22 Apr

Responsive CSS Column Templates

I’ve been tampering quite a bit recently with column grid templates based purely on CSS and jQuery for a number of projects. I’ve found that making the grids responsive is a key area of interest and functionality that needs to be incorporated into every webpage being built now.

There are quite a few reseources online where you can find tutorials, sample code and of course, there’s Stackoverflow, but for its sheer simplicity I tend to refer to the below templates –

  • DopeTrope CSS layouts is a simple downloadable zip that has all resources including a right/left/no sidebar template(s)
  • Responsive CSS grids has a unique interface which allows you to create your own grid with specified widths.
  • Keep in mind that responsive designs and layouts need to factor in all screen sizes. DopeTrope also has an in-built mobile menu shortcode for the navigation menu.

    Play on and contact me for any edits that you may require or customisations of any of the code.

    31 Mar

    15 Important Facebook Advertising How To’s

    Advertising on Facebook allows you to reach a potential audience of a 100 million online users in India alone. The benefits of being able to filter out your active users do not need to be explained as compared to any search platform because users seeing your ads on Facebook are already engaged on the platform – pretty much similar to Ads on Gmail.

    The levels of targeting by relevance is extremely high on Facebook because the website traps and filters the audience’s likes, dislikes, marital/relationship status, gender, location, religion and much much more!

    Having executed in excess of 50 Facebook ad campaigns (for websites & FB Pages), here is a list of important things to keep in mind before and during your Facebook ad campaign –

    1. Establish a concrete Goal

    Every metric has its own weightage. Decide well in advance whether you need clicks, likes, websites visits, downloads, registrations or engagement. Make sure concrete objectives are in place even before a single $ is spent. Pre-execution Goals go a long way because you’ll always find primary objectives changing during the campaign duration. It is healthy to set a set of goals and ensure all are met to acceptable levels during review. Besides, pre-planning allows you to shift focus across multiple goals on the fly.

    2. Give Facebook Offers a piece of the cake

    Wouldn’t it be great to push certain offers tailored to Facebook users. Similar to Google offers via Adwords, you could try a free, on-the-spot giveaway to users incentivizing immediate engagement and “Likes”. Always start with a smaller test audience and then let the campaign tear up the speedway.

    3. Always incorporate a clear Call-to-Action

    Something any SEM specialist will tell you is that Google guidelines on call-to-actions are stringent. You do not face the same issues with Facebook though, over at Facebook it’s a free-for-all. Besides minimal content limitations, call-to-actions are pretty much a Facebook USP. Again, Engagement & Traffic are all about what to say and how you manage to lead users into your sphere of dominance.

    4. Optimise your Facebook Ad Headline

    Capitalization of every word is never enough. Writing compelling ad copy is second to none. Its true that images grab attention, but copy immerses users into continuing their actions that finally lead to  your campaign achieving its objectives.  Create engaging text which not only relates to your target audience, but also encourages them to participate

    5. Add Images to your Facebook Ad

    Only text is never enough. With that said, poorly developed images are never going to do the trick either.  Ensure your images are larger and have a maximum of approximately 20% covered with text. Any more – and it looks too cluttered, any less – and you’ll have to make sure the image alone is descriptive enough

    6. Update Your Cover Photo

    The single, largest highlight of any Facebook page is the Cover Photo. Make it vibrant and eye-catching. Most importantly ensure the cover image is relevant and descriptive of your page, service & website. Keeping it updated to the season and recent events shows visitors that an effort has been made to keep the page live and active and that the content is current.

    7. Make Facebook Posts Frequent & Consistent

    Like any other Digital Marketing activity, I will always iterate & re-iterate that success is always about – Content, Content & more Content. Strategise your content way forward to ensure you do not hit any roadblocks down the line. Relate to current news, changing seasons and global events – political & sports to show users that you are in fact, human. Current and relevant information is very endearing to visitors and goes a long way in engagement and back-of-mind recall.

    8. Testimonial Sharing Helps (really)

    Testimonials are always a powerful tool to use online and on any property, and that rule continues on Facebook and all Social media. But, it’s always good to think of alternative delivery strategies when displaying testimonials on Facebook. Try and spice things up with richer media, photos, videos and animations.

    9. Regularly Share Content created by Fans

    Sharing user-generated content not only  makes your fans feel better about themselves, but also increases the likelihood of their friends and contacts subscribing to their friend’s views. You should always encourage your fans to post content and comments as when they post comments/content, it is shown on their walls for many others to see. According to Facebook’s stats, an average Facebook user has an average of 15 (bare minimum) friends. So do the math, if you manage to get 20 unique users to post content on your page, it means your reach has achieved a minimum of 300 views…. all for not doing anything.

    10. You Can Advertise Your Website instead of a Facebook Page

    Instead of having to keep users on Facebook itself – which may serve higher social purposes or goals for the campaign, you can also lead clickers to your website where you can ‘entice’ them to carry out a multitude of actions – from registration to purchases – all without the barriers of having to deal FB code and app developments.

    11. Hide Great Stuff behind the ‘Like Barrier’

    Always look to increase interactivity and user actions. Providing a preview of delectable content virtually makes users click “Like” to see more. Exploit this user behaviour because there are no free lunches :-)

    12. Select a Facebook Bid Option that Suits You

    Clicks, Impressions or Conversions? Easy, bidding options depend completely on your expertise in campaign management and objectives. Use Conversion bidding if you do not want to get into the painstaking process of managing your CPCs against your final cost per conversions. Use Impression bidding only if you’re interested in ad views and use CPC bidding if your goals are traffic generation or you’re experienced enough to strike that critical balance between Clicks and Conversions. Takes time and patience to figure out what best suits you, but it’s not rocket science, you’ll get it eventually.

    13. Leverage Facebook’s Advanced Targeting Option to the Fullest!

    Skim or penetrate, Broad or specific – the choice is yours to make. You can efficiently filter, re-filter and sub-filter the population on Facebook by Locations, Age, Gender, Interests, Connections, Behaviours and a host of other Demographic options such as relationship status & education. A huge advantage over other ad platforms to say the least.

    14. Daily vs Lifetime Budgets

    Budgeting is again as tricky as you make it out to be. Daily budgets are for the price conscious and attention-to-detail lovers. It can also be as simple as monthly budget divided by 30. Look at having a lifetime budget set if your campaign is more goal oriented, meaning, you wouldn’t mind if your campaign ended in half the time as long as the objectives have been achieved. But, for clients looking for scheduled adverts or daily achievement thresholds – daily budgeting would be the way to go.

    15. Use Facebook Insights Like Analytics

    Insights for Facebook is grossly under-developed for an ad platform, but instead seeks to provide basic performance metrics in terms of results for the money spent on Facebook. Experienced Google Analytics users shouldn’t have much of an issue using insights and lesser experienced users wouldn’t really take long to figure things out.

    30 Sep

    Tracking Anchor links (hashtag links) with Google Universal Analytics

    A lot of developers and myself have been struggling with tracking visits to anchor links on single page websites for a while now.

    If you don’t understand, read on, or skip to the para below

    Tracking data on your index.html or contactus.php or xyz.abc requires you to paste the GA code snippet at the bottom (or top) of your page within the <body></body> tags to track visits and a host of other data on your website. The problem arises when you have sub-sections in your page which Google Analytics treats as a single visit regardless of whether users have clicked on index.html#work or index.html#about-us. Visits to multiple # sections on your webpage still registers only a single visit to your index.html page, blurring out effectiveness of your sections or anchor (#) sections on your page(s)

    This is loss of tracking of anchor sections has been effectively resolved with JS analytics but a solution for Universal Analytics was pending for a long time. Google support does not give a solution or a tutorial on the same.

    After trial and error, I’ve managed to find a solution to this issue, its about adding a small js code snippet to your universal analytics code which tracks visits or clicks to your # sections. I’ve shown the appended snippet along with the standard UA code for placement and syntax.

     


    <script>
    (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
    (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new
    Date();a=s.createElement(o),
    m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
    })(window,document,’script’,’//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

    ga(‘create’, ‘UA-12345678-1′, ‘auto’);
    ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);
    // Anchor Tracking snippet start
    jQuery(document).ready(function () { var
    hashtag = /#\S+/ jQuery(‘.menu li a’).click(function(){ var match =
    jQuery(this).attr(‘href’).match(hashtag); ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘/’ +
    match[0]); }) });
    // Anchor Tracking snippet end
    </script>


     

    Found this to be the only workable and easily understandable solution – when it comes to Google’s Universal Analytics on single page websites. Tried on multiple websites and it seems to work flawlessly. You’ll have to find the reports for anchor links under Behaviour >> Site Content >> Content Drilldown section

    17 Jun

    5 Useful SEO Techniques to Increase Site Rankings

    Search Engine Optimization or SEO is one of the internet’s most buzzed about keyphrases, generating approximately 1 million searches per month globally. Showing the growing interest in website optimisation techniques by companies and individuals. Many rely heavily upon how their particular words or phrases are ranked in search query results.

    But simply put, its as easy as following the below basic guidelines:

    Choosing the correct keywords

    Its not always about choosing the keywords which generate the most traffic. Think about this exercise as a constant 3-way trade-off between search traffic, competition & relevance.

    Always choose keyphrases with medium search traffic, low-med competition and high relevance – with maximum emphasis on the high relevance. This is because your content is never framed according to your target keywords, but, your keywords should always be selected based on your website’s content. Maintain a lower score on the competition and search traffic and maybe you can direct a more MEANINGFUL userbase to your website.

    Leverage your Strengths

    Leveraging your domain name shows the best in the short and long term. If you have an unrelated domain name (e.g. godaddy.com) – try making the best of the amount of the brand/products on the website by optimising content on your pages. If you are low on content, optimise the limited content and images for selected keyphrases. Either way, there is an opportunity for all websites to undertake a SEO activity on their properties.

    Clue: Try discovering new keyphrases that auto-complete during inputing a search query on Google.

    Go Social

    I hate to admit, but yes, social interlinking actually increase your chances at ranking in SERPs. This happens because you take advantage of the content backbone of some of the biggies like Facebook & Twitter.

    Social media is now a key element of the internet – connecting millions of users to each other. Making optimal use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest for SEO allows for enhanced SEO content to be shared for a broader impact.

    Advertisers miss out on high ranking placements for desired keywords because they lack adequate ‘representation’ from the biggies above.

    Billions of search queries are made by millions of people every day. Every individual who searches online using one of many search engines is a hot customer to any individual or company with an online presence that can be found through that query. If your website does not show for a search query, try and ensure your social media property makes an  appearance.

    Implement Analytics !

    You do not know how fast you are going if your speedometer does not work, you don’t know how hot your engine is without the indicator and worse, you do not know when you’re going to run out of fuel if the gauge does not work. There is a reason why all Analytics solutions have “Dashboards”, like cars. They give a one-stop shop view about everything that is going wrong and right, in and around a website. Analytics will help decide which are the best routes going forward, which keywords are working against those which are not, which pages have maximum visits, exits and bounces, where users are entering and where they exit from and the list goes on and on.

    For small businesses and individuals, most recommended solution is Google analytics, it’s free, and also serves well for the inexperienced webmaster as Google has a really simplified, semantic interface giving users all the required information that is immediately relevant.

    Content, Links & some more Content

    Always make sure your website is full of rich, relevant & genuine updated content. Too much keyword insertion is pointless and just looks weird, too little and it may not work. Reaching and maintaining an optimal balance between amount of content and keyword density is THE SEO holy grail. That’s just the point, its unattainable and impractical. All that can be done is to have great content on your website with relevant and genuine back-links (nothing black-hat please) to increase your relevance and garner some support from other high-rankers on the web.

     

    SEO, like any other Art – and sometimes mistaken as voodoo science – is never a 100% guarantee. There are multiple external factors that could determine your site’s rankings like increase in competition, keyword death, search trends and the most recent worry – Search engine algorithm changes. Webmasters have to constantly battle external environments to reach high ranking status. SEO is an absolute trial and error activity where the horses with the most stamina always wins.