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?”
Adrian Ababei / Oct 05'2017
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!
Adrian Ababei / Sep 28'2017
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!
Adrian Ababei / Sep 19'2017
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?
Adrian Ababei / Sep 01'2017
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?
Adrian Ababei / Aug 03'2017
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!
Adrian Ababei / Jul 18'2017
Tell your stories with... numbers! Craft data-focused content to keep your company blog's readers “hooked”! And no, it's no “utopia”: you can turn raw data into alluring content. It all depends on whether you manage to masterfully “exploit” it, on how you harness it! Speaking of it, here are 4 avenues to “spice” up your data and turn it into blog content that resonates with your readers and captivates: 1. Relate Your Data to Your Target Audience Serving your readers nothing but a big chunk of “raw” data will only get them an instant... “indigestion”! Not even 1% of them will go all the way to the end of your blog post. And why should they? Data is “machine talk”, not human talk! In other words: you'll need to dig deep though your “raw” data and select the “relatable” one only! The one that will your readers will instantly resonate with. So, before you go on and dig deep into your heavy load of data, how about trying to set up a couple of criteria that you could select and group them by? These can be: geographical economical social cultural criteria More often than not, it's the geographical criterion that prevails. And, in this respect, it's precisely those “enviable” data-driven pieces of content that already earned lots of traffic that make the best examples! And how do you get to craft your own geographical data-based piece of content that will act like a magnet for your readers/potential customers? Here are 2 handy approaches for you to adopt: harness your Google Adwords data and craft a blog post that all your potential customers, living in different regions of your country, could easily relate to use the Google Keyword Planner and target the city of your company's headquarters and, based on the generated data, run a comparison to other cities in your country It's a proven fact: once they'll see their city's, their state's or their country's names listed in your blog post, included in a comparison with other cities, states and countries, your readers will instinctively grow curious about your data-focused content! We're all emotionally connected to a certain location on this globe and whenever we read/hear its name, an inner bell rings! And it's the same thing with all the other aforementioned criteria that sets us apart and define us (the cultural, biological, economical ones and so on). 2. Show Off Your First Party Data You're sitting on a “gold mine”, no doubt about that! That's right, you have huge first party data resources that you could show off to your readers in the form of enticing pieces of content! They're right there, at your fingertips! You just need to "strategically exploit" it, to turn raw data into alluring content. And no, there's no such thing as “I do not have an impressive user data or unique data-generating sources to go to. I haven't piled up any data that my readers could possibly be fascinated with”. Dig deeper! Any online business owner has at least an active Google Analytics account. See? There's a start! Now keep digging! When it comes to making that “raw” data fascinating, that's: part knowing precisely what data to hand pick (the one that your readers would resonate with, remember?) part placing it in the right context That's all! And speaking of sources of first party data, here are 3 unique data generators that our team here, at our web development agency in Toronto, recommends to you: Google Analytics, Google Adwords, Search Console data: they all contain unique, valuable user data that only you and your team have access to. Tap into these great resources of data, run your selection, add a sparkle of creativity, too, and turn it into the perfect “fuel” for that future viral post on your company blog! survey data: can't underestimate the power of user surveys! Leverage the collected results by turning them into interesting insights. For example, how about correlating personality-related answers with the type of products that your questioned customers usually shop on your e-commerce store? Wouldn't this personality traits-shopping preferences association make an attention-grabbing type of content for your readers? sales data: here's another insufficiently exploited “data gold mine”! Turn into interesting content that data revealing to you during which season(s) of the year or at what hours of the day your sales are at their highest. Are there certain events (holiday?) that this “peak” coincides with! Extra tip: use Google Correlate, such a handy tool that will point out to you exactly which keywords are relevant precisely to that sales data that you will have collected! Take it from there: turn raw data into alluring content! 3. Do Share Your Data Set An avenue that so many ignore! Don't be one of them! Be smarter than that majority of webmasters/online business owners and, once you've crafted that data-driven piece of content that's going to “write history” on the web, remember to add your data set, too. You never know when a big player in your market (and not just in your market, it could by an authority in any other related industry; take a news publication for instance) picks it up and uses it, turning it into a valuable links generator for you! 4. Add the Surprise Factor: A Sure Way to Turn Raw Data Into Alluring Content Isn't this a hard nut to crack? How could you intrigue and, even so more, “fascinate” your readers with... numbers? With data? You get creative and spice those numbers a bit, that's how! Here's a tried “recipe” that you could follow for crafting intriguing content out of numbers: you “frame it” in a rightly chosen context, one that will shade a new light on your data, making it stand out you provide an unexpected perspective (an historical perspective, for instance) you use comparison: nothing adds more meaning to “raw” data, nothing makes it more “intriguing” than getting it compared to other periods of time, to other locations where your products might have been used or other age groups of customers that might have bought one of your items etc. Contextualize it and compare it! This is the (not so) secret “recipe” to follow whenever you want to turn raw data into alluring content! Wrapping up: harness precisely that data that relates to your target readers/customers (so, don't start digging through your whole data resource without this selection criterion in mind!) put your numbers in a context come up with comparisons that will add intriguing perspectives to your provided data Now go ahead and turn raw data into alluring content for your company blog, removing “writer's block” from your vocabulary for good!
Adrian Ababei / Jul 14'2017
Adrian Ababei / Jun 26'2017
It's data that shapes today's digital landscape! This is no news for any player in the online arena! From big data to small data, from data-backed-up decisions to data-fueled digital strategies and data-driven web design, the online revolves around... DATA. And yet, not just around powerful “raw” data, but around perfectly structured, easy to parse through data. And in this respect, the Google Data Highlighter makes such an easy to use webmaster tool for setting up precisely these ideal data structures that Google can easily “crawl” through in order to better “assimilate” websites' particularities. It's been designed with easiness of use, low budgets, and close to zero coding expertise in mind! So, it's meant to empower any webmaster/admin to get his/her Drupal site a big push up the search engine page results. It's meant to help site admins grow independent of the technical team, of time and budget constraints in their endeavor to put their Drupal sites into Google's spotlights! Now, let's find out: Why you should be using Google data highlighter tool Which are the key advantages of this SEO webmaster tool How to use it for implementing structured data on your Drupal site Which are the imminent drawbacks that you should be aware of in order to make an informed decision when you add this tool to your whole SEO “arsenal”: 1. Why Do You Need Well Structured Data on Your Web Pages After All? “Because Google doesn't have, not just yet, information of critical importance about your site and you should deliver it to the search engine." Or better said: you should enhance its access to this information! And this is some of the crucial data that you should make as easy to access and “interpret” as possible: your target audience the frequency of web page updates on your Drupal site how accurate your website is And it's by tagging the main fields on your site, so via so-called “microdata”, that you can easily deliver this key information about your site and in an easy to “digest” format, too. We're talking here about articles, event names, software applications, products and so many other types of information that you can turn into microdata and “serve on a silver plate” to Google itself! So that Google gets to know your site and gains an in-depth understating of its content, goals, and target audience. Of all its other key particularities. And the better it gets to know your website, the higher are its chances to increase its rankings in SERPs. In other words: don't wait for your website to “be discovered”, but strive to enhance and to speed up its discovery! This is precisely what this tool here, supporting a whole variety of structured data, does! 2. The Key Benefits That You'll Reap From Using Google Data Highlighter Now let's point out and pin up all the key advantages for leveraging this tool; advantages that we've just more or less vaguely mentioned already: It's easy to use! Basically it enables you to tag fields on your Drupal site via simple mouse point and clicks. Just select your products, articles, events or/and any other types of data on your website that you'd like to mark up and then select from the drop-down menu their corresponding types ( article, title, event, etc.). Unbelievably user friendly! It's free! A benefit you just can't afford to ignore when you have a limited budget. It's a money-saving tool whose whole potential you get to “exploit” as we speak (so, a time-saving tool, as well). Money and time: you're practically saving your most valuable resources! No coding experience required! And this makes Google data highlighter such a handy tool for everyone, the non-technical site owners/administrators here included! Not to mention (although we already have) that it's ideally user friendly, too: mouse select, right-click and tag your data in the blink of an eye! 3. How Do You Use Google Data Highlighter? How Do You Highlight a Web Page? Now that we've tackled the “whys” and the “which”, let's tackle the “how”, as well! Let us try a step-by-step guide on how to use this tool for marking up structured data on your Drupal site: 1. First things first: you log into your webmaster account (the one where your site is added as a property, of course) 2. Next click on the property whose pages you want to “Google highlight” 3. Access Search Appearance –> Data Highlighter (from the drop-down menu) 4. Next click on “Start Highlighting”; it will open up a dialogue including queries regarding the type of information displayed on that specific web page, an option for auto-selecting other similar pages, too (so that you don't have to go through this process over and over again for pages with similar formats), queries about the web page value, too 5. Then enter all the relevant info 6. Once you've entered the URL of your target web page and selected its type, as well, feel free to click on “Tag this page and other like this”; this way you'll be tagging pages with similar layouts and streamlining this process at the website's level 7. Once you've clicked on the “OK” button, a horizontal bar, divided into 4 tabs/sections, will pop up. These are (as you shall see): Tag First Page Create Page Set Tag More Examples Review and Publish 8. The “Tag First Page” is the preliminary (and the key one) stage where you actually select pieces of content on your target web page and with a simple right-click on your mouse (which will unfold a drop-down menu) you get to select the category corresponding to each piece of content (Article, Image, Category, Author, Data Published). Keep doing this till you've tagged each micro-data on your web page! 9. Once you click the “Done” button you'll get to the next stage listed in your horizontal top bar: “Create Page Set”. It's now that you get to select those pages having similar layouts for streamlining the whole tagging process. As you will see, you're also provided with an option that automatically selects all the similar pages for you. Feel free to use it or to ignore it and choose to create your own custom page set instead. 10. Once you've clicked on the “Create Page Set”, you'll automatically get to the next step: “Tag More Examples”. It's on this page that you get to review your tagged web pages and make any needed fixes. 11. Click “Next” and check the web page tagging one by one, next click on “Review and Publish” the pages. And this is how you highlight and tag your Drupal site's web pages using the Google Data Highlighter tool! 4. “Are There Any Drawbacks That I Should Be Aware of?” Yes, there are a couple of disadvantages, as well! And it's only fair that you take them into account so that you can ponder both the pros and the cons of using this tool for structuring the data on your website's pages: Probably the most discouraging of them all is that your entire data highlighter breaks down as soon as you apply a small change to your site's template or code. And then... well... you need to set it up, once again. The data highlighter that you will have put together is relevant for Google only! No other search engine (Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, etc.) will be using your structured data markup. It might be quick and easy for you to nicely structure your data, yet it will take Google a little more time to assimilate your data pattern and then to present your structured data in a more attractive way. So, on one hand, you save time putting together your data highlighter, but on the other hand you “lose” some of that time as you wait for Google to... notice it and “fructify” it. You will have already marked up structured data on multiple web pages on your site by the time Google has fully understood them! Patience is a virtue, so they say! As a closing piece of advice: a team of developers is always the best solution when it comes to optimizing your Drupal site. Yet, for those instances when you need to rely on a limited budget and on even lower resources of time, there's Google Data Highlighter!
Adrian Ababei / Jun 19'2017