How to Use Visual Hierarchy To Create Clear and Easy-to-Read Web Pages

Image of a cave-like basement with perspective facing wall, with stairs descending into the frame from the left and a door wide open in the middle

Imagine you’ve entered a cave.

Your eyes slowly adjust to your surroundings and begin to make out the shapes and forms around you.

You see three doorways: they’re equal in size, and all the same distance from where you stand. How do you choose where to go first?

You’re frustrated, because you don’t have enough information to make a decision. All you can do is guess.

Now imagine you’ve entered a second cave.

In this one, there’s one large doorway before you. It says “Tours” and is wide and well-lit.

To one side, there’s a small doorway with a window in it that says “Tickets” above it. Next to it is a nondescript door that says “Employees only.”

In this cave you know exactly what to do.

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Conduct Better Podcast Interviews with this Simple 6-Step Preparation Process

close-up image of a microphone

No regrets.

That is my number one goal for every podcast interview I conduct.

(And there are a lot of them — for some top-rated podcasts, including this one you might be familiar with.)

It’s a hard feeling to achieve, because most interviews last a pre-determined amount of time.

And almost without fail, the people I’ve interviewed have had far more to say than I’ve had time to get them to say it. (If you’ve ever conducted an interview, I’m sure you can relate.)

This means the pressure is on us to lead the interview in a way that ensures nothing essential goes left unsaid.

Here’s the simple six-step preparation process I follow to conduct podcast interviews that work.

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How to Turn Bland Text into Sparkling Online Content

close-up image of a sparkling sunset

Let me guess …

You’re smart. You know your stuff. And you have a sparkle in your eyes when you talk about your favorite subject.

But your writing doesn’t sound like you. At all.

No matter how hard you try, you struggle to find the right words.

You swap one word for another — now your sentence sounds lame. You try yet another word. That’s even worse.

You’re not a boring old fogie, so why do dull sentences sneak into your content?

You know your writing should be more conversational. But how?

It may seem difficult to write content that’s engaging and seductive. But it really doesn’t need to be so hard.

Let’s have a look at the three steps that turn boring (yawn) sentences into sparkling content.

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5 Ways to Rankle an Old-School Journalist

image of young journalist diligently writing while older journalist stands beside her looking dumbfounded

This is the first post in a series on native advertising. An introduction, if you will.

One that states from the start that there is controversy.

Why approach a series this way?

Simple: Native advertising is probably one of the least-known scalding-hot topics in the business world.

In fact, few business people can even define native advertising. And those outside of it are clueless it even exists (we’ve got the data to prove this — will share later).

Yet media research group BIA/Kelsey predicts that by 2017, brands will spend $4.57 billion on social native ads.

$4.57 billion is a lot of money.

How could there be so much enthusiasm and animosity for an ambiguous model?

Two words …

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Why We’re Removing Comments on Copyblogger

image of two people talking on a hotel balcony overlooking a scenic cityscape

Would you ever consider taking comments off Copyblogger?

When the question was posed during our editorial meeting, my immediate reaction was, “Absolutely not.”

I wasn’t even interested in considering it, because I like conversations. I enjoy seeing what people think of different posts. I like the quick view of what people react to (positively or otherwise), and what seems to need more explanation.

While the comments on the big CRaP websites are mostly pretty awful, I’ve always enjoyed managed comments on real content blogs. Conversations, after all, are typically more interesting than monologues.

But the team and I got together and talked about it. And as we talked, I started to see it differently.

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How to Tell a Seductive Story

Has a singer ever been more seductive than Marvin Gaye?

Especially when crooning his classic, “Let’s Get It On”?

We often think about seduction in this sense: as being sexual, sometimes even manipulative. And sometimes it is.

But that is not the type of seduction featured on today’s episode of The Lede … though Marvin does sing words of wisdom to which we advise you pay heed:

Aaa-nnd,
Givin’ yourself to me,
Can never be wrong,
If the love is true …

As you’ll hear Demian and me discuss — with decidedly less seductive voices than Marvin’s (sorry) — if your love for your audience is true, if your intentions are pure, then tapping into their emotions through the art of seduction can, well, never be wrong.

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