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A Trend to Follow – Headline-Centric Hero Areas

Homepage headlines have always been an important focus of attention. While web app builders see them as an essential detail of the entire composition, regular visitors see them as...

The post A Trend to Follow – Headline-Centric Hero Areas appeared first on Onextrapixel.

Categories: Web Design

12 Best WordPress Booking and Reservation Plugins

Tuts+ Code - Web Development - Wed, 01/15/2020 - 04:46

Are you looking for an automated booking or reservation plugin that saves you time as well as your customer's time? Are you tired of losing business to your competitors? Are you looking for a way to streamline your online appointments and bookings?

Your website should make it easy for guests to view, reserve, and book available appointments. This is where WordPress booking and reservation plugins can help you meet your online business goals. 

So whatever your business—from haircuts to hotels, and from health salons to consulting firms—WordPress booking and reservations plugins will help you extend what your business can do. 

The Best WordPress Booking and Reservation Plugins

CodeCanyon offers a huge variety of WordPress booking and reservation plugins you can download and install. 

CodeCanyon offers a great collection of booking and reservation plugins to choose from. Some of the best features include:

  • easy customization and integration
  • translation-ready
  • ability to integrate with payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, Square, or Mollie

Think about this for a moment. You run a consumer-oriented website. You want your customers to book appointments on your site any time of day or night. You know that without this, you’re losing business. But how do you make your website capable of taking appointments? You need an appointment booking plugin, also known as a booking and reservation plugin.

8 Best WordPress Booking and Reservation Plugins for 2020Bookly PRO

Bookly Pro WordPress Booking Plugin is a full-featured plugin that's easy to install, getting you up and running in a matter of seconds. It's fully customizable and mobile-ready; thus, customers can book appointments on the go. This plugin comes with an easy scheduling process that walks the user from booking to payment in a few simple steps.

The inclusion of SMS notifications, online payments, and Google Calendar sync sets it apart from many others.

Other notable features of this plugin include:

  • compatibility with WooCommerce
  • multi-language support
  • unlimited number of staff members and services
  • integration with most payment systems
  • ability to allow or prevent caching of pages with booking form
Bookme WordPress Booking Plugin

The Bookme WordPress booking plugin is a multi-purpose booking plugin that can be used by all kinds of businesses, ranging from beauty salons and fitness centers to educational institutions and medical centers.

As an admin, you can set up a wide range of services at different prices. Bookme also allows you to build custom fields depending on your requirements. Customers can pay with multiple payment systems such as Stripe or PayPal. If you require numerous booking types, Bookme is the right plugin for you. It offers:

  • default booking
  • group booking
  • consultant booking
  • add to cart booking
  • free booking
  • booking with WooCommerce

Other notable features include:

  • WooCommerce integration
  • clients can book several appointments at once
  • integration with Google Calendar
  • SMS Notification via Twillio API
Webba Booking Plugin

As a service provider, saving time and money while at the same time offering convenient services to your customers is super important. Webba Booking Plugin is built with this in mind.

First, it’s one of the best-looking WordPress booking and reservation plugins. Secondly, it’s a robust system that has a long list of features to help you customize the appearance of the system to express your unique vision and business identity. 

Other features include:

  • make multiple reservations in the same session
  • 80+ options for customizations
  • make reservations of several people or services at the same time
  • secure online payments with platforms such as PayPal, Stripe, and WooCommerce
  • export CSVs
  • and more
Booki—WordPress Booking Calendar

Booki is the best plugin if you're looking to run both appointment-based and reservation-based bookings. Customers can see bookings in their time zone. It is also integrated with PayPal, has a shopping cart, and can issue discount coupons. It is also easy to integrate with Mailchimp.

Other notable features of this plugin include:

  • You can specify the booking period with start and end dates as well as excluding specific days and time slots.
  • You can determine prices at the day, hour, or minute level.
  • The system can also adapt to allow single or multiple bookings depending on your project's needs.
  • Include costs as a list of checkboxes. 
  • It allows you to create an unlimited number of extra features that your customers can check out along with their booking.
Team Booking 

Use the power of Google Calendar for your bookings and reservations by using the Team Booking system for WordPress. All the availability planning is coordinated via Google Calendar! 

  1. Create “availability” events on Google Calendar.
  2. These events appear on the front-end as open slots for booking.
  3. When the slot is booked, the Google Calendar updates automatically.

If you’re working as a team, you can let your coworkers plan their availability from their own Google Calendars.

Other features include:

  • three levels of notification—to the customer, service provider, and admin
  • Google Calendar and Google Maps support 
  • translation-ready
  • approval and cancellation system for both provider and customers
  • customize reservation forms and email notifications
HBook Hotel Booking System

HBook is a powerful and versatile plugin that is ideally suited for anybody that owns a business in the hospitality industry: a hotel, B&B, holiday apartment, or campground. It will allow you to enable an online reservation on your WordPress website easily. It comes equipped with a customizable booking form with a drag-and-drop form builder that lets you choose what customer details you want to gather. Shortcode support allows you to add availability calendars, table rates, and booking forms anywhere on your website in seconds.

It has an efficient booking management system with features that include:

  • calendar view to see your bookings at a glance
  • reservation list in a table to view details of all bookings, add comments, change accommodation, update remaining balance, or send emails
  • synchronize your bookings with websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, and Booking.com
  • export your bookings to CSV files
  • integration with multiple payment methods: Stripe, PayPal, Square, Cardlink, Mollie, and more 
  • invoices and document templates
Amelia—Enterprise-Level Appointment Booking

Like the other plugins in this list, Amelia lets your customers make appointments at any time of day and night. This plugin is easy to customize; hence you can build your appointment booking forms. What stands apart with this plugin is that you can keep your customers and employees notified and reminded of their appointments in real time with SMS notifications. 

Some features include: 

  • supports multiple employees, each with their services and availability schedule
  • supports multiple business locations
  • step-by-step appointment wizard makes booking easy
  • options to upsell during appointment booking 
  • integration with WooCommerce, PayPal, and Stripe 
  • supports on-site payments so your customers can pay in cash when they arrive
Events Calendar Registration and Booking

Do you want to promote classes, seminars, workshops, conferences, or concerts on your WordPress website? Do you want to set ticket prices for your events, create recurring events, or even accept donations for your events? If so, the Events Calendar Registration and Booking plugin has got you covered. 

With Events Calendar, you can easily create and manage your events online through the WordPress admin interface. Then, visitors will be able to register and pay online for those events via PayPal, Stripe, or Authorize.Net. It gives you a quick glimpse of the latest events created, letting you sort them by categories, view payments, and keep track of your attendees.

Other essential features of this plugin include:

  • multilingual 
  • integrated with Google Maps
  • countdown timer
  • confirmation emails
  • shortcode support for calendars and single events
Free Booking and Reservations Available for Download

As much as premium plugins offer more benefits and more features, there are a couple of free plugins that can help you with your business if you are on a tight budget. If you are just starting, a free plugin can give you time to gain recognition and build your brand without committing to a premium solution. 

Hotel Booking Lite

Hotel Booking Lite is the perfect booking plugin for anybody in the hotel and accommodation space. It allows you to simplify the booking experience of your customers. It offers real-time search, custom pricing, multiple currencies, and other excellent features.

Hotel Booking Lite also integrates seamlessly with most themes.

Booking Calendar

Booking Calendar is a flexible plugin for any business that operates on a booking basis. It is also fully responsive, so users on mobile, tablet, or desktop devices can book on the go. Booking Calendar also allows you to import .ics feeds from services that use that format, such as Airbnb and TripAdvisor.

WP Simple Booking Calendar

Simple Booking Calendar is the perfect plugin to show the availability of your properties or equipment. With the free version of this plugin, you can responsively feature available space and save time you would otherwise spend on manually communicating with customers.

Sagenda

Sagenda allows you to book appointments and meetings with your clients online. Sagenda allows an unlimited number of bookings or customers. It also integrates with the popular PayPal payment system to enable customers to pay for bookings.

Tips for Choosing a Booking and Reservation Plugin

An online booking is a must if you wish to succeed in business in this digital age. Here are some suggestions for choosing the right plugin:

  • Simplicity: a good plugin should be user-friendly and easy to customize
  • Budget: you should select a plugin that will not strain your operating costs or eat up profit margins
  • Support: you need to go with someone who will walk you through any issues that might arise, especially during the initial stages.
  • Features: you might not always get a plugin that meets every need. However, make a checklist of features you can't do without—such as payments, analytics, and reminders.
Conclusion

There are many different kinds of WordPress appointment, booking, and reservation plugins available today. Choosing the right one can be crucial to the smooth running of your business. You need to select a plugin that fits your requirements. While this list is in no way exhaustive, we’ve chosen plugins with a solid reputation. All these plugins are available on CodeCanyon

And you can read more about WordPress event and booking calendars here on Envato Tuts+!

Categories: Web Design

20 Best WordPress Calendar Plugins and Widgets

Tuts+ Code - Web Development - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 05:17

Use high-quality WordPress calendar plugins and widgets for events, bookings, and appointments. These plugins are easy to set up and will help you meet all your calendar needs for your business. 

Events Schedule is one of the many high-quality calendar WordPress widgets and plugins available on CodeCanyon.

By adding a premium calendar plugin or widget to your website, you can provide your customers and potential customers with important information about your business and even collect payments for bookings.  

In this article, we will feature a selection of the best-selling calendar WordPress plugins and widgets from CodeCanyon. These premium calendar plugins and widgets are designed to give you complete control over the calendar creation process and help you set up a calendar or booking system that fits your particular business. We'll also cover some of the best free calendar plugins and widgets for you to download if you're on a tight budget. 

The Best Calendar Plugins and Widgets on CodeCanyon

Explore over 7,000 of the best WordPress plugins ever created on CodeCanyon. With a low-cost one time payment, you can purchase these high-quality WordPress plugins and improve your website experience for you and your visitors. 

Here are a few of the weekly best-selling and up-and-coming calendar WordPress plugins and widgets available on CodeCanyon for 2020.

Weekly best-selling Calendar WordPress plugins and widgets on CodeCanyon  

These versatile calendar plugins and widgets allow you complete flexibility over the calendars and functionality of the calendars that you show your audience. Here a few of notable features of the calendar plugins and widgets offered:

  • create custom events, classes, bookings, and meetings
  • appearance editor
  • filterable, sortable, and searchable booking list
  • Google Calendar integrations
  • WooCommerce integration

If you need to implement any type of calendar, booking, or scheduling into your WordPress website, then head on over to CodeCanyon and choose from the premium plugins available. 

Top 20 WordPress Calendar Plugins and Widgets (From CodeCanyon for 2020)

Here are 20 of the best-selling WordPress form plugins that are available for you to download on CodeCanyon:

1. EventOn

EventOn is a multipurpose WordPress event calendar plugin that gives you all the things you need in a calendar. 

It has a clean, minimal design, and you'll be up and running quickly and easily.

Major features include:

  • set unlimited images for an event
  • Google Maps integration
  • calendar widgets and shortcode generator
  • event categories with custom color assignments
  • social share

Not only can you customize each event with images, maps, icons, colors, and more, but you can also configure your calendar to search and sort in several different ways.

EventOn is a nice, easy-to-use event calendar plugin that also offers a unique slider addon

2. Bookly

You can book and schedule just about anything with this WordPress plugin.

Bookly is an incredible appointment booking system that blurs the line between a WordPress website and a web application. It is well designed, fully responsive, and even supports gestures.

You'll also find:

  • a form builder
  • Google Calendar sync
  • WooCommerce integration
  • SMS and email notifications
  • several online payment gateways
  • and a whole lot more

This plugin allows customers to book and cancel appointments, update personal information, and send payments.

There's also the ability to create schedules for each staff member—you can even block out holidays.

Bookly's customization options and useful features make it more than just a way to serve customers well—it also helps the website owner keep track of staff and appointments at the same time.

3. Amelia

Amelia is a simple and powerful plugin for accepting online appointments and bookings. It features a good range of elements and components that make it easy to create beautiful layouts, even when you have no coding experience.

Amelia also allows for Google Calendar synchronization. It is the perfect plugin for gyms, spas, law consultants, fitness experts, etc.

Other key features of this plugin include:

  • powerful admin dashboard
  • real-time SMS notifications
  • smooth UX that provides a seamless booking experience in just one page
  • fully customizable design
  • Google Calendar sync
  • multiple payment options
4. Calendarize it!

This plugin supports WPBakery Page Builder, but it can also be used with any other popular page and layout builder by using shortcodes. 

It comes with features that can be configured however you like, and its simple design makes it a good fit for any theme or style.

You'll find many useful features, including, but not limited to:

  • events by user role
  • sidebar widgets and shortcodes
  • Custom Post Types support
  • advanced filtering with custom taxonomies
  • single events, recurring events, arbitrary recurring events, and recurring events with exceptions

Calendar it! also features a powerful CSS editor that allows you to change colors, fonts and style to match your brand theme

5. WordPress Pro Event Calendar

There are certain features that you expect with a WordPress calendar plugin; however, there are a few features that set a plugin apart. Take a look at WordPress Pro Event Calendar, and you'll see some advanced features that make it stand out from the pack.

Well designed and fully responsive, this plugin has some great features:

  • WPML support
  • fully responsive layouts
  • flexible event settings
  • Google Maps integration
  • subscribe to a calendar
  • custom fields and date range support
  • and more

But what really sets it apart is the ability to import events from ICS feeds and Facebook.

Best of all, WordPress Pro Event Calendar accepts events submitted by front-end users, making it easy for users to add events.

6. Event Booking Pro

Here's another great option for setting up a fully functional event booking system.

Event Booking Pro is very pro as it boasts over 600 settings!

There are a lot of features with this WordPress calendar plugin, and they are always adding more. Here are a few:

  • user-friendly event creation
  • very customizable, including text, emails, color, size, padding, and borders
  • unlimited events
  • AJAX control panel
  • offline and multiple booking
  • PayPal, coupon, and CSV integration
  • and many, many more

There's no shortage of shortcodes, it supports CSV, and everything can be customized and styled as you like, making it fit into your WordPress theme design perfectly.

Event Booking Pro is an impressive WordPress calendar plugin.

7. Events Schedule

Events Schedule is a simple yet powerful WordPress events calendar that lets you schedule classes and events in seconds. It is the perfect plugin for any event organizer.

When it comes to search and filter, Events Schedule offers five filter categories: namely type, location, instructor, day, and time of the day.

Other features include:

  • daily cron job for event updates
  • 12 timetable styles to choose from
  • custom labels and messages
  • live filters
  • Google Maps integration
  • fully responsive
  • event countdown feature
  • WooCommerce integration

Learn how to use the Events Schedule plugin with our hands-on, step-by-step tutorial.

8. Timetable Responsive Schedule for WordPress

The Timetable Responsive Schedule for WordPress plugin offers a new approach to WordPress calendar plugins.

With it, you can create a timetable of events easily! Use the Timetable shortcode generator to create timetable views for classes, medical departments, nightclubs, tutoring, and so on.

Quickly create a timetable by:

  • adding a new event with day, time, category, and more
  • adjusting and configuring the design and appearance
  • generating your shortcode and placing it into a post or page

And that's it!

There are plenty of event options and many different shortcode options—a color picker and font configuration are included.

Timetable Responsive Schedule for WordPress also includes a great widget lineup, rounding out one of the best WordPress calendar plugins you'll find.

9. Booked: Appointment Booking for WordPress

Booked is another great appointment booking option. It features an advanced appointment calendar which allows ease of management of appointments. It also gives you endless color possibilities when it comes to the design.

Other features include:

  • guest booking
  • looks great on any device
  • customer profile pages
  • custom login and registration pages, time slots, and custom fields
  • customizable customer and admin emails
  • displays your calendar with a shortcode or widget
  • and more
10. WordPress Events Calendar Registration and Booking

The WordPress Events Calendar Registration and Booking plugin is feature-rich, offering some options you'll only find in plugin addons.

Everything you need (and maybe more) for successfully setting up a fully functional registration and booking system is right here.

This "out of the box" solution includes:

  • shortcodes
  • a color picker
  • multilingual support
  • Google Maps integration
  • recurring events, tickets, and coupons
  • social media sharing
  • responsive design
  • and more

One of the best features of this plugin and others is the countdown timer for all your events. It also features a stats dashboard that lets you keep track of payments and attendees and view the latest events and event categories.

Beautifully designed and leveraging Bootstrap 3.0, the WordPress Events Calendar Registration & Booking plugin should not be overlooked.

11. Booki

Like several of the above-mentioned WordPress calendar plugins, Booki offers a full booking system using WordPress.

There are so many great applications for this type of plugin, with each plugin offering a unique perspective on the appointment management process.

You can set up unlimited booking projects and service providers. Options include:

  • add optional extras for bookings
  • online payments via PayPal Express
  • offline payments—book now, pay later
  • admin stats page with summary information
  • sync bookings to a provider's Google Calendar
  • and more

As for the calendar itself, it displays your booking and appointment calendar with a popup, inline calendar, and more. It also has a stats page where you can view bookings and other information.

Booki is an excellent solution for booking appointments with multiple projects and service providers.

12. Team Booking: WordPress Booking System

This calendar plugin doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, Team Booking ties directly into something you're already probably using: Google Calendar. Team Booking's mission is to:

Use Google Calendar to schedule availability.

Additional features include:

  • team booking
  • ability to add discount coupons
  • keep and export your data
  • supports Stripe and PayPal
  • appointment approval system
  • customized forms for each booking type
  • maps
  • and more

There are also a lot of great customer features, like displaying reservations and the option to cancel their appointments.

Team Booking is a fresh take on appointment booking calendars and leverages Google Calendar to the fullest.

13. Stachethemes Event Calendar

This event plugin looks good and comes with out-of-this-world features. You can easily create single, multiple, and all-day events, or events that last for more than one day. You can showcase events in different ways including a grid, box, map, agenda, and more. 

It also comes with a front-end submission form where users can submit events. Users can also share events via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber.

This event calendar plugin offers everything you need to get started in creating events. 

Other key features include:

  • customizable event sections
  • a built-in booking system where users can book and pay for tickets and appointments
  • beautiful designs
  • Facebook and Disqus comment section
  • social share
  • Google Maps location and maps
14. HBook: Hotel Booking System

You can use a one-size-fits-all booking plugin for hotels and B&Bs, or you can use a solution built specifically for them. With the HBook hotel booking system, customers will be able to book directly from your website. 

The plugin features powerful booking management that lets you view bookings and reservations. You can also synchronize your bookings with Airbnb. This snappy plugin includes:

  • seasons and rates tables
  • multiple payment gateways such as PayPal, Stripe, Square, and Mollie
  • availability calendars
  • customizable booking forms
  • booking forms and rules
  • and more

HBook has a clean design and is best configured for hotels, B&Bs, and more!

15. Responsive Event Scheduler

The Responsive Event Scheduler plugin is one of the best options for publishing event schedules on your website. It is suitable for music festivals, conferences, conventions, meetings, training, exhibitions, etc.

Features include:

  • built with standards-compliant HTML5 and CSS3—including SVG icons
  • one-click color customization
  • event image options
  • fully responsive
  • WPML ready
  • and more

Responsive Event Scheduler is not only impressive from a feature standpoint, but it's one of the best-looking options you're going to find.

16. Facebook Events Calendar

Facebook is where everyone is at, but how do you integrate it with your website?

The Facebook Events Calendar plugin is a great way to display your Facebook events on your WordPress site in a super-easy way.

Features include:

  • displays all events from your Facebook page on the calendar
  • two layout versions—full and compact
  • using a widget or shortcode, placing this in the page is super easy
  • and more

Facebook Events Calendar is a great way to connect your Facebook with your website.

17. gAppointments: Appointment Booking Add-On for Gravity Forms

If you're already using Gravity Forms and need to integrate appointment booking, this solution is certainly worth a look.

Features include:

  • supports paid and non-paid booking
  • accepts any payment gateway
  • many options for service intervals and slots
  • and more

Combined with Gravity Forms, gAppointments is a powerful plugin for booking appointments.

18. Chauffeur Booking System

As the name suggests, Chauffeur Booking System is a car reservation system suitable for companies of all sizes. It provides an easy way to book a vehicle based on distance, hourly rate, or a flat rate. It also supports WooCommerce and Google Calendar integration.

Other features include:

  • live route preview
  • unlimited booking forms
  • multiple payment methods
  • multiple currencies
  • geofencing and geolocation
19. Webba Booking

Webba Booking is specially designed and optimized for service providers, making it possible for them to save time and money. It provides a real-time, two-way Google Calendar synchronization. It also allows you to set different time zones, hence catering to customers all over the world.

Other key features are:

  • integrations with services such as PayPal, Stripe, and WooCommerce
  • unlimited appointment schedules
  • unlimited number of staff appointments and staff members
  • users can perform multiple bookings simultaneously
20. Responsive Timetable for WordPress

Responsive Timetable for WordPress is a flexible calendar plugin that can adapt to different types of businesses. This plugin offers the ability to create and showcase events with a clean and responsive interface. You can also create advanced filters for easy event filtering.

Other key features include:

  • customized fields
  • a built-in live editor
  • responsive interface
  • event popups
  • a custom CSS and color picker
5 Free WordPress Calendar Plugins and Widgets for Download in 2020

While the premium plugins and widgets listed above will give the most comprehensive set of features, purchasing a premium plugin or widget may not be in your current budget. That's why I've compiled a list of the top five free calendar plugins and widgets for 2020:

1. The Events Calendar

With this free plugin, you can create and manage events with ease. The features available on this plugin allow you to completely customize your calendar to fit your business's needs.

2. Simple Calendar

Simple Calendar is the easiest way to add Google Calendar events to your WordPress site. The plugin has a ton of great features including design templates, time zone settings, fully responsive calendars, and much more. 

3. All-in-One Event Calendar

The All-in-One Event Calendar offers a clean visual design with a comprehensive set of features to create an advanced website calendar system. Give this free plugin a try! You won't be disappointed. 

4. Sugar Calendar 

Sugar Calendar is a simple and lightweight calendar that provides you with all the necessary features for event management. The easy-to-use interface and the minimal set of features in this plugin will help you get your event calendar up and running in no time. 

5. Booking Calendar

Whether you are running a real estate business, yoga class, or personal training, the Booking Calendar plugin can help you implement a great booking system. Add this plugin to your collection today!

How to Create a Calendar for a Yoga Class With WordPress Pro Event Calendar

Now that I have gone over all of the best free and premium plugins available on CodeCanyon, I will show you just how easy it is to create a calendar with one of the premium plugins.  We are going to go over how to create a simple calendar that displays the times of our yoga class on a calendar with the Wordpress Pro Event Calendar plugin. 

1. Create a Calendar

Once you have installed the Pro Event Calendar plugin, we will head on over to WP Dashboard > Event Calendar > Calendars so we can create the calendar that we want to be displayed on our yoga studio website. Next, click the Add new calendar button to create a new calendar. We will fill in the Title field to say "Yoga Calendar." Next, click the save button at the bottom of the calendar editor. 

2. Create an Event

Now that we have created our calendar, it is time to add our event. Navigate to WP Dashboard > Event Calendar > All Events. Click the Add New button to create a new event. We will title this event "Yoga Class."

In the right-hand column, we will set up the details for this event. Our yoga class is every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2 p.m., so we need to reflect this in the event. Under Start Time, we will type in "2 p.m." Under Frequency, select Weekly. Then select the checkboxes next to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday

Finally, hit the Publish button, and the event will now be present on the yoga calendar. 

3. Add the Calendar to Your Website

Now it is time to add the calendar to the website. WordPress uses shortcodes to add the calendar to your website, so we will go back to WP Dashboard > Event Calendar > Calendars and copy the shortcode that is under Default Shortcode. We will then click WP Dashboard > Pages > Add New and title it "Calendar".

In the text editor, we will paste this shortcode. Hit the Publish button, and that's it. We have successfully created our yoga calendar, and it's now displayed on a new page that we created. 

This short tutorial only scratched the surface of what this plugin can do. I also have a more in-depth tutorial on this powerful plugin, so be sure to check it out!

Unlock the Power of CodeCanyon's WordPress Calendar Plugins & Widgets

To create a fully functional calendar and booking system on your WordPress website, download one of the many premium calendar plugins and widgets from CodeCanyon.

The feature-rich plugins on CodeCanyon will help ensure that the booking process is quick and easy, not only for your customers but also for you in the WordPress dashboard.

What are you waiting for? Get a calendar or booking plugin on your WordPress website today!


Weekly best-selling Calendar WordPress plugins and widgets on CodeCanyon  


Categories: Web Design

Print Peppermint: Your One Stop Shop for Your Digital Design Needs

Growing your online business takes more than just publishing high-quality content, sending out engaging email campaigns, and converting more customers. In fact, sometimes it’s the in-person interactions you have...

The post Print Peppermint: Your One Stop Shop for Your Digital Design Needs appeared first on Onextrapixel.

Categories: Web Design

Futuristic and Industrial: The Best Futuristic Fonts

What does it take to create a design with a futuristic vibe? I believe each of you has its pack of tricks under your sleeves and most importantly, a...

The post Futuristic and Industrial: The Best Futuristic Fonts appeared first on Onextrapixel.

Categories: Web Design

6 Best WordPress Landing Page Plugins Compared (2020)

Are you struggling to grow your email list and generate more leads? Are you having trouble signing up people for your webinars? Landing pages are the solution to all...

The post 6 Best WordPress Landing Page Plugins Compared (2020) appeared first on Onextrapixel.

Categories: Web Design

8 Best WordPress Mailing List Plugins For Getting More Subscribers – 2020

With over 1 Billion users on Gmail alone, marketers now claim email to be one of the best marketing strategies that bring in a 4,300% Return On Invest (ROI),...

The post 8 Best WordPress Mailing List Plugins For Getting More Subscribers – 2020 appeared first on Onextrapixel.

Categories: Web Design

New Adventures Ahead! (January 2020 Wallpapers)

Smashing Magazine - Tue, 12/31/2019 - 04:30
New Adventures Ahead! (January 2020 Wallpapers) New Adventures Ahead! (January 2020 Wallpapers) Cosima Mielke 2019-12-31T12:30:00+00:00 2020-01-14T23:35:49+00:00

Let’s welcome 2020 with a new wallpaper! After all, the new year is the perfect occasion to tidy up your desktop and start on a fresh, blank slate — no clutter, just the things you really need and space for what’s about to come. And some inspiration, of course.

As every month since more than nine years already, artists and designers from across the globe once again took out their favorite tools to create wallpapers to inspire you, make you smile, think, or just to cater for a blob of color on a dark winter day. The wallpapers are available in versions with and without a calendar for January 2020 and can be downloaded for free. And since this little challenge has brought forth so many unique artworks over the past few years, we also assembled a selection of older January favorites at the end of this post. We wish you a wonderful start into the new year and a lot of exciting adventures to cross your way in 2020!

Please note that:

  • All images can be clicked on and lead to the preview of the wallpaper,
  • We respect and carefully consider the ideas and motivation behind each and every artist’s work. This is why we give all artists the full freedom to explore their creativity and express emotions and experience through their works. This is also why the themes of the wallpapers weren’t anyhow influenced by us but rather designed from scratch by the artists themselves.
Submit your wallpaper

Do you have an idea for a February wallpaper design? We are always looking for creative talent to be featured in our wallpapers posts. Don’t be shy, join in! →

New Year, New Beginnings

— Designed by MasterBundles from USA

Winter Night

“The tradition of making cute wallpapers continues. At the beginning of the year 2020, a new wallpaper will grace your screen throughout the month of January, which is generally considered to be a cold and short month. Therefore it is the dark hue that prevails, the festive atmosphere from the end of last year continues, as well as the rest from the work and having some time with your loved ones. We usually rest somewhere far from the city, on the mountain, enjoying the winter spells, sledding and skiing. These are the moments that make this month so special.”

Designed by Milos Mitrovic from Serbia.

National Popcorn Day

“In this epic Netflix and Chill era, nothing has gotten more important than popcorn during the newest blockbuster! Time to gain awareness about celebrating our delicious guilty pleasure during the movies!

A little story around the wallpaper: Mr Popcorn and Mrs Popcorn are enjoying a great movie with… You guessed it right, popcorn!! But Mr Popcorn is somewhat annoyed as his Mrs eats Popcorn from his head instead of eating from the bucket right in between the loved ones.”

Designed by Nicolas van der Straten Ponthoz from Belgium

It’s Snowing!

“It is January, it’s cold and snowy… In the house, the fireplace is on and it’s hot. Only penguins are enjoying time out there.”

Designed by Veronica Valenzuela from Spain

Month of the Garnet Birthstone

“I wanted to approach the monthly challenge from a more unique perspective. Instead of chosing a cliché subject that has been done way too many times before, I chose a less known, special subject. The birthstone. Enjoy.”

Designed by Bram Copermans from Belgium

Rubber Ducky Day

“Winter can be such a gloomy time of the year. The sun sets earlier, the wind feels colder and our heating bills skyrocket. I hope to brighten up your month with my wallpaper for Rubber Ducky Day!”

Designed by Ilya Plyusnin from Belgium

Good Intentions

— Designed by Jonathan Verhaegen from Belgium

The King Of Rock And Roll

“On January 8th 1935, the creator of the rock ‘n’ roll genre was born and he’s back for his final debut on this wallpaper!”

Designed by Bailey Lievens from Belgium

Aquaman

“Aquaman relaxing in the ‘nice’ January weather.”

Designed by Ricardo Gimenes from Sweden

Laughter Is An Instant Vacation

“These are polarized times we’re living through. It seems like there is division all around. So sometimes you just have to find the time to remember that the one thing that connects us all is a good laugh. And there is no better laugh than the belly laugh! So on the 24th of January, let’s celebrate one of life’s truly great joys and let it all hang out!”

Designed by Ever Increasing Circles from the United Kingdom

Chocolate Cake Day

“I really love chocolate cake, so when I found out about “Chocolate Cake Day” I had to make a wallpaper about it!”

Designed by Aaron Claes from Belgium

Earth’s Rotation Day

— Designed by Bob Storms from Belgium

Go Green & Save The Earth

“Taking care of the Earth is not just a responsibility, it’s a necessity. So I designed a wallpaper to remind everyone what we can do to help save the planet.”

Designed by Farhat Asif from India

Stickers from the 70’s

“I didn’t want to make a typical New Year themed wallpaper for January so I started looking for fun ideas. Apparently January 13th is day of the stickers and so I made something original with this. I wanted to add an extra challenge that was totally out of my comfort zone. So I designed everything in seventies style. Grooovy baby!”

Designed by Bastien Corens from Belgium

The Wolf’s Month

“I love wolves!”

Designed by Morgane Van Achter from Belgium

Oldies But Goodies

The beginning of something new, the colors of winter, local New Year’s traditions — these are just a few of the things that inspired people to create a January wallpaper over the years. Below you’ll find a selection of designs from our archives that are just too good to be forgotten. Enjoy! (Please note that these wallpapers don’t come with a calendar.)

Start Somewhere

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. Start today — somewhere, anywhere.”

Designed by Shawna Armstrong from the United States

Facts

“I was reminded of a simple fact while I was browsing for inspiration for this wallpaper. I’ve read on Wikipedia that January is the coldest month on most of the northern hemisphere and the hottest one on most of the southern hemisphere. I found it fascinating that someone in Australia is enjoying a surf while I am watching the first snowflakes of the winter. I was hoping to create a wallpaper that will serve as a reminder of the fact that we live in a fascinating world full of varieties and contrasts. The old-worn-out-encyclopedia style hopefully emphasizes the educational theme of the wallpaper.”

Designed by Danijel Gajan from Serbia

Hidden Gem

“Kingfishers are called ‘ijsvogels’ (ice-birds) in Dutch. Not because they like the winter cold, but because of the intense blue and teal colors…”

Designed by Franke Margrete from the Netherlands

Freedom

“It is great to take shots of birds and think about the freedom they have. Then I start dreaming of becoming one and flying around the world with their beautiful wings.”

Designed by Marija Zaric from Belgrade, Serbia

January Is The Month For Dreaming

“It can be very hot in Australia and very cold in Europe so I think that it is a good month for dreaming and making plans.”

Designed by Tazi from Australia

Travel And Explore

“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. (Leonardo da Vinci)”

Designed by Dipanjan Karmakar from India

A New Beginning

“I wanted to do a lettering-based wallpaper because I love lettering. I chose January because for a lot of people the new year is perceived as a new beginning and I wish to make them feel as positive about it as possible! The idea is to make them feel like the new year is (just) the start of something really great.”

Designed by Carolina Sequeira from Portugal

Open The Doors Of The New Year

“January is the first month of the year and usually the coldest winter month in the Northern hemisphere. The name of the month of January comes from ‘ianua’, the Latin word for door, so this month denotes the door to the new year and a new beginning. Let’s open the doors of the new year together and hope it will be the best so far!”

Designed by PopArt Studio from Serbia

Pop, Fizz, Clink

“I wanted to try my hand at creating a low poly illustration and thought a champagne glass would be fun.”

Designed by Denise Johnson from Chicago

Oaken January

“In our country, Christmas is celebrated in January when oak branches and leaves are burnt to symbolize the beginning of the New Year and new life. It’s the time when we gather with our families and celebrate the arrival of the new year in a warm and cuddly atmosphere.”

Designed by PopArt Studio from Serbia

Snowy Octopus

— Designed by Karolina Palka from Poland

Soft Wishes

“Let yourself be carried away by the delicate desires of your heart…”

Designed by Katia Piccinni from Italy

Boom!

— Designed by Elise Vanoorbeek from Belgium

The Early January Bird

“January is the month of a new beginning, hope and inspiration. That’s why it reminds me of an early bird.”

Designed by Zlatina Petrova from Bulgaria

Winter Leaves

— Designed by Nathalie Ouederni from France

Caucasian Mountains

“From Caucasus with love!”

Designed by Ilona from Russia

Wolf-Month

“Wolf-month (in Dutch “wolfsmaand”) is another name for January.”

Designed by Chiara Faes from Belgium

Be Awesome Today

“A little daily motivation to keep your cool during the month of January.”

Designed by Amalia Van Bloom from the United States

Blue Neon Sign

— Designed by Jong S. Kim from the United States

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Categories: Web Design

Smashing Podcast Episode 6 With Luca Mezzalira: What Are Micro-Frontends?

Smashing Magazine - Mon, 12/30/2019 - 21:00
Smashing Podcast Episode 6 With Luca Mezzalira: What Are Micro-Frontends? Smashing Podcast Episode 6 With Luca Mezzalira: What Are Micro-Frontends? Drew McLellan 2019-12-31T05:00:00+00:00 2020-01-14T23:35:49+00:00

We finish off this year with yet another Smashing podcast! This time, we’ll be talking about micro-frontends. What is a micro-frontend? How is it different from the sort of approach we might be taking at the moment? Let’s find out from micro-frontend pioneer, Luca Mezzalira.

Show Notes Weekly Update Micro-Frontends Transcript

Drew McLellan: He’s a Google developer expert on web technologies and manager of the London JavaScript community. With more than 15 years experience, he currently works as VP of Architecture, designing sports video platform DAZN, which delivers on demand sports content to millions of users all watching live. He’s the author of the book Front-End Reactive Architectures for Apress and is also a technical reviewer for Apress, Packt Publishing, Pragmatic Bookshelf, and O’Reilly, as well as being an experienced public speaker at technical conferences all around the world. He’s Italian, sports a handsome beard, and clearly has deep knowledge of the web platform. But did you know he once crossed South America on an ostrich? My smashing friends, please welcome Luca Mezzalira. Hi, Luca. How are you?

Luca Mezzalira: I’m smashing.

Drew: I want to talk to you today about the subject of micro-frontends. Now this is a concept that’s completely new to me, certainly by the name, and I expect it’s new to a lot of our listeners, too. Before we get into micro-frontends themselves, I guess we should understand the problem that you’re looking to address with them. So perhaps you could tell us a little bit about how you see applications in a more traditional way and what sort of problems do those things hit that maybe micro-frontends might be the solution to?

Luca: Okay, that’s a good starting point, in my opinion. So usually when you implement or design a new green field project and you want to work with front end applications, you have a few architecture that you can leverage. You can use a single page application, you can use a server side rendering application, or you can use a multi-page application composed by just simple HTML pages. Obviously those are super valid options and I think very used by many, many developers. The real problem that we’re trying to solve here is how you can scale these concepts with distributed teams to hundreds of developers working on the same codebase, because the reality is when you’re working in these platforms in particular, when you think about SaaS platform for instance, you need to have multiple developers and multiple teams that are working on the same project. And obviously the way how, for instance, you do acquisition or retention is completely different on the way how you expose the catalog or how you show a specific part of a platform.

Luca: So now in my experience I work a lot with single-page application. I work with server-side rendering application, but at some point in DAZN I’d be asked to think about a way to scale our technical team. And I need to come up … if for backend we have some solution that are microservices in this case, so we can scale our APIs independently, and take in consideration that the scale and the volume for a specific throughput on a specific API. On the front end, really, it’s really more difficult because if you think about that, you don’t have technical problem to solve when you need to scale, if you’re using a single page application, for instance. Probably for a server-side rendering you have some, but on a single-page application, for instance, it’s distributed by nature because it’s on client-side, different client-side.

Luca: So the only thing that they are loading are just some static files like CSS and HTML and JavaScript that are served by CDN, and in that case you can scale accordingly, it’s not a big challenge. But the real challenge is how you scale the teams working on the same platform, because sometimes the challenges that are faced by one team could be completely different from the challenges that are faced by another team, and usually what you do is you try to find a lot of tradeoffs between the things. Because if you think, let’s try to think on a normal use case. So usually when you start a platform you’re starting small. So you try to create that quick single-page application, as well you have your monolith, so you just set up everything in your CICD just once for front end and back end, and then you start to iterate on your logic. But the reality is when you have success, you need to evolve this part, and it’s not always maintaining the same architecture that could, let’s say, create the benefit for your business, because maybe you can find some bottlenecks.

Luca: So now going back to the single-page application part. So if we want to scale a single-page application part, the challenge is not technical, it’s with humans if you want. So how we can scale teams working on the same application. So what I did a few years ago is, was the starting to look at a possible architecture that and principles that would allow me to scale the front end as well as the backend. So working on the backend principles so that you can find the microservices. I started to look at the different solution and they came out with the micro-frontends that at the beginning we didn’t even call it that way because obviously for years ago there wasn’t the, let’s say, that name for that specific architecture.

Luca: But the reality is taking a monolith, so a single page application and slicing it in a way that will allow us to focus ourselves in a tiny problem. So a smaller problem than the entire application and trying to solve that in the best way possible. Technically speaking. Obviously that lead to have independent pieces of your frontend application that could be deployed in production without affecting all the others. So the challenge basically for Micro-frontend is trying to figure out their way to take a single page application or server side rendered application and create a artifact of these, let’s say, as close as possible to a business domain, and can be deployed independently.

Drew: So I mean you mentioned micro services on the back end. So conceptually this is a similar sort of solution to the problem. The micro services serve on the back end, but ported over to the front end. Is that a rough equivalence or is it more involved in that?

Luca: Yes. No, it’s a way to solve the same problem it is trying to solve microservices on the back end but on the front end in this time. Usually when I started this journey at the beginning, you know, you start to think about that and you start to evaluate different approaches. And in the last few months I came up with what they call, the Micro-frontend decision framework that basically is four steps that they use in order to, let’s say you identify an approach for Micro-frontend, because if up to now, we usually pick one framework that designed architecture for us and we implement on top of their architecture. If you think about angular or think about React or Redux. You have all the pieces that are needed but you don’t take architectural decisions. You would take a design decisions or how you implement on top of that specific architecture.

Luca: So on Micro-frontend you need to start the step back. So we need to think about how we want to first slice our application. So there are two usually options for that. You can slice horizontally, so you can have multiple micro-frontends in the same view or you can slice vertically. Therefore you always load one Micro-frontend per time. And those decision are quite key because it will then cascade certain other options that you have based on the initial decision to make. So the first, as I said, you decide how you want to slice your application. The second one is how you want to compose your application. So you want to have like, for instance, an app shell that is loading one or multiple micro-frontends in the same view. You want to have, I don’t know, application server that is composing different fragments of your applications, so different Micro-frontend and then serve the final view to your user. Or you want to use edge-side included, it’s a standard that is inside of CDNs in order to compose a page and serve these there.

Luca: Those are three of the options that you have. And then apart from composing, then you need to think how you want to route. So how you route from, I don’t know, /login or /signin to the catalog part or a specific detail object. Also here you have like three option. You can do it at the application server, you can do it on CDN level with Lambda Edge or any other web workers in CloudFlare or anything else. Or you can do a client site. So you have a logic inside your app shell that you say, okay, now for this specific URL you need to load another view or another micro-frontend. And the last bit is how you communicate with Micro-frontend.

Luca: So usually if you have like multiple Micro-frontend on the same page, there is higher complexity on managing this communication, because you need to maintain the different Micro-frontend independent. So that means you cannot have any reference on how the page is structured. So usually you can use stuff like custom events or an event meter that is injected inside each single Micro-frontend. And then the Micro-frontend are communicating together. Obviously in the other case when you have like let’s say a vertical split off your Micro-frontend is way easier, because inside the vertical basically the representation of a vertical Micro-frontend is a single page application or a single page. And in that case it’s easier to let’s say create and share having a shared state across the entire Micro-frontend.

Luca: Then if you think about having multiple Micro-frontend all together, then you should avoid to have states that are shared across Micro-frontend, because otherwise you are coupling things. Instead of the whole concept here is decoupling and have independent deployment. And therefore let’s say the challenges of a horizontal split, which is the first decision you should take or vertical split, are completely different, and we need to be very well aware which one fits our use case.

Drew: So rather than a specific technical solution, micro frontends are very much like a design pattern that you would implement in whatever technology is appropriate for the particular problem you’re trying to solve?

Luca: Yeah, more than technology, I would see that we pick the right architecture for the right job. Just to give you an example, I was talking … there is a famous framework, a fairly new for Micro-frontend, it’s called Luigi framework, that was released by SAP open source. What they are doing is creating some iframes where they are wrapping their Micro-frontend inside it. So now if you think about that, let’s say, using iframes nowadays, you’re on a public website that maybe as the SEO or other features that are mandatory, it could be problematic.

Luca: But in the case of SAP, if you think about that, they have like enterprise application where they can control the browser that the user is using, they can control the environment, they don’t need to be available on a multitude or different version of the browser. So for them these thing allows them to have certain areas of the application that are constant and they have certain areas that are changing independently without any problem. But obviously an iframe solution wouldn’t work in other situation. Just to give another example, Spotify, we’re using iframes at the beginning. In fact the desk publication is still composed by multiple iframes and each single iframe is a tiny application that does, I don’t know, just a music player or just their recommendation, whatever it is. They try to have the same approach on web, but they dismissed that this year in order to move back to a single page application.

Luca: And that means, they explain why in the technical blog, they were saying that obviously if you apply that to millions of users that are using iframes that needs to load every time the same vendors file. And then you have like a lot of dependancies duplicated and the time for interacting with your page would be longer. So in reality, this approach could fit for certain use cases, but they shouldn’t fit for all of them. That’s why I’m saying, as I described before, if you have a decision framework that helps you to address those thing and you can start to say, okay, I sliced the application in this way, therefore I have those options that are available when I want to compose, when I want to route, when I want to communicate, it should guide you in order to have the right decision at the right time.

Luca: Then obviously apart from those four decisions, there are many others. Like how you create consistency in the design system that you have across all the Micro-frontend. Or I don’t know how you manage the dependencies and avoid the clashing of the dependency inside the Micro-frontend, but the reality is those four decisions that I mentioned before will allow you to then take all the others in a quick way without having the problem of overthinking, which is the best solution because you already set the cornerstone, the four pillars, that will allow you to take all the other decision … I don’t say in a easy way, but in a quicker way than a review or the spectrum of opportunities.

Drew: You mentioned before, the way that Micro-frontend can help with the sort of structure of teams within your organization and having lots of people working on the same application. What are some of the implications then and does it make any difference if your teams are distributed or co located or are there any challenges that are faced there?

Luca: Yes. So I can tell you what is the story of DAZN. That is the company where I’m working on. Currently in DAZN, we had like a nice challenge. So currently we have over 300 people that are working on the front and the back end of our platform. It’s an OTT platform that is streaming live at sport events globally. And the interesting bit is if all microservices we know how to manage more or less and we have distributed teams. So we have four dev centers. We’d want to put teams in each single dev centers on the front, and we tried this approach and it work pretty well. So with Micro-frontend we were able to provide different business domains in different locations and allow the cross communication between teams inside a specific business domain, very because the worst case scenario there that if you have to speak with another team on your same business domain, you just reach the walking distance from your desk. If instead you need to discuss specific thing on the distributive team, so with maybe somebody in London instead of Amsterdam, or instead of company in Poland, you just organize a call.

Luca: But those kinds of communication are more rare than the ones that are happening across teams inside the same location. And that’s why we started working on that. So the first thing that they did was looking at how our users were interacting with our website, how did the company was structured. And when we identify the four key areas that we are working on, that are currently acquisition and retention, let’s say porting of their core application on multiple TV’s and mobile and having the core domain that for us is the video player and the discovery phase of our content. And finally all the back office elements. I was able to identify those four areas and we those four areas we assigned for each single dev center.

Luca: Obviously there are some point of contacts between those areas, but then there are ways that you can let’s say mitigate and have some initial workshop with the different teams that are in different location and then work towards the same API contract for instance, or the same goal with having some checkpoints during the development. But the nice thing of approaching that allowed approaching with Micro-frontend is the fact that we finally understand deeply how our system was working. We sit down and we analyze how we were structured and we changed not only the way how we were affected things, but also how the company was working. And that was a kind of a different approach from what they have seen so far. But it’s proving that is working pretty well in the case that each single team can interact with the team of the same location in the same domain.

Luca: So they are talking exactly on the same language if you are talking about the domain driven design. And that is that if they need to interact with other teams, they can literally share the workshop or flying to another dev center and it’s less than a problem. But in this way we let’s say, augment the throughput and reduce the communication overhead, and the extent of dependencies that were happening in other situation that they were working on.

Drew: And do all these teams need to be using like a standardized JavaScript framework? Do they all need to be coding in the same things, they all need to be either React or Angular or to enable the interoperability between them or can people be using different things for different Micro-frontend?

Luca: Yeah. So in DAZN we decided to slice vertically our Micro-frontend and that was a decision that allowed us to have the freedom to pick the technology that we need for each single Micro-frontend. Considering that every time we load one Micro-frontend per time and this means that for instance, that how we have a landing page is different from the sign in / sign up journey. So we can update … we’re mainly using React at the moment. But if, for instance, I remember when React 16 was a release that we were able to release in production React 16, also if it wasn’t in the stable version for just a landing page and see if it was working without affecting all the other teams.

Luca: And then at their own speed, at thier own pace, they were updating their own stuff. So that allows us also to let’s say try new technologies or new assumptions that we have on the existing application with a certain amount of users. Because we implement the also candidate releases for front end. We implement the, let’s say several practices that allows us to just try certain times in production and see how the things are working.

Luca: The beauty of these approaches that we can independently decide to have the right tool for the right job more than having a common denominator across the entire stack. Because as you can imagine, when you started to work on a project, the decision that you made the first few years are probably different on the decision that you made in a trajectory where the company’s growing, the business is evolving and these became more mature and the challenge is completely different. So it wouldn’t be flexible enough or agile enough, if you think about that, the fact that we stick with the same decision we take two years ago. In particular an institution like DAZN, that we move from basically zero to 3000 employees in three years. So as you can imagine it was a massive growth and it was a massive growth for the company as well as on the user base.

Drew: Is there an established way for the different Micro-frontend to share data and to communicate with each other, for example, just to keep each other in step with the same view or is there a way to do that?

Luca: Yes, there is. It depends which of the decision framework, which path you’re going to take. Because if you’re going to take the vertical slice that became very easy. So what we have in order to communicate through Micro-frontend is an app shell that is loading in Micro-frontend inside itself. And what it does is storing everything that has to be, let’s say, shared across different Micro-frontend or on a web storage, either a session or local storage or in memory. And then based on those information, the Micro-frontend is loaded, can retrieve from the app shell to this information and then consume that, amend that or change them. It’s completely up to how you slice the application, but in this case, just to provide an example, if you think when you are authenticated users and you need to go to the sign in page, when you in and the APIs are our consumed and they are providing a JWT token, Micro-frontend is passing these to the app shell and the app shell these starting we saved their web storage.

Luca: Then after that the app shell is loading the new authenticated area for that specific application and those authenticated areas, they’re retrieving the JWT token from the app shell and is performing either a refresh access token or is validating some data starting inside the JWT token. So it’s using basically the information that were produced by another Micro-frontend at their own wheel.

Drew: It sounds like a very interesting concept and I can potentially see lots of big advantages to working this way, but it can’t be without its challenges, surely. Are there any particular things that are more difficult to deal with when architecting things in this way?

Luca: I think first and foremost the main challenges that I see is the shift of mindset. Because before we were used to have a, let’s say, the tech leads or the lead developers that were deciding everything around an entire application taking all decisions. Now finally we move from this centralized entity to a de-centralized entity that is local for each state. As you can imagine, this is bringing some challenges because if before we have someone that is tracing the path, now is that we have, let’s say, multiple people at the top defining the right path inside their domain, and this is a huge shift of mindset.

Luca: On the other side, I think the complexity is accepting sometimes that you doing the wrong abstraction could be, let’s say, more expensive than duplicating code. And that’s I know there’s something that I found very challenging in managing developers because they’re thinking, “Okay, now I can reuse this object or this specific library hundreds of times inside the project,” but the reality is very different. I saw components library that were abstract and they spend a lot of time making that as the best code ever or the best in a perfect shape. But the reality were used just twice. So the effort of doing that, it wasn’t exactly that. I saw on the other side libraries that they started with a couple of use cases for a specific component. And then those use cases became 10 and then the code became unmaintainable.

Luca: So trying to add a new function inside the same component could be more at risk than a benefit. So I think the other thing that we need to understand with Micro-frontend is how much we want to share it and how much we want to duplicate. And there is no harm, honestly, duplicating. In our case for instance we have a duplication of footer and header, and we did that mainly because we changed like three times the header in four years. So as you can imagine the fact that we are centralizing these, are assigned to a team and create an external dependency for all the teams, all the hundreds of developers that we have, is more let’s say an issue that a benefit for the company because we are not adding an enormous value.

Luca: At the same time currently we are refactoring, our shared libraries that would be payment library, because obviously payment has some logic behind that and if we want to change once, we don’t want to apply that twice in multiple parts of the code. We want to have just one library that is a source of truth, but for the header and footer, also if there is a discrepancy or for pixel or there is a function that this is deployed like a week later, it won’t hurt the application.

Drew: So are there some telltale signs that people should look for when evaluating an application and thinking, “Oh yes, this would be a good candidate to move to a Micro-frontend sort of architecture?”

Luca: Yeah, so my suggestion would be first and foremost I wouldn’t start a greenfield project with Micro-frontend unless we know exactly how it should be built. And usually it’s very unlikely that you have this information because, particularly if you have a new platform or a new project and it’s the first time that you are working on this, it could be a nontrivial finding this information. Usually what I suggest is starting with an existing architecture that would be so a single page application and then evolving that. In particular for instance I found, I think that using Micro-frontend for legacy applications or when we want to replace specific part of the application or when we have a project that we want to evolve and scale for multiple teams, those are three use cases that I feel very strong could suit the Micro-frontend architecture. Obviously that doesn’t mean that from now on everything should be made Micro-frontend, because Micro-frontend is not the silver bullet at all.

Luca: What they are is an additional architecture that we can leverage on the front end world. And up to now we had like a certain amount of architectures, now we have an additional one. But that’s a lot of challenges because obviously you need to, if before server side rendering or a single page application, there are clear patterns that were explored and then implemented by several framework and so on. With Micro-frontend currently, is one way to do things. But adding the decision framework probably should allow people to make the right decisions for their use cases. Because often there are a lot of misconceptions on what Micro-frontend are and how they should be used. And lots of people are thinking that maybe let’s say, are evil for, I don’t know, having too many libraries in one view or other things.

Luca: The reality is you need to understand deeply the concept, understand how to implement that and then you can start to work on that. I fully agree that there are technical challenges and there are a lot of decisions that you have to make and you cannot just start straight away with an editor in front of you writing code and thinking, okay, now I’m creating a micro-frontend architecture. Because you need to understand the concept, understand the context and create, also governance around that because the complexity is not just writing the code, it’s also understanding how all the pieces are fitting together in the CICD part the SEO part and so on.

Luca: So Micro-frontend does provide, let’s say a level of flexibility and require a lot of effort for defining the governance right. Because when you have the governance right, everything would be smooth. Often and unfortunately I would say too often, I saw companies that where they don’t spend enough time on the governance side, understanding the CICD for instance, because they don’t think that this is important. But instead for Micro-frontend, like for microservices, having automation right will allow you to speed up the development. If you don’t spend enough time on the automation bit, you risk to have more burden than benefits.

Drew: I guess it’s like so many things in the web development world where people are in danger of diving in with a technical solution before they’ve really understood the problem. And it sounds like with Micro-frontend is very much a case you need to see the problem and then implement the solution to know what problem that you’re solving. I guess the very nature of Micro-frontend make it very easy to start integrating into an existing application, to spot a small problem and swap it out with a Micro-frontend in order to solve that problem. Is that a reasonable suggestion?

Luca: Yeah, I would say so. In this case, the only thing that I would suggest if we start in this way is looking more at the vertical slicing over the horizontal slicing, because otherwise you need to solve so many problems about, let’s assume that for instance you’re using Angular and you want to move to a new version of Angular. If you need to have two Angular version living together without using I-frame, it could be complicated or even not possible. So if you start, you the aspect not from … if you check the challenge, not from the technical point of view, but from the business point of view. Maybe for instance, you can take, I don’t know, the sign-in part on that you want to write with a different version or the same version but more update version of a framework and that could be a good way. And then you route through the path. That could be a good way to replace slowly but steady a specific application.

Luca: What we have done in our case is basically applying the strangler pattern that is a well known pattern for microservices, but on the front end. So based on the URL and based on the browser and country of the user. So slowly but steady, basically we were killing the monolith, that in this case was single page application, releasing our new application more often and see the behaviors of the users, if it was improving the experience, it was causing any problem on our system or not. And that allowed us to provide immediate value to the business, but at the same time allowed us to test our assumptions and see if we were going to the right direction or not.

Drew: It sounds like a very attractive solution to some problems I’m sure a lot of people are facing. If I, as a developer, wanted to start investigating more about Micro-frontend, where would be a good place to start?

Luca: Yes, so currently I’m spending a lot of my spare time trying to advocating around these architecture, because I think there are a lot of misconceptions. On my Medium account. I’ve wrote several articles that are available there as well. A recorded a lot of videos in conferences that you can find on YouTube without any problem. And the other thing I would suggest if you’re looking for some code example on some frameworks, the one that I would recommend to start with is a single SPA, mainly because it has a vertical slicing approach, it’s easier to pick it up and you can start to understand the benefit of this architecture. Then there are many others that are available. Before I mentioned Luigi framework, as well as many others that are currently out there that are allowing you to compose multiple Micro-frontends in the same view.

Luca: Like another one in my head is TailorJS is another interesting. But definitely there is open components that is one developed by Open Table. But in general there are plenty of opportunity if you start to search about Micro-frontend, they’re out there.

Drew: That sounds great. Is there anything else that you wanted to talk about with regard to the Micro-frontends?

Luca: Yeah. Personally I would suggest to take an open mind approach on learning this architecture and this approach, technical approach, mainly because I believe that there is a lot of good, but we need to, let’s say, invest a bit of time and spend a bit of time to deeply understand how the things are working. Because obviously there isn’t, just one way to do things. We are used that we take a framework and immediately we start to work on it and it’s super productive, if you think about that.

Luca: But in this case you need to spend a bit of more time understanding, as you said a couple of times, the problem. Understand which is the pattern that would allow you to express better not only from a technical point of view but those two from our organizational point of view, the solution that you have in mind.

Drew: So I’ve been learning all about Micro-frontend today. What have you been learning about lately?

Luca: Recently there are two things that I’m learning. So last week I was in Las Vegas during the AWS event and is obviously a cloud conference. Pretty amazing, 70,000 people, a lot of sessions that were spreading several hotels in Vegas. And there for me, a serverless is a paradigm that I’m studying the most because I truly believe that in the future that will be the way how we are going to design and implement software and obviously AWS is very prominent on this approach.

Luca: And the second topic is around management and how to be a leader of a tech team. Because obviously I’m SVP of architecture. I have a team of architects that I’m leading and you can never rest because you need to not only to be on top of the technical side, but you need also to understand the people problems, understand how you can make them successful. Because obviously if they are successful, you are successful. You are first a technical facilitator to a certain extent. So that for me, those for me are the two things that currently I’m studying on top of exploring the Micro-frontend world.

Drew: If you, dear listener, would like to hear more from Luca, you can follow him on Twitter where he’s @LucaMezzalira or find his activities collected together at Lucamezzalira.com. Thanks for joining us today, Luca. Did you have any parting words?

Luca: No, but thank you very much for listening up to now.

(dm, ra, il)
Categories: Web Design

12 Elegant CSS Pricing Tables for Your Latest Web Project

Tuts+ Code - Web Development - Mon, 12/30/2019 - 04:25

Pricing tables are an important part of any website that sells some kind of services and products. You can use them to quickly list the features, similarities, or differences between two, three, or four different products at once.

These tables give users all the information they need when choosing between different products and services. This, in turn, can result in more business for you. In a way, tables are a win-win tool for both businesses and consumers.

One common problem that you might face when trying to add tables to your own website is that creating them from scratch can be a bit difficult. The table has to look good, and it should also be responsive.

In this post, we have listed some of the best CSS pricing tables available on CodeCanyon that you can start using in your projects right away.

CSS Pricing Tables on CodeCanyon

There are currently over 110 CSS pricing tables listed on CodeCanyon. Many of them follow a unique approach when it comes to designing pricing tables. This means that you can easily pick a unique responsive pricing table design that makes you stand out from the competition.

The price of these tables starts from as low as $3. New tables are added to the collection every month. You can pick the right table for your business from the best-sellers or the trending section.

We will also list briefly review some of these tables below to give you a head start.

Best CSS Pricing Tables on CodeCanyon

Here are the top eight CSS pricing tables that you can buy right now from CodeCanyon:

CSS3 Responsive Web Pricing Tables Grids

This pack of CSS3 Responsive Web Pricing Tables is one of the highest-rated and top-selling pricing tables on CodeCanyon. It offers a lot of features to back this popularity.

The tables are available in 20 different colors and two different styles. They are responsive and retina ready, so they will look good on devices with different screen sizes and resolutions.

You can make one of the columns active so that it pops out by default. This is useful if you want to highlight a popular plan or product on the website.

The columns have an extra hidden ribbon. You can display it on individual columns and edit its appearance using CSS.

Other features of the table include tooltips, yes/no icons, and animated hover states. The table fully supports old browsers like IE9.

The plugin description page links to a video that showcases all the features of this table.

Responsive Clean Simple Pricing Tables

Depending on the look that you are going for, sometimes simple tables with minimal use of colors can look great, instead of tables with lots of animation and elements.

These responsive clean simple pricing tables will be perfect for you if you want to create some basic tables.

As the name suggests, they are fully responsive and built entirely using CSS. There are seven different color options available. The main accent color of the tables can also be changed easily.

The tooltips are created using HTML custom data attributes with CSS tooltips. The table supports all major browsers and comes with jQuery fallbacks for older browsers.

Round Pricing Tables

These round pricing tables are ideal for people who want to display multiple products or services on a single page.

These tables take very little space and still convey all the necessary information. This is because the services or features of a plan are shown only when the users hover over the tables.

The tables have a clean design without a lot of clutter. The animations are powered entirely by CSS, and you can easily change the color of different elements in the CSS itself. The tables are very lightweight because they don't rely on images to create the layout.

You should visit the description page and take a look at the screenshots of the table or the preview video.

Kote—Featured Tables Collection

If you are looking for modern and responsive CSS tables, then Kote—Featured Tables Collection is perfect for you.

This collection has 34 different tables that should cover almost every scenario where you can use a pricing table.

The first set of templates contains tables that are packed closely together, with the middle column popping out from the group. The middle column of the pricing table also has a subtle pulsating animation applied to it to draw attention.

The second set of templates contains tables with a distinct header, body, and footer. They have a simpler design with properly separated columns.

The third set of templates uses fully colored tables with background images that blend perfectly with the background. The downloadable zip archive contains separate SVG files for these backgrounds and other icons.

Overall, this collection of tables is suitable for anyone who wants to have a lot of design options available when creating a pricing table.

Colorful Pricing Table

Most pricing tables use different colors for only the header and the footer of a column. However, colorful pricing table uses a unique approach of adding a nice background color over the entire table. This gives the tables a catchy look.

These tables have four distinct layouts to showcase your plans and products. All these styles are fully responsive, so they look great even on mobile devices.

The smooth animation, fully colored columns, and flat design used in creating these tables make them unique among all the tables listed in this post.

You should visit the table description page and check out the preview video to see if the tables are suitable for your projects.

Horizontal and Vertical Pricing Tables

If you are looking for unique layout options to display pricing tables on your website, then these horizontal and vertical pricing tables are definitely worth checking out.

Two things make these tables stand out. First, they allow you to create pricing tables that are laid out horizontally. Most CSS pricing table solutions only focus on vertical layouts. Second, the tables rely on a well-thought-out combination of colors and animation to give you that feeling of professionalism.

The smooth transition of colors when you hover over different tables is very satisfying to watch. The tables are divided into three distinct sections for the header, the main body, and the footer. The tables are also fully responsive, so they look great on all devices. Take a look at the live preview to experience it all yourself.

Modern—Bootstrap 4 Pricing Tables

Bootstrap is a popular framework used by many websites to quickly create their front end. If your website has also been created using Bootstrap, then it makes sense to use pricing tables that were made specifically for Bootstrap. This will make their integration into existing websites a lot easier and keep the size of the CSS file a bit smaller.

One of the best ways to quickly add Bootstrap based pricing tables to your website is to use the modern Bootstrap 4 pricing tables.

There are nine different table layouts, with six different color options. The tables are fully responsive, just like their parent framework.

You can present your products and services with a modern, clean, and unique design using these Bootstrap 4 pricing tables.

Loki Pricing Table Generator

Not everyone is comfortable when it comes to making changes to HTML and CSS to customize a pricing table. The Loki Pricing Table Generator solves this problem by giving you the tools to easily customize the basic features of the pricing tables.

There are eight different table layouts. However, you can change various aspects like the primary, secondary, and background color to make them unique. Similarly, you can change the font size for the pricing, features, title, etc.

The generator also gives you the option to change the text of different rows and columns without actually touching the pricing table markup. In the end, you can simply click on the Code button to directly download the HTML and CSS files for the table created.

Free CSS Pricing Tables

Before I start listing a few free CSS pricing tables, there are a few things that I should clear up.

There aren't a lot of dedicated libraries and frameworks out there created specifically to generate fancy pricing tables. You will have to look around for a while before you can find some pricing tables that look professional and go well with the overall design of your website.

Keeping these points in mind, it might simply be easier for you to buy one of the premium pricing tables, which come with different templates and clean, professional design. You also get lifetime free updates for any pricing tables you download.

If you still want to give some free CSS pricing tables a try, then the ones I listed below will be a good start.

Pricing Table With Hover Animation

This pricing table enlarges the table that users are hovering over with a nice, smooth animation.

Responsive Pricing Table

This responsive pricing table uses Flexbox to create the layout. Minimal use of colors and other styling elements makes it very easy to integrate with the design of existing websites.

Pricing Table With a Prominent Header

This multi-colored pricing table comes with prominent headers to display a big title for the product or service as well as its price.

The pricing columns are properly separated from each other, and they don't have hover animation applied to them. There is a little badge that you can add to the top of a column to indicate the most popular plans, etc.

Pricing Table With Enlarged Column

A common practice to highlight a popular product or service in a pricing table is to enlarge its column to make it stand out. This pricing table helps you do exactly that. It has a very simple layout with a subtle background animation on hover.

Best Practices to Keep in Mind When Creating Pricing Tables

Pricing tables are generally placed in a prime location on a website, and they are used to highlight the main products and services that you offer. Therefore, it makes sense to follow all the best practices when you create these tables.

Here are a few things that you should remember when creating pricing tables:

1. Make the Tables Responsive

A lot of traffic to a website generally comes from mobile devices nowadays. There is no fixed resolution that you can target when creating pricing tables. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your pricing tables look good on all screen sizes. The premium CSS pricing tables from CodeCanyon are already responsive, so you won't even have to worry about it when using them.

2. Use Fewer Words

Pricing tables are meant to give users all the necessary information they need about different products at a glance. Use them to list the most important distinguishing features of these products. Other details can be mentioned somewhere else on the website.

3. Include a Prominent Call-to-Action Button

Hopefully, the pricing tables that you create will give users all the necessary information that they want before making a purchasing decision. Once they decide to buy one of your products and services, you should make it as easy as possible for them to complete the purchase. The best way to do that is to include a button to make the purchase somewhere in the pricing table itself.

Final Thoughts

As we discussed at the beginning of this post, pricing tables are a great way to drive more business by allowing users to quickly compare different products and services.

Creating a responsive and nicely designed pricing table from scratch can be a daunting and time-consuming task. That is why you should consider using one of the premium CSS pricing tables available on CodeCanyon.


Which pricing table do you like the most from the ones we mentioned in the post? Let us know in the comments.

Categories: Web Design

5 Things To Stop Doing In Mobile App Design

Smashing Magazine - Mon, 12/30/2019 - 03:00
5 Things To Stop Doing In Mobile App Design 5 Things To Stop Doing In Mobile App Design Suzanne Scacca 2019-12-30T11:00:00+00:00 2020-01-14T23:35:49+00:00

I move to a new state every two to three years, so it’s important for me to live “light”. Every time I prepare to move, I go through the “Do I really need to keep this?” exercise. Although I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, it never gets any easier. I wonder things like:

What if I sell my bed and never have a comfortable night’s sleep again? What if I get rid of the fancy dress I wore once but might need for some hypothetical future event? What if I decide to start baking cupcakes again and don’t have my cupcake tin anymore?

It’s easy to get attached to things when they served you well at one time or another. But if you take a closer look at the “stuff” you’ve accumulated, you’ll realize that a lot of it has lost its usefulness along the way.

I think it’s important to run through a similar type of decluttering exercise in the work you do as a designer. That way, the apps you build always look fresh and modern instead of weighed down by antiquated features or functionality that at one time had a purpose.

Before you start charging ahead into the new year, take a moment to reflect on how you approach mobile app design. If you’re still holding onto components or functionality that no longer serve any purpose or, worse, intrude on the user experience, it’s time for a change.

Want some help? I’m going to run through some elements you can afford to scrap from mobile app builds in 2020 and beyond.

Related Reading on SmashingMag: 1. Harmful FOMO Elements

You know why marketers, influencers, and designers use FOMO (i.e. it can be really effective in boosting sales). However, you also know how damaging it can be for users’ mindsets (not to mention the distrust they feel towards brands as a result).

You could avoid FOMO altogether, but it’s a tricky thing, isn’t it?

You know that (when left to their own devices) mobile app users may forget that your app even exists on their phones without something to pull them back in. But it’s too easy to go overboard with FOMO-inducing components.

For example, this is ToonBlast:

The ToonBlast gaming app has numerous modules and countdown timers to induce constant FOMO. (Image source: ToonBlast) (Large preview)

The home screen is incredibly overwhelming. More than that, those ticking clocks (there are four of them) are a nightmare for users who can’t help but click on things they feel they’re going to miss out on by not doing so. And for users who can ignore the timers, they won’t be completely unaffected by them either. The game displays pop-up reminders for each of the countdowns. It’s impossible to ignore them.

This is FOMO at its absolute worst.

Even if reminders for each of the countdowns were sent as push notifications instead of disruptive pop-ups, it still would be bad for the user experience. There are just too many things competing for the user’s attention and each of the clocks is like a ticking time bomb.

I know it might seem like giving app users more reasons to engage is a good idea, especially if you’re struggling to attract and retain users. But if that’s really an issue, then you need to work on improving the core product first and foremost.

Going forward, I think we’d all do well to move away from harmful FOMO elements and embrace more simplified and stronger core products.

If you’re not sure what that looks like, I’d recommend turning your attention to Instagram:

Instagram is working on removing FOMO from its app. (Image source: Instagram) (Large preview)

Instagram is a simple and straightforward product. Users turn their news feeds into personal curations of people and accounts they want to follow while sharing their own content with the world.

Now, Instagram isn’t completely FOMO-free as you can see from the Stories bar at the top of the page. However, there’s nothing really urgent about the way these stories are displayed. They don’t take up much space in the app (unlike the way Facebook handles it, for instance) nor are there any screaming alarms that say, “Hey! So-and-so’s story is about to expire! Watch it now!”

That said, Instagram is working to remove the harmful effects of FOMO in its app by doing away with like counters and cracking down on influencers and companies that don’t mark ads as such. If you want to create a strong yet simple product that keeps harmful FOMO elements out of the picture, keep this one on your radar.

2. Out-of-Context Access Requests

Unlike mobile websites and PWAs, mobile apps have the ability to get in front of 100% of users who activate push notifications. But that’s the catch. Your users have to be willing to press “OK” or “Allow” when you display that push notification (or phone access) request pop-up.

So, how do you get more of them to do that without constantly shoving those requests down their throats?

Some brands haven’t figured this out yet, to be honest. Take Snapchat, for example.

Snapchat doesn’t like when users disable notifications and phone access. (Image source: Snapchat) (Large preview)

This is one of those apps that just goes way overboard when it comes to requesting access to users’ devices. It wants to:

  • Send push notifications.
  • Use the camera.
  • Use the microphone.
  • Access saved photos.
  • Enable location tracking.
  • And so on.

Rather than ask for access when it’s relevant, it often sends a deluge of requests first thing when users sign into the app. That’s the wrong way to create a welcoming environment for your users.

A better way to go about asking for access or permissions would be to place it in the context of the app — and only when it makes sense. I’ll show you a couple of examples.

This is the app for ParkWhiz:

ParkWhiz reminds users about the benefits of enabling location tracking. (Image source: ParkWhiz) (Large preview)

Look at the section called “Help Us Find You” toward the bottom.

Not only does ParkWhiz gently remind users to enable location tracking on their devices, but it does so by explaining the reasons why it would benefit them to do so. Notice also that this isn’t displayed in an intrusive pop-up at the point of entry. Instead, it’s in a spot in the app where, when enabled, it can help streamline the search experience.

YouTube is another app that does this well.

YouTube displays a small tooltip to remind users to turn on notifications. (Image source: YouTube) (Large preview)

In this example, YouTube quickly displays a tooltip over the disabled notification icon. The notice reads:

“You’re missing out on subscriptions! Tap the bell to turn on notifications.”

They’re right. I’m subscribed to this channel and, yet, I haven’t received notifications (push or email) about new videos for a while. I hadn’t realized this until I saw this reminder.

The way this is handled is nice. It makes users stop and think about what they’re missing out on instead of rushing to close out another request pop-up. It also doesn’t force them to turn on push for everything. They can customize which notifications they receive.

Push notifications are supposed to be helpful. And access to your users’ phones is supposed to enhance their experience. That’s why it’s important to ask for their cooperation in enabling these features within the right context. Rather than bombard them with request after request at the outset of installing or opening an app, deliver them within the experience as in-line elements.

3. Unnecessary Icon Labels

Note that this point is called unnecessary icon labels and not just a sweeping generalization of all of them. That’s because there are certain parts of an app where icon labels still work well. Like the navigation bar.

However, I’ve noticed an alarming trend lately whereby apps pair every page or tab name with a matching icon. There are a number of reasons why this is an issue and I’m going to use the GEICO app to demonstrate them.

The GEICO mobile app home page comes with a list of services and modules paired with icons. (Image source: GEICO) (Large preview)

This home page makes it easy for users to take advantage of their auto insurance and related services on the go. Let’s focus on the “Vehicle Trouble” section though.

There are four tabs:

  • Emergency Roadside Service represented by a tow truck icon,
  • Start a New Claim represented by a car with what looks like a crash symbol,
  • Report Glass Damage represented by a car with a crack on the windshield,
  • View Recent Claims represented by a clipboard with the letter “C” on it.

The icons aren’t all that easy to decipher (except the tow truck) and I’m just not sure they add any value here. Really, if you can’t think of anything better than putting a letter “C” on a clipboard to represent claims, maybe icons aren’t needed after all?

Next, let’s take a look at the GEICO app’s list of settings:

The GEICO app’s navigation pairs each page with an icon. (Image source: GEICO) (Large preview)

There are a lot of settings pages here. Not only that, they’re not the kinds of pages you’d typically see in other mobile apps, so the designer has had to get creative in pairing them with icons.

If this navigation didn’t have icons, I think it would be much easier to read through the options. The same goes for the home page. Without the icons, the font size could be increased so the focus could strictly be on the page names and insured users could get to the information they need more quickly. As it stands now, the icons are just wasted space.

Let’s look at another example.

Rover is an app that pet owners can use to book pet sitting and walking services. Icons are used sparingly through the app to distinguish services from one another as well as to label the navigation pages.

The Rover mobile app includes icons to label its navigation and services. (Image source: Rover) (Large preview)

I don’t think the icons on this page are necessary in terms of expediting user selection (e.g. “I need overnight house sitting so I’m going to choose the moon-over-the-house icon.”). That said, I don’t think the icons detract from the button text since each option is clearly labeled with big, bold font. What’s more, the icons do a nice job of bringing balance to the buttons so there aren’t huge white gaps in the middle.

Now, let’s look at what the designer has chosen to do under the “More” tab:

Rover’s list of “More” settings don’t include icons like the rest of the app. (Image source: Rover) (Large preview)

This is similar to GEICO’s slide-out navigation menu. But notice how Rover’s is text only. Considering how common these settings are from app to app, it would’ve been easy enough to add icons to each, but the designer chose to leave them off and I think that was a good decision.

There’s a time and place when icons serve a purpose. As far as labeling a secondary navigation menu in your app, it’s time to do away with that. I’d also express caution over labeling pages with icons if it’s a struggle to find a match. That should be a sign to you that they’re not needed to begin with.

4. Excessively Long Home Pages

In web design, we’re seeing much shorter home pages than in years past, thanks to the need for more efficient mobile experiences. So, why isn’t this something we’re doing in mobile app design?

There are some apps where this isn’t an issue. Namely, ones where there’s no scrolling at all (e.g. dating apps, gaming apps, etc.). And there are some cases where endless scrolling on the home page is fine (e.g. news and social media apps).

But what about other apps?

Listings apps (like for real estate or travel) sometimes have a hard time with this. For example, this is the top of the Airbnb mobile app:

Airbnb app home page with search bar and categories. (Image source: Airbnb) (Large preview)

This part of the page is well done and includes everything users need to find what they’re looking for:

  • A search bar,
  • A list of travel categories to swipe through,
  • Quick links to recent search queries.

But for some reason, Airbnb has designed this home page to go on and on and on with sections for:

  • Top-rated experiences,
  • Airbnb Plus places to stay,
  • Introducing Airbnb Adventures,
  • Places to stay around the world,
  • Featured Airbnb Plus destinations,
  • Stay with a superhost,
  • Unique places to stay for your next trip,
  • Explore New York City,
  • And on and on it goes.
Airbnb includes over a dozen sections of content on the home page of its app. (Image source: Airbnb) (Large preview)

I’m not sure what the logic was here. While I understand wanting to help your users by providing them with useful recommendations, this goes way overboard. It’s not even as though this is personalized content based on the user’s profile or recent searches. It’s just a smattering of categories that, if anything, are going to overload and overwhelm users with options.

If the app you’re building or have built runs into a similar problem, check out Hotels.com for inspiration:

The Hotels.com app provides users with a search bar and recently viewed hotels upon entering the app. (Image source: Hotels.com) (Large preview)

Unlike Airbnb, Hotels.com’s home “Discover” page is short. All it takes is three swipes to get to the bottom of the page. Users see sections for:

  • Recent searches,
  • A city guide (based on a recent query),
  • Last-minute deals,
  • Current bookings,
  • Hotels.com Rewards standings (if relevant).

For the most part, the content is 100% relevant to the user and not just meant to promote every possible service or feature of the app.

If you really feel like users would benefit from seeing every possible feature, create a secondary navigation for it. That way, they can quickly scan through the options and pick the one(s) they’re most interested in. When you give them an endless home page to scroll through and too many listings and buttons to click, you’re only going to make it harder for them to take action.

5. Dark Patterns in Ads

You have to monetize a mobile app if you’re going to make the original investment worth your while. It’s as simple as that.

But I’ve recently encountered some very scary dark patterns in mobile app monetization — specifically, with the way ads are designed. And it’s got me wondering if third-party ad networks are really the smartest way to monetize if they’re going to compromise everything you’ve done to create an awesome in-app experience otherwise.

Now, I understand that app designers usually don’t have any role in designing the ads that appear. That said, do you really think your users know anything about ad networks and how those ad placements get inside your app? Of course not!

So, when one of your users has a bad experience with an ad, what do you think is going to happen? They’re not going to think:

“Oh, that advertiser is terrible for doing that.”

Instead, they’re going to think:

“If I see one more ad like this, I’m uninstalling this app.”

Let me show you some examples of ads that will push the limits of your users’ patience.

This is Wordscapes, a gaming app I’m quite fond of:

A banner ad at the bottom of the Wordscapes app is cut off. (Image source: Wordscapes) (Large preview)

I’ve been playing Wordscapes for a long time and when I first started, it was great. The banner ads were there, but they never really got in the way. And the interstitial video ads only appeared every few rounds or so. They were always easy to dismiss, too.

Over the past year or so, however, the quality of ads has majorly deteriorated. Take the banner ad above. That’s actually a video ad that doesn’t fit in the allotted space.

Then, you have this badly designed banner ad for Jynarque:

A banner ad that’s too dark appears at the bottom of Wordscape (Image source: Wordscapes) (Large preview)

Neither of these banner ads are really dark patterns. However, they do suggest there’s something not quite right about where Wordscapes is sourcing their ad content from.

Now, I’m going to show you some of the more deceptive ads I’ve come across.

This is an ad from Showtime to promote the TV show Shameless:

Wordscapes shows an interstitial video ad for Showtime’s Shameless. (Image source: Wordscapes) (Large preview)

See the number “5” in the top-right corner? That’s a countdown timer, which should tell users how long they have to wait until they can dismiss the ad. However, when the timer is up, this icon appears:

A Showtime ad provides users with an untraditional escape after the timer runs out. (Image source: Wordscapes) (Large preview)

The timer gets to “0” and is replaced by this button. It’s not the traditional “X” that app users are accustomed to when it comes to watching ads, so they might not realize this will take them back into the game. In fact, they might misinterpret this “Next” symbol as a “Play” button and watch the ad in full. While it’s nice that Showtime gives users an exit, it would be better if the iconography were consistent with other video ads.

Then, there’s this interstitial ad for DoorDash:

A DoorDash ad includes two fake “X” buttons. (Image source: Wordscapes) (Large preview)

This is what the ad looks like the second it appears on the screen, which is actually encouraging.

“An ad that’s going to let us exit out of it right away! Woohoo!”

But that’s not the case at all. Notice how there are two X’s in the top-right corner. One of them looks fake (the plain “X” symbol) while the other looks like an “X” you’d use to dismiss an ad.

The first time I saw this, I clicked on the good “X”, hoping my finger would be small enough to miss the fake target. Yet, this is where I ended up:

An ad for DoorDash tries to take Wordscapes visitors to the app store (Image source: Wordscapes) (Large preview)

The click takes users out of the Wordscapes app and tries to move them to the app store. After hitting “Cancel” and sitting through five more seconds of the DoorDash ad, this new “X” appears in the top-right corner:

DoorDash finally displays the real exit button for its mobile ad. (Image source: Wordscapes) (Large preview)

At this point, I can’t imagine users are very happy with DoorDash or Wordscapes for this experience.

These examples of bad ads and dark patterns in monetization are just the tip of the iceberg, too. There are ads that:

  • Provide no timer or indication of when the ad will end.
  • Switch the placement of the “X” so users unintentionally click the ad instead of leave it.
  • Auto-play sound even when the device’s sound is turned off.

I know I’m picking on Wordscapes because I spend the most time inside the app, but it’s not the only one whose reputation is being hurt by third-party ad content.

Again, I recognize that you have no say in the design or execution of ads that come from ad networks. That said, I’d really urge you to talk to your clients about being more discerning about where they source their ads from. If mobile ads continue to be this bad, it might be worth sourcing your own ad content from partners and sponsors you trust instead of random companies that use deceptive advertising tactics.

Wrapping Up

There are a ton of reasons to declutter your mobile app designs. But if these examples have demonstrated anything, the most important reason to clean up is to get rid of useless and sometimes harmful design elements or techniques.

And if you’re having a hard time getting rid of the excess, I’d encourage you to reevaluate the core product. If it’s not strong enough to stand on its own, in its simplest of forms, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board because no amount of distractions you fill it with will make it a worthwhile download for your users.

(ra, il)
Categories: Web Design

5 Web Design Trends You Need to Know About in 2020

Trends are an integral part of web design. It might seem that your corporate website has nothing to do with the zippy extravaganzas and the ever-changing mood of the...

The post 5 Web Design Trends You Need to Know About in 2020 appeared first on Onextrapixel.

Categories: Web Design

Helping Browsers Optimize With The CSS Contain Property

Smashing Magazine - Fri, 12/27/2019 - 04:00
Helping Browsers Optimize With The CSS Contain Property Helping Browsers Optimize With The CSS Contain Property Rachel Andrew 2019-12-27T12:00:00+00:00 2020-01-14T23:35:49+00:00

In this article, I’m going to introduce a CSS Specification that has just become a W3C Recommendation. The CSS Containment Specification defines a single property, contain, and it can help you to explain to the browser which parts of your layout are independent and will not need recalculating if some other part of the layout changes.

While this property exists for performance optimization reasons, it can also affect the layout of your page. Therefore, in this article, I’ll explain the different types of containment you can benefit from, but also the things you need to watch out for if applying contain to elements in your site.

The Problem Of Layout Recalculation

If you are building straightforward web pages that do not dynamically add or change elements after they have loaded using JavaScript, you don’t need to worry about the problem that CSS Containment solves. The browser only needs to calculate your layout once, as the page is loaded.

Where Containment becomes useful is when you want to add elements to your page without the user needing to reload it. In my example, I created a big list of events. If you click the button, the first event is modified, a floated element is added, and the text is changed:

(See the initial example on CodePen)

When the content of our box is changed, the browser has to consider that any of the elements may have changed. Browsers are in general pretty good at dealing with this, as it’s a common thing to happen. That said, as the developer, you will know if each of the components is independent, and that a change to one doesn’t affect the others, so it would be nice if you could let the browser know this via your CSS. This is what containment and the CSS contain property gives you.

How Does Containment Help?

An HTML document is a tree structure which you can see when inspecting any element with DevTools. In my example above, I identify one item that I want to change by using JavaScript, and then make some changes to the internals. (This means that I’m only changing things inside the subtree for that list item.)

Inspecting a list item in DevTools

Applying the contain property to an element tells the browser that changes are scoped to the subtree of that element, so that the browser can do any possible optimizations — safe in the knowledge that nothing else outside of that element will change. Exactly what a particular browser might do is down to the engine. The CSS property simply gives you — as the developer and expert on this layout — the chance to let it know.

In many cases, you will be safe to go right ahead and start using the contain property, however, the different values come with some potential side effects which are worth understanding before adding the property to elements in your site.

Using Containment

The contain property can set three different types of containment:

  • layout
  • paint
  • size

Note: There is a style value in the Level 2 Specification. It was removed from Level 1, so does not appear in the Recommendation, and is not implemented in Firefox.

Layout

Layout containment brings the biggest benefits. To turn on layout containment, use the following snippet:

.item { contain: layout; }

With layout containment enabled, the browser knows that nothing outside the element can affect the internal layout, and nothing from inside the element can change anything about the layout of things outside it. This means that it can make any possible optimizations for this scenario.

A few additional things happen when layout containment is enabled. These are all things which ensure that this box and contents are independent of the rest of the tree.

The box establishes an independent formatting context. This ensures that the content of the box stays in the box — in particular floats will be contained and margins will not collapse through the box. This is the same behavior that we switch on when we use display: flow-root as in explained in my article “Understanding CSS Layout And The Block Formatting Context”. If a float could poke out of your box, causing following text to flow around the float, that would be a situation where the element was changing the layout of things outside it, making it a poor candidate for containment.

The containing box acts as the containing block for any absolutely or fixed position descendants. This means it will act as if you had used position: relative on the box you have applied contain: layout.

The box also creates a stacking context. Therefore z-index will work on this element, it’s children will be stacked based on this new context.

If we look at the example, this time with contain: layout, you can see that when the floated element is introduced it no longer pokes out the bottom of the box. This is our new Block Formatting Context in action, containing the float.

Using contain: layout the float is contained (See the layout containment example on CodePen) Paint

To turn on paint containment, use the following:

.item { contain: paint; }

With paint containment enabled, the same side effects as seen with layout containment occur: The containing box becoming an independent formatting context, a containing block for positioned elements, and establishing a stacking context.

What paint containment does is indicate to the browser that elements inside the containing block will not be visible outside of the bounds of that box. The content will essentially be clipped to the box.

We can see this happen with a simple example. Even if we give our card a height, the floated item still pokes out the bottom of the box, due to the fact that the float is taken out of flow.

The float is not contained by the list item

With paint containment turned on the floated item is now clipped to the size of the box. Nothing can be painted outside of the bounds of the element with contain: paint applied.

The content of the box is clipped to the height of the box (See the paint example on CodePen) Size

Size containment is the value that is most likely to cause you a problem if you aren’t fully aware of how it works. To apply size containment, use:

.item { contain: size; }

If you use size containment then you are telling the browser that you know the size of the box and it is not going to change. This does mean that if you have a box which is auto-sized in the block dimension, it will be treated as if the content has no size, therefore the box will collapse down as if it had no contents.

In the example below, I have not given the li a height; they also have contain: size applied. You can see that all of the items have collapsed as if they had no content at all, making for a very peculiar looking listing!

(See the size example on CodePen)

If you give the boxes a height then the height will be respected when contain: size is used. Alone, size containment will not create a new formatting context and therefore does not contain floats and margins as layout and paint containment will do. It’s less likely that you would use it alone; instead, it is most likely you would apply it along with other values of contain to be able to get the most possible containment.

Shorthand Values

In most cases, you can use one of two shorthand values to get the best out of containment. To turn on layout and paint containment, use contain: content;, and to turn on all possible containment (keeping in mind that items which do not have a size will then collapse), use contain: strict.

The Specification says:

“contain: content is reasonably "safe" to apply widely; its effects are fairly minor in practice, and most content won’t run afoul of its restrictions. However, because it doesn’t apply size containment, the element can still respond to the size of its contents, which can cause layout-invalidation to percolate further up the tree than desired. Use contain: strict when possible, to gain as much containment as you can.”

Therefore, if you do not know the size of the items in advance, and understand the fact that floats and margins will be contained, use contain: content. If you do know the size of items in addition to being happy about the other side effects of containment, use contain: strict. The rest is down to the browser, you have done your bit by explaining how your layout works.

Can I Use Containment Now?

The CSS Containment specification is now a W3C Recommendation which is what we sometimes refer to as a web standard. In order for the spec to get to this stage, there needed to be two implementations of the feature which we can see in both Firefox and Chrome:

Browser support for containment (Source: Can I Use)

As this property is transparent to the user, it is completely safe to add to any site even if you have lots of visitors in browsers that do not support it. If the browser doesn’t support containment then the visitor gets the experience they usually get, those in supporting browsers get the enhanced performance.

I would suggest that this is a great thing to add to any components you create in a component or pattern library, if you are working in this way it is likely each component is designed to be an independent thing that does not affect other elements on the page, making contain: content a useful addition.

Therefore, if you have a page which is adding content to the DOM after load, I would recommend giving it a try — if you get any interesting results let me know in the comments!

Related Resources

The following resources will give you some more detail about the implementation of containment and potential performance benefits:

(il)
Categories: Web Design

The Science Behind Outreach Emails For Link-Building

Webitect - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:58

Without doubt, it has been a big year for Google updates. These updates have promoted a lot of positive changes in the realm of digital marketing, and in particular to practices in Search Engine Optimization. We will remember it to be the year of many memorable Google updates, such as the Mobile ArmageddonMobile App IndexingGoogle Maps Googlebomb, and the introduction of Google’s artificial intelligence, RankBrain.

While we still can’t possibly know every detail about the inner workings of Google’s algorithm, as SEO specialists we hypothesize and test different theories about the factors which are suspected to influence Google’s rankings. Not much has changed in terms of overall SEO strategies, but some priorities have definitely shifted.

Why is Email Outreach so Important?

As we know, there are well over 200 ranking factors, which make up Google’s algorithm. Every year industry professionals get together to participate in Moz Search Rankings Factors survey, where 150 experts rate the influence of each ranking factor in terms of importance. The top 9 ranking factors were the following:

  1. Domain-Level Links
  2. Page-Level Links
  3. Page-Level Keywords & Content-Based Features
  4. Page-Level Keyword-Agnostic Features
  5. Engagement & Traffic/Query Data
  6. Domain-Level Brand Metrics
  7. Domain-Level Keyword Usage
  8. Domain-Level Keyword-Agnostic Features
  9. Page-Level Social Metric
Moz’s 2015 Google ranking factors survey of over 150 industry experts

Based on the latest results, we can see that the top 2 voted factors which influence Google’s rankings, remain to be link-building. However, the same old and over-used link building tactics which may have worked years ago, are fairly ineffective in today’s time. If think that blog commenting or forum posting will get you somewhere, think again. There is a continuing importance of high quality link-building which can usually only be achieved through guest posting, broken link-building, link-bait articles, etc. Because of the shift towards high-quality links is becoming more and more important for a sustainable long term SEO strategy, the need for effective outreach emails to acquire these links has never been more important. There are endless opportunities for using outreach emails for link-building, so get yourself ready for 2016 and find out what it takes to have an effective email outreach strategy.

Let’s take a look some General Email Data and Statistics

Mailchimp is one of the most popular platforms for e-mail marketing for all types of businesses. From small start-ups, to Fortune 500 companies, Mailchimp has collected and published data from businesses in 47 different industries. This data can become a valuable resource for marketers and business owners that want to benchmark the success of their own e-mailing campaigns. While this data is more general, it can also serve as a good benchmark for Outreach Emails. User behavior tends to be is very similar when it comes to emails, whether it is a sales email or an outreach email.

The compiled a list of data from 47 different industries includes data of Open Rates, Click-Through-Rates, Soft Bounces, Hard Bounces, Abuse Reports and Unsubscribes.

Email Benchmark Data Industry Open Click Soft Bounce Hard Bounce Abuse Unsub Agriculture and Food Services 25.33% 3.30% 0.63% 0.48% 0.03% 0.28% Architecture and Construction 25.15% 3.06% 1.58% 1.12% 0.04% 0.36% Arts and Artists 27.58% 2.91% 0.70% 0.51% 0.03% 0.27% Beauty and Personal Care 19.09% 2.18% 0.47% 0.45% 0.04% 0.33% Business and Finance 21.49% 2.79% 0.73% 0.59% 0.03% 0.24% Computers and Electronics 21.33% 2.39% 1.07% 0.74% 0.03% 0.30% Construction 22.52% 1.99% 1.68% 1.32% 0.05% 0.44% Consulting 19.70% 2.48% 0.97% 0.74% 0.03% 0.28% Creative Services/Agency 22.76% 2.81% 1.14% 0.90% 0.03% 0.36% Daily Deals/E-Coupons 13.70% 1.84% 0.13% 0.08% 0.01% 0.10% eCommerce 16.78% 2.52% 0.33% 0.25% 0.03% 0.21% Education and Training 22.11% 2.82% 0.59% 0.50% 0.02% 0.20% Entertainment and Events 21.60% 2.41% 0.54% 0.44% 0.03% 0.27% Gambling 16.55% 2.97% 0.39% 0.45% 0.03% 0.15% Games 21.70% 3.29% 0.51% 0.53% 0.03% 0.23% Government 26.47% 3.66% 0.53% 0.42% 0.02% 0.12% Health and Fitness 22.62% 2.89% 0.49% 0.48% 0.04% 0.37% Hobbies 28.91% 5.47% 0.36% 0.28% 0.03% 0.22% Home and Garden 24.90% 3.87% 0.67% 0.46% 0.04% 0.37% Insurance 20.25% 2.14% 0.76% 0.81% 0.04% 0.23% Legal 22.70% 2.98% 0.79% 0.66% 0.02% 0.22% Manufacturing 22.92% 2.55% 1.50% 1.02% 0.04% 0.35% Marketing and Advertising 18.44% 2.12% 0.83% 0.66% 0.03% 0.28% Media and Publishing 22.39% 4.61% 0.31% 0.20% 0.01% 0.12% Medical, Dental, and Healthcare 22.77% 2.56% 0.80% 0.79% 0.04% 0.29% Mobile 20.07% 2.22% 0.69% 0.68% 0.03% 0.38% Music and Musicians 22.99% 2.92% 0.64% 0.47% 0.03% 0.29% Non-Profit 25.38% 2.88% 0.53% 0.44% 0.02% 0.19% Other 23.36% 2.99% 0.85% 0.65% 0.03% 0.27% Pharmaceuticals 20.31% 2.72% 0.79% 0.72% 0.03% 0.21% Photo and Video 26.71% 4.03% 0.79% 0.65% 0.03% 0.39% Politics 23.08% 2.37% 0.48% 0.44% 0.03% 0.20% Professional Services 21.01% 2.70% 0.94% 0.72% 0.03% 0.30% Public Relations 20.12% 1.72% 0.80% 0.61% 0.02% 0.22% Real Estate 21.77% 2.06% 0.71% 0.59% 0.05% 0.32% Recruitment and Staffing 20.03% 2.34% 0.56% 0.57% 0.03% 0.30% Religion 26.29% 3.30% 0.22% 0.19% 0.02% 0.12% Restaurant 22.34% 1.29% 0.31% 0.26% 0.02% 0.29% Restaurant and Venue 22.29% 1.42% 0.62% 0.53% 0.03% 0.40% Retail 21.62% 2.69% 0.42% 0.35% 0.03% 0.28% Social Networks and Online Communities 21.95% 3.54% 0.42% 0.33% 0.02% 0.23% Software and Web App 21.57% 2.46% 1.12% 0.87% 0.03% 0.39% Sports 26.04% 3.56% 0.55% 0.47% 0.03% 0.27% Telecommunications 21.49% 2.50% 1.22% 0.92% 0.03% 0.28% Travel and Transportation 20.74% 2.35% 0.70% 0.51% 0.03% 0.24% Vitamin Supplements 17.32% 1.97% 0.41% 0.31% 0.04% 0.26%

Source: http://mailchimp.com/resources/research/email-marketing-benchmarks/ 

Email Outreach Data and Statistics

study by iAcquire sent out 300,000 outreach emails to test what makes a successful outreach email, by measuring 13 different philosophy-agnostic questions for the purpose of the study.

Which Gender Performs Best at Email Outreach? Analysis

Based on the study, the data showed that women have a higher response rate by 2.1%. They however have slightly lower closing rates than men by 0.31%.

Insight & Action

There isn’t a huge disparity between the different sexes’ closing rates (how many links were successfully obtained). At a negligible 0.31%, whether you use a gender specific persona for link-building, or are debating hiring a specific gender of outreach professionals, the focus should be on the person’s ability or developing their skills, and not their sex.

How Many Emails Should You Send Till You Get a Response or Close? Analysis

Email outreach should not end at the first email. While the largest percentage of responses come from the first email, the study suggests that there is as much as a 60% increase in responses after the second and third email. Needless to say, persistence is key.

Insight & Action

Persistence wins all, so continue to send emails until you receive a rejection. Remember to be respectful and not spam either. To simplify the outreach process schedule follow-up emails using a tool like Boomerang.

What is the Best Day & Time of Day to Send an Outreach Email? Analysis

Data shows that that emails sent at 4 AM, 6 AM and 9 AM EST have the highest rate of response and emails sent at 4 AM, 5 AM and 9 AM EST have the highest rate of link acquisition. Email’s sent out on Mondays and Thursdays had the two best response rates, while Tuesday and Wednesday were tied for third. Tuesdays had the best results for emails to acquire the link, followed by a tie for second place by Monday and Wednesday.

Insight & Action

The study suggests that the best time to send emails fall in-between 10 PM and 9 AM. Since there is a lower volume of emails being sent out at night, it is more likely that the email recipient will read and respond to the email before “email fatigue” kicks in. The absolute most optimal time to send outreach emails is at 9:00 AM on a Tuesday. Using tools such as Boomerang will help you schedule emails to be sent between the most optimal times and days. Alternatively you could hire virtual assistants in different time zones, where 10 PM to 9 AM EST is during working hours.

How do email trust signals such as logos, phone numbers and links to profiles affect performance? Analysis

The study looked at the effect of using logos, phone numbers and linked social media profiles, to prove the individual is a real person, and not just automated spam.

  • Emails without phone numbers got 4.78% more responses, and 2.48% more link closes than ones with a phone number.
  • Not including social media profiles linked in the footer closed 4.98% of the prospects, while the outreach emails with the linked profiles only closed at 4.33%.
  • Linked logos have the highest close rate at 10.58%, followed by embedded logos at 6.03%. Not including a logo closed at 3.72%.
Insight & Action
  • Remove phone numbers from the emails, unless they are asked for.
  • There is a negligible difference between including and not including social profiles. It’s best to not include them.
  • Logos work as the best trust signals, and should be included in every email for the respective brand which you are link-building for.
How did emails with generic opening salutations perform? Analysis

Out of all generic salutations, a simple “Hi” performs the best. It has a response rate of 17.47% and a closing rate if 5.62%. “Hello” comes next in line at 14.37% response rate and 4.14% close rate.

Insight & Action

Having a more personal salutation goes a long way, and it is always worth investing the time into finding the name of the email prospect. Using tools like Rapportive or TowerData will help find that information.

How did emails with specific opening salutations perform? Analysis

Personal greetings perform 2.41% better than general greetings, with 6.5% closing rates.

Insight & Action

Using a greeting such as “Hi David” or “Hi David Splice,” will convert better than just a simple “Hi.” Take a time to find the correct information about the individual you are contacting, as a personal greeting has a much greater rate of success for both email responses and closing. Tools such as Rapportive or TowerData will help in finding out that information.

How do long vs short emails perform (over or under 1000 characters)? Analysis

Longer emails have a higher response and closing rate. Emails which are over 1,000 characters have a response rate of 16.47% and closing of 5.41%, which short emails, under 1,000 characters only have a response rate of 14.93% and closing of 4.32%

Insight & Action

Longer emails usually included more personalized details and more specifics about content partnership opportunities. This resulted in better results. Replace your cookie cutter email templates and take the time to personalize each email.

How did correspondence that began from Twitter perform? Analysis

While the data is not statistically significant, there is a definite correlation between the effectiveness of building a relationship on Twitter, prior to contacting the prospect via email. There was a 37.5% response rate for emails which Tweeted first before emailing.

Insight & Action

Building relationships by engaging prospects with relevant information on Twitter is an effective way to boost your outreach success.

Example of Writing the Ultimate Outreach Email?

This data helps pave the way for any link-builder to craft the ultimate outreach email. We wanted to show off a quick example of how we took the data to craft a sample email. We broke the process down into 7 simple steps which anyone could follow for the email outreach process. Remember that the most effective email outreach is all about customization and personalization. Don’t feel pressured to follow a certain template, but learn from the insights as a guideline to the perfect email.

7 Steps for the perfect outreach email:
  1. Eye catching title: The title captures the readers attention because they will likely become aware the email is about something the content on their website.
  2. Specific personalized greeting: The email addresses the prospect by their full name “Seth Rogan”.
  3. Show interest in their work: Showing interest in the work makes it seem like you have genuine interest, and are not a random spammer or solicitor.
  4. Introduce yourself: What is your name, and who are you. Your position and expertise will serve as a trust enhancer.
  5. Use a Logo: The use of a logo serves as a trust enhancer and has been proven to improve response rates and closing.
  6. Value proposition: The the reader know what value you can provide them. This could be content partnerships, notifying them of how you’ve featured their work on your website, etc.
  7. Contact info: While leaving a phone number and social profiles have slightly lower response and closing rates, they might not be a bad idea to include sometimes.

Let us know how you’ve changed your outreach email strategy for the New Year, and what has been working for you!

The post The Science Behind Outreach Emails For Link-Building appeared first on Guerrilla Agency.

Categories: Web Design

Anatomy of the Perfect Landing Page

Webitect - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:50

Having the perfect local landing page for your small business can provide you with a strategic marketing boost over the competition. To quickly review, the landing page basically guides your target consumers to the desired result. These results tend to be increases in click through rates (To a website or purchasing page) or customer data gathered for lead generation (If you are a B2B operation). A Landing page is a great tool to improve conversions. However, if you are starting from scratch, a Landing page alone will not cut it. In addition to your landing page, you must first build the foundation with SEO and an optimized Google + business page.  Today we will focus on how to build a local landing page for small businesses with 2 goals in mind; one is to rank in Google’s local results & two, create an effective landing page for consumers.

Basic Must Haves –SEO Groundwork

Before we touch the design of your landing page, it is important to note the role that SEO plays in the success of your page. Having your page fully and fairly optimized will allow it to rank within the top 7 if not at the top of Google’s local business rankings.  According to MOZ’s local search ranking factors, On-page signals such as target Keywords in your titles/URL and a consistent NAP on directories throughout the internet have the most weight in terms of how Google ranks a site. The following are areas you can manipulate towards your success.

1. Keyword Focus

When performing your keyword research (Link to 80 proof digital blog: Keyword guide) you would want to aim for short-tail keywords for your landing page title. While being mindful of your consumer, they will likely search for a combination of keywords that include the formula (Service + Location) or vice versa. The introduction of voice-activated search has further proven this fact as the mobile voice study found that 40% of users ask for directions. In need of a nearby coffee shop, after reading this post? Ask SIRI for “Coffee shops, Near Me” or “Coffee Toronto” and local businesses will appear. Short tail keywords in your URL or titles will allow your landing page to become visible in a customer search. Thus it is also key to note that competitors within the same market/ service will rank for these keywords locally as well. The next steps will help you gain an edge and rank higher locally.

2. Citations/ NAP (Name Address Phone)

A NAP isn’t something to sleep on, it is in fact how Google will parse and display your business contact info in the local rankings. Quantity, quality, and consistency are key to having Google recognize your business within a location. Having citations on many quality directories with a high page authority (Yellow pages, Yelp, etc.) is nice but that’s only 2/3rds of the battle. Citations will have no effect on your local rankings without consistency. It is important to check if all your citations have the exact same NAP down to the very last character. For more on citations check out this guide!

 3. Schema Markup

Applying a schema markup to your landing page’s HTML code is highly beneficial. Schema markup allows for search engines to interpret your site data in a more visually appealing manner. Data could include; reviews, upcoming events, product prices and more consumer appealing info, which would entice the urge to click.

As we see here, Schema Mark-up allows for the review data extracted from the page to be displayed

Optimization of a Google + Profile Page

Continuing on the topic of groundwork, a fully optimized Google page is key increasing your landing page’s local SEO ranking. You should connect your landing page/website to your Google + page. Google likes to see that your Google + account is connected to a landing page/business as it further recognizes its existence via the NAP and content.

1. Create a profile on Google + and Google My Business ( Local Listing)

If you have already done so, congrats move on to the next step! If not, no worries, proceed with the initial setup with these tips in mind.

  • Name: For your business name, use your “Trade name “name relative to your legal operation name. It is easier to use consistently in your NAP and simple for your consumers to pick up. Imagine if Nike (Trade name), utilized their legal name Nike Incorporated, simplicity is key.
  • Address: Make sure the address is an exact match with the address you will put/have on your landing page and online directories. This address will also allow Google to determine your location (Pin Drop) on the local rankings maps.
  • Phone Number: Use a local phone number and as the name and address, keep it consistent. Avoid using toll-free numbers here if you can.
  • Hours of Operation: List your business’ hours of operation as presented on your website.
  • About Section: Fill up your about section with as much relevant content as possible. This area yields a great opportunity for you to include links to internal pages on your business’ website and your target keywords.
  • Images: Add at least 10 relevant images if possible. These images can be company logos, staff photos, testimonials, infographics, and promotions. Images build trust within a customer to proceed with a service while making your profile appear active.
  • Reviews: Aim for at least 5 reviews for your star rating to appear for your listing, aim for 10- 20 long term. Also, aim for reviews on third-party review websites and directories. It has been known that 70% of consumers create decisions that may lead to conversions based on reviews. These reviews add to reliability and should definitely show up on your landing page as links or images.

Here, I searched for “Toronto Sneakers”, we see a local sneaker shop with their reviews in the link description thanks to Google +

2. Select a Google Business Category (Select a max of 3)

  • When selecting your category make sure it fits within your niche market, is dead on relevant and represents your service.
  • If you’re having difficulty deciding, performing a Google Keyword search can help you choose based on which keywords are searched locally based on search volume.

Successfully optimizing your Google + page will also touch upon other overall ranking factors (from the MOZ study) which will help your business rank locally through your landing page.

Landing Page Optimization

Once your Google + page is taken care of, we can begin optimizing your perfect local landing page!

Let’s take a brief look at some key areas to consider during the landing page optimization process

Optimize : Title ,Description tags & URL

  • Meta Title: Include your keyword(s), location, address & brand name in the Meta title
  • Meta Description: include your keyword(s), location, phone number, sales pitch & brand. ***Note***: Keywords will have no direct impact on the google rankings but they are bolded when a user initiates a search for them making your link appear more appealing to the user.
  • URL: Including Keyword(s) and location terms, for your small business landing page, allows Google to recognize your page in helping it to rank locally.
    In Google’s eyes,
    “WWW. Example.Com/Yonge St/Toronto/Landingpage” looks much more appealing than “WWW.Example.com/Landingpage/989879807”.
  1. Schema Markup
  • As we have touched upon before, applying a schema markup allows search engines (Especially Google) to analyze and display content in your search link.
  1. Content Optimization
  • On your initial landing page have at least 400 words in your about section.
  • Apply your keywords in this section, and if you’ve found quality mid or long-tail keywords relating to your venture
  • Make the content as locally relevant as possible by mentioning places of interest, local events and stories where relevant. *** Note*** if you are ranking locally for multiple locations, it is highly beneficial to change your content based on the location (Just for authenticity).
  1. Image Optimization
  • For the visual elements apply the keywords to the image file name. This will allow your images to appear in image search results and assist with your local SEO efforts. For more info check out this guide (Bruce Clay).
  1. Reviews
  • Reviews & Testimonials originating from your site and high quality third party sources (Such as Google +, Yelp, etc.) all you gain the trust of your consumer. Reviews also create fresh and relevant content for your website as well as to interact with your consumer base. Thus it is beneficial to encourage users to leave reviews. This is a must have for local business landing page.
  1. Internal Cross Links
  • If your small business has multiple locations, add internal cross-links to your landing page.

The Landing Page

We’ve laid the groundwork; all that is left is constructing the anatomy of your landing page. This landing page format was specifically created for a local small business venture and of course, would differ for an enterprise venture. So let’s begin to dissect the anatomy of the page from the top.

Section A: The Top

The top of your landing page is the first impression you will make. The image above simulates your initial landing page. It spans from the top to below the trust enhancer section. It is important that you have the following information and features in this area:

  1. Call to Action, the #1 required element in which this whole page is based around. In this case, it is a signup form for a free quote. This is where you want your customers to engage with an action that will lead to a conversion. Check out this color guide for info on color choices that could further attract your customers to take action.
  2. Google map with your location pinned down
  3. Company Name, Address, and Phone Number
  4. Hours of Operation
  5. Clean and attractive banners displaying the desired action.
  6. Internal Links to your website such as the Home page, About, Services and etc. for quick access like a dashboard.
  7. Trust enhancers- these can short positive quotes from customers relevant to the service, logos of past clients or anything relevant to the customer experience.

As you may notice as well, the page title contains the city name, service name, and address as well as the URL. All of which we have taken care of earlier in the landing page optimization process.

The idea is to have your most important information where it is easily accessible for the customer/user, as they would not have to scroll below to find it. Draw you’re your customer in with an informational yet clean first impression so they will scroll below to access the rest of your content.

Section B

Below your initial landing page include the following:

  1. About Section – Write a short, captivating, and relevant piece about your business and the service you offer. Around 400 words would suffice and make sure to include your keywords from your research.
  2. Staff / business related photos – continue enhancing the trust of your customers with staff pictures so they know the faces behind the business. Pictures of promos, the company logo, and visual examples (if available) of the services you offer can be placed here as well. You can also use this as an opportunity to provide a quick virtual tour of the office space or location.
  3. Testimonials – Display positive testimonials from customers. Not only is this a trust-enhancing device but it also provides your page with fresh content.
  4. Links / Opportunities to review – Make it easy for your customers to leave reviews and also have them review on multiple high-quality review sites. Reviews from multiple well-trusted sources have increased conversions by 30% and also helps to legitimize the reviews.
  5. Multiple Locations: If you have multiple locations within your city, make sure to display the NAP for all of them. If you also have multiple locations in other cities, provide links to their respective landing pages.

Section C

At this point, your customer should already be enticed to interact with your page thanks to the placement of all the info. Here is where you provide the customer with options to go ahead with your desired conversion (purchase, registration, etc.) or provide more info via links to answer any outstanding questions they may have not had answered from the landing page.

  1. Provide another set of internal links to your company website like the dashboard menu in section A. This will give your customers a second chance to access your website after sifting through your landing page.
  2. Post links to the services you offer where they can get more info.
  3. Post links to other locations’ landing pages or their addresses
  4. Post links to blog posts if they would like to read more on industry-related content,
  5. Provide social media links
  6. Post a Call To Action – Just to save your customer from scrolling back up to the top of your landing page, posting your CTA at the bottom adds to accessibility.

Strategically placing these elements at the bottom of your page will better prevent your customer from bouncing, as your customer’s journey is not left with a dead end.

Use this guide as a benchmark. Like all topics and procedures in SEO, nothing is set in stone so it is important to test minor variations to adapt to trends if you see fit. Keep testing new features that you may add to your local landing page and you may come up with a tailored plan for your small business!

In conclusion, having a landing page is highly beneficial if done correctly from the bottom up. It is not as daunting as a task as it should be and your local SEO rankings and potentially your conversions will return results.

The post Anatomy of the Perfect Landing Page appeared first on Guerrilla Agency.

Categories: Web Design

76 Of The Best Conversion Rate Optimization Articles

Webitect - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:50

The Psychology of Color: How to Use Colors to Increase Conversion Rate – Colors can influence everyone. Find out how the psychology of colors can help boost your conversion rate.

Now, I find this one really interesting and insightful as well. I mean, if you look around you, you’ll see that this is already playing a vital role in our daily lives when it comes to consumer marketing. Say for example, look at several fast-food brands out there and see if they have anything in common in terms of the color on their logo.

You see what I mean?

The psychology of colors had been around for quite some time already and applying this to further boost CRO is sure to be beneficial.

How To Boost Conversions by 529% in 45-Minutes (Two Step-By-Step Case Studies) – Two step-by-step case studies on how to boost conversions faster plus a personal experience on the process told by the author, Brian Dean.

When I ran into this article, I thought,

“Wow! Really??”

And so I read and found out that it is possible using the methods that Brian is showcasing on this post.

Not only did he share a personal experience, he also shared 2 case studies (step-by-step, mind you) in regards to proving that these easy steps can lead to such boost in conversion.

Overall, I find this article a must-read for all of you out there who wants to do more in terms of conversion rate optimization.

Top 15 Conversion Rate Optimization Thought Leaders to Follow – Here’s the list of the top 15 conversion rate optimization experts you should watch to stay ahead of the crowd.

Why do we need to watch them anyway, or to follow them?

Well, that should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: these people know a ton about conversion rate optimization. The information is out there and it is free, you just have to take the time and learn it well.

One of the best ways to do that is to listen to someone who knows what they’re doing (unfortunately they are harder to find than you realize).

How (and Why) to Budget for Conversion Rate Optimization – More and more companies are making conversion rate optimization a core component of marketing budgets. You should, too.

A budget for conversion rate optimization is a must because it goes hand in hand with SEO as well. You may be attracting a lot of traffic, but your resources will be wasted if you can’t really convert the traffic you’re getting.

It’s like fishing without  bait, and bait is worth investing in, isn’t it?

5 Website Design Mistakes Killing Your Conversion Rate ?  – Color scheme, too much clutter above the fold, a well-planned navigation system, lack of personal touch, and a strong visual hierarchy – find out how to prevent these design mistakes from killing your website’s conversion rate.

Mistakes are relatively natural to us. We all make mistakes, that’s true, but we can avoid it as well if we have enough insight on the things that we are getting ourselves into.

This post highlights 5 principles, which must be considered so that our website design won’t be causing our conversion rate to fail.

71 Other Pretty Sweet Conversion Rate Optimization Articles

What Conversion Tactics Will Make the Biggest Difference in 2014? – Wondering which conversion tactics should take priority in your 2014 marketing plan? 14 conversion experts share their hard-boiled tips here.

7 Conversion Optimization Stats to Guide Your 2015 Strategy – Looking to tweak your conversion optimization in 2015? The stats in this infographic and additional tips from CrazyEgg may help you set your strategy.

Defining the Right Web Customer Experience Metrics – The importance of customer experience metrics and a summary of three practices you can start to fill this gap.

The State Of Conversion Optimization (CRO) – 2015 Edition | Conversion Rate Optimization – Five points on conversion rate optimization that talk about the process itself and the role of the CEO as the most responsible person for running this campaign.

Growth Hacking and Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant | 10 Costly Mistakes made in Conversion Rate Optimization – While most people know about SEO, there are many who have no idea about CRO. CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is a subset of SEO and is applied mainly on the e-commerce store in this fantastic article.

Stop Wasting Visitors and Focus on Conversion Rates – People are coming to your website and yet they are leaving without turning into customers. It’s about time you look into and focus on conversion optimization.

Bridging The Gap Between Phone Calls & Analytics in 2014 – Want to close the loop between phone calls and analytics? Learn about a little-known technology called call tracking-and how to use it.

Best Conversion Rate Optimization Tools: Winter 2015 report – Six platforms earn High Performer status in a crowdsourced report on conversion rate optimization tools.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) and How it Relates to SEO and Retargeting – The purpose of CRO and its role in SEO campaigns, common CRO methods often recommended by marketing experts, and some common kinds of testing for CRO.

2015 Conversion Rate Optimization Predictions – Find out from Justin Rondeau his conversion rate optimization predictions for 2015

How to Build a Complete Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy (Part 3 of 6) – A five-step complete guide on how to build your conversion rate optimization strategy.

PPC & CRO – PPCChat Streamcap – A transcribed Steamcap from the live chat on the topic of: Pay-Per-Click & Conversion Rate Optimization.

8 Ways to Beef Up Your Content (and Boost Conversion Rate) – When building a new website, invest as much effort into content as the website itself. Create great web copy and blog posts to convey credibility and value.

The Essential User Guide for Website Testing Tool Success – This website testing tool essential guide will help you improve your testing results.

An Introduction to Website Split Testing – How to determine which aspects of your web design work is extremely effective in helping your client’s website achieve its aims, by a process known as split testing.

Google Analytics in Depth: Goals and Funnels – Setting up goals in Google Analytics is the best way to measure the success rate of your website.

How to Increase Conversions on any Website in 45 Minutes – In less time than you spend watching The Bachelor each week, you can have a dramatic (and measurable) effect on your website.

First-Ever Conversion Rate Optimization Day was a Success – LoginRadius – A recap on International Conversion Rate Optimization Day created by Unbounce.

5 Strategies for Conversion Rate Optimization – Here are some notable, successful strategies that various companies have implemented for conversion rate optimization.

Top 5 Examples and Tools To Succeed in Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – There are several tools, tactics and strategies that are used for CRO. This post will help you uncover the secrets of CRO and get more conversions and revenue.

Why Users Fill Out Less If You Mark Required Fields – UX Movement – Are most of your users skipping the optional fields on your form? You might not need that extra information, but having it could help you learn more about users.

Conversion rate optimization tools make people happy, but there are still no leaders – In its first ever report on the conversion rate optimization space (CRO), G2 Crowd shows there are still no real leaders in the industry.

10 Things Small Businesses Can Learn From Top eCommerce Sites – In this post, we list 10 things top eCommerce players are doing brilliantly and how you could follow those practices too.

Keep your visitors always busy with your website – Find out how you can make your customers stay on your website and convince them to visit you again and again.

E-Commerce Best Practice Guide and Checklist To Improve Conversions – This article showcases the best practices in e-commerce and a checklist for each topic on the post.

The secret to getting more enquiries from your website – In this blog post, we reveal what an effective tool conversion rate optimization is, and how it can reduce marketing costs substantially.

4 conversion optimization trends and tips to watch for in 2015 – Conversion Conference Blog – Trends and tips you have to watch out for in 2015 .

The irrational behavior that Increases conversion Instantly – Read about the irrational behavior that increases conversions instantly.

The Science Of Improving Conversion Rate Optimization – #infographic – Most people randomly choose elements on their websites to test and don’t properly take time to come up with an A/B test based on user objection. This infographic will serve as a quick guide for those people who want to do CRO properly.

How Walmart.ca?s Responsive Redesign Boost Conversion by 20% – How did Walmart.ca’s do it? – add-to-cart-button, responsive design, website optimization Conversion Optimization, Mobile are a few of their techniques.

10 Quora Threads About Conversion Rate Optimization – Read what they have to say on in these 10 different Quora threads about conversion rate optimization.

Conversion Rates are Overrated. They don’t matter. Here’s 8 Reasons. – A counter argument for the importance of conversion rate optimization. Here are 8 reasons why it doesn’t matter.

27 Tricks to Boost Blog Post Conversion Rates – This post offers 27 proven tactics for building your email list and increasing your blog post conversion rates.

Mobile Conversion Rate Optimization in 2015 – What’s new in 2015? Mobile conversion rate optimization. Well, this isn’t really new, but its about time that we learned to put more focus on mobile CRO. Find out why.

What Will Conversion Rate Optimization Look Like in 2015 – A forecast into conversion rate optimization in 2015 and what you need to do for your website to stay up to date.

Outbrain | Content Conversion Optimization: 6 Tactics for Converting Blog Traffic to Leads – Find out how to use Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) best practices with your blog content. Get expert tips for converting blog traffic to leads.

How To Use Images To Instantly Increase Conversion – So, you’re looking to convert visitors to your site from window shoppers to customers, but don’t know how? Well, we have the answer for you: Use better images.

8 Effective Ways to Increase Your Blog’s Conversion Rates – Traffic is not the only blogging metric. In fact the conversion rate of your blog can prove more important. Here are eight tips to help you improve yours!

Think Revenue and Leads In Conversion Rate Optimization – Think about thickening your revenue stream, as well as increasing your leads when doing conversion rate optimization.

Action Plan for Conversion Rate Optimization in 2015 – It is one thing to attract visitors to your website but converting them into leads is a different ball-game altogether. In order for any business to compete online, it needs to tweak its plan to focus on important pointers such as web traffic demographic.

The Ultimate Conversion Rate Optimization Guide – CRO – A definitive guide to conversion rate optimization summed up with a few key topics.

Multivariate Testing 101: A Scientific Method Of Optimizing Design – Smashing Magazine – This article talks about Multivariate Testing as a scientific approach in optimizing the design.

5 Small Changes That Can Lead To A Big Increase In Conversion Rate Optimization | Socialnomics – In marketing, small changes can make a big difference, and this is especially true when it comes to CRO. A few minor modifications to design, messaging or timing can lead to major gains in conversions. Here are five small campaign tweaks that can payoff in big results:

Einstein’s guide to conversion rate optimization – superdrive – Seven Einstein quotes that will teach you more about conversion rate optimization.

4 Simple Tips That Doubled Our Conversion Rate UserTesting logo – Four simple tips and a personal story on how the author doubled their conversion rate.

Vendable ? Blog Archive ? 5 Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies for Ecommerce Websites – Five useful conversion rate optimization strategies focused for e-commerce websites.

Homepage Button Conversion Optimization Test Part 1 – Using conversion optimization tools, we are taking a deeper look at color theory when it comes to visitors clicking on our homepage above-the-fold CTA.

Conversion Rate Optimization and Advanced Analytics – An audio recording that talks about conversion rate optimization and advanced analytics.

Modern Parameters of Conversion Rate Optimization – Do you see a constant drop-off in sales? Conversion rate optimization is the only way to ensure that visitors who come to your website end up being buyers and come back more often. Low conversions clearly indicate that your visitors are not getting what they want. Various factors like bounce rate, exit rate, average time spent on the page are key indicators to look at.

The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization – The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is an in-depth tutorial designed to help you convert more of your website visitors into customers, aimed at people just getting started.

Online Lead Generation Through Your Website: A Beginner’s Guide For B2B Companies On How It All Works – Want to generate more leads online? Through your website? In this article we’ll show you how B2B businesses can drive more leads via two key strategies.

16 Ways to Mess Up Your Conversion Rate – Sometimes learning how to mess up your CRO is just as good as learning the best practices. Are you making any of these mistakes?

How Heatmaps Can Optimize Your Conversion Rate – Landing pages can make or break your ad campaign. Learn how to use heatmaps to optimize your campaign’s conversion rate.

The SEO Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization – This article is about using SEO to optimize conversion rate and integrating it in order to boost conversion itself.

Discover the Heart of Conversion Rate Optimization – ‘Net Features – Website Magazine – Website magazine is the leading print and digital publication on web success, covering search marketing, social media, software, web design, development and more.

WiderFunnel Marketing Conversion Optimization – The Top 7 Conversion Optimization Trends for 2015 – Seven conversion rate optimization trends in 2015 that you should read about.

WiderFunnel Marketing Conversion Optimization – A/B Split Testing vs. Multivariate: Pros & Cons – This article discusses the pros and cons of A/B Split Testing vs. Multivariate – do you know the difference?

WiderFunnel Marketing Conversion Optimization – Case Studies – A number of case studies to read about proving the huge significance of conversion rate optimization in marketing.

Conversion Rate Optimization 101 | WordCamp Boston – A basic discussion about what conversion rate optimization is.

What Conversion Rate Optimization Experts Often Forget About: The Customer Lifecycle – What marketing trend has taken off like conversion rate optimization? Growth hacking? Targeted email drip campaigns? You decide!

Conversion Rate Optimization – It’s Importance in 2015 – Learn why Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is increasingly important when it comes to doing SEO on your website!

Experiments at Airbnb – Airbnb Engineering – An experiment conducted by AirBnB to improve their conversion rate optimization.

3 conversion rate optimisation trends for 2015 – Three conversion rate optimization trends this 2015 based on pre-research and experiments done.

Conversion Rate Optimization: The Basics – This article talks about the fundamentals of conversion rate optimization including various factors, the competition, and some tracking tools.

Conversion Rate Optimization – Choosing the Right Tactics – A guide to choosing the right tactics or approach for conversion rate optimization.

AWA digital’s ultimate guide to conversion rate optimization – An article on the fastest yet cheapest ways to increase sales through conversion rate optimization.

Top Optimisation Tips From Conversion World 2015 – Get the best optimization tips from Conversion World 2015, the 1st online conference on conversion optimisation

5 Tips For A Successful Conversion Rate Optimization Program – If your CRO efforts are under performing, chances are it’s as much a matter of internal politics as external competition.

The Tool that Remains Critical in 2015 for Optimizing Conversion Rates – With the conversion rate optimization field growing, one tool remains critical in increasing conversion rates- testing. Learn about it here.

Real Stories, Lessons, and Insights – If you are looking to boost your conversion rate, you better read this 2015 new years resolution about CRO and how to optimize it.

The post 76 Of The Best Conversion Rate Optimization Articles appeared first on Guerrilla Agency.

Categories: Web Design

31 Must-Follow Content Marketers

Webitect - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:50
Amy Porterfield from amyporterfield.com

Bio: Amy is a social media strategist and co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies. She helps entrepreneurs across industries establish strategies to maximize the power of social media and increase the success of their online marketing efforts. @amyporterfield

Strengths: Amy is a master blogger, branding expert, and social media strategist. If you’re looking for help with your Pinterest marketing, or Facebook (she has over 150k likes), you need to check out her blog.

Must-Read Article: Blogging for SEO: How to Write Blog Posts That Rank Well

Scott Cohen from scottwriteseverything.com

Bio: I’ve written copy for just about every medium: TV, radio, long-form video, print, direct mail, email, and web. By day, I work for Inbox Group, an email marketing agency where I help to both market the agency itself, write and produce content, and work with clients to build and improve their email marketing programs. By night, I’m a father, a husband, a reader, a sports fanatic, and a budding strength training nut. @scottcohen13

Strengths: Scott is a professional email marketer. He’s the vice president of marketing for inboxgroup.com and if you need help on your email marketing campaign, you ought to check out his blog.

Must-Read Article: Three Words for 2014

Yaro Starak from entrepreneurs-journey.com

Bio: Yaro Starak is the author of the Blog Profits Blueprint and founder of the Entrepreneurs-Journey.com blog. He began blogging over ten years ago initially as a hobby, however as his income from blogging surpassed $10,000 a month, he decided his future lay in this new publishing medium. @yarostarak

Strengths: Entrepreneurship, Internet Marketing, Selling Digital Products, Blogging, Startups and Personal Development, these are Yaro’s fields of expertise. He’s also built a number of followers, subscribers, and connections on different social media platforms. Here’s his numbers: 3k Google+, 10k Facebook, 3.5k Youtube, 497 Linkedin, 1,239 Instagram.

Must-Read Article: Blogging For Money Has Changed: Here Is How Smart Bloggers Can Profit In 2015

John Chow from johnchow.com

Bio: Blogger, speaker and entrepreneur. John Chow rocketed onto the blogging scene when he took his blog from making zero to over $40,000 per month in just 2 years @johnchow

Strengths: When John published “Make Money Online: Roadmap of a Dot Com Mogul”, it became the best seller within the first week of release. He has close to 100k followers on Twitter and 20k on Facebook. If you’d like to know more about how he did it, it’s best you check his website to learn how.

Must-Read Article: #ASE15 ? CB Black Event ? We Made The Cut!

Jon Morrow from boostblogtraffic.com

Bio: In addition to running Boost Blog Traffic, I’m a former Associate Editor of Copyblogger, which wasn’t an actual job, by the way. I wrote for them, brought them a steady flow of talented writers, and generally did what I could to make the site more popular, and in exchange, they supported my endeavors and give me a sweet title. @jonmorrow

Strengths: Its all about boosting blog traffic for Jon Morrow. He made it through and he’s on to helping others do the same. So if you’d like to get more traffic to your blog, you ought to check his website. “Blogging is a game. There are winners, and there are losers.”

Must-Read Article: How to Be Smart in a World of Dumb Bloggers ? Boost Blog Traffic

Matt Smith from onlineincometeacher.com

Bio: Matt Smith is the founder and editor of OnlineIncomeTeacher. He is a Professional Blogger, SEO Consultant & Web Developer, running a number of sites from the UK. @matt_oit

Strengths: Before onlineincometeacher.com, Matt was running other websites successfully and he’s always been asked how he does it and makes money from them. So the idea behind launching his own website was to share his methods and help people to succeed online no matter what previous experience they have. He can be a great help if you’d like to learn how you can make money from your website!

Must-Read Article: 8 Online Guerrilla Marketing Ideas For Your Website

Jeff Goins from goinswriter.com

Bio: Writer. Speaker. Entrepreneur. Dad to Aiden & husband to Ashley. Best-selling author of The Art of Work (http://artofworkbook.com ). Guacamole connoisseur. @JeffGoins

Strengths: Jeff is a great writer and a national best seller for his book, The Art of Work. He offers tips on how to write effectively and he gives out a free eBook on how you can build an audience when you subscribe to his blog.

Must-Read Article: What You Write About Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think

David Risley from blogmarketingacademy.com

Bio: ProBlogger, Internet Entrepreneur. I Show Bloggers How To Generate A Full Time Income Online and Turn Their Passion Into a Solid, Profitable Business. @davidrisley

Strengths: David is veteran blogger and has perfected his method of how to generate income through blogging. In his own words, it’s not just about blogging, but about blogging smarter. If you are looking to find a way to monetize your blog, looking at what he talks about can help you out on your venture.

Must-Read Article: Blog Monetization Model: The Most Effective Blog Revenue Strategy That Exists – Blog Marketing Academy

Kevin Muldoon from kevinmuldoon.com

Bio: Blogger, YouTuber, WordPress Fanatic, Travelling Bum & Self Confessed Gadget Junkie. I talk about WordPress a lot and hang out at http://riseforums.com . @KevinMuldoon

Strengths: Blogging, social media, technology, making money online and the wordpress platform are common topics on Kevin’s blog. He believes that everyone falls into the world of internet marketing in different ways. Learning his methods can help you on your online journey.

Must-Read Article: Envato Closed My Account Yesterday

Jo Barnes from jobarnesonline.com

Bio: Mother, Globe Trotter & Online Lifestyle Addict. My MISSION is to help you create an online lifestyle business you can run from anywhere in the world! @jobarnesonline

Strengths: Jo’s insight on making money online can help you big time. She’s teaching about her experience and she’s been sharing her approach since she started her own website.

Must-Read Article: Azon Monthly Stats 4 ? May 2015 | Jo Barnes Online – Create a Business You Can Take With You

Nathalie Lussier from nathalielussier.com

Bio: Digital Strategist & Co-Founder of AmbitionAlly.com | Creator of Free 30daylistbuildingchallenge.com | Let’s leave this place better than we found it, @nathlussier

Strengths: What makes Natalie unique is the way she delivers her Digital Marketing Strategy. She’s committed to always bringing her best to everything she does and there’s a lot more that you can learn from her.

Must-Read Article: How To Design An Ecourse That Delivers Results

Jeff Lenney from jefflenney.com

Bio: My Name is Jeff Lenney, I do the whole make money online thing via SEO, SEM, RM, Email Marketing, Niche Marketing and a slew of other methods. @jeffbucket

Strengths: Being both an Internet Marketer and an SEO specialist has its advantages. The good thing here is that he’s sharing it with you. If you’re looking for things to get done and you need other peoples’ insights on how to do it, checking Jeff’s website.

Must-Read Article: 5 Things That Won?t happen In Internet Marketing

Chris Garrett from chrisg.com

Bio: Web geek, Chief Digital Officer at Copyblogger Media, and co-author of http://ProBloggerBook.com @chrisgarrett

Strengths: Tips, thoughts, and advice is what you’ll find when you visit Chris Garrett’s blog. He’s got almost 40k followers on Twitter and he’s also working with business owners and entrepreneurs and helping them build a lasting and profitable relationship with their audience.

Must-Read Article: How to Avoid Cold-Feet Killing Your Progress

Denise Wakeman from DeniseWakeman.com

Bio: Denise Wakeman is an Online Business Strategist. She hosts the popular video show and podcast, Adventures In Visibility. Denise is focused on helping small businesses and online entrepreneurs to optimize, leverage, and strategically use social marketing tools to gain visibility, build credibility and make more money selling their products and services. @denisewakeman

Strengths: Denise is an online marketing strategist with a great number of Facebook and Twitter followers. She offers a guide to better visibility on the web and checking out her blog can turn out to be exactly what you need as an entrepreneur.

Must-Read Article: Ghost Blogging – Yes or No? Vote on the Poll

Ian Brodie from ianbrodie.com

Bio: Straight talking marketing advice for consultants & coaches at http://www.ianbrodie.com . Blogger, author of Email Persuasion and ever-hopeful Newcastle United fan @ianbrodie

Strengths: Generating leads, building authority and winning clients is Ian’s specialty. His website was made with the purpose of helping you get more clients and it has got a ton of articles, videos, mini-courses, podcast episodes and other materials that will help you get better at marketing.

Must-Read Article: Building Authority to Differentiate Your Business

Bright Livingstone Davidraj from brightlivingstone.com

Bio: Digital Marketer with 6+ Years of Experience,Web Services Promotion,Email marketing Expert, Web Product sales and E-commerce with 30% increase in Leads / month. @dbrightliving

Strengths: Digital marketing, SEO, link building, these are just some of the things you’ll find useful on Davidraj’s blog. He’s a marketing pro looking to share his insights with his audience.

Must-Read Article: Effective Email Marketing Strategies II

Shabbir Bhimani from imtips.co

Bio: I help motivated but overwhelmed Indian #bloggers and #entrepreneurs simplify Internet marketing, so they can create successful businesses online. @shabbirbhimani

Strengths: Internet marketing, blogging, freelancing, entrepreneurship are the topics that you’ll find on this blog. Pretty helpful tips and insights too!

Must-Read Article: Want to Quit your Job? The 6 step process I used to quit my job

Michlle Pescosolido from michellepescosolido.com

Bio: *Facebook & Social Media Expert *Vegan *Internet Marketing Addict *Love to Travel @m_pescosolido

Strengths: Michelle is a professional social media marketing specialist and she’s focused on helping entrepreneurs and brands build a successful business online using Facebook. If you’re looking to improve your Facebook followers count, her blog can give you tips on doing just that.

Must-Read Article: 5 Tips to Get More Engagement on Facebook – Michelle Pescosolido

Greg Sterling from screenwerk.com

Bio: Internet analyst, concerned citizen. Greg Sterling is VP of Strategy & Insights for the LSA. His research is focused on the impact of digital media on offline consumer purchase behavior. @gsterling

Strengths: Greg writes about a variety of different topics on his blog. If you look into the category, you’ll find yourself looking from A to W and this helps a lot if you are a marketer looking for general marketing tips.

Must-Read Article: Seizing a Piece of the $9B Local Video Opportunity (Webinar: August 4)

Joshua Earl from joshuaearl.com

Bio: The Giveaways Guy, I’ll show you how to build an email list FAST. Copywriter, entrepreneur, programmer, and email marketing junkie. @josh_earl

Strengths: Josh is a copywriter, a programmer and an email marketer. His blog’s mission is to show bloggers and entrepreneurs how to get thousands of subscribers to their email lists with his “viral giveaway course”. He also runs a weekly newsletter for programmers with more than 78k subscribers.

Must-Read Article: 7 ways to battle distraction and keep your rabbit-brain in check

Adrian Jock from adrianjock.com

Bio: Blogging about #SocialMedia, #EmailMarketing. Author of the Solo Ads eBooks Series @imtipsnews

Strengths: Armed with over a decade of online adventures, Adrian has a bunch of blogging, social media marketing, email marketing and affiliate marketing insights to on his blog. Read about him on his website and go through the tips that he’s shared.

Must-Read Article: Twitter Myth: URL Shorteners Save Space – Busted! | Adrian Jock’s Internet Marketing Tips

David Erickson from e-strategyblog.com

Bio: Director of e-Strategy, and covers all aspects of online communication. @derickson

Strengths: David’s e-Strategy Content Marketing Blog focuses on all aspects of online marketing including SEO, email marketing, social media, video marketing, mobile marketing and PR. A lot of insights published in one blog.

Must-Read Article: Personas, Presentations & LinkedIn Publishing – Beyond Social Media #50 – VIDEO

Nicole Dean from nicoleonthenet.com

Bio: Nicole Dean is a Published Author, Popular Speaker, Successful Blogger and Podcaster, and a Business Consultant to really smart people. @nicoledean

Strengths: Published Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, Business Consultant – these are the words that best sum up who Nicole is. Her blog is packed with tips about online marketing so look no further.

Must-Read Article: No New Year’s Resolution This Year.

Peg Corwin from pegcorwin.com

Bio: I’m Peg Corwin Peg Corwin – Digital Marketing and SCORE Business Mentorand I’m passionate about online marketing, now being called digital marketing, for small business. @pcorwin

Strengths: What’s in Peg’s blog? All things Digital Marketing. A lot of different topics to choose from related to the world of digital marketing for your business.

Must-Read Article: 7 Experts Share Responsive Email Design Strategies

Glen Hopkins from NetSuccessSystems.com

Bio: Glen is known as one of the most sought after business growth experts in the online business community. He works closely with small business owners, coaches, consultants, authors, and product creators. @glenhopkins

Strengths: Glen is an internationally renowned information marketer, consultant, speaker and #1 best-selling author. His blog covers different categories of internet marketing and is filled with valuable insights.

Must-Read Article: 6 Ways To Increase Price (1 of 6) | Net Success Systems

Chris Marlow from chrismarlow.com

Bio: My name is Chris Marlow and I’ve been a direct response copywriter since 1985. In 2003 I decided to become a coach, to help writers gain quality clients and find success in this incredible profession. @Chris_Marlow/

Strengths: Dubbed as “The Queen of Niche Domination”, Chris is an expert direct response copywriter with more than two decades of experience. If you’re looking to find coaching or just tips on how to be a good writer-entrepreneur, her blog is worth a visit.

Must-Read Article: Ojuola Infotech Scam | Nigerian Scammer and Thief | Chris Marlow |Niche Domination

Robert Tyson from thetysonreport.com

Bio: I Help Businesses Create Automated Marketing Systems To Deliver New Clients & Open New Revenue Streams @TheTysonReport

Strengths: A website created for small business owners who want to grow an existing business and start-up owners who need to set up a good web presence and generate business from scratch. Robert Tyson has built his site to influence people and his 92k Twitter subscribers as well.

Carl Taylor from carltaylor.com.au

Bio: Author of Red Means Go! and Serial Entrepreneur. At 28 years old, Carl Taylor is teaching the world how to stop dreaming and start achieving. @carltaylorau

Strengths: Carl’s first book, Red Means Go!, went to #1 New & Noteworthy Business Audiobooks less than 4 weeks after release. He shares his entrepreneurial knowledge on his blog and if you’re looking to get some valuable insights, paying it a visit is a must.

Must-Read Article: Do You Make These Copywriting Mistakes? [Video 1/5]

Kathy Alice Brown from webenso.com

Bio: My name is Kathy Alice Brown and I have a passion for exploring web technology trends and figuring out how to make it work for everyone on the planet. Because if you can understand something, you can make it your own and leverage it for your success. @kathyalice

Strengths: Tips and tricks on SEO, WordPress, online marketing, blogging and social media is what you’ll get to taste on Kathy’s blog. She’s a seasoned pro in the field and she’s sharing her insights on her blog as well.

Must-Read Article: Is WIX SEO Friendly? Find out.

Chad White from emailmarketingrules.com

Bio: Author of ‘Email Marketing Rules’ and 1000s of posts on email marketing | Research Director at email design, testing, and analytics software provider @chadswhite

Strengths: Author of the book Email Marketing Rules, Chad is a veteran email marketing author, Researcher, and Trendwatcher. His blog is packed with useful materials in email marketing from targeting and personalization to mobile-friendly design. If you’re looking for a change in approach to email marketing, paying a visit to his blog is sure to help you out.

Must-Read Article: The Hierarchy of Subscriber Needs: Are You Satisfying All 4? – Email Marketing Rules

Vippan Kumar from vippankumar.com

Bio: I am a marketing and communications professional, blogger, and quester. And I am better this way! @supervippin

Strengths: Vippan is a digital marketer and a blogger with some valuable information to share in his blog. The best thing about it is that he’s sharing something based on his own experience as a marketer and blogger.

Must-Read Article: Rebirth Of Link Building For The Good Of Customers

The post 31 Must-Follow Content Marketers appeared first on Guerrilla Agency.

Categories: Web Design

Leveraging the Power of Both Paid and Organic Search

Webitect - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:49
SEO & PPC Are Like Cookies and Milk

Most of those who are trying to get quick results usually lean towards spending their budget on a PPC campaign where ads appear on top, to the right and at the bottom of organic listings. It’s one of the main avenues of promoting your business website without too many hassles. Panda who? No problems here. Paid listings definitely have an advantage of appearing at the top of the SERP and we can easily measure performance based on average position. Since we love to measure and analyze everything in the PPC world we often overlook comparing organic stats to paid ad stats. Whether working on a client account at an agency or being in charge of a digital marketing company as a whole it’s important to understand that organic search engine optimization or pay per click advertising are both viable options for improving your web presence. Of course depending on the financial situation you’ll want to allocate funds depending on your company’s needs and priorities, however it doesn’t have to be solely one or the other. It’s important to realize the relationship between paid search and organic listings as they can go hand in hand together like peanut butter and jelly or cookies and milk…just in case if you didn’t see the connection yet.

The Primary Goal of SEO

The primary goal here is to connect your site to the search engine and SEO makes your site more visible and transparent to the search engines. It’s true that SEO shows it’s full colours over a period of time, generating useful high-quality content it can be picking up more and more momentum before peaking. Being able to get a reliable audience, SEO is able to help it grow and drive online content higher in SERPs. Reality is competition is huge and nobody has time on their hands looking for your site. We all live busy lives and with the growing changes in technology we want results right there and then when searching for something and search engine optimization makes it possible to make your site more direct and focused on certain keywords that people would be looking for. And if you have the content to offer them for those keywords…boom! You got yourself a new customer, a new subscriber or a visitor satisfied with what they were looking for. Basically without getting too technical thats the existence of search optimization, the simplest it could get.

The Primary Goal of PPC

The beauty of PPC is that only targeted consumers can see your ads. If there’s someone interested in looking for a specific product that you offer, ads are easily created to target these consumers based on a specific keyword they have typed into a search engine. Searches of these people indicate an interest in your business and you would only pay if people are clicking on your ad. A properly structured PPC campaign encourages a call to action to gain higher rankings by encouraging those who see your ads to visit your website. Of course it’s still crucial to have great website content and high quality landing pages to convert your target consumers and prevent them from bouncing back to look for something else.

Linking Together SEO and PPC

When we think of results we want them to happen quick but it’s also essential for results to continue happening over a period of time. A business needs both long-term and fast results and this can be achieved thorough building momentum with SEO and quickly boosting online presence with PPC in search engine results. When both of these tools are implemented it can give you vital information about certain keywords customers use to find your business. Take a look at the example below, Hotels.com appear both in paid search and organic search results.

When your business name pops up both in organic search results and paid ads, studies have found that customers are more likely to find your business more credible. Also, most people are more likely to click a relevant top link before they scroll down to the bottom of the page, as well as having a paid link at the top of results page ensures that you are seen even when organic results put you past the initial page. Check out the following results:

  • There is a 32% increase in CTR when appearing in both paid and natural results
  • 420% increase in brand recall (VS 260% in paid search only)
  • 57% increase in brand favorability (VS 38% in paid search only)

It’s interesting to analyze some data when utilizing both PPC and SEO. When organic listings are present with paid listings it reinforces the branding of the company and causes the user to click on your ad. If the user notices a paid listing and scrolls down and also sees an organic listing, there’s double the chance of them clicking on your link. Studies and data suggest that the more real estate you have on the SERP, more impressions you can make on a searcher and of course get a higher visit rate…perhaps more bang for your buck.

Start with Adwords

So many of your might be wondering how to go about implementing a strategy that would give the most results from running a PPC campaign and implementing SEO at the same time. First it’s always a good idea to invest in Adwords, properly setting up and optimizing the account, having a clearly defined campaign and creating tightly knit ad groups with keywords that are directed to relevant landing pages. Implementing a well thought out PPC campaign is especially useful for someone without a huge budget to begin with, comparing to SEO where things could get a little bit more costly (though fantastic in the long run). While running a PPC campaign, it can instantly bring visitors to the site and you’d only pay when someone clicks on the ad you created. It’s good to start with paid ad to get some kind of return and if it’s profitable it can fuel your future SEO campaign.

There are different scenarios and outcomes that are potentially bound to happen depending on the design of your campaign. Even if your PPC campaign is not as profitable to begin with, it can still potentially provide some benefits. When people are clicking on your ads they are still visiting your website, that means more visits and more exposure of your brand. It’s valuable to analyze data as it can be a major source of information to see how visitors interact with your site, what pages are converting better and what keywords perform better as well.

Adwords is a Goldmine

It’s fantastic for understanding how Google values your site. Checking out some data from your Adwords account you can see:

  • What keywrods and on which pages have the best quality score
  • How did the search engine judge your pages
  • What are the pages that have a better quality score
  • How visitors judge your pages, their bounce rates, time on page and exit rates

You might be wondering how useful this information is to you, well this is where you can fix up your mistakes, identify issues and help your future SEO activities.

Blending PPC Efforts with SEO

Paid search campaigns are all about data and gathering this data you can strategize and decide where to focus your SEO efforts. For example looking at Cost Per Click and Quality Score for inbound keywords to specific pages, we can get an idea of how competitive a certain keyword is, it’s CPC and how relevant Google considers this keyword to the landing page (Quality Score). Once we analyze this data, we can decide which keywords are performing well and which ones are not and identify opportunities for improvement on your site. For example if you take a look at your Adwords data and notice that certain keywords are performing well, however you don’t have much content on your site to target these, this is a great area for opportunity for your SEO efforts where you could potentially optimize meta tags, headlines or even create blog posts targeting those keywords.

Creating a Search Scorecard

Start by building a search dashboard where you can pull together 3 data points around paid search, organic search and search data.

Paid Metrics Could include

  • paid impressions
  • paid CTR
  • paid conversion % (whatever it is you track to measure quality)

Organic Metrics Could include:

  • SEO Sessions
  • SEO Conversion % (whatever you track to measure quality)

Search Engine Data Includes:

  • Google Volume (Average Monthly Exact Match)
  • Keyword Rank
  • Ranking URL

First thinking about paid search, this can come down to impressions,click through rate and conversion rate. Your conversions could be whatever it is that’s important to you, for example if you want someone to download a form or sign up for something. It doesn’t have to be around selling something. Whatever that metric is that’s important to you, call it out on your dashboard. Th next important information to look at is the organic search data. Pulling in those SEO sessions, as well as those conversions and measuring them on the same dashboard. That way you can have an understanding of the quality of traffic. Last piece is looking at the search engine data. This should include Google volume to give you an idea of what the total opportunity is. Pulling in where you are ranking on organic search terms at the moment is important to understand what exists today and being able to refine your efforts. It’s also important to analyze the competition because if you are not currently on page one of search results, someone has to be and understanding how difficult it might be to push them off of page one can give you an idea of how you can focus your time and resources in a smart way.

The Sum of SEO and PPC

Both of these strategies complement each other and should not be pitted against one another. When trying to achieve a common goal, the strength of both of these should be recognized to achieve the best results. The strength of keywords from PPC should be utilized in the SEO campaign to make sure you are getting the most from both of these avenues. Treating them as a match made in heaven rather than completely isolating them as separate marketing channels is the way to go about it. PPC and SEO are essentially two sides of the same coin which is search marketing.

The post Leveraging the Power of Both Paid and Organic Search appeared first on Guerrilla Agency.

Categories: Web Design

The 10 Commandments Of Reputation Management

Webitect - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:49

Reputation was once described to me as what people say about you when you’re not around.

The problem with this description is it implies that your reputation is determined by other people and what they say.

But this isn’t true, actually.

A more accurate definition is that your reputation is what you make of it. It’s how you respond to the criticism that inevitably is going to befall your business.

This article will teach you the ten commandments of proper reputation management.

Google Is Thy Lord

When it comes to reputation, Google is thy lord. There is very little nowadays that people cannot find out about you through a simple Google search. Remember, this counts for images as well.

And Google they do. A recent study found that 80% of employers Google you before inviting you to an interview. Customers similarly go to Google in search of reviews before buying a product or service.

Therefore, if you want to know what everyone else sees, it is important to Google for:

  • Your Brand
  • Your Name
  • Your Employees
  • Your Partners

And make sure they are all positive. If not, you have some management to do.

A negative review above the fold is extremely damaging. It sends a red flag to would-be buyers to stay away.

I don’t even need to read that article, or any other articles for that matter, to know that I should stay away from MOBE because as the old adage goes – where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

What does your Google say?

Remember Thy Reputation, And Keep It Holy

The biggest mistake companies make with their reputation is doing nothing.

You’re a good company, so you don’t have a reputation problem? Right?

Not necessarily.

Look, everyone has a bad day. Every business has a customer that just can’t be satisfied, no matter how hard they try.

The result is why good companies, from time to time, end up with bad reviews. Here’s a recent review of Zappos:

Mind you, Zappos is heralded as one of the companies with the best customer services. I can’t even count the number of times they’ve been used as an example as to why their customer service rocks.

Bad reviews are going to happen, but it’s how you handle them that creates your reputation.

What if, instead of doing nothing, they replied to this review (second button in the middle)? What kind of message would it send to customers who were reviewing this page?

Chances are, it would reassure people that you care enough about your reputation to want to provide good service going forward.

Believe it or not, I find that most people are more forgiving than you give them credit for. I’ve seen the most vocal haters won over by a simple gesture. People just want feel listened to.

Most review sites allow for people to respond to reviews (Trip Advisor, Yelp, etc). Unfortunately, most companies just don’t take advantage of it, because they don’t value their online reputation.

Don’t be that guy – value your reputation, because once it goes it’s very hard to get back.

Thou Shalt Not Take Thy Social Media Accounts In Vain

Are you monitoring your social media accounts?

Over 50% of Twitter users engage with brands on Twitter – often this is for customer service. Not surprisingly, 30% of brands now have dedicated Twitter handles for customer service.

Social media matters, and how you assert yourself says a lot about your brand.

It’s also out in the open, for everyone to see and critique, forever:

Here’s an exchange that went down between a coffee shop owner and a customer.

Was this poorly handled? Absolutely.

Has this been cited on numerous articles about reputation management? Absolutely.

Will this be a part of the Twitter chronicles until the end of time? Absolutely.

Make sure you are monitoring your social media profiles and responding accordingly.

Thou Shalt Not Respond Poorly To Criticism

People rarely side with companies anymore. Let’s face it, general consumer sentiment for businesses just isn’t very high.

So if you see a poor review, although your gut reaction is to criticize it: stop.

It’s just going to make you look worse.

Remember, if the review isn’t justified then you shouldn’t need to overreact. Take the high road. Address it, absolutely, but do not overreact.

Here’s an example of an overreaction. Amy, the owner of a local pizza store, insults a customer who leaves her a bad review.

And the local newspaper picked it up:

“What can we all learn from this? Perhaps that it’s beyond a bad idea to accuse an unhappy customer of working for the competition, and then call him/her “ugly,” a “loser,” and a “moron.” Was Amy B. smoking crack for breakfast today?”

Truth be told, Joe’s review was obnoxious, but it doesn’t justify Amy’s outlandish response, filled with all the typical attributes of someone gone crazy online, including gratuitous use of capitalizations and punctuations.

If you take the time to read Amy’s review, the thing is, she actually has some very good points that counter Joe’s argument that the pizza was crummy.

But it’s the way that attacks him that makes it impossible to side with her.

In another world, she would have responded with all the same points, politely, without the attacks on his character, and offered him the chance to come in and try the pizza again, for free.

She would have scored major points and probably not ended up in the local paper labeled as a crazy maniac.

Thou Shalt Not Ignore Thy Customers In Need

I get it – negative reviews are hard to swallow.

And some of them are obnoxious, to say the least. People notoriously don’t have filters when they write things online.

But the truth is that the majority of them are simply customers who are ill-informed (assuming you run a good business, which you do). In fact, you could even view a lot of these as cries for help, people looking to be heard.

I’ve had plenty of instances where the customer was simply wrong and clarifying it actually won them over.

Here’s a recent exchange from NinjaOutreach where a website visitor emailed in and said they offered him a free gift but didn’t deliver.

It would have been easy to ignore this visitor (not even a customer, mind you), and in all likelihood, he would have just gone away.

But going the extra mile to try and satisfy him is likely going to help prevent a bad review in the future.

And if a review does come up, you now have evidence backing the fact that you made an attempt to remedy the situation.

Thou Shalt Not Neglect Thy Partner’s Reputations

We often forget that our reputation is heavily tied to those, with whom we do business. Perhaps we are not directly at fault, but if we are associating with a company with bad practices, we may find ourselves under fire.

McDonald’s has long been under fire for not setting appropriate standards for the organizations and farmers it sources its products from.

After years of fending off—or ignoring—critics, McDonald’s has begun working with them. Following pressure from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, McDonald’s used its influence to force egg suppliers to raise the living standards of hens and cease debeaking them. PETA has publicly lauded the company for its efforts.

Did they just say that PETA has publicly lauded McDonald’s?

In the eyes of McDonald’s it may not have been their job to make sure their partners were complying with appropriate standards, but when it comes to reputation, it’s everyone’s job.

Make sure you Google your partners to find out what they are up to, and encourage them to take responsibility for their reputation because yours is at stake as well.

Thou Shalt Claim All Available Profiles And Domain Names

So how do you fight against all of this?

The best way to take control of one’s reputation is to claim your online brand real estate, things like:

  • Your LinkedIn Profile
  • Your Twitter page
  • Your Google+ Profile (naturally!)
  • Your Facebook Profile
  • Your Blog articles
  • Your Amazon Profile
  • Your Pinterest page
  • Your YouTube page

These pages are virtually free to set up and you control the content on them, which is a huge advantage in making sure that reputation seekers find what you want them to find.

They also tend to rank at the top of searches, because social profiles have a lot of authority.

Thou Shalt Accept Responsibility When It Is Just

The truth is, sometimes you just screw up. The bigger and more well-known you are, the more likely it’s going to happen.

So what should you do when it happens? Ignore it?

Most definitely not.

A few years ago Nestlé received negative comments about their environmental practices on their Facebook Fan Page. They did not address them. Public outcry ensued, forcing the company to close their public page.

It’s not really fun to hate on a company that has already taken responsibility and apologize. It really just takes the wind out of any riot.

Be proactive and if need be, accept defeat – it will help prevent things from getting completely out of hand.

Thou Shalt Not Overlook Thy Employees

Just like partners, employees are a reflection of the organization as a whole.

In a small company, you should make an effort to stay on top of everyone’s image.

In a large company, it may be impractical to monitor everyone’s online reputation, but at a minimum, you can set policies for people to follow.

This is especially true for those people who are managing your social accounts.

Thou Shalt Proactively Create A Good Reputation

At the end of the day, there is no way to remove a bad review from the internet, unless the owner agrees to take it down (this is extremely rare). 

What you can do, however, is to drown it out with good reviews.

How do you do that?

  • Take control of your web properties, and build white hat links to them to increase their rankings.
  • Proactively ask customers, friends, and family to leave you good reviews on key sites like Yelp. Perfect timing for this is after a customer service win, or after an NPS survey, in which someone rated you highly.
  • Respond to all reviews about yourself on key review sites. Flag reviews that are overly disparaging or use lewd language. Often these go against the TOS of the sites and in some cases may result in it being taken down.
  • Offer discounts to people who have had bad experiences. This shouldn’t be portrayed as a bribe, more as an ask for a second chance.
Conclusion

Your online reputation matters. It’s worth defending.

One bad review can undermine months and years of hard work, but that’s only if you let it.

If you’re proactive in monitoring and responding to bad press, you’ll weather the storm.

The post The 10 Commandments Of Reputation Management appeared first on Guerrilla Agency.

Categories: Web Design

Top 5 Tools to Generate Blog Topic Ideas

Webitect - Thu, 12/26/2019 - 12:49

The Internet has come a long way as people are using it to connect with friends, family, and use it to find information online. It’s our most influential source of information and it’s critical for the business to be well represented online. This is why blogging is one of the best ways to connect with today’s market. If you aren’t blogging then you are missing out on traffic generation.

So now you want to start blogging…but just like many writers or content marketers the challenge is idea generation. If you are feeling like you have no ideas and wondering “What do I write about today?” You are not alone, many of us share the same feeling, however, there are lots of useful tools to help us generate ideas for blog posts. If you have trouble coming up with blog ideas, no worries, read on.

Content Strategy Helper Tool – Version 3

Website: http://builtvisible.com/content-strategy-helper/#gettingstarted

Starting Price: Free

This is an interesting tool for generating blog topic ideas. In a nutshell if you have a general idea of the topic you are thinking to write about, by entering a keyword, this tool can instantly scan the web for latest news and articles related to that keyword and then spits out all the latest topics found on the web from popular sites such as Twitter, Reddit, Google News, Yahoo Answers, etc. Let’s take a closer look and see exactly how this tool works and how it can be helpful for you.

The tool is based in a Google Sheets format, so you would need a Google account to be able to use it. The setup is fairly easy, just follow the link provided above, it includes all the instructions in order to get to it working.

Once you have everything set up, let’s generate some topic ideas here. Today I’m not quite sure what I want to blog about however, I do know I want to write something health-related. Let’s see what’s trending out there right now to help me come up with ideas. In the Search Query box, type ‘health’ and press enter to see what articles come up with that keyword.

We can see many columns now with major news sources from Google News (UK) and (US), Hacker News, Reddit, Digg, Youtube, ONS, Yougov, Data.gov, Google Scholar and numerous other ones. So that’s a great number of sources, you can scroll through the list and see if anything stands out to you that would spark an idea. For example, looking at the topics from Digg, you can see numerous articles about recent health topics, such as Psychedelics Not Bad For Mental Health or Health Myths About Cold Weather.

So as you can see there are lots of data and lots of topics. If you want to read more about the article, some of the sources have a direct link to the article, while others you can simply Google yourself by copying and pasting the exact article name.

These different articles can certainly give you many ideas for you own blog topic and understanding your basic objectives would help you to assess the information in this tool. When developing your ideas, you can bear in mind that changing the format of an existing story can be enough to create fresh buzz on the web. Just take a look at some topics posted on YouTube. A great thing is that this tool also provides you with some statistics. You can check out Viewcount of each topic that’s been recently found on YouTube.

This can indicate how popular that specific topic is. Spotting a successful topic can allow you to expand on it, why not provide an update on your blog with fresh data or research. If you can’t update the story, why not create a fresh angle or providing your own opinion on it. Just remember to keep an eye on what content is performing better on different networks.

Portents Content Idea Generator

Website: http://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker

Starting Price: Free

This idea generator tool is easy and simple. The great this about this is you don’t need to sign up, no logins…no usernames. Just like many other tools, it has a search box where you can enter your keyword. It also suggests not to capitalize on your keywords and use a singular version of your keyword for best results.

The good this about this tool is that it doesn’t create huge lists of information. The interface looks great with a simple fading black background. Once you enter a keyword, instantly a unique idea for a post will be generated. If you are not satisfied with the result, you can hit refresh and another idea will pop up instantly. So let’s take a look at what kind of title it can generate again for our beloved topic of ‘health’.

Some ideas could be silly, but you can play around and perhaps something will stand out.

Twitter

Website: https://twitter.com

Starting Price: Free

One of the most overlooked tools to generate blog topic ideas is actually Twitter. Even though it’s not an actual tool that was designed specifically to generate blog ideas, it’s a social network. However, people are always posting and discussing various ideas. You can run a Twitter search using your keyword proceeded by a hashtag to come up with a list of tweets containing that keyword. Probably the greatest thing about Twitter is that the conversation is the most up-to-date you can find on the web. So you can definitely see what’s trending right now and what is the hottest topic of discussion. A Twitter search for #health brings back tweets that mention this topic.

Quora

Website: http://www.quora.com

Starting Price: Free

A great way to generate blog ideas is to look beyond general tools and take a look at questions people want to know more information about. Quora can be a great resource for discovering these commonly asked questions. It does require the user to sign up. Creating an account is a bit of a hassle but you can get great results in terms of ideas. By entering a word or phrase into the Quora search box, you can see what questions users are asking related to that topic. After results are displayed, you can click on “Top Stories”, “Trending”, and “Questions” to get better results.  If we search for ‘health’ and click on Top Stories, here are some results that were generated by Quora related to that topic.

You can dig a little deeper by clicking on the specific result and reading more about it. Usually, a question is answered by many other users who are interested in the topic, so you can read some of them to see if any ideas will interest you.

The post Top 5 Tools to Generate Blog Topic Ideas appeared first on Guerrilla Agency.

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