Imagine a world with zero search results. As it turns out, Google is moving toward making that world a reality.

Google has been experimenting with a ‘zero search results’ page — where the search engine provides a single answer to queries about local time and mathematical conversions or calculations — e.g., “8 tbsp in tsp” — without displaying any other search results.

IMG_4485 

As reported by SEO Roundtable, this is not the first time users have reported seeing the zero search results landscape. The feature was first tested in March, received poor reviews, then briefly appeared again in September due to what Google called “a glitch.”

But now, Google has confirmed that it has rolled out the zero search results feature on mobile, telling SEO Roundtable that it contributes to quicker load times, among other user experience improvements.

So, where exactly do users weigh in on the world of zero search results — and what does it mean for the work that marketers do? We did some research to find out.

How Do Users Feel About a Zero Search Results World?

We asked over 4,200 people across the U.S., UK, and Canada for their reactions to Google’s new zero search results feature. First, we explained what it is — “the search engine will provide a single answer to queries — such as, ‘What time is it in New York?’ — without displaying any other search results.”

Then, we asked them to measure how this would impact their search experience in a few areas — such as their ability to find information, the accuracy of the single answers they might receive, and others.

Here’s what we found out.

Even Exposure

We wanted to gauge how many users had actually come across this feature — so we began by asking how many of them had seen it.

There was a somewhat even split between those who said they had come across a zero search results page and those who hadn’t. However, most respondents — nearly 60% — said they hadn’t yet seen it. 

Have you encountered this feature on Google before_

Data collected with Lucid

Ease of Finding Information

Then, we wanted to know if users thought a zero search results feature would make it easier — or more difficult — to find information.

How do you think this will impact your ability to find information you’re seeking online with Google_

Data collected with Lucid

The impression of a zero results world seems to be generally positive, with about half of respondents indicating that they think it would make finding information on Google easier.

The Accuracy Element

Next, we wanted to find out how users think the zero search results feature would impact the accuracy of the information they might receive in response to a query. 

We phrased this question two ways. First, we asked users, “How do you think this will impact the accuracy of the search results?”

How do you think this will impact the accuracy of the search results_

Data collected with Lucid

When the question was phrased this way, the response was generally positive, with most people (close to 80%) indicating that they believe a zero search results page would generally make the information more accurate — or equally accurate to a traditional search results page.

Then, we asked how much users would trust the information they received on a zero search results page.

How does this impact your likelihood to trust the accuracy of Google's search results_

Data collected with Lucid

Interestingly, the positive sentiment here was sightly lower — with 20% fewer respondents indicating that they would be more or equally likely to trust the accuracy of information received on a zero search results page.

Still, the positive response outweighed the negative, with less than a quarter of participants saying they would trust a zero search results page less.

Time Spent on Google

Finally, we wanted to know if a zero search results page would impact the amount of time users spend on Google.

How will this impact the amount of time you spend using Google_

Data collected with Lucid

Overall, the prospect of a zero-search-results-driven world doesn’t appear to have much impact on how much time people will spend on Google, with half of respondents indicating they would continue use the search engine as much as they would otherwise.

It’s worth noting that one of the reasons Google provided for introducing a zero search results page is quicker access to answers. Over a third of users said they might actually use Google more with the onset of this feature — suggesting that people would respond positively to the ability to perform more searches in a smaller amount of time.

What a Zero Search Results World Looks Like for Marketers

But even if a zero search results feature solves for the user, what impact could it have on marketers and content creators — especially those behind sites that specialized in unit or time conversations?

“Zero search results is the new extreme in search,” says HubSpot Head of SEO Victor Pan. “Remember when it used to be just 10 search results? Then it sometimes became just seven, then folks started seeing three-to-five search results on the first page, and now we’re at the point where zero could happen.”

It’s that evolution of what search results look like, Pan says, that points to a need for marketers to look at search results from a multi-dimensional perspective.

“What this means for marketers in the future is that, if you prioritize by just one piece of search — like volume or rankings,” he explains, “you could be getting an extremely inaccurate picture of a target search term or keyword.”

So instead of looking at search terms and keywords through a narrow scope, Pan advises marketers to prepare for a more widespread presence of zero results by focusing on intent.

First, Pan says to consider the users who might be searching for these target terms or keywords, and what they’re hoping to accomplish by searching for them — their intent. Does the intent behind that search actually present an opportunity for your SEO-related goals, like visitors, rankings, or brand awareness?

In other words, Pan asks:

“What’s the total opportunity for that intent?”

A follow-up question, then, concerns whether or not multiple search results would actually serve the user’s intent and goals in searching for a particular term or keyword. 

“You need to know … whether it’s helpful for users to have more than one source tell them the answer,” Pan says, or if the results for those terms and keywords are best served via a single result.

Finally, Pan suggests researching what the results for these target terms and keywords look like, perhaps by way of searching for them yourself before optimizing for them.

“How many search results and features — like featured snippets or ‘people also ask’ — show up for specific keywords?” Pan challenges marketers to ask. “These are clues to what Google thinks the user’s intent is.”

And by learning how Google interprets a user’s intent, you can begin to understand that of the audience you’re trying to draw to your content — and, therefore, if certain terms and keywords aren’t worth pursuing, especially in a zero search results world.

To improve your team’s productivity, reduce turnover rates, and drive increased revenue for your company, it’s critical you take the time to focus on your employees’ job satisfaction.

If you’re wary about the tangible benefits of job satisfaction, consider this — happiness has shown to increase employee productivity by at least 12%. Undoubtedly, your company will grow faster if you invest in your employees’ happiness.

Additionally, happy employees means lower turnover rates, and a better workplace culture. If you want to keep your top talent and nurture them for the long-term, it’s critical you find ways to ensure they’re satisfied with their jobs.

Fortunately, there are plenty of free and relatively easy strategies to boost your team’s satisfaction — so why not try to make your employees happier? Here, we’ll explore five guaranteed ways to boost job satisfaction to ensure more success in the long-run.

But first, let’s explore what job satisfaction means for employees today.

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The Definition of Job Satisfaction

While we know what job satisfaction is — essentially, being happy with one’s job — it’s difficult to discern where and how satisfaction in the workplace arises. Do people who feel satisfied in their careers just get lucky? Are they naturally happy? Is it their paycheck, their sense of purpose, or both?

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines Job Satisfaction as, “The feeling of pleasure and achievement that you experience in your job when you know that your work is worth doing.”

This definition is supported by a global survey run by LinkedIn and Imperative, which found that 74% of job candidates want a job where they feel their work matters.

Besides purpose, there are other elements that lead to job satisfaction, including autonomy, flexibility, recognition, a sense of belonging, and a good relationship with one’s manager.

Ultimately, job satisfaction means how much an employee likes her job, and how willing she is to stay with her company. While it might be impossible to make every employee happy, it’s critical you work hard to boost job satisfaction for as many employees as possible. This will help lower turnover and decrease money spent on recruitment and new hire training. Additionally, happy employees will be more successful, which is critical for your company’s bottom line. 

Now that we’ve defined job satisfaction, let’s take a look at some strategies you can implement to improve employee happiness immediately.

How to Boost Job Satisfaction

1. Give consistent praise, and focus on impact.

Office Vibe’s State of Employee Engagement research report found 63% of employees don’t feel they get enough praise. By consistently telling your employees when they’ve done a good job, you’ll make them feel more proud of their work, and provide them with incentive to work harder in the future.

Additionally, as previously stated, employees need to feel like their work matters. Rather than simply saying, “Good job on that Facebook campaign,” consider explaining to your employee how her work makes a difference for your team, and the company, as a whole. Your employees will feel more indispensable if you focus on how their work relates to long-term company goals.

For instance, you might say, “I’d like to take the time to thank you for the effort you put into your last Facebook campaign. The campaign helped attract an audience of over 17,000, and 12% of that audience turned out to be quality leads, which is incredible. Additionally, your leadership and input helped shape the direction of our brand’s voice on Facebook, both for this campaign and for future campaigns down the road.”

With this praise, you’ve demonstrated to your employee that her work matters to the company’s bottom line, and to the future success of your team. This positive reinforcement could go a long way towards increasing her job satisfaction.

2. Offer career development, training, or education opportunities.

Nowadays, career development is no longer just a nice perk. In fact, a LinkedIn Workplace Learning report found 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career. By offering career development and actively seeking out opportunities to help your employees grow, you’re signaling you care about their long-term success.

Additionally, training your employees and allowing them to expand their skillset will help your team become more successful long-term, as well. For instance, HubSpot offers master classes, which are classes in which employees teach other employees skills such as video production or SEO. As employees gain these skills they can apply them to their role, making them more well-rounded and innovative.

A Leadership Training program is also a chance for you to prepare your employees to become managers and team leaders down-the-road. This can reduce turnover and enable your employees to grow with the company.

3. Show you care about your employee’s mental and physical well-being.

Your employees can’t be satisfied in the workplace if they feel they’re sacrificing physical or mental well-being. To boost job satisfaction, it’s critical you make an effort to show employees’ that their health matters. Plus, if your employees’ take the time to recharge throughout the day, they’ll be more productive on the job, as well.

To show you care about your employees’ physical well-being, consider how you might incorporate physical activity into the workplace. It’s okay if you don’t have the budget to install a gym — simply creating a culture in which it’s okay to leave early to catch a workout class, or do yoga during lunch, can help. Ultimately, it’s about showing your employees that you understand physical activity should be a priority.

Additionally, it’s important you create opportunities to reduce stress and promote mental well-being. For instance, perhaps you offer flexible hours, so employees can avoid a stressful commute in the morning. Alternatively, you might create lunchtime mindfulness sessions, like Google, Nike, and Apple.

At the very least, take the time to check-in with employees and ask them how they’re feeling about their workload. If they seem exceptionally stressed, consider how you might help delegate tasks to help them get back on-track.

4. Foster an environment in which coworkers can bond and develop friendships.

Most people spend more time at work than they do with any of the most important people in their lives, including spouses, children, and friends. To boost job satisfaction, it’s critical you find ways to help your employees connect with one another and form genuine friendships.

To foster workplace connections, consider adding games or activities to your shared space — for instance, you might purchase a ping-pong table or wii to encourage employees to engage with one another. Alternatively, you might plan weekly “breaks” from work, like Friday happy hour or Monday team lunches.

It’s also important you plan regular team outings to get outside the office. Your employees are more likely to form authentic friendships outside the office, when they don’t feel they need to act as strictly professional. For instance, you might take them to an arcade, or baseball game. A new environment could help employees’ bond on a deeper level.

Additionally, it will help employees feel appreciated if you take the time to celebrate major milestones in their lives. For instance, you could gather a group for a coworker’s birthday, or another coworker’s engagement.

5. Conduct a job satisfaction survey.

Ultimately, you’ll never know if your strategies are working if you don’t regularly conduct surveys to see how happy and satisfied your employees are. Conducting job satisfaction surveys will help you see areas of improvement you might’ve otherwise missed.

Additionally, job satisfaction surveys show your employees that you care about how they feel. By allowing them to voice their opinion, you’re showing them they are important to the company.

Ensure your survey is anonymous, so employees feel comfortable voicing their concerns. The eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) is a good tool to measure employee engagement. Alternatively, you might create your own company survey using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms.

Job Satisfaction Statistics

To truly understand the measurable difference job satisfaction can make for your company, take a look at the following statistics.

  • Organizations with engaged employees outperform those with low employee engagement by 202% (Business2Community).
  • 83% of employees who are offered opportunities to take on new challenges are more likely to stay with their organization (ReportLinker).
  • 42% of millennials say learning and development is the most important benefit when deciding where to work (Udemy).
  • 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs (Gallup).
  • Over 80% of full-time workers are actively seeking or passively open to new job opportunities (Ajilon).
  • In a survey of 2,000 employees, 43% said corporate culture is the main reason they are looking for a new job (Hays).
  • 92% of employees said that would be more likely to stay with their job, if their bosses would show more empathy (Businesssolver).
  • Employees who feel they get to use the best strengths and abilities and work are 15% less likely to quit their job (Gallup). 

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In a world where retail eCommerce sales surpassed $2.3 billion this year, touting your products at fairs, trade shows, and festivals might seem like an outdated tactic to grow your business.

However, showcasing your product or service in real life still has high sales potential today. 82% of trade show attendees are directly involved in their teams’ purchasing decisions, so setting up shop at fairs, trade shows, and festivals is one of the best ways to connect with your target accounts’ key decision makers. Trade shows can also help you connect with other players in your industry, market your brand to a large audience, and gather feedback about your products.

To help you get the most out of your next trade show, we’ve compiled five effective strategies for selling your products at your booth. And hopefully, they can help you instantly attract your visitors’ attention and convince them to buy on the spot.

Download our free event marketing toolkit.

5 Strategies for Selling Your Products at Fairs, Trade Shows, & Festivals

1. Attract attendees with eye-catching merchandise or engaging entertainment.

In a venue full of generic trade booths screaming for everyone’s attention, you really only have a few seconds to catch someone’s eye. Fortunately, offering interesting swag, giveaways, food, videos, and music can entice them to check out your booth.

For instance, at Agritechnica 2017, a leading trade fair for agricultural technology, SIP set up a booth where people could take a look at their agricultural machinery. But to initially attract them to their booth, they knew asking every single passerby to check out their products would repel them faster than a door-to-door salesman could. So they decided to set up a concert in front of their booth, where visitors would enjoy live music from a few row of seats.

SIP’s clever marketing tactic created a fun environment for attendees who wanted to take a break from the trade fair, and the large crowd attracted even more people to their booth. The live music also warmed up most attendees to SIP’s sales representatives when they talked to them and even prompted some visitors to approach the representatives themselves.

2. Target the companies in attendance.

Another way you can instantly grab people’s attention at trade shows is designing your booth to attract specific target accounts in attendance. For example, at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference one year, HubSpot used the Marketing Grader Tool to grade the marketing programs of companies we know would be in attendance.

We then displayed a leaderboard of the top-ranked companies on one of our television sets, which captivated the attendees who saw their company on the leaderboard and, in turn, lead to a lot of conversations with our representatives about how they could improve their marketing programs.

3. Sell an experience, not your product.

Most people cherish experiences over material possessions. Why? Because we’re the sum of our experiences, so they’re ingrained in our identity and will always be a part of our story, allowing us to bond with other people who’ve shared similar experiences.

If your booth can provide attendees with a delightful, memorable experience, you’ll make much more of an emotional impact than selling them a product ever would. These experiences also make for a compelling story that visitors will be more than happy to share with other attendees.

Charity Water, an organization that creates clean water sources for remote villages in developing nations, gave attendees at a trade show an experience they will always remember. The company had a booth where guests could carry two 40 pound jugs of water across a 50 yard platform, which African villagers do for miles every single day.

Picture Credit: Huffington Post

This experience helped attendees realize how challenging it is for villagers in developing nations to access something that most people can obtain with the twist of a faucet, boosting the odds that attendees would donate more money to the cause.

4. Make sure your credit card machine works.

As someone who has had to manually enter customers’ credit card information into a point-of-sale system, I know how horrifying it is to see a long line of impatient customers eventually trickle out of your store.

Nowadays, 77% of consumers prefer using credit or debit cards as their main form of payment. So only accepting cash and check or manually entering people’s credit card details could cause you to lose money and loyal customers in the long-run, even though you have to pay credit card companies processing fees to accept their cards.

Before you set up shop at your fair, festival, or trade show, strongly consider purchasing a credit card machine and make sure it works properly.

5. Treat everyone who visits your booth like a paying customer.

The first impression your brand makes on potential customers is arguably the most important interaction in the buyer’s journey. Studies show that good first impressions lead to connection, while bad ones lead to bias and prejudice. And as the old saying goes, you never get a second chance at first impressions.

Acting aloof toward curious attendees who want to learn about your product but might not seem like the best fit for your solution can spark a ripple effect that could hurt your business down the road. You never know when an unqualified prospect could get a new job and turn into a coveted lead. Losing a deal over a bad first impression is infuriating, so treat every visitor like a paying customer — answer all their questions and give them a thorough product demo if they ask for one.

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“Unriddled” is HubSpot’s weekly digest of the tech headlines you need to know. We give you the top tech stories in a quick, scannable way and break it all down. It’s tech news: explained.

Unriddled: The Tech News You Need

1. Snap Gives Spectacles Another Shot

Cheddar recently reported that Snap Inc. — the parent company of social media app Snapchat — will launch a second generation of its camera-equipped Spectacles glasses before 2019. The move follows the company’s original Spectacles release in 2016, which ended with $40 million in unsold units. This time, the glasses will be built with two cameras that can create augmented reality video overlays, as well as three-dimensional photo effects — all for the price of $350. Read full story >>

2. Class Is in Session at Amazon’s Machine Learning University

At its annual AWS re:Invent event, Amazon announced this week that the same machine learning courses used to train its own engineers will now be available to all developers. The courses, which will be made available through Amazon Web Services, seek to democratize machine learning, taking it from “something which had previously been only available to the largest, most well-funded technology companies” to something that’s “in the hands of every developer.” The courses are available — for free — hereRead full story >>

3. Meanwhile, Amazon Also Has New Plans for Alexa

Alexa, the voice assistant used to equip such Amazon smart devices as its Echo speakers, is getting a news anchor gig. According to The Verge, the company will roll out new vocal styles for the assistant, including one that some might liken to a newscaster — for reading, of course, news items aloud. Read full story >>

Meanwhile, Amazon is also hoping for Alexa to get some advertising air time, mostly to encourage users to leverage the voice assistant’s online shopping capabilities. According to Recode, the company has been pitching Alexa to consumer packaged goods companies with requests for it to be included in ad campaigns — preferably, in the form of showing people prompting Alexa to buy more of a certain product. But there’s a catch: Amazon wants this advertising to be done “essentially for free.” Read full story >>

4. Time Management Tools (Finally) Arrive on Facebook

Following last week’s news that Instagram has officially added time management tools to its dashboard, the app’s parent company, Facebook, has finally launched its own. The social media giant originally announced these tools over the summer, slating the integration of a new dashboard to show users how much time they spent on both Instagram and Facebook. According to TechCrunch, these tools are officially live on Facebook, where users can set daily time limits for using the app, among other settings. Read full story >>

5. We Tested out the Google Home Hub so You Don’t Have To

As the season of gifting approaches, we had to ask: Where does the Google Home Hub fall on the list? Here’s what happened when we took it for a spin. Read full story >>

6. Ecommerce Wars: Who Are the Top Online Retailers This Holiday Season? [New Data]

And speaking of the holiday shopping season, there’s been a shake-up in the top three online retailers. Here’s a look a the leading contenders for this year’s ecommerce wars. Read full story >>

Stay Current on Emerging Tech

Since the 1990s, few things have remained timeless societal staples like Friends, Pokémon, Britney Spears, and the internet.

Seriously. Lots of things have come and gone, but these guys have stuck around, rolled with the Y2K punches, and integrated themselves into our society. (Pokémon Go or a new Britney Spears Vegas residency, anyone?)

Yet nothing has said “I’m here to stay” like the internet. From dial-up and AOL everything to Chrome and IoT, the ~*interwebs*~ have completely infiltrated our lives.

Learning about web development is kind of like drinking from a fire hose. Google “coding,” and you’ve turned the hose on full blast. This guide serves as a slow drip to get you acquainted with and intrigued by the world of web development. It’s by no means a comprehensive manual.

In this guide, we’ll cover the bare-bone-basics of web development, the process of creating a website, and additional resources for those who want to learn more about development — or become a developer themselves.

Keep reading to dive into website development or use the chapter links to jump around the guide.

While web development typically refers to web markup and coding, it includes all related development tasks, such as:

  • Client-side scripting (writing front-end code)
  • Server-side scripting (writing back-end code)
  • Server and network security configuration (setting up security for browsers and networks)
  • E-commerce development (building e-commerce websites and online stores)
  • Content management system development (writing and building websites)

Web Development Terms to Know

Before I dive into the web development process, let’s review a few web development terms you might see throughout this piece.

Website

Websites are files stored on servers, which are computers that host (fancy term for “store files for”) websites. These servers are connected to a giant network called the internet … or the World Wide Web (if we’re sticking with 90s terminology). We talk more about servers in the next section.

Browsers are computer programs that load the websites via your internet connection, such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. Your computer is also known as the client.

Internet Protocol (IP) Address

Internet Protocol is a set of standards that govern interaction on the internet.

To access a website, you need to know its IP address. An IP address is a unique string of numbers. Each device has an IP address to distinguish itself from the billions of websites and devices connected via the internet.

The IP address for HubSpot is 104.16.249.5. You can find any website’s IP address using Command Prompt on Windows or Network Utility > Traceroute on MacBooks or by visiting a site like Site 24×7..

To find your device’s IP address, you can also type “what’s my IP address” into your search browser.

While you can access a website using its IP address, most internet users prefer to use domain names or by going through search engines.

HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

HyperText Transfer Protocol connects you and your website request to the remote server that houses all website data. It’s a set of rules (a protocol) that defines how messages should be sent over the internet. It allows you to jump between site pages and websites.

When you type a website into your web browser or search for something through a search engine, HTTP provides a framework so that the client (computer) and server can speak the same language when they make requests and responses to each other over the internet. It’s essentially the translator between you and the internet — it reads your website request, reads the code sent back from the server, and translates it for you in the form of a website.

Coding Language

Coding refers to writing code for servers and applications. It’s called a “language” because it’s comprised of vocabulary and grammatical rules for communicating with computers. They also include special commands, abbreviations, and punctuation that can only be read by devices and programs.

In a sense, developers are translators, too.

All software is written by at least one coding language, but they all vary based on platform, operating system, and style. There are many different types of coding languages … all of which fall into two categories (written by two different types of developers) — front-end and back-end.

Front-End

Front-end (or client-side) is the side of web development that you see and interact with as an internet user. When website information is transferred from a server to a browser, front-end coding languages allow the website to function without having to continually “communicate” with the internet.

Front-end code allows users like you and me to interact with a website and play videos, expand or minimize images, highlight text, and more. Web developers who work on front-end coding work on client-side development.

We’ll cover some front-end coding languages in the next section.

Back-End

Back-end (or server-side) is the side that you don’t see when you use the internet. It’s the digital infrastructure, and to non-developers, it looks like a bunch of numbers, letters, and symbols.

Back-end developers work in systems like servers, operating systems, APIs, and databases and manage the code for security, content, and site structure.

There are more back-end coding languages than front-end languages. That’s because of browsers — at the front-end — only understand JavaScript, but a server — at the back-end — can be configured to understand (pretty much) any language. We’ll cover some back-end coding languages in the next section.

Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system is a web application or a series of programs used to create and manage web content. (Note: CMSs aren’t the same as site builders, like Squarespace or Wix.)

While not required to build a website, using is CMS is certainly easier. It provides the building blocks (like plugins and add-ons) and lets you create the structure with your code. CMSs are typically used for e-commerce and blogging, but they’re useful for all types of websites.

Why Learn About Web Development?

You might be a business owner hiring a freelance developer to build your website, a marketer pitching a vision to your development team, or a student learning about development as a career. Regardless of who you are or why you’re reading this guide, understanding the basics of website development can be helpful in this technology-driven world.

The internet isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it’s become a portal and primary method of research, connection, education, and entertainment in the world.

As of 2018, there are 4.2 billion global internet users. That’s more than half the world’s population, and these folks are using the internet for a vast variety of reasons.

What’s the one thing those reasons have in common? They require a website, and each website requires a skilled web developer.

Web development is also a rapidly expanding industry. Between now and 2026, the employment of web developers is expected to grow by 15%. That’s much faster than most other technology careers.

Whether you’re looking to hire a web developer or become one, it’s good to know the career path offers high-demand, high-value positions. Continue reading to learn more about the web development process, and don’t forget to check out the resources for developers below.

Website Development Process

The process of creating a website isn’t as easy as 1-2-3. Each development path is different based on the type of website, coding languages, and resources.

The following section serves as a brief overview of the web development process and a short introduction into the most common languages and CMS options.

Planning Your Website and Creating a Sitemap

All websites start with a plan. Developers call this plan a wireframe or sitemap (not to be confused with sitemap.XML, which is a file that helps SERPs crawl and find your site). It doesn’t have to be an official document; it’s simply a vision for your site that’ll give both you and your developer(s) direction and a place to start. You can draw it on a whiteboard or use a tool like Invision, Slickplan, or Mindnode.

Just like a business plan gives a potential investor insight into your goals and deliverables, a sitemap gives a developer an idea of what you’re picturing and the information needed to meet your vision. You can create your sitemap on your own or work with your developer(s).

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when planning your site.

  • What individual pages do you want? What content will be on those pages?
  • How can you organize those pages into categories? (These categories might represent your homepage menu — if it helps to think about it like that.)
  • What is the hierarchy of pages on your site?
  • How will the pages link together?
  • What pages and categories are essential to your site and user experience, and which ones could be removed or combined?

Writing Your Website Code

The next step in the web development process is writing the code.

Developers will use different coding languages for the front-end and back-end of websites, as well as for different functionalities of the site (such as design, interactivity, etc.) These different languages work together to build and run your site.

Let’s start with the most commonly-used languages. Almost every website uses these three together, and yours probably will, too.

HTML

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) has been used since the 1990s. It’s the foundation of all websites and represents the bare minimum of what’s needed to create a website. (Yes, you can create a website with only HTML. It wouldn’t look too pretty, though.)

Languages like CSS and JavaScript enhance and modify the basic site structure built by HTML. HTML5 is the most recent version and supports cross-platform browser functionality, making it popular in mobile application development.

CSS

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) was developed in the late 1990s. It adds design elements like typography, colors, and layouts to websites; it’s the cosmetic code.

CSS allows developers to transform your website to match the aesthetic you envisioned for your site, and like HTML5, CSS is compatible with all browsers.   

JavaScript

JavaScript is the cherry-on-top of coding languages. Created in the mid-90s, JavaScript is used to add functionality to websites. Developers use it to add animations, automate tasks within certain pages, and add interactive features that enhance user experience.

JavaScript is rapidly evolving. Once considered a “toy” language, JavaScript is now the most widely used coding language in the world. With the help of Node.Js, it’s now a back-end coding language. It’s the first language to be understood by browser, and some have even discussed applying machine learning to it, too.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript are the “big three” of web development. Almost every website uses them in some capacity. There are plenty of others, such as server-side languages like Java, C++, Python, and SQL, but understanding these three is foundational to your website development knowledge.

Building the Back-End of Your Website

Writing code might be one of the more complicated parts of web development, but it’s hardly the only component. You also have to build your back-end and front-end site structures and design.

Let’s start with the back-end.

The back-end handles the data that enables the functionality on the front-end. For example, Facebook’s back-end stores my photos, so that the front-end can then allow others to look at them. It’s comprised of two major components:

  • Databases, which is responsible for storing, organizing, and processing data so that it’s retrievable by server requests
  • Servers, which is the hardware and software that make up your computer. Servers are responsible for sending, processing, and receiving data requests. They’re the intermediary between the database and the client/browser. The browser will, in effect, tell the server “I need this information”, and the server will know how to get that information from the database and send it to the client.

These components work together to build the foundation for each website.

As for building your website, back-end developers will establish three things.

  1. Your logic code, which is essentially a set of rules for how your website will respond to certain requests and how objects of your website will interact.
  2. Your database management, which is how your website will organize, manage, and retrieve its data. Read more on SQL vs. NoSQL here.
  3. Your infrastructure, which is how your site will be hosted. Hosting your own site will give you greater control, but it’s much more expensive and requires you to maintain your own server health and security.

With these components and decisions in place, your website will be ready for front-end development.

Note: The back-end is slightly tangential to web development because you don’t always need a back-end if you’re not storing any data. “Data” in this context means any user-entered information that you need to save and persist. Think about logging in to a website. If they don’t have a back-end, how could they remember your login information? Or what your profile settings are? To get this information, you need a back-end.

Facebook, as an example, needs to know what people are in your Friends list, what events you have joined, what posts you have created, and more. This is all “data” that lives in a database. If they didn’t have a back-end with a database, none of that data would be accessible to them.

On the other hand, a website that’s purely informational and doesn’t require the users to enter any data wouldn’t need a back-end.

So, if you have no data, you don’t necessarily have a need for back-end development. But that’s not saying you shouldn’t learn the basics. You never know when you might need it.

Building the Front-End of Your Website

If you’ve ever dabbled in web design or toyed with a website in WordPress or Squarespace, you’ve touched front-end web development.

The front-end stuff is important — it’s what your visitors, customers, and users see and how they’ll use your website.

Front-end (or client-side) development includes a combination of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. It also controls components such as typography, navigation, positioning, and browser compatibility and responsiveness. This part will reflect more of your initial site vision and what you included in your wireframe.

As technology and consumer preferences change, client-side coding tends to become outdated … a lot faster than back-end development does. This is where coding resources (like the ones we’ve included below) come in handy.

Working with a CMS

Why would someone choose a CMS over coding “by hand” or “from scratch?” Well, a CMS — like WordPress or HubSpot — is easier to use (you have to write less code), and it often has tools around hosting the site. On the other hand, it’s less flexible and, therefore, gives you less control over your front-end.

CMS options also often include plugins that remove the need to write a backend. For example, there are WordPress plugins for e-commerce so that, instead of building a complicated back-end to charge customers’ credit cards, you can just use an existing plugin and avoid the need to deal with databases and server-side code at all.

Popular content management systems include HubSpot, Joomla, Magento, and WordPress — which has almost 60% market share. (In this case we’re talking about open source WordPress software, not the WordPress site builder.)

Acquiring a Domain Name

At this point, your website will have an IP address. It also needs a domain name that your visitors can use to find your site.

Perhaps you’ve heard of sites like GoDaddy and Hover. These services help you purchase a domain name and register with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Most domain registrations are good for a year before you’re required to renew.

Site builders and hosting services, like WordPress and Squarespace, also allow you to purchase a domain name.

Website Development Resources

Interested in learning more about development and coding? Outside of  connecting and networking with other developers, there are plenty of resources you can tap into to further your understanding or web development.

Web Development Courses and Classes

Whether you want to explore back-end, front-end, or full-stack coding, here are a few online courses and classes recommended by our own HubSpot developers.

TutorialsPoint

All content and resources on TutorialsPoint are free. Between tutorials, ebooks, and videos, TutorialsPoint provides many different ways to learn.

egghead

According to their website, “egghead is a group of working web development professionals and open source contributors that provide you with concise, information-dense video courses on the best tools in the industry.” Users can take courses, listen to podcasts, or take lessons on a wide variety of web development topics.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a well-known free educational resource. Users can learn anything from macroeconomics to linear algebra to US history, as well as a handful of computing topics.

freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp is a non-profit organization (like Khan Academy) that helps people learn to code for free. With thousands of articles, videos, and interactive lessons, as well as worldwide study groups, freeCodeCamp helps thousands of developers and engineers learn about programming and land development jobs.

Treehouse

Team Treehouse is a subscription-based online learning program. Users pay a monthly fee and gain access to hundreds of courses on over 20 different topics. From JavaScript to Python to PHP, Treehouse can teach you all you need to know about web development.

Web Development Communities

Web developers are masters of the internet, so it makes sense that they’d hang out on there.

According to Code Condo, developers join these communities for:

  • Up-to-date information and problem solving
  • Insightful answers, new perspectives
  • Tips and tricks for all-level programmers
  • Links to resources, talks and research papers
  • Meeting new friends, code buddies, and potential partners

Here are a few online communities recommended by our own HubSpot developers.

Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow was introduced ten years ago and has since become one of the most popular programming communities in the world. According to co-founder Jeff Atwood, “[Stack Overflow] is by programmers, for programmers, with the ultimate intent of collectively increasing the sum total of good programming knowledge in the world.”

Stack Overflow is a great place to go with questions because most of the time, other developers have asked and answered the same ones. The forums in Stack Overflow keep you connected to other developers while also keeping you informed.

Mozilla Development Network (MDN)

Mozilla Development Network is known to be more thorough and accurate than other online resources. It’s not as much a community as a comprehensive resource and library of documents for coding languages. It’s useful when learning how certain functions work and staying up-to-date on coding and development news.

Reddit

Reddit is a forum-based community where developers of all levels gather to ask and answer questions. It’s incredibly interactive and includes people from all over the world. You can also join “subreddits” based on topic, such as web design, JavaScript, or freelancing.

Over to You

The internet is here to stay. It’s getting better every day, and web developers are on the front lines of these innovations and improvements. From this blog to your favorite social network to the apps you use on your phone, web development touches almost every part of your day — and your business. Take the time to understand coding and programming to improve not only your life but the lives of your customers, too.

So you or your client has received a Google Beacon in the post. Do you use it or bin it? BrightLocal Contributor and GMB Gold Product Expert Tim Capper explains what this device does and takes a look at Google’s current location accuracy to determine if Google Beacons are worth the effort.

Google Beacons are not a new phenomenon. They originally launched in 2015 in an open-sourced Eddystone Bluetooth Low Energy format which was designed to help developers work with beacons and provide location-based information straight to a user’s mobile phone.

If you’ve ever been walking down the road and received a push notification on your mobile telling you that a coffee shop is nearby or a shop has something in stock, this was the result of a Google Beacon pushing it to your phone.

However, this functionality was recently shut down (in Oct 2018) and should apparently be completely removed by Dec 6th 2018. This planned closure of the notifications system is apparently due to spam, rather ironically. Instead of sending out relevant content, these beacons often sent out unhelpful notifications, resulting in what Google called a “poor user experience”.

Why Has My Business Received a Google Beacon?

If you’ve received a mysterious box from Google with the below device inside, then you’ve got yourself a Google Beacon.

Google Beacon

Why did you receive it? Well, it’s because you have location extensions enabled in Google Ads. (If you’ve received a Google Beacon and want to know what it does, take a look at Google’s article on it.)

I know, however, that even some pure SABs (Service Area Businesses) are receiving Beacons, which obviously can’t be used in vans and taxis. Beacons are intended for use only in businesses with a physical location, so if you’re an SAB that’s received a Beacon, I recommend you do not activate it. Heavens knows what unintended consequences this would have on your business listing.

What Will My Google Beacon Do?

The Google Beacon that’s landed on your doorstep is used to help determine a user’s location more accurately and provide more accurate information about that business to its potential customers.

Google Beacon provides users with things like:

  • Understanding where a photo was taken and allowing the user to upload that photo to your business.
  • How long the customer spent at the business location (“People spend an average of x minutes here” in GMB)
  • How busy the location is on a particular day and time (“Popular times” in GMB)
  • Ability to easily review the business (however, I don’t believe this will be a push notification after the spam issue)
  • Push notification question to the user to answer about the business, resulting in subjective attributes about the business in GMB (e.g. Is this place good for a romantic dinner? Is there wheelchair access? Does this business allow dogs?)

Bear in mind that, as a business owner, you can’t:

  • Have access to the Google Beacon data
  • Use Google Beacon data to target specific customers
  • Retarget or remarket to customers using Google Beacon data

Can My Business Get the Same ‘Benefits’ Without a Google Beacon?

After running tests with some local businesses, I’m pretty confident that you can pretty much get the same intended benefits without needing a Google Beacon. There are some exceptions, however, such as businesses inside a large shopping mall and businesses inside an office complex

However it would still be worth running through the steps below to see if you’d get get some benefit.

Testing Google Location Accuracy

Local to myself is an old village which contains a business that has three unique spaces within the building that are styled in different themes for customers to browse.

To test how accurately Google could define which business the photo was of, I took photos of each section in all three zones (pictured below) to see where Google identified where the photo was taken. (Same location data used for photos as in store.)

Google Location Test

Zone 1: Always understood the correct location. The pin marker is also here. (100% accuracy)

Zone 2: Occasionally selected the business next door or across the alley way as the location of the photo. (80% accuracy)

Zone 3: Always picked the incorrect location of the photo, either street facing or across the alley way. (0% accuracy)

The first step I took was to make sure the pin marker for the business location was as near as possible to the center of the businesses location or above the entrance.

Then I switched to satellite image and zoomed in to get as accurate as possible. I also cross-checked with street view.

Next I had the five employees stand in the middle of the store and open their Google Maps app (to locate the business) then select ‘Yes’ in the “Are you here now?” section (an example of which you can see below).

Are You Here?

Following that, we asked ten customers with the Google Maps app (four in Zone 2, six in Zone 3) to do the same. These were certainly odd conversations to have, but we picked regulars who were happy to help.

Further Testing

I now needed to test whether Google was able to understand the correct locations of customers in Zones 2 and 3 of the business.

For this part, I enlisted 10 college students who were happy to come in store in exchange for a couple of pints in the pub afterwards.

They took a selection of photos in each of the three zones.

Zone 1: 100% accuracy

Zone 2: 98% accuracy.  Images were still being suggested as coming from across the alley way.

Zone 3: 80% accuracy. Images were still being suggested as coming from the street-facing business or across the alley way.

Test Conclusion

If your business is contained to one single space, I believe that you can ‘train’ Google to understand your businesses location when a customer visits. This slightly diminishes as the business space increases, especially around corners, but you can still improve the accuracy of Google predictions.

In my opinion, a Google Beacon in the above test location layout may have provided 100% accuracy in Zone 2, but not in Zone 3 because zone 3 was around a corner and sandwiched between two other businesses.

Google Beacons are designed to work over short distances using short wavelength UHF radio waves, and therefore accuracy diminishes the further away the from the beacon the device is.

It’s worth noting that, should you repeat this test, you have to wait for the Maps app to recommend adding your images to a location (this is not immediate). You can also go to the business listing in Maps and take photos to add direct to listing, however I did not use this because I am unsure if location data is used in this method and wanted to see how Google would assign location suggestions for the images.

Could Google’s Location Accuracy Improve with Google Beacon?

Even with a Google Beacon present, I doubt that I would have been able to achieve 100% accuracy from all zones because the Google Beacon documentation does say that you should not place it on walls that adjoin another business, so i think there will always be limitations to accurately predicting the user’s exact location.

Final Thoughts

  • I certainly wouldn’t worry if you don’t receive a Google Beacon. You can help Google understand your exact location by making sure your pin is correctly placed and using ‘Are You Here’ in Google Maps to achieve 100% accuracy in understanding your location.
  • When testing, make sure your pin marker is as accurate as it can be and ask some customers / staff to find the business on the Google Maps app and select Yes in the “Are you here now?” section.
  • Using a Google Beacon won’t add “popular times” to your business listing in search or maps because this is based on the number of people that visit the store, how long they stayed there, and the business’ size.
  • Where I do think a Google Beacon would be useful is if the business were located in a large office block or shopping mall, but I do think that even in these circumstances, some basic input from yourself can help increase the accuracy of Google understanding where you are located.
  • With regard to reviews, I do wish Google would start being more aggressive in using accurate location data with reviews left on businesses, as this would certainly cut down on review spam.
  • Finally, if you don’t want to use the Beacon because you’re in a detached, standalone business location, then it makes for a great bookmark!

Tim Capper owns and operates Online Ownership, a Local SEO consultancy in the UK. Tim is also a Google My Business Product Expert and helps local businesses with their local search presences.

The post Who Needs a Google Beacon? Google Location Accuracy Tested and Assessed appeared first on BrightLocal.

This article doesn’t list every marketing tool under the sun. It lists the tools that we use at Ahrefs. The tools that helped us—a bootstrapped company—reach $40M ARR in seven years… Ahrefs never got funding. ~40M ARR and 60% YoY.

Read more ›

The post 21 Best Online Marketing Tools (That We Use At Ahrefs) appeared first on SEO Blog by Ahrefs.