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January 8, 2021

Mercury Rx shadow period? Ugh. Try as I might, the Meeting had no available option to record. Turns out: a duplicate appointment in Google Calendar that uses the same Meet address… will not record! A least that is my prevailing theory. I think I have it fixed.

Recap & Topics Covered:

Open Links in New Tab/Window vs Not

Never assume that someone uses the internet the same way you do. It’s hard! Especially once you start to implement your usage style into the website you are creating. I struggle with it to. But. When it comes to making all your links “open in new tab/window” it’s something you need to leave to the person using your website to decide to do.

Folks that like to open links in new tabs (me, often), will do so. If your website automatically does it, it breaks the user experience for that person. Likewise, if someone hates opening things in new tabs or new window and you do it for them, it can frustrate them by breaking their expected user experience and they could ultimately leave your website… exactly the opposite intent for opening links in new tabs or windows.

If you want to open a link in a new window or tab, for example if taking someone to a completely new website…. Tell them. Hey, this link opens in a new window. You can do this with plain text. CSS. A glyph. Etc. Be nice and tell folks what to expect.

See more information: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/G201.html (opens in new tab)

Read Times 

On the flip side of be nice and tell folks what to expect:

What takes you 5 minutes to read could take me 15, so arbitrarily stating “This post takes 5 minutes to read.” could elate some users and frustrate others. It could deter folks that only have 4 minutes and could attract folks that have 6. Ultimately, it comes down to understanding your audience and the goal of the post. I prefer not to put timing on posts because I can collect that data elsewhere through analytics and eye tracking. If your long ass posts have an extremely high bounce rate… they’re too long for the people generally reading them. You need to know your audience.

For more than just my opinion, check out a few articles on the subject. When in doubt: do what you want and measure the results. The data will eventually tell you what actually works.

A “yes, but” article
https://marketingland.com/estimated-reading-times-increase-engagement-79830

A site that tracked their own metrics for it:
https://getbutterfly.com/estimated-reading-time-in-web-design/

What the hell is the actual optimal content length?
https://torquemag.io/2018/04/optimal-content-length/

Full Blog Post vs Excerpt

Showing excerpts vs the full post on your blogroll page. Say it with me? It depends!

It depends on what you’re writing and your audience, and your theme. If it’s a short snippet, I would say you don’t need an excerpt. If it is a full blog post, a short excerpt and a “Read More” link tells your audience, hey, this is longer than  my usual content… click over.

With WordPress, regardless of whether you use excerpts or not, each post will have its own page. You may not have it linked over from your main blogroll page, but that page will exist. This is a good thing! This makes every post easily shareable. If you only ever share your /blog/ page, folks have to dig for the post you may have been talking about. Whereas, if you share the link to the post directly, they land right where they needed to.

For the blogroll page, I like using excerpts because everything I write is… long. And, if folks land at my /blog/ page I want them to click over to the full blog post page. On the full blog post I have calls to action, calls to value, more information about me, etc. It is its own unique experience. 

Remember, each page of your website is its own landing page. You have no control over how someone will land on a particular page. When someone comes to your /blog/ page… what experience do you want them to have?

Create for people, not for bots

No matter if it’s a blog post, a tweet, or a Pinterest post… don’t just use up the writing space provided with keywords. That’s keyword stuffing and it’s bad. It worked in the 90’s before the algorithms, and users, became more and more sophisticated. Now, everything requires context!

In everything you do: create for one person. Who is your ideal person for this post. This tweet. This Pin. Usually, they are the same person, just at a different stage or your customer journey. Are they a beginner? You’re going to use different language than an expert. A keyword alone will not give them context as to whether your content will help them or not. 

For example, if crafting a Pinterest pin about cryptocurrency, you could stuff the keywords: cryptocurrency, bitcoin, hodl, moon, etc. in the description box.  This, however, tells you nothing about the post it takes you to, other than it is potentially about cryptocurrency. Context is missing.

Instead, try asking a question in the header. Write “what is bitcoin and what does it mean to hodl?”

And try answering it a bit in the description: “Bitcoin is currency disruption. Those that are in it for the long haul often say they will “hodl”, or hold, rather than sell. Now a meme, the story behind the word is less interesting than bitcoin itself, but still worth knowing if you are entering the cryptospace….” and link to a post about what is bitcoin, what is hodl, and other language you need to know about crypto. That attracts a specific human being. And bots eat it the fuck up. Win, win.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a new beast to me and I’m “enjoying” its learning curve. I had a call directly with Pinterest and I had a Pinterest audit from fellow The Fiery Well : Wellspring member, and pinterest wiz, Kat and both were eye opening on how to use this visual search engine. 

It’s not social media. It’s a search engine. People are asking questions, and your pins should answer them! The biggest lesson from both is create more pins than you share.

ConvertKit

When to go to automations vs just broadcasts

If you are sending things in a specific sequence and you always want subscribers to receive Email 1, you can track that manually and send Broadcasts but I see the potential for burnout in your future. Quickly.

Instead, that is when you want to upgrade your ConvertKit account and get their Automations and Sequences. Ideal for evergreen newsletters, or when you don’t want to manually have to send Broadcasts every day to new subscribers.

I used to send my Monthly Tarotscope out manually, but as I offered someone to sign up at any time, if they joined the day after I sent the reading… they had to wait until the next new moon. Now, I use an automation and sequence to auto send the most current Tarotscope email immediately, regardless of when they sign up.

Are you repeating yourself?

Don’t worry about it. Too much.

When sending updates to your list about new blog posts, for example, don’t worry about repeating yourself. Repetition can actually be good!

For example, if you post on your blog every week, you can send an update to your email subscribers every other week and say: here is what you may have missed last week, and here’s a post from this week, enjoy! You catch folks with varied, but relevant, information every time. If it’s too much, that’s up to them. 

What I didn’t discuss in Office Hours is segmentation. Give your subscribers the option of “hey, I want to know when there’s a new post, but maybe only once a month please.” and then email them only once a month. If folks like to know there’s a new post every week… let them know every week! I’ll have a whole workshop on Segmentation this year. Stay tuned.