WordPress helps techno-incompetent redesign our site

Stewart hard at workAs part of International Bring Your Luddite To Work Day we allowed our Content Marketing Director, Stewart Kirkpatrick, to redesign our site. 

Now, the boy can do words, pictures and what users like but, to be frank, couldn’t code his way out of a paper bag. In fact, getting him to make a cup of tea involves a map, a torch and painstaking discussions on the essential nature of the word “kettle”.

It does sound a bit of a risk entrusting the care of our corporate site to somebody challenged by the technical problems of turning on a light switch. But we had a secret weapon: WordPress.

WordPress is the free, open source, Web 2.0 content management system. It is so simple to use that if you can handle Microsoft Word documents (or not in the case of Stewart) then you can make WordPress work for you.

As well as offering simpicity it can also be as complex as you need. And this is where the rest of us weighed in with our technical expertise. This site uses a heavily customised version of the Atahualpa theme. To make it as sophisticated as we wanted it to be we’ve given it a cocktail of plugins that we have found to be particularly effective – though some  needed a tweak or two.  These range from SEO to mobile versions to video display and beyond.

As for how the new site looks, it’s less Stalinist than the previous version but remains true to web guru Clay Shriky’s dictum: “behaviour first, design second”.

w00tonomy is one year old

Happy birthday to us. Happy birthday to us. Happy birthday, dear agency with the slightly peculiar name.

Yes indeed. w00tonomy is one year old. (Though, strictly speaking, as it was formed on 29 February its next birthday is not until 2012.)

It has been a very successful 12 months for us. We have won clients from the Scottish public sector and from the personal finance, IT and media sectors in the UK and abroad. And we have made it onto the Scottish Government’s digital roster.

Our clients have been attracted by our ability to make the web work for them – whether it be through social networking, improved content, strategic consultancy, analysis or web redesigns.

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.

w00tonomy makes Scottish Government digital marketing roster

We are delighted to announce that, in conjunction with our consortium partners The Union and Conscia, that w00tonomy has been selected for the Scottish Government’s digital marketing services framework.

This is a major achievement for a young agency and we are delighted. Along with our consortium partners, we look forward to providing the Scottish Government and other bodies using the roster with our services:

Turbocharge content to optimise appeal to online customers.

Creating messages that interest customers rather than messages they ignore.

We make online spend work harder. We deliver higher returns on online investment through the use of targeted, quality content to build a lasting relationship with your target audience.

If you’d like to know more, please contact us.

w00tonomy teams up with leading newspaper design agency

w00tonomy has formed an alliance with Palmer Watson, one of the world’s leading newspaper design agencies.

Our expertise in online content will help them move into the field of newspaper websites while their knowledge of how design can maximise the appeal of words and pictures adds to our offering to our clients.

Here’s some highlights from the press release about this:

Having been at the forefront of newspaper design throughout Europe and beyond for the past 10 years, Palmer Watson has for some time been exploring options to widen its operations as the newspaper industry moves towards an increasingly digital future.

The new partnership will allow Palmer Watson to combine its renowned design, content and branding experience with the digital expertise of w00tonomy.

Like Palmer Watson, w00tonomy is small but vastly experienced team, with crucial expertise in the field of optimising the appeal of online content.

w00tnomy’s content marketing director, Stewart Kirkpatrick, who succeeded Palmer Watson director Terry Watson as head of content at scotsman.com in the late 1990s, helped make the site a multi award-winning publication which was one of the top 30 Google news search sites in the world. (He left when the newspaper was sold and scotsman.com reverted to a standard newspaper website.) Kirkpatrick was named by the UK Press Gazette as one of the 50 people shaping online journalism worldwide and is a member of the international committee of the Online News Association.

Along with fellow directors Tony Purcell (a web development pioneer) and Dr Graham Jones (an online communications expert), w00tonomy, in conjunction withPalmer Watson’s multi award-winning newspaper track record, aim to offer newspapers a wider consulting service that will help publishers to maximise the opportunities of the digital crossover, and enhance their online and mobile offering.

Several of Palmer Watson’s projects have resulted in the newspapers being named “World’s Best Designed” in the prestigious Society for News Design competition, the most recent being the Danish broadsheet, Politiken, in 2007. 

Founding directors Ally Palmer and Terry Watson began working together in the 1990s in Scottish newspapers and were instrumental in The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday being recognised worldwide as among the industry’s best. Since forming Palmer Watson, the agency has worked with around 40 publishers – including such iconic newspaper titles as Le Monde and El Pais – across Europe and Scandinavia, and in South America, Russia and Africa. It is currently involved in projects in India, South Africa and the UK.

The combined team will be able to provide to publishers and editors practical, relevant and hands-on expertise encompassing all aspects of how newspapers should be approaching the digital era:  technical, content, revenue, traffic, strategy and design.

The focus of the Palmer Watson and w00tonomy partnership will be on:

  • enhancing the newspaper website user experience
  • creating dynamic content that will boost online traffic
  • maximising traffic
  • optimising online revenue opportunities
  • growing online communities
  • building the ideal combined online/offline user/reader package
  • assisting with newsroom integration and content management

Google uses comic to explain its new browser

The maybe-maybe-not-evil empire Google has unveiled its latest tool in its endless quest for world domination: a web browser.

Quite why it feels the need to compete with Internet Explorer (boo) and Firefox (yay) is the subject of some conjecture. It claims that the new browser, called Chrome, will be lighter, quicker and more able to deal with the modern web. But a particularly insightful comment on Slashdot sees other motives:

AKAImBatman: I imagine the first question on everyone’s mind will be, “Why do we need a new web browser?” To which I imagine the truthful answer is: “We don’t. At least not for technical reasons.”

I believe what Google is looking to accomplish is to trade on their brand name in an attempt to further dislodge Internet Explorer.

It will be Netscape vs. Internet Explorer all over again. Except that instead of two giants fighting it out, it will be Microsoft against everyone else. And when everyone else happens to be giants in their own right, Microsoft’s prospects will start looking rather grim.

Regardless of the whys and wherefores and whiters of Chrome, we are impressed by the way Google has explained its features. It did not choose a dull technical manual, a soulless corporate goobledigook press release or a dry FAQ. It uses a comic.

Usability, people. It’s why they’re the best at what they do. And it’s what we can bring to your online communications.

w00tonomy Content Marketing cast No.2 – what we do

One of the things about this content marketing business is that while clients very quickly get the core principle of “make your message interesting” they often need help to see how it can help them in the nitty gritty here and now. To help, we’ve created this audio podcast to explain what all that theory means for you in practice.