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Series: Building Your Birth Business and Google’s Mobilegeddon: What Every Birth Professional Needs to Know

April 23rd, 2015 by avatar

Building Your Birth BusinessGoogle announced in February of this year that they would penalize websites that are not “mobile friendly” and push those sites further down in the rankings in their search engines on mobile devices. They stated that the big switch would happen on April 21, 2015 and have “a significant impact on our search results.” As a birth professional, you probably have your own website. You may even maintain the website(s) yourself. You, no doubt, have worked long and hard on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and have appreciated the payoff – a great ranking when customers are looking for classes and other birth services. Could this Google change in ranking transfer over to less website visibility and have an impact on your business? Will this translate into fewer class registrations, a reduction in blog readers, or a scarcity of clients? Don’t panic, here is some information that will help you figure out what you need to know and next steps to take so that you can continue to do what you do best – supporting families during the childbearing year.

What does “mobile-friendly” mean?

Google has defined mobile friendly to mean the following:

  • The site does not contain software that is not readily available on a variety of mobile devices (Flash is an example of such software)
  • The site is readable without having to change the text size.
  • The website is visible completely on the mobile device screen without having to use a horizontal scroll bar or the zoom feature.
  • Links are spaced appropriately so that they can be appropriately accessed and tapped.

There are six classifications of “mobile-friendly” sites, and a complete description of the six categories can be found here.

Why should you care if your site is mobile-friendly?

The millennial generation, the ones having babies now, is a bigger generation than the Baby Boomer generation. Failing to understand them, and market to them in *their* “language” (i.e.: on mobile devices) is a failure to gain their business. Marketing to millennials means learning how they conduct business; *not* waiting for, or expecting them to follow the status quo.

Did you know that  85% of Americans ages 18-29 are smartphone owners, as are 78% of college graduates and 84% of those living in households with an annual income of $75,000 or more per year.

Even more important, younger adults, minorities and lower-income Americans are the most dependent on their smartphone for internet access. Overall, among U.S. adults who own a smartphone, it is estimated that 7% are “smartphone-dependent” which means that at home, they either have limited options to go online or do not have a home based internet service to use, other than through their smartphone or tablet.

If your website does not automatically reformat for a mobile device, users (read: potential customers) may choose to leave immediately or not spend as much time on your website. This could increase your “bounce rate” and lower your “dwell time”… two Google ranking factors.

Nearly 20% of millennials are mobile-only users, meaning they don’t use desktops at all. If a pregnant person can’t sign up for your classes or access your other services from their mobile device, they will find another place to get their childbirth education and other services met.

Why Responsive Design is Important: 10 Key Statistics

 How to Tell if Your Website is Mobile Friendly
  • Use Google’s mobile-friendly test page: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ When you check the pages in your site it will give you a pass/fail grade and will also provide links to describe what can be done to fix any issues that are found. This is an important step because it helps you understand how Google views your site and it’s potential impact on your ranking.
  • Visit your website on several mobile devices.
    Make sure you click through every page so that you get the feel for what it is like for a potential client. Check your links, your menus, your inquiry forms and any other clickable objects to be sure they work as expected. Check how the elements on the pages are displayed to see if anything feels clunky or looks unattractive.

Mobile Version vs Mobile Responsive

Some website builders provide a mobile version of your website. This means the content is duplicated into a separate version that renders only in a mobile device. Other website builders or templates are mobile responsive which means that the website automatically responds to the display width of the device without rendering a new version. Ideally, you should have a mobile responsive website.

  • Wix is not mobile responsive; you have to manually set your mobile version using their Mobile Editor
  • Weebly offers some mobile responsive themes. If your theme isn’t mobile responsive Weebly creates a mobile version of your site automatically.
  • Squarespace claims that all of its themes are mobile responsive.
  • GoDaddy Website Builder v7 is not mobile responsive but provides a mobile version of your website for their Business & Business Plus plans. You must turn on this feature.
  • WordPress.com mobile responsiveness will depend on the theme that is used. Some themes are mobile responsive. If yours is not, WordPress.com will automatically serve the user a mobile version of your website.
  • Self Hosted WordPress mobile responsiveness will depend on the theme that is used. Many modern WordPress themes are mobile responsive. You can also add a mobile version using the WP Touch Mobile Plugin which works with any theme.
  • Using another website provider? Try contacting their customer service to see what they have available to help you make your site mobile responsive.

Help! My Site’s Not Mobile Responsive

Remember that Google’s algorithm update only affects mobile search results. So if your site isn’t mobile responsive, it may not show up as high when someone is searching on a mobile device. Your ranking for people searching on desktops/laptops won’t be affected.

Take incremental steps to make your site mobile responsive and your rankings will improve on mobile devices.

Mobile-friendly is only one of hundreds of Google ranking signals. If you provide quality content and a well coded website, Google will continue to rank your website well.

Resources

http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/chapter-one-a-portrait-of-smartphone-ownership/

http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Blog/Why-Are-Millennials-So-Mobile

Thanks to Emily Fontes and Katie Rohs for technical support on this post.

Childbirth Education, Science & Sensibility, Series: Building Your Birth Business , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Subscribe to or Follow Science & Sensibility and Your Favorite Blogs

January 29th, 2015 by avatar

rss-feed_1About 18 months ago I wrote about the six blogs that I thought every childbirth educator and other birth professionals would benefit from reading.  It might be time for an updated list or to add a few more of my favorites to the original post.  But, before I did that, I wanted to explain how to subscribe to a blog post so you are sure not to miss any good content from those blogs or your favorites.

What does “subscribe” to a blog mean?

When you subscribe to a blog, you are asking for new posts to be “pushed” to you when they are published.  They can be delivered to you via a blog reader (more on that later) or directly into your inbox. Subscribing means information comes to you, just like a magazine you subscribe to shows up in your mailbox at home or work.  You don’t have to remember to buy it at the store or read it at the library. It should not cost anything to subscribe to a blog that is available to the public.

What does “follow” a blog mean?

Following a blog is almost the same thing as subscribing.  It seems that people use the term “follow” when they use a blog reader and subscribe when it comes by email, but really, it is the same thing.

Why should I subscribe or follow a blog?

There are many interesting, useful and informative blogs out there that publish information that is helpful to your profession or that cover topics that you enjoy learning more about.  In your internet travels, you no doubt may come across many.  You can certainly bookmark the blog urls of your favorites and check back from time to time to see if anything new has been posted.  But this is not a very efficient use of your time.  And sometimes you forget to come back and check.  Why not have the new posts delivered to you at the moment they are published.  This way you never miss a post.

Getting updates into your email inbox

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 9.32.14 PM

Science & Sensibility Subcription

Many blogs will have a subscription box or sign up area somewhere on the blog that requests you enter your email address and you will be signed up to receive new blog posts delivered to your inbox.  You may need to confirm your request by replying to the confirmation email sent to you or clicking on the link in that confirmation email.  Check your spam and junk folders if this confirmation email does not arrive shortly.  Sometimes it could get caught up in your spam filters.  Once you confirm your subscription request, you are good to go.  Every time your favorite blog publishes something new, you get the content delivered directly to your inbox and you can read it on any device or computer.

Using an RSS Reader

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and an RSS Reader just means that you can read all your subscriptions in one place, at one time, whenever you want. The program “feeds” you the information There are many RSS Readers to choose from, and until it went away, Google Reader was my favorite.  Currently, I use Feedly which is one of the most popular, if not the most popular RSS Reader out there and very simple to use.  Many RSS Readers are free.  I have never paid for one and I am not sure I would, as the free services work just fine for me.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 10.18.19 PM

S&S sign up using Feedly

After setting up an account with the RSS Reader of your choice, you then go about telling the service what blogs you want to “follow.”  There is usually an “add new content” button.  You put the url of the blog you want to follow in that box and hit return.  Remember to use the main domain of the blog – for example http://scienceandsensibility.org if I wanted to follow this blog.  Don’t use the url from one particular post.

Sometimes, a blog will have the RSS logo, that makes it easy to subscribe or follow the blog.  You click on the symbol, indicate what Reader you are using and it adds it from there.  But in general, I tend to copy the url of the blog and enter it myself.

Once subscribed in a reader, you can sort all your “feeds” or subscriptions into categories.  The programs allow you to set up folders that can hold many subscriptions.  You might have a category for childbirth topics, and one for recipes and another for your favorite hobby.  I tend to just keep them all in one big list (I subscribe to over 400 blogs) and leave it at that.  It is your choice.

The reader can show you unread blogs only (i.e., when there is new content) or all the content.  Kind of like your inbox can show you unread messages or all the messages.  There are other options to toggle on and off, depending on the RSS Reader you are working with.  I tend to keep it simple and just have a central list of any new posts from all the blogs I follow as the new ones are released.

Reading on a phone or tablet device

I like to skim my subscriptions or feeds once a day.  I tend to do this at the end of the day, in the evening, on my iPad.  I enjoy reading the blogs on my tablet, easy to move around and navigate on and easy on the eyes.  I use an application called Newsify which is geared for iPods, iPhones and iPads. If you have an another type of device, you will want to find an app that works well on yours.  Reading my feeds on my device lets me easily save those I want to keep for reference, and also makes it easy to share with others via email or social media.  I can also choose to read offline if I wish.  Sometimes I save up a big bunch of unread blog posts to devour on a long airplane flight, when I don’t have internet access.

Conclusion

There is a lot of great content coming out all the time that can help you stay on top of news and information professionally as well as for your personal enjoyment. Subscribing to blogs and getting information delivered to your inbox or your RSS Reader is an easy way to have the content come to you, and be ready and waiting when you want to read it.  Consider subscribing to your favorite blogs and see how easy it is.  Why not try it now with this blog, Science & Sensibility, so you never miss another post!  Let us know how it goes, if this whole process is new to you.

Additional resources

How to Subscribe to RSS Feeds

RSS- What is RSS

 

 

Childbirth Education, Lamaze International, New Research, Science & Sensibility , , , , ,

Is Your Favorite in the Top Five? – Science & Sensibility’s Five Most Popular Posts

March 13th, 2014 by avatar

I have been working as Science & Sensibility’s Community Manager for a few weeks shy of two years.  The past two years have been one of great growth for me personally, as I have stretched myself to explore and more clearly understand research related to maternal infant health. I have “labored” to choose topics that are of interest, current and relevant to our readers. I have deeply enjoyed supporting and collaborating with the many gifted writers who have been kind enough to share their wisdom and their words with all of us. I have welcomed and enjoyed the reader comments and shared discussions with many readers, as they made their opinions, thoughts and viewpoints known.  I have learned along with all of you, as readers asked questions of the blog writers and clarified their understanding of topics.  It has, to put it simply, been a fantastic and fun time.

As I reflected on the past two years , I wondered what have been the most popular posts on the blog, since Amy Romano wrote the first post on Science & Sensibility back in Spring of 2009.  I took a look and found some surprises.  I thought it would be interesting to share the top five posts and ask you, the reader – what posts have been your favorites?  The ones you share with students, clients and patients over and over? The ones you most enjoyed reading?

Top Five Posts on Science & Sensibility

#5. Research Review: Facilitating Autonomous Infant Hand Use During Breastfeeding

© Raphael Goetter

© Raphael Goetter

This post reviewed research by Catherine Watson Genna, BS, IBCLC, RLC and Diklah Barak, BOT that demonstrated that babies use their hands at the breast for many purposes, including stabilizing their neck and head for feeding, causing the nipple to become erect and increasing maternal oxytocin which facilitates delivery of milk to the infant.  The research paper included great photographs and links to videos documenting this behavior.  All the more reason to encourage mothers to unswaddle babies prior to feeding to allow them to do what they do best.

 

 

#4. Help New Mothers Breastfeed in Comfort: Nordstrom Converts Any Bra Into A Nursing Bra for a $10 Fee

Creative Commons Photo: Children's Bureau Centennial.  WPA Project 1938

© Children’s Bureau Centennial. WPA Project 1938

This post shared the little known fact that some Nordstrom stores in the USA would convert a woman’s favorite bra into a nursing bra for a small fee.  Many women find it difficult to find a comfortable nursing bra and are sad to need to stop wearing their favorites.  Now they may not have to.  We heard from lots of readers that not all stores offer this service and the price may vary. Updates would be welcome.

 

 

 

 

#3.  Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery: ACOG and SMFM Change the Game

acog wordlThis recent post by Judy Lothian, Phd, RN, LCCE, FACCE, highlighted the newly released ACOG and SMFM Consensus statement discussing 18 points that these organizations stated would help to reduce the number of primary cesareans being performed.  This statement was groundbreaking in its language, suggestions and proposed modifications to current obstetrical practice, backed up by evidence and certainly in line with much of the research behind Lamaze International’s Six Healthy Birth Practices.

 

#2. What Is the Evidence for Induction for Low Amniotic Fluid in a Healthy Pregnancy?

“It is standard of care in the U.S. to induce women with isolated oligohydramnios at term.” Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewesque/2608674753/sizes/l/in/set-72157605814668384/

© drewesque

This post by Rebecca Dekker, Phd, RN, APRN of Evidence Based Birth was a comprehensive research review looking at outcomes of expectant management vs active management of low amniotic fluid in a healthy term pregnancy, as well as the reliability of the most common methods for assessing amniotic fluid volume.  Lots of great information to help women understand the risks and benefits and determine how they would like to proceed if they are faced with this decision at the end of their pregnancy.

 

 

#1 .  The Red/Purple Line: An Alternate Method For Assessing Cervical Dilation Using Visual Cues

marked purple lineThis post, written by Mindy Cockeram, LCCE is the most popular post ever published on Science & Sensibility.  Mindy reviewed and discussed the research on the the red/purple line that may be seen between the butt cheeks/natal cleft and the changes to this line as cervical dilation changes during labor.  This topic was simply fascinating to readers – and shared widely.  Professionals and consumers sent in pictures and discussed in the comments section their own observations.

 

Are you surprised by the top five posts on Science & Sensibility?  Do you have different favorites?  What else would you like to see covered in the future on this blog?  We welcome your input, your comments, suggestions and are interested in your favorite all time posts!  Share your thoughts and suggestions in our comments section below.

Childbirth Education, Healthy Birth Practices, Lamaze International, Science & Sensibility , , ,

Science & Sensibility Wants You to Write for our Blog!

January 14th, 2014 by avatar
image: aimislam.com

image: aimislam.com

My name is Sharon Muza, and I am the current Community Manager of Lamaze International’s blog Science & Sensibility. In this capacity, I would like to extend an invitation to all of you, to consider becoming a contributor to Science & Sensibility.  I would like to ask each of you reading today, to consider sharing your wisdom, your expertise and your experiences with all of the Science & Sensibility community.  Science & Sensibility is a multi-disciplinary blog launched in April 2009 by Lamaze International to improve knowledge of evidence-base maternity care among Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators and other birth professionals and advocates.  It is one of the leading online resources for up-to-date news and analysis of research and policy issues affecting childbearing women.

Our mission on this blog is to share research about healthy pregnancy, birth and postpartum, We do this by:

  • Presenting new research and helping readers to better understand the information
  • Reviewing books and films on topics relevant to the field of infant and maternal health
  • Interviewing experts that we all want to hear from, on relevant topics
  • Sharing innovative and effective teaching ideas
  • Introducing resources and tools that readers can use to do their jobs more effectively

Our readership consists of Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators, other perinatal educators, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, nurses, doctors, therapists, counselors and consumers from around the world.  I can tell you, after doing this job for almost two years, that our readership loves to engage, learn and participate in process improvement to work towards safer and healthier births for all women and babies.

What is your area of expertise?  What topics are you an expert in?  What is your area of research that you want us all to know about?  Do you enjoy breaking down studies in order to better understand them?  What are you doing to help mothers and babies?  Do you have ideas that you are just bursting at the seams to share?  If so, I invite you to contact me so we can discuss potential opportunities for contributing to the blog.

The list of past and current contributors is diverse and consists of many experts and leaders in a variety of fields. It also consists of a lot of regular people, like you and I, who have something important and different to share.  Everyone likes to learn and grow by being exposed to new information and ideas.  I am happy to offer editing support and other assistance to help you, if you having something to share but are hesitant about writing.official experts

If you enjoy putting pen to paper (or fingers to keypad, as that is what really happens today) and sharing thoughts and information on topics relevant to this blog, I would be delighted to hear from you.  If you have ideas for future posts or topics that you would like to see covered (by someone else), I would love to hear from you. I am happy to find just the right expert to do the job.  If you have suggestions on how we can continue to share research and evidence based practices with all those working to improve outcomes during the childbearing year, let me know.  I would be delighted to introduce our readership to some fresh voices, new ideas and perspectives on the topics that matter to us all.

Won’t you consider becoming a contributor to the blog, or sharing your ideas that help shape our future topics?  We are looking for those who will submit one post and others who want to join our regular contributor panel, offering wisdom on a regular basis.  I extend a warm invite to you and look forward to your responses.  Please reach out to me now.

Childbirth Education, Lamaze International, New Research, Research, Science & Sensibility, Uncategorized , , , , ,

A Guide to Finding and Using Images for Teaching, Presentations, Blogging and Other Uses

December 5th, 2013 by avatar

On Tuesday, contributor Andrea Lythgoe wrote “Copy Right! Using Images in Your Presentations and Teaching Materials Appropriately“sharing what educators and presenters need to know when preparing to use images or other works for teaching materials and presentations.  We learned about what it means when a work is copyrighted, (and basically, all work is copyrighted once it is produced by the artist/photographer.) Copyrighted work may not be used without permission from the owner.  Today, I discuss what are the options available to educators with a small to nonexistent budget who need to source images for childbirth classes or other presentation purposes.  I will explain about “Creative Commons” images, how to find and attribute images that you can use and some of my favorite resources for locating appropriate images for the needs of the educator or other professional.

Creative Commons

creative commons logo

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by gnuckx: http://flickr.com/photos/gnuckx/3203364255/

Many creators want to share the work (music, artwork, photos, videos, even academic or scientific material and more) that they have created and make it available for others to use, while still maintaining the rights to how it is used.  Many bloggers, educators, students and others would like to access images and other works without having to purchase the rights, especially for non-commercial purposes.  Some people would even like to modify the works of others for their own purpose.  Enter Creative Commons.  Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that lets creators determine how their work may be used.  Creative Commons has established different licenses so that artists may specify under what circumstances a specific image, video or other creative work may be used by the general public. For a great general introduction to Creative Commons, please view this video on the Creative Commons website.

Creative Commons Licenses

There are six types of licenses under the Creative Commons Agreements.  Some of these licenses are very generous,  allowing the user to modify, tweak, change, build upon and distribute a version of the original work as long as the same level of Creative Commons license is applied to the new work, and this new work may be used for commercial purposes.  The most restrictive Creative Commons license allows the work to be shared for noncommercial  purposes only.  Each of the six license levels require the licensor (creator) to be credited. No matter what level of Creative Commons license is assigned to the item by the licensor, the copyright is still owned by the creator of the work.

cc license typesProper Attribution

Every time  you use a work that you obtained through a Creative Common license, you must attribute it properly.  This can be very confusing at times.  A very thorough guide on how to properly attribute Creative Commons works can be found here.  If you are using the Chrome web browser, there is a very handy extension, Flickr CC Attribution Helper, that automatically formats the correct attribution from any Creative Commons image you are using from Flickr.  Flickr is one of the largest sources for Creative Commons images, so this can be very helpful.  There very well may be other such plugins and extensions for Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and other browsers.  I happen to use Chrome, so this extension is one I am familiar with.  Do make every attempt to provide the correct attribution for a piece of work.  If the artist was kind enough to share it, you should honor their request to be correctly attributed.

My Favorite Sources for Images and More

I have several favorite sites for finding images to use in this blog, my teaching materials, presentations and other image needs.  I would like to share them here with you.

Creative Commons Search

CC by search.creativecommons.org

CC by search.creativecommons.org

The mother of all Creative Commons search tools.   Easy to use, this website lets you specify if you want to use the material for commercial purposes or make changes to the original work.  You enter your search terms, and select the venue that you want to search and off you go.  You can find videos, music, images and artwork, along with other material.  If you don’t find what you are looking for, come back and try another option from the main site.

Wikimedia Commons

wikimedia commons logo

CC wikipedia.org/

A repository of almost 20 million educational media content images, including sound and video clips that are free to use and modify.  This site functions much like Wikipedia does, allowing everyone to edit it.  Work is available in a multitude of languages from this site. The main purpose of the site was to provide a source of images and other media to be used on the Wikipedia Commons site, but the material is also freely downloadable as well.

 

 

Flickr

flickr-logo

CC userlogos.org

Flickr has compiled millions and millions of photography images that are free for  you to use under the Creative Commons license.  The number of images available grows by leaps and bounds every day with new material added all the time.  Flickr also has a very large collection from the world’s public photography archive, in a collection called The Commons.  This is a great place to find old pictures from many public institutions.  Remember if you are using Chrome, check out Flickr CC Attribution Helper. Not all the images on Flick are available for use, so double check before using.

 

Google Images

google images logo

CC- google.com

Google Images is another one of my favorites for images, clip art, pictures along with technical drawings and illustrations.  To find Creative Commons work, you will want to go to the advanced settings (click on the gear image in the upper right,) and select the type of license you want near the bottom. Don’t worry, it is easy to change once your search returns some images. Doing this ensures you are using images that you are licensed to use under the Creative Commons license.

Other sites that I want you to know about include Pixabay, Every Stock Photo, PhotoPin and Bing Images. All of these image search engines let you limit the results to the material you can use under a Creative Commons License.  At times, I need to hit several different tools to find just the right image that I feel is perfect for what I am trying to convey.  Finding the right image is one of my favorite parts of working on Science & Sensibility.

What do you do to find images and other media for your teaching and presentations? What are your favorite sites?  Do you have additional tips and tricks to share with Science & Sensibility readers?  Let us know in the comments section.

Childbirth Education, Continuing Education, Science & Sensibility, Series: Finding and Using Images and Copy , , , , ,

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