How Not to do Social Marketing

Have you ever wondered how to increase your audience and gain new customers via social marketing? I know I have. And recently, as a naive social page administrator/marketer for my new venture, Typographic Expressions, I took the plunge and tried my hand at a bit of social page promotion.

That ended up being a horrible decision.

And as you will see, I found out that Advertising your page on Facebook is a waste of money.

At a Glance

I spent a total of $60 to promote my page and boost two of my posts on Facebook. In the end, the only thing I achieved was whoring my page out for “likes”, making me feel cheap and cheated.

Here are the results:

  • Reach: 35,386
  • Engagement: 279 (238 of which were from new page “likes”)
  • Engagement Rate: 0.79%
  • Website Visits from Facebook: 28

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that these results are paltry at best. Sure, it’s an impressive looking “reach” of potential customers. But less than 1% of those reached actually had any sort of engagement.

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Why “window.scrollTo()” is Harmful for Mobile Websites

window scroll to method

There was a time when I thought snapping a mobile web page to (0,1) was a good idea for mobile websites. Since mobile devices have small screens, and some mobile browsers have a decent chunk of screen real estate taken up by an address bar and toolbar, it seemed like a no-brainer to use JavaScript to help hide the address bar, giving the site a more app-like feel for the user. That thinking is now a thing of the past, and I believe it’s time for developers to stop trying to control web pages for their users.

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7 Tips for Quality Website Development

Caveat: I sincerely hope that you are already aware of the tips listed below, and are already practicing them in your website development. These tips aren’t unique or new. They just happen to be the biggest issues I encounter regarding front-end web development, be it visiting a website or digging into code that I inherit. If you aren’t aware of any or all of these tips, I hope you find them useful. I think you’ll notice a vast improvement in your development skills and websites.

1. Write Clean, Semantic Code

First and foremost, you should write code that is meant for browsers to parse, not markup that describes what the content should look like. Poorly written code markup includes things like using the <font> tag and hard-coded inline styles. Such things are harder to edit on a large scale, and aren’t good for your site’s SEO. When you write clean, semantic code and use CSS to apply styles for the presentation, it’s faster, accessible, easier to update, offers much greater flexibility, and will help your site’s SEO.

True Story: I once inherited a website that had a page with a table of 2700+ rows, all of which had hard-coded inline styles, attributes, and even font tags. If it weren’t for Find/Replace All, I’d still be working on updating that page. Luckily, Find/Replace All exists, and after an hour with the code, I was able to make all of the necessary style updates via CSS, and all of the hard-coded stuff was removed.

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Web Development vs Native App Development

In the last year or so, I’ve been doing more and more native app development, be it actual apps or writing native code for SDKs and libraries. Along the way, I’ve been asked countless times what I like better, Web development or native app development. My answer: “I want to like native app development more, but I still prefer Web development.”

But why do I find myself gravitating toward Web development over native apps? Here are the main reasons…

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JavaScript Challenge: Create a Website without a JavaScript Library

JavaScript without External Libraries

Do you know JavaScript? No, really. I mean do you really know JavaScript? I don’t mean knowing every little detail of the language off the top of your head. Rather, I’m asking if you know the actual language of JavaScript, not JavaScript based largely on external libraries and frameworks.

I tend to find that a good number of developers “know” JavaScript, only to find that they can really only use jQuery to target a few page elements and use a couple convenience methods such as hide() and show(). What happens when such developers are put in front of even a moderately complex problem that requires creating custom functions, using conditional logic, or even simply using basic operators? Will they know what to do?

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not trying to intentionally bash anyone, or any JavaScript libraries or frameworks. Rather, I’m aiming to get you to ask yourself how much JavaScript you really know. And I’m challenging you to break out of your habits and to develop a website without the use of any external JavaScript libraries and frameworks.

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