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#349975 Video: Drunk Usability

Posted by cre8pc on 12 June 2014 - 01:17 PM




#346940 Matt Cutts Warning: Guest Blogging Is Done

Posted by seosmarty on 20 January 2014 - 07:13 PM

I really think with his following and influence, he needs to think twice before pushing "Publish" to avoid edits like that :)


#351229 Content Metadata Widget - My First Official Wordpress Plugin

Posted by DonnaFontenot on 09 September 2014 - 06:49 PM

I feel like I've just given birth - to a WordPress plugin!

 

It was nerve-wracking to go through all the steps (and there are a number of rules and steps to adhere to), to bring my first WordPress plugin to fruition and into the WordPress repository.

 

It's not a plugin that many will need, most likely. But whether 10 people need it or 10,000, it's a living, breathing plugin available for free to everyone. 

 

To most, it's not that big of a deal, but to me, it's both an accomplishment and a learning experience.  Yay!

 

So what is it? Nothing too fancy, but something I couldn't find already out there. Here ya go.

 

http://wordpress.org...etadata-widget/

 

Display the current page or post's metadata (title, author, publication date, categories, tags) in a sidebar widget, outside of "the loop".

 

 




#349562 Creative Tomorrow Could Be Amazing

Posted by DonnaFontenot on 20 May 2014 - 12:01 PM

Nothing exemplifies the title of this forum, Creative Tomorrow, like this! This would be world-changing.

 

 

 




#349215 Image Slider

Posted by cre8pc on 01 May 2014 - 11:25 AM

Before adding a slider, what do you want visitors to do when they land on the homepage?  Every study done on sliders has shown that they are ignored and interfere with conversions because:

 

You have 5 seconds to communicate that you have what your visitor needs and why they should choose your company.

Your call to action should be above the page fold, and sliders push them down.

Animation is distracting.  Moving images are distracting.

Sliders provide "maybe" a 1% conversion rate.  

People don't read web pages - they scan.

 

I instruct all clients to use a "hero" image instead.  This is a static image, and can be large but allow room to the left or right side of it for text content focused on answering top questions about your product/service/value prop.

 

If a slider is beloved, I instruct clients to put content on it with a value proposition on each slide, and place a big call to action button on the image that clicks to a page in a sales funnel.  Do not put the slider on automatic scroll.  Make it manual and show arrows, etc. for controls to let users stop, look, read, and click at their own speed.

 

TEST on mobile devices.  Sliders are terrible on small screens.  




#348888 Whiteboard Videos -- Anyone?

Posted by socialwebcafe on 13 April 2014 - 02:54 AM

Hi Donna,

 

First, thank you for your patience in my extremely delayed response.  I am definitely a work in progress on that.

 

Thank you for your response.. got me thinking :)

 

Your list of alternate names is great!  I forget sometimes that there are phrases like "Explainer Videos."  I keep calling them whiteboard videos and then I get lazy and call it whiteboarding which sounds more like something one would do at the beach.  Great to have the list, so thanks for putting that out there for us, Donna.

 

Yes, I'm like you.  I like to add something that has zing.  I like to do it more than I do it, but that is more of a time limitation.  That is where tools like slideshare or even embedding an instagram or pin are helpful, just to get something, even a fizzled zing in there.  (Yes, and I say that I am writing a post that is zingless.  lol.)

So, for your question, yes, Sparkol is something that you can do yourself.  Though, I didn't find that it was instantly intuitive.  It isn't like I signed up and all of a sudden was producing masterpieces.  There is definitely a learning curve.  But, I think, as with all things, once you get the hang of it, you can spit out videos quicker.  Sparkol does have some how-to videos and my recommendation is to watch those and watch them a couple times to really get the hang of it.  Then, give yourself some slack and allow yourself to mess some up :)

 

BTW - I agree, I do feel like watching whiteboards that are well done help to drive the info home for me.

 

The whiteboard, above, is not all Sparkol.  I made a whiteboard via Sparkol and then brought it into Final Cut Pro and enhanced it.  That certainly isn't a requirement and is more of a case where I am so comfortable using Final Cut Pro that it was like breathing to just add a few things like flares, music, transitions, etc.  However, Sparkol does offer these things so that you do not need any other programs.  There is the availability for music and different options for your transitions, too.

 

Here are some tips, off the top of my head, for whiteboard videos, no matter what tool you use to make them:

  • Keep them relatively short, or modular (like under 3 min) ... unless it is meant to be a full length teaching session or something.
  • Keep a variety.  For example, use the hand to write out part, and then slide in the next part.
  • Keep it moving.  If it is too slow, people will stop watching it and leave.
  • Use the spacers (watch the instruction videos for how-to), to create a pause after the text is added.  This gives viewer time to read it.
  • If you are inserting an image, lower the timing from the default 30 seconds to 7 seconds.  What will happen is the drawing will start slow and then all of a sudden instantly finish.  That is ok.  The viewer will be intrigued by the first part, but you won't lose them by it taking 30 seconds for the full picture.

Some of the tips above hit on some things that have worked really well for us in the video business.  The process of illusion.  Just because you *can* let every image be hand-drawn for 30 seconds each doesn't mean you should.  Do you want to watch a video move at a non-engaging snail speed?  No, if it bores you it is going to bore your viewers too, so keep that thing hopping.  Adding music, change of color, change of image, anything to keep it going. You can give the illusion that the viewer is watching the entire cat being drawn without actually waiting for the entire cat to be drawn.  As long as the full kitty is shown at the end of that piece, you have successfully provided an engaging moment with the illusion of the full drawing process.

 

Til next time,

Deborah




#347684 What Do You Consider A Spammy Image File Name?

Posted by WPMuse on 12 February 2014 - 04:01 PM

Great minds think alike! Let the test begin!  ;-)

 

pretty-red-widget-that-makes-your-hair-s




#347012 I Want To Merger All My Sites

Posted by evolvor on 21 January 2014 - 09:26 PM

The first thing that pops in my head here is not to think about this as "how can these fit into one website" but more like "can these fit under a brand". I think they all could probably fall into a brand, with even more doors opening based on how that is developed.

 

If you went to a newsstand you'd find all sorts of magazine brands (think "lifestyle" magazines) that could sell any of those products (but perhaps with specific angles - "Better Homes & Gardens" has a certain demographic, "Style" another, etc.)  Perhaps thinking about a brand and building that, then incorporating all the products under it would make sense. If done well the sky is the limit for what else could be sold under the brand. 

 

If there is a shared demographic among those who visit these sites or purchase these products, then you have an opportunity




#346777 $60,000 In 6 Months? Part 1

Posted by ShawnaSeigel on 16 January 2014 - 01:34 PM

In 2011 I started an amazing experiment to create $60,000 in sales within 6 months by opening an online quilting store.

 

BUT

 

It had to be done using ONLY social media and of course organic SEO.

I was SO close!! After 6 months we generated $55,618.77 in sales. It took us 6 and a half :)

 

We shared our progress throughout and sold the store shortly after the 6 months were up.

 

8-17-2011+10-23-52+AM.png
 

 

So how did we get people to our new website?

 

Social Media

 

We blogged, we facebooked, we twittered, we flickered, and we pinned.

 

We emotionally connected with our customers. We let them into our lives and they let us into theirs.

 

It was absolutely wonderful.
 

 

Beginner's Guide to Social Media

 

Most people I talk with are scared to jump into the social media pool. They don't know how or even where to start.

 

Guess what? You are not allowed to use that excuse any more :)

Today Moz released the Brand New Beginner's Guide to Social Media:

 

http://moz.com/begin...to-social-media

 

YAY!

 

This guide has something for everyone to learn and education is powerful if it is applied!

 

Accountability

 

Let's work together to improve your social media skills. If you are going to work through the guide, let us know below!

We will check-in with your progress and make sure you are applying your new found skills.

 

Remember, team work makes the dream work!


Shawna
 

 

P.S.

Coming Soon - $60,000 in 6 months? Part 2.

Social Media helped us to get the traffic, but what did we do to get the sales?




#344942 The Words No One Noticed At Matt Cutts Pubcon Keynote

Posted by DonnaFontenot on 23 October 2013 - 12:39 PM

At Pubcon today, Matt Cutts was the keynote speaker, and the session was live-streamed at ustream.tv/channel/pubcon

 

I wish the session had been recorded for later viewing, because there were two very brief parts that I'd love to pull out and share. But alas, we'll have to rely on my paraphrasing because I can't recall the exact words he used. As far as I could tell, no one even noticed those few words that came out of Matt's mouth, but in my opinion, they were the most significant words in the entire hour. You can see a text recap at http://searchenginel...t-pubcon-174906 but it too failed to mention this part.

 

While Matt was discussing the "moonshot" changes that are taking place, such as the Knowledge Graph, Voice Search, Conversational Search, etc. he said something to this effect (totally paraphrased by me, so don't quote me verbatim):

 

All along, Google has attempted to organize the world's information, and nothing in that statement mentions the phrase "search engine". Users want answers, and that's what we're attempting to give them.

 

Later, in the Q&A portion at the very end of the session, Matt again referred to this when discussing how Google seems to be using up all the space in the SERPs with ads, toolbars, etc, so there's little room left for organic results. Another paraphrase:

 

Users want quick answers, and don't necessarily want to be sent off to a site to answer it. Your job is to provide content of real value that does more than just give a 3-word answer to a question so that users will want to visit your site.

 

I quickly tweeted about that, saying, 

 

Butt matt, if you give the answers, the users will never see our value.

 

HA! Just noticed my tweet's typo there. Bahahaha! Anyway...I digress...

 

My point, of course, is that as Google gives more and more "answers" in the SERPs, there's little to no incentive for users to ever leave Google, or ever have the chance to see the valuable content we have.

 

People say, well, it's Google's site, so they can do what they want.

 

That's not always the case, however.

 

The "answers" that Google gives is not their content. It is OUR content.

 

We've always had an implied "contract" with Google.

 

We'll let you crawl our sites, Google, if you'll send traffic back to us.

 

The "contract" isn't this: We'll let you steal and use our sites' content, Google, without anything in return (traffic).

 

Google - via Matt's brief, nearly unnoticed words today, is letting us know...we are going to keep stealing your content, because we love our users, and we don't care what you think about that.




#344852 The 100% Google Cure | Seo

Posted by WPMuse on 17 October 2013 - 09:30 AM


No wonder people are despondent, dejected, and depressed.

 

 

I know of sites totally and completely playing by "the rules" and they were put out of business by g#####'s latest attempts to stop spam.   Very cool sites, all the boxes checked.

 

I am now of the opinion that spam to g##### is anyone who they can squeeze ad dollars from.

 

We now live in a day where playing by the rules doesn't pay and the only one really listening to the market place is the NSA.

 

The only way to approach all this is pretty elegant in it's simplicity:

 

Create the best site for your market, and concentrate on providing the best product/service possible -- then nurture the customers and relationships that come your way to build partnerships for the long haul. 

 

That's all you can control -- so be the best at it that you can!




#355022 5 Wordpress Plugins That Use Ai

Posted by Grumpus on 23 June 2015 - 06:28 AM

I haven't played with any of these in recent years, but... I've always tried to steer away from any kind of "automatic" things when it comes to web dev. The plugins I've looked at in the past are just as (or maybe even more) likely to make a bad choice as a good one.

 

For the user, the idea is to get them to where they want to be as quickly as possible and without a whole bunch of prohibitively  expensive code, processing power, and other pricey things, a computer simply isn't very good reading minds - and even then it can do the wrong things (see: Google). Sending a user down the wrong path on your web site costs money and conversions. If it's something you (or someone on your team) did, then you can fix it. If you are relying on the logic of a free or cheap plugin to do it, then all you can do is watch your money fly out the window.

 

For the search engine, how various pages relate to each other to reinforce meaning and relevance to a specific topic is nearly as important as the content on the page itself right now. You can say whatever you want on a page, but a search engine's confidence in its accuracy is enhanced by how that page references and is referenced by other pages. If your automatic stuff isn't actually hitting on the most relevant content in a logical and solidly referential way, this can actually hurt the search engine's confidence in the accuracy and authority of your page's content. Sure, you can add nofollow to the links, but then you gain no benefit whatsoever from the page's relationships with other pages. (And I'm also not convinced that a lot of nofollow links won't hurt a site in this area too... "What are they hiding?" asks the spider. -- That's speculation on my part, but...)

 

I'm a fan of the old adage, "If you aren't going to do it right, don't do it at all." On web stuff, I double down on that. Doing the wrong thing (or allowing the wrong thing to happen) is worse than not doing anything. If you want related posts listed - list them. (There are plugins that will suggest ones for you, but you still need to confirm which of the suggestions you actually want to show - these are fine).

 

Side note: Related products (e.g. the WooCommerce one) type things are even trickier. Before the sale, you want things that are close, but not exactly the same. You're presenting things for the user who is saying, "This is close, but not quite right." They are looking at a blue widget, but they really want a red one - so having the red widget in the "Similar Products" list will capture that sale. But, once they've added it to their cart, you have to change your thinking. If they buy a blue widget, showing them a red widget is silly - no one ever needs more than one widget. What they need to see then are widget covers, widget reinforcements and other widget accessories. (Similarly, showing these accessories before they have bought the widget is rather silly too - you don't need a widget cover if you haven't decided to buy a widget yet).

 

These types of plugins are fun and can be great tools on the back end to help you more quickly do the work yourself, but to give them free reign and affect your content on their own inhuman whims can be dangerous.

 

G.




#354402 How Much Does Text Matter For Seo And Web Design Today?

Posted by EGOL on 07 May 2015 - 09:37 AM

Back in the dawn of search, text and markup were all that they had to rank pages.  Then the idea of citations and pagerank became important.

 

Even though SEOs would not believe it, visitor behavior was being used big time more than ten years ago.  If google was smart about anything it was keeping this rather quiet because it contained factors that would be extremely difficult or impossible for SEOs to reverse engineer or even identify.  People who bet on this a long time ago had the rocket fuel that continues to elude most SEOs today.

 

 


 

With the emphasis on large background images, parallax design with layers, text over images, scrolling to present the website story rather than presenting it above the page fold or near the top of the page, etc.,

 

 

Scrolling is visitor data, the rest are design elements that I don't think that google is using or knows how to use.   The key difference is that these things can produce a huge increase or decrease in engagement.

 

 

Getting back to your main question about the importance of "optimized text".....   I think that optimized text and just plain text qualify webpages for queries.   Measurable visitor engagement on the page/site  (visit length in seconds, scroll distance, clicks, etc.) along with offpage references to the page (tweets, mentions, shares, bookmarks, links, etc.) determine the ranking strength for queries

 

SEOs have missed the boat because they undervalue page richness and engagement, which are fueled by content quality and on-page assets such as photos, graphics, data tables, videos, hierarchical content structure, and widgets of engagement such as calculators, recommended readings, and sharing tools. 

 

Many SEOs still believe that content is purchased for five dollars a page.  That's why they continue to have Penguin and Panda problems - the publish crap that is unpromotable and then try to force it up the ranks using spam.




#354353 Grabbing The Attention Of Manufacturers

Posted by Ken Fisher on 03 May 2015 - 01:35 PM

Update. The convention was a resounding success. I didn't need an elevator pitch. It was more about a quality focus than anything that worked.

 

Then I did get some chuckles and laughs when I had to explain myself, who I was etc. 

 

"It was back in 2008 when I closed down all operations, seeing the writing on the wall. So I basically went on vacation and now I'm itching to get back into the bus."

 

Seven year vacation? 

 

It really lightened everything up. Then my real personality came out from hiding. It's been far too long. That dark cave is behind me now.




#353716 Practical Tips For Going Mobile

Posted by tam on 18 March 2015 - 09:47 PM

Everyone busy frantically turning your sites mobile? Me too. I thought I'd share a bit of what I'd learnt so far, and feel free to chime in with your own.

 

There are basically two options, responsive - which is using CSS to make your site stretch and rearrange depending on the size of the browsing window and detecting mobiles and serving them a completely different site made just for them. If you'd like to do the later google has some info here: https://developers.g...rate-urls?hl=en

 

Personally I like a mix of the two, having the same files rather than two separate copies makes a site much easier to maintain and gives more flexibility for different screen sizes. It can also be quite easy if your site is well coded with css/html to start with. But there are probably a few things on your site your rather do completely differently on mobile, and for those it's best to detect mobiles and change what's written to the page for example not including that giant 1MB photo, rather than just hiding it from view.

 

Detecting Mobiles

 

I use the script from here http://detectmobilebrowsers.com/ to detect mobiles, then set a cookie. Then any time I want to change the sites code e.g. what's written in your PHP I just have an if/then statement that checks the cookie.

 

This is optional, and you might want to just start with CSS and add this in later to tweek.

 

CSS Changes

 

One of the main changes I find sites need is getting rid of the set width of the container - the div that most people wrpa their site in that has a width of 900px or so. Start by changing width:900px to max-width:900px. Max width is key because it says, if the screen is narrower than 900px use the full width. You might have a few containers within containers that need editing too - then see how much your site breaks and where by resizing your browser window.

 

It's not just containers that works on either, you can also give images a max-width too. If you set a max-width:100% your images will never be wider than the mobile screen.

 

The other great thing about CSS is the ability to apply styles to different screen sizes (called media queries) like so:

 

@media all and (min-width:1000px) {      #wrapper {900px}     } @media all and (max-width:999px) {      #wrapper {100%}       }  

That tells the code to set a width of 900px is the screen is bigger than 1000px, and 100% if it's smaller. You can use that to change font sizes, padding, hide objects etc.

 

Note: You'll generally find it's easier to make a site responsive if you use measurements that are responsive, so ditch px font sizes, and try using em or % for padding/margins where you can too. If you get into the habit of only using px where you absolutely have to you'll find things much easier.

 

The other thing you might need is a different menu, a button that opens a drop down is popular.

 

<button class="nav-button">Open Menu</button> <ul> <li><a href="#">Link 1</a></li> <li><a href="#">Link 1</a></li> </ul>  

 

 

Here you'd use the CSS media queries to hide the button from desktops, and the ul from mobiles (display:none), and to style them two different ways. Then use a little Javascript to swap the CSS styles when the button is touched.

 

One final thing you need to know is whilst the CSS will work great when you change the browser window on your desktop, when you try your new site on the mobile it will look like it doesn't work! That's because phones make up a default window size of about 900px when they display a site zoomed out. You need to tell them to use the actual device width with:

 

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width"/>

Hope that helps :)

 

 

 

 

 




#353025 Youtube Is A Traffic Vault

Posted by EGOL on 29 January 2015 - 07:53 PM

We made a nice number of YouTube videos to demonstrate some of the products that we sell.   These are mostly, very short, how to select, how to use, how to adjust, how to repair, informative videos.

 

The first line of most video descriptions on the YouTube site includes a link to more information on our website.  On a few descriptions the link is lower on the page.

 

How many people click those links and visit our site?

 

In the last 90 days we had over 50,000 video views and over 90,000 minutes watched..... and a whopping 16 clickthroughs to our site.   That was a CTR of 0.03%.  Worse than a bad banner ad.

 

Was it worth it to make these videos?  Yes, it certainly was because the conversions of our products increased significantly after we added the videos to product pages and article pages.

 

Just sayin' here that you better not make videos if you are hoping to drive visitors from YouTube to your website.

 

Maybe I should have offered folks free beer at our site ?  :-)




#352526 What Will We Be Doing In 2015?

Posted by cre8pc on 19 December 2014 - 11:15 AM

I was too poor to own a camera.  There was one picture of me when my hair was growing out that was used when I was Editor in Chief of my college newspaper but its packed away somewhere.  I still remember me and my friends crammed into a car (before seatbelts), all decked out with crazy clothes and smelling like cheap perfume.  

 

You wouldn't believe the stories I have from my free spirit days.  The greatest nights ever were on dance floors!




#352019 Isps Say You Don' Need No Stinkin' Secure Email...

Posted by iamlost on 12 November 2014 - 10:20 PM

Sheesh. Again.

ISPs Removing Customers' Email Encryption by Jacob Hoffman-Andrews,  Electronic Frontier Foundation, 11-November-2014.
 

...researchers have reported ISPs in the US and Thailand intercepting their customers' data to strip a security flag—called STARTTLS—from email traffic.
...
By stripping out this flag, these ISPs prevent the email servers from successfully encrypting their conversation, and by default the servers will proceed to send email unencrypted. Some firewalls ... do this in order to monitor for spam originating from within their network and prevent it from being sent. Unfortunately, this causes collateral damage: the sending server will proceed to transmit plaintext email over the public Internet, where it is subject to eavesdropping and interception.
...
...the flag indicating that a server supports STARTTLS is not itself encrypted, and is therefore subject to tampering, which can prevent that server from establishing an encrypted connection. That type of tampering is exactly what we see today.
...
ISPs act as trusted gateways to the global Internet and it is a violation of that trust to intercept or modify client traffic, regardless of what protocol their customers are using. It is a double violation when such modification disables security measures their customers use to protect themselves.


There is always an excuse - apparently in this case the war on spam - but as usual the cure is worse than the disease.

 




#351827 Article - Google Ranking Responsive Sites?

Posted by glyn on 24 October 2014 - 03:10 AM

The search giant treats mobile searchers differently, serving them advertising pretty much wall to wall on their mobile devices, presenting ads in such a 'full-screen' way some users will likely touch the screen to scroll down and inadvertently click on the adverts instead, while the vast majority won't even know that they were adverts in the first place. These realities combined with the way the Ad-words interface tucks critical campaign modification settings out of the way of campaign managers (such as chaing the bid rates on mobile devices) mean that many small businesses probably can't work out why their adwords campaigns are not converting at all but are getting lots of visits. - ANON




#351602 What Makes A Person A Great Leader?

Posted by DonnaFontenot on 05 October 2014 - 12:14 PM

I think your definition of a leader is narrow. You are placing adjectives in front of the word "leader", such as good leader, effective leader, ethical leader, kind leader, moral leader, giving leader, etc. You may not have used those exact phrases, but your descriptions of a leader imply it.

 

A leader is simply someone who leads or commands a group of people. There are no moral or ethical attachments to being a leader. So anyone who has a group of followers who hang on to that person's words, follow that person's instructions, emulate that person's actions...that person is a leader of that group of followers. That leader may be the Pied Piper leading children away from their families. That leader may be H i t l e r (this stupid software wouldn't let me type his name). That leader may be Ghandi. That leader may be the latest SEO guru. That leader may be the head of a street gang. That leader may be the authority figure of a family. I could go on and on.

 

So yes, anyone who has a following can call him or herself a leader. If you are looking to narrow down things, then you need to really specify that.

 

Are you looking to define an ethical business leader (a CEO who thinks first of his employees and clients over self-profit?)

Are you looking to define a benevolent dictator for life, such as Linus Torvalds? 

Are you hoping to define a leader who can get things done, keep a company from falling to pieces, and help its employees retain their jobs, but the price for doing so might be to make a few handshakes that are a little on the gray side of ethical?

Are you seeking to define a political leader who may have to make some concessions in order to achieve peace?

 

What I'm saying is that there are many types of leaders, and many ways to define a leader. Even the worst leaders in someone's opinion can still be called a leader, if he or she led a group of people through a set of actions or thoughts or beliefs. But most of the time, a leader will never be completely white-hat, completely ethical, completely moral, or be able to live up to the highest of standards. Leadership almost always requires some form of concessions "for the greater good". Deals must be made. Negotiations must be made. One leader must give a little to get a little. Keeping employees happy with big salaries may cut into the profits so much that the business fails and the employees no longer have jobs. So salaries may need to be lower than what would be satisfactory for the short term, to prevent long-term failure. A politician may have to agree to give assistance to a country, despite the fact that the leader of the country is evil. But in return, the politician gets the evil leader to agree to stop torturing innocent citizens of that country.

 

Good, effective leaders are often required to make decisions that live in the grayer areas of ethics. Those leaders who are 100% ethical, moral, kind, and good - and are also effective - are rare, and probably never existed. Even ghandi probably made a few less-than-perfectly-ethical decisions but we may never know about those. For sure, Ben Franklin would have, and Nelson Mandela did. Leaders are human. There are good ones and bad ones and ones of every kind between those extremes. Being effective doesn't require goodness, it just requires getting the job done in a timely manner, with the least cost. That effectiveness may involve ethics and morals - or may not.

 

Of course, your definition of a leader is a nice ideal. Great ideal, in fact. Just not very realistic is all. That kind of leader might be able to thrive in small groups, in a small way. But add more people to the mix...more clients, more employees, more population, more countries, more religions, more belief systems, more anything...and that ideal will quickly have to make concessions.

 

Or so it seems to me.