Are Millennials Bringing Back Print?

In this digital age, there seems to be the belief that print media is either dead or dying. One potential culprit for this thought is that the younger generations are “addicted” to devices such as smartphones, and therefore have no interest in print media.

However, a report by Ipsos shows that Millennials and the previous generation, Generation X (Gen X), are both experiencing an upward trend of mobile internet usage. Even the Baby Boomers, while using mobile internet far less than either Gen X or Millennials, are still seeing an increase of use.

Furthermore, despite this increase in digital reliance, the same study found that Millennials were more likely to pay attention to newspaper and magazine adverts (40%) than to adverts on their laptop (35%), mobile (34%), or tablet (29%). So, not only is print not dead, the Millennials are a far cry from the prime suspect in its demise.

In fact, quite the opposite. It appears that the Millennial generation is actually bolstering print media’s popularity. According to Omnipress, 89% of Millennials use print media for professional and educational material.

Where’s this love for print coming from in the usually tech-savvy age group? Well, there’s certainly an argument to be made for escapism — the younger generations in the UK particularly are noted for having poor mental wellbeing. The Guardian reported on findings from the Varkey Foundation, in which people were asked about their feelings, how loved they felt and what worries they had. With a rising fear of terrorism and climate change, along with concerns for the future and aspects like not being able to own a home, it’s no wonder that this generation is fond of escapism.

And where better than in the pages of a book? You may think Millennials and the generation after, Generation Z, are hooked to video games and don’t read anymore. Not so — in 2014, figures showed Millennials read more printed books (88%) than Gen X did (79%). Furthermore, the sale of digital books has actually been in decline, with physical book sales starting to rise again. Not only is the younger generation seeking an escape, it’s seeking stability; something it can physically hold on to. There’s likely an element of nostalgia in reading a physical book too, and nostalgia is all the rage right now. Nostalgia is a form of escapism in itself, in that a person yearns for a different time or place away from the current reality. Looking back with rose-tinted glasses is comforting to many.

Physical print is also seeing a resurgence in magazine print. In particular, independent magazines are seeing a revival in print, and some believe it is down to a rebellious attitude rising against the internet. Considered to be the least-trusting generation, could it be that Millennials are looking for a way to consume media that hasn’t been heavily edited or filtered as the internet is these days? Or, in a world where they are told so often that they are the generation addicted to technology, is this enjoyment of print media a way to shirk the stereotype?

Whatever the reason, it’s working in print media’s favour, as 2018 saw newspapers enjoying a rise of 1% in print display advertising in its first quarter. Again, this falls into the area of trust, with social media outlets having had a tough time in that regard in recent years after a number of data breaches and scandals hitting the headlines. With its fall from grace, it looks like print media, such as newspapers and magazine, can step back into the limelight as a “tried, tested and true” traditional medium.

Plus, returning to this medium after exploring all the possibilities of digital adverts and being forced to get creative to be noticed in the oversaturated market has lead to some fantastic print advert designs! Take the Glacial beer company, for instance. It ran a print paper advert that served more purpose than just advertising — it was functional, too. The paper was infused with salt, and the advert called for readers to tear the page out, wet it, and wrap a bottle of beer with it before popping it in the freezer. As a result of the salt, the beer would chill in half the time.

On the other hand, print and digital advertising don’t have to be at odds, either. Sonera ran a printed advert to spotlight its 4G, with the printed advert forming a board game layout. Putting an iPhone in the centre of the ad set the stage for a two-player game that took place on the paper and on the screen!

Print is far from dead. In fact, it’s enjoying something of a resurgence thanks partly to a kindred spirit: the Millennial. Both print and the Millennial generation are looking to buck the trend and prove the naysayers wrong. And if the figures are anything to go by, they’re succeeding.

This article was brought to you by United Carlton, a leading supplier of Visitor Management systems.

 

Sources:

https://metro.co.uk/2018/08/02/addicted-online-checking-phones-7788523/

https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/2017-05/ipsos-mori-millennial-myths-realities-full-report.pdf

https://www.omnipress.com/blog/infographic-millennials-print/

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/feb/08/uk-second-japan-young-people-poor-mental-wellbeing

https://www.printweek.com/print-week/news/1165127/printed-books-turn-a-new-leaf-as-digital-sales-decline

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/22/independent-magazines-buck-trend-for-print-decine

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/31/national-newspapers-in-uk-enjoy-first-print-advertising-rise-since-2010-research-finds

http://creativity-online.com/work/glacial-beer-freezer-print-ad/38511

https://graphicartsmag.com/articles/2018/05/millennials-consume-print/

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/interactive-print-ads

 


The problem with sarcasm

“Well, that was super helpful.”

Was it? Or are you trying to be sarcastic?

Because if it was helpful, you could simply write, “thank you, that was helpful.”

On the other hand, if you’re trying to express disappointment or displeasure, you could write, “I’m disappointed that you weren’t able to contribute more here. We were really looking forward to your input.”

The problem with sarcasm is that the level of displeasure is hidden. You might come across as snarky when you don’t mean to, or, the snarkiness you were sending might not land.

My new rule of thumb is to always assume goodwill and ignore any perceived sarcasm. Call it a Type II sarcasm-detection error.

It’s hard to imagine a situation where sarcasm is the most effective way to make your point.


5 Huge Warning Signs of a Bad SEO or Digital Marketing Agency

With the increase in the demand for SEO, the industry is rapidly growing with an enormous quantity of digital marketing agency. There is no doubt that nowadays everyone wants to grab a strong online presence for their webpage and has only one goal in mind, i.e., to be on the top of the first page in the SERPs.

But to make this wish a reality, you need to make sure that your website is full to search engine optimized.

How does SEO work? 



To make SEO work on your webpage, you must follow a mix of On-Page and Off-Page SEO techniques. Some of these techniques are quite technical, and you might require a professional to implement them, for example, setting up SSL, increasing the speed of your site, and enhancing the user experience, etc. Non-technical practices such as the addition of quality content, keywords, and meta-tags, getting high-quality backlinks, reviews, and listings require only SEO guidelines and policies shared by the search engines.

The field of SEO is extremely dynamic and not confined to the practices mentioned above. So, if you are thinking about getting to the top without any help, then we will recommend that you hire an agency or company that offers digital marketing services as cannot study one article on SEO and decide to call yourself a master of the field while others spend years of mastering and perfecting the skill.

Choosing the Right Digital Marketing Agency to Perform SEO




The market is currently overwhelmed by the number of companies offering SEO services. They try to prove that they are the “best” in the market. Have you ever wondered; if there were so many “best SEO Agencies” in the market, then wouldn’t all sites be on the first page of Google?

So, today, we will discuss the red flags that can easily tell whether an SEO or digital marketing agency is terrible news for your business:

  • Specific Number of Links

Companies that offer a specific number of monthly links or a promise to provide you with a particular amount of links on your website are for surely using black hat techniques. We all know that SEO is a time-consuming procedure, and anything that has submitted on high-quality sites is always reviewed. You can never be too sure about what will be accepted after the site owner has considered.
A company using automated links which can be irrelevant for the business or using black hat techniques to improve the link ratio is useless and harmful. Link building that involves SEO strategies and proper SEO work that can take a lot of time. It is always recommended to go for the technique that lasts longer and has a more engaging impact on the site. Other methods such as PBNs, etc. last shorter, a figure can be displayed, but you can never have the desired output, and worse can even get manual action from Google. 
  • Pre-determined Amount of Traffic 

Even though good SEO brings the right amount of traffic on your site, it is not easy to provide an estimate of the traffic that will end on your website. Any agency that promises you a specified number of people on the site is undoubtedly lying to you. 
It is easier to release bots on the site that will increase the number of traffic on the “Analytics” page, but they leave no impact on your business and do not contribute in helping the company in any way. 
  • Lack of Transparency

When you have worked for a company, and the project is deemed as successful; what do you do? You put it in your CV or portfolio. SEO Companies who are biased enough not to let their clients’ go through the results of their previous projects encourage a lack of transparency. These companies do not have anything on the record to show you.
It recommended that before investing in hiring and SEO, always look for reviews and testimonial references. If you are unable to find any, you know you should be looking for another agency. 
  • Instant Ranking on Top Pages

An agency trying to bluff with the people who are interested in their services will promise you high rankings within a short period. A company who claims to give you top page ranking in a short time are bad news. Their technique usually ends with them explaining several problems that your website has and will make you realize that you need to fix the issues to get the desired results.  Once the contract finished, businesses end up with a combination of keywords with zero to no monthly search volume. 
  • Cold Emails

Cold emails are the epitome of blind marketing. When a company wants to spread its name without targeting a relevant audience, they pitch to random email lists hoping to score a contract. It shows a lack of technique and inadequate knowledge regarding digital marketing. 
Agencies sending cold emails have probably purchased a bulk of emails from a provider or scraped them. That means that they have no clue about what you do in your business. They claim to work for someone and a proficient in something they don’t know. Some companies are deeply involved in this technique of spam based marketing, which is why they end up in the spam folder of your email. 
Conclusion

Let’s conclude this article with a few key points that you must consider before hiring someone to perform SEO for your website. 
  1. Keep in mind that SEO is not a short-term procedure, and it involves a lot of techniques and processes. 
  2. You can never be too sure about the figures and results that you would be reaching because of your SEO strategies. 
  3. Google changes policies now and then so it is essential to understand and remain up to date with the plans. 
We hope that this article will help you in identifying shady agencies and individuals practicing black hat SEO skills. If you are looking to invest in affordable SEO services, then make sure that the company being hired has a good track record with proven results.
Images Source

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/creative-agency-meeting-group-business-people-407327212?src=yBkPyi6ZT2Zjee6mMHCgQw-1-3&studio=1
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/businessman-seo-marketing-strategy-working-concept-226757146?src=K_6PjTAz55rX1f-1yPvOcw-1-15&studio=1
https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/two-guys-girl-drinking-juice-office-790590634?src=yBkPyi6ZT2Zjee6mMHCgQw-1-7&studio=1


What is Beto O’Rourke a Passionate Fan of?

Today and tomorrow are the second round of Democratic Presidential debates in the 2020 cycle. Over the past few months, I’ve traveled to candidate town halls to ask each candidate a simple question: “Outside of your work and your family, what are you a fan of, what are you passionate about?” Today we share what Beto O’Rourke told us.


Formal Vs. Casual — Which Is Best For Office Productivity?

In recent years, there has been a shift in the office dress code. At one time, a nine-to-five job was synonymous with a three-piece suit and briefcase. But, now, many companies are happy to let their employees dress in business casual attire or what they feel comfortable in. Is it affecting productivity, though?

 

The switch to business casual

It’s possible that it is the influence of younger workers in the office that has led to a shift towards business casual. It seems as though this age group is more protective over identity and style of dress and are opposed to being told what to wear.

Business casual can be defined as a style of dress that is smart but not overly professional. For a man, this might be a Men’s shirt without a tie, navy trousers and loafers. For women it could be a smart blouse with cropped, tailored trousers and flat shoes.

In fact, more than one in ten people aged 18-24 said that they had considered quitting their job due to a strict dress code. Older employees, however, do not share the same strong views. Only 7% of those aged 55 and over said that they would think about leaving their employment because of the dress code. Compare this to 17% of 18-24s and it’s clear to see a divide. It might depend on which sector you operate in as to how your staff feel about uniform. Those working in the energy sector (32%), science and pharma sector (31%) and IT sector (29%) are most likely to leave their role due to dress code requirements, one study discovered.

Therefore, is it worth removing the dress code to retain these staff? Quite possibly. Employers are aware of how high staff turnover can have great cost and productivity implications. Costs incur during the recruitment process as the position is advertised and time is spent by employers interviewing and selecting candidates. Having a dress code may deter candidates too — 61% of people looking for a new job in 2017 said that they’d have a negative perception of any company that enforced a dress code. Productivity also takes a hit, as often a current employee has to spend time training the new starter or letting them shadow their day-to-day activities — this can prevent existing workers from working to their maximum capacity.

Another reason for the switch to business casual is a growth in creative companies. In fact, between 2010 and 2016, the creative industries sub sectors (i.e advertising, film and TV) grew their economic contribution by 44.8%. Dress code is often less strict in these companies, as employees are encouraged to express their ‘creative flair’.

 

The effects of how you dress

Research has shown that what you wear can have an impact on how you behave at work.

In one study, subjects were presented with a white coat and told different things. The participants that were told it was a doctor’s coat, felt more confident in accomplishing tasks compared to those that were told they were wearing a painter’s coat. Other research shows that wearing more formal clothing (such as a Tuxedos) can make people think more broadly.

On the other hand, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, wears the same casual clothes every day and runs a company worth billions of dollars. He says that dressing in this way gives him one less decision to make and allows him to focus on more important workplace decisions.

When it comes to productivity, the majority of UK workers said that they would feel more productive and put more effort into their appearance if there wasn’t a strict dress code — this is according to a study by Stormline. Moreover, 78% of respondents to one survey said that they would still make an effort to dress well and wouldn’t blur the line between ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’ if there weren’t any rules on what to wear.

 

What’s best for the business?

Based on the research that we’ve looked at, it’s clear to see that it depends on the employee as to whether they should follow dress code.

It may depend on their role, too. First impressions still, and most likely will, always count. If employees are in a client-facing role, it’s important to look professional and approachable — they are effectively representing the business and should be making it look good.

It could be good for businesses to ask their employees how they feel about uniforms and when they feel most productive. This could be the best indicator of whether a uniform is best for the business or not. As we’ve seen, uniforms can affect behaviour at work and it is down to the individuals as to whether they work best following, or not adhering to, a dress code.

 

Sources

https://www.duedil.com/blog/power-dressingthe-effects-of-dress-code-on-productivity

http://www.managers.org.uk/insights/news/2017/october/dressed-to-impress-is-it-time-for-managers-to-embrace-off-the-cuff-employee-fashion-at-work

https://www.recruitment-international.co.uk/blog/2017/01/61-percent-of-employees-more-productive-when-dress-code-is-relaxed-study-finds

http://www.thecreativeindustries.co.uk/uk-creative-overview/news-and-views/news-creative-industries-earn-uk-almost-%C2%A392bn


Moving On

TL;DR: September 1 will be my last day working at Portent. I am not retiring.

Now for the soulful post.

It’s been a great ride. Keep reading for three reasons that, while I’m making a change, I’m not retiring:

Why Now?

This move has been in the works for a while. Chad Kearns and I have worked together for over three years. He now leads Portent and runs the agency far better than I ever could. Around him is an exceptional leadership team: Katie McKenna, Kirsten Pickworth, and Michael Wiegand. They’re surrounded by specialists including 19-year veterans like Tracy Beach (Tracy, you think you can hide, but you can’t)—folks who know the business inside and out.

I’ll miss being here. It’s been my thing for 25 years, which is part of why it’s time for me to make some changes. Chad and his team have this place handled. I wouldn’t be comfortable moving on unless they did.

They trundle me out for pitches and the occasional speaking gig, then gingerly return me to my office, where I sit, looking terribly important. It’s a sweet gig, but I’m sucking up serious P&L dollars and Diet Coke while my butt slowly shapes itself to my chair.

So, it’s a great time to try something different that does not include retiring because my wife will either leave me or wall me in ala Edgar Allan Poe if I’m home 24/7. That’s Reason I Am Not Retiring #1.

Thank You!

I’ve heard lots of kind words and thank-yous. But I’m the one who should say “thank you.”

I cannot say it enough: Thank you to my whole team, to every client who’s supported us (or fired us, as long as you paid your bill and weren’t a total git about it). Thank you to everyone who’s helped me stay sane minimally crazy. Thank you to everyone who’s shown so much class, frankness and support for 25 years as I’ve stumbled around, crashed into things, barked my metaphorical shins, stomped on people, and made mistakes carrying out the easiest, most straightforward aspects of leadership.

Thank you to Clearlink, for taking a chance on us and working towards a new model for marketing services. Thanks in particular to Phil Hansen and Ted Roxbury, who made the deal happen.

Your investment has helped us grow. Your time and collaboration have helped us take on a new kind of client, and I’m excited to see the continued evolution of Portent and Clearlink. We’ve developed as a company, and this is one reason I’m comfortable moving on. It’s been a pleasure.

Thank you to everyone who supports me in my work after 9/1. Reason I’m Not Retiring #2: I’m not retiring because if I did my head would probably explode, showering everyone with nasty bits.

What’s Next?

I’m working full-time at Portent until 9/1/2019. At that point, I’ll leave, cardboard box of belongings in hand.

After that, I’ll stay in marketing, and stay connected to Portent.

  • I’ll be at Portent a couple of times a month, running training and sponging off the Diet Coke machine
  • I’ll continue writing, speaking, and working as a marketer

Until 9/1, though, saying more would distract me from my current job. As my official departure date approaches, I’ll share details. Nothing surprising, though. Don’t get all excited.

Which brings me to reason #3 I’m Not Retiring: I’d have to be a complete idiot to do something so stupid. I enjoy the work and, most important, working with all of you.

Thanks for listening.

Got questions?

ian@portent.com
@ianlurie (note the change – no longer @portentint)
On Linkedin

End of message.

The post Moving On appeared first on Portent.


How Often You Need To Audit Content to Stay on Top

Illustration of a magnifying glass examining data on a computer screen next to a growth chart showing increased revenueIllustration of a magnifying glass examining data on a computer screen next to a growth chart showing increased revenue

Content marketing is a never-ending quest for meaningful user engagement. First, you equip your website with high-quality resource pages, blog posts, infographics, and videos to vanquish your SERP foes and collect the first-page reward. In time, your website’s newfound prestige woos users and generates more website traffic and conversions. Congratulations! Your content is now King of the Search Query and can cast aside its rough-and-tumble upbringing to live a fulfilling, peaceful life in its cushy first-page home.

Unfortunately, that peace is short-lived.

Your usurped competition lurks in the shadows of page two, bolstering their content and sieging against your hard-earned SERP ranking. Without a content audit, you may remain blissfully unaware of the impending doom your content faces. And soon, your content will be dethroned.

A regular content audit is among the most important and often forgotten tools in your content marketing arsenal. Audits can highlight underperforming content, spark ideas for editorial calendars, and give you insights about what content resonates best with your users.

But what is a content audit, why is a content audit important, and how often should you audit your content?

Keep reading to find out.

What is a Content Audit?

A content audit evaluates the qualitative performance of a website’s content over a specific length of time. Audits typically analyze data from an analytics platform, SEO tools, and social media reports. Often, audits cross-check if content abides by in-house style guides and brand guidelines. Editorial-focused audits may also evaluate word count, keyword focus, spelling, grammar, and voice and tone.

How Often Should You Audit Website Content?

The type of content you audit determines the audit frequency and evaluation metrics you use. At a minimum, we recommend an annual content audit; however, content in some stages of the user journey requires more frequent audits than others.

Awareness Content – Audit Every 6 Months

Awareness content, such as blog posts, need time to mature and draw user engagement. A brand-new blog post can take upward of three-to-six months to begin ranking on Google within the top three pages—if it ranks at all. During that time, much of the traffic going to awareness content is likely being driven by social media, paid advertising, or existing users. Six months is generally enough time to know if your content is going to perform organically, or if it needs adjustments to achieve the goals you’re setting.

Common audit metrics for awareness content include:

  • Pageviews (segmented by organic/social/paid)
  • Unique Visitors
  • Time on Page
  • Bounce/Exit Rate
  • Social Shares
  • Comments
  • Backlinks

Consideration Content – Audit Every 3-6 Months

Consideration content, like a how-to guide for your product or service, is often among the most popular content on your website. Quality consideration content can lead to fast user conversion, so you should keep up-to-date on its performance. Auditing this content every three-to-six months gives you time to respond and adapt to shifts in users’ behavior or needs. If you’re auditing every three months, predictive analytics may shore up shallow data pools and empower you to make better-informed decisions.

Common audit metrics for consideration content include:

  • Pageviews (segmented by direct/organic/social/paid)
  • Unique Visitors
  • Time on Page
  • Bounce/Exit Rate
  • Assisted Conversions
  • Backlinks
  • Trust Flow
  • Social Shares

Conversion Content – Audit Quarterly

Choosing how often to audit a conversion page is tough. If you have an e-commerce website and earn thousands of conversions per day, you’re going to have an easier time evaluating content performance than a manufacturing firm that converts once or twice per week. To accommodate for both scenarios, we recommend a quarterly audit of your most important conversion content. This timeframe often gives enough data to spot data trends. Conversion content can also be audited monthly, depending on how long the user’s conversion timeline is and how much data you have.

Common audit metrics for conversion content include:

  • Pageviews (segmented by direct/organic/paid)
  • Unique Visitors
  • Time on Page
  • Bounce/Exit Rate
  • Goals/Conversions

Retention Content – Audit Annually

Retention content, such as a tips-and-tricks guide or previews of upcoming products, often have low engagement metrics because the target audience is current or prior customers. To ensure you have enough data, perform an annual audit.

Common audit metrics for retention content include:

  • Pageviews (segmented by direct/organic/social/paid)
  • Unique Visitors
  • Time on Page
  • Bounce/Exit Rate
  • Assisted Conversions
  • Conversions/Goals
  • Backlinks
  • Social Shares

If you’d prefer to audit all of your content at once instead of segmenting it by user journey, we recommend performing either an annual or quarterly audit. Each option has benefits and drawbacks.

An annual content audit is beneficial because you’ll have a full year’s worth of data, which lets you discover clear patterns in user engagement and content performance. This data can empower your content team to identify content that needs updates or a rewrite or enables you to change the direction of your content entirely. However, because you’re only performing this audit once a year, you’ll be behind the curve on adapting to industry trends or user whims. Annual audits work well for companies with long, intricate content strategies.

A quarterly audit limits the breadth of data you’ll operate with but allows swift modifications to industry changes, early performance metrics, or consumer demands. Quarterly audits work well for websites with ample visitors and frequent content updates.

How SEO Influences Your Content Audit Frequency

Your SEO goals also affect how often you should audit your content and the metrics you should evaluate. The three most important evaluation metrics are backlinks, target keywords, and keyword rankings.

Backlinks

If you’re performing a quarterly, six-month, or annual audit, backlinks can give you a great idea of how well your content will rank organically as it matures or gets updated. The more backlinks from reputable websites your content earns, the more likely your content may rank well on search engines. You can also create an outreach strategy to earn backlinks on underperforming pages to help bolster their value.

Target Keywords and Keyword Rankings

If you use a keyword tracking tool like Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, or STAT, you should include the most relevant keyword rankings in your audit. Any content that doesn’t rank for its target keywords should be nominated for edits or removal. Content that performs well for its target keyword or is rapidly gaining keywords can transition to a target for your outreach campaign.

Remember that keyword growth is a long-term plan. Audits every one-to-three months will show a clear keyword growth pattern, but don’t get scared if your content isn’t ranking within the first three months. However, if you perform a bi-annual audit and notice your content still hasn’t started ranking, then it’s time to take a closer look at the content to determine a cause.

Content Audit Next Steps

After your audit is complete, what’s next?

Prioritize the Results

Depending on the audit metrics you use, you’re going to be swimming in an overwhelming amount of data. The first step is to comb through the audit results and begin segmenting your content into four update priority level categories:

  • High: this should be updated within the next two weeks
  • Medium: update in the next month
  • Low: update in the next three months
  • None: leave the content alone

Build a Content Calendar

After the audit results are prioritized, begin building an editorial calendar. The calendar should show how the content will be updated and when the updates are due.

Set a Date for Your Next Audit

Once the editorial calendar is complete, and you’ve started to update your high-priority content, plan the next audit so you can monitor the changes you’re making.

Final Thoughts

Good content marketing strategies require more than just rolling the dice and hoping your content ascends the search query throne. A regular content audit helps fortify your ranking content against pesky challengers from page two. And when you’re the sly usurper trying to dethrone the reigning king, an audit better equips your content for the SERP battle ahead.

The post How Often You Need To Audit Content to Stay on Top appeared first on Portent.


The perfect mustard

If you ask for mustard at a French bistro, you’ll get a strong Dijon, handmade in a little village three hundred kilometres away.

If you ask for mustard at a game at Fenway, apparently you’ll get Gulden’s.

Within a rounding error, all mustard costs the same. It’s not about the price. It’s about coherence with the story. When a Marriott brings you the little sealed bottle of fake dijon from Heinz, they’re not offering you mustard, they’re sending a signal about what they think is fancy.

And at the ball game, the yellow mustard in a giant pump tells a story as well.

Is one better than the other? It’s a matter of taste and context. Of course, I have a favorite mustard and a narrative about what’s appropriate in a given setting, and so does just about everyone else I know. But favorite is different than ‘right’. There’s no absolute scale. How can a mustard be yuppie? Pretentious? Down to earth? It’s simply a condiment.

And yes, there’s a mustard analogy in everything you do. In how you shake hands, in the typeface you use in your presentation (and whether you call it a ‘font’), in the volume you choose for your voice when in conversation.

Being in sync is a choice.


Pivoting the education matrix

For the longest time, school has been organized around subjects. Fifth graders go to math class and then English class and then geography.

Mostly, those classes don’t teach what they say they teach. Sure, there are some facts, but mostly it’s the methods of instruction that are on offer. School usually has a different flavor than learning.

It turns out, the skills we need to use in life (and in school) aren’t subject specific. But we use those subjects to teach the skills we actually end up using. Everyone knows that the typical person doesn’t need binomials, but the argument is that problem-solving, etc, are totally worth learning and so we pretend to teach the subject when apparently, we’re teaching the skill.

Perhaps, instead of organizing school around data acquisition and regurgitation, we could identify what the skills are and separate them out, teaching domain knowledge in conjunction with the skill, not the other way around.

It turns out that the typical school spends most of its time on just one of those skills (obedience through comportment and regurgitation).

What would happen if we taught each skill separately?

Obedience
Management
Leadership/cooperation
Problem-solving
Mindfulness
Creativity
Analysis

Indeed, you are required to do all seven of these things in math class, but in what proportion? Is a kid who has trouble with obedience “bad at math” or is it that the obedience part of class got in the way of the analysis or problem-solving part of class instead?

It’s entirely possible for a kid to make it through 16 years of organized schooling with a solid B average and never do much more than do well on just one thing–remembering what’s on the test. We’ve failed when we’ve turned out someone with just one of the 7 skills.

What happens if we are clear what we’re doing and why? Because obedience isn’t the point of math or science, but sometimes it’s taught that way.

And then, when obedience session is over, we can find other ways to approach the work at hand, developing the other essential skills. A 45 minute Creativity class that uses algebra is going to feel very different from a Leadership class covering the same material.

Some kids spend a decade in the school sports system and learn leadership and management and creativity and analysis. And some learn nothing but how to follow the coach’s instructions and sit on the bench. This has nothing to do with sports (or geography or biology) and everything to do with what we decide we’re teaching in any given moment.

Is there a cognitive difference between solving a chemistry problem and solving a crossword puzzle? Not really. Getting good at solving–putting on your solving hat and finding the guts to use it–is a skill that gets buried under the avalanche that we call obedience.

“How’d you do in Creativity today, son?” or perhaps, “Wow, you got an A in Analysis–that’s going to open a lot of doors for you…”

Bureaucracies over-index for obedience. They do that out of self-preservation, and because it’s the easiest thing to sell to clients, funders and parents (and to measure). But since we’re currently overdoing that one (they do it far more in other countries, though), we end up getting confused about what it means to learn a subject area in a useful way and we definitely under-develop people on the other six skills.

My guess is that most parents and educators are afraid to even discuss the topic. More here.


Changes Needed for Improved WebPage Performance

There are numerous ways of improving web-page performance. Each of the methods varies from one to the other Besides, and it also works differently for each person.
Users left with no patience. Hence, they want the website to load faster, quicker, and of course, user-friendly to navigate. There are three core areas to focus on.

  1. Hardware i.e. Web Server
  2. Server Side Scripting
  3. Front-end Performance
Those mentioned above are the three main areas to focus on web development. With that thought in mind, we have a curated blog that shows the necessary changes needed for the improved webpage performance. Curious to know? Let us check out the blog! 
HTTP Requests

HTTP stands for the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The requests from the HTTP are numbered whenever a browser fetches the information, picture, or file from the server. 
As per the statistics, the HTTP requests tend to consume 80% of the webpage loading time. Besides, the browser will limit the requests to 4-8 connections per domain. Hence, this will result in using more HTTP requests. It will take longer to load as retrieving the data consumes time. 
So, try to minimize the HTTP requests by combining the CSS or JavaScript files. In addition to that, you can also reduce the number of images used. If they are huge, compress them to for fewer HTTP requests. 
Inline CSS and JavaScript

It’s by default that the browsers fetch the external CSS and JavaScript. When the user shifts from the landing page, the browser will store the stylesheets and of course, the JavaScript files.
If you are using plenty of CSS and JavaScript files in the HTML document, then you unable to take full advantage of the web-browser’s caching features.  
Speed-Optimized Theme

If you are a WordPress user, then you can improve the webpage performance by using the speed-optimized themes available for free and paid versions. For someone who lacks in coding, this turns out to be a brilliant option in optimizing the speed.

Also Read
Top 8 SEO Plugins For WordPress Website

Minimize Resources

When the web developers design the website, they use plenty of spaces, indentations, and line breaks for secure communication within the team. While this is helpful to them, it does make the webpage look clutter and longer. It also increases the page-loading time.
Therefore, a simple way to resolve it is by minimizing the resources that make the coding languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript leaner. You can also use the plugins for page loading time. 
Fixing Broken Links

Broken links tend to upset the customers and make the UX look poor. It also slows down the speed of the website. So, one has to check the broken links. If you try to do it manually, then it will undoubtedly become a tedious task. 
Thus, use the tools and plugins available to take care of the broken links. Once, you have installed the tool or plugin, then it will monitor all the links and gives notification via email or WordPress dashboard. 
Compressing Images

According to the statistics, 60% of the average bytes loads per page, this is around 1504 KB. Images consequently consume a large amount of the HTTP requests. Most of the times, we tend to download the photos from the stock and without knowing the size and later uploading it on the server without optimizing the images for the web that leads to a slower response.
If you find yourself in such a situation, then you can install the plugins that automatically optimizes the images. There are even software options available Image Optimizer and Compressor.io for optimizations. 
Dedicated Hosting

Last but not least comes the dedicated hosting options. If you are using the shared hosting option and not happy with the output, then it is high time to shift towards the dedicated hosting plans. It’s costly, but the investment is worth it.
One does not have to deal with the traffic surges and other small problems that occur in slowing down the web-page performance. But, when you have a dedicated hosting option, many advantages on your way. 
Time is money, especially when it comes to web-page performance. As we mentioned earlier, visitors go away from the websites that run slow; one has to make subsequent efforts in improvising it. 
The above seven changes help optimize web-page performance. Apart from the ones mentioned above, there are plenty of ways to try. So, go ahead and bring changes to your website. If you like the blog, then do share and drop suggestions in the comment section below.