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WordPress: Instant Parent Navigation

WordPress: Instant Parent Navigation

WordPress: Instant Parent Navigation

I know there are a lot of new WordPress developers out there trying to figure out the core framework. From time to time, we’ll post a few tips here and there so that you can gain some insight into what we do. Here’s a trick that you may have not come across yet. If you want to load the navigation dynamically in WordPress (meaning ever additional pages added in the backend will also show up on the frontend menu) , here’s the code that can make it happen.

<?php wp_list_pages(); ?>

This code above will call in the navigation dynamically as is.  However if you do decide that you only want to show the parent navigation, you can simply add a parameter to the function.

<?php wp_list_pages(‘depth=1’); ?>

What we are instructing WordPress to do is to create a list of pages that we have in the backend, then only show the top level navigation. If you change that 1 to a 2, WordPress will output the top level and second level navigation, ignoring anything outside of that.  If you want to see the full definition of the function, you can check it out here:

http://codex.wordpress.org/Template_Tags/wp_list_pages

Useful Apple Shortcuts or HotKeys

Useful Apple Shortcuts or HotKeys

Useful Apple Shortcuts or HotKeys

When I first started using the MacBook, I had a hard time being productive. The reason is all the hotkeys that I was used to in Windows. It is imperative to learn keyboard shortcuts to keep things moving quickly. I sit in front of the computer 24/7 and I cannot imagine myself living without these shortcuts below:

  • Command+Q – quits the current application
  • Command+W – closes an active window that you may have open in your current application
  • Command+H – hides your current application
  • Command+Space – open your spotlight search
  • Command+P – opens the print screen for the current window
  • Command+M – minimizes the current window
  • Command+I – gets the file information
  • Command+N – brings up a new finder window
  • Shift+Command+N – creates a new folder
  • Command+Tab – switch between current active applications
  • Command+T – opens a new tab in Safari
  • Command+N – opens a new window in Safari
  • Command+Del – puts the selected file in the trash

There are tons of shortcuts depending on what application you are using.  We will try to cover that in later blog posts but for now, these commands are essential to new Mac users.

 

What da Font?!?

What da Font?!?

Have you ever received a logo from a client who has given you a jpeg instead of a vector file (i.e. EPS)?  So you go through a whole array of back and forth with your client only to realize that they don’t have the vector format of their logo.  It’s not unusual for a client to misplaced their vector file or unable to recall the font used on their logo.  That’s what our designers are here for!

This happens so often that some brilliant mind has developed a solution for it. The service is WhatTheFont and it’s free!  So here’s how it works. You take a screenshot of one of the words in the logo (make sure it is a clean word with no background vector, etc). Then you go to www.whatthefont.com and follow their simple  instruction.  Viola! It will show you a list of possible font that seem to match.  Isn’t that neat?

One more thing, if WhatTheFont cannot find what you are looking for, you can always sign-up and log into their forum. The font masters there can definitely give you a helping hand.

How Smart is Your Right Foot??

How Smart is Your Right Foot??

How Smart is Your Right Foot

Well, obviously this has nothing to do with web design, development, marketing etc. It’s just something fun to try out. Yesterday, my wife forwarded an email to me titled ‘How Smart is Your Right Foot’. Strangely, the title is very similar to mine. =)

I was not doing anything serious at the time and figure I’ll try it out. This test only takes a few seconds and it comes from an orthopedic surgeon. I’m pretty sure you’ll be trying this a few times to out smart your right foot. It is very strange at first, but I suppose our brain is pre-wired with this flaw.

  1. While sitting at your desk in front of your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles continuously.
  2. Now while doing this, draw the number 6 in the air with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction!  Strange…

Is SpiceTech a Interactive, New Media or Web Agency?

Today one of our potential clients asked us what kind of company are we since we do everything from consulting, web development, web design, tv commercials, etc.  My answer was that we are a “web agency”.  I feel that “Interactive Media Agency” and “New Media Agency” are booth out dated and does not truly encompass what we do.

Being the tech savvy guy that I am, I Googled it.  =) According to Wikipedia, we are a “Digital Agency”:

digital or new media agency is a business that delivers services for the creative and technical development of internet based products. These services range from the more generalist such as web designe-mail marketing and microsites etc. to the more specialist such as viral campaigns, banner advertisingsearch engine optimisation, podcasting or widget development.

These agencies tend to differ from their more traditional advertising agency and marketing agency counterparts in that they rarely deliver offline work. Advertising and Marketing agencies do however, deliver digital work, often using outside sources.

4 SEO Basics that every business needs to know

4 SEO Basics that every business needs to know

4 SEO Basics that every business needs to know

We recently touched briefly on SEO in our recent article Business Blogging Mistakes that you can easily fix!  I just thought of a few more basics that will be essential to your business. These are usually steps that we ask our clients to take before contacting us for SEO. The best part is that it will not cost you a dime. =)

So before you call us and request for a quote to be #1 for that keyword with a billion monthly searches, please make sure that you have already done the following:

1) Create an XML sitemap (sitemap.xml) and submit it to the Search Engines.

  • Search Engines need to crawl and index the pages on your site.  There is no way you can show up in any search results if search engines don’t know that you exist. Remember that.

2) I know Google is the most powerful search engine at the moment but don’t ignore Yahoo/Bing.  Yahoo/Bing gets roughly 30% of all search traffic. I don’t know about you but 30% is significant.

3) Unique page title matters!

  • Page titles help search engines understand the content of the page.  By giving each page a unique title (around 60-70 character max) you are allowing the search engine to gain some insight into the topic of your content. Remember to use keywords that match the keywords in your page content.

4)  Don’t start your SEO effort attempting to rank for the first page for a very high traffic keyword. That will almost always discourage you instantly, especially if you are a new website.  Our suggestion is try to rank on a few relevant but less popular keywords.

  • If your goal is to rank on the first page of Google for the word that generates 1.5 million hits per month, you should strongly accept the fact that it might never happen. The strategy to get the same amount of traffic is to rank for multiple keywords that generate between 10k to 100k monthly searches.

Part 2: Business Blogging Mistakes that you can easily fix!

Part 2: Business Blogging Mistakes

In Part 1 of the article, I talked about a few business blogging mistakes that you should be aware of. In this article, I will shed light on a few more common mistakes for newbie business bloggers.

Ignoring SEO 

Mistake – One of the greatest benefits of business blogging is to earn points for SEO (search engine optimization).  If you are not constantly aware of the various ways to optimize your blog contents for search engines, you are missing out on a lot of potential opportunities for your blog.  If you want your blog to grow organically in the search engine ranking, SEO is a must for your blog.

Fix – The number of terms that a website can rank for is directly related to the size of the website.  The difference between a 50 page website and a 1000+ page site is a blog. That is the reason why blogging is the most essential practice for SEO and organic traffic building. More indexed pages mean more opportunities for keywords  that your website can earn.

Ignoring Social Media

Mistake – Your business blog is now up and running and you are publishing articles on a regular basis.  However, you completely forgot about the power of social media to promote your blog contents and increase readership and subscribers.  As a business owner, you goal is to reach as big of an audience as possible, with close to 1 billion people on social network such as Facebook. You cannot afford to miss these opportunities.

Fix – Spend some time building your reach in social media and promoting your content there. Create a brand presence on the social sites your audience populates, expand your reach, share links to blog content through those channels and make social sharing simple for your readers with a ‘Like’ button to all your articles. Let your reader’s friend’s friend know that your business exists.

Ignoring Lead Generation

Mistake – Does your website or blog have any call-to-action components? Your readers have found your site through search engine, read and liked your content.   Now is the perfect time for you to convert them into customers!  Have some buttons on your site that calls out the action (i.e. ‘Buy Now’, ‘Try it for Free’, ‘Book NOW’, etc).  If your website and contents satisfy what the person is after, they are going to click it. That is what SEO is all about.  The goal is for them to perform an action that will create a lead for your business.

Fix – Put CTAs on the top, sidebar and bottom of your blog. Make sure to monitor those actions and think about revisiting old posts to add those actions if necessary.  The general rule is that if your post is generating traffic, you should probably have some sort of CTAs on it.

Ignoring Blog Analytics

Mistake –  So you are blogging away on a regular basis and it seems like you are getting more leads but how do you know for sure?  How do you know if you blog is successful or if your efforts are paying off?  Analytic can give you valuable insights into the traffic that is generated by your website and blog. It is a great tool to help justify your efforts to your boss, management team or yourself.  By failing to analyze your blog’s effectiveness, you are ignoring valuable information and data that can take your blog and business to the next level in lead generation.

Fix – Pay close attention to analytic so you are always aware of how your blog is performing.  Depending on what your goal is for your website and blog, you may want to focus on different metrics  but here are a few metrics that are typically used in the industry: traffic-driven keywords, monthly unique visitors, comments, page views, leads, conversion rate, subscribers, inbound links, etc.

What’s the big deal about SOPA and PIPA?

What’s the big deal about SOPA and PIPA?

What's the big deal about SOPA and PIPA?

Why is everyone protesting against the SOPA and PIPA? Why did Wikipedia blackout their U.S. site for an entire day?  Well, the short answer is that SOPA/PIPA will destroy the Internet eco system as we know today.

SOPA is a wake-up call for the tech community, from start-ups to fortune 500 web companies to venture capitalists.  Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are both terrible ideas, Google did a blog post about how SOPA and PIPA will censor the web and will not stop actual pirates.  All it will do is create an online communist Eco system similar to China.  These bills if passed can destroy legitimate businesses and hamper innovation. Start-ups will have a much harder time developing innovative ideas because they will spend all their time maneuvering the legal aspect of it.

I am so glad that the internet is now awake.  And now that it is awake I don’t think it’s going to take a nap any time soon.  The community has been rallying hard against the bills and I am certain that they will do that again if needed.

So what can you do to help?

If you are an American citizen, call your Senator right now! Spread the word to your friends and family. Have them call their Sentors also. Promise not to vote for politicians who support SOPA. Print out pamphlets and post them at work or on your campus. There are also protests and meetups happening in New York, California, and so on but I’m sure it will be difficult for us to join those movements.  If you are not an American citizen, you can still petition the State Department at americancensorship.org.

I’m not sure about most of you but I want to look back at this months from now and know that I did my fair share to protect the internet. Educate your friends and family, and please spread the word about SOPA/PIPA.

Part 1: Business Blogging Mistakes that you can easily fix!

Fixing your business blogging mistakes

Creating valuable content is the core of all online marketing and one of the best way to generate a steady flow of content is by publishing a business blog.  Recently HubSpot research shows that companies with blog generates 55% more website vistors, 97% more inbound links and have 434% more indexed pages than companies that don’t. While many businesses are finally starting to realize the power of blogs, that does not mean that they know the right approach.  We’ll try to explain some of the more common mistakes made by business blogger newbies and how to fix them.

Business Blog on its own domain

Mistake – I can understand that trying to keep your business blog at http://blog.yourbusiness.com is a neat organizational approach. However, this is a major mistake since your website will not benefit from any of the good contents created on the blog!  It defeats the whole purpose of creating a blog in the first place. This goes the same for businesses who have their blogs on free blogging platform domain such as Blogger.com, WordPress.com, etc.

Fix – The ideal path for your blog should be http://www.yourbusiness.com/blog. The reason is simple, Google sees each domain as its own entity.  By including your blog inside your main business domain, it allows Google to see your blog contents as part of your main website. Which means the contents you create for the blog will go directly towards your website’s SEO effort.

Overkill with product related contents

Mistake – Take a look at the content you publish on your blog. If it is too focused on your products, services achievements and why you are so awesome, you might want to strongly reconsider.  Publishing such content is fine on a regular basis. However, you want to create thought provoking contents that your readers will return to and comment on.  Interesting articles are important to your business blog because they have a much better chance of attracting readers and gaining social traction. The last thing you want is to get stuck on product-focused or company-centric content that will not generate followers.

Fix – Change the way you think about content for your blog. Consider spending more time on educational, data-driven or thought provoking material related to your industry.

Inconsistent updates

Mistake – Maintaining a blog is a commitment. You will lose your audience if you don’t post on a regular basis. Research shows that the companies benefiting most from business blogging are the ones that blog frequently and consistently.

Fix – Make it a commitment to upkeep your blog. The most common schedule for business blog is weekly, so start brainstorming about at least one blog post per week and work your way up. If time or bandwidth is a major concern or deterrent for you, SpiceTech is always here to help.  =)

Attention does not equal Relevance!

attention does not equal relevance

Have I got your attention now?  I’m sure the picture above did a great job at getting your attention.  But the question is, what are you going to do with  it?

I have clients who sent out 10,000 emails with only 1 response.  I also have clients who ran Groupon deals that brought thousands of new customers to their business, who never returned.  Wonder why?

Attention does not equal relevance

Of course, it is great to get attention for your business. It gives you a group of potential clients. People who are willing to listen for a short amount of time.

This is the moment that you have to show them the significance of your offerings. That will get people to stick around and learn more. If you can get them to do that, you might just have a chance to reap the rewards.

Attention + Relavance = Opportunity

How do you create this opportunity?

The first thing you need to focus on is SEO and PPC. What is SEO and PPC you ask?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. With search engines controlling over 75% of the internet traffic, SEO is a must. Ignoring this effort is not an option especially for small local businesses.

PPC stands for Pay Per Click. These are basically paid search results that drives super-targeted search traffic. This is a great audience-builder and research tool for testing the market.

Once you have built audience through SEO/PPC, the next step is to attract them to learn about your product. This is why a properly designed website is so important. If you cannot retain and convert your audience into potential clients, you have just wasted all your efforts on SEO/PPC. However, if you have a visually appealing website as well as great contents, you might have the proper tools needed to convert your audience.

Don’t forget, e-mail campaigns and social media networks are also great ways to build audiences.  These are very direct ways of reaching your clients and it intrinsically allows you to prove your relevance.  Make sure to tread this water carefully since the last thing you want is to pump out what your audience would defined as spam.

Google once said “Content is King” and that statement still holds true today. The bottomline is, what you did to attract your audiences are all prep work required to get them interested in your content.  If you do not provide quality content to proof your relevance, all efforts are wasted.  Content is the guts of your entire online marketing effort. Great content makes you relevant. Write things that your community will read, learn things and share them. Your audience will thank you for it. Remember content does not have to be writing. It could be photos, video, audio, graphics, etc.

Now go back to your website, perform the prep work, create good content and seize the opportunity!

 

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