Adrian Ababei

Adrian Ababei

Adrian is our CEO, a full stack Drupal web developer with no less than 14 years of experience in designing, implementing and supporting interactive websites and applications. Completing his Drupal expertise with project management skills, as well, he's the one ensuring that we deliver all the Optasy's projects on time, within budget with no compromise on quality whatsoever.

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What Are the Ecommerce Trends in 2017 with the Biggest Impact on Your Business? Top 12- Part 1
Time sure flies! Here you are now, already getting ready to tear off the third page of your 2017 calendar (April is just around the corner) and to... get your business shaken up or completely whipped off by the global megatrends to come. Or maybe not! Preparation is key and anticipating trends is vital in the online retail market! This is why we've rolled up our sleeves and started to dig up, to do some serious research work for you! We've asked the experts in the field, put in some of our own experience, then added a few “drops” of visionary outlook. And therefore: we are now ready to get you “equipped” with THE  list of “ecommerce trends”! Those that you can't risk ignoring in 2017! Trends that will steal the spotlight on the “ecommerce stage” and which can mean both the END for the players from the online retail arena that score low reaction times and major business-boosters for the quick adopters and adapters. Like you! So, without further ado, the list that you should use as a “backbone” for your own 2017 ecommerce strategy:   1. Personalized Interactive Shopping: The Future of Online Shopping With tools such as artificial intelligence programs and real-time analytics at your disposal, you practically have no “excuse”! No excuse to stubbornly stick to the “one-size-fits-all” type of shopping experiences delivered on your website! Just acknowledging the fact that each one of your potential shoppers has his/her own preferences, unique needs and even specific search phrases that they he usually types in for tracking down products is no longer enough. You need to actually start collecting all this key behavioral data (using the 2 above-mentioned empowering tools)! To interpret it and to use it for “fueling” the highly personalized shopping experiences that you'll spoil your customers with.  To use it for delivering them highly targeted product recommendations!   2. Go Beyond Mobile Optimization: Embrace The MOBILE-FIRST Thinking! “Mobile devices are now the source of more than half of the web traffic”, the earth's round and the sky's blue. Nothing new under the sun here, right? Only non-debatable facts! What we're trying to point out here is that making your website responsive is no longer enough! You need to go beyond common thinking that smaller-sized devices are nothing but limitations to the desktop-based online shopping experience. You need to start tailoring unique shopping experiences with mobile devices' specific sizes and functionality in mind, from the very beginning! That's where the future of ecommerce is heading to and you should, too! Thinking mobile-first, seeing smartphones/tablets as distinct shop windows is what will propel you into the future! Moreover: you should seriously consider pairing your ecommerce website with a correspondent mobile app (think Amazon, think eBay and so on).   don't stop there: consider implementing a mobile wallet into your app (think Paypal, think Apple Pay). Digital, hassle-free payment will rapidly be outshining the conventional one and is expected to be adopted by more and more companies operating in the ecommerce industry and willing to simplify their users' entire “paying experience”. And why should you leave behind this “movement”, right?    3. Chatbots and Virtual Assistants or “The Customer Service of the Future” Chatbots, along with AI, are here to stay and to grow into a “megatrend”! So, there's no escape from them! You either adopt them and incorporate them into your whole “creating perfectly personalized shopping experiences” strategy for 2017 or, well, you'll be actually guiding your customers towards your competitors' websites! Online shoppers expect to be “pampered”, to be offered only product recommendations that perfectly fit their own preferences and their specific behavior as online customers. They expect you to have this behavioral data! Therefore, having a virtual assistance “at their disposal” is nothing but another legitimate expectation from their part, as potential shoppers in your estore! Not only that chatbots offer them assistance throughout their shopping journey on your Drupal ecommerce website, but post shopping assistance, as well! They'll be there to answer all their queries after they've actually received and started using your product!  When it comes to chatbots, a new dimension of the personalization trend in ecommerce, what better examples could you think of than Apple's Siri of Sephora's messaging app's Kik? It's a tremendous chance for you to boost customer engagement (which goes hand in hand with your conversion rates) on your website! So, you might want to analyze this trend, one of the truly influencing ecommerce trends in 2017!   4. Social Selling: One Of the Skyrocketing Ecommerce Trends  Showcasing and selling your products/marketing your services on social media! Can't ignore this megatrend, can't escape it and you definitely can't afford leaving your ecommerce business without a social media marketing strategy.  That would be simply reckless! In other words: turn the social media platforms into your own products/services stages! Feel free to parade them there, to put them into a good light and, most of all, to engage with those “in the audience”! Selling isn't limited to websites or to apps anymore (as it has stopped being limited to your physical stores, too) and social media is now much more than just a marketing tool. With tools such as Facebook Live Videos (enabling you to showcase your products and to promote your events) and with an overwhelming majority of your potential shoppers using their social media accounts to engage with their favorite brands, you can no longer leave social selling out of your ecommerce marketing strategy!   5. The Simpler the UX, the Higher the Conversion Rates A simpler checkout process goes hand in hand with the ever so popular ulta-minimal web design! It's one of those ecommerce trends that will highly influence your shopping cart abandonment rate! No need to over clutter your UX, to load it with lots of steps to take and tasks for your customers to carry out before they can finally pay for their products. You risk to annoy them and to make them abandon their shopping carts! Keep it simple! An ideal one-page checkout will do wonders! Especially if it's designed around these 3 key principles in mind: a simple payment process    intuitive product searches   clearly formulated returns policies   6. Same-Day Delivery: Adapt to It or Be Left Behind A generic “fast”delivery or “within maximum n days” will be no longer enough! Not only that your delivery strategy needs to provide more specific answers than those, but you'll be witnessing the rise of the “same-day delivery” trend. Consider it and strive to adapt to it: make an inventory of your resources, improve your current shipping features if necessary, do whatever it takes to perfect your delivery strategy. For your customers expect you to!  In addition to this “uber-ization in terms of deliveries, more and more ecommere companies will be integrating drop-off providers into their delivery strategies in 2017. So, you'd better consider this aspect, as well, as a booster for your own ecommerce business! Quick recap: adapt to the rising “same-day, uber quick delivery trend” or you'll be left behind! As simple as that! We're not ending our list here, for we've prepared 6 more highly influencing ecommerce trends to adopt and adapt to in 2017. Therefore: to be continued in our next post! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 29'2017
8 Seemingly Insignificant, Yet Powerful Web Design Details That Will Keep Your Users Engaged
“The details are not details.They make the design.” (Charles Eames) And we couldn't agree more! Especially in the context of the web today, where users need to sort the often discouraging “offer” of websites competing for their attention. In a digital landscape where highly influencing trends like “ultra minimalism” and “drastic” simplicity rule, no web designer or website owner, would risk to “overload” their websites with stunning visuals and content.  So, it's not without surprise that forced to reduce the load of “resources” of eye-catching visuals and engaging copy they have switched their attention to... details! To those little elements apparently insignificant in the context of the “big pictures”, but which have now got the “leading parts”.  And yet, using the right “dosage” of attention-grabbing visuals that these details could “encapsulate” and of engaging copy (now turned into “microcopy”) is a true art!  In this respect, let us point out to you a few tips that will help you “master” the art of “joggling with” design details for delighting and for keeping your visitors engaged to your site/app:   1. Challenge Them to Interact with Your Site “Bid” on interaction tools and don't let your website visitors get “lazy” during their visit on your website! Get creative (here's a website that might inspire you: Bellroy) and choose your tool (not your “toolbox”, for you don't want to turn your website into way too demanding and distracting “amusement park” either), the on that will stir your users' curiosity and urge them to click, to interact in order to actively discover how your product's made or which is the feature that sets it apart and so on. Challenge your visitors with little “puzzles” they need to “solve” (meaning: “interact with”) for discovering your products'/services' story. Challenge them to turn from visitors to participants! Create the right context for them to interact with a key element on your website.   2. Intrigue and Delight Them with Beautiful Typography Impressing and keeping your users engaged to your website could also mean switching the spotlight to such an “common” detail as typography. “Common” and  “obvious” and yet, loaded with such power that too many web designers tend to overlook! But you're not one of those designers or Drupal website owners, right? In this respect, here are two ways in which you could trigger amazing typography's power on your website:   you could go for artsy looking, visually-arresting character shapes   you could play with proportions and surprise your users with some oversized letters   Whatever suits you! Or better said: whatever suits your own website's audience!  Beautiful lettering is probably the best example of an apparently “insignificant” detail that you can “empower” to impress and to engage all by itself!   3. Consistency: One of the Key Web Design Details Keep it consistent! It's a rule that you just can't risk breaking! Keep your design consistent throughout your website, and here we're referring to:    colors that represent your brand's identity and your site's specificity   the particular use of imagery on your website   specific typography that you've chosen to go with on your site and that you should stick to on all its pages   Familiarity is what your users expect to find on your website, therefore, remaining consistent to your website patterns is a common sense principle you should not undermine! You definitely don't want to make your visitors feel like they're challenged to think about your site's design and you definitely don't want to risk breaking the “familiarity” rule by surprising them with new design elements on each page.  It's more time-consuming for them and, therefore, way too risky for you!    4. Trigger Users' Reaction Using Microinteractions Or, better put “microinteractions serving specific purposes”! It's you who'll decide what roles they should play on your website, how precisely they should enhance your visitors' journey (just think of Facebook's globally popular “like” button):   to give feedback once your users have completed certain actions on your site   to change a setting    to signal them when they're not handling a task correctly   to enable them to tap on/off an alarm    These one-touch bits of interaction make another great example of web design details which can get invested with key functions adding value to users' overall experience on your website!   5. Surprise Them With a Tiny, Yet Sufficiently Intriguing Animation Surprise them: make your animation so tiny and almost perfectly blending into the rest of the design! Another one of those web design details that you could turn into a "superpower". This way, the little “unexpected discovery” that your users will make will not just delight them, but keep them engaged with your website, as well! Keep it simple (no need to create something too time-consuming and pointlessly complex) and strive to turn it into a perfect “surprise factor”!   6. Add Cues and Transitions To Discreetly Guide Them Through  Don't get greedy when it comes to your website's visitors own time! To the time they're  willing to invest in exploring your site. Instead, insert highly intuitive transitions on your website that will help them efficiently invest their time in exploring it! Instead of wandering about and trying to figure out by themselves how to get from point A to point B, why not insert these directional clues for them? Your website's navigation shouldn't be a puzzle to solve! Therefore, cues make one of those web design details that you can't afford underestimating!   7. Add Purposeful Microcopy What do you do when you're constrained to both visually impress and to engage users using just the limited resources offered by a minimal web design? Well, you get creative and you efficiently “exploit” those resources. Such as the tiny text inside buttons, in the footer or in your fill in forms.You go ahead and get those bits of copy written, edited and reedited till they “encapsulate” precisely the call to action messages “capable” to impact your users. You'll have just a few characters at your disposal: use them efficiently!      8. Intrigue Them and Trigger Interaction with Cinemagraphs These intriguing “living images” make a great tool for surprising your visitors and for making them engage with the content on your website. Movement will always catch the eye! And you don't even need to go for something too visually absorbing:   an unexpected touch of color on an otherwise black-and-white image   a little “collage” of photography and illustration elements   a tiny element the visitors wouldn't expect to see given the web design context of a specific page etc.   The list of effective, not to be underestimated web design details could go on, but it looks like our today's post is getting a bit too lengthy: we'll try grouping the rest in one of our next posts.  How about your own list? What other seemingly insignificant, in fact highly powerful little details (“powerful” in the hands of skillful web designers) does it include? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 27'2017
Drupal's Walk of Fame: 10 Most Famous Drupal Websites 
TWITTER, TESLA MOTORS, WHITE HOUSE, LE FIGARO, EMMYS, these are all former Drupal web projects now turned into worldwide known success stories. Into some of the most famous Drupal websites! And Drupal's own "Hall of fame" includes many other leading global brands, high standard setting government websites and high education sites. Each one of them “speaks” of some of Drupal's “luring” features that turned it into their CMS: some speak of Drupal's unmatched capability of handling “truckloads” of traffic and huge amount data some speak of Drupal as a robust content management system enabling content creation (content ranging from videos, text, blogs, polls, real time stats) with such an ease and flexibility that no other CMS can rival it others speak of governments' high standards on security that only the Drupal CMS supports other speak of its “legendary” flexibility and modularity, of the unlimited freedom of customization that its users can leverage others have become the most reliable advocates of Drupal's scalability while others have been “seduced” by Drupal's limitless integration with other solutions and third-party services (part of its unmatched flexibility) and by the freedom that one can enjoy for creating user-based, highly customized UI's Needless to add that this list doesn't end here! Now, if we are to pick 4 of Drupal's features that each one of the websites that will be “stealing the spotlight” on the “red carpet” unrolled below, have been powered with, these would be: SCALABILITY + FLEXIBILITY + SECURITY + INNOVATIVE POTENTIAL 1. HARVARD SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT This specific Harvard department has been one of the most valuable websites from Drupal community's portfolio since 2007. What does this “Drupal success story” look like today? Well, it turned into an easy-to-read site displaying large images linking to current stories, with articles listed underneath, accompanied, each, by a photo and a snippet, along with sidebars listing all the department resources. Tasteful, easily readable: overall an efficiently structured content-driven website that even today earns shiniest “star” on Drupal's walk of fame! 2. THE ECONOMIST Launched in 1843, this magazine looking-like newspaper (in fact), has chosen Drupal to power its online version due to some key reasons: Drupal's active global community and its whole “constellation” of modules have been another reasons that weighted heavily in their decision-making from all the CMSs out there, Drupal turned out to be the only providing a solid-enough “foundation” for quick and easily writing, publishing and delivering news to millions of visitors on a daily basis it was Drupal that was capable to upgrade the ECONOMIST's site with a custom subscription system since the team behind was facing the challenge of adding many social tools to their website in the future to come, Drupal provided them with the flexibility and the freedom of customization they were looking for 3. LE FIGARO Here's another name that honours the Drupal community! LE FIGARO's the second largest newspaper in France, a prestigious one “boasting” with a tradition of almost 2 centuries now. Why Drupal for powering this reputed newspaper's online version? Well, you should know that Drupal's powering this site's social features (it still uses the old content management system for its main content), such as the article comment feature. Therefore, it's Drupal's extensive social features that influenced the Le Figaro decisional team, no to mention the reduced costs involved, compared to other CMSs that they've analyzed. Go Drupal! 4. EMMYS, One of the Most Famous Drupal Websites Powering the website of one of the most renowned television awards in the world is no “child's game”, that's for sure! It calls for incredible scalability in order to ope with the huge influxes of visitors around the Emmy Awards time of the year! Luckily, “scalability” is just another word for “Drupal”! Drupal's now turned the Emmys website into one “powerful beast” capable to handle truckloads of users at the same time and heavy loads of content (multiple multimedia here included), all this without compromising performance. Handling high traffic at high speed, now that's one achievement that none of Drupal's traditional rivals (Joomla, WordPress) can't “boast” of yet. 5. WHITE HOUSE, By Far One of the Most Famous Drupal Websites This sure has been a major boost in Drupal's whole evolution as a web technology: year 2008 when, during president Obama's presidency, aligning with this one's costs reducing strategy, Drupal played a decisive role in revamping and rethinking the White House's website. It's not without reason that Drupal won the CMS's “election for the White House”:   it's been built with government-sized security standards in the very first place (login security: password length, characters to be used, time-limited passwords etc.) it can power large websites, heavy content-driven ones made of multiple dynamic components it comes with all the needed social features enabling participation and ensuring open communication (features crucial for any government website “praising” transparency and the community's active participation) it easily incorporates proprietary systems and third-party services, making it a highly flexible platform to work with being an open source technology and thanks to to its modularity, it involved lower costs than other CMSs “candidating” for the White House and it implied less time   How does the White House website look now?   its navigation is much more visible the front page's now “dominated” by a large photo aimed at impacting and capturing visitors' attention   6. TESLA MOTORS Is it still necessary to add an introductory short presentation for this company?  It would go something like this: “Silicon Valley-based company designing, manufacturing and selling electric vehicles and power-train components.”  But we're sure this is no news for you... What you may not have known, till now, is that the TESLA MOTORS' website runs on Drupal!  Visiting it you'll land on a:   site featuring a minimalist, beautiful design (not that simple to develop as it is for the user to navigate on)   a site made of efficiently structured web pages, each one with its own infrastructure, with its own set of infographs, multiple icons and maps   a site “equipped” with social features encouraging customer community   a news delivery tool, showcasing new product details and news that administrators can add and deliver to the site's audience on the fly   A clean design with an emphasis on visually-engaging videos showcasing jaw-dropping Tesla cars in motion, completed by efficiently structured content on each web page. Impactful simplicity! This is what you get when two highly innovative brands, Drupal and Tesla Motors, meet! 7. WARNER BRO.S RECORDS Stepping on Drupal's “walk of fame” now and stealing all the spotlights is the WARNER BROS. RECORDS' website. Undoubtedly one of the most famous Drupal websites The reputed US label (with celebs such as Madonna, the White Stripes, Neil Young, R.E.M and many more as its advocates), with a dedicated Technology Department of its own, has chosen Drupal for redesigning its new site. And his is what you'll find on their Drupal-powered website (a multi-site setup in fact):   a visually stunning artist slider   draggable node panel   attention-grabbing pictures   multiple clicking details   visible icons   What you won't “see”, as a visitor, is that each artist's mini-site shares the same Drupal codebase. “Stylish” is the right name to describe this Drupal website! 8. FRENCH GOVERNMENT The French Government's website along with the Official Website for the Mayor of London and, of course, the White House's site, is but one more proof that: Drupal's turned into a gold web development standard when it comes to government websites. Is there any need that we list here, once again, all the key factors that convinced national governments to run their websites on this CMS? To stress, once more, Drupal's high security standards, unmatched scalability and the rest of its array of features that makes it not just the perfect choice, but the only choice for this type of websites?   9. TWITTER's DEVELOPER COMMUNITY TWITTER's developer-exclusive website's another former Drupal web project turned into a success story that still honors the community. Back then, when Drupal was selected for this “mission”, TWITTER was facing the challenge of handling an enormous community of registered users: developers working on more than 1 million apps. The need for a solid infrastructure and a highly robust web content management (there were walk-throughs, various documentation, forum discussions, blog content etc.) was critical! And it's in this context that Drupal developers stepped in!  What did they manage to do, you say? Well, put in just a few words: a Drupal-powered website where content can be added, edited, updated, published and easily accesses by thousands of developers hassle-free, on a regular basis!     10. OPTASY   Surprised? Don't be! Our team's striving to deserve its own star on Drupal's “walk of fame”, as well, you know! How?  by getting constantly inspired and stimulated by Drupal's amazing innovative potential   by fostering a customer-oriented mindset within our company   and, overall: by striving to leverage Drupal's incredible potential and our own expertise, creativity and passion for our work for delivering precisely those digital results capable to fuel our client's websites/apps for success! I'm sure your own list of “10 most famous Drupal websites” can't be identical to ours. We're quite curious which are the first 3 names listed there! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 23'2017
What Are the Web Design Myths You Should... Bust in 2017? Here’s a Top 10
It's no doubt that these web design myths “controlling”, just like some “tyrants” the online world, have initially emerged as web design innovative notions, turned into widely used techniques, and, finally, into highly influencing web design trends.  It's also true that since their “adopters” have started to take them way too literally or to refuse to adapt them to the ever-evolving digital landscape, to the ever-changing users' digital behaviors, these web design practices have gradually turned into... myths. Into rigid, “dusty” web design mindsets risking to affect both the design's quality itself and the website visitors' experiences. Be better than that! Be smarter than that! Take smarter design decisions than those still “stuck” with these preconceived assumptions which are no longer relevant in 2017's web design context.  And here are the 10 web design myths “exposed”: 1. "The 3 Second Rule" This is probably the best exemplification of a notion turned into a rigid “rule”. Of a concept taken ridiculously literally! No need to develop a paranoia imagining your generic website visitor holding a timer in one hand and his mouse (if we're talking about a desktop user) in the other and counting precisely those 3 seconds! It's absurd! The 3 second rule is just a figure of speech (it could easily be a 2 second a 4 or 5 second rule) “invented” only to stress the importance of an optimized page loading time. To “warn” you that you should constantly strive to boost your website's performance.  If your web pages load in, let's say, 4 seconds, it's really not the end of the world! Instead, if they load in 3 seconds just to show a bad design and low quality content... then you might be, indeed, facing a major traffic problem! 2. "White Space Is a Wasted Chance of Capitalizing Space on My Site" This is already a “prehistoric” type of web design preconception! And we couldn't give you better examples than Google's front page and Apple's clean and airy design where big chunks of white space act as spotlights directing our eyes towards their “star” products! “Clutter” is your biggest enemy when it comes to web design! While white space and moreover, strategically using it for guiding your users' attention towards key points on your website, well, this is almost an “art”! Less sure is more, in this case! White space acts as a spotlight focused on the key content(s) on your web pages, but only if you just know just how to focus it! 3. "Mobile Device Users Are Always On the Fly and Easily Distracted"  It's a false assumption now “cemented” in the collective thinking: mobile device users are always on the go, always in a rush and easily distracted! It's noting but an exaggerated generalization! In fact, studies (Google's studies, the one that we're referring to here taken in 2012) have shown that:   68% of mobile device users are, in fact, accessing websites from their smartphones in the comfort of their homes (surprise, surprise!)   67% of desktop users are simultaneously using another device, as well, as compared to 57% of mobile device users.    We're all living in the age of distractions. We get constantly distracted whether we're just watching TV, doing online shopping on our smartphones or reading articles on our PCs!  You should still design for highly mobile users, but being fully aware that “on the run”, “striving to resist various distractions”, is not the main context that your mobile device users will be visiting your website in! 4. "Good Usability's a Must, While Good Aesthetics an Option" This thinking's maybe one of the riskiest user experience pitfalls! With all the web designers and web owners out there playing all their cards on good usability, they tend to undermine good aesthetics' key role or (even worse) to ignore it completely. You can't effectively reach out to your users and turn them into customers, if you don't emotionally connect with them, first. If you don't strive to make the very best impression (and since we're all highly visual creatures, a “good first impression” is nothing but another word for “great looks”). Usability's a very technical concept, made of certain (equally) technical, precise tactics to implement for achieving good usability on your website. While aesthetics is far more “human” and it's to humans that you need to reach out to first and only then to... “prospects”. Do keep that in mind! When combined, these two “powers”, good usability and good aesthetics, or, better said, good usability and credibility (that good aesthetics invests your Drupal website with) you can't get but a superpower to turbocharge your website with! 5. "User Feedback Is Not to Be Questioned or Debated" Of course that you should constantly ask for your users' feedback, it's vital for every business, be it online or not! What you should avoid doing is: taking that feedback, all the comments that your visitors will leave on your site, too literally! People don't always know what they want and they're quite bad at explaining their preferences, why is it that they like/dislike certain features on your website or anticipating their future choices/behaviors. A “healthy” way of doing web design is to dig in, starting from your users' comments, to the core problems! Base your design decisions on those core problems to be solved, first and foremost! Complying with your users' suggestions/complains, should come second on your list of “motivations”.   6. "Simplicity Can Only Mean Minimalism"- One of the Popular Web Design Myths And this web design myth is still influencing, to a great extent, web designers' work and website owners' design decision-making! There's this popular belief turned into a whole trend, that you can't possibly achieve a simple design than by cutting out UI elements, by drastically reducing steps and user interactions on your website. False! Even a complex web design can be made simple if you're a gifted web designer! Focusing on simplifying users' experiences and reducing the visual surface (minimalism) is not the same thing as reducing all the “friction” that a way to laborious, overly demanding design would imply from the user's point of view (simplicity). Its not the same thing as striving to reduce some of the energy that he/she would invest in visually “digesting” the content on your website. Notice the difference? 7. "Good Design is Self-Sufficient" “Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”  Therefore, looks aren't everything and good design isn't self-sufficient! Visually-arresting graphics, cool fonts and visually-appealing colors won't compensate for the absence of high quality content. In other words: if there's no happy “marriage” between web designers and content marketers, you'll be left with a great looking website that only you and your team will get to admire. For no user will ever find it! If you don't enhance your great looking design with meaningful, engaging content that not only that completes it, but adds extra value to it, with content that addresses your visitors' needs, then your design won't go beyond its decorative function. 8. "The Homepage Is The Most Important Page on My Site" Homepage's “supremacy” has started to fade away! If it used to be the page that users always landed on first, since it served as the main directory and, therefore, since there was no other way for accessing a website, today this is no longer the case. And it's time that you, too, started to see the homepage's supremacy as a web design myth! Now users can land directly on a product page, coming from certain links posted on social media or on other sites. Your website's visitors might not even get to visit the front page at all. Moreover, and this is especially the case with websites selling products or services, you should accept the fact that your users aren't there for delighting themselves with the “wow” content on your homepage! For them your front page is nothing but a “gateway” to the product pages that they're really interested in. Or, depending on the site's specificity, to the information they can find on other pages of your Drupal site.. Think of Facebook! How often do you visit its homepage as a logged in user? Put together, all the web pages on your site are much more frequented than your homepage. Just think about that! 9. "The Three Click/Two Tap Rule" This is another baseless assumption! That all the elements on your website should be at a three-click's distance or a a two-tap's distance (on mobile devices). Irrelevant! Whether your users decide to prolong their visits on your site or to leave it  after just a few seconds, has nothing to do with this rule. User's main interest is to carry out his task (purchasing something, getting a key info etc.) You could abide by the three click rule and still witness visitors leaving your website in a rush if the content that they'll you'll deliver them, after precisely these three clicks/two taps, doesn't engage them or meet their needs. As a general rule: it's precisely when web design rules are taken too literally that they risk to turn into web design myths! 10. "Cutting Out The Navigational Choices"- One of the Influential Web Design Myths Somehow this theory initially related strictly to short term memory and to multiple product choices, has started to impact web design, particularly navigation, as well! It's one thing to cut out items from an excessive product/services collection (leading to the paradox of choice) and a completely different thing to start removing pages from your navigational bar/menus.  It's those pages that grant your user easy access to the content on your site that he's interested in. It's them that will enhance his/her exploration of your website! So, instead of blocking his/her access to different web pages on your Drupal site and of negatively impacting his overall experience with your website, you'd better figure out how to efficiently group these pages.   And it seems that we've reached the end of our list of 10 web design myths you should be aware of and... stay away from! Have you “busted” others, as well? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 22'2017
Are You Still Following These 10 Outdated SEO Practices?
Are you still “stuffing” your web pages with keywords? Does your SEO strategies still revolve around piling keywords instead of attracting clicks? Are you (God forbid!) still submitting your website to directories? Are you still putting low quality, irrelevant “link baits” on your website, aiming only to shock/stirring curiosity and thus to easily gain the clicks you crave for? Then we can only add this: “The 90's have called, they claim these outdated SEO practices back!” Web technology has changed dramatically since the 90's, the digital arena has changed tremendously and guess what: the bots, too, have got so much more sophisticated! Keyword stuffing and old-school link building won't get you far, especially in the long run. Here are some of the “dusty” SEO practices you should ditch: 1. Creating a Dedicated Web Page for Every Target Keyword Having one page targeting one single keyword, then another one targeting a slightly different keyword and so on, till you get yourself a nice “bundle” of single pages targeting almost identical keywords, is one of those “tried-and-true” old-school SEO practices! Well guess what: Google's got way smarter than that and you should be... over-smart! With upgrades such as RankBrain and Hummingbird, you can no longer “trick” Google into ranking your Drupal website with such an old-fashion SEO tactic. An “updated” SEO practice, in this respect, is to try and naturally “sprinkle” your main keyword, along with its variations, across a single page. Go for the meta description, body content, headline etc.  In other words: go for TOPIC-matching pages, not for a single target keyword-focused ones. 2. Adopting a Multiple Subdomains/Multiple Microsites Strategy Now this (still) is another highly popular SEO technique!  How does it work? Instead of putting together all your digital marketing efforts to optimize a single, heavy-content, complex website, you get them “diffused” on several microsites. You fork your website into multiple microsites/subdomains. And you're trying to keep each one of them ideally optimized, to give each one its due attention, of course! “More” might seem like “more effective” to you at first, like getting “more” successful results, from an SEO point of view. In fact, it's just the same result that you'd get if you had just one website's content to focus on, to invest your time, energy and SEO expertise in. Just that it's “spilt” in several directions (miocrosites/subdomains)! In this case, the results you'll get are, for each smaller site, just the fourth/third or maybe the fifth parts of the results you'd get if you administered/optimized just one large website instead of a “constellation” of microsites! It would be far more efficient to get one website ideally optimized for a high ranking position, than to try and push forward a whole “ecosystem” of smaller websites, wouldn't you agree? 3. Building Your Keyword Strategy on AdWords' “Competition” Results “and on cost per click”, we should add, as well! If you're still “fueling” your company's keyword planning strategy with those results that you get using AdWords' “Competition”, you should stop! Or at least perceive that data simply as a rough guide. These tools won't reveal to you which is the competition set, how dense and qualitative your competition's content is, whether they manage to both “lure” visitors in and to serve them precisely the content they're looking for and so on. In a nutshell: do keep an eye on the competition scores that you can see in Adwords, but keep in mind also that there are many other factors building a “competition” and determining how hard it would be for you to rank one word or another. 4. Keyword Stuffing: One of the No Longer Effective Outdated SEO Practices     “The more the merrier”, right? “More target keywords”, we mean, all piled in your web pages' titles and your meta descriptions is sure to bring you more links, more traffic, right? Well, not anymore! Since it's clicks that you're craving for and since it's the online users that you should try to lure in the first place (not search engines), keyword stuffing is no longer an effective SEO tactic. Online users have got a lot pickier, a lot more  cautious when it comes to spamming, and “asking without giving anything back “(e.g. digital marketing not focusing on delivering valuable content) so you should expect them to avoid you website when they read your keyword-overloaded titles and meta descriptons. Do insert your keyword, but don't overuse it! Do strive to make your meta description sound like an invitation for searchers to delve into your website's unique, valuable content and not as a “desperate attempt to trick them in. Not merely as a list of keywords!  5. Matching Your Target Keyword With Your Domain Name If you or your company's team of SEO “gurus” are still “faithful” to this SEO practice, you'd better discard it from your “toolbox” of SEO tactics immediately! Since you're only guiding your own visitors to your competitors' websites! You're simply offering your competitors more traffic on a silver plate! Not to mention that, besides your own visitors, who'll gradually start to avoid your website, since it has a name that sounds “not trustworthy”, no authority site in your niche will agree guesting your content, either.  Therefore: stop using your target keyword as your domain name. You want your it to sound more branded, much more credible than that! 6. Using Unfocused Linkbaiting Techniques Another one of those outdated SEO strategies that you should leave behind, if you're still using it is this: using irrelevant link “baits” to draw users on your website. In high quality content's “kingdom” you just can't expert this SEO tactic to be effective any longer! Instead, go for on topic “link baits”, using content that is, indeed, a perfect match to the current one on your website. Moreover, focus on value-added content for your link “baits”, that draws in both links and attention! 7. Using Inappropriate, Spammy Internal Links Anchor Texts Mind you stay out of the “sketchy”, “spammy-looking” or (even worse) manipulative anchor texts' zone! It might have been a widely used SEO technique a few years ago, but it's turned into a highly risky one! It's one of those outdated SEO practices with a negative impact on your website, pointed out by those from MOZ themselves! Google's started to value well-written and relevant anchor texts used in internal link building. Make sure yours are perfectly usable (you'd better ditch the “lower font” SEO practice for your anchor texts, thinking that it's for search engines and not for searchers that you're inserting them after all) and relevant and you can stay assured: you'll be in Google's “safe zone”!   8. Overlooking Other Search Engines Do put searchers/website visitors first, Google second, and mind you don't stop there! You'd better start considering winning other search engines' attention, as well! Signing up on Google Search Console and following Google's webmaster guidelines on a regular basis should be completed by sustained SEO efforts for gaining traffic from other search engines, too. Think Bing, think Yahoo and you'll be actually thinking of all those iPhone users that are not using Chrome, but these two search engines. Why should you overlook two potential sources of traffic (even if they're really Google's rivals)? Especially since you have tools like Bing's Webmaster Tool to support your SEO efforts on?   9. Undermining Mobile Optimization's Importance This is not just one of the outdated SEO practices, or better said “mindsets”, that you should ditch, but a very risky one, too! Just think of Google's AMP initiative and the stress it started to lay upon users' optimized mobile experiences! Undermining mobile optimization's importance is almost a “prehistoric” SEO mindset if we compare it to the whole “mobile-first” philosophy! Now, in this respect, here is a quick “starter kit” from our team of Drupal developers in Toronto, that you could easily implement for getting your Drupal website mobile-friendly:   stay away from Flash and other software that's incompatible with mobile devices   ensure that users can zoom out/zoom in the written text   space out your links so that users can tapped on easily   read all the guidelines included in Google's AMP   And since we've tackled the mobile optimization's issue, allow us to add a last piece of advice: resist the temptation of using intrusive, annoying interstitials! What do we mean by “intrusive”? Well, those types of interstitial which are almost impossible for users to close, making it impossible for them to gain further access to the content on your website. Google hates whatever users hate these days! And we guarantee you that making your content less accessible will get on their nerves! 10. Still Applying Old-Fashioned Linking Building Methods  These practices have been “the holly Grail” of link building for a long, long, way too much time. So, no wonder that many Drupal website owners and even so called SEO “experts” are still so “fond” of them. Our advice for you: let go of the past, a past dominated by (now) outdated SEO practices and, step into the future! Let's sum up some of these emblematic link building strategies which (surprise, surprise) do not work any longer:   submitting on generic directories, where you could easily enlist your website: they're such a waste of time in 2017, so why bother?   article submitting and here we're referring especially to those websites where there's no editorial review whatsoever   buying backlinks   posting comments on forums along with optimized links   unnatural usage of keywords in your links' anchor texts (do not underestimate 2017's crawlers)   To sum up: invest time, expertise and creativity in producing value-added content and keep in touch with others in your field and ... links will come to you! No need to step into the “black” (hat)” zone for “grabbing” them! And it looks like we've just reached the end of today's post on outdated SEO practices that you should leave behind! We sure hope that it will help you do your own “spring clean up” of your dusty SEO techniques and that it will boost your own SEO strategy's efficiency! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 20'2017
What If You Need to Add More Blocks to Drupal? 3 Simple Methods to Consider
You're well aware that they might affect your site's performance. That it will take its pages more time to “assemble” their whole overloads of content blocks and yet....You just need more blocks, a whole lot more! You just need to add more blocks to your Drupal site! And who could blame you for that? They practically make such a handy means of nicely structuring your custom content and put together a nice, engaging layout! Put together they just turn that complex, yet user-friendly content architecture into reality! Here a block here, there a block, each one enabling you to put together the perfect puzzle for your website. What do you do when you've apparently reached some sort of a limit of maximum blocks that you can add to your Drupal site? Well, you increase that maximum number! And you turn this apparent dead end into an incentive to keep improving your Drupal website's layout! Here's how:   1. But First: A Few Words About Blocks To boil it down to just a few words: blocks are content containers!  They can “hold” text lines, images, lists, full body texts etc. And, the great thing(s) about them is that once you automatically enable them, as you install core or contributed modules on your site,  you can easily adjust them to your liking. Decide upon their size, shape and where you'd like to place them on your site! Where can you view your blocks? Right here:                         Administer >> Structure >> Blocks   Which are the regions (sidebar, footer etc.) on your site that you can place them? Well, it depends on your Drupal site's theme(s), in fact! More themes “spoil” you with the chance to place your blocks differently for each theme. It's in your Block Admin page that you can decide on their vertical sort-order per region. It's there that you'll find your checkboxes, as well, and the link leading you to your blocks configuration page. “Empowered” with these checkboxes to check as you wish and the configuration page, you get to “indulge” in customizing your blocks' visibility to your liking!   2. How Do You Add More Blocks to Your Drupal Site? You're still here, in the block management screen, trying to figure out how to create a new block. It's easy! You go to:                        Administer >> Structure >> Blocks >> Add   See? As simple as that! The management screen comes with a “surprise” “Add block” link for you! Take it from there: fill in your description box, then your block body, pick the region that you'd like this new block to be “sent” to by “wandering about” your “Region Settings” and... end with a click on your “Save block” link! There you have it: Drupal site building made easy with blocks! Feel free to move them around, to drag and drop them in specific regions of your site's theme.   3. But What If You Need More Blocks, A Lot More? Things get a bit “trickier” when your blocks adding “ambitions” go beyond from the “average” ones. When your business website's full functionality depends on being able to carry many, many more “content holders” ( 50-100 or even more). You risk the chance of getting some frustrating error messages, that's for sure! “Trickier”, yet not impossible! There still are a few methods for increasing the limit, the number of maximum blocks that you can add to your Drupal site. Let's point them out: 1. Increase your maxium input size in your .htaccess file It's the ideal solution to take when it's a Drupal multi-site installation that you're dealing with! Here's how you do it: Access the directory where you Drupal site resides >> insert these lines to your .htaccess file:                <ifmodule mod_php5.c="">php_value max_input_vars 2000</ifmodule>    Tip: make sure you're on command line or that the editor you're using has been set up to show “hidden files”! Another tip: if you don't have access to your .htaccess file, since your website is on a shared host, contact your web hosting provider for editing this file for you! 2. Increase your maximum input limit in your php.ini file Since the default value in max_input_vars is set for 1000, feel free to increase it. Double or nothing or... even more? Here's how you do it: Access the php.ini file >> insert the following line:                           max_input_vars = 2000    Tip: in most cases this file resides at /etc/php5/php.ini on web servers! 3. Increase your site's maximum input limit in your settings.php file This is the most “versatile” solution of all three. Most Drupal web developers can fix the “I need to add a lot more blocks to my Drupal site” issue with this easy “trick”: Access your settings.php file >> there, under the “PHP settings”, insert this line:                                     ini_set('max_input_vars', 2000);    Tip: you'll find your settings.php file at /sites/default or /sites/all in your Drupal website's root directory Why is it that this fix is the most recommended one? It's because you won't be “impacting” your PHP stack, but rather handling this specific issue only: lots of blocks (loaded with data, too, obviously), that you need to insert on your Drupal site. How about you? What other fixes do you rely on when you're dealing with an “overload” of content blocks that you need to add to your Drupal site? How do you “break the limits”? ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 16'2017
How to Clear Your Drupal Cache: 3 Handy and Reliable Methods
Before we get into details on why you should rush to clear your Drupal cache whenever you're dealing with a “White Screen of Death”, how about exercising your imagination a bit? Scenario no. 1: “You're a visitor, accessing one specific page of a Drupal website, then switching to another one, then... all of a sudden... the web page you will have just landed on instantly turns all white! All content disappears!” Scenario no. 2: “You're a Drupal web developer and you've just given your theme a “routine” update. Or maybe you've just finished developing a custom module. Everything seems to be working perfectly fine on your Drupal site when... tragedy... meaning WSOD... strikes and leaves you “defenseless”: staring at the big white nothing!”   Does any of these 2 scenarios bring back unpleasant memories?  Well, in today's post we're ready to help you put together your own “emergency   kit”! The one including all possible solutions to apply whenever WSOD strikes again, focusing, of course, on the “clear your Drupal cache” one. Keep reading: 1. But How Does Drupal's Cache System Work After All? Drupal's caching is a key performance-booster! What it does is saving and storing copies of the requested content on a Drupal site's page, so that when the next visitor accesses the same web page link, it will automatically display the stored content. A great way of saving your server's resources. Now, with all the “hard work” that its caching tables need to do (storing and then delivering the stored content, the menu links, the scrips), now and then “accidents” happen and they stop delivering content. Therefore: WSOD happens! 2. "White Screen of Death": What's Causing it? Maybe the term “causes” is not the most appropriate one. Let's replace it with “instances”: instances when WSOD occurs. Here are a few:   after you've updated the theme on your Drupal site   after you've updated a Drupal module   after you've run your updates on Drupal core itself   while you're developing a custom module for your (or your client's) site   after you've moved your Drupal site to another server What does this mean?  Well, it means that since we have a “bundle” of instances when this terribly frustrating error occurs, we also have a “bundle” of possible solutions to rely on for getting it fixed. And, speaking of them, our team of Drupal web developers', here at OPTASY, favorite one if the “clear your Drupal cache” emergency solution! 3. Which Are The Other Ways to Fix a WSOD Error? As already stated: clearing your Drupal cache is not THE one and only way to resolve the “big nothing” problem on your Drupal site. Here are just some of the other methods you could include in your “emergency kit”, whenever you're dealing with a “White Screen of Death”:   check your Watchdog tables   check your error log files   recreate your permissions   restart your web server    uninstall the problematic modules   enable error reporting (although, these are cases when a WSOD can lock down your site completely, caching the very “culprit” code itself, the one that might be causing the “white chaos”) And there are many other possible solutions to the “white nothingness” error. We've just listed some of them. Take them all into account and make sure you have this “emergency list” at hand when... the inevitable occurs! Needless to add that, based on our own experience as Drupal developers, we recommend you, as a way to fix your future WSOD errors, to clear your Drupal cache.  4. Which Are the Main “Clear Your Drupal Cache” Methods? 4.1 Use Drush  Rely on Drush command-line interface for a quick fix of your “White Screen of Death” error! Here are the Drush commands to use to clear your Drupal cache (depending on the Drupal version that you're using): In Drupal 7:   drush cc or drush cache-clear: for selecting which cache to clear     drush cc all or drush cache-clear all: for clearing all the caches at once   In Drupal 8: drush cr or drush cache-rebuild: for rebuilding your website and clearing all its caches                      4.2  Use the Database You could also clear your Drupal cache manually, by emptying all the cache tables stored in your database. Of course, it goes without saying that you should go for this method only if you're confident enough (leaving no room for human error in the equation) to handle those database tables: if you know what you're doing! This is a two-step solution, in fact:   use phpMyAdmin (or maybe you prefer another database administrative tool instead) to access your site's database.    manually empty the “cache” labeled (you'll see the “cache_” prefix there) tables from your database, without deleting them (do keep this “tiny detail” in mind!)    Note: Remember to make an update of your website before you go ahead manipulating its database! 4.3 Use the Performance Page  And the third “clear your Drupal cache” method on our list is the one implying the Performance Page.  Just go to admin/config/development/performance and click on the “Clear all caches” button. Cache clearing made simple! It looks like we've reached the end of today's post on how to clear your Drupal cache and why you should start seeing it as a handy solution to your WSOD errors!  And yet, allow us to give you one last piece of advice: make a habit of testing your updates first instead of running them directly on your live website! It's probably one of the simplest ways of keeping the “White Nothingness” at bay! ... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 15'2017
Trends Bumping in Internet Marketing Companies at Toronto
Trends digital marketing and SEO never stand in one place. With frequent Google updates and new tools and methods of outreach, companies have to race to catch up on the best practices in this field. 2017 is well on the way, and we can already form a list of most popular and effective digital marketing strategies adopted by Toronto SEO experts. There are many developments in this sphere of business, so we will focus on the main 5 trends. Data Based Marketing. It is no longer enough to choose keywords and work out an SEO strategy based on them alone. Google is no longer that easy to manipulate, and what’s more important now is how good you are at offering what people are really looking for. It requires more thorough research to figure out what it is that users are after and how Google deciphers it. We as an internet marketing company in Toronto find that the levels of precision you can reach are incredibly rewarding however, despite them requiring more work. Video Ads and Live Streaming. As mobile bandwidths become bigger, video is entering our lives in an insane rate. It’s easier and more accessible for most users, especially the younger audiences out there. Live streaming is easy to achieve, doesn’t require an expensive setup or editing tools, and very entertaining when done right. Mobile is Growing. Many users don’t even have a laptop computer at home anymore, let alone a desktop computer. Most of the browsing is done outside, on the way to work on the bus or when shopping around. Being easy to find by users when they browse from their mobile devices has never before been so important. Social Media Integrations. Social media works better and better in terms of integration with websites, and the conversion rates from there is only going to increase. Facebook and Twitter are no longer just PR platforms but can be used to drive real sales on your page. New Algorithms. Google and other search engines are constantly updating their means of going through and presenting search results to users. Naturally, this means new hoops for us to jump through. PPC companies in Toronto and companies who focus on organic SEO practices will have to adjust yet again to stay in the game. Naturally, this is a game we’ve been playing for a good, long time and have gotten very good at. If you want to improve your online presence and increase your sales, you are just a call away. Talk to you soon!... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 10'2017
Drupal Website Development: Benefits of Implementing Your Website On It
Drupal Website Development Drupal is the new kid on the block. Yet it managed to conquer a decent chunk of the seemingly already saturated market. One of the reasons it was able to compete with giants like Wordpress and Joomla, is that it’s incredibly well made and very versatile. It comes will all necessary things to create anything from a personal page to an eCommerce store and all the way to vast social networking portals. It has nearly 30,000 modules and several thousand themes, as well as an army of enthusiastic Drupal website development experts to help you set up and get the show on the road. In fact, this army is growing rapidly due to the fact that unlike Wordpress for example, it comes with everything a developer needs, all packed in a neat, easy to use development environment. There is no confusion, no need to boggle your mind with endless glitches, updates that crash your theme, and other unnecessary trouble. Also, Wordpress may be good for a small website (and a beginner web developer), but try to do something more complex than a 5 page site, and problems will start multiplying. So yes, Drupal takes a bit more developer brawn and some serious skills, but our web design company, for one, has definitely adopted it as our CMS of preference.  Here’s a concrete list of 5 benefits that put Drupal web development far ahead of the alternatives: Full Open Source. Most of what you need is free. This reduces web development costs a great deal, making it easier for us to serve our customers at even better prices.  Perfectly Customizable. Compared to it, other CMS systems tend to lock you in the grid of a given theme and have hard time letting you out. Drupal website templates are very flexible. Great Integration Capabilities. It has amazing API support, connecting your Google Analytics, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and anything else quickly and with ease. Mobile Ready. There are CMS systems where themes look great until you view them on mobile. Here the system makes sure every layout is mobile ready without the need for long hours spent on adjustments. Powerful SEO Capabilities. SEO is important and Drupal website development allows for great outreach with detailed customization capabilities.  The bottom line is Drupal is newer, more stable and more powerful than the alternatives on the current market.  This is why we chose it and sincerely recommend it to our clients.... Read more
Adrian Ababei / Mar 10'2017