Getting your Website Blacklisted is Simple Just Don’t Protect Your Customers & Online Brand.

Wondering how you got your website blacklisted? Or, is your website ranking low on google? To do this is pretty simple, just neglect your customers, online brand, and marketing efforts. If you are in this spot the fix is simple, do it better.

People will try to sell you fancy marketing advice but it really boils down to the fact that you are not satisfying your customers. Perhaps worse, Google & customers have lost all trust in you.

Imagine going to your favorite local restaurant. You order some delicious yummy tacos for a low price of $8.99.

A month later, you notice you are light 70 bucks. You discover that a worker wrote down your card number and charged an extra $70.00. You would be furious. You might not go back to that restaurant. Your favorite restaurant’s brand instantly ruined in your eyes.

Online Branding & reputation are important; probably more so for your site due to the amount of competition online. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc., once stated: “Brands are the solution, not the problem… brands are how you sort out the cesspool.” If the CEO of Google believes branding is important, you should too.

A good online brand is consistent. A good brand has integrity. A good brand protects its clients. A good brand goes above and beyond to make sure they keep their customer’s safe. A good online brand has trust.

Today our lives are digital, a simple script placed strategically on a site can lead to credit card information, social security, and home addresses stolen from your clients. Because of this, Google and other internet companies understand the importance of security.

Remember, Google is trying to keep people using Google. Searchers are more likely to click on their ads, and search results, knowing if they are safe. If the searcher’s information is stolen, they are more likely to try Bing next time. This is why Google has increasingly put emphasis on security in their search engine algorithm. So much so that if your site gets hacked, it is likely to get Blacklisted by Google! Why? Your brand broke trust just like your favorite restaurant!

Along with webite blacklisting, Google looks at many factors of a site to determine keyword ranking, some of which are security related, for example, whether or not your site has an SSL certificate to secure customer information. Security invokes trust. Trust generates sales. Don’t believe me, then why are there so many “security badges” on checkout pages.

Along with stealing information, hackers also try to take down sites using DDOS attacks. These attacks can take down your site for hours at a time. This is bad for reputation. Would your local restaurant have a good reputation if it was randomly closed throughout the week? Probably not. Just like local visitors, Google doesn’t like closed businesses either, nor do your visitors.

Online there is much more at stake; not only can a few bucks be stolen but your whole identity as well. The real scary fact is the job for hackers is becoming increasingly easier. Out of date sites and spaghetti code plugins are easy targets for bad guys.

Luckily you can prevent the bad guys from destroying your brand. Utilizing security solutions like Sucuri to monitor code, patch holes, and keep information secure not only protects your brand but your customers as well. Which if done consistently, with integrity, will generate immense rewards.

What 73 Technologists Wish They Had Learned in High School

The Backstory

I work for Bitwise Industries and Geekwise Academy, a technology education company in Fresno, California. For the past two years, we have partnered with Patino School of Entrepreneurship by providing custom courses and curriculum. The “E. School” is a completely free public “pathway” school through Fresno Unified School District. Patino is a different type of school, one I haven’t seen before.

High Schoolers begin to learn technology development skills (Javascript, PHP, SEO, SEM) and form business plans with other students. All of the classes are taught with a business and entrepreneurship lens. For example, in History, while learning about WWII, students might ask the question, “Yes he was evil but what leadership traits did Hitler utilize to come into power? How can we learn?” In Math, students are asked to find the ROI for a company. All classes are in preparation for their senior year.

Essentially the program breaks down like so:

  • Year One: Learn Entrepreneurship Traits
  • Year Two: Start Business Plans, MVP, and Pitch to Investors (real life SharkTank)
  • Year Three: Bootstrap it till you make it or die trying

Senior year is an incubator for their company. We ain’t talking about no fake companies either, like the high school projects we remember. They launch real freaking companies and make real freaking money, well at least that is the goal. Oh yeah, and they get to keep the profits. Imagine making money to pay for their college tuition while in high school. Freaking crazy.

This year, I have been co-leading the advanced online marketing and web development classes where Juniors begin to execute their plans. At the school the staff pushes experimentation, being okay with failure, ideation, pivoting, and pitching constantly.  But I wanted to know are we missing something? What are some lessons that other technologies and entrepreneurs wish they would have learned in high school? So that give me an idea, fire-up the old twitter machine and ask new followers a few questions.

What did I ask?

Through DM on Twitter, I sent hundreds of technologists and developers this message:

“Random question, I work with 70+ high school entrepreneurs. Do you have any life lessons / business advice / things you wish you would have learned in high school? I am always trying to get better and pass on inspiration.”

What happened next was remarkable.

My DM campaign got roughly a 16.67 engagement rate and participants delivered crazy insights. Most importantly it gave way to a lot of wonderful discussions. During our talks, I started to notice a few trends. Responses could be clumped into six different categories:

  • Younger: The wish that they would have started learning at a younger age
  • Network: The wish they would have learned to come better networkers or have built a better network
  • Movement: The wish they would have learned how to persevere and to continue moving forward
  • Finances: The wish they would have learned the importance of personal finances
  • Fear/Failure: Learn to overcome the fear of failure. Embracing failure as a learning opportunity.
  • Other: Other meaningful responses

So what were the results?

  • 10.6% of the respondents wish high school taught them more about personal finances.
  • 12.76% wish they had better networks or started creating one sooner in life.
  • 12.76% would have liked to learn how to stay motivated and continue pushing through hard times.
  • 17% admit that they wish they would have started sooner in life be it programming, or business development.
  • 23.4% wish they would have been able to fail more, to overcome the fear of failure, and to learn that “failure” isn’t bad.
  • 23.4% of the responses don’t fall into a direct category.

Out of the 73 respondents:

  • 53% were identified as “Developers”
  • 25% were identified as “Technologists”
  • 19% were identified as “Front-end Developers”
  • 1% were identified as “Back-end Developers”
  • 1% were identified as “Other”

Some of the notable DMS.

Like this not so scientific study? Please share this infographic 🙂

 

How to Use Filezilla to Launch a HTML Website

Okay, so now you have written a basic HTML/CSS site, and you want to launch. But, there is only one problem, you have no freaking clue how. Well luckily for you here is a tutorial titled “How to use Filezilla” that shows you how to launch a basic HTML / CSS site onto the interwebs.

There are two ways you can upload your site: FTP and SSH. FTP, or more specifically sFTP, is easier to explain so let’s start there.

Before we begin there are a few basic things you need:

  1. A website domain name
  2. A website host provider
  3. Your host provider login

Your hosting provider will be where you get these items:

  1. FTP host
  2. FTP username
  3. FTP password

All sites need a domain name and host provider. Beginners sometimes think that when you buy your domain name for $9.99 a year at a company like GoDaddy that you are done. Well…. not quite.  You need a hosting package too.

What is hosting? Hosting provides access to a computer (server) that is working 24 hours a day 365 days a year. You “host,” place, your files on this computer (server). The server allows the public to view your files through your domain name.

How does that work? Well, your domain name points to an IP address. IP addresses are like street locations for the internet. For example, milessebesta.com’s IP address is 192.123.456.789 is nearly the same thing as saying Bitwise Industries is located at 700 Van Ness Ave, Fresno, CA 93721.

It gets more and more complicated with DNS and NameServers. Blah blah blah. But I will give you the basic version. When starting out, buy the hosting package first. Why should you purchase the hosting package first? Well, 90% of hosting packages online provide a domain name for free if you host with their company. Only small local businesses don’t usually offer this package deal. Technically you can purchase your domain from a company like Godaddy.com and host at 1and1.com, but don’t do this. As a beginner, it is just more complications and headaches. If you purchase the hosting package and get a domain name with it for free, they will setup the DNS and NameServers correctly for you.

Now hosting, which hosting packages should you use?

First thing, unless you have a developer writing a fancy ASP.net application GET LINUX HOSTING. Hosting companies usually offer two types of basic hosting, Windows or Linux.

You want to choose Linux. Odds are you will eventually migrate to a CMS (Content Management System). Most, CMS systems run off PHP and MYSQL. Yes, you can run PHP and MYSQL on a Windows machine. However, most Linux servers run Apache. And blah blah blah technical stuff… boring… sleep. Linux, technically Apache, allows mod_rewrite. Mod_rewrite allows for pretty URLs on WordPress, which is good. You are lost, just trust me. Get Linux, it is cheaper and allows you to run more.

Note* if you are hosting a simple HTML site, or basic WordPress site, generally you can get away with the cheapest option. You can always upgrade 😉

Here are some of my suggested host providers:

1and1.com (I use this provider)
Hostgator.com
Rackspace.com (Really expensive but insanely wonderful support)
Godaddy.com

I bought hosting, now what?

Having been a web developer for 7+ years, I can tell you the most typical mistake client’s make. When you ask for their FTP information or SSH, they nearly always send the username and password to their host account.

Your login for your host provider is not the same information as your FTP information. The login allows you to get into a place where you create the FTP username and password!

So this is where it get’s tricky. I don’t know what host provider you decided to purchase. There are like a billion out there. But what you need to do is login and figure out how to create an FTP username and password. Most will do this automatically for you. Check the signup email they send fir this info first.

I would suggest Googling “Setting up FTP accounts at [enter host name here]”.

Most decent host providers have support documents that will walk you through this process.

In the end, you need to find, or create, three items:

  1. FTP host (which is a URL or IP address)
  2. FTP username
  3. FTP password

Once you have these items, we can connect to your site.

Finally the real question “How to use Filezilla to launch your website”.

You have your FTP information now we need to connect. To connect we need to download an FTP client. There are lots of different ones out there, some cost money, and some are free. I prefer the free ones. Specifically, I prefer FileZilla, it is open source and stable. The only downside is that it seems like there is always a freaking update.

So to upload your site, there are four steps: Install, Connect, Upload, Check

How to use Filezilla, Step 1: Install FileZilla

How do you install FileZilla?

  1. Go to https://filezilla-project.org/
  2. Click on the button “Download FileZilla Client”
  3. Download and Install
  4. Open up FileZilla

How to use Filezilla, Step 2: Connect via FTP

Now that you have Filezilla open you should see a screen like the one below.

There are two ways to connect: “quick connect” or using the site manager.

Connecting through “Quick Connect”

On the top bar, you should see “Host:,” “Username:,” and “Password.” Place in your FTP information. Don’t worry about port. Add in your Host, Username and Password previously provided by your hosting company. Click the big “Quickconnect” button.

If you are lucky, you will see a bunch of magic happen in the box directly below “Quickconnect” and files appear on the right-hand side where it says “Remote Site.”

Connecting through “Site manager”

The button on the top left allows you to store hundreds of FTP accounts. If you are managing multiple websites, you would want to configure the FTP information using “Site Manager.” Why? “Quick connect” only saves the login credentials for the last 10 FTP accounts you have connected via FileZilla.

Common errors and their meaning

If you see this:

Filezilla Login Error

Then you have the wrong password 🙁

If it is stuck on “Connecting to” then you see this:

Filezilla Connection Error

Your internet is either bad. OR the website is behind a firewall, and the connection is being blocked (this won’t happen with a standard host package). Generally, firewalls issues like this occur with a more advanced host provider.

For a majority of the errors you just need to make sure you entered the information correctly. I would recommend typing in the credentials. NOT copy and paste? Why? Well sometimes when you copy, you accidently grab an empty space before or after an item. FileZilla sees this space and thinks it is a part of the password, username, or host entry. This will cause your site to error.

How to Use FileZilla, Step 3: Upload Your Files

We are almost done! Now we just need to upload your site’s files.

If everything connects, you should see something like the image below. Notice that files loaded under the “remote server” side. You should see “folder” icons. You want to find one that says public_html, or www, or something that sounds website-ish. Double-click on the file to open it.

how to use filezilla

Now find your web files on your desktop. Drag and Drop the files into the website-ish sounding folder. Once this happens, you should see a “Que” pop-up in the bottom of the screen.

Once everything is loaded there should be nothing left in the “Que”.

Final Step Test!

The final step is simple, just load your website page. If it works yay, if not, sorry?

 

Website vs Web Application. Let’s Settle It!

Website vs Web Application

Websites, mobile applications, web applications, native applications, so many different buzzwords. What do they all mean? It can all be so confusing. Do I need a website or a web application? Which leads to the question, what is a website and what is a web application? I wrote this article website vs web application to hopefully shed some light on these questions.

Website vs Web Application: The Website

Webster defines “website” as the following:

A group of World Wide Web pages usually containing hyperlinks to each other and made available online by an individual, company, educational institution, government, or organization

Okay, that is kinda bland. A website is basically any site accessible on the internet. The most common website types are brochure, e-commerce, social media, blog, etc… These are all sub-categories of a “website”. Yeah, I said it, basically all sites on the Internet are websites… start yelling. Here are the most common: brochure, e-commerce, news, and social.

A brochure website: Imagine a paper brochure in digital form. Brochure websites are often very small. They serve as marketing material for the company. A fancy digital pamphlet. Some of these sites are run off a web application called content management systems (CMS). All content management systems are web applications.

An E-commerce Website: An online shopping cart system. These sites are small to large and size. E-commerce stores are run off a CMS web application.

A News Website: These are sites where the primary function is to provide articles and recent information to the client. These sites are built on a CMS system, like a vast majority of the brochure sites.

Social Media / Social Website: Online communities and forums. These sites range in size and are run off web-based applications.

Website vs Web Application: The Applications

Today a vast majority of websites technically run on web applications. You might be interacting with a web application and not even know it. WordPress is technically a web application. Magento, Joomla, Drupal, the same. SugarCRM, webmail, those are web applications.

Web applications allow for users to interact with the content (even if it is just the admin who can edit content). These are the opposite of what we call a “static website”. A static website is not an application. A static website requires server-side access to edit the content and code, these are the old school HTML & CSS only websites where you can’t edit anything without FTP or SSH.

However, it gets a bit more complicated and people will complain that I said WordPress is a web application.

Website vs Web Application: The Complication

Developers might yell that basic sites which run on WordPress are websites. Yeah, a keyword that they forget to pay attention to is “on” which implies a platform. WordPress is built on a content management system. Systems sound more like an application to me. Despite all of this, they have a valid point: context.

When talking about websites and applications it is all about the context. In this sense, when talking to a developer, we must think about the end user’s perspective. Is the majority of users interacting with the site in a way that modifies the information? If yes, it is an application. If no, it is a website.

With context in mind, here are the definitions boiled down to user intent:

The primary function of a website is to be informational. With this definition, any news, blog, or brochure site is a “website”. However, I would rebuttal that all applications provide information, that is their primary function as well.

The primary function of a web application is for the users to perform specific, interactive action. With this definition e-commerce stores, social media sites, CRM (Customer Relationship Management).

That is best I can explain the website vs web application debate. Us developers like to make things really really complicated; job security you know?

If you disagree with me about my definitions then comment below! Let’s discuss!

Want that tech job? Dominate Your SERP.

As a developer, you probably love the interwebs, but I hope you recognize that recruiters are increasingly using it as a tool. A tool to determine if you are a right fit for their company. Some recruiters admit your resume is just one data point. It is becoming more of a practice to search candidates online. Why? They are looking at personality, are you who you say you are? Will you represent the brand? Work well with the other team members? Do you fit the culture? Will you be a brand advocate? All of these items are increasingly important. But most importantly, it is a quick way to see if there are any crazy red flags.

Should you worry about that picture you took in college? Ehhh depending on the company. Some HR specialists claim it is decreasingly less important. Why? Everyone has a past. People are posting so much now, do they really want to spend the time to go down that rabbit hole? Should you try to be semi-presentable? Yes. But, while working on your Klout, you should dominate your SERP too.

As monster.com reports, “A 2006 survey of 100 executive recruiters by job search and recruiting network ExecuNet found that 77 percent use search engines to learn about candidates. Of those researching candidates online, 35 percent eliminated a candidate from consideration based on information they uncovered online — up from 26 percent in 2005. ExecuNet predicts that the number of job seekers prejudged or eliminated due to this “digital dirt” will climb.”

What is SERP?

SERP means Search Engine Results page.  It’s the listings you see on Google or Bing when doing keyword research. It is a powerful, powerful tool. We all know that. But, you need to own it. Why? Because today, you are your brand.

I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man! – Jay-Z

In the internet era, we are all famous, and the Google paparazzi is trying to document our next move. We need to start taking lessons from celebrities. We are our brand and it is becoming increasingly important to monitor your brand.

In incognito mode, if I search my name what comes up? Why should I care? Because, if recruiters are looking than it better be presentable. In incognito search your name, for example “First Name + Last Name + Location”. Or “First Name + Last Name + Current Company”. Think of different ways someone might find you online. What do you see? Is it good or bad?

Which leads to the question, “How do you own your SERP?”

The basic answer, be active, be a good person, be noteworthy, and contribute. I know that answer is pretty vague. If you are an SEO master you know what to do. For the rest of us, here are three methods that will hopefully help.

Contribute to Open Source

Find an open source group and help. Be it WordPress, a GitHub Repo, StackOverflow, find an community and start contributing. Often these profile links will show up on a SERP. Which is really really good. Why? Because contributing to open source enhances lots of great skills that companies are looking for in their candidates. But here is the kicker, your name full needs to be your profile OR your name needs to be in the profile signature.

AGAIN, you need your name someplace in the public profile. Why? Because the magic Google machine needs to know.

Not only could it help out when searching for your name it also has wonderful advantages for your personal growth. I would recommend contributing to open source communities revolving around the profession you want. Meaning, if I want to be a front end developer, writing some cool codepens or helping some JS libraries might be beneficial. If I want to be a WordPress developer, maybe you should spend some time helping out people on WordPress.org? I don’t think this is too crazy, others seem to agree:

For developers, juniors in particular, contributing to open source can give you the edge you need to land that first job. Why? again it will help you refine skills that are valuable to companies. Here are some potential benefits:

Forums – Dedicating time to an online forum shows that you care about people, are patient, and dedicated. It displays that you can communicate effectively online. Finally, that you know how to problem solve and troubleshoot dirty code. These are great qualities for remote work and online support teams.

Open Source projects found on GitHub – Spending time committing to a repo usually drastically increases your coding abilities. Why? You are under the scrutiny of others. It forces you to have very clean and well documented code. At the very least, these contributions display you know how to use git.

Another major component we need to remember is that the Internet is increasing becoming dependant on open source projects. Smart companies know that the survival of their company is also dependant on the health of these projects. Could you imagine how many dev shops would be in trouble if NPM, Linux, or WordPress decided to shut down tomorrow? Eeeeep…

As Bet Hannon elegantly puts:

Don’t be a leech, contribute to something.

Lead a local Meet-up or Talk at One

Meetup.com has some decent ranking and can show up when Googling your name.  I recommend finding a local meet-up you like. Something you are interested in or have expertise. Start a meet-up, attend one, and if you can guest speak at a few.

Why is this good? Again, it shows you care about a community and culture, you have knowledge in a field, you like trying new things, and that you might be somewhat social.

Write Articles

Again, contribute. Find a site that you enjoy that allows guest posting. Contribute. Write about items that matter to you. Contribute, contribute, contribute. But do it on an external site. Why from a site other than your own? Because generally Google will only show a few listings per source (unless you conduct a site: search). Meaning, not all of the listings will come from “yournamehere.com”. Having content with your name on it from another source is good, also good for SEO.

Bonus: Have a Personal Website

This one seems a bit obvious but I wanted to throw it in there. Have a personal website, if the domain name isn’t your name. Make sure your name appears on your about or contact pages. These pages should also have your name in the title tag.

Tips for the Classic Front End Developer Code Challenge

Lots of website development shops that focus on CMS development: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, etc… offer a “classic” test for frontend developers. Even SASS companies will sometimes provide this test.

What is the test? Take a graphic file and “htmlize” it.

Whether or not code test provides a decent understanding of the candidate’s abilities is up to debate.  Personally, I believe hard-skills can be trained and perfected, soft skills and problem-solving abilities are harder to obtain. But, what do I know?

Good or bad, a vast majority of development shops give this test with various degrees of difference. So because of that, here are some tips to help you break through the first round and get that in person interview.

Tip 1: Find your workflow and then practice, practice, practice

As a junior developer, you might not be as fast as others, so you need to practice. It is just like sports, if you want to hit the baseball, you have to take lots and lots of cuts off the hitting tee. (For those who don’t sports ball, you can see what a baseball tee is by clicking here). So practice! Most companies give two test versions for front end junior developer positions:

Number 1: Take this PSD / Sketch/graphic file and htmlize it within an hour

Number 2: Take these PSD / Sketch files / graphic files and htmlize it as fast as you can

So how do you practice? Go to a site like this: http://freebiesbug.com/psd-freebies/website-template/ and download a PSD. Then set a timer for an hour and htmlize as quickly as you can.  Then the next day do it again, then the next day do it again, repeat over and over using different graphic files.

Helpful Reads.

But here is the secret. When your time is up, reflect and go over your code. What did you spend too much time on? Are there patterns that you can use? Can you recycle coding techniques/frameworks from project to project?  THINK ABOUT IT.
You also need to read and find resources. Research how to write clean code fast. Discover! Because if you keep practicing the wrong techniques you are going to form bad habits. Follow sites like smashing magazine. Read books likeWeb Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery Set by Jon Duckett.

Again, step one HTMLize. Step two think! Look for ways to speed up your workflow. Create a naming convention. Use tools like Avocode. Find an IDE you like. Read a lot. It is all practice.

Tip 2: Look at the Freaking Job Description

I feel like this is a no-brainer but look at the freaking job description. Then apply the skills they are looking for into your code tests, unless they tell you not to! What do I mean? If the description says “Has knowledge in LESS and SASS”.  Guess what, you better write some LESS or SASS.

If the front end development description has “GitHub”, then maybe you should… just maybe… you should make some commits.  Maybe… just maybe… you should give them the GitHub repo.

If the description has the word “bootstrap,” then maybe you should use bootstrap….

Get the idea?

Tip 3: Ask Clarifying Questions

If you need to ask questions, then do it! For example, if  you are afraid of just jumping into SASS or SCSS for the test. Ask them, “Can I use SCSS on this code test? I ask because SCSS is in my regular workflow, but I want to make sure it is okay.” They will probably be impressed if you ask.

Tip 4: Write Clean Code

Clean code is pretty evident and where the practice and reflection comes out. Write clean code. Use comments correctly. But, I encourage you to take this a step further! If it is a WordPress development shop, then look at the WordPress Codex.  Follow WordPress’s recommendations, same with other systems.  If you want to take it to an extreme, read some of the HTML/CSS where you are applying, try to model their naming convention.

Tip 5: Have a Naming Convention

Having a naming convention affirms the point “Write Clean Code.” Writing re-usable CSS is harder than it seems. CSS becomes bloated quickly. There are tons of articles about different methodologies for naming.  I prefer BEM (Block Element Modifier) or SMACSS.

Don’t just use a naming convention for CSS do it for image assets as well. Example, if you have multiple SVG icons don’t name them twitter.svg and facebook.svg (unless you decide to have a subfolder called icons) make it something like icon-twitter.svg and icon-facebook.svg.

Tip 6: Turn the Test in on Time, or Early.

Tip 6 is a no brainer, don’t miss your deadline! If you do, turn it in and apologize. You probably won’t get the job, but you should try to save your good name. Your name is your brand.

Tip 7: Don’t Stress

If you don’t get the second interview don’t stress, it wasn’t the job for you. You will get the next one!

6 Powerhouse Resources for Conversion Rate Optimization Tips

Having the latest conversion rate optimization tips can skyrocket your business to the next level. In landing page optimization and conversion rate optimization, staying up to date gives you a marvelous edge on your competition. I’m Miles Sebesta, a professional online marketer. I teach this growth hacker marketing to students in Fresno, California at Geekwise Academy.  I have been doing online marketing, growth hacking, conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization and other “buzz words” for many years.  To get you “self-starters” on the right track, I have put together a list of resources that provide powerful conversion rate optimization tips. The list consists of books and a rockstar web. I wanted to create the list of professionally recommended resources to help start the conversation.

Today if your company isn’t doing some conversion rate optimization, you are behind the trend.  Conversion rate optimization can save your ROI (Return on Investment), especially on Paid Per Click (PPC) Campaigns. Proper conversion rate optimization is hard to obtain.  Why? no one wants to give away their secret sauce. Companies spend lots of money, time, and frankly commit many mistakes to come up with a strategy that works. Most startups don’t have the luxury of spending frivolous cash. So that is why I created this resource list.

Enough nonsense, now start the list.

Number 1: GoodUI.org by Jakub Linowski

Quick Breakdown: Current, Inspiration, and Data Driven. Slight Con, this is definitely for those who are more experienced.

Go to GoodUI.org right now! It is freaking fantastic. To be honest, this resources is for the more experienced CRO expert.

GoodUI.org provides great inspiration and data. The site is jam packed with conversion rate optimization tips. The creators of this tremendous site have a single goal: increase conversions through testing and proof. They are absolute CRO nerds and provide an insane amount of rich conversion rate optimization tips. The site encourages you to share your test with the community. Along with the site, the creators give lots of wonderful FREE content on their youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/JakubLinowski.

The content is so powerful it will make you data geeks crave more. So they created an array of excellent products to help increase conversions:

BetterUI, a course to improve your interface design
DataStories, a breakdown of conversion theories along with numbers and analysis. (These are great to show you the correct way to set-up an experiment)
Fastforward, their best templates for pages that convert
Evidence, FREE overview of past tests and results
BetterData, FREE tips on how to implement a test correctly

Number 2: Evil By Design by Chris Nodder

Quick Breakdown: Extremely fun to read and goes beyond the web page.

Conversion Rate Optimization Tips - Evil By DesignTo professionals, this might be a strange book to put as number two but don’t run away yet hear me out.  If you are looking for conversion rate optimization tips only stemming from web site properties than this book isn’t for you. This book is very holistic, focusing on developing a product that converts from the ground up (online and offline). It breaks down the whole cycle, from initial product development, the top of the sales funnels then to ultimate conversion. Nodder tears apart conversion in a  unique manner looking through the lens of the 7 deadly sins.

Evil by Design tells you how to leverage the 7 deadly sins for conversion rate optimization. Nooder dissects customer experiences and shows you the science and numbers behind some very useful mind hacks.

Buy Evil By Design on Amazon.com

Number 3: Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions by Tim Ash, Rich Page, and Maura Ginty

Landing Page Optimization BookQuick Breakdown: HUGE book, 440+ pages big, goes over all aspects of CRO, but slightly dated in some respects. If you can only buy one book, this is it.

Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions is the new testament for CRO. It is full of conversion rate optimization tips. This book is for all levels of professionals, from beginners to experts. Although this book was published in 2012, it provides alot of good theory.

Landing Page Optimization goes over theory, breakdowns, and necessary tools. Some of the designs and breakdowns in this book are a bit dated, due to the speed of the internet.  Although dated, it provides a rich history of the roots of CRO. If you apply 90% of the learnings on in today’s setting, you will still be set-up for success.

Purchase this book on Amazon.com

Number 4: Convert! Designing Web Sites to Increase Traffic and Conversion by Ben Hunt

Convert! a conversion rate optimization resourceQuick Breakdown: Great for beginners and goes over the full sales funnel. It marries search engine optimization with conversion rate optimization. Best for those looking for “Free” traffic, not PPC (Pay Per Clicks).

Convert! is two books jammed into one. The first part “Designing for Traffic” quickly goes over search engine optimization fundamentals, how to expand your reach and get traffic, as well as being aware of your ladder (or sales funnel). While it isn’t entirely an search engine optimization book, it does go into the basics rather decently. I mean really if you think about it, if there isn’t any traffic who cares right!?

The second portion is “Designing for Conversion.” Now that we have driven users, how what? Convert! discusses getting user attention, keeping them engaged, and crafting a strong call to action. Overall this book is fantastic for small businesses looking to learn the basics of conversion rate optimization AND search engine optimization.

Buy Convert! on Amazon.com

Tie Number 5 and 6: Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug and Seductive Interaction Design by Stephan Anderson

Quick Breakdown: Best for beginners, UX/UI focused, and fast/easy to read. Wonderful for designers and visual learners.

Seductive Interaction Design and Don’t Make Me Think are geared specifically towards usability. Both authors provide decent conversion rate optimization tips. Although to be frank both books are geared more towards beginners. I think a lot of professionals will find the studies and insights just reinforce lessons they already know. But for those starting out both books have strong examples and images to give insight and theory. These two books are the prettiest and great for visual learners.

Get Seductive Interaction Design and Don’t Make Me Think on Amazon.com

Book: Don't Make Me Think

Seductive Interaction Design

That is my list of “6 Powerhouse Resources for Conversion Rate Optimization Tips”

If you have any questions, or disagree, please voice your opinion in the comments below!

Magento SEO Tip Enable Canonical

Do you have a Magento web site that was ranking high on the search engines?  Has that traffic dropped in the past few months?  Well, that might be due to duplicate content.  Google is on a vendetta against weak content.  Google views duplicate content as weak content. This could be a major issue on your Magento site, without you even knowing.

Magento is a powerful platform and great tool for selling products online. Most developers would agree that Magento is very time intensive.  However, it is very easy to set-up Magento incorrectly for Search Engine Optimization. Unfortunately, sometimes development firms tend to overlook a few simple tweaks that can be made to provide better search engine optimization for your Magento site.  If set-up incorrectly, your site will produce tons of duplicate content which is a big no-no when it comes to SEO.

There are many great how-to guides, when it comes to setting up your Magento store for search engine optimization.  If you are setting up a Magento store for the first time, I would suggest reading this article entitled “12 Tips for Optimizing SEO on Your Magento E-Commerce Site”. But what happens if you already have a Magento web site and it is set-up incorrectly?  How do you fix your duplicate content issue?  Well I will tell you….

Step 1 for reducing the duplicate content on your Magento store, discover your content.

The first step is to verify that their is an issue.  It is important that we don’t change any settings on your site, if their isn’t an issue. So I will show you some techniques to determine if you have duplicate content.  The quickest way to determine if you have duplicate content is to navigate through your site.  While navigating around pay attention to your urls.

You might start noticing that your site has multiple pages with the same content.  This structure generally looks something like this:

www.domain.com/category/subcategory/product-name.html
www.domain.com/category-2/subcategory/product-name.html
www.domain.com/category/product-name.htmlwww.domain.com/category-2/product-name.html
www.domain.com/product-name.html

You will see similar structures, like the one presented above if you have products that are found in multiple categories.  If your settings are not correct then you run the risk of having THOUSANDS of duplicate content Magento pages.  Luckily for us, Magento makes this easy to fix!

Step 2 for reducing duplicate content, enable “Canonical Link Meta Tag”.

The Magento developers had this issue in mind when they created the system. They make it easy for us to fix 90% of this issue.  All you have to do is login to your Magento backend and go to System > Configuration > Catalog > Search Engine Optimizations.

On this panel you will see “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Categories” and “Use Canonical Link Meta Tag For Products”, they are probably set to “No”.  Switch them to “Yes” and save.  Congratulations, you just fixed 90% of the issues!

What did you just do?  Well, you added a tag to your pages called rel=”canonical”.  The system update tells Magento to add the canonical tag to your products.  The rel=”canonical” will tell Google that you have one original page and multiple duplicate pages.  It does this by adding the canonical tag wb

 

 

 

7 Tips to Get Real Twitter Followers, Real Quick

Gaining real Twitter followers organically is hard. So hard that this is why some growth hacker experts will suggest buying your first few thousand. But, I don’t think that is very fun also it is shady. I believe it is better to have an organic and natural following rather than one you paid five bucks on Fiverr to make.

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Two Geeks Teaching – Brand Mapping

View the Brand Map Herezies.

What the heck is a Brand Map?

The version of the brand map we are working with shown to us from Bertz Rosa. It is a hybrid version of the lean module start-up geared towards designers and creatives. It is a template to learn more about client product’s and expectations for your campaign or website build.
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