On the Value of Judgement – @ASmartBear – WP Engine

Such a great post from Jason! There are so many reasons I love WPEngine – but mostly – their leadership is ON POINT!

Rather than avoid judgement as a sin, we should invest in it as a skill. Rather than damn the act of judgement for the sake of avoiding incorrect judgments, we should celebrate the component skills of great judgement such as bias-avoidance, clarifying the essential, combining data with vision, reasoning from first-principals, and prioritization of apparently uncomparable options.

via On the value of Judgement – @ASmartBear – WP Engine.

From Buffer > New Research: The Best Time to Tweet for Clicks, Retweets, and Replies

The team at BufferApp.com did a spectacular job drilling down data from the tweets sent from their user base. I love data. Even though I had to slow down to digest it all!

Do you leverage social media for your marketing? If so – this is a must read!

With a big hand from our data team, we analyzed over 4.8 million tweets across 10,000 profiles, pulling the stats on how clicks and engagement and timing occur throughout the day and in different time zones. We’d love to share with you what we found!

via New Research: The Best Time to Tweet for Clicks, Retweets, and Replies.

Content Wrangling 101, Lesson 1

If you’ve ever sat back and thought to yourself, “Gee, I really wonder what goes into getting a website’s content from a hot mess to an elegant experience for the reader…”  Well – have I got a doozy of a blog post for you!

Let the Content Wrangling Begin!

Content management and strategy are no small feats. Managing your content has become as vitally important for scaling your online website as managing your codebase. If you have ever worked in web development, you know how convoluted and messy a codebase can become; well, content is similar. If not wrangled in, it will become an unyielding force to reckon with!

When you find yourself in this position (you know, when you DREAD the idea of even looking at your actual front end content of your CMS) it’s time for Content Overhaul.

How to Approach a Content Overhaul

1) Determine the Purpose for Site Content

Know your audience. Know your users. Know your software/product/market. Simple enough, right?

Not really. Depending on your market, your users could range from complete newbies to seasoned professionals. And surprisingly enough, most of your users are not on your website because your awesome header font drew them in. They are there to consume information. And it’s to your advantage to make that as easy as possible for them.

That should be the overarching purpose of all site content: to help your users, your community, your readers, your customers, your clients, etc. That’s not to say every piece of content has to be technical, boring, or dry. There are different types of content and they are used for different site purposes.  Point is: all your communication should purpose, and it should support the mission of your organization.

2) Create User Personas

To arrive at this end you must spend time talking about your users. Sketching out formal User Personas is a critical step for any major content overhaul; especially if you happen to be working with a client to complete a formal content review, audit and upgrade where in you might not necessarily BE the end user. Taking the time to streamline who your users are, what they need, and how your site will serve them will make a huge difference when it comes time to divide and conquer existing content – or setting up a content strategy for future communication (posts, pages, social media.)

Usability.gov has one of the most straightforward How-To’s on creating user personas. 

3) Perform a Systematic Review

Anytime I start a new content overhaul, I open my saved links, review info, and make sure my understanding of the steps at hand are consistent with any current standards for content planning, strategy, etc. Web standards change often for code & they change for content as well.

I have quite a few resources booked, but the following are what I consider the best authority sources regarding Content Inventories, Content Audits and Content Strategy:

These resources are not WordPress specific – just high level “Holy cow we have a lot of content, where do we even start!?” level work.

4) Perform a Thorough Analytical Review

Your deliverables from step 3 will tell you a lot about what kind of content you are dealing with. Now you need to know how existing content is performing on your website. And, you need to know how users are interacting with your existing content. There are so many tools you can pick from (and pay) for this, but personally I find that the combination of data from Google Analytics and JetPack Stats reveals enough information.

  • Google Analytics and/or JetPack Stats
    You can glean a LOT from your JetPack stats if you are running a WordPress site. Combine JetPack with your GA and you’ve got most of the quantifiable data you’ll ever want for pretty much anything you need to do with your content.
  • Inbound Traffic
    –Found in GA or JetPack Stats
  • Social Media Shares
  • Outbound Clicks

Basically – how are users finding your site, what are they doing with the content, where are they going when they leave. If you approach your analytics review by filtering all the information you will have into one of those three categories (How, What, Where) you’ll be off to a good start.

Yes, this step can become very granular and tedious – but don’t get lost in the forest because of the trees. Approach this from a high level view (the 3 categories) and you’ll be able to navigate your way through it all.

5) Research Your Competitors

This is important, but shouldn’t be a huge time suck. Check out your competitor’s sites and look at how they are using their content. Just spend enough time on each section of these sites to get a high level overview/feel for your competitors. Too much time, and their content/site could be counterproductive – your imposter syndrome might set in! Just take a quick look at their site, navigate it as a user, and write down what you love/hate about it all. Then move on!

6) Now – Put the Content to the Test!

After you have gone through the steps above, you can start digesting your existing content. This step is a little time consuming if you have a lot of content but it’s vital. You are going to decide what content stays, and what content goes! (Yes, you will end up deleting content in this process.) You can use the following four questions to help keep the process moving:

  1. Does this content help or hinder the user? (Which user?! You should have several.)
  2. Does this content leave the user ready to take action or left wondering what’s next?
  3. Does this content help build our company team?
  4. Does this content help build our community?

If yes – then the content stays (somewhere) on the site. If no – ditch it.

So, Now What?

Once you have all this in place, you’re ready to move on to the next phase of a content overhaul – preparing to deal with the words and writers that make up the actual content. Up until this point all you’ve done is gather your information.

Did you just think to yourself, “Ugh, I’ll just skip all this…. who needs all the prep work… all I really need to do is [insert a component from what will be Lesson 3].”

I’m going to give you some more free (sage) advice – Don’t Do It! The end result will be a sloppy pile of content that will require even more work later on. Just trust me…if you’re going to take the time to do it, you might as well do it right.




Pornography Destroys & It’s Worth Saying 1,000 Times

Melinda Byerley posted this article earlier, on Facebook.

Suicide is now the biggest killer of teenage girls worldwide. Here’s why

Towards the end of last year, a shocking statistic appeared deep in the pages of a World Health Organisation report. It was this: suicide has become the leading killer of teenage girls, worldwide.

Full link here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-health/11549954/Teen-girls-Suicide-kills-more-young-women-than-anything.-Heres-why.html

This saddens me to read, but the most heart-sickening part, for me, was the section on the impact of pornography and youth. Thanks to the internet, and lack of parental governance and youthful rebellion, our children have literally been raised with pornography at their fingertips their entire lives. And the impact is devastating.

From the article:

Teens and Pornography

My ex-husband’s obsession with pornography completely destroyed our marriage and nearly cost me my children’s safety. It did have far reaching consequences for myself, my sons and my daughters. It’s been 3.5 yrs since I left that unhealthy marriage and we’re just now starting to really get back on track.

What started in Royce’s teens when he found a magazine on his way home from school grew exponentially though his young adult life and finally was the motivating factor that led him to betray our vows and create a completely second life. And when I say my ex-husband lived a second life, I completely mean it – in fact he still, to this day, continues to operate as a man divided.  While he was a youth, his parents turned a blind eye – happy to find out he wasn’t really a homosexual after all (his mother’s greatest fear.)

My marriage was destroyed because I, frankly, wasn’t that into it. When you break down all the different issues in my marriage it all comes back to point A: his complete obsession with pornography. It defined, and continues to define, who he is. He has yet to really turn away from what he calls sexual addiction. I call it weakness of character and a victim mentality.

Is pornography stimulating? Well if you’re a normal human being, yes. Is it healthy? No. Not at all. Is this a matter of Christian ethics? No. It’s a matter of basic human dignity and respect for others.

I am a pretty open-minded person but I’ll never accept that pornography is a basic part of our American/modern day experience. And I’m not alone. I’ve talked to scores of women who have told me horror stories about the effect of pornography on their childhood, young adult life and in their marriage. I can no longer count on two hands the number of people I know, divorced, because of pornography/sexual deviancy.

Today’s post showing this alarming trend of teens killing themselves because of the pressures they are under IN HIGH SCHOOL to perform sexually and compete with pornography is enough to make any normal, sane human being sad with grief.

What kind of world are we leaving to our children’s children? It makes me sad for them, and scared for them, at the same time. This is not the legacy we want for our children. For our boys or our girls.

Schedule Curated Content Using WordPress Jetpack Stats

This is really simple idea, but maybe it’s one you’ve never thought about before, so I thought I would share! If you are already doing this – kudos to you! If you are like, “WHOAH BRILLIANT WORK HERE SARAH!!!”… then thanks! I’m humbled. Ha!

Content Strategy Requires – Well – Strategy

I’ve been doing content work for clients for a long time. Almost as long as I’ve been an adult. (Whoah that sounds weird!) But my content work for clients has always really been super small scale. I write. I add content to a client’s WordPress site. I get all the tedious behind-the-scenes work done (think SEO, alt tags, meta descriptions, images prepared, social shares set up, etc etc etc -if you didn’t know, writing the content is only the first half of the work!) So basically I produced content and D’nelle was responsible for leveraging that content and I liked it that way.

This year I started taking on my own clients/projects which has left me 100% responsible for content strategy, management, creation, curation, delegation (I like delegation the best.) Last night I was reviewing the Jetpack stats for a client and thought, “OH! DUH! Just take the URL’s from the Site Referral widget and use THOSE links for curating shared content across social media!”

How I Schedule Content with WordPress Jetpack stats

  1. Hop into the WordPress dashboard and pull up the Jetpack Site Stats.
  2. Find the Referrers Widget
    Screenshot 2015-05-20 07.50.36
  3. Click on “Summaries”
  4. Select your time frame and start clicking the links.
    Screenshot 2015-05-20 07.55.01
    There’s you’re customized search content to help you find articles and links across the web that are sending you traffic.
  5. Next: set up drafts for social media!  I use the Sendible.com app for social media management. I love it. I tried to switch to a cheaper solution for WordPress blogs, but in the end I went back to Sendible. I’m 100% bought in. With Sendible , I have a browser tool add on called “Sendible SendIt.” So, while I have one of the links open from the Jetpack stats, I click on the SendIt brower app and a box pops up. I can add content to my Sendible “Outbox” from here. No need to go into the app just for this. I can actually save the item as a draft, schedule it for future release, send it to a team mate for approval (if needed) or send it right away. I love it! Makes this so simple and efficient.
    Screenshot 2015-05-20 08.13.43

And that’s it!

Between WordPress, Jetpack Stats and a Sendible Account, it took me ~30 minutes last night to curate 45 pieces of unique social media messages with 100% relevant content for my audience. It also gave me a chance to do some cross-promotion for the client. Many of the messages are “Thank, So & So, for the awesome write up on our product!” It’s fun to give other people credit where credit is due!

I also use other sources for curating relevant content that isn’t about the products or services specific to the client. AllTop is a great resource for that. But when you want to really focus on the sources that are sending traffic to your website – just simplify your life and use Jetpack and a good, hearty content management tool like Sendible.

Post Script RE: Jetpack Stats

Oh I totally forgot to mention this. My personal blog is hosted over at WordPress.com via freebie account so I am showing you steps here based on that. You know, if you’re a developer and your client’s site is self-hosted AND uses Jetpack Stats, you can actually pull more data from your stats than what is automatically shown in the dashboard. I’m not 100% sure how you would actually do that – but George (the Jetpack Lead whom I call Jetpack George) told me it can be done and so I’m guessing he is right. Maybe I’ll do a writeup on how awesome George is. Or Jetpack. I haven’t decided who’s cooler.

Do Over

Sarah Pressler:


Originally posted on Another Day:

This morning, a friend, who I revere, posted a link for her teacher friends (she is also a teacher) on an alternative to behavior clip charts. I clicked on the link and was reminded why even systems that reward good behavior over negative still miss the mark.

Here is the link.

Know what I hate about these systems? The public review of transgressions at the end. The one size fits all “they’ll police each other” mentality (which is complete nonsense because they don’t know how to control their own behavior a lot of the time.). And especially the complete lack of grace. One or two children are enough to spoil it for the whole bunch, leading to ridicule and exclusion by the other children. I’ve never seen the consistently quiet kids “save” the day with their behavior or earn the occasional do-over for other students having a harder day managing…

View original 286 more words

Alive But Unforgiving

For my friend, facing divorce. The death of her marriage. The unjustness of it all.
Alive but unforgiving will turn. In time. It will.
I’m four years past separation, 2 yrs past the final signature by the judge.
This too, my friend, shall pass.
And thankfully… God never lets us go.

“Souls Like The Wheels”
Souls like the wheels
Turning, taking us with wind at our heels
Burning, making us decide on what we’re giving
Change this way of living

One little song
Give me strength to the leave the sad and the wrong
Bury safely in the past where I’ve been living
Alive but unforgiving
Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go

One little girl
Bring me life from where I thought it was dark
Be the spark that has a chance to light the candle
Love that I can handle
Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go
Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go

Souls like the wings
Spreading out away from bad memories
Make us capable of taking off and landing
Alive with understanding
Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go
Let me go, let me go, let me go, let me go
Writer(s): Robert William Crawford, Scott Yancey Avett, Timothy Seth Avett
Copyright: Truth Comes True Publishing, Ramseur Family Fold Music, Nemoivmusic, First Big Snow Publishing