Wednesday, September 10, 2014
“Could I get a button on this page?”
This is one of the most-asked questions by our Web Manager users. And with buttons continuing to be highly sought after, it’s time you got the inside scoop on when to use them—and when not to.
In the old days, buttons were often used to decorate webpages and make them more graphically “exciting.” For example, here’s a screenshot of Liberty’s main website from 2002:
But now, buttons are less about decoration (what looks good) and more about design and function (what works well).
It’s widely accepted that buttons represent an action, such as “Pay Now,” “Create an Account,” or “Save.” The action is more than just navigating from point A to point B. Instead, it tends to let the user do something based on user input. For example, clicking a “Buy Tickets” button should reserve a ticket for you, decrease the number of available tickets, and charge your credit card using the info you provided. That's an action.
Take a look at the new Jerry Falwell Library website. The green “Go” button works here because clicking it performs a search (the action) based on your search terms (user input). The result is a custom search result page that didn’t exist before. On the other hand, a text link works best to access a pre-made page of search tips.
Colored, underlined text is the most recognized visual cue for a link between two pieces of content or pages. It’s so common that users often ignore buttons in favor of text links. That’s why buttons don’t work well as page-to-page links.
We tested this a few years ago on the former LUO site shown below. Users were asked to locate HelpDesk information or intensives, but the majority of them had trouble because they ignored the buttons and jumped straight to the text links below them.
Image buttons don’t work well for search engine optimization (SEO) either. More links pointing to your page means more potential ranking power for that page. But the text used in the link is also important. If the text “School of Religion” links to the SOR page, then that page can build search credibility on that term or topic. This is lost when buttons are used.
So there's the inside scoop on buttons vs. text links.
To request a button for your page, contact your Marketing project coordinator to get started. We can help you determine if a button will work for your page!
And join us on Twitter to be a part of our growing web content community.Posted at 2:47 PM | Permalink
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Here's why we say that text should not be put in images on the web:
When the text performs a function, such as a header or title, it should not be in an image because it needs to be searchable for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and available to users with screen readers. Neither of these can happen when text is buried in an image.
Buttons and images are two different things: Buttons are clickable links with a specific "button design" that users expect and know, whereas images are often not expected to be clickable by users. Images are meant to serve as visual/design appeal and should not be used as buttons. If you would like a button added to your page, you can request one from the Marketing Department.
Images are great for adding visual appeal to a page, and sometimes it is also okay if they have some text in them that only adds design appeal and does not take the place of pertinent text.
Posted at 11:04 AM | Permalink
Monday, August 11, 2014
Web page titles and headers have a simple but important function. They tell readers and search engines what the page or section is about. That part’s pretty simple, but there are a few tips that will make your page titles and headings better.
The page title should briefly and accurately describe the purpose of the page. It should use keywords that your audience will know and understand.
These are the heading formats (heading 1, heading 2, or heading 3, etc., also known as h1, h2, and h3) that you use on your page to organize and divide it into sections.
Monday, July 28, 2014
When it comes to social media, we all want to use it to the best of our ability. So for this Web Manager Blog post we decided to give some tips on how to improve your use of social media. Don't hesitate to contact email@example.com if you have questions about your accounts or you can reference the Social Media Policy.
1. The Shorter the Better. Research shows that posts that are around 100 characters tend to see better reach than longer posts (meaning that many of you quit reading this after 100 characters).
2. Post Consistently. When people see an account that has up to date information, photos, and posts they are more likely to follow/like! But, don’t over post! Find the happy medium.
3. Ask Good Questions. If you want to increase engagement, ask questions that people will really answer. It's always a great idea to respond as quickly as possible.
4. For Facebook, constantly check insights. Look at what posts have the highest reach and who they are reaching. Then tailor future posts to those people based on what has worked in the past.
5. DON’T post identical content to Facebook and Twitter. These two social networks are very different. Find out what works for each respective platform and post unique posts to each of them.Posted at 11:47 AM | Permalink
Friday, July 11, 2014
To make your web page more findable, it’s important to understand how and where to use keywords. A keyword is simply a word or phrase that describes your website, web page, or document. It’s what someone would type in a search box if they were looking for your content.
You can make your page more findable – also known as search engine optimization or SEO – by putting keywords on your page in strategic locations:
Your entire website or department pages might have many important keywords, but each individual page will only have a few. You should place important keywords at the beginning of the page title and the H1.
Here are some examples of titles and headings where the keyword (in bold) was placed at the end or left out entirely.
Mark your calendar for this year's Homecoming event
Now look at those same examples where the keyword has been placed at the beginning of the title or heading.
Homecoming 2014 Dates
You can also use keywords in your image file names and alternative text. (Review our blog post Get the Most from your Web Images to learn how. If you must link to a PDF, make sure you use best file naming practices when saving files. Of course, your on-page text should include keywords.
To use keywords effectively, you have to think like your visitors do. That means you’ll have to use the keywords they are searching for. Usually, that means using simple language. For example, a web page about bus routes should be called “Bus Routes,” not “Mass Transit Configurations.”
If it turns out your audience is not finding the information they are looking for, even though your web page has it all right there, the problem might be that you’re not using the right keywords. Listen to the words they use when they tell you they can’t find something and then check your page to see if you’re using the right terms in the page title, headings, and on-page text.
If you need help making your content easier to find, contact the Web Content team. It's our privilege to serve you.Posted at 9:06 AM | Permalink