Paint Your Own Lush Music Video

by Taylor Hatmaker

With Google's browser-based experiment 3 Dreams of Black is an interactive experience that puts WebGL and HTML5 to the test.

Paint your own lush music video with Google's browser-based experiment A new music video crafted to promote Google Chrome is more than a creative way to flex the browser's muscle — it's also a fully interactive experience that lets you transform buffalo herds into tarantulas and sprout flowers on the f, all just by moving your mouse. The video, called 3 Dreams of Black, also coincides with the release of Rome, the new project by famed producer Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi. It was earlier this week at Google I/O, wedged between Google's more gadget-centric announcements, and is now viewable online at "".

3 Dreams of Black is an experimental web film (created by Chris Milk and Google) that stretches HTML5's wings with a tool called WebGL. The advent of WebGL may not have you on the edge of your seat — it is a programming language, after all — but WebGL is poised to unlock the potential of browser-based 3D graphics. After a bit of a wait in loading time (it's worth it), you can generate blossoming vines and swooping birds of paradise just by pointing your cursor and making it so. Budding developers can even add to the video's third dreamscape with a built-in tool, so naturally you might see some Android and Reddit-themed statues pop up as the song winds down.

How To Ethically Bribe Visitors Into Sharing Your Amazon Content And More

Chris Guthrie offers a sneak peak at this new plugin and after seeing how many scenarios it would be useful in, he had to do a video review to explain how useful this tool is and how you can best use it.

This is a great method for getting viral traffic to your website for products you write about. It works in Amazon niches or if you're interested in selling your own products as well.

There are over a dozen different ways this plugin can be used, but in this video review I show you what I plan to do + I'm offering a free bonus plugin if you pick up WP Viral Checkout.

Watch the review:

How To Build An Email List 10x Faster

Chris Guthrie hosted a webinar with his friend Spencer Haws and they outlined real life stats from their various methods of email list building through their blog. We also showed off a brand new

piece of software that increased our opt in rates up to 10x higher than other methods we've been using on our blogs:

Watch The Replay Here

You can get the new software here for sale:

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Welcome Splash is a powerful method for building a list that even the President's marketing team is using to build an email list through the White House website.

3 Steps to Creating a Killer Mobile Site

BY Amy Gahran

For many people, mobile devices, especially cell phones, are fast becoming the most popular route to the Internet. They want quick, easy access to information that will help them make decisions on the go -- including whether or not to patronize your business.

Unfortunately not every small-business website functions well on cell phones. Many fail to load quickly, prove hard to navigate and make key information difficult to find.

To make your website more mobile friendly, consider these three steps, which put a priority on usefulness, speed and easy navigation.

1. Test your site on a cellular network.
Turn off your cell phone's Wi-Fi connection so you're using your wireless carrier's data network. Then, launch your web browser and type in your business site's URL.

Now, start counting. If it takes five seconds or less to fully load your home page, that's pretty good. If it's 10 seconds or more, there's significant room for improvement.

If your site first displays a decorative splash page, video or a large image, it isn't mobile friendly. These items take extra time to load and get in the way of useful information. Also, if your home page features Flash animation, it won't display at all in many mobile browsers, and your site might appear to say nothing at all.

If your phone simply displays a miniature version of your complete website, that means mobile users must pinch, zoom and scroll to see what's there. That's more work, plus they're more likely to accidentally click the wrong link or button. Your business's most basic and vital information -- such as address, hours and phone number -- should be immediately visible when your site loads on a mobile device.

To get the most comprehensive results, repeat this exercise on several types of mobile phones. Consider asking your friends to access your site on their phones while you watch. Observe but don't coach them on where to scroll or click.

2. Start with easy improvements.
Depending on the results of your tests, your site may need a major overhaul or just some tweaks. If a redesign seems necessary but is more than you can manage at the moment, you can start with a quick and easy fix.

If it isn't already there, put the following information at the top of your site's home page:

    Business name
    Brief description, such as "tax accountants," "auto repair" or "fine French dining"
    Street address
    Hours of operation
    Phone numbers for inquiries or reservations
    Email address
    Link to the mobile version of your site (I'll explain this later)

This information should appear above any background or banner graphics so it loads first. After all, this is what most mobile visitors want to know.

There are several advantages to displaying this information as plain text rather than including it in an image. In most mobile web browsers, simply clicking a phone number starts the call. Similarly, clicking a street address launches the phone's mapping app, and clicking an email address opens the mobile email app. If you make it this easy for mobile users, they're much more likely to do business with you.

3. Build a user-friendly mobile version of your site.
Creating a mobile version of your site can be fairly straightforward. If you built your site with tools that offer a mobile theme layout, then you simply need to select a theme and apply it to your site. WordPress, one of the most popular site-building tools, has many free and inexpensive mobile themes.

You also can build a separate mobile site. There are many inexpensive services that nontechnical people can use, including and Both let you create and publish a basic mobile site for less than $10 a month.

Mobile sites have a slightly different web address than the full site. The mobile version usually starts with "m." before your regular web address, or ends with the suffix ".mobi" rather than ".com." If a mobile user types in your regular URL or follows a link to your site from a search engine, the mobile version should load automatically.

But that doesn't always happen on every phone. Include at the top of your website a link to your mobile site, and vice versa, just in case.

If you follow these three steps, not only will your business be more attractive and useful to mobile visitors, but you also may become more visible in mobile search results.

4 Low-Cost Ways to Turbo-Charge Your Website

BY Jonathan Blum

Creating the most dynamic and effective business website doesn’t have to break the bank. With reasonable effort, investment and a modicum of Web know-how, you can either build a website or significantly improve your existing Web presence -- for less than $200 in one-time costs.

To do so, you’ll need to know which tools are essential and how to use them. Here are four low-cost ways to get your site not only functional, but attracting customers and helping you close more sales.

1. Get a professional look.
One of the easiest ways to create an effective, low-maintenance website is to combine off-the-shelf content management systems with a pre-made Website template. That way you have a unique-looking site that’s distinguished from basic Web tools such as Google’s Blogger format or Typepad that can also support complex live content.

Among the most popular website hosting services that support free content management systems are WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal. All can manage dynamic content without any tricky or costly coding on your part.

The basic software packages for Joomla, Drupal and WordPress are free. Premium features and extensions, such as e-commerce tools, can be purchased but prices vary. Downloading and installing the basic and advanced versions of these tools does require an understanding of Web software. WordPress, however, offers a hosted version which doesn’t require any software installation.

You’ll also need a professional-looking template for your site that is compatible with your content management system. Options include New York-based Template Monster, which lets users narrow down themes based on business type and website purpose. Templates can cost about $50 each.

2. Analyze your website.
Not getting an accurate picture of how customers use your site might be the single biggest mistake online businesses make. Analytics tools can help you find out how many people visit your website, how much time they spend on each page and what service referred them.

One option is Visistat, which not only offers a number of web analytics services but also tracking of your online marketing campaigns and behavioral data on your site’s visitors. The average package costs about $50 per month.

But the most popular and perhaps the most effective analytics tool is Google Analytics. This free service generates deep, constantly updated visitor statistics. Installation usually only requires you to copy and paste a line of tracking code into your Website code, although some content management systems including WordPress make it even easier through plugins.

3. Get feedback.
Constructive criticism can be key to any business website. While full-on website testing technologies can be effective, they can also be costly.

Southborough, Mass.-based uTest offers access to a global network of 50,000 Web-connected testers and can create custom testing templates for everything from usability to security. Basic usability testing starts at several thousand dollars per engagement.

But there are numerous low-cost online testing services that can provide reviews. For example, Washington, D.C.-based Feedback Army lets businesses post four to six questions about its website, which are answered by online testers. Prices start at $20 for 10 reviews. For $39, Mountain View, Calif.-based, can provide you with a video of an actual human tester using your website and talking about it as he or she navigates it.

4. Integrate social media.
Your website should link to your business’ social media accounts, but it’s even more important that your visitors be prompted to share your website through their own social media identities.

Most social media sites, including Facebook and Twitter, provide detailed instructions for how to insert “Like”, “Share”, “Comment”, and “Tweet” buttons onto your Web page. Depending on how your website is hosted, can be installed as simple as copying and pasting some code into a website template or downloading and installing a plugin.

They also provide feeds showing your Facebook updates, Tweets and other ways people are interacting with your website -- which can be some valuable information when it comes to knowing your customers.

Bottom line: Working through the fundamentals of good design, compelling dynamic content, properly installed social media and user data can be the fastest and most affordable ways to gets results online.

How to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly With 'Responsive Design'

BY Amy Gahran

Virtually every business needs a website, but these days the web isn't just about what you see on a computer screen. People are using the internet on an increasingly diverse array of devices, from smartphones to gaming consoles. Some experts predict that by 2014, most web traffic in the U.S. will be on mobile devices.

The trouble is, most business websites are still designed with only a desktop or laptop computer in mind. When you view a typical business website on the browser of mobile device, it usually requires pinching, zooming and scrolling just to see what's on the page. And interacting with the site via a touchscreen can be clumsy at best.

To compensate, more businesses are deploying one or more mobile-optimized web designs, or "themes," that the web server sends to a user when a mobile device is detected. That's a first step, but mobile devices come in many sizes and shapes. What looks great on, say, an iPhone may look and perform poorly on a Kindle Fire.

It is possible to create designs for each of the major screen sizes and devices types, but ultimately that's a losing game. New device types will outpace any designer's ability to spin off customized themes.

One solution is something called "responsive web design," which can make your website easier and cheaper to manage, while giving mobile users a better experience. This allows you to create one design that will fit almost any screen and device type, and can also enhance your search visibility. Additionally, it avoids the hurdle of expecting users to type in "m." before your site URL to access the mobile-friendly version.

When a user accesses a responsively designed website, the site senses the constraints of that user's device and automatically "responds" or reconfigures itself to display and function reasonably well. It reorganizes the layout, for instance, swapping out images and navigation features.

As new web-enabled device types become popular, such as Android-powered cameras, you'll only need to tweak your responsive design to accommodate them.

To create a responsive site for your business, you can either hire a designer or use a site-building tool that supports responsive web design. Either way, these five tips can help you make the switch to responsive design.

Decide when to make the change.
Responsive design is a radically different way of managing the elements of a website, which means it's hard to introduce responsive design to an existing conventional website. You'll probably want to wait until you're creating a new site or rebuilding your existing one.

Track your mobile traffic patterns.
Check your site statistics for the number of mobile visitors, plot how that segment of your online market has been growing and project it two to five years into the future. The steeper that growth curve, the more important it is to implement responsive web design sooner rather than later.

Check out competitors' sites on various devices.
Keep a list of URLs for businesses similar to yours. Periodically check them all out on a variety of computers, smartphones and tablets. Which are easiest to navigate and use, requiring the least pinching, zooming and scrolling? Use the best as guidance for your designer.

Hire web designers with responsive design experience.
Many designers serving small-to-medium business clients are still focused on designing sites intended for viewing on computers. Be sure to ask for recent examples of a designer's responsively designed sites. Don't just get screenshots -- ask for the URLs and check those sites on a variety of device types, paying attention both to how they look and how well they function.

Use effective, affordable tools if you do it yourself.
If you decide to create a responsively designed site on your own, consider trying the latest version of Squarespace. It's an inexpensive web hosting service that lets you create a responsive website via a drag-and-drop interface.

There are also many pre-made responsive themes (both free and paid, usually between $30 and $100) for sites built with WordPress, a popular open-source platform. The hosted version of that platform,, is starting to offer responsive themes, as well.

Check out the Beginner’s Guide to Responsive Web Design.