Talking about building a small business (VIDEO)

tech q and a about small businesses online

Business IT Q&A

I am looking to start a conversation via video podcasts to connect my friends and business contacts. The podcast will initially be centered around answering IT questions in my wheelhouse.

Topic Ideas: personal branding, building a business online, how to sell things online, social media management, SEO (search engine optimization), websites, BI (business intelligence), AI (artificial intelligence), front-end development, UX (user experience) and machine learning. I’d like to introduce my friends who have small businesses, start the conversation rolling and see where this goes.

Thinking a video once a week (until I start podcasting and more by request) next one at 4PM on Friday. If you have questions, feedback, or topic ideas please leave me a comment!!!

Information mentioned in this weeks video:

Top Website Platforms (question by Zachary Bales-Henry)

  • WordPress is a free CMS (content management system) it’s easy to use and easy to setup just be sure to keep your hosting and platform up to date or pay someone to manage it.
  • It’s PHP based and open source. Lots of free plugins to quickly customize your website but more plugins can slow down your site and cause vulnerabilities. Ecommerce plug-ins for WordPress – Shopify.

  • Blogger/Blogspot was created by Google. It’s free to use and very simple. Great for monetizing a blog. A little complicated to customize and a pain to add CSS. No plugin or api integrations. You cannot easily do Ecommerce on blogger.
  • Drupal and Joomla complicated CMS systems for bigger companies
  • Magento is an Ecommerce CMS for companies with an IT team
  • Angular, Angular 2/4, NodeJS, React – these are coding languages for advanced development and customization
    (I’ve built sites for all of these)

Do you think having a personal app for your business is still important. Or is it worth it? (Question by Zachary Bales-Henry)

Yes, it can be worth it to create a custom mobile app but it depends on your goals and your budget.

Good examples of business apps and goals:

  • Coldwell Banker Real Estate app (easy to find homes and share them with your realtor)
  • Starbucks and Caribou for payment and rewards (easier payment and to keep customers engaged..even addicted to gamifying drinking coffee)
  • Walgreens (prescription management, purchase, renewals)
  • Amazon purchases (get users to buy more but simplify the web experience for your phone)

Mobile also allows easier logins for users on the phone via biometrics like thumb or face recognition.

Payment systems:

Cash.me is free between friends! You can even use a credit card for a small fee. Fast safe way to send/receive money. Built by the makers of Square. If you sign up with my referral code you and I receive $5 after you send at least $5 to someone in the first 14 days! Now accepting Bitcoin. My referral code: MXMGMJN download:

cash.me/app/MXMGMJN or search cash.me in the App Store then use the code during sign up.

  • Square is the popular small business payment system with the tablet like touch system for receiving receipts and payments.
  • PayPal – great for moderation of selling good on sites like Listia or eBay. Only does payment protection for online sales.
  • Circle
  • Zelle (used by most major banks now for Acheson transfers between friends and is free)
  • Amazon
  • Google Wallet
  • Escrow.com for slowly paying someone and protecting both sides
    (I’ve used all of these)

Find Freelancers online (copywriters, designers, developers, administrative assistants):

  • Freelancers.com
  • Scribd
  • UpWork
  • Fivver
  • FancyHands
    (I’ve used all of these)

Local Buy Sell Trade groups (I’m the admin and founder of the ones I’m recommending)

What is SEO?

It’s the process of making your site organically show up in search engine results for certain terms, phrases, and locations.

How to get started with SEO?

Make sure your website has fresh, relevant content. Do a competitor analysis, market research, and keyword research. Integrate analytics. Write a blog and be genuine. The business should reflect you or your team and the culture. Who are you? You don’t have to pretend! Just be you and if you’re not the best writer, hire a copywriter. Keep in mind that eventually your clients will likely meet you and your team, if you’re a small business. So you are the business.

Wine Company I mentioned to Tasha Lanz of Tasha’s Treats is Naked Wines. If you’re not already a Naked Wines member, here is a code for $100 of wine free! I’ll get $40 for each person who signs up and makes a purchase. https://us.nakedwines.com/invite/desaraev

Other business owners who joined the conversation: Susan Barnes of MYTDOG, “MY Trained Dog”, Tom Hudson of 515 Vape and Disc Golf, Dave Weis, Calvin Lee for Design

Thanks for watching! I made the video public so that you can share it with friends. Please leave me a comment, I’d appreciate your feedback or questions.

via Blogger http://bit.ly/2njuxuy

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Tech Q&A About Search Engine Optimization (VIDEO)

thumbnail technology q and a about SEO search engine optimization

Tech Q&A – Discussion on Search Engine Optimization, especially for WIX users. 

If you have website questions and like this video please leave me a comment and I’ll answer it next Friday at 4PM CST.

I am looking to start a conversation via video podcasts to connect my friends and business contacts. The podcast will initially be centered around answering IT questions in my wheelhouse.

Topic Ideas: personal branding, building a business online, how to sell things online, social media management, SEO (search engine optimization), websites, BI (business intelligence), AI (artificial intelligence), front-end development, UX (user experience) and machine learning. I’d like to introduce my friends who have small businesses, start the conversation rolling and see where this goes.

Discussed this week:

· Google Webmaster Tools
· Robots.txt
· SERPs
· Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
· WIX is harder than some CMS systems to optimize because you can’t use rich snippets and lack of code access (it’s drag and drop)
· Google Analytics to know your audience, where they are coming from and which pages are not performing well
· Google Keyword Planner for keyword research
· The keywords you think you want to rank for might not be what your customers are using to search for you and how to do basic keyword research
· Keywords must be in content on your website to be useful.

via Blogger http://bit.ly/2rL5FRw

Tech Q&A About Search Engine Optimization (VIDEO)

thumbnail technology q and a about SEO search engine optimization

Tech Q&A – Discussion on Search Engine Optimization, especially for WIX users. 

If you have website questions and like this video please leave me a comment and I’ll answer it next Friday at 4PM CST.

I am looking to start a conversation via video podcasts to connect my friends and business contacts. The podcast will initially be centered around answering IT questions in my wheelhouse.

Topic Ideas: personal branding, building a business online, how to sell things online, social media management, SEO (search engine optimization), websites, BI (business intelligence), AI (artificial intelligence), front-end development, UX (user experience) and machine learning. I’d like to introduce my friends who have small businesses, start the conversation rolling and see where this goes.

Discussed this week:

· Google Webmaster Tools
· Robots.txt
· SERPs
· Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
· WIX is harder than some CMS systems to optimize because you can’t use rich snippets and lack of code access (it’s drag and drop)
· Google Analytics to know your audience, where they are coming from and which pages are not performing well
· Google Keyword Planner for keyword research
· The keywords you think you want to rank for might not be what your customers are using to search for you and how to do basic keyword research
· Keywords must be in content on your website to be useful.

via Blogger http://bit.ly/2rL5FRw

Started a New Blog Called Designerly!

Very excited to announce my new blog, Designerly. The content will focus on design methods, process, inspiration, ideas, and industry problems.

The first article focuses on why UX Matters, high-level methods, and who is directly affected by UX deliverables.

Check It Out




If you have questions, comments, or content ideas — please share in the comments!

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2xLRkFr

Think Accessibility: Personalize Your Site to Send the Right Message to Visitors with 5 Easy Tips

57 Million Americans have a disability (Internet Accessibility, 2017), and 54% of American adults with a disability use the web 
(Pew Internet Project).

1. Great Design NEEDS Great Code

A great design can make users ooh and ahh, if they can access it. Check out Google Web Standards or W3schools.org for tips on how to write good clean code.

  • Use labels for input fields
  • Clearly mark all required fields and use a label that indicates what labels like images or an asterisk (*) represent
  • Use more than just icons, images, colors or symbols to identify ANYTHING – it is absolutely okay to use these assets, just be sure to also integrate alt attributes, descriptions, transcripts, and aria fields
  • Integrate title tags
  • Use unique and page-relevant meta data for each page (title, author, description, keywords)
  • Avoid inline javascript and styles
  • Test your page without CSS (does it still make sense)?
  • Captcha is not accessibility friendly
  • Bootstrap (at the time of this post’s publishing) is not accessibility friendly out-of-the-box
  • Do not replace form labels with placeholder text
  • Avoid using WYSIWYG editors if you know HTML/CSS. Editors in most CMS tools and Dreamweaver can add a lot of gunk to the code.

2. Accessibility May Require More than the 508 Basics

The Rehabilitation Act was enacted by U.S. Congress in 1973 with a section specifically identifying electronic devices, software, and best practices as an amendment called Section 508. The original section, similar to the current one (in my opinion), was mostly ineffective, overlooked, and overall under-promoted with basic rules and guidelines to provide developers and people creating electronics the information needed to provide people with disabilities a similar experience to those without. The EU and UK have similar laws and guidelines. There are also various web standards managed by various groups like Web Aim and W3C.

Section 508 was last updated in 1998, ten years before the first iPhone was released by Steve Jobs (January 2007). So, the laws and requirements required may be considered a little out of date or behind the technological times. That being said, there are many great resources available to teach the basics, and even the basics are often skipped. Skipping the basics hurts the end-user, and leaves many government agencies, schools, and organizations open to expensive law suits.

  • Skip Navigation allows people using assistive technology, like JAWS, to skip over the navigation section of a site. This is important because many disabled internet users with motor skill impediments only use keyboards to tab through a site (never using a mouse). Blind users may have sites read to them and it would take a long time to navigate if they have to listen to the entire navigation over and over.
  • Alt attributes are tags attached to images that describe the image, why it is relevant, and what it means in relation to the page. This text also appears if the image is missing from the file server. 
  • Title tags can be used to describe the anchor text of a link’s location and provide additional context so users do not have to navigate to the page.
  • Meta data is used to describe a page and is also used in the tab of a browser, search engine results, and can be used to propagate sitemaps.

3. Avoid Using Images for Text

Web fonts are easy to integrate and custom typography can now be used on the web via CSS. If you don’t want to host fonts, consider using Google’s free font library. Many designers choose to create print-ready designs and instead of splicing and optimizing images for the web, quickly integrate whole designs via free content management systems like WIX, WordPress, or Blogger.

Beautiful design CAN be accomplished in a responsive (mobile-friendly) way without hosting images as web pages. Plus multiple large images, animations, and designs with fonts inside the image are not readable by search engine bots (the evil little creatures who live inside the interwebs that are responsible for categorizing and managing the library that is search engines).

4. Color with Contrast

8.1 Million American’s are known to have a vision impairment, many with color blindness. If font colors look similar to the background behind the text, the content may become unreadable. There are many versions of color contrast checkers. Web Aim offers a free tool on their website, and WAVE is a Google Chrome add-on that allows web developers to quickly quality check sites for common accessibility issues.

5. Testing Takes Time

Know your user, and plan for more users you don’t know. User experience research can be fun! User interviews are just the start, but ongoing research using tools like Krux, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Moz, CrazyEgg, and others can help developers and designers better understand who they are creating for. There are dozens of browsers available, hundreds of versions, and various devices that people may be using to access a web page or application. Analytics can help narrow down the requirements to a specific browser, various devices, versions, and what time of accessibility tools are CURRENTLY being used. A good tool and knowledgeable researcher can even discover which browsers have the highest exit rate (meaning you’re losing traffic and should optimize for those users).

Over time content can be customized based on demographics, keywords, web morphing, and the use of machine learning to give a dynamic (almost unique) experience to a large number of users.

  • Wahlbin, K.,  Bunge, K., Krause, G., Miller, M., Wahlbin, S. (Accessed May 2017). Interactive Accessibility. Accessibility Statistics. http://ift.tt/1Km7LsK
  • Dolson, J. (2009). Practical Ecommerce. Pew Internet Project. (Accessed May 2017) http://ift.tt/2qwBvzb

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2q11ZoS

Think Accessibility: Personalize Your Site to Send the Right Message to Visitors with 5 Easy Tips

57 Million Americans have a disability (Internet Accessibility, 2017), and 54% of American adults with a disability use the web 
(Pew Internet Project).

1. Great Design NEEDS Great Code

A great design can make users ooh and ahh, if they can access it. Check out Google Web Standards or W3schools.org for tips on how to write good clean code.

  • Use labels for input fields
  • Clearly mark all required fields and use a label that indicates what labels like images or an asterisk (*) represent
  • Use more than just icons, images, colors or symbols to identify ANYTHING – it is absolutely okay to use these assets, just be sure to also integrate alt attributes, descriptions, transcripts, and aria fields
  • Integrate title tags
  • Use unique and page-relevant meta data for each page (title, author, description, keywords)
  • Avoid inline javascript and styles
  • Test your page without CSS (does it still make sense)?
  • Captcha is not accessibility friendly
  • Bootstrap (at the time of this post’s publishing) is not accessibility friendly out-of-the-box
  • Do not replace form labels with placeholder text
  • Avoid using WYSIWYG editors if you know HTML/CSS. Editors in most CMS tools and Dreamweaver can add a lot of gunk to the code.

2. Accessibility May Require More than the 508 Basics

The Rehabilitation Act was enacted by U.S. Congress in 1973 with a section specifically identifying electronic devices, software, and best practices as an amendment called Section 508. The original section, similar to the current one (in my opinion), was mostly ineffective, overlooked, and overall under-promoted with basic rules and guidelines to provide developers and people creating electronics the information needed to provide people with disabilities a similar experience to those without. The EU and UK have similar laws and guidelines. There are also various web standards managed by various groups like Web Aim and W3C.

Section 508 was last updated in 1998, ten years before the first iPhone was released by Steve Jobs (January 2007). So, the laws and requirements required may be considered a little out of date or behind the technological times. That being said, there are many great resources available to teach the basics, and even the basics are often skipped. Skipping the basics hurts the end-user, and leaves many government agencies, schools, and organizations open to expensive law suits.

  • Skip Navigation allows people using assistive technology, like JAWS, to skip over the navigation section of a site. This is important because many disabled internet users with motor skill impediments only use keyboards to tab through a site (never using a mouse). Blind users may have sites read to them and it would take a long time to navigate if they have to listen to the entire navigation over and over.
  • Alt attributes are tags attached to images that describe the image, why it is relevant, and what it means in relation to the page. This text also appears if the image is missing from the file server. 
  • Title tags can be used to describe the anchor text of a link’s location and provide additional context so users do not have to navigate to the page.
  • Meta data is used to describe a page and is also used in the tab of a browser, search engine results, and can be used to propagate sitemaps.

3. Avoid Using Images for Text

Web fonts are easy to integrate and custom typography can now be used on the web via CSS. If you don’t want to host fonts, consider using Google’s free font library. Many designers choose to create print-ready designs and instead of splicing and optimizing images for the web, quickly integrate whole designs via free content management systems like WIX, WordPress, or Blogger.

Beautiful design CAN be accomplished in a responsive (mobile-friendly) way without hosting images as web pages. Plus multiple large images, animations, and designs with fonts inside the image are not readable by search engine bots (the evil little creatures who live inside the interwebs that are responsible for categorizing and managing the library that is search engines).

4. Color with Contrast

8.1 Million American’s are known to have a vision impairment, many with color blindness. If font colors look similar to the background behind the text, the content may become unreadable. There are many versions of color contrast checkers. Web Aim offers a free tool on their website, and WAVE is a Google Chrome add-on that allows web developers to quickly quality check sites for common accessibility issues.

5. Testing Takes Time

Know your user, and plan for more users you don’t know. User experience research can be fun! User interviews are just the start, but ongoing research using tools like Krux, Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Moz, CrazyEgg, and others can help developers and designers better understand who they are creating for. There are dozens of browsers available, hundreds of versions, and various devices that people may be using to access a web page or application. Analytics can help narrow down the requirements to a specific browser, various devices, versions, and what time of accessibility tools are CURRENTLY being used. A good tool and knowledgeable researcher can even discover which browsers have the highest exit rate (meaning you’re losing traffic and should optimize for those users).

Over time content can be customized based on demographics, keywords, web morphing, and the use of machine learning to give a dynamic (almost unique) experience to a large number of users.

  • Wahlbin, K.,  Bunge, K., Krause, G., Miller, M., Wahlbin, S. (Accessed May 2017). Interactive Accessibility. Accessibility Statistics. http://ift.tt/1Km7LsK
  • Dolson, J. (2009). Practical Ecommerce. Pew Internet Project. (Accessed May 2017) http://ift.tt/2qwBvzb

via Blogger http://ift.tt/2q11ZoS

Tips to Create a Good Alt Attribute for Website Images


Tips:
  • Anchor Text (tips: 1) The text should describe the image if the image contains information 2) The text should explain where the link goes if the image is inside an <a> element 3) Use alt=”” if the image is only for decoration)
  • Alt Attribute is used when an image is not present or for screen readers (for accessibility purposes screen readers, like JAWS, read text on a page to people with sight impediments). The alt attribute can also help with search engine optimization. It is important that this tag describes the image it is attached to.
  • As a requirement of HTML standards, every image _must _ have an alt attribute.
  • Succinct – less than two sentences
  • Do not use “image of” or “graphic of”
  • Do not repeat text that is outside of the image, if the image conveys text – this should be included in the alt attribute even if it is longer than two sentences.
Resources:
Sample Code:
<a class=”logo navbar-btn pull-left” href=”/” title=”Home”>
<img src=”/logo.png” alt=”Home”>
</a>
Better:
<a class=”logo navbar-btn pull-left” href=”/” title=”Home | Brand Name”>
<img src=”/logo.png” alt=”Brand Name”>
</a>

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