Category Archives: TKGenius Training

Google Tag Manager

TagManagerRecently I have been putting quite a bit of effort into rolling out Google Tag Manager for many of our client sites. It has been a rewarding process and I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

First, what is Google Tag Manager?

One of the foundational building blocks of a website is the tag. It is a way that functionality can be added to the site in a fairly simple manner. The functionality can range from tracking activity and usage to adding features like chat to a site. Each one of these tags is generally pretty simple and easy to understand, but as the number and complexity of the tags increases the challenge of keeping track of them and making sure they are on the correct pages also grows. This is where Google Tag Manager comes in. It allows us to place a single tag called a container on the site and then add and remove tags to that container based on a variety of rules.

Once the container is in place tags can be added to the site without needing to touch the templates or source code, which greatly reduces the risk that something can go wrong when adding a tag. It also makes it much more simple to change or update a tag when needs change.

There is another benefit that I really appreciate: the ability to test tags before they are rolled out. This allows a set of tags to be tested on the site before they are rolled out to all users. This has been especially helpful when trying to troubleshoot complex tags.

This is just scratching the surface of what can be done with Tag Manager, but hopefully it is enough to give a glimpse into why I’m so excited about using it. If managing tags is something that you could use help with, get in touch with us, we would love to help you out.

Best Ways to Learn Google Analytics

There are several great analytics tools available; however, in this post, I’m diving into just one, which happens to be TKG’s favorite free tool: Google Analytics. Google Analytics

If your job description contains any references to understanding/monitoring/reporting activity from your company’s website, you can use Google Analytics. If you’re a marketer trying to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, you can use Google Analytics. If you’re a business owner trying to grow your business, you should can Google Analytics.

Google Analytics reveals a wealth of information about what’s happening on your website. Everything from how many people come to your site, where they’re coming from, and how they’re engaging is available just a few clicks away.

For some, just the word “analytics” can be intimidating. Fear not! There are several ways to learn how to use Google Analytics. Here are three methods I’ve used:

1) Watch the Videos from the Google Analytics IQ Lessons

This is a free and relatively painless way to get introduced to the world of Google Analytics. The videos are developed by Google and range in length from 2+ minutes to 11 minutes. It’s probably not the most excited afternoon you’ll ever have but it gives you a great overview of what you can expect. It’s worth noting that Google does not update the videos with the same frequency as the Google Analytics system itself so you may see screenshots of the older versions of the interface. This is both frustrating and disappointing since it comes directly from Google.

2) Attend an In Person Training Seminar

There are several training sessions for Google Analytics that are available online or in person. A quick search for “Google Analytics Training” will display some of the more well known options. This is the way to go if you want face time to ask specific questions to an expert. This option isn’t free, but allows for a more traditional classroom-style approach to learning the world of GA. The class I attended was several days long and got progressively more advanced with each day.

3) Play Around With the Interface

One of the ways I like to learn a new computer program is to load it and start playing. It’s the same way I learned PhotoShop years ago and every new version of Microsoft Office that’s been released. You should be able to put a request for your IT department or webmaster to add Google Analytics tracking to your existing website. From there, it’s just a matter of logging and exploring. Unless you start setting up filters, there isn’t much you have to worry about breaking. If you’re still worried, you could always ask to have your permission level limited to “read and analyze.”

From my own personal experience, I recommend combining the third option with either option one or option two. You’ll retain the information from the videos you watch or the classes you attend much better if you are also looking at the interface with your own data along the way.

You may consider becoming Google Analytics certified after you’ve become educated. Earlier this year, Leanne discussed how to become certified, which may help you out.

[shameless plug] And of course, if none of these options are appealing, you could always hire a web agency to analyze and report your Google Analytics activity for you.[/shameless plug]

Breakfast Bootcamp: How to Make Sense of Your Stats – The Presentation

If you came out to our Breakfast Bootcamp sessions in July and August (and a record-breaking number did!), you probably remember me promising you that we would post the Google Analytics presentation online… Well, we meant to! And then our blog redesign went into full force and here we are a couple of weeks later. So, first my apologies for the delay! And second, here you go!

If you attended one of my sessions on Google Analytics, let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if I missed anything you were hoping to learn about. And, thanks again for coming out! We appreciate everyone’s participation, and the opportunity to be your resource for all things web related.

Did you miss the session? Well, don’t worry – we have plenty of other ideas up our sleeves, so stay tuned!

How to Turn Your iPhone Into a Hotspot

Connect a laptop or tablet to the Internet via your iPhone!

Turning your iPhone into your own personal wifi hotspot can prove itself extremely useful when you’re wanting to connect another device, like your laptop, to the Internet. If your phone has a cell signal, but you don’t have access to local wifi, this is the perfect solution!

How Does a Personal Hotspot Work?
Once you’ve enabled the hotspot option on your phone, choose a security password to prevent others from accessing your connection, then access the connection with your laptop (or other device).

Steps to Turn Your iPhone into a Hotspot
Note: The number of steps depends on what version of iOS you’re running on your iPhone. To cover the majority, I’ve included the most steps you should have to take, therefore, newer versions of iOS will take less steps.

Step1: Enable Personal Hotspot on your cellular data plan

Step 2: On your iPhone, navigate to settings, then to general, then to cellular, then to  personal hotspot

iPhone Personal Hotspot

Step 3: On the personal hotspot screen, slide the switch to ON

iPhone Hotspot Password

Step 4: Select a customized personal password to prevent others from accessing your connection

Step 5: Your phone is now acting as a wireless access point. Connect your laptop (or other device) to your phone’s connection using the password you created in step 4.

iPhone Hotspot Security
Noted in step 4 above, I recommend creating your own password and not using the iOS-generated hotspot password. Apple does not require you to use the one created for you and according to a recent study, there’s supporting data behind creating your own.

Usability vs. Security: The Everlasting Trade-Off in the Context of Apple iOS Mobile Hotspots written this month by German researchers, indicates that

Apple iOS generates weak default passwords which makes the mobile hotspot feature of Apple iOS susceptible to brute force attacks on the WPA2 handshake. More precisely, we observed that the generation of default passwords is based on a word list, of which only 1,842 entries are taken into consideration. In addition, the process of selecting words from that word list is not random at all, resulting in a skewed frequency distribution and the possibility to compromise a hotspot connection in less than 50 seconds.

When choosing a password, keep in mind that it will need to be at least eight characters long using a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation.

For additional help, visit: or you can always add your questions to the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.

Optimizing Images for Retina Displays

For all businesses, mobile websites are becoming necessary as more people choose mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets to browse on the web versus a desktop. As those technologies grow, so do their capabilities. One of the most recent advances in mobile technology is the retina display.

Retina Display Defined
As defined by Webopedia, retina display is:

A marketing term developed by Apple to refer to devices and monitors that have a resolution and pixel density so high – roughly 300 or more pixels per inch – that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. Apple’s Retina Display made its debut on 2011’s iPhone 4S, which featured a 960×640 pixel screen with four times the number of pixels (326 pixels per inch) as the iPhone 4.


In simpler terms (for the non-techies), a retina display describes a screen that packs in more pixels than a regular device to enhance the visual quality. However, when an image is displayed on a retina device, it can sometimes appear blurry and not visually appealing.blurry and clear

Until recently, it hasn’t been easy to always render a high quality image. Now there’s a way for a developer to ensure that a mobile user will see the best version of the image.

So how can a developer ensure that image quality is as good as the right-side photo above?

First step is simple, double the size of the image, but don’t override the original image, that will still be used on non-retina devices. Instead, use the same file-name but tag on “@2x” to the end of the image name. It is considered a standard to recognize that this version is twice the size of the original image. Once this image is saved you are done with step one and we can move on to step 2.

Next, determine how the image will be used. There are two different ways that images are used on websites: background images using CSS, or in-line images using HTML. Depending on which of these the image will be used for will determine how to handle switching out the images. When it comes to actually switching out the images, the CSS method will use media queries to determine the pixel ratio, and the HTML method will use JavaScript.

CSS and the @media Query Method

To set specific styles based on the pixel ratio, you will have to use a media query which looks like this: @media (-{browser-identifier}-min-device-pixel-ratio: 2) { }

In this case, the {browser-identifier} refers to moz, webkit, o, or ms depending on the browser you are targeting, so it is best to create a rule for each. Specifically for Opera, this handles the pixel ratio as a fraction and not an integer so instead of “2” it should read “2/1”. Within that media query, you’re able to use selectors to target the element and switch out the background image. Make sure to test this, some browsers may also require the use of background-size styles in order to re-size the background to the right size.

JavaScript Method

The window object in JavaScript has a built in property that describes the pixel ratio. So using the following if-statement you will be able to swap the source based on the appropriate pixel ratios. if(window.devicePixelRatio == 2){}

Once the document is ready or the window is loaded, you will need to target any and all images that need to be switched out. If there are only a couple images, then the best bet is to directly target those images using an id and a selector that directly targets that image. But if there are multiple images you will want to target all images.

Once the images are targeted, for each one, you will want to split the element source based on “.” to create an array of the image-name and the file-extension. Then, just replace the source by tagging the “@2x on to the image-name and then adding the file-extension back on.

Finally, just re-size the image appropriately and then you are done! You now have images on a mobile website optimized for retina displays and looks great on all devices.

Questions? Ask me in the comments!
Photo credit

I am an Online Marketing Jargonaut

I need a 301 to avoid a 404 in order to stay atop the SERP.

Things can get confusing

Are you confused like Jackie Chan?

My name is Roberto and I admit it, I am a jargonaut! defines jargonaut as: Someone who uses jargon excessively and that is definitely me.

Even the word jargonaut is uppity and elusive. It’s a combination of jargon (terminology unique to a particular subject) and argonaut (adventurer.)

That’s right, I use online marketing acronyms like META Data, SEO, SEM, and CMS. I throw these around everyday and I expect everyone else to catch up and learn my fancy new language. Deal with it.

Just kidding. I’m surrounded by squints (Seeley Booth anybody?) every day using industry-specific terminology inside the walls of TKG. I let these words fly when meeting with clients and get the occasional blinking-cricket stare. You know the one: immediate silence with a slight tilt of the head.

These terms are becoming more widespread as more and more companies adopt online marketing into their overall marketing strategy. However, the marketplace isn’t quite at 100% saturation, so I will continue to interpret for my brothers (and sisters) in arms.

Common Online Marketing Acronyms

  • 301 Redirect – Code telling search engine bots that a page has been permanently moved to another address.
  • 404’s – Code indicating a webpage cannot be found and a message will be displayed instead.
  • Algorithms – The formula a search engine uses to work out what results should be displayed.
  • CMS (Content Management System) – The system used to add/edit/delete any content on a website. We’re pretty proud of our custom CMS, Apoxe.
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol) – Direct access to the server where your website lives so you can upload/download files.
  • Indexed – When a page of a site has been logged and displayed within search results.
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicator) – Define and measure progress toward organizational goals.
  • META Data – Information placed in the code to appear in the search engine results letting the search engine and users know what a page is all about.
  • PPC (Pay Per Click) – Also known as “Paid Search” advertising which appears at the top and right hand side of search results charging the advertiser every time the ad is clicked.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – The process of increasing your chances of ranking well within search results by using various web marketing tactics such as Content Marketing.
  • SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages

Do you feel dazzled with my fancy terminology? Not yet? How about this?
01100111 01101111 01101111 01100100 00100000 01100010 01111001 01100101.

Any other acronyms you hear often that I didn’t include? Share with me in the comments.

P.S. All those numbers mean “goodbye” in binary code. Just trust me…

Photo credit

Top 10 Trends in Web Marketing and Design

If you weren’t able to attend our latest Breakfast Bootcamp session earlier this month, you’re in luck! Here’s a recap of the Top 10 Trends in 2013 for Web Marketing and Web Design session Andrew Husted and I presented.

You can view a copy of the presentation below and download on SlideShare.

2013 Web Marketing Trends
  1. Facebook Search
  2. Multiple Listings for Websites
  3. Top Search Engines
  4. Search Volume
  5. Link Building

Facebook Search

  • What it is: Searching Facebook pages (people, businesses, places) rather than Webpages.
  • How to be successful: Make sure your business has a Facebook page. Get your customers/clients/brand advocates to “Like” your page. Develop marketing campaigns to encourage Likes. Connect your site with Facebook beyond just added an “F” logo to your header. Consider paying for Likes with Facebook Ads.
  • Challenges: Personal privacy settings limit reach. People need to Like everything (favorite grocery store, dentist, specific music groups) for this to be successful
  • When it’s rolling out: Over the course of 2013. Join the “Wait List” by typing a word into the current search and clicking “Get New Graph Search” when it appears at the bottom.

Multiple Listings for Websites

  • What changed: Multiple listings from the same domain can rank for a single search query. We started noticing this in October 2012.
  • Main website: 12 different pages from the same site ranked on the first three pages of organic search results
  • Pinterest: Multiple Pinterest pages (followers, following, specific boards)
  • YouTube: Multiple videos you upload or uploaded by others
  • LinkedIn: Main page plus specific product pages
  • Yellow Pages: Multiple locations

Top U.S. Search Engines

Search Volume in the U.S.

Link Building Trends

  • The best way to summarize is to check out this great infographic on Search Engine Land.
  • What to do: Link building shouldn’t be easy. If web shops are guaranteeing “25 quality links” then stay away. Instead, continually post great, unique content to your site, promote the content through your social media networks, promote throughout your site, and identify strategic partners in your industry (bloggers, industry trade groups) and have conversations to find out if a link to your site makes sense.

2013 Web Design Trends

  1. Single Page Design
  2. Infinite Scrolling
  3. Large Photo Backgrounds
  4. Swiss Style
  5. Responsive Design

Single Page Design

  • What it is: Entire websites on a single page. Completely vertical layout. Navigation jumps to different areas of the same page.
  • Why bother: Mobile device friendly. Never requires visitors to click a link to get more information on a topic. Scrolling is easy.
  • Example: Font Awesome

Infinite Scrolling

  • What it is: A results listing without paging. Uses AJAX technology to find and display the next set of results before you get to the bottom.
  • Why bother: No need to click to the next page. No page loading. Scrolling is easy.
  • Example: Google Images

Large Background Images

  • What it is: A hero image large enough to fill an entire webpage.
  • Why bother: Attention grabbing marketing. Sets an engaging tone for the rest of the website.
  • Examples: Patagonia and JayBirdGear

Swiss Style Design

  • What it is: AKA International Typographic Style. Developed in the 1950’s. Emphasis on cleanliness, readability, objectivity. Includes grids, asymmetry, sans=serif fonts, large photographic images, white space. Uses Typography as a design element.
  • Why bother: Optimal readability. Display lots of information without being distracting. Plays well with responsive design. Great for business sites.
  • Examples: Microsoft and GE

Responsive Design

  • What it is: A website optimized for ANY device (desktop, tablet, mobile phone, etc). Dynamically scales down and reorients features and content based on device dimensions. Uses cutting-edge markup technology.
  • Why bother: Future-proof. Eliminates need to upkeep separate desktop and mobile sites. SEO – no duplicate content or separate pages URLs between devices. Consistent user experience between devices.
  • Examples: Microsoft and GE (shrink the browser window on your laptop/desktop to see the experience change)

There are three more Bootcamp sessions coming up in the 2013 series. Learn more and register at


3 Recent TED Talks for a Mental Wednesday Stretch

Recent TED Talks - Mental BreakYou’ve been working hard this week. That’s for sure.

By Wednesday, your head is probably spinning in meetings, tasks and all those approaching deadlines.

But, there’s a growing body of study that suggests that taking mental breaks on a regular basis can actually increase your productivity and attentiveness.

So, for your break this Wednesday, let me suggest that you spend a few minutes  watching one, or even all of the videos below. These recent TED Talks are indeed ideas worth spreading.

And the break part? Each have very little to do with marketing or business.

Go on! Give it a try. Seriously.

Dedicate 20 minutes today to stretching your brain in a completely different direction. You might be surprised at just refreshed your head will feel, and how quickly you’ll be able to refocus to accomplishing your missions for the day.

Oh — And, let me know which one of these videos most resonates with you in the comments and what points does the presenter make that hit home for you, okay?

1.  Amanda Palmer: The Art of Asking

2.  Edith Widder: How We Found the Giant Squid

3.  David Anderson: Your Brain is More Than a Bag of Chemicals

Gadgets Galore! Exploring Devices in Consumer Electronics


Instead of using a phone the size of a Motorola Razr, circa 2006, why not use one the size of a small computer, circa 2012?

Introducing the “phablet”!  What’s a phablet you ask?  Well, let’s just say it’s one of the worst and least gratifying personal devices of our time.

Fox News recently came out with an article condemning six of the most ridiculous devices on the market – the first being a 7 inch tablet/phone hybrid.   The late Steve Jobs was famous for saying, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”  And, while that is true, Samsung and company have been showing us devices that nobody should want.


I was the first person in my circle of influence to get an iPad in 2010, and multiple people actually took my iPad, held it next to their face and treated it like it was a phone.  What’s more?  They would continue to tell me they thought it would be cool to have a phone that large. Why would anyone want a device that big next to their head?

Everybody loves the iPhone 5 but there are days I regret a larger screen because it’s harder to reach the other side with my thumb to hit buttons.  While bigger is usually better it definitely does not apply to our smart phones.

Unfortunately, Samsung is not alone in this crazed list of abominations. Lenovo had the audacity to throw a 20 inch tablet at us!  That’s like picking up an iMac and carrying it around like a tablet.  My question to the computer industry is, “What’s it going to be?  A tablet or an all-in-one?” Because the way I see it you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  I’m not against the idea of an all-in-one having a touch screen but Apple has said (and I tend to agree) touch screens are best used horizontally.  Simply put, it’s too hard to use a tablet while standing up.


Have you heard of the Microsoft Surface?  How about the Surface Pro?  Well, the Surface Pro was on the list.  If you aren’t familiar with the Surface Pro, it’s an $899 tablet with a core i5 processor.

Unlike the paralyzed Surface (it runs a version of Windows that can’t run normal apps like Firefox), the Surface Pro is a full computer in a tablet form factor.  I will say that Microsoft is much more in sync with the device buying public than Lenovo but is there really demand for an $899 tablet?

chromebook-pixelChromebooks have potential, while they are not full scale computers, they do give users the ability to harness the power of the cloud in a nice little package that looks like a netbook. The idea of a Chromebook is to run cloud-based web apps and they only run the Chrome web browser from Google (hence the name Chromebook).

So, you can understand the frustration with the Chromebook Pixel.  The Pixel is another misguided effort from Samsung that makes no sense and is doomed from the outset. The pixel is a $1,299 laptop that can only run a web browser.  If you are going to spend $1,299 on a laptop you should buy a 13” MacBook Pro which will run circles around the Pixel.

There are a couple of other devices on the list but as you can tell there is frustration with the general state of consumer electronics.   It would be nice if these companies would stop producing sub-par gadgets that are obscenely excessive and start producing gadgets that make our lives easier.

We would ask Siri how to do accomplish this but she would just say “Searching Google for ‘How to make life easier’’……

The Social Business News Wrap on TKGenius | Volume #21

Amazon Prime, Ebay Now, Google Get it Yesterday?   online-shopping

The social media word is buzzing about Google this week. I mean, it’s always buzzing about Google, but this week it is buzzing about Google and shopping.

Google is rumored to be contemplating a platform similar to Amazon Prime. Now, for full disclosure, I flat out love, adore and sing serenades to and about Amazon Prime. Knowing that I can order something today and have it at my door two days later, and very likely sooner, is great. Especially since I live in a small, rural town with three semi-worthless stores. My kids regularly ask me, “What is coming in a box tomorrow, Mommy?” . That being said, I am all for a little competition. Amazon is notorious for some crazy prices…some things are really great, while others are astronomical. Competition might force who sell with Amazon Fulfillment to price things a little more reasonably. It might force the price of the service itself down as well, though how they will beat $79.00 a year  for all the different services you get (streaming video, kindle books, fast, free delivery, subscription services, etc.) is beyond me.

Ebay sort of has something similar, called Ebay Now, but it is just for a couple of select cities, and really doesn’t help most of us when we are in a time crunch and really don’t want to drag ourselves out to a brick and mortar and be subject to only what is in stock. Now, I think the idea is really great, but it seems like the items would be quite costly once they got to you. It really doesn’t amount to much more than a messenger service for a couple of cities in Cali and  part of NYC. You download the app, then use it to shop participating local retailers, then someone goes and buys what you need and delivers it to you. it only costs $5 per order right now, while it is still in beta, but  I would love to know what the actual overhead is…$5 isn’t going to cover gas, let alone time.

Techcrunch is reporting that the new service, if it comes into being, could cost between $64 and $69 and offer same day delivery. That would be quite a feat, since Amazon Prime is currently $79 and has free two day, and charges an extra $3.99 for next day delivery. If they manage to pull that off, I can see Amazon having to play or go home. The online shopping world is about to get very interesting, folks!

What the Facebook Redesign Means for Business    Like-Us-On-Facebook-Poster-212x300

Nate talked about this yesterday, but I had already planned it, so you get to hear about it from my perspective. Luckily, I didn’t read his (yet) so it should be a different angle.
Or maybe you are wondering how all of these relatively small tweaks Facebook keeps making really matter in the grand scheme of social media marketing. What is boils down to is this; the feed is changing, everything is getting bigger, and other sites, including but not limited to e-commerce and other social media sites will be getting more exposure, better ad space, essentially, more visibility. That means that your Facebook efforts are more visible than ever, making them more important than ever.

This is Techcrunch’s summary of the changes as they effect advertisers:

“Here’s how the design changes will affect advertisers, though. Facebook cleaned up its UI to give more space in the central feed for photos. When businesses buy feed ads that feature a photo, those photos will be bigger. This could lure more luxury brands who are used to larger homepage takeovers and glossy magazine ads.”

So, if you are using Facebook, the activity on your page will be meaningful if you are not buying the ad space that the bigger fish can buy. Promoting yourself on Facebook will become a key element in social media marketing if that is a goal for your company. Because they have changed how the feed works, (there are now two feeds, one for friends, and one for likes and followers). Your visibility will now depend on which of these feeds your followers frequent most often. Finding legitimate ways to get on both feeds will be challenging, and like Google of the past, Facebook will be penalizing any who misuse the “Friends only” feed.

What it boils down to is a greater ability of the user to choose how they view Facebook. If they want to see content from advertisers, businesses, etc. then they can still do that, but now they have the ability to just skip it all if they want. I know there are certain businesses whose posts I look forward to, so I will be sure to check those out. I know lots of people have their favorites, now you just have to figure out how to be interesting enough to for people to actually seek out your content. Enjoy!