Posts Tagged ‘rss’

Portrait of a Website Superstar: The Blog

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I’m in the middle of researching a massive project now where most people I’ve interviewed say something to this effect: “Rather than go through the hassle of updating the website, we’ve just let it go.”

What a waste! To have a website that people are actually visiting (even if there aren’t many), and that can be actually working for you is a waste of time, space and even reputation. Sure, websites take dedication and work to update, but it shouldn’t be so hard to work with that you simply let it go.

Solution: the blog.

Blogs are workhorses. Your website can be fairly static, but if you have a blog, it instantly becomes dynamic. They constantly pump new information into your site, and provide a way for you to disseminate important information to your audience. If they’re using RSS feeds, they don’t even need to remember to go to your site. Turn on comments, and you can have a discussion with the people who visit.

What to write about?

  • Project updates
  • New grants
  • The people around your office
  • Useful information for your clients
  • Trends in your field

Anything that shows your funders, investors or prospects that you know what you’re doing.

If you make one addition to your website, make it a blog. And the pledge to work on it at least once a week. It’ll do wonders for making your site relevant.

What the Heck Does RSS Mean?

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

I wish the acronym “RSS” had never been invented. It’s confusing, hard to describe and something everyone wants to understand. I much prefer the term “news feed” for this technology that helps you get blog and podcast updates on your computer.

Nevertheless, I was glad to see that Unclutterer wrote up a handy primer on the term. It’s still a bit jargon (they use the term “content” a little too freely. Think of “content” as the stuff on your website, such as articles and listings), but still helpful.

Read and enjoy: RSS feeds: A primer

Now, sign up for the RSS feeds on the Friendly Web Tools blog.

Top Five Jargon Terms

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Wood Scrabble Tiles

I like to think I'm fluent in English, being born and raised in America and all. But sometimes I feel like I'm learning a new language: technospeak. Every industry is rich with its own jargon, but because so many people use the Internet, the technology industry's jargon frustratingly works its way into common speak (remember when we all laughed about the word "blog"?). You don't need to know what all this terminology means (like undercooked spaghetti not all of it will stick), but here are what I consider the top five most important tech terms that are worth learning.

  1. SEO (search engine optimization): “… the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via … search results. Usually, the earlier a site is presented in the search results, or the higher it 'ranks,' the more searchers will visit that site." From Wikipedia. See blog postings on SEO.
  2. Open source: “… a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process.” From the Open Source Initiative. Software code that is created under open source guidelines (such as Drupal – our CMS of choice) is open to anybody to use without licensing restrictions.
  3. RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication or RDF Site Summary, depending on who you ask): “… a format used to publish frequently updated works – such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video. An RSS document (which is called a 'feed', 'web feed', or 'channel') includes full or summarized text … [that] benefit publishers by letting them syndicate content automatically. They benefit readers who want to subscribe to timely updates from favored websites or to aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an 'RSS reader', 'feed reader', or 'aggregator', which can be web-based or desktop-based.” From Wikipedia. Here's the Friendly Web Tools Blog RSS feed and instructions on how to use it.
  4. Microblogging: “… the practice of sending brief posts to a personal blog on a Web site, such as Twitter or Jaiku. Microposts can be made public on a Web site and/or distributed to a private group of subscribers. Subscribers can read posts online or request that updates be delivered in real time to their desktop as an instant message or sent to a mobile device as an SMS text message.” From Follow Talance on Twitter.
  5. Social network fatigue: “The ennui induced by persistent solicitations to join new social networks. It is especially acute in those who are already members of more MySpaces than they can remember." From Wired.

Choose Your (Tech) Weapon

Thursday, July 17th, 2008

We’ve been invited by a client that serves synagogues to put together a series of quick-hit webinars based on common problems their constituency has with technology. We’re still not sure which will be the most welcomed by the community, so I wanted to open up to you for your vote. In exchange, we’ll host a presentation on the same topic for no charge. You can post your thoughts by clicking the comments link here or by contacting me directly.

Which would you rather learn?

  • Put your first video on YouTube
  • Create your first podcast
  • Start your first blog
  • Understand search engine optimization
  • Create a Facebook group/cause
  • Put photos on Flickr
  • Understanding RSS
  • Effective e-mailing

Thanks for your vote!