Content is King (and yes, the crown does blend)

02/18/14 Daniel Warren

blendtec

The Blendtec videos were viewed over six million times within five days of their posting on YouTube and on Blendtec’s website. They’ve been viewed more than 100 million times since.

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New Jumpchart Features

01/24/14 Kristin

You may have noticed we recently launched some updates to Jumpchart. We wanted to cover a few of the highlights in case you missed them.

Improved Print Styles
If you’re like us, you like to print things sometimes – helps to have something physical to mark up, and it gets old looking at the screen all day. Now your printout look more like what’s on your screen – with content and navigation organization fit to show clients if you so choose. We also eliminated all the extra browser elements that tend to crowd a page.

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Export to PDF
Introducing one more way to share projects with collaborators and clients (in addition to inviting them to the project, or showing them a public wireframe, of course). Now you can export the full project to a PDF – and send that file however you’d like; via email, physical copy, zip drive – whatever. As you know, a PDF holds its formatting across browsers, and even operating systems. No matter how outdated your client’s computer is, they’ll see what you see.

Sitemap Printing Support
Now the sitemap is easier to print, too. The new graphically enhanced sitemap will show the organization of your project in a succinct layout you can pitch to anyone.

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Export to Drupal
Jumpchart already supported WordPress exports – the most popular CMS on the web. Now we’re supporting another one of the biggies – Drupal. Your full site export is now only one click away.

Focus on Content
A clean screen is a must. Now you can zone in on the task at hand by eliminating all other elements on the page. You can even choose to work on a light or dark colored background. Don’t worry, your editing menu will still be accessible with a quick click.

Dumpster Divers – Rejoice!
Just because something is in the trash doesn’t mean it actually belongs there. If you’ve ever accidentally deleted a page (and all its subpages…), you know the feeling of panic that immediately ensues. Now, recovering your “lost” content is as easy as reaching into the trash and pulling it out.

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The More, the Merrier
Add another win for efficiency – now you can invite multiple collaborators to your project at once. There’s plenty of room in the invitation field – and you can still add a personal message to them.

Happy Holidays!

12/23/13 Kristin

We’re not sure how, but it’s time again for our annual Holiday Break. We’ll be out of the office until January 2, doing things like hanging out with friends and family, chasing kiddos around, and maybe succumbing to a nap here and there. Our response time might be a little slower than usual until we’re back in the full swing of things.

If you have an emergency during the break, just shoot us an e-mail – we’ll do our best to get you taken care of as quickly as we can.

Happy Holidays!

- Paste

Feedback. When to Get it, When to Avoid it, and How Jumpchart Helps Keep Track of it All.

10/15/13 Kristin

If you’re using Jumpchart, you’re probably organizing content for a website project. And if you’re working on a website project, you probably know you’ll have to get feedback… at some point.

The hard part is deciding when. Early? Before you get into the nitty gritty? Or later? After you’ve already done the hard stuff? There are pluses and minuses to both. But because you’re using Jumpchart, you’re lucky… you can go either way and still stay on track. Here’s how.

Getting Feedback Early.


Picture this. You have big ideas for this site. You can’t wait to get started, but you’re working really closely with your client. Your idea of a partnership is a give and take – and that means feedback every step of the way. So you work through the architecture of the new site; that’s your step one. Maybe it goes something like this. Once you have that knocked out, it’s time to show your client. You have two options for letting your client see it. You can either invite them to the project (with full access, or read-only access – your choice!), or show them the public link to the site map. Inviting them to the project allows them to make comments on each page. Those comments will stay with you throughout the project’s existence, so you can always refer back to them to make sure you’re staying on the right track. You either get instant approval, or you and your client work through initial revisions together. Then you move on to the page-level content. Since you’ve already shown your client, they have access to your progress, and can provide feedback as you go. Your project progresses at a pace you’re both happy with, and as always, you can refer back to notes because they’re right there in your Jumpchart project. Keep Reading

Should You Care About Content Strategy?

10/08/13 Kristin

I’m a big fan of putting words before pixels, but I’m aware that only gets you as far as launch. What do you do after the big red button has been pushed, and the whole world knows about your website?

Keep adding content. How? By developing a content strategy. This is totally a 30,000 foot view of what content strategy really looks like, but there are others who do a much better job of getting down to the gory details. In a nutshell, figure out a plan that answers these questions: How will you let people know you exist? Will you blog? Will you tweet? What will you say? Can you pull this off using one voice? Have one underlying message? Keep Reading

Before You Plan Content, You Have to do This.

10/03/13 Kristin

You’ve heard it here, you’ve heard it everywhere: content comes first. But that’s actually not entirely true. There’s something even more important that comes before content. It often gets lumped in with the content planning phase, but I think it’s important enough to have a blog article all its own.

Architecture.

You know, the real backbone of the site. This is actually my favorite part of planning a site (nerd alert, I know) because it forces me to really focus on what the site’s purpose is. Kicking off content creation for a project, I have a bunch of notes scribbled in my notebook: headline ideas, tone concepts, calls to action, or things the client has mentioned they want included. It starts to pile up on my desk, but before I pay attention to any of it, I put together the thing that will tie all that chicken scratch together.  Keep Reading

You’re on Board with the Content First Approach. Are Your Clients?

10/01/13 Kristin

I usually don’t talk about client interactions, but this time I’m going to make an exception. An exception that will hopefully help close the bridge between you and clients who can’t wait to get to the sparkly design stage.

When you explain to your client that you work with a content first approach, you might be met with a raised eyebrow. You might feel like you have to defend your process – but you don’t! Instead, educate them. Convince them. Remind them that their project is going to turn out great, and this is why.

When you invite someone to a Jumpchart project, you have the option to include a personal message with the invitation. We have some default content there that explains what Jumpchart is, and I think a variation of it can be used in this situation, too.

Here’s the content as it stands in Jumpchart now:

You’ve probably heard us mention Jumpchart in bits of our conversations- here’s a little more information on it as we move forward. Keep Reading

Content First, No Matter Who You Are.

08/05/13 Kristin

Neil Patel makes a (good) living by helping all kinds of companies grow their revenue, including Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom. He also co-founded Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, so his resume is pretty solid. Not all of his advice resonates with me, but he recently posted an article about boosting website conversion rate, and I got sucked in. There was one bit that stuck out to me in particular. He agrees it’s best to go the content first route.

“To ensure that the marketing copy throughout your whole site is aligned, you should first plan out all the pages you are going to have on your website before you start writing copy. This way your messaging throughout your whole site will portray one message.”

Doing this has more advantages than just maintaining one voice, so I want to take it a step further. Plan your architecture first. Then plan what text goes where. Chances are, you’ll realize you don’t have anything concrete to say on a couple pages and end up eliminating what would have only gotten in the way of your core message. You’ll be trimming the fat before your site’s even overweight…

So it doesn’t matter who you are, what industry you’re in, or what you’re selling: planning content first is a sound way to get better results. Simple as that.

Read the whole article in 7 Simple Copywriting Tweaks That’ll Shoot Your Conversion Rate Up.

Why Responsive Design Puts More Pressure on the Content First Method.

07/30/13 Kristin

With the rise of responsiveness, a lot of time has been spent talking about design. I get it. It’s the design that has to shift between screen sizes. It’s the pixels that have to be pushed, and reorganized, and whipped around to give the user the best experience. But I feel like something’s being left out of the conversation.

Content is Still as Important as it Ever Was
Just because the design changes from screen to screen doesn’t mean what’s being said on them is any less important. The user being able to view the website comfortably is only the first step in retention. After they realize the site will work on their tablet or mobile (which people come to expect anyway these days), they get down to the nitty gritty – the content. Information is the whole reason they’re there in the first place, right? That hasn’t changed.

Content Has to Adapt, Too!
As the screen shrinks, the less the user sees. Which means the words they do see have to be strategically placed, and incredibly purposeful. Your headline has to have more punch. Your intro has to get the point across quickly and effectively. When you only have a small amount of space to prove yourself, every character counts. So obviously this changes the way you plan the content for your site. Or at least it should. Keep Reading

Why Content is the Foundation for a Successful Website.

06/11/13 Kristin

I think we can agree that in order for any project to succeed, you have to have all your ducks in a row.

But there’s something else the “content first” theory brings to the table. Something incredibly valuable, but often forgotten. And when it is forgotten, the end result is that you find yourself clicking about frantically inside a website trying like hell to get out.

Flow.

The transition between website pages should be smooth. Seamless. Melodic, even. But what’s more, it should be expected. In a world where the goal of most advertising efforts is to knock you off your feet and commandeer your attention, you should never be shocked at what’s on the webpage in front of you. You clicked because you’re looking for something, and you expect it to be there when you arrive.

Design and content go hand in hand, but design looks to content to lead the way. Be half a step ahead. Maneuver around a steep drop, or a sinkhole. There’s no better time to work out the kinks than at the beginning of a project. Admittedly, the first thing people see when they come to a site is design – but once the awe of beauty wears off (and it will, eventually), they’re going to read the content. That’s where you either retain visitors, or lose them.

Laying out navigation and content first is a surefire way to lead your visitors down the path of your choice. Anticipate the information they’ll want, and the order they’ll want it in. Figure out what’s most important to them, then make it easily accessible. Develop pages and subpages that will quench their thirst but still leave them wanting more … which just happens to be when you point them to the contact page.

It makes sense to me that content should come first when planning a website. The words and tone tend to dictate the design direction, and how can you do one without the other? Plus, what designer doesn’t love swooping in and icing the cake? They can spend their time actually pushing pixels instead of redoing the nav 8 times because it wasn’t figured out before they started designing. Design follows in the footsteps of navigation and content, but they all cross the finish line at the same time.