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It’s time for my second edition of ‘cool-stuff-you-should-totally-know-about’ blog post, aka Charlie’s Quick Fire Reading List.  Today my list consists mostly of interesting reads and one handy but simple tool that we use all the time in the office.

First up, what I have been reading this week:

Google Stepping Up Merchant Feed Enforcement

This one is especially important for e-commerce site owners or anyone with an e-commerce client. The Google Merchant Center is a tool that helps you to upload your shop and product data to Google and means it can be used for Google Shopping and similar Google products. In order to use the Google Merchant Center you need a product feed, with pretty niche specifications. This article outlines that Google are tightening up the Merchant Center which means your product feed needs to meet Google’s increasingly strict specification standards. Basically, pay attention and make sure your products have unique product identifiers and make sure you are using the identifier_exists attribute correctly.

Going forward Google will disapprove products with an incorrect GTIN, MPN or brand identifiers so watch out for warnings and errors popping up in your Google Merchant Feed.

Google Analytics Checklist for New Projects

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This one is really handy for slotting into your ‘new client checklist’. It includes the basics such as excluding internal and partner IP addresses (important if you’re doing onsite work for the client and are on the site often) as well as links to instructions for linking other Google products with Analytics.

Overall, these are all the seemingly obvious yet often missed tasks that should be reviewed and set up as standard for a new client.

109 Beautiful Premium Responsive WordPress Themes

Weeding through WordPress themes is a pretty tedious job, considering there are thousands and thousands of them. If you’re looking for some decent responsive-design WordPress themes, look no further than this blog post by VentureHarbour. They have kindly created a robust list of 109 WordPress themes that offer responsive design.

The downside (why is there always a downside?) is all these are premium (paid for) themes, but considering the continuous increase in the number of internet patrons using mobile devices, I’d say it was worth the extra £50.

13 Essential Tools to Check Cross-Browser Compatibility

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It might seem like everyone uses Google and that nobody else uses another browser, ever. Despite popular belief, this isn’t true and a website not compatible with your browser can cause a big UX no no. It’s our responsibility, nay, duty to ensure we build and work with sites that perform consistently across different browsers.  Here you’ll find a guide to free and premium cloud platforms and desktop applications that can be used to test your website’s cross-browser compatibility.

We’ve been using Sauce Labs for a while and really rate it.

And our favourite free tool this week…

Nitro Cloud

Sometimes you just want to convert stuff and PDFs in particular are often difficult to convert. Wait a minute, a tool that converts any file type? Any? Nitro Cloud converts PDFs, Excel files, PowerPoint files…seriously, anything you need. Best of all, there’s a pretty decent free version.

What have you been reading this week? Give us a buzz if you find anything you think we’d find useful. Happy reading!

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