Good Posting Practice is meant to list a few of my technical and non-technical considerations specific to The BA website with which we potentially could increase the user experience/satisfaction/interest of our visitors.
We need to think about the purpose of our postings and the potential or likely effect of our posts to visitors.
Why do we post on our website?
First of all we might want to express that we are concerned about a particular topics and consider it important enough to direct others’ attention to it. So we just share what is in our mind.
Apart from that we might also want to encourage others to think about the same topic and share their views as well. What’s more we might even want to initiate some sort of discussion leading towards a common understanding of a particular topic, values, practices.
From the latter viewpoint it is in our own interest to keep our visitors on our website and have their views, comments there, not elsewhere. Which is quite challenging because visitors are mostly passive, they suffer from shortage of time to spend for comments, the news pressure on them is very high, etc.
To find better practice for posting let’s think about the potential effect of our current way of posting.
In most of our posts there are nothing more than few short sentences introducing a topic discussed in a post on some other website, or just sharing whether or not we find it interesting. Plus we have a string inserted including the URI of that particular post. Pictures in most of the cases are not included.
Human beings are strongly influenced by visual input. Various researches agree that 60-70% of the impact on an observer by watching and listening something/somebody is created by visual observation and only the remaining 40-30% is by listening. In case of web surfing the impact of visual input (i.e. images versus text which requires reading) the difference is even more significant, giving priority to visually attractive subject. Pure text is just boring for most of us, and we don’t bother to read if there is something else which is more attractive.
Therefore creating a post without a single image largely reduces the chance that visitors will take time to click on it. (This post in its current form is not for visitors but for the founders of The BA.)
What happens if they click on it and they find an URI which is not even an click-able URL, so they are ‘forced’ to select and copy it, than to open a new browser window and past it into it. The subject must be a matter of utmost importance to encourage someone to complete such an exercise.
Now let’s pretend that the visitor finally follow the link to an external website and read what he or she find there. Our website is in English. Our links are pointing mostly also to English targets. Usually very popular targets where there are already some sort of discussion going on about that particular topic. Therefore it is very likely that if the visitor has anything to say about that topic he or she will share it on the target website, not on ours.
At the same time there is another danger posed by the fact that we regularly use the same source for referencing topics being discussed there. The visitor might come to the conclusion that it is easier to bookmark that particular portal and search for information directly there. It is especially true if that portal has a dedicated expert team to regularly publish posts on wide variety of subjects falling into the area of environment protection, biodiversity, global warming, etc.
So how can we compete with these portals and how can we overcome the above outlined shortages.
The easier part of the answer lies on technical side. We have to include proper images for our posts and we must include a click-able link in our post if it is referencing to some external portal to avoid cumbersome exercise of copying an URI into a browser window.
The difficult part of the story lies in the essence of our posts. It has to include something extra, such as an added piece of experience, expertise or knowledge which can’t be find everyday everywhere. Or it has to deliver some sort of aggregated analysis or conclusion gained from several sources, so that the visitor would be impressed by getting more on our website during less time than elsewhere.
All in all we might need to focus more on quality rather than quantity. The generic pattern tells us that on long term quality always has a higher Return on Investment (of time and effort).