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Jano le Roux

Jano le Roux

2 months ago

Here's What I Learned After 30 Days Analyzing Apple's Microcopy

More on Marketing

Victoria Kurichenko

Victoria Kurichenko

1 month ago

My Blog Is in Google's Top 10—Here's How to Compete

"Competition" is beautiful and hateful.

Some people bury their dreams because they are afraid of competition. Others challenge themselves, shaping our world.

Competition is normal.

It spurs innovation and progress.

I wish more people agreed.

As a marketer, content writer, and solopreneur, my readers often ask:

"I want to create a niche website, but I have no ideas. Everything's done"

"Is a website worthwhile?"

I can't count how many times I said, "Yes, it makes sense, and you can succeed in a competitive market."

I encourage and share examples, but it's not enough to overcome competition anxiety.

I launched an SEO writing website for content creators a year ago, knowing it wouldn't beat Ahrefs, Semrush, Backlinko, etc.

Not needed.

Many of my website's pages rank highly on Google.

Everyone can eat the pie.

In a competitive niche, I took a different approach.

Look farther

When chatting with bloggers that want a website, I discovered something fascinating.

They want to launch a website but have no ideas. As a next step, they start listing the interests they believe they should work on, like wellness, lifestyle, investments, etc. I could keep going.

Too many generalists who claim to know everything confuse many.

Generalists aren't trusted.

We want someone to fix our problems immediately.

I don't think broad-spectrum experts are undervalued. People have many demands that go beyond generalists' work. Narrow-niche experts can help.

I've done SEO for three years. I learned from experts and courses. I couldn't find a comprehensive SEO writing resource.

I read tons of articles before realizing that wasn't it. I took courses that covered SEO basics eventually.

I had a demand for learning SEO writing, but there was no solution on the market. My website fills this micro-niche.

Have you ever had trouble online?

Professional courses too general, boring, etc.?

You've bought off-topic books, right?

You're not alone.

Niche ideas!

Big players often disregard new opportunities. Too small. Individual content creators can succeed here.

In a competitive market:

  • Never choose wide subjects

  • Think about issues you can relate to and have direct experience with.

  • Be a consumer to discover both the positive and negative aspects of a good or service.

  • Merchandise your annoyances.

  • Consider ways to transform your frustrations into opportunities.

The right niche is half-success. Here is what else I did to hit the Google front page with my website.

An innovative method for choosing subjects

Why publish on social media and websites?

Want likes, shares, followers, or fame?

Some people do it for fun. No judgment.

I bet you want more.

You want to make decent money from blogging.

Writing about random topics, even if they are related to your niche, won’t help you attract an audience from organic search. I'm a marketer and writer.

I worked at companies with dead blogs because they posted for themselves, not readers. They did not follow SEO writing rules; that’s why most of their content flopped.

I learned these hard lessons and grew my website from 0 to 3,000+ visitors per month while working on it a few hours a week only. Evidence:

I choose website topics using these criteria:

- Business potential. The information should benefit my audience and generate revenue. There would be no use in having it otherwise.

My topics should help me:

Attract organic search traffic with my "fluff-free" content -> Subscribers > SEO ebook sales.

Simple and effective.

- traffic on search engines. The number of monthly searches reveals how popular my topic is all across the world. If I find that no one is interested in my suggested topic, I don't write a blog article.

- Competition. Every search term is up against rivals. Some are more popular (thus competitive) since more websites target them in organic search. A new website won't score highly for keywords that are too competitive. On the other side, keywords with moderate to light competition can help you rank higher on Google more quickly.

- Search purpose. The "why" underlying users' search requests is revealed. I analyze search intent to understand what users need when they plug various queries in the search bar and what content can perfectly meet their needs.

My specialty website produces money, ranks well, and attracts the target audience because I handpick high-traffic themes.

Following these guidelines, even a new website can stand out.

I wrote a 50-page SEO writing guide where I detailed topic selection and share my front-page Google strategy.

My guide can help you run a successful niche website.

In summary

You're not late to the niche-website party.

The Internet offers many untapped opportunities.

We need new solutions and are willing to listen.

There are unexplored niches in any topic.

Don't fight giants. They have their piece of the pie. They might overlook new opportunities while trying to keep that piece of the pie. You should act now.

Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse

2 months ago

5 Tips for Concise Writing

Here's how to be clear.

I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer Blaise Pascal

Concise.

People want this. We tend to repeat ourselves and use unnecessary words.

Being vague frustrates readers. It focuses their limited attention span on figuring out what you're saying rather than your message.

Edit carefully.

Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.” — American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher William Zinsser

How do you write succinctly?

Here are three ways to polish your writing.

1. Delete

Your readers will appreciate it if you delete unnecessary words. If a word or phrase is essential, keep it. Don't force it.

Many readers dislike bloated sentences. Ask yourself if cutting a word or phrase will change the meaning or dilute your message.

For example, you could say, “It’s absolutely essential that I attend this meeting today, so I know the final outcome.” It’s better to say, “It’s critical I attend the meeting today, so I know the results.”

Key takeaway

Delete actually, completely, just, full, kind of, really, and totally. Keep the necessary words, cut the rest.

2. Just Do It

Don't tell readers your plans. Your readers don't need to know your plans. Who are you?

Don't say, "I want to highlight our marketing's problems." Our marketing issues are A, B, and C. This cuts 5–7 words per sentence.

Keep your reader's attention on the essentials, not the fluff. What are you doing? You won't lose readers because you get to the point quickly and don't build up.

Key takeaway

Delete words that don't add to your message. Do something, don't tell readers you will.

3. Cut Overlap

You probably repeat yourself unintentionally. You may add redundant sentences when brainstorming. Read aloud to detect overlap.

Remove repetition from your writing. It's important to edit our writing and thinking to avoid repetition.

Key Takeaway

If you're repeating yourself, combine sentences to avoid overlap.

4. Simplify

Write as you would to family or friends. Communicate clearly. Don't use jargon. These words confuse readers.

Readers want specifics, not jargon. Write simply. Done.

Most adults read at 8th-grade level. Jargon and buzzwords make speech fluffy. This confuses readers who want simple language.

Key takeaway

Ensure all audiences can understand you. USA Today's 5th-grade reading level is intentional. They want everyone to understand.

5. Active voice

Subjects perform actions in active voice. When you write in passive voice, the subject receives the action.

For example, “the board of directors decided to vote on the topic” is an active voice, while “a decision to vote on the topic was made by the board of directors” is a passive voice.

Key takeaway

Active voice clarifies sentences. Active voice is simple and concise.

Bringing It All Together

Five tips help you write clearly. Delete, just do it, cut overlap, use simple language, and write in an active voice.

Clear writing is effective. It's okay to occasionally use unnecessary words or phrases. Realizing it is key. Check your writing.

Adding words costs.

Write more concisely. People will appreciate it and read your future articles, emails, and messages. Spending extra time will increase trust and influence.

Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” — Naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau

Jon Brosio

Jon Brosio

1 month ago

This Landing Page is a (Legal) Money-Printing Machine

and it’s easy to build.

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

A landing page with good copy is a money-maker.

Let's be honest, page-builder templates are garbage.

They can help you create a nice-looking landing page, but not persuasive writing.

Over the previous 90 days, I've examined 200+ landing pages.

What's crazy?

Top digital entrepreneurs use a 7-part strategy to bring in email subscribers, generate prospects, and (passively) sell their digital courses.

Steal this 7-part landing page architecture to maximize digital product sales.

The offer

Landing pages require offers.

Newsletter, cohort, or course offer.

Your reader should see this offer first. Includind:

  • Headline

  • Imagery

  • Call-to-action

Clear, persuasive, and simplicity are key. Example: the Linkedin OS course home page of digital entrepreneur Justin Welsh offers:

Courtesy | Justin Welsh

A distinctly defined problem

Everyone needs an enemy.

You need an opponent on your landing page. Problematic.

Next, employ psychology to create a struggle in your visitor's thoughts.

Don't be clever here; label your customer's problem. The more particular you are, the bigger the situation will seem.

When you build a clear monster, you invite defeat. I appreciate Theo Ohene's Growth Roadmaps landing page.

Courtesy | Theo Ohene

Exacerbation of the effects

Problem identification doesn't motivate action.

What would an unresolved problem mean?

This is landing page copy. When you describe the unsolved problem's repercussions, you accomplish several things:

  • You write a narrative (and stories are remembered better than stats)

  • You cause the reader to feel something.

  • You help the reader relate to the issue

Important!

My favorite script is:

"Sure, you can let [problem] go untreated. But what will happen if you do? Soon, you'll begin to notice [new problem 1] will start to arise. That might bring up [problem 2], etc."

Take the copywriting course, digital writer and entrepreneur Dickie Bush illustrates below when he labels the problem (see: "poor habit") and then illustrates the repercussions.

Courtesy | Ship30for30

The tale of transformation

Every landing page needs that "ah-ha!" moment.

Transformation stories do this.

Did you find a solution? Someone else made the discovery? Have you tested your theory?

Next, describe your (or your subject's) metamorphosis.

Kieran Drew nails his narrative (and revelation) here. Right before the disclosure, he introduces his "ah-ha!" moment:

Courtesy | Kieran Drew

Testimonials

Social proof completes any landing page.

Social proof tells the reader, "If others do it, it must be worthwhile."

This is your argument.

Positive social proof helps (obviously).

Offer "free" training in exchange for a testimonial if you need social evidence. This builds social proof.

Most social proof is testimonies (recommended). Kurtis Hanni's creative take on social proof (using a screenshot of his colleague) is entertaining.

Bravo.

Courtesy | Kurtis Hanni

Reveal your offer

Now's the moment to act.

Describe the "bundle" that provides the transformation.

Here's:

  • Course

  • Cohort

  • Ebook

Whatever you're selling.

Include a product or service image, what the consumer is getting ("how it works"), the price, any "free" bonuses (preferred), and a CTA ("buy now").

Clarity is key. Don't make a cunning offer. Make sure your presentation emphasizes customer change (benefits). Dan Koe's Modern Mastery landing page makes an offer. Consider:

Courtesy | Dan Koe

An ultimatum

Offering isn't enough.

You must give your prospect an ultimatum.

  1. They can buy your merchandise from you.

  2. They may exit the webpage.

That’s it.

It's crucial to show what happens if the reader does either. Stress the consequences of not buying (again, a little consequence amplification). Remind them of the benefits of buying.

I appreciate Charles Miller's product offer ending:

Courtesy | Charles Miller

The top online creators use a 7-part landing page structure:

  1. Offer the service

  2. Describe the problem

  3. Amplify the consequences

  4. Tell the transformational story

  5. Include testimonials and social proof.

  6. Reveal the offer (with any bonuses if applicable)

  7. Finally, give the reader a deadline to encourage them to take action.

Sequence these sections to develop a landing page that (essentially) prints money.

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Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse

3 months ago

These 10 phrases are unprofessional at work.

Successful workers don't talk this way.

"I know it's unprofessional, but I can't stop." Author Sandy Hall

Do you realize your unprofessionalism? Do you care? Self-awareness?

Everyone can improve their unprofessionalism. Some workplace phrases and words shouldn't be said.

People often say out loud what they're thinking. They show insecurity, incompetence, and disrespect.

"Think before you speak," goes the saying.

Some of these phrases are "okay" in certain situations, but you'll lose colleagues' respect if you use them often.

Your word choice. Your tone. Your intentions. They matter.

Choose your words carefully to build work relationships and earn peer respect. You should build positive relationships with coworkers and clients.

These 10 phrases are unprofessional. 

1. That Meeting Really Sucked

Wow! Were you there? You should be responsible if you attended. You can influence every conversation.

Alternatives

Improve the meeting instead of complaining afterward. Make it more meaningful and productive.

2. Not Sure if You Saw My Last Email

Referencing a previous email irritates people. Email follow-up can be difficult. Most people get tons of emails a day, so it may have been buried, forgotten, or low priority.

Alternatives

It's okay to follow up, but be direct, short, and let the recipient "save face"

3. Any Phrase About Sex, Politics, and Religion

Discussing sex, politics, and religion at work is foolish. If you discuss these topics, you could face harassment lawsuits.

Alternatives

Keep quiet about these contentious issues. Don't touch them.

4. I Know What I’m Talking About

Adding this won't persuade others. Research, facts, and topic mastery are key to persuasion. If you're knowledgeable, you don't need to say this.

Alternatives

Please don’t say it at all. Justify your knowledge.

5. Per Our Conversation

This phrase sounds like legal language. You seem to be documenting something legally. Cold, stern, and distant. "As discussed" sounds inauthentic.

Alternatives

It was great talking with you earlier; here's what I said.

6. Curse-Word Phrases

Swearing at work is unprofessional. You never know who's listening, so be careful. A child may be at work or on a Zoom or Teams call. Workplace cursing is unacceptable.

Alternatives

Avoid adult-only words.

7. I Hope This Email Finds You Well

This is a unique way to wish someone well. This phrase isn't as sincere as the traditional one. When you talk about the email, you're impersonal.

Alternatives

Genuinely care for others.

8. I Am Really Stressed

Happy, strong, stress-managing coworkers are valued. Manage your own stress. Exercise, sleep, and eat better.

Alternatives

Everyone has stress, so manage it. Don't talk about your stress.

9. I Have Too Much to Do

You seem incompetent. People think you can't say "no" or have poor time management. If you use this phrase, you're telling others you may need to change careers.

Alternatives

Don't complain about your workload; just manage it.

10. Bad Closing Salutations

"Warmly," "best," "regards," and "warm wishes" are common email closings. This conclusion sounds impersonal. Why use "warmly" for finance's payment status?

Alternatives

Personalize the closing greeting to the message and recipient. Use "see you tomorrow" or "talk soon" as closings.

Bringing It All Together

These 10 phrases are unprofessional at work. That meeting sucked, not sure if you saw my last email, and sex, politics, and religion phrases.

Also, "I know what I'm talking about" and any curse words. Also, avoid phrases like I hope this email finds you well, I'm stressed, and I have too much to do.

Successful workers communicate positively and foster professionalism. Don't waste chances to build strong work relationships by being unprofessional.

“Unprofessionalism damages the business reputation and tarnishes the trust of society.” — Pearl Zhu, an American author


This post is a summary. Read full article here

Thomas Huault

Thomas Huault

16 days ago

A Mean Reversion Trading Indicator Inspired by Classical Mechanics Is The Kinetic Detrender

DATA MINING WITH SUPERALGORES

Old pots produce the best soup.

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Science has always inspired indicator design. From physics to signal processing, many indicators use concepts from mechanical engineering, electronics, and probability. In Superalgos' Data Mining section, we've explored using thermodynamics and information theory to construct indicators and using statistical and probabilistic techniques like reduced normal law to take advantage of low probability events.

An asset's price is like a mechanical object revolving around its moving average. Using this approach, we could design an indicator using the oscillator's Total Energy. An oscillator's energy is finite and constant. Since we don't expect the price to follow the harmonic oscillator, this energy should deviate from the perfect situation, and the maximum of divergence may provide us valuable information on the price's moving average.

Definition of the Harmonic Oscillator in Few Words

Sinusoidal function describes a harmonic oscillator. The time-constant energy equation for a harmonic oscillator is:

With

Time saves energy.

In a mechanical harmonic oscillator, total energy equals kinetic energy plus potential energy. The formula for energy is the same for every kind of harmonic oscillator; only the terms of total energy must be adapted to fit the relevant units. Each oscillator has a velocity component (kinetic energy) and a position to equilibrium component (potential energy).

The Price Oscillator and the Energy Formula

Considering the harmonic oscillator definition, we must specify kinetic and potential components for our price oscillator. We define oscillator velocity as the rate of change and equilibrium position as the price's distance from its moving average.

Price kinetic energy:

It's like:

With

and

L is the number of periods for the rate of change calculation and P for the close price EMA calculation.

Total price oscillator energy =

Given that an asset's price can theoretically vary at a limitless speed and be endlessly far from its moving average, we don't expect this formula's outcome to be constrained. We'll normalize it using Z-Score for convenience of usage and readability, which also allows probabilistic interpretation.

Over 20 periods, we'll calculate E's moving average and standard deviation.

We calculated Z on BTC/USDT with L = 10 and P = 21 using Knime Analytics.

The graph is detrended. We added two horizontal lines at +/- 1.6 to construct a 94.5% probability zone based on reduced normal law tables. Price cycles to its moving average oscillate clearly. Red and green arrows illustrate where the oscillator crosses the top and lower limits, corresponding to the maximum/minimum price oscillation. Since the results seem noisy, we may apply a non-lagging low-pass or multipole filter like Butterworth or Laguerre filters and employ dynamic bands at a multiple of Z's standard deviation instead of fixed levels.

Kinetic Detrender Implementation in Superalgos

The Superalgos Kinetic detrender features fixed upper and lower levels and dynamic volatility bands.

The code is pretty basic and does not require a huge amount of code lines.

It starts with the standard definitions of the candle pointer and the constant declaration :

let candle = record.current
let len = 10
let P = 21
let T = 20
let up = 1.6
let low = 1.6

Upper and lower dynamic volatility band constants are up and low.

We proceed to the initialization of the previous value for EMA :

if (variable.prevEMA === undefined) {
    variable.prevEMA = candle.close
}

And the calculation of EMA with a function (it is worth noticing the function is declared at the end of the code snippet in Superalgos) :

variable.ema = calculateEMA(P, candle.close, variable.prevEMA)
//EMA calculation
function calculateEMA(periods, price, previousEMA) {
    let k = 2 / (periods + 1)
    return price * k + previousEMA * (1 - k)
}

The rate of change is calculated by first storing the right amount of close price values and proceeding to the calculation by dividing the current close price by the first member of the close price array:

variable.allClose.push(candle.close)
if (variable.allClose.length > len) {
    variable.allClose.splice(0, 1)
}
if (variable.allClose.length === len) {
    variable.roc = candle.close / variable.allClose[0]
} else {
    variable.roc = 1
}

Finally, we get energy with a single line:

variable.E = 1 / 2 * len * variable.roc + 1 / 2 * P * candle.close / variable.ema

The Z calculation reuses code from Z-Normalization-based indicators:

variable.allE.push(variable.E)
if (variable.allE.length > T) {
    variable.allE.splice(0, 1)
}
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allE.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allE[i]
    }
    variable.MA = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allE[i] - variable.MA, 2)
    }
    variable.sigma = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
variable.Z = (variable.E - variable.MA) / variable.sigma
} else {
    variable.Z = 0
}
variable.allZ.push(variable.Z)
if (variable.allZ.length > T) {
    variable.allZ.splice(0, 1)
}
variable.sum = 0
variable.SQ = 0
if (variable.allZ.length === T) {
    for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.sum += variable.allZ[i]
    }
    variable.MAZ = variable.sum / T
for (var i = 0; i < T; i++) {
        variable.SQ += Math.pow(variable.allZ[i] - variable.MAZ, 2)
    }
    variable.sigZ = Math.sqrt(variable.SQ / T)
} else {
    variable.MAZ = variable.Z
    variable.sigZ = variable.MAZ * 0.02
}
variable.upper = variable.MAZ + up * variable.sigZ
variable.lower = variable.MAZ - low * variable.sigZ

We also update the EMA value.

variable.prevEMA = variable.EMA
BTD/USDT candle chart at 01-hs timeframe with the Kinetic detrender and its 2 red fixed level and black dynamic levels

Conclusion

We showed how to build a detrended oscillator using simple harmonic oscillator theory. Kinetic detrender's main line oscillates between 2 fixed levels framing 95% of the values and 2 dynamic levels, leading to auto-adaptive mean reversion zones.

Superalgos' Normalized Momentum data mine has the Kinetic detrender indication.

All the material here can be reused and integrated freely by linking to this article and Superalgos.

This post is informative and not financial advice. Seek expert counsel before trading. Risk using this material.

Vitalik

Vitalik

8 months ago

An approximate introduction to how zk-SNARKs are possible (part 1)

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has 2 very powerful applications: Perhaps the most powerful cryptographic technology to come out of the last decade is general-purpose succinct zero knowledge proofs, usually called zk-SNARKs ("zero knowledge succinct arguments of knowledge"). A zk-SNARK allows you to generate a proof that some computation has some particular output, in such a way that the proof can be verified extremely quickly even if the underlying computation takes a very long time to run. The "ZK" part adds an additional feature: the proof can keep some of the inputs to the computation hidden.

You can make a proof for the statement "I know a secret number such that if you take the word ‘cow', add the number to the end, and SHA256 hash it 100 million times, the output starts with 0x57d00485aa". The verifier can verify the proof far more quickly than it would take for them to run 100 million hashes themselves, and the proof would also not reveal what the secret number is.

In the context of blockchains, this has two very powerful applications:

  1. Scalability: if a block takes a long time to verify, one person can verify it and generate a proof, and everyone else can just quickly verify the proof instead
  2. Privacy: you can prove that you have the right to transfer some asset (you received it, and you didn't already transfer it) without revealing the link to which asset you received. This ensures security without unduly leaking information about who is transacting with whom to the public.

But zk-SNARKs are quite complex; indeed, as recently as in 2014-17 they were still frequently called "moon math". The good news is that since then, the protocols have become simpler and our understanding of them has become much better. This post will try to explain how ZK-SNARKs work, in a way that should be understandable to someone with a medium level of understanding of mathematics.

Why ZK-SNARKs "should" be hard

Let us take the example that we started with: we have a number (we can encode "cow" followed by the secret input as an integer), we take the SHA256 hash of that number, then we do that again another 99,999,999 times, we get the output, and we check what its starting digits are. This is a huge computation.

A "succinct" proof is one where both the size of the proof and the time required to verify it grow much more slowly than the computation to be verified. If we want a "succinct" proof, we cannot require the verifier to do some work per round of hashing (because then the verification time would be proportional to the computation). Instead, the verifier must somehow check the whole computation without peeking into each individual piece of the computation.

One natural technique is random sampling: how about we just have the verifier peek into the computation in 500 different places, check that those parts are correct, and if all 500 checks pass then assume that the rest of the computation must with high probability be fine, too?

Such a procedure could even be turned into a non-interactive proof using the Fiat-Shamir heuristic: the prover computes a Merkle root of the computation, uses the Merkle root to pseudorandomly choose 500 indices, and provides the 500 corresponding Merkle branches of the data. The key idea is that the prover does not know which branches they will need to reveal until they have already "committed to" the data. If a malicious prover tries to fudge the data after learning which indices are going to be checked, that would change the Merkle root, which would result in a new set of random indices, which would require fudging the data again... trapping the malicious prover in an endless cycle.

But unfortunately there is a fatal flaw in naively applying random sampling to spot-check a computation in this way: computation is inherently fragile. If a malicious prover flips one bit somewhere in the middle of a computation, they can make it give a completely different result, and a random sampling verifier would almost never find out.


It only takes one deliberately inserted error, that a random check would almost never catch, to make a computation give a completely incorrect result.

If tasked with the problem of coming up with a zk-SNARK protocol, many people would make their way to this point and then get stuck and give up. How can a verifier possibly check every single piece of the computation, without looking at each piece of the computation individually? There is a clever solution.

see part 2