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50 Tips to Improve Your Website

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50 Tips to Improve Your Website

  1. 1. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE Kari Koshiol // Knight Errant, MN // School Newspapers Online
  2. 2. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE
  3. 3. 50 TIPS Publish often. Don’t be tied to print publication dates. The website should be used to communicate news immediately. Go online first. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 1
  4. 4. Consume online journalism. Pay attention to how you read it, what works and what doesn’t. Figure out how to emulate the models you like. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 2
  5. 5. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 2 Consume online journalism.
  6. 6. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 2 Consume online journalism.
  7. 7. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 2 Consume online journalism.
  8. 8. Plan for breaking news. Have a plan so your staff is ready to report immediately and add to coverage as time allows. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 3
  9. 9. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 3 Plan for breaking news. Kirkwood High School, Kirkwood, Mo. thekirkwoodcall.com
  10. 10. 50 TIPS Trim the categories. Only include those categories in your navigation bar or on your homepage to which you publish regularly. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 4
  11. 11. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 4 Trim the categories.
  12. 12. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 5 One category per story. Assign a story to just one category, either a parent or child. Stories should not show up in multiple places on the homepage.
  13. 13. 50 TIPS Include widgets that make sense. Content categories, polls, most popular stories, video/photo streams. Reconsider weather widgets — no one relies on your website for a weather report. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 6
  14. 14. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE Create a clear hierarchy on your homepage. Help your reader know what’s important. YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 7
  15. 15. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE Redesign your homepage for special events/reports. Understand why the viewer is coming to your site that day. YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 8
  16. 16. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE Redesign your homepage for special events/reports. YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 8 Benilde-St. Margaret’s School St. Louis Park, Minn. bsmknighterrant.com
  17. 17. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE Redesign your homepage for special events/reports. YOUR WEBSITE ORGANIZING THE HOME PAGE 8 Wenatchee High School Wenatchee, WA whsappleleaf.com
  18. 18. 50 TIPS DISPLAYING CONTENT
  19. 19. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT 9 Tabs or indents are not necessary. WordPress will insert space between paragraphs to indicate a break. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE
  20. 20. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT 9 YOUR WEBSITE Tabs or indents are not necessary.
  21. 21. ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Link related stories together. Use a related stories box, hyperlinks or chapters to provide backstory to the reader. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 10
  22. 22. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Link related stories together. YOUR WEBSITE 10
  23. 23. ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Use contextual linking within your stories. Direct the reader to explanatory pages, source documents or more information. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 11
  24. 24. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Use relative paths for all links within your site. This means just the part after the domain name and slash (start with the slash) www.yourdomain.com/news/majorstory TO IMPROVE /news/majorstory YOUR WEBSITE 12
  25. 25. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Use short links, not URLs. Even better, use relative short links. This makes it easy to find stories even if the headline or category change. www.yourdomain.com/?p=1234 TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE /?p=1234 13
  26. 26. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Your main image should be set as your Featured Image. This ensures an image will come up with the category widget and will be more likely to be seen on the homepage or category page. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 14
  27. 27. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Separate the writer’s name into a custom field. This helps with search and organizing the site because the byline won’t show up as the preview text. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 15
  28. 28. ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Use original images. (or at least Creative Commons images with appropriate “share” qualities) 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 16
  29. 29. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Add captions (and credits) to all photos. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 17
  30. 30. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Be an editor. Curate only the best images for a gallery or slideshow. Don’t add dozens of photos just because you can. Avoid poor quality or repetitive images. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 18
  31. 31. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Have a plan for tags, which allow readers to quickly search for related content. Use tags for recurring people and topics, and to cross-categorize. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE Tag clouds don’t help much. 19
  32. 32. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Have a plan for tags, which allow readers to quickly search for related content. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 19
  33. 33. 50 TIPS ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Humor and lighter content can bring readers to your site. Once they are there, have more substantial content for them to discover. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE 20
  34. 34. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT YOUR WEBSITE Embed Web elements for interactivity. https://www.thinglink.com/ http://infogr.am/ http://prezi.com/ http://www.easel.ly/ 21
  35. 35. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT YOUR WEBSITE Embed Web elements for interactivity. 21 Grosse Pointe North HS Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich. mygpn.com
  36. 36. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT YOUR WEBSITE Embed Web elements for interactivity. 21
  37. 37. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT YOUR WEBSITE Embed Web elements for interactivity. 21
  38. 38. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE ORGANIZING & DISPLAYING CONTENT Use text as needed. Videos and pictures can tell a full story. YOUR WEBSITE 22
  39. 39. 50 TIPS UNPUBLISHED CONTENT
  40. 40. 50 TIPS Use Preview Changes button. Avoid awkward characters and formatting. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE MANAGING UNPUBLISHED CONTENT 23
  41. 41. Resize your photos before uploading and use Photoshop’s Save for Web option. This guarantees faster load times because only the essential information is stored. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE MANAGING UNPUBLISHED CONTENT 24
  42. 42. 50 TIPS DESIGN PRACTICES
  43. 43. 50 TIPS Select a color scheme that evokes your school but doesn’t necessarily match it. Colors for sports uniforms don’t always look good online. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES 25
  44. 44. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES Select a good color scheme. 25 Community HS, Ann Arbor, Mich. www.chscommunicator.com Peninsula HS, Gig Harbor, Wash. www.phsoutlook.com
  45. 45. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES Select a good color scheme. 25 Lewisville (Texas) HS www.farhar.net Manchester (Ct.) HS www.mhsredline.com
  46. 46. 50 TIPS Keep photos in color. The Web has all colors, so don’t use black and white photos. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES 26
  47. 47. 50 TIPS Use horizontal photos. Vertical images are not as Web-friendly as horizontal images in most themes. Vertical or square images might be awkwardly cropped. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES 27
  48. 48. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES Use horizontal photos. 27
  49. 49. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES Use horizontal photos. 27 Lots of empty space from an irregular photo size.
  50. 50. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES Use horizontal photos. 27 Face is cropped from photo.
  51. 51. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES Design applies to the home page and the story page. Consider “the look” of each story. Don’t just use the default template. 28
  52. 52. 50 TIPS Use other material B-roll, pics, pull quotes, ads, related links can help keep the reader’s attention on the story page. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES 29
  53. 53. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES Design a favicon. Find instructions online to create a 16x16 pixel icon to insert into your header code. 30
  54. 54. 50 TIPS Go wild! Design a bullet point image. You can add code to use an image or character. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE DESIGN PRACTICES 31
  55. 55. 50 TIPS TECHNICAL TIPS
  56. 56. 50 TIPS Prevent your site from being hacked by performing updates to WordPress, theme and plugins. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE TECHNICAL TIPS 32
  57. 57. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE Use plugins sparingly Plugins can slow the speed at which the site loads. YOUR WEBSITE TECHNICAL TIPS 33
  58. 58. 50 TIPS Use the iframe embed code (not plugins) for YouTube, Vimeo, Issuu. If the plugin is deactivated, the rest of your site will not be affected. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE TECHNICAL TIPS 34
  59. 59. 50 TIPS Use responsive design Sites will be viewed on multiple devices. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE TECHNICAL TIPS 35
  60. 60. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE TECHNICAL TIPS Use responsive design. 35
  61. 61. 50 TIPS STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT
  62. 62. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE Break up the workload. Have staff reporters initiate story in draft status with text, headline, pulled quote, links. YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 36
  63. 63. 50 TIPS Have a key student responsible for the website with a title and position equivalent to managing editor or editor in chief. There are multiple configurations, but the website should not be an afterthought or a clerical position. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 37
  64. 64. 50 TIPS Develop a social media editor position. Have that person be an expert in social media. Teach the other staff members. Develop and implement policies. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 38
  65. 65. 50 TIPS Use Google Analytics to learn about your audience. Who’s visiting? When? What did they look at? For how long? TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 39
  66. 66. 50 TIPS Use Google Analytics to learn about your audience. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 39 Infrequent posting then content dump.
  67. 67. 50 TIPS Use Google Analytics to learn about your audience. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 39 Steady weekday traffic
  68. 68. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT Develop and implement a comments policy. 40 Sample Comments Policy {insert publication name} intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. {insert publication name} does not allow anonymous comments, and {insert publication name} requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
  69. 69. 50 TIPS Push your staff. Write more. Gain followers. Try new things. Set goals based on analytics. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 41
  70. 70. 50 TIPS Accept local advertisements to create revenue. Combine with print for a package. Use analytics to pitch to certain advertisers. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 42
  71. 71. 50 TIPS Install an AdSense widget on your site to create revenue. This will serve ads to users based on their browser history, and you can limit to broad categories. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE STAFF & CLASS MANAGEMENT 43
  72. 72. 50 TIPS PROMOTIONS
  73. 73. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE Use the same social media as your audience. Follow all students, teachers and coaches. Use as a source for promotion via sharing. Use as a source for potential news and story ideas. YOUR WEBSITE PROMOTIONS 44
  74. 74. Use your Twitter feed to tease to your website. You don’t need your feed on the site unless it is sharing news that is not on your site. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE PROMOTIONS 45
  75. 75. 50 TIPS Consider having more than one Twitter feed that brings new news to the site. A sports account for live tweets at sporting events helps for those who might be interested (while not annoying those who aren’t). TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE PROMOTIONS 46
  76. 76. 50 TIPS QR codes and apps like Aurasma can link print material to the Web — and drive traffic. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE PROMOTIONS 47
  77. 77. 50 TIPS Post your links on Google Plus to increase prominence of your stories in the search results. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE PROMOTIONS 48
  78. 78. 50 TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE PROMOTIONS Send original Tweets and Facebook posts to create traffic. Have a personality, not an auto-feed. 49
  79. 79. 50 TIPS Broaden your audience beyond students and parents. Use Reddit or other social media to share and discuss articles. TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE PROMOTIONS 50
  80. 80. QUESTIONS? FIRE AWAY. Kari Koshiol kari@snosites.com http://www.slideshare.net/snosites/50-tips-to-improve-your-website

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