Many companies offer tuition reimbursement but employees rarely take advantage of it, either because they don’t know it’s available or they’re not sure of how to approach it. Becoming a valuable asset by strengthening or building new skills is a win-win for employees and employers alike. In this post, I’ll share tips and strategies to start the conversation and close the deal.

I approached my boss about taking a design class at University of the Arts during our site redesign last year. I made it clear aesthetics wasn’t my strong suit and it would help me do a better job with the project and others coming up.  Coupled with the steps I outline below, my request was granted and I was able to take the $545 eight-week class for free.

I’ve brought up the concept to a few Girl Develop It members. Our classes are $10 to $14 an hour and it should be an easy win to ask for compensation. So far, every member that has tried has been successful. For those that are a little apprehensive, the process is similar to a negotiation. It requires pre-planning to prepare and negate any issues that may appear.

Step 1: Have a plan

  • Align it with a project and lead with the interests of the company. Your chance of success will increase if your proposal is framed in terms of benefits to your coworkers or your company.
  • Demonstrate how your new skills will increase productivity and revenue. In my case, I mentioned our project pipeline and how improving my design skills will help us when we create new tools, redo our mailings, revamp other elements and so on.
  • Show studies of how it will impact the company in a positive way. These two links from NBER and eHow explain how tuition reimbursement attracts new talent, increases loyalty, reduces turnover, creates advancement opportunities, and improves productivity.  No one can argue with stats!

Step 2: Anticipate problems that may arise

  • Reassure her or him you will not leave right afterwards. It’s a valid concern and you can offer to sign a contract if necessary (and if you’re comfortable with the idea).
  • Let them know it won’t impact your time at work. The last thing an employer wants to do is sign off on something that will take you away from your responsibilities, regardless of the long-time benefits. Look for options that allow you to attend night or weekend classes.
  • Guarantee a good grade. My company’s policy required I pay for the class upfront and my level of reimbursement directly correlated with my grade. A “B” or higher provided me with the full compensation while a “C” would give me half. A lower grade would mean I would NOT be reimbursed. It’s a fair policy as it ensures employees are taking the course seriously despite not paying out of pocket.
  • Offer to train other employees. As an added side-benefit, you can also suggest teaching other employees your newfound abilities to save money & to help them boost their talent.

When the answer is “No”

  • Offer to split the cost. When it’s clear the answer is no and you really want to attend a class, suggest dividing the bill before you pull out your check or credit card.
  • Don’t give up.  If the answer is still no, try again in a few months when the right opportunity arises. You’ve already won because you’ve showed initiative and your boss will file this away mentally for your next performance.

It doesn’t have to be a long or nerve-wracking conversation. Bring it up during a status meeting or when the right moment presents itself. The more you focus on the benefits and advantages it’ll provide to your employer, the more successful you’ll likely be. What do you really have to lose?

EatSleepCodeRunning my software company from 2009 to 2011 without a development background was challenging to say the least. It is how I became involved with GirlDevelopIt (an organization offers programming classes for women) and why I started LearnRuby101. With this post, my goal is to share the free interactive learn-how-to-code sites I’ve come across that can help you get started. I’ve also gathered the top recommended books on each language from Hacker News.

For non-programmers, I would recommend reading this post by Liz Abinante titled “So, you think you want to be a web developer?”. If you decide it’s the path for you, recruit a friend or find an online community to get assistance. The point is – reach out when you need help. It’ll get you through the initial dip.

For programmers that know one or more languages already, this is a useful list if you want to quickly dive into something new without using a compiler.

Finally, for aspiring women coders Pam Selle (one of our GirlDevelopIt teachers), compiled a useful list of organizations solely focused on providing hands-on programming classes that’s worth a look.

(Thanks to Owen Winkler for providing suggestions on this post).

Learning HTML/CSS

Learning JavaScript

Learning Python

Learning Ruby/Rails

Learning Java

Learning Git

Learning iPhone Development


Learning HTML/CSS

When I was getting into coding, I asked the developers I know where I should start. Almost everyone answered “HTML/CSS.” While it’s not a programming language, it will be needed when learning certain languages and skills in HTML and CSS always come in handy.

HTML5Rocks.com – From blog posts, tutorials, case studies, demos and samples, this site allows you to choose exactly how you want to learn HTML5. A pre-working knowledge of HTML and CSS is assumed. Select an article about transitions, rounded corners, the canvas tag, box shadows and more, then view the code, make changes and look at the output in one screen.

HTML5Rocks screenshot

 

CodePupil.com – Founded at StartupWeekend Philly by Ryan Spahn, CodePupil uses interactive exercises and games to teach HTML/CSS.

CodePupil screenshot

Codecademy.com – Codecademy is one of the most talked about new coding sites in the world.  It only focused on JavaScript when it launched and it has since expanded to HTML, JQuery, Python and more. Most credit the Company for starting the trend for web-based, interactive programming tutorials.

CodeAcademy HTML screenshot

Recommended HTML/CSS books:


Learning JavaScript

JavaScript is considered a good successor after HTML and like HTML/CSS, is a front-end language. Protip: If you’re going to be building sites continuously, expand your JavaScript knowledge.

CodeAvengers.com – Their online tutorial focuses on learning JavaScript through a series of exercises, much like CodeAcademy.

CodeAvengers screenshot

LearnStreet - It’s similar to Codecademy in how it’s structured but I liked it better when I started playing with it. It engages you immediately by sharing well-known sites and what they’re built on and the interface is simple and easy to use. You can revisit exercises, even get tips or ask questions when you’re stuck and the site invites you to tweet the teacher directly on Twitter. I also like how comprehensive the descriptions are. They currently offer JavaScript, Python and Ruby tutorials.

LearnStreet JS screenshot

As mentioned above, Codecademy.com is another alternative.

Recommended JavaScript books:


Learning Python

I don’t have much experience with Python. Some developers say it’s a good language to start with for newbies and others say it’s not. Talk to a developer (preferably one you will be working with) about what you want to build and have him/her point you the right direction.

CodingBat – Instead of step-by-step tutorials, a series of exercises are featured on this site to challenge and reinforce what you’re learning. It’s a great compliment to learning to program on your own or with a book.

Screenshot of CodingBat -Python page

LearnPython – Another free interactive tutorial. This one doesn’t hold your hand as much and includes more instructions to help you understand what you’re learning.

LearnPython screenshot

PySchools – Instead of getting right into the code as other sites do, you first have to authenticate your account through a Gmail password. Also, this site assumes you’re already learning Python on your own. Once you’re in, you’ll be able to view exercises and compete with other coders on challenges.

Screenshot of PySchools

Codecademy just launched a course for Python as well and LearnStreet  also has a Python tutorial.

Recommended Python books:


Ruby

I started learning Ruby because my developer chose the language to build our 123LinkIt site.

TryRuby.org – Created by Eric Allam and Nick Walsh, this was the first tutorial I finished and I absolutely loved the UI and how easy it was to follow along with the commands. It promises to go through the basics in 15 minutes and although it took me a little longer, I highly recommend it.

Screen Shot of tryruby.org

Hackety Hack – This download-only software has been compared to TryRuby and is recommended for absolute beginners in Ruby.

Screen Shot of hackety.com program

Rails for Zombies – Offered through CodeSchool, Rails for Zombies is a fun way to “get your feet wet without having to worry about configuration” as the site states. It will take you through five videos, each followed by exercises where you’ll be programming Rails in your browser.

Rails for Zombies screenshot

Mentioned above, also check out Codecademy and LearnStreet for Ruby lessons.

Recommended Ruby/Rails books:


Learning Git

I wish I could search my past tweets because I remember stumbling upon an eBook on Git that I found really helpful. I was able to go through it and understand Git in under an hour. Regardless, learn the basics and setup a free Github trial.

Git - Modeled after TryRuby.org, this interactive courses is associated with Github and promises to help beginners grasp the basics of Git.

Try Git screenshot from CodeSchool

Recommended Git books:


Learning Java

Often confused with JavaScript by beginners, they’re entirely different. Remember this – Java runs on the server side and JavaScript on the client-side.

CodingBat – Instead of step-by-step tutorials, a series of exercises are featured on this site to challenge and reinforce what you’re learning. It’s a great compliment to learning to program on your own or with a book.

Screen Shot CodingBat Java

Programr - The site allows you to learn Java through coding challenges and either rewards points based on your answer or displays the bugs in your code. You can select your difficulty level instead of starting from the beginning which I really like. A leaderboard is displayed on the right that shows the top students.  They are planning on expanding to PHP, C++, Android and iOS as well.

Programr java screenshot

Recommended Java Books:


Learning iPhone Development

I don’t currently have an interest in learning mobile development. A couple of things to know: 1) iOS is Apple’s operating system and 2) you’ll also want to learn Objective-C.

Team Treehouse - Founded by Ryan Carson, the site recently announced it has passed 12,000 active students on the site. It provides nicely designed video tutorials with practice quizes and and code challenges after each section.

TeamTreehouse screenshot

You may also want to check out Stanford University’s iPhone Application Development course in iTunes University.

Recommended iOS books:


Resources that deserve honorable mentions:

Coursera.org - Coursera is my favorite online education portal. Founded by two Stanford computer science professors, Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, the site offers university classes online from top-tier schools like Stanford, Princeton and others. Their mission is to education millions of people globally for free. So far I’ve taken their Intro to Computer Science Science class and I’m in the middle of “Human Computer Interaction.” The courses play out like you’re taking an online class with an instructor. There’s a forum, activities, even weekly homework. Do yourself a favor and sign up for a class today, even if it’s not available. You will learn the latest technologies from teachers at Ivy League schools without the hundreds of thousands in tuition and maybe best of all, while sitting at your desk.

Khan Academy – A non-profit founded by Salman Khan, the Company’s mission is also to provide ” a high quality education to anyone, anywhere.” The website supplies a free online collection of more than 3,300 lectures through YouTube videos teaching a range of subjects with Computer science amongst them.

Udacity – Another free online courses site that uses videos and quizzes to teach STEM-related courses such as software development, math, physics and even a startup course with Steve Blank.

Mozilla Developer Network – Featuring comprehensive tutorials on HTML, CSS and JavaScript, Mozilla provides introductory, intermediate and advanced lessons as well as examples to view.

Google Code University - Offering free resources on web programming, security, algorithms, APIs and even Android, the site features tutorials with examples and even exercises.

The Code Player – This site blew me away when I started going through it. It provides video style walkthroughs of really cool effects like learning how to use Canvas in HTML5, how to make a Google Doodle animation using CSS3 and more using JQuery and JavaScript. You can either view the code or watch someone as they code (hence the name) which is also great for beginners who want to learn on their own pace and do it visually.

Go To And Learn - Created by Adobe’s Lee Brimelow, the sites covers a range of programming languages included above plus those we haven’t covered yet such as Flash, Android, PHP and more.

Flatiron School Pre-work – A school in NYC that runs an intensive 12-week development program open-sourced the material it requires their students to do before they start (hence the pre-work). In all, it’s 4 weeks (80 to 100 hours in total) of reading and assignments that takes you through the web, command line, databases, HTML/CSS, Git, JS, Ruby, Rails, testing and best practices by using Treehouse & Codeschool.

Take advantage of the generous Stack Overflow community to post questions and finally, a highly recommended book that must be included in the mix for those that want to learn more than one language is Seven Languages in Seven Weeks.

Inspirational Stories:

I couldn’t write this post without including inspirational stores of non-developers who talked about how they learned to code, whether it was for love (see first link below) or to their startup. These are great motivators when you’re in a coding slump or stuck on something.

  1. Instagram’s founder had no programming training. He’s a marketer who learned to code by night
  2. Instagram Founder’s Girlfriend Learns How To Code For V-Day, Builds Lovestagram
  3. Non-Techie Cofounder Learns Code, Builds New Site Feature in 6 Days
  4. How I Failed, Failed, and Finally Succeeded at Learning How to Code
  5. How I Taught Myself to Code, Created a Startup with a FT Job, New Baby & Living in an African Desert

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marketing 101 backboard

Update: This post made it to #5 on Hacker News, thanks everyone! I wish there was a way to integrate the comments on the thread. To check them out, click here. 

Since the acquisition was announced in December, I’ve been inundated with emails from entrepreneurs wanting to meet over a cup of coffee to talk about their idea or startup. Although my time has been more limited with my new position at NetLine, I try to set them up on weeknights or weekends and provide helpful feedback when I can. One of the recurring themes I’m seeing is technical founders building a product for themselves. I wish I would have been in their shoes. That is, until I find out they’re forging ahead without a marketing plan.

Over and over, I hear them say “I know my user because I AM my user and all I have to do is show them my product. They’ll buy it.” Here’s a typical dialogue:

  • “How are you going to find these users?” “I’m going to approach them and tell them about it.”
  • “Where are you going to find them?” “On Twitter, Facebook or [insert site here]”
  • “How are you going to make them listen to you?” “I’ll send them an email or respond to a forum [or something similar]”
  • “Are you going to send emails to all your users? Why are they going to care?

By this time, most of them understand they haven’t fully fleshed out their go-to-market strategy and they turn it back on me and ask me for ideas. It’s as if they assume because they gave me a two-minute spiel of their product or service, my brain is magically going to overflow with promotional ideas that will generate their first one hundred users.

If only it was that easy!

With this post, my goal is to provide a methodology for building the framework of a marketing plan. It is geared towards those with a technical background although anyone can take advantage of this structure.

Marketing 101 for Developers:

Step 1) Learn everything you can about your target market

market research

Before you can devise a plan on how you’re going to get your first users, you need to understand them. This is especially true if you classify yourself as your own user. Too often, I read stories on Hacker News of technical founders whose own assumptions turn around to bite them because they couldn’t take themselves out of the picture.

This is comparable to the requirements you would put together before starting development. It is the most imperative component of building a marketing plan and too often, it’s not given enough time. Who is your typical user? Where do they hang out? What do they like? What do they not like? Where do they fall in the adoption cycle? What are their demographics? Psychographics? etc.

I like to start this by researching what bloggers are saying about similar tools and services. I write down a list of keywords that pertain to my product and market and Google it one by one. I open up multiple tabs of pages that are relevant and start reading. I compile notes on a separate document with what I’ve learned. I also include links to the respective page if the information is really valuable in case I want to reach out to that person in the future.

Next, I take the same keywords and turn to listening on Twitter. For example, we’re promoting a new RSS to Email tool at RevResponse. This product takes RSS feeds and automatically converts them to email newsletters that site owners can provide their readers. I came up with the following keywords:

  • RSS to Email tool
  • convert RSS to Email
  • Feedburner alternatives
  • Feedburner sucks
  • hate Feedburner
I was able to add the last two to my list during my initial research. I saved all these keywords as searches on Twitter. Every day, I go through them to see what people are saying. When someone says something I don’t understand, I reach out to them and ask them to elaborate. This is a great way to start building relationships with future users. Because we’re further along, I’ll ask what they’re looking for in an RSS to Email tool and relay that feedback to my team.

While the research aspect is often a one-time process, the listening process should be on-going. Once you feel like you have a good understanding of the space, it’s time to validate your assumptions and ensure you know exactly who you’re going after and what they want from a product or service like yours. Surveys are a great way to do this. I love using Wufoo and Google Forms.  I’ve also seen Survey.io mentioned on Hacker News although I have not used it yet. For useful resources on how to tackle this section, check out the links below.

  1. Survey Design – A comprehensive guide on designing and launching a successful survey.
  2. 5 Tips for Better Online Surveys – From the guru himself, Seth Godin provides insights into how to create better surveys.
  3. How I Used Amazon Mechanical Turk to Validate my Startup Idea – A entrepreneur discusses how she used Amazon Mechanical Turk to distribute her survey.
  4. Using Facebook in Market Research – Helpful tips on how to use Facebook ads to gain responses from your target market.
  5. Talk to Your Target Customer in 4 Easy Steps – Andrew Chen describes how to write a survey, recruit participants and distribute it online.
For a more targeted way to get the right group of people to answer your survey, there’s also a service called “Ask Your Target Market.” It allows you to input the demographics of the participants you’re looking for and it will distribute your survey for a nominal fee. Of course, keep in mind this is more appropriate after you’ve validated the assumptions of your target group. I would recommend reading “Four Steps to Epiphany” by Steven Blank for hands-on, step-by-step techniques to help you build a product your users want.

After this is fleshed out, take the time to build user personas. Personas are descriptions of fictional users that represent a majority of your target market. It’s focused specifically on how they would use your product/service to meet their goals. Through this exercise, you actually bring these characters to life and you use them to set the tone for future initiatives. This infographic provides a nice guide that explains how they work and provides other resources to look into.

Step 2) Determine your USP (or unique selling proposition)

USP

Thought we were ready to dig into the plan? Not quite yet. You just spent a lot of time researching your ideal customer, now it’s to dive into why they would care about your product or service. This is where developing your USP comes in. It’s usually good practice to devise a few variations and A/B test them when you build out your site. Before jumping ahead, let’s get into how to go about this.

Before you can figure out what makes you different from your competitors, you need to research them! While this post will not get into how to perform a competitive analysis, you can find a lot about the topic through a Google search. The main differentiators are going to center around 4 key areas: cost, quality, uniqueness, and speed of service. A couple of things to note – 1) Great customer service is no longer a point of differentiation. The widespread use of social media has made this a mandatory component and 2) You can’t possess all of those qualities. Two of them are standard and you may be able to do three if you’re lucky.

Now that you know how your competitors differ, it’s time to go through how you’re going to distinguish yourself:

  1. Start by writing down all the benefits of your product on a whiteboard, leaving enough space underneath each sentence to fit 3 bullets.
  2. Once you’ve exhausted all of them, go down your list and ask yourself “Why would X care about this?” Use the personas you’ve built if available and input your answer in the first bullet.
  3. Do this again for the second bullet.
  4. And again for the third.

Marketing Experiments also has a nice USP exercise you can view on Scribd. You want to be that annoying little kid that’s always asking why broccoli is good for you. After his/her parent realizes saying “because I said so” isn’t good enough, he or she will take the time to explain that broccoli is full of vitamins that will help him/her grow into a healthy adult. That’s exactly the process you’re going through in this step, you’re getting to the core of what your users really want. Some of them will be duds and others will make you say, “why didn’t I think of that before?”

Tip: If you come up with yours easily, you didn’t do it right.

Step 3) Start with your goals then move on to strategies

I’m a big advocate of interns as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. Whenever I held our quarterly marketing strategy meeting, they would start by shouting out ideas they have. They would be all over the place, ranging from getting exposure to business development to selling. Every time, I would stop them and ask them if the idea was relevant to the goal we had set. Usually the answer was no. Before devising tactics, you need to come up with your marketing strategy and before that you need to set your goals.

Goals set the context for your marketing plan. Is your goal to acquire 1000 users by June? Is it to hit $10k in monthly revenue by then? Create SMART goals – that is, make sure they’re Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Wikipedia has a thorough page outlining each criteria.

Once you have your goals outlined, it’s time to discuss strategies. First, you need to understand the difference between a strategy and a tactic. Strategies are focused on how goals can be achieved and tactics are actions taken to execute the strategy. E.g. Blogger outreach is one of our strategies in raising awareness of our RSS to Email tool. Offering paid reviews to bloggers who qualify is a tactic.

Step 4) Brainstorm session: Get all your ideas on a whiteboard

This is my favorite step. Now is the time to get the creative juices flowing so you can determine your final strategies. I like to start by defining marketing channels, then laying out ideas for each. Some examples include email marketing, social media, SEO and so on. Don’t leave anything out. I’ve found a crazy or boring thought can spark a new idea that jumps to the top of the list later on. The only criteria is to ensure the concepts are relevant to the goals you laid out above.

If you have a bigger team, you may want to write your ideas on a post-it separately and then share it with the group so everyone’s thoughts doesn’t impede sharing. With this process, the protocol I’ve used is as follows:

  1. Set a time limit for brainstorming. A good timeframe is 15 minutes
  2. Write ONE idea on a separate post-it
  3. Once time is up, have each person get up in front of the idea, share it with the team and stick it to the respective category on the whiteboard

Step 5) Evaluate the expected return and prioritize

startup-todo-list

My old partner taught me a technique to evaluate ideas called the Value Judgment Analysis. The exercise involves measuring the expected impact, time, and cost each idea. The benefit being it allows for easier prioritization. To start, make a list of all the ideas in an Excel spreadsheet. Add “Impact,” “Time,” and “Cost”columns. Create a legend to dedicate how you’ll measure each criteria. Go through each idea and determine the corresponding rating on a scale of 1 to 5. Add up the total and re-organize how you’re going to start executing your promotions.

Step 6) Test and measure. Repeat!

Testing is a concept that’s all too familiar to developers. Just as you go through Quality Assurance to ensure your program is working, you have to do the same with your marketing channels and messaging. Make it a point to keep testing your site copy, subject line of your email campaigns, paid search keywords/ads and so on. What are your KPI’s? Did they increase or decrease? Adjust as necessary. One way to accomplish this is with A/B testing. A few tools that can help with this include Google Optimizer, Optimizely, Performable, and Unbounce.

Final things to keep in mind:

  • Create baselines before embarking on any new marketing initiative (For instance, we want to rank organically for “RSS to Email tool.” When we searched for that keyword, we placed #39th in Google. With our promotions, we’ve been able to bump it to #5).
  • Utilize Google Analytics events. Record all new blog posts, marketing promotions, email campaigns as they are executed. You’ll be able to go back to this later to see what worked and what didn’t. Focus on what worked.
  • Getting a lot of traffic doesn’t matter. It’s TARGETED traffic you want. If you notice your signup or sales conversion rate is low, you may not be promoting to the right audience.
  • Putting together a marketing plan is NOT the same as creating a brand for your Company. While I touch on it above, it is a separate topic altogether.
  • Along the same lines, marketing is also not the same as selling or advertising.
  • I assume you’ve already validated your concept and de-risked your assumptions.
  • Startups should never hire a PR Company. If you can’t get exposure yourself, you’re doing it wrong.
  • I haven’t run across one startup that doesn’t need more blogger outreach. Utilize this as one of your main strategies. Mark Hendrickson has a great post you should bookmark on how to pitch a tech blogger.

Before you even you start reaching out to your audience, determine the voice and personality of your brand. This guest post on Fred Wilson’s blog sums it up perfectly. Alexis Ohanian (co-founder of Reddit) also has this wonderful class video series on General Assembly’s site where he talks about how he built the brand and mascots of Reddit and Hipmunk.

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Related Resources:

My topic was about how I brought GirlDevelopIt to Philadelphia with a brief background on my struggles as a non-technical person starting a technology company and not knowing how to communicate with developers. I was going to write a personal recap of the event but I’m not sure I can do it justice with what’s already out there on TechnicallyPHL and Flying Kite. Go ahead and give them a look. You’ll notice I nabbed the coveted “Best Overall” presentation which I’m still excited about. So much so I volunteered to speak at the next one!

My talk is titled “Learning How To Code With GirlDevelopIt”:

I have to give my brilliant friend (and GirlDevelopIt teacher) Pam Selle a shout-out on her “Go the f&*k home” presentation before signing off. She talked about how to be more efficient at work, why supervisors should set an example for their employees and creating a life/work balance. Her hilarious speech was my favorite and the video is embedded in her blog post.

This is the first of a series of blog posts of lessons I’ve learned as a non-technical person. These are not in chronological order. This topic was brought up recently so I decided to post about it first.

This was my initial idea of a bug “report” : “Hey John – I’m getting a 404 error on this link.” “To Mint.com – This part isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do.” Notice I put the word “report” in quotes. That’s because it wasn’t a report. I would literally send an email with a one liner saying what didn’t work.

Submit a bug report or you'll go to hellPhoto Credit: http://www.zope.org/Members/ajung/PloneCollectorNG

I’m picturing developers everywhere shaking their shakes as they’re reading this. Don’t worry, I caught on to the right way quickly.

According to a good friend and a great developer that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, Owen Winkler, there are three components to a successful bug report that he blogged about here. To summarize, they include:

  1. Discussing what went wrong.
  2. Noting what you did before the bug occurred.
  3. Including what you thought was going to happen.

Make it easy for the Company/developer and include as much detail as possible while breaking down each category. Here’s a great example of a bug report submitted to GoDaddy:

What went wrong – When I went to check out, a pop-up full of offers appeared and I was not directed to the payment page.

What I did – I added a domain I wanted to buy to the shopping cart. When I clicked on Continue to Registration, a pop-up appeared telling me to stop and buy additional domains. I clicked “No Thank”s and another pop-up asked me if I wanted to purchase domain protection. Again, I clicked “No Thanks”. This time, I was directed to a page that displayed email options. Bypassing it directed me to a variety of hosting options. I was then presented with a page asking me to donate money for the server costs of displaying the upselling opportunities they provided at my convenience. Seeing no end in sight, I gave up.

What I thought was going to happen – When I selected the domain I wanted to acquire and hit checkout, I expected to be taken to the payment page where I would enter my credit card information to complete the purchase.

Okay, okay. I’m being facetious at GoDaddy’s expense (can you tell I’m not a fan?) but you get the idea. When you submit a report to a service or work with a developer, you want to provide the courtesy of completing these steps to streamline the Quality Assurance process.

Finally, you should include screenshots of the error if applicable. A lot of tools don’t include the URL field by default. If you’re talking about a particular page, drag the selected area so it’s in there as well.

*Bonus* – When submitting a bug, only include one per report. I’ve been guilty of adding a few at one time. Don’t do that. A kitten is also killed at your expense.