Writing For Robots

writing-for-robots

Designing An Online Higher Education Website

H1’s, H2’s and H3′ tags can be the key to getting readers to read and engage with your website, but there are definitely a few no-no’s when writing these headings. If you have beautiful collegiate phrases they might engage a few readers, but what will a robot think of it? If I just read, “Online learning with the flexibility to fit your life” would I know exactly what that section would be talking about? It is a great readable heading for a blog reader, but you may not want to use it for an information page of a website. A website’s headings should be clear enough for a person to glance at it and understand what they are about to read, but also be creative enough to catch attention. This is where a website’s information pages may differ from general product writing or blog writing.

Don’t use headings that seem too wordy to be headings.

First of all let me preface this, “You are likely a better writer than I am and I don’t really have the right to correct your writing. I really don’t have the grammatical skills to teach you here”, but if you are trying to learn how to engage a reader and write for robots like Google… Look at the sample headers below.

Writing for A Glancer Rather Than A Reader

Many people will glance at the headings and see if it catches their attention or they may glance and see if the heading is what they were looking for. If they don’t understand it instantly, they might skip over it.
Here are some samples. My word list below is what I chose from to create the headings. Generally I create a big word list of key words and phrases and then try to gently use them through the text. They don’t need to be over-used. You may think of more key words or phrases, but my initial list is below.

Sample Headers

Online learning with the flexibility to fit your life. Vs.

Online Flexible Schedules
Learning Online and On-Campus (Blended Learning)
Blended Learning is Flexible
Blended Instruction fits your schedule.
Special Note *It may also be best not to use words like “blended” in a heading until you have explained them.

A multi-dimensional approach to a community of learning. Vs.

Online learning with a community feel 
Learning in an online community
Flexible Learning, Flexible Community

You will for sure come up with better titles than for your programs but, I am hoping this will offer the guidance needed to make your online higher education website successful. When I first start my process I do some Google searches to get ideas of the keywords I am looking to infuse in my webpages.
Here are the core ideas I decided I wanted to get across:
Flexible Schedules
Flexible Learning Times
Blended Learning
Blended Instruction
Online Learning Community
Online Program Distinctions
Lutheran Learning Distinctions 

To break these down into an even more granular list I then look for words incorporating the list above. We want these words mixed into our headings, body text and META data with program words like Master’s, Graduate level, Associates, MBA, Liberal Arts and anything else that fits your future student body…. For me, the bold ones should be used the most.
 
On Campus
Flexible Schedules
Flexible Learning Times
Blended Learning
Blended Instruction
Distance Learning
Online Learning Community
Online Community
Online Program Distinctions
Accredited Online Programs/Degrees
Online vs. Traditional Degree Programs
Online College
Online University
Online Courses
Online Course Schedule
Online degree programs
Online Certificate Programs
Online bible seminary
Online Bachelor/Master/… Degree Programs
Cost of online degrees
National University
Lutheran Learning Distinctions
Christian
Bible School – For theology
Christian School
Christian College Degree
Lutheran University

Information Pages vs. Blog Writing

Finally, we need to consider the difference between writing information pages vs. blog or other personal pages on your higher education site. If we first realize that students and robots will be reading your website, it will likely help you understand how important it is to use clear headers to help visitors engage in your website. Higher education websites are full of Information pages, but if you were writing for a blog than these rules don’t apply. For instance, when you are writing a blog you use beautiful, flowery, descriptive text and that is great for a blog reader. The text there flows with personable writing and is very enjoyable to read. Now think about writing for an information page in contrast. You are likely writing for a reader that may be new to your content. This reader may need to be engaged from a different part of their brain. They may be a skeptic, they may be predisposed one way or another about your content. Your job is to influence them to read your content. This is where your headings will help. Simple readable headings will allow your reader to find the information they were searching for and when they read the content below your headings they will now learn to engage with your style of writing. Now you have them. They are interested and reading your content.
Congratulations. Step one is complete.

Secure WordPress Admin with .htaccess

 

With 70 Million WordPress sites and counting and so many hackers looking to get into your site it is worth while to look at a few options to secure WordPress admin files on your website. After scouring the web for months I came across many different ways that you can block WordPress hackers with htaccess. This is not the safest way for new programmers or users that use WordPress plugin quite often, but if you are confident enough to try or you have a good developer. You will likely like the option listed her for protecting your WordPress website from any malicious attempts to access your files and directories. And as usual I have cut out the fluff and given you the quick and dirty steps that can be taken to secure WordPress admin files. Make note that all of these steps could be taken, but this is more of a pick and choose what suits your particular set up best.

Let’s start with what a typical WordPress .htaccess file looks like and go from there.

 

Typical WordPress .htaccess file

 BEGIN WordPress
 RewriteEngine On
 RewriteBase /
 RewriteRule ^index\.php$ - [L]
 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
 RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
 RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
 # END WordPress

First of all let me suggest that any additions to the .htaccess file to be added after # END WordPress. Also, let’s also make sure that if you are going to make changes to your .htaccess file you better save and copy the file first as well as keep it in a safe place.

Wp-config.php Protection

<Files wp-config.php>
 order allow,deny
 deny from all
 </Files>

This will prevent any access to the wp-config file.

Control IP access

order deny,allow
 allow from 201.090.21.0 (replace with your IP address)
 deny from all

Allow access for selected users only. This snippet of code will deny access to anyone that is not on your IP address

Stop directory Browsing

# directory browsing
 Options All -Indexes

Too many programmers know WordPress and can find access into your site through plugins or other content. Block their access to your directories with this code.

Deny access to Wp-content

Order deny,allow
 Deny from all
 <Files ~ ".(xml|css|jpe?g|png|gif|js)$">
 Allow from all
</Files>

This code requires it’s own .htaccess file which must be added to the wp-content folder, it allows users to see images and possibly CSS, … but protects PHP files.

Protect Files

# Protect the .htaccess
 <files .htaccess="">
 order allow,deny
 deny from all
 </Files>

Use this to protect a file rather than a folder section of your site.

.htaccess Protection

<Files ~ "^.*\.([Hh][Tt][Aa])">
 order allow,deny
 deny from all
 satisfy all
</Files>

This piece of code blocks users from accessing anything that starts with hta

Ban Bad Users

order allow,deny
 deny from 202.090.21.1
 deny from 204.090.21.2
 allow from all

If you have noticed bad users abusing your site, identify them by IP and block them.

Drive More Holiday Traffic

December 4th, 2009 in Starting a New Website by Mark

In a previous life I was a fitness enthusiast, to some extent I still am. And from previous experience I learned that hard work pays off and training to become better at your trade is a constant process. Marketing your business is no different. It is a constant effort and if you give up on it you can lose all the benefits of your hard work. So through the holiday season you may want to consider a “personal trainer” for your website. If you have never had a trainer maybe you don’t know the benefits. If you like to know more…

 

#1 They motivate you. I found over the years that paying for training is the best way to get fit. When you pay for a service, you are really motivated to get the most out of it.

 

#2 They personally motivate you to be better through pointing out weaknesses that need attention or enhancing your strongest points. For instance, if you are already a strong company or have a great website with a great following, you will probably want to work on what you already do best. On the other hand if you are a newer business you may want to consider looking into strengthening some of the weak points in your armor.

 

Either technique will work and both will have benefits, but if you never hire the trainer you will never see the results. Many people are the do-it-yourself’er types and this is often a good start. But who can be an expert in every field? Nobody. We all need help. Even top athletes have trainers. And most likely it is not someone with more skill than them, instead it is someone with more knowledge and experience than them. That is how we learn. We get in contact with a specialist or “personal trainer” that has the experience and knowledge to improve your performance. You pay for the service, improve your performance and start the new year with greater confidence, knowing that you trained through the holidays and are not coming out of the Holiday’s fat and slow, but instead stronger and ready for the new year.

 

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