You want to know a secret? For the most part, people don’t really care about what you have to say. Statistics and online studies are showing more and more people rarely read all of your content, they read and consume the content they need. If you cannot capture their attention with information that is useful to them and their need state when they actually arrived to your site, the chances of converting them to someone who even recognizes your brand, much less a prospect or sale are slim to none.
Eye candy has always been important stuff in the world of marketing and advertising. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Hubspot ran a study revealing that photos posted to Facebook generate 53% more “Likes” than the average text post. An eyetracking study from NN/g showed that relevant, large photos tended to perform better than generic, stock photos. A random picture of a darkened sky in the middle of a blog entitled, “The 5 Problems Threatening Our Industry” is not only cliché, it is actively ignored by readers. On the other hand, using demonstrative, relevant, well placed data visualization tools can engage readers, improve linkability, and make your content stand out in a sea of generic text.
Ready to reap the benefits of exceptional blog content? Here are some tools that can help…
With TAGSExplorer, Mike Hawksey has created a fairly revolutionary tool that can display data pulled from Twitter in a number of fascinating ways. This data is freely available, but this tool can take it out of a confusing spreadsheet format and display it in a visually interesting graph.
If you want data visualization tools, you can’t afford to ignore Google Charts. With their tool, you can graph everything from how many cars Volkswagen sold last year to your site’s traffic figures. Best of all, you can even create interactive charts, encouraging users to play with the information and use the graphs in their own ways. A diverse range of interactive graphs and data visualizations that are cross browser compliant make Google charts one of our preferred technology to display data visualizations on website we develop.
If you run promotional Twitter campaigns, this is one of those data visualization tools you don’t want to be without. Whether you need an easy way to track and report your social media marketing campaigns on Twitter for clients, or you are looking for potential link opportunities from people who like and share your content, Tweetreach can give you some great insights.
Dipity is a timeline builder you can use to draw information from social media, search engines, and RSS feed to create amazing, chronological timelines that you can then embed into your website. If you’ve ever looked for data visualization tools that can help you create a timeline of an event and embed into your blog, Dipity is one of the best solutions available.
What it lacks in a memorable name, Processing makes up for in accessibility. An open source option for those who can’t afford expensive software licenses, Processing is a powerful software development tool made even better by the many users who have created downloadable applications with its engine.
If you run a blog on social media, SEO, or, really, anything to do with the Internet, you have a virtually unlimited audience when it comes to Twitter stories. Punch them up with data visualization tools like Hashtagify.me, one of the best hashtag explorers online.
An interactive visualization platform, the potential of Gephi has likely not even been tapped. Used as a starting point for LinkedIn’s inMaps and as the basis for Indiana University’s Truthy project, it is among the most intensive data visualization tools out there. Too much for your blog? Maybe, but if you want to provide deep, original research to your readers, this is a good program to incorporate.
If you want a collection of data visualization tools under a single framework, you might want to consider VIDI. A suite of Drupal modules, these tools can be used to map nearly any dataset you get your hands on, providing invaluable content for any serious blogger.
The web pages Exhibit can produce are often reminiscent of the interactive graphs and maps disk-based educational resources like Encarta were known for. If you are looking for a way to display interesting data in an engaging way, you may also check out the WordPress plugin, Datapress.
Better World Flux
If you write a socially and environmentally conscious blog, you should be aware of Better World Flux. Geared towards users who want to raise awareness of issues like water access and hunger, BWF gives you a great tool to visualize data from the World Bank Open Data initiative. As a bonus, this is one of the easiest-to-use data visualization tools you’ll find.
Timelines are a fascinating way to look at a slice of history and shouldn’t be ignored by any blogger who wants to improve their content. Timeline.js lets you create timelines from a variety of media, including Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, and more. One of our current favorite timeline solutions available, it does take some technical ability to implement a customized Timeline.js visualization, but an embed generator is offered to help you get started if you don’t know how to code. If you don’t know how to code, you should learn.
If you’re primarily interested in data visualization tools that will help you display information found online, RSS Voyage is a program you need in your toolbox. A feed reader at its heart, Voyage is useful even for those who have no interest in blogging. Introduce it to your visitors and they may just use it to read your content.
IBM may not be the household brand it was in the 80s, but Many Eyes is a good example of the kind of the forward-thinking research that made the company what it is. The site is open to everyone, which means you can find interesting spins on their data visualization tools and use them for inspiration.
Created by designer / developer Jonathan Feinberg. Wordle is a great way to visualize the text within your web pages into graphical “word clouds”. You can enter text or a URL to generate your Wordle word cloud. There is no need to register to access the tool, the service is free to use. Somewhat overused and passe’, you can still use a Wordle contextually to emphasize the concepts around a particular topic within good taste.
Creating Better, More Engaging Content
Data visualization tools are being used more and more to help bloggers, copywriters and journalists alike illustrate abstract concepts or complicated data that would be boring if presented in a simple chart or spreadsheet. It is highly recommended you not just blog, but make interesting, engaging and useful blogs that offer visual elements beyond what you commonly see in most blogs.
There is no doubt, as long as you create something interesting and valuable to your target audience that using data visualization tools like the ones presented above will help set you apart from the droves of other people who are all publishing similar content.