Cnet's Elinor Mills has a great article on the demise of "pithy, witty and provocative headlines" -- the bread-and-butter of print publishing. You can win awards with a headline like "BASTARDS!" over a shot of the Twin Towers in flames, but in a search-engine results-page, that headline is invisible. Instead, you want a clean, informative headline that alphabetizes well (no punctuation, numbers or articles at the start), along with a totally straight, totally informative lede graf.
I first encountered this idea in Jakob Nielsen's "Microcontent: How to Write Headlines, Page Titles, and Subject Lines", and we're great fans of it here at Boing Boing (though we sometimes let a great joke come ahead of an informative headline...). I actually think that this is part of the secret of our success -- we write headlines like wire-service stringers, headlines that are meant to be easy to grok from a cluster of RSS links, search-results, and so on.
The Boston Globe is a recent convert to this philosophy, and it's working well for them: though they're ranked 15th in print circulation nationwide, they're number four on the Web, all down to attending to the ways that search engines consume and regurgitate information.
On January 2, The Wall Street Journal Online posted a story with the headline: "Green Beans Comes Marching Home."
It happened to be an article about the Green Beans Coffee Co., which serves overseas U.S. military bases, opening its first cafe in the United States.
Let's say you were interested in the subject but didn't know the Journal had written an article on it. You might type into a search engine some combination of keywords like "Green Beans," "coffee," "U.S. military," "bases" and "soldiers." Various combinations failed to return a link to the article in the first page of results on Google. Using all of the keywords and terms separated like that did find the article, but not on The Wall Street Journal site. Instead, it was on a blog site that had reposted the article word for word.
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
Ok, it’s not just solar powered. It’s also an anti-theft, waterproof marvel that keeps my phone’s power bar from ever getting into the red.Sure the idea seems obvious now – tuck a gigantic solar powered battery pack into an exposed slot and turn the wearer into a walking energy harvester. Simple maybe, but I didn’t […]
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]