We’ve published another year’s worth of blog content and now is my chance to take a look back and see how far we’ve come since this blog was just an idea in my head.
In 2016 we nearly doubled our editorial team. For me, that meant fresh ideas for posts, and new approaches and styles of writing. As a result, I think we’ve increased the variety of content we’ve produced during the past year.
Top five of 2016
- Go Mobile Web Editor Community Event (guest post by Anna Jenner)
- Breaking Bad When It Comes to Links
- Team Update: 14 – 24 March
- Tips for Surviving Go Mobile (guest post by Kate Austin)
- Team update: 29 March – 8 April
We had two guest posts on the blog this year, and they both made it in to the top five.
That’s a clear sign that you’re looking to hear from other editors about their experiences. That’s something that’s supported by the positive response we’ve had to our web editor community events.
To build on this, my goal for the blog for 2017 is to get more guest posts on the blog – so if you’ve got an idea, get in touch.
I’m interested to see a couple of our team updates in the list. I took a look to see if I could spot what managed to hook people’s interest for those two weeks in March.
The first introduced our new members of staff; Andrew, Emily and Fen. The latter covered the launch of the new Careers website.
Popular evergreen content
Not all of our popular posts in 2016 were written the same year. In fact, the top performing post on the blog during 2016 was written the year before.
It’s popular because it remains relevant to all our editors and presents practical tips for using Siteimprove to find content and assets on your website.
My favourite post
There were quite a few contenders for my favourite among the 62 posts we wrote last year. High up the list was one from Fen on the use of bold, but I figured I couldn’t just give it to her for the Star Trek reference.
Instead, I’ve chosen a post on another topic that’s close to my heart – clarity. In Making Research Readable for All, Andrew looks at why using Plain English and producing scannable content are the key to communicating your message.
One year ago today we published our first post on this blog. A year on I’m looking back on what we’ve learned from weekly blogging and writing our monthly round-up.
We like to write
Who’d have thought it, hey? A content team who likes words and enjoys crafting them to communicate with an audience. We’ve written 93 posts that include:
- introductions to key themes in web development
- how to guides for different tools and software
- top tips for writing for the web and search engine optimisation
- case studies of projects we’ve worked on
- rants about topics close to our hearts, like FAQs
We’ve found writing our fortnightly team update a great way to share what we’re working on. It’s also made us realise just how much we really do!
Our monthly blog round-up is popular
We use MailChimp to send a round-up of the blog posts we’ve written each month. Through this system we can see how many times each email has been opened and which links have been followed. The stats from this are really encouraging.
The open rate fluctuates from 25-35%. This is well above the industry average of 15%.
10% of traffic to our site over the year has come from our monthly newsletters.
We like to collaborate
The blog is managed by our editorial team, which currently makes up around 50% of the whole web team. We’re the primary authors of the posts you read. But lately we’ve been encouraging other members of the team to write for us. We’ve had two posts already from Andy. And we’ve got three more from other members of the team waiting in drafts ready to post in the next few weeks.
Over the year we’ve also had three guest posts from colleagues outside our team. They all focus on the training and support we offer to our community of web editors.
People outside the University are reading our posts
And not only that, they’re sharing our content. We’ve written quite a few posts on the web governance tool SiteImprove. The SiteImprove team have picked up on our tutorials and shared them with their followers:
We’re ready for year two
Now we head into our second year of blogging. There’s a lot of change ahead for us as a team, with a new office, new team members and a move towards an Agile way of working. You can expect to see these changes reflected in this blog. We’ll have new writers and a whole new range of topics – so watch this space.
Since we started this blog in March 2015 we’ve written 75 posts for your reading pleasure. We hope you’ve found them interesting and useful. This post is a round-up of our most popular posts from the year. It’s a chance for you to revisit an old favourite, or perhaps discover something new.
The top five
- Find Content Inconsistencies Quickly and Easily Using Siteimprove Policy
- Why ‘Under Construction’ Notices are Bad Practice
- Top Five Tips for Writing for the Web
- Why Deleting Old Stuff On Your Website is a Good Idea
- Meet the Supporting Case for Your Core Content
I see a common theme among these posts; they all offer practical advice to help you improve your content. They support concepts that we’re introducing to our editors through the Go Mobile training, but are applicable to all our web editors.
My favourite post
This is a tough call. And even though there’s no pressure on me to pick a single post, I’m going to… because that’s how I roll.
Two contenders for this accolade are also in the list of the top five most popular. They are Jane’s post on deleting old stuff and Linda’s post on supporting content. These were the first posts in which I think people’s characters started to come through in their writing.
The one I’ve chosen as my favourite is Lisa’s post on improving your web content with help from Google Analytics. It connects the tool to a real world example on the Open Day website. It shows how you can use analytics data as evidence for decisions about content updates on your site or marketing activities.
What’s your favourite? Let us know which post/s you found the most informative or entertaining in the comments.
There’s a lot on the horizon for the Corporate Web Development (CWD) team at Newcastle University. Last year we redeveloped our postgraduate website. It has a new responsive design and improved, user-focused content.
Off the back of this we’ve begun a programme of work to make all the University’s external facing sites mobile friendly. It’s even got a catchy name: Go Mobile.
We’ve launched this blog to keep our web editors up to date with our activities. We’ll also provide information, advice and resources to help you solve problems and improve your content.
As well as regular updates from our Go Mobile programme you can expect to see posts on the following topics:
We’ll introduce each of these themes on the blog over the next couple of weeks.
We also hope the blog will help to raise the profile of our team within the University and beyond.
Keep up to date
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