James Royal-Lawson


Template: Go/No-go decision for website content

When managing a website for a company or organisation one of the many discussion points between you and content owners is whether their content should be published or not. I’ve produced a Go/No-go website content template to help guide you in that decision making process.

Publishing new content

You’ve done the ground-work. You know your digital strategy, content strategy, SEO strategy. You’ve pinned down your business goals and worked out the ways in which your visitors are going to convert.

After all that time, effort and investment, the last thing you need is a piece of content hitting you broadside from a content or product owner that lacks the thought and consideration as to how publishing it will positively add to your website and help it meet its goals.

The Idea Stage

This template is designed to be used at the idea stage. The actual content, and where it fits into the website, is irrelevant at this point (and deserves a go/no-go template of its own!).

By getting the content owner to consider each point on the template and provide details, you help them meet a standard set of requirements. It puts in place an open and clear way of showing your organisation what you, the manager of the website, requires of each (new) page.

template for helping with content publishing decisions

Available as SVG and as PDF

The template poses the following questions for you and the content owner to consider:

  • What is the page about?
  • Keyword phrases
  • Goal of the page
  • How is the goal to be measured?
  • Who will visit?
  • Why will they visit?
  • Content responsible


Download the free template via these links as a scalable vector graphic or as PDF

Good luck, and make sure you let me know if (and how) this template helps you. More templates will be published during the year – keep an eye out for them!

James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

Webbstrateg Skatteverket

I’ve been self-employed now for 6 years. I’ve been a web and intranet consultant for the past 8. It’s not been often I’ve seen a job advert during that time where I’ve really thought – the person they are describing is actually me.

It’s even less often that an advert has been such a good match and so appealing that I think straight away – yeah, let’s apply, let’s get this job!

The job in question is as web strategist (and web responsible) at the Swedish tax authority (webbstrateg hos Skatteverket).

Skatteverket logo

So how do you apply for jobs these days? I’ve spent recent years bringing in work to my company rather than applying for jobs. But if I stop and think for a moment; the job is for a web strategist.

I’m one of those, obviously, as well as a web manager. So how about I approach this like a digital project? And how about I write about it here? That way, this post can be not only part of the application but also something to share.

One of my mantras (or tools in my toolbox if you will) is “Why, what, how, measure!” (Repeat as needed). So let’s try following that template for this application.

10 WHY
30 HOW
50 GOTO 20


In this case, the why is quite straight forward. We’re doing this for one quite obvious goal – to get the job as web strategist. This also helps a bit later on, as measuring the success of this mini-project is also quite simple (or brutal!) I either get the job or I don’t. There is also a secondary goal – sharing – which is one of the principles in my manifesto.

The goal of getting the job can then be broken down into a number of sub-goals. One of them is making sure that I make the shortlist for an interview. The creation of a short-list is often handled by HR (or a recruitment firm), especially in larger organisations.

Another sub-goal is to get the attention of those choosing their new employee – those working within communications, and in particular Anders from the web group, who is listed as a contact person in the job advert.

Those are my goals – but what goal does Skatteverket have? A good indication is the opening line in the advert: utveckla så att webbplatsen möter användarnas behov. That translates as “develop so that the website meets the users’ needs”.


The basics: I need to submit an application for this position, including a CV and a covering letter. Such traditional steps can’t be avoided and are essential in order to stand a chance of reaching the shortlist. It would be nice to submit a link to my LinkedIn profile and this blog post, but that isn’t enough on it’s own. I have to meet the requirements of the application process.

But I don’t need to stop there – this blog post can be used as the centre piece of a short (and intensive) content marketing campaign that would also include the Beantin Index rating for Skatteverket and perhaps an annotated reply to the job advert.

I’d normally analyse the competiton too. In this case, that’s awkward as most applicants will apply without letting the world know. Given the closed nature of everyone else’s applications, being open with mine gives me a differentiating factor.


My CV needs to be dusted down and updated, LinkedIn needs to be checked over and the chance taken to improve some parts (checking over your LinkedIn profile is something I recommend doing regularly anyway). A covering letter needs to be written – that, in part, can be an introduction and link here.

I could include this entire post as the covering letter but there are some risks with that; This blog post lacks further details of my motivation and specific responses to the requirements in the job announcement. Both of these items (to be submitted via the website) will need to be produced in Swedish.

Target audience

Time to do a bit of research about the target audience. Who are they? Do I know them, or have contacts that know them? What do they do? What do they want to hear?

Well, of the 5 names listed at the bottom of the advert, only one of them – Anders Åhlund – has a linked in profile. I can see that I’ve got 3 connections who have Anders in their network. Next step is to contact those 3 and talk about the application.

Eva Corp (Director of Communications) doesn’t appear to be on LinkedIn, but she is on Facebook and we have one mutual friend. I’ll get in touch with that friend too.

Of the other names, none of them appear to have a Facebook or LinkedIn profile that has any connections in my “circles”.

Anders is present on Twitter and we’ve already had a brief conversation. In fact, since I started work on this blog post he’s also followed me. We’ve also a number of shared contacts.

Although only one of a number of people involved in the recruitment process, Anders is clearly the best target audience for our small, fun, content marketing campaign.

Analytics fun

Part of Anders’s role at Skatteverket is working with web analytics. This is something else I could perhaps make use of. A quick look at Skatteverket’s website reveals, like so many other website, that they make use of Google Analytics.

One feature of Google Analytics is its campaign tracking variables. This is where you can “tag” links to content on your site with details of which campaign, source and media they are part of. This makes tracking and measuring of their performance possible.

As these campaign tracking variables are simply passed as attributes in the URL, and don’t need to be “created” within Google Analytics, you can have a bit of fun with them and create your own. In this case, I can use the variables to send a message to Anders. Although it requires a bit of help by getting people to click on this specific link.

I have, of course, no way of knowing if Anders will check his campaign reports soon enough for it to get noticed during the recruitment process – but it’s a simple (and fun) tactic, with little time needed to action it.


Did I get it? Well, the deadline is on March 8, so we’ll have to wait a little while yet before the result can be measured. But of course, I’ll update this post with more details later on. In the meantime, entertain yourself by giving this link another click

Also by James

Here’s some further reading…

And here’s some further listening…

Update: 20120329

Skatteverket have called me for an interview (via email with instructions explaining how to log in to their website and choose an available timeslot). What came as a bit of a surprise was the instruction to bring proof of Swedish citizenship to the interview. This requirement wasn’t mentioned in the job advert. Skatteverket got back to me and said that there was a miscommunication and the job isn’t security classed after all…

Update: 20120426

Yesterday I received a phone call from Eva Corp, Head of Communications at Skatteverket. They had finally come to a decision about the position. It had taken them a fair while – almost a week longer than I’d been told it would be.

The decision was that they’d gone with one of the other candidates – A candidate that had experience of working in the public sector, which I haven’t. I received some glowing feedback from Eva with regard to all other aspects of my presentation and interview, and that i’m thankful for and proud of.

So, as far as measuring the success of this “project”, the result is in. I failed. But it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s been a fun and giving process, and as I’m staying self-employed Skatteverket could always make use of me as a consultant…<grin>

James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

EU Cookie law in Sweden

Slowly but surely we’re getting a picture of what is expected of website owners (and indeed application providers) in respect of the Swedish response to the EU directive on online-privacy.

The Cookie Law

a bin that looks like Cookie Monster eating a cookie

Photo by Timm Schneider

Most of us are calling it The Cookie Law, but it’s broader than that. The Swedish Electronic Communications Act covers (amongst other things) the storage and reading of information on a terminal device and how you must obtain consent from the user prior to reading or writing such information.

A terminal device isn’t just a desktop or a laptop computer – it could also be, for example, a mobile phone, tablet, internet TV, or even a game console.

For the majority of websites, the data the law refers to is in the form of HTTP cookies, but it also includes Flash cookies, Silverlight cookies, HTML5 web storage, and other similar types of data transferred back and forth across the internet.

Some cookies are excluded from the law. These are cookies (or other such information) that are essential for the provision of the service you are accessing.

The most straight forward example is that of a shopping cart on an e-commerce site. You’ll have to come to your own conclusion about what is essential and what isn’t on your website.

What’s the response so far?

At the time of writing, most websites are either saying nothing or following the previous law from 2003, SFS 2003:389, which required website owners to declare that they used cookies.

A relatively small number of sites have taken steps to comply to the new law. The ways in which they have tried to comply varies from token gestures through to large consent banners covering the prime real-estate of the website.

screenshot of showing a large cookie opt in banner

Screenshot of featuring an opt-in banner

An onslaught from PTS?

PTS have a fair bit of information on their website to assist website owners. There’s no need to panic, the PTS isn’t going to jump on websites and close them down. Their normal routine, if they receive a complaint, would be to communicate in writing with the website owner, containing some advice and the chance to correct the situation.

During the 8 year lifetime of the previous Cookie law, only a handful of websites were warned, and no website was prosecuted. I expect it will be a similar situation this time round too.

The Swedish trade organisation, IAB Sweden, has produced guidelines as to how to comply to the law. It was stated during the preparation of the new law that best practice should be developed by website owners, the IAB’s recommendation is an expression of such best practice.

The IAB recommendation

What IAB recommend, and a recommendation I endorse for Swedish websites, is that the browser settings can be used to imply consent – but, that consent can only be inferred if the use of cookies is described and explained in a way that is easily understood.

All cookies, including third party cookies, should be explained. Information should also be given explaining how the user can withdraw the consent (by disabling cookies in their browser).

icon to indicate the use of cookies

The “We use cookies” icon produced by IAB

IAB have produced an icon that can be used to clearly signal that your site uses cookies. They’ve also produced a website, minacookies, that helps explain to users what cookies are as well as providing a home to their recommendations and guidelines.

Audit, be transparent, explain

So, if you are a Swedish company or organisation, targeting a Swedish audience, then you pretty much know what to do – audit your cookies, be transparent, and explain the choices.

You should also do your best to tidy up and remove any scripts and features that you don’t need. (This is not only good housekeeping, but it also helps improve performance and speed of your website.)

It’s even a good chance to check the effectiveness of certain website features? Put measurements in place and assess them (if you don’t already). That Facebook like-box might not actually be worthwhile after all…

Targeting countries outside of Sweden

Sounds simple so far? Well, what complicates matters is that each EU country is putting in place their own interpretation of the EU directive. Some countries are going to have much stricter interpretations of it than Sweden.

European law firm Field Fisher Waterhouse has produced a really useful table giving a country by country implementation status and a synopsis of the legal requirements.

If you are actively targeting people in other EU countries, then you will almost certainly need to comply with the relevant cookie laws in those countries.

Visits from non-targeted countries?

Visits from people in countries that you are not actively targeting are, in my opinion, a bit of a grey-zone.

Technically, you are transmitting and storing data on the user’s computer if you are using cookies – but having a website that specifically complies to all the laws in all other EU countries is going to be awkward at best, impossible at worst.

There’s no guarantee of a one-size-fits-all solution being possible, with the possible exception of the hardcore implementation – no use of cookies on your website.

Nordic and Baltic countries

For Swedish companies, one positive thing to note is that most of the countries neighbouring Sweden – namely Denmark, Finland, Estonia, have implemented the law in a way that is no more strict than the Swedish law. The exceptions to this are Latvia and Lithuania, where a strict prior opt-in (not implied by browser settings) appears to be required.

a map of of Scandinavia and The Baltics showing which countries require strict opt-in

Red require strict opt-in, Green via browsers settings.

Norway is not an EU country and is therefore not required to implement the EU directive. That said, Norway often implements them anyway – but at the moment, no formal proposal has been made, and no change of law has been implemented.

Business with integrity

Suffice to say, the Swedish cookie law isn’t out to get normal, honest, websites. It’s there to catch the abusers; the less honest. So those of us running businesses with a fair dose of integrity have nothing to worry about.

Of course, the content of this blog post is just my opinion, you should obtain specific legal advice for your own company.

It would be great to hear in the comments section below what your company has decided to do to be compliant…

James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

The Beantin Index

Last week I launched The Beantin Index, a site where Swedish websites are graded and ranked!

After a number of months of planning and preparation (as a side-project) The Index has, at last, seen the light of day.

Screenshot of The Beantin Index, Swedish websites graded and ranked

There are plenty of awards handed out to Swedish websites every year, but I felt as if something was missing. I wanted something where I could compare sites; quantify how good they are based on a set of critera.

To create a score that gives an indication of how well a website is managed, how well it complies with various standards and recommendations, and how good it is to use..

The Beantin Index fills that gap.

It’s only the beginning, but I’m intending to add new sites to The Index as often as I can mange. The review process itself takes a couple of hours, then it takes an hour or two to write up, prepare, and publish the final result.

Want your site rated?

If you’d like your website rated, please get in touch. If you’re a little bit afraid of hanging out your dirty laundry in public, then don’t worry – I can do private ratings (for a small fee), then once you’ve made some improvements I can re-assess the site (for free) and add it to The Beantin Index.

I hope you find The Beantin Index both interesting and useful.

James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

How many Twitter users in Sweden 2011?

At the beginning of this year, Itellecta Corporate presented the results of their Twitter Census, based on data collected in December 2010.

This week Aitellu has presented their research, based on data from the last week of November 2011.

They found that there were 146995 Swedish Twitter accounts.

146995 Swedish Twitter accounts

What counts as a Swedish account?

Twitter bios were analysed and profiles with Sweden as their location or one of 20 Swedish cities (including certain recognised abbreviations) were classed as Swedish.

Also included were profiles with a bio written in Swedish.

Who gets missed?

As with Twitter census, this method of counting misses anyone who hasn’t filled in their bio or location, as well as anyone tweeting in another language than Swedish during the sample period (such as English). It will though include people with protected tweets that meet the above criteria.

Any Swedish account that isn’t followed by another Swedish account will also be missed due to the way accounts were crawled.

This figure also includes Swedish businesses, organisations and non-human accounts as well as people.

How many active Twitter users?

According to the information given in this tweet 83029 of the 146995 Swedish Twitter accounts have tweeted during the past month (which presumably is the month up to the 20th of December 2011).

83029 active Swedish Twitter accounts

The number of active Twitter accounts according to Intellecta’s study was 35993 – but these two figures are not comparable as Hampus Brynolf used a much narrower definition of what was active.


Even though the methods used to measure differ between the two studies, it’s reasonably safe to say that the number of Swedish Twitter accounts has increased during 2011. At the moment though, it’s difficult to come to any conclusions on the number of active Twitter users.

Let’s hope that Aitellu release some further details, including some figures that are more comparable with the Twitter Census.

Update 2012-01-18

Aitellu hasn’t released their own further details yet, but Ajour has been given a preview. They have revised the number of Swedish accounts upwards slightly to 153,000 and come up with a figure of 87,000 active Swedish accounts – which according to Ajour was produced using the same critera as Intellecta.

It’s can be exactly the same critera due to the different methods used to collect the data, but it is never the less possible to say that there has been a signficant increase in the number of active Twitter accounts here in Sweden during the past year.

James Royal-Lawson+ is a digital strategist and web manager based in Stockholm Sweden.

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