for both Etsy and Google can make a big difference in separating your Steve candles from the rest of the celebrity candle pack.

steve buscemi prayer candle

Again, make sure your product title uses a keyword before your business name and is 65 characters or less.

In this case, if someone is looking for a Steve Buscemi prayer candle then chances are they have a pretty good sense of humor, so your product description should be written to draw a potential customer in with witty copy.

The meta description pulls the first sentence from your product description (as Scott Taft points out in the image below). Remember to make the sentence close to 120 characters and include the same keyword from your page title, if possible.

etsy meta description

Using the keyword ‘Steve Buscemi prayer candle’, I created a keyword-focused page title and meta description that is clear, concise, and may appeal to Buscemi fans. The page title/title description is 55 characters and the product/meta description is 116 characters.

Creating Etsy product titles/page titles and meta/product descriptions that are keyword focused, informative, and fun can help an artist stay visible on Google.

etsy meta descriprion on google

Implementing a keyword strategy may seem confusing and monotonous at first, but it will eventually become routine and is sure to yield results.

Understanding how people search for and see your shop and products is essential to performing well as the customized market grows. When it comes to SEO, try to think like a human first and a search engine second.

No matter what you’re selling, take a few minutes to think about how you would be searching for your product on a search engine and then use the tools and tips to create a strategy. A competitive space isn’t a bad thing when you understand your audience and how to reach them.

Maddie Silverstein is an SEO Analyst at DigitasLBi and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Maddie on Twitter: @maddigler.

Source: Search Engine Watch

    

17 inspirational examples of data visualization

By Graham Charlton

day

We can all collect masses of data, but it only becomes genuinely useful when we use it to make a clear point.

This is where data visualization comes in. Showing data in context and using creativity to make that same data tell a story can truly bring the numbers to life.

There are a whole bunch of data visualization tools out there to help create your own, but here are some existing examples for inspiration.

A day in the life of Americans

This excellent visualization from Flowing data uses information from the American Time Use Survey to show what Americans are up to at any time of day.

What streaming services pay artists

This from the wonderful information is beautiful website, looks at how the major online streaming music services compare in terms of paying the musicians.

Two centuries of US immigration

This fantastic visualization from metrocosm shows the various waves of immigration into the United States from the 19th century to the present day.

us immigration

US population trends over time

This gif from the Pew Research Center is a great example of how movement can be used to convey shifts and trends over time.

pew gif

Why you should take the bus

The German town of Münster produced this series of images back in 1991 to encourage bus use. It’s beautifully simple showing the relative impact of the same number of people (72) on bicycles, in cars, or on a bus.

munster

What happens in an internet minute?

This infographic from excelacom presents what happens online in 60 seconds, including:

  • 150 million emails are sent.
  • 1,389 Uber rides.
  • 527,760 photos shared on Snapchat.
  • 51,000 app downloads on Apple’s App Store.
  • $203,596 in sales on Amazon.com.

Excelacom_InternetMinute2016

US wind map

This moving visualization shows wind speed and direction in real time.

It looks great and is easy to understand, which is key to effect data visualization. This one comes from hint.fm.

wind map

Daily routines of creative people

I’ve always been pretty cynical about this ‘X things successful people do before breakfast’ stuff – as if by following this, people are suddenly going to become Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein.

However, this one from podio showing daily routines of creative people is very interesting. It won’t turn you into a great composer, but it’s a fascinating insight nonetheless.

routines

The impact of vaccines

This is a series of visualizations from the Wall Street Journal, which shows the impact of vaccines on various infectious diseases.

It’s striking stuff, which clearly demonstrates the incredible positive impact of vaccination programs in the US.

vaccine impact

London food hygeine

This is a great use of freely available data to provide useful information for the public.

london hygeine

The one million tweet map

This uses tweet data to present a geographical representation of where people tweet about topics. The example below is for ‘Brexit‘.

1m tweet map

The fallen of WW2

This, from Neil Halloran is a cross between data visualization and documentary.

ww2

There are two versions of this. The video version you can see embedded below, and an interactive version.

People living on earth

A simple but very effective visualization of the world’s population, and the speed at which it increases.

earth

The ultimate data dog

This, again from Information is Beautiful, uses data on the intelligence and other characteristics of dog breeds, plotting this against data on the popularity of various breeds from the American Kennel Club.

data dog

How much did band members contribute to each Beatles album?

This from Mike Moore, shows the relative writing percentage for each Beatles album, as well as the contribution over time.

The Beatles

A day on the London Underground

From Will Gallia, who used data from a single day’s use of the London underground to produce this timelapse visualization.

Fish Pharm

This is from way back in 2010, and illustrates the fact that antidepressants and other pharmaceuticals are now showing up in fish tissue.

fishpills

Source: Search Engine Watch

    

Method of making "JSON-LD" data less readable to human visitors

By Robert Sinclair

Is there a way to move the JSON-LD data from the body of the document to an external resource? To make it harder for competitors to scrape the site?

I saw a thread here Is it possible hiding/not making JSON-LD structured data visible easily to user? but it’s a little bit beyond me.

Thank you for your help

Source: Stack Overflow

    

Htaccess 301 redirect from one directory to its subdirectory and keeping the main directory url accesible

By EpicWeb Solutions

Hello guys i am trying to redirect all pages coming under
/directory/any-page
to
/directory/supplier/any-page/

and what to keep the directory url accessible as the directory url also contain content which i need to display and i used this htaccess code

RewriteRule ^/directory/(.*)$ /directory/supplier/$1 [L,R=301,NC]

but its not working

Source: Stack Overflow

    

Disable Back button in Digits

By Dab

enter image description here

While doing digits programming, i am using following method :

Digits.authenticate(authCallback,R.style.CustomDigitsTheme1);

which directs me to digits authentication screen(without showing my xml design file).

Now, when i press back button, it shows me my xml with digits auth button as below.

which i do not want.I tried conventional ways of disabling back buttons but they did not work. Is there any way i can disable back button on authentication???

Source: Stack Overflow