Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

Some Things to Like About WordPress 3.6

WordPress 3.6, dubbed “Oscar” in honor of the great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson released this week with some substantial, if not mind blowing, feature updates.

You can read the entire announcement from WordPress here

This video was embedded using URL only

Better support of post types – Every new major release comes with a new theme and Twenty-thirteen showcases some pretty forward uses of post types.

Better menu customization – Adding menus to the appearance section was a big step forward several releases ago, but I always felt the execution was pretty clunky even if it was better. This release adds more intuitive menu creation along with some added functionality.

Better autosave – For anyone that forgets to save when they edit or even write directly in WordPress admin you’ll be happy to know that autosave kicks in every 15 seconds now.

Better revision handling – If you’ve ever edited and changed and updated a post you know that all those revisions get saved with the idea that you can roll back. Only problem was comparing one version to another was pretty hard. Not any more – revisions cleary show comparisons – this looks very promising. Also, you can lock a post down when editing some no one else can edit.

Better native media support – Built-in HTML5 media player for native audio and video embeds with no reliance on external services.

A few more additions to oEmbed – Several years ago oEmbed was added so that you could simply add a URL from supported services and get the player or show the image without embed code. The list has expanded – here’s the entire list as of today

As always, no matter how much testing WordPress does things break during major upgrades as plugin and theme makers don’t always jump in and test – so backup and proceed with caution.

This is also a great place for me to suggest paid themes like Studio Press and tipping your plugin makers so they have motivation to support!

The Impact of Better Design

I’ve been investing in better design lately and it’s making me money.

But, what is better design?

Better design

photo credit: jm3

For some that term might simply mean better visual appeal, more pleasing to the eye or stylish.

To me it means better communication.

The primary thing I have to offer is information and better design allows me to communicate that information more effectively and more profitably.

I’m not suggesting that aesthetics of better design aren’t important, but of equal importance to me is hierarchy of information, white space and information way finding that is delivered with the right fonts, spacing and appropriate use of size and color.

Good design costs money, but so does poor design, clutter and confusing information.

As you may have noted if you’re reading this on my site, ducttapemarketing.com has undergone a total redesign and now runs on a custom theme on the Genesis framework. The design was completed by Rafal Tomal and Josh Byers of Studio Press, part of the Copyblogger Media.

The redesign was badly needed as my site had sort of become like some of the Christmas trees I remember as child where my brothers and sisters would just keep putting more and more stuff on the tree because, well, we could.

The overarching goal of the redesign was to more effectively communicate and more effectively deliver information. Comments from readers suggest we made huge strides in that aim.

Statistics also reveal site traffic is up 22% over the previous six month trend, page views are up 104%, time on site and bounce rate have both made significant improvements and sales of our core product, with any change in promotion, are up 219% over a six month trend.

Invest in better communication through better design – it always pays when you get it right.

3 Mobile Behaviors You Must Embrace Right Now

When marketing people start talking about mobile these days, and they’re doing it a lot, they usually default to tactics – mobile ads, SMS, throw in some near field communications and we’re on the mobile track.

Text Message Marketing

photo credit: Drriss via photo pin cc

I’ve been doing this a long time and with every emerging evolution there seems to be an equally reactive rush to embrace the accompanying tactics and it’s what leads people to do things that don’t make sense.

Ten years ago everyone was hiring web designers to create web sites that had nothing to do with the rest of the organization’s marketing or branding – but they had to have a web site.

Then social media came along and everyone rushed to figure out Twitter and how to run a contest on Facebook.

The mobile rush is currently starting to heat up and, once again, I think most people are asking the wrong thing.

Instead of how do wet get into mobile, where can we get our own cool app or how much should we spend on mobile ads, the question is and should be this.

What behaviors are our current customers exhibiting right now when it comes to mobile and how can we tap those behaviors using some combination of existing and emerging tools.

I truly believe that’s the formula for considering any new tactic or tool. When you factor what you’re doing now that works and ask how you can use the tools to do more of that, you’ll rarely get caught up in the rush towards new for new sake.

Below are three mobile behaviors you can no longer ignore as they’ve become universal and cross industries and demographics in undeniable ways.

1) Content is getting consumed on mobile devices on the go.

I have a Nexus7, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire. I use apps like Reeder and FlipBoard on most of those devices to consume content. And, while I’m not your average online folk, my wife does the same and so do my kids.

Our content must be made to be consumed by people using really small screens riding in a car, at the library and at the conference. Right now, there are very few business that can pull off a generally useful app, but every business should invest in making all of their content pitch perfect for the various ways it’s being consumed.

This means using plugins such as WPTouch Pro, choosing themes and designers that use Responsive Web Design and exploring mobile landing pages and content pages designed to provide very specific content to mobile surfers with tools such as Tekora or GoMobi

2) Mobile is a key element in the buying process

And, here’s the most important aspect of that behavior – mobile shoppers are proving more valuable then traditional shoppers, including demonstrating less price sensitivity according the July Mobile Retail Insights report from Mobile Ad Network Greystripe.

Okay this statement relies on murky research, but think about it – mobile shoppers, people that do research on the fly looking for somewhere to shop, eat, drink, visit, or even hire a service, are more likely to jump on the things they find first, conveniently and seamlessly.

While people are using their mobile devices during the buying or shopping process many are choosing to make actual purchases either offline (see next behavior) or using a laptop, but tablets are going to change this dramatically.

The key is to understand that mobile is a link in the buying chain and proper integration is where conversion comes from.

3) People expect mobile engagement

Once you understand this behavior you’ll stop bad mouthing text message marketing. That’s not to say that there aren’t people doing it poorly or using it to spam, but it is to say there are terribly powerful and valid reasons to use SMS and now is the time to analyze how you can use service such as EXTexting or Trumpia for customer service, flash sales and specials and appointment opening.

I’ve also seen people use SMS short codes to allow people to subscribe to their email newsletter and more and more businesses are offering receipts by way of email and text.

I allow people to download slides from my speaking events, something they would often ask me to do anyway, by sending a short code text to a specific number. This particular process allows them to get what they want when they want it without much work and certainly takes me out of the process as well.

Enabling mobile engagement through tools such a click to call, click to chat or click for driving directions is another way to help people get what they want in the highly impatient, highly motivated world of mobile commerce.

I think the key to understanding any new technology or tactic is pretty simple. First figure out how you can use it to make something your customer is already doing easier and better. If you can do that it doesn’t matter how you see others using it or not.