There’s been a big buzz in the industry in the past year since Google announced that Core Web Vitals are going to be an official Google ranking factor this month. So what are they and how do we assess them?
2020 Reflections and Resilience
#ByeFelicia is how I would describe my feelings at 12:01 AM on New Year’s Day. There is no doubt that 2020 motivated forced us to experience every type of human feeling possible. I have to admit, it was a shock to the system. However, such a shock can ignite hidden gems simply because stepping out of the safety of the comfort zone is no longer an option.
So, the one word I have come to realize that really describes my feelings about 2020 is RESILIENT. It was absolutely amazing to witness the fighting spirit every day. Even on the darkest day, the light was bright because there was hope, a sense of renewed energy, and kindheartedness shown from complete strangers.
For our clients, I was in awe of their ability and desire to shift, mobilize, and build vs. hunkering down in the safety of the status quo with hope as the strategy. Our clients are RESILIENT.
Our BlueSky Commerce team worked tirelessly to help our clients strategize on new ways to overcome and take advantage of new, never seen before challenges. Each and every one of them did so with passion, heart, and a true desire to serve our clients and each other. RESILIENT.
Along the way, we learned about new tools or began using old tools in more effective ways, Google Meet is officially our new best friend, making us even smarter and incredibly productive. Personally, Google Sites is my new favorite tool. It’s never been easier to create a highly dynamic, visually awe-inspiring presentation, proposal, or report.
In marketing, it’s all about how you spin something.
In 2020, the same held true. I couldn’t be more grateful to work at BlueSky Commerce and to work with our amazing, driven, and successful clients.
The BlueSky Commerce Marketing team speaks to what they were grateful for in 2020 and gives insight into a new tool that they have found to be a gamechanger for their workflow.
I love New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! I get to reflect on everything from the past year and ponder my mistakes as well as my victories. New Year’s Day is such a refreshing day. It is a new start and a squeaky clean slate to start again.
During the reflection stage this year, I realized what I am most grateful for is my family, but in particular, this year, my husband. He is the most selfless person I know. I can’t even list all of the things he does for his family because most of them we never even know about until well after the event. We are celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary and really wanted to take a big trip. It doesn’t look promising for this year, but I’m sure he will come up with something just right for the occasion.
Professionally, I am grateful to belong to such a great marketing team. Being the “new guy” on the team, I ask a lot of questions. I never hear that they are too busy to answer. They just drop what they are doing and jump in to help. I truly appreciate their time and talents and look forward to the year to come.
A cool tool I found is Wordmark.it – You can install extensions for your browser.
With 2020 in the rearview, it’s hard to look back on it without at least one of a few (hundred) different emotions: A foreboding feeling of doom as the world gets shut down and re-opened and shut down again and again in a cyclical battle for world health sideswiped by civil unrest and governmental catastrophes; an earnest savage hatred for the first year of a decade that should’ve been ‘roaring’ and full of hope; a feeling of delirium caused by an ebb and flow unlike anything we as a waking conscious have had to contend with during our lifespans; or conversely, an almost bewildering sense of re-instilled faith in the human race for the countless, selfless efforts by those who’ve colloquially become known as the Frontline Heroes.
All the emotions you could have ever needed to feel, you felt in the past 365 days.
As we look away from our rearview, we should look toward the future painted in white light to symbolize the start of an era of healing and progress. Through all the pain, tedium, and torment 2020 has presented to us, it’s also given us a reason to look at our less-than-perfect selves and think how fortunate we are just to be able to hobble out of bed every day – something many have lost the opportunity to do in just the past year. 2021 feels like the sizzling scar we’ll all wear for the remainder of our years from the branding iron that was 2020, but with every sunrise we have opportunities to grow, heal and begin anew before we write the next retrospective. Chin up, this one will be better. To 2021.
The past year was full of surprising and unique challenges, but something that’s struck a chord with me is seeing brands pursue connecting with both internal and external audiences in more authentic ways – leaning in on communicating the ‘why’ behind their value. I think we moved further apart physically but found more meaningful connection opportunities through this shared experience. What a unique opportunity we have to pivot our tone of voice. I’m grateful for authenticity, deeper connections, and for the ability to continue to work alongside my teammates to provide meaningful services for our clients.
Google Data Studio has provided me with the ability to create reports and showcase metrics in a way that is easy for clients to access, interact with, and understand. It’s provided me with the ability to automate pulling data, so I can be more efficient with the time needed to truly analyze the information. With this tool, I can better break down analytics and provide actionable data toward our marketing strategies.
2020 has been a rollercoaster for business, but also for most people personally! While we all ride this rollercoaster into 2021, it can’t hurt to take a moment to appreciate when things are good. The simplest things can mean the most! I’m just thankful for being on a team and with a company with the insight to be able to forge ahead in trying times like 2020! Also, just something as simple as the good health of our loved ones is something that should be appreciated every day!!
A tool that we use daily is Adobe Lightroom, it’s not new or earth-shaking, think of it more as a workhorse or essential tool in a photographer’s toolbox. Whether you’re an amateur photographer or social image guru, Adobe Lightroom and Lightroom Classic are easy to use for everyone. Capturing the moment is only the first step in photography. By being your own editor through cropping, digital development, and subtle enhancements you can personalize ‘your look’ and ‘brand’ when it comes to photography. Give it a try, with a little screen time and practice, you will see your pictures and ‘your look’ come to life.
Through this whole ordeal, I’ve come to realize just how important teamwork is. With that being said, I am extremely grateful for my wife. We have both had to step up our game to make sure everything with the family and our jobs keeps moving forward. The same goes for my co-workers, I’ve had to rely on others a lot this year while juggling my kids and their e-learning.
As far as new tools go, really the only new tool I used was Email on Acid, which allows me to do real-time testing across over 90 email clients and devices. This has been invaluable especially being stretched so thin this year.
On a personal level, in 2020 I am grateful that we were able to purchase a new home, (where we were able to complete many DIY home renovation projects thanks to quarantine time), and my son graduated high school and became a US Army Soldier.
Professionally, I have discovered many new interests, including Google Data Studio, Elegant Themes, and Google Slides Template. I have taken my WordPress Divi development to the next level as well! I am continuing to perfect my UI/UX audits, as well as taking Google analytics training.
In 2020, the Strong Family welcomed our third daughter, Ella, and she is definitely the bright point of our year. 2020 solidified the importance of family and I am grateful for the days we shared together – through the tough times and the multitude of joyous moments.
The new tool I’ve discovered is Adobe Color. It helps you explore color trends, see what colors will look good for brands/design, etc. You can upload photos and pull color themes from them.
People may hate me for this, but while most people felt trapped in their homes during lockdown, I was able to spend my spare time outdoors, playing and practicing my favorite hobby, disc golf, like I never had before. My PDGA rating increased from 923 to 954 last year, my highest rating yet.
I spent some time this year learning how to animate SVGs and explored several tools, including SVGator, a web app, and Lottie/AfterEffects. I still have a lot to learn but the potential for adding vector animation that is crisp, smooth AND lightweight is exciting. I’m looking forward to integrating it into future projects.
2020 was certainly a doozy – but here we are on the other side. I am grateful for the good moments 2020 held – stronger friendships, buying my first home, adopting a dog, perfecting recipes, and visiting national parks! I am excited for a year full of more adventures, personally and professionally!
My favorite tool this year was the social media management platform, Agorapulse! At BlueSky Commerce, I manage upwards of 30 social accounts, but Agorapulse makes it easy to schedule, publish, and engage – all in one place.
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