Is poor code cramping your online style?
In digital marketing, proper syntax counts as much as spelling and grammar
As professionals, we often take for granted the ability to communicate through electronic devices and networks. Promoting products and services through one-click publishing has become so effortless and commonplace, it can be tempting to cut corners, even if we don’t mean to do so.
We take great pains to proof copy for typographical and grammatical errors. Media and public-relations practitioners abide by The Associated Press Stylebook as sacrosanct, while other communications disciplines adhere to similar standards. Yet shipshape content can sink fast if improperly formatted and published, causing browsers to crash and blogs to brim with complaints.
What precautions can we take to ensure safe content delivery? The smart approach is to peek “under the hood” to pour over the underlying code beneath your content. It is the structure of the code, referred to as syntax that affects how websites, mobile apps and such work, act and feel. Marketing managers more accustomed to dealing with the front end of the business should enlist the help of someone well versed in the technical aspects of electronic communication.
The following is a simple checklist of best syntax practices that businesses and organizations should adopt to preserve the integrity of digital marketing efforts:
- If still using Flash, seriously consider “friendlier” alternatives. Recall that Flash won’t load at all on iPhones and iPads. Flash also can can be buggy and is losing support in the industry. Consider cleaner, mobile-ready syntax alternatives such as HTML5, a newer and better-working version of HTML that is fast gaining acceptance in the industry.
- Secure your code! While often left out of most marketing campaign conversations, be it a blog, campaign microsite or display ad, hackers can make mincemeat out of most anything you publish online. Consider adding CAPTCHAs to web forms, keep content management software patched and up to date, and consider hiring a third-party security expert to audit your digital presence.
- Mind your page titles and meta data. Marketers long ago fell into the practice of inserting keywords into the titles of web pages as an SEO measure. However, page titles modified in this manner typically don’t display well when shared on social networks. Long, messy URLs have a similar problem. Following the “less is more” edict, consider revising URLs, page titles and relevant meta data to be more social media-friendly.
If you feel that all this talk of syntax and coding is too deep in the weeds, don’t fret. For a web designer or developer, the above checklist can be quite simple to implement. By engaging expert online resources, you can mark improvements to your digital marketing presence across the board with relative ease.