Posts Tagged ‘URL’

Physical Books & Links In Them. There Has To Be A Better Way!

April 1, 2012 4 comments


These days whenever I read a book that is on serious subject matter – as opposed to a novel – I notice there are a whole ton of links mentioned or footnoted over the course of the read. It’s great for learning more after you’re done reading, or even between chapters, but the problem for those of us who still like reading physical books is that those links aren’t clickable. For me, a person who loves to read physical books, it is often not an attractive prospect to be required to pull out a phone or tablet or go to a computer while reading a book. The other options, as far as I know, are to:

  1. Write down the link or links on a piece of paper and remember to look them up after you’re done reading that chapter.
  2. Bookmark the book on every page that has a link and remember to look it up later.
  3. Take a picture with your phone/tablet/camera of the footnote. Then, when you sync the pictures with your computer just read the links off the photographed pages.
  4. (If you can think of another option please let me know below and I’ll add it here.)

This problem also rears its head when reading a magazine these days. Especially, in my experience, I have found this to be an issue when reading tech publications. Of course, many magazines have links mentioned in them during stories/articles in reference to people and places mentioned or just to read more or see/hear additional audio-video on the subject being discussed.

URL Link in a book's footnote

My Solution

I have an idea which solves this problem in what is a pretty simple and cost effective way. Everyone and everything these days has a website and of course books are on that list. Authors and/or publishers can solve this issue easily by having a page on their sites with the list of links mentioned in the book. Make the existence of this links page clear in the beginning of the book and the end of it, maybe even throw in a reminder or two over the course of the book in the footnotes. The page would take a minimal amount of resources to create, run and host because it would be pretty much all text. As well, it could be organized by chapter so it can be easy for anyone to access repeatedly and find the links quickly while they read the book.

In terms of a magazine, the links can be organized based on the date of the magazine on the magazine’s website. If need be, there can be a code written into the magazine on one of the pages for people who have bought it to access the links and extended info. However, I don’t think it is really all that necessary because we aren’t talking about things that are in the magazine being printed, just links. You’d still have to buy the magazine to read the full article and understand the link in context.

What do you think? Is that not reasonable? I am surprised no authors or book, magazine, and even newspaper publishers have started doing this yet. Seems pretty simple and would give more value to the customers still buying their materials in physical print.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Top picture of stacked books via Microsoft Office Clipart.

Book with a link in it pictured above is “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.” by Scott Stratten.

WordPress For Android App Is Way Better Than The BlackBerry App But Missing 1 Important Feature

June 14, 2011 1 comment

I love that I can write blog posts from my devices – Android or BlackBerry. It makes life so much easier when you are on the go as much as I am that I can write a blog post from virtually anywhere so long as I have cell phone service. I can even write a post where I do not have cell phone service and then post it once I get into an area where the cellular network reaches – as long as I load the post up in my app before I go into an out of service area (usually underground on the subway).

When I started writing here for the PostADay Challenge I was using the WordPress for BlackBerry app – which is available in BlackBerry App World here and WordPress has a blog about their BlackBerry app here – and for the most part it was sufficient to accomplish my needs in terms of actually being able to publish posts. The BlackBerry apps has its quirks to be sure but it works and it gets the job done and to me – especially within the confines of this challenge – that is all that matters.

One huge aspect which I loved about blogging from my BlackBerry, or writing long items in general, was the keyboard. Still nothing I have found beats that physical keyboard that BlackBerry puts on their devices. Maybe this is indicative of me becoming an old fogey, set in his ways but I think it is a personal preference thing. Maybe I should interview some kids and ask them but I don’t think we have a sampling old enough yet to really give an opinion…maybe in a couple of years.

Moving right along, about a month ago I started testing an HTC Incredible S from Bell for another blog I write for and that phone uses the Android OS. Naturally, one of the first things I did was look in the Android Market to find the WordPress app here and I have also found and WordPress for Android blog here. I found this app to be MUCH more user friendly than its BlackBerry counterpart. You could do more with it, publish easier and the whole thing just seemed to work better. One huge thing was that the way it interpreted the menu structure when searching for media actually made sense vs the BlackBerry app where finding an image is darn near impossible. Also, as I mentioned above, typing on a non-physical keyboard just doesn’t compare to typing on my good old BlackBerry keyboard – but then again, maybe I will get used to it sometime soon, although my friend never did with his iPhone.

There is one thing that seems to be missing from both of these apps and I think it something that is somewhat important – URL customization. This is important for the purposes of driving traffic to your blog via SEO (Search Engine Optimization). What does that mean? Why did I suddenly start speaking gibberish? Why does a blogger care? I will explain:

If you look at the title of this post it is “WordPress For Android App Is Way Better Than The BlackBerry App But Missing 1 Important Feature“. If I were to let WordPress make up its own URL for my blog post – as I am required to do when I post from either of my phones – the blog url would read not So what’s the difference between the two? Well, a friend of mine who is an SEO specialist once explained to me that if you set you URLs to the latter then it will rank higher in Google because now when someone searches for: WordPress app SEO my post is more likely to come up because Google reads the URL to help decide what results to show you.

OK, so what does this mean? It means that my post titles are either going to have to be insanely boring and not as descriptive as I would prefer them to be when I compose/post from the road OR I am forced to just hope that random people find my blog anyway even though the posts are not optimized for search engines OR I have to set up a post before going out, manually set up the URL before I leave and then write it from the road. This isn’t to say I do not do that already – especially when it comes to inserting pictures in my post because doing that from WordPress apps is a massive pain (although it is possible) – but I think the whole app should be more user friendly and helpful to bloggers in this regard. Maybe there is a specific reason why WordPress doesn’t allow for it to happen from an engineering/programming standpoint but I do not know of such things. I am just a simple, humble, geeky bloggger.

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