There’s No Perfect Headline: Why We Need to Write a Multiple Headline for Every Article

Most people don’t read content online. In fact, eight out of ten people will only read the headline.

For content writers, that fact is alarming. But it also places extra importance on the headlines we choose for our content, as headlines have the power to influence readers even if they don’t read any more of the article.

I don’t believe the perfect headline exists, though. Not anymore, anyway.

The evolution of social media and search has also complicated the playing field. When we write a headline, we no longer think only about driving clicks from a single channel like our homepage; we now need to think about search and social, too.

In this post, I’d love to share with you what I’ve discovered about headlines, how they’ve evolved and what makes a headline stand out on Facebook, Twitter, and search.

Let’s dive in.

What makes an irresistible headline

One of my favorite headlines of all time is:

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

win-friends

This headline helped to sell millions of copies of Dale Carniegie’s book of the same name. It’s brilliant. Short, simple and intriguing and makes me want to know more. However, if it were to be written again in 2016, it may sound a little different.

The evolution of headlines

It’s pretty safe to say that a headline determines how many people will read a piece. But, the evolution of social media has led content publishers to rethink their approach to headlines completely. As a result, the perfect headline no longer exists and we now must craft an eye-catching, clickable headline for almost every channel where our content can be discovered.

We now have to craft an eye-catching, clickable headline for almost every channel where our content can be discovered

It’s important to think about all the various places people may discover your content: search engines, Facebook, Twitter, your homepage, etc. And it’s very rare that one size fits all when it comes to headlines. What stands out on Facebook might not get any clicks from a Google search results page.

For example, in 2016, the famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People” headline may look something like this:

On Facebook:

12 Life Lessons to Help You Win Friends and Influence People 

On Google: 

Life Lessons: How to Win Friends and Influence People

On a homepage:

How to Win Friends and Influence People: 12 Lessons to Live By

Headlines change the way we think and set our expectations

First impressions matter. Even with the articles we read online. And just as we choose to make a good impression offline through the way we dress and our body language, the headline of an article can also go a long way to shaping the reader’s perception of what is to follow, as Maria Konnikova explains in The New Yorker:

By drawing attention to certain details or facts, a headline can affect what existing knowledge is activated in your head. By its choice of phrasing, a headline can influence your mindset as you read so that you later recall details that coincide with what you were expecting.

For instance, the headline of this article I wrote—”A Gene That Makes You Need Less Sleep?”—is not inaccurate in any way. But it does likely prompt a focus on one specific part of the piece. If I had instead called it “Why We Need Eight Hours of Sleep,” people would remember it differently.

Headlines affect our memory

Ullrich Ecker, a psychologist at the University of Western Australia has completed a couple of studies on how headlines that are even slightly misleading can affect how we read content.

In the first study, Ecker and his team discovered that misleading headlines affect readers’ memory, their inferential reasoning, and behavioral intentions. Essentially, if a biased headline influences you, that tends to be what you’ll remember no matter what you’re subsequently told in the rest of the article. 

In the second study, Ecker had people read four articles (two factual, two opinion). What’s interesting in this study is the difference Ecker discovered between headlines in factual and opinion-led pieces. Misleading headlines in factual pieces were easier to ignore, and readers were able to correct the impressions left by the headline. However, in the case of opinion articles, a misleading headline impaired the reader’s ability to make accurate conclusions.

In summary, the headline of your article can greatly affect what your reader takes away from it.

For example, if I had titled this article “The evolution of headlines” it’s likely that you may remember more about how headlines have changed as the internet has evolved. And the headline “How to write headlines for Facebook, Twitter and Search”  would likely put the reader’s focus on the section below, hopefully putting more emphasis on the actionable takeaways you can use from this piece.

As writers and content creators, we have a great duty to ensure our headlines best reflect the content of our articles. And give readers the best possible chance to remember the key points of our piece.

8 strategies to help you write great headlines for social and search

Writing great headlines is hard. And in this section, I’d love to share 8 headline strategies to help you craft headlines for Facebook, Twitter and search.

How to write great headlines for Facebook

Facebook is a huge traffic driver for many websites. (It’s been our number one or two social referrer for the past three years.)

And after recent algorithm updates, we’re now likely to see a lot less clickbait stories sticking around in our news feeds and seeing sustained engagement. This feels like a good move, but also raises the question: What kinds of headlines perform best on Facebook?

In order to dig a little further into what works on Facebook, Newswhip studied the various types of headlines that resonate with users on Facebook and that consistently receive high levels of engagement.

Here’s a quick summary of what they found to work:

  1. Conversational and descriptive headlines
  2. Headlines focused on personal experience
  3. Headlines that aren’t misleading

1. Conversational and descriptive headlines

Newswhip found that many of the most successful stories they analyzed had extremely descriptive headlines, or used language that reads in a conversational tone. For example:

business insider

These types of headlines tend to perform well because you are letting the reader know what they will gain from reading your content.

At Buffer, we also like to accompany our content with a descriptive status:

http://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbufferapp%2Fposts%2F1164501596955619&width=500

One trick I like to use for writing descriptive, conversational headlines is to think about how you would describe this story to a friend in a coffee shop and use the same, warm, friendly tone in your headline.

When it comes to writing in a conversational style, it often means forgetting a lot of what your English teacher may have taught you, too. If you’ve ever looked at a transcript of a conversation, you’ll notice it’s full of grammatical mistakes, half-finished sentences, and similar faux-pas. Writing in a conversational tone doesn’t necessarily mean writing as you talk. But instead, writing so that it doesn’t sound like writing.

2. Headlines focused on personal experience

Facebook has traditionally been a place for  personal stories and blogs, opinion articles, and other personal angled stories to flourish. And Newswhip found that first person posts and unique viewpoints tend to get people sharing heavily, especially if it’s a topic that they can relate to personally.

Here’s an example of a recent headline from our Open Blog that focused on personal experience:

family-leave

3. Headlines that aren’t misleading 

In the blog post accompanying their latest algorithm update, Facebook explained that there are two specific criteria they use to determine whether a headline is misleading:

  1. If the headline withholds information required to understand what the content of the article is
  2. If the headline exaggerates the article to create misleading expectations for the reader

For example, the headline “You’ll Never Believe Who Tripped and Fell on the Red Carpet…” withholds information required to understand the article (What happened? Who Tripped?). The headline “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” misleads the reader (apples are only bad for you if you eat too many every day).

This means the “You’ll never guess what happened next” headline formula will no longer be as successful on Facebook. And instead, we should switch to more detailed headlines that inform the reader what they’ll be reading about once they click.

How to write great headlines for Twitter

Tweets are just like headlines.

They need to attract attention and get the reader to read to click on the link. And while there’s no guaranteed formula for success on Twitter, we’ve found the best headlines and Tweets are the ones that state a benefit and generate curiosity.

Twitter is also a great place to share content multiple times and test out various headlines to see which ones resonate most with your audience. This approach helped Tami Brehse to increase her traffic by nearly 50% in just 30 days.

To give you an example of what’s working for us, here are a couple of our most-clicked tweets:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Both of these examples have clear images to convey the message within the tweet, making it more eye-catching for people as they scroll through their feed. The images also give the reader a great idea of what the content within the article will be.

Both tweets also create curiousity and a knowledge gap for readers. This entices readers to click on the link and feed their curiousity.

Further reading: Check out our research into our most successful tweets and why they worked

How to write great headlines for search

Standing out in search is a completely different game to standing out on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. With social platforms, you’re trying to grab the reader’s attention and stand out in their timeline. Whereas in search, the user is specifically looking for content focused on their search phrase.

Here are a few tips that have worked for us:

1. Front-load your title 

Google puts more weight on the words at the beginning of your title tag. And if you’re trying to rank for specific keywords, a good strategy is to place those keywords at the beginning of your headline.

If you wanted to rank for “social media tips”, then chances are that this headline:

Social Media Tips: 10 Ways to Grow Your Social Media Audience

… would be seen as more relevant to the topic “social media tips” than this headline:

Grow Your Social Media Audience with These 10  Awesome Social Media Tips

Of course, there’s much more that comes into play when it comes to Google rankings, but keeping your keywords as near to the beginning of your title as possible can help.

Here’s a real-world example. If you search Google for “Instagram stories” you’ll notice many of the results will have those keywords right at the front of the headline:

seo-headlines

Keep it short (between 50-60 characters)

SEO experts Moz explain:

Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, or as many characters as will fit into a 512-pixel display. If you keep your titles under 55 characters, you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly. Keep in mind that search engines may choose to display a different title than what you provide in your HTML. Titles in search results may be rewritten to match your brand, the user query, or other considerations.

Use your brand name

If your brand is well-known within your target market then attaching it to the end of your headline can lead to more trust and clicks. A study from Engaging New Project found that people react not only to the type of headline but also to the source of the headline.

If you’re a trusted source, it can be beneficial to share your brand name in search results.

How to create multiple headlines for your content

At Buffer, we use a really handy tool called Yoast SEO which allows us to set various headlines for different channels. This means every post we write can have up to four separate headlines at any one time:

  • Headline on our homepage
  • Headline for search
  • Headline for Twitter
  • Headline for Facebook

Here’s an example of Yoast in action:

yoast-seo

To write a custom headline for search, Facebook, and Twitter, you can toggle between the different Yoast SEO tabs by clicking on the icons at the left.

Over to you

Headlines are fascinating and probably the most important part of any piece of content. Right now, it feels like we’re in the midst of another evolution and moving away from some sensationalistic headlines that become popular with the rise of social media and towards more descriptive and detailed headlines.

Do you create multiple headlines for your content? What have you found works for each channel?

I’d love to continue the conversation in the comments below.

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/how-to-write-a-headline

Advertisements

Data-Driven Web Design

data-driven-web-design

The vast majority of websites are designed in the hopes that visitors will complete an action. Buying, subscribing, commenting… from massive social media juggernauts like Facebook, to small artisan websites selling local, hand-made crafts, this is true. Marketing has always been about understanding the subtle ways which presentation, repetition, and other visual or sensory artifacts can influence the decision-making patterns of consumers. Marketing, almost since it’s inception, has relied on data – in the form of research of all kinds – to achieve its end goal. So, data-driven web design is, all-told, simply any kind of website design which utilized visitor data to modify design for optimal results.

The ability of websites to respond to data has dramatically improved in recent years. The advent of easily-parseable analytics platforms, self-modifying websites, and other fantastic tech tools have allowed website designers to modify their product to more optimally meet the goals of the owner in real-time. We’re going to talk today about using data to draw the line between visitor data and design improvements which maximize benefit both to the owner and the end user.

Because it is also true that web design should always serve the visitor, a design which is overcomplicated or tedious for users will almost always fail, in some respect, in the goal of its use.

data-driven-web-design

Data-Driven Design:
Sure, marketing or user data has almost always been used to influence and guide web design to some degree, but what does data-driven design mean for us today? The answer to that question requires taking a good look at what data is. Most data is either quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (non-numerical). And the vast majority of easily-accessible data is quantitative. For example, Google Analytics informing you that 10 visitors viewed one blog page, while 1 visitor stopped by another.

Qualitative data is important. Following the numbers can help you find what visitors value and what they do. But it doesn’t tell you why they like it. And understanding that requires qualitative data. The best web design companies are pushing the field by getting qualitative data and modifying their designs based on this data. They’re using beta-testing systems and getting powerful, direct feedback.

A good data-driven design program will always use both kinds of data. Testing, analysis, and feedback systems are continuous, rather than one-off, and therefore provide deeper insights on what visitors prefer and want the websites they visit to do for them. It is this kind of deep-digging which pushes the horizon of design forward in ways which are meaningful for users.

Getting Specific, Actionable Data:
Whether the data used in data-driven design is numerical or no, it must always be empirical, and address specific questions. Whether you’re a UX designer or a data analyst, a little bit of scientific inquiry comes into play at some point, because you’re not just wanting to look at aggregate data… but to answer specific questions.

Hypothetically, this could look like a situation in which a blog or online magazine, which has hired a designer to update their website. The goal of the website is to keep visitors engaged and to provide useful information, but also to increase subscriptions. As a designer, those are several goals to meet, and ideally you should begin studying the existing website to identify key areas of improvement.

Key quantitative data metrics you might study include the bounce and exit rates, and find out which pages have the highest in each category. This provides information on a ‘what’ which you should try to address! From there, you might use UX testing to get qualitative data from visitors on their experiences from these pages to find out the why. User-reported information might reveal that page-specific CSS makes exit links larger or more obvious on these pages, therefore funneling users away. Lots of moving elements might bog down the pages, providing a negative user experience.

But in this hypothetical situation, you have used empirical information addressing specific issues to yield information which should influence design decisions. And when you start employing this one-two punch to achieve great design, you’ll realize some amazing trends.

data-driven-web-design-2

The Big Takeaways of Data-Driven Design:
Applying data-driven design has helped push design elements which were once novel and boutique into the realm of commonality. Responsiveness, high-contrast CTAs, flat design elements were all once thoroughly tested and checked by data-driven design teams. But that’s just the beginning! Increasingly, data-driven design is finding that design decisions should be tailored to specific audiences. Right now, this is most commonly seen as different landing pages or page elements for different geolocated areas. But designers are even experimenting with segmenting design by audiences even more: by age, for example.

Testing for data and then using that data to modify design can be resource-intensive, that’s true; but even small, focused efforts can result in big improvements for clients, and the increasing ability to meet the goals of the websites we’re building.

Read More at Data-Driven Web Design

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/data-driven-web-design/

Bateaux – The Only Theme You Ever Need

webdesignledger-4

Universally, everything that sticks around for a while undergoes a process of specialization, and WordPress is not an exception to this rule. WP has been with us for a long time, boasts a widespread amount of installs, and it’s periodically worked on, and updated. On the front-end side of things, any developer will have not failed to notice that themes, with time, have shifted more and more out of static design forms. They have evolved into design tools in themselves, in the sense that their aim is to become “The Only Theme You Ever Need”. What they mean is that, instead of being locked up into a static design as it used to be the norm, you get a set of building blocks to design your own themes ad infinitum.

01_preview.__large_preview“When you do, you’ll be treated to a very different experience in the way of edition: a really fast, interactive, and well thought interface”

 

I find this “multi-purpose” idea brilliant, both from a design and a practical perspective. In terms of design, learning a particular tool well leads to more confidence, speed, and recycling. From a practical perspective, there’s no need to spend any more time or money hunting for themes for your next project: make up your own with the tools you know, and recycle your best blocks and components.

In the search for the theme to end all themes, I’ve run into Bateaux, by developer TwistTheme, so let’s see how well it fills this niche.

webdesignledger-4

OPENING

The download is about 30 mb, and the first pleasant surprise is the inclusion of a child theme to work on without fear of losing your tweaks with the next update. After installing the theme and the core plugins, the next move is either to configure everything from zero, or to perform an import of the included sample data and take it from there. The sample designs are pretty cool and will get you on your way very quickly if you don’t have the time to re-invent the wheel. Control over typography is handled through Google Fonts, Typekit and Custom Fonts. The theme is multi-language through WPML integration, and not only does it support WooCommerce, it comes preloaded with modules for it, and offers tailored options when you’re editing a product page. This is great.

The theme’s looks and behavior are controlled via the Customizer, and it’s refreshing to have buttons that show what everything looks like in tablets and mobiles, with instant visualization. After all the setting-up is done, your next stop will be to become familiar with the strongest feature of this theme, which is the signature “Blueprint” page-builder.

webdesignledger-3

The Blueprint page-builder is an original invention of the authors, and you can tell they have poured a lot of effort into it. Essentially it’s a separate app, available whenever you edit a post or a page. You can opt to edit in the classic way, or to fire Blueprint. When you do, you’ll be treated to a very different experience in the way of edition: a really fast, interactive, and well thought interface, which you can use to build your creations: structure sections within sections, edit properties with context-aware option panels (it includes a full-screen button to maximize space, and a Preview button -which works in real time- as well) and a lot more.

Through Blueprint, you will play around with lots of universal building blocks such as blog entries, contact forms, galleries, featured posts, product categories for your shop, sliders, and also elements unique to Bateaux, such as testimonials, team, modal (pop-ups), and other interactive elements. This, in sum, is where the action happens, and the core area from where you can unleash your creative potential to invent something new, or simply use any of the included templates, which look already great in terms of grid design and visual space. It will take some time to get used to, but probably visual design interfaces are where the future of WordPress is heading towards. Bateaux’s Blueprint editor does a really fine job at offering all of that today. To sum up Bateaux:

THE GOOD:

  • Great design, elegant and aesthetic.
  • Truly responsive and retina-ready.
  • Nice included toys like Slider Revolution.
  • Lots of cool templates and designs out of the box.
  • Not only WooCommerce-friendly, but including pre-made designs to deploy right away with your shop.
  • Multi-lingual ready through WPML compatibility. – A bazillion of options for customization.
  • Fast: GTMetrix reports a PageSpeed score of 97%
  • A truly useful, original and quick page-builder that may arguably hold the key to the “last theme you will ever need” WP holy grail: why buy any other theme, if you can build anything you can think of using this one? Moreover, the more you use it the more you’ll know how to get what you want.
  • Clean and light page-builder. Since the author designed Blueprint very light and clean, you will find it very fast compare to other page-builder in the market. Everything interacts real time with no waiting time and need to click “save” button.
  • Zealous, responsive customer service.

THE NOT-SO-GOOD:

  • A lot but worth to learn. The downside of not having to mess with the code is of course the amount of options available, to tweak the theme so it will do what you want. You’ll need to dedicate a certain amount of time to understand where everything is, what it does, and how it does it.
  • The documentation is okay, but needs expanding with more detail on the concepts, and examples. But they are reportedly working on it.

VERDICT

Bateaux is built aesthetically around typography and intelligent grids, with great attention to detail, so it looks gorgeous. It comes with a lot goodies out of the box, and many fantastic designs to kick off. It’s clearly built from the ground up upon the new WP ethos of being not a theme, but a platform to create themes. As such, everything can be adjusted through options, which is great if you look for quick WP development cycles and minimal fiddling with coding. The flip side of so much control is obviously the massive amount of options needed to set everything to your liking. And since each designer crafts their theme according to their own idiosyncrasy and ability, stuff is located in different places, organized under its own internal logic. In that sense, Bateaux needs, in my opinion, to reorganize its options a little bit, and to expand on the documentation. The authors have told me they are indeed working on this.

webdesignledger-2

In terms of support from the developers, I must say it has been excellent. I have contacted them with a couple of questions and got a succinct reply in less than an hour, which is great in my book (consider other themes’s authors who’ll take a week to reply, if at all). By browsing Bateaux’s support forum you can quickly tell issues are dealt with quickly and efficiently, and that the authors are really behind their theme. Hopefully they will continue to develop it and expand it even further. Highly recommended.

Check out our Demo and More Info!

Bateaux REVIEW by gustavo@unclezeta.com


 

Read More at Bateaux – The Only Theme You Ever Need

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/bateaux-theme/

Bouncy Balls in Adobe Muse – Muse Motion 2

Muse For You - Bouncy Balls in Adobe Muse - Web Design Ledger

 

Create a bouncy ball effect in Adobe Muse with the Muse Motion 2 Widget Powered by Greensock’s Animation Platform (GSAP). No Coding Skills Required.

Adobe Muse CC Logo Muse For You - Adobe Muse CC Greensock Logo

The Greensock Animation Platform (GSAP) is one of the most sophisticated animation platforms available for the web. With the Greensock Animation Platform you can create animation sequences and add animations to individual elements on your website. I was very excited when I first created the Muse Motion 2 widget for Adobe Muse. This gave you access to the Greensock Animation Platform without having to know any code. Developers spend hours fine tuning their code to get great animations. With the Muse Motion 2 widget the Greensock animations can be achieved with just changing a few settings in the widget.
Muse For You - Muse Motion 2 Widget Powered by Greensock's Animations Platform - Adobe Muse CC

In the video above I go over just how easy it is to create a bouncy ball effect in Adobe Muse using the Muse Motion 2 widget. Simply add a few circles, add the widget, set the settings in the widget, and apply the widget to the element. It took me less than 4 minutes to achieve this effect in Adobe Muse with the Muse Motion 2 widget.

Muse For You - Bouncy Balls in Adobe Muse - Web Design Ledger

This is the first video out of a series of videos I will be creating on how to create simple yet sophisticated animations with the Muse Motion 2 widget. I also show the Muse Motion 2 widget combined with the Muse Morph widget to transform SVG elements as they bounce. Hopefully this will inspire you for your own website :).

For more video tutorials and widgets for Adobe Muse visit http://museforyoushop.com.

Happy Musing :).

Read More at Bouncy Balls in Adobe Muse – Muse Motion 2

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/bouncy-balls-adobe-muse-muse-motion-2/

Zoey: An eCommerce Platform With A Difference

Zoey Featured

There is no shortage of eCommerce platforms and tools for online businesses. However, most of them suffer from the same flaw: they are either overloaded and bloated, or they rely on heavy customization and coding skills.

Even more so, numerous eCommerce platforms tend to work well only if you extend their functionality by means of addons and plugins. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to run an eCommerce store.

Ever faced the same problem with eCommerce platforms? If that is the case, this post has a special solution meant for you. Meet Zoey, a new eCommerce platform and online store builder.

What makes Zoey special? Well, it expects no coding skills from you, and works perfectly well right from the start.

Zoey: An eCommerce Platform With A Difference

What is Zoey?

As already stated, Zoey is an eCommerce platform and an online store builder. As an eCommerce platform, Zoey gives you absolute control over your online business. And as a store builder, it lets you put together your online shop within minutes using a handy drag and drop interface. Even if you have never built an online store before, or having no experience in coding, Zoey is very easy to master.

Zoey Featured

We will be giving Zoey a spin later in this article, but first, let us take a look at its major features.

Design

To begin with, Zoey offers an impressive arsenal of web design features that can give any other tool a run for its money. Don’t like coding? Have no fear, the drag and drop builder can be used by anyone. Need pre-made presets and design assets to save your time? How about a special style editor for controlling every single element of your site, and a live preview to help you view your changes in realtime? Yes, Zoey offers all of that.

Plus, since this is the era of the mobile web, Zoey offers special tools to preview and test mobile design. In addition to that, Zoey also comes with several free and fully responsive themes that are ready to be customized as per your needs.

zoey ecommerce

Infrastructure

Your online store is only as good as the infrastructure it is hosted on. After all, if your visitors find your website offline, there will be sales.

Zoey takes care of everything, thereby giving you time to focus on your actual business. Whether you need specialized datacenter location to target customers from a specific location, or a Content Delivery Network to boost the performance of your store, Zoey offers it all. You get to choose from 10 globally distributed datacenters and powerful scalable hardware. Your store also gets unlimited bandwidth, so have no fear even if you get millions of hits daily.

Also, Zoey implements site-wide HTTPS to foster a feeling of trust and security for your visitors and clients.

Marketing, Payments and Operations

Zoey offers a large array of marketing tools to help you drive more traffic and sales to your store. You can run batch promotions, discounts, special coupons and gift deals. Zoey has Search Engine Optimization tools that you can utilize in your store such as site wide HTTPS, advanced site map, and mobile friendly design. These are all things that Google looks at to give you a higher rankings in search. Zoey also gives you the freedom to customize H1 tags, title tags, meta descriptions, URLs and more to improve rankings.

Zoey comes with detailed statistics and reports for cases such as cart abandonment. You can also integrate it with various other platforms such as Google AdWords, Optimizely and MailChimp.

You can implement over 50 payment gateways on your store, including credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers and Cash on Delivery. If you are selling physical good on your store, you can select from various shipping carriers, manage inventory and even integrate with the likes of Etsy and eBay.

B2B eCommerce

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 11.13.52 AMIf you are running a wholesale business or B2B store, Zoey is the ultimate solution for you. Now merchants take take advantage of essential features needed to run a B2B business, such as site access restrictions. This will allow you to control the customers who can access your store or which customers have the ability to checkout. You can make the entire store password-protected so only the customers that you have pre-approved on the backend can view your store. Another setting in B2B is the pricing flexibility – which is extremely important for any B2B business. Zoey let’s you customize pricing based on customer group and order volume so you can manage different pricing for wholesale and retail customers. Furthermore, you can allow bulk orders, offer custom pricing for B2B buyers, and so on.

Well, enough with the features. How does Zoey perform in reality? I decided to give Zoey a spin and find out.

Zoey in Action

Once you successfully login to the admin panel, you will find it fairly similar to any modern-day CMS out there. There are specialized menus for each function to help you get started. I am going to run each menu one at a time, so as to give you a comprehensive picture of all that you can expect from Zoey.

Zoey Menu

The first menu is fairly simple, whereas the Orders menu lets you view new orders and manage them accordingly. However, the standout menu, in my view, is the Analytics section. Now, many eCommerce platforms tend to outsource analytics to external services, such as Google Analytics or likewise. However, Zoey offers it all for you straight in the admin panel. You get details such as total number of orders, conversion rate, revenue earned, purchase funnel, etc. Furthermore, you also get to view analytics related to abandoned carts to help you better optimize your site.

Zoey Analytics eCommerce

Adding products to your store is a breeze too. You can setup categories and attributes, specify gift cards or discounts, and add a product within minutes. Interestingly, Zoey lets you add SEO details, and upsell or cross-sell features right at the time when you add a new product. There is no special extension or page that you need to visit.

Add Products eCommerce

Similarly, you can create lists and groups of your customers, or export that list as a backup. Adding a discount rule is also pretty easy, perfectly with all the conditions and time limits for the particular discount.

Zoey Add Customer

In the Setup menu, you can add details such as shipping, localization, taxation, et al. Similarly, for advanced users, there are API integrations, URL rewrites and various other options available in the Advanced menu.

However, one of the most striking feature of Zoey is the Blog menu. Now, there are numerous blogging platforms out there, and there are numerous eCommerce platforms out there. However, what if your eCommerce solution allowed you to run your blog natively? I know many big online stores that use an external solution, such as WordPress or Ghost, to run their blog. This is often an unwanted maintenance on their hands, because more often than not, online stores tend to use their blogs only to mouth the company developments, announce new deals, etc.

Zoey lets you run a blog from the admin panel itself. You just need to specify a blog address (such as mystore.com/blog or mystore.com/notes and so on), and then get started with writing.

Blogging Zoey

You can add excerpts, categories and tags to your posts in the blog.

Blogging eCommerce

As you can observe, Zoey’s backend is fairly simple and straightforward that can be mastered within minutes.

But wait, aren’t we forgetting something?

Yes, the drag and drop editor!

All you need to do is hit Edit My Design, and then select the page that you wish to edit.

Zoey Edit

All edits happen live with previews, so you can be sure of what you are doing. You can drag and drop elements, or add new elements directly in the live editor.

Drag and Drop

All themes are free and responsive, so you can select whichever one that you love the most.

Themes

Pricing

Zoey offers three plans for you to choose from. All plans come with support for responsive themes, advanced analytics, unlimited storage and bandwidth, custom domains, as well as Point of Sale and Amazon/eBay integrations.

Professional Plan costs $89 per month. If you need something extra, opt for the Business Plan at $199 per month that comes with support for HTTPS, B2B functionality, CDN, and multiple languages and currencies.

Beyond that, there is also the Premier plan that starts at $599 per month. It comes with enterprise level features such as custom apps and design, a dedicated account manager with priority support, and a lot more.

All plans come with a 14-day free trial, so you can give them a try with no string attached. Also, there are no setup or transaction fees involved in any plan.

Conclusion

Running an eCommerce store is complicated business. You have to take care of shipping, product management, taxes, customer support, and a lot more. Quite obviously, website management and development as well as hosting can be another chore that you’d be better off avoiding.

Zoey is very clearly a good fit for online stores and businesses. It does its job well, and lets you focus on the actual management of your business. You can easily forget about web hosting, running custom scripts to integrate payment gateways, or paying a hefty fees for getting a responsive site.

Furthermore, if you are a web designer yourself or a web design agency, you should by all means give Zoey a try right away! It goes without saying that you must be having various clients asking you to setup a website for their eCommerce store. Using Zoey, you can setup websites and stores within minutes, and since the interface is beginner-friendly, you can pass on the website to the clients easily.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and make use of the 14-day free trial, and check out Zoey right away!

Read More at Zoey: An eCommerce Platform With A Difference

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/zoey-ecommerce-platform/

Zoey Business Subscription Giveaway

imac_holland_esquire

 

holland-esquire-mac

Zoey is an all-in-one eCommerce platform for ambitious merchants, and was built to offer a refreshing alternative: the ease of use of hosted platforms paired with the power of an on-premise solution.

We are giving away FREE Business Subscriptions to three lucky winners – Enter the Zoey Subscription Giveaway today.

1st Prize: One year FREE on Zoeya $2,388 value
2nd Prize: Six months FREE on Zoeya $1,194 value
3rd prize: Three months FREE on Zoeya $597 value

 

drag-drop-action (1)

Read More at Zoey Business Subscription Giveaway

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/zoey-business-subscription-giveaway/

Quickly Change Hair Colour in Photoshop

Dansky_How to Change Hair Colour in Adobe Photoshop

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to quickly change hair colour in Adobe Photoshop.

The Steps (1-7)

1. Open your photo in Photoshop.

quickly-change-hair-colour-adobe-photoshop-1

2. Create a New Layer from within the Layers Palette.

quickly-change-hair-colour-adobe-photoshop-2

3. Select White (#FFFFFF) as the Foreground Colour, and select a Soft Feathered Circular Brush. Start painting the white over the hair, zooming in and out as necessary, to ensure that only the hair is covered with white.

quickly-change-hair-colour-adobe-photoshop-3

4. With the white layer selected, set the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

quickly-change-hair-colour-adobe-photoshop-4

5. From the bottom of the Layers Palette create a new Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. Right-click this adjustment layer and select Create Clipping Mask.

quickly-change-hair-colour-adobe-photoshop-5

6. With the Adjustment Layer selected and in the Property Inspector, we can now adjust the Hue, Saturation and Lightness to achieve the desired hair colour.

quickly-change-hair-colour-adobe-photoshop-6

7. The Opacity can also be adjusted to increase or decrease how much of the original hair colour shows through the Adjustment Layer.

Download Adobe Photoshop.

Read More at Quickly Change Hair Colour in Photoshop

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/quickly-change-hair-colour-photoshop/

The X Types of Content You Need to Keep Atendees Engaged Before, During and After Your Event

Taking an event from idea to sell-out is no easy feat.

And half the battle of organizing an event is marketing it.

When it comes to the marketing channels that drive attendance, hype, and engagement, social media is right near the top. Best of all, social media event marketing isn’t as time-consuming as you may think.

You can do it! One of the greatest feelings in the world is walking into one of your own events and seeing it jam-packed with people. Social media can help get you there.

When it comes to social media event marketing, that means knowing what to post and where to post it in order to reach potential attendees. We’d love to help by sharing our biggest lessons. To discover which types of posts event-goers engage with most, our team at Eventbrite looked at over 25 million social media event posts to see just how people tweet, snap, and share about events online.

The Data-Backed Guide to Social Media Event Marketing (1)

For pro insights on how to use social media for events,
check out Eventbrite and Buffer’s guide to social media event marketing >>>

Social media event marketing: Here’s what people are talking about before, during and after events

We studied more than 25 million social media posts sent by organizers and attendees of 50 of the most popular events over a full calendar year, July 2013 to July 2014. These events included everything from music festivals (Bonnaroo) to endurance races (Tough Mudder), and we captured relevant tweets by keyword, hashtag, and Twitter/Facebook handle.

In particular, we looked at what people were talking about before, during and after events. And we found some surprising trends and some concrete takeaways for event organizers’ social media strategy.

Our top takeaways were:

  1. Nearly as many people are talking about an event before the event as they are during
  2. The largest amount of social media updates were quotes and multimedia shared during the event (36% of all updates)
  3. Top strategies included: Teasing the speaker lineup, providing a photo booth, creating quotes as multimedia

There was a lot of additional data and takeaways from this study, all of which we’ll be thrilled to share below. The data, originally researched through July 2014, still feels quite valid and accurate given what we’re noticing today with social media events; our current research and monitoring shows the same strategies and topics dominating the conversation.

These types of evergreen takeaways for event marketing suggest some solid strategies that have worked for companies big and small for many years.

We’d love to break this down further for you.

How to share on social before the event

Use anticipation to drive ticket sales. Here’s how.

Social media event marketing - before the event

When do you think most event attendees might tweet, snap, or post to Facebook?

Probably during the event, right?

Well, they certainly do that. But almost equal numbers of attendees and wishful attendees talk about the event in the days and weeks prior.

According to our data, there were nearly as many posts leading up to an event as there were during the event itself (40% and 42% of total posts, respectively). This makes the buildup to an event a prime time to engage both potential attendees and those who’ve registered.

To engage well, here are some tips from the ways that top brands have handled this pre-event social media marketing and and how you can apply the findings to your event’s social media strategy:

1. Reveal speaker lineups or special guests in a creative way

Anticipation and excitement accounted for 14 percent of the total posts shared on social media about events. This was the largest single percentage among any type of pre-event tweet or post.

Event-goers posted countdowns until the big day, or posted on weekdays anxiously looking forward to the event as part of their weekend plans.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

How to build the buzz: Share creative reveals of lineups or special guests, or use teaser videos and images to increase excitement. For instance, you can post your own countdowns to the event — bonus points if you use beautiful images to motivate sharing.

2. Post often about early bird deadlines and registration windows

Nearly one out of 10 social media posts about an event has to do with ticket sales: Once they’ve committed, event-goers want to convince their friends to join them at the event and a popular way to do this is by sharing their tickets across social media.

Here’s an example of a ticket tweet, shared by a future event attendee:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

How to build the buzz: You can help motivate these potential attendees by using urgency to drive ticket purchases, posting whenever early bird ticket sales or registrations are about to end.

3. Perform giveaways for those with FOMO

Fans who aren’t sure if they can attend the event in person have serious FOMO (fear of missing out).

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

How to build the buzz: Calm their fear by creating new opportunities for them to attend the event. Offer discount codes to followers on social media, or create social contests for tickets or travel stipends. You could go above and beyond with a VIP access giveaway. Make sharing your post a qualification for these giveaways to really expand your reach.

4. Share behind-the-scenes pics waaaay before the event starts

Behind-the-scenes pics are great to see what happens behind the stage. They’re also key for seeing what happens before the stage is even built!

Share these behind-the-scenes pics and stories well before the event begins is a great way to boost conversation and engagement. From our study, we saw brands and attendees doing some cool things: marathon runners sharing their training schedule, music festival fans posting their outfit choices, and travelers sharing their trip itinerary for destination events.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

How to build the buzz: While they’re sharing their preparation, you can do the same. Make fans feel like insiders with behind-the-scenes glances at the event production. These brief glimpses can help make a personal connection with possible attendees.

By producing the type of content that event enthusiasts are already posting, you can join and help shape the online conversation. Be sure to retweet posts from excited attendees as well — their posts are free marketing to potential attendees.

How to share on social during the event

Curate the best photos and quotes. Here’s how.

Social media event marketing - during the event

The number one type of post we saw in our study of over 25 million was quotes and multimedia, during the event.

Nearly 9 million images, videos, and quotes!

So yes, while the highest percentage of social media event posts occur during the event itself, far and away the largest type of event post was multimedia-based. Eighty-five percent of the in-event posts included multimedia elements, such as images, videos, and quotes. Only 15% were plain text.

The takeaway here: You can look for ways to make your event photo-worthy to encourage attendees to post during the event.

Here are a few ways you can make your event photo-friendly:

1. Have a photo booth

Create a photo booth area, and pay attention to little details that would make great Instagram shots or Snapchat snaps.

At the TNW Europe conference, there was a photo booth allowing attendees to take and share fun images. Notice the cool branding stripe across the bottom of the picture:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

And Disney used a photo booth to enable attendees of the latest Captain America film to share the moment:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

2. Share content from speakers

If you host an event with speakers, like a conference or fundraiser, you can tweet or post the key quotes from speakers to encourage sharing. Tagging the post with your event’s hashtag and @-mentioning the speaker may help this content spread virally as well — both with event attendees and with any folks watching from home.

Here’s a great example from the Digital Marketing World Forum:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If you’d like to create content like this for your event, it can be great to prepare ahead of time so that you can get your quotes out there in real-time as your event takes place. Another fast option is to use tools like Pablo (images in 30 seconds or less) and Canva to create this type of content in real-time – and best of all, you don’t need to be a designer to create beautiful, engaging images.

3. Take followers behind-the-scenes with backstage pics and video

You can also create your own engaging multimedia posts to entice sharing during the event. Share photos and videos that give people a look backstage, or highlight exclusive interviews with people at the event. Photos are great for all networks, Facebook Live video is an awesome real-time resource, and Snapchat or Instagram stories make sense for those in-the-moment moments.

The Next Web did a great job with this at their recent conference in Amsterdam by using Snapchat and cross-promoting content to other networks like Twitter:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

4. Interact with your audience using questions and polls

You can also use interactive content like questions or polls to ask attendees which performer, booth, or speech they loved most. Have someone on your team designated to respond to any questions, issues, or comments that people send your way.

Twitter polls is perhaps the sleekest poll option for doing this quickly or in real-time.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

If you’re planning to create some interactive content, it can be good to think about the questions you’d like to ask and what content you’d like to produce beforehand. This can greatly increase the quality of the content you’re putting out and also help to reduce stress levels on the busy days when your event is live.

How to share on social after the event

Celebrate your press mentions and ask for feedback. Here’s how.

Social media event marketing - after the event

Just because your event is over doesn’t mean the online conversation is. Though it accounted for the smallest volume of social media updates, the after-event conversation still made for 18% of the total number — nearly 1 out of every 5 social posts were in follow up from the event.

The main two reasons we found people were talking about events after they happend were: press coverage and feedback. Here’s a little more on each of those:

1. Press coverage

The largest portion of this after-event conversation was media coverage of events (9% of total posts). This is your chance to celebrate all that you accomplished — so go ahead and brag a little by sharing all the great press you’ve gathered.

If you’re aiming to get some coverage after the event, it could be best to reach out to some journalists in your space and invite them to the event in order to experience it for themselves.

2. Ask for feedback

The rest of post-event conversation is divided between positive and negative feedback for the event. Share and revel in the positive feedback, but don’t ignore the negative. Respond by thanking critics for their thoughts, and take their feedback into account when planning your next event.

To make this feedback more actionable, you could share a post-event survey with followers to find out how to make your next event even better. Be open with your followers about how you listened to them to make changes, and they’ll be even more excited to buy tickets for next time.

If anyone is seriously disgruntled, you can also offer discounts for your next event to help smooth the waters. (Discounts are also a great way to encourage loyalty with happy event-goers.)

Over to you

Thanks so much for reading! We’d love to hear if these findings feel accurate to for any events you’ve been a part of.

Does this reflect the conversation you see on social media about your event? What types of content do you post before, during, and after events to engage your audience? It’d be great to hear from you in the comments!

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-event-marketing

How to Airbrush Skin in Photoshop

Dansky_How to Quickly Airbrush Skin in Photoshop

In this tutorial, we’re going to learn how to retouch or airbrush skin in Adobe Photoshop.

The Steps (1-8)

1. Open your photo in Photoshop.

2. Right-click your Background Layer and select Duplicate to create a copy.

airbrush-skin-adobe-photoshop-1

3. Select the Heal Brush Tool, and set the Brush Hardness to 0% for a soft/feathered edge. Holding Alt, Left-click on an area of smooth skin to sample, and then Left-click and paint over an area of skin that you would like to retouch and remove any imperfections (spots, scars etc.)

4. Again, Right-click your Background Layer and select Duplicate to create a copy and set the Blending Mode to Overlay.

airbrush-skin-adobe-photoshop-2

5. Go to Filter > Other > High Pass, and specify a value between 10-20 approximately to add a High Pass grain-style effect to your photo. Press Cmd/Ctrl + I to invert the layer, giving your top layer a slightly blurred aesthetic.

6. In the Layers Palette, hold Alt and select Add New Layer Mask. With the layer mask selected, select the Brush Tool, with a Hardness of 0%, and a Foreground Colour of White (#FFFFFF).

airbrush-skin-adobe-photoshop-3

7. Start painting into the mask over the larger areas of skin – for example, the cheeks, forehead, chin and nose. The goal is to smooth out the larger areas of skin, without smoothing over facial features (eyes, mouth etc.)

8. The Opacity of the top layer can also be reduced to lessen the visibility of the airbrushing effect. Conversely, the layer can be duplicated again to add an even further defined airbrushing effect.

airbrush-skin-adobe-photoshop-4

Download Adobe Photoshop.

Read More at How to Airbrush Skin in Photoshop

from Web Design Ledger http://webdesignledger.com/airbrush-skin-photoshop/

How I Grew My Traffic By Almost 50% in Just 30 Days Using Twitter

One of the great joys of working with my marketing clients has been helping them grow their Twitter followers and implement consistent tweet schedules.

Meanwhile, my own account has collected dust with a lame, month-old tweet sitting at the top.

Until recently.

I first joined Twitter over seven years ago, back in 2009, and I’ve been grateful to learn so many best practices, strategies, and tactics from the community. The only problem was I didn’t apply any of this Twitter strategy to my own Twitter activity. All this changed a few months back when I decided it was time to give Twitter a real, honest-to-goodness shot. If I saw results, great. If not, I could ditch the platform once and for all and never deal with tweet anxiety again.

Enter, Buffer.

And enter great results!

I’m happy to share with you the exact process I tried and the wonderful results I saw, applying a Twitter strategy to my personal profile. Hopefully you’ll see similar gains by putting this simple strategy into practice for yourself and your clients!

JPEG image-6E84124EEBFA-1

Sneak peek: My traffic grew nearly 50%! (much of it from Twitter)

After 30 days of experimenting (complete details below), I found these results waiting for me in Google Analytics:

Autotweet results 1

This all came about with an increased activity on Twitter, sharing my content more, and delivering value to my audience. Here’s the exact experiment and blueprint that I used.

The Experiment: Sharing my blog posts more than once

From the time I launched my marketing consulting service 18 months ago, Buffer has been my go-to tool for managing my clients’ social media accounts. I’ve preached its virtues repeatedly on my blog, explaining how to use it to create a streamlined, easy-to-manage social strategy and naming it among my top tools for business owners.

So I hatched a plan to follow my own advice.

I planned to use Buffer to pre-schedule a month’s worth of tweets promoting my blog.

Here’s the method I adopted

  1. Take 20 blog posts I’d written
  2. For each blog post, write three unique tweets (60 tweets total)
  3. Add these tweets to Buffer, scheduling 2x per day for 30 days

I felt that if I were to post more often (and more strategically) to my Twitter profile, then I would see increased traffic from Twitter in Google Analytics because I’d be reaching more people with my content. And so I began, starting with 20 of my published blog posts from my site’s archives. I opened a Word document, and for each blog post, I wrote three unique tweets to promote it.

For example, for my post on strengthening your copywriting, I wrote the following three tweets:

  • Tweet 1: 9 action-packed words to punch up your #writing (link)
  • Tweet 2: How heavy hitting copywriting can take your #marketing from good to great (link)
  • Tweet 3: Are you using these 9 powerful words in your #marketing copy? (link)

And here’s how those posts ended up looking on Twitter, once they were published.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Choosing my frequency

I ended up with 60 tweets total from the 20 blog posts, which I then copied and pasted from the Word document into my Buffer queue. My tweet frequency was two tweets per day for 30 days. All in all, the process took about an hour.

Buffer queue

Why did I choose to schedule two tweets per day?

Many users schedule far more, tweeting multiple times per hour even. However, I’ve always had an aversion to those uber-scheduled accounts. While great for publishers and big brands, they’re a bit less ideal for solo marketers like me.

Two tweets per day seemed like the perfect balance — enough to keep my account populated with fresh content, with plenty of room left over to hop in and engage in real time.

A recent Buffer study on social media sharing found that brands tweet on average 19.5 times per week (about three tweets per day), so with my article being shared twice per day, this also left room for other types of tweets without feeling like I was bombarding my followers.

My sharing schedule

I Buffered the posts at different times throughout the week to see whether time of day would make an impact in engagement.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I scheduled tweets at 3:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

On the remaining days, I scheduled tweets at 8 a.m. and noon.

Throughout the day, I used notifications on my phone to keep up with responses and new follows, and made it a point to try to engage with everyone who interacted with me and shared my content. After all, what’s a Twitter account without live interaction?

This was a fun “experiment within the experiment” to try: Which times would perform best? In a study of the best times to tweet, Buffer found that:

  • Noon to 1:00 p.m. local time, on average for each time zone, is the most popular time to tweet
  • The highest volume of tweets occurs between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., peaking between noon and 1:00 p.m.
  • The fewest tweets are sent between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m.

Here’s the chart for the most popular times worldwide, taken from an average of 10 major time zones (the times represent local time).

With the context of these popular tweeting times, I ended up having some tweets that fell during the peak hours mentioned in Buffer’s data and some that fell into non-peak hours.

Which ones did I guess might perform best?

Buffer had an interesting take on this in the followup to their data study. Seems like there is an argument to be had on both sides that peak and non-peak could perform quite well.

The case for posting at non-peak hours (late nights, early mornings): The most popular time to tweet is also the time when there is the highest volume of tweets, perhaps making it a bit more difficult for your tweet to stand out in someone’s timeline. This is a classic case of the infomercial effect: When there’s little else being tweeted, your tweets are more likely to stand out.

Another thought is that the most popular times to tweet could very well correlate to the times when most people are on Twitter and, therefore, your tweets have a wider potential audience. Perhaps it’s worth testing also to see if tweeting during a popular time is worthwhile simply for the amount of people who are online.

The results of my experiment

On April 30, I logged into Google Analytics and pulled my site’s traffic stats, and not gonna lie, my jaw dropped a little.

Autotweet results 1

My sessions were up by almost 50%, with traffic from Twitter on desktop and mobile accounting for 31% of that growth. Organic search traffic was another big contributor, which, as you may know, is impacted by social sharing.

My Twitter account itself grew as well—an 8.7% increase in followers (about 100 new followers) and a 43% increase in impressions (about 13,000 more impressions).

For my young website, which I had just launched in January, this was a major win.

And as for which time of day was best to tweet? In general, my posts scheduled for the 10 p.m. hour (non-peak times) tended to get the most engagement, while engagement levels didn’t vary much for tweets sent during the workday.

Takeaways: What I learned from my Twitter strategy

After seeing my initial results, I decided to take my analysis one step further.

Using Buffer’s handy Analytics tab, I was able to easily see which tweets were most popular within the last 30 days by using the Top Tweets filter.

sortable twitter analytics 2

Interestingly enough, there wasn’t any one blog post that performed noticeably better than the rest. What I did notice was that all of my most popular tweets contained either an image or at least one hashtagboth important factors for helping your tweets get discovered and capture attention.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

What’s Next? Keeping up with experimentation

I took this knowledge and applied it to the next month, scheduling 30 more days worth of tweets with images or hashtags. My account continued to grow and nearly doubled impressions from the first month of the experiment.

For me, this experiment proved that Twitter is far from dead, and with the help of Buffer it becomes an ultra-effective way to drive traffic to your site.

Mixing in real-time engagement with my scheduled tweets also remains critical for me; I never want to become one of those users whose account is 100% automated.

Moving forward, I’ll definitely continue this strategy, recycling my best-performing tweets and adding new ones to my Buffer queue as I publish additional posts. I may even play around with a higher tweet frequency to see if there’s a tipping point for maximum traffic growth.

Over to you

What about you? Do you use Buffer + Twitter to drive traffic to your website (and if not, why the heck not?!)? Leave a comment and tell me—I’d love to hear from you.

Image sources: WOCinTech

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/twitter-traffic-case-study