Category Archives: Tech topics

GPP – Good Posting Practice – II

Let’s review the technical aspects of creating a post. How can it be done in our WordPress editor? Sit back and relax. It’s easy. The description below is meant to guide a the first steps of a new member having no experience with WordPress-based websites.

Step 0: Log in into The Biodiversity Alliance WordPress website.
You have to be a registered Member on our website to be able to create a Post. After you logged in you will see a narrow black strip on the top, and a wide one on left of your browser window with various menu elements.
Step 1: Add a New Post
Either drag your cursor on the top strip over the ‘+ New’ element and select ‘Post’ from the appearing menu, or click on ‘Post’ on the left side strip and select ‘Add New’.
GPP II-1 Add New Post - a

GPP II-1 Add New Post – a

GPP-II 1 Add New Post - b

GPP-II 1 Add New Post – b

Now you will see the ‘Add New Post’ editor with several things around but you need to focus only few of them. First of all make sure that the ‘Text’ editor is active, not the Visual one (so if you hover your cursor over ‘Text’ it remains gray and does not change to blue with highlighted white background).

GPP-II 1 Add New Post - c

GPP-II 1 Add New Post – c

Step 2: Select an attractive title

It sounds to be trivial but it isn’t. A good title is a one which rises the reader’s interest. From information theory viewpoint the lesser the probability of the event or occasion suggested by the title is, the higher the chance to raise interest. Sounds complicated. Let’s consider a title ‘The Sun will set today’. The probability of the event is almost 1. It has never happened otherwise. Boring. ‘The Sun will not set today’ seems to be more unusual, and more likely to catch attention.

GPP-II 2 Choose attractive title

GPP-II 2 Choose attractive title

Step 3: Create the body of your post

You can type in your text into the editor window but it is sometimes more convenient to craft your text in a separate text editor outside of our website, and when you are done just copy and paste it into the WordPress editor. WordPress also has a spell checker built in which helps spotting typos.

Step 4: Inserting links (optional)

If you are referring to other web content in your post you might want to insert a link pointing to that piece of content. This can be done in an elegant way. Inserting just the web address as a non clickable link is not that elegant. Instead you can have an appropriate title or any word you wish to use, and you can add a link to it.

Step 4-1: Copy the link into your clipboard

If you want to refer to an article on another portal, open a new browser tab or window, go to that article and in the address bar select the link and hit CTRL-C. I used to copy the link into my draft to keep it together with my text before I start creating my post in WordPress.

GPP-II 4 Copy the URL to your clipboard

GPP-II 4 Copy the URL to your clipboard

Step 4-2: Select the word(s) to add a link to

You might want to use the same title what your link is pointing to or anything else you think appropriate in your text. Select the text you want a link to add to.

GPP-II 4-2 Select the text to add a link to

GPP-II 4-2 Select the text to add a link to

Step 4-3: Activate the link editor

Click on the ‘link’ button, the 3rd one normally, right above your editor window. You will see a small windows popping up with which you can edit and customize your link.

GPP-II 4-3 Activate the link editor

GPP-II 4-3 Activate the link editor

Step 4-4: Copy the link from your clipboard

Copy the link from your clipboard into the upper text box labelled URL in the popup window.

GPP-II 4-4 Copy URL into the upper text box

GPP-II 4-4 Copy URL into the upper text box

Step 4-5: Add a title to the link

The title of the link will be shown when the reader of your post hover the cursor over your link. It is good to try to be consistent especially if you are posting frequently. I used to put the name of the source at the beginning of the title, such as ‘wikipedia’ or ‘The Guardian’ and after a colon comes the subject.

GPP-II 4-5 Add Title to the link

GPP-II 4-5 Add Title to the link

Step 4-6: Select ‘New Window’

By selecting the ‘New Window’ you tell the browser to open a link in a separate browser tab (or window) when the reader clicks on it. It is important because this way the window with your post remains open and the chance that the reader will continue reading and perhaps commenting it is higher.

GPP-II 4-6 Select new window checkbox

GPP-II 4-6 Select new window checkbox

Step 4-7: Add your Link

The last step of creating your wonderful link is completed by clicking on ‘Add Link’ button.

GPP-II 4-7 Finish by click on Add Link

GPP-II 4-7 Finish by click on Add Link

Step 5: Preview your post

At any point in time you can check and see your shaping post by clicking on the ‘Preview’ button on the right side widget titled ‘Publish’.

GPP-II 5 Check your draft with Preview

GPP-II 5 Check your draft with Preview

Step 6: Publish your beautiful post

When you are done just click on the blue ‘Publish’ button in the lower right corner of the ‘Publish’ widget. In that widget you can see few other properties, just leave them on their default values.

With the above six main step you created your great post. Congratulation!

The 3rd piece of GPP series I’ll show some housekeeping practice with which we can keep all of our posts consistently nicely.

GPP – Good Posting Practice – I.

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).