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Which Video Platform is Best for Content Creators?

With video content continuing to expand and dominate the attention of internet users, content marketers are increasingly turning their focus to video platforms to host their content. What are some options? What is the best video platform for content creators?

This article will showcase the main contenders – and provide links to learn more about content creator resources on each platform.

1. YouTube

Whether you are creating long-form or short-form content, YouTube remains one of the biggest and most robust platforms out there in terms of reach (2.7 billion active users), monetization options, viewer analytics, and resources for content creators.

One of the biggest benefits of YouTube content is that these videos can show up in Google searches, greatly increasing the chances a potential viewer will discover your channel.

To learn more about creating content on YouTube, go to YouTube Creators, where you’ll find tons of great information and videos about how to get started.

2. TikTok

TikTok is a platform that excels with short-form video content. While uploaded videos can be up to ten minutes in length, the average TikTok video is around 40 seconds – and TikTok users are more likely to watch videos if they are even shorter (15-20 seconds). That makes it great for hot takes – but more difficult if your content works best in longer formats.

One downside of TikTok platform is that it is coming under increased scrutiny by local and state governments in the United States, who consider it a security risk due to its ownership by Chinese parent company ByteDance. The TikTok app is banned on all state-owned devices in Iowa – and state agencies (including UNI) cannot own a TikTok account.

Check out TikTok’s Creator Portal to learn more about creating content on TikTok.

3. Instagram

While Instagram started as a photo-sharing social network, it has expanded its offerings to include many different video formats (Instagram video, live video, reels, and stories). The wide number of formats and the large audience on Instagram make it an attractive option.

Instagram is easily integrated into both Facebook and Threads.

To learn more about resources for content creators on Instagram, visit Instagram for Creators and CreatorLab.

4. Twitch

While most people think of Twitch as a platform for gamers to livestream their gameplay – they have been making a concerted effort to attract a more diverse range of content creators in the entertainment space. For that reason, perhaps it could be a place to differentiate your offerings?

You can learn more about creating content on Twitch at Creator Camp – a quick guide to getting started on the platform.

5. Podcasts

If video is a step too far, you might consider an audio-based content creation platform such as podcasts. Podcasts need to be hosted on platforms that audiences use in order to be visible and discoverable.

Excellent creator resources are available for getting started with podcasts on platforms like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and even YouTube.

Content Creators using a video platform for podcasting.
Photo by George Milton

What is the Best Video Platform for Content Creators?

I hope this article has given you an idea of the various options out there for content creators looking for the best video platform. The best platform for you will depend on your needs. Take a look at the creator resources for each platform and make the call that is right for your brand.

Can You Use ChatGPT for Content Marketing?

Is there a helpful role for an AI-based technology like ChatGPT for content marketing? This post will explore useful ways you might utilize this exciting new tool as part of your content marketing strategy – and some important cautions and caveats you should be aware of.

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a language model developed by OpenAI. It uses advanced machine learning techniques to generate human-like text in response to prompts, allowing it to have conversations and answer questions.

The previous paragraph, in fact, was written by ChatGPT based on a prompt that I provided.

A Chat GPT question answered.
How the first paragraph of this section was written by ChatGPT

It’s a perfectly good paragraph – accurate, descriptive, and concise. From a content marketing perspective, though – I wondered if it just grabbed this text from a different website. I wouldn’t want to use content from a tool that was just copy-and-pasting from a source. So I Googled the paragraph that it wrote to see if it appeared on any other websites. It didn’t.

A Google Search Result.
The Google Search result after I copied the paragraph (enclosed in quotes) into a Google search query.

Additionally, I ran the text through Grammarly’s Plagiarism Checker and it was clean – though it did identify some writing issues that needed improvement.

Grammarly’s Plagiarism Checker:
If the checkmark is green, the text is clean.

Refining your ChatGPT result

ChatGPT sessions will remember things that you’ve already asked it. You can build on previous answers to refine them further. For example, in the last example, I asked for a definition of ChatGPT for a general audience. What if my audience were more technical and wanted more detail? Simply ask ChatGPT to revise its previous answer.

A more detailed rewrite of the description of ChatGPT

I tried to get ChatGPT to write a description of itself that “sounded stupid and was riddled with misspellings” but got the polite response that:

“I’m sorry, but I cannot provide a response that is intentionally written with misspellings or written in a manner that is disrespectful or offensive. As an AI language model developed by OpenAI, my purpose is to assist and provide helpful and accurate information in a professional and respectful manner.”

You can, however, do some funny things with ChatGPT – like ask it to describe something from the perspective of a particular person, character, or ideology:

So Can You Use ChatGPT for Content Marketing?

Let’s try something more detailed. Could we use ChatGPT to write an entire post? Let’s say I was writing a post about installing Google Analytics 4 on your WordPress site. I already did that, but let’s say I hadn’t started writing it yet.

Could ChatGPT competently write such content? More importantly, could it optimize that content for a particulate keyphrase for SEO purposes?

Here is the ChatGPT-generated text that I got from the prompt: Write a blog post about how to install Google Analytics 4 onto a WordPress website optimized for the keyphrase “install google analytics 4”

ChatGPT’s post

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) is the latest version of the popular analytics platform and provides a more advanced tracking system for website owners. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install GA4 on your WordPress website.

  1. Create a Google Analytics Account: If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, go to and create one.
  2. Get the Tracking Code: Once you have created an account, navigate to the GA4 property and click on the “Setup” button. You will then see a tracking code that you need to copy.
  3. Install the Google Site Kit Plugin: The Google Site Kit plugin makes it easy to install GA4 on your WordPress website. Go to your WordPress dashboard, click on “Plugins,” and search for “Google Site Kit.” Install and activate the plugin.
  4. Connect Google Analytics to WordPress: Open the Google Site Kit plugin and connect your GA account to your WordPress website.
  5. Add the Tracking Code to WordPress: Go to the GA4 property in the Google Site Kit and paste the tracking code you copied earlier into the “Tracking Code” field. Save the changes.
  6. Verify Installation: To verify that GA4 is properly installed, go to your WordPress dashboard and check the Google Analytics report. You should see data in the report within 24 hours.

In conclusion, GA4 provides more advanced tracking and analysis features compared to its previous versions. Installing it on your WordPress website is straightforward and can be done in a few steps. If you encounter any issues, consult the Google Analytics support page or reach out to the Google Site Kit support team.

How did ChatGPT do?

I’d say the article is decent – but it is pretty short and definitely needs improvement and more detail. However, when I ran the post through the Yoast SEO plugin for analysis, it was not impressed. There were many things to improve. ChatGPT had not even used the focus keyphrase “Install Google Analytics 4” anywhere in the article. The readability was not strong, either – sentences were a bit long, passive voice used a little too often, and more transition words were needed.

Lastly, there is a lot of specific details missing that would be important to a user following along. And of course, a content marketer would want to add visual content (screenshots, for example) as well. As of yet, ChatGPT does not do image content.

Overall, as a final piece of optimized content, I’d say it’s a clear fail. That said, having this content as a starting point or first draft to develop this article further would probably be very helpful and would save time.

One Good Use of ChatGPT for Content Marketing

Based on my initial toying around with ChatGPT, I’d say it is useful as a writing assist for first drafts of content.

It is a lot easier to write if you have an organized structure – and some of the legwork done for you. ChatGPT’s first draft of a post could be seen as a starting point from which you could build on. Frankly, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by its efficacy. It’s just good enough that it serves a purpose by saving a little time and effort, but still needs some human finessing to add detail, give it some personality, and most importantly, fact-check for accuracy.

As a writing assist, here are a few other ways I’ve found it handy:

  • For writing concise descriptions of things (e.g. “Write one paragraph that answers the question ‘What is ChatGPT?'”)
  • For finding better word choices or phrasing options (“Re-write ‘[insert sentence]’ to be more descriptive with more detail.”)
  • Getting feedback on sentences or paragraphs. (“Analyze this sentence for spelling, grammar, and accuracy: ‘[insert sentence]'”)

At this point, seasoned copywriters are likely rolling their eyes and groaning – Is this really easier and faster than just having a smart human being write content? I’ll leave that question unanswered until a John Henry-inspired writing competition between ChatGPT and a human word czar can settle this matter once and for all.

However, content marketers should exercise caution about incorporating AI content generation into their workflow, as there are some pretty serious limitations.

What are the Limitations of ChatGPT for Content Marketing?

ChatGPT can sometimes generate incorrect information. For example, I’ve seen it make factual errors that are easily shown false. It may be the case that for certain usages of ChatGPT, you may save time writing the post only to spend an equal (or greater) amount of time fact-checking the information.

ChatGPT can sometimes produce biased content. Since it is being trained on content humans generate, which may contain cognitive or cultural biases, it is no surprise that some AI-generated content may suffer from the same bias.

ChatGPT does not have uniquely personal opinions or feelings – so content that requires persuasive language about a particular viewpoint may be hampered. You can somewhat get around this by asking questions like “From the viewpoint of x, argue in favor of y”.

The Dealbreaker: SEO

The biggest reason to exercise caution using ChatGPT for content marketing is that search engines (like Google) have issued public statements that they consider AI-generated content to be against their guidelines and (worse) outright “spam”.

Image of spam canisters
How Google sees AI-generated content
Photo: Hannes Johnson

The goal of content marketers is to rank highly in natural search results. Suffering penalties for using AI-generated content – or potentially getting a site delisted entirely – is not an acceptable outcome.

A number of tools exist for predicting whether content was generated by AI – and search engines are potentially using these tools as a factor when determining page rank.

Many AI-detection tools are based on word predictability patterns. AI-generated content generally write sentences in predictable ways (think Google’s auto-complete feature). While human writers generally are less predictable and repetitive with their word choices. AI-generated content can be “humanized” by making changes in word choices – as well as making SEO-focused changes based on the target keyphrase for a page.

While most predict that AI-generated text will eventually become nearly impossible to detect, for now it is safest to not use raw AI-generated content. This is why I find it useful primarily as an assist during initial draft writing rather than a one-step means to effortlessly create finished content.


The goal of content marketing should be to create high-quality relevant content that is useful to your audience. Where ChatGPT and AI can help achieve that goal – it seems to me that there is a place for it as a tool for content marketers who take the necessary steps to fact-check, humanize, and further improve the content.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments. 🤓

Using Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

Implementing SEO best practices with your WordPress blog has gotten super easy since the development of the excellent Yoast SEO plugin. This plugin allows you to write and manage title, meta description, and open graph protocol tags all in one interface.

The Yoast SEO plugin is pre-installed on our class WordPress blogs. You can find it on the left hand nav menu – it is called “SEO”. First, we’ll be working with Search Appearance.

screen shot of SEO menu

Search Appearance

If you don’t know what title and meta description tags are, you’ll first want to read my blog post about them. In the Yoast SEO submenu, you can select the “Search Appearance” option.

The first thing you’ll want to do is take a look at the title and description for your home page. The title is coded to dynamically add content from your current site name, page name, and site description – but you can change this based on Google’s requirement that a title should be unique, descriptive, and accurate. 

Write a description for your site that is also unique, descriptive, and accurate that further describes to a potential reader what your blog is about. Think about keywords you want your blog to be associated with. 

When you’re done, click “Save Changes”. Next, you’ll enable Facebook Open Graph Protocol tags.

Facebook Open Graph Protocol Tags

Before you complete this step, you should read my blog post on Open Graph Protocol (You can ignore the part about Blogger code – that was what students in the past had to deal with).

Once you’re open graph enlightened, go ahead and select the “Social” option from the Yoast SEO Plugin submenu.

You’ll want to make sure that under the “Facebook” tab, that Open Graph meta data is set to “Enabled.” This will automatically use the title and meta description tags you wrote from the previous step and add open graph tags that use the same data.

If you want to customize the title or description of your home page, you can do so in the section called “Frontpage settings”.  You can also upload a preview image to use for your blog’s home page. This image should conform to Facebook preview image standards.

  • For best display, use an image that is 1200 x 630 pixels.
  • Note that images in other sizes and aspect ratios may get cropped.
  • Next best image size is 600 x 315 pixels. Images smaller than this will appear in a smaller preview size.
  • Facebook will not display a preview image smaller than 200 x 200 pixels.

Ok – now you’re ready to write title and meta description tags for your individual blog posts. There isn’t a submenu option for that. You’ll do that while you’re editing the post itself.

Adding Titles & Meta tags to WordPress Blog Posts

Go to one of your blog posts and scroll down past your post copy. You should see a Yoast SEO content area:

This gives you a “Snippet Preview” of what your blog post’s google listing will look like. As you can see, WordPress has automatically created a title based on the post title – and has autofilled the meta description with the first paragraph of your post. Let’s make that a bit more readable by clicking “Edit Snippet”.

You should make the title and description unique, accurate, and descriptive – while piquing the curiosity of the reader to get them interested in clicking on the post in Google Search results. For example, this is a better description than the first paragraph of the article:

You can also designate a Focus Keyword for each post. A focus keyword is a word or phrase that you want your post to be associated with. In the example above, we might designate a focus keyword like “productivity apps”.

The plugin gives you feedback on how well your page content and SEO tags relate to your focus keyword.

In general, you should fix things with red or orange dots until as many dots as possible are green.

Get into the practice and discipline of doing this for every blog post you write for maximum SEO benefit.

Ready to check your work? 

SEO Tools To Check Your Tags

First you should check your title and meta description tags by using the Meta Tag Analyzer.

Then check your open graph tags with the Facebook Open Graph Object Debugger

The Yoast SEO Plugin will also insert Twitter Card tags. You can check how your pages will appear on Twitter using the Twitter Card Validator.

Create Your Own Branded Favicon

What is a Branded Favicon?

Ever notice that some websites have neat little custom icons next to them in your browser tabs when you load them up?

These icons add an element of unique branding to websites, giving them a professional appearance.

They’re known as branded favicons.

Favicons are literally “favorite icons” – short for when bookmarks for websites were called “favorites”.  They are very small (usually 16 x 16 pixels). In addition to appearing in the address bar, favicons also appear in browser tabs, bookmarks, and the links bar.

How do you Create a Branded Favicon?

Traditional favicons are saved in the ICO graphic file format (used for old school Windows icons). Photoshop used to be able to save to this format, but no longer does. Not to worry – just create a 16×16 pixel GIF or PNG and use the icon utility ConvertIcon.

There are even online tools like or the favicon generator to help you create and save them.

A newer type of icon is the Site Icon, used by WordPress. The Site Icon can be a PNG or GIF up to 512 x 512 pixels. Once uploaded, WordPress automatically creates a favicon, along with many other icon sizes in between for various mobile devices.

Adding a Favicon to your Websites

Once you have your custom 16×16 favicon in the ICO format (or 512×512 Site Icon), here are some instructions on how to get them working on your site or blog:

Favicons on websites

Favicons can be hand coded into any HTML file with a single line of code in the HEAD section:

However, doing this for every page in a site is tedious and prone to inevitable error. An easy workaround is that most browsers will automatically look for a file called favicon.ico at the root level of your site. If you simply copy your favicon file to your root level, you should be good to go.

Favicons on Blogger blogs

Easy. Go to the Blogger admin page and click on Layout. You’ll see on the top left of your layout an area called Favicon where you can upload your ICO file by clicking on “Edit”.

Favicons on WordPress sites

WordPress users have it a little easier – they can use PNG or GIF files that are 512 x 512 pixels. WordPress will resize as needed. Just go into Appearance / Customize in your WordPress admin page. Most themes will allow you to customize your “Site Identity” which includes a custom site icon. Just click on “Select Image” and upload your 512 x 512 PNG or GIF image. WordPress takes care of the rest.

Now that you know what favicons are and how to create them – why don’t you make one for your blog?

Two Essential Plugins for Your WordPress Blog

Tracking the traffic to your blog and optimizing it for Search Engines and Social Media shares is extremely important.  These are things that you’re going to want to set up as soon as you can.

In the old days, changes to websites for SEO purposes (like customizing title tags and meta tags) and connecting Google Analytics were a matter of customizing the website’s code by hand.  

Today, WordPress users have the benefit of being able to install and use powerful plugins to extend and enhance their blog’s capabilities without the need to code by hand.  These plugins offer a simple user interface that is easy to use.

If you are interested in tracking activity on your blog with Google Analytics or optimizing your blog for search engine rankings and social media sharing, there are two essential WordPress plugins you should consider using on your blog:

1. Google Analytics Plugin by Yoast
This plugin ostensibly simplifies the process of installing and monitoring Google Analytics from WordPress.  

After creating your Google Analytics account, you simply install the plugin in WordPress and authenticate with your google account as described here.  That’s pretty much it!

2. WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast
This powerful plugin can handle SEO duties as well as Open Graph tags for Social Media Optimization.

Follow installation instructions and then take a look at their very informative Guide to Higher SEO Rankings for WordPress sites for more information on setting it up.

Compared to more stripped-down blogging platforms like Blogger, you’ll find that the functionality in the SEO Plugin is pretty comprehensive – not only can you customize your Title and Meta Description tags, but you can even enable Open Graph Protocol tags to handle social media optimization.

You’ll find a ton of other features in this plug-in that you can configure – and if you’re someone who finds SEO fascinating – I encourage you to explore this plugin and see what it can do!

Is Google Analytics Working on my Blogger Blog?

So you’ve already viewed my tutorial on how to create a Google Analytics account and link it to your Blogger blog and you THINK that you have everything all set up.  But is it?  How can you be sure?

Here are a couple of things you can check to make sure that Google Analytics is correctly tracking your blog traffic:

1. Double Check that Blogger knows your Google Analytics Tracking ID
Log in to Blogger and go to Settings/Other and scroll all the way down.  Blogger should have your Tracking ID listed like this:

If it’s not there – you need to go find it, paste it in, and click “Save Settings”.  You can find it by logging into Google Analytics and looking under Admin/Property Settings.

2. View the Source
Load your blog’s home page in a web browser.  Then view the source code of that page using the “view source” command.  When the source code loads in a new window, do a FIND and search for your Tracking ID to see if it appears in your source code anywhere.  

If it is correctly installed, you should find a snippet of code that looks something like this:

If you don’t know how to view the source code of a webpage, Google “How do I view source in Google Chrome”, being sure to replace “Google Chrome” with whatever browser you happen to be using.  

If you don’t know how to search the contents of the source code, Google “How do I use the find command in Google Chrome?”, again, replacing “Google Chrome” with your browser (Or just start using Google Chrome from now on – You will be a happier person).

If you can’t find a snippet of code with your Tracking ID in it, something is not right – go back to step one.

3. Check Google Analytics Real-Time
This is a fun one – kind of the equivalent of looking in the mirror to see if you’re really there.  Log in to Google Analytics.  Click on the name of your blog to view the “Reporting” overview.  Then select the “Real Time” link on the left hand menu.

Click on the Real-Time “Overview.  Now open a new window (or tab, since you’re using Google Chrome now you might as well get used to tabbed browsing).  Go to your blog url (the one you are trying to track).  Once your blog’s home page loads up, go back to Google Analytics window.  You should see this:

Nice work.  You’re watching yourself read your own blog.  This proves that it works and that everything is set up correctly.  You’re done – go do something fun, like find animated GIFs of people clapping!

If you see 0 active users – something is not right.  Go back to step one.

Once you are successful installing Google Analytics – I recommend that you start checking it once a week to monitor your blog traffic.  If you need help – here is a link to the Google Analytics Help Center.

Adding Open Graph Protocol (OGP) tags to your Blogger Blog

The Open Graph Protocol is a relatively new way to turn any web page into a sharable social object by adding tags to identify key attributes for that page when shared on a social network like Facebook.  Before we look at these OGP tags and how to integrate them into your Blogger blog, let’s take a look at how website links are shared on social networks.

Sharing Links on Facebook
When you share a URL while creating a Facebook status update, Facebook scans that webpage and automatically generates a preview of that content which includes some useful information in addition to the URL you typed:

  • A TITLE for the web page you are sharing
  • A brief DESCRIPTION of the content on that page
  • An IMAGE from the page

Once you publish your status, these extra bits of information become very important, as they will likely influence whether one of your friends will click on the link.  If the image looks intriguing, or if the copy seems interesting, your shared URL will likely be clicked on.

However, sometimes when you share a link, Facebook’s automatically generated image, title, and description are either missing entirely or not very compelling. In the post below, notice that there is no associated image or description – just a title and url.

As digital content publishers who want to make our content as sharable and clickable as possible, this can be a real issue.  Fortunately, Facebook provides a number of sharing best practices that can help.

First Step: Learn about the Open Graph Protocol
Facebook describes several open graph tags that it recommends integrating into your site to help Facebook generate previews.  The main tags which Facebook uses when generating previews are:

  • og:title – the title of the page you are sharing
  • og:description – a detailed description of the content on the page
  • og:url – the URL of the web page
  • og:image – the URL of the image you want shown
  • og:site_name – the name of the website you are sharing
  • og:type – the type of content you are sharing (blog, website, article, etc)

The syntax for an open graph tag is similar to other meta tags used in HTML.  For example, the og:title tag can be written as:

<meta property=”og:title” content=”Title of your Page”>

Open graph tags are placed in the <head> section of your HTML file. For a complete description of each tag, visit the Open Graph Protocol website.

How Facebook “Sees” your Page
To understand how Facebook ingests a webpage to generate a preview, use Facebook’s Open Graph Debugger.  This helpful tool will allow you to enter any URL and get a “scrape” of what Facebook finds when it scans the page.  It will alert you when there are issues that need to be addressed. 

 It will also generate a preview to show you how your page will appear if a Facebook user shares it on their timeline.

Time to Fix your Blogger Blog, OG style
In a previous post, I discussed the use of Title and Meta Description tags, which are very important for your blog’s SEO.  I also described a method of optimizing how Blogger generates title tags to improve your blog’s SEO.  Read these posts before you go any further!

Because Blogger dynamically generates the pages in our blog based on templates, we thankfully do not need to manually add OG tags to every blog page/post.  That would be a major headache!  Fortunately for us, we can update a few lines of HTML code in our blog’s template that will automatically update all our pages and posts – including any new pages and posts we create in the future.

What we’ll be doing is telling Blogger exactly how to handle the TITLE, META DESCRIPTION, and OG tags on 1. your blog’s home page and 2. your blog’s various posts and pages.  We will do this by using IF statements. 

Here is the code you will insert into the <HEAD> section of your Blogger template:


<meta property=’og:url‘ expr:content=’data:blog.canonicalUrl’/>
<meta property=’og:title‘ expr:content=’data:blog.pageTitle’/>
<meta property=’og:site_name‘ expr:content=’data:blog.title’/>

<b:if cond=’data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;’>
<title><data:blog.pageName/> | <data:blog.title/></title>
<meta property=’og:image‘ expr:content=’data:blog.postImageUrl’/>
<meta property=’og:type‘ content=’article’/>

<title><data:blog.pageTitle/> – PUT ANY ADDITIONAL TITLE COPY HERE</title>
<meta property=’og:image‘ content=’PUT YOUR IMAGE URL HERE‘/>
<meta property=’og:type‘ content=’blog’/>

<b:if cond=’data:blog.metaDescription’>
<meta property=’og:description‘ expr:content=’data:blog.metaDescription’/>


Select this code and COPY it.  Then read on.

Important note: before you start editing your blog’s HTML code, you’ll want to make sure that you are happy with the template you are using.  Because we’re going to customize the code associated with a specific instance of a template, it is important to realize that if you ever change your template for any reason, you will lose the work you’re about to do!

Time to Get Geeky: Come Edit Your Template’s HTML with Me
Ready? Let’s do this. Go to Blogger and click on your blog.  Click on the “Template” button on the left hand menu. 

Click on the “Edit HTML” button and be prepared to feel a surge of geeky neuronic energy course throughout the synapses of your brain.

Take a deep breath.  Repeat to yourself: “It’s just a text file.  It’s just a text file.  I can handle this!”

Now very carefully find the <title> tag that exists in the code.  Select the title tag code and everything inside it.

Delete it.  Then replace it with the code I gave you earlier in this post.  

Be sure to carefully EDIT the parts of the code marked “PUT ANY ADDITIONAL TITLE COPY HERE” and “PUT YOUR IMAGE URL HERE”.

This code creates og:url, og:title, and og:site_name tags that are dynamically generated from Blogger’s page url, Blogger’s page title, and your blog’s title. It then creates og:image and og:type tags (IF the page is a normal post or page).  Otherwise, it creates og:image and og:type tags for your home page which are different.  Finally, it creates an og:description tag that is populated from the meta descriptions that you create for your pages.

Once you are done, click “Preview template”.  If you have made any errors or broken any of the code – it should give you an error message and tell you what the issue is.  If your preview looks good, then click “Save Template”.

You’re Not Done Until You Test Your Pages!
To test your pages, go back to Facebook’s Open Graph Debugger and try your pages out. It will give you a preview of how each page will look when shared.

Yeah! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

I’d like to acknowledge the help of the following two blog posts which helped me greatly in patching together the above code that both improves SEO and adds OG tags to Blogger posts and pages:

Adjust Blogger Title Tags to Improve SEO by Muhammad Faisal
How to Add Open Graph Protocol in Blogger Blogs by Muntasir Minhaz

Thanks guys!

Are Blog Posts Read via RSS Feed Readers Tracked by Google Analytics?

A great question came up in class today: If someone reads your blog post through an RSS reader, will their activity be tracked by Google Analytics?

Photo by Robert Scoble

First of all, let’s be sure you understand what an RSS feed is and how it is “read” by RSS readers.

This is the icon for an RSS Feed
(design by Stephen Horlander)

An RSS feed is an XML document that contains the raw data contained in your blog posts in a structured format that can be easily read and displayed in other applications.  The default setting on Blogger blog is to allow RSS feeds, so there is nothing special you need to set up.  

You can view the RSS file for the class blog at:

Note that this text file contains tags to describe the blog:

<title> The title of the blog
<description> The blog description
<link> The blog URL
<managingEditor> The editor of the blog’s content

It also includes each blog post that has been published on your blog enclosed in <item> tags. 

<title> The title of your post
<description> The body text of your post (including HTML tags and links)
<link> The URL of your blog post
<author> The author of the blog’s content 

This allows other applications (like Feedly) to download the RSS file and “re-publish” the posts.  But does Google Analytics track the user activity of viewers who are viewing the site via a Feed Reader?  The answer, according to Google, is unfortunately no.

Google’s Analytics support page states:

Tracking visits from RSS feeds
In order for Google Analytics to track data, it is necessary that the Google Analytics tracking code gets executed. Since most RSS/atom readers cannot execute JavaScript, Analytics will not count pageviews that are loaded through an RSS reader. Analytics requires that the visitor execute a JavaScript file on Google’s servers in order to track that pageview.

Since an RSS feed reader only downloads and displays the contents of the RSS file, and not the actual HTML and JavaScript code of the blog itself, Google Analytics cannot track pageviews of blog posts read in RSS feed readers.

Photoshop (PSD) Templates for iPhone and Android Mobile App Previsualization

Before you start working in Photoshop, save yourself time and effort by finalizing your wireframes.  It’s a lot easier to quickly change your hand-drawn wireframe sketches than modify a Photoshop file!

Once you have your wireframes where you want them, here are links to some design templates for Adobe Photoshop to help you create the pre-visualizations:

Teehan + Lax iPhone 6 Template
Updated Photoshop template for iOS 8 and iPhone 6 from Digital Experience agency Teehan + Lax.

Teehan + Lax Android Template
Photoshop template for Android devices (also from Teehan + Lax).  This one is a little outdated, but still useful.

If you like these templates, give a shout out to @teehanlax on Twitter.  They’ll appreciate it.

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If these templates don’t work for you (or if you are averse to sweater vests), here are a few other sources to try:

9 Highly Recommended Free Android UI Kit PSDs
Choose one that works for you.  From TwelveSkip, the blog of Web designer Pauline Cabrera.

Smashing Magazine iPhone PSD Vector Kit
Photoshop template with many of the iPhone 4 UI graphics. This is a little out of date.  From the awesome web publication Smashing Magazine.

If none of these work for you, try searching Google for “iPhone PSD template” or “Android PSD template”.

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Cool Mobile Marketing Campaigns

Mini Getaway Stockholm – Mini Cooper

A promotion for the launch of the Mini Countryman in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010.  Over 11,000 Swedes downloaded the app and participated in a massive multiplayer augmented reality game that involved “catching” a virtual Mini only visible through the app.  Created by creative agency Jung von Matt in Sweden.

Chok! Chok! Chok! – Coca Cola

A fantastic campaign developed by McCann Hong Kong for Coca-Cola.

 Mobile Medic App – Australian Defense Force

A recruitment campaign for the Australian Defense Force involving an augmented reality-driven medical diagnosis app.  Prospective recruits use the app to try and “diagnose” a patient’s billboard.  The ad functions as a kind of entrance exam.  This campaign won several Cannes Lion awards in 2012 for GPY&R and VML.

Heineken Star Player

An engaging iPhone app for interacting and competing with UEFA Champion League football fans during games.  More info on game and results here.  Created by AKQA.

Band Aid Magic Vision

Award-winning augmented reality application produced by LA digital agency 9K9 and global agency JWT.

Diesel Jeans
QR Codes combined with Facebook integration make it easy for shoppers to “like” Diesel Jeans.