NewsThings We Liked in 2021 by The Pilot Team December 20, 2021 Updated: July 7, 2022 Continuing the tradition from last year, we compiled a list of articles we found interesting this year. Check out our favorite topics from the worlds of the Internet, Web Development, Design, Digital Marketing, SEO, PPC, and beyond. re: Time Management & Productivity Deep Work Since the pandemic and lockdown began, there have been a ton of conversations revolving around “productivity.” Because many of us had loads more time, we were led to believe that we should be using this time to work on side projects, “bettering ourselves,” etc. Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work, includes some great ideas on how to use your time to focus on deep work and avoid the “shallow work” of email, meetings, etc. Yes, that means we’re giving you permission to ignore that email we just sent you. Read: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World Deep Time Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, has a discussion about how we use our time as humans, or more often misuse it. They touch on how achieving inbox zero may just lead to getting more emails, and discuss the fallacy of a work-life balance. If you achieve this illusive balance, isn’t it human nature to feel like you could be doing more? Listen to: Making Sense #269 – Deep Time re: Development & Design Don’t question good looks Designers and developers work together to establish clear design hierarchy with typography, colors, elements and other visual cues that make websites and other apps visually appealing. In the article by Sarah Gibbons and Kelley Gordon, you can find direction on how to build a foundation for good-looking design. Read: Why Does a Design Look Good? Keeping up with WordPressians It’s no secret that WordPress is rapidly changing. Michal Trykoszko created a 3-part guide for creating WP blocks with React. In his introduction article, he outlines a lot of the newest technical concepts being wielded with WordPress these days. Read: Headless WordPress Gutenberg & Next.js — Part 1/3: Creating a Block with React Let a Roomba®’s cousin clean up your dirty code Github recently released an AI tool—trained on billions of lines of publicly available code—that provides suggested edits based on the context of your existing code. It’s interesting to see where the future of programming is going. Tools like this could increase productivity and lower the barrier to entry for coding. The code it suggests isn’t perfect, but neither is that website your cousin built for you. Experience: Github Copilot re: Business & Marketing Business musings from an anarchist deli tycoon Ari Weinzweig writes an article per week and an accompanying newsletter. They are filled with ruminations on the intermingling of life and work. Pick nearly any from this long list and get a taste of what happens when a deep thinker builds a business. Read a great example of Ari Weinzweig’s philosophical way of looking at life, business, and… holiday ham? Read: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty Big ideas in small, easy-to-read packages If you’re looking for short articles that you can read with morning coffee, look no further. Seth Godin writes engaging, short pieces that say a lot with few words. They aren’t always about the same topic but topics range from leadership to business and more. Here’s an entire post titled, All the stuff (yes, it’s “all the stuff”): Markets often persuade us that we don’t have enough.Communities remind us that we do. Read: Seth’s Blog re: SEO Moving towards a more inclusive web Beyond the overall importance of web accessibility, this article offered some practical steps everyone in the process can take, from developers, to marketers, to local business owners. 26% of adults in the US live with a disability—but less than 1% of the top million website homepages meet the most widely used accessibility standards.BrightLocal Read: Why Web Accessibility is Important for Local Businesses, and How to Get Started Alice in Excel-land Shelley Walsh compiled a great list of resources on Twitter to help marketers improve their Excel/Google Sheets skills to do better SEO work. She also included rabbit emojis. Read the Twitter thread: Reading Rabbit Hole – Excel/Sheets Be a fly on Google’s conference room wall A 45 minute conversation among three top Googlers on what is, and will be, important for SEO. Note: links are not mentioned, but content is so important they should have a separate conversation just about it. Listen: The Future of SEO re: PPC Sudden changes in Google Ads This year there were a lot of changes to Google Ads and, in turn, the PPC space. To help deal with these new changes, Stable WP outlines some fun acronyms to help you establish a strong Google Ads funnel: TOFU, MOFU, BOFU. Read: Google Ads Funnel – The Most Powerful PPC Strategy to Maximize Your ROI re: The Metaverse No, this isn’t an episode of Black Mirror. This year we saw a lot of changes in social media. TikTok use continued to increase, there was a Facebook whistleblower and they rebranded to Meta. In Bobby Elliott’s article, he describes an eerily possible reality for 2030. Read: The metaverse is coming re: Chi-town Midwestern shenanigans Mike Royko is a celebrated columnist who wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times back in the 70s. This book is an article compilation from his column and it is the most Chicago thing you’ll ever read – it’s very entertaining. Topics range from drunken adventures at the Billy Goat Tavern to a pre-Twitter newspaper column beef with Frank Sinatra. Read: Sez Who? Sez Me.