Great Google juice tips from Michael Tippett
There's all kinds of stuff you can go to to find out what's trending, like TweetMeme. Agenda-tracking sites that you can use. So this is the game right now. Everyone's playing this game and finding the things that are trending, even the Vancouver Sun. Their stories are never local stories. There's so much content out there.
Linda: The question is, how far will you go to get traffic? Where's the boundary? What's it worth to you?
Tippett: It's also, does your audience care? Understanding the mechanisms of this stuff and then applying it are two different issues. But it is important to be timely.
I'm sure the Vancouver Sun will have a story about whether there could be an oil spill like BP in B.C.
You have to be nimble.
Tippett: Is there an angle to the BP oil spill? If you went there would be a few paragraphs you could write. There's shelf life to content. You can whip these things up, gain traction and attract an audience, when it's worthwhile.
Know that you should set a target for yourself if you're going to take yourself seriously. Every month, if they're important enough and we're going to write up stuff about it.
It's timely and when people come to your site afterward they'll see these stories and they'll be relevant and important stories to them, and all of a sudden, all these things become relevant to them. Just make it relevant to people's lives. I had no idea this was such an important topic.
Can you talk more about curating and what you mean when you say curating?
Tippett: It’s like when you're in an art gallery and you assemble something around a theme. In the context of news it means you can wrap up a story and run it based on something you find out there. We have a small newsroom, a handful of people. We have our citizen reporters but the reality is they don't get much traffic. So we have our newsroom focus on the big stories. We don't send somebody down to the gulf. But we don't need to. In this instance, they've gone out and there's a video about it. We've embedded it into our page. We have links to other stories.
Is your site using software that's already developed?
Tippett: Our site is really technologically sophisticated. We have all these advanced editing tools. We can drag in a feed and you can resize these things. It's an extremely powerful platform. It's Drupal-based. But it's...we built most of it. Drupal is great if you have a technology team. It's like WordPress but it's more powerful and harder to use.
I'm blown away by what WordPress can do. It's so easy.
Lisa: In what we're using now, the blog is in there as a tool. If I move to something that's more of a blogger, can I still have those static pages? I don't know enough about it.
What about Blogger? Skip on to Word Press.
Tippett: I haven't spent a lot of time on Blogger, but one of the things I've found on WordPress is there are these themes and you just click them in and my whole blog will look different.
If you have a reasonably competent hosting company, for very little price they can set up your blog. The whole idea of blogs is there's this structured information and you can apply a look and feel to it.
There's a site called ThemeForest and you have this site that is just coming up with themes and you can buy them for a dollar. 10 years ago they would have cost you $50,000. They have all these different categories. Two years or 10 years ago, to get to this point would have been very expensive. Now, $14 later...
Tippett: Find a hosting site that does WordPress. Tell them you want to get one of these themes and ask, can you set it up? You have to ensure that they can set it up. Then you need to find a designer that understands WordPress and say I have this theme but I want to change the logo. Be particular about what you want changed.
There's three elements to this. One is the design and the platform. So there's a couple of different types: Blogger and WordPress. That's software. And then there's the actual computer, the server that the software is installed on.
Tippett: Then there's the name of your site. These three things operate independently. With WordPress, you can have it hosted on the WordPress site and it's free, or you could have it hosted on something like Shaw. Or just Google it and you'll find 99 options in 20 seconds.
Dot info is still available
Tippett: You'll find very few names with dot com at the end anymore. I've found dot info is the answer.