3 Nifty Tools for Web Design & Development Aficionados

Part of what makes the web so wonderful is the continuous space there is to explore. Pixel-pushers know as well as anyone that inventive tools, processes, and techniques help make things pleasantly colorful. Here are a few tools I’ve come across of recent to put in your quiver.

Colorable

colorable - color accessibility tester

This site helps you figure out whether your colors are prime-time or up to par per accessibly standards. https://colorable.jxnblk.com/

Blobmaker

blob maker - svg shape maker

This site helps you make unique SVG shapes to use in your projects. The builder has a color, complexity and contrast controls to allow for a range of fun. https://www.blobmaker.app/

Fancy Border Radius

fancy border radius - unique size border-radius generator

This site gives you an easy way to visualize and to generate a unique border radius shape. https://9elements.github.io/fancy-border-radius/

Callout Ad Extensions: Beef-Up Your Google Search Ads with this Free Add-On Option

Google Ads, formerly Google AdWords, continues to generate website traffic creating bottom-line value for businesses across the globe. In fact, Google estimates that for every $1 spent, advertisers – on average – earn $2 (some as high as $8).

Moreover, Google continues to loom large in the digital ad space, even as Facebook increases its share. As eMarketer reported in 2018, Google captured 37.2% of the share of digital ad spend.

Google remains a +37% owner of the space, while Facebook earns just +19%.

One way Google continues to deliver results on digital advertising for businesses is through search network ads.

In addition to the standard features offered to advertisers using Google’s search network, Google Ads provides a free add-on, aka ad extensions.

Ad extensions are – just as they might sound – an extension of the standard ad features.

The complete list of extension types include: Site Link, Callout, Call, Location, Associated Location, Price, Structured Snippet.


How Do Callout Ad Extensions Work?

As you can see below, the callout extension adds another line of text to the search network ad. With this extension you can potentially add 2 to 6 callouts to your ads.

Google Ads Callout Extension Example Ad
An example Search Network Ad with Callout Extension
The extension is the final line, “Free Shipping… etc.”

These extensions are often used to highlight various aspects of your service or product offering, and they can be scheduled to appear only during certain time ranges.

Like all ad extensions utilized properly, callout extensions create benefit by:

  • Increasing the size – and noticeability – of your ads
  • Creating additional value to you the advertiser
  • Making ads more dynamic and appealing to your audience

How Can I Setup Callout Ad Extensions?

To create callout extensions visit the extensions area of the Google Ads campaign interface. You will be guided through setup, and will even have the opportunity to see what the callout extensions look like as they’re added to your ads.

Google Ads ~
Callout Extensions

It’s worth noting that ad extensions won’t always show just because they’ve been setup in your campaign. There are some prerequisites, along with recommendations on campaign setup to help ensure your ads show with extensions.

Be sure to read and familiarize yourself with the instructions and best practices provided by Google, if you’re going to be setting up the extensions yourself. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, they say!
😉

Well, there you have it. A brief guide and introduction to the benefits and the how-to of using callout extensions to beef-up your next ad campaign.

Search network denotes a direct connection with search engine results (though it can include websites in Google’s Content Network, too). Google also offers display, shopping, and app advertising options that are somewhat separate from the search network.

Creating Excerpts in WordPress – Tags, Functions, & Notes

WordPress is a beautiful rig. It’s the world’s most popular and relied-upon CMS. Here’s how you can activate, modify, and place excerpts in WordPress.

By default WordPress sets excerpts (short previews of a blog or custom post type) to 55 characters. The character limit is a good one that works in most situations. However, it is possible to modify the character count. Here’s how.

How To Change Default Excerpt Character Count

To modify the character count, you’ll need to access the functions.php file of your particular theme. The best way to do that is to access it through the server files, likely through cPanel.

Once you’ve access the functions.php file and have opened it up to be edited, you can use the snippet below to set the character count you desire.

/**
 * Filter the except length to 20 words.
 *
 * @param int $length Excerpt length.
 * @return int (Maybe) modified excerpt length.
 */
function wpdocs_custom_excerpt_length( $length ) {
    return 20;
}
add_filter( 'excerpt_length', 'wpdocs_custom_excerpt_length', 999 );

By default, WordPress does not insert a hyperlink (or permalink) into the excerpt. Without modification, excerpts display […].

That delivery of content is often customized, however, to often include a call-to-action (i.e. Read more) and link to the article in question.

How Can I Add a Read More Link to My WordPress Excerpts?

Again, you’ll need to access your functions.php file to make this modification. Once you’ve done that, you can use the script below to create an excerpt that has a link.

/**
 * Filter the "read more" excerpt string link to the post.
 *
 * @param string $more "Read more" excerpt string.
 * @return string (Maybe) modified "read more" excerpt string.
 */
function wpdocs_excerpt_more( $more ) {
    if ( ! is_single() ) {
        $more = sprintf( '<a class="read-more" href="%1$s">%2$s</a>',
            get_permalink( get_the_ID() ),
            __( 'Read More', 'textdomain' )
        );
    }
 
    return $more;
}
add_filter( 'excerpt_more', 'wpdocs_excerpt_more' );

I’ll add more to this post soon. 😉

Here are a few resources for additional context and information on this topic.

On Well-Doing and Doing as Well as Possible

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from Treasury of Proverbs and Epigrams.

To do well is to choose wisely.

The conscience of well-doing is an ample reward.

Do good by stealth, and blush to find it fame.

Do good and care not to whom.

He/she who fasteth and doeth no good, saveth his/her bread, but loseth his/her soul.

They do much that do a little well.

Using Google Ads’ Landing Page Experience

The Google Ads’ advertising platform provides a plethora of data options. The advertiser using Google Ads will be presented with a variety of standard metrics, but there are additional metrics (worthy of your consideration) available. These metrics need to be activated, so to speak, in order to be seen. Here’s when, why, and how to activate the Landing Page Experience metric in Google Ads.

Quick disclaimer: The landing page experience metric is core to a campaign’s success, and yet there are a host of other metrics that can’t be ignored when implementing a search or display campaign’s setup.
  • Campaign purpose and goals
  • Researching historic or industry benchmarks
  • Solid keyword analysis and selection
  • Persona or audience-driven artwork
We need to make sure those are done too.

Landing page experience is one of those metrics that won’t be scored until ad traffic begins to arrive on the page. However, Google Ads does provide a list of points to consider. In fact, there are 5-points that are known influencers of the landing page experience score.

Adhering to the principles listed below are your sure-fire way to ensure (a) users have a good experience, (b) Google scores your landing page highly, and (c) you, thereby, create great efficiency of spend with your campaign.

When you have a well-built campaign, you help ensure that you: rank higher, your ads are shown more often by Google, and that you pay less — because Google Ads knows that your page is well-built, and reliable. So, what are those principles?

  1. Ensure your landing page content is original, useful, and relevant
  2. Include all items necessary to foster trust with those visiting the page
  3. Ensure navigating through the page, process or site is intuitive and fluid for all users
  4. Ensure the webpage loads quickly regardless of wifi connectivity
  5. (Again, because it’s that important) make sure the page is fast and fluid for users

Alright, so enough precursor and ‘why’ of it all. Let’s see the report in action, shall we?

Quick bit of context: This is a relatively newer metric to the Google Ads platform. There are a pair of places where you can find get feedback on a landing page.

First, you can find general scoring for your landing pages in the main menu. This report will provide initial details about your landing page.

You may need to have your Google Analytics linked with your Google Ads account to see the Mobile Speed Score.

Secondly, you can activate the landing page experience column within the keyword report by (1) modifying the column, and (2) navigating to the Quality Score sub-section. There you can select or toggle-on the ability to see landing page experience.

Select “Modify Columns” to start. Landing Page Experience is part of the Quality Score metrics. It includes the metric for all Search, Display, and Video campaigns.
Enable Landing Page Experience within the Quality Score sub-section.

The key is really knowing when and to what degree to apply the information. As stated, there are a host of metrics to keep in mind; however, now that you know more about this metric – you can begin applying your understanding of the landing page experience metric in your evaluation of Google Ads campaigns. 😉