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Google Analytics Gets Faster, Better

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ga-logoMany bloggers are using Google Analytics (GA) on their site to collect information about their visitors. It is feature-rich, accurate, extensible through an API and, most importantly to many, completely free.

However, despite its popularity, it seems that most of its users have missed one of the most important improvements to the service in recent years.

Historically the only drawback to GA has been that it is somewhat slow. It has a tendency to block other elements from loading while it churns, causing sites to slow to a crawl, especially during times of high load for GA, and that forced most to put the code in their footer, where it fails to catch “quick” visits to the site. This caused many to be torn between having a slower site and going without Google’s impressive stat tracking tools.

But on Tuesday Google announced a new Google Analytics tracking code snippet. The new code is asynchronous, meaning that other content can load even while the tracking JavaScript code is opening,

This has been a major boon for my site, according to Pingdom, I managed to shave about 2 seconds off of my loading time (from about 5.6 seconds to 3.9) between when I added the new code and a test taken shortly before. Furthermore, GA itself is reporting about 10% more visitors from the prior day despite no noticeable changes in other statistics.

Though far from definitive as it is too soon to be certain if these changes will hold, it’s a sign that others should be looking into this code as well.

The Basics

When a browser loads up a Web site, it is actually pulling in dozens of elements including the HTML code, the images, the stylesheets, the images as well as any other media. This is downloaded by the browser, rendered and then displayed to the user. Though many elements can download and render at the same time, such as images, JavaScript files “block” the downloading and rendering of other content.

The effect can be like traffic on a one-lane road with a large truck going down it. The other vehicles have to wait for the slow truck to get to its destination before they can travel at normal speeds.

With GA, the solution many took and was recommended by Google was to put the code at the bottom of the page, thus putting the “truck” at the end of the line of traffic. However, this limited the accuracy of the code, causing it to load later, and still slowed down sites as many elements, especially complex media ones, were likely waiting to load until after GA was finished.

What the new code does is effectively create a “passing lane” that lets other items pass it by. This not only speeds up the loading time of sites that use GA, but also means that the code can be moved to the HEAD of the Web site, making it more accurate.

Clearly it is a win-win for current GA users and, with that in mind, here’s how to get the code and put it on your site.

How to Use It

If you want to use the new GA code, the process is very simple. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Remove Your Old Code: Remove the old code from your template (most likely in your footer below the final /BODY tag. If you use a plugin to automatically add the code, disable it for right now. However, keep a copy of your old code, or your GA ID as you will need it.
  2. Get the New Code: Visit GA’s Google Code page and get the new tracking code.
  3. Insert your GA ID: Where the new GA code says “UA-XXXXX-X”, replace it with your ID number, which should be in that format.
  4. Put the New Code In Your Site: Place the new code in your site just before the /HEAD tag, which is mot likely in your header file, rather than your footer.
  5. Clear Your Cache: If you use WP Super Cache or any similar caching program, clear your cache to make sure that all of your pages are refreshed.

Once you do that, you’re done. The new code should be working fine and you can check in your GA account tomorrow to see if it is reading normally.

Bottom Line

GA is a powerful tool for any Web site, including a blog. Knowing how many people visited your site, how long they stayed, what they read and how they got there is crucial information and GA makes it easy and free to collect some of the most robust information possible. Now, with the new code, it is also incredibly fast.

There’s literally almost no drawback to using GA on your site now, unless you have privacy concerns with Google, so it makes sense to at least give it a try. Though WordPress stats and other programs are interesting an useful, GA is the most in-depth solution available right now for free and certainly the most extensible.

I use GA currently with PostRank, on my site and love the combination. But even without PostRank, GA provides so much valuable information, I can’t imagine working without it.

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Design & Coding

Fotor Photo Editor – The Perfect Graphic Design Tool for Bloggers

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As bloggers and content creators, it’s important to always have visual content built within our best articles and site designs. Infographics, clip art, stock photos and more… but customized and original images will always grab the most attention.

When it comes to actually creating such visuals, you will have many different options to choose from. Whether you are looking for a free application, one that is browser-based, or even if it’s a premium software you need to download and pay for — it’s important to know what’s out there.

Today we are going to be looking at Fotor photo editor which is a free and powerful tool that lets anyone get started with their own graphic design in just a few short minutes.

This tool allows anyone to start using it through a web browser or even with their mobile application. Whether you need to edit a photo, make a collage, or create a custom and original design, it can all be done through the power of Fotor.

The most popular features of this tool are it’s one click filters and fixes that allowed anyone to make their images pop and stand out like never before.

Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits to using Fotor photo editor for your website, blog, or just everyday life.

With most people looking to customize their mobile screenshots on photos with a few simple click of a button, and this is exactly what fotor photo editor will allow you to do. It will also allow you to create custom YouTube banners that can be used to liven up your channel as well.

You can see a few of these examples in the screenshot below.

When comparing Fotor to other graphic design applications like Photoshop, you are going to find many similarities, but it’s also important to note that premium applications like Photoshop are much more advanced, but also more costly in the process. The software is free to use, you can upgrade to Fotor Pro and find even more upgrade and options available.

What makes this design application and tool great for site owners and bloggers, is that it has a unique set of design tools and features — which are what most content creators are looking. In short, it provides users with what they need, while not overwhelming them in the process.

Fotor also offers a nice selection of design templates to choose from, which makes the process of creating new and original content even easier. These template designs scale across the many different design themes, sizes, and concepts on the site.

In addition to everything else mentioned, there is also a nice collection of resources, guides, and tutorials that can be found on their site blog. Such resources will provide users what the information and walk-through processes to get the most out of Fotor.

If you are currently looking for a new design editor to improve the look and feel of visual content on your site, be sure to give Fotor a try.

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Design & Coding

4 Essential Elements of Web Design (No.3 Will Shock You!)

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If you’re a small business owner take note of these four elements of web design. They’re essential for boosting your online presence. Click here for more info!

Have you ever wondered why most business websites tend to look the same? It’s like you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all.

The truth is a lot of business owners prefer the easy route. That means going for a website builder, which offers templated designs.

If you want something different, you’ll have to go custom. But that takes a lot of time. Plus, you’ll have to look for a skilled designer/developer.

Whatever route you choose, you need to understand the elements of web design. After all, it’s your website. If you choose to hire a pro, you need to know what to ask for.

And if you opt to DIY it, then you can steer clear of cringe-worthy web design. That said, here are 4 web design elements that will help boost your online presence.

1. User Journey

You can scroll through countless website design guides and you’ll never see one that says, “ignore what users think.”

Consider mobile apps. Would you download something that’s hard to use and has a lot of annoying ads?

When you design your website, put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. Is your website hard to navigate? Does it load fast?

But how do you know if your user interface is good? Aside from consistency, it has to be simple, intuitive, responsive, and flexible.

This is why it’s good to test different designs first before committing to one. It saves time and eliminates the need for major changes later on.

2. Content

Designing for the web doesn’t stop when you have a “pretty” website. Sure, your target customers will appreciate nifty graphics and all. But if your content doesn’t offer value, users will leave your website.

Now, this doesn’t mean huge blocks of text that will drown your visitors with information. Opt for conciseness. Give your target audience content that’s easy to digest so they can process it better.

Depending on what CMS you are using, content creation is usually the easy part. This is especially the case when using platforms like Weebly, WordPress or Wix. Since most of these platforms are drag and drop, it’s simply a matter of getting familiar with each platform, and knowing how to create great content. There are no programming or design skills required.

3. Accessibility

Did you just check the title again? If yes, you may be wondering why this would be shocking. Shouldn’t this be part of any website designing guide?

The thing is there are plenty of websites that use low contrast for text because it’s trendy. But you have to take into account users who have vision problems.

There has to be enough contrast between text and background. And you also need to choose your colors well. You don’t want to alienate color-blind and blind users who use assistive technologies.

4. SEO

Some people approach website design as a separate entity from search engine optimization. But there’s a way to be strategic about the process so that design elements improve the SEO of your site.

The easiest way would be to outsource to an all-in-one design company such as https://www.databerry.com/. When they build your site, they also take care of the backend coding stuff. This ensures your title tags, meta tags, etc work for better search ranking.

Want to Know More About the Elements of Web Design?

Knowing the elements of web design is your first step to a website that looks and functions well. But getting them all right takes a bit of trial and error.

For more web design tips, don’t forget to check out our other blog posts.

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Design & Coding

Defining the Best Colors, Style and Design for Your Brand Logo

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Have you ever thought about why some companies and brands are more successful and well-known than others? In many cases, it comes down to the products or services they offer, but the actual look and feel of the company brand can play a huge part in this as well.

A great example of this would be every brand that currently has a well-known logo design or identity, even though it doesn’t have the actual name of the company within the logo. Names like Nike, Target, Apple, Microsoft, and Starbucks come to mind. Billions of people from around the world can recognize these brands simply by seeing their logo… and they don’t even need to see a name associated with it. You can see some of the most popular brand logo designs and changes they’ve made over the years in this famous logos reference guide.

With all of that in mind, it’s important to create a logo design for your business that not only represents what you do but also one that resonates with your audience as well. To give another example of the many different ways an industry can influence the way logo are created to relate and brand with an audience, let’s take a look at some of the top online survey sites from a site like SurveyClarity.

What do you notice about each of the popular survey logo designs below? Not only are they mostly text-based, they are all different variations of GREEN! WebPageFX.com says the following about the color green in logo design:

Green is Youthful and Earth-Friendly: Health – Tranquility – Freshness. Green represents growth, and evokes a feeling of relaxation and healing. It is the color of healthy vegetation, so it reminds viewers of nature and health. It is also associated with money and wealth.

This is something you will see in many different markets. Another great example is the banking or make money space. Many of the banks will have a green or blue feeling to them — which both represent calm, financial, and fresh feelings and emotions. However, many other brands like Twitter and Dell are using BLUE to represent their compani\y logo and brand as well.

Now that you likely have a better understanding of what different colors are being used in logo designs today, you might be thinking about the different styles, variations, and colors you can use within your own company or site design and branding.

Thanks to the “What Type of Logo is Right for You?” infographic below (provided by Designhill), we are going to break down the many components and choices of logo design, and how to best represent your brand.

To get started with the process, you should first decide on if you want a font-based logo or a graphic design. No matter which option you choose, you can tweak both design types to work with whatever style you’d like to go with.

A “Word Mark” logo design is one that is made up of a stylized type font, yet is also original in design. A few good examples of this would be the HBO, NASA and CNN logo. At their core, they are text fonts — but also with a unique and custom design in the process.

After you’ve given some thought to the different colors, design types, and styles of logos you can create, we recommend you take a look at the new AI-powered logo maker from Designhill. Not only is the tool free to use, it can create an unlimited number of logo designs for you to choose from. Keep scrolling through the designs until you find one that you like, then complete the process by purchasing the fulicensednced version of your logo design, which also comes in a wide range of file types.

How to Find the Right Logo Design for Your Band

As shown in the infographic below, we can answer a few simple questions to see what type of logo you might want to focus your efforts on for your brand. Depending on how you answer each of these questions, you will find a different result for your brand identity.

  • Is your business well established?
  • Is your business internationally known?
  • Do you plan to remain a small business?
  • Does your company have a long name?
  • Do your company contain a unique word?
Of the many different types of logos you can choose from, the most popular are emblems. However, you will also see a popular occurrence of word marks, pictorial marks, abstract marks and letter marks.
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