All posts by TWP Publisher

When Should Web Development Teams Invest In Speed? 

When should dev teams start investing in speed? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Angela Zhang, Software Engineer, on Quora:

As much as I’d love to say “you should invest in speed starting from day one!”, speed is just not the highest ROI thing to do when you are still looking for a product-market fit. The answer to this question really depends on the product you are building and the user base that you are building for. Some signs that you should probably start thinking about speed are:

Your users started complaining about speed. If you get bug reports that your site isn’t loading, that’s a pretty straightforward sign.
You are expanding your user base outside of urban centers in developed countries. Most internet users in the world do not have ultra fast internet connections and, as developers working in Silicon Valley, it’s difficult to build empathy for how users with slow internet connections experience your app.
You have a lot of users on mobile phones. in his talk at Google I/O 2016, Ilya Grigorik makes a very compelling point that speed and resilience matter a lot on mobile even if you think your users are all on 4G LTE connections. Even in urban centers, people are rarely on 4G internet all the time, and frequently lose cellular reception all together when they go into subways and elevators. On the other hand, in rural areas, people might only have 2G internet but tend to go offline less often. Build for speed if you want those users to have good experiences. For his full talk, see Building Fast & Resilient Web Applications.
You are paying a lot in server costs. Often times this is an indication that you are fetching too much data, or doing too much work that is either unnecessary or can be optimized.
If you have decided to invest in speed and are looking for a good place to start your performance work, take a look at this answer (shameless plug): Angela Zhang (張安琪)’s answer to What are simple ways to monitor and improve web performance?

Read more: When Should Web Development Teams Invest In Speed? 

Chris Coyier on the Future of Web Development 

Three months ago, Chris Coyier and Media Temple flew all the way to Whitefish Montana to visit the winners of the CSS-Tricks contest, the ZaneRay Group. Our days with the ZaneRay Group were action packed, as we visited the pristine Bowman Lake, biked up the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and, most importantly, spent several hours talking about building and maintaining bleeding-edge websites and web apps. Hours were spent digging into the dirty details of developing massive e-commerce sites and the behind-the-scenes activities that power them. We truly thank ZaneRay not just for their hospitality but their camaraderie, making this a trip to remember.

Fortunately, we have some visual souvenirs from the trip to share.

Read more: Chris Coyier on the Future of Web Development 

4 Social Media Marketing Tips Gen Zers Should Learn 

Social media is one of the most effective marketing channels for companies of any size. In fact, it works so well that more than half of U.S. small businesses are planning to increase their social media marketing budget this year.

Generation Z is at the forefront of social media — they are extremely active on social networks, with half of Gen Z connected online via their smartphones for approximately 10 hours per day. This generation loves personalized apps, and a poll from SCG notes that 88% of Gen Zers are primarily using Instagram and Snapchat. Because of the new ways in which Gen Z is using social media, they’re changing the outlets associated with these platforms as well, with music at the forefront.

Fabrizio Moreira, founder of recording company VIP Music Records, understands the marketing punch social media can deliver, when executed correctly. The company is expanding rapidly, and recently inked a long-term contract with The Orchard, a division of Sony Music.

However, their primary focus has been Latin America, where they now hold the top spot for music distribution in the youth market. As a global study by Nielsen notes, listening to music is a primary source of Generation Z’s entertainment, with 37% of respondents stating it was top choice. This suggests Moreira is on his way to making his label a household name across the globe.

The fast growth of Moreira’s recording company and the success of its artists is a result of several factors, with a solid social media marketing strategy leading the way. I recently spoke with Moreira, and asked him for his top social media marketing tips for Gen Zers.

1. Test Multiple Social Platforms

According to Moreira, you aren’t going to know which social networks will provide value unless you test them. He says, “You have to think like your target customer, and determine what networks they are more than likely to be active on. Then you need to become active and put out a serious effort. It’s not something you can just play with for a day or two and expect to have a concrete answer.”

Read more: 4 Social Media Marketing Tips Gen Zers Should Learn 

7 Things To Consider When Hiring A Web Development Company 

When you realise that your business needs a website or mobile application, it’s time to hire one of the many web development companies around today. It may sound easy since a quick internet search will provide you with thousands of companies offering such services. But, wait a minute, is it really that easy? Can just any company do the work, and do it well? How do you know you will receive quality work? How much should you pay and how long will the development process take? These are questions, among many others, that need to be answered before you make your decision.

1. Know What You Want
Web development is more than having an address signifying your name and business. It is more than displaying the services you offer and leaving contact information for potential clients to get in touch. Web development involves building a unique interface that links the customer to your products and entices them to work with you. The corporate platform should provide a convenient and clear way for the customer to buy your goods or order your services. To understand exactly what you need, begin by evaluating your business process and structure. Consider the products on offer and your target clientele. With this in mind, order a web solution that simplifies the interaction with your clients. The end result should make it easier for you and your team to receive orders, process, send and track the progress of each request. This means a customer facing platform that is user-friendly and a backend solution that is functional for your business.

2. At What Cost?
Different developers will provide a wide range of price quotes for the exact same job. Many business make the mistake of simply choosing the lowest figure. However, the old adage that “cheap is expensive” also applies directly to software development. When you want to hire a web development team, focus less on the price and more on getting the features you desire. Crucial elements like a quality of the website or web product, the quantity or features and delivery timeline will be affected by a low bidding company. A company with expertise that has invested in appropriate tools will only commit time and resources where the returns are commensurate. Be prepared to pay the proper amount for a quality product. Seek quotations from different developers and compare their prices based on the features offered. Consider the quality of customer care, availability of support services and the standing or reputation of a developer in the industry. Never sacrifice quality because of money as it will quickly kill your e-commerce dreams.

Read more: 7 Things To Consider When Hiring A Web Development Company 

Mobile Web Development: Things Are About to Change 

Mobile web development has undeniably taken the world by a storm. It has become a multi-billion dollar industry and there are apps which revolutionized the way we think about business. When it comes to mobile web development, however, it is also critical to understand that digital marketing plays a tremendous role in their actually placement on the market. The truth is that it’s rather challenging to innovate in a market which is so overly saturated and it offers almost everything you can actually get any value from.

So, how do you out shine? How is your web presence going to dominate others, even if they offer something better in the same category? You should be using different marketing channels – of course. With this in mind, one of the most powerful approaches that you need to put in motion is a comprehensive and data-driven SEO campaign. Search Engine Optimization is far from being something revolutionizing but it remains the most cost-effective, sustainable and long-term way of getting organic traffic. Remember, through SEO you are getting people who are actively excited about what you have to offer – they are searching for it and they have landed on your page. Most of the job is done.

However, with Google’s intention to introduce Mobile First Indexing, things are about to change quite a lot. And, if you want to stay on top of the tide or you want to use the momentum to shine, it’s important to be aware of what this is.

Mobile First Indexing
Now, let’s be honest. Google is by far the most powerful search engine, a global market leader in the industry and the single, most effective thing that you can take to your advantage to tap in the enormous pool of users. And, they’ve already announced that they are about to make things a bit different.

See, the mobile web development market and environment is particularly dynamic. Google feels that it needs to alter certain things in order to adapt. And even though this is not something that would hit the search engine until at least the next year, it would be a great idea if you could get a head start and prepare.

What is mobile first indexing? For those of you who missed the concept of this new approach that Google is already testing out, here it is. Mobile first indexing means that Google is about to split mobile and desktop results. This would allow the search engine to primarily use the actual mobile version of the website as opposed to the desktop version of it in order to rank it.

Why Make the Change Now?
This is one of the things that Google has been asked about a lot. Well, the truth is that this is just a reaction – an adaptation, if you will. The company is reacting to the way we start to use the search engine. It’s used mostly on mobile devices and, a lot of the times we get far from optimal results because of a range of different issues, including obstructive ads, scaling and others of the kind.

Read more: Mobile Web Development: Things Are About to Change 

The Latest in Web Design? Retro Websites Inspired by the ’90s 

To navigate the website for Arcade Fire’s coming album, “Everything Now,” users need to click through a cluttered cascade of Windows 98-style pop-ups.

Balenciaga’s new website looks as stripped down as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, with plain black boxes and no-frills Arial font.

And the D.I.Y.-looking home page for Solange resembles the desktop of a candy-colored iMac, complete with QuickTime windows and rows of blue folders.

Web designs have come a long way in 20 years, but some are taking a step back to evoke a sort of hipster nostalgia for the early days of the internet.

“They’re tipping their hat to the 1990s,” said David Lee, the chief creative officer of Squarespace, a web platform company based in New York that has created millions of websites for clients. Mr. Lee said that he has seen a recent uptick in what he calls an “anti-design brutalism,” with clients opting for more bare-bones, retro-looking sites.

Some websites are purposely cumbersome to navigate, with loud, clip-art-filled pages. Others employ a simplistic Craigslist-style utilitarianism that feels like a throwback to an era when web pages were coded by hand.

“There’s a lot of animated GIFs and flames, but mixing it with something new,” Mr. Lee added.

While millennials and members of Generation Z — those born in the years from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s — may not remember what the web looked like in the era of AltaVista and GeoCities, the retro designs tap into the current cultural revival of all things ’90s. (See the return of “Twin Peaks,” “Will & Grace” and concert T-shirts.)

For those who are older, these sites recall the improvised internet of their youth, in the days before mobile optimization and beta-tested user interfaces brought a sleek uniformity to modern web design.

Nostalgic websites meant to mimic the days of dial-up modems are cropping up in artsy and tech-geek corners of the web.

Windows93.net, a web project by the French music and art duo Jankenpopp & Zombectro, imagines what the Microsoft operating system would have looked like had it been released. (After a two-year development delay, Microsoft instead released Windows 95.) The site has had more than eight million visitors.

Read more: The Latest in Web Design? Retro Websites Inspired by the ’90s 

18 Things Every Web Developer Should Try At Least Once 

How do you become a developer? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Ken Mazaika, CTO and Co-founder of The Firehose Project, on Quora:

You can become a web developer by doing these 18 things. These are in no particular order, but I recommend trying all of them over the course of your journey, especially #10 and #15.

1. Build something with HTML and CSS. It’s relatively easy to launch a simple website using these technologies.

2. Start a side project. Come up with an idea for a project and start planning it out. By getting it down on paper, you’ll motivate yourself to turn it into a reality.

3. Give front-end development a try. Front-end developers work very closely with the visual elements of a web application. Try it out and see if you like it.

4. Go to meetups. When you talk to developers in person, it can give you some awesome perspective.

5. Watch tech conference talks on YouTube. These talks expose you to new ways of thinking.

6. Answer Quora questions about learning to code. Writing about coding can help you understand it more deeply, and Quora is a great place to share knowledge about the craft.

7. Give the Ruby programming language a shot. Ruby’s fluid syntax makes it a great language to get started with.

8. Experiment with different technologies. You’ll figure out what you like and don’t like, which can help you figure out what type of development you want to focus on moving forward.

9. Inspire someone to learn to code with you. This will always make you more accountable and productive.

10. Don’t forget about the fundamentals. If you truly want to become a developer, you need to learn essential CS concepts like algorithms and data structures.

11. Work with a database. Databases power almost every single web application out there. Learn this stuff.

12. Work with JavaScript. This is a pretty weird programming language. But if you’re learning to code in 2017, you need to learn at least a certain amount of it.

Read more: 18 Things Every Web Developer Should Try At Least Once 

Artificial Intelligence Meets Web Design 

Since its launch way back in the 1980s, the Internet has undergone several evolutions. In the early stages, there was no need for complex, image-based sites with diverse variations in typography, font, or any aspect regarding visual content. However, with the progression of time, such websites are today’s need for any business that wants to establish its online presence.

With this brand-new trend, the demand for elegant web layouts with compelling animated designs has become the present norm. These websites, which have a unique feature to tell stories, leave a considerable impact on the psyche of the customers and users.

Today’s modern-day website, which makes use of artificial intelligence, is an extremely well-weaved and a seemingly complex collection of audio-visual images and content that are designed to convey information so that it leaves a lasting impression on the consumer.

In the present digital age, surfing websites powered with Artificial Intelligence or AI is a grand experience for the user. With millions of dollars pumped into the industry, website designing is a great and profound market.

There are thousands of web designers and trained designing experts who tirelessly work to create captivating websites for end users, be it a business or an individual.

This growing demand has additionally resulted in the emergence and creation of cutting-edge graphic design software, which is used to create gob-smacking designs. The high demand for mesmerizing designs has further attracted one more aspect of the Internet and its technology, which is undisputedly artificial intelligence.

Read more: Artificial Intelligence Meets Web Design 

7 costly social media marketing mistakes 

Social media can be a powerful tool for brand promotion and consumer connection, but what happens when buzz goes bad?

Many businesses and marketers have suffered damage from a social media mistake. These gaffes can happen to any organization at any time, especially because social media is still unfamiliar to many.

A marketer or organization might have the best intentions, but too many simply don’t understand how to make the most of a social media presence and platform. As a result, they jump into social media and wind up with a marketing mess. The best way to avoid these fiascos is to be aware of the digital don’ts—before it’s too late.

To help you avoid backlash with your social media marketing, consider these top seven social media mistakes that you can’t afford to make:

1. Assuming social media marketing is free
Joining an online network might itself cost nothing, but an effective social media strategy demands at least a small investment or it will be a waste of time. Because online platforms don’t prioritize business posts in news feeds, these messages are often buried beneath a slew of others. As a result, it’s impossible for marketers to ensure their posts are seen.

It helps to spend a little money to broaden a company’s social media reach and target specific audiences. Even though this might call for a small investment, it’s likely to have a big payoff in online exposure and engagement.

2. Spending time and money on the wrong social platforms
With so many established and emerging social media platforms today, it can be hard to know which channels are best for engaging the target audience. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a business to waste a lot of time and money on the wrong social platforms. This social media mix-up could be due to incorrect audience research or a prior marketing mistake, but it can cost a company a great deal of effort and expense.

Read more: 7 costly social media marketing mistakes 

Drive Leads with 6 Critical Web Design Elements

There is a lot you can do to drive traffic to your B2B website: on-page search engine optimization (SEO), promoting it on social media channels, search engine marketing (SEM), display ads, direct mailers, and email campaigns, just to name a few.

However, what good is all that great visitor traffic if your website if you aren’t getting any new leads?

While the purpose of a website is not solely to drive leads, it’s often the most tangible ROI of any B2B website. For this very reason, it’s critical that any B2B firm’s website is maximized for lead generation. Below are six tips to start driving more website leads.

Intuitive Layout

Recently, we explored critical considerations for digital marketing and usability along with how this impacts the perception of your brand. It’s essential that your B2B website layout is intuitive, easy to navigate, and prioritizes things your prospects and clients care about.

If your firm’s contact information and access to the products and services you offer are the main concern for prospects, put those at the top of the page. If articles discussing how your products are best utilized or a demo of your products are important to your potential clients, make those very easy to find.

There is no one best layout for a B2B website (hence why template websites aren’t ideal), but the main rule is that you don’t want your users to have to hunt for information. Make everything easy to find and enable users to get to information within one to two clicks.

Read more: Drive Leads with 6 Critical Web Design Elements

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