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Many people can get caught up in fake news, believing that it’s true, and that can cause many, many problems. This caused us to ask our writers, “What do you do when you encounter fake news?”

Our Opinion

Alex says he doesn’t see a lot of obviously fake news, but in regards to bad journalism, he believes “we have to apply the tools that everyone has in their skeptic’s toolbox.”

Fabio quite simply says he just ignores it and moves on.

Miguel explains “we’ve lived for thousands of years with more fake news than we see today, and it was better proliferated than the real stuff.” He believes that “the gravity of the problem hasn’t changed. Its coverage has.” He notes that when he encounters fake news, if it’s honest mistakes, he’ll “send a private and polite letter to the editor.” If he doesn’t care, he’ll ignore it. If a friend is sharing the story, he’ll mention his concerns privately to them.

Phil encourages his Facebook friends to use common sense. If it’s a reputable source, “they should be critical but assume there’s at least a grain of truth in it.” But if it’s something less reputable like “AngrySpecialistNewsMedia.co, then it should either be taken with a massive sack of salt or at least follows up on other sites.” He suggests if you don’t have time to follow up on the story or if no other source is carrying it, you can safely ignore it.

I actually write news articles, so I see this topic with a slightly different spin as a purveyor of news. I agree with what has been mentioned above about looking for sources. I always cite my sources and link back to them. The websites I reference are always the top websites. I learned really quickly which ones I should avoid. Recently three CNN journalists resigned after it was discovered they didn’t source their story really well. But because CNN was so on top of it and took care of it and pulled the story down right away, it makes me trust them more.

Your Opinion

What’s your take on this subject? Do you tend to ignore news that you deem as fake news? Do you let the authors of the stories know they are spreading fake news? Do you only read well-sourced news? What do you do when you encounter fake news?

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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What Do You Think Will Happen With Fake News In The Future?

Much has been said in recent weeks regarding the fake news that is published, specifically at Facebook. Not everyone realizes it’s fake news, and it can go on to have an effect if a certain number of people end up believing it. This was the case with the recent presidential election in the United States. It’s been said that the outcome was changed through fake news that was reported and believed about the loser.

But what will happen with fake news moving forward? Now that it’s been identified, will it be easy to put a stop to it? Or now that it has had an impact, will it create a fake news industry so that no one will ever know whether a news story is true or not? We posed this question to our writers to get their take on it – “What do you think will happen with fake news in the future?”

Our Opinion

Derrik sees it as a problem that “stems from social media.” He believes it’s easy to “pad yourself with your own worldview, to feel safe and comfortable.” He believes it is so prolific because no one wants to be challenged. He thinks to combat it, people need more critical thinking skills and a skeptical mindset. He also thinks if Facebook started doing some fact-checking, it would help the more naive people. Mahesh falls in line with him, stating that “Fake news will continue to exist, and it’s up to the individuals to distinguish between fake and real news.”

Ada doesn’t feel there are any efforts that will stop fake news, “while there are morons to fall prey.” She believes that if you only use reputable sources and double-check your facts, that you’ll be safe. Once the majority of people do that, fake news won’t be as much of an issue. The thought here is that if you read news on a reputable news site and not a social one, then it might be true. “Fake news undermines the authority on social media. – it’s like crying wolf.” Ada fears that eventually no one will read anything they read on social media, even if it’s true.

Robert is looking at the issue from a few different angles. He believes social networks could flag the fake news as ultimately they are private companies, and they can decide how they should best deal with it. He doesn’t agree with “outright blocking fake news” but believes some kind of note stating, “This comes from a source associated with fake news” could be good. He also agrees with others that people need to be able to distinguish between real and fake news and that it’s on them to do the research to check the facts.

He also brings up another good point that sometimes it’s not necessarily fake news with the intention of fooling people. Sometimes it’s just satire with the intention of entertaining people. Sites that publish satiric news stories wouldn’t be as fun if they were flagged and there was a big note stating it was false. That’s what makes it so fun. So should everyone lose out on their fun with the satire just because there is a section of people who are unwilling to fact check and will go around and republish it as if it is fact?

Your Opinion

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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Do You Need A Standing Desk? Yes, You Really Do.

As far as I can tell, the E5 is the best complete offering FlexiSpot has right now. It cost $339.99 using the coupon code CL80 (MSRP $419.99). If that price is too steep there are cheaper options available.

The cheapest single-motor option is $299.99 with discount code BACK50 ($349.99 MSRP). There’s also an even cheaper dual-motor version, coming out at $269.99 using coupon code NEW100 ($369.99 MSRP). All three include tabletops, so go frame-only if you already have a tabletop at home or want to source one elsewhere.

Let me walk you through setup and use. The FlexiSpot E5 frame came in a heavy box (76lbs/35kgs), but it was very easy to assemble. I’ve not built an Ikea standing desk but you get the analogy: you get a couple Allen keys and bolts in the box with clear step-by-step instructions to follow. All told I’d say I had the desk built in about a half-hour. I went for black, but there are gray and white frame options too.

My first impression of the FlexiSpot E5 was that it is very well built. It has a fair bit of heft to it and the powder-coated double steel tubing is very well machined. There are no issues with stability and I have zero doubt this thing will stand the test of time. The frame has a 5-year warranty and the motors, two or three depending on where you buy it. If you’re at all worried about the motors burning out, they can be bought separately via the manufacturer’s website.

The dual-motor system made short work of both of my setups. I started out with my laptop, spare monitor, and some wireless peripherals, maybe 15kgs in total. I later switched to my full desktop rig — around 40kgs including monitor arms, two screens, full-sized speakers, and more — and didn’t notice any difference. The E5 is rated for up to 275lbs (125kg) so regardless of how many monitors you’re packing, it will manage.

The dual motors travel at 1.5 inches per second (3.8cm/sec) at less than 50dB, powered by a 100-240V AC wall plug. It takes around 15 seconds to go from the E5’s lowest height of 24.4 inches (110cms) to its high point of 49.2 inches (180cms). There’s a slight speed-ramp as you start raising or lowering the desk. There’s also a “dampening” effect as you reach the upper or lower limits. The three-stage constrcution of the legs means the E5 is faster to raise or lower than two-stage frames.

Saving preset heights is a simple affair. Raise or lower the desk to the desired height, hit the “M” button and then the 1, 2, or 3 to save it under that number. You can then quickly adjust the desk’s height to your perfect settings with the touch of a button.

Setting a timer to alert you when you’ve been sitting for too long is a good idea. You can stop it when the buzzer goes off by adjusting the height of the desk. Ignore it and it’ll go off again in five minutes. Unlike activity reminders on a smartwatch, this is one alert you ought to pay attention to.

I felt less tired, less stiff, and even less grumpy at the end of the day.

It took me several years to finally get around to investing in a standing desk. Now that I have, it is the most important piece of office furniture I own. Thinking back on all those years I spent hunched over a static desk makes my back hurt just thinking about it. Don’t make the mistake I did friends: get yourself a standing desk sooner rather than later.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the FlexiSpot E5 but if it’s not quite your style we’ve rounded up a bunch of options to suit any price bracket in our standing desk guide.

FlexiSpot Premium E5 standing desk

Affordable home office health

FlexiSpot Premium E5 standing desk

$339.99

Save

$80.00

Bad Chrome Extensions: What You Can Do About Them

What’s Happening? Google Responds

After reports have demonstrated that millions of Chrome users are browsing the web with malicious extensions that can steal login details and other valuable information, Google has decided to conduct a purge. In one instance, a browser extension called “Webpage Screenshot” had code that would get data from all of the user’s traffic on their PC.

Although Google is actively working to ensure that Chrome users have a malware-free browsing experience, it cannot do all of the legwork. You will have to also fight the battle!

Here’s What You Can Do

In addition to this, you may want to install ExtShield (now called Shield for Chrome), which notifies you of any extensions that may be guilty of wrongdoing, then prompts you to uninstall them.

Conclusion

As consumers of web content and browsers, we must do our part to ensure that we don’t get caught in a web of malware! Similarly, we must also do this for others. Spread the word about bad extensions and their solution by sharing this!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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Here’s What You Need To Do If You Are Seeking The Perfect Homepage

There is a reason why smart people spend so much time and money to optimize their homepage.

But as Sam Ovens explains only practice makes you self confident. Having all those benefits I mentioned above is not an easy work — it needs testing and measuring.

The framework is here though. There are some persuasion elements that have stood the test of time and make money no matter on the screen or paper (these are the same elements that old school copywriters used to produce millions of dollars). Simply use these elements on your homepage the way I explain and you’ll have your perfect homepage plus all the benefits I mentioned.

Headline’s copy

Headlines are the most important copy on a homepage. They demand a special attention because they literally make the first impression in the minds of the visitors. Believe it or not we are used to looking for the big bolded statement in the middle of the page when we enter a website.

Here’s Shopify’s headline copy:

Why use a headline, you say?

Well, headlines are not a recent creation of marketing gurus. They’ve been around for a long time — and with ample reasons. In 1983, the legendary copywriter, David Ogilvy wrote:

“on the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy. It follows that unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.

How to persuade people to buy through your headline?

There are two steps to take:

1. Study the product

In order to produce a money making headline, you need to know the features and functions of the product and its competitors in the market. Try to focus on the features that make the product unique compared to its competitors.

If your product is an email marketing tool or platform, maybe its on-site retargeting features make it unique. Or maybe it’s surprisingly cheaper than other email marketing tools.

Make a list of the features that you think make your product unique or at least make it look cool to people.

2. Position the product

Once you have a list of the cool and unique features of your product, it’s easier to position your product.

What’s positioning? Ogilvy’s definition of positioning is “what the product does, and who it is for”.

Here’s an example of how Ogilvy positions the Dove soaps:

He positions Dove as a creamy soap,

“Dove creams your skin while you bathe”, for women. As Ogilvy himself says about Dove’s positioning: “I could have positioned Dove as a detergent bar for men with dirty hands, but chose chose instead to position it as a toilet bar for women with dry skin. This is still working 25 years later.”

And here’s a nice example of how SEMruch positions its product as an “all-in-one marketing toolkit” for “digital marketing professionals”:

The greatest feature of their product is that it contains all the tools a professional digital marketer needs in one place. And of course it’s positioned for digital marketing professionals. The message is clear and effective.

All in all, in order to increase sales through your headlines you first need to study the product and its competitors in the market, make a list of its cool unique features, and finally position the cool or unique features as benefits for your target customers.

Here are some bonus points to consider:

You can learn alot from the way

consulting

functions. Position your product as the sum of all the benefits that will transform people from their current self to their desired self.

Don’t be afraid of texts on your homepage when it comes to positioning your product and stating its benefits and features. Although there’s much hype about people’s preference for images, videos and stuff,

ConversionXL

found that users noticed the value proposition more quickly and spent more time on it when it had more text.

Call to actions

If you’re spending thousands of dollars on a product and a website just to prove what a genius you are, good luck!  But if you’re willing to sell more of your products and fill those bank accounts, you need to get people to do something on your website.  

Call to actions (CTA’s) are the buttons that ask for those money making actions.

Above: Crowdcast’s CTA buttons

Having seen hundreds of websites with different CTA’s, I managed to categorize CTA’s into six types:

More info type

(e.g. learn more, watch now, find out more, read more).

Sample type

(free account, free trial, try it for free, get started, demo, get a demo).

Download type

(app, get report, report, guide, get now).

Buy type

(see solutions/plans/products, compare plans).

Contact type

(including let’s reach, contact us, schedule a meeting).

To make the best of these CTA’s, have the following tips in mind:

Early immature conversions = low-quality buyers

As a rule of thumb you need to avoid too much insistence on the “Buy Type” CTA’s upfront on your homepage.

You don’t want early immature customers because they tend to leave you very soon and more often.

In one of his Whiteboard Friday videos, Rand Fishkin explains that Moz customers that convert on the first, or second, or third visit to [their] website tend to leave early and often. They tend to be not longstanding, loyal customers who have low churn rates and those kinds of things. They tend to have a very high churn and low retention.”

To avoid early immature conversions, you need to make sure you educate your visitors before they buy from you. As for Moz, people normally visit their website 8 times before they sign-up for the free trial. And Rand states clearly that for them there is a strong correlation between the time spent on the website and customer loyalty.

Have more of more info type, sample type, and join type CTA’s on your homepage rather than just the buy type ones.

Have CTA’s above the fold

A study by Nielsen Norman Group in 2010 showed that the 100 pixels just above the fold in a web page were viewed 102% more than the 100 pixels below the fold. The following aggregate heatmap from the study shows the concentration of looks in 57,453 eye-tracking fixations.

Red indicates where users looked the most; yellow where they looked less. White areas got virtually no looks. The top black stripe indicates the page fold in the study; subsequent black stripes represent each additional screen after scrolling.

If you want your CTA’s to be seen, you need to have your CTA’s above the fold as well as other places.

Have multiple CTA’s

Singularity in CTA’s has its own merits. For one thing you’re directing the attention of your visitors to do only and only one action you want them to do, eliminating the distracting factors.

But there’s one problem with CTA singularity: it resonates with only one intention.

Some other visitors might be interested in downloading a report or white paper, especially if you’re a B2B business. Be it as it may, you need to include a “download type” CTA offering a white paper, webinar, e-course, etc. to attract this kind of visitors.

And occasionally, some people who are well educated about your product might visit your website with the intention to buy straight in their first visit. You don’t want to let them down, do you?

One practical conversion-related fact about Hootsuite is that it’s main CTA is well differentiated. It’s the green “start your free 30-day trial” button sitting above the fold.

Social proof

There are only two ways people would trust you. One is seeing the results you can get them, the other is your past experience. When people visit your website, the best way to make them trust you is showcasing your past experience.

Social proof is just about that and it has such a strong influence:

Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase.

Nearly 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.

There are basically 6 social proof types:

Case studies:

You could mention the detailed success story of your clients.

Testimonials:

You could use recommendations from your happy customers.

Reviews:

You could feature real reviews of your products or services by trusted sources.

Social Media: Showing how many followers you have or showing their positive posts about you is a good way to gain new visitors’ trust.

Trust Icons:

You can showcase the logos of the companies you’ve worked with or the publications you’ve been featured on.

Data/Numbers:

If you have worked with an impressive number of people or have achieved impressive results with them, you can show the data/numbers on your homepage.

The most accessible social proof types are trust icons and testimonials. It’s easy to include a handful of your best clients’ logos on your homepage plus they are visual and easier to understand. Here are Kissmetrics’s trust icons featuring such classy clients as Unbounce and SendGrid:

Testimonials are also a great way to showcase your past results. Sam Ovens’s consulting training website is an interesting case here. It features over 3000 video testimonials from people who have actually taken his courses.

An impressive number of testimonials in the form of videos has a strong impact.

The question is how to make social proof more authentic? Here are some ways:

Use pictures of the people who give testimonials or get featured as case studies. A s

tudy

shows that using a picture could increase people’s acceptance of a claim

Be more specific about the person giving the testimonial:

Mention the person’s name, company, role, and if possible a link to his website or twitter handle.

Feature someone your visitors know well and can relate to:

don’t just use anyone. Testimonials and case studies work better from a famous guy.

Use Videos: 

It goes without saying that

videos

are more believable and engaging.

Avoid the general and be specific:

a good testimonial

or case study highlights a benefit, explains how the benefit solves a problem, and is specific in the achieved results.

Link to off-site reviews:

people know that you’re only featuring a handful of positive reviews on your website. If you

link to the reviews

on another website, chances are people will trust you more.

GetResponse has almost all kinds of social proof on its homepage.

One final thought 

The perfect homepage is not the one with the most expensive design, nor is it the one with lots of free stuff all over it. The elements that make your homepage perfect stand the test of time and are valuable for all aesthetic preferences.

What Is Reddiquette? 6 Things You Shouldn’t Do On Reddit

Before you jump right into Reddit with the rest of the world, there are a few rules that all Redditors should do their best to abide by that are known as “Reddiquette.” While it’s not exactly a guarantee, following these rules can help you have a more pleasant Reddit experience, as you’ll avoid mishaps with moderators and other users. This list includes some of the things you’ll want to keep in mind.

1. Never Share Personal Information

Posting someone’s personal information on a Reddit thread is frowned on in the community and is part of the website’s strict crackdown on vigilantism and witch hunts. You’ll want to steer clear of posting any links that lead to pages that show an individual’s personal info, as well as photos that show the same.

This rule extends to social media profile links and screenshots. If you have to post photos of social media, you’ll have to block out the sensitive information by blurring it out or masking it using another color. You can accomplish this by using the default Paint or Paint 3D apps that come with Windows or your photo-editing software of choice.

2. Avoid Cheap Reposts

Reposting is the sharing of content that was uploaded previously and can be a great way of relaying interesting news, memes, and other information that people may have missed. While certain kinds of reposting are allowable and sometimes even encouraged, Redditors are vehemently against taking someone’s previously uploaded content and claiming it as your own, especially when it comes to media that someone put real effort into.

3. Steer Clear of Sleazy Self-Promotions

Getting those sweet upvotes on your post and rising in popularity can certainly be addictive, but you must be mindful of how you garner those votes. Dropping hints in your post asking other users to upvote is generally condemned, as is sending DMs or posting on social media asking people to give you votes. In the same vein, you shouldn’t offer up prizes or gifts in exchange for votes either.

If you want to get upvotes on Reddit, be active in popular Subreddits and trending content and make sure the content you upload is relative to the Subreddit you’re posting in and that your post is up to date and interesting. It’s not worth taking shortcuts to get those upvotes.

4. Don’t Be Obnoxious

Be respectful, try to keep the trash-talking to an acceptable level, and don’t go overboard with your criticisms and arguments. Step out of line one too many times and a moderator may boot you out of the Subreddit. At the end of the day, there’s another person behind the username you’re interacting with, so you should treat them as such. A little kindness goes a long way.

If things start to get a little too heated, you can always step away from your keyboard for a few minutes and wait for the rage to settle down a bit. You should be especially wary of trolls, since these kinds of users make it their mission to get a rise out of you. Do yourself a favor and just ignore or actively steer clear of them.

5. Refrain from Downvoting Posts for Personal Reasons

It’s easy to misunderstand what the downvote button is meant for. After all, you upvote posts because you like them or find them useful, so it’s only understandable that posts that elicit the opposite effect are given the downvote. But that shouldn’t really be the case. You should never downvote a post just because you personally disagree with the message or find it boring.

The true function of the downvote option is to report posts that either shouldn’t be on that specific thread, violate the rules of Reddit as a whole, link you to a malicious site, or similar. Only downvote a post if you have good reason for doing so.

When wondering whether you should downvote a post or not, simply ask yourself if the post is relevant to the Subreddit and contributes to the topic. If it does neither of these two things, then the post should be deserving of your downvote.

6. Don’t Rush Your Post

It’s easy to be tempted to just jump into Reddit and start posting away, but it’s best to do your homework and tour the site a bit before you go all in. You’ll want to do some research about how to create successful posts and familiarize yourself with the rules of the subreddit you plan on posting in since each has its own set of regulations.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of helpful resources on the Internet about these kinds of topics, and there’s even an article in Reddit’s help section that can teach you more about Reddiquette. While you’re at it, you should read through the help section in general for tips on getting started and information that might help you understand the website better.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out these weird subreddits for interesting stuff.

Frequently Asked Questions: 1. What is karma and how do I earn it?

Karma is a publicly shown number right next to your Reddit username that’s an indicator of how much you’ve contributed to the Reddit community so far. If your karma dips into the negative, you may have trouble posting in certain subreddits, as the algorithm will limit your ability to post to once every 10 minutes.

2. What does “/s” mean? 3. What are Reddit Coins and how are they used?

Reddit constantly adds new awards to its platform, some of which even provide the receiver with Reddit Coins of their own or an ad-free Reddit experience. Reddit Coins can be purchased from the website’s Coins Page using traditional currency.

Princess Angolluan

Princess is a freelance writer based in Croatia. She used to work as an English teacher in Hokkaido, Japan before she finally changed careers and focused on content writing & copywriting, while running their own digital marketing company in Europe. For 5 years, she has written many articles and web pages on various niches like technology, finance, digital marketing, etc. Princess loves playing FPS games, watching anime, and singing.

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