by Pen Lister, on Jul 09, 2013

Creating Content for the Ematrix

Snapshot: This short guide lets you know how to get the most out of the Ematrix when you create an entry for the site

The publishers world
The publishers world | Credit: Pen Lister
The publishers world
The publishers world | Credit: Pen Lister

General Principles

If you're intending to write some content for the Ematrix, please read the guidelines below to get the most out of the site. We've put together a few tips to help the process, and at the same time encourage best practice so that everyone using the site can benefit. Much of the advice here can help to creating good articles online generally, not just for the Ematrix.

 

Ematrix publishing form guidance
  • Consider carefully what you're writing about - the main purpose of the entry (or post) and the content itself, and perhaps do a quick plan if you're unsure of what goes where
  • Fill in the summary - it gets shown all over the site, not just at the top of the entry itself, and helps users to know what your article is about
  • Make your title short and snappy and as descriptive as possible
  • Copyright - don't use images from sources where you do not have EXPRESS permission. Even if you think it is 'allowed', it is bad practice to be doing this, and a poor example to others. Use Open Source images from the many sites around. For example, if you copy an image from Flickr without EXPRESS permission, you are breaking the law, as you have copied it. (N.B. linking to it is not copying it.)
  • Categories - use as many as are relevant - not just the main one you're publishing in, so include any media, pedagogy or resource category that might be involved
  • Tagging - don't replicate categories with tags - there is no point. Tag with words that the article is about or covers
  • File Uploads should be sorted into the channel they belong to, and if it's a document (not an image) then please place in the document folder for that channel. This will pay off later, when you want to find something
  • Downloads - provide a title and description in the metadata, this gets displayed as part of the download link in the page and is better for the user
  • Consider whether or not you want commenting (it is ON by default), so turn it off if you don't want it

Styling and Content

This really does help people read the content, and find what they need on a page. It's also REALLY important for the search engines too, as robots can pick up what's on the page more meaningfully. So, to make the content read and display well on the site, it's great to make use of what is available. Let's consider how to break down and style your content.

  • Use the 'Styles' button to give your headings good styling (this is also important for the search engines!). Use 'Header 1' or 'Header 2' to give levels of importance to each section, and this gives it a complimentary visual style too, making it easy to scan
  • Chunk it! Make sure you create sections, with good informative and short headings and sub headings
  • Even though you might have a lot to say - try using lists - it's easier for everyone if bullet points are used well and often
  • Use bold text, italics and highlighting to draw attention to things, this also helps to break up big chunks of text
  • Don't put too much in one page, if you have a lot of content relevant to a topic, break it into several entries, we can always connect them together
  • If you provide links to other websites, make sure you tell the user what's in that link, otherwise chances are they will NEVER click on it

 

Remember, the main rule of website content creation is 'it's all about the user' - you can help your readers to get the most out of your content by making it clear, concise, with easy to understand language and easy to scan. It also needs to look nice, an ugly page is a big turn off to everyone!

 

Hope this helps to get you on the right track - happy publishing, and contact us with any other questions you might have!

Other things to think about

  1. Keep it short - If you need to, break your content into several entries and connect them with the related content function. Also, remember the golden rule: 400 words per page if possible.
     
  2. Focus the entry content so it's easy to digest online, so try not to combine too many aspects or features or even links into one entry.
     
  3. Try not to use jargon, which is offputting and may not be understood. If you do use specific terms, clarify them, as you would an acronym.
     
  4. Related Content - remember you can connect your (or other authors) entries, to help users find relevant content. Use the form field further down the publish area form to select other entries and click or drag them from the left and into the right hand panel.
     
  5. Featured Content Slideshow - select 'YES' to add your main image and short text into the slideshow on the homepage. Try this out to see if it looks good, and think about whether your entry deserves it. Often, it does, even if you may not think so. Please try it out.

Social sharing

It's good to share! Please consider sharing your entries at every suitable opportunity.

You can share your entry at the time of publishing, from the main publish form area, using the form fields at the bottom of the form. These forms share into the London Met Elearning Facebook and Twitter accounts. If you share using this form field, you cannot change the text once you have published the entry. (Of course, you can share the entry again using the buttons on the entry web page, and you can share entries as many times as you like.)

Alternatively, you can use the social sharing buttons at the top of every entry web page. Facebook, Twitter, and Google + are supported here. These buttons allow you to share into your own social accounts.

Other things to think about
Social sharing