Grid Inspection

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I said yesterday I would write up the process of adding Grid to meyerweb, and I did.  I started it last night and I finished it this morning, and when I was done with the first draft I discovered I’d written almost four thousand words.

So I pitched it to an online magazine, and they accepted, so it should be ready in the next couple of weeks.  Probably not long after Chrome ships its Grid implementation into public release, in fact.  I’ll certainly share the news when it’s available.

In the meantime, you can inspect live grids for yourself, whether here or at Grid by Example or The Experimental Layout Lab of Jen Simmons or wherever else.  All you need is Firefox 52, though Firefox Nightly is recommended for reasons I’ll get to in a bit.

In Firefox 52, if you inspect an element that has display: grid assigned to it, you’ll get a little waffle icon in the inspector, like so:

Mmmmmm, waffles.

Click it, and Firefox will draw the grid lines on the page for you in a lovely shade of purple.  It will even fill in grid gaps (which are a thing) with a crosshatch-y pattern.  It’s a quick way to visualize what the grid’s template values are creating.

If you have Firefox Nightly, there’s an even more powerful tool at your disposal.  First, go into the inspector’s settings, and make sure “Enable layout panel” is checked.  You may or may not have to restart the browser at this point—I did, but YEMV—but once it’s up and running, there will be a “Layout” panel to go with the other panels on the right side of the Inspector.  There you get the box model stuff, as well as a checklist of grids on the current page.

The Layout panel

For each grid on the page—not just the element you’re inspecting—you can set your own color for the gridlines, though those color choices do not currently persist, even across page reloads.  You can also turn on number labels for the grid lines, which are currently tiny and black no matter what you do.  And if you allow grid lines to extend into infinity, you can turn the page into a blizzard of multicolored lines, assuming there are several grids present.

This panel is very much in its infancy, so we can expect future enhancements.  Things like color persistence and better grid line labels are already on the to-do list, I’m told, as well as several more ambitious features.  Even as it is, I find it valuable in constructing new grids and diagnosing the situation when things go sideways.  (Occasionally, literally sideways: I was playing with writing-mode in grid contexts today.)

There’s another, possibly simpler, way to enable the Layout panel, which I learned about courtesy Andrei Petcu.  You type about:config into the URL bar, then enter layoutview into the search field.  Double-click “devtools.layoutview.enabled” to set it to “true”, and it will be ready to go.  Thanks, Andrei!

So go ahead—inspect those grids!

March 9th 2017 browsers, CSS, Design, Tools

The 4 Types of Website Traffic to Watch in Google Analytics

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by Jayson DeMers

Creating and managing a website is a big step for a business, but just having a website isn’t enough. Establishing a web presence on the web is equivalent to constructing a building for your business in the real world; you can make it pretty on the outside and pretty on the inside, but that doesn’t guarantee any foot traffic, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee any patronage.

If you’re going to maximize the revenue potential of your site, you need to understand who’s coming to your site, why they’re coming to your site, and what you can do to increase those numbers. Fortunately, Google’s free Analytics platform gives you these kinds of insights in great detail. But you still need to know what you’re looking at.

There are tons of different metrics to track in Analytics, and it can be confusing if you’re a first-timer. Instead of trying to learn all the details immediately, narrow your scope to observing patterns in the Acquisition tab–this is going to tell you where your traffic is coming from. Here, you’ll find four major sources of traffic, from which you can gather valuable insights about your site:

1. Direct Traffic.

Direct traffic is measured by visitors who visit your site without any online source directing them to it. For example, if a user types in your URL directly or calls upon it from a stored bookmark, it’s considered a direct visit. Direct visits generally come from one of a few types of consumers–they could be people who heard about your brand offline, repeat visitors who wanted to come back, or even your internal staff checking the site for errors (though you can filter this last segment out entirely for more accurate data). You can improve this traffic by increasing repeat visits and stepping up your brand awareness efforts offline, though as you might imagine, the offsite route is a bit less efficient than other methods.

2. Organic Traffic.

Organic traffic refers to inbound visitors who found your site through search engines. Any traffic from Bing, Google, and other search sites is counted in this data. This is most useful for practitioners of SEO, who use content, links, and other strategies to increase their likelihood of ranking high for various relevant searches–higher organic traffic generally means greater success with the strategy. However, branded searches also count toward this total. If your site is new, this figure will undoubtedly be low, but you can increase this number by optimizing your site, producing regular content, establishing relationships with outside authorities, and getting active on social media. It takes time to develop the domain authority necessary to earn this type of traffic, but it can be a lucrative source in the long term.

3. Referral Traffic.

Referral traffic accumulates any visits that came from outside sources. If links to your site are available on external sources, users can follow those links to find your site. Link building in SEO (or through guest posting) are valuable for this. You might also earn links from local directories or industry directories, provided you submit your information to them. Getting a link published on a high-profile source with tons of traffic can route significant droves of users to your site, but the more valuable a link is, the harder it is to get. Keep a close eye on your link development strategy to increase referral traffic–you might also consider placing affiliate links, which cost a bit of extra money but can be valuable opportunities for getting new traffic. Some links might even crop up naturally if outside sites choose to cite your information–click into the Referral traffic section to see exactly which sources are generating the most traffic to your site.

4. Social Traffic.

Last but not least is social traffic, which can refer to any inbound users from social media sites. The more active you are on social media and the more attractive your links are (think about providing value to users rather than advertising your brand or products), the more visitors you’re liable to get. Over time, as you build a following, this number can skyrocket. If you click into the Social traffic area, you’ll be able to see exactly which platforms are generating the most traffic, and you can weight your strategy to favor those platforms.

Understanding and tracking these four sources of traffic, you’ll learn your users’ strongest preferences, and you’ll be able to cater to those preferences with your marketing strategies and ongoing site development.

As you grow more familiar with Google Analytics, you’ll be able to analyze user behavior on-site, track user demographics, use goals to maximize conversions and generate more revenue, and branch out to other analytics platforms and business intelligence tools to build an ever-clearer picture of your website’s traffic data–but none of this is possible without suitable initial traffic.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

January 21st 2017 Analytics, Tools

Element Dragging in Web Inspectors

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Yesterday, I was looking at an existing page, wondering if it would be improved by rearranging some of the elements.  I was about to fire up the git engine (spawn a branch, check it out, do edits, preview them, commit changes, etc., etc.) when I got a weird thought: could I just drag elements around in the Web Inspector in my browser of choice, Firefox Nightly, so as to quickly try out various changes without having to open an editor?  Turns out the answer is yes, as demonstrated in this video!

Youtube: “Dragging elements in Firefox Nightly’s Web Inspector”

Since I recorded the video, I’ve learned that this same capability exists in public-release Firefox, and has been in Chrome for a while.  It’s probably been in Firefox for a while, too.  What I was surprised to find was how many other people were similarly surprised that this is possible, which is why I made the video.  It’s probably easier to understand to video if it’s full screen, or at least expanded, but I think the basic idea gets across even in small-screen format.  Share and enjoy!

January 19th 2017 browsers, Tools

Ready to Invest in Social Media Software? Comparing Social Media Tools

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Ready to Invest in Social Media Software? Comparing Social Media Tools was originally published on, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Is your company ready to invest in social media tools? Do you want something that monitors fans, followers, shares, mentions and more across every social network, tracked over time? Could you use a platform that tracks clicks to a site and conversion events?

Last year, that was the situation we found ourselves in — looking for social media software that could help us better track our key metrics.

As your business and social media activity grows, what could have once been accomplished manually becomes unmanageable.

Social Media Tools

At a certain point, it’s time to consider investing in social media software. But there are so many social media marketing tools out there. As our company’s social media editor, I was given the task of researching the marketplace and getting the answers to key questions, including:

After doing myriad trials with companies including Sprout Social, Quintly, Simply Measured, Datapine and Nuvi, I’ve rounded up the answers.

I want to share my research with other brands, businesses and agencies so that you’re ahead of the game when you start looking for the social media tools that are right for your company.

How Much Does Social Media Software Cost? (And What Features Are Included?)

Social media marketing tool platforms can range in price from $50 to $1,600 per month. Fifty dollars, however, is on the very low end, and such an account is very limited.

Along with the big variance in cost is a big variance in tool features.

Sprout Social, for example, offers a “deluxe package” for $59 per month that allows for one user with five accounts. Publishing from the platform is available, as is a limited number of reports. Google Analytics is not integrated and white labeling is not available. If you’re a small business or individual looking to track the most basic social media marketing KPIs of follower growth and mentions using a single dashboard, this could be the solution that works for you. No contract is required and you pay monthly.

One user and five accounts, however, is not going to be enough for an agency or larger business. For robust social media software the average price is $500 per month. At this level, the software is apt to include advanced social listening reports, competitive reports, hashtag tracking and research tools. Nuvi, for example, can algorithmically determine (with 82 percent accuracy) whether your brand is being mentioned in positive or negative way. Consider a brand like Coca Cola, for example, with thousands of tweets mentioning them daily. The advanced social listening report is a lifesaver. With Nuvi, the social media manager can set up an alert if the brand’s messages reach a certain threshold of negative mentions. She can set the threshold, and then she can set up a text alert so she’s immediately made aware when this happens.

Looking again at Sprout Social, moving up to the “team package” allows you to monitor 30 social media profiles and have three user logins. The team package also includes a message approval workflow (i.e. an associate could craft messages and later, a manager approve and push them out) and advanced reports. The team package is also integrated with Google Analytics and white labeling is available (a key feature for an agency).

Social Media Software Rates

  • Nuvi: $600, $900 or $1600 monthly
  • Sprout Social: $59, $99, or $500 monthly
  • Quintly: $129, $299 or $479 monthly
  • SimplyMeasured: $500, $1,000 or $2,000
  • DataPine: €219, €399, €699 or €799

If your business is a non-profit, you can usually get a discount on these rates.

Will I Have to Sign Up for a Contract?

Most likely. All social media software I researched necessitated a year-long contract, paid monthly, except for Sprout Social.

Is Google Analytics Integrated?

Sometimes. After testing the tools and looking at the reports they generated, the ones that were integrated with Google Analytics provided nothing that I couldn’t obtain in the Google Analytics Social Referrer Report — so the fact that I need to look in two separate data platforms isn’t really a deal breaker.elmo facebook

What Social Networks Are Included?

This varies by tool, but you should at minimum expect Twitter and Facebook. Simply Measured includes Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram and Vine. Sprout Social, on the other hand, only includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+.

How Many Users Can Access the Social Media Tools?

This also varies. At the low end of the price spectrum, there’s only one user allowed access. The more you’re spending, though, the more users you’re allowed.

Can I Access Historical Data, i.e. the Data that Existed before We Started Using the Software?

This isn’t something you should expect. The only social media software I found that offered this was Nuvi, and even then, Nuvi could only provide historical data for Twitter and it costs an extra $300 per month.

Is White Labeling Available?

Sometimes. Again, with accounts on the lower end of the price spectrum, it’s not included. Even at a mid-level account, such as Nuvi’s cheapest package at $600/month, white labeling does not come standard. It costs an extra $300 a month. Quintly and Simply Measured don’t offer white labeling at all.

What’s your preferred social media software? Share your thoughts in the comments.

August 4th 2016 Analytics, Facebook, Tools, Twitter

11 Social Media Tools & How to Use Them to Boost Conversions

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sold-street-artSocial Media has become a key component to the success of many businesses.  Contextual Advertising, real-time word-of-mouth sharing and positive reviews help generate lots of traffic.  If you can’t turn that traffic into sales or leads, then the traffic is wasted. Knowing how to collect and use the data generated can be difficult if you don’t have the best tools. After all, you wouldn’t use a screwdriver to get a nail into a wall.

According to 5 Trends That Will Change How Companies Use Social Media, nine out of ten businesses are active on social media and 80% have a dedicated social media team. Yet, for many conversions remain lower than other channels.

Here are a few favorites tools to help turn social media visitors into customers:

Raventools – Raventools is powerful because it makes it easy to track all your key social media campaign metrics. Without great metrics, you can’t know what is or is not working.

Conversion Tip: Success in social media comes from being able to react to the analytics in near real-time. Raventools’ Social Media Dashboards (plus other dashboards) make it easy for you to get campaign and profile data. Even right at your fingertips.

AddShoppers – A Social Sharing Platform which uses Reward sharing. It identifies Influencers and tracks social activity including, ROI. Their AddSocial solution includes:

Sharing Buttons – Sharing buttons used to drive more revenue and grab more leads. It also integrates Influencer marketing campaigns.

Trending Wall – Using a Pinterest-style layout, the Trending Wall highlights popular content. This helps to keep customers engaged on your site longer and increase order value.

Social Login – A great solution for filling out forms, even on mobile. This will improve data accuracy and enrich customer records with more data.

Purchase Sharing – Prompting your customers to talk about their purchase, when they are happy. This will increase your “word-of-mouth” traffic. About 30% of a sites sharing activity happens immediately after a sale.

Conversion Tip: Social Rewards, Referral Incentives and Targeted Ads help increase conversions. Imagine a customer NOT having to leave your site to look for coupons. They just have to share their purchase and receive a discount. Or, if they refer a friend, they can both receive discounts. Happy customers lead to higher sales, and that is the goal.

Fan Machine – A Suite to manage your social marketing. The platform integrates Ads and Insights capabilities.

Publisher – Helps increase your reach and simplify publishing tasks. It includes post creation, promotion and comment moderation.

Builder – Increase engagement with entertaining and viral campaigns. Its as simple as creating a Facebook event and is functionable on mobile.

Amplifier – A Facebook Ads optimizer which creates different types of ads. It also assigns more budget to the ones that perform better.

Insights – Detects your impact using metrics of your pages, campaigns and tags. Get a better understanding of what works better and what impacts your customer and fan base.

Social CRM – Find out what your target needs and analyse their likes and preferences. Then you will be able to offer the best opportunities to increase sales.

Conversion Tip: The Fan Machine helps increase Social Conversion by collecting the right data. This helps you get to know your customers better and allows you to continue keeping them happy.  We love the speed (you will too) at which these things are built. This is powerful for social media conversion optimization.

Ilos Videos – A screen recording platform that makes screencasting a breeze. From recording to uploading to conversion, Ilos can get it all done.

Record – Built for ease of use, the recorder will launch right from your browser or desktop app. The files are kept small, no matter the length of the video. This makes them able to be viewed anywhere and there is an undo feature so mistakes are not a problem.

Share – With integrated Cloud Storage, sharing becomes easy by grabbing the link. You can even manage who can access the video.

Store – Ilos offers unlimited Cloud Storage so you don’t have to fill up your computer.  You will still have access whenever you need it. Playlists help make managing easy and you can even upload old videos.

Edit –  As soon as you complete recording, the video gets uploaded to an edit page.  Here you can re-record, trim unwanted parts and even add background music. You can also blur out private information that might be in the screening.

Conversion Tip: According to a study (published by Cisco in the Washington Post), in five years, 80% of the world’s Internet consumption will be through video. Being able to easily capture the right  video and how and where to use it will make all the difference in the world. Having an agile tool to create videos will allow you to create lots of different videos and see which ones impact sales the fastest.

Sightly – Programmatic targeting of customers with personalized videos.

Ad Personalization – The process of creating different versions of an ad for different audiences. This helps boost response rates by 200%. You can test which commercials, spokespersons, products, features, etc. appeal to the most viewers.

Micro-Targeted Delivery – Reach the right viewers most cost-effectively. Micro-Targeting produces abundant data about audience micro-segments and delivery channels. This helps you make the best marketing decisions.

Campaign Automation – Makes the processes required to launch and run video advertising campaigns easier. You can deliver powerful, personalized video messages across all screens.

Intelligent Optimization – This engine uses algorithms and data analytics to help optimize ads, offers, audiences and spends.

Conversion Tip:

Relevant ads drive traffic and help boost conversions. Sightly makes sure you are providing relevant ads. Using their analyses and data collection, they localize and personalize your video ads.  You can be sure you are hitting the customers you want.

What Would Seth Godin Do Plug-In – This WordPress Plug-in allows you to add a custom message to your post. This helps differentiate between first time visitors and repeat visitors. It will help you learn what message gets the first time visitor to convert. Oftentimes, it is different than what makes a repeat visitor become a customer and/or subscriber.

Conversion Tip: Test different offers, get a free White Paper, ask them to subscribe or share, try different messages for new and repeat visitors and see whether the message is in the header or footer of the post to see which is most effective.

PIPL’s FileApp – Upload a file with whatever pieces of information you have about your prospects or customers, and PIPL will complete your data inside the spreadsheet. If you have an email address, it will find a social media profile and vice versa including name, address, email, phone, etc.

Conversion Tip: The old direct marketing mantra of “the money is in the list” can now be updated with “the money is in the data from the list”. The more you know about your customers, where they are, where they interact, etc, the more you can appeal to their wants and needs.

Facebook – Among all the great new lead generation and other ad units that Facebook has been offering, the ability to use FB to test which headlines and images will be the most valuable in your social media campaigns will be powerful.

Conversion Tip: The way to do this is to set up two similar posts but slightly change the headline or change the image. Send each of the posts to separate audiences to see which has the best response. Then use the better ad to share in all your other organic and paid campaigns. Check out this great guide from Buffer on how to write better and test headlines on Social Media. You might also want to use a tool like Canva, Shutterstock Editor or Visme to create your graphics.

The Sweet Science Of Virality from Upworthy – Providing a poor experience on a website or app can cost companies millions of dollars. By being able to see what customers do and how they interact on your site, you are better able to understand what might be causing them not to be able to complete the desired action, buying or registering. From simply choosing the wrong wording to using the wrong type of picture, potential customers might be missing the link they need, and you want them, to click.

Conversion Tip: Pick three previous campaigns you have run, and watch how actual people interact with your social media campaigns and through your website as they talk out loud about their experience. You will get plenty of ideas on what you can do to improve future campaigns.

Buffer – In Social Media, you need to be able to catch people in the moment, the right moment. With Buffer, you can stack, and schedule, your posts to whichever platform you choose. The posts can be the same for all platforms or customized as you wish. Buffer will also repeat posts at planned times.

Conversion Tip: Social Media is not just post once and forget it. If you have an effective campaign, don’t neglect to share it multiple occasions over multiple channels over time. Unless, of course, your campaign is time sensitive, like a Holiday Sale.

Buzzsumo – Helps create high converting content. You can search Buzzsumo to analyse the best performing content and influencers for any topic. You will learn what content is hot at the moment, but also what platforms to use and see where and how it is best shared and by whom.

Conversion Tip: Great social media campaigns don’t happen by accident, even if you have the right ingredients. if you can find the right influencers to share your content, it is like adding gasoline to the fire.

A similar product I am evaluating now is

In the social media and conversion world, everyone can influence someone. So, won’t you please share this article? Also, if you have any tools you would like to share with us, please drop us a note.

The post 11 Social Media Tools & How to Use Them to Boost Conversions appeared first on Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg.

April 5th 2016 Social Media, Tools

My iPad Blog ScrivCast Workflow is almost there…

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Publishing Articles to WordPress with Workflow on iOS – MacStories

Ed at the White Board

This is the missing link in my iPad Pro / Scrivcast workflow!

Fortunately, great things do happen in the third-party iOS ecosystem. Today’s update to Workflow (version 1.4.2) adds, among more actions, a brand new WordPress action to publish posts and pages to configured WordPress blogs (both and self-hosted ones) and which can be combined with any other existing action or workflow for deeper automaton. After using a beta of this action for the past few weeks, I can say that it’s, by far, the best automated publishing workflow I’ve ever had, and I don’t want to go back to anything else.

November 27th 2015 Tools

Local Ipsum

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Throughout 2015, a few people who’ve seen me present “Designing for Crisis” at An Event Apart have noticed that, on the slides where I have filler text, it’s a localized variant.  In Washington, DC, for example, one section started out:

Andrew ellicott lobortis decima thomas jefferson vulputate dynamicus fiant kingman park sollemnes ford’s theater. Vero videntur modo claritatem possim quis quod est noma howard university consequat diam. Blandit ut claram north michigan park seacula judiciary square william jefferson clinton hawthorne millard fillmore iis…

This was a product of some simple PHP I’d originally written to generate Cleveland-themed filler text a year or so back, which you can find at, and which I’d expanded upon to let me generate text for my presentations at AEA.  The name comes from the original idea I had, which was to provide a list of cities/regions/whatever, so that users could pick one and generate some filler text.  That never quite came together.  I had a semi-working version once, but the UI was horrible and the file management was worse and I got discouraged and rolled back to what you see now.

I kept telling myself that I’d get back to it, do the city-selection thing right, polish it nicely, and then finally release the source.  I’ve told myself that all year, as I manually swapped in city information to generate the filler text for each of my talks.  Now I’ve finally admitted to myself that it isn’t going to happen, so: here’s the source.  I chose a pretty permissive license—BSD-ISC, if I recall correctly—so feel free to make use of it for your own filler text.  I’ll be happy to accept pull requests with improvements, but not package-management or complete MVC restructuring.  Sorry.

I know, it’s a goofy little thing and the code is probably pants, but I kinda like it and figure maybe someone out there will too.  If nothing else, we can look for a few laughs in the output and maybe—just maybe—learn a little something about ourselves along the way.

(P.S. Speaking of “Designing for Crisis”, look for a post about that, and more specifically video of it, in the next few weeks.)

November 24th 2015 Tools

Essential Tool: Firefox’s screenshot Command

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Everyone has their own idiosyncratic collection of tools they can’t work without, and I’ve recently been using one of mine as I produce figures for CSS: The Definitve Guide, Fourth Edition (CSS:TDG4e).  It’s Firefox’s command-line screenshot utility.

To get access to screenshot, you first have to hit ⇧F2 for the Developer Toolbar, not ⌥⌘K for the Web Console.  (I know, two command lines—who thought that was a good idea?  Moving on.)  Once you’re in the Developer Toolbar, you can type s and then hit Tab to autocomplete screenshot.  Then type a filename for your screenshot, if you want to define it, either with or without the file extension; otherwise you’ll get whatever naming convention your computer uses for screen captures.  For example, mine does something like Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 10.05.51.png by default.  If you hit [return] (or equivalent) at this point, it’ll save the screenshot to your Downloads folder (or equivalent).  Done!

Except, don’t do that yet, because what really makes screenshot great is its options; in my case, they’re what elevate screenshot from useful to essential, and what set it apart from any screen-capture addon I’ve ever seen.

The option I use a lot, particularly when grabbing images of web sites for my talks, is --fullpage.  That option captures absolutely everything on the page, even the parts you can’t see in the browser window.  See, by default, when you use screenshot, it only shows you the portion of the page visible in the browser window.  In many cases, that’s all you want or need, but for the times you want it all, --fullpage is there for you.  Any time you see me do a long scroll of a web page in a talk, like I did right at the ten-minute mark of my talk at Fluent 2015, it was thanks to --fullpage.

If you want the browser --chrome to show around your screenshot, though, you can’t capture the --fullpage.  Firefox will just ignore the -fullpage option if you invoke --chrome, and give you the visible portion of the page surrounded by your browser chrome, including all your addon icons and unread tabs.  Which makes some sense, I admit, but part of me wishes someone had gone to the effort of adding code to redraw the chrome all the way around a --fullpage capture if you asked for it.

Now, for the purposes of CSS:TDG4e’s figures, there are two screenshot options that I cannot live without.

A screen capture of Facebook’s “Trending” panel.
I captured this using screenshot fb-trend --selector '#u_0_l'.  That saved exactly what you see to fb-trend.png.

The first is --selector, which lets you supply a CSS selector to an element—at which point, Firefox will capture just that element and its descendants.  The only, and quite understandable, limitation is that the selector you supply must match a single element.  For me, that’s usually just --selector 'body', since every figure I create is a single page, and there’s nothing in the body except what I want to include in the figure.  So instead of trying to drag-select a region of the screen with ⇧⌘4, or (worse) trying to precisely size the browser window to show just the body element and not one pixel more, I can enter something like screenshot fig047 --selector 'body' and get precisely what I need.

That might seem like a lot to type every time, but the thing is, I don’t have to: not only does the Web Toolbar have full tab-autocomplete, the Toolbar also offers up-arrow history.  So once I’ve tab-completed the command to capture my first figure, I just use the up arrow to bring the command back and change the file name.  Quick, simple, efficient.

The second essential option for me is --dpr, which defines a device pixel ratio.  Let’s say I want to capture something at four times the usual resolution.  --dpr 4 makes it happen.  Since all my figures are meant to go to print as well as ebooks, I can capture at print-worthy resolutions without having to use ⌘+ to blow up the content, or fiddle with using CSS to make everything bigger.  Also if I want to go the other way and capture a deliberately pixellated version of a page, I can use something like --dpr 0.33.

I have used this occasionally to size down an image online: I “View Image” to get it in its own window, then use screenshot with a fractional DPR value to shrink it.  Yes, this is a rare use case, even for me, but hey—the option exists!  I haven’t used the DPR option for my talks, but given the growing use of HD 16:9 projectors—something we’ve been using at An Event Apart for a while now, actually—I’m starting to lean toward using --dpr 2 to get sharper images.

(Aside: it turns out this option is only present in very recent versions of Firefox, such as Developer Edition 43 and the current Nightlies.  So if you need DPR, grab a Nightly and go crazy!)

A closeup of text on a test page.
A snippet of an image I captured using --dpr 5.  On-screen, the page was at 100% zoom, 16-pixel (browser default) text sizing.  The resulting capture was 4000×2403 pixels.

And that’s not all!  You can set a --delay in seconds, to make sure a popup menu or other bit of interaction is visible before the capture happens.  If you want to take your captured image straight into another program before saving it, there’s --clipboard.  And there’s an option to upload straight to --imgur, though I confess I haven’t figured out how that one works.  I suspect you have to be logged into imgur first.  If anyone knows, please leave a comment so the rest of us know how to use it!

The one thing that irks me a little bit about screenshot is that the file name must come before the options.  When I’m producing a bunch of figures in a row, having to drag-select just the file name for replacement is a touch tedious; I wish I could put the file name at the end of the command, so I could quickly drag-select it with a rightward wrist-flick.  But all things considered, this is a pretty minor gripe.  Well, shut my mouth and paint me red—it turns out you can put the filename after the options.  Either that wasn’t possible at some point and I never retested the assertion, or it was always possible and I just messed up.  Either way, this irk is irksome no more!

The other thing I wish screenshot could do is let me define a precise width or height in pixels—or, since I’m dreaming, a value using any valid CSS length unit—and scale the result to that measure.  This isn’t really useful for the CSS:TDG4e figures, but it could come in pretty handy for creating talk slides.  No, I have no idea how that would interact with the DPR option, but I’d certainly be willing to find out.

So that’s one of my “unusual but essential” tools.  What’s yours?

October 23rd 2015 browsers, Tools

105 Free SEO Resources

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toolkitIf you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of time-saving tools and short cuts that can make life easier for digital marketers.

On a recent trip down the rabbit hole of online marketing blogs, I came across the a tidy collection of SEO resources collated by Amar Hussain of website broking company FE International.

Pitched as the ultimate toolkit for digital marketers, the collection is unique in that all of the resources are free. This is great news for marketers on a budget and ideal for my SEO students, many of whom are still in college or on low incomes.

Each of the resources are categorized along the following themes:

  • A/B Testing
  • Analytics
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Content
  • Diagnostic
  • Email
  • Infographics
  • Keyword Research
  • Link Research  / Link Building
  • Local SEO
  • Resources
  • SERP Tracking
  • Speed
  • Technical
  • Toolbars / Extensions
  • WordPress Plugins

While there are many tools in the list that I know well, I was pleasantly surprised to see a large number that I haven’t seen before and can add to my own toolkit. Of these, Optimizely, WordSmith and Five Second Test were the most exciting finds.


The post 105 Free SEO Resources appeared first on Ask Kalena.

September 16th 2015 sem, SEO, Tools

The 2015 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

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Table of SEO Success FactorsEarlier this month, the team over at Search Engine Land updated their brilliant Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.

Now in it’s 3rd edition, the table is a fantastic SEO resource and one of the few items on my Ubuntu desktop that gets regular eyeball attention. Content is divided between on-page and off-page factors and clearly color-coded to make it visually intuitive, with relevancy weight ranging from -3 to +3.

The new edition references new factors of SEO importance including vertical search, Direct Answers and HTTPS, with mobile friendliness and structured data acquiring a relevancy weight increase in line with recent Google updates.

The idea behind the table is to highlight tasks within the SEO process and to act as a visual reminder about what is most important and what areas to focus on for clients.

Danny Sullivan describes the goal and philosophy of the table:

“Our goal with the Periodic Table Of SEO is to help publishers focus on the fundamentals needed to achieve success with search engine optimization. This means it’s not about trying to list all 200 Google ranking factors or detail Google’s 10,000 sub-factors. It’s not about trying to advise if keywords you want to rank for should go at the beginning of an HTML title tag or the end. It’s not about whether or not Facebook Likes are counted for ranking boosts.

Instead, the table is designed to broadly guide those new to or experienced with SEO into general areas of importance. Title tags are generally important. Think about making sure they’re descriptive. Social sharing is often generally seen as good for SEO. Aim for social shares, without worrying about the specific network.”

While not exactly a cheat-sheet, my SEO students at Search Engine College tell me it is their favorite resource for assignment preparation, so that’s a pretty good endorsement.

The Table can be downloaded as a PDF in large or condensed format, or you can grab the code to embed the infographic directly into your web site.

June 12th 2015 SEO, Tools