Why “SEO” and “keyword analysis” are dirty words Yes, dirty words. Because we content creators, at some point, lost sight of the human element. We started to look at SEO as an artificially established set of rules and at keywords as a prescribed list of words we had to chase in order to win. Just look at the terms “search engine optimization (SEO)” and “keyword analysis.” If language is indicative of our approaches, we are without doubt guilty of dehumanizing and ignoring what should be our … [Read more...] about Keyword Analysis: Breaking the Dissonance of SEO Strategies and User Language
If search engine optimization (SEO) is your game, then you surely have obsessed over one question: How do I get my content featured in a Google snippet? Well, we (MindTouch that is) have performed an analysis, and we have some answers. This is what you do: Not this. Not that. And no, not that either. Huh? Indulge me. What I’m trying to tell you is to forget about all the great advice out there on how to improve your SEO and how to get a page one ranking in Google—at least for a … [Read more...] about Your Guide to Google Snippets and the Secret of MindTouch
We may attribute our demand for self-service to our need for active involvement and self-gratification, but there’s another element we rarely factor in: our geeky side. You geek, I geek, we all geek I commute via train and vividly remember the first time I rode the train into work. As you would expect, nearly all my fellow commuters (from young to old, from student to executive, from caffeinated to sleep-drunk) were face down in a mobile device. Since then, every day I watch passengers … [Read more...] about The Age of the Geek: From Self-service to Brand Loyalty
For some years now, customer-centricity has been the lauded business approach, and although companies made a lot of strides, one area continues to fall short: The realignment of key strategic personnel, and, yes, that includes your technical writer. If you are a decision maker and are still not thinking of your technical writer as a prime strategic asset, you are doing it all wrong. I know, how smug of me. But hear me out. Your help content (and here I include technical documentation, … [Read more...] about Time to Get Your Tech Writer out of the Closet
With the proliferation of relying more and more on the internet to woo and keep loyal customers, one cannot deny that technical communications experienced a—dare I say it?—yes, a paradigm shift. If you don’t believe me, then you may not have seen the latest announcement from the Associated Press (AP) about the downfall of the Internet with a capital I. The Internet as we know it is dead; it is no longer an enigmatic force. Say hello to the internet with a lowercased i. Whether you end up … [Read more...] about Yes, Times Are A-Changing. The Traditional Tech Writer Is No More.
Or how to rethink happy ending endings Lately I’ve talked a lot about structuring. Too much maybe. But you and I know that without a solid navigational structure you might as well not have a product help site. Because what use is it if your customers can’t self-serve? Off with the head I say! Let me reiterate: it is time we technical communicators stop falling prey to our whims and fairy tale musings. Yes, we all love us a good story. Heck, we (as in “someone in the software industry with a … [Read more...] about Shake Your Fairy Tale Habits: Final Chapter — Does Your Structure Work?
Or how once again analytics gets you out of your head and in your customers’ shoes Before I dared to tackle the restructure of the MindTouch Success Center, I knew I needed to experience our customers’ pains and joys. The only way I could guide them well—and to the right information—was by putting myself in their shoes. Literally. Well, not quite, but you know what I’m getting at. In the end, the single most important decision I made when restructuring our site was to assign prominence to … [Read more...] about Shake Your Fairy Tale Habits: Chapter 3 — Deciding on Structure Prominence
Or how to plan your structure without analytics tools and still serve your customers. A couple of weeks back I wrote about the importance of using analytics tools when planning the structure of your top-level help content hierarchies. And I’m sure some of you asked the inevitable question, “But what if I don’t have any analytics tools set up?” Ah, yes, it seems that would make your structure planning a bit more difficult. But not so. Let’s face it, if you are setting up web-accessible content … [Read more...] about Shake Your Fairy Tale Habits: Chapter 2 – Alternative Data Gathering
Or how to listen to your customers and plan your top-level hierarchies. Get cozy with yourself Welcome back to ditching navigational stories as you know them. This first chapter on shaking your fairy tale habits gets down to the nitty-gritty, the first step in structuring (or restructuring) your site---understanding your business from your customer’s perspective. The good old times I remember a time when I had to sift through dozens and dozens of document folders while trying to find the folder … [Read more...] about Shake Your Fairy Tale Habits: Chapter 1 – Forget Sleepless Nights
Or how to let analytics reform your content strategy This is part of an ongoing series documenting the best practices, musings, and confessions on tech writing, as told by the MindTouch Documentation Architect. If you have read my introductory blog a couple of weeks ago, you may have gathered that I am on a mission to rid technical communications of its bad habits once and for all, particularly those involving the weaving of content strategy tales that hurt users more often than help them. … [Read more...] about The "Doc is In" Series: Shake Your Fairy Tale Habits—The Prologue