A New Way to Learn (the start of a series)


In the early summer of 2011 I had high hopes of becoming a famous blogger, though I did not know enough to use the term “blogger” yet. My subject was going to be raw milk and other alternative ideas of nutrition, medicine and exercise. If I was going to write for a website I would need a website. I secured the domain leonsthoughtforfood.com, I was so clever. Now I needed the website.

I asked my brother if he could refer a web developer. I considered my brother to be an expert. This had something to do with the fact that he had started developing websites 10 years prior at the ripe age of 12. He had moved on to the computer science department of UMASS Amherst so I was sure he was much too busy. When I asked Evan, he kindly replied “you can do it”. He had recently turned 21 so I thought “maybe he is drunk”. I tried him another few times but his answer never changed. I thought to myself, “What does Evan know that I don’t? Duh, how to build websites”.

One end of summer day I was sitting in a local coffee shop. This particular coffee shop had a “Leave a book, take a book” shelf. I glanced over and noticed an HTML5 for Dummies bright yellow book on the shelf. I could remeber that was an acronym Evan had mentioned several times when talking about website development. I humbled myself and adopted the free book as my own.

HTML5 for Dummies bookLater on that evening I sat at my 17″ mid 2010 Macbook Pro and started reading the first few pages of the book. I was instructed to create a text document (I did this is TextEdit), give it the extension .html save and open it in the browser (Safari at the time). What happened next changed my life for ever. The next step was to type the following in the text document, save and then refresh the browser:

<h1>Hello World!</h1>

WHOA!!!!! I am not completely sure why this impressed me so much. My heart sped up, my eyes grew large, and I needed MORE!

You may be wondering “What did he do next?”, It would not be crazy to think I blew through that book in less than a week. The truth is I never looked at that book again. What happened next was I started Googling. “How to make a webpage red”, “How to change the text on a webpage”, “How to include an image on my website”, “How to make a horizontal menu bar”, and on and on and on… At this stage Googling was slow. I hardly knew what HTML meant how could I Google the correct terms. However, I found answers and slowly fed my new desire.

This was the start of my learning how to build websites. I have continued to use this method (Googling) until today. I write most of my CSS and HTML from memory. This includes CSS3 and HTML5. Some examples are pseudo selectors like :nth-child() and properties like transform. More examples are HTML5 semantic elements like <header>, <nav>, <article>, etc… I have a firm hold on OOP (Object Oriented Programming) with PHP (PHP Hypertext Processor) and maximizing my front end development with Javascript. I have even written a few MySQL queries. I have leveraged the command line tool for server management and getting the most out of my Mac. I now also enjoy the security of revision control powered by git. I use the CSS preprocessor SASS particularly in the newer scss syntax. The list goes on and now I just sound like I am bragging.

The important part is, I am 100% self employed and able to support my family and I. Stay tuned and you will meet some of them as well.

The point of all this is to demonstrate the jump from summer of 2011 to now. I attended no school, I took no online courses (watched half of a lynda.com video and spent a couple hours on code academy.), there was no developer bootcamps involved, I didn’t have any friends or relatives available to bounce questions off of (I told you my brother was busy. You won’t believe what he is doing now). I am a student of the search engine. Google is my professor.

In this day and age almost every person in the United States has access to the internet. Those of us that do can find the answer to ANYTHING. For the generation who has always had the internet they may take it for granted. For the generations who always got by without the internet, they might be deterred or not realize the power. Then there is my generation. I was primed and thirsty for information. Yet I had enjoyed enough conveniences that I was too lazy to go to the library. The internet was perfect. If I knew there was a connection near by I would find the computer, sit at at and try to think of something to search. I wanted to use it just because it was there. Then an internet connection was added to the phone in my pocket, BOOM!

In the series to come I will cover what happened between 2011 and now. I will share my trials and tribulations. I will document the best way to search for things without knowing their name. Maybe the “University of the Search” is not for everyone, but it was definitely for me. So bookmark, subscribe leave me open in another tab forever like I do. While you wait, go and Google “How to Google”.

A Word About Google Trusted Stores

UPDATE 08/01/2014: My Google Trusted Stores extension has been acquired by another company. If you are interested in integrating Google Trusted Stores with your WooCommerce, please contact me at leon @ this domain, or got my contact page.

Google Trusted Stores is relatively new and not a familiar thing on eccomerce sites just yet. So why use it? What makes it something that every eccomerce site should consider seriously about using? How does it work? I hope to make some sense of it right now.

Google Trusted Stores is a free certification program that was introduced by Google to help make online shopping a better experience. Having that badge on your site is a guarantee you’ll receive reliable shipping and excellent customer service. It also says that Google stands behind these stores by offering $1,000 of free purchase protection! How is that for a guarantee of a pleasurable shopping experience.
This is how it works, when the customer orders from a site that is a Google Trusted Store, you are given an option to opt into the program at the time of the purchase. To opt in is free. Once the customer opt in, they may receive a short survey to report on your experience. The opt in gives the customer the chance to help review the store and also gives them a sense of security while purchasing on the site. Google Trusted Stores is designed to empower the customer and make sure they have a positive shopping experience. This can only improve the usability and sale on the site.

The best way I can describe Google Trusted Stores is it works like when you are shopping on Ebay. The seller has a history that you can look at. If you have a problem with your order and you can’t reach the merchant you can request the help of Google. Google will work with you until the problem is resolved. Reviews are there to see what type of seller you are dealing with and if the seller isn’t doing their job they won’t be endorsed by Google Trusted Stores for long.

Google Trusted Stores can only get better. With more public awareness the customer will value the Google Trusted Stores badge and want to shop at these places more. It’s only real competitor is Amazon Prime, which is a paid service. Besides that, Google Trusted Stores can be found anywhere on the internet while Amazon Prime is only found on Amazon.com

Even though Google Trusted Stores hasn’t been around for that long. It has its share of success stories from its users. Customers have a better experience and sites that are Google Trusted Stores see an increase in sales. All eccommerce sites should consider signing up for Google Trusted Stores because of these reasons and if they are doing a good job they will be rewarded with good reviews. There are not many things on the internet more reliable than Google. The fact that it is free for the customer makes it more attractive than its competitors. That should only make being a Google Trusted Store that more attractive

Google Trusted Stores for Woocommerce Extension Released

Google Trusted Stores for WooCommerce

UPDATE 08/01/2014: This extension has been acquired by another company. If you are interested in integrating Google Trusted Stores with your WooCommerce, please contact me at leon @ this domain, or got my contact page.

I created an exciting new plugin called Google Trusted Stores for WooCommerce. The plugin is designed to help with the demanding process of setting up a Google Trusted Stores account with WooCommerce.

Google Trusted Stores is a service that provides authentication of reliable shipping, customer service, and free purchase protection.

WooCommerce is one of the most popular WordPress eCommerce plugins. It is packed full of features, perfectly integrated into your self-hosted WordPress website.

Google Trusted Stores for WooCommerce Plugin enables Google Trusted Stores badge for woocommerce online stores. The Google Trusted Stores badge gives your site credibility from Google database information.

The benefits of the Google Trusted Stores with WooCommerce plugin are abundant. Not only does it combine the power of WooCommerce with reliability of Google Trusted Stores, but it also minimizes the time it takes to set up Google Trusted Stores. Google Trusted Stores for WooCommerce does things that require daily maintenance by automating them to specifications.

From my point of view, Google Trusted Stores for WooCommerce is really about giving the user something that is priceless, time to do other important things. I realize that in the development of eCommerce sites there is always something else to do and it is our goal to make things take as little time as possible. That is why I created this plugin and strive to make more that can save time and aggravation.