Writing by James – The Top 5 Most Popular Posts of 2012

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It’s the end of the year, so alongside the rest of the blogosphere, that means it is time for a retrospective look at my most popular posts of the year. For those of you who have taken the time to read my articles this year, guest posts or otherwise, a heartfelt thanks. I hope you found them useful and informative; I’ll do my best to make 2013 just as productive.

Now, without further ado, the Top 5!

#1 – RE: The Walking Dead – A call to Frank Darabont

When I first wrote this post, it was only intended to vent my own frustrations with the first season of the Walking Dead, but it seems that there are a lot of people who feel the same way. Luckily, my main issue with the series – not enough zombies! – has been answered.

#2 – Scribd – the wrong way to use Facebook personalisation

Unlike my rant at the Walking Dead, this was an article that had some substance beyond the personal. Scribd’s use of Facebook Instant Personalisation hit all the wrong notes and deserved to be pilloried.

#3 – Unfollowing those who don’t follow back? You just don’t get it…

Another rant, this time at the misconception of some Twitter users that you should only follow someone if they follow you back. Poppycock, I say! You should follow people who you think add value, not just for the sake of a followback.

#4 – What is… Groupon

Groupon has had a tough year and is no longer the poster-company for the IPO generation. For those of you who are still unsure of what Groupon is, and what the fuss is about, here’s a starter guide.

#5 – The album that saved my (musical) life

The Pixies truly did save my musical life! They are also a great example of how to use social media channels to reengage an audience, both new and old. Old in my case…

Thanks again, and see you in 2013.

Cheers, James

Central Desktop’s greatest blog hits of 2012

Central Desktop’s greatest blog hits of 2012

Another blog, another set of guest posts, and another Top 5. The Central Desktop blog covers a whole range of topics around collaboration systems, from selecting the right system for your company, to integration and change management.

My contribution to the top 5 came in at number 4: Eight tips on successful adoption of collaboration solutions makes sure you cover all the bases when integrating a new system into your organisation. Here’s an extract:

Collaboration should be easy. Right? I mean, we talk to each other every day, we share documents, and most of us have more email than we know what to do with. Moving to an online collaboration system should just be a simple step forward. No? Not always.

Successfully adopting new working paradigms, especially those that have the potential to move employees out of their comfort zone, can be tricky. Luckily, there are some tips that can make the whole process a lot smoother. Here are eight to consider when you’re faced with implementing a collaboration solution into your business.

Happy Integrating!

The Top 10 Unbounce Blog Posts of 2012

The Top 10 Unbounce Blog Posts of 2012

On the 21st December, Unbounce published a list of their Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2012. I’m really pleased to have two articles in the Top 10, at number 3 and number 7; it’s been a pleasure contributing to the blog over the last twelve months. Editor Oli Gardner (no relation, just coincidence) even gave me the unofficial title of MVP Guest Author!

The Top 10 article can be found above, but if you want to catch the two articles directly, you can access them at:

#3. 20 Landing Page Designs Get Picked Apart & Analyzed for Conversion

#7. 12 Surprising A/B Test Results to Stop You Making Assumptions

If you were one of the people who read them the first time around, thanks!

Unbounce – Return of the Honey Badger!

Unbounce - LogoLike the Hulk, or to be precise, like Bruce Banner, I’ve been trying to keep my alter-ego under wraps for the last couple of months. Unfortunately the pressure was too great and after an internal struggle full of tension and pulling silly faces, he escaped.

THE HONEY BADGER HAS RETURNED!

You can catch up on the damage he did to other people’s landing pages over at Unbounce, but don’t say I didn’t warn you if you find it distressing. This time the landing pages are focussed on cloud services:

Cloud Services are seen as a way to introduce technology into an organization simply and easily, without the need to get bogged down with IT processes and procedures. That may be an over-simplification, but the audience for these services cannot be assumed to be technical, so the approach taken with landing pages has to reflect this. Jargon is out, features are in, and there should be a focus on simplicity. It’s also imperative to build confidence quickly, creating trust in the solution with the audience.

In this article we’ll look at cloud services offering everything from file sharing through to innovation, and see whether they make the right first impression with their landing pages.

Even for those familiar with landing page design it’s worth checking up on the latest trends in design, but just in case you don’t fancy the article, here’s Hulk doing what he does best in The Avengers (2012).

The top 50 books for web designers and developers

The top 50 books for web designers and developers

Not sure how I missed this when it was first published, but for the developer and designer in all of us – or for those of us who have to buy Christmas presents for them – here’s a list of essential books on the subject.

Thanks to Craig Grannell of .NET Magazine for including my contribution, Kevin Allen’s ‘The Hidden Agenda’, at number 42.

Central Desktop: Should you open up your internal network to external users?

Logo for Central DesktopGood things come in threes!

It’s true, even Wikipedia says so, and as we all know, Wikipedia is always right. Without it what would we do? Social Media Today’s article ‘What Would Happen If Wikipedia Died?‘ suggests that we would just “get along with other sources”. Obviously, the author doesn’t live in the same world that I do. Anyway, back to threes. Wikipedia says:

“The rule of three is a writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. The reader or audience of this form of text is also more likely to consume information if it is written in groups of threes.”

That’s why it’s so important to read my third article at Central Desktop “Should you open up our internal network to external users?

It sounds like a no-brainer, of course you should, but beware! There are, as always, pros and cons. And now, the obligatory extract:

“Collaboration is essential to any business – mediated and controlled collaboration via cloud platforms even more so. But how far do you extend the borders on collaboration? Within your department? Your organization? Your vendors? More? After all, cloud platforms are the perfect vehicle for this kind of collaboration, being equally accessible by all parties involved.

[…]

There are positives and negatives to working in a truly collaborative and open way with your external partners. But for those willing to tackle the risks head on, the rewards may pave the way for even further collaboration in the future (with more diverse partners and potentially greater reward).”

You can find out more over at Central Desktop.

Central Desktop: Why you should keep IT off your cloud

Logo for Central Desktop

I’m on a roll at the moment, working on a lot of guest posts, so apologies for the lack of updates right here on the blog: there will be more in the next few weeks. Having said that, here’s the latest article at Central Desktop: Why you should keep IT off your cloud (if you don’t want to make the most of the opportunity.)

It’s something that’s close to my heart as an IT nerd – the changing face of IT and why you should keep them close when implementing cloud services. I promise, we are useful. What’s more, you also get to watch a clip from the brilliant UK sitcom, The IT Crowd.

Here’s a short extract:

Cloud systems – the perfect opportunity to take control of your processes and practices. A system that can boost your productivity and that you can mold to your exact requirements, all without the interference of IT. No infrastructure requirements, no development, no overcomplicated business analysis and project management – just the appointment of a vendor who can take away the pain and make things happen.

Or is it?

Here are four reasons why you should break out of this fallacy and involve IT when implementing cloud solutions.

Read the full article at Central Desktop.