Category Archives: Kachina

Using Meta Description Tags

Ever wonder how Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ makes (or not makes) your posts pretty when you share a website link? Social media sites rely on meta description tags on websites to help figure out what to add in that preview box under your post. If a website has a poorly written description or no description at all, the preview box will look pretty boring or embarrassingly sad.


Facebook Preview Box: About STC

What about STC? This description is not helpful.


Meta tags are helpful for search engine optimization (SEO). They are also great when used correctly for both keywords and description! People who share your information on social media sites will love you forever if you properly write a meta description. The added benefit is that you will get better search results too.  Not doing so leaves us to wonder if your content is useful to be posted on social media or if we can understand what you are writing about when we browse search results.


Google Search Results

What is going on with this search result entry???


If a book can be judged by its cover, a webpage can be judged by the meta description when Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn parses it before you click Post. It’s all about appearances! How tidy (or untidy) your website looks will determine how successful it is against the countless websites out there.


Facebook Preview Box: STC Keynote from STC Summit

Notice that the name repeats itself in the description. Facebook is scraping data from the website to generate the description content. Why do we need redundancy in the redundant department office?


In order to make your descriptions look better online,  you need to add this meta description tag to each webpage between the <head> </head> tags.

<meta name=”description” content=”Replace this content with a carefully crafted description of the page using fewer than or up to 155 characters and spaces.”>

Social media websites pull information from a webpage that you are about to share in order to make your post more interesting. Those sites read the information from the meta description tag and sometimes chooses an image from the page to insert in the preview box for your post.

Most content management systems have the ability to create descriptions, yet most do not come with this feature installed. Instead, I use a WordPress plugin called WordPress SEO by Yoast to add metadata to my website. Before publishing a post or page, I include a short description and keywords. The plugin also helps you out!

Here are some examples of meta descriptions tags as seen on Facebook and Google, both good and bad.

 STC Election

Facebook Preview Box: STC Election

The description is great, but it’s poorly worded. I would not post this page on Facebook using that description. Even the title is not helpful in this case.


Google Search Results for STC Election

This search result looks better, but Google had to scrape that information from the webpage instead of relying on meta description tags. website

Facebook Preview Box: STC Website

This description is great, but it is missing a period.


 STC Rochester

Facebook Preview Box: About STC Rochester

This description of what STC Rochester is about is great, but it’s truncated…


 STC New Mexico Kachina

Facebook Preview Box: STC Kachina Chapter

STC Kachina has a simple and straight-forward description.


 Write Techie

Another good description preview.

WriteTechie (this website) is another example of a good description as seen in the Facebook preview box.


Meta descriptions are quite helpful for people who may be interested in your website.

Meta descriptions are quite helpful for people who may be interested in your website.



Facebook Preview Box: WordPress

WordPress has the best description preview I’ve seen so far.

November STC CAC Webinars

Earlier this month, Viqui Dill and I presented on Social Media, Websites, Wikis, Email, and more for the Society for Technical Communication Community Affairs Committee (STC CAC). This time, we were invited by Cindy Pao to present on these topics. These presentations are expanded forms of our STC 2013 Summit Leadership Day progression presentations–which limited us to split 20 minutes on these topics.

We worked on our presentations back in April–brainstorming ideas and splitting our talks. What was amazing back then was our knowledge complemented each other very well and we could cross-link our thoughts and ideas across. Also we put our research in the form of handouts to provide communities with alternatives and tips for using these new communication technologies.

Here’s our newly updated presentations:

Viqui Dill’s Presentation

Adobe Connect Presentation


Roger Renteria’s Presentation

Adobe Connect Presentation


Both presentations were fun and very informative. I’d love to present more of these webinars and progressions in the future.

Related: STC 2013 Summit Wrap-Up

Evolution of a website – Part 4 of 4

Note: this is a four-part series which I discuss the first two versions of the website pre-WordPress, the third and fourth versions of the site using WordPress, implementation of the fourth version using WordPress and its intricacies, and lastly how to keep the site alive.

Part 4

Maintaining the site and keeping content fresh

While we moved houses and unpacked, the tricky part was to keep the content relevant and fresh. The problem with static websites and why they suffer is because content updated infrequently. It can be a time-consuming task being webmaster, but with WordPress, the task of updating the site can be delegated to a team. Instead of having a webmaster as a bottleneck for updating information, contributors can use the self-service interface and update the website themselves.

I love being a webmaster of website that will take little effort to update or add content. WordPress offers that convenience for a small price: the time to learn and familiarize oneself with the software and associated plug-ins.

I am truly satisfied how the final product came out. While the website is one step closer to having a fully functional chapter, it is definitely a start to communicate with members and represent the community. Many thanks go out to the previous webmasters who contributed their efforts on the website. I also want to thank my colleagues who helped with site content with their suggestions and advice–without their availability, this site would be stuck in a black hole.

Is the Future in Social Media?

The next step in moving forward is to promote the Kachina Chapter through our social media channels. What is great about the latest design is that there are social media links at the top of the website which direct visitors and members to view our site on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. I hope that we can use these tools to communicate with current members and recruit new individuals who may be interested in the field of technical communication. So far, this is only the beginning!


Websites take some interesting paths to get to where they are now. In this case, I believe the STC New Mexico Kachina website is at its best since it was originally created. While I understand that different technologies are working together to display the site in its current state, to most people this implementation may seem complicated on the back-end, but it was meant to make updates easier and have greater accessibility on the internet. The point I want to make is, while the current site took a tremendous amount of effort to implement, it is the best version that utilizes previous design cues, color schemes, and content. Now it should be easier to maintain and faster to update and change without having to use a WYSIWYG editor. All that future web masters can do is log into a web interface and update the site with ease.