How to Calculate Marketing ROI

A key performance metric when evaluating a marketing campaign is return on investment (ROI). There are many misconceptions about how this metric is calculated. Some might think that if you spend $25,000 on a campaign and it brings in $50,000 in revenue, that they have gotten a 100 percent ROI.

However, this method doesn’t account for things like the cost of goods, your business’ expenses and other overhead factors. You want to calculate your ROI based on gross profit on the product/service you are selling, not simply revenue. Continue Reading

Chew Your Cud

Last week, Mark and I were talking about our recent and upcoming vacations. Specifically, about how refreshing it is to unplug from responsibilities and technology. It reminded me of one day recently when my iPhone's battery died in the middle of the afternoon and I was forced to go without my typical distractions for a full four hours (gasp!). It was the most mentally productive four hours I've had in a while and here's why.

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The Mathematical Advantage of a 16px Base Font Size

TL:DR; Start using 16px as your base font and use ems to size everything based off of that, and you'll be a far happier person.

If you’re as meticulous a developer as I am, you’ll appreciate what I’m talking about today. If your development style is more along the lines of “Ehhh … that looks about right” you’re going to think that I’m out of my ever-loving mind.

The problem is simple. When cutting up a design, I check it to make sure that I’m getting all the font sizes correct. Since Photoshop has an annoying habit of setting font sizes to figures like 18.39px, I round to the nearest even number.

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Add A Custom WordPress Admin Contextual Help Menu To Your Plugin Or Theme

If you are familiar with the WordPress admin, you probably noticed the “Help” tab at the top right of nearly every screen. Clicking this little gem reveals a series of helpful topics related to the current page. For example, on the Dashboard, the tab offers an overview of what’s currently displayed, how to navigate the admin in general and what the different boxes on the screen do. This information is invaluable to a new user of WordPress and stays politely out of the way for the more experienced.

Wouldn’t it be neat if your plugin admin or custom post type screens implemented their own help tabs? Of course it would! And it’s rather simple too. Let’s jump in with a simple implementation! If you’re antsy and just want to skip ahead, check out the gist. Continue Reading

What does being a good friend have to do with writing good copy?

More than you think. You don't have to paint your readers' nails or watch True Blood together, but you do have to make them feel special.

There are a lot of reasons why I’ve come to love advertising. I think one of the biggest might be that the majority of its principles are intuitive.

Understand how (most) humans think and feel, and you’ll understand how to sell them things.  And I’m not talking about Dr. Melfi levels of psychological proficiency here – just the basics. Remember, common sense will carry you.

Think about your ad like a friendship you’re trying to cultivate. How would you go about it?

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How to Report a Bug to a Web Developer

I'd like to run through some helpful recommendations about reporting website issues to developers. By following these suggestions you can speed up the time it takes for any problems to be resolved.

There is a common, though citation-less, expression that many developers are quite familiar with, and it goes something like this: 20 percent  of my time is spent writing the code, the other 80 percent is spent debugging it. Depending on where you look, I would argue that it varies widely, but the fact still stands: debugging is a major portion of the development process, and it doesn’t end when a site goes live, either.  

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Super Sleuth Your Message and Brand

Standing out from your competition is the goal. And to be as effective as possible, your message matters. You want to develop a relevant and targeted message, and that takes thought, introspection and research.

Unfortunately, the research component, which is arguably the most significant, is often omitted when developing a message.  And it’s understandable.  This portion of the process takes time, commitment at multiple levels, and sometimes dollars — difficult things to find for most of us.  But, turning the magnifying glass inward and taking a hard and realistic look at how your business is viewed by internal and external audiences, what elevates it above its rivals, and where there are opportunities for improvement is essential.

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The least gross illustration we could come up with.

Why Some Logos Make My Eyes Throw Up

I’m sorry (and I hope you’re not reading this before a meal). But it’s one of my "go-to" expressions whenever I see a logo design that nauseates my optic nerves. If only Pepto-Bismol made eye drops for:

The Pupil Barf

The type chosen for the name is inappropriate for the nature of the company, product or place. For example, choosing a fancy script for a steel manufacturer or a builder.
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Learn To Make an Effective Landing Page

Landing pages are an important part of most online marketing campaigns. They are pages designed to present users with information relevant to the ad that brought them to your site and then convert them into a lead/signup/sale.

If your company sells construction equipment, for example, and you are running ads about bulldozers, you don’t want to just send users to your home page. Ideally you’ll want to send them to a landing page that discusses bulldozers specifically. Perhaps include a video of a bulldozer bursting through a house (OK, may be that’s not a good idea, but it would totally work on me). When creating a landing page keep the following in mind:

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Why a drawbridge, you ask? Well, 1) images of margins are incredibly boring, and 2) it's better to go up than down.

Spacing The Top of Modules

Chris Coyier pointed out a problem that a lot of us in the web community experience but few of us probably notice: Spacing the Bottom of Modules or, rather, dealing with too much space at the bottom of a content module.

While Chris uses margin-bottom and :last-child to get rid of excess space at the bottom of a module, I think using margin-top and :first-child (if you need it) might be a better approach. Here’s a Fork of Chris’ original Codepen example.

Like commenter Allan said on the CSS-Tricks post, you generally know what’s going to be at the top of a module, and it’s a lot easier to plan for what comes first rather than what comes last.  And if you do need to make specific changes to the first item in a module, :first-child has support back to IE7, while last-child isn’t even supported in IE8.

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