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October Tips and Pointers

Hop Studios just got back from the 13th annual Online News Association conference in San Francisco, a wonderful and well-attended event where we learned several new tips, tools, and pieces of information that might help you gain traffic, or improve your site’s functionality.  We sent these out in our newsletter, too—here’s a signup form if you’d like to not miss our next one.


Well, why dawdle? Let’s jump in.

REPOST-US

Repost.us is a service that makes it easy for people to come to an article on your site, copy a little bit of code, and put that article on their own site.

When they re-use your article, you’ll be able to get information about how many times the article is read there, and you’ll be able to put ads into the articles, too. You can also update the article on your own site and have that update reflected on the outside sites. No more out-of-date information!

If you’ve been looking for a way to let your content be shared without losing control of it, this seems like a great, easy-to-implement system.

RESPONSIVE DESIGN and MOBILE SITES

“Don’t build an app based on your website. Build the app that acts as if websites never existed in the first place. Build the app for the person who has never used a desktop computer.” - MG SIEGLER

The buzz of the convention was defeinitely about mobile versions of sites, app development, and responsive design. It’s 2012, and you now need a strategy to deal with the people who visit your website from a mobile device.

There are three methods, each with its own pros and cons:

  • build one website that adjusts its display depending on the size of the screen of the user (this is called responsive design)
  • build two versions of your site: one that displays specifically to people visiting with mobile devices
  • create an app specifically for the iPhone and/or for Android phones

Which one is right for you? Give us a ring, we’ll figure it out.

BOUNCE RATES

You may be worried that people come to your site, look at a single page, and then leave. This is called “bouncing” and if your bounce rate is really high, you’re getting some low-value traffic, but you’re not giving these visitors a reason to stick around, and you’re not conbverting them to return visitors.

Some things you can try to do for these visitors:

  • get them to sign up for an email newsletter
  • show them more content that’s directly related to the page they arrived on
  • encourage them to share the page they just visited in a more blatant way than you do for your regular site readers

If you’re interested in lowering your bounce rate, contact us for some specific ideas and an estimate of much work this would be for your site.

NEWS-KEYWORDS

Google has introduced a new set of keywords for people listed in Google News: the news-keywords tag. You can read about it here.

If you are listed in Google News, you should definitely be including this tag in all your articles.

CHARTBEAT

This was another great demo at ONA. If you want to know on a moment-to-moment basis what parts of your site are popular, which pages are trending upwards, and which are fading fast, there’s a cool tool called ChartBeat that might be for you. It really helps you respond instantly to the things that are capturing attention at that instant.

You can sign up for a free demo and decide if it helps you make instant decisions to improve your content’s positioning.

EXPRESSIONENGINE

This isn’t news from the conference, but it’s a good service announcement for you nevertheless.

There are two new versions of ExpressionEngine out: 1.7.3 and 2.5.3. If you are on EE version 1.7.1 or 2.5.2, you can probably skip this upgrade, but if you have any earlier version, there are several important reasons to upgrade, including minor security issues.

Look in your control panel’s footer, and let us know if you want to upgrade.

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