Tag Archive | "Option"

11 Ways to Stay an Alert Copywriter and Content Marketer (If Taking a Nap Isn’t an Option)

Well, this week was anything but sugarcoated. We got right into it. How do you stay motivated to do great…

The post 11 Ways to Stay an Alert Copywriter and Content Marketer (If Taking a Nap Isn’t an Option) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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DuckDuckGo a new ‘default search’ option for Chrome, is it time to start paying attention?

The upstart search engine’s visibility has been growing.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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Killer Resources for Freelancers … and an Option for Those Who Don’t Want to Go It Alone

This week, Stefanie Flaxman and I yielded the floor to a pair of smart gentlemen who we don’t hear from quite as often as we used to. And we featured a writer you haven’t seen on Copyblogger before. Her debut post for us is a must-read for writers who like being able to pay their
Read More…

The post Killer Resources for Freelancers … and an Option for Those Who Don’t Want to Go It Alone appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Solar Panels A Safe Investment Option

Green energy sources are more sustainable energy production resources. These renewable energy sources can be used several times and do not cause environmental pollution. These are not very expensive. On the other hand, non-renewable energy sources can not be renewed. At the current rate of consumption, the future generation will be under the threat of energy. While green energy sources such as solar energy should be used to meet energy demands.

One of the main dangers of using fossil fuels such as coal oil and natural gas is dramatically affects nature. Carbon emissions through the use of fossil fuels causes global warming and many other health risks. Vehicles and households contribute to global warming. Over the years, people have realized the harmful effects of using them and they are slowly changing to other energy sources that are friendly to the environment. Other sources, solar energy is becoming increasingly popular because it has many positive factors. The sun’s energy is used to generate power here. Solar panels are used to exploit the sunlight, which is converted into other forms. This is also the best method to get rid of electricity bills as the power to homes and commercial organizations can be recovered by the solar panels. People slowly recognize the many benefits of using this technology and make investments in solar panels to produce energy.

Usually, a lot of energy for heating and cooling in the summer and winter use. The use of solar panels for heating, a lot of power and money can be saved. The use of this alternative energy, you help the environment welfares. Green energy sources can also be used for lighting and running appliances. The only drawback is that solar panels can not be used when sufficient sunlight is not available. However, if the sunlight received during the day can be stored in solar cells and can be used at night to power generation. Most people have a misconception that these panels are very expensive and difficult to install. Installing solar panels is not a difficult task if the right help is requested. In addition, the installation cost is not very high in relation to future prospects. Considering all these factors, the investment in solar panels is a good investment to make.


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Can Solar Energy Be An Option For You? Check Out These Helpful Ideas!

solar energy choice

Finding reliable information about solar energy can be hard. Many people don’t know much about the subject. Before you decide to switch to a solar energy system, you need to learn how it works. Carry on reading this article for more information about solar energy.

You can do your part to save the planet by installing a solar-powered water heater. You can find solar systems in both tankless and standard water heaters. You will only have to install a couple of panels on your roof or front lawn.

Once you have produced solar energy, you will have to have a reliable storage device for it. You should invest in a high-capacity battery, that will store for extended periods. You could also explore options for selling your excess energy to the electric company.

It is important when installing your panels to remember that the position of the sun in the sky changes with the seasons, not just only over the course of the day. If you must have fixed angle panels, compromise in the middle for the best possible angles for winter and summer.

With a lease, make sure that you are allowed to transfer midway. This means you don’t have to worry about ever paying for a solar energy system that you’re not using. Being able to transfer your lease will relieve you of your obligation and permit the new residents to take advantage of solar energy.

You ought to have a backup resource should your solar panel system fail to work properly. You can either purchase a generator, or simply stay connected to your local power grid, drawing extra power as you need it. If you go the generator route, make sure to perform tests on it often and think about getting more than one.

Solar energy systems can save you money if you plan on going for a long-term investment. This can help you go green and reduce your energy bill. Invest in solar conversion only when you are are prepared to stay at your current home.

When cost and square footage are of no concern, a sun-tracking system of panels is an excellent option. This system shifts the solar panels throughout the day so that your panels can absorb the maximum amount of energy. Initially, it may cost a lot more than a fixed system, but it will produce more energy.

Do the math prior to investing in any sort of solar panel system. Depending on your location, solar panels could cost a lot when you have potential costs mixed with overhead costs. Always check to make sure that solar energy is a practical choice in your situation.

If you have installed solar panels, check the inverter regularly. You need to see a green light that’s solid. If it is blinking, or off altogether, you need to call in an expert. Unless you are an expert, you may be unable to diagnose the cause of the problem. If you purchased a warranty with a company, a visit from them ought to be free.

Solar energy systems keep changing with time. In the beginning, solar energy systems were cost prohibitive. Now they are quite affordable for the vast majority of consumers. Regardless of the size of the installation you want to use, there is something available that will fit your needs.

If you want to take baby steps into the solar energy arena, consider starting with an attic fan that is solar powered. A solar attic fan has a temperature sensor to automatically switch the fan on when the temperatures in your attic reach a certain threshold. This will help to reduce the heat in your house which results in lower cooling costs. As a solar powered fan, it does not rack up energy costs.

Proper installation of your solar panels is essential for optimal functioning. You get the energy from the sun, so it’s important for the panels to be located in an area where they can get all the solar energy possible.

Preserve your solar panels by having twice yearly maintenance performed on them. The technician you hire will check connections, inspect your panels, adjust their angle and check your power inverter too.

You should change your solar panel’s angle every time the season changes. Throughout the year, the intensity and angle of available sunlight varies. Make sure you’re maximizing your panels’ energy absorption by varying the angle that your panels face. Therefore, you can ensure you are getting your money’s worth out of your panels.

Dry clothing outside. This old method works great. There is no need to run your dryer when you have the sun at your disposal. Your clothes will have a nice scent while saving money.

Lots of individuals aren’t aware of the benefits of solar energy.. With this article read, you’re not longer one of that ignorant crowd. It’s easy to see the benefits and potential that solar energy can offer. When you decide to move forward, remember everything you’ve read here.

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Pinterest adds follow option for interests

One thing that has always bothered me about Pinterest is that you can search by keywords but you can’t follow keywords. If I’m interested in movie memorabilia – I can follower pinners who often pin movie memorabilia, or I can follow boards pinners set up that are all about movie memorabilia but I can’t follow all pins related to movie memorabilia.

In the near future, that could change.

Pinterest Interests

Pinterest just started rolling out Pinterest Interest filters, some of which come with their very own follow button.

It begins with high-level topics such as Hiking or Camping. You can choose to follow at this level or drill down to a more specific level such as Hiking –> Pacific Crest Trail.

Which ever level you choose, all pins related to that topic will now show up in your feed. (I’m assuming all. Maybe they’re going to pull a Facebook and filter your filters.)

This makes so much sense, it’s a wonder the site wasn’t built this way in the first place.

It’s a slow roll out in English first. It will be available on the web and on the Android and iPhone apps. As usual, I don’t have the option yet, so I can’t give it a test drive. In theory, you’ll be able to choose any of the topics on the main category page and find a follow link and a drill down. I couldn’t find any examples, except the outdoor activities they used as an example in their post.

As good as the idea is, it’s still flawed. As one commenter points out, the filter is a little too literal in spots. For example, what would you expect to see on the Explore Outdoors page? According to the secondary filters, it’s all about camping, hiking, fishing, mountain biking. But the pins that appear under the topic header are anything but. . .

Pinterest Outdoors

Yes, it’s outdoors – but it’s outdoor decor which doesn’t relate to any of the filters you see at the top. Acknowledging the comment, Pinterest says this will correct itself over time. True to some extent, but Pinterest’s search engine relies on what people write in the text box. So if I post a garden photo with the word “outdoors” in the description, it’s going to show up on this page.

What I find really interesting is that Pinterest chose this topic as their tester. Feels like they’re trying to shrug off the notion that the site is oriented toward home, crafts and food. Not saying outdoorsy people don’t use Pinterest but a look at their own “Popular Pins” page tells the story.

Pinterest Popular

DIY Baby Blocks, hair styles, S’Mores and help for postpartum pain. Come on Pinterest, embrace your true nature.

From a marketing standpoint, these new filters are superb. If you pin and label correctly, you have a chance of showing up in more feeds than ever before.

 

 

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Synthesis Delivers a New Option for Improved European WordPress Performance

Image of servers in data center

The mission of our Synthesis WordPress hosting team is to combine world-class technology into an independent offering where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The result is unparalleled performance, security, and support for your WordPress website that you can trust.

Today, we are pleased to announce the latest technology extension that we have added to the mix.

Effective immediately, new Synthesis Starter Plan customers can choose to have their sites hosted in data centers located in either Virginia or Amsterdam.

Other plans will follow shortly with the same option, and we will also provide the option for current customers to make the switch.

Why is a European data center option important?

Until now, Synthesis’ core offering has been served through a world-class data center based in Virginia.

Way back in the beginning, the Synthesis team strategically chose this location and the providers associated with it because it is the most central single location for delivering reliable, rapid response times to clients in the U.S. and across the globe

But because Synthesis has grown to have a truly global customer base, our plans have always included data center expansion into markets that are closer to our customers.

So while Virginia-based servers may deliver great response times to Eastern Europe, Africa, and even to the Middle East and beyond, data centers in Amsterdam can bring it even faster.

This is why the Synthesis stack was designed (from the beginning) to be provider-agnostic. We are not beholden to any single technology provider, so we can make decisions based solely on bringing you the best service possible.

It was a no brainer to provide this additional data center option. We just needed to find the partner.

Who did we choose?

After a careful selection process, we decided to launch our European offering on Digital Ocean’s infrastructure.

Our process for selecting locations and data center partners is methodical. We reveal some of our thinking here, in our whitepaper entitled “The Truth About WordPress Performance: Why You May Not Need What You’re Being Sold”, where we highlight the importance of core optimization … which is exactly the point of launching this additional data center option.

You will see more expansion announcements soon as we solidify solutions for Southeast Asia and Latin America.

In addition to data center locations, the Synthesis crew has been hard at work developing technologies around performance and workflow. We cannot provide specifics about these developments right now, but we can say this: if you are a corporation running WordPress or an agency developing WordPress-based sites for clients, game-changing solutions for you are on their way.

Simply put: there has never been a better time to host your WordPress site with Synthesis.

Any questions?

If you have general questions about Synthesis that you’d like to get answered before purchasing, check out our FAQs.

Or, if you have more specific questions you don’t see answered there, contact us anytime.

Thanks!

About the author

Jerod Morris

Jerod Morris is Director of Marketing for Copyblogger Media’s StudioPress Division, and founding member of the Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting team. Get more from Jerod on Twitter and .

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Twitter Adds Option to Open Direct Messaging From Folks You Don’t Follow

Twitter quietly snuck in an option that I’ve been wishing for for a long time, so color me happy. It’s a simple opt-in that would allow people whom you don’t follow to send you a direct message.

recieve direct message

This option has a huge potential for misuse, but I think the opportunities far outweigh the annoyance factor. (She says now before the unwanted DMs start rolling in.)

You’ll find the checkbox under the Account tab in your Twitter settings. I think it should be under the Security and Privacy tab, but they didn’t ask me. Tick the box, add your password to prove you mean it and it’s done.

Without the check, direct messages can only be exchanged between mutual followers. You follow me, I follow you – we can direct message each other. It was created as a private way of moving a conversation off of the public feed.

I don’t use it that way. I do use direct messaging to relay non-public information such as an address or phone number, even an email address.

What ends up happening is I get public messages asking me to follow a person so they can send me a private, direct message. Usually its because they want my opinion or they want to pitch me. I’m good with that and now that I’ve checked the box, they can direct message me directly.

The concern is that the option can be used for spamming. So true, but so can the @ mention. Either way, your message is jumping to the head of the queue. I suppose there is a certain weight behind direct messaging versus an @ mention but in my case it’s six of one. . .

The Verge suggests this might be a first step toward Twitter news alerts or even paid brand messaging. Buying a promote Tweet is fine, but imagine if you could direct message 1,000 targeted users.

What I want to know is how Twitter is showing the open direct message option. Will there be an indicator on an account or do we have simply give it a shot and see if it goes through? I’d like to use this option to contact people I want to interview. It’s a quick way to introduce yourself and start the conversation. If you’re interested, we move to email. If not, we move on.

Yes, I see a lot of potential in this little switch. What do you think? Is opening up direct messaging a good idea or akin to opening the spam floodgates.

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When Responsive Design is Not an Option: a Checklist for Optimizing Your Mobile Site

Posted by bridget.randolph

Kristina Kledzik recently wrote a post here on the SEOmoz blog about responsive design and why it’s often the best option when creating a mobile-friendly online experience. She discussed its advantages in dealing with usability issues, duplicate content, mobile search rankings, and link building. Google recommends using a responsive website design where this makes sense from a user perspective, and Bing encourages a "one URL per content item" approach.

Kristina makes a compelling case for responsive design. However, responsive sites can be tricky to develop, especially if the original desktop version has lots of content and/or navigation options. If you have a business or a client whose site has hundreds of thousands, or even millions of pages, it may be difficult to redesign the entire site with a responsive design. A separate mobile site, however, can start with fewer pages, and you can add more as you have time. For some businesses, responsive design is simply not the best option because their mobile visitors' needs are so different from desktop users, and thus require drastically different content. So we can’t always rely on the advice that responsive design is the preferred solution.

Aleyda Solis recently created this flowchart to illustrate the decision-making process for choosing a mobile-friendly option. Below, I’ve highlighted the "separate URL versions" option, which Aleyda recommends for when ‘you cannot implement’ a single URL/responsive design.

If your site (or your client’s) falls in this "separate URL versions" category, you’re in good company. Among the UK’s top 20 retailers, only 14 have mobile-friendly sites, and 13 of them have separate mobile sites. The pattern is similar in the US, with MongooseMetrics reporting that 73% of websites ranked in the Quantcast Top 100,000 sites used URL redirects to a mobile specific URL.

Here are a few examples of major retailers' different approaches to mobile:

      

Apple doesn’t have any type of mobile site; Ebay uses a separate URL mobile site; Currys uses a responsive design.

The good news is that mobile sites, when done correctly, are certainly able to handle these same issues of usability, duplicate content, mobile search ranking, and link building.

So, how do you optimize a mobile site to work as well as implementing a responsive design? You must ask yourself a few questions before reaching your final goal.

Information Architecture

When you’re just starting out, the first thing you need to think about is information architecture. One benefit of a mobile site (over a purely responsive design) is that you can provide the user with a drastically different experience from the desktop version. First, you need to ask some questions:

1. Does your mobile site reflect mobile users’ intent?

When structuring a mobile site, one of the first things to ask is whether mobile visitors are interacting with your site differently than desktop users. If so, your mobile site design needs to reflect this.

If you’re not sure how your users are interacting with your site, have a look at your analytics and segment out the mobile traffic. Google Analytics already has "advanced segments" for mobile and tablet traffic. The mobile segment includes traffic from tablets, though, so you may need to create a custom segment in order to view only non-tablet mobile traffic.

This can be slightly tricky, as you’ll need to use a regular expression (‘RegEx’). The setup I’m using is:

  • Name: ‘Mobile – no tablets
  • Include: ‘Mobile (Including Tablet)’ containing ‘Yes’ AND
  • Exclude: ‘Screen Resolution’ Matching RegExp (1\d|[7-9])\d\d+x.*

What this regular expression means is that this custom segment should include traffic from mobile devices but exclude traffic from devices with a screen resolution of 700+ by anything. You may decide to tweak the RegEx depending on how large (or small) a device you want to include. (Some of the larger smartphones also fall in this range, but then again, maybe these should be seeing the desktop version, as well.)

Once you have the data, focus on landing pages (are people entering your site in the right place?), conversion rate, and where people leave the conversion funnel (where are they getting stuck?); bounce rate (are people not finding what they’re looking for?); and, if possible, site search and organic search keywords (what are people looking for to begin with?). If you have analytics set up for your mobile site, you should use that data in order to see which mobile site pages are performing above or below average. For a detailed overview of what to look for, see Section 3.1: Your Mobile Users in this great article by Aleyda Solis.

2. Have you designed for the user?

Once you understand your users’ goals, you should design your site to reflect the most common reasons for visiting the site on a mobile device. An obvious example of this is using a mobile phone to find a store location near you. This feature might be less prominent on the desktop site, but for a mobile user, it should be very easy to find on the homepage.

You can also take advantage of mobile-specific features to improve the user experience. Using the same example, you could offer the option of store lookup by postcode, but also by geolocation ("use current location"). When the "nearest store" results come up, include a phone number that is click-to-call.

(Screenshots from m.primelocation.com)

3. What about tablet users?

The current recommendation from Google is to serve tablets the desktop site, rather than the mobile site. This is because user browsing patterns and screen size on a regular-sized tablet like the iPad more closely resemble desktop browsing than smartphone browsing. Also, a site that looks great on a small smartphone browser will appear too big and annoyingly grainy on the much larger tablet screen. Be sure to test the touch screen capabilities of your desktop site.

An exception to the current guideline would be if you want to provide a tablet-specific online experience, in which case you might decide to use a third subdomain (t.domain.com). As tablet sizes become more varied, this guidance may change.

Let's check out some examples of tablet-specific domains:

Example one: Colbert Nation is the official site for Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.

Example two: Mail Tribune is a news publisher.

It's important to make sure your mobile visitors are being served the correct version of your website. My best advice is to use redirects based on user agent. If you're not redirecting based on user agent, you should set up redirects based on user agent detection, so that when someone visits the desktop site on a mobile, they are redirected to the mobile version. If possible, use server-side redirects (301s or 302s) rather than Javascript redirects; JS causes a lag in the load time (because the page has to load and then parse the JS), and a page with a Javascript redirect is less likely to be cached. Also, make sure that if someone on a desktop PC clicks a mobile link, they will be redirected to the desktop version.

A few quick tips for handling redirects to mobile site:

  • Google’s most recent guidance states that either a 301 or 302 may be used.
  • When using user agent detection, be careful of cloaking.
  • Don’t redirect all desktop pages to the mobile homepage; instead, use a mobile page which is relevant to the original. If you don’t have a relevant mobile page, consider creating a page which explains this and offers the option to view the desktop version of the desired page and/or alternate pages on the mobile site.
  • Be sure to include a link to "view desktop version" on your mobile site (and vice versa). Use cookies to ensure that if a user clicks on this option the user agent detection will be overridden and they will not be redirected again (unless they choose to switch back via the "view mobile version" option).
  • Try to use ‘mirrored’ URL structures (so that www.domain.com/hello redirects to m.domain.com/hello, not m.domain.com/xi3l3kxd. This may not be possible, however, if there’s not a one-to-one relationship between desktop and mobile pages.
  • For more information on mobile site redirects, see Cindy Krum’s article on ‘generating mobile redirects properly.
  • To avoid the appearance of duplicate content, you should use a special mobile rel=’canonical’ tag. This will be covered in more detail later.

Google Analytics

Once you’re happy with the structure of your site, you need to be able to track its usage. Jeff Tirey at Mongoose Metrics recently wrote about their fantastic study which found that on 37% of websites that are a) using Google Analytics, and b) also have separate mobile versions of their site, the mobile version is not being tracked! This is craziness. And it’s simple to fix.

1. Is your tracking code implemented properly?

If you simply haven’t added the tracking code to your mobile site, go do it now. If you aren't sure whether to use the special non-Javascript version, keep in mind that you should be able to ignore the special "tracking a mobile site" option. Instead, you should use the same Javascript code that you use on your desktop site.

The (rare) exception to this would be if you have a disproportionately high amount of traffic from feature phone (non-smartphone) users that you need to track. Feature phones don’t support Javascript, so the normal tracking code can’t track these visits. However, this is an unlikely situation, as most websites don’t see much traffic from these types of phones. If you are worried about it, you can check the site’s server logs for visits from feature phone user agents.

2. Is your mobile site data being tracked through your primary domain?

You should track your mobile site on the same web property (i.e., using the same UA-XXXXX-Y account number) as your desktop site. This requires a simple tweak in the code on both versions in order to indicate to GA that your m.domain.com site is a subdomain of your main site. You should also set up a special profile exclusively for traffic to m.domain.com. To learn more, check out these tips from Google:

Technical SEO

1. Do you have a mobile XML sitemap?

Even if you have a mobile HTML sitemap, it is best practice to create an XML sitemap for your mobile site, and submit it to Google and Bing. To learn more about how to create a mobile sitemap, check out this these instructions from the Google Webmaster Tools blog.

2. How will Google know it’s a mobile site and not duplicate content?

To make sure Google know's your mobile site is a separate entity from your main site, it's best to implement the special mobile rel=canonical tag. In order to indicate to Google that your mobile site isn’t just duplicate content, you can use a special version of the rel=canonical tag. On the desktop page, add the rel=alternate tag:

< <link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" >

This tag will point to the mobile version.

On the mobile page, add the rel=canonical tag:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" >

This tag will point to the desktop version. Simple as that!

3. Make sure you’re not blocking the ‘Smartphone-Googlebot’ from your desktop version in robots.txt, and don't block regular Googlebot from the mobile version.

Bing is a bit more ambiguous in their advice (from March 2012):

"Occasionally, it may make sense to keep some URLs targeted at specific clients (e.g. mobile devices), which you can opt to block from us via the usual methods (robots.txt, webmaster tools) or not." (The emphasis is mine.)

Since the guidance is unclear, I would recommend the less drastic approach. My advice is to allow Bing to crawl your mobile and desktop sites. You can opt to follow my recommendation…or not.

On-page Optimization

1. Are your meta tags mobile-friendly?

Since mobile screens are smaller, there are fewer characters displayed in the SERPs. To adapt to the smaller screen size, it's important that your meta tags be formatted in a mobile-friendly style.  

For the best results, your title tags should be kept within 40-60 characters. Similarly, meta descriptions should be kept within 90 characters.

2. Are you targeting mobile-friendly keywords?

It's becoming increasingly important to do your keyword research specifically for mobile traffic. Mobile visitors will likely be looking for different results than desktop visitors, so you must lay the groundwork properly.

Optimizing the content on your mobile site for mobile keywords is also a great way to rank highly in the mobile SERPs (this may or may not be necessary, depending on whether they’re different from your desktop site).

3. Is your site load time too slow?

The goal for your site load time should be around 2-3 seconds. After waiting five seconds for a page to load, 74% of mobile users bounce.

You can check your page load time in Google Analytics. Use your mobile site profile (often the desktop load time is vastly different, which will mess up the averages). If you don’t yet have the data in a separate mobile site profile, you can also check this using your custom segment for non-tablet mobile devices.

Another way to increase you site load speed is to compress large images. Be sure to check other on-page elements, such as Javascript and videos, with a mobile emulator like Google’s Gomometer. Remember that certain formats, such as Flash, aren’t displayed on most mobile phones, so be conginzant of what works and what doesnt.  Also, remember to be careful with Javascript  in order to use the correct approach for your design.

Extras 

I've thrown in a few extra pieces of advice for those of you who made it this far. Keep on reading!

1. Are you missing out on easy eCommerce wins (if applicable)?

To keep your conversion rate optimization on track, here are a few points to consider:

  • Ensure the checkout/shopping baskets on your site sync across all platforms.
  • Implement larger on-site buttons so that visitors don’t have trouble clicking the correct one on their device.
  • Feature a "find-a-store" option.
  • Use click-to-call for any phone numbers listed on your site.
  • Ensure an easy, ideally 1-click checkout for customers to complete their orders.

2. Where appropriate, are you using structured data markup?

Where it makes sense, use appropriate markup on your desktop and mobile sites. This should allow rich snippets to appear in mobile SERPs.

3. Is your mobile site optimised for local search?

Approximately 40% of mobile search is local. There are two big ways to take advantage of this fact:

4. Is your video content optimised for mobile viewing?

Video is one of the most common things people do on their mobile devices. To make the process as easy as possible, consider the following:


Well there you have it, folks! Hopefully this list will come in handy for those who want to optimize a mobile site.

Did you find this information helpful? What kinds of experiences have you had in this area? What other tips and tools would you add to this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Facebook Offers Real Time Gift Option in iPhone Update

Facebook just released a new update for their iPhone / iPad app and it has a couple of features worth noting.

After a lot of talk, they’ve finally added the ability to send Facebook Gifts to friends – sort of. The app write-up and several news outlets say the feature has been activated but I couldn’t see any sign of it on my account.

If you do have it, you can send a real gift to a friend even if you don’t know they’re address. You simply choose them, pick a gift from the options available, pay for it and send. The receiver gets a notification, they confirm their mailing address and several days later the gift arrives. Pretty cool.

It’s possible that Hurricane Sandy is the one holding up my activation. Cnet says that Facebook’s Gift Event for the press had to be postponed until Nov. 15 because of the storm, so perhaps they decided to hold off on flipping the switch until that time.

I hear tell that in addition to sending teddy bears to friends, the app will also allow you to easily donate money to one of two dozen charities. It’s a nice idea that could promote an increase in giving this holiday season.

On the more mundane side, Facebook 5.1 allows you to upload multiple pictures in one post. They’ve also updated the chat options making it easier to contact the people you speak with most often. They’ve even added an indicator that shows, on average, how long it will take for each person to reply to your message. I have a couple of friends with “3 hours” next to their name, one that says 3 days and one that says 12 minutes. To him I say, turn off your Facebook for an hour and go read a book, it’ll do you good, I promise.

I wonder what my response time is. . . . someone check it out and let me know.

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