As we begin a new year, we thought it summarize some recent information regarding web accessibility. As a web professional, one should already know that making your pages accessible helps your search engine ranking and much more. As an organization, we have been promoting (and encouraging members) to participate in Project Silver (this initiative is focused on a new version of accessibility guidelines) for some time. We encourage you to consider helping with this initiative.
Of course, it is important to understand what we should be doing now to make certain our projects are accessible. We found the following articles to be a helpful review of what is presently happening with respect to accessibility.
In December, Scott O’Hara discussed the trials and tribulations of the title attribute. This is a great review of the current state of use/ disuse of this attribute. In a nutshell, Scott review this venerable attribute since it’s inception in the HTML 1.2 draft (yes, that was in 1993). One of the main issues with this attribute is that most browsers assume a visitor is using a mouse [for example, to see a title tooltip, you must hover your cursor]. Surprisingly, Internet Explorer 10, 11 (and MS Edge) display tooltips (after a short delay) as if the visitor hovered over them. Additionally, when you long press an image in iOS 11, the title attribute also displays in the popover menu. Of course, these sorts of examples do not help much with overall user experience (and are not consistently implemented). Scott also reviews how this attribute is somewhat useful on select elements for screen readers. NVDA and other readers will announce title on landmark elements (header, footer and so forth), but will not on div or other elements (unless role updates are provided as well). Scott provides a number of use cases where the title attribute can be helpful. The bottom line is that the title attribute can be potentially quite useful, but a number of previous bad practices and lack of consistent support among browsers and screen readers is hampering more consistent use. We encourage readers to review Scott’s entire article. It takes about 20 minutes to review and is well worth the read.
In July, IBM updated their accessibility checklist (now at version 7.0). We encourage readers to review it (if you haven’t already). In addition to providing a thorough checklist, we like the approach of combining the revised US Section 508 standards (which also incorporates Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) along with the additional requirements needed to meet European standard EN 301 549. One central checklist for multiple countries. That alone should be useful for those who conduct business in the U.S. and E.U. We encourage web professionals everywhere to make certain they review (and use) such a checklist.
Dennis Lembree provided a very useful article on the topic of building a culture of accessibility (with a focus on leadership roles). Many of us have encountered situations where initiatives fail because there is no clear leadership. What we like most about this article is the specific breakdown (by corporate division) how individual leaders can contribute to a culture of accessibility. We already look forward to follow ups to Dennis’ post and additional insights. We encourage web professionals to take 5 to 7 minutes and read his entire article.
For those using the React framework, Scott Vinkle provides a very useful overview of React’s accessibility code linter. What we found most helpful is that Scott walks you through creating a new React app and describes in detail how to employ the code linter for maximum accessibility. As a web professional, you are employing linting as part of your continuous improvement strategy (aren’t you?). We encourage you to review Scott’s article (particularly if you are considering employing React in applications you develop in 2018). It will take you a couple of hours to review this article (if you work along with his examples).
For those web professionals who are new to web accessibility, we offer a foundational course on this topic via our School of Web initiative. As a current member of Web Professionals, you first course is free.
As you surmise from the above overview, a lot has been happening in the past months regarding accessibility. We encourage you to provide comments regarding your efforts to incorporate accessibility in your projects and tell us what you have been doing to develop a culture of accessibility in your organization. We may be in contact with you to do a follow up post on the specifics you provide.
All the best for a great 2018,
Community Evangelist and Executive Director.
As 2017 draws to a close, we thought it might be helpful to discuss the tools we use for various activities. These tools are not directly used for web design and development; they help our overall processes. Web Professionals considering freelance work or those working in enterprises may find this list helpful. Obviously, these are the choices we have made; we are not endorsing these particular tools – they just work for us. Your mileage will (and should) vary. We also include a brief overview of why it is important to consider using a tool for a specific task.
- Accounting – many prefer QuickBooks. Others prefer Freshbooks. Regardless of the tool you use, it is important to keep track of income and expenditures.
- Advice – mentoring is particularly important when you are starting. Obviously, Web Professionals members are here to help. Additionally, you may wish to consider the Small Business Administration and SCORE. The latter provides free business mentoring.
- File management – we often work across multiple computers (and need access to files in a variety of situations). We have come to rely on tools such as Google docs, One Drive, Dropbox and similar services.
- Graphics and video – we have come to rely more and more on Adobe Spark. It is a free tool and provides the ability to rapidly create messages for social media and more.
- Networking – we should not be working alone; it is important to network with peers. We often rely on Meetup to find local groups with similar interests. Our members also know we use Slack to enhance member to member communication.
- Password vault – passwords should be long and complex and not reused on various sites. This is why a password vault is so handy these days. If you are not using one, you should be. Examples include Dashlane, LastPass, or KeePass (there are other alternatives as well). You only need to remember one password to open the vault and can then copy and paste passwords for a specific site as needed. We also recommend using two factor authentication where possible (see below).
- Portable Apps – when there is a need to use Windows computers in client locations (or you simply want to take your browser favorites/ bookmarks) with you from computer to computer, we have found PortableApps to be a reasonable solution.
- Project management – we often use Trello (yes, there are many alternatives). Trello fits with our work flows. We find it easy to share boards, checklists and more with others as needed.
- Screen capture – we typically rely on SnagIt. However, there are times when using computers while working with clients, we have used Greenshot. The latter also has a zip version (so we can take it with us on a USB drive) along with other portable apps (see above). Yes, you can use the snipping tool (and the Mac equivalent), but tools (such as SnagIt) provide greater control and the ability to rapidly crop and annotate the screen capture.
- Sharing/ collaborating – we typically use Connect and Zoom. There are many alternatives as well, such as Join.me. The advantage of using these tools (in addition to collaboration) is that you can record your screen (with narration) and use these for training, demonstrations and more.
- Time tracking – Toggl is what we use to keep track of time spent on various activities. It is important to measure how much time you are spending on various tasks and projects.
- Two factor authentication – Passwords are no longer enough to provide access to sites. We recommend using two factor authentication where possible. Google Authenticator, Duo, and Microsoft Authenticator are examples. The SANS OUCH newsletter provided a timely overview of 2 factor authentication recently. Disclosure, I (Mark) am one of the reviewers of that newsletter.
- WordPress site management – if you are running multiple WordPress sites (and roughly 1/4 of all sites in the U.S. these days are based on this technology), you might want to consider using ManageWP. This is a freemium service offered by GoDaddy. It has a number of useful features in the free version (and you can get site monitoring for a nominal amount per site per month). This can save you a lot of time updating plugins, dealing with SPAM and more.
This is our list of tools that we often use. What did we forget? What tools in the above list do you use? Do you have alternative tools you prefer? Why do you prefer those? We look forward to your comments and further discussions. Let us know if you would like to have a separate Slack channel devoted to tools as well.
Community Evangelist and Executive Director
Earlier this year, I had the distinct honor of speaking with Christopher Schmitt about SVG (especially SVG filters). In this 6 minute overview, he discusses why these are important to web professionals everywhere. The full discussion is available to our…
The following material was provided by Helen Miller (TemplateMonster). We thought Web Professionals should be aware of this new marketplace.
TemplateMonster has over 15 years of experience, and offers a ‘boundless ocean’ of wordpress themes and 60,000 templates holding the promise of making users’ lives easier and more enjoyable. Having the right business wordpress theme can jump start any project and save you a tremendous amount of time and effort. As of now, TemplateMonster has become a digital marketplace and welcomes talented vendors from all over the world.
So, what’s the idea behind the digital marketplace? That’s simple as that. This marketplace is the right place where even a beginner can start earning their first $1,000 with the focus on what matters. Starting a business is challenging, but the digital marketplace opens a new world of possibilities. For more experienced web developers this means a way to a more recognizable and reputable business with an income up to $10,000. It still makes sense if you’re looking for opportunities to increase your revenue streams and to earn extra money. How about earning up to 70% commission from each sale of your digital product?
Why is This Important to Web Professionals?
Important thing is that both beginners and professional web developers can benefit from becoming a vendor on TemplateMonster digital marketplace. Simply put, this marketplace is a huge platform that gathers together the most skilled and talented professionals from the web development industry in a single place. What’s more, depending on the earnings a vendor wishes to get, he can sell either exclusive or non-exclusive products. So, if you’re a professional web developer willing to go any length to achieve your goal, get up to 70% commission from each sale for your exclusive products. Here’s a head’s up for you – it’s worth doing it for the long run.
Top Reasons to Become a Vendor on TemplateMonster Digital Marketplace
Everything in this world has a reason and that reason has a purpose. With a great purpose to help gifted web developers to succeed, there’s a number of reasons why to join the digital marketplace. Since it offers a leeway for gaining the attention, getting a wider customer reach, and making your name more recognizable for the audience, don’t waste your valuable time and become a vendor today.
So, what’s the cut for a vendor?
- Once you become a vendor, you get one account for selling both exclusive and non-exclusive products. (In comparison, on Theme Forest vendors can sell either exclusive or non-exclusive products.)
- It takes 12 hours for a digital product to be reviewed, 1-3 days for more complex digital works. (2 weeks is an average time on ThemeForest.)
- No limitations on the number of products to upload or send for review at once. (On ThemeForest, a vendor can upload 1 product to one category at once.)
- With a ’Quick Start’ a vendor can earn higher commission from each sale faster.
- With the ’Ticket System’ a vendor can get quick responses from the Review Team.
- The ability to assign more than 1 category to the digital products.
- No location restrictions. Net15 payments should be enough.
How to Become a Vendor on TemplateMonster Digital Marketplace
Here are 4 basic steps needed to become a vendor on this digital marketplace.
- Sign in the author application. Here, you need to specify what types of digital products you create and whether you’d like them to be sold on the marketplace.
- Get in touch with the personal manager. No worries, the personal manager will take care of all the organizational issues, clarify the details about the files you submit and the way you’d like to cash your earnings.
- Once the product page is designed, you’ll receive an email notification.
- Start earning money. Receive earnings from the themes sod on a monthly basis.
Why Does It Matter Now?
Start with the experience and interests you can’t get enough. Become a vendor on the digital marketplace to make more money and receive top rankings from the clients. However, it’s important to note, your earnings directly depend on the quality of the themes you sell. That’s right. The better the product you sell, the bigger the chance to earn more income. What’s more, each item can be rated and commented by a client. This may leave the more positive feedback and higher ratings.
Don’t waste your valuable time and promote your themes. Here’s a head’s up for you – TemplateMonster is known for its seasonal promo campaigns and discounts. Thus, if you’re really serious about making money as a professional web developer, decide whether you want those discounts to be applied to your digital products or let them stay available at the regular price. Still, you can promote your digital products through multiple venues like a personal blog, social media, affiliate program, or site. Choose your way to winning the battle for attention.
Weighing Exclusive Vis-à-vis Non-Exclusive Products
Since TemplateMonster digital market accepts both exclusive and non-exclusive digital products, the vendor is responsible to decide whether to sell it exclusively at TemplateMonster and get up to 70% commission from each sale, or on other sites also and get 40% commission maximum. That’s an issue worth thinking about, isn’t it?
Besides, take time to learn the types of digital products allowed submit to the digital marketplace.
Why Should a Web Professional Take Advantage of These Offers/Opportunities?
If you’re a professional web developer, you have no room for error. Take a chance to expand your client base and boost your earnings. Once you become a vendor on the digital marketplace, a team of marketers, designers, and coders will review your digital product. If built properly in accordance with the requirements explained in the ’Vendor Agreement’, you’ll be suggested with the lowest and the highest cost of the digital product. However, as a vendor, you can adjust it within a 15% price range.
The best part is that in case you face any hurdles, your personal advisor will never leave you alone. With your personal advisor, you can get rid of all that worries.
If you’re passionate about what you do and excited about how you do it, get involved and become a vendor. With the human desire to grow, there’s always room for improvement. Taking advantage of the opportunities the digital marketplace offers can enhance your career and achieve your leadership goals.
The bottom line is that you have a choice. Grab the moment to get involved in TemplateMonster’s staggeringly powerful collection of beautiful website templates. Take your business to new heights.
This guest post was created by Helen Miller (Marketing Manager at Template Monster). Many thanks to Helen for making this available to our readers.
Not all the content of an HTML page is visible to end users. Metadata that reside in the webpage’s header is visible to search engine crawlers (and others who view the source code). Nevertheless, it’s still important for you as a part of the on-page SEO (Search Engine Optimization). In this article I give a brief characteristic of the most frequently used metatags and determine their role in on-page SEO in 2017.
What is Metatag?
Metatag is an HTML tag that is situated in the webpage’s header and provides crawlers with the information about the information, presented on the page. Metadata is meant to specify post description, author, date of publication and other relevant information that’s useful for crawlers.
Notwithstanding the fact that all modern browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and IE, support metatags, not all the metatags are actually attended to by the search engines. The reason for this is that Internet space has evolved over time, and some metatags that were abused by spammers in the past, are now ignored by crawlers, and do not affect your page’s ranking.
What are Most Used Keywords and How to Optimize for Them?
In this article, we’ll speak about the three most important metatags, such as Title, Description and Keywords metatags. Let’s look into them one by one and determine their optimal length, examine their examples and go for tips on how to optimize for them to maximally boost your on-page SEO.
Make Your Statement: Title Tag
Title tag is not metadata per se, although it’s specified in the website’s header. Title tag is visible not only to crawlers, but to website users as well, which makes it double important. First of all, people searching for a certain keyword see what’s specified in your title tag on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). For this reason, your title used in the title tag is also referred to as a SEO title. Secondly, SEO title appears in your browser window’s header on the tab that stands for opened page. Lastly, it gets displayed in social networks when your post gets shared.
SEO title is very important in decision-making process of potential website guests. It’s the boldest text displayed in your SERP entry. Moreover, crawlers do attend to it and will display your website’s page based on the keywords that your SEO title contains. The closer the keyword to the beginning of the title, the more likely it’s to be displayed.
How Does It Look from Inside?
Title tag is added to the head part of an HTML page and typically looks like shown in the following example:
CMS engines tend to make your life simpler (which is not always desired) and form the SEO title automatically based on the provided page title. This is often not what you desire. To get the desired, optimized SEO title, you’ll have to resort to one of the useful (in many ways) SEO plugins, e.g. Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress.
With this plugin you get an opportunity to point a SEO title that’s optimized for certain keywords and boost your on page SEO by this.
How to Optimize Your Title Tag?
The main tips that concern your title tag optimization are the following:
- Length: the optimal length of a title tag is 50 – 60 characters (including spaces). Do not exceed this limit as your title will be cut off by search engines. Do not be too concise: use your chance to use your limit of 50 – 60 characters to the fullest.
- Placement of a keyword: your focus keyword should be shifted to the beginning of the title; then come the least important words.
- Use unique title tag: your title tag should be unique for every page on your website. Do not duplicate your title tags for max SEO impact.
- Mind relevance: watch out you title tag’s relevance. If Google or other search engine would deem your title tag irrelevant, they’ll replace it with an automatically generated one that would hardly be as good as your coined one.
- Avoid keyword stuffing: if your repeat your keyword over and over or stuff your title with multiple keywords, search engines would penalize you for such a practice, so avoid it.
- Make your article title different from SEO title: this is your extra chance to rank for different keywords with one post.
Let’s now review an example of how these tips can be used in practice:
In our case the focus keyword is ‘best burgers in London’. The SEO title of an article was optimized in the following way:
This is a very well-optimized title as it starts with the focal keyword that is then followed by a very appealing headline that uses ‘buns’ instead of ‘burgers’ to avoid repetition. The SEO title fits into the maximum length of the title tag, so the title is not cut off on the SERP.
What Your Article Is About: Description Metatag
Description metatag is used to provide a brief description of your page’s/post’s content to crawlers, so that they know what your page/post is about. A well-written description is often displayed by search engines on the SERP, so users may read it and make a decision whether to open your website based on it. If a search engine finds your meta-description not good enough, it will replace it with text snippets from your article on the SERP.
Google has recently stated that it does not rank pages for keywords used in the meta-description. However, it’s still important for your on page SEO as it does tell the search engines what your content is about (and helps them make a decision whether to crawl the page further), and, if displayed, influences user’s decision making process on SERP, thus, influencing your click-through rates.
How Does It Look in HTML?
Description metatag has the following look in HTML:
How to Optimize Description Metatag?
Follow the tips below to get a concise and informative meta-description:
- Length: limit your meta description to no more than 155 characters. Search engines can display only a limited number of words on the SERP. If your meta-description is longer than this, it will be cut off in the middle of what you have to say. I bet this is not a desired result.
- Include a CTA: if you want your description to work better for you on the SERP, add a short CTA (Call To Action) to it. ‘Read more’ or ‘Find out more’ would suffice.
- Use a unique description: go for a description that has not been already used, otherwise you may run into serious duplicate content issues and your content will be ignored by search engines.
- Include keywords anyway: although Google doesn’t rank for keywords in meta-description, they are highlighted in bold on the SERP. This means that users will pay more attention to your SERP entry if you include a keyword to your article. See an example below:
They Are Still There: Keywords Metatag
I may say that currently Keywords metatag is passé and is completely ignored by search engines (except for Bing that looks on them just with the purpose of penalizing spammy websites). How did this happen?
As keywords are the core of search on the net, Keywords metatag became an easy abuse target. In the past, website owners, eager to boost their SEO rank and traffic, ‘stuffed’ absolutely unrelated (but popular on the net) keywords for their article. For instance, they inserted ‘Rihanna’ as a keyword to a page about spare parts and fooled search engines by this.
At present, search engines got wiser, and completely abandoned Keywords metatag to avoid all sorts of ‘keyword stuffing’.
How Does This Metatag Look in HTML?
Keywords metatag has the following appearance in an HTML document:
How to Optimize for Keywords Metatag?
There is no need to care for this metatag any more. Some SEO experts say it’s totally OK to leave it out completely, others advice to still go for a couple of keywords, ‘just in case’. It’s up to you whether to provide keywords in this metatag or not, but don’t ponder over this question too long.
To boost your on page SEO, its important to pay careful attention to such page head elements as title tag and meta-description. Make sure you use your focal keyword in these elements and keep close to the max length limit for the elements, but do not exceed it. Regarding Keywords metatag, it’s kind of passé, so the need for its even minimal optimization is dubious.
If you want to learn more about SEO optiomization of a website, get hold of the following insightful free e-book:
Are there any topic-related questions that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll be happy to get back with you.
Thanks again to Helen Miller (Template Monster) for providing this post.
Dear Web Professional Colleagues,
WebProfessionals.org (aka the World Organization of Webmasters) has a 20 year history of supporting practicing professionals and those that teach. To better support practicing and aspiring Web professionals including teachers we are working to keep web-related occupational classifications up to date. At the request of the U.S. Department of Labor, we will continue to support the O*NET (Occupational Information Network) initiative as an important and primary source of occupational information. O*NET. Prior efforts have culminated in better classification of both web adminstrators and web developers (at the O*Net site).
O*NET is now taking steps to create the occupational classification – Search Marketing Strategist
Why is this important?
* Results will help support Web professionals everywhere
* Teachers and schools that teach Web professional topics need a guide to focus their curriculum strategies
* Students need an integrated career pathway program that is based on web-based science and technologies and that maps to employer demand
What we need from you:
Participation from industry professionals in the following study.
U.S. Department of Labor Study – Search Marketing Strategists
Description: Employ search marketing tactics to increase visibility and engagement with content, products, or services in Internet-enabled devices or interfaces. Examine search query behaviors on general or specialty search engines or other Internet-based content. Analyze research, data, or technology to understand user intent and measure outcomes for ongoing optimization.
You are considered an Occupation Expert if you meet the following criteria:
- At least 5 years of experience with the occupation. Includes those who are now supervising, teaching, or training IF you have at least one year of practice during your career.
- Currently active in the occupation (practicing, supervising, teaching and/or training) and based in the U.S.
If you meet these criteria and are interested in participating as an occupation expert, please email or call Tammy Belcher at the O*NET Operations Center at RTI International (the O*NET data collection contractor) 877-233-7348 ext. 119 or tbelcher (at) onet.rti.org and provide the following:
- Name/ # years of experience
- Address with city and state
- Daytime phone number
- Email address
- Do you have at least one year of practice in the occupation and are you still active?
- Indication that you are a Web Professional
Process and Participation Incentive:
A random sample of experts responding to this request will be invited to complete a set of questionnaires (paper or online versions available). $40.00 in cash and a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Department of Labor will be included with the questionnaires.
We encourage you to consider helping to keep information about your profession accurate and current for the benefit of our colleagues and the nation. Thank you very much for your support.
The following article was written by Helen Miller. Helen Miller is a freelance author who is always inspired to write on web-design and web-development up-to-date subjects. Helen has a great interest in IT sphere and always has fresh ideas to share. She also cooperates with TemplateMonster.com. If you want to be aware of the latest tendencies in web-design follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.
If you are reading this article, you might already have your own blog. In case you are only thinking of launching the one, you can browse WordPress blog themes developed by TemplateMonster and choose one that fits your style.
Running a blog is relatively simple, there are millions of the existing resources out there, but making your blog really popular is rather challenging.
We believe that the best way to run a successful blog is:
- To write high quality posts that people like. Choose a niche you are interested/expert in and help people solve their problems.
- To engage your audience on social media and respond to their queries.
- To answer your audience questions in the comments section.
- To connect with other bloggers, try guest posting.
- To invest in your blog design like a good theme.
- To grow your subscriber list by using social media.
- To submit your blog to search engines, the likes of Google, Yahoo, Bing.
We can continue this list with many more items, but the topic of the blog post suggests that Top 7 Popular WordPress Plugins for Successful Blogging must follow. So, here they are, hope they will help.
P.S. Please check out this link that will be useful if you are serious about your decision to become a famous blogger. 10 Ways to Earn Money and Become Rich on the Internet – this is a free eBook highlighting the following aspects: The Launch of Your Own Online Business, Money Making Practices That Require Your Skills, Participation in Online Projects.
WordPress is technically quite a good platform for SEO right out of the box. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve it further. This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all the required aspects. But that’s not all; while this Yoast SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, more on that below, it first and foremost helps you write better content. Yoast SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
W3 Total Cache improves the SEO and user experience of your site by increasing website performance, reducing download time via the integrated features like content delivery network (CDN).
The only web host agnostic WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework recommended by countless web developers and web hosts. Trusted by numerous companies like: AT&T, stevesouders.com, mattcutts.com, mashable.com, smashingmagazine.com, makeuseof.com, kiss925.com, pearsonified.com, lockergnome.com, johnchow.com, ilovetypography.com, webdesignerdepot.com, css-tricks.com and tens of thousands of others.
Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against the global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. You can review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
Major features in Akismet include:
- Automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
- Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
- URLs are shown in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links.
- Moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user.
- A discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam, saving you disk space and speeding up your site.
Jetpack keeps any WordPress site secure, helps to increase traffic, and engage your readers.
Traffic and SEO tools Jetpack includes: Site stats and analytics, Automatic sharing on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Reddit, and WhatsApp, Related posts, Search engine optimization tools for Google, Bing, Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress.com
Stop worrying about data loss, downtime, and hacking. Jetpack provides: Brute force attack protection, Downtime and uptime monitoring, Secured logins and two-factor authentication.
Add rich, beautifully-presented media — no graphic design expertise necessary: A high-speed CDN for your images, Carousels, slideshows, and tiled galleries, Simple embeds from YouTube, Google Documents, Spotify and more, Sidebar customization including Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds, Extra sidebar widgets including blog stats, calendar, and author widgets.
Create a connection with your readers and keep them coming back to your site with: Email subscriptions, Comment login with Facebook, Twitter, and Google, Fully-customizable contact forms, Infinite scroll for your posts.
The plugin has an entire team of Happiness Engineers ready to help you. Ask your questions in the support forum, or contact them directly.
Easily create and add forms to WordPress. Fields are easy to add, remove, and re-order. The contact form will let the user send emails to a site’s admin, and also send a meeting request to talk over phone or video.
Features: easy form edit, multiple forms, confirmation emails, no templates to mess with, and an option to redirect visitors to any URL after the message is sent. Includes Google reCAPTCHA and Akismet support to block spammers. Spam is no longer a problem. You can add extra fields of any type: text, textarea, checkbox, checkbox-multiple, radio, select, select-multiple, attachment, date, time, hidden, password, and fieldset.
You shouldn’t hire a developer to add Google Analytics to your website with MonsterInsights, a complete Google Analytics for WordPress plugin that’s EASY and POWERFUL.
MonsterInsights allow you to connect your WordPress website with Google Analytics, so you can see how visitors find and use your website, so you can keep them coming back. Simply put, the plugin will show you the stats that matter.
With almost 15 million downloads, MonsterInsights is the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress.
At MonsterInsights, user experience is #1 priority. That’s why it was made to be extremely easy to connect and view your Google Analytics reports from inside your WordPress dashboard. Its tracking settings and workflows make MonsterInsights the most beginner friendly Google analytics plugin in the market.
Redirection is a WordPress plugin to manage 301 redirections, keep track of 404 errors, and generally tidy up any loose ends your site may have. This is particularly useful if you are migrating pages from an old website, or are changing the directory of your WordPress installation.
New features include: 404 error monitoring – captures a log of 404 errors and allows you to easily map these to 301 redirects, Custom ‘pass-through’ redirections allowing you to pass a URL through to another page, file, or website. Full logs for all redirected URLs, All URLs can be redirected, not just ones that don’t exist, Redirection methods – redirect based upon login status, redirect to random pages, redirect based upon the referrer.
Existing features include: Automatically add a 301 redirection when a post’s URL changes, Manually add 301, 302, and 307 redirections for a WordPress post, or for any other file, Full regular expression support, Apache .htaccess is not required – works entirely inside WordPress, Redirect index.php, index.html, and index.htm access, Redirection statistics telling you how many times a redirection has occurred, when it last happened, who tried to do it, and where they found your URL, Fully localized.
Do you consider this brief compilation of Top 7 Popular WordPress Plugins for Successful Blogging useful? Are you going to install any of them on your blog? Did you already try out any of the above plugins. Please drop us a line at the comments section. Your feedback is highly appreciated.
This article was written by Abid Ullah. He is Director of Search at Marketing Wind. He is an experienced SEO Outreach expert and advertisement specialist. His interests lie in Digital Marketing Management. He is an internet marketing enthusiast and his specialty is in search engine optimization outreach and content marketing.
At Miami SEO (part of Marketing Wind), we work with web professionals regularly Based on our analyses, we have created a list of 5 indispensable skills web professionals must know in 2017. If you are an aspiring web-professional, then look below and invest in learning these skills in 2017.
Create a Great User Experience
As a web professional, you already know that user experience is essential. This means when creating a site, you need to build an excellent interface and great user experience. Avoid user experience errors. Review your efforts with those who will be using the site and confirm the site is not only usable, but is easy to navigate and understand. Have you ever visited the Amazon online store? It is among the best online retailer stores on the Internet. They have used a variety of features and user interface elements that make purchasing and browsing seamless. As it is an e-commerce store, they have made sure the purchasing and delivery system is spot on. Just with an input of delivery information, you can confirm your order and get done with the process that easily. Try to offer your consumers a similar fluid experience so that they stay on your website for a longer time.
This is a must in 2017, many companies are processing payments from their sites. You must protect the site from hacking, SQL injection, and user requests that could be considered as spam. If you are uncertain whether your site is secure, hire a qualified professional to review your site and identify/ resolve any vulnerabilities.
It has always been important to learn Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML). In 2017 web professionals can also use editors that do not require detailed HTML knowledge. Nevertheless, if you want to be a professional web designer and have professional web design skills for long-term and an in-depth understanding of your work then you must learn HTML and understand semantic markup. HTML is source to streamline your lifestyle and business line. Not learning how to use HTML will leave you behind in the web designing and development process. You’ll miss out on easy-to-use visual HTML building tools, latest updates and on ways to enhance your blogging techniques. HTML helps a lot when it comes to formatting your blogs, pasting content from word to CMS, while making a guest post and during content formatting. As the content is worldwide known as the king of web and marketing, who wouldn’t want to learn a coding program that helps in putting the content into limelight?
Search Engine Optimization is not just about content. It depends greatly on the functionality of a website. As a web designer you should know Search Engine Optimization so that you can build a SEO friendly website which has the chances of getting ranked high in search engines. If you are a beginner, you can search about SEO. The web provides a series of SEO learning tutorials and videos. The official Google SEO tutorial is a good place to start. Moreover, the marketing team of the company can carry out conferences/ webinars with the leading SEO experts who can guide through how to do search engine optimization and how to make your website fully optimized for Google and other search engines. Another way to learn more about SEO is to experiment and see for yourself the results that different practices produce.
Basic CSS knowledge is essential; it is important to make sure that you know how to create CSS files from scratch. The CSS (cascading style sheets) is actually a styling sheet language. Through this you can give an effective style to your website along with the use of HTML. It makes the web page more appealing and easily manageable. Thus, learning CSS is a sure shot success key and web professionals must spend their time on it.Learn the new features of CSS-3 as well.
It is preferable to have the knowledge of the web server you’re launching your website at, to name your website properly and to understand secure FTP. This knowledge about the web server helps you find out how well it works with the operating systems, how capable it is to handle the server-side programming and about its security characteristics. Moreover, the knowledge gives you an insight of the search engine and site building tools that it comes with.
Web development is a broad category which also includes web-design and web-optimization, the above skills are taken from all aspects, but in some cases, you might only be focusing on web-designing which will require different skills than web-development. So, pick your category and decide whether you want to work on one aspect or all aspects and start learning.
The U.S. Congress repealed the FCC broadband/ Internet privacy rules established in the latter days of the Obama administration in late March, 2017. President Trump signed this repeal on April 3. Untouched, those rules would have gone into effect later this year. Those rules were an outgrowth of the Federal Communication Commission’s battle to protect net neutrality. You may be asking yourself – why does this matter, what will this change, and how will you and your clients be affected.
What you need to know:
- Although most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have said nothing has changed, they are free to change their policies at any time going forward. Consumers will not have a choice (to opt-in or opt-out).
- It will be much easier for ISPs (think AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and similar corporations) to track your specific browsing history across all devices.
- If an ISP decides to intercept search requests, they could send results from their own marketing databases (instead of the results someone might expect).
- There is also a risk that such “injection” could be hijacked or compromised by malicious individuals. These large databases of consumer information would also be prime targets for hackers.
- Previously, if you didn’t like the amount of data collected by a corporation (for example, Facebook), you could simply choose not to use their services and select some competitor. That will no longer be an option since your ISP will be the one tracking all your access (potentially).
- There will not be any filters regarding your browsing history and how it can be used. You will have very limited control over what is shared with others (or sold).
Why this is important
In a nutshell, this is game changer (particularly in the U.S.). Up to this point, individual sites collected data (and used it to target ads). As a general rule, if a service appears free on the WWW, you are likely paying for it with your personal data. Facebook would be an excellent example of this. Using this company an example, Facebook wants you to visit Facebook so they can mine the data you share and can then sell targeted ads. These sorts of ads are likely to generate more revenue for the advertiser. That being said, each company wants to keep the data they collect about you to themselves. Frankly, information equals power these days. The more a company knows about you (and your browsing habits and searches), the better they can target ads.
That being said, there are limits. Most of us have smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices. Trying to identify the common visitor across all these devices is a lot easier when the Internet Service Provider can be involved. One can no longer opt out by choosing an alternative company (perhaps DuckDuckGo instead of Google or Bing for Internet searches, for example).
Those of us who have been alive much longer than the WWW understand that limits were set in place for other technologies. For example, phone companies could not collect specific information that you were calling a physician or attorney and then target you with ads for similar types of services. The previous rules likened much Internet traffic to be similar to telephone traffic (and under the same guidelines).
Who voted for and against
Here are the details (who voted for and against this bill in the House of Representatives). For the senate version, votes followed party lines. We also found this overview of how we got to this point informative.
You will have less control of how your online history is used
With the elimination of these Internet Privacy rules, more of your online history will be available to more companies and you will have less control over how it is used. In addition to now being able to collect vast amounts of information from their customers, each company can use said information to provide targeted ads or can sell the collected data to others. Each company is free to change their policies at any time. That is why this is such an important change.
We found this NPR article to provide a solid overview of the situation and what your options are.
Help your customers understand these changes
Undoubtedly, some of your customers will have questions. More sophisticated customers will have detailed questions. At a minimum, we recommend mentioning these main points:
- Internet Service Providers are able to change their policies at will. There is now much less oversight by the FCC and FTC.
- It is likely there will be more tracking/ recording of your browser history and this data may be used for more targeted advertising. Much more data is likely to be collected (and shared or sold). As a consumer, you will likely not have the option to either opt-in or opt-out of such data collection. Many do not have the luxury of being able to easily select another ISP.
- For additional information, you may wish to review this FAQ regarding what happens as these rules are cancelled.
For those who wish to pursue more privacy, here are some of the things you can do today:
- Download and use the HTTPS everywhere extension for Firefox, Chrome, and Opera
- Consider employing a tool like Privacy Badger to block spies and hidden trackers on sites you visit
- Consider using a VPN
- Consider using Tor as your browser
- You might also want to introduce some Internet noise (a tool which loads random sites so your actual searches are obscured by large amounts of nonsense searches). This latter tool certainly will not protect your privacy; it will only generate additional “noise” which will obscure your actual search interests among a larger amount of random searches.
- [updated Sept. 18, 2017] You might also want to review this online privacy guide. They provide a number of good suggestions.
The bottom line is that there will be more data available for marketers. While this may be a plus for Web marketers, this is a giant step backwards for privacy advocates.
This has the potential to allow much more focused ads as big data and predictive analytics are brought to bear on an ever increasing amount of consumer information. If one is in marketing, they need to remain aware of consumer concerns.
Practicing web professionals should leverage this change as an opportunity to inform and educate their customers/ clients regarding what may be collected and how best to deal with this new reality (perhaps recommending using a VPN and plugins like those mentioned above).
The Electronic Frontier Foundation recently posted a list of ISPs that respect your privacy. They also provided a solid overview of how to protect your privacy from your ISP. This article also included a number of questions to ask about any VPN (before you purchase). Examples include:
- How long has the VPN been in business?
- Does the VPN log your traffic?
- Is the traffic encrypted? Is there a single shared password for all encryption?
- Would the VPN leak your DNS queries to your ISP?
- Does the VPN support IPv6?
We anticipate that this is only the beginning of the discussion regarding increased awareness of privacy issues on the part of consumers and professionals alike.
Community Evangelist and Executive Director