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Create React App vs Next.js: Which One Should You Go With for Building Your Next App?
You're about to start working on a new app project and you're confused: Create React App vs Next.js - what's the difference?  Which option's best for you? Considering your SEO,  SSR, API, and performance needs. And they're frustratingly similar: they both enable you to build React apps without the need to use Webpack for bundling it (or the need to do any code splitting) they both make it possible for you to have your React app up and running in no time Still, each framework comes with its own pros and cons and specific use cases. So, in this post, you'll find your answers to the following questions: What are the key differences between CRA and Next.js? What are the main benefits of using Next.js? What are the main benefits of using Create React App? What are the downsides of Next.js? What are the downsides of Create React App? When would you want to use one over the other? 1. What's the Key Difference Between CRA and Next.js? SSR vs CSR... It's where all their differences stem from. Next.js apps are rendered on the client-side (CSR), but the framework supports server-side rendering (SSR), as well. By comparison, Create React App apps are rendered only on the client-side. In other words: CRA generates HTML code in the client browser, whereas Next.js generates it in the server, based on the URL.  So, your "Create react App vs Next.js" dilemma comes down to whether a static page meets your needs or not entirely. 2. What Are the Main Benefits of Using Next.js? Now that you know what's the fundamental difference between the 2 systems for building React apps, let's put the spotlight on Next.js. Why would you choose it? because it's so simple to set up, build, and even host a Next.js app: you have packages for almost all the key additions that call for Webpack configuration (SaSS, CSS, TS...) because rendering React apps becomes much easier, regardless of where the data comes from because you can benefit from automatic server rendering and code splitting (that will increase performance) because SSR (server-side rendering) will give your app a major performance boost  because it's a lightweight framework for both static and server-rendered universal JS apps because it's good for SEO (with everything being generated from the server...) 3. Create React App vs Next.js: What Are the Main Benefits of Using CRA? In a "Next.js vs create-react-app" debate, what are the strongest reasons for opting for CRA to build your React app? it's easier to deploy you get to build a single page React app with... zero configuration (no time-consuming setup needed) you don't need to deal with Webpack or Babel it's plain simple (an empty div and just a few js files) and provides all the needed HTML code to render your app on the client-side  the development process is much smoother better developer experience In short, with Create React App you basically run just one command and the framework sets up all the tools you need to start developing your app on the spot. 4. What Are the Downsides of Next.js? What could make you think twice before choosing Next.js for building your next app? the fact that it's opinionated: there's a Next.js way of doing things and you're constrained to... adjust to it if you later want to use a router different from its own filled-based one (or add Redux maybe), you'll discover that it's not that flexible  5. What Are the Downsides of Create React App? In a "Create React App vs Next.js" debate, why would you rule out CRA? because it only supports client-side rendering, which is not enough if it's a high-performing app that you want to build because no code splitting translates into lower performance because it's not good for SEO (since it doesn't render pages on the server) 6. When Would You Want to Use Next.js? As a rule of thumb, use Next.js: if you need to build a fast, production-ready app (SSR injects top speed into your React application) if public SEO is a crucial factor for your app project if it's a dynamic page that you need to create (wihout having to write your own bundling) if it's an eCommerce app that you're building (Next.js is more suited for the cart, the stock inventory, and other highly dynamic pages) 7. When Would You Want to Use Create React App? When would you choose it over Next.js? when you need to build a React app really fast; with CRA you can skip the configuration and the setting up part when you need to create a landing page for a product: Create React App makes it so much simpler to put it together when it's a SPA that you need to build 8. In Conclusion... CRA is easy, while Next.js "seduces" you with better performance and SEO. Is it a single page React app that you need to get up and running fast and you don't need SSR? Create React App might just be the best choice for you. Is it a fast-loading app that you're building? Is performance business-critical for you and SEO much more than just a nice-to-have? You might want to consider Next.js then for your next app. Need a team of experienced app developers to build it for you? Just send us your feature list and... let's build it! Image by Pexels from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Aug 07'2020
10 Best Tools for Conducting a Drupal 8 Site Audit (to evaluate its performance, security, and stability)
You want to audit your Drupal website's infrastructure, SEO, best practices, security, stress, overall performance... And you ask yourself: Are there tools that help you run a Drupal 8 site audit? ... and generate the reports you need? There are quite a few, actually. To narrow down your too many options, we've made a list of 10 tools and Drupal modules that you can use to test your website's performance, security, and stability. 1. 3 Best Tools to Run a Website Security Audit 1.1. Coder     What does it do? it checks your code to see whether it meets the industry standards it checks your text, so you'll know whether i's properly sanitized or not quite In short, a Drupal 8 audit module you'll want to have in your toolbox when conducting a website security audit. 1.2. Qualys SSL Server Test Another tool that you'll want to use during your Drupal 8 security audit process. Why? Because it performs a thorough analysis of a public SSL certificate and generates a grade for you. 1.3. Security Kit How does it work?  It provides you with a set of security-hardening options, that strengthen the shield around your site against CSRF, XSS, and clickjacking attacks. 2.3 Best Tools to Run a Drupal 8 Site Audit Focused on Its Performance 2.1. PageSpeed Insight, YSlow, GTMetrix  Take these 3 website performance audit tools as your the "swiss army knife" in your toolbox.  They run multiple tests on your website and generate a whole set of practical recommendations on how you can boost its front-end performance. Here are just some examples of recommendations: cut down on the number of elements the browser's forced to parse by simplifying the DOM cut down on the number of requests  by aggregating your JS files or using image sprites 2.2. New Relic An all-into-one Drupal site audit module that helps you monitor different sections on your website: from infrastructure to server, to browser and application. Now, here's precisely why you'll want to keep it close at hand while assessing your website's performance: it allows you to set up multiple customized dashboards that show graphs and charts of your website's performance data it enables you to keep an eye on your website's traffic and performance in real-time it allows you to isolate bottlenecks and set up alerts for key events 2.3. Performance Monitor   Let's say you've just moved your Drupal website to another hosting and you now feel that it has slowed down. And that the new server needs to be optimized for Drupal. This is precisely where this module comes in handy: It gives you a clear picture of how your website's performing now, while comparing different servers/hostings. Here are some of the features you'll love: it checks the Mysql status and variables (and provides recommendations) it tests the overall system performance (it runs database, CPU, and file operations performance tests) it evaluates the "Performance score"  3. 4 Best Tools to Evaluate Your Website's Stability 3. 1. Behat, PHPUnit, Nightwatch Or you can put together your own "combo" of unit and functional testing tools. Automated testing will improve your website's stability... in the long-term (and nothing can beat the peace of mind that you'll get). 3.2. Code Sniffer Whenever you need to assess your code's quality, just reach out for this Drupal 8 audit tool. It will... "sniff on" your code and signal you if it doesn't meet the coding standards.  Also, while testing your code's stability, you'll want to have a look at: the quality of your links the cycles of peer review for codes the factors that influence the SEO the access and breadth of documentation the modules you have on your website: are there any outdated ones? 3.3. Tugboat You save time and money using Tugboat (or an alternative continuous integration tool). Here's how: it runs the automated and linting tests that you will have set up and generates a report to your developer before even merging or reviewing the code it builds a completely working website that incorporates that new feature you've added or has that specific bug fixed before it gets merged A true time-saver that you'll definitely want to have in your toolkit when testing newly added code for stability.  3.4. Linting Tools How do they help you increase the stability of your Drupal website? they get all the developers in your team on the same page when it comes to the code format to be used they (i.e. Drupal Code Sniffer) enforce the Drupal coding standards once integrated to your developers' text editors Tip! Make sure you incorporate your linting tools into your automated testing routine, the one that gets performed on each pull request. The END! These are your best options when it comes to the Drupal 8 site audit tools to include in your toolkit. But what if you dread the idea of digging deep into your code, checking every single one of your Drupal modules, evaluating the CPU performance... What if you could still get a clear picture of how you're website's performing without the dread of going through all these tedious, time-consuming tasks? Just shift the burden to us! Drop us a line and let's get your Drupal website checked for all the issues and bottlenecks affecting its performance, security level, and stability! Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Aug 06'2020
What Are the Advantages of Using Flutter? 10 Good Reasons to Choose It for Your Next App Project
Why would you want to build your next app with Flutter? Instead of... React Native? Or maybe Swift? What are the key advantages of using Flutter? Here are the best reasons why you'd want to give it a go for your next app project: But What Is Flutter Used For Anyway? ... for building native-looking Android and iOS apps using a single codebase. "But how is it any different from other cross-platform frameworks?" you might ask yourself. Widgets... That's right, they're Flutter's equivalent of the React Native components. Or of the native UI components, if you wish. You get to put together a fully customed UI for your app by choosing, then mixing and matching several ready-made widgets. They look either iOS-native or Android-native and... you can even create your own widgets, from the ground up. A widget could stand for a menu or a button, a slider, text, toggle... Reason #1: You Get to Share Both the UI Code and the UI Itself Between Multiple Platforms In short: you can make the most of having a common UI and business logic for all your target platforms. And this is where Flutter manages to stand out from the crowd of cross-platform frameworks: It doesn't just have a unique codebase for all platforms: it also shares both the UI and the UI code globally, across iOS and Android. In other words, one language, one UI, same business logic translates into UI consistency across platforms. Reason #2: You Reduce Maintenance Costs, One of the Main Advantages of Using Flutter       And that's pretty obvious since you only have one codebase to maintain.                Reason #3: You Save Time and Money (And Get to Be More Productive) Just imagine: You will use the same codebase for both the Android and iOS versions of your app. So, this can only bubble up to your... overall costs.  You: build one app and run it on multiple platforms (saving time and resources) get to build more apps... faster reach a wider audience with a single investment  Reason #4: You Get to Inject Native-Level of Performance into Your App "Why choose Flutter in 2020?" Because it powers your app with close-to-native performance. With Dart (Flutter's programming language) compiling everything into native code, and the need of accessing OEM widgets, out of the equation, you get better app startup times. Reason #5: You'll Develop Your App Much Faster The Flutter development experience is one of the best. And the main reason why developing a Flutter app is so much simpler and, therefore, faster. Here's why: The "hot reload" feature allows your developers to view the changes made in code on simulators, hardware, and emulators in... real-time. With no need to restart. This speeds up processes like adding new features, building your app's UI, and even testing it. One of the main advantages of using Flutter... And, where do you add that you have a huge collection of ready-to-use-widgets at hand, which speeds up your app's development process. Reason #6: You Speed Up Time to Market for Your New App Since you don't need to develop separate apps anymore, one for iOS and one for Android, you get to launch your app much faster. And to reduce your time to market. Reason #7: You Get to Fully Customize the UI Another one of the strongest Flutter app development advantages is the huge customization potential. You get to customize your app's UI in the slightest detail. And here are 2 ways that you can do that: browse through its impressive collection of prepackaged, core layout widgets, pick the ones that fit your needs, customize them to your liking and... create a fully customed UI go for some of the pre-built widgets that mimic the behavior of the iOS and the Android design languages: Cupertino and Material You're free to customize every aspect of your UI, no matter how complex, thanks to Flutter's ready-to-use widgets.   ... and to save lots of time while doing it. Reason #8: You Spend Less Time Testing Your Application Just think about it: The widgets making up your UI are part of the app itself and not part of the iOS or the Android platform. So, you're less likely to face incompatibility issues. Which translates into less time invested in testing your app... Reason #9: You Can Learn It in Just About... 2 Weeks  You/your development team will spend less time learning it. And this is one of the key advantages of using Flutter. Here's why: The UI in Flutter is code, basically. So, you can just put logic on the UI code to create, use, and... reuse components. Reason #10: You Get to Build a UI-Heavy App in No Time "Is Flutter a good choice?" It is if it's a UI-heavy application that you need to build. And you need it built really fast. The END! Now, whether these 10 reasons are strong enough for you to give Flutter a go or... not quite, one thing's for sure: You need a fast, great-looking app, that should incorporate all those powerful features on your wishlist. Nothing easier. Just drop us a line with that wishlist of yours and let's get it built!   Image by RSunset from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jul 31'2020
What Is the Best eCommerce Platform for Small Business in 2020? Your 6 Best Options
You need to launch your small eCommerce business fast and without breaking the bank... if possible. So, what's the best eCommerce platform for small business in 2020? And, most importantly: Which is the best eCommerce option for your store? The one that meets your specific needs? For, let me guess: your wishlist doesn't end there. You also want it to: give you enough customization freedom so you can personalize every aspect of your website    be scalable, to accommodate all those big plans that you have for your store be easy to use both for you, as you build your storefront, and your customers provide you with robust sales features (and advanced SEO tools) be fast have great software integration; you want to be able to add all the extra apps and tools that you might need quick and easy Now, let's see which of these 6 best eCommerce platforms for startups ticks most of the boxes on your list: 1. Squarespace What makes Squarespace one of the first solutions to evaluate first when choosing the best eCommerce solution for your small store? It gives you total creative control over how your website will look. Squarespace stands out from this list with its sleek, modern templates. Templates that are flexible enough to enable you to DIY your online store exactly how you want it to look. With no coding skills or additional plugins needed. Key Benefits you get unlimited creative control you get an entire collection of beautifully-designed templates, as well as tons of flexibility to further customize them to your liking you get to sell your products on Instagram, as well Main Drawbacks you're not free to add any extra sales features to those that you get out of the box; there's no app market you're quite limited when it comes to payment options; there are 3 options only: Apple Pay, PayPal, and Stripe its multi-channel selling offering is limited to Instagram its sales features aren't as powerful as those of other eCommerce solutions for small businesses You'd Choose to Build Your Website with Squarespace If... it's a visually-arresting storefront that you want to create you want total creative control over your website's design 2. Best Platform for Small Business in 2020: Wix Wix is any small-scale seller's (with little to no tech knowledge) dream come true. You get: an easy to use drag and drop system to put together your store (just drag text boxes and images and position them anywhere you want on the page) tons of creative freedom over your website's looks: make your website look exactly like the one in your head the chance to build your store with... zero costs (pay when you start to actually sell products/services on your newly built website) What more could you want from a solution of eCommerce for small retailers! Key Benefits  you can build your first online store in no time: you just drag and drop elements on the page you're free to design it exactly how you want it to look you get to add product videos, too Main Drawbacks you can't sell your products across multiple social channels you get a less robust inventory, compared to other platforms (i.e. you can't bulk upload products) Overall, the eCommerce tools that you get aren't as powerful as those of other platforms (i.e. Shopify).  You'd Choose to Build Your Website with Wix If... you're looking for an affordable eCommerce solution you want it to be super easy to use you want to be able to personalize every little aspect of your store  3. Weebly  Image by Hannes Edinger from Pixabay If you're looking for a 100% beginner-friendly and budget-friendly solution, Weebly is the one. You get to: sell for free (and upgrade later to one of its eCommerce plans) set up your small-scale eCommerce website with no tech skills Key Benefits  you get to build your online store on a budget: it doesn't get any cheaper than Weebly you can get your website up and running in no time: Weebly's the most beginner-friendly eCommerce solution you'll find Main Drawbacks you're not free to customize your checkout page (a crucial page on your eCommerce website) it doesn't provide you with multichannel selling features You'd Choose to Build Your Website with Weebly If... you have a really small inventory, so you don't really need any advanced selling features 4. BigCommerce It's one of the best eCommerce options for small businesses with... big ambitions. Why? Because: you get lots of powerful eCommerce features from the get-go (robust SEO tools and selling features); you don't need to look for (and pay for) any extra apps if you need to incorporate specific selling features into your website it is the most scalable eCommerce platform for a small business Key Benefits  you get to grow your small business... fast you get to expand your store's reach and keep your costs within budget by selling across various platforms (BigCommerce comes with lots of multi-channel integrations) Main Drawbacks its advanced tools come at a cost: a steep learning curve  it's not as beginner-friendly as the other eCommerce platforms on this list: don't expect to get your BigCommerce store live in... a matter of hours if you don't plan to grow your business any time soon, you'll find yourself paying for powerful features that you just... don't need You'd Choose to Build Your Website with BigCommerce If... you have big plans for your small eCommerce business and you want to make them a reality... fast 5. Square Online Store  Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay  What makes it the perfect candidate for the title of “the best platform for small business in 2020”? it's affordable it's easy to use, for any beginner trying to launch his/her first online store on his own it taps into AI to help you make the best choices when building your site  Key Benefits  you get to build your website and start selling with... zero costs: Square Online Store does offer you a free plan  the AI tech that it uses makes it so much easier (and faster) for you to build your store (i.e. you save valuable time when loading your products since it points out what categories they fit into) it's the “best value for money” type of eCommerce option for small-sized businesses  Main Drawbacks you're not 100% free to customize your website you'll find its selling features to be quite... basic if you're planning to grow your small business You'd Choose to Build Your Website with Square Online Store If... you want to be able to combine your offline sales with your online selling strategy you're on a shoestring budget and you have zero tech skills, so you're looking for a really affordable and easy to use eCommerce platform to build your small online store... fast 6. Shopify New to eCommerce and you're looking for a turnkey solution to launch your business fast? Shopify could be the best choice for you: it's easy to use and code-free it ships with 50+ different store themes (the Shopify themes are some of the best-looking ones in the marketplace) you have lots and lots of apps to choose from to incorporate precisely the functionality that you need into your store The whole process of building your eCommerce website with Shopify could get summed up to 3 simple steps: you select the store theme you add on your content you import your products' CSVs There! You're now ready to launch your Shopify store. Key Benefits  you get a huge app market and the most advanced sales-specific features on the market you get multichannel selling options (Amazon and eBay integrations here included) you can sync your inventories if you're already selling on another platform: centralize your inventory management you get a robust inventory system (i.e. you get alerted when one of your products is out of stock) you get built-in dropshipping tools, essential when you run a small business on a budget and you don't have storage for your products yet Main Drawbacks  it's not exactly the most budget-friendly eCommerce platform for a small retailer expect to be charged transaction fees on your sales, unless you use its in-house payment gateway: Shopify Payments You'd Choose to Build Your Website with Shopify If... you're committed to building a successful eCommerce business (you're not selling just a couple of products) you want to create a solid foundation for your store: Shopify provides you with powerful tools to build and manage your store and a big app store to browse through and grow your business The END! The best eCommerce platform for small business in 2020 is on this list, but the real question bugging you is: “Which one's the perfect choice for my own store?” It really depends on what you value most:  a low price? powerful sales tools and features? creative freedom to customize your product listings, your checkout page, your...? If what you need is a visually-appealing, easy to manage online store, equipped with advanced eCommerce features that best fit your needs, then what you need is Shopify. Now, if the idea of: digging through a huge app store browsing through a big collection of store themes to pick the one that suits your niche and store's personality setting everything up (optimizing it to rank high in search results here included) ... seems too time-consuming for you, we're here to help. Just drop us a line and let's get you that Shopify store that engages and drives sells.   Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 29'2020
7 Ways that You Can Reduce Image Size on a Large-Scale Drupal Site, With a Lot of Images
Images can make or... break the user experience. Especially if we're talking about large amounts of images. So, what are your best options to reduce image size on a large-scale Drupal 8 site? And, most importantly: How do you strike a balance between the smallest file size and the best possible image quality? Well, just keep on reading... Here are 7 ways that you can manage image compression on your image-heavy Drupal site without affecting their quality: 1. Use a PNG Optimizer to Reduce Image File Size Let's say that you have a lot of PNG images on your Drupal website. How do you reduce the image file size? Simple: you use TinyPNG to... squeeze them. Expect to reduce them somewhere around 60% (while keeping the lossless image quality). 2. Use a JPEG Compressor to... Compress Your Images Server-Side  "How to make images load faster on my website?" Just use a compressor to reduce image size for your JPG and JPEG files: TinyJPG CompressJPEG Compress Now JPEGOptim It will take... a while, especially since we're talking about an image-heavy Drupal site. Different JPG files mean different settings for you to... play with till you've balanced out size and quality. 3. How to Improve Image Load Times: Use Drupal 8 Image Styles It's a tool that you get... out of the box. And what you gain is more control over the size of the images on your website: Set several image styles, of different sizes, that will go on various areas of a page. Good to know! Configure your image styles just once: from then on, they'll resize all your new images by default. Here's how you do it: Go to "Manage display", in the content type setup section Click the gear wheel icon next to the image field to open the settings tab and choose an image style There, you can either choose one of the previously configured image styles or... create a new one, by selecting the "Configure Image Style" option from the dropdown menu Source: Drupal.org          Good to know! Once you've set your image style, the module updates all the created images... automatically. 4. Use Drupal 8 Image Toolkit to Adjust Their Quality (And Their Size) It's the best way to resize images in Drupal 8. And the easiest way, as well: Go to Admin > Configuration > Media > Image Toolkit Choose the setting that allows you to compress your images (the JPEG quality field) Play with it till your strike the perfect size-quality balance Save the new settings Note! The new setting will apply to all your images; there's no way for you to adjust the quality for each image, one by one. Tip! Stick to somewhere between 60% and 80% when setting the image quality. 5. Use the Responsive Images Module to Resize Your Images  "Which module is used for image optimization?" Which is the best Drupal 8 module to reduce image size on pages that contain lots of images... Responsive Images is (but) one of them. Here's how it works: Its image formatter maps the breakpoint of the original image and renders a responsive image instead. All that by using an HTML5 picture tag (that has sizes and srcset attributes). It basically enables browsers to select the image to display according to the image style selections. And here's how you set up responsive images on your Drupal 8 website: Enable the module (for, even if it's a core module, it's not enabled by default) in Admin > Configuration Select "Responsive Image" Hit "Install" What about breakpoints? How do you set them up? Go to your editor (if it's a custom theme that you're using) Create a file named "yourthemename.breakpoints.yml" in your theme directory ("/themes/custom/yourthemename") Now, its time to configure the image styles for your responsive images: Different breakpoints call for... different image sizes.  Go ahead and pair each breakpoint that you set up at your_theme_name.breakpoints.yml with an image style and create your responsive image styles. 6. Use the ImageMagick Module to Reduce Image Size   "How do I manage compression on my image-heavy Drupal site?" You use ImageMagick. It's another one of your best options for Drupal 8 image resize. Here's why: Drupal might provide the GD2 image manipulation toolkit out of the box and enable you to set multiple alternatives, of different sizes, for the same image. Yet, it lacks some key features, such as... TIFF format support or GIF support with an image style. And this is where the ImageMagick module comes in handy. To install it, just run this command: Composer require 'drupal/imagemagick' And here's how you use it to reduce image size: enable it via ‘yoursite/ path set the quality for your image to 100% in the ImageMagick image toolkit The results? you've just enabled the GIT format support with image style you've reduced your image size by 20-40% Mission accomplished... 7. If It's Still Not Enough, Lazy Load Your Images  "How to load images faster?" Use the Lazy Loader, the ultimate Drupal 8 image optimization solution. Have you tried them all — all the dedicated modules and Drupal core features available — and you're still not satisfied with how fast your image-heavy pages load? Then go even further and incorporate a lazy loading functionality into your website. The END! But maybe you have better things to do — a business strategy to improve, urgent projects to work on — than finding and implementing the best solution to reduce image size on your Drupal website. Yet, you still want to make your pages load faster... So, just pass on the "burden" to us! We'll identify the best solution for speeding things up on your image-heavy web pages and... implement it for you sitewide. Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Jul 23'2020
The SEO Shopify Checklist: How to Get Your Store to Rank Higher Fast in 10 Simple Steps (Part 2)
See? We are a team of our word. As promised in Part 1, we're back with 5 more steps to add to your SEO Shopify checklist. And to boost the ranking of your new Shopify store (and its traffic, and the sales, and... all the "good stuff" that comes from an effective SEO strategy). So, let's dive right in. Here are the other 5 simple, yet effective improvements that you can make to your eCommerce website: Step 6: Optimize Your Product Pages "How does a Shopify store rank on Google?" It "bets" on a mix of unique product descriptions and on-product-page SEO best practices. "Often times product pages don't have the content that they need to perform well in the SERPs" (MOZ.com) With so many eCommerce brands still striving to get the most out of these 2 totally ineffective tactics: using the same description on multiple product pages across their websites displaying the manufacturers' descriptions on their product pages ... you stand high chances to get your own product pages to rank higher in the SERPS. Now, let's get specific.  6.1. 4 Best Practices to Increase Engagement on Your Product Pages add unique content to each page (don't be that Shopify store owner who uses the same content across all his/her product pages!) write your own product descriptions (and make sure to create one for each product in your inventory; focus on their best features and benefits) add product reviews and highlight ratings add high-quality images and videos of your products link to related products Source: spiegel.medill.northwestern.edu   Tip! One of the best SEO Shopify apps that you could use at this point is Product Reviews. It'll add SEO-friendly scores to all your product pages. 6.2. 3 Best Practices to Keyword Optimize Your Product Pages include your target keywords in the title tags, product descriptions, and meta descriptions remember to add it to your ALT text for images, as well make sure your keywords fit naturally into the text And, again, I can't stress enough the importance of original and unique product descriptions! Step 7: Add a Blog, Another Critical Step On Your SEO Shopify Checklist "If you’re seeing that Google is ranking more blog/article types of content for the keywords mapped to your Shopify store, your best bet is to go out and create that content yourself." (MOZ.com) Now, let's say that, as you're building the SEO for your Shopify store, you're trying to rank for quite a lot of informational keywords ("How to...", "What's the best...", etc.). You've already mapped them all to your store (i.e. to your product and your category pages) and... nothing. Your Shopify store's still on... page 10 in the searches for those keywords. But what about those stores that do rank high for the same keywords with informational intent? Is it their product/category pages that Google ranks? Or rather post from their blogs, that include those keywords? Mystery solved. If you want to have your store rank high for keywords with informational intent you need to add a blog to your Shopify site. It's there that you can write informational (and epic) content around those specific keywords. "Google is starting to prefer to rank more informational content above transactional. " (MOZ.com)  7.1. 4 Reasons Why You'd Want to Start Blogging on Your Shopify Store    face it: only a ridiculously small percent of your website's visitors access it with a clear intention to buy. To increase chances to turn them from visitors to customers, you need to... educate them; to provide them with informational content for each stage in the buyer's journey once you write high-quality content on your blog you can send some of that authority to your product and category pages (which, otherwise, are so hard to link to); internal linking still is on of the best SEO tips for Shopify that you should make the most of blog posts make great tools for "pitching" your products (just make sure you target the right keywords) a blog is a perfect place on your website to add informational content that Google ranks high   "But what should I blog about?" Glad you asked. Here are 3 simple ways that you can come up with some killer blog post topics: a. Ask yourself how your customers could get more value out of your product. For instance, you might be selling... hand blenders. Then, you could come up with recipes on "how to make creamy tomato soup in just 3 minutes" using a particular feature of your blenders. b. When you do your keyword research, make a list of all the user questions around those keywords. Then, go ahead and "exploit" them: write blog posts around the questions that your future customers have. c. Or, you can... brainstorm those questions. Ask yourself what inquiries and dilemmas related to your products your customers might be dealing with. For instance, you could be selling clothes made of a... revolutionary type of linen. Your potential customers could be wondering: "What makes it so revolutionary?". Or "Why is linen so expensive?" or "What's the difference between cotton and linen?" Step 8: Find and Fix all the Duplicate Content Issues Removing all duplicates is one of the crucial steps to take for improving the SEO of your Shopify store. It's also one of those issues common to Shopify stores in particular: 2 versions of your domain (with the same content) get indexed: the myshopify one and the custom domain one. Tip! When you add your custom domain to Shopify, make sure to check that all the traffic gets automatically redirected to your primary domain. How? Just go to Online Store > Domains and, if the message that you get there is “Traffic from your domains is not being redirected to this primary domain.”, click "Enable redirection". If it says “Traffic from all your domains redirects to this primary domain", then you're safe. But it's always best to check first. This way, you avoid the scenario where you're making it harder than necessary for Google to rank your Shopify store. For it won't know which of the 2 indexed versions is the "official" one. And speaking of the "duplicate content" danger that's greater in the case of Shopify websites, here are 2 ways that this eCommerce platform duplicates content. 8.1. It duplicates collection pages via pagination Meaning that it duplicates the first product category page in a series. You'll see “?page=1” included in the URL to the first page in that series.  And this URL is highly likely to have the same content as the first, non-parameterized URL. So, when working on the SEO for your Shopify store, make sure to identify and to remove all the duplicate paginated URLs. 8.2. It duplicates product pages  You'll have your product pages rendering at 2 different URL paths: the canonical one: /products/ the default, non-canonical one: /collections/.*/products/ Basically, Shopify creates several links for each category that a product is in. How to fix that? You can address this issue right in your theme's .liquid files. Just follow the step-by-step guide there to get it fixed. Step 9: Use an Alternative to Robots.txt File to Control Google's Crawl  Why would you want to add this point to your SEO Shopify checklist? Because in Shopify you cannot adjust the robots.txt file.  And, since you don't want Google to crawl the content on your website altogether, you'll need to look for alternatives. You could, for instance, consider canonical or "no follow" tags. Step 10: Build Links to Your Shopify Store It's sill is one of the most challenging parts when doing SEO for Shopify in 2020. But it's also one of the most powerful tactics, that can make or break an effective SEO strategy. Still, no need to get discouraged. There are a few simple and effective ways to get quality, relevant links to your Shopify store and boost its authority:   guest blog on relevant websites (remember to add a link to your online store in your blog post) reach out to those websites that have already mentioned your brand (your products, your brand's name, etc.), but "overlooked" to include a link to your website, as well form partnerships with publishers or other eCommerce businesses in your industry  find out who's linking to your competitors' stores and reach out to them   Our Recommendation for You Is... ... to balance out your SEO efforts and your efforts to provide the best user experience. Your mail goal, as a Shopify store owner, should go beyond that of achieving a higher ranking: More sales is your ultimate goal. And for that, delivering the best user experience (a fast loading site, helpful image descriptions, useful content, etc.) is critical. So, in addition to these 10 points on your SEO Shopify checklist, be sure to add another one: Provide users with what they're looking for on your website. And make it easy for them to find it. The better their experience will be, the higher your chances to have your site pushed up in the rankings. Now, if you'd want to have your store bumped up in the search results, but without having to: get tangled up in link building tactics be on the lookout for duplicate content issues come up with a unique and keyword-optimized description for every single product in your inventory ... just shift the burden to us. Drop us a line and let's start building out the SEO strategy that'll set your Shopify store up for success! Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 17'2020
The SEO Shopify Checklist: How to Get Your Store to Rank Higher Fast in 10 Steps (Part 1)
You've just opened your Shopify store. Now, you want to make it easy to find in the search engines (obviously!). So, you're working on its SEO. And you ask yourself: "Is there an easy-to-follow SEO Shopify checklist that I could use to get my store to rank higher on Google... fast?" Higher ranking on Google » Higher traffic » More sales. The butterfly effect of good Shopify SEO... To give you a hand with that, we've reviewed our own process for improving the SEO of our clients' Shopify stores. And we've extracted the 10 most common adjustments that you, too, can make to give your new Shopify store a boost in the searches... quickly. But First: Is the SEO for Shopify any... Different? Can we really talk about "SEO Shopify vs BigCommerce"? Or "SEO Shopify vs Woocommerce or WordPress or..."? What makes the SEO approach for Shopify stores any different than the one for any eCommerce websites? There are some nuances that make it somehow unique: SEO particularities when it comes to crawling and indexing that you'll need to be mindful of the fact that you cannot edit the robots.txt file in Shopify (so, you'll need to come up with an alternative solution for that) issues related to duplicate content that are specific to Shopify  ... Step 1: Create a Strong and Logical Structure for Your Website "The better your site structure, the better your chance of ranking higher in the search engines." (Neil Patel) "How to optimize SEO on Shopify?" You go ahead and set up a powerful structure for your site. "What's a powerful structure?" you ask? A structure that makes it easy for the user the navigate the content and for the search engines to understand your website (that is, to crawl it and to rank your products). Which can only lead to: a great user experience a higher ranking in the search results A "powerful website structure" based on a logical hierarchy: Main categories  » Subcategories  » Products. In the context of a Shopify store, an example of a "good structure" would be: Homepage » Collection pages » Product pages  Tip! Keep it simple. A too complex maze of categories and subcategories will only discourage your users. Good to know! In Shopify, the "collection" pages stand for the product category pages. Step 2: Choose Your Keywords (A Key Point on Your SEO Shopify Checklist) "How to set up SEO for Shopify?" You go keywords hunting, that's how. Where to start? There are 2 paths that you can take: the free one the paid one (aka, choosing one of the SEO Shopify tools to search for the best keywords) 2.1. The Free Way to Find the Best Keywords for Your Shopify Store Here are 4 simple methods that you can use to identify the most suitable keywords:   explore forums and subreddits related to your products   analyze the social media hashtags related to your products   make a list of 5 key topics that your customers are interested in, which are closely related to your products (i.e. if you sell bicycles, your buyer personas might care about "bike riding lessons", about "how to store a bike outside" or about "bike wear and shoes"...)   scan the title tags, image alt-texts, and meta descriptions on your competitors' websites and see what keywords they're targetting   Note! These are all non-data-driven ways to search for keywords.  2.2.The Paid Way to Look for Keywords: Using Keyword Search Tools If you don't feel like doing any guesswork when it comes to choosing the best keywords for your Shopify store, just use one of the best tools available: SEO Metrics Moz's Keyword Explorer (use it to spot high priority keywords and to uncover new keyword opportunities) Ahref's Keyword Explorer (i.e. you can use the "Content Gap" report to identify those keywords that your competitors' webshops rank for and yours doesn't) Google's Keyword Planner ... And here are a few more simple strategies to get keywords ideas: list of all those keywords that are currently getting most clicks your Google Search Console find and target those Google AdWords keywords that generate the most revenue for your Shopify store  When doing your research, you'll want to find the (almost) perfect balance between search volume and keyword difficulty.  And always make sure that the keywords you've selected align with the search intent. Tip! Target long-tail keywords. Conversational, natural language search queries are powerful enough to boost your website's ranking on Google. Step 3: Keyword-Optimize Your Pages (Titles, Meta Descriptions, URLs...) With your list of keywords at hand, it's time for you to sprinkle them strategically throughout your website. Here are the best spots to place them: your pages' title tags (homepage, product pages, category pages, blog posts) the meta descriptions the URLs the page content (i.e. in your product's descriptions) the image Alt tags Now that you know what are the "hot spots" on your website, here are some Shopify SEO best practices for optimizing them: keep your page title tags under 60 characters write a unique title tag and meta descriptions for each page keep your meta descriptions under 155 characters place your focus keyword at the beginning of the meta descriptions Step 4: Target One Focus Keyword per Page And this is another critical step on your SEO Shopify checklist to be mindful of. Make it even more powerful by linking it to another SEO best practice: Mapping keywords to content types.  It's still one of the top SEO tips for Shopify. Meaning that you target specific types of keywords for each type of page on your website — blog posts, product pages, homepage, category pages, etc. Let's say that you're selling kombucha tea on your Shopify store: You'll want your blog posts to target searches for information ("what is kombucha"), and your product category pages to target lower search volume, but which point out to a strong intent to buy ("buy kombucha in bulk"). Step 5: Optimize Your Product Category Pages “To help category pages rank better, we advise our clients to not only have a list of product names, thumbnails and ‘view more’ buttons, but to turn this page into an experience that helps the user with making a decision,” (Arsen Rabinovich on searchengineland.com) This is one of the SEO optimizations on Shopify best practices that more and more eCommerce brands have been adopting these days. So, how about seizing this opportunity to have your Shopify store rank higher than your competitors'? By upgrading your product category pages from... mere lists of products to influential touchpoints in your customers' buying journeys. To pages that deliver a richer experience. Pages that provide more informational type of content, aligning with the user intent. 5.1. Best Practices for Optimizing Your Category Product Pages: display star ratings, tips, recommendations, user comments ... excerpts from product descriptions, related products, FAQs create content around users' questions feature direct access to your blog posts related to that specific product type use a combo of fresh and evergreen content on your collection pages Make it useful, make it relevant. You want those pages to rank high, but you also want them to deliver a rich user experience... 5.2. Best Practices for Optimizing Title Tags for Categories You know now how to optimize the content on your collection pages. But what about their title tags? Is there a formula to keyword-optimize those titles? There is: Keyword 1 – Shop for Keyword 2 – Store Name For example: Trek Bikes – Shop for Trek Bike Online – The Store That's it for today! But stay tuned for the Part 2 of this post, where we'll be sharing 5 more steps to add to your SEO Shopify Checklist. Now, if you find these tips on how to optimize our store for higher ranking too time-consuming and overwhelming, just shift the "burden" to us. Drop us a line and let's come up with a fine-tuned SEO strategy for your Shopify store. One that'll guarantee it the ranking and traffic that it deserves.   Image by Abdul Rehman from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 16'2020
”Why Would I Use Shopify to Start My Own Online Store?” Top 7 Reasons
You either ride the wave or drown in it (yes, I am talking about the new e-commerce reality that COVID-19 has brought). So, you’ve decided to go ahead and open up your own online shop and you ask yourself: “Why would I use Shopify?” Why not... BigCommerce, for instance? And you know that going through this digital transformation is going to be painfully challenging since you’ll need to: go through the entire process of building your online store (obviously!) make sure the servers will withstand huge (hopefully) amounts of traffic actually ship your products  handle those scenarios where customers return their products handle all the marketing of your online business … With so much on your plate, the last thing you need is a complex or a too rigid eCommerce platform. One that would make setting up and managing your store even more cumbersome. But still: why Shopify? Here’s why: 1. You Can Start Your Own Shopify Store with… Zero Technical Skills And this is one of the key reasons why it’s the best eCommerce website builder, particularly for small businesses. Shopify handles all the technical stuff for you: backups, security, web hosting, updates. Unless you need some more advanced features than the ones it provides you with out of the box. Otherwise, you’re good to go: you can set up your store in no time, with no computer science degree. Talking about empowering entrepreneurs, right? 2. “Why Would I Use Shopify?” Because It’s the Easiest to Use The question "Can I build my own eCommerce website?” has one simple answer: Definitely! With Shopify, you can set up your storefront and start loading in products in a few hours.You have an intuitive interface “at your service”, enabling you to get everything up and running with… no single line of code. It’s conveniently easy to use, with your store ready to go pretty much right out of the box. 3. You Get Everything You Need to Run Your eCommerce Business And I’m talking here about: web hosting deep insights into your customer behavior via its easy to navigate dashboard (Are they abandoning carts? How long are they hanging out in your online shop? Which social media channels do most converted customers come from?) advice on the measures you could take to boost your sales transaction management a dedicated payment gateway: Shopify Pay (while it also integrates smoothly with Amazon Pay, PayPal, Stripe, Worldpay) integrations with Google and Facebook and other platforms, as well In short, Shopify takes care of everything online store management-related for you. 4. You Get a Fast and Low-Cost Shipping Service “Why would I use Shopify for my eCommerce store?” Because you get access to a network of thousands of third-party logistics providers. And this is gold particularly for small eCommerce businesses (with big plans), who don’t have a global logistics network. In this respect, Shopify Fulfillment Network taps into machine learning to guarantee you deliveries on time (two-day shipping) and lower costs for your shipping. And speaking of shipping (and empowering eCommerce businesses), you’re free to choose the shipping option that best suits your needs: by product weight by delivery speed by the region on the globe that you’re shipping to 5. You Get a Large Collection of Apps to Add More Functionality to Your Store It’s what makes Shopify one of the most “tempting” eCommerce platforms: You get to start small, using its built-in features, then… scale up, adding more power to your eCommerce business via add-on apps. And, thank God, there are thousands of them in the Shopify App Store. Ranging from: reviews sections to chat feature to the feature of converting prices to international currency  to email marketing tools (if your chosen theme doesn’t already provide you with such a feature) … you can browse, choose, and add any type of new functionality that you need to “inject” into your web store. And since scanning through such a rich collection of third-party apps can get overwhelming, just make sure you go with the best-rated ones. It’s the best criterion to filter them by.  6. You Get a Whole Range of SEO Tools to Rank Your Store Higher in Search “Why would I use Shopify to create my online store?” Because it “spoils” you with a heavy load of built-in SEO tools to help your store get found: it prompts you with SEO best practices whenever you add a new product to your catalog you get header code and custom URL multilingual options reporting tools blogging 7. You Get a Rich Collection of Themes, Specifically Designed for eCommerce This is another strong reason why Shopify’s still one of the most popular eCommerce website builders. It provides you with one of the most impressive collections of stylish, clean, professionally designed themes. Themes that you get to browse through by: industry: food and beverage, art and photography, home decor, etc. price popularity style: “fun and lively”, “minimalist”, “great for small inventories” Good to know! The Shopify Express theme is the theme to go for if you need to get your store online… yesterday. If you don’t have tons of images for your product catalog and you need to get online fast, this theme’s the one for you. When it comes to built-in features, all Shopify themes ship with: social media icons drop-down navigation support free stock photos by Burst SEO customizable content sections on the home page mobile-friendly design free theme updates built-in styles and color palettes Prioritize those themes that ship with features that are critical for your store over the great looking ones that… lack them. Otherwise, you’ll need to look for (and pay for) Shopify apps to compensate for the missing features. In other words: Why not make your life easier from day one, going for a theme that helps you check most of the features off you wishlist? You’ll find it more… natural and easier to design your product pages around your products, then to style them with no products to feature. The END! Are these reasons strong enough to answer your question: “Why would I use Shopify for my online store?”. But what if you’re not that thrilled about the idea of a DIY store? Maybe you don’t have the time (or you simply want to invest it in other projects) to get into the nitty-gritty of building your own online store, from A to Z Or what if you: need a fully custom Shopify app for your store? One that should store a particular functionality that you need incorporated into your shop? … or maybe a theme that’s tailor-made to suit your specific business needs and to do your brand justice? want to customize your product page or your checkout form? We’re here to help you make the most of Shopify and fine tune it to your needs. Just drop us a line and let’s build your powerful online presence. Image by Akash Sanchihar from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 13'2020
The Complete Website UX Audit Checklist for 2020: 12 Steps to Uncover Usability Issues on Your Site
Users come to your website. They start the checkout process and... leave. Why is that? Is there a "best practice" process to identify the pain points in the user journey? A website UX audit checklist that you could use? And how would you know: what to include in your audit? what pages to review? how to interpret all the collected data and turn it into actionable insights? You've got the questions, we've got the answers. And we've included them all in an 11-point checklist to run whenever you want to assess the user experience on your website: What Is a UX Audit More Precisely? Source: process.st Let's go back to the example above: You notice that visitors on your website keep abandoning their shopping cart.  In this case, a website UX audit might uncover specific flaws in the customer journey responsible for this low conversion rate: confusing navigation structure cluttered screens a too complicated checkout process an inconsistent visual style across pages not enough payment options In other words: A UX audit helps you identify all those usability challenges with a direct impact on users' experience. key elements on your website that are too hard to find ... or too hard to use the workflow users are to perform is not that obvious and intuitive And it helps you find your answers to legitimate questions like: What is working and what isn't? What metrics are your collecting and what metrics should you be collecting? What does the gathered data tell you about your website users' needs? Why do they behave the way they do and how might they behave once you've taken follow-up action? In short: a UX audit provides you with those metrics which, once turned into updates to your website, help you boost conversions. Step 1: Run Stakeholder Interviews and User Surveys Start off by talking to your: development team, the one in charge with all the UX improvements on your website; ask them about their development challenges, future plans with the company website, and specific requirements for achieving those plans marketing team and salespeople, who might already have their own user survey results collected along the years Then, run your own updated user surveys and categorize results by: task severity findings per screen  Tip! Run usability tests to filter through the qualitative data collected on these interviews and surveys. For instance, users might report a discouragingly complex checkout process. A usability test will confirm or disprove this claim. Step 2: Create Your User Persona- A Key Point in the Website UX Audit Checklist Who are you improving your website UX for? And there are different types of users visiting your website and each user type stands for a unique way that you could improve the user experience delivered there. To narrow down your options, you need to figure out who's the most representative user for your website.  Remember to add these 3 key attributes to your user persona as you're building its profile: user goals: do they align with your business goals? needs: what does he/she try to accomplish when visiting your website? frustrations: things to avoid when designing this user persona's experience on your website Tip! Bring your business goals (that we'll be focusing on at Step 3) into the picture, as they'll help you determine who your user persona is. Also, while at this stage in your UX audit, answer these 3 crucial questions: what are your visitors' demographics and behaviors on your website where do they come from to your site? are current visitors also your target users? Step 3: Get Specific with Your Business Goals  Let me guess: Your business goals tied to your website are related to conversions and revenue. At this step of the audit, you'll want to clearly define those goals that a better UX can directly impact. Once you've defined your business goals, include these key questions into your website UX audit checklist: What's my business goal? What's the key user goal? What actions do I want users to perform on my website? What are the top brand values that I want to communicate to my website visitors? What are my key sales channels? Who are my top competitors? Step 4: Perform a Cognitive Walkthrough of Your Website  ... to see things through the visitors' eyes. Try to perform those actions that users come to your website for. And stay vigilant to detect any obstacles that might stop you or slow you down when trying to achieve your "user" goals. Tip! Since you already know all too well how your website works, base the whole process on established criteria. This way, you can keep your focus on those user goals. Step 5: Dive Deep into Your Data Analytics Your website analytics reports make some great insights into how great or... less than great the user experience delivered on your site is. Use it to "fuel" your UX audit with, as it'll provide you with key information on: conversion or cart abandonment what visitors were doing before accessing your website (most common entry points to your website) specific user flows on your site traffic metrics hotspots on your website Tip! Filter your data analytics by specific segments and timeframes.  Source: uxbooth.com Supplement the valuable data that you get from Google Analytics with reports provided by tools like: Kissmetrics Hotjar Crazy Egg Step 6: Determine Your Conversion Rate Performance Is your website an eCommerce one? Then you'll want to take a close look at your sales and download figures as you try to improve your site with a UX audit. Figure out how well your website copy supports the overall user experience and whether your website meets visitors' pain points. Step 7: Identify Your Highest Converting Pages Another crucial point to add to your website UX audit checklist. Why? Because the pages with the highest conversion rate give you an insight into what UX is doing right on your website. They stand for some successful customer journeys that you'll want to get inspired by and... replicate on other pages on your site, as well. Step 8: List Your High-Traffic Pages with a High Bounce Rate "How to perform a UX audit?" One of the essential tasks to add to your "To Do" list is identifying those high-traffic pages with a high bounce rate (above 70%). Step 9: Identify Strong Points and... Pain Points in the User Journey Where does the user step off the intended path? Why is he/she failing to take action? It's the strong points in the customer journey (those high-converting pages that you've listed at Step 7 are the best places to look for them) that'll provide you with the best solutions for fixing the weak points identified at this step. Step 10: Take a Close Look at Your Site Layout Your website layout is directly "responsible" for a great deal of the user experience delivered on your website.  So, at this point in your website UX audit checklist you'll want to check specific aspects of your site layout with a direct impact on the visitors' experience: Does it manage to meet visitors' needs? Is your website navigation intuitive enough and easy to use? Is your on-site search accessible enough? Is your website copy in line with the user journey? Step 11: Run a Competitive Analysis How will this help you? You identify your target customers' expectations when interacting with websites similar to yours. That sell the same type of products or services. What's those sites' traffic compared to yours? How usable are they? How well do they rank in the search engine results page? Seize any opportunities that your competitors might have missed. Or get inspired by what they do great in terms of user experience and... do it better on your own company website. Step 12: Organize Your Findings Into a UX Audit Report And use categories like: major usability issues A/B test suggestions challenges predicted impact ... to sort and group your results. 3 Tips to Keep in Mind When Conducting Your UX Audit I've saved 3 best practices for last. Apply them to streamline the whole process and to future-proof your findings. Group all your findings into buckets. It'll bet easier for you (and your team) to interpret your findings when you group them into categories (e.g. the "website navigation UX issues" category) Take screenshots of all the issues found. In other words: screenshot everything! It's the easiest and most effective way to document every aspect (web page, interaction, etc.) of your website with a direct impact on the user experience. Look for trends. Use your spreadsheets of UX findings to identify... patterns. Are there any common conventions and structures that visitors expect to find on your website? That they're already familiar with?   The END! I think I know what you're thinking right now: "But taking all the steps included in your website UX audit checklist takes... ages! And during all this time I'd have to put my team's projects on... hold." Not if you pass on the audit "burden" to us. Just drop us a line and let's uncover all the opportunities for UX optimization on your website! Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay     ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 01'2020