Clear Copy

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I was on twitter this morning and I came across a tweet that introduced me to WP.com’s new (at least to me) SEO options. It looks like they finally implemented something I wanted for years, the ability to set the home page meta description. While I was checking that feature out I came across the above description that really confused me.

Craft a description of your site in about 160 characters.

Craft seems like an odd word choice. It’s a fun word don’t get me wrong but is it’s meaning universal. Also I get the 160 character limit but it’s not really explained. It’s almost seems like an arbitrary number (I know it’s not). What happens if I don’t use 160 characters? What if I go over? Will it break the internet? Is it like typing Google in Google?

I would have went with something simpler and more direct like:

“Describe your site, but don’t go over 160 characters.”

I think it get the point across better. While it doesn’t explain that Google will only show 160 character (I don’t really think it’s necessary) it at least lets them know that going under is ok, just make sure you don’t go over.

This description can be used in search engine results for your site’s Front Page.

The use of can confused me as well. If I put a description there will it or will it not be used as the description. It’s not really clear. Also I’ve never heard the term front page used to describe the home page. I guess WordPress calls the home page the front page but I’ve never heard the term used when talking about search engine stuff.

Here would also be a great place to include explain why the heck you need to spend the time adding a description here.

I would have done something like:

“First impressions are important. Setting your front page meta description gives web searchers a little preview of what your site is all about.” .

I don’t know if emphasizing that this only shows up on the front page is all that important. It’s called front page meta everywhere and I think explaining why they should do this is more important.

I also wish there was more explanation on the how. What makes up a good description? When creating a new campaign MailChimp links to a support doc that goes into detail on what makes up a great subject line. I would have loved to see a link to a support doc with tips and examples on great descriptions.

Finally while the preview is super helpful I would have loved it if it showed what was being used now (the first 160 characters of your home page) to illustrate how bad and useless it is now to reinforce the point that adding a custom description is a really good idea.

New Apple II blog

I decided to spin up a new blog to put all the fun stuff I’m learning about the Apple II. If you want to follow along on my journey than head on over to fastram.org.

Make mugs with teelaunch

I’m a creative person, I absolutely love creating things. While I was at Automattic I always wanted to try creative/fun advertising but it never worked out. Now at teelaunch I’m getting to run with some of the ideas I’ve been storing up for a while. Something I think is really powerful is video and I have been working on integrating it into our marketing plans.

I found out about the amazing folks over at Studio Bolland through the guys at WooThemes and they do amazing work. I’ve worked on a number of videos with them but I wanted to share my favorite one so far. I’m basically trying to let people know to double down on mugs in 2016 and here are some of the reasons I think they are awesome.

It turned out really well and I can’t wait to start running ads with it to see how well it converts. I also have some crazier ideas that I hope to run with soon. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out 🙂 .

Shopify Connect for WooCommerce

In a previous post I talked about how Shopify & WooCommerce can be friends. I made a v1 of a plugin to accomplish this that I call Shopify Connect for WooCommerce.

It’s actually extremely simple. Basically I remove the normal add to cart buttons and replace them with Shopify Buy Buttons. You use the official Shopify WordPress plugin to generate the shortcodes and then put the shortcode in a meta box and that’s it.

For v2 I want to make a reverse shortcode so you can put the shortcode in the regular post editor and once you press save it removes it from the post content and puts it into a hidden meta field (just not sure how to it yet 🙂 ). I also want to rewrite all /cart urls to point to the Shopify cart so people can still use cart header icons and such that are built into themes.

You can download the v1 here. Let me know what you think.

Shopify & WooCommerce can be friends

A little while back Shopify unveiled their WordPress plugin and while I think it was a great first step I would love to see it taken further. The plugin allows you to sell items on your WordPress site but it doesn’t really feel like you could make an entire store with it.

Shopify and WooCommerce both have great things about them. I love the freedom/customizability and the ecosystem of WooCommerce but I also really want a hosted solution and access to all the amazing partnerships/integrations that Shopify has. What if you didn’t have to choose? You could pay $9/month to get access to everything you love about Shopify but also be able to run the site with WooCommerce and have total freedom to do whatever the heck you want.

I worked up a rough demo of what I would really like to see in a Shopify & WooCommerce integration. Check out labs.secretpizza.party and you’ll see a WooCommerce site running Storefront but all the cart/buying functionality is taken care of by Shopify. The demo isn’t perfect, I plan on utilizing the Javascript Buy SDK to develop the final solution (just using the normal buy embeds currently) but I think there is something here and I really want to explore it more.

Back to my blogging roots

Way back in 2009 I got one of my very first paying online gigs. It was writing posts for Mac.AppStorm (they are still there). It didn’t pay all that much but I had so much fun doing it. I really enjoy blogging and so I’ve decided to start a new blog.

It’s called practicalshopify.com. Basically I’m interacting with Shopify quite a bit on a daily basis at my new gig and I’m learning a lot so I thought why not try to share what I’m learning with others. It should be fun. If you are interested in ecommerce or Shopify you really should follow along.

secret pizza party

Anyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with me knows I loving coming up with ideas. Coming up with something new or taking an existing process and making it better really excites me. In the past things like lack of free time, insufficient funds, and a COI policy have kept me from acting on these ideas. Now with no legal/time restrictions and a freshly pilfered 401k I have all the pieces I need to do something fun.

So I’m starting a WordPress development company over at secretpizza.party. Not exactly sure what all I’ll be releasing but it will likely include some WooCommerce stuff as ecommerce is my passion lately. I don’t want anything about it to be boring so I picked a crazy name and had an even crazier logo created. If you have any ideas of things you want to see created drop me a line and make sure to keep an eye on my blog for more information.

End of an Era

Today is a weird day for me, it’s my last day at Automattic. I’ve been there for over 4 years, I’ve traveled over 100k miles all over the world for different events and I’ve made a crap ton of swag.

While I’m sad to be leaving I’m very excited to be taking a position at my brother’s company, teelaunch, and helping him grow it. My brother is the most driven and passionate person I know and I can’t wait to see what we can build together.

Don’t worry I’m not leaving the WordPress community. I have big plans for a new WordPress/WooCommerce based company I’m launching and I have some crazy cool wapuu swag in the works.

I joined a button club

I’m always on the search for really neat things and I came across this great button club at inch x inch. Every month they send you really amazing buttons produced by busy beaver buttons and designed by some of the best designers in the world. The club is only $30/year and the profits go to various charities. I think its a really neat concept and if you are into well designed goods & charities you really should check it out.

dotcom vs dotorg

I work a bunch of events and I’m always trying to find ways to explain difficult concepts in an easy way. One thing that always confuses people is the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.

On my daily Dribbble search I came across a guy named Josh Quick who specializes in how-to type graphics and I got the idea to hire him to create a graphic to explain the difference.

I think it turned out pretty well and if you have a use for it please do whatever you want with it. It’s licensed under CC zero.

I’m obsessed with enamel pins

I love enamel pins. They are so hot right now and super cool. I was looking for pin inspiration and I came across a few resources I wanted to share.

First is this weekly column on Vice of really neat pins you need to be buying. There is some great stuff in there.

That lead me to PATCHGAME, who basically the authority on pins and patches. Getting featured on his channel basically guarantees sales.

My favorite suppliers

I’ve spent 1000’s of hours scouring the internet for cool stuff to make and during that time I’ve come across some pretty amazing companies who make custom items. I’ve decided to share my finds with you all on a new site I just put together, bespoke.supply. I’m adding stuff everyday so be sure to check back often and if you make anything cool please tell me about it.

WPA Style Posters

I’m in love with posters done up in WPA style. It would be really neat to do up a set with WordPress related themes like proper coding practices or the using WordPress best practices.

New coat of paint on RegionallyFamous.com

I was bored last night so I thought it might be fun to learn a bit more about Shopify theming. So I hacked up one of the free themes to make it fit my store a bit better. I learned a lot and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

Event Farm

Events fascinate me. I was doing my daily Dribble search when I came across this company called Event Farm. They are doing some pretty interesting work in the event space. I almost want to create an event just so I can use their neat platform. If you work in the event space you should really check them out.