To be the best you’re got to write epic shit


Image credit: Flickr Michael Gil

I’m not completely satisfied with the way my site or business are performing, there’s always plenty of room for improvement and the post which has inspired me the most this week is ‘write epic shit’ by Corbett Barr, he argues that Building a raving audience online all starts with writing epic shit. Period. Hands down. End of story.( Corbett completely hits the nail on the head when he castigates so many sites for,

And I didn’t say “write mediocre shit.” Mediocre content is all over the web. Don’t waste your time or other people’s time by writing the same inane crap that 10,000 other sites have already published.

This is the point, which struck home with me, there’s so much web content that is ‘meh’ at best, how many more blog posts need to be written about completing twitter profiles properly? its been death. Also sites offering ‘templates’ which are little more than Microsoft word documents containing a table. ‘Experts’ reheating articles which were tepid 2 or 3 years ago. This isn’t content, its noise.

As so often happens this weeks post took a detour from the original topic, which concerned shareable content, in short shareable content is epic content. You don’t say to online friends ‘ hey come and look at this it’s completely ordinary’

Why epic is good

Epic is good because it will make a great first impression and provide all of the following benefits, most of which are very attractive; Epic content is the only way to do this. Average or OK doesn’t cut it, we’re swamped with mediocrity, this relates to authenticity, which I’ve discussed a few times before.

  • Enable you to stand out from the crowd
  • Increase Brand visibility
  • Establish your reputation
  • Earn Backlinks and better search rankings
  • Increase your expertise

Parting thoughts

I don’t want to be merely good or OK,I want it to be EPIC, yes I appreciate there’s work to do!(stop sniggering at the back.I think in some ways the content rat race (the need to constantly develop new content) will almost inevitably lead to declining standards trying to figure out a way to counteract this problem, this makes it an interesting/difficult challenge for the smaller business to overcome. I think a content lifecycle which focuses on continual improvement in response to measurement/feedback rather than continual growth is possibly te way forward here.Challenge accepted.

By |October 30th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on To be the best you’re got to write epic shit

Transform your social media with the power of Community

(image:courtesy  Niall Kennedy:Flickr)

(image:courtesy Niall Kennedy:Flickr)

Alongside Engagement, Community must be one of the most abused terms in social media, many networks like to refer to themselves as community, where I feel its barely appropriate to use the term. The term community has a vague warm fuzziness, one quickly exploited by marketing departments

Defining Virtual Community

the type of community I am referring to is a virtual community. Social Media books are replete with examples of successful communities transforming the fortunes of companies, Wikipedia define virtual community as

A virtual community is a group of people who share common interests, feelings or ideas, or pursue similar goals over the Internet or over any collaborative network. Social media is the most common vehicle for this sharing and interaction, which can potentially transcend geographical boundaries, race, culture, political views and religion when people are connected by another common interest or agenda.(Source: Wikipedia)

The Benefits of Community

Properly Implemented and Managed virtual communities offer numerous benefits for business such as.

• Improve brand loyalty
• Gain marketing insights
• Feedback on new product ideas
• Quickly address customer problems
• Advertise promotions
• Give a business a human face

Encouraging the Development of Community

There are certain ingredients I believe are essential for the development of community including

• Enthusiastic community members
• Good communications
• Effective Community admins

To use a slightly poetic metaphor developing a community is like growing a garden and it’s the job of admins to ensure that the community grows in a positive and friendly manner; left untended virtual communities can quickly become very negative places.

The role of community admins

As I see it the role of community admins is to nurture the community and enable it to overcome almost inevitable challenges (such as the occasional disagreement), which will arise, identify 6 core skillsets for community admins

• Listening
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts listening is THE core social media skill to develop, rather than stock photography and feel-good ‘we’re listening’ headings actually listen to your community
• Content Curation
• Conversation
• Social Etiquette
• Facilitating and mediating
• Collaboration (

The community admin with all of these skillsets will be perfectly equipped to nurture a vibrant community, such communities do NOT grow by accident they are deliberately cultivated

Parting thoughts

Community offers both businesses and organisations the opportunity to engage in direct communication with customers and the opportunity to understand perfectly what motivates them; information the smart business owner will be able to make good use of, in a future post I’ll try to develop a practical framework for developing a community on twitter or the social network of your choice.

By |July 10th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Transform your social media with the power of Community

Bing Announce Mobile Friendly update

mobile friendly

(image scource:Flickr Takashi Hososhima)

This weeks blog post will examine Bing’s decision to develop a mobile friendly ranking algorithm, I’m quite aware I examined Google’s ‘mobile friendly’ algorithm which has since been nicknamed as ‘mobilegeddon’ by the Search Industry, however rather than go over old ground I wish to examine the concept of mobile friendly further this week

Mobile Friendly Factors

Now we’ll examine some of the factors, which determine if a site is mobile friendly,

Unplayable Content

Google helpfully identify a number of common mistakes on their Mobile SEO Webmaster guidelines this includes factors such as unplayable content which is a problem associated with technologies such as Flash, elsewhere Google advise

Most mobile browsers do not render Flash-based content. Therefore, mobile visitors will not be able to use a page that relies on Flash in order to display content, animations, or navigation. We recommend designing your look and feel and page animations using modern web technologies.

This corresponds with general best practise not using Flash for Navigation purposes as it may render sites unusable, fortunately this is a web design trend, which has been consigned to the past, Flash only sites are thankfully rare these days.


The legibility of text is another factor, the aim is that the mobile user should not need to zoom in order to read website content on the website for this a value of 16px is recommended for body text, headings should be larger than this

Page Speed

Page speed is another factor where some websites fall down; there are a number of steps Google recommend for webmasters to ensure that sites load quickly

• Enable compression
• Reduce server response time
• Eliminate render blocking JavaScript & CSS in above the fold content
• Leverage Browser caching
• Prioritise page content

Some of these actions are best handled by your hosting company, others are the responsibility of your web designer, rather than boring readers by listing every factor which affects page speed (there are plenty) I’ll leave it by saying that page speed is an important factor when considering SEO & user experience.

Parting Thoughts

Microsoft’s decision to include a ‘mobile friendly’ algorithm underlines the growing importance of mobile computing. Research has shown that mobile users are an unforgiving lot with mobile bounce rates being noticeably higher than desktop equivalent (

if a site fails to take them into account they are only too happy to leave and visit another site, as it stands I need to ensure this site is faster loading so that’s another task I’ll need to complete for this site to be up to date

By |May 22nd, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Bing Announce Mobile Friendly update

What is findability? and how it can improve your website


Image Source: Flickr

A Commonly encountered argument is that “content without access is worthless” findability is the art of making sure your content is easily found. Wikipedia defines Findability as “Findability is a term for the ease with which information contained on a website can be found” Findability expert Peter Morville defines Findability thus
“the ability of users to identify an appropriate web site and navigate the pages of the site to discover and retrieve relevant information sources”(source: Wikipedia)

Informationarchitechted provide the following definition:

Defining Findability

‘Effective Findability retrieves content in context. Therein lies the crux of Findability. It cannot be attained simply by search – even a powerful search. Findability provides intuitive interaction between the user and the content. It provides multiple ways at getting to content, each tailored to a specific type of retrieval need, which includes necessary controls over security.’(

I think an easy way to picture findability is to facilitate the creation of information trails which give users the impression they are on the right track to getting the information they need, as stated context is a defining characteristic of findability. Although findability is used interchangeably with a number of different terms such as searchability and indexability there are subtle differences between them it is this confusion I will attempt to clear up now.


Indexability is the ability of search engines to index and retrieve the contents of a website, this is where Flash websites have fared badly in the past; poorly coded JavaScript can also cause indexing problems. site hierarchy is an important consideration where indexability is concerned.


Searchability is a closely related term which is concerned with how easily ‘specific content within a site may be accessed when using a search engine (deep linking) defines Searchability thus

‘Searchability refers to the idea that site visitor can easily navigate to the specific information he’s searching for within the site’ (source:

I feel the difference is related to the means of locating content within a website using an internal search engine. Where findability refers to the way that the site and content is organized this includes factors such as taxonomies. suggest that A fundamental difference between Findability and its predecessor and component, search, is where the burden of effort lies. Under Findability, the burden of intelligent con- tent processing is placed on the content itself (source: Now that we’ve got some working definitions I’ll look into ways that the findability of content can be improved on your website.


As Discussed previously context is a fundamental factor when considering the findability of data. When considering both findability and usability and usability a lot of data is paid to taxonomies. Taxonomies refers to how content is organised a readily understood example of a taxonomy is in music players such as iTunes where music files are sorted into albums, genres and artist. Having a robust taxonomy is vital when organising larger music collections when considering both findability and usability this is where there is a degree of overlap between the two disciplines, well structured content leads to logical website navigation
, Well-structured content makes the process of locating it intuitive.

Parting Thoughts

In an era where content is seen as vital it is imperative that site visitors can quickly and easily locate the information they want failure to achieve this will drive visitors to other sites and may cost your company sales and goodwill

By |November 7th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on What is findability? and how it can improve your website

To G or not to G? re-examining Google plus

This weeks Blog Post has been rather a difficult one to write. it concerns the Google plus network, which I’ve examined in previous posts. Rumours continue to surround the future of the Google plus with observers split on the future of Google plus, one thing is for sure there’s an awful lot of confusion concerning Google plus, I’ll attempt to clarify matters with this article and examine the cases for and against Google plus together with my conclusions.

Social Network or Social Layer?

One of the most fundamental confusions has been concerning the purpose of Google plus, is it a social network a la Facebook and twitter or a Social Layer which integrates Google’s family of products such as You Tube, Google Calendar, G Mail and Google Docs. Unhelpfully I think its a bit of both and I’ll use two definitions of Google plus for the rest of this article, these being:
Social Network this is the service accessed by pressing the plus button when logged into a Gmail account with circles
Social Layer this is the way that Google plus accounts are integrated with services such as You tube(I can leave comments on you tube using my Google account)
More confusion stems from how Google calculates User figures for Google plus, the Bloomberg BusinessWeek famously described Google plus as a ‘ghost town’ and the social network is fairly quiet especially compared to its main rival Facebook, does pressing a plus button on an external website characterise someone as an active Google plus user? When compared against the Facebook social network Google plus has undoubtedly been a failure. I’ll now examine the arguments from both camps before offering my conclusions on Google plus

The Futures bright!

Most of the positive posts about Google plus’s future are now getting rather old they certainly predate the departure of Vic Gundotra from Google in April 2014 (he’s generally regarded as the main driving force behind Google plus), most of the Google plus articles since that watershed are considerably less upbeat. Generally the positive posts had an element of “Wait and See” about them and pointed to the potential of the Google plus, a potential I’d argue was hinted at but never truly fulfilled

Its dead in the water

After April 2014 the general view is less upbeat with some observers such as TechCrunch describing Google plus as walking dead this is despite protestations from Google spokespersons to the contrary, point to Google transferring resources to other projects suggesting that

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Google+ has been massively deprioritized internally and is being disassembled, piece by piece.(

If taken alongside other consideration such as the ditching of Google Authorship in June 2014 and the fact that the creation of new G Mail accounts no longer integrates new users into the Google plus superstructure, the future of Google plus as both social layer and social network looks pretty bleak.


Personally I don’t feel that Google plus has much of a future as either social network or social layer however it would in my opinion be premature to discount it altogether as it is still integrated with local search even if in a somewhat haphazard manner, I do feel it would a waste of time and resources trying to develop a major presence on the Google plus Social Network however maintaining at least a company profile page would make some sense even if its just for Google local purposes.

By |October 3rd, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on To G or not to G? re-examining Google plus

Understanding the impact of Visual Content

visual content

(source Flickr:Shineswithoutend)

Although I attempt to avoid the use of clichés, sometimes they are the best way to illustrate a point (no pun intended), the adage in this case is ‘ a picture is worth a thousand words’, given the attention starved nature of the web, where a website or social channel has literally seconds to grab the attention of a viewer, it is for these reasons that industry experts are noting the growing importance of visual content/visual social media and that is what I’ll be focussing on with this weeks post. By Visual Content I mean images or videos, this definitely includes things such as infographics & photos.

Benefits of Visual Content


Visual Content has a number of advantages over other types of information such as textual content.

A 2012 report by ROI Research found 44% of respondents were more likely to engage with brands that posted pictures on their social media channels rather than any other type of content (Source:

Emotional Connection

Photographs and other images are for more effective when it comes to conveying emotions that their textual equivalent, especially when other people and animals are featured in the photographs beautiful natural scenes also result in positive feelings, when it comes to emotions such as Joy or Sorrow, the effective use of photographic imagery has no equal. Redsicker argues that:

‘People connect more emotionally with images than they do with text. In fact, customers are more likely to take action or make a decision when prompted with an image.’(

When this engagement leads to the sharing of content, the results can be dramatic with viral videos and memes being a substantial part of what drives the social networks

Easily Absorbed Information.

One large advantage which visual information holds over textual is the ease and speed with which it is assimilated, up to 60,000 times more quickly according to some research (Walter & Gioglio 2014), in an age of limited attention spans this is a very desirable quality, especially when selling to a younger audience, Data visualization allows large amounts of data to be looked at quickly (Sviolka) this is why the use of infographics has seen such explosive growth in recent years, alongside standard inbound marketing considerations.

With the rise of social networks such as Flickr & Pinterest that are essentially visual in nature, the importance of visual content & social media is emphasized, This importance is likely to continue into the future, the purchase of Instagram (by Facebook) and Vine by twitter confirms this importance. Due to the fact the human brain is largely visual in nature, this importance is not likely to be lessened any time soon., therefore it is imperative your companies content & Social Media campaigns take the many advantages of visual data into account, for assistance in helping your company to develop an effective visual content marketing or visual social media contact me today, I’ll be delighted to help with any questions you may have

By |September 12th, 2014|Social Media, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Understanding the impact of Visual Content

Local Search

Local Search

Local Search

This weeks blog post will examine the practicalities of obtaining a 7 pack local search placement for your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) listing, as web Developers have only just returned to local search listings I’m eager to secure a 7 pack listing for my own company website, this post will highlight the steps required for doing this.

What is the 7 pack?

The 7 pack is the name of the area reserved for local company listings on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP), all of the major Search Engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo) have an area set aside for local search results, as the Google area frequently contains 7 company listings it is known as the 7 pack.


Citations are an essential element when developing a profile for local search; Rutledge suggests that ‘ the best way to target your area is to make sure your business is listed on every local web directory available’ (Rutledge 2014) these listings are classified as citations. Any website which makes reference to your company is a citation. Citations have been identified as a key component of the ranking algorithms for both Google and Bing ( who go on to suggest that a citations also validate that a business is a part of the community, this is especially true in less competitive niches where competitors are less likely to have company websites.

Citation Tools

Building an effective citation profile can be quite a time consuming process and to help a number of companies have developed tools to speed up the process and to check for errors in your citation profile such as inconsistencies, Unfortunately it looks like not all of the tools cater for the UK market.


Consistency is a vital part of the efforts to obtain a 7 pack listing for your website, by this I mean the same NAP (Company name, address, phone number need to be employed between the various websites which are used form your local search profile, Google and the other search engines will penalise inconsistencies in this data and it ill affect your chances of attaining a 7 pack listing, for these reasons I find it useful to draw up a ‘standard profile’ before my profile building efforts get underway, this is usually in the form of a Word document containing Company name, address, phone number, website URL, email address and company description so I can simply copy & paste the information required when creating company listings and accounts on various websites such as Google plus, Yelp et al, it makes life a lot easier in the long run if profiles are created with consistent data rather than trying to adjust it later. and Microdata

On page optimisation also has a role to play in local Search with Rich Snippets being especially important; this involves using microdata which utilises the vocabulary this puts your company data into a format readily understood by the Search Engines when they crawl your website.

By |August 29th, 2014|SEO, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Local Search

Engagement merely a buzzword? These 4 metrics will change your mind


attrib:Flickr(Kevin Van den Panhuyzen)

In this weeks blog post I will be examining what I personally regard as the most important factor when social media is part of a company’s marketing efforts, Engagement. If followers are to be a part of a proprietary audience then its engagement that is required to turn them into more than simple vanity statistics such as number of followers, here I agree completely with Jeffrey Rohr who suggests that :

‘Use your Paid, Owned and Earned Media not only to sell in the short term but also to increase the size, engagement and value of your Proprietary audiences over the long term'(Rohrs 2013)

Rohr’s conclusion is that three elements are essential when developing proprietary audiences these being size, engagement and value (Rohrs 2013)

Genuine engagement goes far beyond a basic ‘like’ and the generic tactics utilised by organisations such as pictures of cute kittens, I’ll argue that real engagement is based on interaction above and beyond simple likes or pluses its based on conversation. I feel that ‘join the conversation’ almost qualifies as a banality such as ‘content is king’, if Social Media for business is allowed to degenerate into turgid missing caption competitions and the use of ‘cute’ stock imagery then its a real opportunity lost by Small Businesses to engage and build a genuine rapport with their clientele/customers so there is a need for businesses to genuinely join the conversation rather than just pretending to, engagement is earned it cannot really be bought.

The Measurement of Engagement

I appreciate that social media needs to be monitored, but while developing metrics and measurements practitioners could potentially fall into the cynic’s trap of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. At the heart of every Social Media success story lies engagement.


Of all the Social Engagement Metrics I have examined, I prefer the ones proposed by Avinash Kaushik because they are readily measured but don’t rely on too esoteric metrics, the metrics he proposes are as follows:

• Conversation rate
number of replies per post
• Amplification rate
number of shares or retweets per post
• Applause Rate
number of likes, favourites or plus ones per post
• Economic Value
Value per visitor (

Kaushik states

Conversation Rate. Amplification Rate. Applause Rate. Economic Value. Four simple measures that get you to focus on the right thing from a social media participation perspective help you understand how well you are doing at it, and quantify the business impact. (

These Measurements offer the best of both worlds as they offer actual figures for those who like to measure the impact of social media additionally practitioners can easily monitor campaigns. Kausik helpfully suggests Analytics solutions capable of monitoring these metrics.

I believe that engagement lies at the heart of effective social media some commentators dismiss engagement as a meaningless buzzword I disagree completely and feel it’s a shame that that the term has been devalued, hopefully this article has provided food for thought and a possible solution for monitoring the impact of your social media efforts. Note that Carl Potts Designs offer social media campaigns designed specifically for Smaller Businesses contact me today to request a consultation.

By |August 22nd, 2014|Social Media, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Engagement merely a buzzword? These 4 metrics will change your mind

Content Marketing is possibly the most influential trend in online marketing today with insert facts here.
I want to use this weeks post to explore the concept and clarify what successful content marketing requires then I’ll examine the benefits of content marketing, and how it fits into your overall marketing plan. We’ll then conclude with an overview of the takeaway points

What exactly is Content Marketing?

At first glance Content Marketing appears to be an easily understood model, a number of authors suggest that it’s nothing new only that delivery of engaging content via a website hub is a new variant of an old approach, examining the concept beyond the simplest level, Ann Handley suggests

‘Content is what sets your company apart – because it will define how you relate to your customers, and whether your customers choose you over anyone else’ (Curata 2013)

Joe Pulizzi argues that Content Marketing is far more than simply creating content which answers the questions of leads and potential customers, Content marketing sets out to complete business objectives which can include

• Increasing Website Traffic
• Brand Awareness and Visibility
• Asset Downloads
• Lead Generation
• Building trust
• Improving customer loyalty (Source: Curata 2013)

What are the benefits of Content Marketing?

Content marketing has a number of benefits, amongst these being
• Better Search Engine Rankings
• Developing customer trust
• Brand Recognition

It is a lot easier to publicise a website which is filled with great quality content which solves peoples problems as opposed to one with hardly any content. Search Engine Optimisation in 2014 is basically concerned with the development of good quality content, with recent Algorithm changes by Google such as Panda and Penguin have penalised sites with poor quality content, not so much ‘build it and they will come, rather answer their questions, entertain them and they might come’

Jay Baer suggests that top of mind awareness is a powerful sales tool i.e. when a customer thinks of a brand they think of your company, Content Marketing is a fantastic way for generating top of mind awareness especially when your content promoted via Social Media


We’ve seen that Content Marketing is not really a new approach to marketing it is however a new discipline (Pulizzi 2012) beyond the obvious creation of content there has to be underlying and measureable business objectives, it is not a case of simply ‘creating content for contents sake’, there is no need to go over the many benefits of content marketing again. The Consequences of having poor quality or little content are worth examining

• Lack of Customer engagement with high bounce rates
• Poor Search Engine rankings
Please note that the Carl Potts Designs Newsletter regularly covers topics such as ‘what is good quality content?’ and how can Website content be promoted effectively. Please signup today for the monthly newsletter if you would find further information on this subject and other online marketing topics interesting.

By |June 25th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on

Theres Content Gold in them hills, are you standing out from your competition?

Gold Rush

Image from

For this weeks Blog post, I’ll be returning to the content theme I’ve explored previously. By now it should be fairly obvious that I’m a firm believer in the advantages of content marketing. This post aims to go beyond the obvious and address the quality issue, which is in my opinion what differentiates great content from merely acceptable content. Great quality content shares many characteristics with good quality content however there is other qualities which make all the difference, that’s the ‘secret sauce’ if you like

Good Content

Good content has the following qualities, it is:

  • Authoritative and well researched
  • Interesting & informative,
  • Directly answers the requirements and needs of visitors i.e. targeted
  • Useful

Great Content is has all these qualities and the following in addition

• Passionate, the Author genuinely cares about the subject
• Sincere
• Fresh

Kristina Halvorson defines it thus:

Great content meets users’ needs and supports key business objectives. It engages and informs. It’s well written and intuitively organised. It keeps people coming back for more’

(Kristina Halvorson 2012)


In the great content gold rush of 2014, everyone (or nearly everyone) has been in a rush to create and offer free content. Personally I feel this is unsustainable. Far too much of the free content on offer is of mediocre quality and simply rehashes other peoples content. The Emphasis needs to be on quality over quantity, Google checks the quality of content as part of their Algorithms this includes factors such as spelling and grammar. Originality is another Factor that needs to be considered, although given the rate n which new content is being developed all the time, its hard if not difficult. Eschewing tired platitudes is a big step in the right direction, I won’t provide examples here I’m personally sick of seeing them. To show I’m not just Mr Negativity I’ll provide 3 examples of what I’d consider to be great content.

Renae Christine’s ( videos

Renae produces really great professional videos, her lively presentation style (which may take some getting used to), the branding between her videos is slick and consistent, difficult and possibly dry topics are covered with verve and style. In my opinion this is great quality content. A sense of fun infuses her videos this lifts it above the vast majority of her competitors who recite facts in a ‘bored nerd drone’. Her videos manage to combine this sense of fun with an awful lot of useful and relevant information. This is what in my opinion makes them great content.

The post ‘Web Design is 95% typography’ by Oliver Reichenstein

As one would expect from a typographic expert the layout of this article is impeccable, a number of issues are debunked by the author as he examines web typography in depth, a substantial number of additional resources are provided which will allow the reader to consolidate his or her knowledge of the subject and related areas. This in my opinion is what makes it great content and the 400 domains back linking to the article, underlines this verdict.The article can be viewed here

By |May 16th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Theres Content Gold in them hills, are you standing out from your competition?