Michael O'Neill

About Michael O'Neill

Product Communication Specialist

It’s not often you find a communications professional who can quote Thoreau, understands the power of social media and has the technical capabilities to write software release notes. But that’s exactly the background Michael brought with him to Geonetric. In his role as product communications specialist, Michael uses his writing and marketing skills to create clear and concise documentation that explains how to implement and use Geonetric's software. This former adjunct professor holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Worcester State College in Massachusetts and completed graduate level courses at the University of Connecticut. He must be doing something right with his on-again off-again Twitter addiction, as Mindtouch rated him the 79th most influential in #techcomm and #contentstrategy.

The Eight Steps of a Successful Health Content Library Integration


Word Health written in search bar on virtual screen.

Licensing a health library is the right decision for most organizations. It promotes your hospital’s expertise, helps serve patient education needs, and helps fill waiting room seats and physician schedules. But just licensing a health library does little to help you realize these benefits. In fact, the value your organization gets from its health library is directly related to how effectively it is integrated with your website. A health library that is merely attached to a website provides visitors with a clickpath to health information, but returns little of the value that a fully integrated health library does.

The following sections describe options for integrating a health library, starting with the most basic and proceeding to more advanced – and valuable – types of integration. Read sequentially, each section is an integration step that moves the organization from a rudimentary attached health library that provides minimal value to increasingly sophisticated health library integrations that provide maximal value.

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Zero to Piwik Analytics in Under Three Minutes with VitalSite CMS

Screen capture of VitalSite Script Manager displaying the Piwik Analytics tracking code.

We’ve been making some major investments in VitalSite that provide more power to the system administrators who manage hospital websites, and to the client advisors who work with them. To this end, one of the new features we’ve recently released is the VitalSite Script Manager. This new utility is available to users with GeoTechnician or System Administrator privileges, and it allows them to manage the markup and scripts that appear in the <head> sections and near the </body> sections in the HTML of all VitalSite pages.
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VitalSite Notes: An On-Page Space for Your Editorial Conversation

page-notes-image

With the recent release of VitalSite 8.0, we introduced Notes, a helpful new feature designed for the teams and individuals responsible for planning, creating and maintaining the content of hospital websites.

Because Notes are right next to the content they describe (but are visible only to administrators and never to the public), content teams can easily communicate with each other about the pages, panels, providers, services, locations or other VitalSite objects they work on and govern. If you’ve worked on websites for any amount of time, you know how helpful this type of capability can be.

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Google’s Universal Analytics Arrives. VitalSite’s Ready.

Google Universal Analytics Graphic

Well, it’s official. Google’s Universal Analytics (UA), the next generation of the ubiquitous Web analytics tool, is now officially out of beta and ready for prime time. According to Google, “all the features, reports, and tools of Classic Analytics are now available in the [Universal Analytics] product, including Remarketing and Audience (Demographic) reporting.” This is good news for those of us interested in taking the plunge, but unwilling to sacrifice any of the functionality we’ve come to depend on in the classic Google Analytics (GA).

Of course, it’s not just about feature parity between old and new. From custom dimensions and metrics to new approaches to cross-domain (and sub-domain) tracking, there are a bevy of new features and capabilities in Universal Analytics that will be of interest to most Web marketers and webmasters.

If you’re a Google-watcher, you’ve no doubt been keeping your eye on Universal Analytics for some time. And if you aren’t a Google-watcher, rest assured that we’ve been watching on your behalf. In fact, we’ve been planning for this announcement for quite some time.

That’s why the just-released VitalSite 7.0 includes a new Site Root Script Manager built specifically with Google’s Universal Analytics in mind.

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Value, Release Frequency and VitalSite CMS

vitalsite 7 cms

A number of years ago we took pride in the fact that we released VitalSite updates every quarter. Not only was it a significant differentiator from other software developers who struggled to deliver even one release a year, but frequent releases just seemed like the right thing to do. Why? Quarterly updates allowed us more opportunities to help our clients manage their top performing hospital websites. And that’s hard to do when you have to wait a year or more to take advantage of new features.

Over the last few years we’ve been resolute in our commitment to frequently delivering software, and the rate at which we release updates has increased manyfold. In fact, we now consider a quarterly release cadence to be slow and often symptomatic of problems on software development teams. Such problems can be the result of:

  1. A software development team that is incapable of responding quickly to changing market needs, or of quickly deploying fixes and updates to clients. This can be because of anything from code quality to management problems. Regardless of the cause, it should be considered a warning sign for many types of software.
  2. A vendor who has decided to withhold valuable changes and updates from their clients until the marketing team decides that they have ‘enough’ new functionality for them to bundle it all in a release and promote it in the market. This approach is common among software vendors who just want to rack up new sales and have little regard for existing clients.

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Search Is Not Your Website’s Dumping Ground


Stylized image of a search box

Like water from the tap or electrons from the outlet, we tend to take search for granted. Beneath the ubiquitous experience we’re all familiar with, there is a lot of advanced engineering at play… engineering intended to empower users by connecting them to results highly relevant to their queries.

That’s the theory, anyways.
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Support Options for Internet Explorer 8

Screen capture of download screen for Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE 8) was first introduced in March of 2009 and initially represented a major step forward in browser design. But now, nearly five years later, it’s showing its age. Loathed by Web designers and Web application developers alike, IE 8 doesn’t support many modern features of CSS3 and HTML5, and designing for it means investing in countless workarounds and developing special code specific to just that browser. In fact, supporting it in websites and Web applications has become so complex that industry leaders like Google decided years ago that they wouldn’t support it in many of their Web apps.
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Hospital Website Guidance: Opening Links in New Windows


Screen capture of browser context window on a hyperlink.For some time now, standard Web guidance has been to open hyperlinks in the current window instead of opening them in new windows. For those not familiar with what I’m describing, the following provides an example of each:

There are multiple reasons that inform the recommended approach. If you’re not familiar with them, here are a few of the more important ones:
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Finding Broken Links and Fixing Them With VitalSite Redirects

Image conveying "redirect URL"

In the previous section, , we explored the differences between internal links, outbound links, and inbound links. Now that you have a working understanding of what these are and how they are different, we’ll cover some easy techniques you can use to be proactive about identifying them. For broken links that require 301 Redirects to fix, we’ll even show you how you can use VitalSite’s redirect manager to add redirects.
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Understanding Broken Links and 404s

Image showing a stylized person connecting two lengths of chain

In , we introduced 404 errors, what causes them (typically, broken links), and explored why it’s important to fix them.

In short, we fix broken links because 404 errors often represent bad user experience and missed opportunities to maximize the business value of our hospital websites.
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An Introduction to 404s, Broken Links and Hospital Website Hygiene

Keyboard keys arranged to spell, "404"

I’ve been working on websites since the only browser option was Mosaic, and if there’s one thing in all this time that has consistently made me see red, it’s the willingness of some webmasters to let bad 404s linger. This is doubly so for hospital and healthcare websites, where a bad user experience isn’t just something that affects revenue, but can affect a visitor’s health as well.

At one point in time the advice about 404 errors was clear: you fix broken links (which result in 404 errors) because it’s a bad user experience to have them on your website.

In the last few years, however, Google has muddied the waters.
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Taking Stock of 2013: Trends in Release Frequency, Code Quality, Uptime and Client Satisfaction


Since we’ve wrapped up 2013 and announced the last VitalSite CMS release of the year, it’s an opportune time to reflect on how far we’ve come these last twelve months. Let’s start with some metrics related to release frequency.

If you remember, last March we revealed a strategic shift in how we were developing software. Influenced by innovative practices in software development like continuous delivery, we developed our own deployment automation capabilities. This allows us to deliver more features, faster, to the clients who request them.

How did it play out? If we look back on the year, we can see that we’ve had a record number of releases: eleven since the start of 2013, and nine since we started automating our deployments.

A timeline showing the releases of VitalSite CMS in 2013
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VitalSite 6.7.6 – Secure Content Enhancements for Hospital Websites, Intranets and Extranets


Image of a lock symbol on the key of a keyboard
As 2013 finally draws to a close, we have one more release to announce: VitalSite 6.7.6. This release contains a few new features related to secure content (CMS pages and secure files), and a number of fixes and updates requested by clients (full details are provided to clients in GeoCentral). The new features will be of interest to clients using VitalSite to host content for authenticated users on hospital intranets, board extranets and secure sections of their public websites.
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Four Reasons Healthcare Marketers Need to Stop Ignoring Google Webmaster Tools in 2014


Image of a stop watch with the words "Time for Change" on the dial

I get it. For a long time Google Webmaster Tools appeared to play second fiddle to its shiny sibling, Google Analytics. It went long stretches without updates, and a good many webmasters and hospital marketers let their attention lapse. For that reason, you might have missed the fact that Google has been making some tremendous investments in Webmaster Tools recently. In fact, it’s now to the point that you’re flirting with disaster if organic search traffic from Google contributes significantly to your goals and you aren’t paying attention to Google Webmaster Tools.

If you’re one of the few who has let their Webmaster Tools literacy lapse over the last couple years, here are four things you should start doing with it in 2014:

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Four Essential Tools for Getting Started with Schema.org Markup

Image of dice with letters spelling out 'Semantic Web'

We’ve all heard it before: The future of search is semantic, and the job of those of us in inbound marketing is to help Google (as Amhit Singhal famously put it in 2012) “understand things, not strings.” In the past, Google built its index by looking at the word frequency of various elements on a page. Different elements (such as H1 text or anchor text in a URL) were of greater significance than others (such as words in body content). Over the years, this approach led to many attempts to manipulate results by stuffing the various strings with the terms marketers wanted to rank for. Great debates ensued over keyword placement, frequency, and how successful various tactics were. The abuse went further, of course: paid listings in indexes of dubious quality, buying links via press releases, and other shady approaches intended to blatantly manipulate Google’s famous page rank algorithm.
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