Don’t Wait, Elope! Discover the Benefits of Saying “I Do” in 2023!

Don’t Wait, Elope! Discover the Benefits of Saying “I Do” in 2023!

Do you and your partner want to say “I do” in 2023? Does a big wedding sound super stressful and expensive? why not consider eloping? You’d get all the fun of getting married without any of the stresses that come along with planning a big wedding day. From freeing up funds to avoiding family drama, there are plenty of unique benefits to tying the knot this year – and no end-of-year balloon drop is required! Let’s explore why eloping this year can give you an unforgettable union!

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at the benefits of an Elopement.

Overview of why eloping in 2023 can make for a unique and unforgettable union

In 2023, eloping can provide couples with an unforgettable union that is both unique and meaningful. Eloping offers a special opportunity to create a deeply personal and romantic journey that allows couples to make their own rules. For those who may be overwhelmed by the thought of planning a large wedding, or for those on a limited budget looking for an intimate gathering, eloping can be the perfect solution.

Eloping in 2023 provides couples with a range of options for their nuptials. They can choose to have an intimate ceremony in their own home or backyard, or to travel somewhere exotic and memorable. Couples can also enjoy the freedom of crafting their vows as they go and still opt for beautiful photographs and videography to capture the moment without having to organize a large-scale wedding day event.

When it comes to deciding where you should elope in 2023, some couples might decide they want something closer to home while others may take advantage of this opportunity and plan something extra special out of town or even abroad. Regardless of where you decide to tie the knot, it’s important to make sure that your chosen location reflects you as a couple and guarantees maximum privacy so you can really enjoy the moments together without any external stressors or distractions.

The pandemic has created many obstacles when it comes to planning traditional weddings but it has also opened up opportunities for couples who are looking for a quieter celebration without compromising on quality or style. Whether you choose tropical Florida beach vibes, stunning Western North Carolina mountain views, rustic farmhouse charm, city skyline elegance or something completely different – eloping in 2023 means you don’t need permission from anyone else as long as it’s within your legal rights – making it an incredibly romantic way for couples to safely celebrate their union this year!

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Financial Benefits to Eloping

Eloping has become an increasingly popular choice for couples looking to tie the knot. For starters, the average cost of a traditional wedding is estimated at around $30,000. That figure goes up if you factor in things like venue rental and staffing costs. On the other hand, eloping typically costs just a fraction of that amount – anywhere between $1000-$3000 depending on where you go and what kind of experience you want. This allows you to save money while still getting married in a way that suits your needs.

Furthermore, eloping allows couples to prioritize their budget more effectively by cutting down on unnecessary costs such as decorations, food catering fees, and invitation printing fees which can add up quickly for larger guest lists. Furthermore, opting for an elopement often means less stress in terms of planning since there are fewer details involved than with a traditional celebration – meaning more time to enjoy yourself!

Finally, eloping also offers couples additional freedom when it comes to deciding how they want to spend their funds – from choosing an unforgettable location or exotic honeymoon destination free from any constraints of family members or guests expectations. Ultimately, this makes it easier for couples to focus on what matters most: spending quality time together and cherishing the memories made during one of life’s most important milestones.

Avoiding Family Drama by Eloping

When people are deciding whether they should elope or have a traditional wedding, one of the most common reasons for choosing to elope is to avoid family drama. The idea of having a beautiful and stress-free wedding day can be appealing to many couples, especially if their families are prone to arguments and disagreements. Even the most well-meaning relatives can cause tension on such an important day if certain wishes aren’t fulfilled or certain expectations aren’t met. By eloping, couples can keep their special day focused on themselves and ensure that it’s as drama-free as possible.

One key benefit of eloping is that it eliminates the need for couples to worry about who will be invited and who won’t. It also avoids any potential hurt feelings caused by not being invited or not having enough space to invite everyone they would like. Couples may also want to think more practically when considering their options – pulling off a big wedding with all of its necessary elements (venue, catering, decorations etc.) can be incredibly expensive, whereas eloping could end up being much more cost effective in the long run.

Eloping also offers couples a sense of freedom and adventure that they may not feel with a traditional wedding. Instead of following a strict timeline or checklist created by tradition, couples who decide to elope are free to do whatever feels right for them, from getting married in their local courthouse all the way up to flying off on an exotic honeymoon somewhere across the globe. Eloping can even provide an opportunity for couples to make memories together as they embark on this new chapter in their lives – something that simply wouldn’t be possible with the usual chaos associated with large weddings!

Unique Experiences Gained by Eloping This Year

One of the greatest benefits of eloping is the flexibility it provides when it comes to planning your special day. Couples are free to choose their own locations and can customize their ceremony entirely to suit their individual wants and needs. From a private mountaintop ceremony, an intimate beach setting or an adventurous elopement in a far-flung destination, the possibilities are endless.

Another advantage of eloping is cost savings. The average wedding can cost up to $30,000, but with an elopement package you can save on many of the expenses associated with a more traditional wedding such as venue fees and catering costs. Couples who choose to elope also save on transportation costs as they don’t need to worry about traveling with large groups of guests. By stripping out all these added extras, you’re left with just what you both want – meaningful commemoration that celebrates your love for one another without breaking the bank!

Furthermore, by choosing to elope, you will be able to focus entirely on each other and take pleasure in creating memories together. With limited people present (perhaps just yourself and your partner) there’s no pressure for perfect photos or worrying about making sure everyone else is having a good time – you two come first! Eloping allows for some much needed privacy and intimacy between yourselves which would be difficult to achieve at a larger wedding with multiple guests around.

Finally, planning an elopement can be incredibly fun! There’s so much creativity involved when you start thinking outside the box in terms of where, when and how you plan your special day (or days even!). You could plan multiple micro ceremonies along your route if you choose a destination spot – each one filled with moments and memories that will hold special significance throughout time.

Overall, there are so many advantages gained by couples who choose to elope this year – whether it’s saving money or creating unique experiences that will last forever!

The Bottom Line

If you’re on the fence about whether or not eloping is right for you, consider all of the unique benefits. From saving money to avoiding family drama, there are plenty of reasons to say goodbye to big wedding plans and hello to an intimate union between you and your partner.

Are you ready to elope in beautiful Western North Carolina? Let’s make your dream elopement a reality and capture the best moments of your special day!

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Unlocking the Potential of AR Web Design and The Push Forward to Web 3.0

Unlocking the Potential of AR Web Design and The Push Forward to Web 3.0

Today is going to be a dive into AR Web Design, so buckle up butter cup because we are going on an adventure! 

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at Augmented Reality and its incorporation into web design.

 

Augmented Reality

Businesses are always constantly trying to set themselves apart from their competitors and the race has already begun towards the push to web 3.0. Those who can keep ahead of the curve will ultimately have the winning edge and the web developers, designers, and engineers will be there at every step of the way to build the path into a more interactive and immersive web experience.

Augmented reality is not a new term by any means and has been around for quite some time, but what has been on the forefront is the advances that augmented reality has made in the last five or so years. Augmented Reality is otherwise known simply as AR has made leaps and bounds in the mobile app realm with breakout projects and apps such as Pokemon Go, Google Lens, Snapchat filters, and even the popular furnishing store Ikea with their own uses for the new developments in AR technology.

AR is an evolving technology that web developers of today need to be aware of and actively planning to learn in order to keep up with the trends and web standards of tomorrow.

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A Brief History of AR

Augmented reality, or AR, is a technology that lets a person use a device between themselves and the real world. Only, when they look through the device, they have the ability to alter what they see. In other words, think Snapchat or Instagram filters which can be applied to change your appearance or when everyone was outside catching Pokemon from the Pokemon GO craze of 2016. Using a combination of real and virtual world elements with real-time interactions.

The term ‘augmented reality was actually coined by a Boeing researcher named Tom Caudell and was first used as a way to virtual control and guide machinery to perform different training tasks for Air Force pilots. In 1994, Julie Martin, a writer, and producer created the first Augmented Reality Theatre Production by using virtual objects along with a graphics computer and the Polhemus sensing system to project an object and an environment for the theatre dancers to immerse themselves within.

1998

1998 was the first time NFL fans witnessed the virtual 1st and ten graphic system- aka the yellow yard marker. The new technology allowed a yellow line to be overlayed on top of the feed so that viewers can quickly see where the team needed to get to in order to get the first down.

2013- 2014

2013 to 2014 Google unveiled it’s Google Glass which implemented augmented reality experiences with a pair of glasses and could access Google apps such as Google maps, Google+ and even their Gmail accounts.

2017

2017 IKEA released their augmented reality app called IKEA Place and being the first of it’s kind by allowing a user to view what their product would look like in your home or space and allowing the consumer to virtually preview their home décor before actually making a purchase.

Today

Today Augmented Reality is everywhere and with more and more people browsing the internet, shopping, and making purchases through their mobile devices. It’s making it easier than ever before to take advantage of AR.

 

Chatbots can be good and bad

The Value of Mixed Reality

The combination of real-world and the augmented reality transforms how we work, learn, play, shop, and connect with the world around us. It’s a rather perfect way to help visualize things that would otherwise be impossible to see. There has been a steady increase in AR/VR technology, but only recently in these last few years, we’ve seen a real emphasis on augmented reality along with virtual reality due to the pandemic and with more people than ever moving to operate online whether if it’s for business or pleasure and the trend is skyrocketing.

Tech giants such as Google and Apple are at the forefront and now Facebook or (Meta) has officially taken a stance by developing its own metaverse increasing the push towards web 3.0 and a more augmented world. It’s becoming an increasing concern for smaller companies to try to figure out how they can also get in on the action and use AR/VR to increase both work efficiency and overall business profits.

The Problems of AR

According to a recent study by GlobalWebIndex, 90% of people surveyed were aware of virtual reality while only 65% were aware of augmented reality and only 23% said they engage with AR in the last month. These low numbers of people aware of AR along with a lower number of engagement is an issue with AR advancing to the mainstream along with the perceived notion that most people confuse AR with VR and think that they need an expensive headset to have the experience.

It boils down to a general misunderstanding of the technology and what we can do with it as consumers and developers. Consumers right now feel that AR is mostly used for gaming, film&tv, or social media. However, the survey also shows that a third of consumers understand that AR could have some use within marketing and eCommerce applications.

Additional problems can come in the form of hardware issues such as devices malfunctioning or problems connecting to a local server. Content glitches can range from 3D objects not loading correctly or not functioning as they’re expected to. Perhaps your IKEA chair only wants to anchor to the ceiling.

 

ManyChat Chatbot Platform

Use Cases

Here are three use cases and examples of how AR is currently making waves for website visitors.

1: Virtual beauty & apparel

Sephora Virtual Artist is an app, but is also available right on their website as a web app. The basis is that the consumer allows the website to have access to their camera in order to activate “live mode” so they can see what a certain product will look like on their face as they move around. They can also choose the model mode to see what it would look like on a model’s photo or they can also choose to upload a photo of themselves and apply the product to it.

2: The ColorSnap by Sherwin-Williams is an app and web app that you can use on your desktop, mobile phone, or iPad to scan your desired room or area and then simply select your preferred color to see what that particular color would look like in your space.

3: IKEA Place is by far one of the more popular use cases and one of the first to utilize AR by allowing an ever-expansive list of products to be virtually dragged and dropped right into any space just by using your smartphone or tablet device. A user can choose a dining room table set and view it virtually in real-time right in their kitchen.

4: Jeep allows users to see if the new Wrangler will fit in their garage and what it would look like next to their kayaks and camping gear. Customers can use their smartphone to go in-depth with a virtual Jeep Compass changing the colors, tires, and more. Customers can even open the car doors and look inside the vehicle all the while customizing it to their liking.

5: A tattoo shop can now utilize AR a few different apps to not only draw up their artwork for their clients, but they can now show their clients what the artwork would look like on their body before any needle is pulled from the package.

 

ManyChat Chatbot Platform

The Bottom Line

Major companies such as Google, Apple, And Facebook are already heavily investing in both AR/VR technologies and due to the recent covid-19 pandemic, those investment numbers have gone from a modest $12 billion in 2020 estimate to a whopping $73 billion in 2024 estimate. AR improves conversion rates by up to 40% and by using these technologies on your websites, landing pages, and web applications you will provide an experience for users to view a product in a more in-depth way.

As Web developers, we can utilize AR in order to make the content more immersive and interactive which will increase overall engagement and in turn produce more sales. These AR experiences can do everything from helping to tell a brand story to view a product virtually in real-time. By incorporating AR these companies will become more memorable and help the business stand out from the competition.

Those who understand the value of AR now will be the ones that will gain future success as we push forward toward the path of web 3.0. Take advantage of AR and help your business be ahead of the competition.

RESOURCES & CREDITS:

Photo by UNIBOA on Unsplash
Photo by David Grandmougin on Unsplash
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Web 3.0 – Virtual and Augmented Reality on the Internet

https://www.editorx.com/shaping-design/article/ar-and-vr-web-design

https://www.designial.com/augmented-reality-a-comprehensive-guide/

 

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Curious to learn more?

Read: What are Chatbots and Do I Need Them?

Don’t stay in your competitor’s shadows, make the leap forward by incorporating AR technology today!

Schedule a free consultation to see how we can incorporate AR for your business.

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What is Voice Search? (The Basics)

What is Voice Search? (The Basics)

Today I want to go over the basics of voice search. What is voice search? Why do we as web developers need to learn to optimize websites for voice search and more!

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at voice search and the overal basics of what voice search entails. 

 

Back in my day we didn’t have Google

Do you remember those gigantic yellow books that would just randomly show up at your door step? They were so big that you could build a fort with them that was stronger than ft. Knox? If you threw one at your brother it would knock him out. ( That may have actually happened ;). If you needed to find a plumber you need to thumb your way through to “P” and search the hundreds of plumbers and then decide which clipart listing you liked best. 

If you didn’t have a pen or paper you would just rip the page straight out of the book and then the next poor guy would never even get the chance to know that Bob the greatest plumber on earth even existed!  Oh the good ol’ days. 

Digital agency director having a meeting with his team

Today we’re spoiled

Today we have the internet to search for Bob the plumber and gone is the day of those yellow pages, however with the massive amount of information and our increasing human inability to be patient, as the average time a person will spend looking at a website is less than 15 seconds. We now have advanced into the future of search!

 

Chatbots can be good and bad

Introducing voice search!

I’m sure everyone has at least seen one of these devices and whether you own one or not they are becoming increasingly popular as they can control your smart home to turn on the lights, turn off the tv, tell you about today’s weather and so much more! The best part is that they are also installed on every smartphone and this actually quite powerful as you can now search with just talking to your smartphone. 

Over 56% of all voice searches done are done on a smartphone and a user is 30 times more likely to go with a business that pops up after a voice search response. These numbers are only going to sky rocket over these next few years. 

How should my small business use voice search?

With stats like theseit’s going to be imperative that local businesses optimize their sites to not only be found on Google search but also at the top of voice search. I’ll dive into it more next time, but the main point to get across is that all voice searches will start with a question. Who, what, when, where, why, or how. It will be important for businesses to answer those questions by using different SEO methods.

For example, the local Mexican restaurant “Senora” could write a blog titled “Why Senora makes the best tacos in Asheville” and then by including those questions it will help them to get found on regular search but also improves their chances to get found on voice search.  

 

ManyChat Chatbot Platform

Okay Google, who has the best tacos in Denver? 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that no one is searching for your business the old fashioned way anymore and as users switch to using voice search more and more your business will need to find different ways to stay ahead of the curve. Optimizing your website and business for voice will give your business the leg up on the competion and at global giraffe media we can help you find success among the ever growing popularity of voice search.

 

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Curious to learn more?

Read: What are Chatbots and Do I Need Them?

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How to Set up Facebook Ads with ManyChat

How to Set up Facebook Ads with ManyChat

Last week I covered the dashboard and explored a few of the features and automation that is provided on the backend of ManyChat.

Today as part the 3rd part to the ManyChat series, I wanted to touch upon the subject of using Facebook ads and collecting different metrics from those campaigns. 

In this blog post, we’re going to take a look at intergrating Facebook ads and data metrics to help drive sales for your business. 

 

Facebook Ads + ManyChat

One of the key features to ManyChat is the option to work directly with your already existing Facebook ad campaigns by importing them directly into the ManyChat dashboard and even better than that is that you can also create ads right from the ManyChat dashboard. You can set these ads as messages or traffic. 

Messages basically means that you are targeting users that are more likely to message your page, website, or business profile. Traffic is more geared towards those users that will likely make a purchase or they will click on a link to be directed to a specific page. 

Digital agency director having a meeting with his team

Who is your target audience?

Just like any other ad campaign that you’ve ever set up, you can specify the audience that you want to target. You can choose age, sex, location, or interests. If you set up any type of ad campaign then this won’t be anything new to you. If your business is a local gym, then you’ll want to target users with an interest in fitness. 

 

Chatbots can be good and bad

Video, Images, Text. You choose.

For each campaign  you can choose to use images, videos, or just regular text. Add a title, description, and a call to action button. Once you have it started you can see the preview of the ad all from right inside of the ManyChat dashboard. You don’t have to create our chatbot and then move over to Facebook ads and back again. You can do it all from ManyChat. 

You want metrics? We got metrics

Inside of ManyChat they also provide all of the metrics and data based on either how well or how bad your ads did and if they hit your goals. You can tell how many people saw your ad or how many of them interacted with your chatbot messages. Anytime a button is clicked or even if a purchase was made will all be recorded and tracked. This in in turn will give your business an incredible amount of insight on what campaigns work or which products sell better. 

 

ManyChat Chatbot Platform

The Bottom Line

Being able to stay inside one platform to create the chatbot automation and then being able to create ad campaigns along with messaging ad campaigns all from one spot makes this one of the go to spots for chatbots. Saving businesses time and money is always the name of the game and these features from ManyChat do exactly that. This is a great solution for any business that is looking to get its sales to the next level. I highly encourage you to start playing around with ManyChat to see how you can create a profit earning machine. 

 

 

Curious to learn more?

Read: What are Chatbots and Do I Need Them?

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How Does ManyChat Work?

How Does ManyChat Work?

Last week I covered the basics of chatbots. What they are good for, why businesses would want to use them, and some of the companies that offer them. This week I want to dive further into the chatbot system offered by ManyChat.

Today I’m going to show you a little bit of the backend of ManyChat’s dashboard and go through a few of the basic automation flows.

In this blog post, we’re going to look at some of the automation flows and setting up a basic flow using ManyChat.

 

I forgot, what is a chatbot again?

Just as a chatbot recap, an AI chatbot is software that can simulate a user conversation with a natural language through messaging applications, but as we learned last week these can also be set up in a more hybrid way to have preprogrammed responses along with real human interaction.

It’s a mobile-first world and people prefer chatting, 2.52 billion people use chat apps every day with that number expected to reach 3 billion by the end of this year. whether it’s Facebook messenger, Instagram messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter direct messages, telegram, wechat, or snapchat.

Customer-Service-Platform-To-Grow-Your-Business-Tidio

Why ManyChat

As I stated last week, I’ve been exploring opportunities with a chatbot system called ManyChat.

ManyChat Helps you chat directly with those people and enables you or your business to drive sales, get more leads, and ultimately allows direct connections to the customer by utilizing these same chat apps that they are already using.

Best of all ManyChat makes it easy enough for anyone to set up and launch in less than a day all while making it free to signup and start today.

Chatbots can be good and bad

The First Step

The first step is to connect your ManyChat account to your Facebook page that you manage. If you’re someone like me, you probably have hundreds of pages that you manage. It’s important to note that you can only connect one ManyChat account to one Facebook page at a time. Once you are connected to your Facebook, then you’ll be able to also connect to other platforms like Instagram. 

ManyChat Dashboard

The ManyChat dashboard is quite easy to navigate through, but is packed with features like adding in contacts, growth tools, live chat, Facebook ads, and automation templates. It’s this dashboard that you’ll spend most of your time in creating your different automation depending on what your goals are. The dashboard also provides help articles and blog articles that go through all of the different ways to utilize the platform. 

ManyChat Noob? Start Here!

There are plently of templates to explore within the dashboard from simple automation conversations to multifaceted complex conversations with your customers or fan base. However they best one that I think is the best one is the simple “Conversation Starters” this section allows you to set up simple questions that you can start out with whenever a user just clicks on the chat bubble. You can it set to show a faq page, show a product page, show your latest work, or simply start a simple conversation to help the user find what they are looking for. 

 

ManyChat Chatbot Platform

The Bottom Line

I’ve had an absolute blast learning the ins and outs of this chatbot system and while I don’t know the entire system yet, I do look forward to exploring it more to see how I can best utilize it for my business and also for my client’s businesses as well.

Try out one or two of the chatbots that I talked about and see if they’ll work for you. Let me know down in the comments if you use a chatbot on your website or mobile app or let me know if you have any additional recommendations?

 

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Curious to learn more?

Read: What are Chatbots and Do I Need Them?

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What are Chatbots and Do I Need Them?

What are Chatbots and Do I Need Them?

By now I’m sure you’ve seen some version of a chatbot on a website or mobile app. You know the little chat bubble that hangs out in the bottom right corner of the screen? It might have a little pop-up that says something along the lines of “How can I help you today?” 

Today we’re going to explore these chatbots on what they accomplish and help you figure out if you need one for your site?

In this blog post, I’m going to tell you all about chatbots, the different kinds, where to find them, and whether or not if you need one for your site or app.

 

What is a Chatbot?

There are a few different kinds of chatbots, so let’s talk about the AI Chatbot first. The AI (Artificial Intelligence) Chatbot is software that can simulate a user conversation with a natural language through a messaging application. Typically this kind of chatbot has been programed with hundreds to thousands of responses to commonly asked questions.

For example, your favorite restaurant may have a chatbot to help answer questions like what’s on the menu for today or what time does the restaurant closes and even can take your reservation all directly from the one chatbot.

These AI chatbots can be very convincing in that it can make the user think they are talking to a real person when in fact it’s all just preprogrammed responses. I saw one AI chatbot that other day that was named “Susan” with an avatar picture of a middle aged woman., but after about 10 minutes I quickly realized that “Susan” was in fact a robot and not a real person, but It did have me fooled for a hot minute because you don’t associate the name Susan with a robot, you associate the name Susan with a middle-aged woman.

On the opposite side of that are chatbots that are actually real-life humans. A lot of car dealerships for example will have a dedicated online sales representative whose, the sole job is to attend to the online chat and was always ready to help answer any questions that a prospective buyer might have. After the user leaves, the sales rep would also gather any information from the user to follow up to help land the sale.

Customer-Service-Platform-To-Grow-Your-Business-Tidio

Why are Chatbots Popular?

The main benefits and the argument for chatbots is that it helps give the user or website visitor the answers to their questions they need within seconds and with AI Chatbots they can deliver those answers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and by engaging with your customer at any time. 

When is the best time to make a sale? As soon as possible and with chatbots they can really help with customer engagement in order to help the customer decide to make the purchase. 

Benefits Include:

  • Deliver Faster Chat Support
  • Cut Down on Support Costs
  • Offer Proactive Customer Service
  • Helps with collecting data and customer leads

Chatbots can be good and bad

The Bad Side of Chatbots

In regards to AI chatbots, they can only provide the support or answers to questions that they are programmed to answer. So while they “chat” they can’t “think” If the user asks a question that the chatbot hasn’t been programmed to answer then the chatbot won’t be able to comprehend the question thus leaving the customer frustrated.

There are other companies that have used AI chatbots but claimed that it’s a live chat or that it’s a live person, but customers can usually tell right away if it’s a robot and doesn’t appreciate the facade. This is a sure-fire way to eliminate any brand loyalty or trust in that company.

Other chatbot bubbles can just be straight-up annoying with constant bubbles that pop up asking if you need help or assistance. It’s like walking into a department store and being bombarded by 5 sales reps every 2 seconds when you’re just there to browse around in peace and quiet.

Not to mention that some chatbots can get in the way of the actual content that you are trying to look at on a site especially on mobile when the screen real estate is a lot more limited.

JoinChat

Where Do You Find These Chatbots?

It really just depends on what type of chatbots you’re looking for, but here are a few to look into.

Join.Chat is a WhatsApp WordPress chat plugin that gives you the option to activate a chatbot to answer FAQ’s related to your business or product. $24 for one website, $48 for the three websites, or $149 for unlimited number of websites. 

Collect.chat WordPress chatbot is great for service based businesses. It allows you to choose a template to allow visitors to set up appointments by providing a calendar feature that will also connect to your Google Calendar. They have a free plan of up to 50 responses a month. A Lite Plan for $24/month or a Plus Plan for $99/month. 

Tidio features a clean interface and an easy to integrate into any WordPress website. They offer the choice between setting it up for live chat with you or one of your team members or you can also choose their virtual ai chat with access of up to 20+ templates that you can build upon. They offer a free plan for 100 unique visits, $39/month, and a $15/month (Billed per operator) 

Drift is your more robust chatbot that offers a fully scalable chatbot sales and marketing solution. Featuring personalized customer experiences that you can implement across all channels. Pricing for Drift is not accessible, but you can go here to learn more about their different plans.

Those are just 4 of the many chatbot plugins and companies that offer them. Just remember that not all chatbots are created equal and they really range among all price levels. 

ManyChat

Which Chatbot Do I Use? 

 

I saved the best for last for a reason!

You’ve decided that you don’t want a robot talking to your potential customers, but you also don’t want to be logged into your website or the backend of your chat platform 24 hours a day. What do you then? Is there a happy medium that can solve this? Well, you’re in luck because there is!

Introducing ManyChat!

ManyChat is what I’m currently using here on my website. It allows me to have a chatbot or chat like feature on my site that I can directly connect to my direct messages on Instagram, Facebook, and also directly to my text messages on my phone.

This allows me to increase my engagement with website visitors and help to generate more leads by providing instant or near-instant support. Since I’m already checking my DM’s (Direct Messages) throughout the majority of the day and night ManyChat helps direct my website visitors to my DM’s.

I don’t need to code anything and I also have the option to program it if I want with responses as well all with a drag n’ drop interface. ManyChat also allows me to capture information in order to send out coupons, discounts, promotions, newsletters and even booking confirmations.

If you use Google Sheets, MailChimp, Hubspot or any of those other tools, you’ll be happy to know that they can be easily integrated with ManyChat.

The best part of ManyChat is that it’s free for the basic features and engagement for up to 1,000 contacts, which is perfect for my small business. If you plan on more than 1,000 contacts their pro version starts at only $15/month! This price then scales from there depending on the number of contacts.

ManyChat Chatbot Platform

The Bottom Line

Love them or hate them, Chatbots are here to stay. I highly recommend doing your own research on the different kinds of chatbots that are being offered and if they will either help convert sales or if they will scare potential customers away. It’s a delicate balance, but I can say from experience that I’ve had a lot more personal interactions with my website visitors than otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to.

Try out one or two of the chatbots that I talked about and see if they’ll work for you. Let me know down in the comments if you use a chatbot on your website or mobile app or let me know if you have any additional recommendations? 

 

 

Curious to learn more?

Read: Landing Page: Back to Basics

Is your website meeting current design standards? Email me for a free consultation

Do you need a professionally designed & high-converting website? Hire Me

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Going from a Junior Web Developer to a Digital Media Superstar

Going from a Junior Web Developer to a Digital Media Superstar

Featured Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

If you’re reading this, it means you finally got your foot in the door of that web development company that you’ve had your eye on. Congratulations, this is the beginning of a very rewarding career path, but now I bet you’re wondering “okay, cool, I’m a full-fledged (junior) web developer, but what now? Where do I go from here?”

The first thing you probably think is that you’ll just work towards that senior developer position, but what if you work for a small company and that person doesn’t seem to be leaving any time in this decade? What do you do then? What should your goal be?

I hope to help you young padawan and help answer some of these questions to help prepare you and help you shoot for the stars in this vast digital media world. (Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep the Star Wars references to a minimum, but no promises.)

 

Please note* That most of this blog refers to being a web developer as it refers to building websites and mobile applications. 

 

In this blog post, I’m going to touch upon the different job positions, starting salaries or possible salary rates for those positions, the overall job description, and the skills required to thrive.

Grab a coffee or today maybe grab yourself an iced latte get crazy, and let’s dive in!

 

Senior Web Developer

You already know what is required from your current job as a junior web developer, but do you know what might be required from you as a senior web developer? 

The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure that you have a good grasp of everything that is currently required from being a junior web developer, which could include everything from working with HTML, CSS, Jquery, and JSON to graphic design with a strong knowledge of WordPress and at least one of the top 5 builder platforms.

Once you believe you can do your current job in your sleep then it’s time to start looking at that senior position. This position could mean doing the same work that you do now, but just on a slightly higher level. Lower-level tasks you can now hand off to your junior developer. It could also mean that you are in charge of the project making all of the design decisions and you might start delegating the actual coding or website building to your team.

As a senior developer, you’ll be responsible for the final say on a website or application and if it’s ready to be launched or if there is more work that needs to done. You could also spend time on doing researching new design trends, Google standards, and conduct other tests on plugins or methods that could help your team’s workflow. I think the most overlooked skill for any developer is making sure they have great communication skills. You’ll need to be able to effectively communicate with both your team and in most cases also directly with the customer.

At the time of this writing, the current salary for a senior web developer for Western North Carolina is $70,000 to $90,000, but those numbers are much higher in bigger cities.  Salary Estimates from ZipRecruiter.

Divi Builder from Elegant Themes

Project/Team Director

The project director oversees the entire team and in most cases, this could also mean overseeing different teams from the developers to the SEO specialists, project managers, and customer support team members. For this position, you’ll need to be ready to have an understanding of what everyone does and if you don’t know how to do every job, then you will be required to know the people that you can direct to get the job done.

In this position, you probably won’t be doing too much of the actual design, code, or even dealing directly with customers (unless of course it’s an angry one) and in most cases, you’ll be required to make sure that the team and project are all operating as a well-oiled machine. You’ll need to keep close tabs on whether or not the team is meeting goals whether that is sales goals, timeline, scheduling goals, or other goals that are specified by the company.

Director salaries are harder to estimate because this will be different according to the number of job duties set forth, but on Glassdoor.com they have it set at an average of $83,575/year.

Digital agency director having a meeting with his team

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

CEO / Owner

Whoa, that was a short ladder to the top. One of the biggest things when it comes to being a web developer and being in the digital media industry is there is a lot of different avenues that you can go down, but most of these paths won’t always have a ton of different positions within them.

You can be a junior marketing specialist to a senior marketing specialist or you can be a junior AR designer to a senior AR designer. As the CEO, I’m assuming you already know that this basically means you’re the king of the castle and you make all of the big decisions for the company and for the salary, well the sky is the limit. The same with being the owner of the company, you’ll have all of the main responsibilities, and more than likely you’ll spend your days in meetings or zoom meetings with your team that could be located anywhere in the world. I’m not going to dive any deeper into the CEO position, but instead, I want to pivot and talk about being the owner of a digital media company that specializes in a handful of digital services.

Design Agency Services

Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

Website Design & Marketing Agency

Now this might not be for everyone and honestly, this option is arguably the hardest one to achieve, but if done right could help you reach your highest goal of building a company from scratch, and with great risk, comes an even greater reward!

If you’re someone like me, you enjoy all aspects of digital media and you don’t want to limit yourself to only building websites for plumbers or whatever websites you are currently building. You love building WordPress websites, but you also have a passion for SEO and Google analytics. You enjoy being creative to the highest degree in you take that energy to dream up new marketing campaigns. Maybe you also love to spend hours upon hours in Adobe Illustrator coming up with branding concepts or logo design. You might want to consider going out on your own and building a website design and marketing agency.

Here are a few specialized services your media company could offer:

1: Brand Identity & Logo Design.

2: Website Design & Development.

3: WordPress Hosting & Support.

4: UI/UX Design & App Development.

5: Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

6: Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC).

7: Social Media Marketing.

8: Package & Mechandise Design.

9: Mobile App Development.

10: Photography & Videography Services.

That is just a small portion of what your digital agency could offer, but the list could really go beyond those listed above! For your salary, well as I said before it really just depends on you and what you want to value your services at and of course you’ll also need to research what other agencies charge for these services and whether or not if your services are specialized or ninched down enough to warrant the extra fees and price levels.

The biggest thing to rememeber with this path is that you’ll need to not only help with marketing for your clients, but you’ll also need to do marketing for your own company. The best plan is start small by offering a few services to start and then scale up from there and once you are able to hire on, then you’ll be able to offer additional services and also hire out help for customer outreach among everything else that a company needs to be successful.

Next Steps for success

Next Steps

Remember to always keep investing in your own learning. Subscribe to newsletters on web development, marketing, videography, or whatever you think will make you stronger in the industry. If you don’t have experience of owning a company, I would highly recommend either taking a few business classes or even just starting a small business like selling candles. This can teach you more valuable lessons of entrepreneurship than any teacher can teach in a classroom. Everything I learned from managing a business comes from my 10 years of owning a clothing line, where I wore all of the hats and did all of the things required to have a successful business. The lessons that I learned from that experience still holds true to everything that I continue to do today. Remember this is only the beginning and it might seem like the road ahead is long, but with enough passion and drive you can make anything possible!

 

Curious to learn more?

Read: Landing Page: Back to Basics

Is your website meeting current design standards? Email me for a free consultation

Do you need a professionally designed & high-converting website? Hire Me

Did you enjoy the blog? Share it with your friends!

Plugin, Plugout, Let Me Begin!

Plugin, Plugout, Let Me Begin!

Love them or hate them, WordPress plugins are necessary to building a website efficiently.

What should I tell you about WordPress plugins? Well for starters they make life easy, but they can also break an entire and make you want to pull your hair out at the same time. There are millions of plugins to choose from and even more coming every day, but not all are created equal.

In this blog post, I’m not going to give you my top 53 plugins that I use or 204 plugins that are great for e-commerce sites. Today, I’m going to tell you about a few key plugins that I used for my current website project of a local brewery and how they help with producing the content that is needed for the site.

Once again, grab a coffee or today maybe grab yourself an iced latte get crazy, and let’s dive into these plugins.

 

Contact Form 7 & “Use Any Font”

Contact form 7, oh I do dislike you, but being the industry-standard plugin for contact forms, I will deal with it. Contact form 7 is a custom form builder with over 5+ million installations that supports CAPTCHA and Akismet spam filtering. As long as you are quite handy with CSS, then you can design this form quite easily and the form overall is pretty lightweight as far as code is concerned. The main problem is the amount of spam that still gets through these contact forms, but unfortunately, there is only so much we can do to prevent this from happening.

“Use Any Font” is a straight-to-the-point no non-sense plugin that does exactly what the name implies. With this plugin, you can import your standard font files in order to use your custom font on your website. In my case, I needed to use the new custom font for the rebrand that I created and thus this plugin was a lifesaver in order to bring that font into WordPress.

Dane-Jackson-Green-River-Race

OxyMonster Framework & Recoda

Since the builder that I used for this site was Oxygen, it only made sense to bring some plugins that were designed for Oxygen users. OxyMonster Framework is a CSS framework based on the Tailwind CSS framework and you don’t what that means, don’t it’s okay as it basically just means that it’s utility-based framework that will make your life easier when it comes to designing the site. The framework includes design kits and 500+ blocks that you can use for your website. It’s both lightweight and packed full of features.

You can think of Recoda as a workspace that you can place inside of Oxygen to make things flow better with designing the site. Everything from one click interfaces and easily switch between interfaces to a number of additional shortcuts that recoda makes possible to use inside of the Oxygen builder. Recoda can significantly speed up the overall design flow and I highly recommend this plugin when building with Oxygen.

Vietnam-Street-Photography
Vietnam-Street-Photography

Modern Events Calendar Lite & Rank Math SEO

Can’t find when the next beer release is for your favorite brewery? Perhaps you should tell them to hire me to install a new events calendar for their website!

The modern events calendar lite is by far one the best events plugins that I’ve seen that you don’t have to pay an arm, a leg, and your soul for. This plugin makes it super easy to set all of the upcoming events for different days, weeks, or yearly events. You can color code everything to easily navigate through along with daily, weekly, or monthly calendar views and sorting options.

Rank Math SEO, I know, I know. It’s not Yoast, but hear me out. I’m quickly realizing how much I love Rank Math SEO and how easy they really make things for the fast-paced SEO team. Rank Math takes all of the guesswork out of what you should be doing for SEO and recommends/guides you through it all. The setup wizard is top notch along with a clean interface makes this my preferred SEO plugin.

New Zealand Lanscape
New Zealand Lanscape

There you have it

I know this list wasn’t that long, but sometimes you don’t need a million plugins on your site. You just need the important ones that can get things done. Which were your favorite? Do you use any of these plugins on your site?

 

Curious to learn more?

There are a ton of plugins out there and I would love to go through more of them. Let us know in the comments if there is a plugin you think I should dive into next time.

If you are thinking of having a website built or you are designing a website for your company, keep these design resources in mind and let us know in the comments if you have any additional resources to add?

 

Is your website meeting current design standards? Email me for a free consultation. 

Did you enjoy the blog? Share it with your friends!

Nimble Builder Vs Divi Builder – Best Builder in 2022

Nimble Builder Vs Divi Builder – Best Builder in 2022

When it comes to building websites, it’s all about how to build them fast and efficiently.

If you are going to build a website and you don’t plan to write all of the code from scratch, (because who really has time for that?) then you will more than likely opt for a page builder and as long as you stay away from Wix or Squarespace then you’ll be alright. Nothing against those two, but if you really want to build the next great website with more customization than you could dream of then you’ll want to look into a page builder that covers all of your needs.

There are plenty of builders out there now and every day there is a new one that pops up, but not all of them are created equal. If you choose wrong, you could not only waste time and money, but you could also open your site up to hacks and limit your ability to scale your business. We’re not going to go through the hundreds of builders in this post, but today we are going to discuss the new kid on the block “Nimble Builder” versus the original gangster “Divi Builder.”

Grab a coffee (or your preferred beverage), because we are about to dive in and see which builder is the best in 2022.

 

The Interface and The Visuals

I might receive some flack for saying this, but I personally believe that the interface is the single most important thing when it comes to these page builders. Other people will probably say speed, content modules, support, and or other features. None of those things matter if you can’t even figure out how to use the builder to even build a simple contact page.

Starting with the Nimble builder. I automatically notice that it has all of the normal things that you would expect to find in a builder. They give you the ability to add sections, rows, and modules. Site wide options and a moderate amount of content modules to build the page out with. Nimble promotes itself as being simple and fast. I can honestly say that they really nailed down the “simple” aspect as the interface is straight black and white with very little design details.

I can’t help but be a little bored already by looking at this interface with how plain and simple it really is and once you go through everything a few times it’s not too hard to figure out where things are located and then being able to place the content on the page, but it does seem like something is missing from the experience of building out a page.

Dane-Jackson-Green-River-Race

Now with the Divi Builder, you’ll be drawn to the easy-to-navigate interface that is also highly involved with using colors to help separate the differences between sections, rows, and different modules. As a more of visual learner, I’m drawn to these interface design aspects to help with building out a site. Both builders can achieve mostly the same things, but you will have to adjust to using one over the other and figure out how to navigate each interface to create the site that you want to build.

Vietnam-Street-Photography

I need content now

Nimble Builder, I was able to locate the different content modules that you can simply drag and drop into your page. (All builders will have this drag and drop feature, but some of them will have more modules than others.) Nimble I was able to find roughly 25 modules ranging from text, buttons, accordions, and more.

Divi boasts more than 50 different modules that really run the gambit of what you can think of using for your site, but what is even better than that is the massive amounts of 3rd party developers that strictly create additional modules for the Divi platform. Divi might have 50+ modules, but the Divi community gives you access to thousands of modules and additional divi add-ons

New Zealand Lanscape
New Zealand Lanscape

Make it advanced!

Nimble’s advanced features include animations, additional header options, and other effects. With Nimble they give you the ability to create an animation on just about any element with a quick fade, slide, or bounce effect. Along with that, you can also define additional background colors and logo image dimensions on scroll, but that is about where it ends with Nimble when it comes to advanced features.

Divi’s advanced features include all of the normal animation options, but they now also include several different scroll effect animations for any element in order to really make your site a truly interactive experience. Another great feature that divi offers that I believe people tend to look past is split testing. Divi allows you the option to create split tests for any page, any section, any row. Split testing allows for tracking different audience interactions with the different versions of the elements and that will enable you to see which design delivers the better results. Divi is constantly releasing new features and I would highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter in order to keep up with their innovation.

 

Is it easy?

I know what you’re saying, you’re saying “Dan, okay cool I get it, but which one is the easiest to use, and how effective is each builder?”

How easy a builder is pretty subjective to what you feel most comfortable with using and your personal experience with builders. Both builders are easy to use if you are simply trying to put together a quick website with minimal content, but it just depends on how in-depth your website needs to be and what you need to implement into the site will determine how hard a builder is to use or to figure out how to incorporate different elements or design structures.

New Zealand Lanscape
New Zealand Lanscape

Which one wins?

When it comes down to brass tax, The overall design, features, the massive amounts of modules, and customization. I believe the Divi Builder wins this comparison 100x over. The divi community is one of the best builder communities out there and is always willing to lend a helping hand to new developers.

Nimble builder is simple and offers some of the most basic elements, but as they continue to grow and develop their builder I wouldn’t just completely rule them out just yet.

I would suggest thinking about which features do you value the most and of course another thing that might come in play is pricing and what will meet your budget. As always, its best to dive into each of them and simply play around in each of them to get a feel for both of them.

Curious to learn more?

There are a ton of builders out there and I would love to go through each and every one of them in more depth. Let us know in the comments if there is a builder you think I should dive into next time.

If you are thinking of having a website built or you are designing a website for your company, keep these design resources in mind and let us know in the comments if you have any additional resources to add?

 

Is your website meeting current design standards? Email me for a free consultation. 

Did you enjoy the blog? Share it with your friends!