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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.

Incoming Feedback by Hotjar: Building User-Friendly Sites & Apps Made Easy!
Building better websites and apps has just got easier! And by “better” we do mean user-friendly (a feature encompassing all the other aspects: UX design, various functionalities, written content, graphic content etc.). How so? Incoming Feedback by Hotjar makes it ideally easy and convenient for your users to give you specific feedback for your site/app (on its copy structure, on its design elements etc.) And right there, on-site, on-page, at precisely THAT moment in their user journeys. For your site visitors it's nothing but a two-clicks process (so much more at hand than answering questions in a poll) and for you, the site/app's owner it's:   a chance to grab instant and contextual feedback from your users … and turn it into actionable insight   And now, let us briefly point out to you:   The context that “called for” such a tool (and what makes it more efficient than conventional polls) How it works precisely How you get to collect, monitor and use all that data to “fuel” your future design/copy/functionality improving strategies   “But Why Incoming Feedback by Hotjar? I May As Well Grab User Feedback via Polls.” Let's play devil's advocate:  Why bother using this tool when you could easily use polls for collecting all the specific feedback you need? Your users would simply (and kindly) answer all the questions in your poll and... voila: a fresh new “crop” of user feedback for you to leverage! But what if:   you ask your questions long time after the user will have actually been on that specific page or has completed that specific action? you risk misinterpreting the collected answers, due to... LACK OF CONTEXT?   And this is precisely where we wanted to get! This new tool by Hotjar, added to their whole suite of all-in-one analytics & feedback tools, brings CONTEXT to the equation. For it's right THEN, right at that specific moment in your user's journey on your website/your app that you get to... pop up your question! Not a few pages after. Not a few hours or days after. The feedback that he/she gives you precisely then is, by far, the most relevant one! Relevant due to:   the context of that specific visited page/visualized designed element/tested functionality/read piece of content the impression that he/she gets about your target site element that very instant!   And How Does This Tool Work Actually? Incoming Feedback by Hotjar is as easy for you to set up and to customize as it is easy for your visitors to use it. 1. You get to configure your widget's color, its position, its flow and, finally, enter your message. It will simply sit at the edge of your screen, looking like a tab. 2. The instant your users will want to give their feedback on the element of your site/app that you point out to in your widget, they instantly get a pop-up up to:   evaluate your site/app on a “Love to Hate” scale enter a quick comment if they feel like putting their feedback into words even use the area selection tool to highlight specific elements on your page (and this gold!) eventually enter their email addresses allowing you to follow up   And there's more:   you get to create as many incoming feedback widgets as you need (since more likely than not it's multiple pages on your website/app that you'll like to get user feedback for) the Incoming Feedback by Hotjar works on all devices   How Do I Centralize The Answers? How Do I Monitor Performance Over Time? “By making a great use of your Incoming Feedback dashboard.” It's a two-in-one dashboard, actually, that you get to use for:   deep analyzing and drilling down the user answers that you will have collected (using various filters) monitoring your newly implemented enhancements' rates of success   Here are the two separate dashboards:   1. The responses dashboard  This is the repository of all the user feedback given for the suggested aspects of your site/app. Here's where you can filter them, by various criteria such as:   liked/disliked or the expressed feedback type time when the feedback was given page URL   … so you can turn them from “just” responses into valuable, actionable insights!   2. The results dashboard  This is where you get:   the full picture of the overall score resulting from your visitors' feedback a breakdown of their feedback over time   It's on this dashboard that you can measure the real impact that your bug fixes, your implemented upgrades and other various improvements to your site/app have on your users.   Bottom Line  Building user-friendly websites & apps has, indeed, just got easier! With a tool like Incoming Feedback by Hotjar you get to:   collect specific user feedback (you get to target particular aspects of your site/app) … instant, contextual type of feedback … and use it to take the needed action for improving the content (both graphic and written) that they dislike    Have you tried it?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Oct 17'2017
Why Should My Company Use Hadoop Over Its Current Data Warehouse?
Or simply put: “What can Hadoop possibly do that my data warehouse can't already?” A predictable and legitimate question following the “Why should my company use Hadoop after all?”. Our today's post is not aimed at convincing you that you should, indeed, replace your current data warehousing solution and move your data over to a Hadoop platform. That would just point out the“why it's best to go with Hadoop”. Instead, we're ready to answer your specific question: “Why should my company use Hadoop as a data storing and data processing solution?” We'll be:   presenting you with specific use cases when Hadoop is, indeed, the best option outlining key advantages of using Hadoop over the traditional data warehousing    When Should You Consider Replacing Your Data Warehouse With Hadoop? One of the most popular sayings here, at our Toronto web design company, is: “if it ain't broken why fix it?”. Therefore, let us point out to you just 2 specific situations where you should consider a massive data migration to Hadoop as your best option:   you're dealing with a huge amount of data  you need built-in capabilities for processing raw and semi-structured data... in a scalable way, of course   Does any of these contexts ring a bell to you? If so, you're better off with Hadoop.   "Why Should My Company Use Hadoop?" 7 Advantages Over Traditional Data Warehousing  For it all comes down to the benefits that your company will gain from such a transition. In this respect, we've put together a list of 7 key reasons why Hadoop is a great asset for your company. Analyze them, weight them, compare them to the benefits that you're currently “reaping” from using your current enterprise solution and... do the math yourself:   1. It's Cost Effective: it's free actually No, no, we're not trying to brush under the carpet costs such as:   staff training investments that you should consider  commodity hardware costs to take into account for storing impossibly large sets of data    And yet, they are insignificant compared to the costs that legacy commercial vendors products' come along with:   annual support offered by the data warehouse's vendor (compared to Hadoop's open source support) perpetual licenses significant costs that each scaling process would call for (no wonder that companies used to get rid of loads of raw data since scaling their data warehouses to accommodate it all was cost prohibitive)   2. It's (so much) Easier to Use: skip formatting and “exploit” your data from day one Here's an answer, which makes a strong argument itself, to your “Why should my company use Hadoop over my current data storage solution?” Its ease of use feature will come as a major surprise to you once you've gone through a:   changing formats complex preprocessing establishing data models   … type of experience with your current enterprise solution. An entire “ordeal” to go through just to be able to finally leverage your own data! With Hadoop it's just a “feed the data” process! That's all! No preliminary steps to take. And where do you add that you get to use all your familiar tools, languages and even to test the newest methods for getting the most value out of our data!   3. It's Flexible: it can capture data from a plethora of data sources And this is gold when you have an entire ecosystem of data sources ready to deliver you data if you just have the right tool to... tap into! Hadoop's perfectly suited for the job: it will access and extract data and provide you with valuable insights from sources ranging from:   social media email conversations   … and lots of other “repositories” of both structured and unstructured data. It will go and get this heterogeneous load of data to you. Data that will then fuel your marketing campaigns, your fraud detection initiatives, your log processing actions etc. Do giants such Marks & Spencer and Yahoo and their own use cases of Hadoop make convincing enough answers to your “Why should my company use Hadoop?” question? They're using Hadoop to:   play the “personalization” card right put together cross-functional teams (IT, marketing, e-commerce, finance...) thanks to Hadoop's capability to seamlessly process all types of data gain a better understanding of their customers (this is where Predictive analytics comes into play)    And this is what extracting value from your own data, that's just sitting there, waiting to be leveraged, really means.   4. It's Open Source Technology: bugs and feature development handled by multiple companies Just try to compare bug fixing and new features development being handled by a single company (your commercial license vendor) to the same processes being carried out by hundreds of companies! In other words: when choosing Hadoop as your data storage platform there's an entire community of contributing companies offering you support and continuously improving the platform.   5. It's Built With High Scalability in Mind: keep on adding more and more data clusters How easily (or “costly”) is it to scale your current data warehouse to accommodate your increasing amounts of data? Hadoop scales... organically, using low-cost hardware as a unique resource! Here's how it works:    as you add new and new heavy nodes (clustering thousands of terabytes of data) Hadoop manages to seamlessly accommodate it all  … and to distribute it across hundreds of inexpensive servers that run in parallel   Scalability is, undoubtedly, one of Hadoop's “five-star” features, the one that traditional relational database systems (RDBMS) can't possibly compete with!    6. It's Fast: data processing at high speed When you're questioning yourself “Why should my company use Hadoop instead of sticking to its current data warehousing solution?”, you might be thinking, in fact: “How much faster than my current data warehouse can Hadoop process data?” A lot faster! And this is exclusively thanks to its unique data storage method: the data mapping & the data processing happen on the same server where data is stored. This way mapping and processing massive volumes of unstructured data is no challenge for Hadoop at all: it will map it no matter where it might be located in a cluster. And so processing it (we're talking about petabytes of data here) turns into a matter of hours!   7. It's Equipped to Handle Fails Remarkably: say Hello to automatic data replication! You can run, but there's no way of hiding/completely avoiding cluster fails! But luckily Hadoop provides you with a great “safety net” type of capability: it automatically replicates data for you, sending it to other nodes. So, when faults happen (and they will), you can stay reassured: Hadoop will always have copies of your data ready to be passed on to other, non-compromised locations of your data infrastructure.   Final Thoughts Or “recommendations” if you prefer:   if it's small data that your company's “piled up” so far, if there are small files that you need to store and leverage, don't go for Hadoop if you don't really need to access and to process your unstructured or semi-structured data, there's no real need to use Hadoop   Now getting back to the initial question, “Why should my company use Hadoop over its current data warehouse?”, our answer is: “Because Hadoop is built and being constantly enhanced with impossibly large amounts of data in mind!" ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Oct 11'2017
Why Mule ESB? Why Switch to It  from Your Current Point-to-Point Integration System? 5 Reasons
Is your enterprise “ecosystem” of apps, systems, and IT components getting overwhelmingly complex? Is managing it and leveraging it getting increasingly challenging? Then it's a fact: you need to get them organized in a more effective infrastructure. One that should bridge them all together and enable a continuous flow of data across the whole structure. You need to move away from the traditional point-to-point integration system and go for an ESB instead. "But why Mule ESB?" A more than valid question. Here are 5 top reasons why it stands out from all the other ESB products. Why you should consider using it as your future integration platform:   But First: What Is an ESB More Precisely? Take it as a set of principles rather than as a software on its own. A set of “rules” for building out your bus-like infrastructure where your disparate systems:   get bridged together exchange data via the communication bus that this ESB system provides; and it's a two-way communication process that takes place: the systems share data among them and they all communicate with the bus individually, as well are independent of one another   And it's this very last feature that what makes the ESB architecture such a big “leap” ahead from the traditional point-to-point integration system. But how does this type of bus-like infrastructure for organizing your apps and systems benefit you precisely:   it speeds up marketing your new initiatives it enhances productivity, translated into more apps developed within your organization it allows you to leverage your existing systems during app development thanks to all the pre-built communication and transformation capabilities   Why Move Away From a Traditional Point-to-Point Integration? Because in a point-to-point integration system your apps are tightly dependent on one another. And this “dependency relation” does interfere with the very principle of organizational agility, doesn't it?   What Is Mule ESB? What Sets It Apart from Other ESB Products? To answer your first question: Mule Soft is a lightweight, highly scalable Java-based service bus (or integration platform, if you prefer) which:   enables developers to connect a whole ecosystem of Saas, on-premises apps and disparate systems quick and easy … and to enhance communication between them, a continuous data flow alongside the infrastructure   “And what makes Mule as an ESB stand out from the crowd of other ESB products?”   Let's point out those key features that set Mule ESB apart from the its “competitors: it's, in fact, a component part of a larger structure of API design management capabilities it comes with a pre-built library of templates … and with out-of-the-box connectors enhancing the reusability of components (and this is big)  it comes with built-in agile software development methods and multiple toolchains boosting your developers' productivity   Why Mule ESB? Top 5 Reasons to Consider Using It as Your App Integration Technology 1. It Scales Effectively, Both Up and Down  And this key feature translates into unlimited freedom for your teams to bridge together as many apps and systems as needed. Mule ESB will scale to efficiently incorporate them all! In addition to being effectively scalable, Mule ESB's ideally embeddable, as well:   you can embed it into a single app, directly or you can plug it into your app server (JBoss, WAS, Tomcat) instead and even into a JUnit test case (for yes, it does come with built-in JUnit support, as well)   2. It Perfectly Integrates All Components, Irrespective of the Technology Used And this is a strong argument to consider when you're asking yourself: “Why Mule ESB over another ESB product?” It's definitely not a restrictive or “picky” ESB: it will incorporate all the existing systems regardless of the technologies that they might be running on: Web Services, JMS, HTTP, JDBC, you name it.  … from a “POJO” to a component coming from a different framework! Moreover, not only that it integrates them all under its “umbrella”, but it enhances communication across this infrastructure of various apps and multiple systems. It allows data flows between the bridged apps within your organization and across the web.   3. It's Highly Accessible, Supporting a Wide Variety of Code Languages And this is great news for your Java developers!  Since it:   comes with a set of widely used tools (Maven, Eclipse, Spring, JUnit) that your team's already familiar with uses an XML transformation language for presenting logic layers supports multiple code languages: JavaScript, Ruby, Java, Python...   In short: your development team will face no problems writing custom code.   4. It  Enables You to Reuse Your Components Here's another reason that makes a great answer, alone, to your “Why Mule ESB?” question! Unlike other integration platforms out there, this one enables reusability! Your team's empowered to reuse your infrastructure's components. Therefore, it enables them to run the existing ones since it doesn't call for Mule-specific code.   5. It's Ideally Lightweight Mule ESB does, indeed, stand out from a “weight” point of view. Moreover, thanks to its modular design you get to make it even lighter by removing all the modules that you won't use. While thanks to its configuration model you get to easily add, re-order and upgrade functionality sparing the time you'd otherwise invest in implementing changes to your existing integrations instead.   And this is THE list! The one including 5 key reasons why Mule ESB could make a great choice when you consider using an integration platform within your company. Are there any other ESB products competing with it for your appreciation? Are these 5 reasons not convincing enough or have you already identified possible drawbacks balancing them? Do share your thoughts! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Oct 05'2017
Is Shopify the Best Option for Your eCommerce Website? How Do You Know? 6 Pros and Cons
To Shopify or not to Shopify? And why shouldn't you? It's an all-in-one, turn-key shopping cart solution after all: it takes care of all there's needed for your store to run smoothly, while you get to focus on those details that will make it stand out from the crowd. Yet, convenience does come with a cost (or several of them): a customization cost, the cost of having only basic discount and shipping cost models, per order transaction fees and so on. So is Shopify the best option for your own online store or not? There's only one simple way to answer it: weighing its most tempting pros and its most discouraging cons.  Here are 6 of each that our team at our web design company in Toronto, has selected for you:   6 Reasons for Running Your Online Store on Shopify 1. You Get an Impressive Collection of Great Looking Themes to Choose From And you should, indeed, feel “spoiled” by such a wide collection of themes at your fingertip! Both free and premium. If you're a start-up, stay reassured: your e-commerce website will still look sharp and professional with a free Shopify theme. This way, you can take off the table the costs of hiring a designer when you plan your initial financing. As you grow, as a business, you can always jazz up your store with fancy, visually-arresting upgrades. Note: The time you'd spend looking for a good and “not so expensive” designer you could invest in high-quality photography and other visual assets instead! And the great thing when you start small and plan to grow your e-commerce business organically is that Shopify makes its theme system ideally accessible for designers. It will get easier for the design team that you'll choose, later on, to fine tune your virtual storefront.   2. It Provides Your Store With Security Features and Top Speed, By Default “Is Shopify the best option for me?” When asking yourself this question the security and performance factors should weight heavy in your decision-making process:   you expect your online store to be 100% safe for your customers; it should inspire trust so that they get confident enough to enter their card details you expect it to load fast; online shoppers are remorselessly “stingy” when it comes to the time they'd invest in waiting for a page to load   Well, you hit the nail right on the head with your two-in-one expectation here: Shopify takes off caching, compliance, worrying about hackers etc. off your shoulders. And it lets you focus on running and growing your business instead! Note: Money talks and... gets your back covered! It's no news that Shopify's been investing huge sums in software and security engineering.   3. It's an “All-Features-in-One” E-Commerce Platform Are you quite “greedy” when it comes to the features that you'd want your e-commerce platform to provide you with, right out-of-the-box? No need to be “reasonably demanding”. And no need to look any further than... Shopify. It makes the “Swiss knife” type of shopping cart solution that you need for setting up and running your store, fully fledged, in no time:   it has built-in payment gateways support  its themes are easily customizable it makes implementing Google Analytics effortless it empowers you to add and to remove your products nice and easy   And there's so much more to this bundle of conveniences that Shopify “spoils” you with as soon as you “unwrap” it!   4. You Can Rely on Its Excellent Customer Support Services “Is Shopify the best option for my online store?” should turn into “Is there always a Shopify expert to get my back whenever I'm facing a problem?” Luckily, Shopify's customer service is simply... outstanding! And it's the platform's own users' reviews that support our opinion: there's always an easy to reach Shopify expert ready to help you out... fast. And this aspect gets particularly critical when you're tempted with tons of upgrades which, at some point, risk to guide you towards a dead end. Then you just need to call someone to... save the day!   5. You Get to Leverage Its Pre-Built Marketing Essentials Toolkit So Shopify “spoils” you with outstanding customer service. On the other hand, its built-in digital marketing tools aren't out of the ordinary! Yet, they do make the utterly effective essential kit to meet all your online store's marketing needs:   it makes putting together landing pages easy it's perfectly equipped for SEO: it allows meta descriptions, title tags, it's written in a clean, easy to crawl code it handles issues of critical SEO importance for you by default (sitemap, Search Console, SSL, canonicals etc.)   In a few words: Shopify's marketing “toolbox” is limited to the essentials, the critically important ones, that it handles to perfection!    6. It “Bundles Up” Tones of Add-Ons In Its App Store Here's another strong pro to help you come up with a quick answer to your “Is Shopify the best option for my business?” dilemma: The Shopify App Store itself! It's online store owners' “Wonderland”. An impressive collection of fancy apps that they get to plug right into their online stores. It's also the meeting point between third-party developers and business owners looking to enhance their stores' out-of-the-box functionality. To make them stand out in their respective industries. Some apps are free and some of them come with a price tag on. Is there an app perfectly tailored to your online store's needs that you're searching for?   you could search for a developer to build if for you but not before you've dug through the wide collection of add-ons already available in the Shopify App Store   Note: by far the most intriguing add-on that Shopify “tempts” you with” is its Buy button itself: the idea of selling your products outside your online store might be... puzzling you at first and still, it provides you with so much flexibility: you get to sell your products wherever on the web without the need to actually set up an online store   “Is Shopify The Best Option for My Business?” 6 Reasons To Doubt It 1. It Limits Your Customization Options Out-of-the-box convenience does come with a price when using Shopify as your e-commerce platform! And this price is given by all the restrictions imposed on your site's architecture. And implicitly by the customization limitations deriving from there! It's true, though, you can still hire a good developer to tweak things on your store, yet... this comes with a risk, as well: that of messing up the core code. A major con, indeed, when you expect to get unlimited freedom for fine tuning your e-commerce site's functionality to your liking!   2. Customization Does Come, But At a Cost And your legitimate question, “Is Shopify the best option for me?” becomes “Is Shopify, in fact, a restrictive, risky and costly e-commerce solution?” On one hand, you have a huge community of third-party developers ready to get any “tweaking job” done for you. Yet, on the other hand:   Shopify comes with its proprietary code language, Liquid: so the chosen developer(s) will need to know Liquid to be able to customize anything about your store; they can't “get away” with using PHP when “maneuvering” templates   needless to add that overly specialized developers are more expensive   you can't make just small tweaks: you need to engage in full customization processes    getting your hands (or your developers' hands) dirty in Shopify's base code does interfere with the software's warranty   by tweaking your Shopify's store base code you run the risk to ruin it and to find it challenging plugging in future add-ons (which call for the out-of-the-box Shopify code to work)   Decisions, decisions!    3. Its Built-In Blogging Features Are Simply... Unremarkable Can you imagine your content strategy without a blog? Unfortunately, Shopify's out-of-the-box blogging capabilities could be better. If compared with Wordpress's, for instance, they seem... basic.  So, if you have big plans for your blog:   to turn it into a true organic traffic “magnet” into a “channel” for informing customers about your products and about your brand's values into a tool for increasing social shares … and for building customer communities   … then Shopify's blogging software is not built to properly “fuel” your plans. Just make sure you're prepared for this inconvenience!   4. It Can Handle Basic Discount Scenarios Only  Don't expect Shopify to cope with all your upsell scenarios, with all those complex discount models that you might have in mind.  For it can handle “one discount per order” models only. So, it's pointless to put together all kinds of complex (“buy one get one free”, multiple discount codes per order etc.) types of structures. Not only that Shopify's not built to handle them, but you might be tempted to “adapt” your discount models to this inconvenience. To create several variants of a product, each one with its own price. Don't! You will only end up messing your inventory system!   5. It Charges a Per Sale Transaction Fee These fees add up to your monthly store plan and come on top of the credit card fees.  And from this point of view Shopify can be discouraging both for a start-up business owner and for one already selling in a high volume on his/her online store:   as a start-up, you don't know, from the start, how much you'll end up selling on your e-commerce website as a business already selling in high volumes the calculation of these transaction fees changes, so fees will start to add up gradually   In short: you can't avoid transaction fees, no matter how much you're actually selling on your Shopify store; still, if you want to save a percentage point you'll need to increase your sales to make those “savings” count.   6. It Can't Handle Complex Shipping Cost Models Unfortunately, it's true! Since Shopify's built primarily as a shopping cart solution for small to medium-sized business, it's designed to handle basic, single orders only. In other words, it's not well equipped for all the complexities that wholesalers' orders involve:   calculating real-time shipping cost orders that include multiple product sizes, multiple boxes   In conclusion: Shopify's out-of-the-box shipping models can handle basic shipping needs only. If you're dealing with more complex ones on your online store, you might consider having a third-party app developed for you! The END! What do you say? Have we succeeded, through our Shopify pros and cons list here, in helping you find the answer to your valid question: “Is Shopify the best option for my business?” ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Oct 05'2017
Magento vs Drupal Commerce: Which One's The Best Fit for Your Online Store?
All the worldwide-known e-commerce brands that these two e-commerce platforms power are equally impressive. They're both well-built, widely-used, ideally customizable, and scalable. In short: they're equally tempting. And this is what turns any Magento vs Drupal Commerce comparison into such a frustrating “dare”! In vain you'll let yourself seduced by one's “promise” to help you get your online store up and running in no time if it turns out that it's not built to handle your high-volume store or your entire “ecosystem” of online stores. And in vain you fall for one of the 2 e-commerce platforms' irresistible load of features and customization options if it doesn't empower everyone in your team, even the non-technie staff, to tweak various aspects of your website. See? It's nothing but a question of “which features, which functionalities” are relevant for your own e-commerce business. And which one of the 2 platforms can deliver most of them. Now let's indulge in an overview of both Magento and Drupal Commerce's feature sets, shall we?   But First: A few Words About Magento  Magento's an e-commerce software platform built as an open-source solution for eBay (who owned it until 2015), effortlessly “seducing” both developers and business owners with its: enterprise-level tools and functionalities (e.g. “sophisticated” search capabilities, such as multiple filters that users can apply to their product searches, prompts, etc.) tones of possibilities for customization unmatched scalability  capabilities for managing complex product assortments deep integration with eBay (obviously!)   And Now: A Couple of Things About Drupal Commerce That You Should Know "What is Drupal Commerce?" A two-in-one CMS and integrated e-commerce platform! Or an e-commerce platform built on Drupal CMS if you prefer, designed to help users set up versatile online stores and apps having Drupal as their foundation! And this is precisely what tempted and eventually convinced its users to run their online store on it: its incredible versatility! Practically it's a plug and play solution enabling you to set up your e-commerce website anywhere within your environment and it's easy to tweak to fit perfectly your specific way of doing business in the e-commerce arena! And there's more! The non-technical staff of your team gets to implement changes and to “experiment”, so say “Hello!” to unlimited extensibility and flexibility. Note: Drupal Commerce does require separate installation and configuration from Drupal core, do take this aspect into account! Bottom line Drupal: “plays well” with third-party systems seamlessly connects content to products and comes packed with tones of modules that you can use for adding on (even) more functionality to your online store and for making it grow along with your business needs and goals   In short: Magento vs Drupal Commerce debate the latter is an A-lister in terms of flexibility and versatility!   A Magento vs Drupal Commerce Comparison: 8 Criteria to Consider  1. Ease of Setup Drupal Commerce:  if you already have Drupal Core installed, setting up and configuring Drupal Commerce, as well, will be... nothing but a child's game: download, load, install the package if not, you'll need to go through the slightly more complex Drupal CMS installation process and then enable Drupal Commerce  and there's also a third option, where you go for an installation profile allowing you to install Drupal Commerce on its own   Overall, both Drupal Commerce and Magento empower their users to get them installed from the ground up.    2. Maintenance Costs  Both shopping cart platforms are open-source projects, therefore, they're both free to use. And yet, depending exclusively on your specific business needs, there are certain costs adding up. Drupal Commerce:  is completely free except for the hosting fees it's Commerce Guys that provides the Drupal Commerce users with various levels of support, each level having its own price points   Magento:  also free to use, apart from the hosting costs as your e-commerce business grows you get to extend your website's functionality with various Magento extensions; for a fee, of course   3. Adaptability and Customization  Customization is undoubtedly one of the key criteria in any Magento vs Drupal Commerce comparison. No business owner with a long-term vision would want to tie his company's future to a rigid e-commerce platform.  So, the more freedom granted to the end-user, the more “power under the hood”, the more “attractive” a shopping cart solution becomes, right? Drupal Commerce:  is incredibly customizable by nature (for we're talking about a modular nature) you get to tailor it to your business needs, implement new enhancements, experiment, add new features (and go beyond the “traditional” e-commerce-specific ones) thanks to Drupal CMS backing it up enables you to “tweak” its look, as well, going through the whole collection of Drupal themes and doing a little bit of design work   Magento: is entirely customizable if you do have a Magento specific expertise or you can afford a Magento development team instead comes packed with a heavy load of “tempting” features to “turbocharge” your online store with ranging from zoomable images, to “narrow down” search”, responsive design, promotional options, reviews, calls to action, etc.  the sky is the limit, along with expertise and creativity, when it comes to customizing both your Magento site's appearance and functionality   4. Third-Party System Ecosystems Drupal Commerce:  integrates with a whole variety of third-parties, yet it has a “weakness” for social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest)  “bids on” customer communities”, user review sharing, connecting content to products (and thus influencing purchases, reaching out to new potential customers, etc.) to the list of third-party systems that Drupal integrates with we could add: Xero, SagePay, Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, web-based devices   Magento: it's a simple and straightforward integration, with most major players (Payone, Facebook, eBay, Mandrill, BeeTailer, Windows, Mac, Android), that you get to leverage when running your online store on this e-commerce platform  and the ecosystem of third-parties that you can easily “inject” into your Magento online store will turn out to be some great “allies” for crafting user-tailored experiences (you get to tailor your future sales and special offers according to your shoppers' profiles or “shopping histories”); Magento's built to draw huge influxes traffic, no doubt about it!   5. Target Market  Drupal Commerce:  makes an ideal “plug and play” shopping cart solution for both individuals and e-commerce businesses enables you to have your versatile online store up and running in no time   also empowers you to boost your product marketing campaigns with great content (since Drupal's been primarily designed for content management)   Magento: if Drupal's a perfect fit for small businesses, in particular, Magento, on the other hand, is built to power businesses with high-volume of sales, managing “clusters” of online stores Magento Enterprise, in particular, makes the perfect choice for enterprise-level e-commerce businesses, as it comes “loaded” with tones of enterprise-level tools and features to customize high-volume, high-trafficked online stories with   6. SEO Support  Drupal Commerce:  Drupal has the edge on SEO, undoubtedly, thanks to its entire “ecosystem” of SEO-specialised modules that you get to enable onto your website (and you sure aren't short on choice when it comes to Drupal SEO modules: Google Analytics, URL management, Robots.text generator, Site Map Generator etc.)   Magento: if in Drupal you have a whole set of modules at hand to enable and to install, in Magento you get your SEO tools right out of the box; they're pre-built into the platform  enables you to tweak your URLs,  to double-check search terms, to adjust your category and product information, etc.   Overall: although Drupal does have the edge, in the Magento vs Drupal Commerce “competition” there's no “winner”. They're both remarkably SEO-friendly.   7. Web Hosting Although they're both open-source projects, none of the 2 e-commerce platforms is self-hosted. So, make sure to “squeeze in” the hosting fees when you plan out your budget!   8.  Ease of Use  Drupal Commerce:  if you already have a website/app running on Drupal, so you're familiar with the Drupal codebase, UI and development practices, learning how to use Drupal Commerce is... piece of cake yet, if you're new to Drupal, you might find it a bit challenging at first   Magento: it does “spoil” its users with advanced tools and customization features and it does grant them total control, yet they do need to be “Magento experts” in order to handle all of Magento's “powers”, all the coding, design and development processes in short: consider leaving your Magento site's setup and configuration to some Magento professionals; it's a powerful e-commerce platform, packed with an overwhelming set of robust features, yet it does take Magento expertise to handle them right   And this is our list of the most important criteria to use when making your own Magento vs Drupal Commerce” comparison. So, which is the clincher? That criterion that makes you decide for one or the other? We sure hope this post will steer you in the right direction: choosing not THE best e-commerce platform from these 2 rivaling ones in the e-commerce arena, but THE best one for YOUR own e-commerce business' particularities and for YOUR own goals as a business owner! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 28'2017
Behavioral Analytics: Reading Your Users' “Digital Body Language”
It's time you went beyond data focused on events frozen in time (“a user clicked on a certain link at a certain moment during his/her customer journey on your site”) and traditional metrics (e.g. page views)! Time you dug deeper than the surface level of “which visitors clicked on which links?”! It's time you turned all that massive load of raw data that you've collected so far into customer behavior patterns! Into actionable insights! Reading and fully understanding your customers' digital behaviors will help you “influence” their next buying journeys on your website/app. This is both the beauty and the power of behavioral analytics! A power too great not to use it for turning your first-time visitors into highly engaged customers! One enabling you to make the right offers to the right segment of your audience, at precisely the right time in their shopping journey on your website! Let's detail now, shall we?   First Things First: What Is Behavioral Analytics? A straightforward answer would be: “behavioral analytics is about focusing on the “why” and “how” a user ended up taking a certain action on your website (buying a product, leaving a web page right away, clicking a link etc.).”  A more “refined” answer would have to be: “behavioral analytics is analyzing your raw data in order to “extract” actionable information about your customers' digital behavior”.  And last, a much more “sophisticated” answer: “behavioral analytics is piecing out all the apparently unrelated data points and putting together your customer's buying story! A story including all those actions (or “chapters” if you want) that he/she took for achieving his final goal (making a booking, purchasing a product, subscribing to your newsletter etc.)" Take behavioral analytics as your set of user behavior analyzing tools that help you go from generic questions such as “What action did visitor “X” take on my website?”, to questions like:   "What precisely made him/her buy that specific item or click on that particular link (so you can then anticipate and even influence his/her future shopping decisions)?" Was it the offer itself, tailor-made to his personal preferences, or the fact that it included a “tempting” number of items?   "What other items did he/she scanned through, compared to those that he actually purchased in the end?"   "How does this user behavior data differ by traffic sources?"   Analyze user behavior data. Detect patterns. Take action! Use the actionable insights you get to make the right adjustments and, obviously, to improve your conversions!   There's So Much Valuable Data Out There Still Waiting to Be Harnessed “... that goes beyond the conventional page clicks, user purchases or traffic type of data” So, why not go beyond the “obvious”? How about standing out from the crowd of e-commerce business owners who still consider that traffic and page clicks are the only actionable information they could possibly get their hands on? Behavioral analytics is made of all non-conventional data just sitting there, waiting to be “capitalized”:   social media data internal text data   You'd better start valuing this type of data, as well, if you want to remain relevant in this customer-centric “jungle”, which is the digital arena. This means getting your “hands dirty”:   putting together holistic customer profiles segmenting customer bases organizing your observations into multiple groups of customers   And it's by analyzing all this “un-exploited” data left there, “in the dark”, that you'll get to understand your visitors' behaviors. What makes them connect with your brand or, on the contrary, reject it!   Identify The Issues First and Select the Data to Be Analyzed Accordingly Rushing in and greedily collecting all the user behavior data you could possibly get, in a desperate need to read your customers' digital body languages, won't take you too far! Take your time to clearly identify the specific issues that you need to solve on your e-commerce website/web app, first and foremost. To “detect” all those particular “sore points” in your e-commerce business so you can build your behavioral analytics-based strategy accordingly!  If not, all the metrics out there, all the collected data and tests that you'll run will slowly, but surely lead you to “analysis paralysis”. In other words: what type of conversion/traffic issues do you need to address with your data?   From Stats Pointing Out The Problems to Those Identifying The Causes And this is precisely the key difference between event-based analytics and behavioral analytics:    while the first type of stats point out to you the problems only  the second gives you a deeper understanding of the causes (why was it that customer “X” clicked on that link or purchased that item over another one?)   If you want to “decipher” your users' digital behavior towards your website/web app, you'll just need to pay attention to the right kind of analytics! Moreover, it requires that you:   segment your customer base and “tailor” targeted offers for them analyze your customers' purchase history  examine your customers' profiles as online shoppers on your e-commerce store   … so you should be able to predict their future behaviors as shoppers on your website and to use these results for your next marketing campaign.   "How Does Understanding Users' Digital Behavior Impact My Business Specifically?"   it “empowers” you to turn your customer behaviors from unpredictable to predictable   it enables you to actually shape your their customer journeys, their next decisions as customers on your website   … and this is what power, from any e-commerce business owner's standpoint, is all about!  Bottom line: behavioral analytics, when harnessed right, offers you precisely those actionable insights that will empower you to actively influence each one of your customer segments' decision journeys!  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 19'2017
How To Identify The Low Quality Pages On Your Site  Before Google Does
Diagnosis before treatment, right? Rushing in to optimize your website, to give it a major boost in SERPs, without having first properly determined which are its “sore points” is like...  shooting a bow and arrow blindfolded! You need to identify the low quality pages on your site first things first! Before Google does... Let's find out precisely which signals determine Google to “label” a site as low or high quality website. Then, let us give you some suggestions on what key metrics to focus on and how to combine them for addressing those “detected” low-quality pages more efficiently.   Features of a “High-Quality Website” in Google's Eyes What's Google's definition of “quality”? You obviously need to clarify this aspect before you can, yourself, sort the pages on your site into “low quality” and “high quality” pages. Here are the most relevant “indicators” that make for a “valuable” web page in Google's eyes: unique content    plenty of other websites/external sources linking to it   high-quality pages (even from your own website) linking to it   uniquely valuable content: reaching for “uniqueness” is no longer enough; aiming for a certain uniqueness providing value to the searchers, that's the latest standard that Google sets these days   content that meets the searchers' needs, that fully answers the question they Google   non-written content is backed by text alternatives (ALT attributes for images, video transcriptions for video content etc.)   “easy-to-digest” content that's nicely structured, which enhances readability and comprehension   correctly spelled content with zero grammar mistakes: unless you want to witness Google removing your featured snippets from the search results   optimal page load time   fully responsive, accessibility-supporting UI and intuitive UX    Hardly Relevant Metrics For Determining a Page's Value “With so many seemingly actionable metrics at my fingertip, which ones should I be tracking in fact?” you say? Well, not the following ones (taken as “raw data” can be misleading) for a start: non-contextualized bounce rate: a high bounce rate is not implicitly an “alarming” signal; your content could still be meeting their needs and answering their questions; if it's simple questions that they need to find answers to, once your visitors get them, they''... leave your site!   organic traffic: if visitors keep accessing a certain page on your website, it doesn't automatically mean that its content is “high quality”! They could keep coming in for some totally different reasons, like the long-tail keywords that this page's content is “stuffed” with, for instance   time spent on site: since lengthy visits on your site could also mean that your users are “desperately” looking for the information they need and which is not easily accessible to them; or that they're striving to close the entire “avalanche” of pop-ups that you welcome them with on your website   assisted conversions: even though it doesn't live up to your expectations in terms of conversion rate, it still doesn't mean that this page's content is necessarily low quality; maybe you just need to change its target audience segment for example   Context is everything in these metrics' cases! So, don't take this data for granted when putting together your site optimization strategy. They might just reveal to you only half truths and mislead you to take the wrong actions!   Metrics That DO Help You Identify The Low Quality Pages on Your Site For (even) more efficiency, put together combos of these metrics here! They are the signals to watch out for when you try to identify the low quality pages on your site: Engagement metrics:  external and internal   total number of visits   closely analyze your visitors' behavior once they land on your web pages (per visit)   When they leave your currently examined web page, do they leave it for another web page on your site, do they keep browsing through or do they go back to the Google's search results page instead? That is the question! Answer it and you'll identify the low quality pages on your site! Off-site performance indicators:  external links   social shares: an “intensively” shared page of your website might not meet your visitors' needs, yet it could still provide high-quality content (since it's “shareable”)   linking root domains   Index-based metrics type site: http://enteryourdomainhere.com into Google's search box or bar and you'll get the list of all the indexed pages on your website   look for duplicate content: multiple URLs can show up when you type in the URL of your site or the one of a specific page on your website; and that signals a “uniqueness issue” you should handle asap   deep-analyze the pages that rank for their own title   evaluate the click-through rates showing up in Google Search Console    You Can Take It From Here... Now that you've broken that “aura” of mystery surrounding Google's own tactics for “grading” web pages it's time to... get your hands dirty! We suggest you to organize your page URLs in some sort of spreadsheet (a basic one would be just fine) and to sort them into three different categories: the high-quality pages   the pages that require fixing here and there: the ones that need addressing   the “weak links”: meaning the low-quality ones, of course; do make an experiment (so make sure you make copies first and foremost) and see if you can track any notable improvements once you remove this bulk of zero-value pages from your website   How about you? Have you got any other techniques up your sleeve in order to identify the low quality pages on your site before Google does?  ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Sep 01'2017
5 Experimental Jobs Shaping The Future of Digital Marketing
Wasn't it just yesterday” that marketers would “stuff” loads and loads of keywords into their digital content? Long gone are those days when the roles of “keyword collector” and “links hunter” were so hype! Completely different jobs and roles lie ahead, in the future of digital marketing! Staying relevant, as a digital marketer, in the context of:   globalized futuristic technologies  people being “insatiable” for innovation    … means creating “experiences that people want to consume” (Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction) And even though we don't own some sort of crystal ball that would tell us for sure what the marketing space has in store down the road, this industry, too, has its leaders. And their guesses do weight a lot! Which experimental digital marketing jobs of the present will make it big in the future to come? Here are 5 of these next-generation roles in digital marketing, the ones that are most likely to turn from "eccentric" to... indispensable in the years to come:   1. Machine-Learning Engineer  How could our algorithmic present world not give rise to a specific job for the future of digital marketing? Delivering “just” digital content will be hardly enough in the years to come: content blackened-up by machine-learning algorithms and statistics will the be the only “relevant” one in the future! And here are the skills defining the profile of a machine-learning engineer:   proficiency in programming a working knowledge of ML techniques fluent in coding (a hands-on experience coding in Scala or Python) statistics (mathematics, physics) expertise   In short: a machine-learning engineer is a kind of 2-in-1, expert statisticians-passionate programmer!   2. Bot Developer  Virtual assistants are part of our day-to-day lives. They join us when we travel and we need to find the best place to eat or we simply get lost; they accompany us on our shopping sprees and the list of interactions can go on... So, it's pretty obvious that, since people slowly, but surely, grow “dependent” on bots (since they make our lives easier), bot developer roles will be in high-demand in the near future! Here's what you should check off your list of knowledge, talents and gained expertise:   preferably an undergraduate degree in computer science  familiarity with design, linguistics, engineering, ethic and natural language processing  strong understanding of interactive language arts  content writing talent  a solid background in game and interface design   Major tip: now if you want to be two (or three) steps ahead of this portrayed future of digital marketing, opting for a niched domain (and implicitly gaining a niched expertise, too) will “future-proof” your job!   3. Mixed-Reality Designer  Since mixed-reality's at the intersection of art and science, if you're passionate about graphic design and drawn to the emerging tech sector, you're on the right path already! Besides these two passions of yours (design and emerging technologies), here's what you should consider identifying or adding to your list of competences, talents and acquired knowledge:   a degree in computer animation or graphic design  a working knowledge (if not a hands-on experience) of user experience design, social psychology proven storytelling skills (telling stories through computer images is a talent/skill you can't afford to ever stop polishing) some level of experience working with Unity3D   4. VR Editor  “Constant seekers of the new”, “early adopters of innovative technologies”, “visionaries” and “advocates of the video's power to”:   persuade inform inspire   This is how VR editors could be briefly described!  Virtual reality is no longer a “too eccentric, too sci-fi like” type of technology. It stands all the chances to turn into a technological realty (think Google Cardboard for instance!). So, people “crazy” enough to shape facets of this virtual reality will be constantly needed in the future of digital marketing! If you're considering such a role, make sure you fit the following profile:   hands-on experiences with Unity3D and Adobe Creative Cloud extensive experience in applying the object-oriented development patterns passionate about video arts some sort of project management experience    And we feel like stressing out that: besides all the tech competencies that you should pile up on your resume, it's vital to genuinely perceive video as a powerful channel aimed to move, inspire, inform (and all the other above-mentioned “roles”)   5. IoT Marketing Strategist: An Indispensable Role in The Future of Digital Marketing With a number of 8.4 billion connected devices by the end of 2017, worldwide, some kind of robust strategies for handling these “chit-chatting” devices are needed. Therefore, the role of IoT marketing strategist will become a both common and indispensable one by 2020. And here's what an IoT marketing strategist's resume should highlight:   his/her telecommunication engineering background  laser-focused skills in radio frequency technology, automobiles, wearables, retail sensors, digital signage   Note: your “vision”, if we may call it so, as a potential IoT marketing strategist, should be one where human-machine interactions happen in the most natural way. And these are the 5 most promising jobs (now perceived as “experimental”) which leaders in the marketing industry bid on and forecast that will shape the future of digital marketing. What's your opinion on this topic? Will these 5 roles be in high-demand in a few years or rather get replaced, in short time, by the ones emerging from the next wave of innovation? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Aug 03'2017
5 Image Recognition Tools: Take Full Advantage of The Visual Web
Beware of visual content taking over the web or... even better: embrace the trend and stay on top of it! Maximize its potential to your brand's full advantage! Simply rely on some of the most powerful image recognition tools for “scanning the visual web”, for analyzing how your company's images and logos are being used. And by whom! Remaining deaf to all the possible “threats” lurking out there, in the visual web, and blind to all the opportunities that all those publicly shared images might carry is such a reckless thing to do! “Visually listen” to the user-generated content involving your brand! Deep analyze and collect priceless data from those scanned images and you'll manage to:   grasp a more accurate understanding of how your brand's being currently perceived, of how users interact with it gain an in-depth knowledge of your customers  turn the collected data into a valuable resource for hyper targeted demographic segments  supercharge your marketing strategy with a “visual listening” strategy, too   And now that we've pointed out to you the “whys”, let us reveal to you the “hows”, too! The best 5 image recognition tools that you could use for “visually listening” to both your customers and your competitors:   1. IBM Image Detection An AI vision software whose developers have taken image recognition to a whole new level! A whole new level of machine learning tasks automation! The whole image recognition technology powering the IMB Image Detection, supported by its Power AI toolset, enables it to “interpret” the images' contents: faces, approximate age, “rotten” food, gender, a clothing item's fashion style etc. And there's more! To its “out-of-the-box” image detection and visual content “understanding” power, add the flexibility that it offers you, the brand using it, to actually tailor its “detection tasks” to your own needs.  Take this scenario for instance: "You own a grocery store and you get to use this image recognition software that scans products during the checkout process and instantly signals to you the... spoiled veggies, let's say." Now only that it's “powerful” by default and that it empowers you to adapt its image analysis tasks to your brand's specific needs, but it's developed with easiness of use in mind, as well!  Your developers get to tailor the software's image detection tasks and to deploy the image recognition models right away!   2. GumGum The team of “visionaries” behind this in-image advertising platform has launched a new image detection software that will enable your marketing team to track down, by scanning through the visual web, the most suitable photos for their brand. It might still be the “new kid on the block” when it comes to image recognition tools, yet it sure is a highly promising one.  Now what this visual intelligence software actually does is help your brand “activate imagery”, as these folks like to describe their new “baby's” mission! It's developed to supercharge your advertising campaigns with the most relevant pictures on the web. Just sit back and let it do the job of an entire team for you! It will dig deep into the visual content on the web and pick precisely those images that compliment your brand! And when we say that you can relax, sit back and... sip a cup off coffee, we literally mean that: where do you add that this computer vision platform can collect, assimilate and analyze all the key social media data for you! Speaking of convenience in terms of turning images into powerful insights to fuel your marketing campaigns with, right?   3. LogoGrab Do you know how your logo's performing on the “immense” scene of the visual web? What visual content is “starring” it or how “popular” it is on social media, for instance? Who's using/sharing it and how everyday people and other brands are interacting with it? It's time you closely monitored your logo's “activity”! And LogoGrab is the only one from our list of image recognition tools here that's specialized in “tracking down” brand logos only! In detecting and analyzing all the images on the web containing a certain brand's logo. A “logo” detection technology! Harness its power to track down even just parts of your brand's logo and turn the collected data into powerful insights. You get to:   find out the circumstances when your logo's being misused gain a crystal-clear view of all the images featuring your products that get publicly shared on social media (overall) gain powerful insights deriving from spotting and digging through the entire content across the visual web that contains your logo (or just parts of it)   4. Google Lens, One of The Revolutionary Image Recognition Tools  “A picture is worth a thousand words” will become more than just a “saying”, for it will gain its literal meaning thanks to Google Lens! The giant search engine's launched an AI-driven visual search app, supercharged with powerful visual recognition capabilities, meant to revolutionize the way brands connect with their customers. A visual recognition technology that we here, at our Toronto web design agency, are looking forward to witness growing into a major digital trend. Predictions around it say that:   it will cut down the middle man, since each object/product surrounding your potential customers can easily get identified and presented to them by the app itself (providing them with plenty of relevant information and suggestions, as well)   it will make it even more important for brands to have a psychical presence that customers can easily connect to (take Amazon's retail space as a more than relevant example!)   it will gradually “force” brands to have a distinctive visual identity (thus making it easier for the Google's AI-driven technology to locate and identify your store/restaurant etc.)   Now let's talk facts, shall we? Let's talk easy-to-be-turned-into-reality scenarios where Google Lens' vision-based computing capabilities would simply open up the era of “the real-world search”:   a given user, standing in front of a restaurant, still hesitant whether he should enter or not, can easily take a photo of it and Google Lens will instantly provide him with the restaurant's name, ratings and other relevant info    a given user can take a photo of his router and Google Lens can automatically scan and memorize the “impossible” password written on it and connect that WiFi network in a bit   a Google Lens-powered “camera” could easily scan the products in a grocery store and instantly display their prices, eliminating the need of running them, one by one, over the scan bar   In short: Google Lens's developing team promises us a technology leveraging computer learning for interpreting any given image and, moreover, for delivering users real-time information and recommendations, too.    5. Clarifai Organize and use your visual content to its full potential by leveraging Clarifai's visual recognition APIs! How you get to do that? And how can you, later on, take full advantage of having perfectly structured your image collection?  Here's how:   it makes filtering out unsafe user-generated visual content so convenient    it speeds up and even allows you to customize your image searching and sorting techniques (for instance, you get to sort the results by your logo)   it automatically tags all your pictures by content and thus perfectly organizes your inventory    it offers you the so much more convenient (and here we go back again to the “a picture if worth a...” theory) query with an image option, making searching through your own gallery so much more effective    it instantly fills in your product images catalog with search-able tags (a win-win situation: you can forget all about manually “tagging” an entire image database and your customers get only visual content that's relevant for their queries)   In a few words: Clarifi makes a powerful visual intelligence AI which can easily rival powerful image recognition tools such as the IBM Image Detection or the so very-praised Google Lens! How about you? Have you triggered any of these image recognition technologies' capabilities to your brand's advantage? Or maybe you've tried other image recognition tool(s) instead? Do share! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Jul 18'2017