Blogging tools and the future of your organisation’s website

At w00tonomy, we’re fascinated by the endless possibilities of blogging tools.  While we are able to carry out all singing, all dancing Rolls-Royce-and-caviar redesigns, we think they’re not right for all organisations.

In fact many would be better off building their websites on cost-effective open source blogging tools like WordPress rather than spending tens of thousands of pounds on bespoke solutions. There is nothing particularly radical in this. The sites of both No 10 Downing Street and the Wales Office were built on WordPress.

WordPress is easy to use, flexible and comes with an awe-inspiring array of plugins that will keep your site ahead of the curve. The plugins are simple to install and, among many other things, allow you to optimise your site for search engines, link up all your social networking activity and boost traffic. Also, a WordPress site does not need to look like a blog. It can have a professional design and all the functionality that makes it so powerful.

This site is built on WordPress (though this is supposed to look like a blog) and we are performing a WordPress migration for a client at the moment.

But it’s not just about saving money. Clients who go down this route can spend their money on making their messages more interesting to their target audiences – thus making that spend work harder. 

Our bearded Content Marketing Director, Stewart Kirkpatrick, was recently quoted in a Sunday Herald piece about blogging journalists on the importance of content in making a site work:

 “Attracting an audience is not so easy. You need to make sure the content is frequently updated, that you’re saying something unique and reaching out to [others].”

(Stewart also recently wrote a piece for journalism.co.uk on the plight of Scotland’s papers and the need for them to improve their content and websites.)

w00tonomy on the telly

Stewart Kirkpatrick on BBC Scotland's 'Politics Show'

w00tonomy’s Content Marketing Director has continued his relentless self-promotion with an appearance on BBC Scotland’s ‘Politics Show’.

He was talking about the future of Scotland’s indigenous newspapers. 

Unsurprisingly, the former editor of scotsman.com (when it was good) emphasised the importance of targeting quality content at key audiences who would find it of value.

As well as taking part in a live panel discussion, he was interviewed while attending the Scottish Government’s recent summit on newspapers.

In that vein, he was also quoted in the Sunday Herald on the recent change of editors at The Scotsman.

What’s a widget?

Web 2.0 is a dizzying whirl of buzzwords, abstract concepts and downright obfuscation.

In 2008, one particular word came to prominence that people flung around with great seriousness and clearly no idea what the damn thing meant.

That word is “widget”.

First and foremost, in this context, widgets have nothing to do with beer cans, though the internet would be a better place if they did.

Nor, despite all appearances, is “widget” a word you throw in there when you don’t really know what a thing is.

So, what is a widget exactly? Well, Wikipedia describes it “a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate HTML-based web page by an end user without requiring additional compilation”. This explanation leads us to the question: what is a widget exactly?

It’s a box.

Now, the guardians of the arcane knowledge of the interwebs won’t like us putting like that but it’s true.

It’s a box (or rectangle or whatever) for putting content in. Or a game. Or another bit of software. Think of it as a  window on another bit of the web.

That box can appear on your Facebook page (along with all that “pirate” nonsense) or on your blog or webpage. It’s a simple way of easily adding something extra to your online presence without having to write any code.

It can also be a way of getting your content onto somebody else’s website or Facebook page. If you build a widget to display your content or message – and if that widget is useful or interesting – then people will recommend and spread it for you.

With the rise of social networking, people are increasingly getting their content this way, rather than through the more traditional routes. If you have an online message then you need widgets to get that message to certain demographics.

It is important for content providers (and that includes advertising and marketing) to be aware that, because of things like widgets, content lives on its own.

Thanks to widgets, your content can be spread far and wide without anyone needing to visit your site.

Content marketing watch – Googles new SearchWiki

Content Marketing Watch is our weekly opinoin piece on the latest industry news; covering the areas of content marketing such as analytics, online marketing, content optimisation, search engine marketing and digital marketing.

We don’t know if people have truly realised the full implications of the latest development from Google Labs, SearchWiki.

Away the from the techincal detail the bottom line is that this new feature provides customers with an additional way to switch off the messages they don’t want to receive and to rate your content.

It adds to our case that your SEO strategy should not focus on just achieving a high ranking for your key search terms. With Searchwiki if the content isn’t relevant your page could be removed or worse negative user generated comments could adversely affect your brand. Where does that leave you. You have to drive your online marketing strategy from the principle of providing content that delivers value to your customer, which is Content Marketing.

In more detail, the new search feature allows you to customise your search results when you are logged into your Google account. You can promote a search result so that the next time you do the same search it appears where you can find it easier. It also lets you add notes and see the notes other people have added for your search results. You can find out more by watching the video below.

Content marketing cast – interview with Gavin Venters of SHOW

Gavin Venters heads up Scottish Health on the Web and is one of the early pioneers of the Internet within the NHS in Scotland. Gavin shares his vision of the online health in the future and discusses current innovative practice within the NHS.

This interview was conducted over Skype as you can tell from my telephone voice.

Keep a look out in the New Year out for the patient video interviews mentioned by Gavin.

Chris Dempsey – content marketing cast

In this content marketing cast we talk to Chris Dempsey Head of Communications and Customer Services at Registers of Scotland about his work at RoS, the common misunderstandings about what RoS do and the challenges facing the marketing and internet agencies in Scotland. You can also watch the interview at w00tonomyTV.

Transcript of w00tonomy Content Marketing cast – final part

Each day this week we are publishing one of the questions and answers from the Content Marketing cast interview with Mark Gorman. At the end of the week we will provide all the question and answers in the form of a w00tonomy e-book. Hope you enjoy!

Stewart: Looking beyond Scotland to where perhaps the online market is more mature……What are the innovations that you are excited about online at the moment?

Mark: Well, there is a new innovation every day, isn’t there! Some of which are completely meaningless, completely useless and are just a fashion items. We saw big excitement amongst my circle of friends last year about the rise of Facebook as it moved out of the student generation into a wider group but already the talk is Facebook……well that was so 2007. So, I think that the danger is that there is a lot of bandwagon jumping going on, and that the bandwagons people are jumping on don’t necessarily have any strong marketing role in the mix…they’re just a bit of fun. Really, the industry…the digital communications marketplace needs to settle down a little bit I think and find real strong communications tools, vehicles and sites coming through.

Stewart: If you had to pick an online property or innovation you felt was going to last, that was of use…What would it be?

Mark: Well having just dissed Facebook, I think that there is potentially, the applications that work with Facebook, once you get rid of the killing Zombies type applications and look at the social networking opportunities that lie there…may well give it a great deal of resonance. But there is some fairly fundamental biggies out there. I have been reading recently about a thing called “The Grid”…that says…this is a thing coming out of Cern in Switzerland where the worldwide web was invented…and says that this will give instant access to the internet and is a new form of internet. I don’t know enough about it but it does sound very interesting and it does for me touch on a pretty major issue which I am starting to see…and I think that part of it is down to the impact that BBC iPlayer has had. iPlayer, great idea but it sucks up bandwidth. From personal experience it looks to me like there is major contention issues coming through even on 8MB width that you are getting from your local BT server…whatever. If that is true and that starts to grow, it’s going to really frustrate people about the opportunities that the web brings and it’s going to drive people away because we all remember what is was like using a 56k modem…which just didn’t work. So that I think is an issue.

Stewart: …and finally…if you could ‘kill’ any website, which website would you ‘kill’?

Mark: Msn!

Stewart:Good man…..Mark Gorman, thank you very much.