Site Studio https://sitestud.io WordPress Website Design Sat, 15 Dec 2018 16:19:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.1 116081650 Need a WordPress Affiliate Program Plugin? You Have 5 Options https://sitestud.io/wordpress-affiliate-program-plugin/ https://sitestud.io/wordpress-affiliate-program-plugin/#comments Sat, 01 Jul 2017 11:52:28 +0000 https://sitestud.io/?p=9191 You had no options for a WordPress affiliate program plugin

The same way email marketing and membership management in the early days. Finding a WordPress affiliate program plugin was impossible. They started showing up around the same time as the WordPress membership plugins.

Today we have 5 options for managing an affiliate program via WordPress. That said when it comes to choosing the best WordPress affiliate program plugin. Things can get a little tricky.

Things like compatibility, integrations, and cost all need consideration. If you have a membership site and using one of the many WordPress membership plugins out there.

Keep in mind that some of them are also created by the same people who create the affiliate plugins.
So you a WordPress affiliate program plugin, huh? Well let's not waste anymore, these are your 5 best options.

1. WP Affiliate Platform

When it came to finding a WordPress affiliate program plugin back in early days of WordPress. WP Affiliate Platform was the first to offer a professional plugin.
Brought to you by Tips and Tricks HQ.
The creators of several popular plugins including WP eStore & WP eMember.
Fast-forward almost 8 years later…
Now one of the most popular if not the most popular WordPress affiliate program plugin.
From the very beginning, it offered features you could only find 3rd party services. You get the typical features you've come to expect… Plus integrations with other popular WordPress plugins and 3rd party services.

Their feature list is no joke

Let's start with standard features:

  • Banners and links management for your affiliates to use.
  • No limits on a number of affiliates that can sign up.
  • Recurring commissions for subscription payments via PayPal. Useful if you want to pay affiliates an ongoing commission subscription products.
  • Individual affiliate commissions – You can set different commission levels for different affiliates. Beneficial when you want to pay top performing affiliates a different rate.
  • Easy to add and delete affiliates.
  •  View your affiliate details, commission level, account status etc.
  • Manual and automatic option to approve each affiliate account.
  • Standalone affiliate or theme based affiliate area.
  • Leaderboard for affiliates.
  •  Offer signup bonus to affiliates.
  • Pay your affiliates using PayPal Mass Payment in one go or pay them via bank transfer or check.
  • And the list goes on and on and on…

The reporting is awesome:

  • Real-time reporting of clicks and sales
  • See the top referrers by clicks
  • See the top referrers by commission amount
  • Custom affiliate panel
  • Search affiliate or commissions from the admin dashboard
  • Send email notification to you and your affiliate when someone receives a commission
  • Add transaction specific details in the commission notification email
  • Export all your affiliate commission data into a CSV file

Advanced Integrations

WP Affiliate Platform comes with a full API that allows for integration all sorts of 3rd party tools.

Out of the box, the plugin is compatible all the major eCommerce plugins. Including WooCommerce, Wp-eCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads and their own eStore plugin.

Other integrations include ProSites, E-Junkie, cForms, Gravity Forms, and Contact Form 7. Membership plugins integrations include WishList Member and S2Member.

WP Affiliate Platform all integrates with popular autoresponders. These include MailChimp, AWeber, GetResponse, Madmimi, and Infusionsoft. It's also compatible with the popular MailPoet plugin.

Apart from a ton of features, Tips and Tricks HQ provides awesome and timely support.

Recommendation: Best choice

Get WP Affiliate Platform

2. AffiliateWP

WordPress affiliate program plugin

Shortly after the release of WP Affiliate Platform, was the arrival of AffiliateWP.

The plugin is from the same creators of Easy Digital Downloads and Restrict Content Pro. When AffiliateWP first got on the scene, it was less that spectacular.
In fact, it wasn't very good at all and didn't stack up against WP Affiliate at all. The plugin was originally built to work with Easy Digital Downloads.
Today, things are very different.
AffiliateWP is arguably the most advanced WordPress affiliate program plugin available.

Features

The plugin has over 20+ integrations right out the box. Some of them include Formidable Forms, Gravity Forms, MemberPress, and s2Member.
You can see some of the other integrations below.
Other features include:

  • Easy setup
  • Accurate affiliate tracking
  • Complete integration
  • Real-time reporting
  • Unlimited Affiliates
  • Unlimited creatives
  • Affiliate coupon tracking
  • Automatic affiliate creation
  • Manual affiliate approval
  • Affiliate area
  • Referral link generator
  • Custom emails
  • Set cookies expire date
  • REST API
  • WP-CPI integrations

The one downside to this plugin would be the pricing. The basic version costs $99 and the most premium version is $499.

Wow, that's a huge bump in pricing for a tool with similar features as WP Affiliate Platform which only costs $49.95.

I dislike the fact that I have to pay $499 to have access to all the Pro add-ons. That was the deal breaker for me.

If the price isn't a deal breaker for you then this is a good choice. The support is nothing short of impeccable. It's the same level of support they provide with their other plugins.

Recommendation: Good choice

Get Affiliate WP

3. Affiliate Royale

WordPress affiliate program plugin

Like others on the list of WordPress affiliate program plugins.  Affiliate Royale was also created for another popular plugin, which was MemberPress. This is the plugin I use to power my music & entertainment site Mixtape TV.

Affiliate Royale isn't anywhere near as feature filled as the other 2 on the list. This isn't a bad thing.
The simplicity may be exactly what you need. A WordPress affiliate program that offers straightforward features.
Features include:

See the screenshots below.


The standard version of the plugin costs $85, the unlimited version is $165. An added benefit of Affiliate Royale is if you buy MemberPress, you get Affiliate Royale for free. Cool right?
They're the only ones to offer that.
If your plan is to run a membership site, well now you can have an affiliate program plugin right of the box… And it will be 100% compatible.
If you're looking for simple, easy WordPress affiliate program management. Affiliate Royale is worth a shot.
Recommendation: Good choice
Get Affiliate Royale

3. WordPress Affiliate Manager

WordPress affiliate program plugin

In comparison to other plugins on the list, WP Affiliate Manager is a newcomer.

Even so, this WordPress affiliate program plugin stands toe to toe with the others.
The plugin integrates with a long list of eCommerce and membership plugins.

You also get all the usual features:

  • Affiliates portal
  • Automated system
  • Real time tracking
  • Unlimited Affiliates
  • Flat Rate or percentage based commissions
  • Shortcodes
  • Banner and text ad area
  • Customizable affiliate registration
  • Customizable emails
  • Pay affiliates by check or PayPal

One of the standout benefits of WP Affiliate Manager interfaces for affiliates. It's responsive and styled to work well on mobile devices.
This is useful being that mobile usage continues to go up as desktop dwindles.
It matches up with WP Affiliate Platform as far as pricing goes. Starting at $39 for the single site option or $97 for the unlimited version. There is also a free edition but it lacks some of the features listed above.
Recommendation: Good choice
Get WP Affiliate Manager

4. WordPress Referral

This plugin is also another new player on the block, but it's already making a name for itself.


Like all the others, they have the expected features:

  • Real-time reporting
  • Real-time email notifications for affiliates
  • Option to pay your affiliates with PayPal MassPay (mass payments)
  • Unlimited referrals, unlimited affiliates
  • Statistics (per month, per user)
  • Custom registration URL option (new)
  • Built-in shortcodes (for referral links, referral banners, and Facebook referral Send & Share)

WordPress Referral has one unique feature that none of the others on this has. It comes with a free Android App where affiliates can check their stats from their device.


Another interesting feature is a social media share function. It gives affiliate the ability to share their referral link to social networks.
Social networks include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
The plugin also beats all others on the list in pricing coming in at only $20.
The plugin is being sold on the CodeCanyon, which I'm not a big fan of but they do have a few quality products there. It has sold a total of 737 copies to date.
The downside, the plugin hasn't been since June 2015, which was 2 years ago.
That's a deal breaker in my opinion.
Recommendation: Poor choice
Get WordPress Referral

5. Magic Affiliate

WordPress affiliate program plugin

The plugin shares the same exact scenario as Affiliate Royale. It was also built by the creators of a membership plugin, called MagicMembers.

As far as features go, I'd say both MemberPress and Magic MemberMembers are pretty similar.
It's integrated with WooCommerce, WP e-Commerce, and Magic members out of the box.
Autoresponder integrations include AWeber, GetResponse, Constant Contact, iContact, and MailChimp.

Other typical features include:

  • Real time reporting
  • Unlimited Affiliates
  • Masspay affiliates with PayPal
  • Recurring commissions
  • Optional sign-up bonuses

You also get an icon set of over 300 icons, as well as a free banner ads set.
The standard version of the plugin costs $79, the unlimited version is $189.
Additionally, you also get a 10% discount for Magic Members.
The thing that separates MemberPress and Magic Members the most is their design. It's up to you which interface you prefer working in for yourself and your affiliates.
The thing that concerns me the most is the support. They are lacking in that department. Whenever I use to reach out to MemberPress and Affiliate Royale support. The response time was usually less than 10 hours and I could contact the developer directly.
Things are much slower with Magic Affiliate, it usually takes 24 to 48 hours for a response. There also isn't much of a community for this plugin around the web.
I give them a plus for having a bunch of support videos but other than that, support is lacking.
Also, the plugin updates are slow as well. The last Magic Affiliate update was July 21st, 2016, that's almost a full year.
With solutions like WP Affiliate Platform, Affiliate WP and Affiliate Royale available. I can't say Magic Affiliate would be a good choice.
Recommendation: Poor choice
Get Magic Affiliate

6. Affiliates (Bonus)

This is a free bonus option that is available on WordPress.org. It's currently installed on 6000 sites and the latest update was 4 days ago.
That's a good sign.
For a free plugin it does have some decent integrations:

  • WooCommerce
  • Jigoshop
  • WP e-Commerce
  • Ecwid
  • eShop
  • Contact Form 7 (for pay per lead programs)

They also offer a Affiliates Pro version available for $59.00 and an Enterprise version for $129.00.
The downside though, even if you buy the plugin, you still have to buy other add-ons separately.
I suggest you give the free version a try… But If you're going to spend that much money, you might as well go with 1 of the 3 first choices.
Recommendation: OK choice
Get Affiliates

Conclusion

I've used WP Affiliate Platform, AffiliateWP and Affiliate Royale on different projects. Both WP Affiliate Platform and AffiliateWP have a lot of strengths and the best support. WP Affiliate Platform is much more affordable so it's my first pick.
If pricing isn't an issue, I'd go with Affiliate WP. Although it's features aren't better than WP Affiliate Platform, it has more add-ons and wins in 3rd party integrations… Slightly.
If you're a MemberPress user, then I recommend going with Affiliate Royale.
Thank you so much for reading.
Now go build something.

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6 Best Landing Page Creators For Landing Page Design https://sitestud.io/landing-page-creators/ https://sitestud.io/landing-page-creators/#comments Tue, 24 Jan 2017 10:37:24 +0000 http://www.sitebuildertips.com/?p=6832 A look at some of the best landing page creators

Landing pages are proven to be effective for selling (and pre-selling) digital and physical products, both vendors and affiliates need a good landing page creator.
Pre-selling is often overlooked when product creators set up their site to sell their product, affiliates, on the other hand, have known for years that landing pages increase conversion rates and thus have always looked for easy ways to deploy a lot of landing pages very quickly.
Affiliates don't have the luxury that vendors do by relying on the actual product site itself, and that's why vendors end up leaving money on the table.
Affiliate marketers often deploy multiple landings pages to see which one performs the best (split testing)
Vendors should be doing this as well, just because you own the product doesn't mean it's selling as much as it possibly can, vendors should also setup multiple landing pages for their product and drive traffic to those pages, monitor the traffic and then see which pages are performing the best.

The Problem With Landing Page Design

Landing pages are easy to build, due to the fact that they don't require an excessive amount of content on the page,  just the benefits of the product and a call to action.
But once you've decided to scale up and start deploying multiple pages, this quickly becomes a problem even when using a CMS like WordPress. This is where a landing page creator tool comes in handy.

My Picks For Best Landing Page Creators Available

Check em out.

1. Unbounce


This is one of the most well-known landing page services among marketers, they were one of the first companies to take all the hassle out deploying multiple landing pages in minutes without any technical knowledge. Unbounce works with many different 3rd party services like MailChimp, Salesforce, Campaign Monitor, Hubspot, AWeber and dozens more.
Visit Unbounce.

2. InstaPage


I really like these guys, as a web designer and intermediate programmer, I like services that give me the freedom to go into geek mode from time to time. InstaPage is one of the services that does that very well, they offer the point & click, drag & drop for those not looking to for any kind of geekiness (made that up), but also allows manipulation and adding of HTML and JavaScript.
It's free to create your first landing page, if you want more then you have to open your wallet.
Visit InstaPage.

3. PageWiz


Just like most other landing page services, this one doesn't require any technical knowledge and is integrated with numerous 3rd party services like SalesForce, Aweber, GetResponse and more.  With PageWiz your able to manage your leads, views statistics and much more.
Visit PageWiz.

4. Landingi


The folks at Landingi are doing some really cool stuff, of course, they do all the obvious things you'd expect from a commercial landing page service but they have a few things that set them apart. For one they have some great looking landing pages, real top notch stuff.
Another cool feature is the fact that you can integrate your landing page directly into your Facebook page for your business.
Visit Landingi.

5.  OptimizePress


Are you a WordPress user and lover like myself? Well, OptimizePress is the tool for you, it's not a service but a WordPress theme that acts as both the landing page and management tool for your leads, stats and more.
Visit OptimizePress.

6. LanderApp


It's just like the name says, it's an app. A landing age web application to be more exact,
Visit LanderApp.

That just about wraps this list, it's been proven the landing pages increase conversions for pretty much any type of business, so it's not a question of if you need this, it's just a matter of which service you should choose.
Hopefully, this list makes your search easier.
Thanks for reading.

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R.I.P Vine, Here’s Why It Really Died https://sitestud.io/r-p-vine-heres-really-died/ https://sitestud.io/r-p-vine-heres-really-died/#respond Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:50:45 +0000 http://sitestud.io/?p=8641 Vine is officially throwing in the towel even though they've been dead for about a year now. 3 years ago, I predicted the death of Vine when I posted my first video to Instagram the day they introduced 15-second clips on the then exclusively photo-based app.

I knew back then and now that prediction has come to fruition.

Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold,” the statement reads. “Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app.

Vine users should be reassured that their previously posted clips won’t be deleted, however — though the creation of new ones seems less likely in the coming months.

Nothing is happening to the apps, website or your Vines today,” the note continues. “We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way.

You’ll be able to access and download your Vines. We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made.

Vine launched under parent company Twitter in January 2013 as a “mobile service that lets [users] capture and share short looping videos,” according to its website.

Vine videos last just six seconds or less and became a popular form of storytelling for young Vine stars.

I can't even begin to tell you the number of hours I've lost to watching 6-second videos on Vine, hours of laughter and memorable moments. Some of the funniest stars that are currently on Instagram and Snapchat are actually Vine refugees.

Many of which transformed their 15 minutes of fame into full-blown careers by establishing themselves on other platforms.

Without Vine, we may not have known folks like the following:

  • King Bach (16 million followers)
  • AlliCattt (4.9 million followers)
  • Jus Reign (1.4 million followers)
  • DeStorm (6.1 million followers)
  • Logan Paul (9.4 million followers)
  • Trey Kennedy (2.6 million followers)
  • Curtis Lepore (9.5 million followers)
  • Amanda Cerny (4.7 million followers)
  • Liane V (4.6 million followers)
  • Summerella (1.5 million followers)
vine-screenshot

That's just to name a few, the ones above have long since graduated to bigger and better things but for most, Vine will be the peek of their internet careers.

I spent about 45 minutes on Vine today (after not being on there for about a year and a half), just gauging what the community is like now.

The community is basically non-existent, folks with millions of followers haven't posted anything in months, the last few things they posted had only a few hundred to a few thousand likes and reposts to them.

It was actually kind of heartbreaking, given how pure and raw this community was in the beginning.

Ironically, the announcement of the shutdown is the most activity Vine has seen in months, with many of the big Viners returning to bid their farewells, some were even brought to tears.

Most news reports on the Vine shutdown will focus on the financials but since our site is mainly Experience Design driven, our focus will be on user experience and everything thing tied to it, which is basically every part of a business.

So here's why Vine really died.

New features

Vine's innovation in the department of features was moving at a snail's pace, the very day Instagram announced the video feature, they should have adjusted by extending their video time as well.

In fact, a really cool approach would be to create a set of different time increments (6, seconds, 12 seconds & 24 seconds) which still keep the 6-second clips relevant but also give the power users the ability to create longer form content.

Of course, now they have long-form clips but that feature arrived a few months ago, which is too little, too late.

Something like that could have made a significant difference in the platform 2 years ago.

Instagram

The growth rate of this photo app was too much for Vine to handle, the moment they introduced the video, direct messaging and enhancing its discoverability features – the relevancy of Vine dropped significantly.

Viners that established themselves on Instagram just didn't see the point posting the 6-second clip when they could do a 15-second clip to basically the same audience.

Facebook being the owner of Instagram also helped, the culture of Facebook as a platform is to always innovate and they're not afraid of aggressively releasing new features many of which fail but a lot of them also stick, this culture without a doubt spilled over to Instagram and how they operate.

Twitter

Instagram had the benefit of having Facebook as it's parent company,  oppositely Vine had the misfortune of having Twitter as its parent company.

Time and time again we've seen Twitter show no signs of being able to do anything innovatively or timely.

We're now at the end of 2016 and 140 characters limit is still a thing, it's still the core of Twitter's business, a feature that was only created to cater to the userbase that was shackled to the pre-smartphones of the time period.

This is something that should have long since been done away with. Twitter introduced things like Moments and a spatter of other minor features with years of no activity between feature releases.

Vine suffered because of this, having a company that failed to innovate its own platform inevitably failed to do the same for Vine.

Snapchat

This app, that almost failed, evolved into what is considered to be the latest iteration of what social media is today.

If you break down Snapchat to its core feature, it's basically 10-second Vine clips that expire after 24 hours. Once Snapchat became on of the cool kids, Viners inevitably started to convert to becoming Snapchatters.

A convenient feature Snapchat has is that users can save the snaps they've made in a given time period into a single video and export that elsewhere.

This was something Vine had, not natively but curators did it for them (think Vine compilations on YouTube). Snapchat however, bypassed the curator altogether by making that feature native to the platform.

This compounded with the growth of Instagram was just too much for Vine to contend with and now there's a bigger war between Instagram and

Snapchat but that's a whole other discussion.

YouTube

Unlike most other video platforms, creators are making bank on YouTube, Viners like Jus Reign and King Bach abandoned Vine altogether to create long form videos on YouTube and have been successful at it.

YouTube's contribution to Vine's death is to a much lesser extent than Snapchat and Instagram but it did contribute nonetheless.

There were countless times Viners pointed their followers to subscribe to their YouTube channel for longer videos. The same is happening now with

Instagram and Snapchat where users are sending their followers to YouTube for longer videos, the secret is out, YouTube is making regular folks into millionaires and the video gold rush is on.

Maturity

Snapchat and Instagram have grown up, that never happened for Vine – it was born as an entertainment platform for kids and perish the same way.

Of course, a large number of who watched Vines were grown ups but they were not significant to the community in terms of engagement.

The platform was always known as a platform for kids & teens, I saw a ton of Viners posting high school graduation clips to the platform, they were all growing up.

So was the audience but the platform didn't so people moved on once the real world started hitting young stars.

Vine wasn't making money

Lastly, I'll end this off by talking a little about financials. Vine simply didn't know how to make money, the creators on the platform were earning quite a bit of money with ad agencies but not Vine.

Twitter should have created its own Vine ad platform or acquire one that was already doing it successfully.

But again, being tied to a slow moving parent company who's own ad platform is performing poorly wouldn't have done anything like that.
And now this is where we're at, a once massive social video platform has bit the dust and this is just the beginning.

The tech bubble is very real and the death of Vine one of the many casualties you're going witness in the next 24 months.

Don't be surprised if Twitter goes under if they don't take the right steps to stop the bleeding.

Anyways, that's my take on why Vine died, feel free to share your thoughts.

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Why Snapchat Glasses aka Spectacles Could Be a Winner https://sitestud.io/snapchat-glasses-aka-spectacles-winner/ https://sitestud.io/snapchat-glasses-aka-spectacles-winner/#respond Mon, 26 Sep 2016 19:04:55 +0000 http://sitestud.io/?p=8562 Do any of you remember Google Glass? I do, I remember many saying it was the future – it was the first major attempt at wearable tech and it failed miserably. It's the first thing that comes to mind when you see the new Snapchat Glasses that are being called Spectacles.

As I lurk around the interwebs, listening in on everyone's opinion on the new product – some think it's foolishness, others like it but overall many are indifferent about it.

If I had to choose, I'd fall into the latter category, with one minor caveat and that is I want it to be successful.

I really like the idea of being able to Snapchat a video at the eyesight point of view, which really changes the way you see things, it reminds me of those early attempts of folks making cameras that sync directly with Instagram.

I can’t see myself using something like this at concerts to use on my entertainment site Mixtape.tv.
Speculation and predictions in situations like this don't really mean much but I'm going to do it anyway…Here's why I believe Spectacles could work.

Spectacles are nothing like Google Glass

For all the technologically awesome things Google Glass was capable of, the fact still remained that it was corny asf! This is what happens when the nerds forget that they're nerds and don't consult the cool kids before attempting to do something cool.

I've said it time and time again, usefulness is great but if it looks cheesy, no one wants that sh*t.

This is unique to the wearable tech market, which is still trying to find its footing.

Apple, the king of cool tech still can't seem to get it right with their Watch as sales continue to fall but I digress, that’s a whole different convo.

I say all of that to say this, wearable tech lives in the world of style, fashion, and fitness.

All things that are by their very nature, sexy and all about personal expression.

Google Glass failed badly at that, like horribly, like people gave zero f*cks. It was ugly, only super nerds owned them and oh yeah, it cost $1500! Dafuq out of here.

Snapchat is dope asf!

Kids don't give a sh*t about Google, yes they all use Google but it's just a utility for them, as far as they're concerned; Google and the Internet are one in the same. They're most certainly not using it to express themselves.

SnapChat owns the teens and young millennial's

Although Snapchat is maturing rapidly, it's still very much a young man's game, a majority of teens and young 20 somethings are being pulled between Instagram and Snapchat, it's a crazy battle right now.

Google didn't have a Snapchat or Instagram to help push the Google Glass product. That's a major advantage for Snapchat.

Spectacles is a single purpose product

Snapchat isn't out to change the way you view the world (not yet at least) with this product, Spectacles does only one thing; record video.
The glasses can record video 10 seconds at a time by tapping a button on the device.

The video is then uploaded to Snapchat via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The glasses records so-called “circular video,” meaning it plays full-screen on any device in any orientation.

That's it, nothing more, nothing less.

Just an additional way to do something you were already doing…Peep the promo clip below.

Spectacles only cost $130

I don't spend big money on a lot of things but when it comes to personal appearance (shoes, clothes, watches, and glasses), I don't mind paying a premium, I’m into that.

Seeing as I've spent more than that on basic glasses (don't get me started on watches) that doesn't do anything other than block sunlight, a buck thirty isn't breaking the bank, a far cry from Google Glass' $1500 price tag.

Spectacles actually have style

The design of Spectacles is actually a popular frame choice for many and very much within Ray-Ban's territory, so that's a check on the style factor column. Whether or not there will be other frame choices down the line is unknown but it would make sense to do so.

It'll depend on the success of this initial product.

Remember I said wearable tech lives in the world of style, fashion, and fitness? Well, this is where it all comes full circle, you have Snapchat; one of the most popular choices for young folks to express themselves and then there's Spectacles; a stylish way to compliment that expression.

Snapchat is now Snap Inc.

The company says it's changing its name to Snap Inc. since it now has more than one product. The app will retain the name Snapchat.
That's a significant change, which means they're very serious about this product and may already have other plans underway for other products.

The folks over at Snap are very aware of the position they are in and are ready to take full advantage.

They could very well be stepping into GoPro territory.

Anyways, that's my 2 cents on the whole Spectacle aka Snapchat glasses convo, its just opinions.

It could turn out to be something really dope or something that's easily forgotten like SnapCash.

Either way, it's going to be a spectacle.

Ha! Nailed it.

More at Spectacles.com

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Google Local Knowledge Panel Now Shows Reviews From The Web https://sitestud.io/google-reviews-from-the-web/ https://sitestud.io/google-reviews-from-the-web/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 14:18:41 +0000 http://sitestud.io/?p=8515 Last Wednesday, Google announced that they would be introducing “reviews from the web” to their local knowledge panel section of the search results.
The new feature went live on over the weekend and it's a great addition.

As far as what the requirements are for when they are displayed, there isn't any information on that.

I searched for Tastee Spoon, which is one of my clients and the “reviews from the web” section was definitely there, not only that but prominently above the fold, given more priority above Google's own Reviews.

tastee-spoon-local

On mobile devices, it's the last section of the card before the “More Info” button.

tastee-spoon-mobile

This is nice for small businesses, as customers get a better view of how well a business is received around the web as oppose to just a single source of reviews.

Google hasn't revealed what sources it will include in the “Review from around the web section but so far, I've confirmed Groupon, Clutch, Facebook, Healthgrades and YP.

I'll post a full list once I've done more research.

Go check to see if your business is displaying “reviews from the web” and leave your feedback.

Thanks.

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Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 Are Dying on Tuesday…Finally! https://sitestud.io/internet-explorer-is-dying-on-tuesday-finally/ https://sitestud.io/internet-explorer-is-dying-on-tuesday-finally/#respond Sun, 10 Jan 2016 00:34:35 +0000 http://www.sitebuildertips.com/?p=8295 For as long as I can remember Internet Explorer has been a pain in our asses….for web developers that is. Well guess what? Microsoft has done something we never thought they would ever do. They're killing off Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10.

The browsers will be reaching the end of their life span on January 12th, meaning they will no longer be supported by Microsoft.

They're releasing a patch on Tuesday that will basically annoy the Explorer users on the launch of the browser to upgrade to a more modern browser.  KB3123303 adds the nag box, which will appear for Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 users still using the old browsers after installing the update.

For web designers and developers this is great news, we all have memories of creating some new awesome site or web app, only to check IE and realize it doesn't work. Even worse, your layout is all out of whack then you end up having to create conditions specific to IE.

End of life means the browsers will no longer receive security updates or any other kind of patches, leaving those running them wide open to new vulnerabilities in the future.

The nag can be disabled by those in enterprises who haven’t made the upgrade yet, through the registry, though it’s probably easier just to jump onto Internet Explorer 11.

I've been using IE 11 for quite some time now and it's a step up from its old predecessors, its the only version of the old browser will live on – at least until more users and corporations move to Edge on Windows 10.

Edge is everything we wished IE had been for years, it's on par with its peers Chrome, Firefox and Opera. If you're still using anything below Explorer 11, first, what's the matter with you? And second, time to upgrade before its too late.

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Google Contributor Wants To Pay You To Show Less Ads https://sitestud.io/google-contributor-wants-to-pay-you-to-show-less-ads/ https://sitestud.io/google-contributor-wants-to-pay-you-to-show-less-ads/#respond Tue, 21 Jul 2015 03:14:11 +0000 http://www.sitebuildertips.com/?p=8248 Have you ever heard of “fake outrage”?

Fake outrage is when a small group of people makes a big deal about something that the majority of people don't care about all in an attempt to get a rise out of people. These fake out-ragers AKA the low minority can be found in pretty much every topic.

What's the fake outrage about now?

There has been quite a bit of fake outrage when it comes to ads online, specifically ads on websites.

There is this assumption that people hate seeing text and banner ads on websites, which has resulted in a ton of different services and tools emerging to solve this problem that's not really a problem by blocking these ads.

There has to be a problem though right?

Well yes…..and no, ads on websites are totally fine, non-targeted ads are not. They're a big distraction and provide no additional value to the user, targeted ads are very useful and more times than often you buy something due to advertising.

We love to buy shit

We're all consumers and we love buying things, if I'm reading an article about improving vision and then an ad about LASIK eye surgery is strategically placed to get my attention, as a consumer, that's extremely useful to me.

Now if the ad was about buying some new age binoculars so I can see thing from a mile away, I wouldn't give a shit because that ad is useless in the context of what I was doing. Maybe I will want some binoculars at some point, but not at that moment.

You see, ads aren't the problem, context is, too many sites in 2015 are still serving up completely irrelevant ads that have nothing to with what the user is doing.

Google has bought into the fake outrage

Somebody over there at the Google machine, who's too smart for their own good and with too much time on their hands, has decided to launch an experiment called Google Contributor which aims to solve this problem that's not really a problem.

The whole premise of this service is to help users see fewer ads while supplementing that lost revenue for publishers by charging the user to support the sites they love.

According to their tagline

Today’s Internet is mostly funded by advertising. But what if there were a way to directly support the people who create the sites you visit each day?

Sounds awesome right?

Except that it doesn't make sense

Look, I get that Google probably wants to get in on the whole “users funding their favourite website” (Formerly known as donations) trend but this is the wrong approach.

A few problems:

  1. The users are going to see 25% fewer ads – I'm sorry but If I'm somebody that really can't stand advertising on websites, paying to see 25% fewer ads doesn't seem very valuable to me.
  2. Too many different types of websites have two many different advertising rates – thus there's no way to measure or calculate whether or not users paying contributions to a site makes up what they're loosing from that 25%.
  3. They're too many websites, I consider myself a power Internet user, I visit at least 40 sites daily on average. Cut that in half and that would be an average user, 20 sites is a lot to fund. Cut that down even more to about 5 of your favourite news sites, blogs, and content destinations and that's still five sites you're funding that will be showing you partial ads.  I can see that quickly becoming a bill instead of something you're paying out of the kindness of your heart because you really like those 5 sites.

There is a market for no ad experiences though

The Internet in a big place and growing bigger still, If you look hard enough, you can find a market for just about anything. Geeks Life and The Next Web are two sites are really like that are using the “crowd-funded model,” the difference it, The Next Web offers you zero ads for the money you pay which is much more attractive.

They're hundreds if not thousands of sites with cult followings that are doing this very thing, so it does work. Google's entire-web-one-size-fits-all approach isn't something I think is going to fly with publishers.

But hey, I could be wrong, but I rarely am.

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What Does the Google Mobilegeddon Algorithm Mean for Webmasters? https://sitestud.io/google-mobilegeddon-algorithm/ https://sitestud.io/google-mobilegeddon-algorithm/#respond Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.sitebuildertips.com/?p=8221 The majority of businesses today rely heavily on Google to attract traffic to their websites. It is estimated that 2/3 of the search market in the USA is controlled by Google. When a change is made to Google’s ranking code, businesses have to quickly get in gear to optimize their websites for Google’s search.
Today and for the previous two months, businesses have been scrambling to accommodate for Google's algorithm tweak that was announced in February 2015.

The Effects of the Algorithm Tweak

On Tuesday April 21, 2015 Google initiated a tweak in its algorithm that affects searches made on mobile devices. Websites that are considered to be mobile friendly will be favored and given higher rankings than websites that are optimized for desktops and laptops only.
This tweak is designed to make search results on Google more useful for those individuals accessing the web from a mobile device. Sites that users once found themselves frequently adjusting the zoom to find the correct button or link or an inability to view the entire page will be pushed down in the rankings.

Google Mobilegeddon…. Over-reacting or Not?

Google Mobile Friendly
So why all the hype why are people referencing to a mobilegeddon? Well, a website's ranking in a Google search has a great impact on how many clicks the website gets. Adam Bunn, SEO director of the digital marketing agency known as Greenlight, states that the top ranked site on a search page typically attracts 20% – 30% of the pages clicks. Rankings 2 and 3 generate approximately 5% – 10% of clicks and anything below that receives less than 1% of the users’ attention. Therefore, the reason for the hype is the fear of many businesses being they will see a huge change in their company’s bottom lines.
KrisztinaRadosavlievic-Szilagyi, a spokeswoman for Google elaborated on this tweak in a statement that was mailed to NPR. She stated, “As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens.”
Due to the potential for such a negative impact on many businesses, Google pre-announced this algorithm tweak giving them ample time to prepare. Google stated they have even offered tools to make pages web-friendly. In addition, Google released a test for mobile-friendliness to allow websites to see whether their sites were prepared for the upcoming tweak. Mobile websites with slow mobile pages, blocked images and videos that were unplayable will be affected in the rankings.
Unlike previous tweaks in Google's algorithm, websites can optimize for mobile-friendliness at any time to boost their ranking in search results, changes did not have to be effective when the tweak was initiated.

Are the Majority of Businesses Prepared?

Website-Statistics
With the constant changes and upgrades to mobile technology, one would believe that most websites would have already implemented mobile friendly web pages. However, this is not the case according to a study performed by Portent, an online Internet marketing firm. In fact, the majority of the Internet's top ranked sites are not viewed as being mobile friendly.
25,000 web pages deemed as “top sites” based on ranking and analytic websites were included in the testing by Portent. The results were unremarkable as it was determined that 10,000 web pages failed the test for Google’s mobile-friendliness. Amongst these failed web pages were some top guns including Drugstore.com and the Department of Homeland Security.
Most web pages failed due to the size of the text and link spacing, as well as having pages that were completely or nearly unreadable and difficult to use on the small screen of a mobile device.
The CEO of Portent, Ian Lurie, commented that some bigger websites may not yet be mobile ready as those organizations may already have a mobile app, and believe they don’t have to worry about the Internet. Other organizations may not believe mobile users are a big enough portion of their overall Internet traffic. Lurie also added that some of it is just organizational inertia.
Unfortunately, some businesses are unaware of the fact that at least 48% of web search traffic comes from mobile devices. Hence, providing mobile users with optimal results for ease of use is quite feasible.
Lurie went on to comment that the reason some businesses are not yet mobile-friendly may be financial. He told NPR, “It’s an investment. Even if you’re building a brand new website, it’s more expensive to build a website that’s ready and renders well on a mobile device than to build a site that just looks good on the desktop. It’ll be 25 percent or so higher than building a site that is only desktop ready.”
Google believes that as soon as websites are made to be mobile-friendly, they will begin to rank higher in mobile searches. Also to be noted is that initiating the algorithm tweak will not be noticeable immediately as these changes will occur over a period of a few weeks. This allows even more time for businesses to prepare.
Google still aims to provide the most relevant results to users. Mobile-friendliness is just one criterion of many that are used to judge websites, as the intent of the search is to provide quality results. Therefore, a web page that offers high-quality content but is not mobile-friendly still has the opportunity to rank high if the content strongly matches the search query. This tweak in the algorithm will not cause a web page such as this to rank below mobile-friendly web pages with lower quality content.

How to Keep Your Rankings

As stated earlier, the solution to this problem is to optimize websites for mobile-friendliness.
As it may be more costly for a business to optimize their website for mobile-friendliness, with mobile users dominating almost half of the Internet search traffic, the changes should result in better company bottom lines. With the waves of technology available for the large number of users who are constantly “on the go” it just makes sense for web pages to offer a mobile-friendly experience. With the busy lives that many lead today, much of their searching, whether for business or personal; is done from a mobile device.

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The Ultimate Guide on How to Use Hashtags and Why https://sitestud.io/how-to-use-hashtags-and-why/ https://sitestud.io/how-to-use-hashtags-and-why/#comments Thu, 09 Apr 2015 14:40:36 +0000 http://www.sitebuildertips.com/?p=8215 At this point everyone should know what an hashtag is why you should use it, to get traffic of course. But judging from what's being done on Social Media today, clearly most people still don't know how to use hashtags effectively.

Why should I care about hashtags

  • They get traffic
  • It drives discovery
  • Better to use them than not to

I've managed to build a following of almost a half million followers on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for my personal projects.
iHipHopMusic.com – Google+ 400K, Twitter 3K, Facebook 60K
Mixtapes.tv – Google+ 30K, Twitter 1K, Facebook 7K
A part from that, I've worked with quite a few brands to build up their social media presence.
For the most part I did it all with the help of hashtags.
Of course not all hashtags are created equally, for example hashtags on Instagram and Twitter work much better than on Facebook or Tumblr.
The power of the hashtag is really dependent on the aesthetic and context of the platform. Twitter for all intents and purposes invented the hashtag, it's their original signal for discovering new things so obviously it would be the best place to use it.
Facebook just simply copied it, but that isn't Facebook's way of driving discovery, they just added it because it became so popular on other platforms.
So the platform itself is what's really important when it comes to using hashtags, looking at my personal data, as of right now Instagram is clearly the most effective place to use hashtags.
Discovery on that platform is very vibrant and will continue to be that way for at least the next 24 months, that's around the time SnapChat will become a much bigger player in the space.
Some social platforms such as LinkedIn have completely done away with hashtags altogether have opted to go with other signals to drive discovery on their platform. As I said earlier it really comes down to the platform, it's aesthetic and context.
For the platforms that do deem hashtaags important, lets break down everything in a way that's the easiest to understand, which is visually of course.

The Infographic for how to use hashtags

Brought to you by the good folks over at Quick Sprout.
How to use hashtags

Conclusion

  • On Twitter less is more when it comes to using hashtags
  • When it comes to Instagram, the more merry
  • Facebook hashtags usage has improved but it's still no where near effective as other platforms
  • Google+ hashtags are deeply integrated into the platform, they drive a lot of discovery and gives you oppertunities to double up on the promotion of your content

When it's all said and done, it's a definite yes to whether or not hashtags are important and if you should use them.
Thanks for checking this out, please share.
Later….

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Review: New Dailymotion Redesign & Branding https://sitestud.io/review-new-dailymotion-redesign-branding/ https://sitestud.io/review-new-dailymotion-redesign-branding/#respond Fri, 20 Mar 2015 02:51:07 +0000 http://www.sitebuildertips.com/?p=8116 A look at the new Dailymotion redesign and branding for 2015.

Dailymotion was launched back in 2005, from the living room in Paris of one of its partners.

It's one of the biggest video hosting platforms on the web, at one point it was the biggest competition to YouTube in the golden ages of web video.

Obviously, YouTube has become a titan in the space and even though Dailymotion might be the second largest in terms of viewership, it's a very far 2nd place.

The service boasts 300 million viewers on its player and 30 billion video views worldwide per month.

It's nowhere near as mainstream as YouTube and doesn't have the exclusive, cool hipster factor of Vimeo, Dailymotion falls somewhere in between the two.

They've now started to reveal the new design across the entire platform including the site, app and even the video player.

It appears they timed the release of their re-branding efforts with SXSW 2015.

Let's talk about the old Logo

The text for the old logo was fine, but I was never a fan of that tower icon, it just looks so old school, which in many cases isn't a bad thing but in this case it is.

The New Logo

Dailymotion Logo 2015

It's OK, I like the the overlapping “o”and “a” with the exception that it does start to run into issues when it's scaled down to smaller sizes, this however not a problem when it comes to retina displays.

They've also gone with the now very predictable flat design route, their top bar has a very loud royal blue that leaves a lot to be desired, I'm not a fan of that blue at all.

From Press release

A refined and simplified logo is supported by a brightened colour palette and clean graphic style. Working with the dailymotion design and UX teams, v3 extended these core design principles across the full user experience, including brand architecture, iconography, typography and tone of voice.

Over the past couple of weeks, Dailymotion has been hinting at a new design, I first noticed signs of it when they placed that options panel on the left of the website to help drive more engagement.

I didn't find it very useful and aesthetically pleasing at all because it looked out of place.

It appears the job isn't done though, because as far as the website goes, the rest of the design is still the same.

It doesn't really appear to be a video site that's operating in 2015, still very old school.

I like the player though

Dailymotion player
dailymotion logo on image

Dailymotion has always had a nice player, my issues with the old player were more on the development side with it not being as accessible and customizable as the YouTube player.

That being said they've been many changes recently and the player is much more open.

The new player is very sleek, sporting a dark play bar that hides once the video starts playing and returns on mouse over.
It's very easy to change the colors to match your site as well or if you want to play the videos in your own player, that's also fairly simple now.

The player is a winner.

The logo looks nice over images

Though I have my issues with the logo once you start to scale it down, the typography does work well as an overlay on images, which you can view below.

The app icon could use some work

dailymotion app icon

That generic “d” on the blue background doesn't say unique at all and is hardly recognizable.

What they should have done, is take the tower from the old logo, minimalize it and make it more of an abstract icon that has remnants of the old tower but has clearly been upgraded.

That would've been perfect for an app icon.

Icons and UI elements.
Icons and UI elements.

New brand introduction

Conclusion

Overall I think the new design was poorly executed, the new branding seems incomplete. Then there's also the video games part of Dailymotion that has a much more sleek design than that of the main site.

What they should do, is make the entire site have that design aesthetic.

The only thing I really love about the new branding is player, beyond that – the design just doesn't make the site seem like it's trying to compete in a space that has two very powerful competitors in the form of YouTube and Vimeo.

They're not playing in the year of 2015.

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