Paul Hickey is a business leader, digital strategist and web developer who is starting to get loud while documenting the journey of helping businesses grow. We talk Alexa Skills, Google Actions, Google Analytics, Social Media Content Creation, Facebook Ads, SEO, Paid Search, Web Design and more, as well as the occasional interview with business owners, marketers, educators, entrepreneurs and just overall badasses. Thanks for listening!
What's up everybody? I'm going to show you something I've been really excited to do myself. This is how to create an animated GIF (I pronounce it JIF like the peanut butter), then add it to Instagram Stories, so that anyone can stick it to their stories on Insta. This is complete branding arbitrage, because it costs NOTHING. 1. You just create a GIPHY.com account, apply to have it verified (which is easy - this video explains it) - https://giphy.com/apply/ 2. Create the frames for your GIFs using Canva and download them as transparent PNGs. 3. Upload them into GifMaker.me ... Download them as an animated GIF file. 4. Upload them to your GIPHY.com account and add tags. The tags are important, because these are the search phrases that users will type in to find your GIFs on Instagram. Why is this branding arbitrage? 1. Because the data says user attention is HIGH on Instagram Stories. 2. The cost of putting your logo into Instagram Stories via these GIFs is ZERO Dollars and ZERO cents. 3. You can do as many as you want, with as many keywords as you want. So get creative, or contact us if you need help - email@example.com
The first step towards creating your Alexa Skill or Alexa Flash Briefing for your brand, start-up or small business, is to create an Amazon Alexa Developer Account. It's one of the easiest possible steps in the entire experience of building Alexa Skills, but it still feels good to get started and know that you're in the right place. First, go to https://developer.amazon.com. It will redirect you to a log-in page. Here is where you click the "Create an Account" button. After filling out your username and password, you will be sent a one-time password (OTP) to your email account. After entering in your one-time password, you'll fill out your Developer Account's profile information and agree to the Terms and Conditions. Your account has been created. Now to start building Alexa Skills, visit the Third Tab from the left, called "Alexa" and click "Alexa Skills Kit." You will then be taken to your Amazon Alexa Developer Dashboard, where you can click "Create Skill" and get started building your Alexa Skills!
I sat down for an awesome podcast interview with my good friend Brynn Plummer, VP of Community Relations and Inclusion at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. We had a great conversation about Voice Technology, and how businesses will be expected to have Alexa Skills and Google Actions in the next 24-36 months. We hit on how Entrepreneurs can get resources in Nashville, and how the Nashville Entrepreneur Center is playing a critical role in the Nashville Business Community.
I want businesses to know that you don't need to have an Alexa Skill or a Google Action that does everything for you. You need it to just be integrated with / enhancing your current experience. Michael Antaran, CEO of CARROT Wellness, explains how CARROT started simple, and then integrated Voice based apps like an Alexa Skill to enhance the experience and increase user engagement.
"When we started, we made CARROT a mobile app that rewards you financially for walking. It's free, it's easy. There's no simpler instructions then the doctor saying saying you need more exercise, you need to walk more. Everybody knows how to walk.
Then when you get into Mindfulness and Meditation, it gets into the Voice space of things. So we integrate CARROT with our Alexa server so that without even opening CARROT, your information from our app can become part of your own Flash Briefing for the day. So it fits it in there between your own Flash Briefing of what you like, so you know what you need to walk today.
You can also ask Alexa about your CARROT rewards and history, and it will dynamically adjust and provide the right information for you. SO if you're on a 10-day streak of making your goal, so the CARROT Alexa Skill will tell you that. "You're currently on a 10-day streak, make it 11, and you'll get into the top 10% of people."
I asked CARROT Wellness CEO Michael Antaran "What advice would you give business owners like yourself about the Voice version of their platform in terms of incorporating an Alexa Skill or Google Action into their digital presence?"
His answer was amazing, unexpected, and spoke to my heart - "I would advise them to leverage what they have. I'm all about being resourceful, and with four guys on my team, we use the right data to make the right decisions at the right time.
That's the only way to survive in a Start-Up.
What I would definitely advise them is, make sure you look at the data. I know there's a lot of feeling that comes into play.
Everybody has that. You wouldn't be in this business going into a start-up unless you had some gut reaction about something you think you can solve, right?
So make sure you look at the data to make sure you back up your assumptions and rethink about and revisit all the different assumptions you made, to make sure you're still on that right path to profitability.
Don't forget about the data, make sure it drives where you want to be, and make sure it drives what you were predicting before you started.
It's always great to have a gut feeling about something, but as an engineer, I always want to make sure I have a pathway I need to follow. If I'm not on that pathway, it doesn't make any sense to continue on."
Check out the full episode here.
Michael Antaran and I have a lot in common. We were both born and raised in Michigan. We both left jobs in the corporate world to create our own start-ups. We’re both building software on a consistent basis, and we’re building Alexa Skills and Google Actions (voice-based apps on top of Alexa and Google Assistant) and integrating everything into one overall experience.
Watch the entire video or listen to the podcast while you’re working, running, walking the dog, whatever and you’ll hear all of that, but the key points are here…
Michael is the CEO of CARROT Wellness, a mobile app that rewards you for walking. Period. That’s it. Super simple. But how he got to where he is today isn’t as simple. But it is really freaking cool.
Michael is a software engineer who worked for Chrysler. A dream job since he fell in love with cars growing up in Motor City.
But when his first child was born, he was up in the middle of the night tending to the baby, and couldn’t fall back asleep, so he started coding mobile apps (remember, the iPhone had JUST come out).
A gamer, he coded games, and turned these 80 hour work weeks into a successful mobile app gaming company that was so successful he left his full time job to pursue it.
Four years later, he pivoted. Not for business reasons, but for personal reasons. And there was nothing wrong in his family health wise, thank God. But, there was something wrong, in his wife’s opinion, with the negative impact she thought his company was having on the youth of America.
“I was helping kids get fat,” says Antaran. Having a moral issue with this, he decided to take a year, and change the way all of his mobile games let users buy more lives and power-ups. Instead of charging money for them, he made users walk to earn them.
Yep, he tapped into the pedometer on smartphones, and rewarded gamers for walking. “You have to do the work. You can’t fake it or enter your own information,” he adds.
This story quickly got the attention of major health systems in Michigan back in 2015, and CARROT was born.
CARROT is now mainly a B2B app that companies can use to promote health and wellness among their employees, but there are consumer facing versions, and Alexa Skills integrated as well.
CARROT is a full experience. “It’s all about engagement,” says Antaran. “Without engagement, you can’t improve.”
Why did CARROT’s four person team of software engineers add Alexa Skills into the experience?
“The data,” said Antaran. “Start-ups can’t live without it.”
Which brings me to maybe the most important thing Michael and I have in common – making data driven decisions. I highly encourage you to listen to this entire episode.
Thanks and have a great day!
Yes! Your business can sell products and services on Alexa. You need a Custom Alexa Skill to do it, and we can build it for you, so your stakeholders can just say "Alexa, book an appointment with my CPA firm," or "Alexa, order my fitness supplements."
This is done via Amazon Pay, NOT "In-Skill Purchasing."
This video explains how businesses can get started selling their products and services on Alexa.
Attention marketing directors and small business owners. This is a great tip for you all to spin up quick small landing page websites by duplicating a full website in minutes using WPEngine WordPress hosting.
Then, you have the ability to change around content easily in your new domain.
Ever wonder how to save time posting Facebook Ads, so that they can appear on Instagram, mobile apps and more? My friends, it’s called the Facebook Ads Audience Network, and it’s turnkey and set up for your business to use in Facebook Ads Manager. I talk about it here in my post keynote Q/A session at the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce.
Which should your small business choose? Google Ads or Google Adwords Express? This is one of my favorite questions, and I answer it pretty emphatically in this keynote at the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce Small Business Boom (during the Q/A Session at the end).
When recently speaking at the Mt. Juliet (TN) Chamber of Commerce about Google Analytics, Google My Business and Google Ads, I was asked - "Don't most people skip the Google Results that say Ad?"
The proof is in the data, they don't. In this video I explain Google Adwords Express, how it works and how you can make it work for your business to generate phone call leads.
My WordPress Content Manager friends, this one is for you. You don't need a developer to make your CAPTCHA in the footer of your website not look horrible. This video shows you how to use Gravity Forms Conditional Logic to only show CAPTCHA after a user enters their email address in the field.
This prevents email spam that you DON'T want on your lists.
For the Data Driven Daily Tip that shows you how to add CAPTCHA to your Gravity Forms, click here.
I had a blast at the Mt. Juliet (Tennessee - close to Nashville) Chamber of Commerce Small Business Boost, discussing how to prevent "Small Business Injuries" by increasing productivity, increasing visibility on Google, and Tracking Results using Google Analytics, in what I called the Google Geek Session.
Amid the mad dash to try and grow your Business' Facebook Following, it's easy to forget about the why behind it. You want to connect with your target audience, understand who they are, and how you can better engage/help them.
That's why it's important to look at who is following your page / liking your page.
This video shows you exactly How To Find A List Of Your Facebook Followers, and it's not where you'd think it would be. :)
You're not going to go to "More" > "Insights" at the top, but rather, "Settings" > "People and other Pages."
Why Facebook makes it so confusing and keeps changing things, we'll never really know, but in the meantime, Data Driven Design will always be here to help you as your digital marketing strategists!
There are many different web hosting companies for Managed WordPress. The top ones include WP Engine, GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator and AWS. However, there are also several smaller ones.
The best quality service provider related to these services is WP Engine, and this is NOT a sponsored post, it's based on years of experience trying a ton of different webhosting platforms.
Clearing your website's Server Cache is something that your webhost needs to offer, but it's done in different ways depending on the platform. This podcast shows how to clear your cache on WP Engine.
As it relates to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I love trying a ton of things and seeing what works. One platform I've seen work very well for Small Business SEO over the last two years is Google My Business. Having an accurate, optimized profile, as well as posting regularly are things that can really help small businesses succeed in terms of being found on Google above their competitors.
Another thing that everyone already acknowledges as very important is generating positive customer reviews on Google. But what businesses don't realize is that replying to each Google review is also a best practices that should always be implemented. This podcast explains how and why.
As an Alexa Skill Developer, you have to be aware of how to pick Alexa-Supported Launch Phrases, also known as Invocation Names.
It's not too complicated, and I'm still learning as I go, so I just wanted to share one specific thing with you.
Amazon Alexa allows Alexa Skill Developers to pick three basic invocation names that essentially launch their Alexa Skills.
These start with the word(s), "open," "launch," "load," and even "begin."
If you use one of these words with the name of your Alexa Skill, it's going to work and you'll pass the Alexa Skill Submission process, as seen in my video.
But when you want to include an Intent in your invocation, things change a bit. An Intent, or Intent Block if using a third party tool like Voiceflow to build your Alexa Skill, essentially skips ahead of a skill's opening message to a point where the skill does something specific for the user.
For example, in one of our Custom Alexa Skills called Ask Data Driven Design, you can say "Alexa, open Data Driven Design" and the Skill will open and start giving you prompts for how to get information from it.
This invocation is a basic one. But, we've also added Invocations with Intents paired with Connecting Words. These examples include:
“Alexa, ask Data Driven Design how my web traffic looks”
“Alexa, ask Data Driven Design what my bounce rate is”
“Alexa, ask Data Driven Design where most of my web traffic is coming from”
“Alexa, ask Data Driven Design what are my top viewed pages”
These intents skip the opening, and just start reading you what you asked for.
More on these can be read here in the Alexa Developer Console documentation, or on this blog about tips for creating certifiable phrases for your Alexa Skill.
This video walks you through how to avoid putting intents with connecting words in your opening invocations, in the event that your Alexa Skill isn't properly coded with intent blocks.
What’s up everybody? We had an amazing event, the Nashville Voice Conference, on July 31, 2019, and we are already making preparations for Nashville Voice Conference 2020.
One of the things we wanted to do with our event, was create a Snapchat GeoFilter around the location of the event, which was held at Thistle Farms in Nashville, TN.
I had one of my teammates, Tanner Boriack, help me prepare this Data Driven Daily Tip.
Here is how to create a Snapchat filter.
1. Go to Shapchat.com
2. Click on Create.
3. You’ll see a few different options. Community Filters, Filters and Lenses. Select “Filters.”
4. Then click “Create Now” next to Filters.
5. You’ll see a couple different options. You can use Snapchat’s own pre-loaded options/designs, or you can design your own filter with creative tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, or even my own personal favorite – Canva!
6. Take note of the size of the file. Make sure it’s 1080 px wide by 2340 px tall.
7. Make sure you have a transparent background as part of your image, where the users would be shown in their photo, in the upper two-thirds portion of your design.
8. Also make sure you have a contrasting background with your text color in the lower third portion of your design.
9. Upload a png file of your design by clicking the “Upload” yellow button. Preview your design.
10. Click the yellow “next” button to select the day and time of when you want your filter to show (we set ours for a couple hours before the event, to a couple hours after the event).
11. Click next again.
12. Select the GeoLocation of your event. Start by typing in the address or name of the business location at which your event will occur.
13. Create your GeoFence by following the instructions within Snapchat (minimum size, click and drag).
14. Checkout – enter payment information, check settings and click Submit!
Boom, your Event will now have a really cool Snapchat Geo-Filter!
So, the other day I was sitting in a meeting with a marketing director at large college in the State of Tennessee, and they asked me at the end of the meeting if I thought WordPress was the best solution for their website. What I wanted to do was get up on the table and start yelling and screaming "yes, yes, yes... you have to go with WordPress!" But that would not be as powerful as me just simply looking at the data and educating her on the fact that WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world, by a long shot. There is a website out there called wappalyzer.com and it’s actually also a Google Chrome browser extension the tracks millions of websites across the world and understands usage statistics for everything from the website content management software (CMS) being used, to payment gateways and even marketing automation software. I have watched Wappalyzer grow exponentially over the last year or so, and aggregate data from more and more websites across the world.The number one thing that stands out to me is that WordPress is far and away the most used content management system in the world at 80.6%. That's right, 80.6% of the websites in the world use WordPress. And if you don't think Wappalyzer is a legitimate source, consider the fact that companies like Google, Amazon, IBM and others use it to understand what technology is being used on web apps and websites across the globe. So my question to you, small business owners and mid-level marketers, is - why would you want to go with anything other than WordPress? It’s free, open source software. There’s hundreds of thousands of themes out there that you can buy for less than $100, and then you can have just about any web developer in the world (worth their salt) work with you to help you get past whatever blockers or hurdles you're having. Many clients have come to us after struggling and fighting with Wix, SquareSpace, Drupal and other platforms, as they did not allow their websites to be the marketing tool and operations friendly system that it is supposed to be. Start with WordPress, and build the best possible website presence for your small business. And feel free to contact me directly for a free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're a small business owner, entrepreneur or mid-level company marketer, it's obviously important how you spend your time. And if you're spending your time on a Twitter strategy, you need to know how well it's working for you. Not in terms of justifying it, but rather to see which content is working better than other kinds.
Also, we had a question from a client recently about how to download Twitter Analytics into a spreadsheet to use it / pull it into other dashboards / reports.
This Data Driven Daily Tip Covers Both.
Attention Small Business Owners and Mid-Level Company Marketers, Facebook Changed the way you can access your audience data and page insights. You now have to access it via Facebook Business Manager / Facebook Ads Manager.
And much like Google Analytics Demographics and Interest Reports, you have to go manually turn on the tracking of this data, and you can't retroactively get data, meaning - the sooner you take action by following the steps in this video and turn it on, the sooner you can get your data.
Thanks so much to YouTube Subscriber Andres Granados for asking a question in a comment on this old video.
As you can see once you set up your Facebook Analytics though, not all of the same information is there yet, such as "when are your fans online."
I've built several Google Actions and Alexa Skills recently, and while Alexa seems to be pretty straightforward in terms of finding and adding Skills to your devices via the Alexa app / Skill store, the Google Home situation with Google Assistant isn't as straightforward.
To be honest, there still appears to be some "friction" in this experience that is eventually supposed to be "frictionless."
I will tell you, like most Google "situations," the answer is actually pretty simple, it's just not easy to find it.
So nevertheless, once you know which app to use to add your Action via, there will be no problems.
That's just it my friends, don't look in the Google Home app to find your actions, look in the Google Assistant app!
It's that easy. This audio explains what I mean.
Alexa Skills and Google Actions are voice applications built on top of Alexa and Google Home / Google Assistant. The next generation will expect businesses to have Alexa Skills. Watch this video or keep reading to find out why. You can build these apps for just about anything. For example, in this video, I demo what would happen if I forgot my entire Nashville Voice Conference introduction, but I built a voice app to help me. I'm really excited because we are at the very beginning of something that is going to shake the way businesses are run. If you remember, back inn 1999, not that many businesses had websites. Well, by 2003, it was pretty much unheard of for businesses NOT to have websites. That is what we are going through now in 2019 with Alexa Skills and Google Actions related to businesses. Whatever our role or responsibility, whether a Small Business Owner, Entrepreneur, Marketer, Product Owner, Developer or Operations person, we can all benefit from voice tech. While voice tech is still early and new, the data shows it is actually going to be expected that businesses have Alexa Skills in the next 12-36 months. A perfect example is Dan Winterberg, a 10 year old from Georgia who attended the Nashville Voice Conference with his father Bill, because Dan builds Alexa Skills for his class projects in elementary school. So when Dan enters the workforce in 10 years or so, you can bet he'll EXPECT that the company he works for will have 10-15 Alexa Skills, including at least one that allows him to access the voice-based version of the company intranet. This is happening now, and if you want information on building these kinds of voice-based apps for your business, please email me at email@example.com. I've worked with a ton of small businesses, a ton of small business owners and marketers, and I've experienced the behavior that comes from being overwhelmed with trying to keep up with the ever-changing aspects of digital marketing, design, branding, websites and digital strategy. I know this seems like "just one more thing we all have to do," and I'm very empathetic to that. But I really want everyone to think this is the beginning of using voice apps to make your lives easier. Don't just think of it as one more thing you have to do. Let's work together to integrate it into what you're already doing to make your work life more efficient and effective.
Seems like a weird concept, right? But honestly, the data says that we’re only about 1-2 years away from people expecting to be able to listen to content from websites on Alexa while driving.
This means, Alexa Skills Are The New Websites. Today, Data Driven Design is building Voice Based versions of content on websites, using Voice User Interface Design to create an engaging conversation with the audience.
Your business needs to think about doing this. The way people do business has changed. When I presented this session at Nashville Voice Conference, there was literally the mother of a newborn baby in the session as an attendee, and the baby was with her, folks!
This is the perfect example of the fact that the way people will need to consume information will continue to change rapidly. The days of getting a screen out and scrolling will be annoying compared to simply being able to say “Alexa, open XYZ Website,” or “Hey Google, Tell me about XYZ website.”
The title slide is wrong on this video folks, it is Data Driven Daily Tip #324, and we're talking Facebook Offline Events with Casey Carroll of Action Ad Agency.
In addition to the alliteration in our company name, Casey and I have a lot in common. As you can see from the Steve Largent jersey hanging in the background, he is also an NFL fan (Seattle Seahawks to be exact), and he knows Facebook Ads like no other.
In fact, he specializes only in Facebook Ads.
In this podcast, we talk about Facebook Offline Events, the Facebook Attribution Tool, what the minimum monthly budget should be for any business looking to run Facebook Ads, and much, much more.
Thanks to Casey for being a part of the Data Driven Daily Tip Show.
So let's get right into it...
What Exactly Are Facebook Offline Events?
Let's say you have a physical location where you do business. Like a retail store, convenience store, coffee/drink franchise, or car dealership, for example, and you may or may not have a way of collecting customer information, like a loyalty program, or a point of sale system (all businesses have this by the way).
Facebook Offline Events actually allow you to retroactively upload lists of customers that have purchased from you, and get real data around which Facebook Ads you've run that they have seen.
Let me explain this again. You can run Facebook Ads, and then track exactly which creative, imagery, headlines, body copy, calls to action, etc. drove the most actual sales at your offline store.
You do this by having us or your digital agency, set up Facebook Offline Events. Or, you can do it yourself with a little help from this article.
In this podcast, Casey and I also talk about the Facebook Attribution Tool.
What Is The Facebook Attribution Tool?
Attribution is something I've written quite a lot about related to Google Adwords, but now Facebook has made their Attribution Tool available to marketers.
Essentially the Facebook Attribution Tool is a way of understanding which of your ads are driving action, but it allows you to assign conversion credit to marketing touchpoints along the consumer journey, on and off Facebook, to understand what's really driving your business outcomes.
It also allows you to track conversion paths that happen across multiple devices and easily view performance by channel – paid or organic – and publisher to see what's driving your conversions.
What is a Google Action? A Google Action is a way to make Google Assistant smarter. It's something you can search and add to your Google Assistant App, Google Home, Google Home Mini, Google Hub and more. As a user, you can just ask Google for information, similar to the way you can ask Amazon's Alexa via Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show and any other Alexa Enabled Devices.
A Google Action is a voice-based application, just like an Alexa Skill. As a developer / digital agency, we can create these voice based apps to help businesses build a presence on Alexa and "dominate" search on Google Home.
The data is showing that more and more users are getting their information from voice assistants and smart speakers, meaning we're leading the charge and getting businesses there.
In this Data Driven Daily Tip, I demonstrate how to take a voice-based app that has already been published as an Alexa Skill, and submit / publish it to the Google Actions Console using Voiceflow, so it can be added on Google Assistant, Google Home and Google Hub users.
What is Alexa For Business? It's not a phrase I'm using to try to encourage businesses to use Alexa, it's an actual service offering from Amazon. Similarly to the way that IT departments have managed company-issued computers and mobile devices, organizations can now distribute and manage company-issued Alexa-enabled devices as well as create Private Alexa Skills.
This episode walks you through how to set up Alexa For Business for your organization.
Things you need:
1. An AWS (Amazon Web Services) account
2. That's it.
3. If you want to deploy, manage Private Alexa Skills, you'll also need an Alexa Developer Account.
Things you can do with Alexa For Business include:
1. Manage Meeting Rooms
2. Have Alexa enabled devices on your desk
3. Ask private skills to read you information from the company intranet, conduct voice-enabled new employee trainings or sales trainings, or even just ask when a meeting room is available or "what building does Sally work in?"
Alexa for Business is all about making your organization more efficient and effective.
For more on voice-enabling applications and creating more productive employees, click here.
For more on using Alexa in meeting rooms, click here.
For more on Alexa for Business Blueprints, click here.
For more on Creating and Publishing Private Skills, click here.
And please know that Data Driven Design certainly provides all of these services for our clients. For a free consultation, click here.
I decided to run Google Adsense ads on Data Driven Design. First of all because we're publishing so much content on our site (1-2 new pieces per day), so technically we're a publisher in addition to being a digital agency.
Secondly, because as a leading web design and development company, we need to stay up to date with all of the new changes to Google Adsense so that we can implement it properly for our clients.
Recently, while logging into my Adsense account, I realized that there was a critical message at the top.
It read - Earnings at risk - One or more of your sites does not have an ads.txt file. Fix this now to avoid severe impact to your revenue.
No email warning, and my "revenue" might be impacted, that's not good!
This video walks you through what steps I decided to take to attempt to resolve this matter.
All publishers should listed and read this documentation...
Declare authorized sellers with ads.txt
Ensure your ads.txt files can be crawled
Voice User Interface Design is so new. It's so hard to think through every scenario of what a user might want to say to Alexa or Google Home, which is why this particular use case I think is a good one to share with you all.
I recently built an Alexa Skill using Voiceflow, which allows you to map out your entire conversation with Alexa.
So for example, my Alexa Skill is to let attendees of the Nashville Voice Conference know about their roles and responsibilities at the conference.
At one point, after you identify who you are, if you're a featured facilitator, it asks you about if you'd like to know about Parking, Timing or your specific event preparation.
One of the featured facilitators used the Skill and told me it didn't work, because he had tried all variations he could think of using "my specific event preparation".... Turns out, I hadn't accounted for the word "specific" in my synonyms in Voiceflow.
So, it was an easy fix.
I anticipate much of Voice User Interface Design (VUI) being like this.
We build 99% of our websites in WordPress. There's just very rarely no reason not to. It's the most "non-technical content-management friendly" platform available, and it doesn't have the brick walls that SquareSpace does or the Theme Limitations that Shopify has.
And, security should never be an excuse with WordPress. You can lock it down and get a good webhost, and you'll be all set.
But one annoying thing is comment spam on blog posts. Every WordPress site, regardless of how many blog posts it has, will surely get comment spam.
The good news is that the spam won't be visible to your audience, but it will go to your email inbox if you're the site admin, and it will just be well, flat out annoying.
This simple video shows you how to turn off WordPress comment alerts. :)
Mailchimp is an amazing platform. It continues to evolve every day. My prediction is that it becomes one of the top overall marketing platforms and even CRMs on the world in the next 5-10 years.
As a result, I have a ton of Mailchimp content at www.DataDriven.Design
But I digress. Today's Data Driven Daily Tip is How To Create A Segment In Mailchimp.
The reason you'd want to do this would be because Mailchimp doesn't let you "exclude a tag" ... Tags are a way of organizing your audience within one list, so that you don't need to duplicate the same user onto multiple lists in your audience. It's super smart, but when you go to send a campaign, you can only INCLUDE users that have a particular tag, for example - if I wanted to send an email to all attendees of the Nashville Voice Conference, that's easy.
I just select that tag when I'm starting my campaign.
But if I want to send a blast out to my entire Audience but EXCLUDE people who have already signed up for the conference, I have to create a segment.
This video walks you through how to get that done. :)
This video / podcast / Alexa Flash Briefing with my guy Will Acuff, co-founder of Corner To Corner, is a perfect example of how Small Business Owners and Marketers need to be creating multiple pieces of content out of one simple business conversation.
By watching this 23 minute video clip, you can see that the following pieces of content are being created by Will and I.
1. a blog for me
2. a vlog for me
3. a podcast for me
4. an Alexa Flash Briefing for Will
(none of the above using anything other than a laptop computer)
5. a podcast for Will
6. a blog for Will
7. a vlog for Will
8. a promotional video for Will
All small business owners stuck on what to talk about or how to create content for your business, take a page out of Will’s book. Just jump on a Zoom Conference with another business owner you respect, and record it.
Paul Hickey, Founder / CEO / Lead Strategist at Data Driven Design, LLC has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via Podcasting, building Alexa Skills, SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.
Business Owners, IT Professionals and Entrepreneurs - what is Gmail Confidential Mode?
You may have received an email from Google / GSuite lately regarding Confidential Mode.
The subject is - [Action Required] Gmail Confidential Mode launching default ON for your domain
The body reads: What do I need to know?
When Gmail messages are sent in confidential mode, it helps protect from unauthorized access and recipients don’t have the option to forward, copy, print, or download their content or attachments. Senders can also set an expiration date for messages sent with confidential mode and revoke access to them at any time.
What does this mean for my organization?
From June 25, your users will have the option to send emails with confidential mode, unless you disable this feature.
As an administrator, you can determine whether your users can use confidential mode by selecting from the following setting options:
Disable: This option prevents users in your domain from sending emails with confidential mode.
Enable now (beta): This option will enable confidential mode, which is currently in beta. However, the feature will remain enabled when it enters into general availability on June 25, 2019.
Enable when the feature is in general availability: This is the default option and will enable confidential mode when this feature becomes generally available on June 25, 2019.
What do I need to do?
Please ensure that you select the appropriate option in the Admin console for your organization before June 25, 2019.
You can find this setting in the Admin console by navigating to Apps - G Suite - Settings for Gmail - User settings
If you do not take action before June 25, your domain will automatically have confidential mode turned on for your users, meaning that users will have the option to send emails with confidential mode.
My contacts and our clients at Data Driven Design have a history of getting confused by messages like this from Google / GSuite - and rightfully so. The most recent example is what happened with Google Groups.
Well, I try to stay ahead of these things and help you, answering your questions before you even have them, so here goes. Please watch the video / listen and let me know if this helps!
Data Driven Daily Tip 316 - The data shows that WordPress is the number one most used content management system in the world, according to Wappalyzer. :)
Yoast SEO is a plug-in that has more than 5 million active installations. That means this video blog post is worth my time. :)
Many businesses will have this problem with WordPress, Yoast SEO and Google Search Console. It's a weird quirk in one of the latest releases of Yoast (Yoast has multiple release updates weekly - and we keep all of our webhosting clients on the most current version).
When you submit a sitemap via Yoast SEO, the Category and Tag URLs aren't indexing properly, and are causing a coverage error in Google Search Console. The fix, is super easy. Listen. And you're welcome. :)
As you may know by now from following my content, I'm very passionate about using Alexa and other voice assistants like Google Home, for business use.
I'm also passionate about teaching all other businesses how they can become more efficient and effective, as well as reach their target audience better via Alexa, Google Home, other voice assistants and even podcasting.
But why Alexa so much? How many people use Alexa? How many businesses use Alexa?
What is the most used Voice Assistant?
What are the trends? Well, we have to give props to Voicebot.ai for these great stats around Amazon Alexa.
As of January 2019, Amazon Alexa makes up 62% of the Smart Speaker Market, with Google Home at 24%.
Watch the video for more of the stats we see as relevant and why.
Also, according to SEO Tribunal - More than 50% of searches will be voice searches by 2020.
and...Business.com, VoiceCon by VaynerMedia and Dave Isbitski of Amazon Alexa for these great stats around Alexa For Business.
During 2018, 22% of Americans had smart assistants in their home, up from less than 1% in 2017. That’s huge, people. This is the next way to get your audience’s attention.
In 2019, there are more than 50 million smart speaker users in the world; increasing 15% each month. Not only that, but there are now more than 90,000 Alexa Skills, with businesses reporting a 43% lift businesses nine months after launching an Alexa-enabled product, and a 53% a percent boost on average almost immediately after incorporating an Alexa Skill into their current product. 54% percent of professionals surveyed say they’d use Alexa in the workplace to increase productivity.
This podcast covers the top five ways businesses can use Alexa to increase productivity in the workplace, courtesy of Business.com.
Nashville Voice Conference 2019
To learn more in person about how to use Voice Technology like Alexa Skills, Google Home Actions and Podcasting to improve your business, please visit NashvilleVoiceConference.com.
Whether you realize it now, or realize it years from now, your business needs an Alexa Skill. If not to reach your target audience, then to do business more efficiently and improve operations.
A year or so ago I found a tool called "Storyline." It promised building Custom Alexa Skills without coding. It didn't work.
In the last year, it has rebranded to Voiceflow and now works like a charm. Other Data Driven Daily Tips show how to use Voiceflow to create and test your Alexa Skill.
But when it came down to actually publishing the skill live to the Alexa Skill Store, I still wasn't ready to throw a party. But it worked, and now I am not only throwing parties, but I'm challenging myself to build at least one new Alexa Skill for business per week.
What is Voice User Interface Design or VUI? It's a new buzz word in the design world, and it has to do with thinking through and planning out the user experience related to a voice-based application, like an Alexa Skill, Google Home Action or a Chat bot of some kind.
While I suppose it could include AI (artificial intelligence), it actually really just can start with designing the experience behind a simple scripted conversation with the user.
A really nice software platform to build custom Alexa Skills and Google Home Actions (in Beta) without coding is Voiceflow.
Voiceflow has a great testing capability, where you can easily run through simulations and conversational scenarios to experience your Alexa Skill or Google Home Action before you publish it.
The Alexa Skills Developer Console also has a really cool testing feature. After you publish from Voiceflow to the Alexa Skills Developer Console, you can validate that it will work with Alexa by using your microphone and saying actual prompts, and hearing Alexa's reply.
What is Voice User Interface Design or VUI? It's a new buzz word in the design world, and it has to do with thinking through and planning out the user experience related to a voice-based application, like an Alexa Skill, Google Home Action or a Chat bot of some kind.
While I suppose it could include AI (artificial intelligence), it actually really just can start with designing the experience behind a simple scripted conversation with the user.
A really nice software platform to build custom Alexa Skills and Google Home Actions (in Beta) without coding is Voiceflow.
In this video, I explain/show how to use Voiceflow to design and create an Alexa Skill without coding.
This episode is me getting PUMPED on an Instagram Story about the launch of a shiny new Alexa Flash Briefing for entrepreneur Danielle McGee and her business Black Business Boom, highlighting Black-owned Businesses in Middle Tennessee. Enjoy!
Hey Alexa, Open Nashville Voice Conference.
The Nashville Voice Conference has launched the first ever Alexa Skill dedicated to communicating with attendees of an upcoming event, as well as speakers, staff and media.
“I believe we are the first, but I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong!” said Paul Hickey, Founder of Nashville Voice Conference and CEO/Founder of Data Driven Design.
“If you’re an attendee, a facilitator, staff working the event or media, you can actually go to Talk.NashvilleVoiceConference.com and interact with the Nashville Voice Conference Alexa Skill to find out key information about the event as well as personalized assignments.”
Do you know what Alexa For Business is? Do you know what a custom Alexa Skill is? You probably only think of Alexa for playing music at home or playing games, but you need to think of it for your business. Specifically, how you can train your large organization using a custom Alexa Skill only available to particular employees of your company. Listen in. I promise it's good.
Do you know what Alexa For Business is? Do you know what a custom Alexa Skill is? You probably only think of Alexa for playing music at home or playing games, but you need to think of it for your business. Specifically, how you can train your large sales force using a custom Alexa Skill only available to particular employees of your company. Listen in. I promise it's good.
This is the fully detailed, step-by-step version of Episode 214.
Starting from nothing, in Segment 1, I show you how to create a Gmail account.
In Segment 2, I show you how to use that Gmail account to create an Anchor.fm account, then create your podcast, your first episode, and get your podcast published on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and more.
In Segment 3, I show you how to find your Anchor.fm RSS feed, create an Amazon Alexa Skills Developer Account, and submit your Anchor.fm RSS feed as your Alexa Flash Briefing Skill feed.
In Segment 4, I show you how to validate, test, and submit your Flash Briefing Skill to the Alexa Skills Store, and how to have you and your customers/clients/audience add it to your live device.
I had no idea if building my first Alexa Skill was going to work. But it did. Like a freaking charm.
It never happens like that. And when it does, it kind of feels like serendipity.
There are already more than 40,000 Alexa Skills in the Alexa Skills Store within the Alexa App (how you set up / customize your Echo, Echo Dot or other Alexa-enabled device like the Roav VIVA or Sonos Speaker), but now the Data Driven Daily Tip is in the mix.
While future posts will explain why the heck I’m spending time doing this, this post is all about “HOW TO ADD MY BRAND SPANKING NEW ALEXA FLASH BRIEFING SKILL TO YOUR DAILY ALEXA ARSENAL.”
But first, we can definitely review. Chances are, even if you have some familiarity with this space, you’re still asking yourself What The Heck Is An Alexa Flash Briefing? Read below from an earlier blog of mine.
But there’s also a kind of Skill that many content companies and media companies use that is much simpler and more common during this infancy of Voice.
And as you can imagine, these have my attention. These Skills are called “Flash Briefings.”
Top Flash Briefing skills include Wall Street Journal, Cheddar, CNBC and Fox News.
But even brands like the NBA have Flash Briefing skills.
What’s cool about Flash Briefings is that, as a user, you can customize your own.
For example, mine could be “weather in Spring Hill, Tennessee,” “Top Tech News from TechCrunch.,” “MLB Schedule Today,” and “Gary Vee 365.”
You customize your own by heading to your Alexa app, tapping the hamburger menu then, Settings, then Flash Briefing.
So now, you can get my Data Driven Daily Tip on Alexa. Here’s how.
1. Open your Alexa app on your phone.
2. Tap the hamburger menu on the top left, tap “Skills & Games”
3. Search for “Data Driven”
4. See this screen, and click “ENABLE.”
5. Once the Skill is enabled, tab the Hamburger Menu Again, then “Settings” then scroll down to “Alexa Preferences” and tab “Flash Briefing.”
6. This is how your Flash Briefing will play in order when you say “Alexa, Play My Flash Briefing” or “Alexa, What’s In The News?” Make sure Data Driven Daily Tip Plays First!
In this special edition of the Data Driven Daily Tip Podcast, I talk through an important concept that all business owners and entrepreneurs need to fully understand - the Minimum Viable Product.
The tendency when building a software application or even a website, is to try to include everything all at once. To prioritize everything, which basically means you're prioritizing nothing.
How do you build something that is basic enough for your initial beta user group to test, and what is the benefit of this vs. trying to build everything all at once.
I explain in this podcast. Also, keep listening past the sponsored reads, and hear the special FULL version of my interview with Amazon Alexa's Chief Evangelist, Dave Isbitski.
I love WordPress, because you don't have to be a hardcore web developer to do cool, tricky stuff, like make a main navigation menu link open in a modal window, also known as a lightbox.
How To Make A WordPress Main Menu Navigation Link Open In A Lightbox
In this video, I show WordPress Content Managers how to implement this sweet functionality free of charge, by using two plug-ins, one called Popup Anything, and another called Shortcode in Menus.
Check it out. Thanks for watching and listening and have a great day!
Small Business Owners and Marketers, are you looking to have a form on your website that gathers email addresses that you later want to turn around and send automated or manual email marketing campaigns to?
An amazing trio of tools is Mailchimp with WordPress + the Gravity Forms Plug-in.
Gravity Forms offers dozens of add-ons for email marketing platforms, including our favorite - Mailchimp.
This podcast shows you how to connect, integrate, hook-up, whatever you want to call it - the WordPress Gravity Forms Mailchimp Add-On with your account's Mailchimp API, allowing you to drop email address submissions from your website directly into the list you want!
I've used just about every single WordPress website hosting platform available, and recently switched to WPEngine after five years with GoDaddy Managed WordPress.
GoDaddy just had too many issues with server space, and was super slow, going down too often, and allowing too many "known issues" to take place.
And at one point, GoDaddy even deleted one of my sites for no reason.
The switch to WPEngine has proved to be the right move, among other things, the ability to use back-up points to swap across environments.
In this Data Driven Daily Tip, I walk through how to launch a new website in from development in a Transferrable environment (free of charge) to a production environment. Pretty tricky and cool.
On a rare occasion, you may not have access to an old Google Analytics account, but you're the one responsible for making sure that tracking code from the old website gets on the newly launched website.
Or, you already launched the website and forgot. How do you go back and get your Google Analytics Tracking Code once your new site has launched?
How do you find Google Analytics Tracking Code without having access to the original account?
This video shows you how.
Anyone with a website likely doesn’t think about verifying it with Google Search Console, let alone Bing Webmaster Tools, but even though Bing only makes up 5% or less of organic search related web traffic (according to our Data Download), it’s still super important to gain search engine visibility on Bing via verifying your website and submitting a sitemap. This video shows you how!
While it's true (the proof is in the data) that Bing only makes up about five or less percent of all organic web searches (ways that your web users find your website via SEO / organic search), it is still important to rank highly on Bing, and have solid search engine visibility on Bing, which is why, after verifying all sites on Bing Webmasters, we also take the extra 5-6 seconds to "Fetch as Bing Bot."
Fetching as Bing Bot allows us to ensure two things:
1. That Bing sees our site and indexes it
2. Analyze the code that Bing spits back to us to ensure it looks the way we want it to look to not only Bing, but also potentially Google
This video explains more.
Attention Marketers and Small Business Owners - did you know you may be missing out on learning valuable information about your web users by not having your Demographics and Interest Reports Enabled?
By just toggling one switch in Google Analytics that takes about three seconds, you can start to aggregate data on who your web users are; how old they are, what kinds of websites they like to visit, what their hobbies and interests are and more.
But it's critical to do this as soon as you have Google Analytics installed on your website as you cannot gather retroactive data.
This video shows you how to enable demographics and interest reports in Google Analytics.
Have you ever Google'd your business, then wondered why you're looking at search results on the right hand side of the page that have nothing to do with your business at all?
Like if your address is being used for someone else's business, or if it is your business, with incorrect information?
If you're thinking what I'm thinking, this definitely has to do with your Google My Business listing. But why would someone else's listing show when you Google YOUR BUSINESS? Your name? Your address? Someone else's business information?
Here's what you can do.
Digital Marketers, Small Business Owners and Web Developers, you may all be wondering the same thing (and based on the amount of questions, comments and feedback I get regarding Google Analytics and Google Ads, there's a good chance you probably are) ...
Why aren't my conversions showing in Google Ads? Specifically, they are showing in Google Analytics but NOT Google Ads.
Well, the answer may surprise you - Google doesn't automatically show them in both places, even when your accounts are linked. You actually have to go into Google Ads and import your Google Analytics Conversions. This podcast explains how!
Have you recently tried to find your sitemap in your WordPress Website using Yoast SEO, but can't find it anywhere?
Recent plug-in updates to Yoast have changed where this is located and it's not easy to find anymore.
This video shows you how to find it. The importance of it is so that you can submit the sitemap URL to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
Data Driven Daily Tip 300 - Google Analytics Accounts are free with GSuite and with regular Gmail accounts. To activate yours, go to analytics.google.com and log in with your credentials. With your email account, you'll get access to 100 different Google Analytics Accounts.
But if you're like me, those fill up fast. There's an easy way to free up accounts. Don't delete them! You can remove your own access without hurting the account itself. Here's how.
At Data Driven Design, we love change. It's our sixth differentiator. And it's a good thing we do, because Google is changing Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) all of the time. It used to be that you had to verify your domains for each domain prefix, www., http://, https:// etc., but now, there is a new feature called "Domain Properties" that takes care of all of them at once.
This is now highly recommended, but the verification process is different than before. You need to create a TXT record in your DNS settings now. It's simple to do, but can take up to 10-12 hours to propagate and for Google to see the verification. This video shows you how to verify your site with Google as a Domain Property.
I don't get hit with a lot of spam on my WordPress forms, to be honest, but some websites do, big time. And believe me, I know first hand that small business owners have no time to deal with spam from their new WordPress websites.
For a service provider like Data Driven Design and other agencies, spam can ruin the client experience, leaving a bad taste in their mouth, which is why this Data Driven Daily Tip talks about one of my favorite WordPress plug-ins, Gravity Forms, and how to implement Google reCAPTCHA once your site has gone live.
A common use case for Web Designers and Developers to need to figure out a client's old IP address after maybe not planning for it, would be something like trying to bring back a clients old website to take a look at the content after pointing the A Record to the new site.
Or, if you're like me, a couple weeks ago, I actually went in during the middle of the night to migrate a client's website, and pointed the WRONG A RECORD! Whoops.
I needed to retrace my steps, but hadn't documented what I was doing. So I needed to figure out how to get the old IP address.
Thank goodness I found SecurityTrails.com and brought their website back up immediately, as shown in this video.
In a recent Data Driven Design Q and A session with followers, I was asked, "how can my business build a Facebook Messenger Bot?"
While it's a great question, if you've never built a Facebook Messenger Bot, or managed a chat bot before, I'd recommend starting by utilizing Facebook Ads' ability to place a Facebook Ad with a Messenger Objective that has the ability to add an automated Bot reply.
This article shows you how to do it, and it's a good place to start, because you can target an audience, spend $15, have a quick automated conversation set up with people who engage with the ad, and see how well it works for your business.
One question I've been asked a ton recently, and seemingly 40% of all web projects is about adding an automated chat feature to a website.
1. Paul, does it work?
2. Paul, how should we do it?
The answer to the first question is, yes, it CAN work, but you have to nurture it just like your other digital marketing and customer service initiatives in order for it to work.
For example, an office receptionist can work, if he does his job well, paying attention to people who walk in, asking them immediately how he can help, offering them something to drink, asking about how their day is going, and then directing them to the right place, and even occasionally asking them for their contact information so they can follow up.
If you treat your chat bot initiative on your website in this manner, it can be one of the greatest customer acquisition tools in the history of digital.
However, if your office admin (in this analogy), is NEVER at his desk - always off doing something else - and when he actually is sitting at his desk he's too busy to look up from his computer, your chat bot initiative will FAIL.
To answer question 2, I'm fond of a third party service called TIDIO.com.
One of the things about having a WordPress website is that there are several factors that control your website's health, well-being and performance.
One of them that controls your site's compatibility with Plug-ins - among other things - is the version of PHP that you're running.
Now, if you've been on a Managed WordPress host like GoDaddy, BlueHost, HostGator or even WPEngine for several years, there's a good chance your website is running an older version of PHP, like 5.0 or 5.2.
WPEngine is the only host that is requiring updates, allowing you to test on a one click staging environment, and identifying incompatible plug-ins that will break once they upgrade your site.
But GoDaddy Managed WordPress makes it easy to upgrade as well.
This video shows you how.
A super interesting question popped up during one of our recent Data Driven Academy Live Access Sessions. Member Kelly Savoca of CottonandMoss.com asked, I'm thinking of only picking two social media outlets to go deep into putting content out on, due to time constraints, which two should I pick between FB, Insta and Pinterest.
Listen to our answer here.
Pinterest has an advertising platform with the ability to run ads and sponsor pins, but the greatest and most powerful thing we've seen when analyzing web data on Pinterest is that simply being active on the platform drives traffic from your Pinterest page to your website.
We explain in this video taken during a Data Driven Academy Live Access Session - www.datadrivenacademy.org.
Pinterest is an often overlooked platform as it relates to garnering web traffic and driving conversions for brands. But if your company is creating content for platforms like Instagram and Facebook, the reward of also creating a version for Pinterest should definitely be worth the time.
We discuss further in this audio from our Data Driven Academy Live Access session - www.datadrivenacademy.org
There's no coincidence that I'm posting this on YouTube and embedding it in my website. :)
Kelly Savoca of CottonandMoss.com asked a great question in a recent http://datadrivenacademy.org Live Access Session for Data Driven Academy Members.
Should I be using YouTube or Vimeo to embed videos in my website?
Her concern was related to the "suggested videos" at the end of YouTube Videos. Check out my answer. It's pretty compelling.
One of our principles at Data Driven Design is "don't overthink it."
Many small businesses, marketers and content strategists totally over think their content.
How many words does it have to be? How many photos does it have to have?
Who cares? None of that matters. The only thing that matters is POST FREQUENCY!
Find more ways to increase the frequency of your posts and blogs.
Watch this video for tangible tips on how to do this.
It will increase your web traffic when you execute. The proof is in the data.
In this fun interaction with Kelly Savoca from CottonandMoss.com during one of our http://datadrivenacademy.org members live access sessions, Kate Hickey and I debate whether or not your content actually NEEDS photos.
I highly recommend you listen! :)
Did you know that the data says in order to get conversions on your website, your visitors need to return anywhere from 3-5 times?
This means, if you think you're going to sell people products or services the first time they visit your website, you're sorely mistaken.
As a result, you need to implement many strategies to get people coming back to your website, among them, deploying Facebook Ads to people who have visited your website in the last 30, 60, 90 days.
This is also known as Facebook Remarketing, and this video shows you how to set create remarketing audiences in Facebook Ads Manager.
Taken from a live access session of http://datadrivenacademy.org.
Believe it or not, starting a new eCommerce website and getting conversions is one of the hardest things to do. Improving your website design and functionality is only about 20% of the battle.
Assuming the product(s) you're selling is/are good and there's a market for them, you'll now need to begin the battle of building enough awareness for your brand to drive enough web traffic to your site, then eventually convert that web traffic.
The data shows you'll need at least 100 unique visitors per day, and to keep them coming back 3-5 times to finally start to see some eCommerce conversions.
Depending on your time and budget, this can take years.
I break it down in this video for www.DataDrivenAcademy.org members.
This video is from the Data Driven Academy - http://datadrivenacademy.org - live access session with myself, Kate Hickey (digital strategist at Data Driven Design) and Kelly Savoca, owner of CottonandMoss.com (and Data Driven Academy Member). In this video, we discuss what a good cost per click on Facebook Ads is.
Regardless of the size of your organization, WordPress is an amazing Content Management System to fit your needs. Not only is everything possible from a design and functionality standpoint, but hosting is streamlined and secure on several easy to use platforms.
Perhaps one critical component that gets overlooked in WordPress is just how easy it is to update content everywhere. It's a MAJOR plus and selling point of the platform, and regardless of if you have 2 people or 200 people who have Admin access to your site, you may want the ability to limit what certain people can access and change.
In this video, I demonstrate how to use the "User Role Editor" plug-in - https://wordpress.org/plugins/user-ro... - to essentially limit and somewhat customize Admin access levels and permissions in your WordPress site!
WordPress Designers and Developers are capable of making almost anything happen from a User Experience Design perspective, but sometimes fancy things cost extra money and time. Fancy things, for example, like having an animated GIF be an alternate rollover image or "hover state" for a regular image. So when you hover your cursor over it, and alternate image shows of it moving.
But I've found a way to implement this within my favorite WordPress theme, Enfold. Using the Code Block element in Enfold, paste this code in...
Then replace the URLs of your images in the media gallery like I show in the video on this page.
Now, the reason I set out to do this was for a WooCommerce product grid that a client wanted to try to achieve. There is a plug-in called "Product Flipper" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhhzbaK_Fvg - but that wouldn't work for me, because I needed the GIF to animate. Product Flipper is great for a regular hover state, but not for an animated hover state like my solution.
So in Enfold, simply create your own product grid like I do in this video using the different elements including "Code Block" to display your products. This way, you can also control what gets shown on mobile.
WordPress Content Managers and Marketers and Small Business Owners who use WordPress may need this tip. And even experienced developers and Website Builders should know about it.
For any free plug-in downloaded via the WordPress Admin, such WooCommerce, Yoast SEO, My Custom Functions, Header and Footer Scripts Inserter, Use Any Font (all of which are plug-ins we use often), as well as hundreds of thousands more, there is an easy way to roll back to previous versions.
Why would you want to roll back? Well, plug-in updates are 99% of the time good, but 1% of the time can cause things on your website to break. You may deactivate plug-ins to to determine which one(s) caused the issue, but that still leaves you without the intended functionality that the earlier version of the plug-in brought to the table. This is where WP Rollback - yet another plug-in whose sole purpose is to let the WordPress Admin (aka - you) rollback to previous versions of other plug-ins. This plug-in has saved me a couple times, as you can imagine - since we manage hundreds of client sites here at Data Driven Design.
What is "Advanced Floating Content?" Well, it's the name of an amazing WordPress plug-in, and it's a great way of describing content that can be added to a WordPress site to either float, animate, or stick in place as a user scrolls your website.
It can be used to create any number of design features, including Lead Generation overlays, Calls to action that stick as your user scrolls, and even links to your company's phone number that follow your user around your website.
But more than that, the Plug-in, Advanced Floating Content, is $23 on Envato Market, and is worth every penny.
You can style it to make it look exactly like your web design, with gradients, borders, images, and you can control the exact placement on all devices in a pixel perfect manner, with NO CODING.
I'm all about this. In this video, I show you a couple examples of what you can do with this plug-in, and how to get started using it!
Happy marketing and web designing peeps!
Here is the link to Advanced Floating Content.
Data Driven Daily Tip 291. As a marketer, haven't you ever wanted to make your content more personal to your audience? The data says that the more you can personalize your content and make it relevant to the user reading it, the better you can increase your engagement and conversion rates.
As, such, I've found the least complicated way to display unique content to your audience based on geolocation.
In the past, this would have either had to have been done via some complex coding or via an expensive third party tool like Visual Website Optimizer.
Now, using WPEngine's GeoTargeting Capabilities, you can create an account with WPEngine and upgrade your account for $150 for the year, to get access to a premium plug-in called WP Geo-IP, that allows you to use shortcodes to only show content to particular geographic regions such as cities, states, zips and countries.
In this video, I break down exactly how to do this, and use an example where I only want to promote the Nashville Voice Conference on our website to people in the State of Tennessee.
Data Drives Design. The Proof Is In The Data. Data Over Opinions. Stop wondering how your business is doing. Google Analytics is powerful stuff.
Here's how I get my Google Analytics, and how you should too.
Spend 10-15 minutes (or 30) a month looking at Audience, Acquisition and Behavior reports.
I asked Amazon Alexa Skills Marketing Employee #1 Dave Isbitski about Alexa Blueprints. What are they? Essentially they're a way to use a free, visual dashboard to create your own Alexa Skill. This is something all businesses should be aware of.
What is an Alexa Blueprint?
Dave says “one of the things I’m most excited about that has been happening in the last 18 months or so are Alexa Blueprints.”
You can go to https://blueprints.amazon.com and create an Alexa Skill in minutes.
Blueprints is a visual tool for creating a Skill. Now you can share them and publish them to the Alexa Skills Store for anyone to download and use. This can be a great tool for brands and businesses to connect with customers.
So an Alexa Blueprint is a visual tool for creating an Alexa Skill. Brilliant.
You may have previously read some of my blogs about GoDaddy Webhosting. They have an amazing managed migration tool, as well as the ability to spin up development / staging servers, however, the Proof is in the Data, WPEngine has better Uptime and Speed than GoDaddy Managed WordPress.
Both solutions are "Managed WordPress" which means you don't need to be a Web Developer or WordPress Developer to manage your webhosting, from set up, to back-ups to staging environments and SSL, it's all taken care of for you.
We are solutions providers at Data Driven Design, and the data is starting to tell us after 3-4 years of hosting our clients' websites on GoDaddy Managed WordPress, that it may be time to upgrade to WPEngine.
WPEngine costs significantly more, and we're willing to eat that cost for our clients to have a better experience. As a result, I wanted to show all of you out there how to migrate your WordPress sites to WPEngine.
I hope this helps!
Attention Marketers and Small Business Owners: the data is overwhelming that you should not bombard users with pop-ups that prompt them for their email addresses upon immediately accessing your website.
To many it feels intrusive. They've visited you, and you're already asking them for something. Gross.
BUT, there is a web design / digital marketing tactic that the data says works EXTREMELY well, that is non-intrusive.
If you've ever been to a website, browsed around for a minute or three, then moved your mouse to close out that browser tab or enter another URL into the address bar, there is a slight chance that you are prompted at that moment - the moment you try to exit the site - for your email address.
This, my friends, is called an "Exit Intent" pop-up, and this video shows you how to install one on your WordPress website.
Things you'll need:
1. A WordPress Website
2. The Pop-Up Builder Plug-in for WordPress
3. The Gravity Forms Plug-in for WordPress
We always say that high school kids can build websites. Why would a small business or mid size brand with a small marketing team pay a professional team like Data Driven Design to do it for them? This is one of the many reasons why. We are thinking about how to help you use data to grow your business and acquire new customers.
The physical act of launching a website is kind of like changing the oil in one's car. It's SUPER EASY if you've done it multiple times, or do it every day, like a Quick Lube place or something. But it can be really intimidating, nerve wracking and even scary if you've never done it before.
And just like the possibility that you put the wrong kind of oil in your car, there's always the possibility that you look in the wrong spot for your DNS settings, which most times are hosted in the spot as your domain name, but not all the time.
Case in point, Cloudflare and GoDaddy. Your domain name and maybe even Webhosting, might be with GoDaddy, but your DNS settings might be with Cloudflare.
This video explains the how to launch your website if this is in fact your scenario.
In this episode of the Data Driven Daily Tip, I get super passionate about Marketers and Small Business Owners getting into their Google Analytics accounts and understanding what’s happening with their web data to make data driven decisions.
While I’ve put out plenty of content in the last few years about what business owners and marketers should look at in Google Analytics (in just 30 minutes a month you can make a huge difference), this Data Driven Daily Tip makes it even easier to check your web data.
1. It’s about how to set up automated email alerts from Google Analytics Web Properties.
You can get your web traffic updates sent directly to you.
2. I talk about our new Alexa Skill called Ask Data Driven Design, where you can now just ask Alexa how your web traffic is doing.
Now there’s even less of an excuse to know how your website is performing!
What Is Alexa For Business?
“While Alexa was started as a Consumer Product, it has evolved into a couple different areas.
Business Skills, like the one Data Driven Design has built to allow clients to ask Alexa how their web traffic is doing…
Skills that are only available to employees of a particular business. This is what Alexa For Business is.”
Alexa For Business gives the IT department of companies a way to manage and control access to a company’s internal only Alexa Skill or suite of Skills to employees that need/want access.
Can An Alexa Skill BE A BUSINESS, or Should It Be An Extension of a Pre-existing Business?
From my interview with Amazon Alexa's Chief Evangelist Dave Isbitski
It can be either for sure.
1. Account Linking – businesses can use their existing APIs and accounting systems, etc. to link up with a voice-based Alexa Skill. That’s how something like ordering a Pizza online works. The user already has an account, the user just says it, and the Pizza company with the Alexa Skill just charges through their pre-existing system.
2. Amazon Pay Integration – small businesses can sell things online and use Amazon Pay.
Dave adds: “what’s interesting about the Amazon Pay Integration is meeting your customer in the moment. Let’s say I have a podcast about running shoes, and I could say on the podcast “would you like to buy these right now for 50% off on Amazon.”
3. In-Skill Purchasing – Games do this, selling power-ups and turns, etc.
“Another interesting example is working maybe with an age demographic that skews higher,” Dave says. “Let’s say your business fields a lot of calls, and it’s a huge cost center for your business, when in fact, if they could just talk to you, that would completely solve it!”
Perhaps the most interesting part of the conversation for me, happened when Dave started talking about the fact that current data and analytics from websites and mobile devices are only really based around what the brand or business has allowed the customer to do.
“The top three things users do in my mobile app are these things. Right, because those are some of the only things you’ve allowed them to do. With Alexa, it’s different, you can get data around what they’re asking you about. For example, you may give your customers 100 different conversation paths. When you see a drop off at a certain point, you know your customers were looking for something that wasn’t there. You learn as you go, and you improve, in a very different way than with web and mobile apps.”
As always, the proof is in the data. Your business will need an Alexa Skill sooner than you think, which is why Data Driven Design is bringing the first ever Voice Conference to Nashville.
LEARN HOW TO IMPLEMENT ALEXA SKILLS, GOOGLE HOME ACTIONS AND PODCASTING TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS MORE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE.
43% – the lift businesses see nine months after launching an Alexa-enabled product
53% - the percent boost businesses see on average almost immediately after incorporating an Alexa Skill into their current product
54% - the percent of professionals surveyed that say they’d use Alexa in the workplace to increase productivity
30,000+ - the number of Alexa Skills globally
50 million+ - the number of smart speaker users in the world; increasing 15% each month
Find out more at NashvilleVoiceConference.com
Have you ever scheduled a post in WordPress that didn’t go live? Maybe you were on vacation and scheduled a blog post, and then when you checked, there was a “Missed Schedule” message next to it?
It’s happened to me frequently, but not consistently.
Basically, it has happened randomly. And thanks to http://do