WordPress SEO Premium 1.1

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WordPress SEO PremiumAfter we released WordPress SEO Premium at January 23rd and WordPress SEO 1.5 at the beginning of March (a major rewrite of large parts of the plugin), we’re now ready to release WordPress SEO Premium 1.1. This new version introduces regular expression support for redirects as well as an even better integration with Google Webmaster Tools and an importer for Redirection.

Regular Expression support

We’ve added a new tab to the SEO → Redirects page where you can add regular expressions:

regular expression redirects

These regular expression redirects work just like how you’d expect them if you’re used to doing regular expression redirects either in Redirection, in your .htaccess or in NGINX. You can do both relative regex redirects, like the first one in the image above, which redirects every URL ending in /feed/ to the URL without /feed/, except for http://yoast.nl/feed/, and absolute URL redirects, like the 2nd and 3rd redirect in the example above, that redirect large portions of yoast.nl over to yoast.com (we’re in the process of deprecating most info on yoast.nl in favor of having it all on yoast.com as only a fraction of our clients are Dutch).

Of course, just like our normal redirects, you can have WordPress handle these redirects, or the plugin can write redirect files for Apache or NGINX containing both your regular expression redirects and your normal redirects.

Google Webmaster Tools improvements

We’d honestly underestimated how many errors some people would be importing through Google Webmaster Tools, which caused it sometimes to be rather slow. We’ve fixed that, with very good server side caching as well as an option to reload all crawl issues from GWT manually. We’ve also added the option to ignore certain issues, as well as a filter that automatically removes the URLs that have already been redirected from the table.

Of course they won’t be really gone, you can choose which view you’d prefer:

GWT crawl issues

There are still some more improvements to come there, like an option to filter by issue type and a method to mass ignore issues.

You can also switch the profile we’re downloading issues from, as GWT seems to sometimes do this wrong. For instance, it still returns http://yoast.com for us, even though we’ve changed the verification to https://yoast.com.

Redirection Import

On the SEO → Import & Export page you’ll now find the option to import redirects from Redirection. We know many of you have relied on that plugin for your redirects for quite a while, and up until a year or two ago we used to recommend it all the time. Unfortunately for sites with many redirects it becomes very slow and it adds all sort of cruft to the database you don’t need or should want. But you’re in luck: you can now safely switch to WordPress SEO Premium!

We’re in the process of building an importer for your .htaccess files and NGINX redirect files as well, so you can truly manage all your redirects in one place.

WordPress SEO Premium 1.1: available now!

If you’ve already bought WordPress SEO Premium, you can download the update now. If not, you can go buy it now.

WordPress SEO 1.5.2.6

We’ve also just done an update to the free WordPress SEO plugin, updating it to 1.5.2.6, which is mainly a stability update.

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

April 5th 2014 wordpress

With great names comes great responsibility.

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In recent years, Joost and Yoast have become less and less synonymous, to the point where it’s now downright confusing as to what people are referring to when they’re correctly pronouncing Joost’s first name and the company name. You’d almost start to feel thankful for those ignorant people who still insist on calling Joost “juiced”.

There are, of course, several ways of fixing such an issue, but most of the proposed solutions had a profound impact on the branding of the company and its ability to be found in the search engines. But then, last year, Jen gave me a great idea, she showed me that you can very effectively (not easily, but effectively) change your name. So I’ve decided, after a lot of discussion with my wife Marieke and my parents, to change mine.

Which is why I’ll henceforth be known as “Lucky”. But read on, there’s more. Because I’ve always felt slightly jealous for people with plenty of names, I’ve decided to not take one, but five names.

I’ll henceforth be known as Andrew Peter Ryan Iaquith Lucky de Valk*. I’ll of course be the first bearer of that name in my family. The funny thing when you come up with a new name for yourself is that you can name yourself after someone you adore, or, multiple people, if you pick so many names. So I went with Andrew first, because that names me after two WordPress core committers at once. Peter and Ryan are also core WP committers. Lucky is actually for Matt, but it didn’t quite work with the acronym I was going for and “Lucky” is a quite apt description of what I’ve been over the years as well.

So, as the title says, with great names comes a great responsibility. I’ll try to live up to it.

* I know Jaquith is spelled with a J, I just like replacing J’s with similar letters ;)

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

April 1st 2014 wordpress

A new Yoast theme: Strategy

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Today we’re unveiling the next of our Yoast Genesis child themes: Strategy. Aimed a bit more at the business side of the WordPress community, you’ll find that the look of this theme changes dramatically with the different color schemes it comes with. From a warm, beachy Summer feeling orange to a cool Winter.

Summer 354x290Winter 354x290

So, even if you prefer Autumn, or would rather be up in the Cloud(s), I think everyone will find a color scheme that matches their preference.

Autumn 354x290Cloud 354x290

The theme has the same benefits our other themes have: several great custom widgets, fully responsive with a sticky menu all the features a modern site needs, without any clutter. It’s a Genesis child theme, which brings with it all Genesis’ power, but we’ve added the possibilities of modern WordPress Themes because we’ve incorporated the theme customizer, allowing you to quickly and easily switch between all the settings.

So, go check out Strategy and tell us what you think!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

March 25th 2014 wordpress

WordPress tweetup – accessible presentations

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The first session I attended at CSUN was Joseph O’Connor’s presentation on: Cities, making free accessible WordPress themes, and an announcement about a new project.

In a brief update, Joe mentioned there are now a few themes, e.g. Anna Belle Leiserson, who has done the theme The Web for All Y’all.

In LA Joe talked to a few WordPress devs at a meet-up. Someone asked “what is accessibility”, so he knew he had his work cut out. However, he met someone at Pen State who understands accessible development, and they started cooking up a scheme…

Slideshows (presentations)

Joe’s introduction to the topic was that the output from presentations are not very accessible at the moment. Joe’s is in keynote, which isn’t good for accessible output, and uploading to Slideshare won’t really help.

Paul Adams uses an approach using jQuery (example), which is accessible, and it has a certain style, but it isn’t necessarily for everyone.

Natalee MacLess is working on something: Accessible slides & output in WordPress.

Joe presenting at CSUN 2014

Joe said that those of us working on WordPress core know things are getting better, slowly, but surely, and it would be good to take advantage of the platform for this.

Joe showed a demo of what Natalee has been working on, if he adds the video I’ll link to it later.

The demo showed several slides running from a local WordPress install. The slides can do transitions, but Joe spots a typo. In the demo, they logged into WordPress, went to the posts, and each slide is a post. You can go into each post/slide and edit it, then back to the presentation of the slides, typo corrected.

Please come to the 3:10 thursday session, the WordPress roadmap for accessibility. This will be talking about institutionalising accessibility in the WordPress organisation.

Thoughts

From my point of view, it’s an interesting idea but it didn’t appear to be something I’d use. Perhaps it is just early stages, and the approach will change. However, I wouldn’t want a post for each slide, unless I was making a WordPress install for each presentation, which isn’t very practical.

I’d prefer a static files solution, however, if collaboration and an accessible interface are key factors, then it is something to keep an eye on.

March 19th 2014 wordpress

Major update of WordPress SEO (1.5)

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Today we’re releasing what’s probably the single biggest update to our WordPress SEO plugin since its initial release. It improves speed, fixes a ton of bugs and edge cases and adds a new bulk title & description editor. On top of that we’ve changed several default settings and added some smaller new features. This post addresses all of it, so keep on reading.

Rewrite of option and post metadata handling

Every post in WordPress has metadata, and our WordPress SEO plugin adds more metadata to that: from indexation settings, to meta descriptions and titles. We used to store those in a manner that was not as efficient as we wanted it to be, so Juliette, who became a committer in WordPress SEO a few months ago, rewrote the entire logic. This fixes a ton of the bugs we’d encountered over the years but also, and more importantly, makes us use the database a whole lot less.

Speed improvements

Along with these rewrites to how we save the plugins options and post metadata, we implemented a new class loader. This class loader make code load only when it’s needed, leading to a far smaller memory footprint and a lot faster performance on both frontend and backend.

We also rewrote several of the queries used for the XML sitemap generation, leading to a 70% decrease in the number of queries used to generate the index sitemap, making that a lot faster too.

Pippin, from EasyDigitalDownloads, has been running the 1.5 beta on easydigitaldownloads.com for a while already, when he flipped, this is what the performance graph looked like:

speed improvement WordPress SEO

That’s a 20 to 30% performance increase. Granted, Pippin had been suffering from a particular bug in WordPress SEO that most of you probably won’t have been hit by, but this shows a tremendous improvement was made.

New bulk editor

With this release, we’ve merged the SEO Extended plugin into core, with the help of its creator, Faison Zutavern of the Orion Group. It looks pretty cool and allows you, as you’ve guessed, update titles or descriptions in bulk:

bulk title editor

Smaller updates to social features

We’ve added / changed several small things about the Social tab:

  • For OpenGraph, the object type of a page should now be more accurate, so Facebook and others using OpenGraph can more accurately detect what type of page they’re dealing with.
  • For Twitter, you can now switch between “Summary” cards and “Summary with large image” cards, an oft requested feature.
  • For Google+ and rel author implementation, we’ve taken away some of the features as they were leading to issues with Google. The default setting of the plugin is now to only show rel=author on single posts and nowhere else. Enabling or disabling rel=author for a post type is very easy from the Titles & metas page, should you wish to. You can no longer show rel=author on the homepage as Google has been pretty clear about not wanting that.

Other changes

There are a few other things worth noting:

  • The option to change the category rewrite (removing /category/ from category URLs), has been deprecated. If you have it enabled when you upgrade, it’ll still show, but otherwise you won’t see it anymore. We will be removing this feature entirely as the SEO benefits are now very small to non-existent and it causes numerous bugs with other plugins.
  • On the Edit Files dialog you can now, if your webserver allows you to, create a robots.txt file if you don’t have one, and then edit it.
  • We have a new Extensions menu item in which you’ll be able to both see our existing extensions for WordPress SEO as well as enter the license keys for those extensions.

Community effort

This release was very much a community effort. We’ve been reaping the rewards of switching to GitHub for the development of WordPress SEO and I think you’ll agree it’s good for all of us. If you’re a developer and have an interest in developing on one of the most popular plugins for the platform, join us on GitHub!

Update to all our SEO plugins

Because this update changes so much about how WordPress SEO works, all the plugins we released that depend on it have been updated too. This means you’ll see updates for Video SEO, Local SEO and WooCommerce SEO too, upgrade both at the same time, or after each other, but know that if you update for instance Local SEO without updating WordPress SEO, you’ll get an update nag. They need each other.

But wait! I run your Premium SEO plugin!

Don’t worry! If you run our WordPress SEO Premium plugin, there’s an update including all of the above changes ready for you in your WordPress install as well. Of course, if you’re a premium plugin customer and you run into any problems with the upgrade, feel free to email our support team.

Over to you!

That’s it, over to you, go update and see how you like it!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

March 12th 2014 wordpress

Site reviews: new setup, new pricing!

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site reviewsToday we’ll be releasing a renewed setup for our site reviews.

For the past year, we have been limiting the slots for our site review orders to a fixed number per week. The demand for the service is overwhelming, and we would like to thank all customers for the trust you have in our expertise. And for the great responses you gave us after receiving the reviews:

Yoast, I have to say, that this was one of the best thousand bucks I’ve spent in IT – ever. What a phenomenal amount of insight and advise you’ve given us. Thanks, and I’m sure we’ll use you again on future projects.
Henry Meyne, CTO of Hoozon

We are very keen on serving you quality information that will help you improve your website, both for visitors and Google.

Over the last number of months, we realized that customers want to know everything. Not just what’s wrong, but also all that is right. We’ve had a number of responses saying ‘have you checked this or that?’. That is why we decided to open up the entire scope of things we check during a review.

Quick Review

We have set up a huge list of over 200 checks we perform for a review, and have written clear and to-the-point right and wrong chapters per check.

This means we will be able to do a more time-efficient review for your website, in which it will be very clear what we have checked and what areas need attention, in our expert opinion. Note that while the chapters in this checklist are templates, our team of experts will manually go over your website to see what’s right and wrong.

The Yoast Website Review team, from left to right: Michiel, Joost and Thijs. Annelieke is not on this picture - yet.

The reason for still doing this manually is simple: automatic checks should only be done when you are absolutely right that the check result is correct. We check the things that we feel are important for improving your website, and your rankings or user experience along with that.

WordPress websites

Yes. We do around 30 extra checks for WordPress websites. Simply because we know WordPress, publish a lot of plugins that will help you improve your website and know a lot of plugins that actually work. And of course we will also check the use and settings of the WordPress SEO plugin as well. This all as a free bonus, just because you are running WordPress.

More information about our Quick Reviews and ordering here!

Shop Review

Since e-commerce websites have more specified issues to take in account for SEO and user experience, we added quite a few extra checks (50+) in our e-commerce checklist.

These checks include specific URL structure and for instance have an extra focus on duplicate content. Conversion is also a larger part of these checks than in the regular checklist. Of course there also are a number of extra, valuable pages on e-commerce sites like product pages.

It will not be as extensive as our Conversion Review, but will give you some great insights on usual suspects for your website.

More information about our Shop Reviews and ordering here!

Full Review

We will also be offering an improved version of our current review: the Full Review. We will take more time to do that review and test more aspects of your website. We’ll be digging into SearchMetrics data much more and will not only be checking your website itself (as it was), but will be looking into for instance your link profile as well.

We will also ask for Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools access, for instance to check crawl errors and to see how your main landing pages compare to your preferred keywords.

More information about our Full Reviews and ordering here!

This is a major change

We hope this setup will allow our review team to help more customers, by reviewing a website in a more time efficient way. With all the Yoast knowledge we also share on this website and more.

One more thing

There is one more change. As the vast majority of our clients is from abroad (not from The Netherlands), and the euro-dollar exchange rate is more steady than it has been over the last two years, we have decided to switch back to US dollars for the reviews. As we had already done for our plugins.

Find out more or order your review now!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

February 28th 2014 SEO, Usability, wordpress

Yoast Research: get to know your audience!

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In our latest newsletter, we asked our readers to fill out a survey. We have never done such a thing at Yoast.com before. In this post, I will enlighten you with the purpose of our survey.

Yoast Research

Since the beginning of this year, Thijs and myself have been doing research. One day a week we are reading scientific articles in the university library and looking into new and exciting research techniques. We are currently reviewing an eyetracker and looking into possibilities to use this eyetracker in one of our next research projects.

The aim of us doing research is twofold. Our first aim is to contribute knowledge to the scientific community and to the WordPress/Webdevelopment community. We would like to explore issues of usability, conversion and website optimization and write articles aimed to be published in scientific journals. Simultaneously, we will publish our results (in a less boring format) on Yoast.com.

We have recently found out that there are in fact numerous excellent scholars already doing research in our area, but few of them share their knowledge with the online (WordPress) community. Lots of (scientific) knowledge thus does not reach the practitioners. I think that’s a waste of a lot of hard work. Why do difficult and expensive research if your results are never put to practice? Next to doing our own studies, we would therefore like to translate some of the existing research into practical posts on Yoast.com.

The second aim of us doing research is not as altruistic. Doing research is really good for our own business as well! The information we collected with last week’s survey is inspiring. This kind of research gives great insights in who our audience is, where they are from, which products they bought and which products they intend to buy. Such data is a treasure trove!

Knowing your audience!

Our first research project is aimed at getting to know our public better. It is a bit premature to present the results of our first study, so in this post I will limit myself to convince you all the importance of knowing your audience. Next to that, I will enlighten you a bit in the way you could study the audiences of your own website yourselves.

When Joost began Yoast.com it was a blog. He wrote about both WordPress as well as SEO and most of his post were rather technical. Nowadays, Yoast offers plugins, themes and online consultancy, being much more than a blog. Also, posts aren’t only technical now. Our audience has grown rapidly during the last few years. And that made the researcher in me wonder: who is our audience nowadays? Do we still appeal to a technical (nerdy) group of people? Are our customers mainly developers? Or is our audience not that technically skilled? And what consequences would that have for the marketing of our products? I could imagine that a technically skilled developer is more easily convinced of the use of one of our plugins than someone without the ability to read code. These questions were the starting point of our research.

I decided to dive in the scientific literature about usability, online purchasing behavior and (internet) experience. Previous research has irrefutably established the importance of usability and user interface on the chance people buy online (e.g. Page, Robson & Uncles, 2012; Chang & Chen, 2008). However, studies also show that the relation between usability and online purchases is mediated by the level of (internet) experience people have (Gefen, Karahanna & Straub, 2003; Castaneda, Munoz-Leiva an Luque, 2004). This means that experienced internet users thus respond differently to aspects of usability than the inexperienced ones. Different audiences have different usability needs.

Translating this scientific blabla to our own situation: It could well be that our technical experienced (nerdy) audience has other usability needs than our new, less skilled audience. Different groups could well need other things to make them buy our plugins! I would think that an audience with limited technical skills need more explanation, while a technical audience would just need our technical specifications in order to be convinced of our product. My non-nerdy background makes me think that some of our products do not appeal to new (not technically skilled) WordPress users, while they are in fact not that hard to install and use. Perhaps a shift in marketing approach is needed for this specific audience. In our survey, we put questions that will allow us to investigate upon my hypotheses. This week I will start analyzing the data and putting my hypotheses to the test. I can hardly wait!

What should you be doing?

Google Analytics gives you a huge amount of data. But you are close to clueless about most of the demographics, the intentions and desires of your audience. Knowing your audience will allow you to anticipate on their needs and desires. You could adjust your assortment based on their preferences and largely improve your conversion. You thus should do a lot to get to know your audience and increase your sales.

There are lots of packages that allow for online questionnaires. We have used Polldaddy.com for our survey and I am really satisfied with their service. They offer a free account, which will be sufficient for most small companies. What I really like about polldaddy is the way they instantly present their results. They present frequencies and percentages in an easy to grasp format. You can set up a survey that pops up when someone enters your site or you can send a survey invitation to your newsletter subscribers. You can choose open questions if you have few visitors and questions with answer categories if you have many. Just by looking at these descriptive statistics can tell you lots about your audience. Of course, pretty data just begs for advanced and sophisticated analyses. I will save that for a next post ;-)

At Yoast we are already very excited with our results (even before I started the really nice analyses). We have decided to do a survey on a yearly basis to determine the satisfaction of our customers. We would recommend all of you to do the same! Learn and profit by gaining as much information about your audience as possible. Placing a questionnaire on your website is a good first step!

I realize that this post could appear to be a bit scientific and difficult to read, but since our survey has made clear that the education level of our audience is sky-high, I’m not worried about that anymore ;-)

Literature

Castañeda, J. A., Muñoz-Leiva, F., & Luque, T. (2007). Web Acceptance Model (WAM): Moderating effects of user experience. Information & Management, 44(4), 384–396. 

Chang, H. H., & Chen, S. W. (2008). The impact of customer interface quality, satisfaction and switching costs on e-loyalty: Internet experience as a moderator. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(6), 2927–2944. 

Gefen, D., Karahanna, E., & Straub, D. W. (2003). Inexperience and experience with online stores: The importance of tam and trust. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 50(3), 307–321. 

Page, K. L., Robson, M. J., & Uncles, M. D. (2012). Perceptions of web knowledge and usability: When sex and experience matter. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 70(12), 907–919. 

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

February 26th 2014 wordpress

Our themes don’t have sliders… Because sliders suck.

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Last Tuesday we released our first three themes, and this will be the first post in a series that will explain what themes should and should not have. These posts will also explain why we made certain choices regarding our themes.

With the release came a storm of reactions, some downright negative, but most of them (luckily) very positive! Some of the negative replies that struck us most were the replies that said they would’ve expected sliders, or even worse, thought the themes were “outdated” because they didn’t have sliders.

Let me make one thing very clear: sliders suck. Of course, I entitle myself to my own opinion, and you’re entitled to yours. But let me explain why they suck.

Science

It’s not often that science is conclusive in their findings. However, sliders (sometimes named carrousels) seem to be one topic on which it is. There’s literally not one study that I’ve found that says sliders are a good idea. I often point people to http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/ when wanting to explain why not to use a slider. This simple website does an awesome job at showing the statistics as well as trigger the annoyance sliders usually evoke.

Lets look at some of the statistics:

But… I’m a photographer!

Ok, so you’re a photographer. You should be allowed to use a slider, right? Wrong. People tend to act as if there’s no other way to show their images anymore but by sliders. This just isn’t true. If you couldn’t have a slider and you’re a photographer, would you just give up having a website altogether? Of course not, you would look for other options, such as the revolutionary idea of showing static pictures. If you want moving pictures, you should change careers and become a filmmaker.

Seriously, whatever makes people think that having stuff move on your website is ever a good idea is still beyond me. You can create awesome collages through which people can browse at will. The pictures won’t be forced onto them (if they even notice them in the first place), they’ll just notice the ones they like. And trust me, that will sell better.

If you’re really a photographer, you’re probably a creative person. You probably make photograph albums for people from time to time, which probably don’t have sliding images. So how about you showcase that skill and creativity by designing these pages with static images?

Focus

And, once again, it all comes down to focus. Basically, what you’re saying with a slider is: “I really don’t know which product or picture I should put on display on my homepage, so I’ll just grab 10 of them!”

If you don’t know what to choose, how should your visitors or clients? You should know what your own business is about and what product or picture deserves that front page “shine”. By showing that, you will give people a far better feel of your business, and you as a person, than a slider ever could. Not in the least because sliders, as I’ve said twice now, are simply ignored. And a message that’s ignored hardly ever comes across (hint the sarcasm).

SEO and Conversion Rate Optimization

Sliders push down your content, plain and simple. In fact, most sliders I come across these days are big enough to fill out any screen, so content won’t even be visible above the fold. And this plain sucks SEO wise, which I’ve already shown through the article linked above.

There’s not a CRO expert that will disagree with me on this: sliders kill your conversions. So simply having a slider on your website, will get you less sales! If that’s not a dealbreaker, I seriously don’t know what is.

Just combine the two and find out what a monstrosity the slider actually is. It kills your rankings and your conversions!

But you’re using sliders yourself!

For the attentive readers, you’ll have seen that we have a “slider” on our own themes pages. Let me explain the very important difference from these, and the “regular” slider you find on any site nowadays.

The user completely controls our sliders, plain and simple. Nothing moves on its own accord; they really just showcase the different options we have for one product. So in fact, they don’t slide at all. And all they show is different color schemes. It’s simple. Not overwhelming.

Also, our “sliders” are actually normally sized. They don’t dominate the page and actually just act as an addition to make our themes ‘come to life’ more.

Lastly, our “sliders” don’t push down the content. They’re below the most important content, such as the most important features of our themes, and the larger images of the theme you’re viewing.

Why should you believe us?

If you don’t believe us, believe these people who we’ve asked for their opinion and experience with sliders:

“It’s extremely rare to see sliders work. You’re better off using static images and copy.”

Peep Laja, Owner of ConversionXL.com and Markitekt

“I think sliders are interesting but somewhat problematic. The biggest problem I see is that if visitors are bouncing from the page in a second or two, they will never see the other options on the slider. If you use a slider for navigation, be sure the same choices are visible in static form, too. I think sliders work best for portfolio displays where several large, strong images can be displayed in the same space without impeding the visitor’s ability to navigate or determine what other content is on the site.”

Roger Dooley, Author of Brainfluence (also available on Kindle) and owner of Neurosciencemarketing.com

“I think sliders are distracting. It’s a way to put extra crap on a page that’s typically not best for visitors. If it’s important in most cases you should just put it on the page without sliders or extra clicks.”

Hiten Shah, Co-Founder of Crazyegg and KISSMetrics

“Sliders suck 99.8% of the time! We once did a test with a client where we changed their slider to a static image with 3 core benefits and lifted conversions by a nice amount.”

Bryan Eisenberg, Author of Waiting For Your Cat to Bark (also available on Kindle)

“This popular design element is – for many – the go-to solution when there are more messages to put on the home page than there is room to put them. Rather than make the tough decisions that require prioritizing conversion goals, web teams turn to the rotating banner as an offer of compromise.

Sliders are absolutely evil and should be removed immediately.”

Tim Ash, CEO at SiteTuners, Author of Landing Page Optimization (also available on Kindle)

“We seldom use sliders. A slider is an ‘involuntary autoscroll’. It’s like the webpage grabs the user’s mouse and starts scrolling around the page without the user’s permission.

And we, as designers, lose control of what the user sees. If the user scrolls down the page, they may completely miss some of the panels of the slider.”
Karl Blanks, Chairman and Co-Founder of Conversion Rate Experts

“Sliders please the owner of the site, but they deliver little to no value to the customers. The reason is that we are not going to sit there and wait for your ‘movie’ to play out. I’m also not a fan of sliders because for most businesses they provide an excuse not to think about personalization and being good at giving the customer the right answer, right away.”

Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, Author of Web Analytics 2.0 (Also available on Kindle)

Honestly, I could go on and on. So no matter how pretty you think sliders are, know this: they simply suck. Also note that the quote from Tim Ash is from an article that’s over 2 years old, which makes you wonder who’s out of date…

Over to you

Do you think we’re completely wrong? Or do you emphatically agree? Let us know!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

February 15th 2014 wordpress

WordPress Themes by Yoast

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yoast themesIt’s done! The WordPress Themes by Yoast are now finally available. This project has been over a year in the making. When Mijke joined Yoast in September 2012, we decided it’d be a good plan to use her design skills and our knowledge about optimizing WordPress sites to make themes that actually help people easily build good websites. We’ve learned a lot of things in the process of making these themes, most importantly that we’re so perfectionistic that we’d never get anything released if it wasn’t for my wife. But, we’re there.

We’re releasing 3 themes today, all of them very different but all of them share a lot of functionality too. They’re all Genesis child themes, as we believe in the Genesis framework. We’ve done “some” work on it though: we’ve fully integrated the Genesis frameworks core features and our own theme specific features with WordPress’ cores theme customizer, leading to functionality like this:

theme customizer

You can install the theme, customize it to your liking and then activate it. The screenshot above contains the Vintage theme, which is completely different from, for instance, the Versatile theme:

versatile desktop 1120x680

Shared functionality

All our themes contain a set of 8 widgets that you can use for all sorts of functionality. From easily creating mail signup forms to showing social network buttons and big call to actions. Check out the different Yoast widgets.

They also share our update code, which allows us to push updates for bug fixes, new functionality and even new color schemes. All of the themes have been built on Genesis incredibly SEO friendly core, so you can benefit from the highest standards in the industry.

More themes coming!

We intend to release a new theme every month or so, though we’ve decided to take somewhat more time for the next theme release so we have time to fix bugs that might arise. The next theme will be available around the end of March.

Flexibility while maintaining style

We’ve worked very hard to make the themes as flexible as possible, yet at the same time try and make them look good almost all the time. We’ve tried to make them all look “tailor made”, even though we’ve only named one theme as such :)

screenshot desktop 1120x680

I can keep talking about these themes, but you should just look at them, so let me encourage you to go check them out and play with their demo sites!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

February 12th 2014 wordpress

Yoast looking for a new developer

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We’re expanding again. We’re looking for a junior / medior developer to help grow our rapidly expanding WordPress plugin & theme business, as well as support our consultancy & site review team with tools to automate frequent tasks.

What we’re looking for

If you’re a developer with a junior to medior level knowledge of:

  • HTML
  • CSS (including responsive design)
  • JavaScript (not just jQuery)
  • PHP

We’d love to talk to you. Of course we have some other things that’d be very cool if you knew about them, you could think about things like:

  • Version control (SVN/GIT)
  • Unit Testing
  • Continuous Integration
  • UML
  • Design Patterns

We’d prefer you speak Dutch, but the only real requirement is English. We would expect you to work out of our office in Wijchen, NL though, even though working from home 1 or 2 days a week is definitely an option. We will not consider remote workers for this job.

What we offer

You’d be working in a rapidly growing team of internet enthusiasts. We’re not just developers, we’ve also got a designer, an illustrator, several review consultants and let’s not forget our office fairy:

Team Yoast

And yes, next to your salary you’d get an avatar like that too, and you’d join in on our other benefits, a good pension plan, great lunches, lots of LEGO to play with, an annual LEGO build days and most important of all: a great learning environment.

If you’re interested, email jobs [at] yoast.com and we’ll be in touch.

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

February 10th 2014 wordpress