If in doubt, call it what it is

A café in the village where I live closed down recently, just a few months after it had opened. I wasn’t surpised. Located in a new park for small businesses, it was a little off the beaten track, with very little direct passing trade. It was only after it had closed that I noticed the sign outside the business park on the main road.  Read more

My go-to sites for free photographs

A picture is not always worth a thousand words. While online communication is dominated by visuals these days, often the photographs, graphics or icons used don’t add much value. Just look at the photo below for example!

Nevertheless, it is usually a good idea to include some sort of eye candy, as long as you maintain a good balance between style and substance. Smart use of typography and layout can sometimes be enough, but you’ll probably find yourself hunting for photos sooner or later. Read more

WordPress wins for websites but Wix works well

I’ve had a chance to work with both Wix and Squarespace on recent projects. While WordPress remains my preferred platform for building and maintaining websites, these site builder services are clearly attractive for those who want to quickly and easily get a professional-looking site online. Read more

Note to self: update blog

How often have you clicked through to the blog section of a website and found that the most recent post dates from many months or even years ago? It doesn’t look great, does it. So, the simple message of this post is: post something! Read more

MailChimp may not be the best solution for your members

For membership-based organizations, regular and reliable communication with the member community is essential. Email newsletters are a commonly used tool for this and whenever email newsletters are mentioned, you can be sure MailChimp will come up as an option. But you shouldn’t be too hasty in embracing that friendly monkey! Read more

Treat your website to a content audit

Taking a few hours to do a content audit of your website represents time very well spent. Both the process itself and the document that results can help to identify problems with site structure, inconsistencies in menus, titles, headings and URLs, and outdated or difficult-to-find content.

The word audit might suggest some kind of scary inspection Read more

I’ll be brief…

It’s highly likely that the people you are trying to reach with your message — whatever it may be — lead busy working lives and have to deal with constant interruptions and distractions. Your gift to them should therefore be brevity. Try to tell your story, or at least deliver the essential (for your audience) information, in as few words as possible*. Read more

Communicate sustainably

With a title like that you could be forgiven for thinking this post is about using recycled paper for your flyers and offsetting the emissions generated by your events. In fact, I’m encouraging you to think about sustainability in communications from an entirely different angle. Read more

You should be on Facebook, but don’t waste your time on Facebook

A few years ago I recall reading many articles predicting the death of websites. People would get their information from social networks and would use mobile apps to access and browse content. I believe those predictions have been proved wrong, or at least premature, especially when it comes to niche audiences and interests.

For the small to mid-sized organizations I’ve worked with, the website remains the most important focus for online presence. Read more

Give your conference programme room to breathe

Many organizations are locked into a long-standing pattern of annual events of different kinds that consist of a set of presentations programmed across a day or two, perhaps with a token panel session in an attempt to liven things up a bit. Events like these, often run by over-stretched comms people who fall back on the same template year after year, rarely generate any really interesting discussion or energy in the room. Read more