Archive for the ‘Others’ Category

How to Write Blog Posts That People Actually Want to Read

March 16th, 2023 No comments

Blogging is a marketing technique that allows brands to meet their buyers during the discovery or awareness stage of their buying journey. This type of content can be created in many styles and distributed in many ways, making it a great tool for businesses of any type.

Although hiring a skilled content writer is one of the most efficient ways to create high-quality blog content for your site, many small businesses don’t have the marketing budgets to hire these specialists.

Luckily, with a little knowledge and practice, it’s possible to take a DIY approach to build a successful blog from the ground up. You have to start somewhere, right?

In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to cover how to write a blog post that people actually want to read.

We’ll start by covering the basics of blogging before we dive into the step-by-step process of writing a blog post. To wrap up, we’ll provide tips and tricks for writing blog posts to keep your readers’ attention.

Are you on the edge of your seat?

Let’s dive in.

The basics of blogging

Blogging is a form of content marketing. In other words, a brand creates content that it believes to be relevant and interesting to its audience with the goal of it being discovered organically.

Blog posts are similar to news articles but broken down into lists or sections for greater readability. Some popular blog posts include listicles, reviews, comparisons, and how-tos.

Although plenty of emerging resources can help you improve the content creation process, it’s still a great idea to understand the mechanics of blogging to take the output from these tools and polish them into engaging, readable articles.

For example, GrowthBar, an AI copywriting tool, can help you create long-form SEO content that Google loves five times faster than a human writer. These tools save time, but the human touch is valuable for ensuring readability and engagement.

Pro tip – Before you start blogging, make sure you find a good name to brand your blog. A good business name generator can be a great place to get some ideas flowing.

Don’t worry. We’ll teach you everything you need to know.

How to write a blog post

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of how to write a blog post.

1. Choose a topic

The first step to writing a compelling blog post is choosing a topic your audience is interested in.

If you’re unsure where to start, it’s a good idea to check out your competitor’s blogs to see what topics they’re covering.

One great hack for streamlining your blog writing process is to keep a running list of topics to cover that you can add to as ideas pop up. That way, you always have something to work with, even if inspiration is lacking.

2. Find the right keywords

Google and other search engines are a great way to distribute blog content to get your brand in front of a larger group of people.

If you want to tap into search engine optimization (SEO) to distribute your content, you’ll need to choose keywords to target in your article.

Finding keywords is easy with the help of a dedicated tool.

Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner are among the most popular options. These tools tell you how much search volume there is and how competitive the search engine results page (SERP) is for a specific keyword.

You’ll want to choose a keyword that’s getting at least some search volume. Some people exclusively target words that are getting thousands of searches per month. However, don’t be afraid of a lower volume if you find a niche keyword that’d resonate with your audience.

Typically, you’ll want to choose one primary keyword to focus on and a few secondary keywords.

3. Create an outline

Next, you’ll create an outline for your blog post. This step is very important because it’ll help you create an article that’s well-structured and effectively organized.

You don’t have to follow MLA or any format you learned in school, but you should keep the general structure of separating topics in a hierarchy that’ll yield an article with a sensible flow.

4. Research the topic

Now, it’s time to fill in your outline with research.

  • Pull your information from reputable sources and industry thought leaders.
  • Find statistics to quantify your claims, and refer to studies where necessary.
  • Keep track of your sources so you can link to them in your article.

While conducting research is crucial, personal experience and expertise reign supreme. When you are confident that you have the correct method for doing something, utilize that understanding to supplement your outline.

For example, if you own a cleaning company that sells car cleaning products such as steering wheel cleaner or leather cleaner and have been using these products for years, you can simply pour the information from your brain.

Piece of cake!

5. Write the post

After researching and jotting down ideas, you can move into the writing phase. It’s as straightforward as it sounds. Turn your ideas and notes into legible sentences and paragraphs.

Assuming your outline flows well, you can keep your top points as your headings and subheadings in your blog post. You can tweak them to make them blog-appropriate, but leaning into that structure can be helpful.

To maintain readability, keeping your sentences and paragraphs somewhat short is important. Large blocks of text and run-on sentences are two surefire ways to lose your readers’ attention.

6. Edit the post

Once the post is complete, it’s time to edit. Read through your work to look for typos and grammatical errors.

It’s also a good idea to use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway App to help pick up mistakes you may have missed.

One tip that can significantly enhance your writing quality is hiring an editor. A professional editor can not only catch grammar and spelling errors but also provide valuable insights into the readability and flow of your writing.

Either way, editing can make a huge difference in whether people actually want to read your blog posts.

Tips for writing engaging blog posts

Now that you’re more familiar with the blog writing process, let’s review a few helpful tips to ensure your blog post is engaging.

Use a catchy title

Creating a catchy title is key to getting people to read your blog post. The title should be compelling and informative.

However, it’s worth noting that “catchy” doesn’t equal “misleading,” so it’s important to avoid using clickbait in your title. Make sure your article delivers everything the title promises, and don’t set false expectations.

Curate for the target audience

Ensuring your blog content is relevant and interesting to your target audience is key. You wouldn’t buy delicious bacon if you were a vegetarian. Consequently, your readers won’t read a blog post that isn’t interesting to them.

That’s why it’s important to define your target audience correctly before writing. You should get to know your audience well so you know exactly what content they are looking for.

For example, users of the platform Salarship mainly use it to find job opportunities, but they also actively read the Salarship blog. This is because the articles are informative and contain insights that are valuable to the reader. They make them feel that they aren’t alone in their professional challenges.

Your blog posts can provide a sense of community to your target audience.

Keep things interesting (but accurate)

One secret to keeping your audience interested is to write about something your audience already cares about.

If your goal is to write about a specific topic, remember that you must first create interest in that topic or find something that your audience has expressed interest in.

Let’s say, for example, your website is in the fashion niche, and a famous designer presented a new collection of linen suits on the catwalk this week. You can take this opportunity to talk about reasons to buy linen suits in your new article while linens are relevant.

On the other hand, if you’re writing in the medical niche, you should cover any topic with the utmost precision and empathy — including sensitive topics like sexually transmitted diseases or Viagra use.

When you use a mix of hot topics and real and raw content, your readers are more likely to trust you and start reading your blog posts for practical purposes.

Use graphics

Although the text is the star of the show with this medium, it’s important to use graphics to break up the text and improve its readability. This could include images, charts, graphs, videos, and gifs.

If you have the bandwidth and resources, you should try your best to create custom graphics for your blog. However, you can also find stock images on sites like Pexels, Shutterstock, and Unsplash.

You can also find images on Google, but it’s important to filter your results to those eligible for commercial use.

Final thoughts

With so many great tools available at your fingertips, writing a blog post is easier than ever.

And publishing high-quality blog content is great for improving your brand’s discoverability and connecting with your target audience.

So now that you know how to write a blog post, are you ready to start writing?

Featured Image by Amelia Bartlett on Unsplash

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The Unexpected Benefits of Email Validation

March 15th, 2023 No comments

Email marketers eventually learn that periodic email validation is a must. Many find out the need to validate email addresses after experiencing a frustrating storm of email bounces. However, email validation is not just about avoiding email bounces. There are a lot of benefits to email validation. Let’s see what else you can gain.

Unexpected email validation benefit: it saves on costs 

At first, the baffled email marketer wonders, “What have I done to get so many bounces?” But they find out it wasn’t what they were doing but rather what they weren’t doing. They weren’t practicing email hygiene, which foremost means regular email validation. Email validation is an expense, but it frequently saves money.

How? Email services charge based on the number of emails on your list. If you’re sending emails to invalid or useless emails, you’re actually throwing money down the drain. With as many as one in four emails going bad in a 12-month period, trimming back your email list is a great way to cut costs.

Email validation can boost your metrics and ROI

You’ll likely boost every metric marketers use when you validate your list. For example, clickthrough rates (CTR), open rates, and ROI frequently climb because you’re purging ineffective contacts. In addition, some email marketers notice a morale boost when they see how much better their emails perform. It’s like they’re getting the real numbers.

You can’t make a sale to a dead-end email address. When you regularly validate emails, the quality of your list is enhanced. Better lists always lead to better results.

When you validate your email list, you reduce spam complaints

Ideally, your emails and everything you do should be miles away from anything that spammers do. Unsurprisingly, engaging in spam-like behaviors (like using spammy subject lines) can get you considered a spammer. It’s the adage: if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

A similar thing to avoid is the email users known as abuse or known complainers. These people love to mark the emails they get as spam. You could have done nothing wrong, but they still want to hit the spam button.

Any email validation service worth its salt will be able to root out the pesky people associated with these types of email addresses. It can’t be stressed enough: spam complaints harm your list health and results. It only takes a couple to give you worry about landing in the spam folder. Email validation will help you stay on top of them.

Email verification builds customer loyalty and name recognition

Do you subscribe to any emails from which you haven’t bought anything yet? Many people get an email from a specific brand and continue to get those brand emails even though they don’t make a purchase. It’s still good for you as a sender as it helps your reputation.

Email validation ensures that if someone subscribes to your emails and keeps opening them, they will still appear in the inbox. You can’t put a price on having a direct line to people who expressed an interest in your company. They may eventually make a big purchase or recommend you to someone who will.

If you validate your email list, you’re unlikely to get blacklisted

Email blacklists are no joke. Anti-spam organizations, in cooperation with internet service providers (ISPs), maintain lists of IPs believed to be spammers. The lists are collected and maintained in order to block spammers. Spam is such a pervasive problem, and blacklists go a long way toward keeping junk from showing up in your inbox. 

So what’s the problem? Legitimate email senders sometimes end up on blacklists. A spam trap ends up on their list. It could be that it seeped in through a contact form that is not protected.  Sometimes abandoned email addresses become spam traps and will wind up on your email list.

If you regularly check your email list, you should be able to find those blacklists and save yourself a lot of trouble. Ending up on a blacklist is a hassle you’re better off avoiding. Wouldn’t it be better not to be added to a blacklist in the first place? 

You can verify emails in real time

Your readers are only human. They will make a typo! They transpose a letter or put one letter twice when they key in their email address. If that address gets added to your email list, it will result in bounces. However, there are even worse problems. Sometimes bots will infest an email list using those forms. You know you don’t want that, but you may think the email validator will catch it the next time you upload your list.

One of the benefits of a complete email validation service is that you can stop typos or harmful data from the beginning.  You can connect an email validation API on all of your forms to block harmful data from ending up on your list in the first place. 

Let’s say someone wants to take advantage of your freebie, such as an ebook or audio download. The supposed customer wants the gift but doesn’t want to give their actual email address. Instead, they use a disposable or temporary email address because they aren’t interested in your business. Unfortunately, those disposables bounce, sometimes in just a couple of hours. An email validation API would prompt them to enter a valid email address at the source. Same thing with typos because it checks the email in real time.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Regularly checking your email list puts you in a more powerful position. You’ll always know where you stand and can keep any poor email data at bay. In addition, it’s better to be aware of what your list health looks like than to be unpleasantly taken aback.

There have been plenty of accounts of email marketers who neglect regular email validation and find out their email providers have banned them. Something like that is shocking and certainly interrupts your email plans, but you can avoid it. You can have peace of mind by regularly setting up email checking

Email validation has many benefits. Most of all, it’s knowing that your efforts and resources will not be wasted.

Featured Image by Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels

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How to Reach More Global Audiences with Your Videos

March 15th, 2023 No comments

The rise in the popularity of video content isn’t set to decline anytime soon, and with 2.6 billion YouTube users around the world, content creators are reaching limits with videos that written content could never accomplish. But how can you reach more global audiences with your videos? The answer isn’t as simple as creating great content. In fact, the success of your videos relies heavily on whether they’re optimized for a global audience!

Although English is considered one of the most widely-spoken languages on earth, only 1.35 billion out of the estimated 8 billion people on earth are English-speaking. That means that if you produce your videos in just the English language, you’re missing out on the opportunity to target millions of viewers worldwide.

You might think that video script translation is the quick solution here. But optimizing your video to engage global viewers revolves around more than just language. You also need to consider viewers with hearing disabilities.

This post explores the fundamentals of optimizing your videos for a global audience to make them accessible to anyone.

Why Video Content is the Best Way to Reach a Global Audience

More people watch videos today than ever before. And there’s no sign of the trend declining any time soon. In 2020, more than 80% of global internet usage was driven by video content. On YouTube alone, 1.2 billion videos are watched every single day. The effectiveness of video has been shown to increase consumer trust, increase conversion rates, and keep audiences engaged for longer. 

Videos are one of the best ways organizations can maintain consistent global branding, even if they target multiple languages across multiple channels. Pairing video and written content can be a great way to improve the ROI of global campaigns that target specific local markets. 

How to Optimize Your Videos for a Global Audience 

Step 1: Perform In-Depth Research

To start creating videos that engage a global audience, you must determine where the majority of your viewers are based. Most YouTube users are generally based in Latin America and Asia, which rules out the idea of only using English content when creating video ads. Once you’ve researched the demographics of your target audience, it’s time to focus on cultural preferences across multiple channels, which have a massive impact on the type of audience you’ll have to cater to with your content.

After establishing which cultures you’ll cater to, creating content with a specific persona is important. This will help you create content that aligns with your viewers’ expectations. When you deeply understand who’s listening to you, you’ll have a much better opportunity to discuss the type of content they’re willing to listen to.

Step 2: Focus on Titles, Descriptions, and Captions

Audio-visual content intended for the international market must be delivered in a way that sparks global interest. This doesn’t necessarily only relate to the kind of content you produce but revolves around improving the accessibility of your content with video metadata as well.

You’ll need to optimize your video titles, descriptions, and captions according to the preferences of the local audience. For example, if more than 35% of your viewers are native Spanish speakers, it’s important to translate your original audio content into the Spanish language.

Using translated captions is a great way to improve the accessibility of your audio-visual content, as it ensures that you’re also catering to individuals that cannot listen to the audio of the video. It’s preferable to use professional language service providers when it comes to translating your captions, as machine translation often neglects to capture cultural nuances that are deeply engrained in language.

Step 3: Consider Subtitles

Adding subtitles to your videos is a great way to reach more global audiences if you’re sharing videos outside of YouTube, where auto-captioning isn’t standard practice. Subtitles can be very handy to help viewers understand you better and ensure that viewers that cannot listen to the audio still understand the content of your video. Since subtitles force viewers to engage with the video, it might help drive engagement with your videos as well.

Step 4: Time the Length Perfectly

A major aspect of creating high-impact videos is their length. The perfect video length is important to the product’s effectiveness in reaching a global audience. If your video is intended for international audiences, be brief enough to keep people interested. Dragging the video out for too long can have a negative effect and might lead to increased bounce rates. To maximize viewership, it’s important to do proper market research and balance out the timing to ensure you’re producing videos that are just long enough to deliver a meaningful message. 

Step 5: Create Localized Videos to Reach Specific Audiences

Localized video clips can address specific problems people face in specialized regions. Developing local video campaigns is important. You can start by creating a simple video that engages the audience. After this, you can develop a series of short films tailored to specific countries or cultural areas. A good example of localized videos is the content created by the National Institute for Health. Their videos are intended for American English speakers. However, the voice-out and the scripting are all Spanish to demonstrate that NIH has resources available for the languages their target audience understands best.

Ready to Reach More Global Audience Members with Your Videos?

Optimizing your videos to reach more global audience members isn’t rocket science, but there are some basic principles that you must keep in mind to appeal to and engage viewers across the world. When you translate your videos and their text elements, you’re giving your video the best shot at reaching as many viewers as possible, but translation is not the end-all and be-all of building a global reach.

By implementing certain tactics to make your videos easily accessible through search engines and localizing your keywords, titles, and captions, you’ll be catering to a global market and expanding your reach with ease.

Featured Image by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

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What Leonardo Da Vinci Can Teach Us About Web Design

March 14th, 2023 No comments

Exhaustive, sometimes bizarre notes… wireframes… mind-bending blends of art and science. Is it a GitHub repository? No, it’s the life of a Renaissance genius. With the right lessons, we can all write some da Vinci code.

Web development is a pretty big tent. It encompasses color, mathematics, accessibility, typography, photography, copywriting, ethics, and the list goes on and on. The web is a near-infinite world which — for all its relentless innovation and disruption — inherits many of its most beautiful qualities from old ways.

It is in that spirit that we’ll be looking at the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci, the latest in a rather eclectic lineup of old maestros I’ve had the pleasure of writing about:

Perhaps more than any other person in history, da Vinci showed the kind of magic that can happen in the overlap between art and science, where much of web development lives. His methods and outlooks are as applicable today as they were in Renaissance Italy.

Document Your Thoughts, Ideas, And Work

Da Vinci was a fastidious writer, producing tens of thousands of pages of notes and sketches during his life. Their content ranged from mundane to genius, and that was part of their value. One day it’s a shopping list, another it’s flying machines. There was no filter, no preciousness, only expression and exploration.

This exhaustive documentation was valuable for a number of reasons. They were of benefit to him as an outlet for his thoughts, ambitions, and experiences and as points of reference for long-term projects. Getting his thoughts down allowed them to be tested and iterated on.

The benefits of such extensive documentation were not limited to da Vinci himself. Writing his ideas down also allowed them to survive him for the benefit of countless millions since. Centuries on his notebooks continue to surprise, delight and educate.

Da Vinci’s zeal for writing and sketching lends itself to web development. First is the powerful — sometimes downright mysterious — creative freedom of jotting down what’s going on inside your head. Sometimes you start writing down idea A and suddenly find yourself at solution X.

Not everything we do has to be perfect. Anyone expecting to arrive directly at the final product is going to be disappointed or have a pretty shoddy final product. Writing and sketching give you the license to be playful, maybe even a little bit audacious. Many timeless ideas are born on notebook paper.

There is a sense sometimes that the code we write is akin to sand sculptures — pretty but temporary. This doesn’t have to be the case. Even if the final form of websites continues to change, the thinking behind that evolution is invaluable. How did we get here, and why?

Documenting your pull requests to survive when you’re dead may be a bit strong, but your successors at old jobs will be grateful for the insight and guidance.

Web devs and designers ought to document their own journey, be it through PR descriptions or an actual notebook of their own:

  • Flesh out ideas,
  • Jot down idle thoughts,
  • Doodle page layouts.

May future generations be delighted and awed by your pull request descriptions. May the feature ideas in your GitHub issues be as aspirational as da Vinci’s flying machines.

The best ideas in the world are of no practical use for as long as they’re stuck in one’s head.

Obsess Over Geometry

As most famously demonstrated by the Vitruvian Man, da Vinci was a lifelong student of geometry, shape, and proportion. He was fascinated by the recurrence of various shapes in nature, as well as by the workings of proportion and perspective. He understood their value to paintings and architecture alike.

Da Vinci took great pains to understand these invisible frameworks and replicate them in his work. Although he is more often remembered for his fine art, everything he did was underpinned by a fascination with science and mathematics.

These are essential tools for any web developer. Pages look similarly off-kilter if they are not assembled around invisible guidelines. Grids are the most common example of this, but areas like typography and responsive design are similarly rooted in questions of size, proportion, ratio, and shape.

Showing a da Vinci-like interest in the rules behind these subjects is the difference between a website being pleasing to the eye and being a complete disaster. If you’re unsure where to start, then it’s safe to say Smashing has you covered:

From nature to painting to architecture to web design, applied geometry can create a sense of the sublime.

Think Right-To-Left

In his notebooks, da Vinci typically wrote right to left in ‘mirror script’. He only wrote the ‘normal’ way when he intended it to be read by other people.

Why did he write that way? He was left-handed and wasn’t classically schooled. It prevented him from smudging the ink. It made his ideas harder to steal. Whatever the combination, it’s clearly what he felt most comfortable with.

Da Vinci’s mirror script shows the value of embracing ways of working that suit you. Da Vinci didn’t have to justify his methods to anyone else. And neither do you.

Trust what feels natural and customize the way you work to fit. Personalize your IDE, choose fonts and colors that you like, and write and draw however comes naturally — be that with a tablet or in a leatherbound journal.

Norms being what they are doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how they should be. You will feel better about yourself, and who knows, maybe making space for your methods will allow unexpected ideas to appear.

Find Good Patrons (Or Failing That, Good Employers)

Da Vinci was picky about the work he did and the patrons he found. He lived in places that gave space to his flamboyance and creativity. Florence valued the arts, so it valued da Vinci as well as peers like Michelangelo.

When he moved to Milan, he delighted the courts with his theatrics, eloquence, and stagecraft. On the other end of the spectrum, da Vinci also spent a couple of years in the service of Cesare Borgia, a man so conniving, violent, and altogether horrible that he was a major inspiration for Machiavelli’s book The Prince. Still, it gave him the opportunity to apply himself in new areas like mapping.

Time inside the belly of the beast can be educational in its own way. However, it’s telling that da Vinci only spent a few years in Borgia’s service before slipping back into the less murderous company.

Although patrons are all well and good, we, in the world of web development, usually have to settle for employers. We owe it to ourselves — if at all possible — to find spaces for our creativity, to find outlets for our passions, or at the very least, not feel like a cog in some colossal evil machine.

Have enough pride in your work to channel it into projects you care about. Even da Vinci needed a good working culture. Find your Florence, and if you can’t, do what you can to make where you are a little more like it.

Iterate, Iterate, Iterate

It may be of some comfort to know that Leonardo da Vinci was, at times, a breathtaking procrastinator. He would take years to complete works, and that’s if he finished them at all.

Da Vinci worked on many of his paintings for years, including the Mona Lisa, which he took with him on his travels until the day he died.

Da Vinci’s creations were the result of countless experiments, tangents, and iterations. The final products are what looms large in the public consciousness today, but each was but the final step of long, often difficult journeys.

One particularly pertinent example of this process in action is Leonardo’s Horse, an equestrian monument da Vinci was commissioned to design and build in 1482 by the Duke of Milan Ludovico il Moro. A decades-long frenzy of research ensued, ranging from horse anatomy to concocting entirely new bronze casting techniques.

The project was not completed in da Vinci’s lifetime, but his work made it possible for the effort to be renewed when his extensive notes resurfaced in the 20th century. In 1999, a cool 517 years after he was commissioned, da Vinci’s horse was finally unveiled in Milan.

For all his brilliance, da Vinci was also an exemplar of the power of slow, steady progress — even procrastination. Yes, sometimes inspiration strikes, but more often, we find it at the end of a long, laborious journey. As Steven Pressfield puts it in The War of Art, “The Muse favors working stiffs.”

In the world of web design, the idea of something being ‘finished’ is pretty quaint. There will always be dependencies to update, tweaks to make, and new devices to accommodate. This is a good thing. It is true to nature. It’s exciting. In how many fields can one rebuild something they’ve made? Architects don’t have that luxury. Even painters can only change so much before they have to start again.

The ethereal nature of the web and its technologies lends itself to a da Vinci-esque approach to iteration. Build it, then build it again better. And again. And again.

Do not get too attached to what it is now. It is valuable, yes, but ultimately a stepping stone to what is to come. It is not about throwing away your work but evolving it.

Seldom is a work truly finished. There are always more perfections to be made.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
— Leonardo da Vinci

Feed Your Inner Polymath

Leonardo da Vinci was too multifaceted to be tied down with one label. He was a writer, painter, sculptor, architect, inventor, scientist, philosopher, and the list goes on and on.

“He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards a ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.”
— Leonardo da Vinci

His knowledge of each field improved his proficiency in others. Anatomical studies led to more realistic illustrations. His studies of light helped him to create more lifelike paintings.

This, in part, stemmed from his atypical education. By avoiding the classical syllabus, he was able to explore on his own terms, blurring the lines between different subjects. His understanding of the world was fluid and holistic.

Web developers operate within a similarly vast and beautiful constellation of interconnected disciplines. The really good stuff happens when we tie them together.

“Technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our heart sing.”
Steve Jobs

Play with new languages, old languages, frameworks, and libraries. Browse Smashing Magazine categories that you’re a novice in. Go down those rabbit holes. Pull on those threads. As da Vinci said of art, so too is true of the web: it can never be finished, only abandoned.

Further Reading

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Could Job Hopping Benefit Your Career?

March 14th, 2023 No comments

Gone are the days when employees spent their entire careers working for the same company. While ‘jobs for life’ have obvious upsides, an increasing number of workers are discovering the benefits of well-timed job hopping.

It’s not hard to see why many Gen Z and millennial employees have decided the time is now to vote with their feet and move to a job providing a better work-life balance or an enhanced salary or benefits package. 2022 saw over 135,000 tech industry layoffs, with no sign of abatement moving into 2023. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic created the perfect storm of conditions for the Great Resignation, as many workers began reassessing their priorities in the face of an uncertain future.

Purposeful job-hopping may appear to fly in the face of everything you’ve heard about showing tenacity and commitment with longer tenures. However, the conditions created by the pandemic have forced many employers to work harder to attract talent, often leading to significant financial rewards for job switchers. In fact, ADP’s 2021 Workplace Vitality Report found that job switchers enjoyed an average yearly wage growth of 5.83%, compared to just 3.08% for people remaining in their existing roles.

Thanks to the growing normalization of job hopping, there’s a strong case for using strategic switches to your advantage. However, understanding when job hopping can help your career — and when it can be harmful — is essential.

The benefits of job hopping

Well-planned, intentional job hopping can give you the range of experience you need to progress along your chosen career path more quickly. Having multiple roles under your belt could benefit your career in the following ways:

Developing skills and job knowledge

No two jobs are the same, even within a niche industry. The broader your job history, the more opportunities you have to learn new skills, processes, and methods that could give you the edge when it’s time for your next career move. Experiencing working with different colleagues and client groups can also help you develop the soft skills many employers value, such as communication, adaptability, and teamwork.

Varied work experience can also hone your ability to recognize good employment opportunities. Working for multiple companies allows you to evaluate workplace standards in your industry and appreciate both good and poor practices. Therefore, you’ll be more likely to identify employers offering the best benefits, compensation, and conditions while weeding out companies that don’t meet the mark.

Career advancement

If you’ve ever been missold the dream of fast progression by an employer, you’ll already know that getting promoted within your existing company isn’t always a given. Depending on retention within your company, you could be waiting years for a senior colleague to move on before you can advance. Job hopping can help prevent a stagnating career by taking advantage of more senior vacancies at other companies instead of waiting around for opportunities in your current job.

Exposure to new industries

Working across multiple industries can be particularly advantageous for young or recently-qualified employees. It allows you to gain valuable experience in different sectors while finding the career path that best suits your preferences and aspirations. As a candidate with a diverse employment history, you can offer employers a fresh perspective while bringing valuable transferable skills to your new workplace.

Increased earning potential

The ADP workforce report demonstrates how lucrative a job move can be in the right circumstances, and the current hot job market allows jobseekers to benefit from increased competition for the best talent. You may find a new company is happy to offer you a better salary and benefits package than you could negotiate with your existing employer.

While the outlook for job hoppers is rosy in most professions, it’s essential to consider the climate in your particular industry. For example, a career move could be an excellent option if you work in resources or manufacturing, with job switchers enjoying 11.81% wage growth in 2021 compared to 6.06% for job holders. However, leisure and hospitality workers were generally better off staying put. Wages in this industry showed negative growth, with job holders taking a smaller hit than those changing employers.

Experiencing different workplace cultures and methodologies

Exposure to a range of cultures and management styles can be attractive to potential employers, provided your time at each company was long enough to give you a thorough grounding in its methodologies. A diverse job history can make you a more well-rounded employee compared to experiencing just one way of doing things during a single, longer tenure.

Experience with multiple working styles and practices can also make you a valuable knowledge source to a new employer, especially if you have experience working for an industry leader and then switch to a smaller company or start-up. Your industry insights could help your new employer discover new, more effective ways of operating and even save them a significant amount on consultancy fees.

When does job hopping go too far?

Fortunately, there’s now significantly less stigma attached to reasonable job hopping, and many employers expect applications from candidates with broad experience. So, when does job hopping turn into a red flag?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule about how often you can change jobs without harming your prospects, and what’s acceptable will vary from employer to employer. However, multiple tenures lasting less than a year could indicate a lack of commitment, leaving employers questioning how soon you’ll quit. Furthermore, spending at least a year at each company allows you to grow into the role and acquire new skills and knowledge — in other words, you need depth as well as breadth.

Another factor to consider is the number of short tenures on your resume. Many employers are fine with an applicant having one or two year-long stints on their resume, but may be spooked by applicants with exclusively brief tenures.

Perhaps the simplest way to establish what’s normal (and what isn’t) is to look at average employment lengths. According to research by CareerBuilder, Gen Z workers (aged 24 or younger) stay in each job for two years and three months on average. Millennials (aged 25 to 40) typically stick around for an extra six months, with an average employment length of two years and nine months.

How to explain job hopping in an interview

While job hopping shouldn’t be a barrier for many roles, some hiring managers still prefer candidates that show commitment to one company. If you sense that a potential employer has a negative view of job hopping, there are a few ways to positively frame your changes in employment to help you succeed in an interview.

First, provide context for why you left your old job and explain how you managed the transition to minimize any impact on the company so hiring managers know that you won’t leave them high and dry. 

Then, communicate how you can help a prospective employer meet their goals and express why you want to work for them specifically so they know you’re committed. Focus on the aspects of the company and role that excite you and offer examples of how your previous experience makes you the best candidate.

Finally, when asked about short-term goals, emphasize your intention to grow in the role. Hiring managers are much more interested in a candidate that’s worth the effort to train, so let them know where you see yourself in the role down the road. 

The post Could Job Hopping Benefit Your Career? appeared first on noupe.

Categories: Others Tags:

Making Calendars With Accessibility and Internationalization in Mind

March 13th, 2023 No comments

Styling the calendar

You might recall how all the days are just one

    with list items. To style these into a readable calendar, we dive into the wonderful world of CSS Grid. In fact, we can repurpose the same grid from

Doing a quick search here on CSS-Tricks shows just how many different ways there are to approach calendars. Some show how CSS Grid can create the layout efficiently. Some attempt to bring actual data into the mix. Some rely on a framework to help with state management.

There are many considerations when building a calendar component — far more than what is covered in the articles I linked up. If you think about it, calendars are fraught with nuance, from handling timezones and date formats to localization and even making sure dates flow from one month to the next… and that’s before we even get into accessibility and additional layout considerations depending on where the calendar is displayed and whatnot.

Many developers fear the Date() object and stick with older libraries like moment.js. But while there are many “gotchas” when it comes to dates and formatting, JavaScript has a lot of cool APIs and stuff to help out!

I don’t want to re-create the wheel here, but I will show you how we can get a dang good calendar with vanilla JavaScript. We’ll look into accessibility, using semantic markup and screenreader-friendly -tags — as well as internationalization and formatting, using the Intl.Locale, Intl.DateTimeFormat and Intl.NumberFormat-APIs.

In other words, we’re making a calendar… only without the extra dependencies you might typically see used in a tutorial like this, and with some of the nuances you might not typically see. And, in the process, I hope you’ll gain a new appreciation for newer things that JavaScript can do while getting an idea of the sorts of things that cross my mind when I’m putting something like this together.

First off, naming

What should we call our calendar component? In my native language, it would be called “kalender element”, so let’s use that and shorten that to “Kal-El” — also known as Superman’s name on the planet Krypton.

Let’s create a function to get things going:

function kalEl(settings = {}) { ... }

This method will render a single month. Later we’ll call this method from [...Array(12).keys()] to render an entire year.

Initial data and internationalization

One of the common things a typical online calendar does is highlight the current date. So let’s create a reference for that:

const today = new Date();

Next, we’ll create a “configuration object” that we’ll merge with the optional settings object of the primary method:

const config = Object.assign(
    locale: (document.documentElement.getAttribute('lang') || 'en-US'), 
    today: { 
      day: today.getDate(),
      month: today.getMonth(),
      year: today.getFullYear() 
  }, settings

We check, if the root element () contains a lang-attribute with locale info; otherwise, we’ll fallback to using en-US. This is the first step toward internationalizing the calendar.

We also need to determine which month to initially display when the calendar is rendered. That’s why we extended the config object with the primary date. This way, if no date is provided in the settings object, we’ll use the today reference instead:

const date = ? new Date( : today;

We need a little more info to properly format the calendar based on locale. For example, we might not know whether the first day of the week is Sunday or Monday, depending on the locale. If we have the info, great! But if not, we’ll update it using the Intl.Locale API. The API has a weekInfo object that returns a firstDay property that gives us exactly what we’re looking for without any hassle. We can also get which days of the week are assigned to the weekend:

if (! = new Intl.Locale(config.locale).weekInfo || { 
  firstDay: 7,
  weekend: [6, 7] 

Again, we create fallbacks. The “first day” of the week for en-US is Sunday, so it defaults to a value of 7. This is a little confusing, as the getDay method in JavaScript returns the days as [0-6], where 0 is Sunday… don’t ask me why. The weekends are Saturday and Sunday, hence [6, 7].

Before we had the Intl.Locale API and its weekInfo method, it was pretty hard to create an international calendar without many **objects and arrays with information about each locale or region. Nowadays, it’s easy-peasy. If we pass in en-GB, the method returns:

// en-GB
  firstDay: 1,
  weekend: [6, 7],
  minimalDays: 4

In a country like Brunei (ms-BN), the weekend is Friday and Sunday:

// ms-BN
  firstDay: 7,
  weekend: [5, 7],
  minimalDays: 1

You might wonder what that minimalDays property is. That’s the fewest days required in the first week of a month to be counted as a full week. In some regions, it might be just one day. For others, it might be a full seven days.

Next, we’ll create a render method within our kalEl-method:

const render = (date, locale) => { ... }

We still need some more data to work with before we render anything:

const month = date.getMonth();
const year = date.getFullYear();
const numOfDays = new Date(year, month + 1, 0).getDate();
const renderToday = (year === && (month ===;

The last one is a Boolean that checks whether today exists in the month we’re about to render.

Semantic markup

We’re going to get deeper in rendering in just a moment. But first, I want to make sure that the details we set up have semantic HTML tags associated with them. Setting that up right out of the box gives us accessibility benefits from the start.

Calendar wrapper

First, we have the non-semantic wrapper: . That’s fine because there isn’t a semantic tag or anything like that. If we weren’t making a custom element,

might be the most appropriate element since the calendar could stand on its own page.

Month names

The element is going to be a big one for us because it helps translate dates into a format that screenreaders and search engines can parse more accurately and consistently. For example, here’s how we can convey “January 2023” in our markup:

<time datetime="2023-01">January <i>2023</i></time>

Day names

The row above the calendar’s dates containing the names of the days of the week can be tricky. It’s ideal if we can write out the full names for each day — e.g. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. — but that can take up a lot of space. So, let’s abbreviate the names for now inside of an

    where each day is a

  1. :

      <li><abbr title="Sunday">Sun</abbr></li>
      <li><abbr title="Monday">Mon</abbr></li>
      <!-- etc. -->

    We could get tricky with CSS to get the best of both worlds. For example, if we modified the markup a bit like this:

        <abbr title="S">Sunday</abbr>

    …we get the full names by default. We can then “hide” the full name when space runs out and display the title attribute instead:

    @media all and (max-width: 800px) {
      li abbr::after {
        content: attr(title);

    But, we’re not going that way because the Intl.DateTimeFormat API can help here as well. We’ll get to that in the next section when we cover rendering.

    Day numbers

    Each date in the calendar grid gets a number. Each number is a list item (

  2. ) in an ordered list (
      ), and the inline tag wraps the actual number.

        <time datetime="2023-01-01">1</time>

      And while I’m not planning to do any styling just yet, I know I will want some way to style the date numbers. That’s possible as-is, but I also want to be able to style weekday numbers differently than weekend numbers if I need to. So, I’m going to include data-* attributes specifically for that: data-weekend and data-today.

      Week numbers

      There are 52 weeks in a year, sometimes 53. While it’s not super common, it can be nice to display the number for a given week in the calendar for additional context. I like having it now, even if I don’t wind up not using it. But we’ll totally use it in this tutorial.

      We’ll use a data-weeknumber attribute as a styling hook and include it in the markup for each date that is the week’s first date.

      <li data-day="7" data-weeknumber="1" data-weekend="">
        <time datetime="2023-01-08">8</time>


      Let’s get the calendar on a page! We already know that is the name of our custom element. First thing we need to configure it is to set the firstDay property on it, so the calendar knows whether Sunday or some other day is the first day of the week.

      <kal-el data-firstday="${ }">

      We’ll be using template literals to render the markup. To format the dates for an international audience, we’ll use the Intl.DateTimeFormat API, again using the locale we specified earlier.

      The month and year

      When we call the month, we can set whether we want to use the long name (e.g. February) or the short name (e.g. Feb.). Let’s use the long name since it’s the title above the calendar:

      <time datetime="${year}-${(pad(month))}">
        ${new Intl.DateTimeFormat(
          { month:'long'}).format(date)} <i>${year}</i>

      Weekday names

      For weekdays displayed above the grid of dates, we need both the long (e.g. “Sunday”) and short (abbreviated, ie. “Sun”) names. This way, we can use the “short” name when the calendar is short on space:

      Intl.DateTimeFormat([locale], { weekday: 'long' })
      Intl.DateTimeFormat([locale], { weekday: 'short' })

      Let’s make a small helper method that makes it a little easier to call each one:

      const weekdays = (firstDay, locale) => {
        const date = new Date(0);
        const arr = [...Array(7).keys()].map(i => {
          date.setDate(5 + i)
          return {
            long: new Intl.DateTimeFormat([locale], { weekday: 'long'}).format(date),
            short: new Intl.DateTimeFormat([locale], { weekday: 'short'}).format(date)
        for (let i = 0; i < 8 - firstDay; i++) arr.splice(0, 0, arr.pop());
        return arr;

      Here’s how we invoke that in the template:

        ${weekdays(,locale).map(name => `
            <abbr title="${name.long}">${name.short}</abbr>

      Day numbers

      And finally, the days, wrapped in an


        ${[...Array(numOfDays).keys()].map(i => {
          const cur = new Date(year, month, i + 1);
          let day = cur.getDay(); if (day === 0) day = 7;
          const today = renderToday && ( === i + 1) ? ' data-today':'';
          return `
            <li data-day="${day}"${today}${i === 0 || day === ? ` data-weeknumber="${new Intl.NumberFormat(locale).format(getWeek(cur))}"`:''}${ ? ` data-weekend`:''}>
              <time datetime="${year}-${(pad(month))}-${pad(i)}" tabindex="0">
                ${new Intl.NumberFormat(locale).format(i + 1)}

        Let’s break that down:

        1. We create a “dummy” array, based on the “number of days” variable, which we’ll use to iterate.
        2. We create a day variable for the current day in the iteration.
        3. We fix the discrepancy between the Intl.Locale API and getDay().
        4. If the day is equal to today, we add a data-* attribute.
        5. Finally, we return the
        6. element as a string with merged data.
        7. tabindex="0" makes the element focusable, when using keyboard navigation, after any positive tabindex values (Note: you should never add positive tabindex-values)

        To “pad” the numbers in the datetime attribute, we use a little helper method:

        const pad = (val) => (val + 1).toString().padStart(2, '0');

        Week number

        Again, the “week number” is where a week falls in a 52-week calendar. We use a little helper method for that as well:

        function getWeek(cur) {
          const date = new Date(cur.getTime());
          date.setHours(0, 0, 0, 0);
          date.setDate(date.getDate() + 3 - (date.getDay() + 6) % 7);
          const week = new Date(date.getFullYear(), 0, 4);
          return 1 + Math.round(((date.getTime() - week.getTime()) / 86400000 - 3 + (week.getDay() + 6) % 7) / 7);

        I didn’t write this getWeek-method. It’s a cleaned up version of this script.

        And that’s it! Thanks to the Intl.Locale, Intl.DateTimeFormat and Intl.NumberFormat APIs, we can now simply change the lang-attribute of the element to change the context of the calendar based on the current region:

        January 2023 calendar grid.
        January 2023 calendar grid.
        January 2023 calendar grid.

        Styling the calendar

        You might recall how all the days are just one

          with list items. To style these into a readable calendar, we dive into the wonderful world of CSS Grid. In fact, we can repurpose the same grid from a starter calendar template right here on CSS-Tricks, but updated a smidge with the :is() relational pseudo to optimize the code.

          Notice that I’m defining configurable CSS variables along the way (and prefixing them with ---kalel- to avoid conflicts).

          kal-el :is(ol, ul) {
            display: grid;
            font-size: var(--kalel-fz, small);
            grid-row-gap: var(--kalel-row-gap, .33em);
            grid-template-columns: var(--kalel-gtc, repeat(7, 1fr));
            list-style: none;
            margin: unset;
            padding: unset;
            position: relative;
          Seven-column calendar grid with grid lines shown.

          Let’s draw borders around the date numbers to help separate them visually:

          kal-el :is(ol, ul) li {
            border-color: var(--kalel-li-bdc, hsl(0, 0%, 80%));
            border-style: var(--kalel-li-bds, solid);
            border-width: var(--kalel-li-bdw, 0 0 1px 0);
            grid-column: var(--kalel-li-gc, initial);
            text-align: var(--kalel-li-tal, end); 

          The seven-column grid works fine when the first day of the month is also the first day of the week for the selected locale). But that’s the exception rather than the rule. Most times, we’ll need to shift the first day of the month to a different weekday.

          Showing the first day of the month falling on a Thursday.

          Remember all the extra data-* attributes we defined when writing our markup? We can hook into those to update which grid column (--kalel-li-gc) the first date number of the month is placed on:

          [data-firstday="1"] [data-day="3"]:first-child {
            --kalel-li-gc: 1 / 4;

          In this case, we’re spanning from the first grid column to the fourth grid column — which will automatically “push” the next item (Day 2) to the fifth grid column, and so forth.

          Let’s add a little style to the “current” date, so it stands out. These are just my styles. You can totally do what you’d like here.

          [data-today] {
            --kalel-day-bdrs: 50%;
            --kalel-day-bg: hsl(0, 86%, 40%);
            --kalel-day-hover-bgc: hsl(0, 86%, 70%);
            --kalel-day-c: #fff;

          I like the idea of styling the date numbers for weekends differently than weekdays. I’m going to use a reddish color to style those. Note that we can reach for the :not() pseudo-class to select them while leaving the current date alone:

          [data-weekend]:not([data-today]) { 
            --kalel-day-c: var(--kalel-weekend-c, hsl(0, 86%, 46%));

          Oh, and let’s not forget the week numbers that go before the first date number of each week. We used a data-weeknumber attribute in the markup for that, but the numbers won’t actually display unless we reveal them with CSS, which we can do on the ::before pseudo-element:

          [data-weeknumber]::before {
            display: var(--kalel-weeknumber-d, inline-block);
            content: attr(data-weeknumber);
            position: absolute;
            inset-inline-start: 0;
            /* additional styles */

          We’re technically done at this point! We can render a calendar grid that shows the dates for the current month, complete with considerations for localizing the data by locale, and ensuring that the calendar uses proper semantics. And all we used was vanilla JavaScript and CSS!

          But let’s take this one more step

          Rendering an entire year

          Maybe you need to display a full year of dates! So, rather than render the current month, you might want to display all of the month grids for the current year.

          Well, the nice thing about the approach we’re using is that we can call the render method as many times as we want and merely change the integer that identifies the month on each instance. Let’s call it 12 times based on the current year.

          as simple as calling the render-method 12 times, and just change the integer for monthi:

          [...Array(12).keys()].map(i =>
              new Date(date.getFullYear(),

          It’s probably a good idea to create a new parent wrapper for the rendered year. Each calendar grid is a element. Let’s call the new parent wrapper , where Jor-El is the name of Kal-El’s father.

          <jor-el id="app" data-year="true">
            <kal-el data-firstday="7">
              <!-- etc. -->
            <!-- other months -->

          We can use to create a grid for our grids. So meta!

          jor-el {
            background: var(--jorel-bg, none);
            display: var(--jorel-d, grid);
            gap: var(--jorel-gap, 2.5rem);
            grid-template-columns: var(--jorel-gtc, repeat(auto-fill, minmax(320px, 1fr)));
            padding: var(--jorel-p, 0);

          Final demo

          CodePen Embed Fallback

          Bonus: Confetti Calendar

          I read an excellent book called Making and Breaking the Grid the other day and stumbled on this beautiful “New Year’s poster”:

          Source: Making and Breaking the Grid (2nd Edition) by Timothy Samara

          I figured we could do something similar without changing anything in the HTML or JavaScript. I’ve taken the liberty to include full names for months, and numbers instead of day names, to make it more readable. Enjoy!

          CodePen Embed Fallback

          Making Calendars With Accessibility and Internationalization in Mind originally published on CSS-Tricks, which is part of the DigitalOcean family. You should get the newsletter.

Categories: Designing, Others Tags:

DevOps: The Missing Piece Of The SaaS Development Puzzle

March 13th, 2023 No comments

In order to build great SaaS products, development teams need to work efficiently and with minimal delays. In today’s development environment, a lot of complexity is involved like scope creep and miscommunications on requirements. DevOps is an efficient set of software development and deployment processes that facilitate communication and collaboration between software developers and IT operation teams. According to the 2022 Gitlab survey among 5 000 DevOps specialists, 70 percent of DevOps teams manage to regularly and continuously release their code thanks to robust DevOps infrastructure.

Organizations that want to achieve high availability and low latency in their software are actively adopting DevOps strategies along with next-gen development solutions, like Rust programming. In this article, we’re going to explore how DevOps can enhance SaaS development.

Why is DevOps essential for a SaaS project?

The SaaS model has been around for more than a decade. The market has evolved over time and so have the challenges associated with managing SaaS applications.

The DevOps approach is the best way to efficiently run a SaaS application. It allows organizations to scale up their development and operations teams while ensuring that developers can get access to the infrastructure and tools they need to build quality software quickly.

One of the standout DevOps sample projects is a widely known SaaS product Salesforce. The company not only uses DevOps practices for their internal development but also makes a step forward and offers their customers a full set of DevOps tools to efficiently build and deploy apps with Salesforce.

There are diverse ways to build a DevOps-SaaS interconnection. You can even follow Saleforce’s example and create a completely unique DevOps as a service product. In the next section, let’s explore the benefits of DevOps for SaaS.

Benefits of applying DevOps practices during SaaS development

There are many benefits of applying DevOps practices during SaaS development. To begin with, it allows you to create a “culture of continuous improvement” that’s essential for your success as a software business. Here are some of the main benefits of adopting DevOps:

Increased speed of software delivery. When you adopt DevOps, you can release your product much quicker thanks to continuous integration and delivery practices, which gives your customers greater value and helps you keep up with changes in the market.

Improved quality of code. Diverse DevOps strategies like GitOps, for instance, help developers to identify bugs early on in the development process and timely fix them before releasing the product into production. This also helps in reducing costs associated with bug fixing after deployment (which can be quite expensive).

Enhanced communication among team members. When everyone is working off the same version control repository, it’s easy for developers to keep each other up-to-date on the progress being made on various projects or tasks within an individual SaaS project. This makes it much easier for everyone involved with a specific feature or component to stay in sync with each other throughout the development process — whether they’re working from different offices or on different continents.

Reduced risk. Automated testing and continuous integration help reduce the risk of releasing faulty code by providing frequent feedback on code quality.

Let’s sum it all up then. If you start developing your SaaS project with DevOps practices, you can quickly launch your product to the market, have better guarantees that the application code will have a required quality level, and as a cherry on top, you’ll face much fewer risks when deploying your solution in production. Sounds like a perfect scenario. Let’s learn then what you need to efficiently start with your SaaS project backed up with DevOps techniques.

How to implement DevOps in a SaaS project

Below are a few things to consider to successfully implement DevOps practices.

Define your goals and objectives.

The first step is to determine what you want from your DevOps initiative in terms of your SaaS project. For example, do you want to improve collaboration between development and operations? Do you want more frequent releases? Or do you need more stability in production? These questions will help you decide which practices will be most effective for your particular situation.

Choose a toolchain for automation.

There are many different tools available for automating tasks such as configuration management, deployment, and monitoring — including Chef, Puppet, Ansible, SaltStack, and Docker containers. Pick one that works best for your team’s needs based on factors such as ease of use, cost, and integration with other tools in your stack (for example, if you’re already using Docker containers).

Set up the environment for testing and development.

Once you have selected the right set of tools for automation, it is time to set up an environment where tests can be executed automatically after every code change pushed into the repository by developers or testers. Once this environment is ready with all test cases and configurations needed you’re good to go with using DevOps best practices in your SaaS project.

Make sure to also regularly evaluate to what extent DevOps techniques are helping your SaaS project to run more efficiently. In the next section, we give you a few tips that can help you start the development process with much more confidence.

Tips on developing a winning SaaS solution using DevOps techniques

As you may have guessed already, DevOps is a universal method that can elevate many projects and SaaS is one of the use cases. We’d like to share with you a few tips that can help you improve the development and deployment as of your SaaS project so of any other project as well.

The team is your everything. In order to build a successful SaaS product, you need a team that is experienced in building SaaS applications and has solid experience with DevOps. You’ll need people who understand both development and operations well enough to build something worthwhile for your business. If you don’t have these resources available internally, consider outsourcing some of these tasks so that you can focus on what matters most — getting results from your application.

Start small, but start now. Don’t wait until your product is ready for prime time. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP) right away, even before you have all the features that you want to offer in the final product. This will allow you to get feedback from potential customers and improve your product continuously.

Use agile development processes like Scrum or Kanban to manage your development team(s), instead of the waterfall model or other traditional approaches that lead to huge time delays between when requirements are defined and when they’re delivered into production environments. In combination with DevOps, these practices will help you deliver value more quickly.

Any SaaS business that wishes to ensure a successful product launch is likely to benefit from implementing the principles of DevOps. Equipping a development team with the right tools, infrastructure, and training necessary to effectively implement new features can ensure a more streamlined and efficient process. By empowering developers with the ability to make their own decisions, along with assessing the outcomes of those decisions in real time, a team can work as efficiently as possible. This may also result in fewer bugs being released into production, helping you release a SaaS solution with a smooth customer experience.

The post DevOps: The Missing Piece Of The SaaS Development Puzzle appeared first on noupe.

Categories: Others Tags:

10 Super Useful Tweaks for Squarespace Websites

March 13th, 2023 No comments

An eye-catching and beautiful website is more likely to entice web visitors to stick around, find out about your products and services, and, most importantly, encourage them to convert. If you manage a Squarespace site, you might be wondering how you can enhance your images, add vivid fonts, and improve your overall web design to boost your traffic.

We’ve put together a list of ten simple tweaks you can use to optimize your website, including some stunning Squarespace animations that will make your pages really pop!

1. Add a button

If you want to encourage web users to sign up for your newsletter, buy a product, or send you an email, a big bright call-to-action button is the perfect way to do this.

You can create an easy button on Squarespace by adding a button block. Move to the section you want to add your button to, click the blue + icon and choose Button. Here you can add your text and select the page you want your button to take your web users to.

You can style the buttons on your website by going to the home menu, choosing Design and clicking Buttons.

Don’t forget to keep your button text short and sweet to encourage conversions – 25 characters or less!

2. Implement an accordion block

An accordion block is ideal if you have a lot of content but would like to keep your page short and scrollable. For example, if you want to include a lengthy FAQ on a page for search engine optimization purposes.

To add this feature go to the page you want to add the accordion block to and click the blue + sign. Choose Accordion from the menu to add your block to your page. Next, click the pencil icon and go to the Content tab to add and edit individual parts of the accordion.

If you want to style the accordion, click on the Design tab where you can change the background color, how the expand icon looks, and the divider style.

3. Animate your background photos

You don’t have to settle for a dull and boring static background image with Squarespace. With seven background animations on offer, you can make your background stand out and entice your web visitors to scroll!

Click the pencil icon on the image you want to tweak, go to Background, and Image effects. Choose the animation you want to implement, and you’re good to go.

If you’re using a Brine template, you can enable parallax scrolling on your pages – this makes your background image move more slowly than the content in the foreground for a cool effect! Go to the Site styles panel (the paintbrush at the top right-hand side of the page), scroll down to the Main: overlay section, and check Enable Parallax.

5. Get social with social media icons

Social media is essential for building engagement and finding new customers. If you have social media profiles, you can promote them anywhere on your Squarespace website in just a few clicks.

If you want to add your icons to a page, click the blue + icon, choose Social Links and add your links in. Looking to add social media icons to your header? Hover over it and click Edit site header. Then, click Elements, toggle Social Links and add them in.

6. Introduce some background art

Not got a photo to use as a background image? No problem! You can create some cool animated background art to make your website more engaging.

Click the pencil icon and go to Background. You’ll find six different background effects to try. You can change the color by going to the Colors menu. Why not mix and match animations and colors until you find a combination you love?

7. Add a dropdown menu

Usability is essential for your website – you want your visitors to find the information they need as quickly and easily as possible. A dropdown menu is excellent for displaying your pages in a user-friendly way.

Click Pages, then click the + icon. Then select Folder. Give your new folder a name and drag your existing pages into the folder to build your dropdown menu. You can drag and drop your pages so they appear in the precise order you want.

8. Change the fonts

When you select a specific Squarespace theme, it will come with pre-designated fonts. The good news is that you can change these fonts to suit your own personal branding requirements.

When you’re editing a page, click the Site styles icon at the top right-hand side of the page, which looks like a paintbrush. Choose Fonts, and you can choose a new font pack to replace your existing fonts. The bonus is that this font pack is applied to the whole of your website, so you don’t have to painstakingly change the font on individual pages.

9. Enable comments

If you have a blog, enabling comments is a fantastic way to engage with readers and build a strong sense of community around your site. Squarespace has built-in commenting functionality which means you can keep track of comments and likes, while quickly blocking spammy messages.

To enable comments, go to the home menu and click Blogging. Click Comment settings and select Enable Comments Globally. If you want to toggle comments off and on for a particular post, go to the blog post, open the Post Editor and choose Comments on or Comments off.

10. Make your header transparent

If you want to make your Squarespace website feel more modern and streamlined, you can make your navigation bar transparent. This blends your header in with the colors and imagery already used on your page.

Click Edit site header, go to Style and choose Dynamic from the dropdown menu.

And there you have it! Ten simple code-free changes you can make directly in Squarespace. Why not give them a try today?

The post 10 Super Useful Tweaks for Squarespace Websites appeared first on noupe.

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5 Mistakes I Made When Starting My First React Project

March 10th, 2023 No comments

You know what it’s like to pick up a new language or framework. Sometimes there’s great documentation to help you find your way through it. But even the best documentation doesn’t cover absolutely everything. And when you work with something that’s new, you’re bound to find a problem that doesn’t have a written solution.

That’s how it was for me the first time I created a React project — and React is one of those frameworks with remarkable documentation, especially now with the beta docs. But I still struggled my way through. It’s been quite a while since that project, but the lessons I gained from it are still fresh in my mind. And even though there are a lot of React “how-to” tutorials in out there, I thought I’d share what I wish I knew when I first used it.

So, that’s what this article is — a list of the early mistakes I made. I hope they help make learning React a lot smoother for you.

Using create-react-app to start a project

TL;DR Use Vite or Parcel.

Create React App (CRA) is a tool that helps you set up a new React project. It creates a development environment with the best configuration options for most React projects. This means you don’t have to spend time configuring anything yourself.

As a beginner, this seemed like a great way to start my work! No configuration! Just start coding!

CRA uses two popular packages to achieve this, webpack and Babel. webpack is a web bundler that optimizes all of the assets in your project, such as JavaScript, CSS, and images. Babel is a tool that allows you to use newer JavaScript features, even if some browsers don’t support them.

Both are good, but there are newer tools that can do the job better, specifically Vite and Speedy Web Compiler (SWC).

These new and improved alternatives are faster and easier to configure than webpack and Babel. This makes it easier to adjust the configuration which is difficult to do in create-react-app without ejecting.

To use them both when setting up a new React project you have to make sure you have Node version 12 or higher installed, then run the following command.

npm create vite

You’ll be asked to pick a name for your project. Once you do that, select React from the list of frameworks. After that, you can select either Javascript + SWC or Typescript + SWC

Then you’ll have to change directory cd into your project and run the following command;

npm i && npm run dev

This should run a development server for your site with the URL localhost:5173

And it’s as simple as that.

Using defaultProps for default values

TL;DR Use default function parameters instead.

Data can be passed to React components through something called props. These are added to a component just like attributes in an HTML element and can be used in a component’s definition by taking the relevant values from the prop object passed in as an argument.

// App.jsx
export default function App() {
  return <Card title="Hello" description="world" />

// Card.jsx
function Card(props) {
  return (

export default Card;

If a default value is ever required for a prop, the defaultProp property can be used:

// Card.jsx
function Card(props) {
  // ...

Card.defaultProps = {
  title: 'Default title',
  description: 'Desc',

export default Card;

With modern JavaScript, it is possible to destructure the props object and assign a default value to it all in the function argument.

// Card.jsx
function Card({title = "Default title", description= "Desc"}) {
  return (

export default Card;

This is more favorable as the code that can be read by modern browsers without the need for extra transformation.

Unfortunately, defaultProps do require some transformation to be read by the browser since JSX (JavaScript XML) isn’t supported out of the box. This could potentially affect the performance of an application that is using a lot of defaultProps.

Don’t use propTypes

TL;DR Use TypeScript.

In React, the propTypes property can be used to check if a component is being passed the correct data type for its props. They allow you to specify the type of data that should be used for each prop such as a string, number, object, etc. They also allow you to specify if a prop is required or not.

This way, if a component is passed the wrong data type or if a required prop is not being provided, then React will throw an error.

// Card.jsx
import { PropTypes } from "prop-types";

function Card(props) {
  // ...

Card.propTypes = {
  title: PropTypes.string.isRequired,
  description: PropTypes.string,

export default Card;

TypeScript provides a level of type safety in data that’s being passed to components. So, sure, propTypes were a good idea back when I was starting. However, now that TypeScript has become the go-to solution for type safety, I would highly recommend using it over anything else.

// Card.tsx
interface CardProps {
  title: string,
  description?: string,

export default function Card(props: CardProps) {
  // ...

TypeScript is a programming language that builds on top of JavaScript by adding static type-checking. TypeScript provides a more powerful type system, that can catch more potential bugs and improves the development experience.

Using class components

TL;DR: Write components as functions

Class components in React are created using JavaScript classes. They have a more object-oriented structure and as well as a few additional features, like the ability to use the this keyword and lifecycle methods.

// Card.jsx
class Card extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return (

export default Card;

I prefer writing components with classes over functions, but JavaScript classes are more difficult for beginners to understand and this can get very confusing. Instead, I’d recommend writing components as functions:

// Card.jsx
function Card(props) {
  return (

export default Card;

Function components are simply JavaScript functions that return JSX. They are much easier to read, and do not have additional features like the this keyword and lifecycle methods which make them more performant than class components.

Function components also have the advantage of using hooks. React Hooks allow you to use state and other React features without writing a class component, making your code more readable, maintainable and reusable.

Importing React unnecessarily

TL;DR: There’s no need to do it, unless you need hooks.

Since React 17 was released in 2020, it’s now unnecessary to import React at the top of your file whenever you create a component.

import React from 'react'; // Not needed!
export default function Card() {}

But we had to do that before React 17 because the JSX transformer (the thing that converts JSX into regular JavaScript) used a method called React.createElement that would only work when importing React. Since then, a new transformer has been release which can transform JSX without the createElement method.

You will still need to import React to use hooks, fragments, and any other functions or components you might need from the library:

import { useState } from 'react';

export default function Card() {
  const [count, setCount] = useState(0);
  // ...

Those were my early mistakes!

Maybe “mistake” is too harsh a word since some of the better practices came about later. Still, I see plenty of instances where the “old” way of doing something is still being actively used in projects and other tutorials.

To be honest, I probably made way more than five mistakes when getting started. Anytime you reach for a new tool it is going to be more like a learning journey to use it effectively, rather than flipping a switch. But these are the things I still carry with me years later!

If you’ve been using React for a while, what are some of the things you wish you knew before you started? It would be great to get a collection going to help others avoid the same struggles.

5 Mistakes I Made When Starting My First React Project originally published on CSS-Tricks, which is part of the DigitalOcean family. You should get the newsletter.

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How Physicians Are Incorporating Multimedia Marketing Into Their Campaigns

March 10th, 2023 No comments

The practice of medicine is a profound responsibility. It’s a sacred trust between clinicians, patients, and the people who love them.

But medicine is also a business, and if you want to be able to continue serving patients and their families, then you must strive to make that business profitable. Marketing, not surprisingly, is a critical component of that effort.

However, the ascendency of the internet in general and social media, in particular, has transformed the ways that healthcare facilities endeavor to reach their target audiences. Medical practices today depend largely on a multifaceted approach that not only combines traditional and new media but that also leverages the myriad forms of digital media marketing.

This article examines the various ways that physicians are incorporating multimedia marketing into their campaigns and explores the pros and cons of each.

Marketing in Medical Practice

Some clinicians may feel a bit wary in marketing their practices. They may feel leery about the prospect of “advertising” as traditional for-profit businesses do.

The reality, though, is that in an increasingly crowded and competitive industry notorious for its shrinking profit margins, practices must grow in order to survive. Marketing, then, isn’t about greed or selfishness. It’s about being able to endure and serve in a challenging market. 

When you’re marketing your medical practice, it’s helpful to remember that your conceptualization of “marketing” is probably going to need to change. Marketing in healthcare is far less about advertising products and services and far more about building relationships with prospective and established patients and their loved ones.

And because relationship-building lies at the heart of medical marketing, you’re going to need a proactive and comprehensive approach to make it work. This includes availing yourself of the various digital channels through which to connect with your target audience. 

In most cases, this will mean cultivating a robust online presence that includes a dedicated website with a blog and discussion forum, as well as an array of social media accounts. 

In addition to the use of new media, though, it’s also important to capitalize on traditional channels — from print, television, and radio promotions to billboards and direct mailers. This will help you reach a broader audience, including those who may not have reliable internet access.

The Pros and Cons of Multimedia

As suggested above, one of the greatest advantages of a multimedia marketing approach is that it enables you to reach a broad and diverse target audience using their preferred media. If your practice seeks to serve all age groups and income levels, then combining the enormous power of digital marketing with the proven techniques of traditional marketing is the way to go.

When you deploy a multimedia approach, it’s vital to be strategic and deliberate. One of the most significant downsides of this sort of saturation technique is that your strategy may lack coherence.

For instance, you will want to create a consistent brand style that will inform all of your campaigns, regardless of where and in what form they appear. The goal is to ensure, ultimately, that no matter where your target audience receives your content, they will be able to instantly recognize it as your brand. 

When you’re using such a multi-pronged approach, it’s also important to ensure that you have a clear, cohesive, and utilitarian communications strategy driving it. In other words, you need to have a reason behind every message you create, every content and design choice you make, and every decision concerning the timing and placement of your content. 

This means understanding exactly who the content is intended for and what needs the content is designed to meet for that audience. Likewise, you will need to be clear on why a chosen platform, time, and style will be the best for reaching and engaging your intended audience.

Using Video as a Digital Marketing Tool

In addition to using multimedia to build brand awareness and support business growth, you can also tap into the tremendous power of video marketing. For example, health consumers are increasingly turning to social media to learn more about health and health products. 

In an era in which medical technologies are often outpacing patient education, you may capitalize on your audience’s social media habits to educate them on services and products. You may, for instance, create explainer videos that introduce patients to new IoT medical devices, explore their benefits and drawbacks, and demonstrate how to use them safely and securely. 

This is an ideal way to engage your target audience while building trust and showcasing your professional expertise. The most significant disadvantage, though, is the potential to appear as if you are hawking these products or seeking only to profit from the provision of services. 

Remaining objective, measured, and forthcoming about the product or service, as well as any gain you may derive from them, is vital if you don’t want to come off as a snake oil salesperson.

Remote Events in Real Time

If these pandemic years have taught us anything, it’s that it’s not always feasible or desirable to meet patients in person. For this reason, clinicians are increasingly creating opportunities for patients and their loved ones to engage with their practice in virtual settings. Virtual healthcare is an ideal way to ensure that patients can access the medical care they need through real-time video and chat without exposing themselves to undue risk. 

Further, healthcare apps can also be used to help educate patients, monitor their health status, and promote self-care. Especially among vulnerable patient populations, health apps and virtual platforms can be a lifeline to patients’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

But these tools do more than expand the scope, quality, and accessibility of care. They also serve as a form of interactive marketing insofar as they enable healthcare providers, patients, and families to safely come together in virtual environments. 

For this reason, clinicians are using not only one-on-one, private consultations in the virtual space but also live group events. This might include anything from a weekly course on nutrition to a daily exercise live stream. Clinicians may offer audiences the opportunity to participate in online health fairs, health education seminars, or online support groups. 

Such live events can be highly beneficial in nurturing patient relationships while also increasing brand awareness and driving the growth of the practice.

One potential downside, however, is that those in need of in-person care may neglect to get it. They may develop the misperception that virtual consults and online seminars are an adequate substitute in all cases. And this may end up doing some patients far more harm than good.

The Takeaway

In an increasingly challenging market environment, multimedia marketing can be an ideal way for physicians and health systems to achieve significant long-term growth. The effectiveness of the approach, though, depends on the ability to overcome the potential downsides of the myriad forms of traditional and new media marketing while maximizing their many advantages.

The post How Physicians Are Incorporating Multimedia Marketing Into Their Campaigns appeared first on noupe.

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