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Richir Outreach's Raleigh City Guide

Submitted by Bianca on November 27, 2012 - 4:09pm

Welcome to Raleigh, North Carolina!

Moving to a new city is exciting, but can also be very daunting if you don’t know your way around. There are great places to visit and plenty of things to do in Raleigh; so we compiled a guide full of resources for the Raleigh newcomer so folks can feel right at home.

Visitor Sites: These sites provide helpful insight on exploring Raleigh

Museums: Raleigh has a rich museum culture

How Facebook Share Works

Submitted by Will on October 18, 2012 - 1:56pm

Facebook share is constantly changing.One day they're using the sharer.php url for sharing and the next their using a fancy javascript widget.

But one thing has remained relatively constant and that is that facebook uses meta tags to grab its content to use when sharing a page.

We already have a brief blog post about this here, but it doesn't quite go into detail about how facebook sharing works.

Basically it boils down to open graph meta tags. And specifically the ones most people worry about are the "og:description" and the "og:image." The image below should help.

og:image determines what image is displayed
og:url determines what url is shared
og:description determines the text that is shared with the page
og:title determines the bolded text that is shared.

All of these meta tags (in the format described here) should be placed in the <head>.

Transfer Donors and Donation Data From One Nation to Another

Submitted by Meredith on September 18, 2012 - 7:29pm

A few notes before digging into this topic. This post deals specifically with a micro-topic of sorts: not simply how to upload donor and donation data into NationBuilder, but rather how to transfer that data from one Nation to another. Thus, this is not going to be relevant for many, and shouldn't be viewed as a comprehensive 'how to' on how to import data into your Nation (although hopefully there will be a few helpful pieces!). Nevertheless, we've found ourselves going through this process several times around this election season, so we wanted to put our lessons learned on the record.

Getting Started

When transferring from one Nation to another Nation, be sure to identify the old Nation from the new. Toggling back and forth on two identical Nations can be confusing.

Be sure to have your own user login for each Nation as well. That way, your actions are tracked under your own name on each site. You will also need admin access for each Nation.

What You Need to Know About Drupal

Submitted by Jerimee on September 6, 2012 - 9:56am

When starting out with Drupal, it can be difficult to grasp all the different features this CMS offers site builders. To help out beginners, here are some of the basic (yet important!) vocabulary and tools for using Drupal:

Content Types:

  • Nodes- basic content type such as articles, blog posts, basic pages, forums, polls, and more.
    Includes a title, body, teaser, author, date, and comments.
  • Blocks- content areas such as sidebar and footer regions.
  • These can be styled and set to show in certain regions on every page or only certain pages.
  • Panels- A drag and drop content manager that allows you to arrange content on a page.
    Integrate views, menus, and control the theme, and are more powerful than blocks alone.

Manipulating Content:

  • Views- making lists of items on your site. This can be pictures, links, comments, taxonomies or tags, etc.

Analytics with ThinkUp

Submitted by Jerimee on August 23, 2012 - 10:57am

Contributed by Kevin Flanagan

Do you understand the conversations, networks, people you’re communicating with on the
various social networks? Is your point getting across? There are a LOT of tools out there to help create and digest metrics, but what about looking over a long period of time? It's nearly impossible to look back at interaction on Twitter over a few months old, and Facebook analytics aren't automatically saved past a week or two.

Thinkup is an Open Source tool that solves the problem of looking at social media activity over time. It is basically a database of all activity that includes the ability to sort, analyze and publish to social media. You have to run ThinkUp on a PHP server, but cloud programs like PHP Fog make it easy if you're not experienced with PHP or databases. Think Up is being used in high traffic environments, such as the White House, to digest the feedback they get.

To A/B or not to A/B? How to answer your web design questions!

Submitted by Jerimee on August 17, 2012 - 5:29pm

When making decisions for a webpage design, some are purely aesthetic or purely functional decisions like page organization and color scheme. But other decisions lie in the scary realm of user experience. For example you might wonder, 'How big should the donate button be so people can easily recognize it?' Or, 'What should the follow-up text on this signup page read?' Even, 'How many exclamation points are acceptable when announcing we've exceeded our fundraising goals?'

Most of the answers to these questions are studied by researchers who specialize in understanding user experience online. You could plow through stacks of research to find out optimal size and color for donate buttons, or, you could just A/B test it!

A/B testing was pioneered and is still widely used by Google to test two or more options in user experience. The researchers and programmers at Google readily admit that there is just no reason that some things work on a website and some things don't. What A/B testing gives Google is real feedback in the form of hard data on what works and what doesn't.

A quick comparison of Drupal, Wordpress, and NationBuilder

Submitted by Jerimee on August 7, 2012 - 11:37am

There are some good reasons why it doesn't make sense to compare the proprietary, venture-capital-funded, managed online service NationBuilder to open source, community built, you-install-yourself-you-host-yourself packages like Drupal and Wordpress. For simplicity, I won't go into those here. Here are my thoughts, quickly assembled, on how one might compare NationBuilder to two of the most popular open-source content management systems.

Note: I am entirely biased. I have an irrational love of Drupal, I'm not that fond of Wordpress, and am inspired by some of what NationBuilder offers. Additionally, the publishers of NationBuilder have been exceptionally kind to us and supportive of our team's work. Richir Outreach provides excellent support and development for all three, plus a number of other systems.

Training Materials

Submitted by Jerimee on July 24, 2012 - 10:46am

Do you want to be able to run your website? Learning code can be hard, but we have found some great resources to get you started. Some of these sites have tutorials and videos, others are great points of reference for code, snippets, and best practices. No matter what your code knowledge is, these resources can help you code better, faster, and friendlier.

All-Around Good Guides

w3Schools is a great reference guide for most popular coding languages. This site is especially good for beginners and provides short tutorials and examples of how to use code.
For webpage design, CSS Tricks is a great resource. The site has articles, forums, video tutorials, and more to help make your site look stunning.
The online magazine Smashing Magazine has a wealth of articles on coding, design, user experience, and more.

Changing the Domain Name of Your Site

Submitted by Jerimee on July 6, 2012 - 7:21pm

Below is some info on how to change a site's domain name in a manner consistent with good SEO.

What you want to do is provide a 301 redirect for each page to the corresponding page in the new domain. If there is no a corresponding page you could do one of two things, redirect it to the top-level domain www.example.com) or leave it alone and the user will get a 404 Page Not Found error (not good!).

The Google Webmaster Blog provides step by step advice.

Here are the main points:

Pages