I sometimes find it hard to believe we’re in the 14th year of the 21st century, but that’s what my calendar says and who am I to disagree?
A good many online retailers appear to harbor similar doubts. They enact this stubborn temporal denial by presenting customers with online stores that look like they photocopied a paper catalogue in 1998 and asked a developer to produce an online version of the same thing.
2014 isn’t particularly special in the grand scheme of things. Or at least I hope not — living in interesting times is said to be a curse. But 2014 is special in this respect at least: it’s the year that dozens of online retail businesses will fail. They will fail because they neglected to keep up with advances in technology and the expectations of their customers. Continue reading
Posted in Magento
As the weeks and months pass, it seems like the amount of information out there just keeps increasing and increasing. In just twenty-eight days, February generated an incredible amount of new content, some worthy of sharing and some not so much. With that in mind, we try to work through the clutter and find only the most relevant articles to share with you. These are the best ExpressionEngine, WordPress, and Magento posts from our shortest month. If you’d like more great content on a day-to-day basis, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Enjoy and let us know what you think in the comment section! Continue reading
I’m beginning to think that WordPress developers have a case of Medium envy. Every other new theme seems to take significant design cues from the blogging platform.
In many ways, that a good thing. As I’ve argued before, using a platform like Medium for publishing takes control away from the writer and puts it in the hands of the platform owner. But Medium is beautiful and offers a compelling experience for readers and writers alike. Creating a Medium-like experience on self-hosted WordPress gives writers the best of both worlds: ownership of the platform and content along with a publishing environment that includes the best of modern design. Continue reading
Many bloggers start out with an urge to write and publish without any clear idea of their options when it comes to content management systems. They choose a platform like Blogger, which is Google’s blog platform, and it works fine for them — for a while at least. After some time they frequently find themselves pushing against the limits of Blogger’s capabilities and wanting to take more control of the experience that they provide to their readers.
For bloggers who have outgrown Blogger, a self-hosted WordPress site is the perfect solution. In this article, I would like to look at some of the reasons that the move from Blogger to WordPress is the intelligent choice in many situations, and then show you just how easy it is to make the leap. Continue reading
We all have a favorite social media network. Some of us are Twitter fanatics, some love the Google+ interface, many are most familiar with Facebook, and the visually oriented like to share their discoveries on Pinterest. But when our aim is to promote a business and generate referrals that result in conversions, we have to be a bit more careful about where we invest our social media marketing efforts — it’s not enough to choose to our favorite network or the one with the largest absolute number of followers.
In a study published by the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, researchers examined the social media habits of millennials, a cohort that is expected to have a $2.3 trillion purchasing power by 2015.
As you might expect, Facebook was by far the most popular network for millennials, with 62% percent of Facebook users following brands, compared to 23% for Twitter and 11% for Pinterest. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my new endevor as a Magento merchant (Blog Post: A New Perspective). I wanted to follow that post up with a few more, discussing some things I’ve learned along the way. I hope this post, and others to come, help you and us. I realize there is a lot to learn when it comes to starting your first ecommerce store, so I just want to share my experience.
When it comes to accepting credit cards as a payment option there is no shortage of confusion and potential hurdles to make you dread the process. When I opened my business checking account, the bank manager was really pushing their in house credit card processor on me. The bank manager used an arsenal of buzzwords that confused and intimidated me. I politely declined and started a quest to understand this critical aspect of ecommerce. After a few weeks of research, this is my understanding of the industry lingo: Continue reading
Sentinote is a WordPress plugin that allows Evernote users to write and publish their posts and pages from within Evernote.
If your writing workflows are anything like mine, you make extensive use of Evernote. It’s by far the best tool I’ve found for collecting and organizing my notes, images, links, web pages, and other research materials. If I want to remember something for later, it goes straight into Evernote — which makes it available from my phone, my iPad, my laptop, and via the Evernote web interface if I’m not using my own devices. One of Evernote’s killer features is its powerful search, which even works with the text in images if you have a premium account. It also offers a reasonably good interface for writing.
Evernote’s place in my writing workflows is second in importance only to WordPress, which is where almost all of my work is published. As much as I love WordPress, I’m not a big fan of writing directly into TinyMCE — it’s a serviceable text editor, but it’s far from the optimal choice for someone who spends all day writing. There’s nothing more frustrating than to have a random glitch or page refresh cause the loss of a paragraph of work. Continue reading
Once upon a time, the email newsletter was an essential part of any blog. Now we have many different ways of being notified of new content, particularly social networks like Twitter. But, some still prefer to have content delivered to their inbox rather than trawling through social media and RSS feeds — a surprising number have no idea what an RSS feed is for and fewer still actually use them.
Email subscribers tend to be a blog’s most loyal audience members, with a significantly higher rate of interaction and sharing than those who just happen to catch sight of an article on Twitter. Additionally, email subscriptions open up a direct line of communication between an audience member and a site which is always useful — although you should never breach a user’s trust by using their email to spam them.
All-in-all, an email newsletter that notifies your audience of new content is a good thing and the effort involved in creating one is fairly minimal. I’m going to show you how to create a barebones newsletter using WordPress’ RSS feeds and MailChimp, an email marketing service that’s free if your site is generating fewer than 12,000 emails per month with less than 2,000 subscribers. Continue reading
In The Beginning
The Mobile Service Providers in America have been under a great deal of scrutiny recently. For several years, the thing setting one carrier apart from another was primarily the overall quality of service; initially how well you were covered, and then it became how fast your network could download. However, with something like coverage and speed, you can really only go so far before it no longer matters – there’s really only so much land to provide for, and eventually, download speeds reach a point where consumers are satisfied. So, what comes next? What sets one carrier apart from the others when things like coverage and speed are no longer a concern? Continue reading
We all know that the faster an eCommerce site is, the higher its conversion rate is likely to be. While that’s true in a general sense, in specific cases a law of diminishing returns operates. In an interesting article on the Yottaa blog, Alex Pinto considers the case of Etsy, the popular marketplace for handcrafted and vintage products.
Etsy was looking for techniques that would increase their conversion rate: they tried infinite scrolling operating under the assumption that putting more results in front of users would increase conversion rates and they tried to make sure that their search functionality was as fast as possible. Surprisingly, neither “optimization” produced any increase in conversions as measured by A/B testing against a control group.
In a further experiment, the Etsy team imposed an artificial slowdown on their search results of 200 milliseconds. Conventional wisdom would lead us to expect lower conversion rates, but, in fact, there was no change at all. Continue reading