My tip this week: enjoy the spring weather but remember to be on the look-out for possible allergen effects on your pets!
Romeos Tip of the Week: Think of small ways you can improve the environment around you….and let me know some of your ideas so we can share them with everyone. Together we CAN make a difference
Romeo’s Tip of the Week: Consider all the options and factors before adopting a dog/cat, and it will make the experience that much “sweeter.”
- First of all, do you own your home? If not, check your lease for rules on owning pets.
- How large is your home/apt.? This will help determine breed size.
- Do you work long hours away from home? Some breeds do well home alone for extended amounts of time but others do not.
- Do you have children, and what are their ages? Some breeds do not adapt well to young children.
- Do you have a yard for outside exercise or have an area for walking your dog? This is an important detail…if you are living in an apt. on the 3rd floor, are you going to tire from taking your dog up/down 3 flights of stairs multiple times a day?
- Can you afford health care? There are ways to keep costs low, but your dog does need occasional vet checks and immunizations and preventative meds for heartworm disease and flea control. Keep in mind that the larger the breed the more all of this will cost.
- The same holds true for food/treats, collars, grooming, supplies etc.
- Which brings to mind, grooming! Some breeds require very little grooming while others require a lot of time and sometimes professional grooming.
- Training: some dogs train easily, but others will require a lot of time and patience on your part. In the end it will be worth all that time but make sure you are prepared to give it.
Romeos Tip of the Week; Take a look at your pet’s health record for any needed updating and enjoy your pet with some playtime or a walk or just cuddling on the couch….we love it all!
Romeos Tip of the Week: Don’t take friendship for granted. Maybe give it a little extra nurturing this week!
Staff, Little Black Dog Social Media and More
We all know reading from a computer screen is different from reading text printed on paper. It is more tiring for our eyes. As screens become smaller and smaller, it becomes more difficult and more tiring for our eyes. Further, the explosion of digital content makes it impossible for anyone to read everything published on a topic of interest. We have lost, as well, the quality assessments of publishers to help us determine what is and is not worth our time. As a result, few people (about 16 percent, in fact) actually read web content. Yet, there are things we can do to help people decide to read our content.
Most people have a selection process
Most of us have developed a process for deciding what is and is not worth our time. There are ways of scanning content to identify key information. For many, the process looks something like this:
- What website published the content?
- Do I know the writer?
- Does the writer consistently produce trustworthy and high quality content?
- Does the title indicate a topic that interests me?
- Does the first paragraph promise information I want or need?
- What do the headers and sub-headers tell me about the content?
- Does a featured image attracting attention fit the content?
Your process for deciding what to read and what to skip might be very different. Regardless of our process, however, there are key elements of content production and layout that make it easier for us to decide to read something.
Producing Scannable Web Content
By making it easy for readers to scan your blog posts, articles, web pages, social media posts, etc., you can help them decide to read the entire piece of content. Here are 10 things you can do to make web content scannable:
- Include an appropriate keyword in the title.
- Use a title that reflects the point of the content – cute might get attention, but it might not encourage viewers to read the entire item.
- Highlight key words and concepts.
- Use bulleted or numbered lists where possible and appropriate.
- Use accent text boxes or call-outs where possible (this is not possible with all websites or with all software options or social platforms).
- Use appropriate and descriptive headers and sub-headers throughout the content. This enables scanners to gain a sense of the development or argument of the item.
- Keep each paragraph focused on a single idea.
- Keep paragraphs to a maximum length of 6 lines whenever possible.
- Don’t be afraid to use different font sizes or colors to call attention to key points. Underlining and italics should be used in the same way.
- Use charts and diagrams where possible to illustrate key points.
- Choose a meaningful featured image that attracts the reader’s attention and points them to related content.
We know that only about one in fifteen people who discover a piece of content will actually read the entire piece. It is up to us to present content in a way that demands attention and demonstrates that it is worth the time and attention of a busy prospect. Try some of the ten things listed above to make your content scannable. We don’t suggest using all ten in a single piece of content. If people can find the points you are trying to make they are more likely to read the arguments.
If you need help producing content or making your content scannable, please give us a call (540-772-1724) or email us. We produce content every day for a wide range of subjects and a range of platforms, contexts, and formats.
Romeos Tip of the Week: Start planning for your spring activities so that you may enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer.
By Vickie Pittard, Partner
Little Black Dog Social Media and More
Is your online presence optimized for device-juggling customers? According to recent research, a majority of people use at least two devices to access digital content during the typical day. A surprising number of them indicate use of three or more devices on a typical day. What is more, most of the people who report using multiple devices also report that they often begin shopping or research on one device and complete it on another. But what (if anything) does this imply for your marketing strategy?
This pattern means that you should be optimizing your website, social media profiles, blog, etc. for this kind of research and shopping activity. Your first thought might be that you are already “optimizing” your website six ways from Sunday. You might also wonder how many ways you can optimize your site without creating optimization conflicts. Optimizing for device-juggling should not be at odds with other ways you might be optimizing your website.
According to findings of a recent study commissioned by Facebook and conducted by research firm GfK:
- Almost two-thirds (63%) of people use two or more devices in the course of a day
- 21% use three or more devices during a day
- The more devices a person owns, the more they juggle them to complete various tasks, often switching between devices mid-activity.
- Overall, 40% of people switch devices part-way through a task.
- Over half (54%) of those who own two devices switch midway between tasks, perhaps beginning to read an article on their smartphone but moving to read it on a tablet.
- Switching is even more common among those with three or more devices – rising to 73%.
According to Facebook’s blog post about the research, “Most often, people start on a smartphone, then move to the bigger screen for reasons including the ease of typing on a larger device. Comfort and convenience are the main reasons people switch devices mid-activity, but the urgency of the task, the length of time involved, security and privacy concerns, and the level of detail required are other important considerations. And while switching devices can happen at work, in cafes and everywhere in between, it occurs most often at home in front of the TV, when all devices are within easy reach.”
Unless you have completely missed the mobile revolution, your website already should be optimized for mobile – either with a discrete mobile site or by utilizing responsive design. The first step in optimization for device-jugglers is to ensure a consistent user experience across devices. Obviously, you want visitors to your business or personal website to have access to the same images and content. Further, you want the full functionality of your website (no matter how simple or complex) available to users on all devices.
If your website uses responsive design, a seamless transition in user experience should be in place. If, however, you are using separate mobile and desktop/laptop websites, you must ensure consistency of experience, visual impact and content readability in both contexts. Further, navigation of the site must also be consistent and comfortable. This requires consistent site structure and navigation bars on all devices. The specific unique need of device-juggling users is relative ease of returning to where they left off when they changed devices. It is very frustrating to find oneself navigating blindly and trying to return to an article, blog post, page, or form to complete a purchase.
Some recent research has illuminated the different ways people use different devices when shopping, researching, etc. As additional data makes these insights more reliable, you might find that you can provide unique yet consistent experiences for each device. The Facebook study, for example, found that “In general the smartphone is considered the go-to device; 76% of adults who own one use it while they are out and about. It is always present and used most commonly for communication and social activity. The tablet is viewed as the entertainment hub and is often used at home, where 43% of tablets are shared with others. The laptop or desktop is the workhorse — 80% of online adults that own one use it at home, and it tends to be dedicated to important tasks like work or managing finances.”
It is interesting to note that in December 2013, MarketingCharts reported findings about tablet use as a replacement for desktop and laptop computers. The study found that “Tablets are often discussed as a potential replacement for PCs, and a new survey[download page] from Adroit Digital finds that 55% of respondents who own both devices would consider purchasing a tablet as a replacement for their personal laptop or desktop. The study takes a look at some key activities that are being shifted from computers to tablets, finding that half of respondents said they’re now using their tablets instead of their computers to look up product information as well as research products and services.”
The bottom line is this: as you optimize for SEO and for social sharing, and all the other things, remember to optimize for the device-juggling customer. At the very least, your website and any versions you might have must be optimized for mobile devices and must provide a consistent user experience across all devices, as well as a clear navigation path back to where the user left off when s/he switched devices.
You can embrace the device-juggling website user. Making the transitions easy and seamless will win appreciation at the very least. It might increase the average sale amount and the loyalty of your customers. If you need help with creating a website that is welcoming to all types of devices, call us (540-772-1724). We can help you succeed.