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Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

What Is Next.js Used For? Is It a Good Fit for Your Project? 2 Clues that You Should Use It
It sure is “the thing” these days. But does that make it “the perfect... thing” for your project, as well? For your specific project needs and priorities? What is Next.js used for more precisely? Can it handle both portfolio sites, let's say, and... particularly large web projects? Is it the best fit for both rarely and frequently updating websites? For both websites depending on a rich third-party ecosystem and those that don't use so many libraries? Let's dig up some answers on:   when (and when not to) why … to use Next.js.   1. But First: What Is Next.js? It's a lightweight React framework used for server-rendered and static web applications.  Now, if we were to highlight some of its main features, any shortlist would have to include:   (default) server-side rendering ecosystem compatibility prefetching HMR and Error reporting automatic code-splitting   Note: since it resembles PHP development so much, many developers find it easy to “jump on the Next.js bandwagon”.   2. And How Does It Work? Next.js renders your React app/website on a server (as opposed to being rendered on the client-side). Source: GoogleDevelopers So, do keep in mind that you'll need to have a server... somewhere. The main gain here is that it supports scenarios where data has to be updated in real-time. As for the drawbacks of server-rendering:   higher level of complexity: expect to write more code to get everything working properly it's a bit more challenging when dealing with third-party services a bit more difficult to deploy (compared to client-side rendering and HTML)   3. What Is Next.js Used for? What Types of Projects Would You Use It For? Now, back to the question that generated this blog post in the first place: When should you consider Next.js? When is it the best choice? Does it serve your... specific use case, for instance? In this respect, we've identified 3 types of projects that Next.js makes the best fit for:   3.1. When SEO is your top priority Do you need SSR (server-side rendering) to ensure SEO-friendly pages on your website? Then Next.js is your only option. It's built to serve precisely this type of project, where good SEO is a crucial objective.    3.2. When content gets updated particularly often Let's say that new and new data gets uploaded on your website and that the content on your web pages needs to get updated within... 3 minutes, maximum. Source: When Should You Use Gatsby? And I'm thinking here: news sites large eCommerce websites property listing websites where new comments get added and descriptions updated on a regular basis   In short: if you expect content on your future website to get updated often, then it writes Next.js all over your project.   4. Final Word Now, would you care for a piece of advice? When trying to answer questions such as:   “What is Next.js used for?” “Should I use it on my project or should I go with static?”   … make sure you evaluate both your short-term and long-term needs. In other words: your website might not need to update its content frequently right NOW, but maybe you're considering scaling it up in the future... For in that case, build performance and SEO will become some key requirements and your client-side or static architecture won't serve your goals anymore. Just make sure you coordinate your final choice with your future goals, as well. Image by Lynn Neo from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Nov 04'2019
What Is the Best Web Design Platform for... You? For the Type of Website that You Need?
For that's the proper question to ask yourself: "What is the best web design platform for my own use case?" For your own context, which is made of specific:   needs constraints and limitations business goals and objectives particular budget level of technical know-how type of website that you need   And this last factor is, by far, the most important criterion to use when you evaluate the most popular web development platforms. When you try to identify the best one for you... It's also the criterion that we'll use in today's post to highlight for you the best web design platforms in 2019.  Just scan through the different types of website listed here below, spot your own type, and see which platform makes your best choice. 1. If You're Building a Low-Maintenance, User-Friendly Website... Say you're not planning to "take over the world" with your new website and you need to be able to keep its maintenance and upkeep to a minimum. Then you opt for Squarespace... And here are the top reasons why you would want to choose this particular platform for web design:   you get a conveniently simple interface it ships with a load of modules to choose from it provides you with eCommerce functionality   It's true, though, that you don't get that much customization freedom as you'd get with other platforms, but it does the job if it's a:   user-friendly low-maintenance   ... website that you're planning to build.   2. If You're Building a Visually-Appealing Website... In this case, your 2 best options are WordPress and Drupal. The first "spoils" you with so many great templates to choose from to create a visually-stunning website. Not to mention the heavy load of WordPress plugins that you can use for custom-tuning your site to fit your aesthetical needs perfectly. Whereas for Drupal (and particularly Drupal 8), you just can't ignore its built-in responsive design capabilities.  Note: one of the aspects that might discourage you from choosing this CMS to create a great looking website is the lower number of Drupal developers compared to the "deep" pool of WordPress talent. That's why we've focused an entire post on the topic of "hiring Drupal developers" and "stuffed" it with tips on where exactly to find the right Drupal talent for your project. 3. If You're Building an Enterprise-Level, Complex Website... Drupal "rocks supreme" on this category:   it's equipped to withstand floods of traffic and massive volumes of content it's designed to handle complex, multi-user content creation and management systems it's robust enough to power heavy multi-site infrastructures it ships with tons of modules to extend its functionality even further    In short: Drupal's an "enterprise-ready" platform; it's built precisely for large,  high-trafficked websites (think Tesla.com, eBay, NASA, Harvard University's website). Where do you add that Drupal stands out as the best platform for responsive web design, as well...   4. What Is the Best Web Design Platform to Rank High on Google? If out-of-the-box SEO optimization features are your top priority, then you'll need to choose between WordPress and Drupal. They both ship with robust plugins, respectively modules, aimed at helping you make your website SEO-friendly.   WordPress The system's already ideally optimized with regards to SEO:   it's coded so that search engines can easily crawl in managing heading and title tags is dead-simple creating and updating content's highly intuitive   Word of caution: WordPress's ease of use and SEO-friendliness does come at a cost: being so popular makes it particularly "tempting" for hackers, too. You don't want to cut down on preventive maintenance costs on your future website.   Drupal Its SEO modules — Pathauto, Yoast, Global Redirect — are designed to streamline all your SEO efforts, from optimizing your meta tags to... setting up your SEO-optimized URLs.   5. If You're Building a Fully Customizable and Scalable Website... "What is the best web design platform for me if I want complete freedom of customization and if I'm planning to scale my website over time?" It's... Drupal, again. From all the most popular web development platforms out there' Drupal sets itself apart as:   the most flexible one: there's a module for any customization work that you might want to do on your website the most scalable one: Drupal's designed to scale up, seamlessly, to accommodate huge loads of content and traffic   6. If You're Building an eCommerce Website... What platform should you power your eCommerce goals with? Well, it depends greatly on whether it's a powerful "selling machine" that you're planning to build or an online store for your start-up business in eCommerce.   Magento  If you have a huge product inventory (maybe even a multi-source one), Magento's your best option. Here's why:   it's robust: Magento's built to cope with an intricate and heavy infrastructure of multiple stores, currencies, languages... it's feature-packed it's scalable: feel free to start with a small online store and to grow it into a complex multi-store network; Magento's designed to accommodate your growth plans, no matter how ambitious   Shopify If you need a website for your start-up eCommerce business and you don't want to get tangled up in customization, a hosted platform like Shopify is the best option:   it's SEO-friendly it provides you with unlimited bandwidth it adjusts to your specific eCommerce business model: POS, dropshop, subscription-based... it provides affiliates capabilities, purchase buttons, Facebook selling support, etc.   Word of caution: do keep in mind that, if you decide to migrate your online store to another platform, it's just your product information that you can export from Shopify.  In other words: don't expect to be able to transfer your user interface and your website design, as well.   7. If You Need a Beautiful Site but Have no Web Design Experience... "What is the best web design platform for me if I want to create an eye-catching website but... I'm a non-developer?" you wonder. "Oh, yes: and I want to build it fast and easy, if possible?" you ask. It's Wix. From the best web design platforms in 2019, Wix suits your needs and limitations perfectly:   you get a user-friendly WYSIWYG interface it "spoils" you with a rich template collection it's easy to learn and even easier to use it "tempts" you with both free and low-cost options   In short: Wix is for anyone with close to zero web design experience who wants the freedom to set up, customize and further update his visually-appealing website himself. 8. If You're Building just a Small, Reference-Driven Website... What if you just need to put together a basic business website to showcase your services? Nothing fancy, just a small website that should provide more detailed information to your potential new clients. And that should fit your budget... Then, what you need is the best website builder software that helps you get your site up and running in no time and grants you full control over its code and design.  And there are quite a few great ones:   Site Manager Weebly SiteBuilder Shopify if it's a no-fuss eCommerce website Wix, again   The END! Have you found that type of website that you're planning to build listed here? Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 30'2019
Acquia Developer Studio: What Is It and Why Would You Want to Use It?
What Is Acquia Developer Studio? Acquia Developer Studio is a collection of tools designed to simplify and streamline all building, testing and deploying processes in Drupal. Or, here's another equally valid definition of this new product: It's a command-line tool that provides developers with all the tools they need to build digital experiences in Drupal... fast. A handy toolbox that boosts their productivity. In short: Acquia Dev Studio enables developers to get a Drupal application up and running — locally and in Acquia Cloud — in... no time.   It Provides You With... 1. A Browser-Based Remote Development Environment (IDE) The integrated IDE “spoils” your Drupal developers with a browser-based UI that speeds up all those common setup tasks they handle in each new project. Take it as a “cloudstation” for all your Drupal-related processes; one customized to each one of your different Drupal projects.   2. A Command Line Interface (CLI) Storing +200 Acquia Cloud API commands and an entire toolbox, this CLI enables any Drupal developer to build a new Drupal 8 project within... a few minutes. Just try to step into your developers' shoes:  You have all those tools that you depend on for building, testing, and deploying your code —  Acquia Pipelines, Lightnining, Landom BLT — conveniently at hand in one connected toolchain.   Why Would You Want to Use Acquia Developer Studio?  Here's a quick empathy exercise for you: Say you're one of the developers working on your current Drupal project. You're eager to implement those cool features that you have in mind, but as you delve in, you realize that there are some critical security patches to handle ASAP. Next, you need to address a software upgrade issue... Not to mention that you constantly need to make sure that all those tools in your heavy toolbox — Drush, Composer, Git, etc. — work perfectly together. How do you manage to speed up all the tedious, repetitive tasks that “kill” your enthusiasm and to focus more on the exciting, more rewarding ones instead? Source: Acquia.com On those that add true value to your project?  How do you juggle with so many tools needed for getting any Drupal app up and running? With so many Drupal processes: building, testing, deploying, monitoring? Well, you use the Acquia Developer Studio to streamline all the processes and automate all the... mundane tasks. Source: Acquia.com Take it as your all-in-one-place suite of tools or your “productivity booster”.  As a company, you'd want to use it because you'd:   cut down on your costs: the development cycle is shorter gain more flexibility in customizing your products to your users' needs: with all your disparate tools centralized in one central ecosystem and all your processes significantly streamlined   And How Do You Install It? It's as quick as entering the following command in your terminal window:  https://downloads.acquia.studio/install-standalone.sh | bash Then, provide the information for sudo access, next just carry out a few more easy steps indicated to you on the corresponding Acquia Docs page.   The END! These are the answers to your legitimate “What” and “Why” questions regarding the Acquia Developer Studio. How do you find these benefits? Are they relevant enough for your own developer workflow? Image by rawpixel from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 28'2019
Why Is WordPress so Popular? What Makes It More Popular than... Drupal? 3 Main Reasons
It scales like no other — built to accommodate huge amounts of content and massive volumes of traffic — it's incredibly robust, it's gone through a lot of innovative changes these +15 years and yet... Drupal's still less popular than WordPress. So, you cannot help wondering: “Why is WordPress so popular?” What makes it more tempting than Drupal? Since everyone agrees: Drupal's a beast... It provides lots of robust “goodies” right out of the box, it powers some of the most high-loaded websites out there, it's developers' first choice for custom development... Whereas WordPress is just a... popular blogging platform, right? And yet, stats don't lie: Any Wordpress vs Drupal in 2019 comparison would reveal to you that the first still rocks supreme. Are you as puzzled by this paradox as we have been?  Well, then let's shine some light on this enigma. Here are the 3 strongest reasons why you would use WordPress over Drupal:   1. It's More Flexible: A Huge Ecosystem of Plugins and Themes One of the most tempting benefits of choosing WordPress over... any other CMS is its unmatched flexibility: It “spoils” you with an overwhelming no. of customization options. +40,000 plugins, one or several for pretty much any functionality that you'd like to “inject” into your WordPress site. Lots of customization options to use on your WordPress theme: change fonts, color, layout, you name it. You can easily get your blog/info portal/basic brochureware business site/gallery with a portfolio up and running in no time, then gradually turn it into a full-featured, custom-tuned website. Note: I know what you might think: “But Drupal, too, is highly flexible. It ships with a rich collection of modules to... delve into and choose from.” True, but, unlike Drupal with its load of modules, WordPress makes incorporating a plugin so much simpler. So much more accessible for... non-developers, as well.   2. Why Is WordPress so Popular? Because It's So Easy to Use! From all the features of WordPress “guilty” for its popularity, its user-friendliness stands out as the most irresistible one. WordPress caters to non-developers and junior developers, as well, unlike Drupal, which still carries its “For geeks only!” label. It's that accessible, that a non-technical user could get a light, basic WordPress site up and run in... 5 minutes. Of course, custom-tuning it to perfectly fit your needs and preferences will require some extra time. For any beginner, with zero web development experience, who doesn't want to get tangled up in PHP, HTML, and CSS, WordPress is a “declaration of independence”: He gets a WYSIWYG editor that, conveniently enough, looks a whole lot like Word, and they get drag-and-drop functionality, as well. Assembling a simple website and then administering it and even further customizing it doesn't get any more straightforward than its gets with WordPress.   3. It's Backward Compatible... and That's a Huge Bonus Why is WordPress so popular compared to Drupal?  The team behind it realized just what a pain it would be for end-users to break the backward compatibility of the platform that they got used to. What an ordeal their maintenance routine would become. And so, WordPress users stuck to it. Its backward compatibility is, for them, the strongest proof that:   they've chosen a reliable platform their loyalty is being rewarded   By comparison, Drupal 7's codebase was so frustratingly different from its predecessor's. Then, Drupal 8 came out as... a completely new world.  Just like Drupal's original creator, Dries Buytaert, pointed it out all too clearly: Source: Dries Buytaert's blog. The END! These are the 3 main reasons why WordPress's more popular than Drupal: usability, backward-compatibility and flexibility/customization capabilities. Curious now:   What other “hard to resist to” WP features would you have added to this list?   Photo by Fikret tozak on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 25'2019
When to Use GatsbyJS? What Are Its Strongest Use Cases? Top 10
It's fast, it's secure, it boosts SEO and it provides a great developer experience, but does it fit your use case? For it all comes down to one key question: “When to use GatsbyJS?” Is it suitable for both a portfolio or documentation site and an app with a large content base? Or a large-scale enterprise website, for instance? Should you use GatsbyJS irrespective of your/your team's JavaScript experience?  What are the obvious and some of the... less expected use cases for GatsbyJS? Key benefits that would make you want to choose it over a framework like... NextJS, for instance? Now, let me break down the strongest use cases of Gatsby for you. See for yourself whether your own use case has made it to the list or not:   1. When to Use GatsbyJS? When You Need a Static Site... Obviously GatsbyJS's is optimized for this particular use case, after all: generating static websites. Say you have a static web page (a landing page), that serves plain HTML, some JS, and CSS. As for your more specific types of content, you plan to use Youtube and a platform like Medium to host it on. Gatsby would make the perfect choice for your use case since:   it provides server-side-rendering out of the box it ships with a heavy load of plugins to delve into (extract data from your CRM of choice: Contentful, Drupal...) it has a robust data layer built-in   Use it to create pages dynamically from almost any data source.   2. Use It for Your Documentation/Personal Portfolio Website or Blog Use GatsbyJS for your blog, eCommerce website or any other general static site that's under 500 pages, where you don't expect to serve any kind of dynamic content.  Note: there are the obvious use cases of GatsbyJS and the more... project-specific ones.  The volume of content served on your website and the amount of traffic aren't always clear indicators of whether you should or should not use Gatsby.  It's all a matter of infrastructure and of whether:   you do afford a build process for your React-based web app your team's experienced enough to get the most of a micro-service architecture and of serverless functions  you depend on a database that should reflect, instantly, any changes made   GatsbyJS's built to go beyond small/medium scale static sites if used to its full potential.   3. Use It When You “Crave” High Performance Not only that it's fast by nature, but GatsbyJS even stands out from the crowd of static site generators... If page load time is your main concern, you might want to consider Gatsby as your first choice.   4. Use It When Your Project Demands a High Level of Security    “When to use GatsbyJS?” you ask yourself. When you need to add an extra layer of security to your website. Since it serves plain HTLM files and there's no database or sensitive customer data stored on the server... there's not much to hack there, is it? The only thing left to “contaminate” if they do manage to get in is... your HTML files.   5. Use It to Build Your Progressive Web App For GatsbyJS is far more than just another static site generator: It's designed, from the ground up, to be a PWA website framework. Quote source: The New Stack In this respect, it:   ships with robust progressive web app features is built to be fast and highly accessible across all devices and in all hardware and network contexts   6. Use It If Developer Experience Is One of Your Top Priorities Luckily enough for your development team, GatsbyJS provides a modern development environment: simple, robust tooling and powerful built-in features. To give you just a few specific examples:   it automatically generates static assets like CSS and images from the “static” directory it builds routes between pages automatically it minifies everything “behind closed doors” before it serves it up to the client   7. Use It If You Have Enough JS/React Experience One of the few constraints when it comes to using GatsbyJS is the above-the-average JS/React experience required. There's no two ways about it... Also, another answer to your “When to use GatsbyJS?” question is: When you already have some React components or codebase available to reuse on your static web pages.   8. Use It if You Fancy a Huge Ecosystem of Plugins  Why use GatsbyJS? Source: Reddit.com   Because it ships with an impressive collection of plugins. Basically, it enables you to enhance your otherwise simple, static website with all kinds of powerful plugins:   you could just plug in Google Analytics into your site you could “inject” a gatsby-source-medium plugin and have previews of your articles automatically served up on your website   9. Use It if SEO Is Crucial for You When to use GatbsyJS?  When the SEO factor is of critical importance to you.  The web performance boost that you'll get from powering your website with Gatsby — since it'll render static HTML only — won't go unnoticed by your users and... by Google itself. Just make sure:   a static architecture is, indeed, the right fit for your project you've configured your SEO settings properly   10. Use It with a Headless CMS It's another one of those primary use cases for GatsbyJS: Pair your Gatsby site with a CMS data source of choice (a “headless” CMS):  Contentful, Drupal, Netfly, WordPress. This way, you pass all the “worries” regarding hosting and serving your data over to your CMS. GatsybyJS integrates seamlessly with any data repository, so you can focus on implementing your front-end instead. The END! These are the top 10 use cases for GatsbyJS, ranging from the most common to specific ones.  Which of its benefits — security, high performance, plugin system, developer experience, CMS integration — is more important for your own use case? Image by nugroho dwi hartawan from Pixabay  ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Oct 25'2019
The Chatbot Testing Checklist: Tools, Techniques, and Metrics to Include in Your Testing Strategy
With no standardized chatbot testing method at hand, how can you ensure your bot is error-free and user-engaging? What performance testing tools should you use? What are the most effective mechanisms for testing its functionality? What metrics should you include in your scenarios? In other words: what goes into a solid bot testing strategy? In this respect, here's a chatbot testing checklist — tools, ground-rules, best practices, techniques, key considerations — aimed at helping you set your own standardized testing plan.   1. Test Your Bot's Conversational Flow Engage your chatbot in a conversation.  Take it as a form of UI/UX testing, where the interface's given by the questions and replies that your bot serves up. Start with the broad, user-greeting questions and critical use cases (or chatbot testing scenarios), then gradually tackle the edge cases, as well. Your list of questions, as this stage of your chatbot testing process, should include:   Does my chatbot understand the user's questions? Does it respond promptly to them? Are its responses accurate enough and relevant? Are there enough conversation steps or... too many? Does it keep the user engaged?    2. Run a Custom, Domain-Specific Test Now, you can imagine that including every single expression specific to your field and every possible question related to your services/product is... mission impossible. And yet, you can still provide broad classes when setting your context-specific questions for the bot to answer to. Do pay great attention to how you formulate them and to what niche terms you include there: This is that stage of the conversation where your chatbot provides credible information on your products/services. Where it should influence the user into making a decision...   3. Include Developer Testing It goes without saying that your team of developers working on your chatbot project will test it anyway while building it. Developer Testing Photo by Studio Republic on Unsplash For them, it'll be more of a verification and validation test. They will have predefined the bot's replies and set the users' inquiries, so at this stage they'll just: Check whether the chatbot serves up accurate and relevant answers to a hypothetical user's questions.   4. Run a Chatbot-Error Handling Test Or what you might call a “limit test”. Image by Tumisu from Pixabay While putting together your chatbot testing strategy, just ask yourself: What if a user enters a meaningless sentence or a not so commonly used expression? How would my chabot respond to that? Of course, you cannot possibly anticipate all the irrelevant information that users might enter. All the exceptions that your chatbot will be challenged to handle... elegantly. And still, your developers should come up with “emergency replies” for those exceptions that you do anticipate. This is that phase of your testing process where you check whether your bot provides understandable answers in such “exceptional” scenarios.   5. 3 Chatbot Testing Tools to Consider “What tools can I use for chatbot testing?” you might ask yourself. Here's a shortlist of 3 tools to consider streamlining your testing efforts with:   5.1. Chatbottest An open-source guide packed with 120 questions for assessing the user experience that your chatbot delivers. It operates at three levels:   possible chatbot testing scenarios expected scenarios almost impossible scenarios   And it provides you with 7 different metrics to use for evaluating your bot's performance:   Understanding: does your chatbot understand any kind of user input — curse words, small talk, idioms, emojis...? Answering: are its answers context-relevant and accurate enough? Navigation: is it intuitive enough for you to go through the conversation you're having with your bot? Personality: does its tone suit your audience and the nature of the ongoing conversation? Onboarding: is it clear enough to the user what your chatbot's functionality is, from the very start? Is it intuitive enough how he should interact with the bot? Intelligence: does your chatbot “remember” certain details, key information that the user has provided throughout the conversation? Error management: how does your chatbot handle errors and exceptions?   5.2. Botanalytics From usability to conversational flow, to the delivered user experience, this custom service enables you to test every key aspect of your chatbot.   5.3. Dimon The great thing about this chatbot testing tool is that it integrates seamlessly with major platforms like Telegram, Slack, WeChat, Facebook Messenger. Use it to detect any issues in your bot's conversational flow, in the user experience that it provides.   6. Automate Your Chatbot Testing “How can I automate my bot testing process?” is another valid question that might be “haunting” you. You use a chatbot that'll interact with your own bot. No intervention from your side. This way, you can run your conversation transcripts... automatically. Your job boils down to 1 key task: evaluating your chatbot's replies.   7. Final Word: It's an Ongoing Testing Process Whether it's you, your development team or you opt for automated testing, any chatbot testing prior to its release is... beta testing, after all. Real-life feedback, provided by its users, is the real test. In other words: be ready to constantly adjust your chatbot to the feedback you get after its release. Keeping it relevant, future-proofing its current performance calls for an ongoing testing process. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Oct 23'2019
Website Personalization: 6 Clever Ways to Create Personalized Website Experiences
Everybody agrees: website personalization is... power.  But how do you harness it? And, most of all: How do you get the most of it? How do you benefit from incorporating personalization into the customer experience delivered on your own website? Where do you start? What precisely should you personalize? What are the most effective ways to deliver relevant, contextual, conveniently tailored visitor experiences? To lend you a hand, we've narrowed down all the best practices that you could possibly implement to the most effective ones:   1. But First: What Is Website Personalization? It's the process where you use all the customer data at hand to deliver each visitor on your website an experience perfeclty tailored to his preferences, context, intent, and history, at precisely the right time. I hope my definition has managed to “squeeze” in all the key aspects of this process. Personalizing your website is no more than customizing the experiences that you provide there. It's “baking” all the customer data at hand — browser patterns, 3rd party data, web analytics, sales funnel data — into different experiences for... different users. 2. How Would It Enhance the Visitor Experience on Your Website? In other words: how would your website visitors benefit from your personalization efforts? Here are the most powerful benefits:   easy content discovery an intuitive search experience relevant recommendations only fewer decisions for them to make (think “the paradox of choice”) contextual, perfectly tailored information What visitors returning to your website expect is a relevant, valuable, and convenient interaction.  Why forcing anyone who's already introduced himself to you to keep telling you his name over and over again? And website personalization is the way to deliver your customers precisely that type of frictionless, relevant experience.   3. 6 Effective Ways to Create Personalized Website Experiences For there are, indeed, web personalization best practices to keep in mind.  Too many organizations consider it to be some sort of... magic. An extremely powerful one, that will turn your recurring customers into your brand's advocates.... just like that. Instead, it's a long series of experiments where you keep adjusting your content and metadata to the user data and user segments that you've set. Where you keep creating various scenarios until you've created those experiences that fit your customers just like... perfectly tailored suits. Now, let me help you streamline this tedious process with a simple checklist of steps to take:   3.1. Treat Returning Visitors with a Little Extra Care Rely on cookies to identify your returning customers, then make sure you deliver them relevant content. Content, that would guide them further along the sales funnel.   3.2. Create Different Experiences for First-Time and Existing Customers Attracting new customers is but one side of your key objective.  Engaging your existing customers is the other one... And these returning customers expect to be treated differently. They expect to get:   personalized customer service for using your products/services (remember to tailor your landing page for both new and existing visitors) special offers, a signal that you do recognize and value them for being your customers   … and that you want to nourish their loyalty.   3.3. Prioritize Content Differently for... Different Visitors Take it as a “shortcut” to website personalization: You do serve the same content to all your visitors, yet you prioritize certain services, products, messages differently. You deliver each segment of users a different content hierarchy.   3.4. Serve Them Content/Product Recommendations “You may also like...” type of lists weight heavily on the personalized web experiences that you create. Quote source: Ryte.com For this, you need to:   collect and then filter through your valuable customer data fill in a deep “pool” of content and metadata use a robust recommendation engine to serve up perfectly tailored recommendations to your returning visitors   In short: engage them with product/content suggestions based on the user behavior data available to explore and to exploit.   3.5. Deliver Experiences Targeted to Different Audience Segments But first, use all the customer data at hand to define those user segments.  You could segment your audience by:   number of visits on your website within a time-frame location user-behavior reflected in their past visits referrals: have they landed on your website from a partner website or from a Google ad?   Put together all the customer data that you dispose of and extract “gold” information about your audience, like:   content preferences where they're located on the globe even custom user information   Then, use the resulting info to set up your audience segments and create website experiences personalized for each segment. Set what user segment will see which part of your web content — unique offers, personalized messages, special products — and how precisely they'll interact with it.   3.6. Adapt Your Content to the Customer Journey's Phases  And I'm talking here about the phases where you:   raise awareness educate and engage with your visitors help them make their decision    So, make sure you don't greet a first-time visitor with a helpful tutorial on how to use the product he's just bought nor a returning visitor with a form he's... already filled in. See my point?   The END! Website personalization is a multi-layered process, with your customer data, collected from an ecosystem of different sources, right at its center.  Which of these best practices do you find most effective for your website's specific context and your own business goals? Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 21'2019
How to Hire Drupal Developers: 5 Ways to Find the Right Drupal Talent for Your Project
Say you already have your product specifications clearly written and you start "hunting" for the right Drupal talent for your project. Where should you start your searches? And, once you've found a pool of talent, how to hire Drupal developers who are the perfect match for your skillset requirements and who fit your organization's needs? What recruitment strategies should you apply to... speed up things a bit? What criteria should you use for filtering through your candidates? What questions should you prepare for the selected Drupal developers and... what questions should you be asking yourself, too? About your project needs, scope, budget constraints... Let's get you some answers. Here's a handy checklist including 5 tips that'll streamline your searches and optimize your selection process:   1. First: What Is a Drupal Developer? What does a Drupal developer do? Generically speaking, a "Drupal developer" does a lot of things:   conducts researches, selects and installs those Drupal modules that fit your project's feature needs develops new modules, from scratch, tailored to your project's needs tweaks and extends existing modules so that they provide the precise functionality that you require handles the look and feel of your Drupal website/app by creating a custom theme that meets CSS/HTML code standards handles different PHP implementations architects your Drupal solution incorporating data, display, and information infrastructure migrates your existing websites to Drupal puts together and runs performance-boosting strategies on your existing Drupal website   And this leads us to the 3 main Drupal roles that you might "bump into" while running your investigations. Each one with a specific skill set to evaluate and to set against your own project's size and scope. For instance, no need to look for a Drupal themer when it's a new functionality that you want to get developed and integrated into your website...   1.1. Drupal Site Builder If your Drupal project doesn't require highly complex feature implementation or a PHP "guru", but rather someone who:   is familiar working with the latest versions of Drupal and, overall, with site frameworks  has basic Drupal project management skills has a decent understanding of the essential concepts of JS and PHP code   ... then a Drupal site builder experienced enough to put together core and the right contributed modules and create a fully functional website is what you need.   1.2. Drupal Front-End Developer Looking for someone to "revamp" your Drupal site's presentation layer? Or we're talking about a new project, that you want to make sure it'll deliver the best user experience? Then a Drupal front-end developer (or themer) is what you should be looking for. One that:   is experienced enough to develop new themes and to customize existing Drupal themes has extensive knowledge in basic PHP, JS/JQuery, HTML, CSS sticks to the best testing practices to ensure that the delivered theme is fully responsive and light enough not to impact your website's performance   1.3. Drupal Back-End Developer Or maybe you need someone with proven expertise to set up a robust "bone structure" for your Drupal project? One who can:   develop a whole new module, if needed, to fit specific functionality needs tune an existing module till it meets your feature needs to the slightest detail prove his/her expertise in CSS, Object-Oriented PHP, HTML, JS/Query   Note: a Drupal back-end developer's knowledge is not limited to code; a great one knows what goes into building a Drupal site, knows general design concepts and deployment best practices, as well. Of course, the list of Drupal role doesn't end here. From Drupal Design/UX to Drupal Architecture, to Drupal Product Owner to Drupal DevOps Engineering... you could populate it with pretty much any level of specificity that you aim for. Which brings us to the next question:    2. What's Your Project?  In order to find the answer to your "How to hire Drupal developers for my project?" question you should first try to answer:   What's my project scope? What about its size? Which are the general and (more) specific feature needs?   For, as you've already seen, there's a whole bunch of Drupal roles out there and selecting the right one(s) for your project can get challenging. To say the least... So, to narrow down your options, identify and examine your needs:   is it Drupal maintenance that you need for your current website? Then you should get reasonable and not expect a lead Drupal developer to "jump" right in is it a whole new enterprise-grade Drupal solution that you need? Then you might want to adjust your budget and time resources to the level of Drupal experience required and the complexity of your project is it just back-end Drupal talent that you need, maybe just someone to integrate a new feature to your website? Or a... full-stack developer?   Do you just have a rough idea of what you'd like him/them to develop or clear wireframes and project specifications already laid down? Such as:   Drupal security updates enhancing your website's overall performance various eCommerce integrations custom-built content tools   ... etc. Do you need a freelancer Drupal developer or a contract-to-hire? Or you'd like to go with a staff augmentation solution? As you take the time to ask yourself all the right questions you gradually start to identify:   what level of experience you need what skill set your project requires whether you need a Drupal developer to pay specialized attention to a specific area of your project or a generalist  what technology stack your project depends on   While you have your "Aha!" moments, simply turn your answers into... job responsibilities.    3. How to Hire Drupal Developers: Where to Look? OK, now that you've identified your skillset needs and included them in your job description, it's time to "go hunting". "But where can I find developers that have experience working with Drupal?" You can run passive or active searches or... both.   Top channels to consider for passive searches:      job portals like LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, Indeed ... online Drupal (or PHP) communities freelance platforms like Upwork, Toptal, Scalable Path   Top channels for your active searches:   social media Drupal groups local IT communities LinkedIn (when you start analyzing particular profiles on LinkedIn your passive search becomes... active) Drupal.org (select the top Drupal profiles there and start evaluating them against your own requirements) developer communities like GitHub, Stack Overflow   Note: an effective way to identify the perfect match is to delve deep into those profiles and evaluate those developers':   portfolios; are there any projects in there similar to yours?  Drupal roles that they "played" in different projects that they worked on type of questions they posted proof of them volunteering in different Drupal projects documentation skills   Also, keep in mind to run a deep scan of the candidates' own social media profiles, as well. They're often packed with valuable information like:   number of connections within the Drupal community number of projects that they've worked on, time spent on each of them and... number of clients, as well (is he prone to working with the same client on multiple projects?) developer groups that he's joined client feedbacks   4. 4 Questions to Ask Your Candidates So, you've shortlisted your candidates and your "How to hire Drupal developers?" dilemma has turned into: "How do I... know which is the best Drupal talent for my project?" Here are 4 questions to ask them (among other things), which will speed up your "identification" process:   What techniques would you apply to enhance a Drupal website's performance? What modules do you find essential, irrespective of the projet's scope? Do you have a Drupal project portfolio that I can have a look at? Have you contributed to developing or improving any Drupal modules?   5. What to Look for in a Drupal Developer: 8 Things to Evaluate Level of experience, community involvement, proven expertise reflected in the projects that he's worked on, certifications... what precisely should you analyze first when you're evaluating your candidates? Since the number of aspects that you could be checking can get... overwhelming, here's a shortlist of things to look into to identify your best match from a group of potential candidates:   5.1. GitHub Profile It's a never-ending source of priceless information about your candidates:    how much time they spent on different projects samples of their written code details on their contributions   5.2. Experience Level And here, what you should pay attention to is the no. of Drupal versions that they've worked with. The more... the merrier. The more experienced that particular candidate is, the more familiar he is with Drupal's specific "roadblocks" and how to address them.   5.6. Technical Expertise How do you assess their level of technical expertise? There are 2 straightforward methods to apply:   ask your candidates to review some of their own code  challenge them with a specific scenario: a challenge that they should find a custom solution to (e.g. "What module would you use to...?")   5.7. Community Involvement An experienced Drupal developer is (most of the time) an active member of the Drupal community, as well. Look for profs of his/her active involvement: discussions where's he used his expertise to help out other developers, contributions to different projects...   5.8. Client References Are there any client references online to have a look at? If not, can he/she give you any references that you could talk to? And this is particularly important if it's Drupal agencies that you're evaluating.   The END! These are the 5 aspects to look into for finding your personalized answer to the "How to hire Drupal developers" question. Happy "hunting"! Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 18'2019
Acquia Cohesion: Empower your Non-Developers to Build Drupal Websites Four Times Faster
What is Acquia Cohesion? What challenges that you're facing nowadays does it help you solve? Or, if you want to put it this way: How does this Acquia & Cohesion DX8 solution enable your organization to align with the "do more with less" agile trend? In this respect, in today's blog post we'll:   define this Acquia product focusing on what sets it apart from other website builders out there identify your organization's specific needs, that Acquia Cohesion's designed to addresses highlight some of its most powerful and...  empowering features  1. What Is Acquia Cohesion?   It's a low-code Drupal add-on that empowers less technical people in your team — content authors, marketers, designers — to build websites faster and cheaper via a simple drag-and-drop user interface. In short: it simplifies the whole Drupal site-building process. It gives power to non-dev teams to:   come up with new designs set up new layouts create web pages use components site-wide, while selecting different styles to boost the user experience assemble new Drupal websites from scratch   No CSS, PHP, HTML or Drupal theming knowledge required... Now, just imagine:   how much time your developers would gain, time that they could then invest in more innovative work instead how much easier it'll be for your non-developers to be 100% brand compliant how much faster it'll get to launch new websites whenever needed how much simpler it'll get for your non-technical team to manage hundreds, even thousands of Drupal websites   2. Why Did Acquia Acquired Cohesion? Well, for 3 obvious reasons. Acquia wanted to enable organizations to:   launch their Drupal websites faster (up to four times faster) achieve brand consistency across their ecosystems of websites grant their non-dev teams more freedom and more control over the website infrastructures that they manage   In a few words: Cohesion DX8 makes Drupal (even) more accessible to companies worldwide.   3. 4 Signs that Your Company Needs this Low-Code Site Builder   Quote's source: Dries Buytaert's blog. Let's take these 4 scenarios and see if you can relate:   your team's striving to "juggle with" 100s of Drupal websites, each one carrying its own network of e-commerce and social media tools and integrations your short-term strategy includes launching... a few more scalable 100s websites your marketers and content creators always need to wait in line for the development team to do its own work before they get to add any content to your new websites your non-technical team depends on the development team for every content update they need to make (swapping a text box with an image, updating the layout...)   Are these challenges all too familiar to you? Then you're definitely one of Acquia Cohesion's target users: An organization looking to reduce their build times dramatically and to streamline the management of hundreds or even thousands of Drupal websites.   4. Real-Life Example of Acquia Cohesion "In Action"   Quote's source: Information Age. Bayer is such an organization that recognized this site builder's potential and used it to overcome the challenges that it was then facing:   building thousands of standardized websites fast(er) granting their non-dev team "independence" from developers to create Drupal websites at scale   5. Features You'll Want to Try First Now that we've tackled your "Why" questions, let's address your "How" question, as well: How do you make the most of Acquia Cohesion?  Therefore, we've hand-picked the 3 of its most powerful (and empowering) features that you'll be tempted to explore and exploit first:   5.1. In-Context Editing In-browser, on-page editing couldn't get any more convenient than this: Your content editor would just need to click anywhere on the web page where they need to make the update, hit the "Quick Edit" button and... edit it. From making changes to the content itself to updating the layout of the page and settings, your editorial team can make changes on the fly. Where do you add that the permissions control system helps them keep track of who has access to what. 5.2. Style Builder The style builder that Acquia Cohesion ships with provides your design team with minimal coding experience components that they can easily:   drag and drop arrange assembly   ... to their liking to create unique page layouts. Thus, they get to put together their own templates right in the browser. Note: feel free to go beyond the built-in styles and to get the most of the CSS properties and selectors.   5.3. Design Replication Just imagine: what if you could reuse one of your current Drupal site's design and style configuration across your other hundreds of websites? What if you could sync templates, components, brand styles across your global network of sites... faster and easier than ever before? Well, Acquia Cohesion stores that kind of power. You just need to... unlock it and use it to your advantage.   The END! These are the key benefits that you can reap from using Acquia Cohesion within your organization. Do you find them strong enough to choose this particular website builder? Image by Chris Wolf from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 14'2019