January 23, 2007

Suggested reading

I found McGovern's "Words that work: search words versus website words" article interesting.

Choosing the words we use to describe our content can be tricky. We need to use common terms in order to be found by search engines users and to be recognized by people browsing listings of our programs or articles. But there's the tension with also wanting to use the most academically correct terminology. And some terms have conotations we might want to employ or avoid. For instance, vo-tech or vocational-technical education are commonly used terms. But that's not the term used in the field. The Journal of Vocational and Technical Education is now being published as The Journal of Career and Technical Education. Which term do we use? It's important to know the purpose of the page and who the intended audience is. And how strongly the faculty feel about the term.

Writing Link and Heading Text is another good article that came across my Outlook recently.

Posted by bullwink at 10:01 AM

August 3, 2006

Which term/topic is best?

Can't decide if people are more likely to look for "social work programs" or "social work degrees" when looking for an M.S.W. degree? Writing a story about memory loss and wonder what to focus on?

Give Overture's keyword selector a try. The tool is designed to help you choose keywords for online ad campaigns, but it can be useful for other purposes, too.

Here's what I found for suggestions for "M.S.W.":
Searches done in June 2006

Count   Search Term 
1880 msw
274 msw program
186 online msw degree
178 msw degree
166 msw logo
146 msw online
128 online msw program
94 accredited msw program
88 2006 msw
88 msw jobs

Now I have some data to suggest that I should use the term "program" rather than "degree." Since the numbers are so close, it might be best to use both terms where possible. If the degree program in social work offers any online courses, I might want to lead with that information because it looks like there's lots of interest. Adding a note about acreditation might also be wise.

Here are recent searches regarding momory loss:

Searches done in June 2006 
Count Search Term
11241 loss memory short term
7054 loss memory
1368 lipitor loss memory
534 cause loss memory
441 cause loss memory short term
278 depression loss memory
176 alcohol loss memory
153 loss memory menopause
152 loss memory sudden
150 long loss memory term
136 loss memory statins

This suggests that people are interested in short term memory loss--no surprise there. But I would not have known that people associate memory loss with Lipitor. So I might be sure I write about statin drugs and any connection they have with loss of memory. (And I think I'll read up on this since my 83-year-old mother takes Lipitor.)

I don't doubt that the results from Overture's suggestions can also mislead. But for those of us who operate with a lack of market research resources, this gives us some dat worth concidering.

Plus Overture is fun. I put in my last name expecting to see "rocky" and maybe "natasha" as suggestions. Those are there, put so is "pet supply." I might have a long lost relative selling pet food or there might be a dog toy out there I need to buy. And there's "bullwinkle family fun center." I've got to go there for my next vacation!

Posted by bullwink at 1:55 PM

August 22, 2005

Issues of capitalization and links

I doubt that many of us write forms, but the issue of capitalization of titles, heading, links, labels, etc. comes up frequently for me. I believe in keeping it simple and using sentence case for everything. Except for some reason long ago I decided to use title case for inside the <title> tags and have been paying for it ever since. No simple cutting and pasting that tag.

Here's an interesting article on the subject.
Caroline's Corner: Sentence or Title Case for Labels?

As an aside to this topic, we decided to capitalize and italicize the titles of all forms. The new issue is how to link to these from a document that you know will likely be printed. The user who prints the document will need the URL; the reader who is scanning for the link to the form will need to see the form name. So here's how we're presenting the information:

Students must complete the University of Minnesota Application for Undergraduate Degree, available at the University’s One Stop Student Services Web site: http://onestop.umn.edu/onestop/graduating.html.
For more information on University policies, see the University of Minnesota Undergraduate Catalog, available at the University of Minnesota Bookstores, Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Avenue S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455; 612-625-6000; or on the Web: http://www.catalogs.umn.edu/ug/.

The form name or page name gets the link and the URL just sits there waiting to be printed and read. Good idea? Bad idea?

Posted by bullwink at 6:12 PM