Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mobile Framework Opinions

I've been doing a lot more mobile specific programming and have tried a few of the frameworks. As you probably already know I'm a huge fan of JQuery and sing it's blessings everywhere I go. I've been trying real hard to embrace JQuery Mobile, but it's been a little bit of a bumpy relationship, but I want to love this offspring of JQuery...

One of the areas in which I find most difficult is not in programming within the framework (although sometimes tricky) itself, but trying to navigate the API documentation, JQuery Mobile is great for mobile interfaces, but for browsing the API (in a real browser) is not really ideal. Don't get me wrong, you guys are doing work of angels, I'm just sayin ;)

I also played with JQTouch at one point, and I found it was less buggy at the time, but from my understanding the product is now sencha touch and need to be licensed for commercial products. (someone let me know what that means/costs?).Sencha looks like a cool product, but I haven't picked it up yet.

I'm really excited to see a JQuery Mobile Beta, from my understanding it will be released soon. I was very excited to see the device support list now including windows7 phones. For now I'm going to stick with developing in JQuery Mobile for devices, and I'm sure over time, I be familiar with all the nuances, but as seen with JQuery I'm sure it will be adopted and supported by the majority of devices and browsers, and with an awesome community to help drive it's development.

I have to give a HUGE thanks to the contributors of both JQuery Mobile and JQuery it's really been a pleasure working with JQuery/JQM. THANK YOU, I really mean it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why Conversion Rate Sounds More Important Than It Is

The way you calculate conversion rate on a website is pretty simple math: Number of Sales / Number of Visitors x 100 = Conversion Rate (that's sales divided by number of visitors). Seems simple right? So if I sell one item for $10 and 100 people go to my site and 10 people buy, I made $100 and my conversion rate is 10% because 10 out of 100 people bought something.
So say my boss says, Aaron, I'll give you a $500 bonus if you can double our conversion rate, so of course I say Heck Yeah! So I signup for an adwords account on the boss's card and before you know it, I've got 1000 people at my store and 200 people buy my $10 widget! Whoo Hoo! Pay up Boss!! I doubled our conversion rate...
So what's the rub? Did I forget to mention something? Of course!! What I didn't mention is that I paid $1.00 for that click, so YES I doubled the conversion rate, but I also just rang up $1,000 in advertising and only sold $2000 worth of merchandise (which we know you don't have anywhere near 100% profit on whatever your selling, e-books excluded). So I'm probably not going to get the bonus...
Take all the numbers into consideration when determining your advertising approach, always keep the goal in mind, SPEND LESS GET MORE. Optimize and test your site constantly and continually "test and learn" the more you do it the easier and better it gets! There are many analytical tools out there to see where bottlenecks are in your site, if you haven't already here are a few of the MUST HAVES as a webmaster.
  1. Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Google Website Optimizer
  4. jQuery
I'll be adding more as I think of them. Keep Learning and Testing, then Testing and Learning!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Website Testing & Optimization

When most programmers hear the word testing, it immediately brings feelings of absolute boredom and clicking through mind numbing forms and pages. But the kind of testing I'm referring to in this post is A/B testing, which means your showing the end users 1 of 2 versions of a page or ad (or whatever) and you're seeing which one provides more conversions.

This type of testing is not only fun to me, it gives you real insight to your users, with the ability to test and learn you can over time revise your test and tune your pages to what your users want.

Ads on Television and on Radio can't provide you the feedback your website can, by "tuning in" to your users behaviors while they interact with your site is key to understand what they expect and what will truly help their workflow. Often times a webmaster or site owner may be to comfortable with their site and can quickly navigate, know where everything is, but they forget that a new user or customer doesn't have their in-depth knowledge of the site.

Google provides an excelled FREE (as in beer) tool for website testing, it's called GWO (Google website optimizer) if you haven't checked it out, I suggest you RUN not walk and do so now, GWO coupled with some jQuery you can create some highly sophisticated multi-variate test and get some insight into your customers!

The only Feature I can think to add to it, would be to have it consider the purchase value when tracking the conversion, since one may give you a higher conversion value then the other, this however can be determined through Google Analytics.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Things I love About jQuery

One of the best tools in my developer tool box in the last year has been jQuery It's made the impossible not only become possible it's made it simple, pretty and elegant all at the same time. I have to give a huge THANKS to the jQuery peeps, they have really opened some doors for me in my development. Here's a few specifics I love about it.
  1. Selectors: jQuery gives you a multitude of ways to select an element, you can do it via ancestorys, id, class, type, attribute etc, it also does wildcard matching. It's truly awesome
  2. Animation: provides a simple way to do all the "Web 2.0" fades, slides, color changes, etc.
  3. Cross Compatibility: Is definitely the best when it comes to cross browser compatibility right out of the box, which is another HUGE time saver in development.
  4. Plugins: What saves you more time than having the functionality written already and you can simply "Plug-In", did I mention I love jQuery.
That's just a few reasons why if you're writing web applications, you should be using jQuery, there are MANY MANY more reasons to use jQuery, and if you're not, I hope I convinced you.
Peace out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trying Blogger Out

I have to start off by saying I'm a huge wordpress fanboy, so for me trying anything new in the blogging realm is a tough pill to swallow, but I'm giving Blogger a shot, if nothing else to diversify my social media exposure.
There has been a lot going around the ethersphere how social media is the "next big thing" for 2011, and I'm starting to believe it considering the recent current events.
I'll be embracing social media more this year as well, I've already tweeted more in the last week than I did in all of 2010, and I'll be working on some "social" plugins for PDG (the now archaic) shopping cart system I work with a lot.
Speaking of shopping cart software. One wish I have for 2011, is that someone releases a good, not overly robust, but extremely flexible shopping cart, preferably written in PHP and uses good clean standards and exemplifies "elegant" code. Can someone do that for me? I might be willing to volunteer a few lines of code myself.
Anyways, so far so good using blogger (firefox hasn't frozen) and nobody got hurt, so while it's not a raving review yet, I'll try it again.
(Although half the time I hit return, I don't get a carriage return, wtf is that about?)
Anyways, peace out.