Web Works

McCombs Web Stuff

Archives for Tips and Tricks

UT System Seminar Takeaways

Carmella Magnes (@luvROI) works with the wonderful team at St. Ed’s and spoke about the shift to left brained, or more quantitative, marketing.

Are you right or left brained? Take this test to find out.

  • it’s not how creative you can be, it’s how you can help my business
  • from ‘how to spend X?’ to ‘how little can I spend?’
  • moving segments through a cycle to an action
  • from parallel efforts to complimentary synergies
  • the Web has become an ala cart buffet (that give heartburn)
  • better to have a gourmet selection
  • effective strategies require
    • a 30K ft view
    • channel blindness
    • segmentation
  • we’re not good at marketing marketers
  • define KPIs! The KPI funnel:
    • leads
    • qualified leads
    • prospects
    • yield
  • the new left brained tactics: SEO, SEM, SMM
  • alt tags: honey to Google’s bees
    • not just for accessibility
    • tag every photo and graphic
    • avoid being too literal
    • use your keywords
    • write as sales message

St. Ed’s crafted a social media policy in 18 mos. with a comitte of 8-12 which had to address

  • personal v professional distinctions
  • ‘outside site’ surfing hr policies updated

She highly recommends the book The New Rules of Marketing and PR.

Her synopsis.

  1. Always have at least one measurable
  2. Translate to business results
  3. Project results forward
  4. Seek champions
  5. (I didn’t write it down, doh!)

Using WordPress To Publish A Magazine

Tracy Mueller, with whom I published the Texas Magazine, gathered a brown-bag lunch recently for people around campus interested in how we put a magazine online using WordPress. We had at least a dozen people and a bunch of questions so she followed it up with some blog posts of her own elaborating on the process.

Thanks to Tracy for all of this information sharing and community support. I’ll publish some tech FAQs next week. Here are two excerpts from Tracy’s articles with links to the full posts at her blog.

Using WordPress to Publish an Online Magazine – Part I

As managing editor of the University of Texas McCombs School of Business alumni magazine, it’s my job to generate story ideas, interview sources, do background research, brainstorm art options, write feature articles and profiles, assign stories to our intern, edit copy and proofread layouts before printing.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Thanks to this phenomenon called the Internet (I think it’s gonna be big), I also oversee the publication of our magazine online. Since it’s nearly all the same content and we’ve already completed the editing and proofreading, it should be no sweat to get the thing online, right?

Wrong. Not having a web team devoted solely to the magazine, it was always a scramble. But for our most recent issue, we changed gears and used the WordPress blogging platform to host and publish the magazine.

I’m happy to say we’re thrilled with the result. I know a lot of print magazine editors are struggling with how to publish online, so I decided to chronicle our process here. This isn’t meant to be an all-encompassing explanation of WordPress-hosted magazines, but simply a case study of our experience. Hopefully it’s helpful to others facing similar issues…read the whole post at TracyMueller.com.

Using WordPress to Publish an Online Magazine – Part II – FAQ and Resources

Below, I answer some questions that have come up a lot as I’ve shared about the process of using WordPress to host an online magazine. Click here to read Part I, where I chronicled that experience and compared it to using a traditional Web site.

What are your readership stats?
Our print circulation is 85,000. Some stats on the new online version: (since we launched in July 2009)

4, 536 visits
8,489 pageviews
3,262 unique visitors

35.95 % of visits are from direct traffic
37.87 % from referring sites (918 from McCombs home page, 188 from Twitter, 131 from Facebook; #5 refererrer: images.google.com)
26.12 % from search engines (1, 185 visits from 877 keywords)

Note: Unfortunately we did not have analytics running on the old site, so I don’t have a benchmark to compare these to.

How long did this take, and what staff members were involved? What other responsibilites do they have?
From the time I sent inspiration sites to our web editor to the day we went live was 6.5 weeks…read the whole post at TracyMueller.com.

Finding Pictures for Posts

Having a good image goes a long way toward making your post look attractive and accessible. Without an image, fewer people will stop to look at what you’ve written. The challenge is finding a good photo fast that can be used legally. Flickr’s ability to search for photos that are legally available through a Creative Commons license makes it easy to find good photos and post them without worrying that you are commiting copyright infringement. Here’s what to do.

1. Go to Flickr’s advanced search page: http://www.flickr.com/search/advanced/ and type in your search terms.

2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the last set of options, Creative Commons, and check the first box: “Only search within Creative Commons-licensed content.” (Don’t worry about the other two boxes.)

3. Hit “Search” and see what comes up. Scroll through a few pages of pics. Try several search-term approaches to see what’s out there. Flickr has TONS of photos. You should be able to find something applicable by trying a few different keyword searches.

Read the rest of this entry »

Common HTML

Guy wearing a Some HTML Is OK t-shirt, picture by As WordPress blog managers, we occasionally need to look under the hood (click on the “HTML” tab on the top left of the post area) of a wonky post to re-format or fix what’s not working. Here are a few HTML basics.

Line break: <br>
Note: This little guy is like hitting “return” on the keyboard. It’ll push things down to the next line. You can use two in a row for a paragraph break with a space between.

Bold: <strong>Bold text</strong>

Italic: <em>Italicized text</em>

Link: <a href=”http://www.the-url-you-are-linking-to.com”>The text to be linked</a>

Picture: <img src=”http://www.the-url-of-the-picture.jpg” alt=”A description of the picture for people who can’t see it”>

A linked picture: <a href=”http://www.the-url-of-the-full-sized-picture.jpg”><img src=”http://www.the-url-of-the-picture.jpg” alt=”A description of the picture for people who can’t see it”></a>
Note: This assumes you are linking to the full sized .jpg file. It can also be a .gif file or the URL of a page.

A linked formatted picture: <a href=”http://www.the-url-of-the-full-sized-picture.jpg”><img class=”alignleft” style=”margin: 3px 8px;” src=”http://www.the-url-of-the-picture.jpg” alt=”A description of the picture for people who can’t see it” width=”100″ height=”100″ /></a>
Note: this picture is aligned left, meaning the text is wrapping around it on the right. It’s also got a white-space margin of 3 pixels on the top and bottom and 8 pixels on the sides; these are good standard margins that prevent text from butting right up against the photo. You can also see the width and height of this photo are both 100 pixels; this happens automatically and is non-essential, meaning don’t mess with it. The style and class elements are particular to this WordPress theme’s CSS (cascading style sheet). You may see other elements in the pictures uploaded to WordPress, but you can assume they are non-essential also.

Please comment on any other common elements you’de like to learn a bit of HTML to address.

Thanks to m-c for sharing her photo via flickr and creative commons.

The Dreaded Div Tag

Dorothy wrote me this morning about the MPA student blog with a problem I’ve seen several times, the dreaded div tag: <div> This little culprit will reformat your blog. Basically, a blogger has pasted some text into WordPress that is screwing up the formatting. The whole right sidebar is being pushed down to the bottom of the page and some crazy font sizes are happening in the posts. This is a dead givaway that some offending code has made it’s way in to a post and needs to be removed.

Where we see the font sizes start to get inconsistent, that’s the first place to lookfor crazy code, div tags in particular. In this pic we see “Add Comments” is the first place that font sizes are awry, so I’ll check that post first. When I click on the “HTML” tab above the post in the edit window, lo and behold, here’s what I find:

<div><span style=”font-size: small;”>I know this will sound redundant to all of us in accounting, but I cannot stress this enough because my firm as well as the others all share the same beliefs. <em>Act with integrity and uphold the highest standard of ethics</em>. They will drill this principle into your head and for good reason. No one wants another Enron. (Our economy is in bad enough shape as it is.)</span></div>   </span></div>

As you can see, there are <span> and <div> tags in there that shouldn’t be. It’s the <div> tags that screw up the formatting the worst, but let’s remove them all. The easiest way is to manually remove all such tags.

Read the rest of this entry »