Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Speaker Tip: Don't Just Check Your Web Links


Do Check Your Web Links

Recently I was updating my handout for a house history talk.  I give this talk frequently so I update the handout almost monthly.  Part of updating a handout includes checking to make sure all of your links are still correct.  You should take the time to click through every link to make sure they are still working the week or day of the talk.  It can be quite embarrassing to direct your audience to links that don't work.

There is, however, another danger out there you need to keep your eye on.

Watch for Companies that Change URLs

Every so often a company will re-brand itself. They may change their company name or perhaps just their web address.  The challenging part is that they do this slowly over time to give their members or customers time to adapt.  You may still be using the old address on your handout.  A few months down the road your audience will revisit the handout and try the url to find it is no longer available.

A current example of this in the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS).  As a speaker who focuses predominantly on New England research I share their web address quite often. They haven't changed their name but they have changed their web address.  Their old address is www.NewEnglandAncestors.org.  Recently they changed their address to www.AmericanAncestors.org.  Currently both sites are functioning.  I would anticipate that sometime in the future they will phase out www.NewEnglandAncestors.org.  I am still using the old address because I am a creature of habit.  Yet I need to keep in mind that it will be better for my lecture attendees if I update that address now and get them started using the new address.

Update Your Handouts 

Before your next talk take a moment to review your handout.  Check all links to make sure they are still accurate.  And think about whether any of the sites may transitioning their urls.

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