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Uncategorized

Websites to enhance your coding skills

Web development as a field is very wide in nature and is ever changing. I’m sure, as a web developer, you’ve done your bit and have gained knowledge about your field. New courses are coming up and are getting updated with time. As a web developer, you need to make sure that you are updated with the latest trends and platforms.

I, in this blog post, will help you go through various websites that provide you various courses related to common web programming languages or scripts such as JavaScript, PHP, Ruby on Rails and so many more. They are easily available and are very helpful in helping you and your team stay ahead of the curve.   

 

Web development as a field is very wide in nature and is ever changing Websites to enhance your coding skills

 

There are tons of courses that are available online which are both free and paid, for you to enhance your web development skills.

Here is my list of online web development platforms that provide various courses to enhance your coding skills: 

 

1) Codeschool –

Web development as a field is very wide in nature and is ever changing Websites to enhance your coding skills

 

Codeschool is an online learning destination for aspiring web developers and even for existing web developers. Codeschool, which was recently bought by Pluralsight, helps you to gain knowledge about different courses which cover HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Python, .NET, Git, databases and so much more.

  • Codeschool has different paths which will lead you to the related courses.
  • They also have something called as the “electives”, which are additional courses that you can take up as a tag on for your existing course. The videos that they display are fun and quirky and do not give you a classroom feel at all.  
  • You can watch videos, get back to coding and if you ever get stuck, you can “buy” answers through the points that you’ve earned from watching different videos.

 

2) Udacity –

Web development as a field is very wide in nature and is ever changing Websites to enhance your coding skills

 

Udacity is a  website with structured courses which help both existing and new developers to explore further in this field.

  • Udacity offers many courses which range from web development to data sciences to software engineering.
  • Udacity has recently teamed up with Georgia Tech and AT&T and provide you with an online MC in computer science degree.
  • They have contributors from reputed organisations like Facebook, Google, Salesforce, Twitter and many more. Each course offered here, covers every topic in depth and gives further clarity.  Udacity provides nanodegree courses in the fields of VR development, full stack web developer, iOS developer etc. They also have something called as the Nanodegree Plus which guarantees you a job within 6 months of your joining date.

 

3) Khan Academy –

Web development as a field is very wide in nature and is ever changing Websites to enhance your coding skills

 

Khan Academy is a very useful learning website which covers all kinds of subjects and their computer programming section is something that one just cannot miss.

  • Khan Academy provides various courses and each course has a series of videos which help you learn more.
  • They also have interactive on-screen windows that show the code and output of the results while narrating it.
  • They even provide with mini quizzes that you can take up and understand and comprehend the topic better.
  • They provide with courses like HTML/JS, Advanced JS, SQL and many more.

 

4) Udemy –

Web development as a field is very wide in nature and is ever changing Websites to enhance your coding skills

 

Udemy is more of a platform than just a learning website. Udemy gives you the liberty to not only learn about various subjects but also helps you create courses and become an instructor.

  • You can do a quick background check of the instructor and go ahead with the courses.
  • Each course on this site has a price and users have unlimited access to the videos and can also have connections to the underlying Udemy Student Community.
  • Udemy is a skill-based and skill-driven website which helps learners to learn better and helps them get more proficient in the subject they choose.

 

5) Tuts+

Web development as a field is very wide in nature and is ever changing Websites to enhance your coding skills

 

Tuts+ is a very dynamic website which helps users to learn more about coding in 2 different ways.

  • One is by providing numerous videos which are free of cost and are just perfect for someone who is just starting out. These videos provide the basic knowledge which will help you to create a website step by step. These tutorials will easily help you dive in.  
  • Second is that the website also offers many premium options which will help you dig into a particular topic with in depth knowledge.  You can choose to take up a individual plan where they provide with information on a particular subject or take up a monthly plan which will give you access to all the courses.  
  • It also provides with information on how to use Ruby on Rails, Blackbone, Ember and many more. Tuts+ helps you to expand your knowledge, be it basic or advance and will help you make really cool websites.

 

So here is our list of websites that can help you gain some extra knowledge and skills for making really cool websites. Do you have some others in mind? Post them in the comment section below and help your fellow developers.

 

Keep coding!

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Design

The Long and Short of Website Scrolling

Scrolls… you probably don’t even think about them too much. For a long time, scrolls have been dismissed as just a basic functionality to move up and down on a webpage that is more than your screen size. Today, web designers are exploring all that can be done with scrolls. And there’s one definite conclusion – there’s more.

Clever coding with the scroll can enable you to create amazing animations and therefore, amazing web designs for your client. Advances in JavaScript/HTML 5 have made this possible.

But, is there a need to redesign the scroll? Definitely, yes.

Why the scroll needs to be redesigned

  • Scrolling has become easier with touch screen devices, especially mobile devices
  • It’s also become acceptable by users given the various small devices in use today – smartphones, tablets
  • 3D touch allows for zooming in on screen, pinch for menus, pull down for refresh etc. that parallax scrolling is perfect for
  • Fast bandwidths allow for fast load and therefore more elements on the page
  • Traditional scroll designs are limited to simple viewing of the page top to bottom
  • Advances in technology allow for parallax type scrolling

Let’s take a look at what the scroll is really capable of:

The Types of Scrolling

1) The Parallax: Parallax scrolling is a fairly recent and one of the most popular trends which involves the background moving at a slower rate than the foreground, creating a 3D effect and an illusion of depth, creating remarkable effects. The word ‘parallax’ first came about from the visual effect of 2D side scrolling video games which used different backgrounds and movement speeds.

Advantages of Parallax

  • Wows your website visitors
  • Can use story-telling approach to educate your visitors about your product / business
  • Directs visitors to  the calls-to-action
  • Allows for interaction and promotes curiosity
  • Could reinforce credibility with innovative, interactive UX

Here’s an example of Parallax scrolling that I particularly like.

Anton and Irene

 scrolls have been dismissed as just a basic functionality to move up and down on a webpag The Long and Short of Website Scrolling

Awwards lists out the 30 best websites with parallax scrolling here.

2) Screen as Page: Screen-as-page scrolling is a type of parallax scroll that allows visitors to perceive your screen as pages. Each screen can be made different ‘pages’ by adding different backgrounds, different colours, styles, typography and even different calls-to-action.

Advantages of Screen-as-Page scrolling

  • Breaks the monotony of scrolling
  • Can completely change elements of an otherwise monotonous website
  • Encourages interaction
  • Can display different bits of content / information on each “screen”
  • Doesn’t overload the senses

Superlime is a fantastic example of Screen-as-page scrolling.

 scrolls have been dismissed as just a basic functionality to move up and down on a webpag The Long and Short of Website Scrolling

 

3) Animation Scrolling: Animations are a fantastic way to turn any website fun and interactive and thankfully, scrolls enable that kind of animation.

Animation by itself captures the visitor’s attention but animation that depends on the visitor’s interaction with your website (through a simple functionality like the scroll), is a plus point.

Advantages of Animation Scroll

  • It’s interactive
  • Keeps your visitor on your website for longer
  • Can make your brand unique, innovative and fun
  • Involves your visitor therefore creates greater brand recall, excitement and consequently encourages visitors to share your website

The Walking Dead‘s website has amazing animation scroll. We bet you can’t stop scrolling once you start.

 scrolls have been dismissed as just a basic functionality to move up and down on a webpag The Long and Short of Website Scrolling

 

4) Filter/ Colour Scrolls: This is a type of scrolling that gives the perception of changing colours as you scroll. This is an ingenious way displaying the different colours of your product without a catalog.

Advantages of Colour Scroll

  • Creates different effects
  • Minimizes the need for multiple web pages to showcase various colours of the same products
  • If designed well, they can be clean and clutter-free

QUO+ uses this type of scroll extremely effectively.

 scrolls have been dismissed as just a basic functionality to move up and down on a webpag The Long and Short of Website Scrolling

Porsche is another great example of colour scroll that brilliantly uses the innovation to not just showcase the colours of the product or the type of products but seamlessly tells the story of the evolution of Porsche.

 scrolls have been dismissed as just a basic functionality to move up and down on a webpag The Long and Short of Website Scrolling

Some Best Practices to Follow

As a web designer, you don’t want to over-do anything. The trick to great designs is to use just enough of any design element without it being overpowering. Likewise with scrolling. Too much of it can ruin your design but lucky for you, we’ve got you covered. Here are some best practices to follow to make sure you nail it:

  • Beware of too much: Too many screens can make your design look cluttered and may disrupt the follow. Innovation in a small, subtle way can also make a big difference to your design. Just because parallax is a trend, doesn’t mean your design needs to be packed with it.

  • Guide your visitor: Sometimes, as designers, we get so caught up with our innovations, we often forget that our layman visitor may not even know what to do once he lands on your page. A visual cue such as a ‘Scroll here’ or a path to show the user his position on your website can be useful to guide him through.

  • Avoid infinite scrolling: We get that scrolling is a great new way to engage your visitor but too much of scrolling can get your visitor bored especially if he’s scrolled enough and still hasn’t found the information he’s looking for.

  • Choose Sticky navigation: Navigation or buttons that remain on the screen throughout while the rest of the content moves are a good idea to have mainly because your visitor can easily click on the button to go back to a page without having to scroll back up all the way.

We hope you go out there and create amazing web designs with scroll! Not only will this impress your client, it will also invite more visitors to his website just for the sheer innovation of the scroll! We’d love to see your designs! Comment and let us know if you have any suggestions, tips or need more information! And I thought I’d reward you for scrolling all the way to the end of this blog so just for laughs, this website scroll always cracks us up 😀

 

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Categories
Domains News

New gTLD Report – September 2016

Hey folks, the new gTLD numbers for September are here! Once again, .TOP & .XYZ take the first two spots with .TOP having the lion’s share of new gTLD adds. We also have a new entrant to our report, .SHOP! In other news, the Radix TLDs continue to be a part of our report occasionally shifting positions. You can have a look at the infographic below for more details:

1) .TOP still number one – As you can see, .TOP takes a huge chunk of the total new gTLD registrations for the September. Taking a total of 53%, this definitely is the best performance by .TOP so far.

2) .XYZ stands at number two taking a comparatively lower share than last month’s report. They’ve continuously been our top 2 for the new gTLD report, not to forget that .XYZ & .TOP are globally leading the new gTLD registrations.  .TOP has been running at a promo price of $0.49 for a while now and this surely reflects in the numbers.

3) .SITE at number three – If you’ve been following our month-on-month reports, you’ve probably noticed that this has been the highest position .SITE has taken so far. Radix’s new gTLD was just 0.3% behind .XYZ, the world’s most famous new gTLD. So kudos to you folks for making that happen!

4) .ONLINE moves to number four – Here’s another Radix TLD in our top 5 out of the 20 new gTLDs that we report every month. It’s not hard to spot that Radix domain names often fluctuate when it comes to their positions but they tend to stay in the top 10. Here are some fun stats you can have a look at:

 the new gTLD numbers for September are here New gTLD Report – September 2016

5) .WEBSITE takes number five – 3 Radix TLDs in a row! That’s never happened before. In our last month’s report, .WEBSITE was at position 6 and managed to move a step above. This is because we were running a special promo for .WEBSITE in September at just $0.99, which was two dollars cheaper taking August and July into consideration.

6) .CLUB & .HOST enter the top ten – In our previous month’s report .CLUB and .HOST were at positions 14 & 15 respectively. They’ve shown a lot of promise and moved up to positions 6 & 7 for September. .CLUB was running at a promo price of $8.49 while a renewal promo for .HOST was on this September.

7) .ONE and .SHOP are our new entrants for this month’s report. .SPACE moves a few positions down while .TECH keeps it’s position for September as well.

For October:

  • We’re currently running a promo for .GDN at just $0.99! Offer lasts till 11th November
  • .XYZ is running at a promo price of just $0.99
  • We were running a 2 day flash sale for .NET, it will be interesting to see if that has an impact on the new gTLD report for next month
  • Looking for a wider range of new gTLDs? Do have a look at our promos here

 

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Categories
Design

Platforms to help web designers collaborate better

In my previous post, we covered the social platforms that will help web developers collaborate better and enhance and develop their skills over the internet. So, we thought, why not help web designers collaborate better as well and list down certain platforms that you, as a web designer can try out.

With the rise of the online era, social networks are coming up to help people connect with different people with common interests and profession.  Social networks provide web designers the digital space where they can share their work, explore,express themselves,have meaningful conversations and share feedback.

 we covered the social platforms that will help  Platforms to help web designers collaborate better

Thanks to these creative, tailor-made social networks and membership galleries, that the web designers can now share their work and get valuable feedback from fellow designers and can also create contacts and connections with current and potential clients.

Check out the following list of creative and awesome social hubs for you to go ahead and explore and get inspired:

1) Dribbble –

 we covered the social platforms that will help  Platforms to help web designers collaborate better

Dribbble which was once termed as the “Twitter for designers”, is a community which helps web designers, graphic designers, illustrators and other such creative people to come together and answer the questions about what the projects they’re working on each day. It is a platform that has creative and skilled people just like you. Members of this community can share their work in the form of “shots”, which is like a small screenshot of your work and other members can go ahead and leave comments and feedback.

What’s unique?

You can sign up either as a prospect designer who would like to be invited to share and do a designing project or act a scout who is looking for web designers. Win-win.

 2)  Threadless –

 we covered the social platforms that will help  Platforms to help web designers collaborate better

Threadless is a an e-commerce website for web designers which helps them to socialise with not only fellow designers but also helps them to sell their designs. It is a community where in you can put up your designs on the site and these are then put to vote. The Threadless staff reviews the entries and the top scoring ones are then printed on different merchandise and put up for sale. These products are also sold in a retail store in Chicago as well.

What’s unique?

You can get your designs approved and sell them to the customers and gain revenue.

3)  ColourLovers –

 we covered the social platforms that will help  Platforms to help web designers collaborate better

ColourLovers is a platform that focuses on color trends and inspirations which will help you for both professional and personal projects. The creative staff of ColourLovers creates various palettes, shapes and colors using the tools on the website. You can simply browse through the entire website, choose the colors and patterns for your website and use it up for your projects and get inspired and create new ideas.

What’s unique?

ColourLovers serves you with millions of colors and patterns which can be used to design your website and get some perspective about the color palettes which can help websites look unique.

4) Twibfy –

 we covered the social platforms that will help  Platforms to help web designers collaborate better

Twibfy is an inspirational platform for you as a web designer where you can find various designs, prints and patterns and can also upload your own designs on the portal. Not only this, but you can also sell your designs on this website. One can simply drag and drop a design into the collection section as in the above picture and create an entire album to inspire you for your next project.

 What’s unique?

You can create your own album of designs and get your designs licensed and also sell them.

 5) Fontli –

 we covered the social platforms that will help  Platforms to help web designers collaborate better

Fontli is like the Instagram of Typography. That’s right. Fontli is a social portal which is filled with various fonts. Works much like Instagram where, once you open the app, you can see images of fonts posted by the people you follow. Members of Fontli can upload images with various fonts in it and Fontli then gives an extended information about the designer. You can explore popular posts, visit and follow designers from all over and get inspired.

What’s unique?

Fontli helps you to discover various fonts which can inspire you, as a designer to get out there and try something really bold and something really subtle to suit the vibe of your website.

So, this is our list of social platforms that will galvanize you and help you complete projects with a pinch of vision and a whole lot of your talent.

Keep designing and make it a creative place to be online!

 

 

 

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Categories
Design

Acing the Game of Cards!

If you’ve been designing websites for a while, it’s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design. For those of us not so sure what a website card is, it’s the rectangular boxes you see on websites that either have images or texts that serve as entry points to more information. I believe website cards are critical because:

  • It grabs the attention of your visitors within a few seconds
  • Leaves a visual impact
  • Are a convenient way of displaying content
  • They communicate quick stories

Not just that, I also believe cards are the future of the web. Consider popular sites like Pinterest, Flickr, Tunblr, Mashable and the like – their entire portal is built on the card layout.

Google has moved to the cards UI.

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

So has Twitter.

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

So how should you as a designer go about building cards?

Designing the Layout of Website Cards

There are 4 main elements that make a card what it is:

1) Height: Cards from a single layout should ideally have the same width to maintain consistency. However, the height of each card can differ depending on information you want to display. You can design it to temporarily expand.

Cards are perfect for mobile designs or responsive websites. They can be stacked horizontally and can have variable heights.

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

2) Style: Cards can be designed to give a certain feel to your website. For example, the Metro & Flat design by Microsoft.

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

Or pins for the social media type of site. Which allows for ‘social call-to-actions’ such as ‘Share’, ‘Like’ etc.

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

Or the classic style to keep it simple.

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

3) Animation: You can use animation especially on mobile responsive sites to improve UX.

Cards allow for interaction on your website / webpage with animation that allows a visitor to:

  • Click for hidden buttons
  • Scroll horizontally
  • Expand a card for more information
  • Refresh with a pull-down action

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

Interactive animations

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

Pull-down to refresh

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

‘Unlock’ hidden buttons

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

The unravel menu animation

4) Image and typography: If you’re going to opt for the card design, make sure you pick a single, clear, crisp image and bold, readable text (if necessary) per card. Too much of either can make the design look cluttered. Pinterest is an example of good card design.

s quite likely you know what a website card is and what it can do for your website design Acing the Game of Cards!

 

Advantages of Cards in Web Design

Cards, if designed well can lift the UX of the website you’re building for your client in just a few tweaks.

  • Visually appealing: This is perhaps the biggest plus point of card designs. The idea of using images in a card-based design is definitely attractive to users.
  • Perfect for responsive sites: Cards can be made to adjust according to your screen size smoothly which allows for a consistent UX across devices.
  • Compiles content: With cards, you don’t have to worry about what information to give prominence to or how to get all what you want to communicate to your visitor out there. Cards are great to display the different content with information from various pages.
  • Easy to Scan: With just a quick scroll, your visitor will be able scan your website and click on the content he’s interested in. The card style gives visitors freedom to browse and engage as they wish.
  • Works with any design: Cards aren’t limited to a certain style of design. They work with flat designs, magazine-style design, minimalistic designs and more.
  • Are Social: Cards allow and encourage social sharing. Their design supports easy sharing on social media platforms and even email. You can even design a ‘Share’ call-to-action on/ under the card.

Cards layouts have been at the top of design trends this year and don’t look like they’re going away anytime soon. Design modern, user rich experiences with this layout and move your design style to edgy and stylish.

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Uncategorized

Managing Software Development Projects with Scrum

When you sit down to think about your USP – Unique Selling Proposition that gives your Web Design and Development business a competitive advantage over other companies, Price, Quality, Efficiency and Reliability are obvious metrics you will consider. To deliver on these, there are multiple processes that need to be put in place and today we will explore one very critical aspect.

Project Management is extremely critical to any business, let alone the Design and Development Business. The basics of project management include:

  • Assessing incoming work
  • Streamlining projects
  • Assigning tasks to the team
  • Managing communication with the client for requirements
  • Allocating resources
  • Setting deadlines, goals, targets
  • Time management

For any business to function smoothly and professionally especially in an industry like ours, some amount of project management is required. If you’re thinking of starting your own web design / development agency or a small business, project management is a great skill to have.

Taking project management one step further, I’d like to introduce you to SCRUM for you as a software developer.

What is Scrum Management?

The Scrum process was created by Jeff Sutherland in 1993 after he borrowed the term “scrum” from an analogy put forth by Takeuchi and Nonaka in a 1986 study. The study compared high performing, cross-functional teams to the scrum formation in rugby games.

In simple terms, Scrum is a software project management tool. It is often referred to as an “agile software development model” based on various smaller teams working interdependently and intensely on a project.

What are the advantages of a Scrum approach of management?

  • It projects a professional outlook to clients
  • It improves efficiency of all teams and boosts morale
  • It inculcates the discipline of realistic modules
  • The reviewing process allows for all teams to assess their progress and stay committed to the goal
  • It brings structure to the process by allowing for feedback, regular and continuous improvements
  • It results in increased ROI through reviews directly from stakeholder, fewer cost defects, less wasted work and effort, faster deployments and  reduced cost of failure

As a professional in the Web Design and Development industry, how does this benefit you? Adopting a certified Project Management method can be a great pitch point when you meet potential clients!

Why Project Management – The Dutch Railway Case Study

The Dutch railway was among the most heavily used in the world, providing transport to 1.2 million passengers daily. The Dutch railway wanted to build a new information system to deliver to travelers more accurate information which required less manual intervention. After having failed with a previous team using the traditional waterfall technique, they hired a team (comprising of Dutch and Indians) to build a PUB (publish) system that controls information and displays audio broadcast in all stations.

Using the Scrum technique, the team’s first step was to decide on how to do pair programming, use tools, quality targets, core hours etc.

In the first round of iterations, the team proved to be able to build, test and demonstrate user stores. This pleased the customer because:

1) Progress was demonstrated earlier

2) The customer had more control over the course of the project

In terms of the software, the positive outcomes were:

1) The maintainability of the system was excellent

2) The quality of the code was very high

Overall, the Scrum technique helped the team deliver top-notch results with higher client satisfaction, less wastage of resources and a fully workable software.

What type of projects is Scrum used for?

  • Commercial software
  • In-house development
  • Video game development
  • Website building
  • Mobile phones and more

What are the characteristics of Scrum?

In the Introduction to Scrum, Mike Cohn outlines the characteristics of Scrum. You can scroll through the whole deck to get a better understanding of Scrum.

What are the “ceremonies” in Scrum

There are essentially 4 broad processes in Scrum management:

Sprint planning: A key term in Scrum management is ‘a sprint’ which is an iteration that is restricted to a specific duration. The duration for each sprint is decided upon before-hand with 2 weeks being the most common. The process involves a team planning meeting to decide what to complete during the coming sprint.

Daily stand-up: It is sometimes referred to as a min-scrum meeting. This is a 15-minute meeting for the software team to make sure they’re on track.

Sprint Demo: A meeting where the different teams come together to catch up on their progress on the project

Sprint Retrospective: This meeting involves a reflection on the past sprint, the failures and the achievements and actions to make the next sprint better.

How popular is Scrum?

There are over 375,000 certified ScrumMasters worldwide. Scrum is a proven, scalable process for managing software projects. Scrum has become one of the most recognized management frameworks for software development especially for those projects with high requirements. It is used worldwide by Fortune 500 companies. Scrum has been used by Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple, IBM and more.

If you’ve used Scrum, we’d love to hear your experience and your success stories with this technique in the comments below.

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Uncategorized

Are Your Retail Customers Accidentally Losing Sales? Here’s how You can Help!

There are several things your customer (who is a seller) does that seem like good ideas at first, but may be costing him sales rather than winning new customers. What’s he doing wrong? As a web designer or a developer who builds websites for SMBs, you want to make sure your customers’ business is seeing enough sales/leads/value from their websites. More often than not though, you play a consulting role in the entire online presence of your customer – not just a transactional one and you can help your customers get it right. Let’s take a look at some common things that seem like they would boost sales, but could actually end up doing more harm than good.

Sell Your Benefits / Teach Your Features

The first way your client may be scaring off potential customers is with information overload. Often times, especially with technical products, the tendency is to immediately start listing all of the features included in the product. This has a negative impact on sales for several reasons.

First, your need to get your client to understand that shoppers are not customers yet. There is so much information out there and so many different potential solutions for any given problem. Shoppers are skimming and surveying what’s out there. They are not ready to dig in deep and study one particular product yet. As such, these “shoppers” aren’t ready to read a lot of words. They are looking at headlines and pictures.

Before your client unload all the details, he needs to convert shoppers to customers by selling the benefits of his product. How does his product solve their problem. Why will his customers feel smart because they found and use his product? What is it about his product that will make his customers talk about it with their friends? These are the questions he needs to be answering with headlines and pictures on his sales site.

Once a shopper has bought into the benefits of your client’s product, they are ready to invest some time into learning about his features. Now is the time to share details, blog posts, and instructional videos. Customers and shoppers are two different groups of people requiring two different types of content. Advice him not to scare away his shoppers by treating them like customers before they are ready to invest their time into learning his product. To get to the point where they are ready to invest their time in learning his product, they need to understand the overall benefits he is offering. First, advice him to sell his benefits, then teach his features.

Too Many Choices Lower Conversions

It may seem like offering a wide variety of choices will increase sales because it lets his customer customize the product and get exactly what they want. The truth is, too many choices can kill your sales.

We’ve been talking about speed bumps and exit ramps in the checkout flow of your client’s site. Decisions often require research which takes people away from your client’s site and away from the excitement of buying. In the same way that people might leave his site to look for lower shipping rates or coupon codes, you don’t want customers leaving his site or abandoning the checkout process to do research to figure out which options they should be selecting for their order.

Choices introduce confusion and indecision. Asking a customer to configure the options for their order requires the customer to have a deep knowledge in order to buy his product. This also kills the impulse and excitement of buying.

When your client markets your products, make him aware that he should aim to sell a feeling and have people connect emotionally with his brand. Decision making kills the emotion and activates the logical side of his customer’s brain while turning off the emotional thrill of buying.

A great example of the principle of fewer choices is Apple and how they sell their laptops. If you want a Mac laptop you either get a small, fast one (13 inch MacBook), a small really fast one (13 inch MacBook Pro), or a big really fast one (15 inch MacBook Pro). Other than that, there are almost no other options. You don’t have to pick what type of graphics card you want, the types of ports, or whether or not you want a number pad on your keyboard. Instead, they build a really nice system and offer it to you.They use their expertise to give you a great product rather than forcing you to study up in order to make a successful purchase.

Coupons Can Lower Conversions

Coupons are another hidden trap. It’s very popular to show a coupon field on your checkout page and then send out coupon codes to promote a sale. Seems harmless enough, right? But what do people think when they get to the checkout page, see a coupon field, but they don’t have a coupon code?

If you are about to buy something and you see a coupon field but you don’t have a coupon…

  • You feel like you aren’t getting a good deal
  • You feel dumb for not having a coupon
  • You don’t want to pay full price when other people get a discount
  • You leave to look for a coupon

By having that coupon field on your checkout page, has inadvertently introduced a giant speed bump in your client’s checkout process. In the same way that his customers may leave his site to shop the shipping, customers will leave his site to shop for coupons if they see a coupon field but they don’t have a coupon code.

Coupons are not all bad. There is a better way to make more effective use of coupons. First, advice your client never to show a coupon field on his checkout page. Instead, offer coupons, or discounts privately.

Private Coupon Offers

Keeping the application of coupons private has several benefits. Suggest that he create a private link that automatically applies the coupon to the order. Then share this special, discount link with his customers to help incentivize the sale without making all of his other customers feel foolish.

Another benefit of private coupons is that it adds a sense of special treatment and urgency to the sale. The customer feels special because your client is taking the effort to make a private, exclusive, offer that nobody else gets. He also add urgency to the sale because the customer will think that if they ever want to buy his product, now is the time because they have an opportunity to get a discount that otherwise wouldn’t be available.

Along this same idea, your client can offer discounted products, or automatically applied coupon links to special segments of his customer base. For example, if you have an email newsletter you could offer the discount to people receiving your newsletter – not the general public.

All of this gives the impression of exclusivity and unique opportunity which helps drive home sales whereas a coupon field on your checkout page can be a discouraging speed bump for sales.

How Shipping Affects Conversions

If your customer sells physical products and ship them to his customers, he may consider using real-time shipping rates because it allows him to pass along the exact shipping cost to his customer. Unfortunately, this actually scares customers away. Let’s look at the details:

There are basically three ways to charge for shipping.

  • Free shipping
  • Flat rate shipping
  • Real-time shipping quotes

Of course, within these three groups there are some variations. For example, you might have separate flat shipping rate per product, and different rates for different geographic regions. You might offer free shipping for orders greater than a certain total amount. No matter how you mix and match, there are still these three general ways of handling shipping costs. So what’s the best?

The Merits Of Free Shipping

The way your client handles shipping matters. A Pitney Bowes survey revealed that 93 percent of customers find shipping options to be an important factor in their shopping experience. An overwhelming 88 percent found free shipping that takes 5 – 7 days for delivery to be more attractive than paying a fee for 1 or 2 day delivery. This stays true even if you set a minimum order value to qualify for free shipping. Three in five respondents say they have increased their spending to qualify for free shipping.

His customers are willing to spend more money and wait longer as long as they are not spending their money on shipping. So, if at all possible, your customer should try to offer free shipping.

Why Free Shipping Is So Effective

There are several reasons why free shipping is so effective. First, and perhaps most obvious, people view paying for shipping as if they are just wasting money. Customers don’t value shipping. As long as the order arrives sometime within a week, they don’t care about the wait. Shipping has no intrinsic value. Making people pay for shipping is frustrating and discourages sales.

Trust and Excitement

There are two other, more subtle reasons why free shipping is so effective. It has to do with trust and the emotional rush of purchasing things. Trust is the first factor. If your client isn’t offering free shipping, he is going to have to gather some information from his customers, like where they live, before he can tell them the shipping costs. This means he is asking them to give their information before he has earned their trust. This may not always be a deal breaker, but it is certainly a speed bump in the overall relationship between him and his customers.

The more severe issue is introducing additional decisions during the checkout process. Whether your client offers flat rate shipping based on regions or calculate real-time shipping costs on the fly, he is introducing a new variable right at the most crucial time of the sale. Decision making destroys all the momentum of the checkout process. When your client presents the shipping cost, now his customer has to decide if the shipping price is acceptable or not. At best they will quickly consider the shipping price, accept it, and continue on. All too frequently, the customer will leave the site to shop the shipping. Does somebody else offer the same product and also have free (or cheaper) shipping? Right when your client could be closing the sale, his shipping rates can cause his customer to leave his site – not because they don’t like his product, but because now they are shopping the shipping.

Real-time shipping rates are the worst way to charge for shipping because it violates both the trust and sours the excitement the most. Your client will need to know an exact mailing address in order to calculate a live shipping rate. Worst of all, most shoppers have no idea what shipping really costs small business owners. Thanks to Amazon’s free 2 day shipping and other similar offers, most people have no idea how high the actual shipping costs are that one has to pay. So when one presents a $12 shipping cost for a pair of flip-flops customers will immediately say, “What?! No way!”

But You Still Have To Pay For Shipping

Regardless of how your client charges (or don’t charge) for shipping on his online store, it still costs him money. So what are you supposed to do? The answer is to simply build the cost of shipping into the products. This isn’t as hard as it may seem, but it does take a little upfront work on your client’s part. The general idea is to figure out what the average cost is to ship an average order. Then, add that average amount to the products he sells.

For example, suppose your client sells headphones. He notices that most people tend to just buy one set of headphones per order, but they may also include some accessories like a carry bag or a cord extender. The accessories don’t weigh very much and your client can fit them in the same box as the headphones. In other words, they can all be bundled together in the same box. Your client heads over to the FedEx website and do some Ground Shipping rate calculations for shipping this 3 pound box to various parts of the country. While some places are a little more, other places may be a little less. Overall your client finds that the average cost to ship an order is $12. Your client has also discovered that the it usually doesn’t cost any additional money to ship carry cases or cords because you can bundle them in the same box as the headphones. Sometimes, however, on rare occasions somebody will order just a carry case.

Now, the average order costs $12 to ship, but sometimes your client ships a carry case by itself. The average cost for that is just $5 because it is smaller and lighter than when headphones are ordered. With all of this in mind, bump up the cost of all the headphones by $15 and bump up the cost of accessories by $1 or maybe not at all. You will be making a little extra money shipping average orders.This will cover the few times your client will have to ship an order for just a carry case.

If your client feels like increasing the cost of the headphones by $15 is too much, he can consider splitting the difference and offer something like $5 shipping for all orders. Then only increase the cost of the headphones by $10. This still allows his customer to know up front what the shipping cost is going to be so there are no surprises and no extra decision making during the checkout process.

This is a sure-shot way to boost sales on your client’s websites and thank you for it!

 

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