Social Image Generator + Jetpack

September 13th, 2021 No comments

I feel like my quest to make sure this site had pretty sweet (and automatically-generated) social media images (e.g. Open Graph) came to a close once I found Social Image Generator.

The trajectory there was that I ended up talking about it far too much on ShopTalk, to the point it became a common topic in our Discord (join via Patreon), Andy Bell pointed me at Daniel Post’s Social Image Generator and I immediately bought and installed it. I heard from Daniel over Twitter, and we ended up having long conversations about the plugin and my desires for it. Ultimately, Daniel helped me code up some custom designs and write logic to create different social media image designs depending on the information it had (for example, if we provide quote text, it uses a special design for that).

As you likely know, Automattic has been an awesome and long time sponsor for this site, and we often promote Jetpack as a part of that (as I’m a heavy user of it, it’s easy to talk about). One of Jetpack’s many features is helping out with social media. (I did a video on how we do it.) So, it occurred to me… maybe this would be a sweet feature for Jetpack. I mentioned it to the Automattic team and they were into the idea of talking to Daniel. I introduced them back in May, and now it’s September and… Jetpack Acquires WordPress Plugin Social Image Generator

“When I initially saw Social Image Generator, the functionality looked like a ideal fit with our existing social media tools,’ said James Grierson, General Manager of Jetpack. ‘I look forward to the future functionality and user experience improvements that will come out of this acquisition. The goal of our social product is to help content creators expand their audience through increased distribution and engagement. Social Image Generator will be a key component of helping us deliver this to our customers.”

Daniel will also be joining Jetpack to continue developing Social Image Generator and integrating it with Jetpack’s social media features.

Rob Pugh

Heck yeah, congrats Daniel. My dream for this thing is that, eventually, we could start building social media images via regular WordPress PHP templates. The trick is that you need something to screenshot them, like Puppeteer or Playwright. An average WordPress install doesn’t have that available, but because Jetpack is fundamentally a service that leverages the great WordPress cloud to do above-and-beyond things, this is in the realm of possibility.

WP Tavern also covered the news:

Automattic is always on the prowl for companies that are doing something interesting in the WordPress ecosystem. The Social Image Generator plugin expertly captured a new niche with an interface that feels like a natural part of WordPress and impressed our chief plugin critic, Justin Tadlock, in a recent review.

“Automattic approached me and let me know they were fans of my plugin,” Post said. “And then we started talking to see what it would be like to work together. We were actually introduced by Chris Coyier from CSS-Tricks, who uses both our products.”

Sarah Gooding

Just had to double-toot my own horn there, you understand.


The post Social Image Generator + Jetpack appeared first on CSS-Tricks. You can support CSS-Tricks by being an MVP Supporter.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

Role of Social Media Marketing In Digital Transformation of Business

September 13th, 2021 No comments

Almost everything now takes place online due to technological advancements, so the importance of having a social media presence in a business cannot be understated.

On the other hand, digital transformation is at its peak, every industry wants to upsize its operations without spending hefty bucks. However, Some business owners do not believe digitization is necessary because they believe it is time-consuming and expensive and cannot be replaced by conventional marketing techniques. Well, that is a myth. 

Marketing buzz phrases such as digital transformation, internet marketing, social media, etc. continue to be popular in 2021, and for a good reason. A survey said that more than 70% of businesses’ spending on digital transformation to stay afloat in the highly saturated business world amid the pandemic. Covid-19 has led to the launching of transformation initiatives in 58 percent of organizations that haven’t yet done so. 

Now, we know the meaning of digital transformation but do you ever think about how social media plays a pivotal role? Well, in this blog, we will throw some light on the role of social media in digital transformation and automation of business. Bue before that, let’s summarise the meaning of digital transformation for better understanding. 

What is Digital Transformation?

Source: Gartner 

You have likely heard about digital transformation in some context since it’s become so popular in recent years. Essentially, this is not just a trend but rather a reality that isn’t going anywhere. 

Considering the rapid growth of the digital economy, businesses especially need to know what digital transformation is, what it contains and what strategies and technologies will help them succeed in the years to come. Here, we will share how we mean digital transformation since there are quite a few different definitions of it. 

Organizations can deliver value to customers through digital transformation by disrupting obsolete business methods, rethinking how technology is used, and why it’s crucial to advance into the digital age. It’s about understanding how digital strategies and technologies will lead to greater business efficiency and effectiveness.

Additionally, the digital transformation also includes business processes and company ethics. 

Here, you can consider how a popular ride-sharing company, Uber became a billion-dollar company without owning a single car. Commuters no longer need to roam around streets to find a cab as they can book a taxi online with their smartphones. 

After getting inspired by the success of Uber, many conventional taxi business owners have embraced the Eber Taxi platform because it enables them to automate, digitize, and upscale their operations that they never envisioned. From carrying out promotional activities to oversee business performance, digitization offers much more to businesses. 

Now we all are aware of the meaning and need of digital transformation in the business. So it’s time to discuss how social media accelerates the process of digitization and what role does it play? Here we go. 

Role of Social Media in Business Digital Transformation

Social media’s broad reach and widespread use in the modern digital era has become a solid way to stimulate conversation within the social sphere. There is an area in which people meet, communicate, express themselves, and have fun. It is not something new that social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and others are increasingly popular with individuals, but not everyone is utilizing them to benefit their businesses.

They failed to realize the importance of taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities provided by social media and how it is a great way to market their own businesses. Business Wire said that 84% of B2B buying decisions are made through social media, suggesting that enterprises cannot ignore how social media can contribute to digital transformation.

A recent study conducted by Clutch and Smart Insights evaluated the current state of social media marketing by surveying 344 social media marketers worldwide to determine the importance of social media, the best content to share, common challenges, and what resources businesses use to utilize social media.

And the results are quite shocking. 

  • 52% of social media marketers admit that social media can help them to generate leads, boost sales and revenue. 
  • They also come up with the conclusion that below are the most popular social media platforms.
  • Facebook (2.85 billion users)
  • LinkedIn (774+ million members)
  • YouTube (2.3 billion users)
  • Twitter (206 million users)
  • Instagram (1 billion users)
  • Almost 80% of brands share original content on social media platforms.
  • Social media is more important for B2C brands than B2B companies globally. 

Discover the Role of Social Media in Digital Transformation

Source: Business 2 Community 

Social media plays an important role in business when it comes to reaching the global marketplace and getting more customers. Taking advantage of this tool is one of the most efficient and highly effective ways to attract targeted traffic.

Several ways exist for businesses to use social media to accelerate the success of digital transformation and digital advancements. Let’s check them out.

Upscale Brand Authority

As a result of social media being a platform that cultivates engagement and answers all of your clients’ questions about your brand builds trust and makes your brand more authoritative. You can also demonstrate your expertise in that niche by sharing great content on social media consistently.

As customers become tech-savvy and discriminating, they become more discerning. An interested customer will browse your site and social media before they make a decision. Will the storefront be empty, or will there be an abundance of information? Having robust profiles that you update frequently will help establish your brand as trustworthy, knowledgeable, and approachable and help build your authority on social media.

Boost Your Conversions Rate

Your business can capture targeted leads using social media. People constantly share information about themselves on social media and express their preferences. When creating new content or ads, this helps target them. It is only one part of the equation to generate high-quality leads. And the next most important part is to convert those leads into sales. 

Here are a couple of ways that can help you boost conversion rates through social media.

Generating Social Proof 

Establishing brand credibility online is how social proof works. Prospects will also feel reassured by this. Don’t sound like you’re selling anything. Let them know what your product can do for them. Your website’s reputation can be enhanced by using social proof from social media platforms.

Publish User-Generated Content

You need to create compelling content on social media for your audience. Wouldn’t it be better if your loyal fans created engaging content for you? You are more likely to receive positive mentions from people who already follow you on social media. Your audience can be motivated to take action by featuring them on your profile. Quality content is as good as gold. Social proof increases your brand’s conversions by providing high-quality social proof.

Humanize Your Brand

Social media is not all about likes and comments. According to TIME, the 80-20 rule suggests that 80% of social media posts should be about consumers, while only 20% should be about the business. An approach like this feels more genuine and approachable since it is less sales-driven. Giving your social media presence a human touch by posting a few photos of daily life at the office and involving important stakeholders and speakers is a great way to have conversations about industry topics.

You can see how social media helps you move forward towards the digital transformation process from the above points. 

Social Media as An Digital Transformation Accelerator 

With social media marketing today, we can reach a wider audience than ever before, and it has shown to be a very powerful tool. Social media provides many benefits beyond simply connecting with consumers. Your company can benefit from this tool in other ways, from understanding more about your target audience to building brand awareness to retaining existing customers. Social media has it all. 

It may seem scary and overwhelming to commit to digital transformation, but integrating social media into the process will yield better results than a seamless digital experience.

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Popular Design News of the Week: September 6, 2021 – September 12, 2021

September 12th, 2021 No comments

Every day design fans submit incredible industry stories to our sister-site, Webdesigner News. Our colleagues sift through it, selecting the very best stories from the design, UX, tech, and development worlds and posting them live on the site.

The best way to keep up with the most important stories for web professionals is to subscribe to Webdesigner News or check out the site regularly. However, in case you missed a day this week, here’s a handy compilation of the top curated stories from the last seven days. Enjoy!

Pollen – A Library of CSS Variables Inspired by TailwindCSS

Using the Platform

Why You Should Switch to Code-Based Design

15 Great Chrome Extensions for Web Designers and Developers

Exciting New Tools for Designers, September 2021

24 CSS Javascript Animation Effects

3 Psychological UX Design Principles to Enhance User Experience

UX vs. UI – Which Should You Focus?

Customize TailwindCSS to Give Your Sites a Unique Look

10 Fundamental UI Design Principles You Need to Know

Source

The post Popular Design News of the Week: September 6, 2021 – September 12, 2021 first appeared on Webdesigner Depot.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

8 Talents You Need to Develop a Web Project

September 10th, 2021 No comments

A web developer is a relevant and demanded profession today. According to Glassdoor, at the time of writing, the average web developer salary is $ 70,826 per year.

At the same time, the profession is quite variable. For each project or vacancy, employers require special knowledge from a specialist. But there is a base of skills that every professional must-have. What skills are considered basic and how they can be “pumped” we will analyze them in this article.

https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/web-developer-salary-SRCH_KO0,13.htm

Basic skills that form the basis for a web developer

What are the basic skills for a web developer? This is a general list of required skills that are required for a candidate for a position in a company or for a project. The broader the basic skills and the more a specialist works through them and develops them, the more chances he has of getting a good position. Remember, the market is saturated with competition, so employers are trying to hire talents for web development that are really worthy of attention. 

What are considered core skills?

The list of basic skills is as follows:

  • HTML / CSS
  • Analytics;
  • Responsive design;
  • JavaScript;
  • Testing and debugging;
  • Server works;
  • CEO.

Also, a professional must be able to negotiate, find contact with any customer, be loyal to criticism, edits, and comments.

HTML / CSS markup skills

Markup is the backbone of the foundation for web development. With its help, all sites on the Internet are created. The most common languages are HTML and CSS. The first is the language of creating sites, the second is their styling. Fonts, colors, and other parameters are selected using CSS.

Analytics skills

An analytical mindset enables a web developer to qualify for the best positions and projects. A specialist can apply his abilities in a wide range: from the correct selection of encoding to negotiating with clients. Skills in the field of analytics enable a professional to be flexible, quickly understand and implement the changes that the client wants to see and understand the requirements of the end-user.

Skills in responsive design

Understanding how responsive design works is a must-have skill for a web developer. Today, users are increasingly opening sites not only on laptops and stationary computers, but also on mobile devices, so it is very important to take into account the possibility of changing the screen size when creating a design. An unadapted site will be displayed incorrectly on one of the types of devices, which will negatively affect its promotion and attendance.

JavaScript Skills

JavaScript – Used by web developers to implement complex website functionality. Without Java, it is impossible to add a search function to the site, implement moving pictures, maps with interactive functions, even downloading a video will become a problem. Knowledge of JavaScript improves the qualifications of a web developer, many clients are ready to pay more to such specialists, as this expands the possibilities in creating attractive sites for visitors. Interactive sites are becoming increasingly popular with end users, which is why many employers only consider candidates with these skills.

https://unsplash.com/photos/m_HRfLhgABo

Testing and debugging

Web page validation is a regular procedure that is carried out at every stage of website creation. Testing allows you to detect an error or malfunction at the earliest stage and makes it possible to immediately eliminate it. But finding an error is not enough. You need to debug it in time. Testing can be functional and modular, and having skills in both of these areas allows you to create working sites, debug them and launch them in the shortest possible time.

Server skills

Some employers do not consider these skills necessary. Large companies have in-house developers who are paired with website builders. But in some projects, the customer may indicate the need for skills in working with servers. In addition, they improve the developer’s qualifications and expand his capabilities.

Server skills include an understanding of how servers work, APIs, SQL, databases, and cybersecurity. These aspects relate to the server-side of the site’s functioning. 

SEO or search engine optimization

The website creator must clearly understand how search engines see pages, by what criteria they distinguish them, and bring them to the TOP. SEO tasks are usually handled by a separate specialist, but the developer must know the principles, otherwise, the site will have to be redone and adapted to the requirements of the CEO. Without this match, the site will not show the required traffic, that is, in most cases, it becomes simply useless. Recently, optimization has become more and more interesting for clients, so a web developer with skills in this area has a better chance of getting the desired position or participating in a profitable project.

Negotiating, interpersonal communication

Web developers are specialists who work closely with not only clients and customers themselves, but other professionals as well. Designers, creators of animation, texts, the same SEO specialists – this is one team, within which there should be complete mutual understanding and contact. Working with customers requires the skills of conducting business negotiations, you need to be able to defend your position, price, and professional opinion. Accept comments, criticism without nerves and conflicts.

How to upgrade your skills?

A few words about how a web developer can strengthen his skills and bring them to a whole new level. Having the skills below will help you get the job you want.

1. Coding

The practice decides here. The more codes a specialist writes, the less likely errors will be repeated. You can use special programs that are written for web developers and are freely available on the Internet.

2. Stay on top of innovation

Web programming is one of the fastest-growing areas. If you do not follow the new products, do not master new methods and technologies, it is very easy to be out of work. Specialized online courses are becoming the optimal source of the necessary knowledge.

3. Don’t forget to rest

Due to the constant workload, burnout has become a “plague” that mows down publishers. Talented people leave the profession. Therefore, it is very important to rest, gain strength and motivation to work further.

4. Don’t forget about personal communication skills

Many developers, especially those working remotely, very quickly lose the skill of live and direct communication. This reduces the ability of the specialist to work in a team, and therefore reduces his value.

Each of these skills should be used when writing a resume, in a cover letter, and in an interview.

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Fine-tuning the relationship between branding and marketing

September 10th, 2021 No comments

Your business has no doubt invested a lot of time into many facets of its operations. Two of those will undoubtedly be your branding and your marketing. 

One of these is how your brand looks. The other is how that image is presented to the world. 

And when you look at it like this, it’s easy to see how the two are related. But in reality, brand owners, marketing managers, and other specialists rarely understand how the two work in unison. 

There are many examples of small and medium enterprises that have perfected how their branding and marketing communications complement each other. In this article, we will take a look at a few of them and why they work so well. 

Why marketing and branding need each other

When your brand looks good, it’s a lot easier to spread its name, message, values, and products. That being said, looking ‘good’ is a very subjective term. Knowing what your ideal customer defines as ‘looking good’ is critical – and knowing your ideal customer is a crucial part of marketing any brand. 

Source: Concrete Jungle

Already we can see how branding and marketing are overlapping. 

When your brand has a design system that’s echoed over several channels, you make it easier to appeal to that ideal customer. Marketing channels like social media, your website, as well as letterheads and email signatures, should have your brand’s imagery. 

Consider for a moment the role of packaging in an eCommerce brand. 

A small boutique selling apparel made from locally sourced and organic materials may use those values in its marketing and branding. The area that the materials are sourced from may be part of the marketing message, the same with the fact that those materials are organic and no chemicals have been used to process them. 

Such a brand can implement eco friendly packaging to bolster further their commitment to using environmentally friendly materials. This move can support their marketing efforts and create another branding opportunity. 

The values of these actions amalgamate to help your customer ‘feel’ what your business stands for. Your branding is a pathway to present that ‘feel’ to your customers, while your marketing helps you find more customers to ‘feel’ your brand. 

When effective branding is implementing by a stable business build around a good product, your customer is in a prime position to remember your product and why it’s different from your competitors. 

Quality branding helps your User Generated Content, too. 

Simply put, User-Generated Content is pictures, reviews, videos, and such featuring your product, created by your customers. Without going into too much detail, it’s a fantastic way for trusted content creators to spread your brand’s name around their engaged audience. It is also excellent at proving that your business is real and it creates a good product. 

Take, for example, unboxing videos. 

Unboxing videos are:

Pretty impressive numbers for a video that’s little more than your product being taken out of a box. 

Video source

Video marketing, in the form of unboxing videos a perfect example of marketing (user-generated content) overlapping with branding (customised small business supplies). 

This is a perfect example of how good branding (quality packaging) enhances your marketing efforts (user-generated content).

The rewards are simply more significant and more long-term when marketing and branding work together. 

Consider the following word: Nike.

What first comes to mind?

  • the goddess of victory
  • The US anti-air defence missile system from the 60s
  • ‘Just do it’

It’s the tick, Air Jordan’s, and sport that comes to your mind. 

The fact that ‘just do it (Nike’s marketing) and the tick (branding) is the first thing that enters your mind is proof that both elements are working in unison. 

Subway. 

  • A form of mass transport, often used underground in urban populations
  • ‘Eat Fresh’

Just another example of how your brand can use these two creatures side by side. 

Using your branding for marketing purposes

Hemp Juice is a manufacturer of CBD oils. This market has exploded since society has been made more aware of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Regulations have also been changed to allow the product to be taxed and sold. 

The brand has gone in a unique direction with its branding. When many competitors have taken the cold and sterile medical/clinical approach to branding, Hemp Juice uses warm colours, round shapes, and informal copywriting

They take this approach as they know that their target audience doesn’t necessarily need the ‘medical’ image to be convinced of the product’s effectiveness. This is because Hemp Juice’s audience is more than likely already familiar with such a product. 

Hemp Juice’s branding strategy complements its marketing when we take a look at its use of colour. 

The company sells several types of oils in the same tincture bottles, yet each formula has a different strength and is designed to have a different effect on the user. 

On retail store shelves, the array of colours pop and stand out, drawing in the potential customer’s eye – a great retail marketing tactic. 

For their eCommerce store, it’s a quick and easy way for users to understand that ‘this colour has this effect’ – a great way to speed up the buying process. 

Here we see how good branding complements both online and offline marketing. 

Social media marketing and branding

Nearly 4 billion (yes, with a ‘B’) have access to and use social media. With consumers in the US and Europe now wanting to keep their money in local communities and move away from large corporations, the power of social media marketing has never had the potential it does today. 

In other words, social media is a marketing channel that’s ripe for your business’ branding. 

However, you’ll only garner notoriety and brand recognition on social media if you create the right content, speak to the right people and present your brand with the right imagery. 

This is a great moment to remind you, whether you’re a marketing manager, brand owner, or budding entrepreneur, that ‘branding’ consists of much more than a fancy logo and sleek colour palette. 

Your branding is your word choice, the vocabulary used in your messaging, and it’s the tone you use when writing blog content. It’s the faces and body language of the presenters in your video content and all the greetings your customer service staff use. 

Tailoring your ‘branding’ to the right marketing channel, whether a social media platform or not, is crucial. 

LinkedIn, a social media channel more tuned for a B2B brand, is obviously a lot more professional than, for example, Instagram. This, therefore, dictates the way that you use your tone of voice to communicate a message. Similarly, a flash sale of 15% off probably won’t get much traction on LinkedIn. Instead, it’s a channel ripe for your brand to talk about challenges your industry faces, present your businesses’ values, and attract a different type of customer. 

Mr Fothergills is a British retailer of seeds, bulbs, and other plant varieties. 

They use Instagram, a very visual social media channel, to present the quality of their products and explain how to get the most out of their products and general gardening tips, and sharing the content of their other customers. 

The tone of voice is consistent on all posts, as are the responses to any comments left. The content shows off the high quality of their products, and overall, it’s very appealing to look at as you scroll through your Instagram feed. The content is tailored to that medium, while the marketing presents the brand’s values. 

Mr Fothergills’ LinkedIn tells a different story. 

Here, they discuss content involving the export of goods to Europe post-Brexit. This is something that has an effect on the company’s B2B or enterprise clients. They still communicate with a friendly and open tone of voice, creating that consistent marketing message. Their values are still focused on a quality product, again showing that the company uses its branding effectively in their marketing efforts. 

Fine-tuning your word use and the messages you push in all marketing channels, not just social media, is core to making your branding help your marketing. 

Branding, your image, customer loyalty, and marketing

It’s much cheaper, easier, and faster to get a customer to buy from you again, rather than convince a customer to buy from you for the first time. This is where the power of customer loyalty really starts to make an impact on your bottom line. 

Good branding and marketing, accompanied by a great product, naturally create and foster customer retention. As a result of the above, your brand’s name stays in the customer’s mind, and they’re more satisfied with your brand. 

This retention rests heavily on the trust that your branding and marketing initially built between you and that customer. Consumers often remember how they first heard about your brand!

When marketing to reactivate past buyers, consider a different message to build that relationship. If your product competes on price and tries to be the lowest, add more value to the sale to increase average cart spend and live time value. You can do this in the form of buy one get one free or an extended warranty. 

Remember, though; it’s hard to change your brand’s image at this point. Suppose your brand is seen as one of high quality and rugged durability. In that case, it’s going to be challenging to make a customer start to see you as affordable, accessible to everyone, and produced en masse. 

The way that you promote incentives to reactivate past customers can also affect your image. If your brand prides itself on elegance, luxury, exclusivity, and opulence, a flash sale with 20% off everything will more than likely undermine that image. 

Branding and marketing symbiosis

Every customer-facing channel of your business is prime for your branding and marketing efforts to spread your products, name, values, and morals. Making your branding complement your marketing efforts and vice versa isn’t particularly hard, but not many brands consider the symbiotic relationship between the two. 

At the end of the day, your marketing efforts are never really done, and your branding can continuously evolve and change should your buyers’ sentiment also shift.

Categories: Others Tags:

Fine-tuning the relationship between branding and marketing

September 10th, 2021 No comments

Your business has no doubt invested a lot of time into many facets of its operations. Two of those will undoubtedly be your branding and your marketing. 

One of these is how your brand looks. The other is how that image is presented to the world. 

And when you look at it like this, it’s easy to see how the two are related. But in reality, brand owners, marketing managers, and other specialists rarely understand how the two work in unison. 

There are many examples of small and medium enterprises that have perfected how their branding and marketing communications complement each other. In this article, we will take a look at a few of them and why they work so well. 

Why marketing and branding need each other

When your brand looks good, it’s a lot easier to spread its name, message, values, and products. That being said, looking ‘good’ is a very subjective term. Knowing what your ideal customer defines as ‘looking good’ is critical – and knowing your ideal customer is a crucial part of marketing any brand. 

Source: Concrete Jungle

Already we can see how branding and marketing are overlapping. 

When your brand has a design system that’s echoed over several channels, you make it easier to appeal to that ideal customer. Marketing channels like social media, your website, as well as letterheads and email signatures, should have your brand’s imagery. 

Consider for a moment the role of packaging in an eCommerce brand. 

A small boutique selling apparel made from locally sourced and organic materials may use those values in its marketing and branding. The area that the materials are sourced from may be part of the marketing message, the same with the fact that those materials are organic and no chemicals have been used to process them. 

Such a brand can implement eco friendly packaging to bolster further their commitment to using environmentally friendly materials. This move can support their marketing efforts and create another branding opportunity. 

The values of these actions amalgamate to help your customer ‘feel’ what your business stands for. Your branding is a pathway to present that ‘feel’ to your customers, while your marketing helps you find more customers to ‘feel’ your brand. 

When effective branding is implementing by a stable business build around a good product, your customer is in a prime position to remember your product and why it’s different from your competitors. 

Quality branding helps your User Generated Content, too. 

Simply put, User-Generated Content is pictures, reviews, videos, and such featuring your product, created by your customers. Without going into too much detail, it’s a fantastic way for trusted content creators to spread your brand’s name around their engaged audience. It is also excellent at proving that your business is real and it creates a good product. 

Take, for example, unboxing videos. 

Unboxing videos are:

Pretty impressive numbers for a video that’s little more than your product being taken out of a box. 

Video source

Video marketing, in the form of unboxing videos a perfect example of marketing (user-generated content) overlapping with branding (customised small business supplies). 

This is a perfect example of how good branding (quality packaging) enhances your marketing efforts (user-generated content).

The rewards are simply more significant and more long-term when marketing and branding work together. 

Consider the following word: Nike.

What first comes to mind?

  • the goddess of victory
  • The US anti-air defence missile system from the 60s
  • ‘Just do it’

It’s the tick, Air Jordan’s, and sport that comes to your mind. 

The fact that ‘just do it (Nike’s marketing) and the tick (branding) is the first thing that enters your mind is proof that both elements are working in unison. 

Subway. 

  • A form of mass transport, often used underground in urban populations
  • ‘Eat Fresh’

Just another example of how your brand can use these two creatures side by side. 

Using your branding for marketing purposes

Hemp Juice is a manufacturer of CBD oils. This market has exploded since society has been made more aware of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Regulations have also been changed to allow the product to be taxed and sold. 

The brand has gone in a unique direction with its branding. When many competitors have taken the cold and sterile medical/clinical approach to branding, Hemp Juice uses warm colours, round shapes, and informal copywriting. 

They take this approach as they know that their target audience doesn’t necessarily need the ‘medical’ image to be convinced of the product’s effectiveness. This is because Hemp Juice’s audience is more than likely already familiar with such a product. 

Hemp Juice’s branding strategy complements its marketing when we take a look at its use of colour. 

The company sells several types of oils in the same tincture bottles, yet each formula has a different strength and is designed to have a different effect on the user. 

On retail store shelves, the array of colours pop and stand out, drawing in the potential customer’s eye – a great retail marketing tactic. 

For their eCommerce store, it’s a quick and easy way for users to understand that ‘this colour has this effect’ – a great way to speed up the buying process. 

Here we see how good branding complements both online and offline marketing. 

Social media marketing and branding

Nearly 4 billion (yes, with a ‘B’) have access to and use social media. With consumers in the US and Europe now wanting to keep their money in local communities and move away from large corporations, the power of social media marketing has never had the potential it does today. 

In other words, social media is a marketing channel that’s ripe for your business’ branding. 

However, you’ll only garner notoriety and brand recognition on social media if you create the right content, speak to the right people and present your brand with the right imagery. 

This is a great moment to remind you, whether you’re a marketing manager, brand owner, or budding entrepreneur, that ‘branding’ consists of much more than a fancy logo and sleek colour palette. 

Your branding is your word choice, the vocabulary used in your messaging, and it’s the tone you use when writing blog content. It’s the faces and body language of the presenters in your video content and all the greetings your customer service staff use. 

Tailoring your ‘branding’ to the right marketing channel, whether a social media platform or not, is crucial. 

LinkedIn, a social media channel more tuned for a B2B brand, is obviously a lot more professional than, for example, Instagram. This, therefore, dictates the way that you use your tone of voice to communicate a message. Similarly, a flash sale of 15% off probably won’t get much traction on LinkedIn. Instead, it’s a channel ripe for your brand to talk about challenges your industry faces, present your businesses’ values, and attract a different type of customer. 

Mr Fothergills is a British retailer of seeds, bulbs, and other plant varieties. 

They use Instagram, a very visual social media channel, to present the quality of their products and explain how to get the most out of their products and general gardening tips, and sharing the content of their other customers. 

The tone of voice is consistent on all posts, as are the responses to any comments left. The content shows off the high quality of their products, and overall, it’s very appealing to look at as you scroll through your Instagram feed. The content is tailored to that medium, while the marketing presents the brand’s values. 

Mr Fothergills’ LinkedIn tells a different story. 

Here, they discuss content involving the export of goods to Europe post-Brexit. This is something that has an effect on the company’s B2B or enterprise clients. They still communicate with a friendly and open tone of voice, creating that consistent marketing message. Their values are still focused on a quality product, again showing that the company uses its branding effectively in their marketing efforts. 

Fine-tuning your word use and the messages you push in all marketing channels, not just social media, is core to making your branding help your marketing. 

Branding, your image, customer loyalty, and marketing

It’s much cheaper, easier, and faster to get a customer to buy from you again, rather than convince a customer to buy from you for the first time. This is where the power of customer loyalty really starts to make an impact on your bottom line. 

Good branding and marketing, accompanied by a great product, naturally create and foster customer retention. As a result of the above, your brand’s name stays in the customer’s mind, and they’re more satisfied with your brand. 

This retention rests heavily on the trust that your branding and marketing initially built between you and that customer. Consumers often remember how they first heard about your brand!

When marketing to reactivate past buyers, consider a different message to build that relationship. If your product competes on price and tries to be the lowest, add more value to the sale to increase average cart spend and live time value. You can do this in the form of buy one get one free or an extended warranty. 

Remember, though; it’s hard to change your brand’s image at this point. Suppose your brand is seen as one of high quality and rugged durability. In that case, it’s going to be challenging to make a customer start to see you as affordable, accessible to everyone, and produced en masse. 

The way that you promote incentives to reactivate past customers can also affect your image. If your brand prides itself on elegance, luxury, exclusivity, and opulence, a flash sale with 20% off everything will more than likely undermine that image. 

Branding and marketing symbiosis

Every customer-facing channel of your business is prime for your branding and marketing efforts to spread your products, name, values, and morals. Making your branding complement your marketing efforts and vice versa isn’t particularly hard, but not many brands consider the symbiotic relationship between the two. 

At the end of the day, your marketing efforts are never really done, and your branding can continuously evolve and change should your buyers’ sentiment also shift.

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Improve Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) on Your Website With Ease

September 9th, 2021 No comments

(This is a sponsored post.)

Optimizing the user experience you offer on your website is essential for the success of any online business. Google does use different user experience-related metrics to rank web pages for SEO and has continued to provide multiple tools to measure and improve web performance.

In its recent attempt to simplify the measurement and understanding of what qualifies as a good user experience, Google standardized the page’s user experience metrics.

These standardized metrics are called Core Web Vitals and help evaluate the real-world user experience on your web page.

Largest Contentful Paint or LCP is one of the Core Web Vitals metrics, which measures when the largest content element in the viewport becomes visible. While other metrics like TTFB and First Contentful Paint also help measure the page experience, they do not represent when the page has become “meaningful” for the user.

Usually, unless the largest element on the page becomes completely visible, the page may not provide much context for the user. LCP is, therefore, more representative of the user’s expectations.As a Core Web Vital metric, LCP accounts for 25% of the Performance Score, making it one of the most important metrics to optimize.

Checking your LCP time

As per Google, the types of elements considered for Largest Contentful Paint are:

  • elements
  • elements inside an element
  • elements (the poster image is used)
  • An element with a background image loaded via the url() function (as opposed to a CSS gradient)
  • Block-level elements containing text nodes or other inline-level text elements children.

Now, there are multiple ways to measure the LCP of your page.

The easiest ways to measure it are PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, Search Console (Core Web Vitals Report), and the Chrome User Experience Report.

For example, Google PageSpeed Insights in its report indicates the element considered for calculating the LCP.

What is a good LCP time?

To provide a good user experience, you should strive to have a Largest Contentful Paint of 2.5 seconds or less on your website. A majority of your page loads should be happening under this threshold.

Now that we know what is LCP and what our target should be let’s look at ways to improve LCP on our website.

How to optimize Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

The underlying principle of reducing LCP in all of the techniques mentioned below is to reduce the data downloaded on the user’s device and reduce the time it takes to send and execute that content.

1. Optimize your images

On most websites, the above-the-fold content usually contains a large image which gets considered for LCP. It could either be a hero image, a banner, or a carousel. It is, therefore, crucial that you optimize these images for a better LCP.

To optimize your images, you should use a third-party image CDN like ImageKit.io. The advantage of using a third-party image CDN is that you can focus on your actual business and leave image optimization to the image CDN.

The image CDN would stay at the edge of technology evolution, and you always get the best possible features with minimum ongoing investment.

ImageKit is a complete real-time image CDN that integrates with any existing cloud storage like AWS S3, Azure, Google Cloud Storage, etc. It even comes with its integrated image storage and manager called the Media Library.

Here is how ImageKit can help you improve your LCP score.

1. Deliver your images in lighter formats

ImageKit detects if the user’s browser supports modern lighter formats like WebP or AVIF and automatically delivers the image in the lightest possible format in real-time. Formats like WebP are over 30% lighter compared to their JPEG equivalents.

2. Automatically compress your images

Not just converting the image to the correct format, ImageKit also compresses your image to a smaller size. In doing so, it balances the image’s visual quality and the output size.

You get the option to alter the compression level (or quality) in real-time by just changing a URL parameter, thereby balancing your business requirements of visual quality and load time.

3. Provide real-time transformations for responsive images

Google uses mobile-first indexing for almost all websites. It is therefore essential to optimize LCP for mobile more than that for desktop. Every image needs to be scaled down to as per the layout’s requirement.

For example, you would need the image in a smaller size on the product listing page and a larger size on the product detail page. This resizing ensures that you are not sending any additional bytes than what is required for that particular page.

ImageKit allows you to transform responsive images in real-time just by adding the corresponding transformation in the image URL. For example, the following image is resized to width 200px and height 300px by adding the height and width transformation parameters in its URL.

4. Cache images and improve delivery time

Image CDNs use a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver the images. Using a CDN ensures that images load from a location closer to the user instead of your server, which could be halfway across the globe.

ImageKit, for example, uses AWS Cloudfront as its CDN, which has over 220 deliver nodes globally. A vast majority of the images get loaded in less than 50ms. Additionally, it uses the proper caching directives to cache the images on the user’s device, CDN nodes, and even its processing network for a faster load time.

This helps to improve LCP on your website.

2. Preload critical resources

There are certain cases where the browser may not prioritize loading a visually important resource that impacts LCP. For example, a banner image above the fold could be specified as a background image inside a CSS file. Since the browser would never know about this image until the CSS file is downloaded and parsed along with the DOM tree, it will not prioritize loading it.

For such resources, you can preload them by adding a tag with a rel= "preload" attribute to the head section of your HTML document.

<!-- Example of preloading -->
<link rel="preload" src="banner_image.jpg" />

While you can preload multiple resources in a document, you should always restrict it to above-the-fold images or videos, page-wide font files, or critical CSS and JS files.

3. Reduce server response times

If your server takes long to respond to a request, then the time it takes to render the page on the screen also goes up. It, therefore, negatively affects every page speed metric, including LCP. To improve your server response times, here is what you should do.

1. Analyze and optimize your servers

A lot of computation, DB queries, and page construction happens on the server. You should analyze the requests going to your servers and identify the possible bottlenecks for responding to the requests. It could be a DB query slowing things down or the building of the page on your server.

You can apply best practices like caching of DB responses, pre-rendering of pages, amongst others, to reduce the time it takes for your server to respond to requests.

Of course, if the above does not improve the response time, you might need to increase your server capacity to handle the number of requests coming in.

2. Use a Content Delivery Network

We have already seen above that using an image CDN like ImageKit improves the loading time for your images. Your users get the content delivered from a CDN node close to their location in milliseconds.

You should extend the same to other content on your website. Using a CDN for your static content like JS, CSS, and font files will significantly speed up their load time. ImageKit does support the delivery of static content through its systems.

You can also try to use a CDN for your HTML and APIs to cache those responses on the CDN nodes. Given the dynamic nature of such content, using a CDN for HTML or APIs can be a lot more complex than using a CDN for static content.

3. Preconnect to third-party origins

If you use third-party domains to deliver critical above-the-fold content like JS, CSS, or images, then you would benefit by indicating to the browser that a connection to that third-party domain needs to be made as soon as possible. This is done using the rel="preconnect" attribute of the tag.

<link rel="preconnect" href="https://static.example.com" />

With preconnect in place, the browser can save the domain connection time when it downloads the actual resource later.

Subdomains like static.example.com, of your main website domain example.com are also third-party domains in this context.

You can also use the dns-prefetch as a fallback in browsers that don’t support preconnect. This directive instructs the browser to complete the DNS resolution to the third-party domain even if it cannot establish a proper connection.

4. Serve content cache-first using a Service Worker

Service workers can intercept requests originating from the user’s browser and serve cached responses for the same. This allows us to cache static assets and HTML responses on the user’s device and serve them without going to the network.

While the service worker cache serves the same purpose as the HTTP or browser cache, it offers fine-grained control and can work even if the user is offline. You can also use service workers to serve precached content from the cache to users on slow network speeds, thereby bringing down LCP time.

5. Compress text files

Any text-based data you load on your webpage should be compressed when transferred over the network using a compression algorithm like gzip or Brotli. SVGs, JSONs, API responses, JS and CSS files, and your main page’s HTML are good candidates for compression using these algorithms. This compression significantly reduces the amount of data that will get downloaded on page load, therefore bringing down the LCP.

4. Remove render-blocking resources

When the browser receives the HTML page from your server, it parses the DOM tree. If there is any external stylesheet or JS file in the DOM, the browser has to pause for them before moving ahead with the parsing of the remaining DOM tree.

These JS and CSS files are called render-blocking resources and delay the LCP time. Here are some ways to reduce the blocking time for JS and CSS files:

1. Do not load unnecessary bundles

Avoid shipping huge bundles of JS and CSS files to the browser if they are not needed. If the CSS can be downloaded a lot later, or a JS functionality is not needed on a particular page, there is no reason to load it up front and block the render in the browser.

Suppose you cannot split a particular file into smaller bundles, but it is not critical to the functioning of the page either. In that case, you can use the defer attribute of the script tag to indicate to the browser that it can go ahead with the DOM parsing and continue to execute the JS file at a later stage. Adding the defer attribute removes any blocker for DOM parsing. The LCP, therefore, goes down.

2. Inline critical CSS

Critical CSS comprises the style definitions needed for the DOM that appears in the first fold of your page. If the style definitions for this part of the page are inline, i.e., in each element’s style attribute, the browser has no dependency on the external CSS to style these elements. Therefore, it can render the page quickly, and the LCP goes down.

3. Minify and compress the content

You should always minify the CSS and JS files before loading them in the browser. CSS and JS files contain whitespace to make them legible, but they are unnecessary for code execution. So, you can remove them, which reduces the file size on production. Smaller file size means that the files can load quickly, thereby reducing your LCP time.

Compression techniques, as discussed earlier, use data compression algorithms to bring down the file size delivered over the network. Gzip and Brotli are two compression algorithms. Brotli compression offers a superior compression ratio compared to Gzip and is now supported on all major browsers, servers, and CDNs.

5. Optimize LCP for client-side rendering

Any client-side rendered website requires a considerable amount of Javascript to load in the browser. If you do not optimize the Javascript sent to the browser, then the user may not see or be able to interact with any content on the page until the Javascript has been downloaded and executed.

We discussed a few JS-related optimizations above, like optimizing the bundles sent to the browser and compressing the content. There are a couple of more things you can do to optimize the rendering on client devices.

1. Using server-side rendering

Instead of shipping the entire JS to the client-side and doing all the rendering there, you can generate the page dynamically on the server and then send it to the client’s device. This would increase the time it takes to generate the page, but it will decrease the time it takes to make a page active in the browser.

However, maintaining both client-side and server-side frameworks for the same page can be time-consuming.

2. Using pre-rendering

Pre-rendering is a different technique where a headless browser mimics a regular user’s request and gets the server to render the page. This rendered page is stored during the build cycle once, and then every subsequent request uses that pre-rendered page without any computation on the server, resulting in a fast load time.

This improves the TTFB compared to server-side rendering because the page is prepared beforehand. But the time to interactive might still take a hit as it has to wait for the JS to download for the page to become interactive. Also, since this technique requires pre-rendering of pages, it may not be scalable if you have a large number of pages.

Conclusion

Core Web Vitals, which include LCP, have become a significant search ranking factor and strongly correlate with the user experience. Therefore, if you run an online business, you should optimize these vitals to ensure the success of the same.

The above techniques have a significant impact on optimizing LCP. Using ImageKit as your image CDN will give you a quick headstart.

Sign-up for a forever free account, upload your images to the ImageKit storage, or connect your origin, and start delivering optimized images in minutes.


The post Improve Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) on Your Website With Ease appeared first on CSS-Tricks. You can support CSS-Tricks by being an MVP Supporter.

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Why AI is Critical to the Future of Customer Engagement

September 9th, 2021 No comments

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is arguably the most talked-about technology in the recent decade.

While there are still several AI-based solutions still in the development stage, there are several others that are helping businesses, as well as customers, save time, effort, and expenses. In this article, we will discuss some of the solutions powered by AI that are helping Customer Engagements in various ways.

Quick Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

AI is a branch of computer science aimed at enabling machines to replicate human intelligence to collect and process information. And even to make decisions. AI inhibits traits, such as intelligence, problem-solving skills and is able to learn much quicker than humans.

Depending on the overall capabilities, AI can further be classified into Narrow AI, General AI, and Super AI. Its usability can vary from virtual voice assistance (Google OK, Alexa, Siri, etc.) for individual users to a set of complex functionalities that can empower some of the key business functions. A report predicts that the AI market size will reach US$ 270 billion by the end of 2027.

Impact on Digital Mediums

There is hardly any industry that AI has not touched yet. Across industries, AI has fully replaced some of the human tasks and most of it has been in the digital segments. A greater dependency on computers and a large amount of available data is the core reason that makes AI more impactful for digital mediums.

Various digital platforms from SaaS businesses to social media are using AI in various formats to transform the user experience while adding efficiency with time and expenses. The kind of ads that are shown to users on social media, filters suggested in the photo editing app, songs that music service recommends, and the way chatbots interact with users are personalized and unique for each user based on their previous interactions or available data. The manual effort in these customizations is minimal and mostly limited to R&D, which AI delivers most of the execution on its own. At the end of the user or customer, this experience is supposed to be more impressive and satisfying.

Use Case and impact on Customer Engagement

Customer engagement is probably the most crucial element for the cloud contact center; so much that several business experts claim it to be more important than the product or service they offer. Obviously, such crucial roles will not shy away from adopting the technologies that promise to improvise the operations. Hence, we already have several use cases of AI in customer engagement.

1. Virtual Assistance

AI is being used as personal assistants like Alexa, Amazon Echo, Siri, etc. which can perform the daily tasks for us and when we talk with them they will find an answer and reply like a human. AI-Powered assistants like this have not only attracted customers but it does change the way of living for Humans. 

2. Customer Service

Customers need better service and they do have options in the market so if you are not adopting according to their requirements then sadly you have to shut your business. We have seen AI-Powered chatbots in messaging apps such as skype, slack, Facebook messenger. The chatbot market size is to grow from US$2.9 billion in 2020 to US$10.5 billion by 2026. Many Brands have their own chatbots such as Nestle has NINA, HDFC Bank has EVA which is considered as the most advanced chatbot, SBI Cards has ILA, and Alibaba has ALiMe.

3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

AI-enabled tools and software have more capabilities. We have seen the use of AI in CRM’s where AI collects the information and predicts the customer’s need or requirement. Digital marketers also use Google Analytics or Google search console for pulling the data and suggesting or predicting the next possible move for you.

4. Computer vision/AR/VR

Integration of AI in computer vision transformed the computers into supercomputers and analyzing vehicles has been so easy that it helped law enforcement officers to put a penalty on breaking rules. Augmented reality & Virtual Reality is already using AI & have the potential to revolutionize the world with their amazing functions.

AI in Future of Customer Engagement

Even with a massive impact on the customer experience across industries and sizes, there is a lot where AI is yet to make a significant impact. Here are some of the key reasons why AI is going to play a crucial role in the future of customer engagement.

1. A better understanding of customers

Without a doubt, understanding the customer is the core of your customer engagement quality. Interestingly, customer’s requirements and expectations from the brand are growing at an unprecedented rate and most brands are just trying to catch up instead of planning ahead of time.

AI’s contribution in this aspect is probably going to be the most important. With the available data and analysis, it can help businesses predict the upcoming trends faster. Utilizing which brands can understand their customers better and uplift their contact centers and other touchpoints better.

2. Proactive approach in query resolution

In the near future, it is highly unlikely that there will be a system where customers have zero queries/issues with the brand. However, it is always possible for businesses to find out ways to resolve the queries faster. Chatbots and voice bots are assisting in that by automating replies to standard queries from the customers. However, AI has the potential of going a step further and answering complex queries as well.

AI should not be limited to answering the queries, but it can even take certain actions to automate the process further. Human intervention can be reduced to the approval step only. This will minimize the load on your agents, who can spend their time addressing more humane requirements of the customers.

3. Hyper-personalization with effective compliance adherence

Knowing customers better to help them better is something that every business wants and that can be achieved by collecting and processing customer data appropriately. However, data sharing and utilization is a genuine concern for customers. AI can bring in the much-needed compliance adherence in the system to address these concerns of the customers. It will enable a safer environment for the customers while enhancing the trust in the brands.

Wrapping Up Thoughts

While some may say that the growth and implementation of Artificial Intelligence are not as much as it was expected some years back, there is no doubt that AI has turned into a resource that no business can afford to ignore. There seems to be a massive potential in AI technology and the faster you adapt it for your customer engagement, the more rewarding it will be for your business.

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Don’t attach tooltips to document.body

September 8th, 2021 No comments

Here’s Atif Afzal on using a

that is permanently on the page where tooltips are added/removed and how they perform vastly better than plopping those same tooltips right into the . It’s not really discussed, but the reason you put them that high-up in the DOM is so you can absolutely position them exactly where you need to on the page without having to deal with hidden overflow or relative parents and the like.

To my amazement, just having a separate container without even adding the [CSS] contain property fixed the performance. The main problem now, was to explain it. First I thought this might be some internal browser heuristic optimizing the Recalculate Style, but there is no black magic and I discovered the reason.

The trick is to avoid forced recalculations of style:

[…] The tooltip container is not visible in the page, so modifying it doesn’t invalidate the complete page render tree. If the tooltip container would have been visible in the page, then the complete render tree would be invalidated but in this case only an independent subtree was invalidated. Recalculating Style for a small subtree of 3 doesn’t take a lot of time and hence is faster.

Looks like popper.js was used here, so you have to be smart about it. We use toast messages on CodePen, and it’s the only third-party component we use at the moment: react-hot-toast. I checked it, and not only do we tuck the messages in a

of our own, but the library itself does that, so I think we’re in the clear.


The post Don’t attach tooltips to document.body appeared first on CSS-Tricks. You can support CSS-Tricks by being an MVP Supporter.

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The Top 6 Common Mistakes That Increase Website Loading Time

September 8th, 2021 No comments

In this day and age on the internet, users have no patience for websites with poor loading speeds or substandard performance.

Half a second can make a world of difference on whether or not someone stays on your site. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each second of load time according to a study by Portent. Simply put, allowing your website to be bogged down by oversized images, unoptimized files, or shoddy design can be the downfall of any website in 2021. 

Topics like optimization, compression, and content delivery networks can be a pain to master. Add on top of that Google’s new Core Web Vitals implementation that every web professional is scrambling to understand and you’ve got yourself a lot of homework to guarantee your website ranks well. Your users expect your web pages to load fast, and they won’t stick around if they don’t. It’s important to know what to avoid when building your site in order for it to perform. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top five common mistakes that increase website loading time.

1. A low score on Google’s Core Web Vitals

Google started to roll out its new search ranking metrics, referred to as Core Web Vitals, in mid-June 2021. These metrics are designed to help web professionals and site owners optimize websites for a streamlined user experience. Each one of the Core Web Vitals provides the desired benchmark for a specific factor, based on the user experience of an average site visitor.

The Core Web Vitals are three metrics that Google has identified as crucial in affecting website load time and search ranking. The first is Largest Contentful Paint, which is calculated by the time it takes for a page’s main content to load, with the ideal measurement being faster than 2.5 seconds. First Input Delay is the second metric. This is the time it takes for a page to become interactive, with the ideal measurement being under 100 milliseconds.

The final vital statistic is the Cumulative Layout Shift. It’s frustrating to website users when an entire site seems to change its layout just as they’re about to click on a link. This is due to a site being designed with a complete disregard for Cumulative Layout Shift. The amount of unexpected shift in the visual layout of page content should be less than 0.1%.

Describing the finer details of Google’s Core Web Vitals can easily make up an entire article on its own. There are many resources online that can further assist you in making sure your websites meet all of Google’s desired benchmarks, but understanding how they affect your website’s load time before starting a build can go a long way in avoiding complex site changes in the future.

2. Images that are not optimized properly

Do you remember back in the early 2000s when dial-up internet was still a thing and websites would load a huge image painfully slow down your screen? We may have much faster internet today, but this issue surprisingly persists on websites that are not designed properly. All of the images you use on your site need to be resized and compressed to reduce their total file size. This immediately improves how fast they load on your website. The other key to making sure your images load rapidly is to use modern file formats that are optimized for website loading speed. These file types include Google’s WebP, JPEG XR, and AVIF. And I know what you’re saying, what about good ol’ JPGs or PNGs? Despite their popularity, JPGs and PNGs are terribly slow to load if they are not optimized and are no longer the standard. You’ll begin to see their use in web design be phased out more in the coming years as more web professionals catch on that they’re old news. Which leads us to…

3. Files that are not minified and compressed

When designing a website, it is crucial that you minify the files you use in your design whenever possible. Minification means removing all the extra spaces, line breaks, comments, and just about anything else that is non-essential for your users to see. After putting your files through minification, it is critical that you compress them to further optimize loading time. When a browser visits your website, you want the file to be zipped up for quick delivery by using GZIP or Brotli. Compressing all of your files into a ZIP archive will go a long way in making sure your website moves quickly. Think of it as a way of packaging files together at once.

For example, when you’re moving between houses, you don’t pick up things one at a time as you move; you neatly package them to make moving everything at once much easier and faster. The same applies to zipping files for rapid delivery on your website. The graph below can provide insight into how compression affects site speed. Once you begin to minify and compress your files, you’ll notice a world of difference in website loading time. 

4. Not deferring or delaying the loading of JavaScript

The saying, “Do your hardest task first” does not apply in the world of web design. In fact, the phrase would be the opposite, “Do your hardest task last.” When designing for rapid load times, you want to place any type of JavaScript used on your site towards the end of the page or bottom of the HTML.

You should prioritize content at the top of your website such as the navigation menu, header, and hero image. It’s clever to move all of your slow and complex JavaScript to the bottom of the page to make sure all of the content up top loads immediately. There may be some critical pieces of JavaScript that need to load earlier, but deferring most of it will benefit your website’s loading time. This way you save all of the stuff that is rough on your website’s loading time to be loaded after the site visitor has a chance to get started browsing.

5. Forgetting to load JavaScript and CS files asynchronously

Why would you do one task at a time when you have the ability to multitask? This is the mindset in play when deferring or asynchronously loading your JavaScript and CS files. JavaScript is an essential part of any modern web application, and the way you decide to load it has a direct impact on your website’s load speed. Novice web professionals are notorious for failing to load JavaScript and CS files asynchronously, which can really bog down your website’s loading time. Loading everything simultaneously, on the other hand, allows your browser to download everything in parallel — rather than in stages. This results in a much faster website load time. 

6. Disregarding a CDN

It is vital that you leverage a CDN when designing your website for speed. According to a study by BuiltWith, over 41% of the top 10,000 websites are using a CDN, and it’s easy to see why. A CDN, or Content Delivery Network, has servers all over the world. When a user goes to your website that utilizes a CDN, the server closest to your location will be used. Since the server is local, your internet connection and download times to that CDN will be much faster. A great analogy for how a CDN works is to think of when you play online video games. When you play a video game online you choose the server closest to your location to speed up loading and avoid lag. The same exact process applies to how CDNs operate.

A million little errors can truly add up and slow down a website that would otherwise load in an instant. It’s easy for your website to get bogged down by common mistakes in web design, but avoiding these six major bungles will help guarantee that your website is lighting fast. 

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