All Posts By

Philip Tomlinson

eCommerce

How to Predict Blog Post Revenue

A recent post on Data Science Central caught my eye that could definitely be used to predict blog post revenue:

http://www.datasciencecentral.com/profiles/blogs/state-of-the-art-machine-learning-automation-with-hdt

The writer wrote an algorithm to predict the page views of an article based on keywords in the title and post type.  It was quite interesting as it used decision tree logic and regression, instead of pure math to achieve the results.

I’d suggest looking at the blog post category or tags to  help determine the expected revenue for the posts in addition to the current factors for better strategic decisions depending on the scope of your blog.

 

Driver's License in Montreal

Choosing a Driving School in Montreal

If you’re looking for general tips on choosing a driving school in Montreal, this post may or may not be for you. However, it may help you figure out where and which school you would like to sign up to. This is a journal of my though process while choosing where to take my driving lessons.

Should It Be Close to Work or Home

First question before I am even going to start looking for schools is whether I should find a school near my apartment in NDG or my workplace in Little Italy.

The advantages of a driving school near home are:

  • Require less travel on weekends
  • Would end relatively close to home for classes

The advantages of a driving school near work are:

  • Less travel on weekdays
  • May require extra travel on weekends

I’d rather not waste too much time on the weekends so I’ve decided to look at a driving school closer to home. In fact, I’ve pinpointed a location. I will be looking at driving schools near Snowdon metro.

Snowdon is on the same metro line as my workplace and is only one stop away from my home. This makes it a hassle free area for my driving lessons.

While researching schools, I learnt that you can not often switch branches. Driving school branches are not always owned by the same people so there may be a fee for switching.

Driving Schools near Snowdon Metro

There seems to be three real driving schools near Snowdon. Real driving schools have websites that can be found relatively easy.

They all have horrible looking websites.

  1. Morty’s Driving School – http://www.mortysdrivingschool.com/
  2. Transit Driving School – http://www.transitdrivingschool.com/
  3. City Driving School – http://www.smartdrivers.com/

City Driving School

Their site gave me a bad vibe and they have a really confusing tiered pricing system. I’ve already eliminated them as an option.

Morty’s Driving School Montreal

They have some reviews on other sites and seems decent. The pricing is similar to Transit ($825). Most negative reviews are tied to their other branches.

Transit Driving School Snowdon

They are having a promotion where the cost of the classes are cheaper than the competition ($699). They also offer the most information about what the actual class progression is. I’ll be calling them today!

Diary

January 2017 Goals

UPDATE: I didn’t accomplish everything on my list. I don’t really have any excuses and I should probably have done a better job at building a budget. Let’s see how next month goes!

I heard writing down your goals helps you to accomplish them. Here are the things I feel like I can accomplish in January 2017.

Continue Reading

Excel

Using IF & Other Logical Functions in Excel

Many Excel users know how to use basic logical functions. However, I’ve realized that many people are uncomfortable combining multiple Excel logical functions into a single large chain. This is the first step to becoming an Excel wizard.

Excel Logical Functions List

The following is the list of functions that I will cover in this post. I’ve added the French translation as I work in a bilingual environment and not everyone has an English installation.

There are other logical functions that are less commonly used that I will not cover. You can read up on them here.

English Name French Name
IF SI
IFERROR SIERREUR
AND ET
OR OU
COUNTIF(S)
SUMIF(S)

Common Uses of Excel IF Functions

The basic IF function is one of the basic building blocks of Excel. Here are some simple examples that show some use cases. All the other logical functions tend to be included within IF functions except for IFERROR and COUNTIF which can have other use cases.

=IF(A1 = "Philip", TRUE, FALSE)
=IF(AND(A1 >= 2, A2 <= 3), "This is true", "This is false")
=IF(OR(A1 = 2, A2 <> 2), 1, -1)
=IFERROR(Badly Formated Text, "Well Formated Text")
=IF(COUNTIF(A:A,"*sub-string*") > 0, "We found you", "You never existed")
=IF(COUNTIFS(A:A,"*sub-string*",B:B,"chicken wing") > 0, "We found you next to a chicken wing.", "You may be there but not next to a chicken wing")

 

The first statement is just looking to see if cell A1 contains the exact text “Philip”. If it contained, ” Philip” or “Philip “, it would return false.

The second statement would be true if cell A1 is greater or equal to A2 and cell A2 is smaller or equal to 3.

The third statement is similar except with an OR statement. An OR statement are true if at least one of its parts are true. For those who aren’t in the know, the <> symbol represents “is not equal to.”

The fourth statement is most often used at work when there is a possibility of dividing a number by 0. Dividing by 0 results in an Excel error and it looks nicer to have a fail safe rather than staring at a #DIV/0!.

I examine in COUNTIF & COUNTIFS type functions in another post.

Diary Driver's License in Montreal Travel

Why Get a Driver’s License When City Commuting is So Easy

Driving is expensive, taking the bus or subway isn’t. There’s less flexibility, but the savings and the extra reading time are definitely worth it. Getting your driver’s permit in Quebec also isn’t cheap, costing both a cash and time. It’s why I figured it wasn’t worth my time getting a driver’s permit.

Traveling to Remote Parks

I recently got back from a canoe camping trip at La Mauricie National Park for work. It was extremely enjoyable and I’d like to relive a similar experience.

The problem is that I would need to find lifts. Most national parks and remote campgrounds are not easily accessible by foot or bus. As someone who hates planning, it would be much easier for me to rent a car for a weekend than try and plan something with my friends or family members with licenses. It also doesn’t hurt that you will be able to get into any Park Canada parks free soon!

Spontaneous Day Trips

This is pretty obvious. While travelling out of the country is great. If I only have a few days, I’d like to be able start exploring cities around Montreal.

Cheap Hotel Rooms

I don’t mind the idea of sleeping in car. Will have to update this when I try it.

eCommerce WooCommerce

Importing Products in Multiple Languages Using WPML & WooCommerce Product CSV Import Suite

By default, the WooCommerce Product CSV Import Suite will always import your products in the default language of your eCommerce website. This can be problematic when you are working with a site that has multiple languages.

While WPML is not my language plugin of choice for WordPress, it definitely requires the least amount of work to get running with the WooCommerce ecommerce plugin. It also has several necessary functionalities that make importing products in multiple languages easier than it looks. Here’s my process in more detail.

Import Products in Default Language

A small tip, would be to have all your product images, categories, attributes and tags already uploading into WordPress. I’ve drag-and-drop uploaded over 500 images with no problem, so you shouldn’t have any problems either!

In any case, the first step is to only import the products in the default language of your theme. If you don’t do this, you’ll want to shoot yourself later on. This is relatively easy to do and if you need help working with the CSV either drop a line in the comments or read the official plugin documentation.

Export All Your Products

These easiest way to set up a unique way of detecting what products are in your default language is by exporting them before duplicating. This will allow you to create a function in Excel that can tell you if they are in the default language master sheet or not. This method of ID will only work if you are doing a bilingual site. I’m sure you can figure out a better way if you’re dealing with multiple languages. Please leave the method in the comments if you do!

Duplicate Your Products in Every Other Language

Go to the WPML Translation Dashboard in the Translation Management section. Select all your product posts and scroll down. You should see the option to duplicate the posts for your other languages. Do it as many times as needed. Be sure to have your selection only include posts that have no translation or you may be repeating the same action over and over for nothing.

Merge Proper Text for All Non-Default Languages

This is the last step on your translation journey. Export all your products and use the Excel sheet with your default language products to identity them if needed. Update the relevant information for your translations and merge. Your task is now done!

eCommerce Work

Mixing Product / Informational and Marketing Content

The last talk that I will be attending at RDV_MARKETING is the one given by some lady from Twitter. I’ll probably update to her real name later but she seems really interesting and unlike the Ulule guy has good designers.

Her talk is much more focused on tech products, but I’m going to try and convert her message fast into something applicable to eCommerce.

Product (Informational) vs Marketing Content

Product content is informational and invisible. For eCommerce, it can be navigation, product specs.

Marketing content is what causes the sale. Like product descriptions, call to actions, product stories, banners, advertising.

How They Meet

Vague call to actions, product pages, home page, etc.

Dead Zones

Places where opportunities have been forgotten. Where good copy could be present.

Example: Emtpy States

There are empty states like an empty cart or a page with empty products. Web updates or tool tips. You should not treat your emtpy like an error message but instead take the opportunity to either showcase another brand, a promotion or something like that.

War Zones

These can be considered places like products page. Where you want to be informational about the product but also really push the sale. Which one should be prioritized and how can we make peace?

Example: Product Pages

We need to use these to make pages, but they must also have a lot of information for users to be confortable. We don’t want to distract users from what the product actually is and how it can be used by how it’s going to change their lives and why they should buy it now. Not sure if this is actually a war zone, but I feel like it might be.

Content Strategies

You really need to either find peace between informational and marketing content, or choose one that will be pushed more than over. It is important to know what you want, have a structured planning process and you need to choose who is in charge of the project.

Make Something Out of Nothing

Even with something that is purely informational, you can turn it into a hybrid with marketing with the right process. The content and product aren’t what is important when working with strategy, but find the common ground. If there is something unmovable then a choice must be made.

An example from Twitter, is how they integrate marketing content in their release notes.