Mobile-responsive design is a must to attract website traffic

The Internet’s transition to mobile devices seemed like a smooth one over the past few years. Almost every cell phone user in the country was switching to a smart phone so that they could have the world at their fingertips. Popular websites even increased their popularity as they could be accessed from a ballgame or even the subway.

Then the Apple Store and the Google Play Store made it even easier for users to access their favorite webpages. The same popular websites began developing apps designed specifically for the mobile user.

So what’s changed? Google.

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As we have learned this week, responsive design has become the new online fad for mobile users. Its easy accessibility and almost identical desktop layout has websites scurrying to make the next transition of the technology age.

According to an article on SocialTimes called How has Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ impacted mobile traffic?, Google has made a big change to its websites ranking process. In order to make it to the top of Google’s search list, webpages better become accustomed to responsive design.

Within the article, there are graphs that show a significant decline in website traffic for companies who have yet to adapt to responsive design. I think it is safe to say that the new responsive design fad may be here to stay.

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Floyd Mayweather’s violent history takes back seat to tonight’s ‘superfight’

Floyd Mayweather has been convicted five time of domestic violence, but has never been suspended by the Las Vegas Gaming Commission or any other entity in the professional boxing community.

Despite Mayweather’s history of domestic violence being brought to the forefront in the weeks leading up to the May 2nd ‘superfight’ against Manny Pacquiao, the sporting community does not seem to flinch when it comes to cheering and betting on one of professional sports worst role models.

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Celebrities, Athletes to be able to monetize personal content

Professional athletes and celebrities make a lot of money in their professions, but is it enough?

According to an article called Grabyo VIP Gives Verified Users the Ability to Monetize Content on Facebook and Twitter on adweek.com, they should be making more… much more. The progressive company Grabyo launched this new service for verified users to be able to make money off of all video streams that are shared via social media that include their image and likeness.

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Popular videos emerge on the web everyday and are shared around the world via Facebook and Twitter such as Sportscenter’s Top Ten Plays. Grabyo believes that the athletes that make up these amazingly irresistible plays should be able to cash in on their greatness. I happen to agree. There is no reason that people who do not pay for the live program of say, this weekend’s Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, should be able to relive the action through videos shared on social media without having to pony up. If this new service catches on with the pop culture stars, it could change the entire dynamic of online streaming.

My only question with this is, how exactly will they monetize this feature? Paid subscriptions? Pay per click? It seems like it may be a difficult task given the millions of social media users who share and view this kind of content daily.

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The Importance of Measuring your Audience

One of the relatively new phenomena in journalism is the ability to connect with your audience on multiple platforms. It had provided journalists with all sorts of benefits; however, many are still trying to figure out how to measure whether this communication is paying off.

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In an article on Poynter.org called “How journalists can measure engagement,” Meena Thiruvengadam talks about the many ways a journalist can measure their audience interaction online, but many people do not know what those numbers necessarily mean.

Many journalists think that audience engagement is only in the form of online shares through sites like Twitter and Facebook, but Thiruvengaham discusses how journalists must go beyond traditional social media shares to truly find out how often their audience is engaging in their stories.

One of the biggest issues with online engagement is that people share content without the original website or journalist even knowing that their article is being spread around the web. Thiruvengaham says that journalists must find a way to track down their content in every form before actually understanding what this kind of interaction will truly mean.

My question about this is, how can a journalist truly track down the origin of their content when others could just simply expand on their story and claim it as their own? If a fellow journalist reads your story and posts a similar story using your premise, could you consider that audience engagement even though it’s not traditionally shared?

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Content is Key

Despite learning about the importance of headlines and attracting readers to your site, journalists must understand that the content is what makes those readers come back.

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In an infographic on SocialTimes website, a content marketing platform by the name of NewsCred did a study that shows the importance of content when trying to reach new users.

Although this article refers primarily to marketing, the premise is similar in the world of journalism. While, a solid headline combined with a story’s place on the Google results page may get the reader to click on your article, it does not guarantee that they will continue to read said article. As Briggs relays in Journalism Next, on average about 8 out of 10 people will read a headline, but only 2 out of 10 will continue to read the story.

This means that journalists must provide solid, relevant content with every story if they want readers to continue visiting their site.

My question with this is, with an unlimited amount of content on the web, how can a journalist separate themselves from others in order to prove that their story’s the best?

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Mobile friendliness a necessity for online success?

This week, we have been learning about search engine optimization, or SEO, and how headlines can make or break a website in terms of its audience reach.

We all know that Google is the most commonly used search engine on the Internet, so tailoring your website to their search criteria is almost a must. Well, now it seems that their criteria has expanded and many websites could be at risk of dropping off the first few pages of search results.

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According to an article by Connor Dougherty of the New York Times, “mobile friendliness” is the new contributing factor to Google’s algorithm when determining the top sites to provide its users. This could become a huge problem for smaller news sites who do not have mobile apps, or lack strength in that category.

In the past, an organization could have an awesome website with high-quality headlines and shoot to the top of the results page on Google. Now, that website must translate to mobile devices as the age of the smart phone continues to resonate with the technology generation.

My question with this is, will this addition to search criteria affect the quality of page results on Google just because some websites aren’t mobile?

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Can websites avoid direct moderation?

After taking a look at all of the comment moderation formats that our lesson provided this week, I thought to myself, “Is there a way for websites to entice conversation without direct accountability?”

After researching a few different options, I stumbled across an article articulating the method of Twitter conversations. It is similar to the Facebook comments method we have discussed in the sense that it uses social media to get the point across; however, the conversation would take place entirely over Twitter instead of on a message board directly linked to the site.

The method would incorporate the website providing a hashtag about the topic or content of a specific story. The hashtag format is used by many organizations across the world to get the word out about a product or movement and has been quite successful in a number of different circumstances.

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In my thinking, I tweaked this method a bit to make it more specific to everyday news instead of monumental movements. As you can read in the article, 5 Tips For Getting The Most Out of Twitter Chats, there are chat tools such as TweetChat that can allow users to set up a stream that only provides the specific tweets in a Twitter Chat feed. This would allow users to participate in a conversation similar to the Facebook comments, but it would be entirely via Twitter eliminating anonymous commenters and providing accountability to users on the web.

My question for my readers is, do you believe that there would be enough correlation between the original website content and the Twitter Chat conversations to provide the organization with the community interaction they desire?

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Where do we draw the line?

Apparently Facebook is now allowing people to serve divorce papers via social media.

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According to the article, “Judge: It’s OK to Serve Divorce Papers via Facebook,” Ellanora Baidoo was unable to get in contact with her soon-to-be ex-husband, Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku, in order to break the news. Baidoo’s lawyer was also unable to deliver the papers to Blood-Dzraku either.

Baidoo and her lawyer then decided to take the matter to court where Manhattan Supreme Court justice Matthew Cooper ruled that it was ok for Baidoo to deliever the papers via Facebook in order to speed up the divorce process.

My only question with this ruling is, how personal does a matter have to be in order for it to be legally withheld from social media? In my opinion, social media sites like Facebook need less features, not more.

In correlation with this week’s lesson, would you consider this an invasion of Blood-Dzraku’s privacy?

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Newspapers finding different ways around paywalls

The time of the paywall is seemingly coming to an end as newspapers and organizations have started looking for different ways around using the pay-for-content method of news.

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The ‘Toronto Star’ tried to implement a paywall in 2013, but in just two years, they were forced to take it down with a lack of readership. The article can be found here.

It is hard to compete with websites now-a-days when you are implementing a strict paywall. News organizations come few and far between with the prestige to still get the readership with a hard paywall.

A 20-year-old magazine called ‘Time Out New York’ recently switched their online distribution to a free-content website. The article can be found here.

My question is, if news websites are forced to find ways around paywalls, what will news become in the years to come when all access is free to the public? Will it still be legitimate? Or will the quality suffer?

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A Whole New World

This week, we looked at databases and the versatility they can bring to journalism. Databases and all forms of digital content management has taken the media by storm. It actually has taken everyone by storm including many Fortune 500 companies.

General Electric, or GE, has done its best to stay away from hopping on to the digital bandwagon. As described in an article on CyberJournalist.net called “How GE embraces new digital platform,” GE spends about $162 million a year on traditional media such as print formats like newspapers.

As I read about all the technological advancements within this new technology age, I sit here and wonder, why fight it? Is it just to dare to be different or is it foolish to avoid conforming?

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