Writing Content For Goldfish Attention Spans

Could your blog or page content be holding you back like a turtle stomping through peanut butter? Maybe you did great in English class in high school. Maybe you enlisted that one family member or friend who posts Facebook statuses that could be straight out of a Hemmingway novel. That’s all fine and good, but web content is its own monster when it comes to building strategy, and that strategy can be boiled down to simply catering to short attention spans. This marks the end of the attention-grabber title/intro, I will now jump straight into the first topic: 1. Start With An Attention-Grabber Title/Intro There have been multiple studies by advertisers done on the human attention span once you stick people in front of a keyboard, and they all came to a similar conclusion: the average person gives a page between 3-5 seconds before they decide whether or not to click the “back” button. So in that sense, it actually doesn’t matter how much research you do because if you can’t make someone interested enough to read it, then you’ve wasted your time. As much as we all love to mock the “clickbate-ish” titles (How Pickle Juice Could Save Your Crumbling Marriage, 5 Reasons Your Refrigerator Wants to Kill You In Your Sleep, The Shocking Truth You’ll Never Believe About Grass Clippings, etc), the sad reality is that they work. And if we’re all being honest, they even work on those of us that claim to hate them. It’s as simple as this: people […]

Foundations of SEO: A Quick Beginner’s Introduction

Although SEO is not an exact science, and there are plenty more factors that can affect the popularity of your website, it’s pretty well understood that you aren’t going to get far if you don’t have a few things in order. 1. Keywords Many people like to say that keywords aren’t as important anymore, or they should be used less to avoid penalization. I don’t really see it this way, it’s really that Google has changed the way it values keywords. In the early days of search engines, the trick was basically just to try to make sure that a few relevant keywords appeared as often as possible. If you sold coffee mugs, your homepage content might have looked like this: “Here at Coffee Mug Central, we have the best and biggest selection of coffee mugs for everyone who likes to drink coffee out of a mug because coffee mugs are the most essential part of the coffee process. Get sports team mugs, funny mugs, romantic mugs, or any other kind of coffee mug you can imagine because you can submit your own coffee mug design…” Ok it might not have been that bad, but you get the point. That kind of “keyword stuffing” doesn’t get you very far these days, in fact it’s seen as spammy and can severely damage your rankings. The Google algorithm has been developed to the point of being able to judge content as a whole, rather than just scanning every page for whatever words you typed […]

Americans More Concerned Than Ever About Online Privacy

From the unveiling of the NSA’s mass surveillance program, to the recent accusation that Facebook is politically biased when selecting relevant content for news feeds (not to mention the common knowledge that Zuckerberg is selling your personal information to advertisers), there have been dozens of major headlines causing quite a bit of controversy in the realm of online privacy. Polarizing views are streaming from all possible ends when it comes to how this affects citizens; some fear the idea of terrorists and criminal organizations having the ability to hide themselves, others have a hard time trusting governments and corporations to have access to personal information so easily. Many more couldn’t force themselves to care if they tried. But at the end of the day, real life consequences are sure to be as mundane as always. The media talking heads stir up a frenzy over this or that controversy, and it never really affects out everyday lives, or the state of the country as a whole. Right? In this case, not so much. In a shocking report from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) that surveyed 41,000 internet-using households across the country, it was revealed that almost half (45%) of Americans had so many concerns about their security and privacy online that it stopped them from conducting financial transactions and posting on social media. Survey takers were asked to name their primary security concerns, and were allowed to freely give as many answers as they pleased without being prompted with options. […]

Last Week in Tech

What went on in the wonderful world of technology last week? Here are some releases and events you might have missed: 1. Batteries That Might Outlive You That’s right. An exponentially growing number of devices rely on lithium ion batteries that do pretty well holding juice- for the first couple thousand charges, that is; we’ve all had that old iPod or laptop that will only turn on when plugged into its power chord. This is actually due to the lithium corroding the inside of the battery overtime, a problem that was solved by researchers at UC Irvine who tried a new method of using gold nanowires to store electricity. Additionally, an electrolyte gel was used rather than the traditional liquid in an attempt to create a battery that wasn’t as combustible or sensitive to temperature. The unintended result was a battery that was able to withstand 200,000 simulated charging/draining cycles and only lose 5% of its original charge.  Turns out that the two materials work in perfect harmony, the gel actually interacting with the metal oxide to prevent corrosion. Reginald Penner, author of the paper released regarding the discovery, continues saying, “[The gel] actually seems to make the metal oxide softer and more fracture-resistant. It increases the fracture toughness of this metal oxide that is doing the charge storage. 2. Flexible Cameras That Can Wrap Around Anything Already unofficially dubbed a “wallpaper camera,” scientists at Columbia University have created a flexible sheet comprised of hundreds of tiny adaptable lenses capable of producing a high-quality image […]

What You Might Not Know About the Encryption Debate

Encryption: if you pay attention to the political or technology news in the slightest, then you’re at least somewhat aware of this hot-button topic. This isn’t the first time that tech giants and intelligence agencies have disagreed, but it might be the first time we see a new law drafted because of it. A revised draft of a bill featuring bi-partisan support was submitted for review before going publicly to congress, but as is becoming normal lately, it was leaked to to the press pretty soon after. I mean why even bother trying to do things behind closed doors at this point? In short, an unlikely pairing of Sens. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] and Richard Burr [R-NC] has given rise to a piece of legislation designed with the sole purpose of keeping Americans safe, titled the Compliance with Court Orders Act 2016. The idea is that if there is a criminal investigation being conducted wherein key evidence is locked away in someone’s phone or computer, manufacturers will be required to assist law enforcement agencies by breaking into the device to retrieve the data. Feinstein elaborates in a quote from her press release on April 13: “Today, terrorists and criminals are increasingly using encryption to foil law enforcement efforts, even in the face of a court order. We need strong encryption to protect personal data, but we also need to know when terrorists are plotting to kill Americans.” A very reasonable notion, indeed. Fighting for the local front is Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who testified before […]

Attack of the Ad Blockers!

Controversy and opinionated noise abound in this new era of blocking advertisements on our favorite web pages. Everyone can at least somewhat relate with the desire to stop getting popups or those banner ads that are creepily specific to our recent browsing activities. And that random audio that starts playing from a video commercial that you can’t always see, and you spend a few minutes in frustration looking for the source before you finally give up and close the page? Or you find it, try to click the ‘X’, and end up accidentally going away from your article to the advertiser’s page? Ugh. But in spite of these terrible minor inconveniences, there is an anti-ad blocking movement that seems to be growing at the same pace as the ad blockers themselves; a recent study was released that attempted first to quantify the popularity of ad blockers, then to examine the ensuing financial damage lost from ad revenue. Here are some number highlights: Ad blocking in the U.S. grew by almost 50% in 2015, increasing to 48 million average monthly users by the second quarter alone; that’s 16% of the population. 2014 saw an estimated $5.8B lost in revenue. In 2015 that number rose to almost $11B and is expected to exceed $20B in 2016.  Over 60% of sites used by ad blockers are gaming, technology, and social media sites. As of today, this is the only comprehensive study of ad blocking trends. Interesting, as it was conducted, analyzed and published by PageFair (a company that […]

Feel Like Your Store Is Missing Out On The Holiday Rush?

You just might be, but luckily it’s never too late to improve. Ever since the dawn of the interwebz shopping experience, the holiday mayhem has seen a gradual decrease in brick-and-mortar revenues, contrasted by an increase in cyber sales. This year was no exception: Thanksgiving Day saw a 25% jump in online sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday together averaged 15% increases. But focusing on specific days has itself even become outdated—the Adobe Digital Index calculated $3 billion in sales on Monday, but a whopping $11 billion in sales from the whole weekend prior to. What does this all mean? It means shoppers as a whole are beginning to realize that they can find even better selection and better deals, all while not having to camp out in front of a store, freeze half to death, or even put pants on. The trap some web-based retailers may fall into is assuming that this makes the holiday season some sort of freebie spike in sales, so long as they offer some decent discounts or free shipping. Unfortunately, this is NOT the case. But why?

Beginner Tips for Advertising with Facebook

It wasn’t long before online retailers realized the advertising opportunities that the rise in social media brought about. Now Facebook offers multiple ad options for getting your store more exposure. There is one thing to keep in mind before you make any big commitments: FACEBOOK IS SOCIAL MEDIA. The hard truth is that Facebook ads do not usually lead directly towards boosts in sales. What everyone should be sure to remember is that Facebook users are in the social mindset rather than that of shopping. When you buy AdWords from Google, you’re tying your product to keywords that people are searching for with the intent of eventually purchasing something; on social media, people are there to just communicate and share information. So when designing your ad, bear in mind that it should be less focused on making a sale and more on spreading the word about your product. Social media and ecommerce experts agree that Facebook advertisements should serve two main purposes: Remarketing/retargeting your existing product in a new way Creating custom audiences based on the email addresses you receive from newsletter subscriptions and previous customers. This is somewhat due to the information that’s come out in the past year or two regarding Facebook’s often less-than-honest ad service. When ads aren’t specifically targeted, they often end up leading to your page largely being liked by people working for “click farms” in 3rd world countries. Essentially all this will do is cost you money by using up all of your paid clicks without […]

How Will the TPP Affect My Online Store?

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal? The TPP is a multi-national trade agreement between twelve countries that share borders with the Pacific Ocean; the list includes the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and Singapore. The details have officially been made public in the past couple days, and they seem more-or-less is line with what we were promised they would be: a general freeing of trade restrictions as a means of encouraging economic growth as a whole. So what does this mean for you as an online retailer? The TPP in its entirety can be found online, but the chapter on electronic commerce is what we’ll address here; essentially it allows you to operate in all partnered countries without having to have foreign brick-and-mortar locations. Until now some countries, Australia for example, required e-commerce operators to have local computer infrastructure in the economies in which they want to operate. So if you manufactured and shipped widgets from the US and you saw market potential in Sydney, you would have to set up overseas servers in the land down under before you got anything going. These kinds of restrictions made it harder for small, or even medium-sized business to reach their full potential in the global market due drastically increased overhead. Additionally, the TPP aims to remove trade tariffs on imports and exports, as well as ensure that other governments don’t discriminate against electronically transmitted services not sourced domestically. You as an entrepreneur have the potential to greatly expand your business for two simple reasons: International […]

Making Your Transition from Magento Go to Bigcommerce Simple

It is no secret that Magento Go is closing its doors in February 2015. When this news broke in July 2014, it forced many online merchants to find a new platform to host their stores. Thankfully, the eBay-owned shopping cart platform provided users with a solid recommendation for new hosting—Bigcommerce. Are you a Magento Go storeowner wondering what you should do from here on out? Transitioning your store from Magento Go to Bigcommerce does not have to be a hectic one. In fact, it can be incredibly simple—if handled appropriately. Here are a few steps to take to make the overall switchover as painless as possible. Magento Go to Bigcommerce: Where to Begin The first step in successfully transferring your site from Magento Go to Bigcommerce starts with a simple phone call. The friendly and knowledgeable team at Bigcommerce will be more than willing to help you setup your new account and take advantage of special offers available exclusively to those making this change. In addition, they can also assist you in transferring product details and customer files from the old platform to the new. (Tip: One important note to remember about this step is that Bigcommerce’s migration package does not include any template design files or previous orders.) Magento Go to Bigcommerce: Finding a Design Partner After you have done this, you will want to find a Bigcommerce design partner to work with. A design partner will help you match the layout of your existing site (or create a […]