• JavaScript, PHP, and Regular Expressions for International and U.S. Phone Number Formats

    Date: 2014.03.13 | Category: Programming & Functions | Response: 0

    I have been looking all over the web for a regular expression to use in JavaScript functions to help with formatting phone number links and printing phone numbers on pages for iPhones, Android, and other mobile devices. This process would naturally affect traditional internet browsers for traditional computers but I went down this path mostly for tracking phone number touch events in Google Analytics on only mobile devices. I finally had the epiphany today that created one expression that covered most international and United States phone number formats.

    International and U.S. Phone Number Regular Expression

    The red areas, represent the numbered portions. Areas in gray represent the options for spaces, dashes, periods, or sometimes nothing between numbers (e.g. the question marks).

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • MS Excel Tip: Limiting Meta Descriptions Characters and Words Like Google

    Date: 2013.11.26 | Category: Programming & Functions, SEO | Response: 0

    I found it hard to find this information on the web, so after a little bit of work I created an Excel formula that mimics the cut off point Google may naturally use when displaying your page’s Meta description in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can come in handy when you are optimizing your site for search engines (SEO). A well written page description is very helpful in improving a site’s click through rate. Depending on your page’s subject and target audience, writing a description in which the page’s story is incomplete or leaves a person hanging improves the searcher’s interest in clicking through. As a result, the last few words of a description could play a large part in creating that situation. But if Google cuts it off too soon or too late, it may be just enough to lose a person’s interest.

    Here is the Formula:

    =IF(LEN(A1)>155,LEFT(A1,FIND(“*”,SUBSTITUTE(A1,” “,”*”,LEN(LEFT(A1,154))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(LEFT(A1,154),” “,”"))))) & IF(LEN(A1)>FIND(“*”,SUBSTITUTE(A1,” “,”*”,LEN(LEFT(A1,154))-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(LEFT(A1,154),” “,”")))),”…”,”"),A1)


    Cell Contents: Everyone loves Google and wants to write just like them. Cutting off descriptions at the same spot as Google can help you write really great descriptions. Check out this awesome formula.

    The Look in SERPs:

    MS Excel Tip: Limiting Meta Descriptions Number of Characters
    Everyone loves Google and wants to write just like them. Cutting off
    descriptions at the same spot as Google can help you write really great 


    Behind the Formula

    1. The LEFT functions used in the internal portions of the formula grabs only the max amount of characters Google will show (154) and uses that throughout the formula for calculating.
    2. The formula then removes all the spaces and counts the character differences between the regular set and the one without spaces (this can also be used to count the number of words). This tells us how many spaces are in that 154 character portion of the description.
    3. Using that number, it replaces that final occurrence of the space with an asterisk using the SUBSTITUTE function (since it’s unlikely that an asterisk would be used in a description).
    4. Then using a FIND function, it counts the number of characters to that point of the asterisk.
    5. It uses the LEFT function to only return the characters up to the character count where the FIND function found the asterisk.
    6. And lastly, all of  that only happens if the description is over 155 characters.

    Use it well… :)


  • Excel Tidbits: Creating Column Header Rows for Sorting

    Date: 2012.05.02 | Category: Programming & Functions | Response: 0

    Well, sad to say this one has stumped me for a long time. I work in Numbers from Apple’s iWorks Suite about as much as I do in Excel. Data sets above about 1000 rows, assuming use of processor-heavy formulas like vlookups, really slow Numbers down. From a visual and formula perspective, Numbers is much easier to use. One of my favorite aspects is the ability to create header rows so that the last row becomes the column headers and the references in formulas. That makes modifying data quicker and improves one’s ability to keep track of a greater variety of segments.

    However, when you’re dealing with tens of thousands of records/rows and multiple sheets, Excel excels (wink, wink) high above Numbers. Unfortunately, it is much harder to make things look professional in the program.

    When I create dashboards, I usually want data summaries and pivot tables above the data, but it’s a pain when sorting the data below since typically you have to select the data you want to sort. Luckily the sorting options are saved even if your data selection changes. But it would still be much easier if I could just click a cell in a column and have Excel already know the data I want to sort and what I do not.

    The solution is adding column filters (see image from the Mac Excel below).

    1. Select the column header row.
    2. Then under the “Data” menu or in the “Data” toolbar, select “Filter”.
    3. You don’t even need to use the filters. In fact, just remove them after adding them. From then on, Excel will know which row is the column headers when sorting. Brilliant!
    4. Now test the sort. Select a cell, or click a filter arrow on a column header to select a new sort for the column.
    5. Tip: If you remove the filters on the header row, be sure NOT to try sorting above that column header row. Doing so will retrain Excel to ignore the row and you’ll have to reassign the filters again.

    No more selecting the cells you want to sort before so doing–saving mental energy; allowing that energy to focus on the task and not loose track of a formula you’re creating or a use-case scenario you’re trying to answer.

    Want to see it in action? Download an example filter column header row spreadsheet to give it a try.

    Best wishes!

    Apple/Mac MS Excel Column Header Selection Using Filters

  • Excel Tidbits: Extracting Domains from URLs Function

    Date: 2012.04.02 | Category: Programming & Functions | Response: 2

    Excel LogoiWorks Numbers LogoI rarely show how much of a techie I am, but thought this equation was valuable to share. In some of the work I do for my company, Anthem Optimization, I mash and extract data daily using Excel. I needed a way to pull out the domain from a web address and compare it with domains from other sheets and activities. This then gives me insight into how often we do work on websites across all our projects.

    Version Note: The formula below only works in newer versions of Excel–typically versions that can read the xlsx format. Older versions of Excel (pre-2004) are limited to seven nested formulas. This equation has eight. If you need this to work in an older version, you can remove the over arching check for information in the $A6 cell at the very front (if($A6=”",…)). The iserror formulas in the if statements checks for errors and displays whatever is in the A6 cell if an error occurs. If the cell is blank, it should stay blank. I simply used the blank check upfront to make the formula more efficient in processing.

    Here is the formula:


    A bit complex to explain, but it considers situations where a web address uses either the secure “https” protocol or just the regular “http” and always removes the “www” from the address. The rest of it is looking for the first slash after the “http://” or “https://” and deletes everything from that slash to the end.

    Here are the details for each stage:

    =IF($A6=”",”",  // Makes sure nothing happens if nothing is in the cell

    SUBSTITUTE(  // Used to delete www from the result

    IF(ISERROR(FIND(“https://”,$A6)), // If it doesn’t find https, then execute the function to remove everything after the domain for sites with http:// — this is needed since the s adds characters prior to the slash (important for the replace function later)

    SUBSTITUTE( // If https:// was not found, this begins the formula used to delete everything after the first slash after the http://

    IF(ISERROR(FIND(“/”, SUBSTITUTE($A6,”http://”,”"))), // If it doesn’t find a slash after the domain, then do nothing and display what’s in the cell

    $A6,      // Just display what was in the cell–which should be just a domain address since there is no slash after the http

    REPLACE($A6, // This is the core function that removes everything after the domain

    FIND(“/”, SUBSTITUTE($A6,”http://”,”"))     // Finds the spot/character number where the first slash is after the http://

    + 7,        // Adds the number of spaces for http so that the starting point of the replacement is correct

    LEN($A6)+1,       //This finds the end of the space where text is supposed to be replaced/deleted. Added 1 to cover bases and potential spacing issues.

    “”          // this is what it will be replaced with…nothing.

    )          // Ends the Replace function.

    ),        // Ends the IsError function.

    “http://”,”"    //  Once the result is determined (either after the end of the url is cut off or if it’s just a domain), delete the http:// so that just the domain shows

    ),      // Ends the substitute function if http:// is found.

    SUBSTITUTE( // If https:// was not found, this begins the formula used to delete everything after the first slash after the http://

    IF(ISERROR(FIND(“/”, SUBSTITUTE($A6,”https://”,”"))), // If it doesn’t find a slash after the secure domain, then do nothing and display what’s in the cell

    $A6,      // Just display what was in the cell–which should be just a domain address since there is no slash after the https://

    REPLACE($A6, // This is the core function that removes everything after the secure domain

    FIND(“/”, SUBSTITUTE($A6,”https://”,”"))     // Finds the spot/character number where the first slash is after the https://

    + 8,        // Adds the number of spaces for https so that the starting point of the replacement is correct

    LEN($A6)+1,       //This finds the end of the space where text is supposed to be replaced/deleted. Added 1 to cover bases and potential spacing issues.

    “”          // this is what it will be replaced with…nothing.

    )          // Ends the Replace function.

    ),        // Ends the IsError function.

    “https://”,”"    //  Once the result is determined (either after the end of the url is cut off or if it’s just a domain), delete the https:// so that just the domain shows

    ),      // Ends the substitute function if https:// is found.


    “www.”,”"   // so whatever the result is, it should now just be a domain, but sometimes links have www for a site and sometimes not. So, we’ll delete the www if it’s there.


    There are many great applications for this in search engine optimization (SEO), online marketing, publicity, analytics, web development, and many more areas where reporting and comparing data is helpful! Combine this with a VLOOKUP or SUMIF formula and you will be able to total up visits, backlinks, status, errors, and much more.


  • Hands on Nashville Day 2011

    Date: 2011.09.16 | Category: General, Volunteering | Response: 0

    Over 1800 volunteers came together for the largest schools rehabilitation project for the year in Nashville, TN on September 24, 2011. Hands On Nashville Day is the largest fundraiser for the non-profit organization, Hands On Nashville–a successful volunteer coordinating organization in Nashville. HON has had significant affect on beautifying the city, helping those in need, empowering youth, and strengthening non-profit organizations. I have been fortunate to volunteer with HON for several years now, and have seen the effects of their hard work and dedication as an organization making Nashville a better place to live and work.

    Meigs Middle Magnet School

    Meigs Middle Magnet School

    Volunteers of all ages gather to help beautify 55 area public schools. I am typically fortunate to lead teams of 15 to 50 volunteers. This year I organized a team for Nashville’s first African American high school–established in 1883–the Meigs Middle Magnet School. We painted, touched up landscaping, and provided other various projects for the school. The work is generally simple, usually doesn’t require much experience in those areas, and rarely requires a professional to do the work. We are everyday people coming together to support HON and beautify our city at the same time.

    Interested in volunteering? The organization has dozens of opportunities each month. People can sign up via the Hands on Nashville website. There are plenty of schools and organizations that need volunteers. I look forward to seeing you!




  • Hard Times are the Best of Times

    Date: 2011.08.22 | Category: Leadership, Management | Response: 0

    Leadership in QuestionRecently, I talked with a friend of mine about a challenge in her band. She leads the band, but has had a hard time receiving respect from the rest of the members. Getting them to follow her lead and vision is often wrought with adversity, power challenges, and slow to take hold. Not too long ago, a band crisis ensued. And unexpectedly, the band members complained to her about the seriousness of the issue, looking to her for the solution. Their minds were focused on the problem. They communicated their opinion not only to her, but to each other. The crisis was not a normal disagreement. She knew it needed a solution and a response quickly.

    In challenging times, we often want to wallow in that despair along with the team. As team leaders, we sometimes jump in with the group spreading the ill and the darkness, removing hope. It creates an environment that embraces pointing the blame at individuals and endorses behavior that lashes out against one another. This spiral continues by tearing down team members, dividing them, and repelling any true sense of responsible unity that is necessary for a team’s success.

    But times like these are not hopeless. And they are not despairing. They are the times most valuable for a leader–when he/she can enter the moment with a hard but right solution and provide stability in a time when it feels unachievable. Mark Udall, one of the current senators for Colorado, provided this lesson from President Ford’s leadership:

    President Ford was a devoted, decent man of impeccable integrity who put service to his country before his own self interest. He helped heal our nation during a time of crisis, provided steady leadership and restored people’s faith in the presidency and in government.

    When people are at their greatest need, a leader takes control of the situation and becomes the person willing to take the hard steps. They define structure and direction, and paint hope for the near future. While the team is focused on the darkness around and how they feel, a leader wakes them up to a plan and solution. Like President Ford, these moments define the leader in people’s eyes—making the future easier for the leader and the team. They will trust the leader’s judgment better, listen closer, and reduce how often they challenge the leader’s authority. Prior to these trying times, a leader might have been in question. But after these moments, leadership is made clear and claimed.



    Be that person coming to save the day for your team. Provide your team with:

    1. Vision
      • Communicate belief in the team
      • Define a solution even if the journey will be hard
    2. Structure
      • Reiterate behavior that is unacceptable
      • Define clear goals and consequences
    3. Solution
      • Define clear steps for the guilty parties
      • Define clear steps for the innocent parties and how they will support the guilty
      • Define your own role in keeping the team on task and how you will do the dirty work


    Choose to:

    1. Be willing to take the hardest tasks upon yourself.
    2. Communicate belief in the team.
    3. If the hardest task is on someone else, promise to be by their side—encouraging them and supporting them as they tackle their new responsibility.
    4. Repeat often the goal and realistic achievability of that goal.
    5. Paint a vision of a time soon to come that is better and full of success or achievement.
    6. Recognize this is the time when you are needed most.
    7. Remember that you are less important right now. Although, this post clarifies benefits to a crisis, it’s your team that matter more than this. Providing solution is about your team’s success and growth, not their acceptance of you or your good standing.

    Having this mindset brings clarity to what you need to do to take your team to a stronger place. Recognize the moment and seize it.

    It’s your time to shine. How are you going to save the day for your team?


    Additional Reading: Read advice similar to this  from an experienced leader. Michael Hyatt has some great advice for us to keep in mind. 

  • Seven Tips for More Productive and Loyal Employees

    Date: 2010.09.03 | Category: Leadership, Management | Response: 0

    I worked for a startup Internet marketing agency here in Nashville, TN named [meta]marketer as an Optimization Specialist until January 2011. My primary role was to manage a team of freelancers who do most of the link building we directed for our search engine optimization (SEO) clients. We paid just above minimum wage. The amount of work fluctuated based on our SEO strategy and client load. Considering the pay scale, most of the people we hired were just out of college or had jobs in areas not related to the tasks for which I hired them. Thus, there’s a lot of training that went with the work. Due to the combination of pay scale and occasional personal financial challenges, it was challenging to keep freelancers motivated with the detail, reptitive work we assigned. Most of the workers were millennials–a.k.a. Generation Y. The exact birth dates for this group vary, but they range between the mid-1970s and mid-2000s (quite broad) (source:Wikipedia).

    I attended a presentation today by Travis Robertson, a small business strategist. His discussion was on Millennials in the Workplace. I found it helpful to hear another person’s opinion on how to manage and motivate people in that age range. Often we hear that this generation is lazy, disloyal, and distracted (i.e. A.D.D.). But as Travis points out, they are also considered the most creative and technologically advanced generation. How do you maximize the length and productivity of a millennial? Read the rest of this entry »

  • Behavioral Ad Targeting Debate

    Date: 2009.10.07 | Category: Advertising | Response: 0

    An article by eMarketer spread word on a new study saying people don’t want targeted ads. Earlier studies say differently. How conductors educate the participants within and around questions is just as important as the actual question itself. Context can easily change meaning. Even the order of questions affects respondent perception and subsequent answers. Issues in this conclusion (i.e. data security and customization) need to be approached separately at first and combined down the questionnaire so that customers prioritize their opinion aptly and fears controlled.

    My opinion remains unchanged. Customers dislike loosing control of their personal information, yet appreciate customization services. If we communicate our responsibility to protect their information, they will appreciate the benefits we serve and their purchases and activity will speak that message. Read the rest of this entry »

  • The Palm Pre, by Sprint

    Date: 2009.07.13 | Category: Gadgets | Response: 0

    Just got the new Palm Pre, offered by Sprint. I’m usually not an early adopter. That allows other people to work out the bugs for me. But I was ready to be off my Treo 700p and something more iPhone-like.

    I’ve had it for three days now. Spent a few hours working on getting it up to speed. It’s an awesome phone and I’m glad I have it. I certainly recommend it.

    Check out Sprint’s website for the Palm Pre for a fancy presentation. The phone goes a little slower than the presentation. Sometimes quite slow. But I found based on several videos on YouTube that the phone is faster with most things compared to the iPhone 3G and a few things on the iPhone 3Gs. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Importing Audio Books into Your iPod

    Date: 2008.06.27 | Category: Digital Publishing, Gadgets | Response: 2

    Okay, so this isn’t web related, but it’s important enough to put it out there.

    Working for a book publisher and owning an iPod and liking audio books means I want audio books on my iPod. Thomas Nelson has many audio book products (fictionnonfictionbiblesgift booksSpanish). If I don’t buy audio books off iTunes or Audible, then I have to import them from MP3 CDs or audio CDs. The problem with iTunes is that Apple didn’t really consider the process of importing audio books. Instead, iTunes treats any audio file like a music file unless it has an M4B extension (as of iTunes 7.6 and earlier versions). M4B is Apple’s audio book file format.

    What You Really Need to Know: If you change the extension of any AAC file (mp4 or m4a) to M4B and add the files to your iTunes library, it automatically applies its audio book features to the file. There is no special encoding to the file needed. Read the rest of this entry »


About Daxon

Daxon EdwardsI am an Internet marketer passionate about targeting and monitoring online customer behavior to better ride the balance between serving customer needs and building systems that achieve greater profitability. Learn more about Daxon

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