JPS Design Group - All categories graphic design, packaging design, web design en-us Tue, 25 Jun 2024 02:11:00 -0800 Fri, 4 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 no Four Tips On How To Tell Your Brand Story Through Visual Content <p><a href='' rel='nofollow noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>half of business-to-consumer (b2c) marketers</a> say that, just in the last year, it’s become more difficult to attract and keep their audiences’ attention. but do you know what has kept audiences’ attention? westworld. game of thrones. avengers: infinity war. stranger things. all of these cultural phenomena have one thing in common: they tell great stories, and they tell them visually. </p> <p>brands are finally starting to realize that they, too, need to be able to tell great stories. sharing the story of your company -- what drives you, what you value, what you hope to achieve -- can make you more human and relatable. it can help audiences feel more personally and emotionally invested in what you have to offer. </p> <p>still, this is far from easy. based on my experience as public relations manager of a visual communication agency, visual storytelling is a unique skill, and it requires the collaboration of a talented team of designers, writers, animators, developers and project managers to really succeed. </p> <p>but let’s take a step back. what is visual storytelling, anyway? </p> <p><strong>visual storytelling, defined </strong></p> <p>visual storytelling uses visual communication to craft a narrative that explains a concept and evokes an emotional response. education is one of the end goals, but this approach also aims to persuade the viewer to reach a specific conclusion. </p> <p>a strong piece of visual storytelling incorporates a narrative to guide the viewer toward that conclusion, but it also includes important information and data along the way. to make your visual story a success, incorporate these four essential elements.</p> <p><strong>1. a great hook </strong></p> <p>when you’re writing an article, you start with a strong hook. the same goes for visual communication. a motion graphic or video often captures the reader’s attention immediately. after all, youtube lets viewers skip most videos after just five seconds. a great script is far from enough to keep them watching. your visuals must inspire them to learn more, and that means high-quality animation or live-action shots are an absolute must. </p> <p>the same goes for static visual content, from infographics and white papers to the first page of an interactive widget. why should your audience stop scrolling through their instagram feed and engage? why would you? a great hook is more important than ever. </p> <p><strong>2. the right tone </strong></p> <p>tone is an essential consideration as you create any brand messaging. think of it as a way to set the mood for your story. are you delivering a drama or a comedy? a mystery or a reality tv show? and what tone corresponds with each? </p> <p>achieving the right tone or mood visually is its own challenge. one key is picking the right color scheme. blue-and-white combinations tend to communicate a more professional, serious tone, ideal for business-to-business (b2b) communications. bright neons are more fun, down-to-earth and often funny. </p> <p>design style, especially when it comes to illustration and animation, can also do a lot of work when you’re establishing tone. comic-book-style characters with exaggerated features might be best for those neon-palette brands, whereas more serious communications might opt for more lifelike figures. either way, characters can help make your story feel more relatable, but your choice depends on what kind of story you’re telling.</p> <p><strong>3. a story arc </strong></p> <p>you probably remember it from english class -- the classic story arc with rising action leading to a climax. when it comes to telling your brand story, the same structure can go a long way. it may be better phrased, however, as a “problem-solution” arc. </p> <p>here’s how it works: begin with the problem your brand is trying to solve. whether you’re showing a character facing that problem or explaining it using data visualizations, you’ll want the audience to recognize this problem as something they have encountered. </p> <p>next comes the rising action. in visual content, this can take many forms. a character might encounter obstacle after obstacle as she seeks a solution. or you might share the story of how your company worked through the same obstacles. </p> <p>the solution, of course, is the climax of your story. </p> <p>when you’re working with a motion graphic or video, custom music and sound design can rise and fall with this story arc, peaking at just the right moment for maximum effect as you arrive at the solution. in static pieces, make sure your solution is visually dominant -- in many cases, taking up more real estate and featuring especially attention-grabbing illustrations. you might also want it to present a tone or mood change, communicating better times ahead with the help of what your brand has to offer. </p> <p><strong>4. visual campaigns </strong></p> <p>quite often, a brand’s story simply can’t be told in a single piece of visual content. you might have multiple divisions or products, or a long history of innovation. if this is the case, it will probably be more effective to avoid packing too much information into a single video or infographic. the right solution, in this case, could be a visual campaign. </p> <p>based on what i’ve been seeing, more and more brands are opting for visual campaigns as a broader vision for telling their brand stories. this allows them to target common goals with multiple pieces of visual content that maintain a consistent look and feel. </p> <p>each piece -- be it animation, interactivity, graphic design -- should tell its own part of the story visually from beginning to end and should not require extra context for understanding. and each piece of content will do its own work in adding to the story of your brand. a consistent look and feel will help viewers understand that they’re all part of a single, larger narrative. </p> <p>so, as you formulate a new way to tell your brand story, start by determining the <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>visual language</a> that’s right for your brand. then, build all your content around that style. you may find you’re connecting to more customers than ever. why? because you know how to tell a great story.</p> <p>original story in forbes</p> All categories Fri, 4 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Two words, six digits...Pantone's 2019 Color of the Year is Living Coral <p>"<a href='' rel='nofollow'>color</a> is the place where our brain and the universe meet." famed artist paul keel said it best when it comes to describing color and its importance in our lives. with that said, <a href='' rel='nofollow'>pantone</a>, a leader in color matching and color systems has announced the 2019 color of the year.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow'><img src='' /></a></p> <p>pantone color of the year 2019 © pantone</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><img src='' /></a></p> <p>pantone color of the year 2018 © pantone</p> <p>designers, artists, and architects alike know how much color and its presence and absence influence design. for the past 20 years, pantone has released its annual color of the year to the public. influential in various aspects of the industry, the announcement influences product development, purchasing decisions, graphic design, and more in multiple industries. the search for new color influences is what the company's color experts scour the world for. </p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow'><img src='' /></a></p> <p>image © pantone</p> <p>the pantone color institute is an entity within pantone that researches and highlights global color trends and seasonal runway colors while advising companies on color and brand visual identity. leatrice eiseman, executive director of the pantone color institute, shared her thoughts on this year's color choice. "color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities and this is particularly true for living coral. with consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial pantone living coral hit a responsive chord."</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow'><img src='' /></a></p> <p>emmanuelle moureaux color of time image © emmanuelle moureaux architecture + design</p> <p>however, despite how influential pantone's color choices are, the use of color and its link to individuality and self expression is what makes the subject all the more interesting. many may love this coming year's color choice, while others may be indifferent. as designers, it is important to learn what is trending, but also to use it as a reference in how design trends can be challenged. one thing is certain, the team at pantone is optimistic with the influence living coral can create. 2019's color pick is expected to spread a bit of optimism and joy.  </p> <p>original story on archinect news</p> All categories Thu, 3 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 10 Common Errors in Your Personal Website That May Be Slowing Down Your Career Growth <p>are you a professional and a highly skilled individual? whether you are working as a web developer or working as a real estate agent, today’s employment scene demands people to have their own personal website for branding. a personal website is one of the marketing tools skilled professionals use to market their services to potential clients.</p> <p>if you have a website yet still didn’t get referrals, inquiries, or job offers from it, there might be some mistakes in your personal website that drive customers away instead of booking your services.</p> <p>here are some mistakes you might be doing that caused you some business and how you can fix them.</p> <h3><strong>1. content has no value</strong></h3> <p>now that you have bought a domain and hosted your site via <a href=''>hostinger’s vps</a>, it is time to boost your new site with high-quality content. some professionals buy their domain yet never invest in great content- in terms of value and quality.  </p> <p>invest some time in pouring your website with the right information like your bio, portfolio, contact information, and maybe some blog articles for seo purposes. if you think you don’t have the skills or the time to achieve this, then go ahead and hire somebody. don’t hesitate to outsource and delegate.</p> <h3><strong>2. you don’t update your content</strong></h3> <p>a potential client checks your website but instead of an up-to-date site, your site reminds them of a 90s site from the choice of colors to the layout. or you have a well-designed blog but the last blog post entry is 5 months old already.</p> <p>to fix this, regularly<a href=''> publish rich content</a> for your site to rank higher in google. your portfolio needs to be updated as well, showing your latest project.</p> <h3><strong>3. your site doesn’t have a responsive web design</strong></h3> <p>clients and companies want to make sure that you are currently practicing your skills and craft. one of the things to show this is to have your website responsive. what is this? a responsive web design automatically adjusts your web pages no matter what kind of device a user is using, whether a smartphone or a desktop. </p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='width:80%' /></p> <h3><strong>4. the overall design and layout is poor</strong></h3> <p>poor design doesn’t mean old design. there are newly designed sites that unfortunately have poor design and interface. skip the bold and all those annoying ads. keep it simple and direct to the point. make sure your site has plenty of white spaces. lastly, adjust your design to website responsive.</p> <h3><strong>5. you use bad photos</strong></h3> <p>visuals are everything and we’re talking about photos. using low-quality photos on your site reflects your skills – poor. make sure to use high-resolution photos. you can take them or hire a photographer. you can also source them online; just make sure you credit and use from sites that allow reuse. for your bio, use recent photos. </p> <h3><strong>6. no facts and data</strong></h3> <p>when using a site to market yourself, you need to provide statements with some authority and you can do this by adding data and facts.  provide concise figures and infographics. </p> <p>write, “i was able to increase my division sales to 100% for the 2nd quarter of the fiscal year”, instead of “i helped my company reach our quota”.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='width:80%' /></p> <h3><strong>7. your website doesn’t show a balance of your skills and your personality</strong></h3> <p>though personal websites are great ways for employers and clients to know you beyond your skills and professional experience, it shouldn’t be presented as a personal diary either. too much about your personal life is a big no-no. likewise, skipping showing your skills and experience will shy away from any opportunity for you. </p> <p>therefore, find a balance of showing your past projects while showing a little bit of your personality just like what<a href=''> bill gates</a> did in his personal website. while you highlight your skills and experience, your site should also reflect your personality. remember, businesses and clients often hire people based on their personality and character.</p> <h3><strong>8. there’s no portfolio</strong></h3> <p>related to #7, it is a cardinal sin to exclude your portfolio on your<a href=''> personal website</a>. that’s the objective of your site in the first place – an online and digital portfolio and resume. have a separate page exclusively for your portfolio and place them in a gallery. include links where clients and employers can read and check your previous works and projects.</p> <h3><strong>9. it is hard to find your contact information</strong></h3> <p>now that someone is interested to hire you, it is time to get in touch with you. but wait, where is your contact information? </p> <p>an email with this pattern – “johndoe(at)” gives interested parties the right information while keeping spammers at bay. don’t forget to add your social media, as these are the quickest way brands and companies find and reach you.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='width:80%' /></p> <h3><strong>10. your “about me” page is a mediocre</strong></h3> <p>your bio is a short statement that encapsulates who you are as a skilled professional and as a person. however, it is hard to compose this part of your site. if you find it hard, let someone do it for you like a friend or a professional. in your bio, find the perfect mix of summarizing your experience and skills and your interests as a person.</p> <p>these days, a personal website is an essential tool to market yourself and build your personal branding. give yourself an edge against other applicants with an online portfolio and resume that clients and even headhunters can check out. however, about the pitfalls mentioned above and you’re on the road to the best career of your life.</p> <p>original story on tle</p> All categories Wed, 2 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0800 Why Piracy And Archery Are The New Arts Of War For CEOs <p>if you ever wondered why so many chief executives cite sun tzu’s the art of war as a seminal influence, two new-ish business books may fill you with fear.</p> <p>first up is be more pirate: or how to take over the world and win by sam conniff allende, the cofounder and former chief executive of youth led creative network livity who is now a consultant on purpose-driven strategy for brands including google, unilever, red bull and dyson.</p> <p>“from rogues to role models: be more pirate reveals the radical strategies of golden age pirates, and updates them into clear solutions for making your mark on the 21st century,” says the publishing guff.</p> <p>“be more pirate draws parallels between the strategy and innovation of legends like henry morgan with modern day rebels, like elon musk, malala and blockchain, and reveals how to apply their tactics to life and work today.“</p> <p>morgan, of course, was the 17th-century caribbean pirate and privateer renowned as one of the most successful pirates of all time who made it all the way from his welsh birthplace to plunder spain’s caribbean colonies and end up being deputy governor of jamaica.</p> <p>he lives on with captain morgan rum, which was named after him in 1944, but probably didn’t invent conniff allende’s belief in breaking and remaking rules to make things better, fairer or faster, collaboration as a secret weapon that allows underdogs to beat the odds and “modern mutinies, where well placed mischief has changed the way we work.”</p> <p>still, the book jacket features quotes from business luminaries including cofounder martha lane-fox, while the words inside apparently provide an overlooked generation that faces “a self-interested establishment, certain uncertainty, a broken system and industrial scale redundancy and disruption” with “long-term solutions in a short-term world.”</p> <p>then there is target: business wisdom from the ancient japanese martial art of kyudo by jerome chouchan, managing director of godiva chocolatier for japan, south korea, australia and new zealand.</p> <p>kyudo, an ancient martial art of archery that originated from the samurai class of feudal japan, has a core teaching that “right shooting always results in a hit,” which chouchan, who has practiced the art for 25 years and is a director of the international kyudo federation, views as particularly applicable to business.</p> <p>“it means that you shouldn’t worry about simply hitting the target,” he writes.</p> <p>“instead, you should focus your energy and will-power on proper mindset and form. in doing so, this ‘right shooting’ will naturally result in a hit.</p> <p>“in our companies, we are all under the pressure of profit margins, sales targets, efficiency and relationships.</p> <p>“the philosophy of kyudo gives us new perspectives and solutions to the struggles and worries that anyone can fall prey to in their business and career.”</p> <p>two early stocking fillers for the would-be entrpreneurs you love.</p> <p>just be warned: equipping the new pirates with bows and arrows might result in rather more than you had bargained for.</p> <p>original article in forbes</p> All categories Mon, 31 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Sliders are bad for your credit union website design <p>pull up your credit union’s website. when you land on the homepage, do you see a rotating banner? </p> <p>given today’s landscape of <a href=''>credit union website designs</a>, i’d say there’s a 50-50 chance your website has a slider (aka rotating banner or carousel). though sliders are incredibly prominent, they are remarkably bad for user experience. in this article, i’ll lay out the evidence against sliders and share some better alternatives.</p> <p><strong>why sliders seem to be a good thing</strong></p> <p>most credit unions use sliders to display promotions. for example, you might post an auto loan deal that your lending department is excited about, a job opening from hr, and a message about your upcoming shred event. from an operations perspective, sliders seem wonderful because they enable marketers to put multiple promotions on the homepage for all to see—which makes every department happy. and in theory, it appears to be an economical use of limited space. why show only one promotion when you can display three, or four? </p> <p><strong>the truth about sliders</strong></p> <p>the truth is, people ignore sliders because they resemble ads. “banner blindness” is a well-documented phenomenon on the internet, where anything that even resembles an ad is ignored by most viewers. </p> <p>the image below illustrates this principle. it’s a heatmap from an article published by the <a href=''>nielsen norman group</a>. the heat spots in yellow, orange, and red map where users spent time looking at something on the page. there’s one ad at the top and several in the right sidebar—notice that none of them have any heat spots.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:512px; width:316px' /></p> <p>people also tend to dislike sliders because <a href=''>they are usually irrelevant to users’ interests </a>, and diffuse focus with multiple calls to action. that’s why study after study reveals that sliders get dismal click-through rates. </p> <p><strong>the data has spoken</strong></p> <ul> <li><a href=''>marketing agency mri tracked sliders</a> on three different websites, and found that click-through rates ranged from .16% to .65%</li> <li><a href=''>notre dame university tested sliders</a> on their homepage, resulting in just a 1% click-through rate</li> <li>another agency, <a href=''>beaconfire red</a>, tracked several nonprofit websites and reported a slider click-through rate of 0.9% to 2.0%.</li> <li>in one of the most damning studies, <a href=''>mÅrten angner tested a slider vs static content</a> on grizzly zoo’s website. just 2.06% of homepage viewers clicked on the slider, while the static content generated a click rate of 40.53%. the difference speaks for itself. </li> <li>for plenty of more anti-slider stats, check out <a href=''></a>, and this aptly-named post from yoast, <a href=''>sliders suck and should be banned from your website</a>. </li> </ul> <p><strong>if people do click, it’s on the first link</strong></p> <p>in addition, many studies have found that if people <em>do</em> click on a slider, they overwhelmingly click on the first link, defeating the purpose of having a slider in the first place. the beacon fire and notre dame studies cited above provide evidence of this, as do these two studies: </p> <ul> <li><a href=''>study of</a> (university of york)</li> <li><a href=''>study of several mobile ecommerce sites from mobify</a></li> </ul> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:269px; width:512px' /></p> <p><strong>sliders hurt accessibility</strong></p> <p>ada compliance is a growing concern for credit unions and sliders are really, really hard to make accessible. andrea fercia, yoast’s resident accessibility expert, has this to say: </p> <p><em>“though there are examples and recommendations to follow to make sliders as accessible as possible, i’ve rarely seen a fully accessible slider being used in production. sometimes sliders are just not coded with accessibility in mind, sometimes they are but there are so many accessibility requirements to address that missing just a couple of them can be disastrous for accessibility. interaction with keyboards and assistive technologies is so hard that static content is always preferable. it’s no coincidence that was launched by jared smith of webaim, one of the most influential and respected organizations committed to spreading out accessibility culture and developing accessible web content.”</em></p> <p><strong>are there exceptions?</strong></p> <p>generally, sliders are a bad idea, but there might be cases where they are appropriate. for example, if you are showing off different features of a specific product, then a non-automated slider could work well if executed thoughtfully.</p> <p>still, if you are going to use a rotating banner, then you should a/b test it regularly against other types of content since you are going directly contrary to all of the evidence against sliders. </p> <p><strong>what should you do instead?</strong></p> <p>i realize running promotions might seem difficult without sliders. fortunately, there are better alternatives. rather than running random promotions blindly to everyone who visits your site, you can use technology to target specific users. </p> <p>on the websites we design at bloomcu, we’ve had great success using <a href=''>personalization technology</a>. based on past browsing behavior, you can show personalized, specific content to each user. for example, a user who previously visited your auto loan page could be presented a featured rate or relevant blog post like, “5 things you should know before buying a car,” on a subsequent visit. a <a href=''>case study we published with</a> shows a 31% increase in engagement when using technology to personalize content for visitors.</p> <p>having your website’s navigation in order also goes a long way towards solving the problem. visitors go to your site intending to take action. if they are easily able to find your checking account page, for example, then they are much more likely to sign up online, promotion or not. </p> <p>lastly, when you ditch the sliders on your site, you leave room to focus on your credit union’s core message. what matters most to consumers is not some deal that will be gone in a month, but the long-term <a href=''>competitive advantage you can offer your members</a>. what makes you special and sets you apart? why should people choose you over every other financial institution? if you can answer those questions on your homepage, you’ll attract lifelong members and borrowers rather than just deal seekers.</p> <p>original story in cuinsight</p> All categories Sun, 30 Dec 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Why Content Marketing Is a Fool-Proof SEO Strategy Today <p>the search engine optimization (seo) market changes all the time. as search engines implement smarter algorithms, it’s not enough to produce low-quality content in the hope that it sways crawlers to your favor.</p> <p>in fact, seo now requires human touch, as well as more financial and creative resources than ever before.</p> <p>fortunately, seo experts can take advantage of many different tools that are created precisely with these new requirements in mind. one of them is a content marketing platform called <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><em>marketin9</em></a> that helps marketers publish <a href='' target='_blank'>sponsored articles</a> on websites.</p> <p>but let’s see what content marketing can do for seo first.</p> <h2>content marketing – the new seo?</h2> <p>if we looked back to what content marketing meant five years ago, it was a method used to acquire valuable links that only the most significant brands could use.</p> <p>companies that had marketing budgets counting in millions invested in promotional campaigns to gain links from websites that were way beyond the financial reach of small and mid-sized businesses.</p> <p>your average seo specialist executing a campaign could only dream about such a sophisticated link building strategy.</p> <p>the situation has changed radically during the last few years, primarily due to the increased competition among smaller news websites or thematic blogs that strive to attract advertisers with competitive pricing.</p> <p>marketin9 is a platform that helps advertisers make sense of all these offers and choose the best value for money when it comes to publishing sponsored content.</p> <p>it allows advertisers to get discounted pricing when placing a larger order from specific publishers. that way the cost of publishing a sponsored article is usually 20 percent (and up to 50 percent) lower than if the advertiser contacted such a website directly.</p> <h2>how do links obtained from sponsored articles help to improve ranking?</h2> <p>seo experts agree that content marketing is of great value to link building.</p> <p>however, the final results of publishing sponsored articles on websites and portals are influenced by many factors such as:</p> <ul> <li>the current link profile of the site.</li> <li>the authority of the site.</li> <li>whether the website publisher allows us to include keywords in the anchor text.</li> <li>whether the links obtained from articles are nofollowed.</li> </ul> <p>here are two case studies that show the potential of content marketing for seo.</p> <h2>case study 1: producer of tent halls</h2> <p>last year, we were approached by a tent halls producer who had spent six months trying to get his website back to the first page of search results, unsuccessfully. our analysis found that his website’s link profile was built with links from sites with very low authority.</p> <p>timing was essential for our client – the high season in his industry was about to begin. having his website located lower than the first 10 results displayed on the search engine page meant that he was going to lose out on customers and revenue.</p> <p>we decided to focus on developing 20 sponsored content pieces on websites with the highest possible authority in the country. we managed to secure these publications and links within seven days from the beginning our cooperation.</p> <p>as a result, the client’s website went up to the first page of search results in just two weeks from publication. following three months of publishing sponsored articles, the site reached the top 3 in search results for the most crucial phrase in the industry, ensuring optimal exposure of our client’s website.</p> <h2>case study 2: insurance company</h2> <p>insurance is one of the most competitive industries when it comes to seo.</p> <p>our client’s internal marketing department decided to test marketin9 for establishing a long-term publication plan of sponsored articles for one of their brands. their goal was increasing the volume of traffic from organic search results and subsequently the conversion rate of the website.</p> <p>within 12 months we created 300 content pieces on websites with high authority. each month we noticed an increase not only in the website’s position but also traffic.</p> <p>if you’re curious to learn how our seo activities increased the traffic on the website, read on.</p> <p>in general, publications can generate traffic to a website – provided that the content is of high quality and dedicated to solving a problem of the website’s audience.</p> <p>by developing content that <a href='' target='_blank'>addresses the queries of customers</a> and offers them quality answers and solutions, we not only boost the website’s rank in search engine results, but also create new revenue streams, attract new audiences, and engage people to stay longer on the site.</p> <p>have a look below to see how the website’s rank and traffic have changed over that period of time:</p> <p><em><img alt='case study' src='' style='height:274px; width:554px' /></em></p> <p>finally, at the end of the year, we achieved roi at the smashing level of 255 percent.</p> <h2>take advantage of content marketing</h2> <p>content marketing is about creating content that audiences engage with and share, boosting a website’s online exposure. moreover, quality content that provides real value to users generates traffic to your site.</p> <p>then there’s the seo component of content marketing. search engines that see the links between the website and authority sources are more likely to offer that website a higher position in their rankings.</p> <p>it’s a simple calculation – investing in publications on high-authority websites and portals with followed links is a surefire way to increase the rank of our site in search engine results. the authority of publishers is, in a way, transferred to our website, at the same time bringing us plenty of valuable traffic.</p> <p>still, securing publications of that sort can still be challenging to marketers.</p> <p>marketin9 was designed to answer this need by connecting marketers to publishers easily. you can take advantage of the platform to:</p> <ul> <li>order content.</li> <li>get in touch with publishers of thousands of websites in over a dozen countries.</li> <li>filter them by parameters, categories, or topics.</li> <li>quickly order the publications they need.</li> </ul> <p>you can also monitor publication status and control the budget being spent on content marketing.</p> <p>launching a content marketing campaign has never been so easy.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'>search engine journal</a>.</p> All categories Tue, 9 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0800 SEO: How to Rank against the Heavyweights <p>merchants want to rank number one in google for search terms that are seemingly important to their business, such as “dog food.” or “office supplies.” or whatever popular term describes their products.</p> <p>the problem, however, is that not every company can rank for high-demand keywords. the workaround is to be realistic about ranking potential and develop search engine optimization strategies accordingly.</p> <h3>relevance and authority</h3> <p>ranking well in any search engine takes a strong combination of relevance and authority. relevance is determined by the pairing of the search phrase with the context and authority of your site. authority is based on the quality and quantity of links from other sites to yours, as well as mentions within relevant content communities.</p> <p>say you want to rank for “auto parts.” is your brand known for auto parts, or does it only sell replacement wheels and hubcaps? if you don’t all types of auto parts and focus instead on a few subtypes, your site will almost certainly not be considered relevant for a broader search for “auto parts.” don’t fight it. work with your strength.</p> <p>conversely, assume you sell all manner of auto parts. your site could, therefore, be considered relevant for a broader search. evaluate the content on your site. do you have critical text content anywhere besides the navigational structure of your header and footer?</p> <p>descriptive, plain text content is essential to relevance. and it must be unique, high-quality content that shoppers want to read. it’s not easy, but it’s necessary.</p> <p>which brings us to authority. you can’t buy authority without risking penalties. you can’t manufacture it, either. you have to earn it. that’s why authority is so valuable. it’s difficult to accumulate and requires the agreement of others in the topical community.</p> <p>links and mentions from any (reputable) source will have some value, such as from the chamber of commerce in your hometown, or a random blog with a single car restoration post linking to your wheels and hubcaps. the most valuable links, however, will come from sites with a large amount of authority in a topically relevant area.</p> <p>how much relevance and authority you need is based on your competitors. if their sites are highly relevant to high-demand keyword phrases, you’ll need more than they have. and if their backlink portfolios number in the five- or six-figure range, yours will need more, as well.</p> <p>be realistic. how strong is your competition — the real competition, not who you prefer?</p> <h3>realism required</h3> <p>it’s important to be realistic. if you’re a flyweight boxer, it’s likely impossible to win confronting a heavyweight head on. instead, look for the opening to dodge that powerful punch and attack swiftly where he is unprotected.</p> <p>perhaps you are an seo flyweight. amazon, ebay, and other category leaders are the heavyweights. can you really win top rankings for the highest-demand keyword phrases? they have the ranking power, but you may have the advantage of <a href=''>targeting smaller opportunities</a> more quickly.</p> <p>after all, 0 percent of high-demand keywords such as “laptops” is less than 20 percent of long-tail keywords such as “laptops with backlit keyboard.”</p> <p>in november 2017, 10,000 searches on google were for that phrase, “laptops with backlit keyboard.” that’s 10,000 impressions and thousands of chances to sell laptops to people who know exactly what’s important to them. moreover, those long-tail searchers convert more often because they’re farther down the purchase cycle.</p> <p>it took me 15 seconds to find that example (“laptops with backlit keyboard”) in google’s search bar autosuggest list. it took another 45 seconds to log in to adwords keyword planner to check the search volume, to determine if it’s worth writing content around. the process is not difficult, in other words. and it’s quick enough for a spot check, for content ideas.</p> <p>however, use a more concerted effort if you’re forming a content strategy for your site or a plan of attack against a major seo competitor.</p> <p>make sure you’ve captured as many of opportunities as possible that have a sufficient demand to matter to your business, with little resource expenditures.</p> <p>that calls for organized keyword research. learn more about how to plan and execute a keyword research project in my “seo how-to” series, at “<a href=''>keyword research concepts</a>” and “<a href=''>keyword research in action</a>.” it will walk you through the process of brainstorming keyword ideas and using the keyword planner to extract and analyze keyword data.</p> <p>mining keyword research is a valuable exercise no matter the size of your business. we all have competitors. some we want to attack and others we want to maintain our leads on. content that targets long-tail keyword themes will accomplish both goals.</p> <p>original article by <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>practicalecommerce</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 History of: How Hoyt Archery Became a Dominant Name in Bowhunting <p>beyond throwing rocks, archery is perhaps the most universal known means of warfare and hunting throughout the world. dating to over 10,000 years ago and – with the exception of australasia – practiced virtually everywhere occupied by humankind.</p> <p>while largely replaced by the firearm at the start of the modern age, the bow and arrow remained an exclusively noble sport in many places until it experienced a renaissance in the 19th century as a sport of elegance and skill for both men and women.</p> <p>the archery clubs of the victorian age defined the activity as a civilized sport where the affluent had custom equipment made to their own requirements, often with costumes honoring robin hood. </p> <p><img alt='history of hoyt archery' src=',q_auto:low,w_auto,dpr_auto/' /></p> <p><a href=',_denbighshire.jpeg' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>wikimedia</a></p> <p>with the 20th century, and especially the 1920’s, the attitude that everyone should have access to leisure pursuits dominated the west, and most particularly, in the us.  the middle class bought what was previously reserved just for the wealthy: radios, automobiles, washing machines; why not a refined sport previously reserved for much of the aristocracy?</p> <p>enter one of the most prominent names in the modern world of archery: <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>hoyt</a>.</p> <p>earl hoyt sr started producing wooden bows and cedar arrows from within his st. louis, missouri workshop in 1931. though the nation was in the throes of the depression, the enforced frugality may have actually helped the appeal of well made archery equipment; it is not difficult to see how the appeal of reusable arrows and discrete use helped jump start the modern sport of bow hunting. however, archery was already a prominent sport in scout programs and even made a brief appearance in four of the first six summer olympics. </p> <p>hoyt began his mission with draw knives, wooden billets, and rollers to create the best recurve bows available with technology that was little changed in hundreds of years. the fact that hoyt’s company endured through the great depression is as good a testament as any to the quality and appeal his products offered their customers, both then and today.</p> <p>in many places, such as ancient egypt, archery virtually predates the wheel in human history. unlike the wheel, however, hoyt saw that archery equipment could always be improved with the latest manufacturing equipment, techniques and materials. throughout the 1940’s to the 1960’s, hoyt archery established a position on the cutting edge of new archery technology.</p> <p>at the end of world war ii, hoyt archery began a string of new innovations including reinforced plastics in production bows in 1946; over draw bows and semi anatomic grips in 1948; deflex reflex designs for modern recurve bows in 1951. in 1953 the first short recurve hunting bow was released as a compact means to go into the field.  this later design borrowed heavily from older, horse archer bow designs, albeit with modern materials and modern accessories. </p> <p>further developments continued with patents through the 1960’s, as more americans became interested in archery, specifically for hunting but also for sport shooting – especially for <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>youth</a> participants. in 1969 a patent was issued to holless wilbur allen for a new type of bow: the compound bow.</p> <p><img alt='history of hoyt archery' src=',q_auto:low,w_auto,dpr_auto/' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'></a></p> <p>archers, or “toxophilites,” could let loose their arrows at unimaginable weights and velocities from a recurve or straight bow.  this opened the sport up to shooters who did not have the upper body strength to shoot at targets further afield.</p> <p>in 1972, after a 48 year absence, archery returned to the summer olympics, and hoyt was there. at munich, hoyt bows were utilized to win the gold in both men and women’s archery events. in the 46 years since, more <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>olympians</a> have won using hoyt archery equipment than any other. this is not to say the equipment makes the archer, rather the best archers in the world use a hoyt when it matters most to them. in fact, in the 2012 summer games in salt lake city, ut, every archer who competed, did so using a hoyt <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>bow</a>.</p> <p>in 1983 hoyt was purchased by <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>jas d. easton</a> incorporated. in a move that often means the end of small business attention to detail in the pursuit of bottom line profits, easton and hoyt have appeared to blend the best of both organizations to the benefit of company and customers. under easton inc. hoyt did not get cheaper, but rather larger and more competitive in the making of modern equipment.</p> <p>the year before the salt lake games, hoyt continued releasing the latest and greatest technological achievement: the carbon element. this was the first in what would be an extensive line of <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>carbon</a> based bows that were both light weight, yet stronger than laminate or aluminum bows.  </p> <p>american owned and operated, hoyt expanded from its unassuming st. louis workshop to a 150,000 foot manufacturing facility in salt lake city where it operates as the world’s premier bowmaker. the primary goal of its employees is to provide the highest level of quality, whether it be hunting in the field or competing on the tournament <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>line</a>. as a mark of that success, hoyt has expanded outside the world of exclusive competitors and hunters but also mainstream media, bringing the art of archery further into mainstream media consciousness. </p> <p>movies expand the public’s awareness of products, often with somewhat exaggerated details. yet, when it comes to the new age of archery, the movies focus upon the strengths of not only archery in general but also hoyt bows.</p> <p><img alt='history of hoyt archery' src=',q_auto:low,w_auto,dpr_auto/' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>cartertown</a></p> <p><u>rambo ii</u> in 1985 and <u>rambo iii</u> in 1988 presented audiences with a custom hoyt <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>spectra</a>bow. while spectra was unique to the movie, hoyt/easton quickly capitalized on the movie to offer a new model based upon the film version – explosive arrow tips were, sadly, not offered as accessories.</p> <p>more recently hoyt’s buffalo hunting recurve bow was used by the character <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>hawkeye</a> in the <u>avengers</u> movie, as well as by <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>katniss everdeen</a> in the <u>hunger game</u> series – these were versions of the same bow renowned bow hunter <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>fred eichler</a> favors as one of his signature bows. the hoyt gamemaster ii was used by hawkeye in <u>the avengers ii: age of ultron</u>. </p> <p>while hoyt’s leadership will not shy out of the limelight blockbuster movies shine upon their products, and the sport in general, it certainly brings in new customers and tomorrow’s enthusiasts.</p> <p>hoyt’s business model and sales continue to be devoted to the customer who is prepared to excel in the sport of hunting or target competitions. “no gimmicks,” the website says, just the best they know how to do. and what they know comes with almost a century of experience and premier innovations that have led the archery market.</p> <p>trick or – more accurately – impossible shots on the big screen are exciting for movie goers to marvel over, but when the bow hunter or competitive shooter is ready to get serious, they grab a hoyt.</p> <p>article by <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>outdoorhub</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Bank web apps are the 'most vulnerable' to getting hacked, new research says <p>bad news if you're one of the hundreds of millions of online banking users around the world. the chances are your bank's website and web apps are horribly insecure.</p> <p>researchers at security firm <a href='' target='_blank'>positive technologies</a>, which has a commercial stake in securing web apps, tested 33 websites and services using its proprietary application inspector, and found that banking and financial institutions were "the most vulnerable" to getting hacked.</p> <p>every financial site and web app the researchers tested contained a high-severity vulnerability, they said.</p> <p>the researchers said in <a href='' target='_blank'>their report</a>, published monday, that they found xml external entity flaws and arbitrary file reading and modification flaws in about half of all the banking and financial sites they tested. </p> <p>in a worst case scenario, an attacker can remotely run code to compromise a vulnerable server -- possibly leading to serious consequences for customers who expect their banks to keep their money safe.</p> <p>the report also noted that 80 percent of tested sites are vulnerable to cross-site scripting (xss) attacks, which lets an attacker run malicious code on a website or web application. </p> <p>these flaws often aren't considered high-severity and, though often easy to fix, are often treated with a lower priority. but they can be used to manipulate how sites look, tricking users into handing over sensitive information that gets silently forwarded to an attacker.</p> <p>the banks and financiers at risk weren't named, but the fact that there was a 100 percent rate of vulnerability for a sector that handles people's money and finances doesn't bode well for the entire financial industry.</p> <p>and things don't look that much better for other sites and web apps tested, including in the government sector.</p> <p>the researchers said 85 percent of the web apps they tested had flaws that allowed attacks against users. </p> <p>"a hacker can exploit these vulnerabilities to steal users' cookies, implement phishing attacks, or infect user computers with malware," the researchers wrote.</p> <p>in the government space, cross-site scripting remained the leading point of attack, followed by http response splitting. but in more than two-thirds of cases, hackers could exploit sql injections that could reveal sensitive information from a database, and remotely run commands on a back-end server.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:auto; width:770px' /></p> <p>a vulnerable web app for an unnamed russian local government permits a critical sql injection that, if exploited, could allow an attacker to obtain sensitive information from a database. (image: supplied)</p> <p>for some attackers, exfiltrating and stealing data or denying service to users is one thing. but more sophisticated hackers use weak entry-points to move laterally within a domain. if an attacker finds a local area network connection on a target server, they can move deeper into a network and compromise an entire company or government department's infrastructure, the researchers said. </p> <p>it's <a href='' target='_blank'>how the massive data breach</a> at equifax is thought to have been carried out.</p> <p>a takeaway is that preventative technologies, like web application firewalls, can be all good and well, but source code analysis should also be used in a web app's development.</p> <p>"merely detecting vulnerabilities, of course, is not enough: developers have to make fixes to code and roll them out to production systems," the report concluded. "any delay in remediation means more opportunities for attackers."</p> <p>original article by <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>zdnet</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 What is User Experience Design? <p dir='ltr'>my big brother is a smart guy, and he recently got a new job that he’s super excited about. it’s a job in “ux design,” and he says it’s going to combine computer and design work in a way that will keep things really interesting for him. i’m thrilled that my big brother is getting a good job, and i’ve been nodding along when he mentions it, but i have to admit something: i have absolutely no idea what “ux” stands for, or what “ux design” actually is. i would ask him, but my brother has a bit of a reputation in the family for being bad at explaining things (if you ask him about an acronym, get ready to hear four more acronyms, which he will insist on explaining with more acronyms, and so on). so i’m asking you instead: what the heck is ux design?</p> <p dir='ltr'>ux is an acronym--sort of. the “u” stands for “user,” and the x--taking the first syllable instead of the first letter--stands for “experience.” so ux is “user experience,” and what your brother will be doing is designing the things that affect that user experience.</p> <p dir='ltr'>user experience is one of the most important parts of any technology, say the experts behind a <a href=''>ux design course london</a>. but it’s quite a broad term. what exactly are we talking about when we talk about ux?</p> <p dir='ltr'>first of all, ux tends to be a tech term (and you already mentioned that your brother works with computers and programming), so it’s safe to say here that we’re talking about a tech product: an app, a program, or a website. second, we can get a better sense of what ux means by introducing another term--ui--and examining the difference between the two.</p> <p dir='ltr'>we already know that ux means “user experience,” so what does ui mean? it stands for “user interface” (no weird x this time!) and it means something a little different than ux.</p> <p dir='ltr'>the user interface of a product is the part that faces you--the part you, the consumer, interact with. the features closest to the surface <a href=''>are the ones that fall under ui</a>. the look of the app or product, for instance, is ui. the buttons you click and the layout of a website are ui. when your brother designs things, he will (most likely) not be designing the shape of a button or choosing the background color of a screen--that’s ui.</p> <p dir='ltr'>ux is something larger and deeper. in fact, the term remains quite broad even after we take away all the things that are better called ui. user experience is about how a product interacts with its customer. in the case of an app, that might refer to how the menus are arranged or what buttons are on a screen (ui would determine how these options are laid out on a given page, while <a href=''>ux might be more concerned with how the menus are connected and what kind of hierarchies they have</a>). the app’s very reason for being may be ux-centric: many apps are designed to make something easier or streamline a process.</p> <p dir='ltr'>in practice, ux and ui may overlap a bit. but the important thing to understand here is that your brother’s new job involves making things work better for users and can cover a huge range of interactions between customers and products.</p> <p>original article by <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>columbia chronicle</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Designing a Website? <p>before discussing the top most important factors to consider while designing a website, let us have a look at few of the interesting facts; <br /> <br /> - 48% of visitors quoted a web design as the no. 1 factor in deciding the trustworthiness of a business. <br /> <br /> - within 10 seconds, you need to tell your customers what they’ll get out of your website <br /> <br /> - 47% of visitors expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. <br /> <br /> - 39% of visitors will stop visiting a website if images won’t load or the pages take too long to load. <br /> <br /> - 64% of visitors want to see the company’s contact information on a home page. <br /> <br /> - 40% of visitors will switch over to the other search result if your website is not mobile friendly.</p> <p><br /> <img alt='graphic_design_in_parramatta' src='' /><br /> in today’s digital world, web design plays a vital role of doing business nowadays. even the smallest slip-up can ruin the experience of your customers which could end up costing you a much more amount of money and also you will lose your valuable customers. in this article, the experts of jps design have listed out the top most important factors to consider while designing a website. <br /> <br /> <strong>define your requirements</strong> <br /> <br /> determine your requirements by answering the following questions: what is the information you are trying to provide? are you going to implement any videos, links or documents? once you have clearer idea on what exactly what the page should be doing, it is far easier to create it. <br /> <br /> <strong>identify your targeted audience</strong> <br /> <br /> before you start designing your web pages, you need to make sure who you are trying to interact. identifying your audience base will help you convey information in a perfect manner which would be easily understandable by your customers. <br /> <br /> <strong>use clear navigation</strong> <br /> <br /> make sure to use clear navigation to ensure your visitors can find what they’re looking for! the navigation path should be simple and near the top of the page. don’t forget to place the search box at the top of the web page, so that your visitors can search what they’re looking for using keywords. <br /> <br /> <strong>make it compatible for all devices</strong> <br /> <br /> today more than 68% people are accessing internet from all kinds of ways from desktop to smartphones, using different browsers and different operating systems. therefore, it’s your responsible to make sure your website is accessible for all visitors. <br /> <br /> equipped with more knowledge about web design? so what are you waiting for? contact the leading experts of jps design group and get started today! your website is no longer a just representation of your company, but has gone on to become a perfect platform where your company can showcase the products and services to your customers!</p> <p>original article by <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>promotionworld</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 14 common user experience mistakes to avoid on your company’s website <p>today’s consumers expect a fast, flawless and beautifully designed interface when they use a software product or browse a website. slow page speeds, broken links, non-responsive page displays or simply poor design can turn users off from ever visiting your site again. that’s why it’s critical to make user experience and interface a top priority for your business’s development strategy.</p> <p>to get an idea of what not to do on your website, we asked a panel of <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>young entrepreneur council</a> members the following question:</p> <p>what’s a common mistake you see companies make with their websites’ ux or ui?</p> <p>their best answers are below:</p> <h2>1. designing for desktop instead of mobile</h2> <p>we are truly in a mobile-first world. sixty percent or more of website visitors are checking out your site on their mobile devices. focus on the vertical format first and foremost. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>ben jabbawy</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>privy</a></p> <h2>2. too much content</h2> <p>your potential customers want videos, big pictures, less text and more fine print that they can just skip over. if your website is puncturing droves of useless content and information into the eyes of would-be buyers, you just gave them a clear sign that they shouldn’t be doing business with you. – jason criddle, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>jason criddle and associates</a></p> <h2>3. lack of online chat functionality</h2> <p>it blows my mind how few companies have a nice online chat feature. the younger generation does not want to call your business and wait on hold then speak with someone. from a business perspective, one person on your team can handle up to 20 chats instead of one phone call. chats are a win-win for everyone! – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>brandon stapper</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>crown growth</a></p> <h2>4. trying to be cute and clever</h2> <p>i see so many companies trying to be cute and clever while trying to communicate their core messages. when this happens, messaging gets lost in translation and users will often click off the site. being clear and brief is so much more important than being cute and clever. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>kristin marquet</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>creative development agency, llc</a></p> <h2>5. not making your point upfront</h2> <p>companies love to flood their websites with text, stories, descriptions of their product or business. that’s useful as supportive information but get to the point. are you selling a product or service? if so, really sell it: briefly explain the benefits and features, but make this clear. think ‘cliff notes’ for above the fold; in-depth explanation for secondary or below-the-fold content. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>shawn schulze</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'></a></p> <h2>6. not using strategic opt-in forms</h2> <p>i’ve noticed a lot of websites either don’t use opt-in forms at all, which fails to convert visitors, or go the other extreme and bombard you with pop-ups as soon as you land on their site. take a look at technologies where a pop-up only appears when the visitor is about to leave the site. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>syed balkhi</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>optinmonster</a></p> <h2>7. random or inconsistent design elements</h2> <p>the most common mistake i come across with a website’s ui is a haphazard design. a website should be orderly, with all layout elements coming together seamlessly, offering a similar look and feel. if design elements such as colors, styles, fonts, wording and hovering effects appear random, there’s a problem. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>derek robinson</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>top notch dezigns</a></p> <h2>8. fixing what’s not broken</h2> <p>i commonly see entrepreneurs making ui or ux changes for the sake of change. this leads to changing things without a real reason for the update. when preparing for a ui change, you should have one single goal. then, hold each change up to that one single goal. if the update does not serve that purpose, it should be nixed. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>diego orjuela</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>cables & sensors</a></p> <h2>9. failing to make the login function site-wide</h2> <p>a lot of startups that have membership logins don’t make login available site wide. it happens to more early-stage companies than you may think. your site will get a lot of traffic and homepage search hits for people who are going to go straight to the login button. make sure you filter that data out when making design decisions about the site. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>nicole munoz</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>start ranking now</a></p> <h2>10. overwhelming users with choices </h2> <p>when you build a site that has too much happening, too many options and too many toggles, your end user gets paralyzed by choice. less is more when it comes to interface design. ux/ui is about subtraction, not addition. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>eric mathews</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>start co.</a></p> <h2>11. not directing people to the next intended action</h2> <p>on every page you create, ask yourself what you want the next step to be. you should never leave people to their own whims because they’ll almost never do what you expect. instead, map out exactly where you want them to go, and why you want them to consume your site in a certain sequence. just a bit of planning here will walk leads right into your funnel. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>peter kozodoy</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>gem advertising</a></p> <h2>12. below-the-fold calls to actions</h2> <p>calls to action should be easily accessible without scrolling. look at a typical website heat map and you’ll see that the further a user has to scroll, the less likely a user will take action. to enhance the ux of a website, include a call to action in the hero image. make it hard to ignore so that website visitors can be directed to the right place. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>brett farmiloe</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>markitors website development</a></p> <h2>13. lack of testing and feedback</h2> <p>there are many people and companies that are willing to test and provide feedback on ux or ui. however, there don’t seem to be as many companies actually taking them up on this offer, because their ux or ui isn’t actually working. it’s a simple and low-cost way to enhance either that is well worth the investment. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>angela ruth</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>calendar</a></p> <h2>14. image overload</h2> <p>visual marketing is powerful, but can easily be overdone. some website owners insert too many images, making their pages hard to load and overly stimulating for visitors. be selective about the images you use to maximize impact without distracting customers from your main goal: conversions. – <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>firas kittaneh</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>amerisleep</a></p> <p>original article by <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tnw</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 People flood to Appling for archery tournament <p>a pro-am archery tournament is back in the augusta area for the third year in a row.</p> <p>the leupold asa tour kicked off thursday at wildwood park, in appling. the tournament brings in almost 2,000 archers from more than 35 states.</p> <p>people also come to the event from other countries, including canada, england and denmark.</p> <p>cole knox says there’s plenty to do at wildwood park during the tournament.</p> <p>"you don't even have to be shooting, there's lots of activities to do. you can meet new people, meet the pros. if you do decide you want to shoot, there's classes for everybody all the way from beginner, first time picking up a bow to professional. so it's a sport for everyone."</p> <p>more than 60 vendors and sponsors will be there.</p> <p>the leupold asa tour is expected to bring in over a million dollars to the region.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>12 wrdw</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 April Fool’s Day roundup: The best tech pranks from around the web <p>it’s april fool’s day. again. the day when companies come up with the craziest product ideas in an effort to prank consumers. of course most of them are so obvious that they shouldn’t even qualify as pranks anymore because we can see them coming a mile away.</p> <p>the truly subtle ones are rare. but then again, no company wants to create a fake product that’s too believable, right? with that in mind, let’s see what some of the biggest names in tech, and across other industries, have planned for this year’s april fool’s day. there are actually a few good ones in there, and there’s even a pretty believable prank right this year, which is rare.</p> <p>google</p> <p>google maps</p> <p>google lets you find waldo in google maps. and once you’ve discovered him, you’ll get more and more games to search for him over and over again. to do so, go to <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>google maps</a> online or update your iphone and android apps.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: <a href='' rel='nofollow'>google</a></p> <p>google</p> <p>google australia decided to redesign google and keeping it relevant. it’s not google, actually. it’s googz.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <p>google cloud</p> <p>google cloud’s hummus api matches you with your perfect hummus. that’s something google could do.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <p>gboard</p> <p>google japan made a physical gboard that converts typing to cursive.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <p>files go</p> <p>the files go team invented the bad joke detector. for april 1st. right…</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>snapchat</h2> <p>snap may have one of the best pranks of this jokes season. it targets facebook, of course. we’re looking at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>a new filter</a> that looks exactly like the facebook app, but the text appears to be written in russian. that checks all the right boxes.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: <a href='' rel='nofollow'>snap via twitter</a></p> <h2>t-mobile</h2> <p>t-mobile is bringing back the sidekick as the world’s first smart shoe phone. i have to tell you that the shoes do look dope. they’re not phones, however.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>pokemon go</h2> <p>what if you could play pokemon go in “cutting-edge” <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>8-bit graphics</a>?</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: <a href='' rel='nofollow'>pokemon go live</a></p> <h2>honor</h2> <p>need toilet insurance for your smartphone? honor’s got you covered.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>lexus and 23andme</h2> <p>using your genetic code to select your next lexus car? lexus’s got you covered with the help of 23andme. the car will then be delivered to your door in 24 hours, customized based on your dna.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>burger king</h2> <p>burger king, home of the whopper. the chocolate whopper. okay, i have to say this should really be a thing.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>reese’s</h2> <p>yes, let’s do more fake chocolate, please. check out reese’s adorable easter/april fool’s prank.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>jÄgermeister</h2> <p>forget the shots, jÄger balm is supposed to treat bartender’s elbow.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>jabra</h2> <p>jabra’s got some shoes of its own, but they double as speakers, not smartphones.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: jabra</p> <h2>redbox</h2> <p>redbox is creating the smallest movie theaters in the world. the gist is that movies will be available on the touch screen of any redbox kiosk once they leave the big screen.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: redbox</p> <h2>warby parker and arby’s</h2> <p>fast eyewear food industry, anyone? that’s what’s warby’s is all about.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>smithfield</h2> <p>bacon crisps cereal? oh, come on.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>duolingo</h2> <p>you probably heard of duolingo before, the service that lets you learn a new language supposedly faster than anything else. well for april fool’s, they unveiled the <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>brewolingo</a>, beers to help you get more fluent. included are the spring season-owl, india pale owl, mad amber owl, and night owl stout. each one is for a different language or situation.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: duolingo</p> <h2>man crates</h2> <p>man crates is introducing a porch piracy protection service, so that porch pirates stop stealing your deliveries. giant mouse traps does it for me.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>lucid mattress</h2> <p>get into the sharing economy with the sharebed product. it’s like airbnb, but creepier. also comes in a sharebed lite option.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>sodastream</h2> <p>sodasoak is sodastream’s idea of an april fool’s joke. it’s like sodastream, but for your bathing experience. it comes with fruit flavors and support for water beds. oh, and the mountain is also in this clip.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>houzz</h2> <p>here’s a crypto joke for you. houzz is a site that lets you purchase home remodeling and design products. launching a crypto coin sounds almost believable.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>peeps and energizer</h2> <p>peeps and energizer partnered up to create energizing peeps. you’ll get it in a minute.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>pindrop</h2> <p>pindrop’s tongueprinting is so ew. lick your phone to lock and unlock the phone. it’s as gross as it sounds. and mildly funny. check the video <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>at this link</a>.</p> <h2>sf appworks</h2> <p>the nothing app. it’s the app that helps you doing nothing better. seinfeld would probably be proud. just check the clip below.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>skunklock</h2> <p>skunklock has been stealing bikes to show you how easy the entire thing is.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>cargurus</h2> <p>if you can imitate the sound of the engine of the car you want to buy, then <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>cargurus revolution</a> is for you. just like a reverse shazam, if you will, but for finding cars.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: cargurus</p> <h2>blaqpaks</h2> <p>bags without straps. that’s all you need to know.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>iseecars</h2> <p>a company called iseecars made a shrine to google. because google dominates search, get it?</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>tech21</h2> <p>they usually make protective cases for smartphones. but on april 1st, they have a flexchoc chocolate case for you.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' />image source: tech21</p> <h2>thinkgeek</h2> <p>thinkgeek really overdid it this year, with a bunch of pranks for april fool’s.</p> <p>star trek klingon alphabet magnets</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <p>4d6&me stat discovery kit</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <p>rick and morty screaming sun alarm clock</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <p>jurassic world dinosaur detection system</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <h2>chegg</h2> <p>the chegg osmosis pillow comes with memory foam that will not only adapt to the shape of your head, but it’ll also pack your own memory with actual knowledge. sleep on it.</p> <p><iframe height='470' src='' width='782'></iframe></p> <p> </p> <p>original article by <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>bgr</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0800 5 Tips for Your Spa Website Design <p>it’s easy to make a bare-minimum website that contains the basics of your spa’s services and deals. however, if customers are not impressed with the website, nothing stops them from leaving and moving on to the next spa available.</p> <p>are you looking for useful web design services that can guarantee customer views and online bookings?</p> <p>then you have come to the right place.</p> <p>this article is meant to help spa businesses gain customers by offering what their competitors may lack, a pleasing yet effective website. by having the right knowledge and using the right tools, nothing can stop your spa from receiving clients from other locations.</p> <p>so now that we’ve intrigued you, let’s get to the good part.</p> <h2><strong>1. plan out your web design services</strong></h2> <p>do you have a number of awesome ideas and plans but you’re not sure where to start? it happens more times than we can count.</p> <p>we get our minds racing with all these visions that are going to guarantee our spa’s success, but as soon as we start physically creating it, we get stuck.</p> <p>the problem isn’t your lack of knowledge or ideas, the problem is that you didn’t plan it out.</p> <p>instead of spending time drawing and coordinating, you jumped in head first.</p> <p>your website is more likely to turn out better when you have a plan. first, you’ll need a company that provides web design services.</p> <p>figure out what you want to portray, what services you have to offer, what images you like, and where you want your contact information to be.</p> <p>it will be much easier to consolidate your ideas when starting out instead of completing your website and then deciding you don’t like it.</p> <h2><strong>2. include social media</strong></h2> <p>the 21st century is all about technological advances and social media updates. customers expect companies to have social media, and if they don’t, some customers won’t even give that company the time of day.</p> <p>with that being said, your spa website should contain links to every social media page you have, this includes <a href=''>facebook</a>, twitter, instagram, and yelp.</p> <p>in 2015, facebook influenced <a href=''>52% of consumers,</a> both online and offline. if your spa services aren’t accessible on social media, you are missing out on potential clients and positive reviews.</p> <p>by providing clients easy access to your social media accounts, you can advertise and showcase your services and skills without any paid advertisements.</p> <p>if your company does not have any social media accounts, now would be a great time to create one.</p> <h2><strong>3. keep it simple</strong></h2> <p>have you ever stumbled upon a website that was extremely cluttered and difficult to use? can you recall your reaction?</p> <p>we can almost guarantee that you left the website as soon as possible and questioned their lack of web design services.</p> <p>keeping it simple does not mean you cannot be creative, it just means that we do not recommend cramming everything on one page. if your spa has multiple services it offers, create a drop-down menu that can break up your services and describe them in detail on separate pages.</p> <p>another example includes imagery.</p> <p>we know your spa wants to showcase all of the services it has to offer or how beautiful and clean the building is. but instead of placing pictures all over and between every sentence, break up images and only place them where it’s relevant.</p> <p>by having a clean and simple website for your spa, you entice clients to continue navigating. <a href=''>spa mate</a> is a great example of simple yet effective web design.</p> <h2><strong>4. call to action</strong></h2> <p>so you used web design services to create a beautiful and elegant web page. you are happy with the way it turned out, but no one seems to be calling or booking appointments as much as you would like.</p> <p>we bet it has something to do with your call to action or lack of one.</p> <p>by offering discounted spa services for first-time clients, customers will be more tempted to go. if someone is on the fence about whether or not they should try out your spa, the discounted price could be the tipping point that makes them go.</p> <p>however, calls to action do not necessarily mean you have to offer anything, it just means you give the customer an easily accessible button to click so they can contact you.</p> <p>giving clients easy opportunities to schedule appointments or to learn more about what your spa can offer is a lot more beneficial than forcing the client to search for it themselves.</p> <h2><strong>5. mobile friendly</strong></h2> <p>when people think web design services, they think that the website is being created for a desktop. that is simply not the case.</p> <p><a href=''>43% of consumers</a> between the ages of 25 and 34 use smartphones to make purchases online. the reason for this is because cell phones are always in our hands.</p> <p>in the age of cell phones, no one has time to wait until they reach their desktop to search for a new spa to join. if something gets our attention, cell phones give us the power to look it up at that very moment.</p> <p>if the website you are viewing does not work on a cell phone or is not easy to navigate, potential clients are more likely to go on to the next website instead of checking in later on their desktop.</p> <p>to avoid losing clients, use the mobile-first approach to ensure that your website is easy to use on devices like smartphones and tablets.</p> <h2><strong>conclusion</strong></h2> <p>web design services are not as difficult as it may initially seem.</p> <p>by simply creating a plan, keeping it simple, adding social media, adding a call to action, and making it mobile friendly, you have already completed most of the work.</p> <p>the next step is just simply launching the website and waiting for clients to book the appointments.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>smseo</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 26 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 What is SQL injection? <h3>sql injection attacks are well-understood and easily preventable, and the priority for risk mitigation should be preventing sql injection attacks in the first place. listen to little bobby tables and sanitize your database inputs.</h3> <p>sql injection, or sqli, is one of the least sophisticated web application security attacks that can give an adversary complete control over your web application database. immortalized by "little bobby drop tables" in <a href='' rel='noopener nofollow' target='_blank'>xkcd 327</a>, sqli was first discovered in 1998, yet continues to plague web applications across the internet. even the <a href='' rel='noopener nofollow' target='_blank'>owasp top ten</a> lists injection as the number one threat to web application security.</p> <p>the good news? sql injection is the lowest of the low-hanging fruit for both attackers and defenders. sqli isn't some cutting edge nsa shadow brokers kit, it's so simple <a href='' rel='noopener nofollow' target='_blank'>a three-year old can do it</a>. this is script kiddie stuff--and fixing your web application to mitigate the risk of sqli is so easy that failure to do so looks more and more like gross negligence.</p> <h2>sql injection definition and types</h2> <p>there are several types of sql injection, but they all involve an attacker inserting arbitrary sql into a web application database query. the simplest form of sql injection is through user input. web applications typically accept user input through a form, and the front end passes the user input to the back-end database for processing. if the web application fails to sanitize user input, an attacker can inject sql of their choosing into the back-end database and delete, copy, or modify the contents of the database.</p> <p>an attacker can also modify cookies to poison a web application's database query. cookies store client state information locally, and web applications commonly load cookies and process that information. a malicious user, or malware, can modify cookies to inject sql into the back-end database.</p> <p>server variables such as http headers can also be used as a sql injection attack vector. forged headers containing arbitrary sql can inject that code into the database if the web application fails to sanitize those inputs as well.</p> <p>second-order sql injection attacks are the sneakiest of the bunch, because they aren't designed to run immediately, but much later. a developer who correctly sanitizes all their input against an immediate attack may still be vulnerable to a second-order sqli when the poisoned data is used in a different context.</p> <h2>how is sql injection done?</h2> <p>sql injection, as a technique, is older than many of the human attackers using sqli today. sqli attacks are rudimentary and have long since been automated. tools like sqlninja, sqlmap, and havij make it easy to test your own web applications, but also make it easy for attackers.</p> <p>ten years ago, a <a href='' rel='noopener nofollow' target='_blank'>sqli worm</a> rampaged across the internet. cut to the present: not much has changed. despite a widespread awareness of sql injection as a problem, a large percentage of web applications remains vulnerable.</p> <p>retro trends are back in style for a new generation. think favorites like vans, converse & adidas. start shopping at famous footwear!</p> <p>automated testing tools can keep you a step ahead of attackers looking for an easy payday. pentesting your web applications with a tool like sqlmap is a quick way to see if your mitigations are adequate. sqlmap supports pretty much every major database in use today and can detect and exploit most known sql injection vulnerabilities.</p> <p>sanitize your input, but test to verify your mitigations are successful. a useful reminder: <a href=''>blue team and red team</a> are two sides to the same coin.</p> <h2>sql injection attack example</h2> <p>let's look at a basic sql injection attack. suppose you've built a web application that lets customers enter their customer ids and retrieve their customer profiles. the web application front end passes the user-entered customer id to the back-end database. the database runs an sql query and returns the results to the web application, which displays the results to the end user.</p> <p>the back-end database query might look something like this:</p> <p>           select *</p> <p>           from customers</p> <p>           where customer_id = '1234567'</p> <p>suppose a user entered the following customer_id in a web form field:</p> <p>           1234567; delete * customers where '1' = '1</p> <p>the back-end database would then obediently execute the following sql:</p> <p>           select *</p> <p>           from customers</p> <p>           where customer_id = '1234567';</p> <p>           delete *</p> <p>           from customers</p> <p>           where 'x' = 'x'</p> <p>remember, databases will happily execute multiple sql statements in a row if separated by a semicolon. failure to sanitize the user input for the single quote "'" character makes it possible for an attacker to delete the entire table. hope you had good backups. right? right...?</p> <p>this was a deliberately simple example, and there are many different sql injection attack vectors, but all work on the same principle: a web application's failure to sanitize input leads to remote sql code execution.</p> <h2>can sql injection be detected?</h2> <p>mitigating sql injection attacks is not difficult, but even the smartest and best-intentioned developers still make mistakes. detection is therefore an important component of mitigating the risk of a sql injection attack. a web application firewall (waf) can detect and block basic sql injection attacks, but you shouldn't rely on it as the sole preventive measure.</p> <p><a href=''>intrusion detection systems (ids)</a>, both network- and host-based, can be tuned to detect sql injection attacks. network-based idses can monitor all connections to your database server, and flag suspicious activity. a host-based ids can monitor web server logs and alert when something strange happens.</p> <p>ultimately, though, sql injection attacks are well-understood and easily preventable, and the priority for risk mitigation should be preventing sql injection attacks in the first place.</p> <h2>how to prevent sql injection</h2> <p>listen to little bobby tables and sanitize your database inputs. any input to your web application database should be considered untrustworthy and treated accordingly. and listen to the good folks from owasp when they tell you "it's somewhat shameful that there are so many successful sql injection attacks occurring, because it is extremely simple to avoid sql injection vulnerabilities in your code." [their emphasis]</p> <p>the <a href='' rel='noopener nofollow' target='_blank'>owasp sql injection cheat sheet</a> dives deeper than we ever could here, but preventing sql injection attacks, the owasp tell us, requires developers to whitelist input validation (not blacklisting), to use prepared statements with parameterized queries, and to escape all user-supplied input.</p> <p>also limit account privileges. assume a breach. what if a developer fails to sanitize a single user input field? hey, it happens. developers are only human. sanitize input but assume something is going to slip past you. limit the account privileges of the database user. is your web application read only, for example? does it need to have drop tables privileges? probably not. the principle of least privilege applies here. give the web application the minimum privileges it needs to run.</p> <p>stored procedures can also make sqli a lot harder--although not impossible. if your web application only needs to run a handful of sql queries, create stored procedures to execute those queries. typically, only the database administrator has privileges to create or modify stored procedures. be aware, though, that many databases ship with default stored procedures out of the box, and attackers know this. consider removing those default stored procedures unless you really need them.</p> <h2>preventing sql injection is minimum due diligence</h2> <p>sql injection is the lowest of the low-hanging web application security fruit. this well-known attack vector is easily exploited by unsophisticated attackers, but it is easily mitigated with a small amount of due diligence. in 2018 there is no longer any excuse for a web application to be vulnerable to sql injection. this is what minimum due diligence in web application security looks like, folks.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>cso</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 26 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 9 Essential Types of Webpages Every SEO Needs to Know <p>before we get into the meat of this chapter, i want to make one thing perfectly clear: when it comes to seo, every page is a landing page. and when i say “every page,” i mean every single page that is <em>crawlable</em> and <em>indexable</em> by the search engines.</p> <p>so if you don’t want search engines indexing a page, be sure to <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>block them</a> from it. everything else – and i mean <em>everything </em>– needs to be treated as a landing page.</p> <p><img alt='every page is a landing page' src='' style='height:503px; width:1920px' /></p> <p>so what then makes a good landing page? there are a lot of answers to that question that has to do with design, usability, conversions, etc.</p> <p>let me give you some quick hits that cover it all without getting outside of my scope here.</p> <p><strong>a good landing page:</strong></p> <ul> <li>captures the visitors’ attention.</li> <li>addresses their needs, wants, and requirements.</li> <li>answers important/relevant questions.</li> <li>entices them to want the solution you provide.</li> <li>directs them to take a particular action.</li> <li>compels them to do so.</li> </ul> <p>now with all that in mind, we realize that every page on a website requires an seo professional’s attention. no webpage is outside the scope and purview of seo.</p> <p><strong>bottom line:</strong> if the page is relevant to the visitor, it’s relevant to seo.</p> <p>but not all pages are created equal. every page on a website will:</p> <ul> <li>have a unique purpose.</li> <li><a href=''>attract different audiences</a>,</li> <li>direct visitors to different goals.</li> </ul> <p>it’s the seo professional’s job to determine which pages present the most value – the biggest opportunities for gain – at any given time in the digital marketing campaign.</p> <p>with that in mind, let’s discuss what are typically the most important pages to an optimization campaign and why.</p> <h2>pages every seo must pay attention to</h2> <h3>1. home page</h3> <p>the home page is usually one of the single most visited pages of any website and, just as often, the first page a visitor sees.</p> <p>but whether a visitor lands on your home page first or navigates there from an internal page, they have certain expectations of what they’ll find.</p> <p>the home page must provide a global view of what the website offers. it should give visitors the “big picture” of the products and services you offer and why they should do business with you.</p> <p>your home page acts as a doorway for the visitor to enter and begin their journey into your site where they’ll find more details about what you offer.</p> <p><img alt='example of a website home page ' src='' style='height:592px; width:1347px' /></p> <p>many seo pros make the mistake of trying to optimize home pages for the business’s primary product or service. this strategy can be just fine if you’re a singular product or service company. but the moment you offer something outside of the one product/category scope, the optimization of the home page becomes irrelevant.</p> <p>the better and more sustainable strategy for optimizing a home page is to focus on the company brand name.</p> <p>in that sense, that makes optimizing the home page easy because when you type in the name of the company, the home page of that business should be more relevant than any page on a competitor’s website.</p> <p>but rankings are not the only reason to optimize this page.</p> <p>in fact, i would argue that optimizing the home page for click-throughs and engagement are far more important than anything else.</p> <p>getting rankings only presents the opportunity to get the clicks.</p> <ul> <li>what do searchers see in the search results?</li> <li>does it compel searchers to click into the site?</li> <li>once visitors have clicked, is the messaging they see on point, giving them a reason to dig further into the site?</li> </ul> <p>part of your job is to see how any page on the site performs. if the home page isn’t doing a good job of keeping visitors on site, then more work is needed.</p> <h3>2. about us page</h3> <p>studies have proven that visitors who have seen a site’s <a href=''>about us page</a> are more likely to convert than those that don’t. this statistic can prove either a symptom or a result.</p> <ul> <li><strong>symptom:</strong> visitors who are close to converting check out a site’s about us before they commit.</li> <li><strong>result:</strong> visitors who visit an about us page are heavily influenced by the content and become more likely to convert, if the page satisfies what they wanted to learn.</li> </ul> <p>which is it? my theory is that it’s both.</p> <p>but either way, the page <em>is</em> an important part of the conversion process. and that means that the about us page is an important page to drive traffic to.</p> <p>like any good landing page, your about us page must fulfill its role in the conversion process.</p> <p>the about us page may seem like an odd one to try to optimize, but in reality, there are a lot of keywords that are tailor made for these pages.</p> <p>any industry- or product-related keywords that are qualified with <em>company</em>, <em>business</em>, <em>agency</em>, <em>firm</em>, <em>office</em>, <em>bureau</em>, or similar types of keywords are ready-made fits for the about us page. and let’s face it, trying to fit these keywords anywhere else is difficult.</p> <h3>3. contact us page</h3> <p>there is pretty much only one reason a visitor will intentionally navigate to a <a href=''>contact us page</a>: they want your contact information.</p> <p>what they actually do with that information is anyone’s guess. maybe they’ll send you an email, maybe they’ll call, or maybe they just want to know where you’re located. and it’s this last option that provides us with prime optimization fodder.</p> <p>whether you’re a national or a local company, inevitably, some people prefer to do business with someone close by. a quick bit of <a href=''>keyword research</a> will likely prove this out for your industry.</p> <p>while local business may not be your bread and butter, there is no reason to ignore it either.</p> <p>focus your optimization efforts on your location:</p> <ul> <li>find what keywords searchers use that are most relevant to your area.</li> <li>integrate maps onto your contact page.</li> <li>use <a href=''>schema</a> on your address and phone number.</li> </ul> <p>most importantly: make it easy for visitors to contact you.</p> <p>this is a primary engagement page. if too many people visit your contact us page and don’t engage, that could be a sign that you’re making it difficult, demanding too much information, or simply not providing the right contact options.</p> <p><img alt='southwest contact us page' src='' style='height:622px; width:757px' /><em>provide plenty of options so visitors can contact you in the way they feel most comfortable.</em></p> <h3>4. product category & sub-category pages</h3> <p>product category and sub-category pages provide <a href=''>fantastic optimization opportunities</a>.</p> <p>in the buying cycle, these pages most frequently serve those who are in the shopping phase. that means those visitors have a good idea of what they want but are looking to learn more about the options available to them.</p> <p>the goal of the page is to give the visitor access to those options, which are usually the actual product detail pages themselves.</p> <p>for the most part, the product category pages are nothing more than pass-through pages. visitors may revisit the page frequently, but only so you can pass them through to the products.</p> <p>on an seo level, these pages are an optimization gold mine. the keywords that these pages cover are generally not so broad that they lose all value, but not so specific that they lose all search volume. consider them the seo sweet spot.</p> <p>these pages do, however, present something of a problem.</p> <p>pages need content in order to be optimized, but visitors on these pages don’t want content, they just want to see the products. at least that’s what many believe. i, on the other hand, don’t subscribe to this theory.</p> <p><strong>cover your entire backlink workflow</strong><br /> analyze, clean, earn, and track backlinks from one tab. manage your link profile easily with semrush!.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>get a free trial</a></p> <p>advertisement</p> <p>i agree that you don’t want your content to push the products down the page. visitors need to see the products without scrolling so they don’t assume it’s an informational page.</p> <p>but <a href=''>content plays a valuable role</a> in the conversion process.</p> <p>there are many ways to add content to pages without hiding it or the products. how you do it and how much content each page needs is up to you. just make sure you’re giving <em>all</em> visitors what they need.</p> <p><img alt='product pages with content' src='' style='height:481px; width:1114px' /><em>revo does a good job of describing their security cameras on the category page without taking away from products.</em></p> <h3>5. product detail pages</h3> <p>when a visitor is in the shop phase of the sales cycle, they will visit a lot of product detail pages. when they move on to the buy phase, that means they have gathered enough information to know fairly precisely what they want. now they are just looking at the fine details and deciding which version of the product they want and who to buy it from.</p> <p>when it comes to <a href=''>optimizing product pages</a>, keyword research almost becomes irrelevant. that’s because there are so many variables that it’s impossible to focus the content of these pages on every potential variable in any traditional way.</p> <p>but, as odd as that sounds, that actually makes optimization of these pages that much easier. and it has less to do with the keywords and more about the construction of the page’s content.</p> <p>as with any page, you want to optimize the tags: title, description, alt, headings, etc. but where most other pages require a custom approach, product pages can easily be optimized <em>en masse</em> by using dynamic keyword insertion.</p> <p>you can also write boilerplate content that can be used for all products of a specific category. just insert the product name in the appropriate place (though unique content here is always preferred).</p> <p>beyond that, you want to make sure the page contains the relevant <em>types</em> of information. and this is where keyword research becomes valuable. not for the specific words but the information types.</p> <ul> <li>if people are searching for colors, make sure that information is listed on the page.</li> <li>if they want sizes, get that in there.</li> <li>if they search for product numbers, yep, add those as well.</li> </ul> <p>see where i’m going with this?</p> <p>it’s not that you need to optimize for a specific product number that you see in your keyword research, it’s that you need to optimize for product numbers, period.</p> <p>one final bit of information:</p> <p>how you make these pages accessible can have a huge impact on your seo.</p> <p>the more links you have to your product detail pages, the more link authority you drain from your other pages. however, that also means the more link authority you give to these pages which are often the highest converting.</p> <p>the trade-off could mean lower rankings on category pages in lieu of higher rankings on the product pages, or vice versa. it’s up to you to see what serves you better overall.</p> <h3>6. faq pages</h3> <p>in the age of google answer boxes, help, and <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>faq pages</a> have become more important than ever.</p> <p>while you always want to make sure you are answering questions throughout your website, faq pages provide a good catch-all for the often requested information.</p> <p>faq pages are ready-made for getting your content to appear in the coveted answer box.</p> <p>not sure what your most asked questions are? your keyword research will tell you.</p> <p>search for your keyword and then pull out any phrases that start with who, what, when, where, why, and how.</p> <p>decide which questions are worth answering and you have yourself the start of a faq page!</p> <p><img alt='faqs' src='' style='height:452px; width:1145px' /><em>make sure your faq pages answers questions users really ask</em>,<em> like microsoft does here.</em></p> <h3>7. blog category & tag pages</h3> <p>every blog needs to have categories that each post goes into.</p> <p>you can, if you wish, take that a step further and tag your posts with keywords they are relevant for. readers navigating your blog can use these categories and tags to find more related content.</p> <p>that’s just good blogging!</p> <p>but now what?</p> <p>those category and tag page can be great landing pages in their own right.</p> <p>throw in some optimized text that stays at the top of those pages and then the blog posts that fill the rest of the content takes care of the rest. this is an additional opportunity to rank for phrases that you may not have targeted in your main site.</p> <p>just be careful not to duplicate the optimized text on the additional pages (page 2, 3, etc.) for each category, or keep those pages out of the search index so they don’t devalue your optimized text.</p> <h3>8. blog posts</h3> <p>every site has a limit to the number of pages that can be added before it gets overly cluttered and begins to interfere with the conversion process. but there is almost no limit to the number of relevant topics you can optimize pages for. this is where blog posts come into play.</p> <p>any topic that you can’t explore – or can’t explore as in depth – on your main site, can be explored in great detail in a blog post. or a series of blog posts.</p> <p>every blog post can be targeted for a specific searcher’s need and be used to drive relevant traffic to your site.</p> <p>but getting visitors to your site isn’t enough.</p> <p>make sure your blog posts contain calls to action back into your site.</p> <p>that’s not permission to relentlessly promote your products and services with each post, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide some gentle encouragement to direct readers to get more information.</p> <p><img alt='blog cta' src='' style='height:349px; width:727px' /><em>hubspot adds a simple cta right in the text of the blog post conclusion.</em></p> <h3>9. pdfs</h3> <p>ok, so technically these aren’t webpages, but <a href=''>pdfs</a> are often a part of providing valuable information to your visitors, albeit in a different format.</p> <p>pdfs should be used sparingly, but when they are used, they should be optimized, just like any other webpage.</p> <p>the process for optimizing them is different, but the concepts are the same.</p> <p><img alt='pdf document properties' src='' style='height:650px; width:760px' /></p> <h2>conclusion</h2> <p>if your site has other pages not mentioned here, don’t assume that means they’re not important. remember, <em>every page is a landing page</em>, which means every page can and should be optimized. and not just for traffic from search engines, but for usability and conversion.</p> <p>this list will get you started, but you need to create your own adventure from here.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>search engine journal</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 26 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Five Tips To Boost Your Company's LinkedIn Profile <p dir='ltr'>in light of the digital revolution, social networks like linkedin are now replacing old-school recruiting tactics like headhunters or dry email exchanges. they also allow for flexibility and provide direct access to professionals at all levels in a multitude of industries. an online presence with linkedin is beneficial for both brand engagement and awareness because company pages allow you to provide your audience with valuable information while securing your credibility as a trusted, go-to source in your industry.</p> <p dir='ltr'>it’s no secret that linkedin is a powerful marketing tool when harnessed to its full potential. however, there are a few things to keep in mind when curating a linkedin strategy because our target audience here is different than with other social networks. linkedin supports brand recognition, so it’s important to keep company graphics uniform with other marketing materials to drive credibility. elements that should remain uniform are company colors, design and fonts, to name a few. visuals should remain consistent with other social profiles and branding.</p> <p dir='ltr'>below are five tips that will help to boost your company’s linkedin profile, drive traffic to your website and spread the word about your services so you become a credible source in your field.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>1. speak to your audience</strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>a company’s description is oftentimes the first piece of information potential clients or job seekers read. amplify your page by including text that highlights your brand’s personality. before crafting copy, put yourself in consumers' shoes and then promote what sets you apart.</p> <p dir='ltr'>one way to be sure your uniqueness stands out is to create a benefits-oriented profile that makes it easy for browsers to understand what you do and how you can help them. remember to speak directly to the people who visit your page or who you want to visit your page, and create copy that speaks to their interests and captivates them immediately.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>2. use keywords</strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>the <a href='' target='_blank'>majority of mobile searches</a> were conducted via google in 2017, which emphasizes the importance of mastering seo and google’s search engine algorithms. linkedin pages are seo-friendly, and one way to increase your rank on google is to edit descriptions in your bio and company name to include keyword-rich sentences. using keywords in your url link and other external links will also boost recognition. remember to incorporate keywords that flow with a sense of expertise and authority.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>3. share professional news</strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>linkedin is the top social network to showcase industry-related expertise. make the most of your presence by incorporating thought leadership pieces and company updates into your publishing strategy. rework press releases into blog posts and publish them here. promote professional leadership by sharing recent interviews and speaking opportunities. similarly, share updates on milestones or product launches. this provides an excellent opportunity to build legitimacy and trust through your expertise, all while increasing awareness of your brand.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>4. create unique content</strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>much in the same realm as seo optimization, quick, concise, quality content boosts awareness and keeps audiences engaged. expand your network by capturing attention with thought leadership pieces and social selling. our company philosophy is "less is more." we believe it's easier to keep a reader interested in short and sweet content than long and dry.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>5. use linkedin analytics</strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>analytics allow you to better understand your audience by gaining insight into your page’s performance. page administrators have the ability to evaluate individual posts to see which are getting likes and comments. similarly, view key information about your demographic so you can publish directly to them. set measurable engagement goals and track them. curating future content based on past performance is critical to evolving with your key demographic.</p> <p dir='ltr'>linkedin is a powerful network that has proven valuable for marketing strategies. it’s an online corner for you to harness your company’s story, engage with other businesses or experts and share career opportunities. linkedin has an inherent word-of-mouth nature, and for that reason can be used to attract clients, connections and employees alike. use these five tips to give your linkedin a boost and become a more valuable leader in your space.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong></strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 26 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Effective Tips For Developing A Successful Website <p>it is quite easy to just stick with the beauty aspect of the website but in order to make a good brand name with the website, it is important to focus on some essential factors of the site which does not always depend upon how the website looks.</p> <p>you can categorize such factors into brand awareness, brand image, lead generation and others. let’s face the fact that there are billions of website in the competition. you need extraordinary efforts to top this game. the website design should be totally dependent upon more than a single factor. firstly, it should be optimized for the usability. secondly, the user can easily navigate through the website making them revisit it again and again.</p> <p>in order to fulfill these two factors, some tips and tricks are mentioned below.</p> <h3><strong>1. simplicity is the key-</strong></h3> <p>it cannot be denied that the feel and look of the website are unimportant. but, there are some much more essential things that need attention during the <strong>website development</strong>. the visitors to your website are more interested in knowing the potential of your site and the products or service you provide through your website. they either want action or some valuable information.</p> <p>adding unnecessary design elements having absolutely zero functional purpose will only waste the time of your traffic. you clearly cannot afford that. also, you need to focus on some small aspects like-</p> <ul> <li><strong>colors</strong>– even if you love colours, the developers and experts often suggest not to use more than 4 colours when it comes to your <strong>website design</strong>.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>graphics</strong>– if certain graphic helps a user to perform a function then you can go for it but just to make your website look good, do not add unwanted elements.</li> </ul> <ul> <li><strong>typefaces</strong>– it should be clear and readable. use few colours here. it is generally advised to use maximum three typefaces of different sizes. not more than that.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>2. hierarchy of website elements</strong></h3> <p>visual hierarchy is an important component where the <strong><a href=''>website</a> </strong>elements are organized in such a way that the traffic can get attracted to the important stuff first naturally without wasting much of their time. the action must be performed by the visitors, not in a boring way. they must enjoy what they are performing.</p> <p>adjust the colour, size and position of the elements so that the site can be structured in such a way that the traffic can focus on them.</p> <h3><strong>3. easy navigation</strong></h3> <p>it is essential to make the visitor comfortable. it must not get hard for them to find what they are looking for. easy navigation is important for the valuable customers to visit the website again and again. in an ideal way, the customer must not feel lost. moving from one page to other must be easy for them.</p> <h3><strong>4. tips to optimize the website for smooth navigation</strong></h3> <ul> <li>the primary navigation must be kept easy and simple. also place them close to the top of the web page.</li> <li>do not forget to place the navigation near the footer too.</li> <li>it is essential to make use of breadcrumbs on the web pages except for the homepage. this will make people aware of the navigation trail.</li> <li>the top of your website must contain a <a href=''>search</a> box.</li> <li>there must be limited options for navigation on the page.</li> <li>you can include the links on your page and the sources of the links must be made clear.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>5. keep the stuff on the website consistent</strong></h3> <p>it is important to keep the navigation of the website consistent. also, do not keep changing the overall look of the web pages as it can have a negative effect on the usability.</p> <p>while these tips are going to help you greatly, practical efforts like gathering feedback, user testing and changes made in the way will prove fruitful for the website.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>m.c. today</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Three Major Developments That Will Shape SEO In 2018 <p>search engines are constantly improving the search experience and, as a result, search engine optimization (seo) is in a nonstop transformation. for seo marketers, the challenge isn’t to simply understand the complex science behind the strategy -- it’s to be able to adapt to the ever-changing rules of the game.</p> <p>the past few years have been exciting for seo, marked by a series of algorithm updates, evolving techniques and fast-advancing tools that make seo what it is today. to stay on top of the trends and equip their seo arsenal with relevant strategies, most marketers scramble to learn or predict the emerging developments poised to shape the new face of seo. </p> <p>from the domination of voice search to the increasing role of rankbrain in providing search results, we’re expecting bigger changes on the horizon.</p> <p><strong>marketers may start optimizing for voice search.</strong></p> <p>this past december, google’s webmaster trends analyst john mueller <a href='' target='_blank'>tweeted</a> about webmasters asking for voice search data in google search console. it reflects the current behavior among search console users -- more and more are seeing voice search queries separately.</p> <p>this raises the question: why do site owners suddenly care about voice search data? the simple answer is people are using voice search now more than ever before, and gaining insights into these queries gives marketers ideas for how to provide better experiences for those searching by voice.</p> <p>in 2015, <a href='' target='_blank'>voice search jumped</a> from zero to 10% of overall search volume globally. that means 50 billion voice searches were performed every month. and a <a href='' target='_blank'>google study found</a> that 41% of adults and more than half of teens use voice search multiple times per day.</p> <p>when there’s demand, there’s supply. many tech giants (not just google) have invested in virtual assistants and, by extension, voice search. google launched google assistant and google home, apple has siri, microsoft has cortana, amazon has alexa, and so on.</p> <p>brands and businesses that are reliant on search for web traffic have seen drastic implications from this rise in the usage of voice assistance. seo marketers must conquer a new market: the virtual assistants. in 2018, we can expect more web pages to compete to be the favored result by voice assistants in order to reach the user.</p> <p><strong>the shift to mobile-first indexing will be completed.</strong></p> <p>the rise of voice search wouldn’t be possible without <a href='' target='_blank'>the rise of mobile devices</a> since smartphones are the source of most mobile searches. if going mobile-first was important a year ago, it’s even more important now.</p> <p>in 2016, google took the first step toward <a href='' target='_blank'>mobile-first indexing</a>, which is expected to culminate in mid-2018. that means, by the third quarter, if the prediction comes true, mobile indexing will take priority over desktop.  </p> <p>the new index will crawl the mobile version of a website’s content and determine how it should be indexed in search. it presents a significant change from google’s old indexing practice, which involved crawling the desktop version of a webpage and indexing it in both mobile and desktop search results.</p> <p>the tireless thrust for mobile is in line with a phenomenon that google calls “<a href='' target='_blank'>micro-moments</a>,” which are instant moments where users seek knowledge about an idea, a restaurant, an online store, a travel booking agency -- in other words, moments when people consume media. naturally, micro-moments occur on a mobile device and have become a<strong> </strong>battleground among brands.</p> <p>when searching on their phones, <a href='' target='_blank'>65% of users</a> say they are looking for the most relevant information without giving priority to the company or publisher providing the information. as the name suggests, micro-moments require urgency and instantaneity. seo marketers must make sure to be there when these moments happen and be quick about providing the right results.  </p> <p>in other words, being mobile-friendly is the only way to survive -- and stand out -- at a time when people’s lives are defined by micro-moments. from page responsiveness to page speed to content readability, your seo campaign must be ready to compete.</p> <p><strong>machine learning will play a bigger role in providing search results.</strong></p> <p>when rankbrain was introduced in 2015, people had a vague idea about how it worked. and the case hasn’t improved much since. rankbrain is google’s machine-learning, artificial intelligence (ai) technology designed to help process and deliver its search results. rankbrain appeared to turn the game on its head when it was announced as one of <a href='' target='_blank'>google’s top three ranking factors</a>. since its rollout, rankbrain has gone from handling 15% of search queries to <a href='' target='_blank'>all of them</a>.</p> <p>though the digital community is mostly in the dark as to the workings of this ai system, we know it analyzes user behavior to provide more accurate search results, and dwell time (the time spent on the page) is one of its most important factors.  </p> <p>rankbrain, in essence, is after user experience. so it doesn’t make that great of an impact on the way we approach seo. optimizing for a machine-learning technology is fundamentally optimizing for humans since its goal is to draw up predictions as a human would.</p> <p>it has been <a href='' target='_self'>predicted</a> that by the end of 2018, machine learning will have a greater influence over traditional search results and, eventually, it will replace algorithm updates with its “automated, continuous, and iterative algorithm updating process.”</p> <p>with rankbrain and google’s integration of ai in general, there’s a stronger push for site owners to become more nimble and adaptable to constant, unpredictable changes in the delivery of search results.</p> <p>seo and search experience have come a long way since the 1990s. over the years, we’ve witnessed how search engines have increasingly narrowed their focus on providing the best results for users. from the reliable, hands-free voice search to the dependence on machine learning, it’s interesting to see how search is taking shape, and it will be interesting to see where it takes our seo approach in the coming months</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>forbes</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 How do I make a strategy for SEO and SMO? <p>seo and smo strategies are offered by the web promotion companies are very cheap compared to the internet marketing services of others. nowadays, internet marketing has become an indispensable part of a company's marketing strategies making it more important for them to find a reliable seo services company that would not only provide quality services, but at the same time, be reasonable as well.</p> <p><strong>what is seo?</strong></p> <p>seo stands for <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>search engine optimization</a>. it requires the mix of several online marketing procedures that would result in improvement of a website's ranking in major search engine sites like google, yahoo!, msn, etc. </p> <p><strong>what is smo?</strong></p> <p>smo stands for <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>social media optimization</a> to promote the product of website using digital marketing or electronic media like twitter, facebook, instagram and google plus etc. it refers to the creation of online content that is likely to be shared through social networks. it is the easy way to increase the traffic of the website.</p> <p>for those who want to increase their site's online visibility, seo and smo package of good service provider is must. if you want people to visit your company's website, click on your products and place order through your site, you should work towards improving your company's online ranking.</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'><img src='' /></a></p> <p>if you want a website which is comfortable to get more business and attract the clients towards it you have to check some points-</p> <p><strong>check for the credibility</strong></p> <p>make sure that the company you are approaching has a good background of providing quality services to its clients. most of the seo companies flash the names of their premier clients on their website. you can check their credibility by checking the ranking of their clients. to confirm the same, you can also call their clients or visit their website to confirm whether their online marketing services are taken off by this company or not.</p> <p><strong>check for the strength</strong></p> <p>a company's strength depends on its employees and their commitment. make sure that you are approaching a licensed company that has qualified employees to do the work for you. if possible ask for a dedicated employee, who would only work for your projects.</p> <p><strong>compare the package plans</strong></p> <p>there are plentiful companies that provide a wide range of online marketing services. so you will have to be really careful to decide which one to approach. as cost is a major influencing factor compare the package prices of different service providers to ensure you are not spending more than what is required.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>linkedin</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 13 Tools for Responsive Web Design <p>responsive web design ensures a site renders well on different devices and screens. use responsive design tools to make sure your users have an optimal viewing experience.</p> <p>here is a list of responsive design tools. there are tools to build responsive web page elements, and tools to test your design on a wide variety of actual devices and screen sizes. there are premium and free tools.</p> <h3>tools for responsive design</h3> <p><a href=''><strong>responsive design, responsively illustrated</strong></a><strong>.</strong> created by james mellers of adobe, this simple tool allows users to play with an illustrative example of responsive design. resize your browser window to see the types of size constraints you’ll be utilizing. price: free.</p> <p><a href=''><strong>bootstrap</strong></a><strong>.</strong> build responsive, mobile-first projects on the web with one of the most popular front-end component libraries. <a href=''>bootstrap</a> is an open source framework for developing with html, css, and js. quickly prototype your ideas or build your entire app with bootstrap’s responsive grid system, prebuilt components, and plugins built on jquery. price: free.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>google mobile-friendly test</a>.</strong> test how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device by using google’s free mobile-friendly test. designing your websites to be mobile friendly ensures that your pages perform well on all devices. price: free.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>justinmind</a>.</strong> justinmind is an all-in-one prototyping tool for web and mobile apps. define websites and apps for web, ios, and android with a drag-and-drop interface — no coding involved. customize and adjust your wireframe with a dynamic layout to fit all screen sizes across all devices with justinmind’s flexible events and actions. justinmind will let you view and test your web and mobile app prototypes instantly from any browser, with native web display and different device skins. price: plans start at $19 per month.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>gridset</a>.</strong> gridset enables designers to set up creative layout grids for the web without having to worry about the calculations. gridset lets you tailor specific grids across breakpoints you define for effective responsive design, ensuring your content looks good on any screen. price: plans start at $9 per month.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>adaptive images</a>.</strong> adaptive images detects your visitor’s screen size and automatically creates, caches, and delivers device appropriate re-scaled versions of your web page’s embedded html images. it is intended for use with responsive designs, to be combined with fluid image techniques. no markup changes needed. price: free.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>fittext</a>.</strong> a jquery plugin for inflating web type, fittext makes font-sizes flexible. use this plugin on your fluid or responsive layout to achieve scalable headlines that fill the width of a parent element. fittext is for huge display text only. price: free.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>ghostlab</a>.</strong> with ghostlab, you can test any website on various browsers and mobile devices simultaneously. just drag the url into ghostlab and click the “play” button. start testing in one of the connected browsers or devices. all other browsers and devices will mirror your actions — clicking buttons, following links, scrolling the page, filling out forms, and hovering your mouse over special elements. take a screenshot directly from within ghostlab, annotate it in the integrated image editor, and drag it to whatever bug tracker you use. price: $49.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>am i responsive?</a></strong> am i responsive is a tool for quick screenshots on responsive design breakpoints. simply enter your url. rearrange and reorder the devices by clicking and dragging on the device. use the am i rwd bookmarklet to check the responsiveness on any site with a single click from your very own browser. price: free.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>responsinator</a>.</strong> responsinator helps website makers quickly get an indication of how their responsive site will look on the most popular devices. however, it does not precisely replicate how it will look. for accurate testing always test on the real devices. price: free.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>google chrome devtools device mode</a>.</strong> google chrome devtools is a set of authoring, debugging, and profiling tools built into google chrome. use the responsive mode during active development of your site and app and resize the viewport often to create a freely responsive design that adapts to even unknown and future device types. test your site’s responsiveness using device mode’s screen emulator. viewport controls allow you to test your site against a variety of devices, as well responsively. price: free.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>browser stack</a>.</strong> browser stack is a platform for live, web-based browser testing. test on a range of physical android and ios mobile devices and tablets for the most accurate results. test with 1,100 desktop browsers on real machines, with media streaming, developer tools, keyboard shortcuts, and more. generate screenshots at actual device sizes on ios, android, os x, and windows. price: $29 per month.</p> <p><strong><a href=''>crossbrowsertesting</a>.</strong> crossbrowsertesting gives you access to the browsers and devices your visitors are using. perform interactive manual and exploratory testing on 1,500 desktop and mobile browsers. take screenshots automatically across multiple browsers at once, comparing full-page responsive layouts. take visual tests with every new change, and compare them to historical versions for easier regression testing. price: $29 per month.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>practical ecommerce</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Nocking arrow with anticipation <p>i waited three long days for it to be delivered.</p> <p>three days is a long time for a nine-year-old kid to wait for a bow-and-arrow set he’d picked out of the eaton’s catalogue to be delivered. i was so proud as i ventured outside with bow in hand and my four wooden arrows in a homemade quiver. as i recall, i only had the darned thing a few hours before i managed to snap it in half. it took me the better part of two years to save up enough money to purchase a bow of better quality. that was a long time ago and both those bows are a part of the distant past. however, my interest in archery has always lingered and, over the years, i have owned a variety of bows and all i can say is that each and every time i have nocked an arrow and drawn back the bow string, i have felt both a sense of anticipation and challenge.</p> <p><iframe frameborder='0' id='fsk_frame_splitbox' name='fsk_frame_splitbox'></iframe></p> <p><ins>according to wikipedia, archery is the sport, practice or skill of using a bow to propel arrows. historically, archery was used for both hunting and as a weapon in combat. in modern times, it is still a popular way to hunt, as well as a competitive sport and recreational activity.</ins></p> <p>whether your plan is to shoot just for fun or ascend the podium at an archery competition, archery can be both fun and challenging. archery provides a great upper-body, not to mention a cardio workout, especially at 3-d shoots where participants have to walk from target to target along a course and retrieve their arrows.</p> <p>modern archery shoots and/or competitions feature three primary disciplines: target, field and 3-d. target archery consists of shooting at bull’s-eye style, multi-coloured targets at prescribed distances. generally, target archers shoot 18 metres (about 20 yards) indoors, and 30 to 90 metres outdoors, depending on the set up. target archers can compete at local, regional, national and international levels. there are both indoor and outdoor ranges right here in salmon arm. (for further information contact: salmon arm archery club and/or salmon arm fish and game club)</p> <p>field archery is often shot on a roving course in the woods with paper targets 20 feet to 80 yards away. participants hike along a defined course and shoot targets at uphill and downhill angles.</p> <p>at 3-d archery events and tournaments, competitors walk a wooded or open course and shoot at three-dimensional lifelike animal targets at different distances.</p> <p>an easy way to get a better understanding and feel of each type of discipline is to drop by an event organized by an archery group, or an archery store that also has an indoor shooting range. most avid archers and/or sales staff are quite willing to answer questions. once you’ve researched which types of archery you’d like to try, contact an appropriate archery club or organization to help you get started. by joining a club, you can participate in local, regional and nationwide programs at both youth and adult levels that can be either purely recreational or competitive. clubs quite often offer weekly shoots where new potential members can drop by and try out a hands-on archery experience. clubs also offer consistent coaching and access to league and tournament shoots and competitions.</p> <p>when choosing which type of bow to shoot, again it is best to check with local experts who can explain each of the three archery disciplines, as well as provide an opportunity to try out different bows and equipment. in basic terms, your options are the olympic-style recurve bow, a compound bow and, for traditionalists, a longbow. what bow you choose depends on what feels good to you as an archer and appeals to you as a discipline.</p> <p>as i said at the beginning, i have had a lifelong interest in archery. and having said that, i regretfully have to also say that i never joined an archery club. be that as it may, i did recently attend a day-long archery workshop. boy did i learn a lot. i learned that over the years i have managed to acquire a variety of bad shooting habits. the instructors were more than kind and i am now in the process of correcting those bad habits. there really are huge benefits to learning from someone who is knowledgeable.</p> <p>in spite of my age and shortcomings, last weekend, when i nocked that first arrow and drew back the bow string, i really did feel both a sense of anticipation and challenge.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>salmon arm observer</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sun, 18 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Logos: Learn What Separates the Great from the Good <p>skim the pages of any fitness magazine and you’re likely to see a nike swoosh. glance up at a billboard and you might see mastercard’s dual circles staring down at you. do you recognize these brands? of course. what makes their logos work?</p> <p>first, recognize a logo on its own is not a brand identity, but just one part of it. think of all the pieces of your identity together and how they can be aligned visually with your logo to make up a cohesive and effective brand identity.</p> <p>whether you’re trying to establish a new brand or get creative with one that’s already well-known, an effective logo is key. context and style may vary from year-to-year, but the principles and best practices that guide logo design remain unchanged.</p> <p>when we think about the elements of effective logos, here are some things to keep in mind.</p> <p><strong>design principles for creating a logo you’ll love.<br /> <em>create a visual strategy for your brand.</em></strong> the modern approach to logo design is to create an entire system — a primary mark, a secondary mark, typography, and a color scheme — that aligns with your overall brand. will your logo be a wordmark — a stylized typographic logo without a separate icon, such as fedex, 3m, or coca-cola? or perhaps you will simply use a pictorial or abstract mark, like apple, nike, or target. a logo system includes all these elements along with guidelines for when to use them individually or when to use a lockup (a grouping of several brand elements like an icon, wordmark, and tagline). logos are often surrounded by and gain meaning from context, so the key is to think about how much or little your visual brand system needs to communicate.</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:732px; width:678px' /></a></p> <p>horizontal and vertical logo lockup.</p> <p><strong><em>ensure the logo works in multiple environments.</em> </strong>the best logos are memorable, but they also have to function and work in a variety of modern environments and across digital platforms, communication channels, and physical objects. great logos resize easily and can be reproduced across a variety of different contexts — they should be scalable, <a href='' target='_blank'>responsive</a> (for mobile-first design), and identifiable across a variety of sizes, shapes, dimensions, and applications.</p> <p><em><strong>find the sweet spot of complexity.</strong> </em>color or black and white? detailed or simplistic? abstract or literal? the best logos can be reduced to one or two colors and resized easily. if it can’t, chances are it’s too complicated and not likely to be legible or memorable. while it’s not a rule that logos should be produced in one color, it can be indicative of whether or not it is at the right level of visual complexity. one way to test the utility of a logo is to envision how it would reproduce stitched on a ball cap. if it would work well there, it is probably simple enough for most any application.</p> <p><strong><em>watch trends, but aim for timeless.</em> </strong>the “flat” design and minimalist approach may be hot now, but in a decade, logos in multiple colors with extra detail may be on trend. design trends are seen through a moving window — timeless logos stand out visually by differentiating themselves from what has already been done in the past. use sites such as <a href='' target='_blank'></a> to get a handle on current design trends, but also pay attention to the great timeless logos to visualize how designs can adjust to the flavor of the day and stand the test of time.</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:599px; width:899px' /></a></p> <p>minimalist logo / martin servantes</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:1000px; width:684px' /></a></p> <p>flat design / daniel triendl</p> <p><a href='' rel='lightbox' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:313px; width:955px' /></a></p> <p>caption: great logos evolve over time</p> <p><em><strong>make it unique.</strong> </em>when you’ve gone to the trouble to develop a brand and create its visual identity, you’ll want it to have real staying power even as it evolves over time. make sure the design you have is unique enough to be trademarked, and then do it. this is also important to prevent other brands from adopting a similar look and confusing — or stealing — your customers.</p> <p><strong>best practices for meeting your client’s visual identity needs.<br /> <em>creative brief.</em> </strong>most good design starts with asking the right questions. in the case of designing a logo, developing a complete, concise creative brief is a great place to start. a creative brief should help you discover things like:</p> <ul> <li>the company’s personality that you will visually communicate. is it playful or serious? dynamic and energetic or secure and stable?</li> <li>define the target audience and understand that audience’s visual preferences. who are the customers and what are their tastes?</li> <li>review competitors’ logos and designs and determine how your brand can stand apart.</li> <li>understand the various applications the logo will be adapted for. will the logo need to be turned into building signage? embroidered on a shirt? have an app icon?</li> <li>interview key stakeholders to understand not only their vision for the brand, but also to give them a sense of ownership in what will become the “face” of their company.</li> </ul> <p><strong><em>concept development.</em> </strong>once you understand the target you are aiming for, a “mood board” can help you define a visual direction for your brand. a mood board is a collage of visual examples you find in the world that represent the look and feel you want to create. when you start sketching ideas, don’t fall in love with the first decent concept you have. start with a large volume of varied designs and be sure that you’ve done your diligence in complete exploration before you start narrowing in and refining the best ones.</p> <p><strong><em>refining.</em> </strong>once you establish your three or four top ideas, spend time refining and iterating on your original design. don’t rush this process — many designers find it helpful to take time away from an intensive design project to see it more objectively and with “fresh eyes.” get inspiration from good design in unrelated places.</p> <p><strong><em>test your design</em>.</strong> send your logo to a variety of people in your target demographic and ask for their candid reactions. it can be difficult to break through people’s natural desire to be “nice” and artificially positive when reviewing your creation, but it’s essential to success. you might consider an anonymous web-based survey. you should also distinguish between helpful and unhelpful feedback. helpful feedback will critique how well your logo communicates your brand identity and how it makes your audience feel about your brand. try to make a distinction between people’s personal tastes and the objective effectiveness of a design. feedback questions that focus on the effect of the design (for example, “which of these companies would you buy from based on the logo alone?”) are better than questions that focus on personal taste (“which of these colors do you prefer?”).</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>adobe</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 10 Elements and Features of a Great Dental Website Design <p>a website for a dental office must include features that are both useful and engaging to visitors who are looking for a dentist. ideally, the creator of this sort of website should provide all the pertinent data about the dentists and the practice in a visually appealing way. consider ten features and elements necessary to build a great website for a dental practice.</p> <h3>1- succinct text</h3> <p>the writing on a website for a dental practice should be organized into short, informative paragraphs. most people who are searching for a dentist online want to learn what they need to know about the practice in a matter of minutes. in fact, many visitors skim the text they see on a dentist€™s website, so they can glean what they need to without reading the entire page.</p> <h3>2- engaging images</h3> <p>the images on a dentist€™s website help visitors to discover a little more about the practice. for example, photos of a person€™s teeth before and after a procedure can serve to convince potential patients of the dentist€™s expertise. photos of the waiting room, the examination rooms and even the outside of the building all help online visitors to get a better idea of the atmosphere of the practice. if the office looks clean and inviting, an online visitor is more likely to give the dentist a call to schedule an appointment.</p> <h3>3- personal stories</h3> <p>a gathering of personal stories is another feature of a great website for a dental practice. a personal story may be shared by a patient who lived with tooth pain for years until the dentist diagnosed the problem and found a solution. another patient may describe how afraid she was of visiting the dentist until she met the doctor and the staff of the practice who made her feel at ease. some personal stories can be written and published on the website while others can be put on video. online visitors evaluating the dental practice may relate to some of the personal stories they see.</p> <h3>4- dentist profiles</h3> <p>whether there is one dentist or half a dozen dentists working in the office, most potential patients want to know about their n. a dentist€™s profile on the site can include a photo, where the professional earned his or her dental degree, how long the person has been in practice, the person€™s specialties, etc. once again, knowing a bit about the background and education of the dentists working in a practice can entice visitors to give the office a call.</p> <h3>5- age range of patients</h3> <p>the website must include information on who the dentist serves. some dentists serve only teenagers and children while others are family dentists who serve people of all ages. displaying this information for online visitors can save them time and help them contact a professional who can help.</p> <h3>6- a list of services</h3> <p>some dentists conduct all sorts of  v from basic cleaning to performing root canals. other dentists specialize in certain areas such as cosmetic dentistry. displaying a list of services makes it easy for potential patients to determine if a dentist will be able to help them.</p> <h3>7- hours of service</h3> <p>displaying the hours of service on the website of a dental practice is very important. some dentists keep regular business hours while others hold office hours on saturday and even sunday afternoon. finding the hours of service on a dentist€™s website should be easy for any visitor.</p> <h3>8- information about emergency services</h3> <p>if a dentist provides emergency services, he or she should include that on the website. it is even more effective if the dentist lists examples of dental emergencies that he or she handles. a list may include broken or lost teeth, an abscess or a painful cavity.</p> <h3>9- contact information and directions</h3> <p>the contact information of a dentist should be easily accessible in the design of his or her website. the address of the office, phone number, fax number, email address and even an emergency number are all examples of contact information visitors may need. also, simple directions to the dentist€™s office are helpful to any individuals who are new to the area or live on the other side of town.</p> <h3>10- a page for customer reviews</h3> <p>a lot of people researching dentists online like to see what their neighbors have to say about a professional. so, it€™s useful to have a page filled with reviews of the dentist and his or her office on the website. sometimes a good, detailed review can convince a person to stop his or her search and call the dentist for an appointment.</p> <p>these are just ten of the features and elements essential for a great website advertising a dental practice. other unique touches such as background music can also enhance the effectiveness of a website.</p> <p>if you are a dentist, you might be very busy, and you may think why you should know these things. the answer is simple; you are not expected to design your own dental website, but when you assign the job to a professional, you want to be on top of what they deliver, and at least, understand the basics.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>bis</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Top Emerging Design Trends for Law Firm Websites in 2018 <p>law firms trying to stand out from competitors know that having an effective website is essential for creating a good first impression on potential clients.</p> <p>because web design is constantly evolving with both fresh ideas and concepts recycled from the past, it can often be hard to keep up with the latest trends in the online world. this year, web design is expected to be dominated by bold colors, illustrations, asymmetry and data-heavy content. while not all web design trends may be useful, understanding them can help lawyers decide what might be a good fit for their law firm.</p> <p><strong><span style='font-size:18px'>focus on data</span></strong><br /> this year, web design will continue shining a spotlight on quality content. while eye-catching design serves to attract visitors, people visit websites primarily in search of useful, relevant information. </p> <p>focusing on data is especially beneficial during a time when audiences have limited attention spans and are scanning websites to quickly access the information they need. instead of relying solely on long copy, law firms can select some key pieces of data or facts that may be of interest to potential clients, such as details about various practice areas or past cases.</p> <p>the website should emphasize the data in a visually impactful way that makes it easy for readers to digest. ultimately, the most important task of web design is to present content in the best way possible. </p> <p><span style='font-size:18px'><strong>explanatory illustrations</strong></span><br /> illustrations are expected to take center stage in 2018 when it comes to the visual elements of web design. illustrations can be a powerful tool for helping website visitors better understand abstract or complex concepts. they can also bring dull statistics and facts to life for the reader. </p> <p>law firms can use custom explanatory illustrations on their websites to present information in a way that feels authentic and engaging. for example, a personal injury attorney may use illustrations to depict the common types of accidents that can result in a personal injury lawsuit. a car accident lawyer may want to share data on the number of crash fatalities that have occurred over a certain number of years.</p> <p>while photography has its place in web design, it can sometimes be limiting. not only do illustrations add visual variety and personality to websites, but they also offer brands opportunities for creativity. they can be customized in many ways like color, style and size to match the website’s branding and existing look. unlike images, which tend to slow pages down, illustrations will not impact the website’s performance.</p> <p><span style='font-size:18px'><strong>asymmetry</strong></span><br /> there has been a gradual shift toward asymmetry in web design over the past year, in relation to both layouts and images. websites are embracing out-of-the-box layouts that adopt the idea of organized chaos. asymmetrical layouts result in a more free-flowing and less framework-oriented look. </p> <p>the new take on traditional layouts offers a unique way to stand out from competitors. asymmetrical design works to grab the attention of website visitors in a more forceful way by adding visual interest. remember though that visitors still need to easily find all of your law firm’s important information without searching too much. anything that is too gimmicky is likely to turn people off and lead them to question your law firm’s credibility. </p> <p>besides layouts, asymmetry can also be used in smaller design elements such as pictures, graphics and text. however, while it may boost the visual appeal of a website, asymmetry can make the page difficult to read. visitors may find it tedious to navigate a page that is not clearly sectioned.</p> <p>color<br /> vibrant, intense color schemes are becoming increasingly popular on websites. bright hues and bold graphics are now being favored over traditional, minimalist design aesthetics. because website visitors typically spend only a few seconds on a page, colors that stand out are useful for capturing their attention.</p> <p>while the general approach to web design is likely to involve heavy experimentation this year, the phrase “everything goes” does not necessarily apply to law firm websites. although it is not strictly taboo for law firms to utilize bright colors, excessively garish tones may seem out-of-place and turn off potential clients rather than encouraging them to stay on the website. </p> <p>lawyers should use vibrant color schemes cautiously, and only if they are in line with their firm’s personality and brand image. jarring color combinations can be distracting for website visitors.</p> <p>in an era of ever-changing design trends, the bright color trend is likely to be short-lived in comparison to classic, minimalist hues. any web design element that does not stand the test of time is likely to require considerable amounts of money and effort to update in the future.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>blf</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 30 books every graphic designer should read <p>there are hundreds of fantastic graphic design books out there, offering words of wisdom, design inspiration, and refreshers on key principles and techniques. whether you're looking to swot up on design theory or recharge your creative batteries, we've curated the best titles here, in this essential reading can choose to scroll through these graphic design books at your own leisure, or navigate to your area of interest using the quick links above.</p> <p>you'll find plenty of classic titles in this list from the great names of graphic design, but there are also plenty of books you might be less familiar with. whether you'd like to know more about logos, go further with type, or get to know more about your favourite graphic designers, this list of great books for graphic designers has something for you.</p> <h3>01. logo modernism</h3> <p>an unprecedented catalogue of modern trademarks.</p> <p>$56.75</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>$64.99</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at staples</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (2 found)</a></p> <p>loads of logo eye candy</p> <p>incredible resource</p> <p>focused on 1940–1980</p> <p>taschen produces some truly spectacular books, and <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>logo modernism</a> is no different. bringing together approximately 6000 trademarks, registered between 1940-80, jens mÜller examines the distillation of modernism in graphic design and how these attitudes and imperatives gave birth to corporate identity.</p> <p>mÜller includes a variety of logos, organised into three chapters – geometric, effect and typographic – in order to both educate you as well as provide a comprehensive index of inspirational logo designs to inform your own work.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>02. branding: in five and a half steps</h3> <p>the ultimate step-by-step visual guide to creating a successful brand identity.</p> <p>$30.55</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>$34</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at target</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (2 found)</a></p> <p>no-nonsense book on branding</p> <p>opens up branding process</p> <p>genuinely useful</p> <p>leading graphic designer michael johnson demystifies the branding process in his latest book, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>branding: in five and a half steps</a>. dividing the process into five key steps – investigation, strategy and narrative, design, implementation and engagement – johnson also acknowledges the non-linear nature of branding with a crucial half step, which marks the fluid relationship between strategy and design.</p> <p>a no-nonsense, six-question model structures the first half of the book; the second analyses the design process, using over 1,000 contemporary brand identities from around the world.</p> <p>this is the ultimate step-by-step visual guide to creating a successful brand identity. it’s an essential read for anyone in the branding industry, and a particularly valuable resource for students and new designers.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>03. the elements of typographic style (v4)</h3> <p>an essential book for anyone who uses type in design.</p> <p>$29.95</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>$35.65</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at walmart</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (2 found)</a></p> <p>the ultimate type manual</p> <p>very detailed</p> <p>wonderfully written</p> <p>first published in 1992, this history and guide to typography from canadian typographer, poet and translator robert bringhurst has quickly become a major typographic resource. leading typographers jonathan hoefler and tobias frere-jones call it "the finest book ever written about typography" – and it isn’t difficult to see why.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>the elements of typographic style</u></a> is a beautifully written manual combining practical, theoretical and historical information, while also sharing a deeper philosophy and understanding of the topic. if you’re looking for a book covering the finer points of type and typography, you’ll save a lot of money by starting with this one.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>04. just my type</h3> <p>an entertaining and revealing guide to the history of type.</p> <p>$19.94</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at walmart</a></p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view similar at amazon</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (1 found)</a></p> <p>informative</p> <p>detailed history </p> <p>very engaging read </p> <p>graphic designers are trained to look at typefaces, but simon garfield's book <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>just my type</u></a> will encourage you to look even closer, taking in the rich history of fonts, as well as looking at their powers. </p> <p>a well-chosen font communicates to the reader on an almost subliminal level and it can make (or break) a design.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>05. how to be a graphic designer without losing your soul</h3> <p>a staple for any new graphic designer.</p> <p>$14.47</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>$14.47</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at jet</a></p> <p>$14.47</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at walmart</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (6 found)</a></p> <p>top practical advice </p> <p>philosophical guidance</p> <p>intelligent writing</p> <p>sound advice from adrian shaughnessy on gaining employment, setting up as a freelancer, forming a company, dealing with clients, pitching and loads more fills this book.</p> <p>as graphic design books go, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>how to be a graphic designer without losing your soul</u></a> is insightful, intelligent, accessible and simply full of great advice, with the author calling on such luminaries as neville brody, natalie hunter, john warwicker and andy cruz to help pull together his ideas.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>06. how to...</h3> <p>a monograph, manual and manifesto by one of the world's leading graphic designers.</p> <p>$30.60</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>pro industry insight</p> <p>beautifully written</p> <p>invaluable resource</p> <p>veteran designer and pentagram new york partner <a href='' target='_blank'>michael bierut</a> released this inspiring, highly readable monograph, manual and manifesto in 2015. featuring 35 projects, bierut – who’s a protÉgÉ of design legend <a href='' target='_blank'>massimo vignelli</a> – illustrates the varied role that graphic design plays in the modern world.</p> <p>rough sketches and rejected ideas sit alongside finished work. <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>how to</a> (full title how to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world) is packed with insights into the creative process, making it a valuable resource to new and established designers alike.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>07. work for money, design for love</h3> <p>answers the most frequently asked questions about running a successful design business.</p> <p>$28.18</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>$28.18</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at jet</a></p> <p>$28.19</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at staples</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (3 found)</a></p> <p>sound advice </p> <p>great case studies</p> <p>refreshingly written</p> <p>inspired by the many questions that david airey – author of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>logo design love</a> – receives on a daily basis, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>work for money, design for love</u></a> is a refreshing, straightforward guide that tackles the essentials of starting your own design business.</p> <p>touching on everything from the mindset needed to be a designer and how to take that first step into being your own boss, to business basics, this is a must-have read for anyone thinking about going it alone.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>08. the art of looking sideways</h3> <p>the ultimate primer in visual intelligence.</p> <p>$34.97</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>thought-provoking essays</p> <p>full of wisdom</p> <p>beautiful graphics</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'>alan fletcher</a>, the legendary co-founder of pentagram, penned various thought-provoking tomes during his illustrious graphic design career, but <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>the art of looking sideways</u></a> is perhaps the best known – questioning the way designers think about everything from colour to composition.</p> <p>once you've digested his seminal text, give <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>picturing and poeting</a> a go, exploring the link between imagery and meaning through a series of visual mind-teasers, games and visual puns, assembled from his personal notebooks and diaries. another great work by fletcher, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>beware wet paint</a>, is a more conventional monograph, looking back over 35 years of inspiring work and putting it all in the context of fletcher's remarkable thought process.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>09. a designer's art</h3> <p>paul rand’s 1995 manifesto is to be read, not flipped through.</p> <p>$34</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at target</a></p> <p>$35</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at ebay</a></p> <p>$40.81</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (3 found)</a></p> <p>incredible resource</p> <p>insightful essays</p> <p>steven heller afterword</p> <p>heralded by many as one of the fathers of modern branding, <a href='' target='_blank'>paul rand</a> has several inspiring books to his name. <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>design, form and chaos</a> is unfortunately out of print, but if you can track down a copy it's worth it to immerse yourself in his talent for simplicity, and to explore the thinking behind some of his best-known identities.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>a designer's art</a>, meanwhile, probes more deeply into the process of graphic design in general: why it's important; the impact it can have on society; what works, what doesn't, and most importantly, why.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>10. perverse optimist</h3> <p>the definitive document of the late tibor kalman's work and ideas.</p> <p>$125</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>rich resource</p> <p>radical ideas</p> <p>a collector's item</p> <p>written by tibor kalman and edited by peter hall and michael bierut, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>perverse optimist</u></a> is another notoriously hard-to-obtain volume which, like rand’s design, form and chaos, is sadly out of print. but second-hand copies do appear...</p> <p>dedicated to the visionary editor-in-chief of colors magazine and creative director of interview, perverse optimist is a weighty tome by any standards, and packed with high-impact images and insightful analysis of the art direction process behind them.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>11. graphic design: a user's manual</h3> <p>an insider’s guide to the complexities of current design practice.</p> <p>$29.25</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>wealth of insight</p> <p>wide range of topics</p> <p>pro career guidance </p> <p>another insightful resource from designer and industry commentator adrian shaughnessy, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>graphic design: a user's manual</u></a> brings you everything you need to know to survive and prosper in the complex, ever-shifting world of graphic design.</p> <p>organised from a-z, topics include annual reports, budgeting, kerning, presenting, dealing with rejection and more. this is an entertaining and invaluable resource that’s packed with pro advice on all the <a href='' target='_blank'>things you won’t have been taught at design school</a>.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>12. show your work!</h3> <p>10 things nobody told you about getting discovered.</p> <p>$11.15</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>effective strategies </p> <p>incredibly useful </p> <p>compulsively readable</p> <p>in his follow-up to new york times best-seller, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>steal like an artist</a> (another must-read), author and writer austin kleon reveals what can be the most challenging part of your career as a designer – how to get your work seen. </p> <p>in <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>show your work! 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered</u></a>, kleon is full of helpful hints and tips on how to become findable, how to appeal to the community and use the network to sell your work. if nothing else, it's a useful little pocket guide to remind you to be open, generous, brave and productive.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>13. the little know-it-all</h3> <p>packed with fundamental information all designers need to know.</p> <p>$39.96</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at walmart</a></p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view similar at amazon</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (1 found)</a></p> <p>indispensable manual </p> <p>includes social media and seo</p> <p>succinct</p> <p>don’t judge <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>the little know-it-all: common sense for designers</u></a> by its cover or size – it’s possibly the most useful book you’ll own as a designer. everything from light, colour and perspective to law and marketing are covered in succinct, beautifully carved chapters.</p> <p>it’s the kind of book that you never stop reading once you start; the kind you’ll always refer back to, making it a winner on pretty much every level.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>14. grid systems in graphic design</h3> <p>the definitive guide to using grid systems in graphic design.</p> <p>$36.28</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>invaluable grids resource </p> <p>detailed examples</p> <p>very informative</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>grid systems in graphic design</u></a> remains the definitive word on using grid systems in graphic design. written by legendary swiss graphic designer josef mÜlller-brockmann, this visual communication manual for graphic designers, typographers and 3d designers is packed with examples on how to work correctly at a conceptual level. </p> <p>it’s a must-read resource for any student or practising designer – regardless of whether you prefer the david carson approach.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>15. interaction of color</h3> <p>one of the most important books on colour theory ever written.</p> <p>$11.07</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>fascinating</p> <p>must-read textbook</p> <p>insightful exercises</p> <p>conceived as a handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors and students, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>interaction of color</a> is an influential book that presents josef albers's singular explanation of complex colour theory principles.</p> <p>it’s been over 50 years since this tome was first published, but it remains an essential resource on colour, demonstrating principles such as colour relativity, intensity and temperature; vibrating and vanishing boundaries; and the illusion of transparency and reversed grounds.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>16. the graphic language of neville brody</h3> <p>the best of brody's designs.</p> <p>$12.43</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>incredibly inspiring</p> <p>in-depth intro to brody</p> <p>classic design text</p> <p>you'll find this book on the must-read list on every self-respecting graphic design course, and with good reason. <a href='' target='_blank'>neville brody</a> may have been president of d&ad and head of research studios' global studio network, but it was arguably his 1980s heyday that had the biggest impact on contemporary graphic design.</p> <p>first published in 1988, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>the graphic language of neville brody</u></a> explores the thought process behind some of his best-known work, including his genre-defining art direction of <a href='' target='_blank'>the face magazine</a>.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>17. designed by peter saville</h3> <p>the ultimate coffee-table book for the 21st century.</p> <p>$73.99</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>chronicles saville's career</p> <p>illuminating text</p> <p>stunning images</p> <p>like brody, peter saville famously built his reputation in the 1980s with iconic album artwork for factory records-signed bands such as joy division and new order – but this 2003 publication was the first to chronicle his career.</p> <p>starting in 1978, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>designed by peter saville</u></a> inevitably covers the factory era in detail but also explores saville's design and art direction for the fashion and advertising industries, taking in brands such as dior, stella mccartney and london's whitechapel gallery.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>18. the end of print</h3> <p>the definitive statement on the work of david carson.</p> <p>$22.24</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at jet</a></p> <p>$22.77</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (2 found)</a></p> <p>emotionally charged type</p> <p>well illustrated</p> <p>inspiring</p> <p>if brody and saville defined the 1980s, carson conquered the 1990s with his unconventional approach to page design, using distorted type and fragmented imagery that played with notions of legibility – particularly during his tenure as art director of ray gun.</p> <p>he went on to work with a stellar client list that includes pepsi, nike, armani, levi's, sony and mtv. while the approach outlined in <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>the end of print: the grafik design of david carson</u></a> is very much of its time, the insight that the book provides into the iconic surfer/designer's process is unrivalled.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>19. left to right</h3> <p>an in-depth study of the influence digital technology has had on the way we communicate.</p> <p>$13.28</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>a seminal text</p> <p>covers wide range of subjects</p> <p>visual communication rests on the power of semiotics, a concept that david crow examines in expert detail within this seminal text. </p> <p>dealing with the principles of written communication and its relationship to imagery, and rounded off with an examination of audience understanding, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>left to right</u></a> is a valuable assessment of academic yet essential design theory.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>20. two-dimensional man</h3> <p>paul sahre delivers a fresh take on the classic design monograph.</p> <p>$20.94</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>$20.94</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at walmart</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (2 found)</a></p> <p>part memoir</p> <p>part art book</p> <p>part meditation on creativity</p> <p>paul sahre is one of the most influential graphic designers of his generation and has operated his own design consultancy since 1997. working out of his office in new york city, his clients have included the new york times, google and marvel comics and he lectures about graphic design all over the world.</p> <p>his book, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>two-dimensional man</u></a>, is part monograph, part autobiography, part art book and part reflection on creativity. combining personal essays discussing the realities of living creativity during his 30-year career, he proves that throughout highs and lows, humour can be a saving grace.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>21. things i have learned in my life so far</h3> <p>an inspiring book packed with visual eye candy from a living legend.</p> <p>$38.28</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>insight into a design genius</p> <p>fascinating projects</p> <p>very inspiring</p> <p>austria-born, new york-based designer stefan sagmeister has hit the headlines a couple of times in the few years with his nude promotional shenanigans, but his two monographs, published in 2008 and 2009, are all about his creative approach and output.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>things i have learned in my life so far</u></a> revolves around 21 thought-provoking phrases, transformed into typographic works for various clients around the world and has been since updated. his second text, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>made you look</a>, is fully illustrated with a red pvc slipcase and spans 20 years of his graphic design in depth. the two complement each other excellently.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>22. non-format: love song</h3> <p>a monograph presenting the duo's full spectrum of work.</p> <p>$11.48</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at walmart</a></p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view similar at amazon</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (1 found)</a></p> <p>incredible work</p> <p>beautifully designed </p> <p>nicely laid out </p> <p>an iconic studio for the modern age, non-format is a fruitful transatlantic collaboration between oslo-based kjell ekhorn and us-based brit jon forss.</p> <p>their 2007 monograph, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>love song</u></a>, is packed with awe-inspiring imagery and insight into the duo's creative process over five years between 1999 and 2003, from advertising work for coke and nike to stunning art direction for the wire magazine.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>23. pentagram: marks</h3> <p>an incredible cross-section of design history.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view similar at amazon</a></p> <p>400 examples</p> <p>volumes of inspiration</p> <p>unsurprisingly, given its status as arguably the world's most famous design agency, pentagram has attracted its fair share of monographs over the decades: seven so far and still counting. </p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>marks</a> simply reproduces four hundred of the hugely diverse identities that the agency has created since 1972. an incredible cross-section of design history.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>24. m to m of m/m (paris)</h3> <p>unparalleled insight into the work and minds of the emblematic and influential design duo.</p> <p>$64.58</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>the definitive m/m monograph</p> <p>rare insight into the duo</p> <p>unique work</p> <p>it was a long time coming, but this definitive 528-page monograph of the iconic parisian duo michaËl amzalag and mathias augustyniak, aka m/m (paris), was worth the wait.</p> <p>chronicling two decades of stunning work spanning the worlds of music, fashion and fine art, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>m to m of m/m (paris)</u></a> is presented as a reshuffled alphabetical dictionary, starting and ending with m. the studio's highly distinctive, unique approach to type, print design, drawing and photography shines throughout.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>25. the graphic design idea book</h3> <p>a fantastic introduction to the key elements of good design.</p> <p>$12.20</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at jet</a></p> <p>$14.01</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (2 found)</a></p> <p>ideas from 50 leading designers </p> <p>prevents creative block</p> <p>very insightful</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>the graphic design idea book: inspiration from 50 masters</u></a> covers all the key elements of great design, featuring seminal works from acclaimed designers such as paul brand, neville brody and stefan sagmeister. it's sure to spark inspiration and keep those creative juices flowing.</p> <p>honing in on those professional techniques, authors steven hiller and gail anderson refresh your knowledge on colour, narrative, illusion, humour, simplicity, ornaments and more.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>26. illustration play</h3> <p>offers a welcome departure from digitally generated graphics.</p> <p>$16.75</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>extraordinary illustration ideas</p> <p>exclusive interviews</p> <p>striking cover design</p> <p>first up, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>illustration play</u></a> has one of the most beautiful, special and intriguing covers you’ll see, each one being individually stickered by hand. </p> <p>this is to echo the explorative approach taken by all of the illustrators featured in the book – looking at new ideas and ways to realise concepts within contemporary illustration. a lovely object.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>27. graphics alive 2</h3> <p>another valuable source of ideas and reference from victionary.</p> <p>$46.94</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>amazing cover and slip case </p> <p>inspirational graphic design work </p> <p>great finish</p> <p>exploring the omnipresent power of graphic design and illustration in today’s society, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>graphics alive 2</u></a> (the <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>first book</a> also being great) is not only beautifully designed in itself, but also packed full of highly inspirational t-shirt graphics, shoes, signs, wallpaper and other everyday objects and ephemera that top designers have lent their eye to. an intense, head-hurting experience.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>28. palette no 4: neon, new fluorescent graphics </h3> <p>get your shades ready.</p> <p>$39.95</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>includes neon spot colour printing</p> <p>lots of design inspiration</p> <p>picking the right colour palette for your design work is always a difficult decision. while some favour the more understated, others opt for the bold and bright. <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>palette no 4: neon, new fluorescent graphics</u></a> is a beautiful 296-page book (again by victionary) showcasing the applications of fluorescent colours in the design world, examining where they work best.</p> <p>including branding, interior design, and fashion, a total of 110 loud and colourful projects by designers across the globe are featured.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>29. a logo for london</h3> <p>charts the fascinating history of the bar and circle logo.</p> <p>$23.83</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at walmart</a></p> <p>$27.80</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p><a href=''>see all prices (2 found)</a></p> <p>richly illustrated </p> <p>contains previously unpublished work</p> <p>fantastic buy</p> <p>london's underground system is over 150 years old, and this book by david lawrence tells you all you need to know about the famous london transport <a href=''>logo design</a>.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>a logo for london</u></a> celebrates the instantly recognisable bar and circle, also known as the bullseye. with 250 colour illustrations, this charming and informative tome charts the history and development of the symbol from the early 20th century to the present day.</p> <p>-----------------------</p> <h3>30. super graphic</h3> <p>an extensive visual guide to the comic book universe.</p> <p>$10.73</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>view at amazon</a></p> <p>insanely detailed </p> <p>amazing infographics</p> <p>cleverly done</p> <p>what is the joker's favourite question for batman? are there more deaths by human or by zombie in the walking dead? those are just some of the questions answered in this book via an array of inspirational infographics. </p> <p>even if you're not a comic book fan, the variety of infographic styles on offer in <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>super graphic: a visual guide to the comic book universe</u></a> by tim leong will bring you tons of inspiration.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>creative blog</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Ellison Defends Classic Title After Lancaster Shoot-Up <p>four-time hyundai archery world cup champion <a href=''>brady ellison</a> beat canada’s <a href=''>crispin duenas</a> in the recurve men’s final at the lancaster archery classic for the second consecutive year to successfully defend his title, and medal in his second consecutive major indoor tournament of the new year.</p> <p>ellison finished second at stage two of the indoor archery world cup in nimes, to <a href=''>steve wijler</a>, just a week prior.</p> <p>“going from event to event is tough but it’s what i like to do. competing is really how i put food on the table for my family, so i have to stay strong through it all,” said ellison.</p> <p>the 29-year-old world number five missed the first two indoor archery world cup stages of the indoor season at the end of 2017, but has captured mid-season form fresh off the break.</p> <p>still working on his indoor gear, ellison said he’d shoot thin arrows, rather than fat, at his next event to help decide what would take him through vegas and the rest of the indoor season.</p> <p>the lancaster archery classic’s unique tournament structure attracts some of the world’s best archers and boasted an entry list numbering over 1200 in 2018.</p> <p>competitors shoot a 60-arrow qualifying round, scoring the world archery recurve 10 as 10 points and the compound 10 as 11 points.</p> <p>a head-to-head bracket then cuts the field down to the top four athletes (top eight in the men’s open – compound – division), before those remaining shoot-up to decide the podium positions. the lowest seed shoots against the next lowest seed, with the winner shooting against the next lowest seed, and so on.</p> <p><a href=''>sarah prieels</a> won the compound women’s title at the 2018 lancaster archery classic in just one match, entering the shoot-up as the top-ranked archer.</p> <p><a href=''>paul tedford</a>, the nimes bronze medallist, won the men’s event from the third-ranked position, beating jacob marlow, <a href=''>chance beaubouef</a>and <a href=''>sam wolthuis</a> to the top spot.</p> <p>former world-class podium finisher in the compound division <a href=''>crystal gauvin</a> took the first medal of her young recurve career. she finished third in the women’s event, being knocked out by <a href=''>casey kaufhold</a>, who in turn lost to rio 2016 olympian <a href=''>mackenzie brown</a> in the final.</p> <p>the major event indoor archery season continues with the vegas shoot on 9-11 february, immediately followed by the world archery indoor championships in yankton, usa on 14-19 february 2018.</p> <p><em>the 2018 lancaster archery classic ran 26-28 january in manheim pa, usa.</em></p> All categories Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Lausanne To Host 1st World Archery Masters Championship in 2018 <p>the first world archery masters championships will be an open entry tournament for archers aged 40+.</p> <p>the first world archery masters championships, an open entry tournament for archers aged 40 years and over, will be hosted by the world archery excellence centre in lausanne, switzerland on 14-18 august 2018.</p> <p>a multi-discipline schedule featuring indoor, outdoor and field competitions will be spread over three different venues in the olympic capital.</p> <p>the compound outdoor event will be held at the field in vidy park; the indoor and recurve outdoor events will be hosted at the <a href='' target='_blank'>world archery excellence centre</a>; and field archery will take place at the <a href='' target='_blank'>field archery range montheron</a>. </p> <p>world archery masters championship titles will only be awarded for the 50+ division in the indoor and outdoor, recurve and compound competitions.</p> <p>however non-championship events for three additional age groups – 40+, 60+ and 70+ – and those athletes wishing to shoot barebow, instinctive and longbow styles will also be offered. (a minimum of eight participants in each division will be required, otherwise age groups will be combined.)</p> <p>participants may enter the tournament directly and do not need to be a member of a national team, although they must be a member of a world archery national federation.</p> <p>home of world archery and the international olympic committee, lausanne previously hosted the hyundai archery world cup finals in 2008 and 2014, and the world archery championships back in 1989.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='width:80%' /></p> <p>world archery secretary general tom dielen said: “the success of archery at the world masters games and the high participation rates after the age group’s inclusion at the indoor archery world cup stage in nimes, france earlier this month show there is clear demand for tournament archery within masters athletes.”</p> <p>“the olympic capital has proven a world-class location for international archery events – and with the world archery excellence centre in lausanne acting as a development hub for archery, this sends a clear message that world archery is committed to growing the sport at all levels.”</p> All categories Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Let Your New Bow Choose You… <p>if you 're reading this article, you've probably been bowhunting or target shooting for a while and even bought a new bow or three. if that's true, you might be set in your ways when it comes to seeking a new venison making machine. or, perhaps you are somewhat new to the game, and are not sure where to start. regard less, i am sure that someplace you have read the usual advice on how to choose a new hunting compound bow. rest assured the following is not the same old advice you've read before.</p> <p>that's true for two reasons. first, i have been doing this a long time and have seen the common mistakes many folks make. heck, i've made a lot of them myself. and second, the world of compound bows has changed drastically in just the last three years. there are so many excellent bows on today's market it can become somewhat confusing trying to sort them out. that also means that, if you follow the proper procedures, odds are good you'll come away with the best bow you've ever owned.</p> <h2>do not ...</h2> <p>before getting started, here are some common mistakes you can easily avoid when bow shopping.</p> <ul> <li>do not start shopping cold turkey. like any major purchase, you need to do your homework. start with the various manufacturer’s websites. get a feel for what’s available, and just as importantly, what new features are being hyped.<br />  </li> <li>do not buy from an internet retailer first thing. for some reason thousands of bow shooters quickly decide this is the bow for them, then think they can get the best deal by ordering one online from a major internet retailer or big-box store. bad idea, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that if you buy sight unseen and then find the bow doesn’t fit right or you just do not like it, there are going to be problems. big problems.<br />  </li> <li>do not shop with a closed mind. your buddies all might like brand x, but this might not be the best bow for you. never forget that when it comes to compound bows, it is not a “one size fits all” kind of thing. there’s a great deal of brand allegiance in archery. don’t get caught up in it! take the time to try several different makes and models before you make a final decision.</li> </ul> <h2>do ...</h2> <p>ok. you've done some preliminary research and have a good idea what's out there, and what it costs. you should:</p> <ul> <li>visit a reputable archery pro shop. hopefully there is one within a reasonable driving distance of home. this is where everything should start. speak with shop personnel and tell them what you are interested in. then, before you do anything else, have them measure your draw length. it’s amazing how many shooters have never had this done. shooting a bow that is even just ½ inch too long or too short can keep you from being as consistently accurate as you can be.<br />  </li> <li>remember that there is no “best” compound bow – just the best one for you. with that in mind, now is the time to test shoot various models, and generally get the feel of as many bows as you can. most pro shops carry several different brands, so you can try a lot of bows. also, if there is more than one pro shop within a reasonable distance of your home that carry different brands, try and visit them all so you can shoot as many bows as possible. top bow makers today include arcus/obsession (<a href=''></a>), bear archery (<a href=''></a>), bowtech (<a href=''></a>), elite archery (<a href=''></a>), hoyt (<a href=''></a>), mathews (www., parker (<a href=''></a>), g5 prime (<a href=''></a>), pse (<a href=''></a>), and xpedition archery (<a href=''></a>), among others.<br />  </li> <li>as you shoot several bows, keep in mind that not everything about bows is quantifiable. some are just going to feel better to you than others. this feeling is important! it may be intangible, but hunting and shooting with a bow that has the right “feel” and just somehow agrees with you will very likely make you a better shooter.<br />  </li> <li>try shooting different draw weights. most compounds sold today have a draw weight range of either 50 to 60 or 60 to 70 pounds. if the bow you are trying is a 70-pound bow, try shooting it at 65-pounds, too. you may be very surprised at how much easier it is to smoothly draw and hold the bow at full draw at the lower poundage, as well as shoot accurately – especially if you have to contort your body in a hunting or 3d situation. you’ll lose a little raw arrow speed, but so what? the point is that giving up a few pounds of draw weight at this level will not affect arrow penetration on deer-size game or a target.</li> </ul> <h2>basics of bow design</h2> <p>modern compound bows really are technological marvels. here are some things to consider about today's new modern bows:</p> <p>first, the trend is towards shorter bows with an overall axle-to-axle length of 30 to 34 inches, with 32 inches being a popular length. there are also many bow models with overall lengths of 34 to 38 inches. remember that while the shorter bows are lighter and easier to maneuver in the woods, they are also less forgiving in small flaws in your shooting form. also, their lighter weight makes them more difficult to hold steady at full draw, and their shorter length makes it harder to avoid torqueing the bow with your bow hand – one of the most common shooting flaws.</p> <p>brace height is another often overlooked design feature. brace height is defined as the distance from the bowstring to the grip. a shorter brace height equals more store energy equals more arrow speed - generally a good thing. however, shorter brace heights (today that is usually considered 6 inches or less) are less forgiving of small flaws in shooting form. many bows try and keep the brace height at or near 6 to 7 inches, which is a good number for most of us.</p> <p>the "draw cycle" of a bow describes what is technically known as the draw-force curve. basically speaking, the draw-force curve measures the varying amounts of draw weight you feel as you pull the bowstring back to full draw. as you draw, the bow there are three stages. in stage one, as you begin to draw, the weight increases. in stage two, it reaches its peak draw weight and plateaus. finally, stage three, it drops back down to arrive at a small percentage of the peak weight. now you're holding the bow at full draw.</p> <p>what's important here is that there are basically two types of draw cycles: smooth and a little jerky. smooth-drawing bows gradually rise to their peak weight then fall gently down to the holding weight at full draw. they are easy to draw smoothly, but they store less energy than a jerky-draw bow and, thus, shoot a bit slower arrow. on the other hand, a bow with a "jerky" draw ramps up the draw weight rapidly, then drops off sharply until to reach the holding weight at full draw. they are harder to draw, and much harder to draw smoothly. they are a bit more difficult to master, but they do store more energy and shoot a faster arrow, all other things being equal.</p> <p>this is a matter of personal preference, but most average archers shoot a smooth-drawing bow better. what is more important to me is that the bow offers a solid back wall, which means that when the bow is at full draw the bowstring does not want to "creep" forward. this sloppy back wall makes it very easy to slightly change your anchor point with every shot, which, of course, means poor accuracy. i avoid bows with sloppy back walls like the plague.</p> <p>what about single cam vs. one cam vs. hybrid cam vs. binary cam bows? don't worry about it. all have their plusses and minuses, and all are the centerpiece of excellent bows. the same is true in the solid vs. split limb debate. truth be known, either is a good choice - and it's really more a function of a particular how's design.</p> <h2>what about arrow speed?</h2> <p>generally speaking, faster is better when it comes to arrow speed. however, this isn't the only thing. as one of my very accomplished bowhunting buddies likes to say, ''i'd rather have a slow hit than a fast miss any day." how right he is!</p> <p>pretty much all manufacturers try and use both the ibo and amo speed rating systems to pump up the actual speed at which their bows can shoot a hunting-weight arrow. the only way you'll know how fast a particular bow shoots your arrow is to shoot it through a chronograph, which you can do at the pro shop.</p> <p>don't get caught up in the rocket speed game. i personally like to shoot my mid-weight hunting arrows - for my 28-inch draw length using a 100-grain broadhead/field tip; this means finished shafts weighing 400 grains, give or take 10 grains or so - in the 275 to 290 fps range, and have found that, for me at least, anything over 300 fps is more difficult to accurately shoot a mid-weight arrow than it is worth.</p> <h2>the bottom line</h2> <p>when it comes to compound bows, the truth is you really do get what you pay for. the most expensive bows usually have the most recent technological advances, are built to tight tolerances and are backed with a solid warranty. at the same time, there are many mid -priced compounds on the market today that are excellent.</p> <p>the key is to try as many different bows as you can, then let the new bow choose you. don't force it and don't be in a hurry. do not be afraid to shoot a bunch of bows, eliminate some, come back to the pro shop another day, shoot some more, eliminate some more, then do it again. at the end of the day you'll walk away with a product that will both be fun to shoot and help you put venison in the freezer for many years to come.</p> <p>that's what it is all about.</p> All categories Wed, 31 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 5 Ways Community Banks & Credit Unions Can Crush Competitors Online <p>to be successful online, community banks and credit unions must compete head-to-head with both big banks and smaller local institutions within their footprint. this can be a challenge.</p> <p>big banks spend over $17 billion on advertising and marketing annually, according to the ffiec. additionally, since many local community institutions may share similar attributes like supporting their communities and personalized service, it can be extremely difficult trying to differentiate your brand.</p> <p>the key to crushing your competitors (online or offline) is to understand how you are truly different from <em>both</em> big national banks <em>and</em> smaller local institutions.</p> <h3>exploit your competitive advantages</h3> <p>what do most credit unions and community banks have that big banks don’t? for starters, they are more trusted. according to a study fielded by kasasa, 93% of community bank customers and credit union members say they trust their institution, whereas one out of three megabank customers don’t trust their own bank.</p> <p>smaller institutions also tend to have less turnover than larger banks, and can form more lasting relationships with their customer base. this is important when consumers need to make big decisions, like where to place their life savings or how to handle a recent life change. having a trusted relationships like these helps consumers feel valued in today’s faceless digital economy where most companies treat people like numbers.</p> <p>community institutions also tend to have a better understanding of their local neighborhood’s needs and residents, and have deeper ties to local community organizations. yes, the bigger banks may have branches within local footprints, and may donate big checks to the local chapter of a national organization. but more often, they aren’t as deeply and personally embedded in the community in the form of creating jobs, giving back, and serving on boards.</p> <h3>how are you different that other local institutions?</h3> <p>although credit unions and community banks are clearly different, they are also very similar in several key areas. they both pride themselves on exceptional personal service. they tend to have lower fees and offer more competitive rates. but they often have a tough time competing with bigger banks’ technology offerings, who — despite having their headquarters hundreds of miles away — nevertheless position themselves as an “institution rooted in the local community.”</p> <p>to compete, it’s smart to figure out what truly makes your institution unique, and to use those elements as the foundation for your marketing strategy. conducting a competitive <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>swot analysis</a> can help your institution discover what elements set it apart from other local institutions. here are some questions to consider:</p> <ul> <li>what ways does your institution beat out local and national competitors in price, product offerings or personalized service? are your rates higher or fees lower on key products?</li> <li>what digital capabilities does your community bank or credit union have that other national or local institutions don’t? do you offer online account opening or better features within your mobile banking app?</li> <li>how does your institution keep the customers or members that everyone worked so hard to earn? this may come in the form of a rewards or referral program or personalized service.</li> </ul> <p>figure out why people choose your institution instead of your competitors by fielding surveys and interviewing your customers/members. you should also gather information from your internal sales teams and branch managers — those who are working with the public on the front lines.</p> <h3>generating new business online with smart digital targeting</h3> <p>once you’ve articulated your institution’s competitive advantages, the next step is to get that message out to the people most likely to care. without the vast resources that megabanks have, it’s smart for community banks and credit unions to hone in on the following high-impact digital tactics.</p> <p><strong>1. search engine optimization (seo).</strong> search engine optimization (seo) should be your first line of defense against the bigger banks and local competitors. you should build a local seo strategy and add <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>schema markup</a> to relevant pages. most big institutions simply can’t compete on a hyperlocal level when it comes to seo, but you can.</p> <p><strong>2. content strategy.</strong> a great banking website needs great inbound marketing strategy to convince people to visit and convert. content can take many forms, from product pages to a blog or resource center, social media posts and emails. take the time to truly understand your audience, and develop a <a href=''>content marketing strategy</a> that drives interest at various stages of the sales funnel. remember to mix up your content types to add variety and cater to many different audience needs. also remember to localize your content where possible.</p> <p><strong>3. social media.</strong> now that social media marketing is mainstream, it’s matured into a channel that can be used to target people with precision. work towards creating content that sells and allocate budget towards social platforms to see success. don’t forget to focus most of your <a href=''>social media content</a> on what makes your institution unique and different so that you can reinforce your brand equity, mixing in product-related posts only about 20% of the time.</p> <p><strong>4. pay-per-click advertising (ppc).</strong> pay-per-click advertising is another digital tactic that can help you beat out your competitors online, putting you at the top of search engine results for specific search queries. select your keyword strategy strategically so you can bid on lower competition but highly relevant terms aligned with key business focus areas. if your bank or credit union has online applications like loans or checking accounts, those are great products to focus on driving conversion for within your ppc strategy.</p> <p><strong>5. email marketing.</strong> email marketing is making a comeback, but it’s important to modernize your strategy. email newsletters can be used to stay top of mind, increase cross-sales and much more. email addresses can also be used to target digital ads across the web, so these days you must focus on building your email list.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>the financial brand</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 22 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Online branding: Is your website sending the right message? <ul> <li> <p>branding is crucial for every business. your logo and website should clearly communicate the ethos of your company, and the first impression your business gives off has a massive impact on whether or not customers will buy from you, and whether they will remain loyal. a survey found that 48% of consumers admitted the most <a href=''><ins>critical time to gain loyalty</ins></a> is when they make their first purchase, or start using a service.</p> <p>there are a number of different things to take into consideration when branding your business online, such as domain name, content, and website design, which can all help ensure that you’re sending the right message to your clients.</p> <p>you also need to be confident that your branding online is delivering the message efficiently to potential customers and clients. a website that takes time to load, has low-quality images, and a complex user interface can drive your customers away, so make sure you have a well built website, and follow the following tips.</p> <h2><strong>make sure your domain name is memorable and clear</strong></h2> <p>the domain and url you have for your business is crucial to online success. domain names at their best must include your business name, and explain what you’re offering to customers. as branding experts novanym explain, a <a href=''><ins>domain name</ins></a> should “capture the tone of voice and style of your business”. this means it is important to consider domain name potential when you first start naming and developing your business, as you want your business name to be as clear as possible - and for its matching domain name to be available for purchase.</p> <p>your domain name is the <a href=''><ins>face of your company</ins></a>, and you want it to be brandable, identifiable, and memorable. you should carry out research to be certain potential customers won’t confuse it with an existing website or brand, which could drive them away from your website. the extension you choose can also impact your brand. newer extensions such as ‘.me’ may feel edgy, but ultimately, the more common ‘.com’ is much better for business.</p> <h2><strong>only include relevant content on your website</strong></h2> <p>everyone who lands on your website is a potential customer, and you want to do as much as you can to keep them online for as long as possible. having irrelevant or generic content can drive people away from your business, so taking the time to produce your own quality content will pay off. a study found that 78% of consumers believe that companies who produce <a href=''><ins>custom content are more trustworthy</ins></a> than those that churn out generic content. creating content that draws customers in and informs them of your business, and the industry as a whole, may take more time but will pay off and encourage customers to stay on your website.</p> <p>you should also ensure that everything about your website and branding is relevant to your business. your customers are landing on your site for a specific service, so everything should be related to what you offer in order to keep user attention. if you have a company blog, you’ll want to create original and engaging content which is related to your business. according to this infographic on <a href=''><ins>content marketing</ins></a>, companies with blogs produce 67% more leads per month than those without blogs. this is because businesses are specialists in their fields, and are therefore sources of accurate information for customers. a business which is knowledgeable is immediately more likely to appear trustworthy to customers.</p> <h2><strong>ensure your website is user friendly</strong></h2> <p>the user interface of your website or app is as important as your branding; there is no point having a great brand with a terribly designed website.user experience (ux) is defined as the ease that someone can use and navigate around your website in order to get what they need. a bad <a href=''><ins>user interface</ins></a> can make it difficult to navigate around to the right services, and may keep relevant information and products hidden or difficult to find, giving a bad ux. small details, such as the design and layout, can make a huge difference to the user interface, so you should keep this in mind when building your website.</p> <h2><strong>interact with customers on social media</strong></h2> <p>social media is one of the best forms of marketing and branding for a business—and it’s completely free, so there’s no excuse for not taking advantage of it. around 53% of <a href=''><ins>people recommend companies and products on twitter</ins></a>, which will lead potential customers to your social network page, and then your website. people generally buy based on recommendations, so customers mentioning your brand online will encourage many others to buy from you.</p> <p>on top of this, 64% of twitter users and 51% of facebook users are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow online. your social media presence is vital to your business, and interacting with your followers can encourage them to make more purchases. it also means you can deliver excellent customer service online, which customers appreciate. your social media channels are considered an extension of your website, so you should ensure that branding remains consistent across all pages with the tone of voice and imagery.</p> <p>your brand is vital to your business, so you should make sure that everything is perfect, from your url to the website design.</p> </li> </ul> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tg daily</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 22 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 How to Build Your Brand With Content: 4 Things You Must Do <p>wow! congrats if you’re reading this article. that means you’ve taken the plunge and are ready to start and grow your own business.</p> <p>it can be daunting when it comes to developing your business model, how much it will cost to launch, and how you will get your customers.</p> <p>one sure way to help build your business’ brand is by creating content.</p> <p>content will help your brand build trust, while also entertaining and educating your consumers about what you do and why you do it.</p> <h2><strong>1. define your audience</strong></h2> <p>it’s one thing to develop content, but you really need to develop the strategy around your content.</p> <p>that starts with defining your audience.</p> <p>many new businesses i’ve worked with develop buyer profiles personas to help narrow what type of topics and content to develop.</p> <p>more detailed messaging will lead to better conversion.</p> <p>you may also have different personas/demographics that you’re trying to target, as your business caters to more than just one.</p> <p>for example, if you sell health insurance, your content for people who are under the age of 65 would differ from those people who are over the age of 65 seeking medicare. also, their interests could be different.</p> <p>one segment you would be targeting people over the age of 65 who have diabetes and then there’s the healthy under 65-year-olds where you need to develop content about the importance of annual physical exams and various ways to take care of yourself for preventive purposes.</p> <p>all these types of details, depending on your business should be considered.</p> <h2>2. differentiate your brand from your competitors</h2> <p>another item within your content marketing strategy should be about setting your business apart from your competitors.</p> <p>developing branded content around the solutions you provide will both help conversions and your search engine rankings.</p> <p>for example, a client i work with is an urgent care business, but they’re able to deal with high acuity cases (e.g., people suffering from severe injuries, in addition to potentially life-threatening conditions). they’re a very small player in the urgent care world, with only three locations.</p> <p>when <a href=''>developing a content strategy</a> with this client, i suggested to not only build out branded content around who they are and what they do, as well as how they’re different from their competitors.</p> <p>also, developing content about the various illnesses they treated helped build up their content foundation and gave them a higher likelihood of showing up in search engines.</p> <p>as this business is a brick-and-mortar and located in a specific city, we made sure that majority of content mentioned the locations of their businesses, as this also helps with search engine optimization.</p> <p>developing a mix of branded and non-branded content on a consistent basis will not only help you gain new customers but will also help your digital presence.</p> <h2><strong>3. optimize & promote your content</strong></h2> <p>creating content is pointless if no one will ever see it.</p> <p>your website needs to have helpful content that talks about the solutions your company provides for your target audience.</p> <p>two things are vital when developing content. make sure:</p> <ul> <li>it’s easy to find.</li> <li>you have budget to promote the content.</li> </ul> <p>i will tell you a brief story – i was working with a client that was a totally new brand and business model.</p> <p><strong>never. stop. learning. - advanced search summit.</strong><br /> at advanced search summit, our industry experts will share their latest successes and tactics on how you can get ahead of your competition.</p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>register now</a></p> <p>advertisement</p> <p>year one and two, i developed numerous blog posts, but there was never any budget allocated to promote the content.</p> <p>another challenge was that the client’s site wasn’t linking to the blog in the main navigation, but in the footer.</p> <p>year three we finally got budget to promote a few of their blog posts. i went into google analytics and found content that was performing pretty well organically. i quickly allocated budget to promote these blogs on facebook.</p> <p>after about a month, i was doing a google search to know how the content was ranking, and to my surprise, the blogs i had promoted not only managed to hit page 1 of google but also beat huge healthcare content-focused competitors like webmd.</p> <p>this experience alone proved to my clients that if they’re spending the money to have the content developed, they <em>have</em> to spend the money to promote it. otherwise creating content is a total waste.</p> <h2><strong>4. tell them what you do, over and over again, but differently</strong></h2> <p>much of the content you develop will be about the same topics and themes.</p> <p>content about what your company does and the solutions they offer need to be repeated over and over again. this will help consumers start to understand and trust you.</p> <p>for example, if you’re in health and wellness, seasonal illnesses are always a topic of conversation.</p> <p>flu season comes every year. so if you’re in the healthcare space, you can’t think that your blog post on the flu from a year ago will help you this year.</p> <p>no. you have to develop new content. every year.</p> <p>talk about the new strain, the benefits of getting a flu shot, and the symptoms and dangers of not getting vaccinated.</p> <p>while the general topic of the flu is evergreen, the flu season isn’t. you must create timely new content about it every year, in a different way.</p> <p>ideas on how to do this are:</p> <ul> <li>write the blog on the latest updates on the topic.</li> <li>develop infographics.</li> <li>cinemagraphs of tips around the topic.</li> <li>videos (less than 60 seconds for social).</li> </ul> <p>while you may end up saying the same thing over and over again, one piece of content will never reach every potential consumer.</p> <p>diversifying the way you communicate your message will have an impact on your audience.</p> <p>it’s also important that you give your existing content new life by using it in different formats.</p> <p>older, <a href=''>evergreen content</a> may get even more attention as a facebook video or an infographic, for example.</p> <p>keep in mind that all of us prefer to consume content in different mediums, so it’s safe to assume that your target audience is the same way.</p> <h2>conclusion</h2> <p>over time your business will develop a strong foundation of content that will be well received in the digital space.</p> <p>now you have a few solid tips to think about when developing content that will help build your brand.</p> <p>what are you waiting for? get started now!</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>search engine journal</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 22 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 How to protect against the Meltdown and Spectre CPU security flaws <p>you’ve probably heard about the metldown and spectre cpu security flaws that are making headlines around the world. so, if you’re looking to protect your device from these issues, you’ve come to the right place.</p> <p>update: apple has now admitted that meltdown and spectre flaws affect its mac and iphone products, so we've updated our advice in the relevant sections.</p> <p> </p> <p>as this is breaking news, and new revelations are still emerging, we’ll keep this guide up to date as any new fixes for meltdown and spectre are found.</p> <p>to get up to speed on the issue, check out our news on the <a href=''>critical bug in intel cpus</a>, as well as <a href=''>intel’s response</a>.</p> <h3>what are spectre and meltdown?</h3> <p>spectre and meltdown are the names of the flaws found in a number of processors from intel, arm and amd that could allow hackers to access passwords, encryption keys and other private information from open applications.</p> <p>the flaws, found by a number of people including a member of <a href='' target='_blank'>google’s project zero</a>, are sending shock waves through the it world. namely, it was revealed that they had been present in chip designs for over 20 years, and that they affect a number of companies’ processors, meaning the flaws could be found on a huge number of devices, from pcs to web servers and even smartphones.</p> <h3>should i be worried about spectre and meltdown?</h3> <p>at the moment, you shouldn’t panic too much, because so far it doesn’t look like the spectre or meltdown flaws have been used in an attack, and device manufacturers are working with intel, arm and amd to fix these flaws.</p> <p>intel <a href='' target='_blank'>has claimed</a> that the exploits can't corrupt, modify or delete data. while it’s good to see companies set aside their differences to find a fix for these flaws, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>it has emerged </a>that one flaw, spectre, may need a processor redesign to fix.</p> <p>however, this does mean that future processors should be free from the spectre and meltdown security flaws. so, don’t be too alarmed, but keep an eye on any updates your device offers, and follow our advice on how to protect against the meltdown and spectre cpu security flaws.</p> <h3>how to protect against the meltdown and spectre cpu security flaws</h3> <p>below you’ll find ways to fix and protect yourself against the meltdown and spectre cpu security flaws for a range of devices. we’ll keep updating this list as new fixes emerge.</p> <h3>how to fix meltdown and spectre cpu security flaws on android phones</h3> <p>google will <a href='' target='_blank'>release a new security update</a> on january 5 that will help protect your android phone against meltdown and spectre.</p> <p>if you have a google-branded phone, such as the <a href=''>nexus 5x</a> or the <a href=''>pixel 2</a> or <a href=''>pixel 2 xl</a>, then you should get the update promptly, and on google’s newer devices the update should download and install automatically.</p> <p>android phones from other manufacturers may take longer to get the update –<br /> though, hopefully due to the attention meltdown and spectre are getting, most manufacturers won’t take too long to implement the update.</p> <p>open the settings app on your android smartphone, go to ‘system’ and see if you can find new updates waiting for you. it may also be worth following your phone manufacturer on twitter to keep up with news about the update.</p> <h3>how to fix meltdown and spectre cpu security flaws on iphone</h3> <p>apple has finally broken its silence over meltdown and spectre, revealing that<a href=''> all iphones are affected by the security flaws</a>.</p> <p>while the delay in admitting the flaws were indeed affecting its products was frustrating, apple did reveal that it had already released ‘mitigations’ for meltdown in ios 11.2, so make sure you keep an eye out for any new updates made available for ios on your iphone or ipad, and go into 'settings' to check what version of ios you are running.</p> <p>it didn't say it had a fix for spectre just yet, but it mentioned that “we continue to develop and test further mitigations for these issues and will release them in upcoming updates of ios, macos, tvos, and watchos.” </p> <h3>how to fix meltdown and spectre cpu security flaws on windows pcs</h3> <p>windows pcs are likely to be hit hardest by meltdown and spectre, regardless if they run on intel or amd processors. the good news is that microsoft seems to be on the case and has said that it has already released a security update on wednesday for <a href=''>windows 10</a>, as well as previous versions of windows.</p> <p>windows 10 should download the update automatically, but to be sure, type ‘windows update’ in the search bar of the taskbar, and select ‘check for updates.’ download and install any new updates it finds.</p> <h3>how to fix meltdown and spectre security flaws on macs</h3> <p>macs have also been affected by meltdown and spectre, and while apple was initially keeping tight lipped about the problem, it finally <a href='' target='_blank'>released a statement</a> saying that all macs have been affected.</p> <p>while this is worrying news, apple also added that it has already released a series of fixes in macos 10.13.2, so keep an eye out in the mac app store for any updates to os x or macos, and make sure you’re running the latest version of the operating system.</p> <h3>how to fix meltdown and spectre security flaws on chromebooks</h3> <p>if you have a recent chromebook, then you should be automatically protected from meltdown and spectre, as google released chrome os version 63 in december, which has features included to avoid these flaws.</p> <p>if you want to know if your chromebook is updated to version 63, or if an update is coming, check out <a href='' target='_blank'>google’s list of chrome os devices</a>, and check that it says ‘yes’ in the last column.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>techradar</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 5 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Going organic: Our top SEO columns of 2017 <h2>search engine optimization saw another exciting year as readers consumed content on everything from video optimization tips to research on the latest ranking factors.</h2> <p>another year has come and gone, and as usual, seos had their work cut out for them. many issues were top of mind for seo practitioners in 2017, from concerns about the impact of an <a href='' target='_blank'>unannounced algorithm update</a> to <a href='' target='_blank'>speculation about the impending mobile-first index</a>.</p> <p>our most popular seo columns this year encompassed a wide variety of topics, suggesting that our readership wasn’t overly focused on any one particular trend. from <a href='' target='_blank'>illustrative case studies</a> to <a href='' target='_blank'>detailed tactical guides</a> — from <a href='' target='_blank'>youtube optimization</a> to <a href='' target='_blank'>technical seo audits</a> to the interplay between <a href='' target='_blank'>seo and web design</a> — our experienced and insightful columnists on search engine land covered a lot of ground in 2017.</p> <p>wondering which organic search columns garnered the most attention from readers this year? read on for our top 10 seo columns of 2017:</p> <ol> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>youtube seo: how to find the best traffic-generating keywords</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>sherry bonelli</a></strong>, published on 5/30/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>how we hijacked google’s seo guide search rankings</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>dan sharp</a></strong>, published on 3/6/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>google site search is on the way out. now what?</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>paul shapiro</a></strong>, published on 3/22/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>how to check which urls have been indexed without upsetting google: a follow-up</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>paul shapiro</a></strong>, published on 1/27/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>seo ranking factors in 2017: what’s important and what’s not</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>jessica thompson</a></strong>, published on 10/25/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>the complete guide to optimizing content for seo (with checklist)</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>nate dame</a></strong>, published on 4/12/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>5 must-do technical seo audit items in 2017</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>aleyda solis</a></strong>, published on 6/22/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>5 massive seo and content shifts you need to master right now</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>jim yu</a></strong>, published on 5/17/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>seo case study: zero to 100,000 visitors in 12 months</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>andrew dennis</a></strong>, published on 7/5/2017.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>seo & website design: everything you need to know</a> by <strong><a href='' target='_blank'>marcus miller</a></strong>, published on 4/19/2017.</li> </ol> All categories Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 The Most Popular Google Android and Apple iOS Apps of 2017 <p>which mobile app did people download the most in 2017? which android app? which ios app?</p> <p>glad you asked. both <a href='' target='_blank'>google</a> (which makes android) and <a href='' target='_blank'>apple</a> (which makes ios) have announced the most downloaded mobile apps of 2017. some are surprises. others? not so much.</p> <p>without further ado:</p> <h2>top (new) google android apps of 2017</h2> <p>as measured by play store downloads <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>during the year</a>.</p> <p>1. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>faceapp</a>. this popular app was also controversial, allowing users to transform photos of their face using artificial intelligence. (how so? by changing a frown into a smile, by reversing (or accelerating) the effects of time, or even changing one’s gender. like we said: controversial!)</p> <p>2. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>what the forecast?!!</a>. this weather app takes related data and explains conditions in plain language, with a touch of sass. (“is this fedora weather? nope. it’s never fedora weather.”)</p> <p>3. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>boomerang</a>. this app, not to be confused with the instagram feature of the same name, is made by <a href='' target='_blank'>time warner</a> and allows users to watch popular looney tunes, hanna-barbera, and mgm cartoon series—<em>tom and jerry</em>, <em>popeye</em>, <em>the jetsons</em>, etc.—owned by warner bros.</p> <p>4. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>topbuzz video</a>. there’s little magic (but a lot of fun) to this app, which uses machine learning to serve up what it believes are the most shared or trending viral videos on the internet.</p> <p>5. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>yarn</a>. this novel app tells you a story through a series of text messages.</p> <p>google didn’t tally the most popular apps (old and new) in the google play store for the year, but there are several that have recurred on the most popular list throughout the year. among them: amazon alexa, google home, facebook messenger, snapchat, instagram, spotify music, fitbit, pandora, netflix, and facebook.</p> <h2>top apple ios apps of 2017</h2> <p>not just the new ones. as measured by app store downloads during the year.</p> <p>1. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>bitmoji</a>. an app to create an expressive cartoon avatar for yourself.</p> <p>2. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>snapchat</a>. the popular, occasionally ephemeral social media app.</p> <p>3. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>youtube</a>. the google-owned video channel to end all video channels.</p> <p>4. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>facebook messenger</a>. the social media company’s chat app.</p> <p>5. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>instagram</a>. the facebook-owned, multimedia-first social media service.</p> <p>6. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>facebook</a>. the social media giant’s signature service.</p> <p>7. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>google maps</a>. the popular mapping and directions app (and competitor to apple’s own maps.)</p> <p>8. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>netflix</a>. the streaming movie and tv show monolith.</p> <p>9. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>spotify</a>. the popular (if unprofitable!) streaming music service.</p> <p>10. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>uber</a>. the dominant (if controversial) on-demand transportation service.</p> All categories Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Pantone’s Color of the Year 2018, Ultra-Violet <p>the <a href='' target='_blank'>pantone color institute</a> has announced the color of the year for 2018 — pantone 18-3838 ultra violet. the bold color looks elegant and modern.<br /> <br /> color has the ability to convey deep messages and meanings — especially when used by a brand, and for packaging. the pantone color institute, the consulting arm of pantone (a wholly owned subsidiary of x-rite, inc.) forecasts global color trends, advises companies on color in brand identity and product development, and on color assurance programs.<br /> <br /> pantone’s team states, “the color of the year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design.”<br /> <br /> leatrice eiseman, executive director, pantone color institute, explains, “we are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. it is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to ultra violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. from exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive ultra violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”<br /> <br /> laurie pressman, vice president of the pantone color institute, adds, “the pantone color of the year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.”</p> <h3>ultra violet is well-suited for beauty</h3> <p>ultra violet is well-suited for beauty looks created by combinations, blends, and ombres. the color’s mysterious nature, steeped in spirituality, looks “spell-binding” and “expressive,” pantone’s team states. <br /> <br /> on lips or nails, a singular matte purple makes a bold statement of non-conformity. transform the eyes into “windows to the cosmos” with softly blended metallics and shimmers in ultra violet, pantone’s team advises.<br /> <br /> purple hair color elevates a street style look as a symbol of creative expression.<br /> <br /> several beauty brands are already using the color for both products and packaging — see them in this<a href=''> slideshow, ultra violet beauty.</a></p> <h3>ultra violet in packaging, fashion & more</h3> <p>in packaging and graphic design, shades of ultra violet are being used by forward-looking brands, to create a multi-dimensional feel.<br /> <br /> in fashion, ultra violet is easy to pair with different colors, although it may not seem like it at first. pantone’s team explains that this is because purple is made by combining red and blue. “with golds or other metallics, ultra violet becomes luxurious and dazzling; with greens or greys, it evokes natural elegance,” pantone states.<br /> <br /> in home decor, ultra violet makes a statement — fitting in with traditional and elegant looks as easily as it does with bold unexpected designs.</p> <h3>packaging & printing tips — overcoming ultra violet’s challenges</h3> <p>package development teams and package engineers are often faced with the challenge of working with suppliers to color-match -- and ensure a color looks consistent across a variety of different components and materials. the color-matching process is typically the first step before printing, or other decorating techniques.<br /> <br /> colors such as ultra-violet, however, often pose additional challenges. “it is a high-coverage, intense solid, and producing packaging that lives up to a designer’s intent can be difficult,” the pantone team explains. <br /> <br /> during the package design process, the color that appears on a designer’s screen, as well as physical color references, will always change depending on the substrate and printing process.<br /> <br /> when reflective, metallic and pearlescent finishes are used, which all pair well with ultra-violet and are gaining in popularity in packaging, there are even more challenges. special finishes and embellishments require different color measurement techniques.<br /> <br /> pantone offers five tips package printers and converters can follow to meet the trend of bold colors and finishes in 2018,<a href='' target='_blank'> in this blog post. </a></p> <h3>color palettes & inspirations</h3> <p>need ideas for how to use 18-3838 ultra violet - and combine it with other colors?<br /> <br /> pantone created eight color palettes, along with “color harmonies,” to help inspire designers. a mix of brights, deeper hues, pastels, mid-tones, and metallics are included. each palette conveys a distinctive feeling and mood.</p> <h3>choosing the color of the year</h3> <p>how is the color of the year chosen? color experts at the pantone color institute comb the world looking for new color influences.<br /> <br /> these influences include the entertainment industry, films in production, traveling art collections, new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms, as well as sporting events that capture worldwide attention.<br /> <br /> the selected color is often taken from the pantone fashion, home + interiors color system, which is the most widely used and recognized color standards system for fashion, textile, home, and interior design.</p> <h3>a look back <br /> <br /> <a href='' target='_blank'>pantone color of the year 2017 - greenery </a> <br /> <br /> <a href='' target='_blank'>pantone color of the year 2016 - rose quartz & serenity</a></h3> All categories Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Was 2017 the Craziest Year in U.S. Political History? <p>imagine how future historians might try to summarize 2017: a u.s. president, his family and his political aides came under investigation by a special counsel for possibly helping a foreign government meddle in the election. talk of impeachment swirled through congress, where the fracturing republican party was in the midst of an identity crisis—and the democrats were, too. twitter became a source of official u.s. policy. a wave of sexual harassment allegations took down u.s. senators and congressmen, top judges and reporters, and high-profile political candidates—but not the president, who had been caught on tape admitting to grabbing women “by the pussy.” we learned that the pentagon has secretly been studying ufos. all while the leaders of north korea and the united states exchanged threats to rain down nuclear “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”</p> <p>but as unbelievable and unprecedented as this year seemed, how wild was it really? does it come in no. 1 in the pantheon of american political chaos? or, alongside the civil wars, assassinations, race riots and watergates, does it not even rank? we asked some of the nation’s smartest historians to tell us whether 2017 was indeed the craziest year in u.s. political history, and, if not, what year’s got it beat. here’s what they had to say. <em>—elizabeth f. ralph</em></p> <p><strong>***</strong></p> <p><strong>‘2017 has its own unmatched attributes’</strong><br /> <em>robert dallek is the author of </em><a href='' target='_blank'>franklin d. roosevelt: a political life</a>.</p> <p>twenty-seventeen is certainly one of the most distressing years in american presidential history. of course, it cannot match 1861, when the united states was tumbling into a civil war and abraham lincoln found himself helpless to prevent a conflict that would take more american lives than in any other bloodletting in u.s. history. </p> <p>but 2017 has its own unmatched attributes. no president since opinion polling began in 1935 has had such poor numbers in his first year in office. unlike franklin roosevelt, who never fell below 50 percent approval in the gallup poll during his 12-year presidency, donald trump has been stuck at between 36 and 42 percent. nor have we seen so unproductive an administration, with more unfilled campaign promises, than trump’s. trump also has the unenviable distinction of being the only first-year president to have his administration under scrutiny by a special prosecutor. this has been a year to remember in presidential history.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1865: an assassination, a racist, a political fracture</strong><br /> <em>ron chernow is the author of </em><a href='' target='_blank'>grant</a>.</p> <p>on april 9, 1865, robert e. lee surrendered his army of northern virginia to ulysses s. grant at appomattox court house. after four years of gruesome warfare, grant laid down generous terms, issuing rations to famished confederate soldiers and allowing them to take home their horses and mules to plant crops. for a fleeting and improbable instant, it seemed as if the war might conclude in fairytale fashion, with the confederacy chastened and even repentant after the rebellion. violence would give way to sanity.</p> <p><br /> then, five days later, came the assassination of abraham lincoln. “here was the rebellion put down in the field,” grant later observed, “and starting up in the gutters.” the great emancipator and head of the republican party was succeeded by andrew johnson, a democrat and an unapologetic racist, throwing american politics into turmoil. the ku klux klan loomed just over the horizon. the events at appomattox court house had briefly promised regional harmony, but the radical change in leadership at the white house hinted that the deep fracture between north and south would harden into a permanent feature of our national life, a source of lunacy that bedevils us to the present day. </p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1919: riots, racial violence, an absent president</strong><br /> <em>adriane lentz-smith is a professor of history at duke university.</em></p> <p>nineteen-nineteen should have been a good year. the armistice ending world war i promised a return to calm, a restoration of civil liberties, and an ebb to the nativist hysteria that had made targets of german americans. but the war’s end brought violence, not peace, to the american home front. riots roiled across the nation, in towns from charleston to washington, d.c., to chicago. not contemporary riots but old-world-style pogroms in which white mobs targeted black bodies, businesses and homes as a reminder that the “war for democracy” abroad would not bring democracy back home. although poet and former diplomat james weldon johnson labeled it the “red summer,” the firestorm lasted the entire year, with large-scale riots in 10 cities, smaller conflicts in scores more, and nearly 100 lynchings of african americans (at least 13 of whom were veterans of the war). in september in elaine, arkansas, the revanchism of the red summer met the anti-radicalism of the red scare as white landowners led a mob of nearly 1,000 men in a massacre of black sharecroppers who had met to form a union. </p> <p>all of this happened in the absence of presidential leadership. president woodrow wilson did little as white sailors beat black folks in the washington streets, and he did even less to protect african americans in elaine and elsewhere. amplifying his general indifference to african-american citizenship was his focus on paris. wilson had spent much of the spring negotiating the treaty of versailles and much of the summer trying to sell the nation on it. by fall he had done himself in. brought down by a series of strokes in late september, he sat paralyzed, effectively, as the nation burned around him. in his name, his administration went after radicals and so-called black insurgents, rather than the white supremacists who had launched the wave of terror. </p> <p>this past year, 2017, has looked more like 1919 than most americans would like. white supremacy is again in fashion in the executive branch, and the president shows little interest in protecting the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. this is disheartening but not unprecedented. yet, when we tell ourselves that things have been worse, we must also remind ourselves that we once made them better. we can—we must—do so again. </p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>2017 ‘is a yawner by comparison’</strong><br /> <em>h.w. brands is a professor of history and government at the university of texas and author of </em><a href='' target='_blank'>the general vs. the president: macarthur and truman at the brink of nuclear war</a>.</p> <p>so far, the trump presidency has been noisy but unproductive. a young conservative justice added to the supreme court, yes. and now a tax bill, probably. but either of these would have happened under any republican president with the current congress. for trump the campaign circus continues; the presidency has hardly begun.</p> <p>several other first years have been crazier, if that means surprisingly eventful. in lincoln’s first year the union fell apart and the north and south went to war. in fdr’s first year the welfare state was born. in george h. w. bush’s first year the soviet empire started to crumble. in george w. bush’s first year, the 9/11 attacks introduced america to global terrorism.</p> <p>trump’s first year is a yawner by comparison, except that he won’t shut up and let us snooze.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1860: ‘crazy in a terrifying way’</strong><br /> <em>jacqueline jones is a professor of history at the university of texas at austin.</em></p> <p>the year 1860 was crazy in a terrifying way. in the mid-19th century, partisan politics was akin to a blood sport, pursued by a small, privileged electorate consisting almost exclusively of white men. yet in 1860, virtually all americans understood that the results of the presidential election that november would affect every single person regardless of who they were or where they lived. at stake was a fundamental question that was roiling the nation: should trafficking in human flesh remain legal?</p> <p>the fast-moving events of 1860 upended the two-party system, threw into disarray traditional political alignments, and triggered the secession of south carolina from the union. in the summer of 1860, the democratic party cracked up, splitting into two factions. the southern wing promoted the extension of slavery, while the northern wing wanted to leave the issue up to the individual states. the new constitutional union party promoted the thoroughly discredited idea that compromise on the slavery issue was possible. the republican party, which represented northern anti-slavery interests, had been in existence for only six years; it nominated abraham lincoln. by mid-summer most americans understood that the fractured democratic party guaranteed a republican win at the polls in november. election day saw a turnout of 81.2 percent of the eligible voting age population (in contrast, the figure for the election of 2016 was 55.5 percent). responding to lincoln’s victory, the south carolina general assembly approved an ordinance of secession on december 20, a move that would be replicated by 10 other southern states determined to protect the institution of slavery from lincoln and a republican congress. the seceded states provoked a war that claimed 700,000 lives. more americans died in the civil war than in all other wars in the nation’s history combined. the end of the war proved that it was not the year 1860 that was crazy, but the self-deluded secessionists who assumed any conflict with the union would be but a brief romp.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1968: ‘the most tumultuous year we should remember’</strong><br /> <em>leo ribuffo is a professor of history at george washington university</em>.</p> <p>i could choose any year of the civil war, for reasons that should be obvious. or i could pick 1877 or 1919, for reasons that are slightly less so. in march 1877, republican rutherford b. hayes became president as part of a sordid but sensible deal to resolve a corrupt and violent election. hayes took office amid a recession that, during the summer, precipitated a bloody national railroad strike eventually broken by state militia and federal troops. in 2017 terms, damage was comparable to the destruction of major airport terminals and hundreds of planes. nineteen-nineteen was marked by the start of post-world war i “stagflation,” murderous anti-black riots in many cities, defeat of the versailles treaty after a bitter congressional debate, and a red scare with ideological legacies lasting at least through mccarthyism. president woodrow wilson hunkered down in the white house almost totally disabled by a stroke. </p> <p>but 1861-65, 1877 and 1919 probably seem so 19th- or early-20th century to readers of politico magazine. therefore, the award for the most tumultuous year we should remember goes to 1968. it wasn’t all sex, drugs, and rock and roll. american deaths in vietnam peaked at nearly 17,000. assassins killed robert kennedy and martin luther king, jr. amid the urban uprisings following king’s murder, the fires in washington, d.c., were the worst since the british attacked the city and burned the white house in 1814. richard nixon was elected president after campaigning as a moderate, which in a way he was because segregationist george wallace on his right got 9.9 million votes. nineteen sixty-eight also merits the prize because many of today’s officials and pundits were already adults. president donald trump turned 22, house democratic leader nancy pelosi 28, and cnn anchor wolf blitzer 20. with minimal effort, they could remember what an extraordinary national crisis looks like instead of promoting the apocalyptic self-absorption of the present.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1973-1974: a political scandal, a resignation, a market crash</strong><br /> <em>vanessa walker is morgan assistant professor of diplomatic history at amherst college</em>.</p> <p>this past year has made a strong case for the “craziest year” in american politics. while most presidents have preferred at least the veneer of respectability, the current administration seems to delight in the specter of open dysfunction and provocation. still, in our never-ending whirl of scandals and crises, let’s not forget the final year in office of richard milhous “when-the-president-does-it-that-means-it’s-not-illegal” nixon. nixon started the last year of his presidency with covert support for the coup in chile that toppled one of the strongest democracies in the hemisphere in september of 1973. this was followed quickly by the yom kippur war in october, resulting in the opec embargo and oil crisis. and humming away in the background was the final withdrawal of u.s. troops from vietnam, the country’s (then) longest conflict. and then there was the watergate scandal: gross abuses of executive power to intimidate domestic political opponents, obstruct justice and undermine the constitutional separation of powers. facing impending impeachment, in august 1974 nixon became the first and only president to resign the office. gerald ford, a fundamentally decent man, took over the presidency only because the former vice president, spiro agnew, had been forced to resign less than a year earlier under charges of conspiracy, fraud and bribery. the same day ford sought to heal the country by pardoning nixon in september 1974, he was greeted with headlines about u.s. covert operations that had led to the military coup in chile. ford thus had the dubious distinction of being the first president to publically acknowledge u.s. covert operations.</p> <p>by the time nixon gave his final iconic and unrepentant wave as he boarded the helicopter to leave the white house, he had championed the benefits of dividing the american public through “positive polarization,” attacked the press for its “unfair” and “biased” coverage of his administration, dismissed anti-war protestors as “bums,” and promoted the image of himself as a “madman” with his finger on the nuclear launch button to scare the north vietnamese back to the negotiating table. </p> <p>even with all of this, 2017 could go toe-to-toe with the last year of the nixon white house in<strong> </strong>terms of political sensationalism. so, what gives 1973-1974 the edge? amid our very real political turmoil this year, we have been spared the miseries of that unfortunate 1970s malaise of stagflation. just imagine this past year with the addition of a serious stock market crash, double digit inflation, and cars lined up around the block waiting for gas. the current booming economy has clearly tempered public impatience with the political shenanigans that have marked this year—and puts nixon’s last year in office in the lead for crazy. of course, there are still two weeks left in the year, and 2017 has been nothing if not unpredictable.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1968: ‘it’s hard to think of a more chaotic year’</strong><br /> <em>david greenberg is professor of history and media studies at rutgers</em>.</p> <p>it’s hard to think of a more chaotic year in contemporary american history than 1968. after years of mounting social discord over civil rights, civil liberties, changing codes of behavior and the war in vietnam, many citizens now firmly believed—be it with hope or dread—that a revolution was nigh. the year began with the tet offensive, which convinced many americans the war was unwinnable, and ended with the presidential election victory of richard nixon, a man whose political career had been said to be over just six years before. in between, turbulence reigned. </p> <p>six weeks after tet, a second-tier minnesota senator, eugene mccarthy, nearly upset president lyndon johnson in the new hampshire primary, leading johnson to forsake a second full term. three weeks after that, the era’s greatest civil rights hero, martin luther king, jr., was assassinated in memphis. and later that spring, the democrats’ best hope for retaining the white house, robert f. kennedy, was also murdered—on the night he won the final presidential primary, in california—by a palestinian terrorist, sirhan sirhan. on campuses like columbia university’s, student strikes halted normal operations. in cities like washington, d.c., riots leveled black neighborhoods. antiwar protesters clashed with chicago police in august at the democratic convention; in september feminists protested the miss america pageant in atlantic city. to look abroad brought americans no relief either, as violent protests rocked cities from mexico city to paris, and rome to prague—where soviet troops crushed the so-called prague spring. in december, one bright spot gave americans some reason to look to the future: as part of the apollo 8 mission, the first men orbited the moon—suggesting perhaps that if life on earth seemed irredeemably conflict-ridden, new frontiers of hope lay ahead.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1920: ‘the world was in chaos’</strong><br /> <em>nicole hemmer is an assistant professor at the university of virginia’s miller center</em>.</p> <p>no year can compete with 2017 in terms of the volume and pace of news. but in terms of chaos, 1920 would be a solid competitor.</p> <p>the world was in chaos. the great war had ended just weeks before, and it was still uncertain what, if anything, would emerge from the rubble. in the first few months of the year, congress voted first against joining the league of nations, then against ratifying the treaty of versailles, leaving the state of world affairs, and america’s role in them, an open question.</p> <p>at home, social and economic chaos reigned. the u.s. military rapidly demobilized, bringing four million troops home without any plans for their reintegration. agricultural markets, buoyed by the war, collapsed, triggering a farming depression that would last for two decades. massive strikes, which had started a year earlier, continued to roil american industry. this mass unrest triggered fears of anarchy and communism that led to america’s first red scare. the justice department organized raids of questionable constitutionality, rounding up thousands of leftists. </p> <p>you want political chaos? in early 1920, the public became aware of the extent of president woodrow wilson’s debilitating strokes, which left him largely incapacitated for the remainder of his term. the impending presidential election saw the electorate doubled by the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. and what an election it was: warren g. harding, the dark horse republican nominee, was a newspaper man who had newly minted hollywood celebs campaigning for him while the rnc sent his mistress—and her husband—on a cruise to asia to keep them away from the press. he ran against another newspaper man, james cox, and the socialist eugene debs, who in 1920 conducted his presidential campaign from federal prison, where he was being jailed for speaking out against the draft. </p> <p>oh, and in september, the u.s. experienced its deadliest terror attack to date, when a horse-drawn carriage exploded on wall street, killing 38 people and wounding hundreds more. no wonder that by november, americans were ready to vote for the “return to normalcy” harding had promised: 1920 had left them reeling.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1861: ‘democratic politics … came very close to a breaking point’</strong><br /> <em>joshua zeitz is the author of </em><a href='' target='_blank'>building the great society: inside lyndon johnson’s white house</a>.</p> <p>“the people are impatient,” abraham lincoln confided to montgomery meigs, the union army’s quartermaster general shortly after the close of his first year in office. “[secretary of treasury salmon] chase has no money and he tells me he can raise no more; the general of the army has typhoid fever. the bottom is out of the tub. what shall i do?” </p> <p>americans today are living through turbulent and unsetting times that will test the elasticity of our political traditions and institutions. but we’ve endured worse. no one knew it better than lincoln.</p> <p>in 1861, democratic politics in the united states came very close to a breaking point. eleven states seceded from the union, leading the senate to expel 11 members, including former vice president john c. breckenridge. thousands of army and naval officers renounced allegiance to their country. in response, the president summarily suspended the writ of habeas corpus (something he most likely did not have the constitutional authority to do), not just in the rebellious states, but also in maryland, which remained in the union only after he placed roughly one-third of the state legislature behind bars. </p> <p>we’re not currently on course for a second civil war, and on the whole, america’s public institutions—the courts, law enforcement, state governments—have held their own against the threat posed by trumpism (and by its congressional enablers). but there’s some lesson in that earlier era. </p> <p>as unmoored as it was from past experience, 1861 merely presaged five years of greater revolutionary activity that followed. southern democrats had formally repudiated democratic process, and in response, northern republicans felt emboldened to undertake counter-measures that in very recent memory would have been unthinkable. they confiscated rebel property, created a new paper currency, borrowed vast sums of money, funded the construction of land grant colleges and transcontinental railroad construction—the education and infrastructure bills of their day. they emancipated and granted citizenship to four million slaves. </p> <p>writing later that decade, the historian george ticknor observed a “great gulf between what happened before in our century and what has happened since, or what is likely to happen hereafter. it does not seem to me as if i were living in the country in which i was born.”</p> <p>for every political action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. as was true in 1861, we’ve only seen the start of it.</p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>1890: an unpopular tax bill, voter suppression, an impending revolt</strong><br /> <em>heather richardson is a professor of history at boston college.</em></p> <p>every time the u.s. government swings too far toward oligarchy we have a political crisis as a small minority tries to retain power in the face of an angry and growing opposition. this tension gave us 1860, as well as 1932. it also gave us 1890.</p> <p>in may of that year, republican congressmen yelled and cheered as they passed a major revenue bill that gave rich businessmen everything they wanted. they had forced the bill through, ignoring regular order, democratic amendments, and the voters to whom they had promised financial “reform.” as congressmen celebrated, a democrat yelled across the aisle: “you may rejoice now … but next november you’ll mourn.”</p> <p>republicans just laughed. they felt utterly secure. sure, republican policies were hideously unpopular, but people would like them once they understood that government protection of workers was socialism and would undermine american greatness, while giving money to capitalists meant investment in the economy that would trickle down to poorer americans. in any case, republicans couldn’t lose. they had gamed the system to control the government no matter how unpopular they were. their president had lost the popular vote but they had won the white house through the electoral college anyway. they had quietly taken over a popular media outlet to trumpet the administration’s talking points. they suppressed the democratic vote. and they had monkeyed with the system by adding six new states to the union: north dakota, south dakota, montana, washington, wyoming and idaho. with these new republican states, they expected that they would never again lose the senate or the presidency. big-business republicans celebrated their permanent remaking of the american government. </p> <p>but the democrat who told them they would mourn was right. the extremists controlling the government had alienated not just democrats, but also most republicans, who lamented that their party had been replaced by a corrupt organization only interested in making the rich richer. over the next two years, republican leaders watched aghast as voters did the unthinkable, tossing them out of power in congress and the white house, and beginning the political revolution that led to the progressive era. </p> <p>***</p> <p><strong>‘in the realm of craziness, 2017 has no contenders’</strong><br /> <em>jack rackove is professor of history and political science at stanford university</em>.</p> <p>in ordinary times, <em>crazy</em> is not a useful variable of social science or a helpful framework for historical analysis. but of course, ordinary historical time ended 13 months ago (and counting, day by day, hour by hour, tweet by tweet), and the question arises: is this the craziest year in our nation’s political history? the working historian can readily identify other years that were patently more momentous, and we can justify their importance by invoking all those factors that we spend our scholarly years studying. but in the realm of craziness, 2017 has no contenders.</p> <p>why is that the case? one could argue, for example, that the new republican mode of lawmaking, which involves drafting legislation behind closed doors, with no serious discussion, to fuel some madcap rush to get a vote, represents a crazed alternative to the madisonian model of serious prolonged deliberation. or one could hold that it is a crazed model of governance to experience one traumatic weather emergency after another, yet turn our institutions of environmental regulation over to a crowd of climate change deniers and big business chumps. </p> <p>but the best case for craziness inheres in our prolonged uncertainty over the mental state of our chief executive. there are already countless ways to measure the ever-oscillating mood swings in the white house. just consider the two long newspaper pieces that have run in the last fortnight, with the <em>new york times</em> describing trump’s working day—or is it better called viewing day?—while the <em>washington post</em> details his persistent preference for the word of vladimir putin over the reports of his own intelligence agencies. </p> <p>in my view, however, the real craziness of 2017 is best expressed in terms of constitutional theory. our constitution vests the entire executive power in a single individual. no worse joke has been played on the american people than the very fact that tens of thousands of eighth graders have a far better grasp of the constitution than donald trump, even though he swore a sacred oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” it on january 20, before the record crowds he deluded himself to see assembled before him. that’s not just political craziness; it’s truly <em>meshugah</em> in every sense of the term. just try to imagine a conversation with jefferson, madison, either adams, or abraham lincoln—strong constitutionalists all—on one side of the table, and the current chief executive on the other. that would be crazy, too!</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>politico</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Photoshop vs. Illustrator vs. InDesign <p>from photo editing to typography tools to sound design, the industry-standard adobe creative suite gives creators of all kinds everything they need to create professional work fast—for literally any type of design project.</p> <p>for now, let’s get graphic. whether it’s creating a logo design, designing social media graphics or putting together a brochure, adobe has created the perfect app solutions with photoshop, illustrator and indesign.</p> <p><img alt='adobe bouncing icons gif photoshop illustrator indesign' src='' /></p> <p>this collection of apps is crazy powerful, and each one is packed with dozens of features that are optimized for specific types of projects. using the right app for the right project makes the design process better. period.</p> <p>design becomes more efficient because designers can work faster to create more options for their clients in less time. and designers can produce higher quality work with tools that are tailored to the project (you could paint a wall with a garden shovel, but you wouldn’t). using the right tool also makes you more flexible and able to edit or modify designs based on changing needs.</p> <p>so how do you know which app to use? most graphic design jobs can be evaluated along these 3 lines:</p> <h3>1. print or digital</h3> <p><img alt='' src='' /></p> <p>by <a href=''>cogitodesigns</a> for celestino</p> <p><img alt='' src='' /></p> <p>by <a href=''>dsky</a></p> <p>a print project will be physically printed on some sort of media (e.g. business cards, flyers, t-shirts, packaging, stickers and more). digital projects will be viewed on a screen (e.g. social media graphics, <a href=''>banner ads</a>, <a href=''>websites</a>, e-books, presentations and more).</p> <h3>2. image or text</h3> <p><img alt='' src='' /></p> <p>by <a href=''>evilltimm</a> for baubles and beads</p> <p><img alt='' src='' /></p> <p>by <a href=''>pecas</a> for the narrative loft</p> <p>image projects involve visual elements like photos, illustrations, shapes and patterns. text projects focus on words, whether it’s a few (<a href=''>business cards</a>) or a bunch (brochures and booklets). often, projects will use both.</p> <h3>3. vector or raster</h3> <p><img alt='' src='' /></p> <p>by <a href=''>bo_rad</a> for the burger state</p> <p><img alt='' src='' /></p> <p>via <a href=''>unsplash</a></p> <p>a vector project is an image built with lines and curves that can be enlarged or shrunk-down to any size (e.g. logos). a raster project is an image built out of a set number of pixels that will change in quality when resized (e.g. photos).</p> <p>so, pick an app, any app. let’s take a look at when you should use each.</p> <p><img alt='photoshop vs illustrator vs indesign: which adobe app is best for what graphic design project? ' src='' /></p> <h2>when should i use photoshop?<br /> —</h2> <p>what’s photoshop good for? this one’s pretty easy (hint: it’s in the name). yup, photos. the app was originally designed as a comprehensive solution for creating, editing and retouching any type of raster image. since then, photoshop has evolved a full slate of tools that allow users to do so much more. fine artists use it to draw, sketch and even paint digitally. photographers use it to adjust and transform their photos with color and lighting. production designers use it to create web-ready digital images.</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2016-08-10 at 11.22.33 am' src='' style='height:2000px; width:3144px' /></p> <p>let’s make a rad album cover. first up: an awesome background photo edited in photoshop.</p> <p>when most people think of graphic design, they think photoshop. and it’s true: photoshop is the most powerful app for both creating and enhancing images. layers make it simple to develop templates that can be edited and rearranged with one click. the adjustment tools are much more powerful than any of the other apps and allow tiny tweaks to be made to color, contrast, brightness and more.</p> <p>but photoshop isn’t always the best solution. here’s a look at when photoshop works best and some instances it makes more sense to move over to illustrator or indesign.</p> <h3>use photoshop when…</h3> <ul> <li>it’s time to retouch photos. need to color correct a photo? or tame some flyaway hair? or digitally zap a zit? photoshop = photos. and there’s no better tool.</li> <li>you need to edit artwork for digital or print. that could be a photo, painting, drawing, or anything else. photoshop is the right tool to make sure every line, shadow and texture is in place. then, you can use that artwork anywhere, either on its own or in a illustrator or indesign project.</li> <li>you want digital images for the web like social media images, banner ads, email headers, videos etc. creating these images in photoshop will ensure they’re right size and optimized for the web.</li> <li>you have to create a website or app mockup. layers make it easy to move ui elements around, and because photoshop is a pixel-based editing program, you’ll know that your design is sized correctly for any screen size.</li> <li>you want to get fancy with <a href=''>animation</a> and video. today, cameras can not only shoot fantastic photos, but they can also capture some pretty sweet video, too. photoshop makes it easy to cut together simple video clips and add graphics, filters, text, animation and more.</li> </ul> <h3>use a different app when…</h3> <ul> <li>you need to create a logo. because they’re used so many different places, logos need to be resizeable. photoshop isn’t optimized to create vector artwork, so unless you want to stumble through a bunch of challenging workarounds, your images will exist at only one size. if you need to enlarge them, they will likely get pixelated and “blurry,” making them unacceptable for printing.</li> <li>you need to layout lots of text. whether it’s print or digital, photoshop doesn’t handle large amounts of text very well. headlines and short lines of copy for images like banner ads and social media graphics are fine, but if you’re dealing with paragraphs of text, try illustrator or indesign.</li> </ul> <h2>when should i use illustrator?<br /> —</h2> <p>illustrator is adobe’s magic vector-image machine. that means that anything created in illustrator can be scaled to teeny-tiny favicon thumbnails or ginormous times square billboards—all without losing any quality or adding any weird pixelation. a design created in illustrator will look identical on a business card or a bus wrap. and that makes it a logo’s best friend.</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2016-08-10 at 12.14.26 pm' src='' style='height:2000px; width:3144px' /></p> <p>a bad-ass band needs a bad-ass logo and some killer vector art created in illustrator.</p> <p>when you think print, think illustrator. using this app’s tools you can easily design layouts, set type, create design elements and even place raster images made with photoshop. it’s really the best of both worlds. plus, the freeform, flexible artboard workspace makes it easy to dream up and experiment with ideas before you finalize them—all in the same place.</p> <p>illustrator is powerful, but just like photoshop it has its own set of limitations. take a look at when illustrator will be your bestie, and when you might need to find another friend to hang with.</p> <h3>use illustrator when…</h3> <ul> <li>you need to create a logo, icon or brand mascot. every vector shape and line created in illustrator can be blown up to any size, which makes it ideal for images that need to be used in many different ways.</li> <li>you want a one-page print piece. illustrator is perfect for posters, business cards, flyers and notecards. the app’s powerful vector tools to create visually punchy headlines that can be combined with other raster images.</li> <li>you need to set type for a logo. illustrator’s typesetting features are incredibly powerful, enabling any text to be transformed into a fully editable shape that can be stretched, skewed and transformed any way imaginable. looking for the perfect logotype? start here.</li> </ul> <h3>use a different app when…</h3> <ul> <li>you need to edit images. if a raster image (photo or artwork) is being used in a composition, illustrator has few tools to edit that image directly. photoshop can make more comprehensive adjustments like color, contrast and brightness.</li> <li>you need to create multi-page documents. illustrator can handle one-pagers like a charm, but for anything more indesign is the way to go because of features like page numbering, master page templates and better text layout functionality.</li> </ul> <h2>when should i use indesign?<br /> —</h2> <p>adobe developed indesign for the desktop publishing market, and it’s primarily used to layout newspapers, magazines, books, posters and flyers. pretty much anything with large amounts of text should go straight into indesign.</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2016-08-10 at 12.22.04 pm' src='' style='height:1972px; width:3114px' /></p> <p>time to put it all together. check out these sweet digital liner notes laid out with indesign.</p> <p>but illustrator can layout text too, right? yeah, but indesign kicks that up a notch—and then some. indesign allows you to set-up master page templates so page designs are instantly unified throughout the entire document. pages are numbered automatically and can easily be re-ordered, duplicated and swapped. text styles, columns, margins and other features specific to publishing are also much more robust. put simply, if it’s got text, indesign can handle it.</p> <p>indesign was built with some very specific uses in mind. here’s when you should go with this solution.</p> <h3>use indesign when…</h3> <ul> <li>you need to layout a multi-page, text-heavy piece. print or digital, indesign was made to layout text, period. if you’re designing a magazine, brochure or booklet, you’ll want to make this your first stop. of the three applications, indesign has the most robust typesetting features available, and it integrates with <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>adobe digital publishing solution</a>, allowing you to create fully interactive e-books, magazines, and other digital publications.</li> </ul> <h3>use a different app when…</h3> <ul> <li>you need to design for smaller jobs (like business cards and flyers). illustrator can work just as well.</li> <li>you need to edit images. indesign has little to no image editing capabilities. photoshop can make more comprehensive adjustments like color, contrast and brightness.</li> <li>you need to design a logo. indesign can create limited shapes, but if you need a logo for your document, design it first in illustrator and then import it.</li> </ul> <h2>the right tool for the right job<br /> —</h2> <p>want great work? use the right tool. want kick-ass, amazing, mind-blowing work? learn how to combine all of the features of photoshop, illustrator and indesign. these apps can all work together seamlessly to create designs that blow everyone away.</p> <p>once you’ve found the app you need for a project, become an expert in everything it does so you can start working more efficiently and creating more flexible, high-quality designs. one place to start: <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'></a>. an awesome online resource filled with classes for beginners and experts on every single feature of the adobe creative suite.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>99 designs</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 From Top to Bottom: Vertical Orientation is Gaining Popularity in Web Design <p>from left to right (or for such languages as arabic or persian from right to left), from top to bottom that is our accustomed path of exploring things in the books, documents, websites, advertisements, pamphlets, etc. in general, horizontal orientation comes first. so when the things are arranged according to the y-axis, it always feels like a disturbance in the force.</p> <p>the fascination with vertical orientation became perceptible last year when it started to set the rhythm for primary navigation menus, as designers saw it as an interesting technique to enhance aesthetics. to be completely honest, split homepages (the website of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>erkan demiroglu</a> is a perfect example) that are the product of the vertical orientation, have been in-trend for a couple of years.</p> <p><img alt='erkan demiroglu' src='' style='height:594px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>erkan demiroglu</a></em></p> <p>but what about 2017? this year, it hits its stride to the full extent, starting to dictate the rules for different elements and aspects of interfaces. if you pay attention, you may notice it everywhere. unlike the majority of trends that quickly invade the design and eventually become annoying, the solution does not feel overused nor banal; on the contrary, it looks great and fresh like an icing on a cake.</p> <p>like “yummy chocolate sprinkles,” it can benefit almost any element of the interface. let’s start with the minor usage and end with websites that manage to master the mainstream.</p> <h2>at an easy pace</h2> <p>our first stop is websites that distinguish themselves with single or minor usage of vertically aligned elements. in the traditional horizontal entourage, such injections give the general aesthetics an outstanding spice without much effort.</p> <p>the trend can serve as a way to:</p> <ul> <li>present the sphere of expertise. examine the personal portfolio of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>rob mills</a>. the stack of vertical panels subtly embraces all directions and creates a pleasant sense of order.</li> <li>convey a message like <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>ims productions</a>’ homepage where the perfect combination of vertical typography treatment and decorative elements such as an outline rectangle and striped-like background put the message in the spotlight.</li> <li>organize content flow like <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>taika strom</a>. here the content is densely located in the center with white space on the left and right. this forms a prominent visual path for the readers, saving information from being overlooked.</li> <li>give the brand identity a special spot like <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>gera & rod</a>. the majestic floral centerpiece that adorns the typography-based logotype instantly becomes the center of attention.</li> </ul> <p><img alt='rob mills' src='' style='height:551px; width:1199px' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><em>rob mills</em></a></p> <p><img alt='ims productions' src='' style='height:592px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>ims productions</a></em></p> <p><img alt='taika strom' src='' style='height:597px; width:1199px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>taika strom</a></em></p> <p><img alt='gera & rod' src='' style='height:531px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>gera & rod</a></em></p> <p>if you think that the trend is applicable for general purposes only, then you are wrong since it can be found in unconventional and unexpected spots these days. the elements of the interfaces that you are accustomed to seeing mainly stretched derive benefits from it most of all. for example, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>momento multimedia</a> and <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>two chimps coffee</a>.</p> <p><img alt='momento multimedia' src='' style='height:583px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>momento multimedia</a></em></p> <p>the first opts in favor of a slider that depicts images in full-height rather than at full-width. this trick gives visual content almost the same priority as the text block on the left.</p> <p>the latter has a neat minimalistic front page where two straight-up outline drawings, which are on the sides, tell the story and establish the mood. this approach works great also with the non-static art; look at the website of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>heart of travel – southwest rapid rewards</a>.</p> <p><img alt='two chimps coffee' src='' style='height:594px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>two chimps coffee</a></em></p> <p>it has a small exhibition of upstanding dynamic computer-generated artworks with one of them featuring in the welcome area. it looks artificial as compared with the previous example, yet still, it charms with magnetic personality<em>.</em></p> <p><img alt='heart of travel - southwest rapid rewards' src='' style='height:560px; width:1199px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>heart of travel – southwest rapid rewards</a></em></p> <h2>take the trend more seriously</h2> <p>the teams behind the websites of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>tender to art</a>, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>canvas united</a> and <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>one year in review</a> by one design company did not stop with minor changes – they got the most out of the trend. let’s examine them closely.</p> <p>as an artistic incubator, tender to art avoids the banality of using illustrated approach and proves everyone that even without picturesque environment you can impart the impression of creativity and class.</p> <p>while the inner pages are rather conventional, the homepage catches the eye with a masterful usage of vertical orientation. the text-based logotype, scroll-down indicator, slider, a hamburger menu button all have elements that are enhanced with vertical appeal.</p> <p><img alt='tender to art' src='' style='height:584px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>tender to art</a></em></p> <p>canvas united is more conservative than the tender to art; nevertheless, its take on the trend is worthy of attention for those who intend to use more than one or two vertically aligned elements in the design. here, the block of stacked social media links, tiny slider pagination buttons, and marvelous striped-like background underlie general aesthetics.</p> <p><img alt='canvas united' src='' style='height:593px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>canvas united</a></em></p> <p>one year in review’s landing page consists of four main elements: tagline, dynamic background, thank-you list and a call-to-action button. the first three lie in the vertical plane naturally guides users from top to bottom.</p> <p><img alt='one year in review' src='' style='height:590px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>one year in review</a></em></p> <h2>vertical orientation in all its beauty</h2> <p>it is difficult to go wrong with the minor usage. after all, it is still the same traditional site that rests on the horizontal position with details nicely aligned in y-axis that are focal points without being loud or overwhelming. however, what about creating a website where the vertical orientation lies in the heart of the overall aesthetics? much like with any other trend, it should be practiced with the caution. if you overdo it, the tendency will fire back ruining the harmony. it is a bold step to take, but when done wisely, it will bring about the fabulous outcome. consider <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>crazy</a> and <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>carazo arquitectura</a>.</p> <p>both websites are thoughtfully constructed. the vertical plane stamped its charming personality on both of them. notice how the alignment breathes new life into basic elements of the interface.</p> <p><img alt='crazy' src='' style='height:591px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>crazy</a></em></p> <p>crazy’s homepage has only two things that obey the traditional x-axis: the logotype and hamburger icon. everything else is upright. visually, you can define three columns with sensible gaps and a sense of order. the design breaks out of the classic structure and excels with the visual appeal.</p> <p>the carazo arquitectura’s front page uses vertically aligned elements as decorative details. while the image in the center stays in a precise oblong, the navigation, tagline, caption, and slider pagination with a bunch of complementary carefully scattered throughout the screen short lines remain straight-up as if appealing to move down. the design is sophisticated and elegant.</p> <p><img alt='carazo arquitectura' src='' style='height:594px; width:1200px' /></p> <p><em><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>carazo arquitectura</a></em></p> <h3>conclusion</h3> <p>once in a while, it’s great to go off the beaten track just by altering an angle. vertical orientation is a trick that is quite familiar but is still able to give the boring things a lively zest. moreover, it works well with almost any element of the interface whether it is a slider or just an ornament.</p> <p>what do you think about this trend? is vertical orientation a valid tool to introduce improvements and diversity in designs? in what way does it benefit your interfaces?</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>design modo</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 The web is always evolving, you should be too <p>the web actually is always evolving. there’s always new information being pumped through it, and new technologies being built to make it better. the internet literally rules the world.</p> <p>there’s isn’t much that now isn’t found on the internet, so if your business isn’t moving as the web is, you’re going to be falling behind before you know it. there’s so much potential for a business if they put themselves on the web, you just need to know how to do it properly. if you don’t feel like you’re reaching your full potential, here’s a guide to get you going.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>your website</a> is key to your business. anyone who thinks it isn’t definitely isn’t doing it right. if you do do it right, your website should bring in the majority of your sales. everyone goes on the internet nowadays to buy everything, it’s just so much easier than going in the shop.</p> <p>so, the main thing to focus on is the design. you need to try and keep it unique, but at the same time focus on keeping it smart and not too out there. some websites are just far too over the top. they look cluttered and hard to use.</p> <p>this is when you’re going to see customers leaving rather than staying. sticking to simplicity as much as your can is guaranteed to get your better results. if possible, you want the theme to try and follow your logo colours. if you don’t already have a logo, this is definitely something you need to consider sorting before your website. consistency is key, and customers like to see that. if you’re going to go for something bright and bold, just bear the design of your website in mind.</p> <p>the next thing you need to think about is how you’re going to do it. creating a really good website isn’t as easy as a few clicks of a button. it actually is really hard to set up a responsive website, especially one that is going to work well for your customers.</p> <p>there’s a lot of background coding involved. you need to be contacting companies such as <a href=''>jps design group</a> to do the job for you. having someone who has done it hundreds of time before, and who you know will do a professional job is important.</p> <p>you’ve worked hard on your business, you don’t want your website to be dragging it down. when working with someone, make sure you convey all your ideas the right way. it’s easy for them to get the ball rolling with something that just isn’t what you asked for because your instructions were not clear. make sure you go in with precise ideas that you know is going to work for you.</p> <p>once you’ve got the website nailed, you need to market yourself to get it noticed more on google. research seo tactics and maybe even hire an seo consultant to try to boost your rankings. the more exposure, the more sales you’re going to have.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>bankless times</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 19 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How to perform a DIY site audit <p>according to the seo experts, regular seo audits are important to ensure that your website effectively evolves with the <a href='' target='_blank'>ever-changing search algorithm of google</a>. some of the most important tips and tricks are listed below that you can do yourself for seo website audits. the search engine rankings of some websites were affected by the series of updates by google algorithm in the past few years. </p> <p>search engine optimization emphasizes all its focus in this modern world. seo audits are nothing but the simple analysis or a check to ensure the things are done properly. your audit needs to be concerning you altogether. you cannot determine the best audit by the price they demand or the size of problems they put in forth. every website is different and unique in its ways and should be dealt differently. </p> <p>according to jeanie krzyzanowski, the director of a link building strategy company, performing an seo audit is considered efficient and beneficial for every business. in these recent years, google has changed a lot and looks at every tiny bit of detail, and if there is <a href='' target='_blank'>any trouble with the basis of your websit</a>e, you might be at a high risk of being fined by the google team.</p> <p>most of the experts have to say that the intense principles that go behind the <a href='' target='_blank'>seo site audit</a> have significantly changed from the past and certain aspects are more vital in the current state than they used to be.</p> <h3><strong>understanding the various types of seo audits</strong></h3> <p>there are usually three fundamental seo audit types that are explained to the <a href='' target='_blank' title='customers'>customers</a>, they include:</p> <p><strong>organic seo audit</strong></p> <p>the term “organic” refers to all the natural techniques of attracting viewers towards your website with the help of <a href='' target='_blank'>good content and branding</a>. things that are taken care of in this type include supervision of traffic volumes, website referrals to examine the owner’s strengths, top - <a href='' target='_blank'>converting keywords</a>, looking at the weak points of your website, which site the viewer opens next when he closes your page is also known, what are your competitors doing, etc.</p> <p><strong>on-page seo audit</strong></p> <p>high alert traffic can happen overnight with only one or two tweaks. the job of the on-page seo audits look after the more technical aspects such as the title tags, header tags, meta descriptions, indexing, mobile optimization, sitemaps, and the factors that affect the loading time of a website.</p> <p><strong>backlink audit</strong></p> <p>as you might know that, the links on your page are from the third party sites serve as the important testimonials to the credibility of your website. they make sure that the search engines are aware of the existence of your site. “hey, this is a valuable site; make sure you promote it in your listings.” you might also know that all the links are not equal and the backlink audit lets the clients know which links are impacting their sites and which links are earning them a high amount of money so that they can get into more fruitful relationships. </p> <p><strong>how to implement it?</strong></p> <p><img alt='151307914147 kiss 89kb - how to perform a diy site audit' src='' style='height:484px; width:1332px' title='how to perform a diy site audit' /></p> <p>some say that you should hire a professional to handle such issues. well, yes, it’s the easiest way, not the cheapest though. there is a bit more difficult way — to do it yourself using seo tools. i’ll show it by the example of <a href='' target='_blank'>serpstat</a>.</p> <p>it’s capable of all types of audits mentioned above. just create a project run your website through the site audit feature, and it will return you the whole list of errors and gaps on your website. what is more, it will point the accurate location of these errors and give you a recommendation on how to fix it:</p> <p><img alt='151307918907 kiss 72kb - how to perform a diy site audit' src='' style='height:522px; width:1115px' title='how to perform a diy site audit' /></p> <p>click on one of these errors to see the details. thus, you have the list of your errors, their location, recommendations on how to fix it, and a lot of step-by-step tutorial on the internet. i think it’s enough to fix all your errors by yourself without spending a bunch of money.  </p> <p>also, serpstat makes use of the best kind of algorithm that allows the system to explore the market shares of all the domains that are shown in the top 100 search engine results for a particular keyword and the keyword groups as well. this facility enables the search engine optimization specialists and professionals to examine the trends and consequences in the <a href='' target='_blank'>visibility of the domains</a>. </p> <p>serpstat also displays the fluctuations caused by the market share which eventually provides a vision to the users to track their opponents closely and at the same time get into the market share deeply. with the help of serpstat, you can see how well your website has been optimized, and you can compare them to the extent of optimization that your competitor’s website is own. </p> <p>this facility enables you to precisely see what the processes of optimization you have to implement the elements you certainly need to discard. with serpstat, you will be able to spot the latest errors and malfunctioning of your websites so that you can rectify within time and <a href='' target='_blank'>rank better in the search engines</a>.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>knowtechie</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 19 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Here Are The Best Visual And Graphic Design Trends To Get Behind In 2018 <p>in the era of digital art, graphic design trends can evaporate as quickly as they emerged. what has been modern for the past few years may look entirely outdated in 2018. while some trends have stood the test of time, others have vanished in the blink of an eye only to make room for new modern looks. so, if you are looking for an antonym of boring, this would be – graphic design trends 2018.</p> <h2>latest graphic crazes</h2> <p>this is the year of crazy designs, experiments and wild imagination. while you may find some of these a huge surprise, you might have seen others coming. so, let’s not waste a minute more. time to reveal which trends in graphic design will be absolute hits in 2018.</p> <h3>the “glitch” effect</h3> <p>the corrupted image, i.e. the glitch effect, has been one of the most popular trends in the digital world lately. apparently, what was once annoying for the spectator has now been turned into a truly wanted effect. </p> <p>obviously, horror movie fans have been familiar with this one for ages. year 2018 is the year when corrupted images take over graphic design world, as well.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:412px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:412px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:412px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>the “ruined” effect</h3> <p>as far as we can tell, contemporary graphic designers have been obsessed with the “art of destroying”. everything that includes splashing, scratching, ripping off, breaking or any other form of ruining the aesthetics of a composition is considered modern in 2018.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:393px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:393px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:393px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>“color channels” effects</h3> <p>playing with color channels has been widely popular among designers. the technique allows designers to create great illusional effects. a holograph, a hallucination, a distorted reality… all of these are highly influential on the viewer which makes “color channels” one of the top graphic design trends 2018.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:451px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:451px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:451px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>holography is falling behind…</h3> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:250px; width:250px' /></p> <p>the holographic design trend, which has been a huge hit for several years, is now falling behind in comparison with the other futuristic trends.</p> <p>while it’s still glamorous and mesmerizing, we’ll see less of holographic designs in 2018.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <h2>the year of double.</h2> <p>we can say with confidence that 2018 will be the year of “double”.</p> <p> </p> <h3>double exposure</h3> <p>double exposure has been a thing for several years now. despite the fact that some designers have put this technique aside for a while, we definitely see a rise of double exposure designs which amaze the viewer. here are a few stunning examples:</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:443px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:443px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:443px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>double exposure duotone</h3> <p>“i’m seeing double” will be no longer a post-liqueur effect. this trend is a hybrid from double exposure and duotone, plus using color channels. in short, double exposure duotone is achieved by doubling the image or using two different overlapping images in monochrome colors. this way, designers achieve an “ahead-of-its-time” effect.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='double color exposure' src='' style='height:452px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:452px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:452px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>double light</h3> <p>an another major “double” among graphic design trends 2018 is the double color light. this effect transforms simple compositions into new edgy, modern looking ones. double light is an effect that can be achieved with two actual sources of light, or color channel splitting. here are a few trending examples.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:450px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:450px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:450px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>wave classic duotone goodbye…</h3> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:250px; width:188px' /></p> <p>duotone translated into double exposure duotone will be a major trend next year. however, we’ll be seeing less of traditional duotone besides being one of the hottest trends for the past year.</p> <p>duotone will somehow be left in the shadow of double exposure duotone. this is not necessarily a bad thing. design is evolving, after all.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <h2>typography still rules!</h2> <h3>creative typography</h3> <p>creative typography is among the leaders for graphic design trends 2018. actually, this trend has been taking the leading places for several years and it’s not going down any time soon.</p> <p>when it comes to this technique, imagination is your strongest asset. creative typography can be combined with other techniques or used solely in the design. it impresses in both cases. check out these eye-pleasing examples.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:425px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:425px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:425px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>cropped typography</h3> <p>cropped typography was a hot trend for 2017 and is still hot for 2018. the art of erasing parts of the letters while still keeping their readability requires a lot of creativity and professionalism. the effect is 100% worth the effort.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>chaotic typography</h3> <p>chaos was declared one of the top trends for 2017. it seems that for graphic design trends 2018 it will translate into a chaotic typography. in other words, say “no” to aligning and “yes” to the unconventional order of letters and words.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>typography as real life elements</h3> <p>a modern graphic design trend is typography tightly interacting with other elements of the composition. the achieved effect is: letters turned into real-life objects. check out these awesome examples.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:351px; width:564px' /></p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:351px; width:564px' /></p> <p> </p> <h2>negative space. a positive trend.</h2> <h3>negative space designs</h3> <p>we named negative space a positive trend not because negative and positive attract each other in physics, but because in graphic aesthetics negative space techniques evoke quite positive emotions.</p> <p>in its nature negative space is an “empty” space in the design which forms a certain distinctive shape. the technique is one of the most popular ones lately and it still holds the leading positions.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:434px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:434px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:434px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>negative space typography</h3> <p>ahh… typography. obviously, the modern trend is a mixture of negative space and typography. what is quite popular about it, is that elements from the back come to the front through the wording. this is another form of interaction between typography and composition elements.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:405px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:405px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:405px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h2>bright colors are all in.</h2> <h3>colorful 3d substance</h3> <p>bright colors plus a 3d composition is an absolute winning combo for 2018. with so many graphic design trends fighting for the leading positions in 2018, bright colors are certainly on the top of the charts. and how can they not be when all the client wants is: “make it pop!”</p> <p>yes. bright colors can certainly make a design pop. in our opinion this is one of the strongest graphic design trends 2018. we also bet it will be among graphic design trends 2019. check out a few expiring examples.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:401px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:403px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:388px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>one color 3d design</h3> <p>lately, we’ve been seeing more and more product presentations using the same background color as the product presented. the product “pops” thanks to the volume created by the 3d techniques. it actually looks quite eye-pleasing.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:400px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:400px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:400px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>metallic elements</h3> <p>as an addition to bright colors, metallic elements enter the world of graphic design to create the “wow” effect. often combined with other hot trends such as 3d compositions and creative typography, this trend brings the effect of a real-life composition.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:401px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:401px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:401px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>color transitions / gradients</h3> <p>when instagram changed its logo back in 2016 into a colorful gradient, nobody thought this trend was going to become so huge. it was just the beginning of its rise. despite the fact that web wasn’t sure about this design technique (everyone was crazy about flat and material back then), here we are, seeing more and more of these colorful gradients.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:424px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>solid color flat and material are out of the spotlight…</h3> <h3><img alt='' src='' style='height:250px; width:290px' /></h3> <p>both these trends reigned the digital world for a long time but now they are past their peak. however, we will keep seeing both these trends in web and app designs which bet on functionality and unobtrusive interface for better user experience.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <h2>artistic illustrations</h2> <h3>hand-drawn illustrations</h3> <p>custom hand-drawn illustrations are always on the wave of popularity. every design is a piece of art created with a lot of talent and imagination. this is why illustrations can never go out of style.</p> <p>when it comes to graphic design, illustrations always bring a special unique vibe to the piece. in 2018 illustrations are presented in combination with other graphic design trends such as negative space, 3d structures, the “double” trend and more.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:420px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:420px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:420px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>illustrations over photos</h3> <p>an interesting trend for 2018 is combining photos with digital drawing. this technique boosts the effect of the photo and brings the composition a new edgy look. for the brands which find plain photos way too boring, this is the right trend!</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:431px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:431px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:431px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <h3>papercut illustrations</h3> <p>one of the latest graphic design trends 2018 are papercut illustrations. inspired by actual paper cutting art, this trend is quickly gaining speed. papercut illustrations recreate compositions made of different layers of paper which means depth and specific textures are must-have elements.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:356px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:356px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'><img alt='' src='' style='height:356px; width:300px' /></a></p> <p> </p> <p>if we have to describe graphic design trends 2018 in three words, these would be – anything but boring. the year of digital graphic craziness brings mesmerizing, engaging, out-of-this world designs that we can only admire. feel free to share your own digital art creations according to the latest trends, as well as your thoughts in the comments below.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>wersm</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 19 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 My website woes <p>as a writer with 30 years' experience, a couple of awards and a rock-solid sense of my own importance, barbara wade rose decided to get a new website. video! hot buttons! cold buttons! clever blogs on the host page that blow browsers' minds! this is her story.</p> <p>geekheaven (not its real name) is the hottest web-design firm in toronto, and nothing but the hottest was good enough for me, so i met with andrew, a skinny guy with a tight plaid shirt, tight black pants, white sneakers and an artisanal beard. he showed me all the cool things they could do (hot and cold running buttons! time-lapse portal pages!) if i ordered a custom-made website. i paid half upfront. he said they would have a mockup for me in a few weeks, they would tweak it to my approval, and my site would be ready to roll in just over a month.</p> <p>i sent him two dozen ideas and content for all parts of the website to their generic address. a couple of weeks later i asked how it was going and andrew said someone named mark would take care of the design. i should talk to him. a couple of weeks after that, and a nudge or two from me, we agreed to meet at geekheaven's offices: a loft, of course, with wind blowing through the industrial-glass windows and walls papered with extremely nerdy head shots of all the staff members.</p> <p>my custom design? mark had prepared a one-page website page about as good as any template wordpress turns out. i told him i had ordered a custom site, which surprised him. we spent an hour talking about ideas; he had some good ones, he listened, and we agreed to get it done. he seemed eager and i felt sorry for him.</p> <p>mark disappeared for over a month. i was looking through the fine print of the geekheaven contract when an e-mail came from someone named rebecca that said they couldn't do any work on my site until i submitted some content and, meanwhile, for me to have an amazing day. i sent them my two dozen ideas and content.</p> <p>i eventually sent this e-mail to geekheaven:</p> <p>i have paid [insert embarrassing amount here] for four months of nonsense. the geekheaven welcome package states: "we're great at managing your project, especially when things go wrong."</p> <p>please let me know specifically how, when and whether a new site will be finished.</p> <p>the owner read my e-mail and decided the buck stopped with andrew. but they promised they would have a website ready for me to review in a couple of weeks! i'm an optimist. a couple of weeks later three new hipsters greeted me, none of them mark. "he's at an uptown location now," said a man with waxed curlicues at the ends of his mustache. a fourth wandered in and out of the room, playing a ukelele. i kid you not.</p> <p>i showed them hard copies of my ideas for the site. "oh," one nodded. "i worked on that last night." we could hear plunking somewhere down the hall. i realized i could be the mother of any of these banjo-playing fools, and they knew it, and if mom expected them to act like grown-ups they were going to teach me a thing or two.</p> <p>but after the meeting a staffer named nadia met with me one-on-one, and when she was told what i had gone through she actually started to cry. "you've got a good heart," she said. "you are golden." and as i said before, i'm an optimist. nadia worked diligently on the site for a week until it was "almost done." then i was told she had gone to the same uptown location as mark and everybody's old dogs.</p> <p>"i may be an optimist," barack obama once said, "but i'm not a sap."</p> <p>six months had passed since my first conversation with geekheaven. when i went to their office the next time i took my husband, a university professor who inhales hipsters and exhales man buns. we asked rashad, the new web designer, what was going on. he confessed working for geekheaven was a nightmare.</p> <p>we demanded to meet the owner in person. finally. the cool dude in the e-mail photo turned out to be a guy my age wearing a too-tight plaid shirt, too-tight black pants, white sneakers and an artisanal toupee.</p> <p>we fired geekheaven, of course. i guess losing my [insert embarrassing amount here] deposit was worth feeling, for a moment's interim, like a righteous warrior instead of a wrinkled, stupid, unhip sap.</p> <p>as we left, my husband gave rashad some advice. "if you are a web designer like you say you are," he told him, "there are 1,000 jobs out there. if this place operates like we've seen, you need to leave. it'll destroy your soul." the look of gratitude on rashad's face said it all. we weren't the only saps paying a terrible price for all style and no content.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>the globe and mail</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 19 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 6 Packaging Trends for 2018 <p>99designs is an online graphic design marketplace that connects freelance designers with businesses seeking everything from package design to logos/logo contests to websites to individual products.</p> <p>examples of design trends are shown on its website, illustrating an article in which author martis lupus notes 10 packaging trends. says lupus, “there’s no escaping it, but thankfully packaging design is evolving every year to meet our changing needs and wants. at the forefront of those needs and wants is our reliance on e-commerce.”</p> <p>below, 99designs’ cmo pam webber provides the following six package design trends for the coming year.</p> <p><strong>1. simplicity
</strong></p> <p>minimalist design has been around for some time now and it’s not going anywhere soon. although it can come across as somewhat abstract and primitive, keeping it simple plays an important role in helping us access our intuitive side. the hardest part about going minimal is finding symbols and signs that many people can relate to. once you’ve nailed the symbolism, the message explains itself, often with few-to-no words. if you can pull it off, using less language will keep you in sync with our fast-paced society—people will barely have to slow down to grasp what your product is all about.</p> <p><strong>2. pastels</strong></p> <p>feminine, calming package design is moving into the spotlight in 2018, which means that pastels are seeing a resurgence. pastels feel like a natural reaction to the hyper-stimulating and explosive colors we’ve been experiencing. they speak to our softer side. the reduced saturation makes pastels a great choice for creating a soft, pale effect that gives products a candid and warm aura, which is translated into a pleasant and welcoming message for the potential customer. instead of being rushed and dazzled in order to look, touch, smell or taste and eventually buy, we’re being gently eased into it. <em>ahhhhh!</em> these easy shades remind us that color is light and light is energy. and the energy we materialize has an impact.</p> <p><strong>3. doodles</strong></p> <p>everybody doodles—from 9- to 90-year-olds, so you’re set as far as target markets are concerned. adults relate to this kind of free form drawing because it reminds us of the energetic, happy-go-lucky kids that we all were once. and let’s be honest: a good doodle can turn a frown upside down any given day. when seen on packaging, doodles can turn a product into a fun universe that was born from someone’s imagination and shared with the world. they also have a wonderful way of describing what’s inside the box. many times we’re smiling before we even touch the product.</p> <p><strong>4. standout shapes and materials</strong></p> <p>for the ones that aren’t about words or pastel colors, but all about innovative shapes and materials—you’re in luck! this approach falls under the “extreme packaging” category, but in a good way. turning your juice can into a bamboo segment or your resin package into a sheltering tree stump, literally means that the only thing left to do is place your logo on the package. no other words required. this method showcases the thoughtfulness and ingenuity your product brings to the market—always something to aim for when building a brand identity.</p> <p><strong>5. vintage</strong></p> <p>you can’t go forward without knowing your past. the past is ingrained in our current collective reality, which is why vintage design thrives on us remembering. throwback design give us a little something that was left behind: an essential part of our culture or memories. vintage design is also an effective way of demonstrating dedication to a certain level of quality, perhaps unaltered since the inception of the product, decades or centuries back. vintage tells a story of tradition, respect and passion, elements that remain alive—from a design standpoint—through organized structure, dense details and strong, lasting identity.</p> <p><strong>6. vibrant gradients</strong></p> <p>since the rise of flat design, gradients have been dormant, waiting for the “right time” to make their return. now, the use of gradients seems to be making a comeback. we are seeing more and more colorful gradients, adding depth and form to package design.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>health care packaging</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 11 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 10 huge graphic design trends to know for 2018 <p>what were the biggest graphic design trends of 2017, and what graphic design trends will be big in 2018? as the year draws to a close, we asked leading designers and studio heads to reflect on the last 12 months, identify the biggest movements of the moment and forecast what will be big in the new year.</p> <p>just as when we brought you the <a href=''>biggest illustration trends of 2017</a>, this isn’t about following the creative herd: it’s about taking stock of where the design industry is right now.</p> <p>whether you use these trends to be inspired or move steadfastly in the opposite direction, the information here can help inform your design choices in 2018. read on for our predictions of the biggest graphic design trends of 2018…</p> <h3>01. the 'little big idea'</h3> <p>“the design theme of 2017 was big impact, but paradoxically the best work achieved it by really sweating the small stuff,” says chris moody, creative director at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>wolff olins</a>. “the things i have found the most striking are the consommÉs – those jobs that focus on something singular and use it to create something with clarity, distinctiveness and beauty: the ‘little big idea’.</p> <p>“this year was about simple ideas, executed with intelligence and insight to create real, radical impact. <a href='!/work/nike/they-call-us-leeuwinnen' target='_blank'>w+k’s work on the dutch women's football team</a> was a tiny logo tweak that managed to question heritage, patriarchy and even what a logo stands for. the moonpig rebrand did more with the kerning of an ‘o’ than a thousand animated cartoon characters ever could.</p> <p>“if 2018 is going to be as chaotic, channel-hopping and crazy as this year was, elegant logic will be the only way to cut through.”</p> <h3>02. braver colours</h3> <p>“2017 has been a riot of colour, with graphic designers making big, bold choices,” says shaun bowen, creative partner at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>b&b studio</a>. “perhaps in an effort to inspire positivity after a difficult year in 2016, we’ve seen an influx of bright colours, often with flat graphics and only one or two colours used at any one time,” he adds.</p> <p>“more and more brands are also using their core packaging hue as the backing colour in posters and supporting graphics.</p> <p>max ottignon, co-founder at london branding agency <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>ragged edge</a>, tells a similar story. “we’ve noticed our clients getting braver,” he says. “fluoro colours and clashing tones have moved away from edgy startups into the mainstream. ebay’s new identity has colour right at its heart, using it as a way to communicate both its breadth and inclusive personality.”</p> <p>mireia lopez, creative director at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>dare</a>, concurs. “we’re seeing the use of vibrant colours in juxtaposition with bold imagery,” she says. “this can be seen as a response to minimalism and material design, from using white spaces and clean layouts to unexpected colour combinations and distinct varied typographical styles – and is across all areas of branding as well as digital.</p> <p>“the new dropbox brand direction, for example, is doing this with its creative use of images, and corporate identities such as natwest are shifting to a fresh and modern feel, using the potential of brighter colours to increase higher conversion rates. in my field, digital, this development is probably due the fact that sites can load faster and screens on phones are bigger, so it’s easier to play with images.”</p> <p>“using bright colours helps content stand out from meme-filled social media,” notes nathan sandhu, founder and creative director of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>jazzbones creative</a>.</p> <h3>03. brutalism is back</h3> <p>“although it’s been around for a while, brutalism is one of the graphic design trends i’ve seen really kick off this year,” says lopez. “the southbank centre’s rebrand by <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>north</a> is an obvious example. the simple branding and typeface used have been inspired by and go really well with southbank centre’s <a href=''>brutalist architecture</a>.</p> <p>“we’ve also definitely seen web design being influenced by the principles of the movement,” she adds. “balenciaga’s over-functional, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>anti-aesthetic site</a> is the most impressive manifestation of this in my view.’</p> <p>our article <a href=''>are brutalist sites the web's punk rock moment?</a> explores this trend in web design terms in depth.</p> <h3>04. hyper brand distillation </h3> <p>“throughout 2017, design has been getting simpler, yet richer,” says ottignon. “in a world where user experience is king, complex brand systems get in the way of the content. function overrides superfluous design details, and every brand asset needs to earn its place.”</p> <p>so brands are striving to streamline their core assets, but looking to pack more meaning and distinctiveness into each element, he argues. often this starts with the name.</p> <p>"naming briefs are increasingly becoming ‘how can we distill as much meaning into as few letters as possible? <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>bulb</a> remains a great example of this, communicating product, purpose and tone in a mere four letters. or <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>nested</a>, a proptech startup whose name delivers on both a functional and emotional level."</p> <p>naturally, it also means means scalable, digital first symbols packed with meaning – think <a href=''>youtube</a> or <a href=''>f1</a>, where an entire brand can be distilled into an app tile or a profile picture.</p> <p>“there’s also a noticeable trend towards bespoke typefaces, such as <a href=''>ibm’s plex</a>and <a href=''>bbc's reith</a> – not to mention camden market and <a href=''>giraffe</a>,” adds ottignon. “this allows a brand to show up distinctively wherever it appears, without introducing anything that isn’t strictly functional.”</p> <h3>05. modern still life </h3> <p>the use of high-end, styled and modern-looking still life has been everywhere this year. giacomo cesana, creative director at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><u>cba italy</u></a>, describes the look as: “contemporary, geometrical and a bit abstract. </p> <p>"works that use flat colours with simple objects and shapes have been trendy this year, especially in fashion and the luxury market. tiffany’s christmas campaign, created in collaboration with art photographer <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>roe ethridge</a>, is a good example of this trend in action.”</p> <h3>06. generative identities hit the mainstream</h3> <p>“we are seeing more brand identities making use of generative software graphics,” says cesana. “what used to be seen as an avant-garde craft is now most definitely in the mainstream, as nutella’s algorithm jars and the <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>hello robot catalogue</a> at the vitra design museum demonstrate.”</p> <h3>07. flat graphics in packaging</h3> <p>packaging design has made a move towards simplicity in 2017, says rowena curlewis, ceo of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>denomination</a>, a drinks design agency in sydney and london. “simplicity through the use of flat graphics can be seen across all packaging categories, including wine,” she explains. </p> <p>“this does not necessarily mean minimalism but instead a stripping back of layers, detailing, text and tone to hone in on the core information and graphics. these are then treated in a simple, deconstructed manner.</p> <p>“for example, the wine brand elephant in the room, fourth wave’s latest success story, has taken the australian wine market by storm with its single colour label design. featuring just the core information and intriguing illustrations, the contrast of its simplicity with the complexity of its competitors’ designs has ensured both distinctiveness and strong shelf standout.”</p> <h3>08. 3d modelling in typography </h3> <p>“3d modelling is the new frontier of graphic design,” says cesana. “this has especially been seen in type design, but also in pattern generation.” </p> <p>sandhu also points to a potential future trend: “one-colour 3d design is growing in popularity. there has been more and more product marketing that uses the same bold background colour as the featured product itself: the product leaps off the screen thanks to the volume created by the 3d techniques.”</p> <h3>09. geometric type breaks the helvetica cycle </h3> <p>“the use of geometry in both graphic design and type design has grown this year,” says lee fasciani, founder and director of territory projects, a sister company to <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>territory studio</a> specialising in brand and digital. </p> <p>“the use of helvetica used to happen in cycles – largely driven by the lack of alternatives (notwithstanding <a href=''>akzidenz grotesk</a>) – but now it seems the wealth of well-crafted geometric sans serifs available make designers think differently about choosing the trusted typographic statesman."</p> <p>"google fonts and the ability it gives designers to easily incorporate digital fonts into web pages is one of the reasons for this, bringing typographic consistency to branded collateral across all channels. geometric sans serif fonts also have the ability to be relatively ageless, like most geometric design."</p> <p>“there is a bold clarity and honesty to such fonts that have now been used by many large corporations to communicate the simplicity and openness that their brand team requires,” he concluded. “examples of the trend can be seen in the use of ll brown by airbnb, natwest and thameslink, and ll circular by spotify and eurosport.”</p> <h3>10. hand-drawn elements continue</h3> <p>“hand-drawn images have been particularly big in 2017,” adds sandhu. and that’s not surprising. “the personal touch that they provide to branding and marketing is undeniable,” he stresses. “in a world ever-more dominated by screens, there is just something appealing about the hand-drawn that resonates with many.”</p> <p>similarly, dan bramham, senior designer at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>greenwich design</a>, points to the recent rise of black and white hand lettering over the last 12 months. “i particularly like the work of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>oli frape</a> and <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>vic lee</a>,” he says. “it's fantastic to see something a bit less polished, and that really stood out for me this year.” and he sees it as part of a wider trend.</p> <p>“it goes hand in hand with the movement away from the very technical and a return to an artisan approach, which we're seeing across everything from food to the resurgence of handicrafts, and the search for a more balanced way of life. </p> <p>"similarly, there's been a move away from polished photography to more gritty, real-world photographs. i think this all stems from the millennial generation looking for design that has a bit more integrity, and the manifestation of physical art in graphic design has really struck a chord."</p> <p>simon wright, managing director at greenwich design, makes a similar point" "one of the things we've noticed in 2017 is the desire to be more personal through design – a nod to a previous era,” he says. “clients sending a beautifully designed postcard or a hand-written letter for example; a return to old-fashioned methods of communication as a means to stand out.”</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>creative blog</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 11 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Swearing Is Actually a Sign of More Intelligence - Not Less - Say Scientists <p>the use of obscene or taboo language - or swearing, as it’s more commonly known - is often seen as a sign that the speaker lacks vocabulary, cannot express themselves in a less offensive way, or even lacks intelligence.</p> <p>studies have shown, however, that swearing may in fact display a more, rather than less, intelligent use of language.</p> <p>while swearing can become a habit, we choose to <a href='' target='_blank'>swear in different contexts</a> and for different purposes: for linguistic effect, to convey emotion, for laughs, or perhaps even to be deliberately nasty.</p> <p>psychologists interested in when and why people swear try to look past the stereotype that swearing is the language of the unintelligent and illiterate.</p> <p>in fact, <a href='' target='_blank'>a study by psychologists from marist college</a> found links between how fluent a person is in the english language and how fluent they are in swearing.</p> <p>the former - verbal fluency - can be measured by asking volunteers to think of as many words beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet as they can in 1 minute.</p> <p>people with greater language skills can generally think of more examples in the allotted time. based on this approach, the researchers created the swearing fluency task. this task requires volunteers to list as many different swear words as they can think of in 1 minute.</p> <p>by comparing scores from both the verbal and swearing fluency tasks, it was found that the people who scored highest on the verbal fluency test also tended to do best on the swearing fluency task. the weakest in the verbal fluency test also did poorly on the swearing fluency task.</p> <p>what this correlation suggests is that swearing isn’t simply a sign of language poverty, lack of general vocabulary, or low intelligence.</p> <p>instead, swearing appears to be a feature of language that an articulate speaker can use in order to communicate with maximum effectiveness. and actually, some uses of swearing go beyond just communication.</p> <h2>natural pain relief</h2> <p>research we conducted involved <a href='' target='_blank'>asking volunteers to hold their hand in iced water</a> for as long as they could tolerate, while repeating a swear word.</p> <p>the same set of participants underwent the iced water test on a separate occasion, but this time they repeated a neutral, non-swear word. the heart rate of both sets of participants was monitored.</p> <p>what we found was that those who swore withstood the pain of the ice-cold water for longer, rated it as less painful, and showed a greater increase in heart rate when compared to those who repeated a neutral word.</p> <p>this suggests they had an emotional response to swearing and an activation of the fight or flight response: a natural defence mechanism that not only releases adrenalin and quickens the pulse, but also includes a natural pain relief known as <a href='' target='_blank'>stress-induced analgesia</a>.</p> <p>this research was inspired by the birth of my daughter when my wife swore profusely during agonising contractions. the midwives were surprisingly unfazed, and told us that swearing is a normal and common occurrence during childbirth - perhaps for reasons similar to our iced water study.</p> <h2>two-way emotional relationship</h2> <p>we wanted to further investigate how swearing and emotion are linked. our <a href='' target='_blank'>most recent study</a> aimed to assess the opposite of the original research, so instead of looking at whether swearing induced emotion in the speaker we examined whether emotion could cause an increase in swearing fluency.</p> <p>participants were asked to play a first person shooter video game in order to generate emotional arousal in the laboratory. they played for ten minutes, during which they explored a virtual environment and fought and shot at a variety of enemies.</p> <p>we found that this was a successful way to arouse emotions, since the participants reported feeling more aggressive afterwards when compared with those who played a golf video game.</p> <p>next, the participants undertook the <a href='' target='_blank'>swearing fluency task</a>. as predicted, the participants who played the shooting game were able to list a greater number of swear words than those who played the golf game.</p> <p>this confirms a two-way relationship between swearing and emotion. not only can swearing provoke an emotional response, as shown with the iced water study, but emotional arousal can also facilitate greater swearing fluency.</p> <p>what this collection of studies shows is that there is more to swearing than simply causing offence, or a lack of verbal hygiene. language is a sophisticated toolkit, and swearing is a part of it.</p> <p>unsurprisingly, many of the <a href='' target='_blank'>final words of pilots killed in air-crashes</a> captured on the 'black box' flight recorder feature swearing. and this emphasises a crucial point, that swearing must be important given its prominence in matters of life and death.</p> <p>the fact is that the size of your vocabulary of swear words is linked with your overall vocabulary, and swearing is inextricably linked to the experience and expression of feelings and emotions.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>science alert</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 11 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Online portfolios: A professional opinion <p>what do photographic agents, curators, editors and commissioners look for on an online portfolio? five industry professionals offer their perspectives.</p> <p>the <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>photography portfolio</a> has, some might argue, been eclipsed by its digital counterpart. offering an opportunity for almost limitless invention and innovation, mastering this mode of display involves a whole new set of challenges. from the colour scheme to layout, every element of a photographer’s website deserves careful consideration. there are now a number of services, such as <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>format</a>, committed to providing creatives with the tools to produce online platforms that enhance their work. </p> <p>when designing a website, however, it is also important to carefully consider your audience. what is it that you want your online platform to say about you as an artist and how do you plan to communicate this? to help better understand what makes a <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>compelling website</a>, we asked five industry professionals about what they look for and why having a strong online portfolio is so important today.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:775px; width:1200px' /></p> <p>naomi wong – – built using <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>format</a></p> <hr /> <p><br /> <strong>what do you look for in a photographer’s website?</strong></p> <p><strong>diane smyth, digital editor – british journal of photography:</strong> a website that’s both clear and easy to navigate – the design comes after. images need to be large enough to see them properly, but small enough to load quickly. i don’t like seeing watermarks on images. it’s helpful if the images are divided into separate series, with text before each series giving a quick idea of what it’s about. i also like to have a quick bio of the photographer somewhere on the site and (obviously) details of how to contact them. it’s better to have a small number of really good images than a large volume that includes weaker shots.</p> <p><strong>ken flaherty, founder – doomed gallery: </strong>i like to see the one image that really defines the photographer on their landing page. i also like to know the story behind a body of work. photographers can be unwilling to express their ideas and motives in words; for the viewer, a brief explanation or critique, can help us look more and understand what we are seeing better.</p> <p><strong>john wyatt-clarke, founder – wyatt clarke & jones photo agency: </strong>i see a glaring divide between websites that are trying to achieve something and those that are just reflective of a photographer’s fascination with themselves. <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>a good online platform</a>should be designed to guide an ideal visitor towards a specific action, whether it be commissioning, buying work or enquiring about an exhibition. it’s also important to clearly distinguish the work that is most important to you, to give a sense of what direction you’re going in as an artist, and consequently, where you’ll be in a few years. as an agent, i’m interested in the future, and i want a website to give me an idea of that. </p> <p><strong>fiona shields, head of photography – the guardian: </strong>at the guardian we will always view an online portfolio before commissioning a photographer for the first time so it is important that we can gauge the range, breadth and style of imagery. i would always advise making contact details very prominent on the opening page and including your geographic location, along with your phone numbers, email address and twitter account – i will often try all three if i’m looking to contact a photographer as a matter of urgency. this landing page is a shop window for your talents so be scrupulous over quality and keep the edit varied but tight. </p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:908px; width:1390px' /></p> <p>leo berne – – built using <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>format</a></p> <p><strong>how important is your first impression when looking at a photographer’s website? and would you say that this is dictated more by the nature of the work, or the way in which it is presented?</strong></p> <p><strong>ds: </strong>i’m much more interested in the work itself, but if the website takes ages to load or i can’t find my way around it easily i’ll definitely come away with a bad impression.</p> <p><strong>matt martin, co-curator – doomed gallery: </strong>a bit of both. if the work doesn’t jump out at me immediately then it’s rare that i will look through the rest of the website.<a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'> good design and a strong lead image</a> can help with this, but it’s also important that the site is easy to navigate. </p> <p><strong>jw-c: </strong>i spend a great deal of time on photographers’ websites. we get up to 50 emails a week from photographers looking for representation and consider each one carefully. first impressions aren’t that important because we’re trying to find people we can work closely with for years, so looking at their work more thoroughly is always necessary. </p> <p><strong>fs: </strong>always check that your website can be found simply on a google search under the name and keyword ‘photographer’, and that the website  loads swiftly on desktop and mobile. any picture editor looking to make a commission immediately, or who is considering a number of photographers, will be frustrated by a complex portfolio that can’t be accessed easily.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:909px; width:1378px' /></p> <p>ursa premik – – built using <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>format</a></p> <p><strong>should a website exist solely as a platform for the featured work, or is it important that it has a distinctive aesthetic too?</strong></p> <p><strong>ds:</strong> i don’t have much of an opinion on this one, either one is fine by me if i can find and see the work and find contact details for the photographer. it’s sometimes nice when i come across an unusual or quirky website. but in general i’d say the aesthetic of the website should come lower down a photographer’s priority list than their work.</p> <p><strong>kf</strong><strong>: </strong>i’m really interested in the idea of the virtual gallery as somewhere you can explore. i also really like it when photographers provide further insight into their work through the inclusion of interviews or short text. </p> <p><strong>jw-c: </strong>it’s the photos that count above everything else. an online platform can complement your photography but no site will ever be good enough to disguise poor work. conversely, if your work is good enough, from the perspective of an agent, you can get away with bad presentation. it would be our job to help you improve your online presence. i’d advise devoting more attention to the architecture, signposting and navigation than the graphic design. </p> <p><strong>fs: </strong>consider design and allow a slick presentation for anyone navigating their way through your portfolio. if you have particular publications you admire, or would like to attract commissions from, then it’s worth paying attention to their visual sense. equally, if your style is aesthetically distinct then do play to this strength as it may encourage a picture editor to cast you for a specific brief.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:764px; width:1200px' /></p> <p>neil kryszak – – built using <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>format</a></p> <p><strong>with the digital realm becoming increasingly integral to our everyday lives, would you say that having a strong online portfolio is more important than ever?</strong></p> <p><strong>ds: </strong>definitely – i rarely get shown physical portfolios now, in fact it seems a bit old fashioned when i do.  it’s interesting to see some of the shifts in how photographers are presenting themselves – websites used to be quite formal, presenting work projects in separate series, but on instagram photographers tend to include more behind-the-scenes images – shots of them installing a show, for example, or photographs from their everyday life. i don’t have a preference about which is better or worse. whichever format you use, and however you present yourself, all that really matters is that your work is online and that it includes your contact details.</p> <p><strong>mm: </strong>this boils down to the question of where are people looking at photographer’s work the most? ultimately, i think that when it comes to photography a website is the best place to showcase your work.<a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'> an online platform provides the optimum space </a>to present images clearly and organise them to communicate any narrative running through a series. however, i do still think that it’s important to have a strong physical portfolio or book. </p> <p><strong>jw-c: </strong>i can’t imagine how anyone would get work without one. a more vital question is how do you get people to look at it? and obviously that’s where social media comes in. a site is useful as a centre for all your social media activity, a place where all these disparate platforms lead back to and where you can showcase a more comprehensive overview of your work. that’s why it’s so important to understand what you want your website to do, so you can focus all this energy in the right direction instead of dissipating it.</p> <p><strong>fs: </strong>yes, often we are seeking to commission photographers globally who it would be difficult to meet face-to-face so an online presence is the best opportunity to review a portfolio. it is a competitive market so it’s worth spending time presenting work with consideration and keeping the portfolio up to date.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:515px; width:781px' /></p> <p>harriet victoria – – built using <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>format</a></p> <hr /> <p>it might be tempting to create an online portfolio shaped solely by your creative vision, but building a website that caters to your desired audience is crucial. clarity, ease-of-use and layout are all important elements to consider.  ultimately, your online portfolio is your opportunity to showcase who you are as an artist and, if done well, will help further your career. to experiment with designing your own website on format, sign-up for a 14 day trial <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>here.</a></p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>british journal of photography</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 11 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Web design trends you want to be aware of in 2018 <p>one of the greatest things about web design is the fact that its trends evolve with each passing day, giving small business owners an opportunity to adapt before their larger counterparts and in this way gain a competitive edge. however, this requires a huge amount of investment of both time and energy, which is only fair if one is to triumph over companies with greater assets and better-established business infrastructure. it also means that you need to be on an active lookout for the newly emerging web design trends, as well as some old ones that are soon expected to re-emerge. here are several examples that just might come in handy.</p> <h3>mobile-first</h3> <p>in april this year, android has officially overthrown windows as the primary web-browsing trend out there. while it is true that tablets and desktop devices still have higher conversion rates, smartphones dominate the asian market, which is currently becoming one of the greatest trading hubs in the world. therefore, in order to approach the ever-growing demographic of mobile users, you might want to further invest in making your website mobile-first.</p> <p>on the other hand, it is a known fact that about 90 percent of the time on their smartphones people spend on apps, rather than on browsers. this is what made some people question whether investing in mobile-optimization is even worth the effort. still, considering how little effort and investment this idea may yield, as well as how great of an roi it brings, going with mobile-first design indeed seems like a win-win scenario. </p> <h3>authentic content</h3> <p><img alt='great gif' src='' style='float:right; height:270px; margin-left:20px; width:345px' />another thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that the online audience values authenticity above all else. this especially takes prominence when it comes to the issue of images and illustrations. you see, using a generic image to back your content may be fairly successful but it will never have the impact of an image taken especially for that situation. with about 1.3 billion websites out there, it is getting harder and harder to appear unique, so tailoring your content to appear as a single-purposed might just be the tool that can win over your audience.</p> <h3>hand-crafted design</h3> <p>earlier on, we addressed the issue regarding the ever-growing websites out there. with the number constantly on the rise, it is getting harder and harder to distinguish yourself in a positive way. sure, going for a free template might seem like a more frugal choice but how can you quantify losses you will endure due to the fact that your website appears generic? the truth is that when it comes to web design there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. this is also why web design veterans from <a href=''>bapple</a> focus on hand-crafting high-performance business websites, in order to create a unique impression on your audience.</p> <h3>homepage videos</h3> <p><img alt='video camera' src='' style='float:right; height:152px; margin-left:20px; width:300px' /></p> <p>according to one conversion-rate statistic, including an introduction video before offering your audience a cta (call-to-action) button can increase your conversion rate by <a href='' target='_blank'>144 percent</a>. this is why so many companies nowadays decide to use this tactic on their very homepage. one major drawback of this tactic is a fact that the video needs to be of a high-production value, which makes it quite costly to produce. first of all, you need a great script, an adequate gear and someone with either great editorial skills or at least a naturally gifted orator on your retainer. this is also what makes so many websites outsource this function, which is also quite expensive.</p> <h3>daring shapes and colors</h3> <p>finally, even in the era where minimalism and flat design seem as predominant forces, going with daring shapes and colors does have its advantages. the perfect example of this is <a href='' target='_blank'>the trend of brutalism</a> which draws inspiration from the soviet-era eastern europe architecture. odd and unpredictable geometrical shapes dominate the landscape of brutalist web design, as well as color combinations that even some of the most experienced web designers wouldn’t even dream of. </p> <p>the key here is to attract the attention of your website’s visitors at any cost. surprisingly enough, this design trend which so many professionals deem as ‘ugly’ manages to succeed where all other trends have failed. so, if we are speaking of results only, brutalism is definitely not a force to be reckoned with and not an idea you should outright dismiss.</p> <p>as you can see, with these few revolutionary ideas at your side, you have all the tools necessary to start making your mark in the digital world. keep in mind that even though some of these trends may give you great immediate results, there is no guarantee that they will still be valid for several years or even months. the key to survival, therefore, rests on your ability to adapt to the newly changed circumstances in the world of web design. luckily, succeeding at this daunting task will be more than worth your while.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>knowtechie</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 29 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 What is user experience design? <p>user-experience design, or ux design as it's become known, refers to the development of systems, resources and processes to make them as user-friendly as possible.</p> <p>getting the user experience right is vital to ensure user satisfaction and that means making sure the entire process a user has to go through is perfect.</p> <p>however, user-experience design also needs to consider the business too, and what that wants to achieve from the product. there's no use designing a product that's great for the user, but doesn't have any benefit for the business.</p> <h3>key features of ux design</h3> <p>ux design refers to the overall experience, but there are many elements that make up a great user experience.</p> <p>for example, a good navigation design will make sure visitors can easily find their way around the site, users can find what they're looking for within the software, and end up at the destination they expect. if referring to a website, it could lead them to make a decision (such as contacting you to find out more or to sign up to your services), the end of the purchase process, or alternative end of the journey.</p> <p>visual design makes the website, software or service pleasing to look at. it comprises the user interface and all design elements, including colours, icons and anything else that changes the look and feel of the site. any element here should aid the user journey and ensure users aren't put off or led away from what they're doing by obtrusive elements.</p> <p>infrastructure design is the basis upon which the site, software or service is built on. it should be effective, fast and make sure all elements flow with as little latency as possible.</p> <p>interaction design is how the user interacts with the product. if they do something, such as click a button, what is the result? is it expected? is it natural? does clicking something trigger another action? if so, is this a smooth experience? these are all considerations a user experience designer should consider. all interactions should be planned to happen for a reason, making sure there are no surprises and they address the user requirements you identify through your research.</p> <h3>how to create a great ux</h3> <p>the first step to designing a great ux is to make sure you know who the user is and how they will use your product. if you're creating software, for example, this will help you understand which platforms to design it for and which you can drop if the market is unlikely to need it.</p> <p>next, you need to focus on getting the building blocks right. don't start with the visual elements of the design until you know the basics of how the site will work. find a great technically-focused ux design and get the graphic designer in after the individual elements work seamlessly together. dressing it up should be the last thing you consider.</p> <p>get feedback from your users and business stakeholders along the way, at defined points if need be. after all, they're the ones you will need to impress and it's imperative they are happy with the way it works before signing each stage off. but don't just ask their opinion, watch how they react and use the product when given a list of tasks to complete. if they complete them quickly and find what they're looking for, it's a success. if it takes longer than you anticipated or they become frustrated, elements should be redesigned.</p> <p>even when your product is built, tested and released, it's imperative you constantly measure its success and monitor the features that are/aren't being used, plus finesse the experience if it's not working as successfully as you were hoping. this way, you can make sure every element improves the user experience.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>it pro</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 29 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 common obstacles to face when creating a website for the first time <p>all businesses need a website if they want their business to reach its fullest potential. furthermore, your website design has to be responsive and attractive. it’s estimated that a company’s credibility will be <a href='' target='_blank'>judged by 75% of a website’s visitors.</a> there’s no room for error.</p> <p>this guide is going to show you five of the most common obstacles you’ll face when building your first website.</p> <h4><strong>finding a domain name for your company</strong></h4> <p>the first step is to find a domain name that works for you. it should be easy to remember, easy to type, and should spell out what your business does. it’s one of your most important branding steps.</p> <p>make sure that your domain name comes with the ‘.com’ suffix. there’s little point in getting it if it doesn’t come with this.</p> <p>note: don’t just go for the first domain name that seems to check all of the boxes and is readily available. you don’t want to build an audience and then find that you want to change your domain name to something that is a better fit. many first-time website owners make this mistake and it costs them down the line. </p> <h4><strong>discovering the right theme</strong></h4> <p>never employ a web designer and spend thousands of dollars on your first website. it’s totally unnecessary with the number of premium themes available today with no coding required.</p> <p>wordpress is <a href='' target='_blank'>one of the best website builders</a> around to many people. and they provide thousands of free and premium themes available for use.</p> <p><strong><em>note:</em></strong> we suggest going with a premium theme as soon as you can afford it because it will make your website look more professional. the goal is to stick out from the crowd, so consumers can get to know your brand.</p> <h4><strong>design confusion</strong></h4> <p>themes? features? add-ons? it can all get so confusing when there are so many options on the table.</p> <p>how do you figure out what you should have on your website?</p> <p>look to your closest competitors and see how they built their websites. you’ll see common features and page structures used. follow your competitors because this is what your target market will want.</p> <p>everyone copies each other for a reason. that’s not a bad thing. you’re simply giving customers what they want, what they expect, and what they’re used to experiencing.</p> <p><img alt='media tool' src='' style='height:494px; width:740px' /></p> <p>using the right media is also crucial when creating a website. (<a href=''>source</a>)</p> <h4><strong>using the right multimedia</strong></h4> <p>images and videos are essential for any successful website. try to avoid using stock images and instead let your visitors get to know the owner or owners of the webpage. </p> <p>try to take some original photos and make some original videos. you want to show visitors that you’re producing unique content. get into the habit now because these days’ people are pickier than ever and they will just click away if they don’t like something.</p> <p>it does take a lot of effort to gather quality, unique multimedia content, but it’s more than worth it.</p> <h4><strong>seo considerations</strong></h4> <p>seo is important to the success of any website. make sure your website builder has the necessary seo functions in place or in you’re on wordpress you should install a plugin such as yoast seo. </p> <p>having the right seo tools in place will make it easier to create an seo friendly website. </p> <h4><strong>last word – creating a website</strong></h4> <p><a href='' target='_blank'>building a website</a> for the first time can be overwhelming. by learning how to deal with these five common obstacles you’ll be well on your way to creating a website that you can be proud of.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>born2invest</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 28 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 10 inspirational graphic design trends for 2018 <p>as they say, “everything old is new again,” and 2018 will be a year of modernizing graphic design trends from the past and diverging from the (literally) flat design landscape of recent years. minimalism and simplification will stick around, but expect to see some old favorites make their return to the limelight with modern, updated looks.</p> <p>if you’re feeling fashionable and want to add some contemporary flair to your designs, check out these 10 graphic design trends that will wow your customers in 2018.</p> <h2>1. responsive logos<br /> —</h2> <p>it’s been 10 years since responsive design began to revolutionize the web, and since then it has become the industry standard. the rapid rise of mobile browsing (and an endless assortment of devices and screen sizes) has created critical usability issues for traditional websites. designers and developers began experimenting with various ways to make designs adapt to the user’s device as a one-website-fits-all solution. this laid the groundwork for what would become known as “responsive design.”</p> <p>the idea of altering logos to meet the same user demands has largely remained unthinkable… until now. companies have been refreshing their logos into modern, simplified versions over the past few years and responsive logo design is the logical next step in meeting the demands of today.</p> <p><img alt='responsive logo concepts by joe harrison' src='' style='height:625px; width:1200px' /></p> <p>select examples from “<a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>responsive logos</a>”. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>joe harrison</a></p> <p>digital and interaction designer <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>joe harrison</a> created an experimental project called “<a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>responsive logos</a>” to explore the creation of scalable logos for some of the world’s biggest brands.</p> <p><img alt='skype logo' src='' /></p> <p>via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>skype</a></p> <p><img alt='google logo' src='' /></p> <p>via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>google</a></p> <h2>2. gradients (and we’re also calling them color transitions)<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='nyc pride webpage screenshot' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>gradient image overlay with color transition animations for added flare. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>nyc pride</a></p> <p>in the not-so-distant past gradients reigned supreme. they were found on every website button, page header and powerpoint presentation. your corporate pdf wasn’t cool unless a gradient graced the cover. then, sometime around late 2007 they were sidelined as we embraced an era of flat design.</p> <p><img alt='stripe webpage screenshot' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>stripe uses vibrant gradient backgrounds to compliment semi-flat illustrations. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>stripe</a></p> <p>flat design is evolving, and gradients are making their modern-day comeback as a flat design enhancement. this enhancement is part of a design update often referred to as “<a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>flat 2.0</a>” or “semi-flat design”. their reappearance in ios and adoption by industry leaders like stripe and instagram have solidified their popularity once again, and you’ll be seeing them in the form of vibrant ui, branding, backgrounds, illustrations and overlays.</p> <p><img alt='elje group webpage screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>elje group’s vivid color transitions and typography are on point for 2018. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>elje group</a></p> <p><img alt='asana webpage screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>asana combines gradients, illustrations and shadows for a modern, flat 2.0 look. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>asana</a></p> <p>we’re also seeing an increased use of the term “color transitions” when referring to gradients. while the terms seem to be used interchangeably, “color transition” more often refers to the modern application which is vibrant, smooth and “flatter”—fitting within flat design aesthetics.</p> <p><img alt='workspace logo design' src='' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>workspace logo</a> design for hellot7 by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>shaka88</a></p> <p><img alt='pushups fitness app' src='' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>pushups fitness app</a> for smoothmobile, llc by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>nashrulmalik</a></p> <p><img alt='aquatta logo concept' src='' /></p> <p>aquatta logo concept by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>artsigma</a></p> <h2>3. more depth (with semi-flat design)<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='galaxii game app design' src='' style='height:1157px; width:1157px' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>card design</a> for the galaxii game app by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>boorykin</a></p> <p>we’ve been seeing them a lot lately, and it’s safe to say that shadows are officially back in 2018. like gradients, shadows were put on the back burner as we stripped realism and skeuomorphism from our designs in favor of extreme minimalism and two-dimensional design.</p> <p>in hindsight, depth was a valuable tool for helping users determine visual hierarchy, input fields and calls to action on screen. designers had been experimenting with “long-shadows” as an acceptable means to add more dimension to their flat designs when <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>google material design</a> reintroduced real shadows as an enhancement to their ui. the idea quickly spread outside of material design and designers began reintroducing shadows of their own. these shadows were large, soft, sometimes colored and added subtle depth and dimension unlike their harsh, overused, “drop-shadow” predecessors.</p> <p><img alt='inbox by gmail website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>an example of material design. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>inbox by gmail</a></p> <p><img alt='android website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>large, soft shadows help determine hierarchy and interactivity in this awesome material design site. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>android</a></p> <p>the purists may not like it, but depth has proven that it can fit within the evolving ethos of flat design by improving usability and simplicity, both of which are core principles of flat design. going forward you will see shadows become a staple of the “semi-flat” design movement. we’re already seeing them being used to enhance icons and illustrations, as well as websites, app interfaces and even print designs.</p> <p><img alt='codecourse homepage design' src='' /></p> <p>subtle shadows help the ui components pop in this unique design. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>codecourse homepage design</a> by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>his-p design studio</a></p> <p><img alt='base ui website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>subtle shadows help the ui components pop in this unique design. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>base ui for sketch</a></p> <h2>4. dashing duotones<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='afrisam 2018 corporate stationary' src='' style='height:990px; width:1400px' /></p> <p>calendar panel from <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>afrisam 2018 corporate stationary</a>. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>katt phatt</a>, <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>andrew footit</a>, <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>promise luxe™</a>, <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>charlette hepworth</a>, <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>ali cordeiro, copywriter</a>, <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>nic kostouros</a>, <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>sherilea gaspar</a></p> <p>duotones are traditionally created through a <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>halftone</a> printing process where one halftone is printed on top of another of a contrasting color, creating a two-toned image. this fundamental printing technique has found new life in digital media. imaging software has made it <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>easier than ever</a> to create duotones, as well as related variations like monotones, tritones, quadtones and “fake duotones” (tinted images).</p> <p><img alt='spotify showstopper podcast image' src='' style='height:640px; width:640px' /></p> <p>spotify uses duotone images for branding and cover art. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>spotify</a></p> <p>spotify has been credited with their return to mainstream design by using duotone images in their app and promotional microsites. designers are taking advantage of this technique as imagery created within a limited color palette is delightfully complimentary to semi-flat design.</p> <p>with bold colors and beautiful application possibilities, duotones are predicted to be one of the hottest trends of 2018.</p> <p><img alt='duotone poster design' src='' /></p> <p>duotone poster design for gauthier & nolet architects. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>jvstin bechard</a></p> <p><img alt='keto + co product packaging' src='' /></p> <p>product packaging design by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>::scott::</a></p> <p><img alt=' website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>duotones are used throughout the incredible website design for <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>“multimedia guides to polish culture”</a>. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'></a></p> <p><img alt='newdealdesign website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>newdealdesign uses vivid duotone imagery everywhere. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>newdealdesign</a></p> <h2>5. palettes & patterns inspired by the 80’s & 90’s<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='bliss thai’s 80’s inspired brand identity' src='' /></p> <p>bliss thai’s 80’s inspired brand identity. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>daria kwon</a></p> <p><img alt='write sketch &’s high quality decorative paper' src='' /></p> <p>write sketch &’s line of stationery and decorative papers have an awesome 80’s-90’s vibe. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>write sketch &</a></p> <p><img alt='redux saints logo' src='' style='height:500px; width:450px' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>redux saints branding</a> featuring an electric logo design by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>austinminded</a></p> <p>from pretty pastels (“<a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>millennial pink</a>”, anyone?) to electric hues, color schemes from the 80’s and 90’s have been gaining popularity once again. with the movement away from ultra-flat designs, expect to see the abstract and geometric patterns inspired by the era move from the fringes into the mainstream as well.</p> <p>as children of the 80’s and 90’s become more prominent and influential as both brand leaders and key target audiences, this trend can add visual excitement as well as a touch of nostalgia to your designs.</p> <p><img alt='fun employed website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>fun employed’s funky illustration is an amalgamation of retro and flat. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>fun employed</a></p> <p><img alt=' website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p> is down-right cute with it’s geometric patterns and neon colors. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'></a></p> <p><img alt='moo’s business card sample pack' src='' style='height:666px; width:1071px' /></p> <p>bold colors and patterns jazz up moo’s business card sample pack. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>moo</a></p> <h2>6. movement: animations, gifs & cinemagraphs<br /> —</h2> <p>you may be hearing a lot of buzz about microinteractions lately, but what exactly are they and why should you use them? simply put, microinteractions are tiny animations used to communicate with users and help them perform tasks. they are a <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>ux</a> best practice, and possibly one of the biggest ux trends to date.</p> <p><img alt='final app gif' src='' /></p> <p>app interactions for <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>final</a>. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>ramotion</a></p> <p><img alt='contact sync gif' src='' /></p> <p>contact sync microinteractions. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>ramotion</a></p> <p>microinteractions are everywhere and though you may not be consciously aware of them, every time you receive a notification on 99designs, like a post on facebook or swipe left on tinder, you are engaging with microinteractions. they are particularly useful in making users feel like they are manipulating an interface by providing feedback for their actions. paying attention to the details can really take your designs to the next level.</p> <p><img alt='500px logo gif' src='' style='height:600px; width:800px' /></p> <p>the new movement of 500px. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>william kesling</a> for <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>focus lab</a></p> <p><img alt='animations for the new google brand system' src='' /></p> <p>animations for the new google brand system. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>adam grabowski</a></p> <p><img alt='uber logo gif' src='' /></p> <p>official animated wordmark for uber. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>nicolas girard</a></p> <p>when it comes to larger animations, gifs and svgs are valuable tools for communicating ideas, concepts and processes while making content more engaging for users. gifs have come a long way since their animated clip art days and have evolved to fit in fabulously with the modern web. add interest to ads, email newsletters, illustrations, icons and logos by taking advantage of this trend. animated gif logos have really become a trend of their own and it’s easy to see why—they’re slick, clever and extremely appealing.</p> <p><img alt='the artery website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>these aren’t your average gifs. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>the artery</a></p> <p><img alt='icons responsive website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>icons responsive animated header gif demonstrates the concept behind their product. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>icons responsive</a></p> <p><img alt='bloom website screenshot' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>bloom is brimming with illustrations and animations. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>bloom</a></p> <p>speaking of appealing animations, it would seem that gif and video recently had a baby, and her name is <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>cinemagraph</a>. these are essentially still images that contain a repeating video loop for only a selection of the image. the contrast of movement superimposed on extreme stillness can be striking and surreal. the short repeating loop creates the illusion of continuing animation and a moving photograph. cinemagraphs can be created from either a short video clip or collection of photographs and can be published as either video or animated gif. expect to see cinemagraphs coming to websites, apps and social media ads campaigns near you in 2018.</p> <h2>7. bold typography (and serifs return to the screen!)<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='slack website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>slack seamlessly integrates serif fonts into a flat design. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>slack</a></p> <p><img alt='digital volcano website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>serif fonts help set the tone for this epic project. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>general electric</a></p> <p>when it comes to typography in 2018 you’ll find that the bigger and bolder, the better. designers will be opting for artistic effects, extra-large font sizes and huge headlines. helvetica-inspired sans serifs have dominated digital spaces, and while they’ll remain as fashionable as ever (especially their extra-bold family members), we can expect more typeface variety in the coming year.</p> <p><img alt='bolden website screenshot' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>bolden’s extra-large typography and hover animation is awesome. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>bolden</a></p> <p>this variety will include more decorative and hand-made fonts as well as—gasp!—serif fonts. our serif font friends have been making a rapid reappearance on screens, especially when paired with sans serifs. with a demand for synchronization across all media, designers shied away from serifs almost entirely to avoid inconsistency as brands began to live more of their lives online. with the serif’s increasing acceptability on screens (likely due to better screens and <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>google web fonts’</a> impressive options), we can expect a ripple effect and for the serif to regain some of its former footing.</p> <p><img alt='alta packaging design' src='' /></p> <p>alta packaging design concept by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>fe melo</a></p> <p><img alt='album artwork' src='' /></p> <p>album artwork for low high featuring creative typography by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>nevergohungry</a></p> <p><img alt='book cover' src='' /></p> <p>wir im wandel book cover by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>nevergohungry</a></p> <p>trends mainly seen in print will also be finding their way on screen. these will include experimental and artistic typography, more creative layouts and placements involving imagery, and bolder variations in alignment and kerning.</p> <p><img alt='polaroid website screenshot' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>so modern, yet so retro. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>polaroid originals</a></p> <p><img alt='monsieur caillou website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>pierre nguyen shows us bigger can be better. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>pierre nguyen</a></p> <p><img alt='nurture digital website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>bold serifs and whimsical animations are a great pairing. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>nurture digital</a></p> <h2>8. custom graphic art and illustration<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='custom typography logo' src='' /></p> <p>stunning logo with custom typography. a collaboration by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>dusan klepic dk™</a> and <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>ludibes</a></p> <p><img alt='illustrated mobile site design concept' src='' /></p> <p>this illustrated mobile site design concept by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>boorykin</a> is seriously amazing. (full view <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>here</a>.)</p> <p><img alt='book cover design' src='' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>the year of you book cover</a> design for hannahs3 by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>lilam</a></p> <p>whether they are whimsical, practical, or purely artistic, the demand for custom graphic art and illustrations will continue to grow in the new year. custom imagery has always played a major role in print media. when it comes to digital media however (despite being a star player of flash websites in the 2000’s), custom graphic art and illustration has taken a backseat to cheaper stock imagery alternatives for much of the last decade.</p> <p><img alt='rocket custom illustrations' src='' /></p> <p>custom illustrations for rocket by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>spoonlancer</a></p> <p><img alt='trade show display' src='' /></p> <p>trade show display design for cloco by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>mila jones cann</a></p> <p>the accessibility of stock left drawing, painting, calligraphy, artistic typography, photography and illustration underutilized on the modern web. this includes modern renditions of classic graphic design techniques like duotones and double-exposures for example, both of which are becoming trends of their own. the movement toward flat design also left little room for these embellishments and as we opted for icons and illustrations tailored to flat design trends, we left things looking a little homogenized.</p> <p><img alt='mailchimp website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>mailchimp’s fun 80’s inspired graphic art. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>mailchimp</a></p> <p><img alt='whimsical tentacle illustrations' src='' /></p> <p>these illustrations are downright whimsical. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>denise chandler</a></p> <p><img alt='the game inspired interactive resume of robby leonardi screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>the game inspired interactive resume of <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>robby leonardi</a>.</p> <p>custom artwork and illustration helps create a visual language which can really enhance and add personality to a brand. in 2018, you can feel free to get really creative as we’ll see more artwork in a broader range of styles surface as designers and their clients begin to untap the potential of these underused assets.</p> <p><img alt='matisse inspired illustration' src='' /></p> <p>these matisse inspired illustrations with subtle animations are simply striking. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>inside the head</a></p> <p><img alt='part flat, part 80’s' src='' /></p> <p>part flat, part 80’s, all custom. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>new enterprise associates</a></p> <p><img alt='delicate watercolor illustration' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>delicate watercolor illustrations are timeless. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>house at khlebny</a></p> <h2>9. authentic photography<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='yeti cycles website screenshot' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>yeti’s photography is action-packed. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>yeti</a></p> <p>authentic photography looks and feels real. whether you’re working with custom photos or selecting stock, look for images that convey emotion, contain action or tell stories. unfiltered and unstaged photography was a huge part of advertising in the 90’s, and though we’re not quite sure why models spent the next 15+ years shaking hands and smiling at their screens, it’s refreshing to see natural (and more interesting) compositions return to the mainstream once again.</p> <p><img alt='big cartel website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>big cartel’s real life scenes relate to their artistic audience. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>big cartel</a></p> <p><img alt='dog walking on a leash' src='' /></p> <p>seriously, how cute is this guy? via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>dog jogs</a></p> <p>demand for real-life photography grew significantly in 2017 and will grow even more in 2018 as brands seek to connect with their users, and designers seek to rid the world of cheesy stock photography. luckily there are lots of amazing photographers out there who are helping meet this demand through premium and <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>free stock photography</a> resources.</p> <p><img alt='epic action shots and scenery' src='' /></p> <p>this design is jam-packed with epic action shots and scenery. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>epiccurrence</a></p> <p><img alt='elegant seagulls website screenshot' src='' /></p> <p>elegant seagulls combines custom photography with bold typography for a modern, creative look. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>elegant seagulls</a></p> <h2>10. highly detailed vintage<br /> —</h2> <p><img alt='soap bar packaging' src='' style='height:1514px; width:1512px' /></p> <p>boutique soap bar packaging concept by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>martis lupus</a></p> <p><img alt='health food packaging' src='' /></p> <p>eye-catching health food packaging concept by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>hive – agency</a></p> <p><img alt='beer labels' src='' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>vintage and timeless beer label</a> for marina by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>mantsa®</a></p> <p>vintage isn’t anything new (obviously), but the trend will remain strong in 2018. though it may contradict the mainstream desire for minimalism—beautiful, finely crafted logos and illustrations are timeless. brands looking to achieve a top-shelf look often find classic design aesthetics can provide an air of distinction and sophistication.</p> <p><img alt='whiskey box design' src='' /></p> <p>whiskey box design concept by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>esteban t</a></p> <p><img alt='salami label design' src='' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>salami label</a> design for bona by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>wooden horse</a></p> <p><img alt='perfect steep ejuice logo design' src='' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>logo design</a> for perfect steep ejuice by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>mojo66</a></p> <p>while this trend may not be practical for everyone, brands in the food and beverage industries—especially those in wine and spirits—have been leveraging this style for years with gorgeous results. artisan, organic and natural product brands are loving this look by using it to give their products that hand-crafted, wholesome feeling of simpler times.</p> <p><img alt='fiore’s floral italian restaurant branding' src='' /></p> <p>fiore floral italian restaurant branding. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>no name branding</a></p> <p><img alt='vintage label design concept' src='' /></p> <p>vintage label design concepts by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>.g.</a></p> <p><img alt='find the perfect gin app design' src='' style='height:900px; width:1440px' /></p> <p>find the perfect gin using this delightfully designed app. via <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>ginventory</a></p> <h2>are you ready for 2018?<br /> —</h2> <p>it’s an intriguing time in graphic design. the graphic arts are being revitalized as we’re beginning to see a resistance to the flat design movement. the design scene is about to get a lot more interesting as we continue to focus more on originality and the individuality of brands and their audiences. with so many old and new styles on the table, it will be a time of taking risks and breaking patterns. make 2018 the year you release your creativity!</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>99designs</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 28 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Tips on ‘The Art of Innovation’ <p><strong>guy kawasaki, a former apple executive and current chief evangelist at the free graphic-design tool website canva, gave a keynote speech about the art of innovation and also served on the judging panel of the 2017 big idea competition at the university of texas at dallas.</strong></p> <p>kawasaki said being an innovator means learning to ignore the naysayers.</p> <p>“if you truly are disruptive and innovative, you will polarize people,” he said. read on for 10 top tips from kawasaki on “the art of innovation.”</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:301px; width:970px' /></p> <p>guy kawasaki [photo: ut dallas]</p> <h1>guy kawasaki at utd: <br /> 10 tips on the art of innovation</h1> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />don’t ask customers</strong></h2> <p>“i think you ask yourself. it comes from your vision, your passion. you create the product and service that you want to use then just hope you aren’t the only person in the world like that.”</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />jump to the next curve</strong></h2> <p>“great innovation, great disruption, and great entrepreneurship, occurs because you got to the next curve or created the next curve not because you made the same curve better.”</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />make a mvvvp (minimum viable valuable validating product)</strong></h2> <p>kawasaki said entrepreneurs need to go beyond the mvp and make sure their product is also valuable and validating to society.</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />make design count</strong></h2> <p>“lots of people when they create apps, services, and sites, they are all about functionality and not enough about design. … steve jobs considered engineers artists not people who spit out lines of code. apple is proof that design counts.”</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />polarize people</strong></h2> <p>“if you truly are disruptive and innovative, you will polarize people.”</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />ignore the naysayers</strong></h2> <p>“part of being an innovator and disruptor is you have to learn to ignore people. people are going to tell you it can’t be done, it shouldn’t be done, or it isn’t necessary.”</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />change your mind</strong></h2> <p>changing your mind is not a “sign of weakness or stupidity,” he said. “don’t hesitate to change your mind.”</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />niche yourself</strong></h2> <p>you need to have both uniqueness and value, he said.</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />let 100 flowers blossom</strong></h2> <p>“at the start of innovation, take your best shot at positioning and branding — who is going to be your intended customer and how are they going to use it? then you ship your mvvvp and reality hits.”</p> <h2><strong><img alt='' src='' style='height:42px; width:42px' />churn, baby churn</strong></h2> <p>“you need to listen to the people who are buying into your dream as they tell you how to fix it. it takes denial of reality to ship a revolution and get to the next curve, but then it takes the ability to listen to people on how to evolve your curve. that’s one of hardest bits to flip.”</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>dallas innovates</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Are banks ready for an uptick in HELOC applications? <p>rising home prices and a market in which many homeowners are reluctant to sell or refinance means helocs will continue to remain an attractive loan product. especially for <a href='' target='_blank'>younger borrowers</a>, who are more likely to be both current and future users of home equity lines of credit than either gen-xers or baby boomers.</p> <p>in a recent survey, td bank found that 35% of the millennials said they would <a href='' target='_blank'>consider applying for a heloc</a> versus 15% of gen-xers and 4% of baby boomers. since they already have a relationship with their customers, banks are well-positioned to engage with these mortgage customers and offer them an attractive home-equity product.</p> <p>but do banks really understand the needs of these customers? we decided to find out, and surveyed a nationally representative group of consumers who had <a href='' target='_blank'>secured a heloc in the past 12 months</a>. we asked them about their expectations, experiences, and preferences throughout the lifecycle of the loan: from the initial shopping for the product, applying for the loan, and finally through the fulfillment process to the closing date. we also studied utilization of the loan: from the initial draw, through additional draws and repayment, and right up until the point where the customer makes the decision to pay down the remaining balance and close the line. throughout this process we asked these consumers which channels they would prefer for engagement and interaction with a lender.</p> <p><img alt='heloc applications' src='' /></p> <p><span style='font-size:11px'><em>adobe stock</em></span></p> <p>when looking for a heloc product, younger borrowers are looking for guidance. the group aged 18-25 would actually prefer to have a phone call with a banker than to research or chat online. older borrowers (26-59) much prefer to research online — possibly because they're more experienced. banks are well positioned here since they can engage with these younger customers and offer to guide them through the heloc application process. this is an important phase for millennials, and an opportunity for banks to nurture customer loyalty.</p> <p>convenience is key to the application phase, mirroring an overall trend being driven by innovative players such as rocket mortgage. in general, we found that the older you are, the more you prefer going into a branch to apply for a heloc, while the 18-25 group equally prefers the phone to the website or online chat.</p> <p>the banks' website is preferred by all age groups for submitting and, most importantly, tracking the heloc application. for closing, in-branch and website are the two preferred channels.</p> <p>most of our respondents told us they want to receive heloc offers via email. website was the next popular choice, followed by phone and online chat. we found a striking disparity between what consumers expect and what banks can actually deliver. 83% of customers expect to receive the money they applied for within a month, whereas recent icon advisory group data indicates that only 17% of customers actually get access to the money within 30 days.</p> <p>this "turnaround gap" — the difference between how long customers expect to wait to receive their loan from the date of application, compared to what banks say is possible — is an area where banks can innovate to close more heloc business. more than half of the respondents aged 18-45 said they would pay an additional quarter percentage point (0.25%) to close within one month. so why aren’t more banks including this possibility in their offer by restructuring their product offering?</p> <p>the way that banks transact with consumers reflects the trends we're seeing in other retail sectors: namely, omnichannel. consumers have many channels to choose from, and distinct preferences on which channel to use throughout the various phases of the loan application and fulfilment. it's therefore essential to match the right engagement channel to the customer as the marketing and processing teams determine their heloc business development strategy.</p> <p>the survey results highlight the varied ways different kinds of customers want to engage with their bank. what banks must do is make it easy for them to choose the channel that works for them, and then make it easy to switch to a different channel without starting over again. this "pick-up and resume" capability enables a customer to start the heloc application online and then walk into a branch to discuss questions and complete the process.</p> <p>it's clear that tomorrow's customers will be won and retained less on interest-rate decisions, and more on "intangible" factors such as knowledgeable and helpful customer-service agents who are empowered to discuss personalized loan products across any of the bank's channels. are you ready?</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>national mortgage news</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Mobile SEO Is More Important Than Ever – Here’s 3 Tips To Get Prioritized, Not Penalized! <p>it’s no secret that it’s no longer optional to have a <a href='' target='_blank'>mobile presence</a>, and that means using mobile seo. if you’re not mobile-ready, you’re failing to connect with a large portion of your target audience. but while any marketer who’s worth their salt recognizes the value of going mobile, it’s not always quite as easy to figure out how to optimize mobile content for seo purposes.</p> <h2>mobile seo is not new, but penalties are</h2> <p>did you know that mobile users now exceed the number of desktop users? google noticed, and at the beginning of 2017, began applying penalties against sites that fail to meet the needs of mobile users. designed to make sure search engine users get the best results out of their searches, these penalties can actually result in lower rankings on the serps. google also <a href='' target='_blank'>prioritizes sites that are mobile-friendly in the rankings</a><u>,</u> as usage patterns help make the rules.</p> <p>mobile seo is a lot like regular seo: to rank, you need to be crawlable, share awesome content, and – perhaps most importantly – have a really great ux design that is mobile focused.</p> <h3>want to master mobile seo? start here…</h3> <p>keep reading for 3 tips to make sure you’re mobile-ready, mobile-first and mobile-focused.</p> <p>use tools to improve</p> <p>a great first step for making sure your site is mobile-optimized is checking it using google’s <a href='' target='_blank'>mobile usability tool</a>. this tool checks six main elements of your mobile site to measure how well it is performing for mobile users, mainly focusing on ux. run this report to figure out where to start making changes to your site.</p> <p>another great tool from google is the pagespeed insights tool. this easy-to-run report will let you know how quickly your page is loading on both desktop and mobile. a google-led open source project that provides a complement to pagespeed insights is amp, or accelerated mobile pages. this tool is designed to make your pages load as fast as possible. not every site needs amp, but recent improvements to the project mean that <a href='' target='_blank'>any prior drawbacks to using it should no longer be an issue</a>.</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'></a> structured data is also another tool that can help improve your presence in the serps. mobile users don’t like to browse in the same way as desktop users, and google recognizes and caters to this behavior. schema is code that improves rich snippets – meta descriptions below the title tag that include enhanced information for search engine users. this includes photo thumbnails, publication dates, or other important details from the page the search result entry represents. sites that optimize their serp results to make them friendly to mobile users in this way can avoid penalties and improve their rank.</p> <p>consider user intent</p> <p>mobile and desktop users have different expectations when it comes to content. when we use a smartphone to conduct searches, we often have different intentions, needs, and habits than when we’re on a desktop. recognizing and catering to these differences can help you optimize your content for mobile users.</p> <p>for instance, many <a href='' target='_blank'>mobile users are increasingly conducting searches using their voice</a>. “siri, alexa and other voice technology have their own search algorithms, and your site may not rank the same in voice searches as it does in browser searches,” <a href='' target='_blank'>notes sandi leyva, founder of accountant’s accelerator</a>.</p> <p>content length is also worth considering when you’re optimizing for mobile. on desktops, longer written content performs better, but mobile users look for shorter, easy-to-digest pieces. front load your content, cut out extra wordiness, and create powerful headlines. make sure your content is easy to scan, and don’t discount the value of images on mobile – just make sure they work well on the page!</p> <p>it’s also a good idea to consider <a href=''>l</a>ocal search optimization. mobile users are much more likely to expect instant gratification results from their searches, whereas desktop users tend to have different intentions. desktop users are likely to be planning – mobile users need answers on the fly. google defines those times when a user needs something <em>right here, right now</em> as <a href=''>a </a><a href='' target='_blank'>micro-moment</a>.</p> <p>this means <a href='' target='_blank'>keyword research for mobile seo</a> also requires a different strategy than desktop. you can get in front of your target audience on their mobile devices by including both your target keywords and your location in places like title tag, page title, alt text, and throughout your content.</p> <p>be ux ready</p> <p>the elements that the mobile usability tool look at are all related to ux. things that will hurt you include: text that’s too small, clumsy touch features that are positioned too closely to each other, flash use (most mobile devices can’t run flash), and <a href='' target='_blank'>viewport configuration issues</a>.</p> <p>load times play into usability and can also have a big impact on conversions. you can reduce your bounce rate and boost your position in the serps by making easy fixes to improve your load times. “one of the biggest contributors to slow page load times is hosting large videos on your site. compressing your video files first before uploading them to your site can drastically improve the time it takes for your page to load. the smaller your video file, the faster your load time will be,” <a href='' target='_blank'>shares marketing writer anastasia passaris</a>.</p> <p>google now also penalizes for “intrusive interstitials” – pop-ups or other content that appears over the top of the page a user expected to find on the other side of the link. users want to see the page that they followed a link to – not an ad or invite to your newsletter. there’s less space on mobile devices, which means pop-ups can be even more irritating to mobile users than those using a desktop, especially when the ad isn’t responsive or easy to navigate out of. avoid these, unless it’s something legally or ethically necessary, like an age verification.</p> <p>are most of your visitors mobile? consider an app, especially if your content is best displayed in one. however, don’t scare off mobile users by making the mistake of forcing their hand to download an app they don’t need, don’t want, and won’t use.</p> <p>space on mobile devices is valuable. if you’re hoping to get users to download your app by neglecting to develop your mobile site, you’ll just frustrate them and hurt their trust. mobile optimization is all about what’s fast and easy for the user, and interrupting normal browsing behavior with a push to force users onto an app isn’t either of those things.</p> <h2>stand out with great mobile seo</h2> <p><a href='' target='_blank'>optimizing your site for mobile</a> can be a major competitive advantage. making sure that you use every opportunity you have to create a great experience for your current customers and leads can make the difference between them choosing you, or your competitors. it’s not difficult to optimize for mobile if you use the tools available, consider user intent, and craft a great experience for your users – and it’s well worth the advantage you’ll have in the serps.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>rocks digital</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 20 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Easy access to information online has blurred the lines of plagiarism <p><strong>for a dozen years or so, marketers and communicators have been telling businesses that “content is king.” create content, and readers will come, your footprint will grow, and your brand will gain recognition. that was all good advice, but the shift of readers becoming writers has also increased plagiarism.</strong></p> <p>for a dozen years or so, marketers and communicators have been telling businesses that “content is king.” create content, and readers will come, your footprint will grow, and your brand will gain recognition.</p> <p>that was all good advice, but the shift of readers becoming writers has also increased plagiarism. and it’s possible your business’s content – on social media, business networking sites, and even your company’s blog – may have been cribbed.</p> <p>every day, there are <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>500 million new tweets</a>, multiple posts added to the 40 million active small business pages on facebook, and 2 million new blog posts created.</p> <p>that’s a significant amount of content and, if we’re being honest, we want readers to pass it on: to share it, repost it, and retweet it.</p> <p>but some things that have become prevalent on social media cross even the loosest of ethical lines. take linkedin profiles, for example.</p> <p>many writers, marketers, and hr consultants make a living writing compelling linkedin profiles designed to grab the attention of potential clients or employers. but how can you stand out from the crowd when a bunch of other people have the exact same profile? apparently it’s getting to be an embarrassingly common thing for people to copy and paste elements of other linkedin users with the same general business background.</p> <p>the concept of “engagement” has blurred the lines of authorship, and internet postings often fall into a blurry area called “common knowledge.”</p> <p>mit defines common knowledge as “information that the average educated reader would accept as reliable without having to look it up.” while seemingly straightforward, that leaves a great deal open to interpretation. what does “average” mean? what constitutes an “educated reader”? educated based on whose standard?</p> <p>then there’s posting and reposting until the actual originator of an article, graphic, design, or idea is obscured beyond recovery. in many cases, the more your content falls into the realm of “common knowledge,” the more likely you are to lose your claim to it.</p> <p>that’s what happened to bayer’s claim on the product trademark “aspirin.” developed by bayer and trademarked in 1900, aspirin fell victim to what we now call “genericization”: people started to call any painkiller “aspirin.” by 1921, the trademark could no longer be enforced.</p> <p>so what can you as a business communicator do to avoid unintentionally plagiarizing others as well as protect your own intellectual property?</p> <p><strong>attribute your facts. </strong>as one who grew up as a journalist before the internet, i am in awe of how easy information is to find. if you find a great idea that dovetails with your business, share it, but attribute it fully and add a link to the original article.</p> <p><strong>paraphrasing doesn’t make it yours. </strong>some pundits on this topic suggest that you paraphrase the creative ideas of others. it’s a slippery slope. although not as offensive, paraphrasing is still a violation. you need to say in context where the idea or concept originated.</p> <p><strong>vigorously protect your content. </strong>the internet may have given rise to more ways to steal your words, but it also has facilitated more ways to check. with nearly every written word of the millions produced every day available to search engines, a few sentences enclosed in quotes and searched in google will find other articles using the same words. if you find someone has taken your content and reposted as their own, contact them and ask them to take it down or to properly attribute it. there are probably few places where any kind of civil or legal action would be worth the effort, but sometimes just letting people know they are caught is enough.</p> <p>if you have copyrighted your blog or website and find your content has been plagiarized, you may be able to sue in federal court. plagiarism is not a crime, but theft of intellectual property is.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>ubj digital maven</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Five Ways to Get the Word Out About Your Event Venue <p>online marketing can be challenging for the restaurant industry. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>less than 50 percent of independent restaurants have a website</a>. and for those who do have one, the website alone isn’t enough to promote your venue. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>51 percent of adults use the internet to find local restaurants</a>, and specifically use search engines, specialty websites, and social media.</p> <p>so, what do you need to do to catch the attention of event planners during their online searches? follow these five digital marketing tips to get the word out and show that your venue is perfect for their next event.</p> <h3>search engine optimization</h3> <p>before you even think about doing anything else, you need to make sure all of your online properties are optimized for search. create a list of keywords that event planners may use when searching for a venue like yours. think of words that describe your venue: your location and neighborhood, the types of events you host, your menu, your amenities, and your building’s style. try the <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>moz keyword explorer tool</a> to tweak your list.</p> <p>once you have a list of keywords, make sure they are included in your webpage copy, webpage titles, urls, blog posts, and image titles, but don’t overdo it. too many keywords could cause google to penalize your page for <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>“keyword stuffing.”</a></p> <h3>ask for testimonials</h3> <p>adding testimonials is another great way to get the word out. ask customers to review you on facebook or yelp. include the text of the reviews on your website and link back to the original review. testimonials will add to your keywords and contribute to social proof of your venue being the best. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>78 percent of americans read reviews before making a purchase decision</a>. and <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>87 percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust friends and family</a>.</p> <h3>sign up for google my business</h3> <p>make your venue stand out in an online search by signing up for a google my business account. google features these businesses on the right side of an online search, and creates a profile for them, which includes photos, a description of your business, a map, address, contact information, business hours, a link to the business website, reviews, and more. this will make your business stand out from the text search results, and gives potential clients a quick overview that will help them make a decision.</p> <h3>get listed on specialty websites</h3> <p>sometimes event planners may skip search engines and use a specialty website to narrow down their search. <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>tripleseat’s venue finder</a> and <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>tripadvisor</a> are good resources for events, destinations, parties, and corporate gatherings. get listed on sites like <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>the knot</a> if your venue hosts weddings. event planners also use <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>yelp</a> to discover venues and food options.</p> <h3>create social media accounts</h3> <p>if you haven’t already, make sure your venue is listed on social media. there’s a good chance an event planner may take a look at your social media profiles to see what’s been happening at your venue lately. your business should absolutely have a facebook account – <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>60 million businesses use facebook pages as part of their marketing plan</a>. it’s the largest social media network and your prospective clients are using it to find more information on venues.</p> <p>consider adding instagram and pinterest to your online presence. instagram can help show off your venue visually – share photos and videos of your event spaces, the different types of events you hold, special menu items, and a behind-the-scenes look at how you put events together. you can post a lot of those same images to pinterest and link them to the original social media post or to a relevant link on your venue’s website. pinterest is a pretty common tool used to bookmark vendors and ideas for events, so make sure your business is visible there.</p> <h3>be consistent and be present</h3> <p>creating a consistent online presence across the places event planners search for venues online will help get the word out about your restaurant or venue to prospective clients. choose your keywords for search engine optimization. then add testimonials, and build your profile on google, specialty websites, and social media. over time, your digital marketing efforts will make you a recognized name among event planners and help to grow your business.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>modern restraurant management</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Top 4 Graphic Design Concepts Every eLearning Instructor Needs to Know <p>teaching and education has always been about more than just the subject matter. it’s also about how the material is packaged and presented to learners. with elearning, students might never see their teachers or meet in a group with their peers. because elearning lacks some of these components of traditional education, the visual aspect has become more important than ever. good graphic design is a key part of creating effective elearning material.</p> <p>there are plenty of elearning creators who are excellent educators, but might not have been trained in visual communication. even if you’re not a graphic designer by trade, you can incorporate these graphic design principles to instantly improve the effectiveness of your elearning courses.</p> <h2>1. use images with purpose.</h2> <p>this means using images when they add something to the content, not when they distract from what students are meant to learn. images should complement and enrich the text. </p> <p>image quality is just as important as image content. your elearning content should project a professional appearance, and it can’t do that with out-of-focus, pixelated images. using low quality images devalues your content. it can make learners doubt that your course is a reputable source of information.</p> <h2>2. incorporate color psychology.</h2> <p>whether or not they realize it, your learners strongly associate colors with certain concepts and ideas. to make sure your message is getting across the way you want it to, it’s important to understand those associations and use colors accordingly.</p> <p>here are some of the most common color associations:</p> <p>red: red might be used to represent love, passion, and romance (think valentine’s day hearts, roses, etc.). more commonly in this context, it’s used to represent a warning or danger (it’s the color of stop signs, blood, etc.). either way, we’re conditioned to immediately give our attention to text or accents in red.</p> <p>green: green is generally considered a “safe” color (think of green on a stoplight or a green check mark indicating approval on a form). it’s also commonly associated with health, nature, and in some contexts, money and finance. </p> <p>blue: blue tends to be associated with authority: it’s frequently used in bank logos, branding for health and drug companies, and in many other professional contexts to indicate reliability and trustworthiness. this is a great color to use for emphasis without drawing attention away from your main message. </p> <h2>3. know your fonts.</h2> <p>fonts are an underappreciated aspect of good graphic design for elearning. after all, whatever font you choose, your learners are going to spend quite a lot of time staring at it. there are literally thousands of font options out there. but your best bet as an elearning course designer is to stick to the basics. </p> <p>a clean, sans serif font like verdana, arial, or helvetica is always a safe choice. (sans serif simply means that the letters don’t have little extensions, called serifs, at the end of the line strokes. times new roman is a serif font. the default font on your phone or tablet is almost certainly sans serif.)</p> <p>you can deviate from these standard sans serif fonts in your titles or headings, but use other fonts sparingly. generally speaking, you should only use two or, at most, three fonts in your entire course. it’s important to use fonts consistently as well. one font for all of the text body and another easy-to-read font for the titles and headers is a good format.</p> <h2>4. keep your layout clean and logical.</h2> <p>when it comes to the overlap of graphic design and elearning, cognitive load is an especially important aspect to keep in mind. per psychologist world, <a href=''>cognitive load</a> “is a theory which aims to understand how the cognitive load produced by learning tasks can impede students’ ability to process new information and to create long-term memories. cognitive load is typically increased when unnecessary demands are imposed on a learner, making the task of processing information overly complex.”</p> <p>what does this mean for elearning? essentially, it means that the harder your learners have to work to understand the flow of your course, the less attention they can devote to actually learning the material.</p> <p>part of this comes from the technical implementation and method of delivery for the course. but graphic design is a large component as well. a couple of tips for reducing cognitive load:</p> <ul> <li>utilize white space (also known as negative space). this literally means blank, empty space that isn’t occupied by text or images. including plenty of white space makes your course appear neat and organized.</li> <li>build your layout around key focal points. as soon as your learners open a new page or module, their eyes should be drawn to a specific element that captures what the page is all about. if your layout has too many focal points, learners will find it hard to make sense of the information on the page. the same is true if your layout has no focal points.</li> <li>incorporate visuals. this relates to our first graphic design principle: images should reflect the core message of the module. but visuals don’t have to mean photographs. consider replacing chunks of text with infographics, charts, or graphs, which are often much easier for learners to process. even when you are using text, create a visual hierarchy with the use of headings, subheadings, and bullet points.</li> </ul> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>elearing inside</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 3 of the Easiest Ways to Build Better-Quality Backlinks ASAP <p><a href=''>building links</a> to your site isn’t easy. and it isn’t fun, either.</p> <p>especially when it comes to getting the right links for your site. links from diverse, unique, high domain authority sites that actually move the needle.</p> <p>these links have the potential to skyrocket traffic, off-page seo, and rankings.</p> <p>and that’s why they’re nearly impossible to obtain.</p> <p>getting the same old links with the same old tactics from the same old crappy directories isn’t going to deliver bottom-line boosting results.</p> <p>not in today’s cutthroat, oversaturated world.</p> <p>thankfully, there are a few proven methods when it comes to acquiring the right links with less effort than a boring link building campaign or yet another cold email outreach process.</p> <p>here are three of the easiest ways to build better-quality backlinks asap.</p> <h2>what types of links to focus on and why (data-backed)</h2> <p>in 2016, google conducted a <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>question and answer</a> hosted by a search quality senior strategist named andrey lipattsev.</p> <p>the data that lipattsev gave us was one of the only clear answers google has given on top ranking factors.</p> <p>to sum it up, lipattsev told us that the top two rankings factors are: links and content.</p> <p>in no particular order. what more would you expect from google?</p> <p>essentially, if you want better rankings, you need better content and more/better links.</p> <p>the tricky part is the link building catch-22. you often can’t get more/better links until you have better content.</p> <p>otherwise, it’s too hard to scheme, plan, or scale your way to better links.</p> <p>this is backed up by <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>research from backlinko</a>, which studied one million search engine result pages to determine which factors had the most influence on rankings.</p> <p>here are the key findings:</p> <ul> <li>top-ranking content (1-10 on serps) had more links. the #1 post on a given google search had more links <em>by far.</em> meaning they dominated the competition with backlinks.</li> <li>total link quantity isn’t all that matters. the top-ranking posts had links from hundreds of diverse websites. meaning you can’t just get links from a single site and call it a done deal.</li> <li>high domain authority (da) sites are the best links you can get. top-ranking posts had the highest da-based links. you need links from the top dogs if you want to rank.</li> </ul> <p>in summation, you need to hit three main factors when looking for links:</p> <ul> <li>quantity.</li> <li>quality.</li> <li>diversity.</li> </ul> <p>still skeptical? head over to google and perform a dozen searches for random industry keywords, like “content marketing guide.”<img alt='content marketing guide search' src='' style='height:231px; width:649px' /></p> <p>let’s see how links impact these two specific rankings.</p> <p>the content on them is pretty much the same. they’re both long and in-depth. we’re talking lots and lots and lots of words. also, pretty pictures and design.</p> <p>meaning one of the only remaining ranking factors left to check out is links.</p> <p>first, let’s drop the top-ranking post by moz and plug it into open site explorer to see the backlink profile.</p> <p>here’s what that looks like:</p> <p><img alt='moz content marketing total links' src='' style='height:256px; width:951px' /></p> <p>nearly 10,000 backlinks spread across 95 different domains.</p> <p>now, check out the second:</p> <p><img alt='quicksprout content marketing total links' src='' style='height:257px; width:950px' /></p> <p>967 links spread across 372.</p> <p>repeat this for any search, and you’ll likely (almost always) find the same pattern.</p> <p>if you dig deeper into each backlink profile, you quickly notice the other patterns of diverse sources and high-quality da sites:</p> <p><img alt='high-quality domain authority' src='' style='height:333px; width:82px' /></p> <p>obviously, these data points aren’t everything. but they’re a lot. they tell you about all you need to know.</p> <p>quantity, quality, and diversity drive results.</p> <p>the only problem is figuring out how and where to get these kinds of links.</p> <h2>1. guest blogging for brand awareness</h2> <p><a href=''>guest blogging</a> has been under fire in the last few years. this year was no different (see: <a href=''>google issues a warning about guest posting to build links</a>).</p> <p>in 2014, <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>google clarified</a> that guest blogging is good, but guest blogging solely for links and seo isn’t.</p> <p>if you’ve been keeping up, you already know that it’s a hotly debated topic.</p> <p>with that being said, you shouldn’t only focus your guest blogging on link building. meaning your primary goal shouldn’t just be to spam guest posts on every site and grab a fast link.</p> <p>instead, you should use it as an opportunity to post content that increases brand awareness, builds credibility, and qualified traffic at the same time.</p> <p>so, how do you get started guest blogging to build brand awareness when you’ve got no connections?</p> <p>it’s easy.</p> <p>head to google and search with the following <a href=''>parameters</a>:</p> <p><em> (or any target site) + guest blogging (or guest post or write for) </em></p> <p>doing this simple search will instantly return any page on a given site that talks about guest blogging and how to apply:</p> <p><img alt='search engine journal guest blogging how to apply' src='' style='height:102px; width:640px' /></p> <p>repeat this process for almost any industry site, and you’ll find results:</p> <p><img alt='semrush guest blogging how to apply' src='' style='height:104px; width:649px' /></p> <p>most sites will have guest posting opportunities on their blog. so instead of going to each site and scouring the footer or header, just use a parameter.</p> <p>don’t just do seo for seo sake.</p> <p>the point is to generate an roi. and <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>study</a> after <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>study</a> proves that people buy from those they know (or feel like they know).</p> <p>so yes. you should guest post. no matter what google says.</p> <p>because you’ll get something even more important than a sweet backlink in return: profit.</p> <p><img alt='brad smith byline' src='' style='height:264px; width:779px' /></p> <h2>2. generate more brand mentions</h2> <p>the best way to produce more brand mentions and links is by posting better content.</p> <p>but it can’t be a standard blog post. not even a long-form post about seo tips will do the trick.</p> <p>those topics are too saturated. they don’t change people’s lives. they don’t shift their world views.</p> <p>why do certain posts get tons of links and praise for years to come? they were monumental in the industry.</p> <p>they drastically impacted the daily lives of seo professionals. one perfect example includes big, proprietary, data-backed studies.</p> <p>drift recently <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>conducted a study</a> where they put their own business on the line to uncover data on forms and live chat.</p> <p><img alt='drift study a year without lead forms' src='' style='height:858px; width:977px' /></p> <p>they got links from sites like neil patel and cmi. and a google search for forms now routinely turns up a drift mention.</p> <p>groupon showed us another similar example of this tactic when they risked their own profits to <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>uncover dark traffic</a>.</p> <p><img alt='groupon uncovers dark traffic' src='' style='height:486px; width:832px' /></p> <p>if you search on google for “groupon dark traffic” now, you turn up thousands of results mentioning their brand:</p> <p><img alt='google search groupon dark traffic' src='' style='height:924px; width:683px' /></p> <p>the effects can be massive because the content is<em> literally game-changing. </em></p> <p>do you have a case study in which you used an “out of the box” method to gaining results? did you uncover new data that was otherwise unknown? share it with the world.</p> <p>so, what do you do when you’ve gotten some new brand mentions?</p> <p>first, you will probably notice that tons of your mentions don’t have a link.</p> <p>you want to then reach out to these sites and ask them to include your link where your brand is mentioned.</p> <p>since they’ve already mentioned you, they will likely have no problem giving you a link.</p> <p>that’s not the hard part. the hard part is actually getting someone to talk about you in the first place.</p> <h2>3. mention influencers in your content</h2> <p>you all know and love (<em>hate</em>) influencer round-ups.</p> <p><a href=''>they usually look a little something like this:</a><img alt='round-up style post seo trends 2017' src='' style='height:654px; width:1045px' /></p> <p>they often compile tons of input from dozens of influencers.</p> <p>since they usually reference popular influencers, it’s no wonder that they generate links.</p> <p>why? because they first give a link and a brand mention to each expert involved:</p> <p><img alt='seo trends 2017 brand mentions' src='' style='height:546px; width:720px' /></p> <p>and we all know that reciprocation is key when it comes to just about anything in life.</p> <p>if you only take (rather than giving too), you likely won’t get very far in life.</p> <p>these posts often get links from most of the people mentioned.</p> <p>if you don’t believe me, just take a look at the backlink profile for this post:</p> <p><img alt='seo trends 2017 backlink profile' src='' style='height:258px; width:950px' /></p> <p>that’s a lot of links (from a lot of domains) for a single post. if you inspect each link, you can quickly see that tons of people mentioned in the post are linking back to it.</p> <p>why? it’s free promotion for the experts involved. they can drive more traffic to that page by linking to it on their own site.</p> <p>by doing so, they’ve even shown that they’re an industry expert and further cemented that image in their customer’s’ mind.</p> <p>want more links? write a round-up post featuring experts.</p> <p>for example, check out how <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>aaron orendorff</a> uses round-up style posts to contact and mention influencers and secure links:</p> <p><img alt='aaron orendorff round-up style post b2b ecommerce' src='' style='height:707px; width:535px' /></p> <p>a great way to let influencers know of your new content featuring their input is to simply mention them on social media.</p> <p>if your content is top-tier, like <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>aaron’s 4,234-word guide</a> with nine b2b e-commerce trends, you can expect links from the influencers mentioned.</p> <h2><strong>conclusion</strong></h2> <p>chances are, you don’t just need any links.</p> <p>you have enough low-value junk pointing to your site.</p> <p>instead, you need the right ones. you need the legit, hard-to-reach ones. the ones that deliver intangible benefits, like branding and credibility, which ultimately lead to more sales.</p> <p>guest blogging – no matter what google threatens – is still one of the best (easiest) ways to get started. the second piece involves generating more brand mentions with atypical content.</p> <p>stuff that stands out. stuff that’s actually remarkable (without just saying it is).</p> <p>we’re talking the content that is revolutionary in the industry, like groupon’s dark traffic study or drift’s year without forms.</p> <p>lastly, try mentioning influencers in your content.</p> <p>sure, it’s cheap. it’s easy. but it’s also effective.</p> <p>it gets you on more people’s radar. it helps spread the attention and love. which then also helps drive new revenue.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>sej</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 6 tips for identifying the best keywords for your next SEO campaign <p>these days, simply publishing an advertisement or blog post is not enough to get you any sort of valuable exposure. the internet’s deluge of promotional material has created an ocean vast enough that what you post can get swept away before anybody ever notices it existed.</p> <p>fortunately, online marketing is not a game of chance; it’s a game of skill. when you’re planning out your campaign, the name of the game is search engine optimization (seo). the quality of your seo campaign is paramount to your <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>business’ online success</a>.</p> <p>putting together a knockout campaign, however, is easier said than done. below, you’ll find a few actionable tips that will help make sure that your next seo campaign will be your most effective campaign to date.</p> <h3>1) don’t follow the crowd</h3> <p>in every industry, there are certain keywords that everyone is gunning for. sometimes, it may be inevitable that you have to join in the fray — for example, if you’re a tax preparer, you can’t very well form a campaign without using the phrase “tax preparer.”</p> <p>generally, unless you’re already at the top of the pack for a certain keyword (i.e. turbotax can take advantage of related keywords more so than a local business), you want to find areas where the competition is a bit scarcer. especially when you’re new to the scene, you have to pick your battles wisely.</p> <h3>2) find the ‘sweet spot’</h3> <p>once you’ve scouted out the competition and found what keywords they’re targeting, you’ll know where not to go. however, just because not many people are hitting a certain keyword, doesn’t mean that you should automatically make that keyword the focus of your campaign.</p> <p>odds are, if a keyword is being ignored by your competition, it’s because it’s not a worthwhile keyword to hit. if nobody’s searching for it, you can harp on in all you want, but it won’t do you any good. use the software you have to find keywords that have a relatively high search volume but that aren’t being properly addressed.</p> <p>the pool of keywords like this may not be vast, but you’ll generally have enough at your disposal together with a high-quality campaign that addresses a need that your competitors have failed to recognize.</p> <h3>3) use good software</h3> <p>of course, you’ll have no way of knowing which keywords will be useful based on their search volume and ranking difficulty if you aren’t using the right seo software. a great place to start is with <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>semrush</a>, where you can search keywords or businesses, and find the right areas to attack in your campaign.</p> <p>you can start with a keyword search, which will lay out the search volume, ranking difficulty, search trends, and cost per click of that keyword. also included will be a list of related keywords, which can be a goldmine for your campaign. find what people are searching for and which unattended needs you can address here, and get to work.</p> <h3>4) trust the pros</h3> <p>while the above tips will help a good marketing professional get started on his or her campaign strategy, the fact of the matter is that not all businesses are in the position of running their own effective seo campaigns.</p> <p>whether it be through a lack of experience, lack of resources, or simply a desire for more specialized services, it’s often best to turn to industry professionals to run the most effective, results-driven seo campaign possible.</p> <p>that said, when looking for an seo agency or firm to work with, be careful — it’s easy to partner with the wrong people. founded by immy tariq and huey lee, <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>webmetrix group recommends</a> that brands look only for seo professionals with a well-documented history of strong keyword optimization, white hat link-building strategies, and quality customer service.</p> <h3>5) know your place</h3> <p>before you start your campaign, you have to know where you stand in the market. this will inform all decisions you make. again, if you’re an industry giant, you can afford to take on the top-ranking keywords and rely on the fact that you have the reputation and name recognition to get traffic. if you’re a <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>small business</a>, you’ll need to pay closer attention to your niche or local market, and understand what their needs are.</p> <h3>6) learn from the competition</h3> <p>when you know who you are, and you know where you want to go, feel free to glean as much information as you can from <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>your competition</a>. look at the keywords they’re using and the strategies they’ve taken to carve out a space in the market.</p> <p>get to work taking whatever they’ve done to find success, and making it work better for your business. there’s no dibs system with seo campaigns — just because they had success with certain keywords doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be going after the exact same ones.</p> <p>in the end, the best material using the most effective keywords will win out. if you’ve put together a quality team, or have hired one, make the most of their talent by maximizing the value of the keywords you use. your success will no longer be up to chance, so long as you’ve maximized the seo value of your efforts.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tnw</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 These 13 Common SEO Myths Are More Fiction Than Fact <p>search engine optimization is constantly changing as search sites update to improve how data is displayed, leaving marketers in a state of constant adaptation.</p> <p>with this continuous change, it's easy for myths or bad information to get spread. search sites only share a limited amount of information about how it's changed, and advertisers can easily miss industry news on updates, leaving them operating off of less-than-efficient approaches.</p> <p>to help you sort fact from fiction, members of the forbes agency council have chimed in on 14 misconceptions about seo:</p> <p><strong>1. seo is free traffic</strong></p> <p>business owners keep saying that seo is free traffic, and that couldn't be further from the truth. to benefit from "free organic traffic," business owners need to invest a lot of time, technical expertise and technology to ensure that they rank well for high-value traffic. it's not simple and often requires big investment into the website, consultants and content. - jordon meyer, granular</p> <p><strong>2. a focus on seo will drive all leads</strong></p> <p>we run across a number of organizations that believe that if they put their entire budget into seo, they will generate all the leads they need. nothing could be further from the truth. seo needs to be one pillar of an overall integrated marketing plan in order to get the best results. messaging and exposure play just a role in seo. - lisa allocca, red javelin communications</p> <p><strong>3. all you need is an optimized website</strong></p> <p>a common seo myth is that all you need is a well-optimized website to rank. the foundation of an seo solution is to ensure the website is built with best practices — it's mobile friendly, has robust content and unique metadata per page, but you can’t stop there. in order for a website to outrank a competitor’s website, link-building, offsite blogs and google my business optimization are needed. - laura cole, vivial</p> <p><strong>4. exact match domains have an advantage</strong></p> <p>exact match domains are often seen as a potential ranking signal or boost for a given keyword. the truth is that any brand or website can potentially rank for a relevant keyword. in september 2012, google released an update commonly known as the "emd update," which was aimed to prevent poor-quality sites from ranking well just because they have keywords in their domain name. - aaron henry, foundry512</p> <p><strong>5. load the content with keywords</strong></p> <p>many companies sacrifice content by overly repeating keywords. they apply keywords in an unprofessional manner within their content and description tags to the point where they don't make sense. let's assume that your strategy works: would you trade your hard-earned image for rank? it's like parking a run-down trailer in a fancy subdivision — your customers will get annoyed as they pass you by. - ahmad kareh, twistlab marketing</p> <p><strong>6. there is a duplicate content penalty</strong></p> <p>contrary to popular belief, there is no duplicate content penalty. there is a filter. essentially, when google encounters two or more versions of the same page, they choose the most authoritative copy and filter out the rest. but, rest assured, your website will not be penalized for duplication of content - jon clark, fuze seo, llc</p> <p><strong>7. paid search affects organic seo results</strong></p> <p>organic seo results are not a result of paid search. paid advertising, such as pay-per-click, does not affect organic search results. search engines — google and yahoo, in particular — maintain a separation between the organic results and paid advertisements. advertisers spend millions of dollars trying to increase organic results. however, the bolstered notion is a myth. - alex quin, uadv</p> <p><strong>8. higher rankings mean more money</strong></p> <p>many businesses believe that higher visibility in search engines will automatically translate to increased revenue. this is simply not true. many keywords have different levels of buyer intent and search volume, which can dramatically impact the bottom line. the user experience on the website also plays a huge role, as you could have no. 1 rankings, but then have users visit a poorly designed site. - guillermo ortiz, geek powered studios</p> <p><strong>9. the more backlinks you have, the better</strong></p> <p>there is a common misconception in seo that more is better, especially regarding backlinks. however, the quality of backlinks significantly trumps the quantity. in order to improve your ranking, you need to focus on high authority websites. in addition, you want a diverse backlink profile, with a multitude of referring domains. a few high-quality links are worth dozens of low-quality links. - jeff grover,</p> <p><strong>10. meta descriptions are a ranking factor</strong></p> <p>the myth that we see most often is the misconception that meta descriptions are a ranking factor. although important for click-through rates, which are a direct ranking factor, a meta description by itself will not affect page rank without all other seo components in place. that said, meta descriptions are still very important for searchers and should be part of every page optimization checklist. - nina hale, nina hale, inc</p> <p><strong>11. it's all about content</strong></p> <p>yes, content is essential, but it's not the driving factor. optimization still requires a set of practices, including quality link-building and relevant content that gets a high time on site. a content-strong website with poor image and mobile optimization will not rank high for selected keywords. always make improvements based on user behavior, and google will reward you. - raffi keuhnelian, inexxus</p> <p><strong>12. seo is set and forget</strong></p> <p>there's a perception that you can do seo for a few months and your site will then automatically get more organic traffic. on the contrary, you should never stop doing seo: it is an ongoing activity. our slogan that we preach is "seo is a marathon, not a sprint.” a website is a living and expanding entity, therefore it should be monitored and optimized on an ongoing basis. - zach morrison, elite sem</p> <p><strong>13. you must rank no. 1</strong></p> <p>being no. 1 is great, but it's not worth spending a ton of money for one generic keyword that may have high search volume. being ranked no. 4 or no. 5 could possibly help you more. instead, your seo strategy should focus on ranking for relevant keywords that your consumers are searching for so you can create more visitors, leads, and potential customers to your website. - solomon thimothy, oneims</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>forbes</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 13 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Is Your Website Content Helping Or Hurting Your Online Marketing Campaign? <p>content marketing has become more popular than ever since its rise to prominence after <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>google’s “panda” update back in 2011</a>. website content can be highly valuable, and crucial for many independent online marketing strategies, but some people have come to see content as purely a good thing.</p> <p>in reality, the effectiveness and value of your content depends heavily on the type of content you’re creating, and how you’re implementing it. and the scale doesn't start from zero, either; in fact, bad content can actually do more damage to your campaign than doing nothing at all.</p> <p>so how can you tell if your website content is helping or hurting your campaign?</p> <p><strong>why content matters</strong></p> <p>let’s start by analyzing why content matters in the first place, and the different ways you can gain value from it:</p> <ul> <li><strong>seo fodder. </strong>first, content is necessary for a search engine optimization (seo) campaign. seo is all about making your website as visible as possible in search engines, which means creating lots of pages that can be indexed and maximizing the value of those pages. adding new content gives search engine crawlers more material to index, and can make your website more relevant for specific search queries.</li> <li><strong>reputation building. </strong>content is also valuable for building your brand reputation and proving your expertise to new and recurring visitors; it’s your opportunity to impress people. high-quality content will make people appreciate, respect, or trust your brand, and the best content has the potential to go viral, attracting even more traffic to your site and earning links that boost your domain authority.</li> <li><strong>conversion attraction. </strong>content is also an opportunity to convert your audience, or get them to take a desired action. if you’re writing about how to choose a bicycle to buy, for example, you can end your article with a link to your most popular bicycles. in this context, content serves as a traffic director that helps turn your visitors into paying customers.</li> </ul> <p><strong>three key traps</strong></p> <p>in all three of these applications, content can be valuable, but people tend to fall into three major traps of thinking that prevent them from using content properly. these traps are influenced by biases and inexperienced understanding, and can cause you to unknowingly execute a content campaign that not only doesn’t help you; it actively works against you:</p> <ol> <li><strong>quantity matters more than quality. </strong>because content has many benefits, some marketers unjustly assume that more content is always better, and then spend their efforts making as much content as possible—rather than making the best content possible. this “quantity over quality” mindset is counterproductive, since even one piece of bad content can damage your reputation.</li> <li><strong>content is a means to an end. </strong>some marketers see content as a means to an end, viewing it solely as a vessel to get people to convert. they treat it like an advertising opportunity, rather than an opportunity to provide value or benefit to their audience. doing so may betray your audience’s trust.</li> <li><strong>strategic mimicry achieves similar results. </strong>other marketers see similar brands that have been successful with content marketing and attempt to duplicate their strategies. while in theory, this seems like a sound approach, in reality, it cheapens the content you produce because it means your content lacks originality—and it’s rare to capture the essence that made the original strategy successful in the first place.</li> </ol> <p><strong>how content can hurt</strong></p> <p>so how can content actively hurt your campaign, rather than improving it or letting it simmer?</p> <ul> <li><strong>thin content and reputation. </strong>“thin” content is content that doesn’t have value for readers; it might be devoid of details or meaningful information, it might be woefully short, or it might be surface-level, repetitive, or a derivative of other works. if a reader encounters this content on your website, they might leave thinking less of your brand, or seeing you as amateurs, rather than experts.</li> <li><strong>thin content and seo rankings. </strong>thin content is also bad for your seo rankings. google’s algorithm detects the qualitative value of content based on many different factors (which aren’t publicly available), and if it determines that one of your pages is low-quality, you could suffer a mild penalty throughout your entire site.</li> <li><strong>marketing spam and distrust. </strong>if readers think your content has been contrived for the sole purpose of attracting more visitors, or for earning more conversions, they’ll come to see you as a spammer, and may distrust any content you publish in the future. remember, your primary goal in content marketing is to provide value for your audience.</li> <li><strong>improperly targeted content and alienation. </strong>if your content isn’t targeted to the right audience, you could end up attracting the wrong types of people—and pushing away the readers you need the most. you might see decent traffic figures, but your conversion rates and profitability will be way off from where they could be.</li> </ul> <p><strong>ongoing improvements</strong></p> <p>what’s the best way to make sure your content never works actively against your campaign? the short answer is: make it as good as it can possibly be. content you put genuine effort into will almost never work against you, and will, in most cases, provide a substantial benefit.</p> <p>if you want to make your content campaign as valuable as possible, commit to making ongoing improvements; get to know your target audience better, do more research, and pack your content full of as many details, facts, and unique perspectives as you can. only your best work should ever make it to your blog. for more help developing and executing a content marketing campaign, see <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>the definitive guide to content marketing</a>.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>forbes</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sat, 4 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Trends in Beauty: How to Use Naturalism <p>in a digitally driven culture, desire to get back to nature has greater value than ever as consumers are craving new, more intense connections with the natural world.<br /> <br /> combining the best aspects of a natural lifestyle with the convenience of today’s digital connectivity, naturalism is gaining a new premium status. brands are embracing the intricacies and imperfections of natural visual codes and cues; raw, traditional materials, earthy color palettes and handcrafted products.</p> <h3>the desire for naturalism</h3> <p>once reserved for a specific eco-consumer and the realms of organic foods, the desire for naturalism is becoming more prevalent across a number of categories.<br /> <br /> in response to the slick, polished digital experiences we are surrounded by each day, consumers are rejecting over-manipulated, synthetic and embellished products and experiences and instead are placing a higher value on naturalism.<br /> <br /> while naturalism was perhaps born in the world of personal care, we’ve seen naturalism becoming ingrained across most categories, including fashion, interiors and product design. and as a result, it is now coming full circle with new expressions and new codes of natural in the beauty industry.</p> <h3>what does naturalism look like?</h3> <p>so, what does naturalism look like? in interior spaces, we invite the outside in as immersive indoor planting takes over the summer and graphic greenery is printed onto everything from wallpaper to packaging design.<br /> <br /> graphic patterns and typography champion handmade craft as brands increasingly celebrate natural through type and pattern, inspired by textile design, modern graphic art and printing. in addition, consumer awareness of synthetic and animal-derived ingredients continues to grow bringing with it a preference toward transparent brands and vegan-friendly and naturally derived products.<br /> <br /> deodorant brand <a href='' target='_blank'>schmidt’s naturals</a> is challenging established codes and perceptions of natural in a category traditionally cynical of natural product efficacy. refreshing and vibrant leafy patterns on pack celebrate their natural, plant-powered products and have helped assert them as a new player in the market alongside brands like secret and dove. <br /> <br /> driven by a craving for closer connections to nature, earthy color palettes such as rich yet muted tones of yellows and brown provide relief and relaxation, a welcome break from our rapid-response, digital lives. in their hong kong store, natural beauty brand burt’s bees incorporates inviting, warming color tones to emulate the magic of being inside a beehive, while a feature wall of honey jars house the natural ingredients used in their products.<br /> <br /> further than this, naturalism is impacting existing codes of premium as synthetically perfect, polished and pristine products are rejected in favor of exposing natural materials and finishes. raw materials are hero’ed in products and interiors where effects such as peeling plaster and natural cork replace a slick, polished finish.<br /> <br /> similarly, in cosmetics, wood, stone and ceramic materials are used in packaging and products to enhance natural credentials. a clay cleansing bar soap features in the face product ranges of <a href='' target='_blank'>herbivore </a>cosmetics, while naturals brand <a href='' target='_blank'>neom organics </a>incorporates a ceramic vessel in their treatment candles.<br /> <br /> naturalism celebrates the un-designed: graphic design that dismisses the traditional grid system and symmetry, instead embracing an un-staged, imperfect aesthetic. from kanye west’s album cover to supreme’s candid fashion photography, natural design expressions are creating a fresh sense of authenticity that pays tribute to being in the moment.<br /> <br /> for beauty packaging, this means challenging the norm, breaking the traditional rules and being bold and brave with graphics on pack. take inspiration from <a href='' target='_blank'>bleach london</a>, who are carving a unique space in the beauty category as they continue to broaden their bold product offering from edgy, vivid hair colors to bright pressed glitter and vibrant lip kits. their brand identity of shattered type reflects this bold expression and their irreverent marketing strategy as they break expected design codes for beauty packaging.</p> <p>how can you use naturalism to elevate your brand through packaging?<br /> <br /> champion natural packaging materials, utilize textural and tactile labels, commission handcrafted illustrations and, ultimately, celebrate nature’s imperfections through packaging.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>beauty-packaging</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sat, 4 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 Solutions for Building Your Own Website <p>whether you are wanting to gain knowledge about website building ideas for personal use or in pursuit of designing websites for others, you may be wondering where to start. if so, this article may be of some help to you.</p> <p>even if you are totally green to the whole website building thing, that’s perfectly normal and fine. it wasn’t long ago that building a website involved totally alien languages called codes. only “geeks” new these coded languages. even with the proliferation of easy to use plugins and apps, website building is still a mystery to many. you’d be surprised how many people i meet that still don’t know they can build their own website using diy sites.</p> <p>whatever the mistaken views about website design and building, the old methods of doing so are long gone. today, even a knowledgeable 10-year-old child could build a website in a day. thus, you no longer need to know the code in order to build a website. here are some solutions for building your own website.</p> <h2><strong>some things should be left to the experts</strong></h2> <p>even for those who have “mastered” one set of skills in the world of website design, there are not very many people who can master it all. from programmers to icon designers around the globe, everyone has different skill sets of varying levels. becoming a great programmer in itself is truly a gift that no one should underscore.</p> <p>furthermore, for those who are niche-focused, seeking help from external sources should never be out of the question. you can speed up the website development process tenfold and obtain insight and unique experiences working with a team.</p> <p>some examples of the best psd to html services out there are <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>psd2html</a> and <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>xchop</a>. of course, there are hundreds of these services to choose from. feel free to google “psd to html services” in order to find more.</p> <p>even for those seasoned coders, the whole process of sitting down and coding a photoshop document into html/css can be quite irritating and time-consuming. these services listed above offer their services 24 hours a day, seven days a week and offer discounts and packages most find affordable.</p> <h2><strong>consider using freelancers</strong></h2> <p><img alt='website design coding' src='' /></p> <p>one of the greatest things to come about from the internet is the ability to work for yourself as a freelancer. most of the blogs and articles you read were created by freelancers. the websites you visit to read those article may have had some freelance work involved.</p> <p>furthermore, the internet has brought forth an ease of communication never seen before since the dawn of man. this means that many freelancers work hand-in-hand to complete projects. a programmer from america may work alongside a programmer in japan or china.</p> <p>today, thousands of freelance communities make it so easy for designers and developers to connect. becoming a member of a great freelancing community allows both to share their ideas and work together on a project. often times, hiring a freelancer fresh out of college who is hungry to get themselves established will offer very good yet affordable work.</p> <p>if you don’t know where to start looking for your freelancer, <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>try these sites</a>. nevertheless, in my experience, it is better to use these sites and then find a way to contact the freelancers directly and build a one-on-one business relationship with them. and though freelancing sites frown upon it, it can be done if you’re savvy enough.</p> <h2><strong>take advantage of open source software</strong></h2> <p>one of the best innovations that are disrupting the web development community today is the availability of open source software. existing libraries are constantly being added to by developers in order to improve them. some of the most well known and respected of such would be <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>jquery</a> and <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>mootools</a> that offer javascript libraries. they have great tutorials and an even better reputation.</p> <p>javascript isn’t the only open protocol being worked on, though. there are open source libraries such as github that have thousands of developers sharing and contributing in languages such as php, css, sql, asp, objective-c, and much more.</p> <p>one blogging platform that has grown historically over the years and has become the epitome of open source project is <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>wordpress</a>. developed by <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>matt mullenweg</a> in 2003, wordpress hosts millions of sites and hosts thousands of developers working on their backend. their entire package is free to download and pretty simple to install. for developers interested in building wp themes and plugins, wordpress offers links and tutorials.</p> <p>wordpress also offers an amazing amount of free plugins for all of its users to enjoy.</p> <h2><strong>don’t worry about designing your own icons</strong></h2> <p><img alt='web design icons' src='' /></p> <p>when looking at the animation and graphic design aspect of website development, you will still find a large open source and share community. web designers actually enjoy sharing their artwork with the world and use open source as a way to promote their ideas.</p> <p>good graphic designers are difficult to come by. this makes graphics the most complicated aspect of creating your website. if you don’t have a problem applying retribution links or crediting a designer for their work, you can use free icon sites such as <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>famfamfam</a>, <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>fugue</a> or <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>woofunction</a>.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>icon finder</a> is another great source for the most popular icon sets. it behaves much like a search engine and helps you find free shared icons that make building your website even quicker.</p> <h2><strong>never stop your research and always study</strong></h2> <p>one of the keys to becoming successful at designing websites, whether it be for your own business or for others, is constant research and study. if you truly have an ardent passion for website design, you should find material that keeps you motivated towards your goals. visit sites that cover <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>tips to create your website</a>, join web development communities and purchase books about web design. it is vital to stay on top of the trends.</p> <p>this list is bar far complete, but hopefully, it gives you an idea and a place to start. <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>web design</a> affords you the freedom to control your own business – gives you the power to create a business you can do from anywhere, at any time.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong></strong></a>.</p> All categories Sat, 4 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How to Get More Links to Your Website with 7 Types of Content <p>content can be used for a variety of different things, from attracting search engine traffic to getting a cacophony of likes on social media.</p> <p>however, one of the biggest targets for people creating content on their websites remains <a href=''>attracting links</a>, whether from blogs, top-tier news publications, or anything in between.</p> <p>knowing who and what you’re creating content for is crucial in finding <a href=''>link building</a> success.</p> <p>in the same way that you should create different kinds of content for different channels, you should also create different kinds of content for different link targets.</p> <p>creating the same kind of content, targeted at the same people over and over again, won’t broaden the variety of links you get; it will usually lead to you getting links in the same places over and over again.</p> <p>we know that most seo value comes from the first link you get on a domain, so creating different kinds of content that target different kinds of authors and publications will give you a better chance of getting coverage across a wider set of sites.</p> <p>there are many different types of content you can create which can attract links, and if you ensure you cover as many of them as possible you’ll give yourself the best possible chance of getting links across a broader set of sites.</p> <p>i’ve pulled together some of my favorite types of content that we use to get links at seo travel, along with tips on how to maximize them.</p> <h2>provide value on your site</h2> <p>creating content on your site that is link-worthy is a great start to this process, as it can leave you with assets that stand the test of time and that you can use over and over again to get links into the future.</p> <p>i’ve highlighted four of my favorites below. all need a bit of time to bear fruit, but if you invest the time up front you will reap the rewards when they are ready.</p> <h2><strong>1. reference content</strong></h2> <p>one of the biggest reasons for linking on the web is to support what you’re saying with <a href=''>statistics</a>.</p> <p>therefore, if you create pages on your site that include the data to back up people’s argument, then you’ll have a great chance of being referenced and linked to whenever that topic is written about.</p> <p>this doesn’t mean you have to conduct expensive in-depth studies to create new data, you can simply aggregate the information that’s already out there.</p> <p>hubspot has a great example of this with their <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>marketing statistics page</a>which has 2,056 linking domains!</p> <p>in travel, pricing pages are a great example of this, such as this backpacker index on <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>price of travel</a> which breaks down the costs of a variety of cities and has 17 domains linking to it, with each individual place page on the site also attracting lots of links.</p> <h2><strong>2. host an event</strong></h2> <p><a href=''>creating and hosting an event</a> is a great way to attract links as people need to link back to your page so people can sign up or get tickets.</p> <p>it also has inbuilt methods of promotion, as speakers will always be happy to share it and will likely link back to it from personal sites where they talk about their speaking experience.</p> <p>you can also add it to event listing sites like event brite. some of these will be nofollowed, but there are many with followed links out there you can add your event to.</p> <p>people also like to create lists of the <a href=''>best conferences and events</a> in an industry, so you give yourself the opportunity to be featured in those kinds of posts too.</p> <p>branded3 are a great example of this in action having launched their <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>search leeds</a> conference this year, which has already racked up links from nearly 40 domains, many of which are extremely powerful.</p> <h2><strong>3. do a study</strong></h2> <p>new research is always a popular way of getting links, particularly if you can find a topic or angle that people in your industry are struggling with.</p> <p>this type of approach is one that takes time and effort to implement, but if you land on a great angle you can then turn it into a recurring study each year and create an ongoing outreach opportunity.</p> <p>orbit media does a fantastic job of this with their <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>blogger trends research</a> being particularly successful, attracting links from 164 domains and counting. they’re now on their third iteration of the study, and no doubt will continue long into the future as it continues to gain traction.</p> <p>don’t be too concerned about spending lots of time on research and ending up with an outcome that’s different to your desired hypothesis either.</p> <p>mailchimp did a study on the ideal length of an email subject line and found that <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>it didn’t matter at all</a>! however, the post has still attracted links from 68 domains, with some of the most powerful sites on the web amongst them.</p> <h2><strong>4. create tools</strong></h2> <p>as with events, tools are a fantastic way to attract links as you are providing value for your audience and the natural thing for people to do when referencing it is to link through to where people can use it.</p> <p>you can do this in two ways; free or paid. some companies use their tools as a premium offering and spend a lot of time making them best-in-class, serving as standalone software companies in their own right.</p> <p>screaming frog is a great example of this, with various tools that have attracted a huge amount of links over the years (3,792 linking domains). many people might think of them solely as a software company, but they are also an agency and rank on page 1 for “seo”, “seo agency”, and various other phrases that are the most competitive in the industry.</p> <p>but you don’t have to spend as much time as that to use tools as a link building approach.</p> <p>built visible have created a variety of free tools for people to use that have attracted a wealth of links, such as their seo gadget for excel (42 linking domains) and content strategy helper (61 linking domains). these won’t require anywhere near the amount of upkeep as screaming frog, but still offer great value and so people love referencing and recommending them.</p> <p>and as with events, there are lots of blog posts out there about the best tools in an industry (particularly in seo) so there are lots of outreach opportunities to be had if you want to be proactive about promoting your tool. and if you don’t believe me, sej has <a href='' target='_blank'>a whole section</a> dedicated to it!</p> <h2>offer people value for their site</h2> <p>so you’ve created lots of fantastic content on your site that is built to attract links, but some of those take a long time to come to fruition and often levels of effort and investment that aren’t feasible for smaller businesses.</p> <p>what other options are available?</p> <p>there are some great ways to get coverage on big publications without having to build tools, conduct studies or host events. this boils down to <a href=''>creating interesting content</a> that you can give to third parties to feature and making the process for them to publish it as easy as possible.</p> <p>this could be classified as ‘content marketing’ in today’s jargon, but boils down to good old-fashioned publicity of something you’ve created. however, the key is to create alternative styles of content that are targeted at different types of publication. this gives you the potential to get featured on a much wider variety of sites in a larger cross-section of industries, and therefore more links that will help drive forward your performance!</p> <h2><strong>5. maps</strong></h2> <p>another popular approach is creating maps that illustrate some form of information.</p> <p>maps allow you to illustrate information from around the world, which means you can pitch it to publications in any country with an angle based on their country and audience.</p> <p>large national news publications often feature them if the topic is prominent enough, and it’s also a popular style of content <a href='' target='_blank'>on reddit</a> which many journalists and website editors use as a source of stories for their own sites. if you get something to take off on reddit, you’ll likely find that the links will follow.</p> <p>i wrote <a href='' target='_blank'>a case study</a> of how we did this to get more than 100 links for a site, which breaks the process down step-by-step. you can follow our exact approach if you wish.</p> <h2><strong>6. infographics</strong></h2> <p>there’s nothing groundbreaking about <a href=''>infographics</a>, but it’s amazing how many people are still doing this wrong. simply churning out a graphic with some figures on will never be enough to get you links and coverage.</p> <p>you need to illustrate information that proves a point or shows off information that people will want to use as a reference to support the article they’re writing.</p> <p>for example, this <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>wine and food pairing infographic</a> can always be used as a reference for people writing about food or diet, and it looks beautiful too. that’s why it’s got links from the likes of business insider, lifehack, and many others.</p> <p>don’t create infographics for the sake of it, think of a story you (and others) want to tell with the information and then create something beautiful to highlight that angle.</p> <p>infographics like this are generally great for links from sites in your own niche, as well as some of the bigger news-style sites like business insider and buzzfeed who will usually find a way to publish interesting content when it comes their way. if you can tie it in with topical news stories then you can also find your way into national news publications like the independent or daily mail in the uk.</p> <h2><strong>7. illustrations</strong></h2> <p>creating illustrations is a great way to open up your outreach to design-led sites, who publish content very regularly and are always on the lookout for beautiful design. places like my modern met and design taxi are great targets for this kind of approach and both are very powerful.</p> <p>your approach can vary, from creating retro posters to faux book covers – as long as it looks beautiful and is an interesting concept you will have a great chance of gaining coverage.</p> <p>this approach also allows you to tie into popular culture too, creating illustrations that tie together your topic and the kind of things pop culture publications want to talk about. we did this by creating illustrations of the instagram feeds of disney princesses (a perennial topic of interest) on holiday, that was covered in <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>cosmopolitan</a> and <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>glamour</a> amongst many others.</p> <p>these kinds of publications aren’t usually interested in infographics or covering the content businesses have created on their own site, so illustrations open a new door to get links and coverage from them.</p> <h2>summary</h2> <p>the key to getting great links isn’t a mystery, but it does need some creative juice and good old-fashioned elbow grease. hopefully, these examples will give you some inspiration for types of content that you can use to go and get started.</p> <p>the key points to remember are:</p> <ul> <li>create different content for different types of site.</li> <li>tailor your content to those different audiences.</li> <li>always build in promotion methods into your content.</li> </ul> <p>if you’re prepared to work hard and invest in the long-term benefit that these types of content can bring then you’ll be well on the way to a beautiful link profile and coverage you can be proud of!</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>search engine journal</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sat, 4 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 This is how to teach a search engine what your business does <p>search engines are powerful tools for bringing people to your business. the challenge that many entrepreneurs face, however, is that they’re not well-versed in how to communicate with the robots that control the algorithm behind google and <a href='' target='_blank' title='read more about bing.'>bing</a>.</p> <p>your business might be the absolute best at what it does. but you need to follow a set of concrete steps to share your story and reach your target audiences as a result. fellow entrepreneurs and search engine experts share their best tips:</p> <h2>know the difference between search engine marketing (sem) and search engine optimization (seo)</h2> <p>jeffrey bumbales, marketing associate <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>at small business loans company credibly</a>, explains that it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand the subtle differences between the two. here’s how he describes the difference:</p> <ul> <li>seo is the practice of testing and improving digital content to organically make your website more visible in search engine results pages (serps)</li> <li>sem includes the umbrella of paid marketing campaigns — marketers within companies can bid to rank for keywords that their target audiences are searching for. marketers pay for these advertising placements on a pay-per-click (ppc) basis</li> </ul> <p>this subtle distinction will help marketers and business owners best identify where to focus and dedicate their time.</p> <p>“the biggest pitfall that small business owners experience is a misunderstanding of what seo and sem is,” says bumbales. “this results in an inability to identify where the right customers are and how to best relate to them.”</p> <p>if your business is competing with bigger companies — and bigger marketing budgets — sem may be out of your company’s reach. or, at the very least, you’ll need to prioritize how you allocate investments towards paid and organic campaigns.</p> <p>regardless of where you invest your marketing time — with seo or sem — here are the steps that you’ll need to take to get seen by search engines.</p> <h2>focus on local seo</h2> <p>small businesses in europe, especially, should focus on local seo. gregory golinski, seo executive for <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'></a> shares the following tips for capturing local audiences across europe:</p> <ul> <li>set up your google my business profile, and register your company on local, high-authority business directories. “it’s good seo practice to make sure that your company name, address, url, phone number etc. are consistent everywhere on the web. many businesses lose seo juice because they register their businesses under slightly different names, or inconsistent phone numbers.”</li> <li>choose domain url extensions that reflect your target market. “if your focus is the french market, you should choose an .fr extension, as people tend to trust websites using their country’s extension vs. websites that use a more generic audience like .com or .net.”</li> <li>create social media profiles for your business from the start. “search engines monitor brands’ social media activity carefully. if they see that your facebook page is active, with customers interacting with your company, they’ll help you rank higher.”</li> </ul> <p>“the main pitfall is to create a website that doesn’t feel local,” says golinski. “if you’re creating a website for german customers, everything must be written in german. localize your website.</p> <h2>be wary of taking wrong turns in a digital maze</h2> <p>google uses hundreds of variables to determine how web pages rank against one another for both paid campaigns and search engine result page listings.</p> <p>“the two most important as they pertain to small businesses are content and backlinks,” says caleb ulku, search engine specialist and principal <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>at ulku logistics, inc</a>. “put a lot of content on your website, especially the homepage. a lot of small businesses will put up a simple homepage with no content.”</p> <p>ulku elaborates that small businesses should target 2,000 words on their homepages and make it a goal to add content daily.</p> <p>“make the content about the service you offer, the city you offer it in, and the customers you offer it to,” says ulku.</p> <p>what you’ll notice about these two steps is that they’re simple: you’re creating information that will be helpful for the people who want to find you. precision will be essential — and ranking on that front page will be a priority.</p> <p>“there are no secrets in seo, and seo isn’t an art,” says ulku. “seo is about giving google’s algorithm the signals it needs to rank your website higher. seo is a zero-sum game, meaning there are exactly 10 website on the first page of results and almost 95 percent of clicks go to that first page. if you aren’t doing enough seo to get onto the first page, then you’re just wasting your time and money.”</p> <h2>make your content do the heavy lifting for you — and don’t cut corners</h2> <p>write content for humans, but keep in mind that it’s a robot reading your webpage.</p> <p>“the content should be properly structured such that google’s search crawler categorizes it correctly,” says timothy platt, vp of it business services at <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>an it managed service provider</a>. </p> <p>“these techniques fall into a bucket known as ‘on-page seo’–the things you can do in your page content to rank better. this involves knowledge of html markup code.” </p> <p>platt encourages business owners to take the following steps:</p> <ul> <li>know your code. be sure to use a descriptive <title> tag, a well formatted <meta> description tag, and include at least one <h1> header tag. use human-friendly search keywords. it’s the words and short (or long) phrases that people would use to search for your website. if you don’t include your keywords in those structures, there’s a very good chance google will miss the point of your page, or rank you on page 100 of the results, where nobody is ever going to find it.</li> <li>build a network. off-page-seo is the other important factor in ranking well in search engines. backlinks are signals to search engines that your website is valuable. when someone links their website to your website, that’s their vote of confidence that your web page has something important to say. a web page with 10 incoming links is going to rank better than a page with two incoming links, in most cases. links from industry leading web sites, the local chamber of commerce, and citations in online articles, are all examples of high quality backlinks.</li> </ul> <p>focus on creating content that your customers care about, but be sure to craft it in a way that a machine can easily digest.</p> <h2>turn your website into a knowledge hub</h2> <p>many website owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers aren’t sure where to get started with seo and sem. the key is not to invest in one or the other but to think of both as complements to a holistic marketing strategy.</p> <p>“in terms of marketing strategies, seo is a long term game while sem tends to provide immediate results and traffic,” says matt bentley, ceo of seo intelligence tool canirank.</p> <p>“sem requires ongoing investment. the moment you stop paying for adwords, the traffic and leads stop. although seo requires a lot of effort over the long run, it provides ongoing traffic and enhanced brand awareness. even if you don’t invest in your seo marketing for a time, the traffic continues for years. in real estate terms, sem would be renting an apartment while seo would equate to owning a property.”</p> <p>long-term, think of your website as a knowledge hub. all content should interconnect and support readers’ needs. a strong internal linking strategy will tell search engines that you’re an authority in your industry.</p> <h2>be a scientist</h2> <p>luke fitzgerald, head of seo at irish agency <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>wolfgang digital</a>, encourage marketers to be aware that algorithms are ever-changing.</p> <p>“seo is organic,” says fitzgerald. “you can’t pay to directly influence your ranking. on the other hand, sem helps you pay for advertising within google search results. both are important, with the key difference that seo is a longer-term strategy requiring patience and in-depth understanding of the various algorithmic, competitive, and technical factors that can influence your site’s organic performance. sem brings an immediate reward.”</p> <p>dig into your data. don’t cut corners. focus on sustainable growth.</p> <h2>most importantly though: think like your customer</h2> <p>it’s very easy to fill up your website with the language you use between you and your peers everyday, but don’t forget that’s not normally how your customer speaks. as guido tijmensen of the dutch seo agency <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>digital agency</a> says, “a common mistake is that people use their website as their business card, including jargon.” </p> <p>“the customer has to pick you instead of others, so it helps to put yourself in their shoes,” he says. if that’s hard to imagine, the internet provides tools to help businesses out. answer the public is multi-lingual site where you can type in a search term that relates to your business, and get back the questions people search for. </p> <p>“by picking and answering these questions, small and medium businesses can provide answers that large corporations don’t even think of,” tijmensen says.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tnw</strong></a>.</p> All categories Sat, 4 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How to Combine Print and Digital Marketing Campaigns <p>you may think the days of print marketing are something of the past and yes the medium of printing has had to move over to make room for the rapid rise in digital marketing but it should not be neglected. companies are beginning to realise the vast benefits of producing printed marketing materials, advertising their business or products and services they offer to a larger audience. living in an age where our lives are consumed by online marketing and televised advertising, printed marketing material can now seem unusual. it is however the unusual and the different which grabs the attention of your consumers and potential new customers. utilising a variety of media outlets and taking a cross media approach will ensure you reach the widest audience base possible and guarantee the success of your marketing endeavours.</p> <h3>using marketing channels in unison</h3> <p>in order to maximise the outcome of any marketing campaign it’s crucial to use a variety of different channels, from digital marketing to printed advertising. working in unison these forms of advertising can generate significant results for your business. delivering a message straight to your consumer’s door i.e. leaflets, flyers or <a href='' rel='nofollow' title='brochure printing'>brochure printing</a> is a great way to spread the word about your product or services. consumers in the retail sector have stated that mailed materials (direct mail) are one of the key sources of information they use when making a purchasing decision over digital advertisements. an effective use of printing can be when used in conjunction with a social media campaign asking subscribers to sign up for notifications of promotions and marketing materials. now, this is not to say you should abandon your digital marketing strategy but really look to incorporate the two.</p> <h3>reaching your target audience</h3> <p>for marketing to be successful you need to ensure you are reaching out to your target demographic so they can see and hear your brands message. this can no doubt be difficult especially for smes who need to utilise as many marketing avenues as possible in order to grow their consumer base. targeting the right demographic can be difficult if you just use conventional forms of advertising. however, printed media combined with a direct mail campaign can deliver your message straight into your customer’s hand.  a great way to maximise the impact of your marketing campaign is to use, flyers, leaflets and printed brochures targeting the demographic audience you want especially through direct mail. ensuring your product is visible is important: ensuring it’s visible to the right people is essential.</p> <h3>keeping it consistent</h3> <p>most businesses market their product or services both on and offline, utilising a variety of media channels. social media marketing is a fast-paced ever evolving form of marketing, requiring regular content updates across multiple outlets and, as a result, this can lead to inconsistencies in your branding and message, you have to take into consideration that social media is arguably not the best marketing platform for b2b companies. do not forget about your commercial printing and published materials, these must coincide with your online marketing strategy as well. keeping consistency across your logo, imagery and the tone of voice used is crucial every time you post on social media or produce printed materials. the more effective you are at doing this the faster your audience will begin to recognise your brand and the service and products you offer. streamlining your social media marketing with you printed marketing materials is key to driving the success of your brand.</p> <p>regardless of the desirability surrounding the use of digital marketing there are still countless reasons you should not cut down on your print marketing budget. with a variety of techniques and simple tips you can follow there is no doubt that allowing print and digital marketing to work together can produce greater results than each used in isolation.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>cision prweb</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 What Happens to Your Body and Brain When You Watch Football <p>it’s football season — a time when no weekend (and let's be honest, certain work days) goes by when i’m not watching games at least some of the time. even if i’m at a serious social commitment like a wedding, i will still find ways to sneak away and catch a few plays or highlights at a bar or through my phone. (i am not proud of this.)</p> <p>most weeks, i’ll watch professional and collegiate football daily from thursday through monday.</p> <p>and yes, i’m the type who gets really into the games when one of my favorite teams is playing. i become uncharacteristically vocal, screaming things (sometimes obscenities) that almost definitely annoy my neighbors and may even freak them out a little bit. i get nervous. i throw stuff. i do superstitious things i inherently know won’t actually influence the game’s outcome — but i do them anyway, just in case.</p> <p>sometimes i’m very happy with the results of a game, and other times i’m downright despondent and angry. and like pretty much any time i experience extreme emotion, those emotions manifest in my body. i’ll admit that i have broken a sweat many-a-time during a close game, just like i do sometimes when i’m about to give a presentation or meet someone for a first <a href=''>date</a>.</p> <p>and considering the bars and living rooms packed with rowdy spectators and the stadiums filled to the brim with decked-out fans, it's clear i am not alone.</p> <p>so why exactly does watching the sport illicit such intense sensations? here are some of the things happening in our brain when tuning into a game that cause such strong reactions in our bodies.</p> <h3>mirror neurons make you feel like part of the team</h3> <p>one of my favorite things to mess with my friends about while we’re watching football is how they seem to genuinely believe that as fans, they are one with the team — and habitually refer to their favorite teams as “we.”</p> <p>“we really need to pick it up on defense out there,” or, “i can’t believe we’re going to pull this off!”</p> <p>yeah, greg. sure. you’re really playing a large role in the outcome of this game.</p> <p>but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t genuinely feel to them like they are.</p> <p>according to dr. david ezell, clinical director and ceo of therapy provider <a href=''>darien wellness</a>, adult humans have specialized neurons in their brains called mirror neurons that allow us to understand points of view outside of our own. these neurons enable us to <a href=''>put ourselves in another person’s shoes</a> and imagine what they are going through in a particular moment.</p> <p>“these feelings are magnified when we are watching a football team or player we are fans of because we ‘know’ them,” says ezell. “when we see them on the field we are experiencing a portion of the feelings they are having because our mirror neurons are at work.”</p> <p>thankfully, we can’t actually feel the precise and likely painful sensation of what it must be like to get crushed on a kick return or sacked right when you’re about to make a throw, but mirror neurons do allow us to experience a game to some degree as if we were actually there and participating in it.</p> <h3>chemicals affect your overall mood</h3> <p>if you’ve ever watched a game with any real level of interest, especially a particularly close or intense one, you’ve probably felt better following a win than you have felt in the wake of a loss.</p> <p>this has something to do with neurotransmitters, chemicals that your brain produces to <a href=''>regulate your mood</a>. hormones can play a role, as well.</p> <h2>when your team loses, your brain produces cortisol, a hormone that your body releases when you’re under stress.</h2> <p>according to dr. richard shuster, clinical psychologist and host of <a href=''>the daily helping</a> podcast, when your team wins or is playing well, your brain starts releasing the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is directly involved in regulating the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.</p> <p>conversely, when your team performs poorly or loses, your brain produces cortisol, a hormone made in your adrenal glands that your body releases when you’re under <a href=''>stress</a>.</p> <p>“worse, our brains may produce less serotonin, which can lead to <a href=''>increased anger</a> and depression,” shuster says.</p> <h3>your body reacts to the brain</h3> <p>i thought i was weird for sweating like an animal while sitting and watching a football game, but it turns out the response is actually fairly common. whenever i find myself in a high-pressure scenario, i sweat, and that sweat is usually brought on by <a href=''>anxiety</a>. the physical tends to follow the mental. so it makes sense that my sweat glands would have a similar reaction when i'm at the edge of my seat cheering on my team.</p> <p>“when you experience anxiety before or during a game, it’s not your imagination,” says <a href=''>michael grabowski</a>, ph.d, professor of communication at manhattan college who has written on perception, the brain and media. “a few <a href=''>studies</a> have shown that sports fans can have intense anxiety before a big game, just like the players themselves. this includes both cognitive anxiety and somatic anxiety, like butterflies in the stomach or other physical expressions of anxiety.”</p> <h2>watching football can increase your heart rate to levels similar to those associated with vigorous exercise.</h2> <p>another thing that can happen to our brains when our teams win is that they are essentially thrown into something called an excitatory state, according to shuster. “if your team wins on monday night football on the final play, it is close to midnight and you are exhilarated,” he says. “if it was tuesday and you had to be awake for any other reason, most people would be exhausted.”</p> <p>this excitatory state comes from the hormone adrenaline, and that exhilaration often shows up in your body’s behavior, according to dr. jason d. hanks, director of anesthesia at <a href=''>nyc surgical associates</a>.</p> <p>“when we get stressed or nervous our brain again sends signals causing the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands,” says hanks. “the heart begins to beat faster, blood pressure goes up and blood gets diverted to the most important parts of your body, heart and muscles, as part of the fight-or-flight response. other less important organs, like the digestive system, close off their blood supply leading to that ‘butterfly’ sensation you experience when you get nervous or anxious.”</p> <p>according to a recent <a href=''>study</a> in the canadian journal of cardiology, spectators of a professional hockey game saw significantly elevated heart rates, equivalent to the rates associated with vigorous exercise. it’s certainly not a stretch to assume the same can happen during a football game, and shuster confirms that yes, watching football can increase your heart rate to levels similar to those reached when working out.</p> <p>this, in combination with increased stress, may not be a big deal to someone who is young and healthy, but shuster warns that a fan who is older or <a href=''>significantly overweight</a> may actually be at an increased risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack during a big game.</p> <p>if you’re worried about potential health issues or simply don’t like the way being a football spectator sometimes makes you feel, take some time to put your fandom into perspective. you might find that like <a href=''>many of the things we worry about</a>, it’s not that big of a deal in the greater scheme of things, and isn’t really worth getting worked up about.</p> <p>“sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the moment on game day,” says hanks. “emotions can get escalated pretty quickly with a win or loss. in the end, we need to remember that sports are meant to be for entertainment purposes, as an outlet to take our minds off the stressors and struggles we have in the real world, not add to them.”</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>nbc news</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 Tips to setting the foundation to SEO Friendly Web Design <p>every website owner who has spent many years in the industry would know that just having a good product and service or investing in a creative web design is not enough to increase the amount of traffic that your website is getting. search engine optimization, also known as seo, is one of the things that web developers and designers take time to focus on in order to reach a larger consumer base. this concept basically involves the use of effective strategies to make a website more visible to the consumers by achieving high rankings in top search engines including google, yahoo!, and bing.</p> <p>gaining more followers for your personal blog, reaching out to a wider reach for your organization’s cause, and drawing potential customers to check out your online shop is an achievable goal if you have the right tools and the proper knowledge to start with. it may take a lot of your time, effort, and resources, but the results are surely long-term and totally worth every penny of your investments.</p> <p>check out these five useful tips towards an seo-friendly web design and start getting increased web traffic in no time.</p> <ol> <li><strong>start with the navigation tools</strong></li> </ol> <p>it’s not a secret that having a well-designed website with easy-to-use navigation tools can help increase the time spent by a visitor to your website. if you can’t fit everything on a single page, then make sure that you have a search option available for them to use. using short yet easily understandable urls is also a key to having an seo-friendly <a href=''>website design</a>.</p> <ol start='2'> <li><strong>go mobile</strong></li> </ol> <p>since the last quarter of 2016, more than half of the web pages loaded on the internet are being accessed using smartphones and tablets (in contrast to desktop and laptop computers). this event has paved the way for website owners to optimize their websites for mobile viewing and gain that defining edge against their competitors. google also plans to roll out a mobile-first algorithm next year – making mobile optimization more of a need than an option if your goal is to get more web traffic.</p> <ol start='3'> <li><strong>aim for speed</strong></li> </ol> <p>it goes without saying that a website with slower loading times has the highest chances of a visitor giving up and going somewhere else. choosing the right server for your website may be a good thing to start with, but making small steps such as reducing the use of flash elements and unnecessary images would effectively work without additional costs.</p> <ol start='4'> <li><strong>optimize images too</strong></li> </ol> <p>before, web developers are too much focused on optimizing texts that they forgot to work on the images too. it may be an unfamiliar strategy for some, but keeping image sizes below 100 kb and the resolution to at least 72 dpi will ensure faster loading times for your web pages without sacrificing a good image quality. also, don’t forget to take advantage of adding relevant keywords in the alt text section of the images, and to place them in pages where they are supposed to be.</p> <ol start='5'> <li><strong>connect with social media</strong></li> </ol> <p>adding links to social media accounts of your blog, organization, institute, and company can help you connect with a larger audience, provide better customer support, and enhance your presence online. make these links easy to find on the homepage, along with your contact information and a contact form.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'><strong>technology reviews & updates</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Nofollow links are not useless: Earning them is central to good SEO <p>with major publishers like inc., forbes and the huffington post placing the <a href=''>rel=”nofollow”</a> tag on their external links, the sky is once again falling. or not. in fact, i’ve always believed that earning nofollow links was an important part of any seo strategy built to last.</p> <p>the reality of the situation is that nofollow links are good for your seo, full stop. whether your evidence comes from case studies, personal experience or correlative data, the answer is the same.</p> <p>we can debate about whether nofollow links have any <em>direct </em>impact on rankings until the cows come home, but in the end, it just doesn’t matter that much. what matters is that, if you are earning nofollow links on high-profile platforms, you are earning brand exposure, referral traffic and various off-site signals that <em>do </em>help your rankings in the search results.</p> <p>i have witnessed the effect myself far too often to conclude otherwise, and anybody who has been in this industry long enough knows that you shouldn’t decide to pursue — or decline to pursue — a link based upon whether or not a link is nofollowed.</p> <p>let me present the evidence, and then i’ll explain how you can make the most of link building by incorporating nofollow links in the appropriate way.</p> <h2>nofollow links can definitely help seo: the evidence</h2> <p>i feel comfortable saying that nofollow links definitely help your seo, although most of the benefits are probably indirect. the exposure associated with a high-profile nofollow link is well worth the effort and contributes positively to your visibility in search results, as well as sending direct referral traffic and improving brand reach. it also appears to be almost indisputable that nofollow links help pages get indexed.</p> <p>it’s more speculative to say that nofollow links can, in some cases, <em>directly </em>improve your rankings, and i won’t commit to a statement that strong. what i can say is that search engines reserve the right to ignore the nofollow tag, and i suspect that they do for some links they view as editorially placed and trustworthy.</p> <p>remember that google’s <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>own answer</a> is that “<strong>in general</strong>, we don’t follow them.” (emphasis mine.) this seems to imply that, while they usually don’t follow them, they sometimes do.</p> <p>perhaps more importantly, if your link-building strategy places importance on whether or not a link is nofollowed, then you are using the wrong link-building strategy. google guidelines have been clear on this for a very long time. if you’re doing something <em>just </em>for the seo value, it’s probably a violation of the google guidelines.</p> <p>your <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>link-building strategies</a> should be focused on building exposure that leads to organic seo signals. that is where the real value is.</p> <p>but let’s not talk about platitudes. let’s talk about evidence.</p> <h3>case studies</h3> <p>consider <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>this case study</a> by teknicks. between january of 2014 and may of 2015, they helped a client earn 99 links. of those, only 11 were followed. the remaining 88 links were all nofollowed links — 89 percent of the total.</p> <p>but during that period, the client saw 288 percent growth in their organic search traffic. at the end of the period, the client ranked in their top position for their main keyword, which teknicks claims is “very competitive,” and which receives 2,000 monthly searches.</p> <p>at the end of this period, they additionally ranked for an even more competitive keyword, with 8,100 monthly searches. for the period, organic traffic grew from 1,700 sessions a month to 6,500 sessions.</p> <p>but, perhaps equally importantly, one of the nofollow links they earned sent 3,922 referrals between january and october of 2014.</p> <p>and teknicks isn’t the only agency to experience something like this. fractl has <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>three excellent examples</a> of nofollow links working wonders for clients, demonstrating the power of media exposure.</p> <p>they developed an infographic called “your face as an alcoholic” for client, which quickly hit the front page after they shared it with the daily mail in 2014. the resulting exposure led to coverage in <em>900 media stories</em>, including the huffington post and the new york daily news.</p> <p>only 30 percent of those newly-earned links were dofollow, and they earned over 14,000 shares on social media.</p> <p>in a second example, fractl placed a story for a client on yahoo travel, exposing how expensive hotels often have more germs than cheaper hotels. this featured article led to coverage in 700 stories, a third of which contained dofollow links, as well as 23,000 social shares.</p> <p>finally, one fractl client saw a 271 percent increase in organic search traffic resulting from an exclusive, but nofollowed, link on buzzfeed.</p> <p>in a more controlled test, <a href='' target='_blank'>eli schwartz</a> of surveymonkey demonstrated that, at a minimum, nofollow links definitely help pages get indexed.</p> <p>after surveymonkey moved its blog from the subdomain to their root domain, eli <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>ran a few tests</a> on the old subdomain urls. he modded the 404 page, including a link to a page with bogus anchor text. google crawled the 404 page and indexed the test page in under 48 hours, after it was included in a newly published item. the resulting link even carried the anchor text.</p> <p>running the same test again with a link to a different page, he tried using a nofollow link instead. as you can probably guess, google indexed the url, even though the hyperlink was nofollowed. he did notice, however, that the anchor text didn’t carry over.</p> <h2>how google treats nofollowed links</h2> <p>nofollowed links are also typically accompanied by brand mentions. according to a google patent, brand mentions <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>may be considered</a> “implied links.” in other words, if a brand gets mentioned online, this may be treated in a similar manner to an actual link. while we don’t know for sure, a brand mention along with a nofollow link may also help the search engines in understanding the semantic link between a brand mention and the website it refers to, since brand mentions are less clear due to their less explicit nature.</p> <p>whether “co-citation” of this form helps traditional search results, it’s certainly clear that citations help local search. in one example, local seo phil frost explains how including citations (with name, address and phone number) in a press release <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>helped a client</a> move from position 20 to position 1 in local search results for their primary keyword. in this case, despite the links being no-followed, the citations clearly helped their client rank.</p> <p>case studies by <a href='' target='_blank'>search engine land</a> and <a href='' rel='nofollow'>moz</a>, in addition to <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>more recent case studies</a> that come out on a fairly routine basis, demonstrate that it is still possible to improve rankings using press release distribution. while we generally avoid this tactic unless it’s also used with the primary goal of generating press, it continues to be popular even though the majority of press release distribution sites now contain nofollowed links. that press releases still help with seo is a testament to the value of nofollow links in this context, whether direct or indirect.</p> <p>correlative analysis of observational ranking data <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>conducted by ahrefs</a> also suggests that a relatively even split between dofollow and nofollow links may help rankings. while correlative studies have their flaws, primarily because they can’t establish a cause and effect relationship, it would be a mistake to ignore them.</p> <p>likewise, moz’s <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>analysis</a> of ranking factors finds a 0.32 correlation between the number of nofollow links pointing to a page and rankings. this is nearly identical to the correlation between the number of external domains linking to a page and its rankings, which sits just 0.02 higher, at 0.34.</p> <p>one can rightfully argue that these correlation studies could just be showing us that successful pages are more likely to get linked to, and thus are more likely to receive nofollowed links. this is a reasonable objection, but it applies equally to followed links, and, with such a small difference in correlations, it does make one wonder if nofollowed links could actually contribute directly to rankings.</p> <p>regardless of whether or not this is the case, the case studies above demonstrate definitively that, directly or indirectly, nofollow links can have a dramatic positive impact on search engine rankings. my personal experience with nofollow links leads me to the same conclusions.</p> <h2>how to maximize the seo value of nofollow links</h2> <h3>1. remember: the anchor text is meaningless for keyword rankings</h3> <p>whether or not nofollow links can directly improve your rankings, it’s clear that the anchor text is most likely ignored entirely.</p> <p>if you are earning nofollow links with seo in mind, anchor text should be the last thing on your mind, or more accurately, you shouldn’t be thinking much about keywords when it comes to anchor text.</p> <p>the primary value of the link is in getting people to visit your site directly, and that means the purpose of the anchor text is to get people to click through and see more. that means the anchor text should pique the reader’s curiosity as much as possible, promise them something in a clear and non-deceptive way or address objections the user might have to clicking the link.</p> <h3>2. focus on an audience of influencers</h3> <p>other than receiving direct clicks from your target audience, the main thing you want a nofollow link to accomplish is to earn additional followed links from trusted influencers.</p> <p>earning those links means producing content that appeals to journalists, thought leaders, microcelebrities and others who have large audiences of their own.</p> <p>this means that your content should be going the extra mile, since influencers are generally the most voracious infovores in your industry. they know almost everything, and they aren’t easy to surprise.</p> <p>how do you catch these people’s attention with your content? there are two primary methods:</p> <ul> <li>focus on novelty.</li> <li>focus on being comprehensive.</li> </ul> <p>these can be subdivided into far more categories, but these are the primary things to focus on.</p> <p>focusing on novelty means providing influencers with things they’ve never seen before. the best examples of this type of content include:</p> <ul> <li>orginal research, such as surveys, experiments, or studies</li> <li>interactive tools like web apps</li> <li>“investigative journalism”-style work that provides insider information</li> <li>exclusive interviews</li> <li>news</li> <li>event coverage</li> <li>proprietary information</li> </ul> <p>focusing on being comprehensive includes things like:</p> <ul> <li>ultimate guides</li> <li>white papers</li> <li>how-to videos</li> <li>e-books</li> <li>courses</li> <li>“30-day challenges”</li> <li>introductions and primers</li> <li>glossaries and dictionaries</li> </ul> <p>in short, say something new, or distill something big.</p> <p>if you do this, and then get your resource published on a major platform, it doesn’t matter whether or not your link is followed or nofollowed. what is important is how the exposure will lead to coverage in the press, on social networks, on blogs and magazines and so on.</p> <p>by making influencers your audience, you maximize your reach and seo impact.</p> <h3>3. use the opportunity to mention your brand</h3> <p>as i mentioned above, google patents suggest that a simple mention of your brand can help improve your visibility in the search results. such brand mentions may be treated as “implied links” and, if so, likely carry similar authority metrics, so that a mention in a more authoritative media platform results in a stronger rankings boost.</p> <p>whether google has actually put this patent to use and found that it helped their rankings algorithm is unclear, but brand mentions are valuable for obvious reasons, and can indirectly benefit your seo as well.</p> <p>brand mentions lead to increased searches for your brand name, which in turn can help your rankings in a virtuous feedback cycle.</p> <p>while you shouldn’t name-drop shamelessly, don’t skip the chance to promote your brand when you place a nofollow link on an authoritative platform.</p> <h3>4. leverage social media</h3> <p>failure to pursue nofollow links can hurt your seo performance in many ways, but one of the worst consequences is the tendency to avoid techniques that involve (typically nofollowed) social media.</p> <p>google has explicitly stated many times that there are no special ranking factors developed for social networks.</p> <p>since google evidently doesn’t use “likes” and “retweets” as ranking factors, and since links on social platforms are nofollowed, some in the seo industry ask, “why bother?”</p> <p>well, for starters, as i mentioned above, google’s own statements on nofollow <em>suggest</em> that they sometimes <em>do </em>count nofollowed links, even though in general they don’t. moz’s correlation studies certainly find very strong correlations between social media activity and rankings. could the nofollowed links from this social activity be counting toward rankings?</p> <p>there’s no way to know for sure, but the correlation is meaningful either way.</p> <p>what social media undoubtedly can do is earn you attention that leads indirectly to links. viral activity on social networks inevitably leads to media coverage and followed links. scrapers also replicate links from social media in other locations, often without the nofollow tag.</p> <p>social media platforms are perhaps the most effective way to amplify your content’s reach in the short term. in addition to sharing your content with your own audience, you can leverage other influencers by reaching out to personalities that are popular on social media. if you do so tactfully, you can reach much larger audiences. this activity inevitably leads to naturally earned links, as well as various other off-page activity that helps improve your rankings.</p> <h3>5. republishing</h3> <p>republishing your content on major platforms is a tactic that frequently results in nofollowed links, but if the platforms attract a large enough audience, this is well worth the effort. since many bloggers and editors refer to major media platforms for their sources, if you can get republished on a major platform, you can earn editorial links from the writers who cite those platforms frequently.</p> <p>while it’s true that some of these writers will cite the republished version, more vigilant writers will click the nofollowed link and cite your website as the original source, since links to primary sources are preferred by writers who take research seriously.</p> <p>more speculatively, it’s possible that under some circumstances, google will see the duplicate content and identify your original publication as the primary source, and as a result, transfer the search engine authority from the other duplicates to your original. i have witnessed effects that seem to imply this is happening, although it would be hasty to conclude with too much certainty that this is exactly what is going on.</p> <p>either way, it’s as clear as day that republishing content on more popular platforms expands your reach, puts your brand in front of more eyeballs and increases your likelihood of getting cited with a link by other writers.</p> <h3>6. get obsessed with referral traffic</h3> <p>too many in this industry are focused on building links without concerning themselves with whether or not those links actually send any referral traffic.</p> <p>it’s been said many times but it can never be said enough: the most valuable links are the ones you earn organically and editorially — when people link to you without you reaching out or doing anything else to earn the link.</p> <p>i’m not arguing that those are the only kinds of links you should be earning, but if you optimize your own “manual” link-building efforts in such a way that it generates the largest number of organic links, you are approaching link building the <em>way</em> you should be.</p> <p>few things more reliably produce organic links than sheer traffic. it’s probable that a certain percentage of your readership will always end up linking to you if you have enough readers. so if you can expand the number of people who see your content, you can expand the number of people who will link to you.</p> <p>oh, and referral traffic is valuable on its own, too. but you knew that already, right?</p> <p>so, how do you go about earning nofollow links that send traffic?</p> <p>i would argue that the primary thing to focus on is earning links that grow your traffic in a <em>cumulative </em>fashion. in other words, it’s not the link that sends you a thousand visits one day and zero the next that you really want to chase. it’s the link that sends 100 visits a day every day for the foreseeable future that you really want to get your hands on.</p> <p>here are some of the types of links that can help you accomplish that:</p> <ul> <li><strong>quora</strong>. if you’ve ever answered a question on quora, you’ve probably noticed that while the referral traffic numbers aren’t necessarily high for any given question, you tend to see traffic from quora for a very long time after posting an answer. build up a lot of these and you will start seeing cumulative growth in referral traffic.</li> <li><strong>pinterest</strong>. while its traffic-driving power isn’t quite as strong as it was when it first made a splash, it is still an incredibly useful referral source that sends a lot of traffic when an image does really well.</li> <li><strong>forums</strong>. i know they seem like a throwback from the 1990s, but forums are still incredibly popular, and if you use them in a similar fashion to quora, they can send you long-term cumulative traffic, especially if the forum allows you to link to your site in your forum signature or elsewhere.</li> <li><strong>slideshare</strong>. presentations here can attract a very different type of audience and can be a constant source of traffic, especially if you are in the b2b sector.</li> <li><strong>interviews.</strong> interview an influencer, and they are likely to promote that interview on their own platforms. if they publish it on their site, the link can sometimes become evergreen and send a continuous drip of traffic.</li> <li><strong>resource lists</strong>. these are especially popular on educational sites. inclusion in somebody’s resource list is almost guaranteed to be an evergreen traffic source if their site has enough traffic.</li> <li><strong>youtube</strong>. a youtube video that does well with the algorithm becomes an evergreen source of brand mentions and traffic.</li> <li><strong>podcasts</strong>. these can be a great source of long-term traffic for the same reasons as youtube videos.</li> </ul> <p>if you stop chasing the followed link and shift your obsession toward upping your referral traffic, you start to realize how unimportant the nofollow tag really is, both in terms of growing your overall traffic, and even in improving your authority with the search engines.</p> <p>the myth that nofollow links are useless for seo needs to die. a solid seo strategy is not concerned with whether the manual links you place will directly impact your seo. a thorough reading of the google guidelines should, in fact, lead you to the conservative assumption that <em>no </em>link you place yourself counts toward rankings. the indirect effects are where the true value lies, and it is where you should be focusing the majority of your effort.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>search engine land</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 expert tips to design the perfect logo <p>to produce a successful rebrand, or even to stand a chance of making it onto our prestigious <a href='' target='_blank'>list of the 10 best logos ever</a>, you need to follow the advice of the professionals whenever it pops up. texas-based graphic designer armin vit chronicles thousands of new brand and identity projects every year through <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>brand new</a>, a division of design firm and publishing enterprise <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>under consideration</a>, which he co-founded with his wife, bryony gomez-palacio.</p> <p>the ex-pentagram designer has reviewed hundreds of thousands of the world's biggest and bravest branding projects, so who better to explain exactly what does – and doesn't – make the perfect branding?</p> <p>we caught up with vit to find out what makes a standout logo. here are his five top tips…</p> <h3>01. do the gut reaction test</h3> <p>"the first thing i look for when evaluating a new logo or branding project is an initial, aesthetic, gut reaction: do i like it?" vit explains.</p> <p>"if i don't – if it requires a lot of explanation to make it make sense – then i won't enjoy it. but from the get-go, if it looks good, smart and well-constructed, then i'm at least interested."</p> <h3>02. does it work?</h3> <p>"i then look a lot at execution: how it works; how it might work in different contexts. i compare it to what they had before and what other companies in the same industry have. does it stand out? does it blend in?" he explains.</p> <p>"i thought the <a href='' target='_blank'>airbnb logo</a> was really interesting. they were confident in their process and designers.</p> <p>"nowadays most icons are taken: the nike swoosh is taken, the apple apple is taken – so coming up with a little symbol that can stand for something as big as airbnb was really impressive."</p> <h3>03. good logos make sense</h3> <p>"next, i look at every part of the explanation available from the client or designer. if the idea's good, you read the explanation they give you and think yeah, that makes sense.</p> <p>"when a logo's good, it's instantly clear and there's a solid, simple explanation behind it."</p> <h3>04. have courage</h3> <p>"what's the most common pitfall i see brand identity work fall prey to? sometimes a project doesn't stand out. either the designer or the client doesn't have the courage to do something different. or if they chose to do something similar, they didn't have the commitment to it very, very well.</p> <p>"the 2015 <a href='' target='_blank'>google logo redesign</a> was really fantastic. not so much the word mark, but when you look at the whole system behind it and the care that went into it.</p> <p>"it's a giant company taking a huge leap, going a completely different direction but somehow managing to maintain that quirky dna they had. that sort of thing stands out regardless of the haters."</p> <h3>05. take a step back</h3> <p>"the key piece of advice i'd give to a designer or studio tasked with a rebranding project is: when you present your work for the first time, make sure you've looked at it from an outside point of view.</p> <p>"everything might make sense to you because you've been involved in the process. but designers and clients can get too involved in their own processes, and forget to step back and see how others are going to perceive it. take a step back and ask: is this right? does this work?"</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>cb creative blog</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How to Hire a Great Web Developer <p>a good web developer can be the difference between having a great online presence and a counterintuitive, ugly website. but finding the right person for your needs can be harder than you might think. that's especially true for business owners who aren't tech savvy. your company's online presence is an important marketing tool. oftentimes, it's a customer or client's first experience with your business or product. having a website that reflects your company culture, values and practices</p> <p>since your company's online presence is an important marketing tool, it's key to get it right. afterall, it may be a customer or client's first experience with your business or product. </p> <h2>what you need to know</h2> <p>before diving into exactly how to hire a web developer, where to find them or what to look for in candidates, it's important to understand a few marquee distinctions about the industry.</p> <h3>web developers vs. web designers</h3> <p>while these terms may seem interchangeable, there is a difference between web designers and developers. designers are more focused on the aesthetic and visual aspects of your website. these people are usually well versed in using adobe creative suite to create graphics, edit photos or draft company logos. many web designers also have coding knowledge, but if you're looking to build a site from the ground up, it's important to understand their background.</p> <p>web developers, which are usually hired on a freelance or in-house basis, know many programming languages and can build the online infrastructure needed to support your website. developers will oftentimes build a website and apply the design of a web designer.</p> <p>ian mcclarty, ceo of phoenix nap global it services, recently hired a web developer and said that knowing the difference between the roles is very important. "a web developer is not a web designer," mcclarty said. "many developers are not great web designers. if you expect the developer to redesign your website and work on graphics, make sure to cover that during the interview process." </p> <h3>assessing your project needs</h3> <p>before pursuing a web developer, take the time to understand your website needs. if you're looking to create your website from scratch, do some brainstorming to get an idea of what you want. a good way to do this can be browsing the websites of your competition for examples. or check out <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'></a>. it's a good place to view types of websites to get an idea of what you want yours to look like.</p> <p>if you're looking to make a small addition, add mobile components or update your site with the latest trends, it's important to have clear ideas so the developer you hire has a clear sense of scope. roman zrazhevskiy is the founder of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>ready to go survival</a>, a retail brand that specializes in personalized emergency preparedness, and has been through four website redesigns. zrazhevskiy said that it is imperative to have a clear understanding of what you need to be done to your website before you start looking for web developers.</p> <p>"write out detailed requirements, mock up all pages and have all the copy ready to go before contracting a web developer," he said. "the clearer the instructions, the happier you'll be with the final product, and the less money you'll need to spend."</p> <p>while assessing your project's needs, it's also be a good idea to explore some of the technical aspects of your website. this will give you a good foothold when interviewing candidates to determine who you want to hire. upwork is an example of a good resource for web interface and design information. even if you have no background in website creation, doing a quick search for key concepts can be a great way to familiarize yourself with what your project could need.</p> <p>besides having some knowledge going into interviews, knowing what you need will also help you get an idea of exactly how much your project will cost.</p> <h3>in-house vs. freelance developers</h3> <p>the choice between bringing someone in full time and contracting out work to a freelancer can depend on a lot of different variables. there are some great freelance developers out there, but if you're a business owner who needs someone who can constantly update and adjust your website, it may be beneficial to hire someone instead of contracting out the work.</p> <p>bill mclaughlin has worked in it development for 30 years and is currently the chief technology officer for <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>whizz education</a>, an online math tutoring service based in the united kingdom. for mclaughlin, the difference between freelancers and in-house developers is all about flexibility. if a business needs to quickly add or update a site, a freelancer may be a better option than bringing someone on full time.</p> <p>"hiring a freelancer gives you flexibility on the cost and length of engagement. there are times when a business has a discrete set of goals for its web development (a new section, a refresh of the look and feel, or even a complete rebuild) and this can be done within a set timeframe," mclaughlin said. "however, for some businesses, like ecommerce or community-based sites, their website requires constant investment and, in this case, an in-house developer is best."</p> <h2>tips for hiring</h2> <p>even once you get an idea of what you want, it can be hard to wade through information on hiring web developers and make the right decision. these tips will help with discovering a great web developer.</p> <h3>be hands on with past work</h3> <p>look through a candidate's past projects. this will give you a good idea of where their talents lie, what their work is like and how their style aligns with your business needs.</p> <p>make sure the developer provides you with live work as well. that way you can use the website and assess the functionality of it. scott marquart, founder of <a href='' rel='nofollow'>stringjoy</a>, said that this was vital when deciding who to hire to help develop the website for his guitar strings business.</p> <p>"the no. 1 mistake businesses make when hiring a web developer is hiring someone who is knowledgeable at development but knows very little about user experience or conversion optimization," marquart said. "looking good is only a small piece of what makes a website excellent, it also needs to function intuitively and be easily navigable, so that any prospect who lands on your site knows exactly how to do what you want them to do."</p> <h3>follow up with references</h3> <p>make sure you get a list of references, then actually follow up with them. while the developer's work is important, their work habits, organization and ability to meet deadlines is as crucial to you and your business. past employers will be able to speak to how dependable – or unreliable – a web developer is. </p> <p>lilly ghahremani, founder of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>lucky 13 strategies</a>, said you should "feel comfortable asking for references. the most successful web project will happen with a team that is responsive," ghahremani said. "don't just rely on yelp ... speak to someone. a great designer will be able to provide references easily, because their past clients are happy to take a few moments to rave about them."</p> <h3>be realistic about cost</h3> <p>the cost of your project will vary depending on whom you hire, how much work needs to be done and other added features you may need on your website. <a href='' rel='nofollow'>upwork </a>provides some ballpark price ranges for different projects. overall, general costs can range between $15 and $150 per hour, depending on how complex the work is. in addition to per-hour payment, some developers charge per project.</p> <p>the cost of a good web developer should be viewed as a company investment – you are investing in a website that will draw users to your business. this service, when done right, can be invaluable.</p> <p>akiva leyton, a marketing manager for <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>falcon marketing</a>, said that there are a lot of types of web developers out there, but a business owner should be wary of putting cost before pure talent.</p> <p>"when it comes to development work, you truly get what you pay for," leyton said. "those cheaper developers usually don't have much experience, are slow to deliver work or more often than not are simply a scam. try to find a developer looking for a midrange salary, if you truly can't afford the best."</p> <h3>don't obsess on education</h3> <p>some businesses that have hired successful web designers have put more emphasis on prior work when hiring as opposed to resume details or education information. there are some great developers who may lack education in a formal collegiate setting. in the end, it's all about you and your business's needs.</p> <p>daniela arango, an hr and creative manager for <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'></a>, said that when her company hires developers, they place more of an emphasis on life skills. "we stopped vetting tech candidates based on lack of experience or formal education a while ago. we also stopped looking too much at resumes because we could not find in them the right information to make the best decision for our company," arango said. "what we look for now are references of tech professionals that have great resilience in life, and a natural ability and predilection for learning."</p> <p>overall, a great web developer will have a body of work that showcases the necessary experience to be able to build your website in the way that you want it. that is why following up with references and viewing previous projects are two essential practices when hiring a developer.</p> <h2>where to find web developers</h2> <p>there are different networks with freelance developers for hire. upwork offers a service that pairs businesses with web developers and even provides an option to view who is available and determine their skill level before contacting them. besides upwork, and are two other good resources for finding freelance web developers.</p> <p>in addition to freelancers, there are web design and development agencies. the best way to find an agency, which will likely offer more services that complement design, development and project management, is to first search your local area for businesses that specialize in web development. once you find a few options, narrow them down in the same way you would a freelancer – understand the skills they offer versus what you need, and then make a decision.</p> <h2>bottom line</h2> <p>hiring the right web developer can be a big task. deciding what you need from your website is an important first step, and choosing the right candidate requires a certain level of research and hands-on experience with their past work. in the end, hiring a great web developer is like hiring any employee – you can find a great worker if you put the time in to do the research and understand what a candidate can bring to your business.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong></strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Mastering the product packaging design process <p>if your product is set to be sat on a shelf crammed with competitors, you want it to stand out. a label or packaging that grabs attention, but also tells your brand story, is key if it’s to catch the eyes of consumers.</p> <p>the design process is as important as the packaging itself, so here are some tips to help small business owners get it right.</p> <h3>brief well</h3> <p>laura mcleod, senior marketing manager for europe at online design marketplace, <a href='' target='_blank'>99designs</a>, says that, before anything else, remind yourself of the product that the packaging will adorn. ask yourself: who’s buying it, where and how? “these answers will focus your mind on the brief that you pass onto a designer,” she says.</p> <p>badly-written briefs result in unwanted designs, which wastes everyone’s time.</p> <p>kamil shah, co-founder at olive oil company, <a href='' target='_blank'>olive branch</a>, says that knowing the environment in which the product will be sold is particularly important. “if you're targeting delicatessens and farm shops, consumers tend to spend more time browsing and will look for something that tells more of a story,” he says.</p> <p>so you might want to find room on the product for things such as the company’s history, serving suggestions or social media accounts.</p> <p>supermarket shoppers, however, are often rushing around, he explains, so labels should be bold and say what it needs to say in few words.</p> <h3>choosing the right talent</h3> <p>julian abel, managing director at pasta and pizza sauce brand,<br /> <a href='' target='_blank'>the nowt poncy food company</a>, reminds business owners to search out commercial printing companies with experience in your sector.</p> <p>“find out about the various options – digital printing, offset printing and so on – and ask about print run size,” he says. “most firms will send samples of their work.”</p> <p>get multiple quotes, he adds; it’s a competitive market and prices can vary greatly. “a big office doesn’t always mean that a designer or printer has the best ideas,” he says. “consider freelancers and go by recommendations from other people.”</p> <p>when it comes to selecting a printing company or designer, ask lots of questions, he adds. the designers that worked with nowt poncy listened to precisely what he wanted, took lots of notes about its brand story and considered the company name, before returning a dozen different mock-ups for its signature sauce.</p> <p>but always keep in mind your vision for the product, adds mr shah. “it’s easy to get led in lots of different directions, but you’re the captain of the ship, so make sure that the people with whom you’re collaborating stick to the brief.”</p> <p>wajeeha husain, founder of chocolate company, <a href='' target='_blank'>chocolateeha</a>, reminds business owners to keep an eye on the costs – and negotiate for everything.</p> <p>“our goal was not to spend more than 30p on some high-quality, premium packaging,” she explains. “we were initially quoted £1 a unit for 1,000 units, but negotiated to bring the cost down by ordering 5,000 units instead.”</p> <h3>join everything up</h3> <p>when it comes to the process of producing the packaging, ms mcleod says that an open and regular dialogue with a printing company is essential. “ask them specifically what they need: file format requirements, dielines and colour options. don’t be put off [by the technical jargon]; it’s not as scary as it first seems.”</p> <p>pass that information onto your designer in good time, and you should be able to get ready-to-go packaging or label files at the end of the process, she says, adding that good organisation speeds up the process, saves money and makes for very happy designers and printers.</p> <h3>consider any legal obligations</h3> <p>don’t forget that a label must conform to regulations for your sector in respect of font size, readability, barcodes and so on.</p> <p>in the food sector, for example, there’s a minimum font size of eight points, and you can’t use a decorative font for the mandatory nutritional and ingredient information, says mr abel. “everything else is secondary, so if there isn’t enough room, increase the label size or reduce your product description.”</p> <p>it’s a complicated area and easy to fall foul, so if you’re unsure, get an expert to check for you, he suggests.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>the telegraph</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Investing in websites instead of apps <p>since the dawn of the first iphone, apple has been shaping the mobile narrative to suit its interests. apple is able to maintain its dominance over the mobile market by brainwashing much of the technology industry into thinking that businesses need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars creating and maintaining mobile apps to reach their target audiences. in fact, up to 42 percent of smbs have built a mobile app, and that number is expected to grow to 67 percent by the end of the year.<br /> <br /> this narrative has certainly paid off for apple: its revenue from just the app store in 2017 is already over $4.9 billion. that's 40 percent higher than apple's net income in 2007 (a "meager" $3.5b). but the fact of the matter is that many businesses are wasting their money investing in native applications. apps aren't advantageous for most developers, or even for a majority of consumers.<br /> <br /> on average, it takes eight months and $270,000 to develop a native app. and due to the difficulties associated with device/os fragmentation, many enterprises spend millions of dollars on each wave of app updates they release. the possibility for such businesses to make any of that money back is minute, at best. it was revealed last year that of all app store publishers in the u.s. with paid apps or in-app purchases, just 1 percent of those who <a href='' target='_blank'>monetize their apps</a> accounted for 94 percent of the store's revenue.<br /> <br /> the remaining 6 percent - approximately $85.8 million - was divided among the other 61,677 publishers. that averages out to $1,391 per publisher - not a whole lot of revenue. and now thousands of these businesses and developers are watching their hard work turn obsolete as apple drops support for 32-bit apps with ios 11, amounting to roughly 8 percent of all <a href='' target='_blank'>apps on the app store</a>.<br /> <br /> at the same time, consumers already have all the apps they want or need. they're not looking for new ones, which is why app downloads in the u.s. are slowing down, having declined more than 20 percent year-over-year. the average consumer downloads only a handful of apps a year, almost all of which are free, and 42 percent of all app time spent on smartphones occurs on the users' single-most used app (typically big brands like facebook, google, youtube, pandora, etc.).<br /> <br /> so what should businesses do, rather than invest in apps? simple - put that money toward their mobile websites.<br /> <br /> mobile apps were originally developed as a fix for the connectivity problems and poor quality that initial smartphones had roughly a decade ago, like 3g mobile networks and early mobile browsers. but the technology for mobile browsing has come a long way in the last decade, thanks largely to the cloud.<br /> <br /> cloud-based browsers offer impressively quick browsing by outsourcing all of the website processing to data centers, which enables the phone to simply be a display of the content running on remote servers. this makes mobile browsing up to five times faster, with 80 percent less data usage, compared to native apps - a nod to hundreds of millions of smartphone users who aren't on an unlimited data plan.<br /> <br /> leveraging the <a href='' target='_blank'>technology of the cloud</a> for mobile browsing also offers a number of flexibility and security benefits. consumers using such browsers don't need to worry about constantly downloading the latest updates to their phones and developers can focus on maintaining their websites instead, which saves time, money and network bandwidth. since all of the processing happens on remote servers, users are safer from cyberattacks. through the cloud, all website traffic can be handled and filtered through unique, encrypted connections.<br /> <br /> new web standards and frameworks have also made mobile websites better, faster and easier to use. not only have companies been spending the last few years tweaking and optimizing their websites for <a href='' target='_blank'>the mobile experience</a>, but open-source projects like progressive web apps and accelerated mobile pages have led to a new standard for mobile websites. such systems enable lightning-fast load times on an array of unique browsers and devices without fear of distortion or altered functionality due to differences in size and specs, making addressing fragmentation easier than ever.<br /> <br /> all of these advances, as well as many companies following google and supporting integration between their desktop and mobile ecosystems, are contributing to incredible growth in mobile browser usage among smartphone users. consumers worldwide are even starting to access the web from mobile devices more than they are from desktops or notebooks (51 percent on mobile vs. 49 percent on desktops and notebooks in november 2016). it is due to shifts like this that companies, including the washington post and patagonia, have decided to focus on their mobile websites rather than native applications.<br /> <br /> businesses need to have a clear view of what approach makes the most sense for them, based on a realistic understanding of their target market's behavior and usage patterns. for many, that means it is time to look past the mobile app brainwashing and start focusing on the mobile web instead. </p> <p>originally posted on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>app development daily</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 30 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How to captivate millennials with web design <p>even though a strong argument can be made claiming that every person has their own opinions of what is appealing and what is not, the truth is that you might not be as unique as you think you are. different demographic groups have their own unique approaches to certain situations, which allows web designers to categorise certain actions they take as more or less suitable for this particular demographic. this being said, here are few ways to captivate millennials who are currently becoming <a href='' target='_blank'>one of the most influential groups in modern corporate culture</a>.</p> <p><strong>1. share-friendly content</strong></p> <p>one of the first things you need to know about millennials is that they are probably the favorite demographics of digital marketers worldwide. why? well, simply because they are likely to share content they like, rate a company they felt pleasure doing business with and rate the service they found useful. this means that by doing only a part of your job right, you can start a social media avalanche without even trying. this is why rule number one of captivating millennials lies in making your website and your content share-friendly.</p> <p><strong>2. stay up to date</strong></p> <p>aside from being omnipresent on social media, millennials also consider themselves to be incredibly tech savvy, which makes them respond negatively to sites that aren’t up to date. according to experts behind one of the most reputable <a href='' target='_blank'>website design perth</a> companies, this doesn’t go only for news and trends you display on your blog but also to the themes, plugins and other third-party software you are currently using. the maintenance of your website is a serious matter and it needs to be seen as such at all times.</p> <p><strong>3. start by introducing yourself</strong></p> <p>another thing you need to focus on is the way in which you introduce yourself to your audience. sure a wall of text can be quite efficient at describing what is it that you do but there are definitely some better ideas out there. for instance, watching an informational video before offering a cta (call-to-action) button to your clients can result in a <a href=''>144 percent higher conversion rate</a>. this is mainly because people adopt information from visual means 60,000 faster than through text, while formats such as video appeal to all your senses at once.</p> <p><strong>4. make your website mobile-friendly</strong></p> <p>finally, everyone knows that the world of the 21st century is a mobile one. currently, about one-third of world’s population owns a phone and it has been two years since google officially announced that the number of searches from phones surpassed those made from desktop setups. as you can only guess, millennials represent a huge portion of these mobile users, which is why you need to adapt in order to appeal to them. you can start by choosing mobile-friendly formats like the above-mentioned video, infographics or even short comics. aside from this, you need to make your interface touch-friendly and your format easily legible from a phone.</p> <p><strong>in conclusion</strong></p> <p>while there are many other methods to increase the effectiveness of your approach to millennials, these four alone are bound to do miracles for you on this end. apart from this, you also want to put a strong emphasis on speed and even resort to minimalism in order to achieve it. another honorable mention would be taking up a cause, which is, yet again, completely up to you. the world is your oyster.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>sme</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 I planned a stress-free bachelorette party using a key principle of web design <p>the stress of planning and executing a bachelorette party is an american rite of passage—satirized in <a href='' target='_blank'>the new yorker</a> and movies like bridesmaids and bachelorette. people say yes to extravagant getaways when they want to say no. the plan gets expensive. assumptions get made. feelings get hurt. festering issues get swept under the rug.</p> <p>i had the chance to find out for myself just how complicated these events can be when i organized a weekend getaway for eight women and a bride-to-be this summer. my goal was to make things run as smoothly as humanly possible. to that end, i decided to use a strategy that web designers call progressive disclosure. basically, progressive disclosure is when information is introduced tactfully to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed.</p> <p>the technique is used to improve user experiences by giving users a sense of power over complex features, according to design consulting firm <a href='' target='_blank'>nielsen norman group</a>. i wanted to see if i could achieve the same thing in real life.</p> <h2>the art of prioritizing</h2> <p>the google search engine is one of the most famous examples of progressive disclosure. google has a huge number of features, from gmail to google maps to google flight search. yet only one tool has made it to the homepage of their site: the search function.</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2017-10-16 at 4.01.52 pm' src='' style='width:90%' /></p> <p>the craigslist homepage is a useful comparison. craigslist doesn’t distinguish between its core features (let’s say, finding housing and buying and selling items) and its secondary features (gigs, personals, discussion forums, items for sale). the website provides so many options that it’s easy to become confused.</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2017-10-16 at 4.09.24 pm' src='' style='width:90%' /></p> <p>one of the keys to progressive disclosure is figuring out how to say no to many features, in order to say yes to the most important one. when planning the party, i had to do the same.</p> <p>i thought about the most important things the group wanted out of the weekend: quality time together, shared meals, and celebrating the bride. there were other things a lot of us wanted: sunny weather, elaborate home-cooked meals, instagram-able photos. but if push came to shove, the latter list was negotiable.</p> <p>identifying what was essential was useful for planning the weekend—but it was also a helpful way for me to measure success. having pinpointed the things that were most valuable, i was able to accept minor problems like colder-than-expected weather and a shifting headcount.</p> <h2>embrace your constraints and clarify expectations </h2> <p>designers are obligated to work towards alleviating friction for their users. tools like navigation and labeling allow them to handle user issues that are beyond their control. in other words, when you can’t give people everything they want adjust their expectations. </p> <p>netflix does this well in their browsing experience:</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2017-10-16 at 4.11.11 pm' src='' style='width:90%' /></p> <p>netflix offers more content then people can navigate in one sitting. the solution is simple: they help guide users toward the movies and tv shows they might want to watch with section labeling. categories like “popular on netflix” and “recently watched” help users sort through a wide variety of shows and let them know how to progress.</p> <p>clarifying information is essential in planning a bachelorette weekend. i did this by mentioning potential tension points in emails before the event around alcohol, cleaning, and gift-giving. i also opened up the conversation, letting the bridal party know that they were welcome to ask questions or give feedback.</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2017-10-16 at 4.20.35 pm' src='' style='width:90%' /></p> <h2>plan efficiently to maximize success</h2> <p>jakob nielsen, a user experience expert and principal of the nielsen norman group, believes in <a href=''>efficiency</a> as a way to assess how usable a design is. his definition for efficiency is “”once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?” this is the key question that lets him know whether the design is working, or if he needs to revise it.</p> <p><img alt='screen shot 2017-10-16 at 4.29.58 pm' src='' style='width:90%' /></p> <p>the netflix website uses a number of techniques to help users efficiently choose entertainment. for example, they have a gallery of images to let viewers consider their options. hover ver an image, and you get a drop-down menu with more information about the tv show. progressive disclosure is at work here, carefully directing the user towards their next move.</p> <p>for the bridal party, the efficiency question i asked was: “once i’ve decided on this basic structure, is there room for others to take initiative?” the thought of having to single-handedly plan every meal or outing exhausted me, and i hoped members of the group would want to take the lead on activities, too. i set the temptation to micromanage aside.</p> <p>when it came to food, i framed meals as an activity that could be as simple or as complicated as the group was willing to organize. i provided directions to nearby grocery stores and options for eating out. someone joyfully volunteered to cook, another person offered to drive to the store, and the rest were happy to clean up.</p> <p>in the end, the weekend was a success. initially, there was disappointment around the lack of alcohol—but we set up a bonfire and i provided s’mores. comfort levels varied on sex-themed gifts, so i made suggestions for alternatives. it wasn’t hot enough to go to the beach, so i prepared crafts for us to do on the porch.</p> <p>for me, the big lesson was that in order to avoid getting overwhelmed, it makes sense to break complex issues into smaller pieces. this created space for thoughtful solutions. what could have been an anxiety-inducing experience turned out to be a great time for everyone—a reminder of the power design has to keep us grounded.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>quartz</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Reasons to have a good website design <p>a website is a set of web pages that shows valuable information and allows businesses to interact with customers, including potential customers.</p> <p>according to a research published in <a href='' target='_blank'>behavior and information technology</a>, visual appeal of a website plays a vital role in making a user stay on the site. this was justified by conducting three various researches which concluded that a website only has a few seconds to create a first good impression before the visitors, and this impression is largely based on visual elements.</p> <p>experts at <a href='' target='_blank'>wsi</a>, a known web design company, say that the right layout can help businesses grow by providing several benefits, including improved bounce rates and better conversion rate.</p> <p>let’s have a look at some of the reasons to have a good website design:</p> <h2><strong>a good website design aids in branding</strong></h2> <p>today it is all about branding. it is believed that customers do not purchase products but they purchase brands, and believe it or not your website can largey help you create a brand of your own.</p> <p>now think of mcdonald’s, it is one of the most famous fast food chains around the world with a unique website that follows the same color palette that all mcdonald’s restaurants follow.</p> <p>it is very consistent and helps customers relate to the brand. when you visit any of mcdonald’s website, you think of nothing but their product because it’s presented that way with a proper layout that also makes it easy to order and complete other tasks.</p> <p>you should design your website in the same manner. if your brand is funky, you should use funky colors on the website etc. this way people will connect with your business better and have a clear image of who you are.</p> <h2><strong>improved sales</strong></h2> <p>a good web design means more sales. it is quite understandable why this happens. users who find it difficult to navigate a site will instantly leave it and go to your competitors.</p> <p>this does not only increase your website’s bounce rate, but also causes you to lose potential customers who might never come back.</p> <p>whereas, if your website has a simple layout and users can easily find what they need, their chances of making a purchase would greatly increase.</p> <p>this can be done by taking care of the search feature and having a fully functional menu bar in addition to proper linking.</p> <h2><strong>a good website design improves communication</strong></h2> <p>a website’s purpose is to convey valuable information to the person at the other end. according to research, all it takes for a visitor to hit the x button on the website is 30 seconds, and a large number of times this is due to poor design.</p> <p>a website that is designed by keeping the communication and interaction factor in mind succeeds in attracting visitors and also makes them stay on the website for long.</p> <h2><strong>it reflects professionalism</strong></h2> <p>if your website uses poor design elements and bad font, it will come across tacky and unprofessional. this can give a very bad signal to your visitors.</p> <p>make sure to have a professional website with all links and features working properly. use fonts that are the right size and easy to read. also, stay away from poor colors and unattractive combinations. use images and videos that are of high quality, and make sure the website goes well in sync with your niche.</p> <h2><strong>enhances your seo efforts</strong></h2> <p>according to reports, poor web design can impact your seo efforts in a negative way. if your website is not responsive or if the links are not properly connected, or are dead, then your seo efforts may go to waste.</p> <p>google and other search engines consider these factors when ranking websites. with around <a href='' target='_blank'>60% of all search engine queries</a> now coming through mobile devices it has become very important to have a responsive web design. moreover, missing links etc., can make it difficult for crawlers to reach a page, hence affecting its ranking.</p> <h2><strong>conclusion</strong></h2> <p>the benefits of a good web design are clear. it can be the deciding factor between success and failure.</p> <p>make sure you hire a professional web design company to make you a website that covers all the necessary features a website should have so that your chances of finding success can greatly increase.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>augusta free press</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 SEO Alone Isn’t Enough; Best Practices for Manufacturers Looking to Grow in 2018 <p>with b2b buyers nearly <a href='' target='_blank'>60% through the sales cycle</a> before contacting a supplier and engineers investing the equivalent of more than <a href='' target='_blank'>one full workday</a> per week consuming content, leading manufacturers are increasingly realizing the value of having an effective marketing and demand generation strategy.</p> <p>yet while search engine optimization (seo) will improve organic ranking and can increase their leads, today (and moving forward) manufacturers are discovering that seo alone does not make a successful strategy. focusing on seo alone overlooks the opportunity to maximize its value.</p> <p>historically, the main goal of seo services was to drive more traffic to a website. today that’s only 33% of the puzzle, as more traffic does not necessarily mean more demand for your offerings, which is the key business objective for most manufacturers. to profitably and sustainably meet and convert customer demand, it’s up to manufacturers to be visible with the right audiences, educational and persuasive at the right times, and provide an effective user experience that accelerates customers through the sales cycle, delighting them along the way. it’s a tall order.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:297px; width:331px' /></p> <p> </p> <p>to maximize your marketing investment and generate profitable demand, leading manufacturers are leveraging seo, content marketing <em>and</em> user experience to work together and drive demand. only then will your marketing be a competitive differentiator. <em>if your seo strategy is to simply rank highly on relevant keywords, it’s greatly missing out on the real value of seo and wasting marketing dollars.</em></p> <h2>what is search engine optimization in 2017 and beyond?</h2> <p>effective seo is critical to helping your content be discovered. it’s focused on aligning your online presence to the latest search engine algorithm requirements, which in turn drives traffic to your website. with <a href='' target='_blank'>75% of people</a> never looking past the first page of search engine results, this is a critical component to a manufacturer’s demand generation strategy. in fact, <a href='' target='_blank'>57% of b2b marketers</a> stated that seo generates more leads than any other marketing initiative. and it’s no wonder: <a href='' target='_blank'>61% of marketers</a> say improving seo and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.</p> <p>but simply focusing on driving visitors to your site overlooks the business objective of accelerating those visitors through the sales cycle and meaningfully converting them into customers. after all, if a prospect visits your site because you rank highly for ‘precision manufacturing for aerospace’ and then quickly realizes the content on your website isn’t valuable and/or the website offers a poor user experience, they will leave the site. this in turn sends a signal to search engines that your site didn’t do a great job of addressing the query and will negatively impact your organic ranking for that search term.</p> <h2>what is content marketing in 2017 and beyond?</h2> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:192px; width:413px' /></p> <p> </p> <p>as the associated graphic shows, content marketing is the intersection of what we create and what customers want. if as a manufacturer you are creating content that’s of minimal value to your customers, it’s just noise. similarly, if manufacturers are creating content to only address customer concerns without considering how this will benefit your business, it’s charity.</p> <p>leading companies focus on the sweet spot that provides customers the education and value they’re looking for while incrementally helping their company move in the right direction.</p> <p>but for maximum effectiveness, content marketing must work in conjunction with effective seo and user experience. after all, if you create the most amazing content that perfectly addresses your customers’ and business needs, but if it’s not found by your target audience, it’s resources wasted.</p> <h2>what is user experience in 2017 and beyond? </h2> <p>have you ever visited a website and immediately been confused, annoyed or unsatisfied with the resulting experience? <a href='' target='_blank'>79% of people</a> who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site. thus, as you’re establishing your demand generation strategy and implementing seo and content marketing, it is critical that your strategy considers user experience and cross-channel marketing. in the end, if you’ve invested in ranking highly for the right keywords, developed effective content for each phase of the buying journey, and then your perfect customer leaves your website and goes to a competitor due to a poor experience, you’ve lost.</p> <h2>seo alone isn’t enough; demand generation requires optimizing and integrating seo, content marketing and user experience </h2> <p>as with most marketing initiatives, having a clear understanding of your target audience and their buying journey, your competitive differentiators and measuring the right analytics will help drive success. and with demand generation it’s no different. your demand generation strategy must ensure the right audience is able to find the content they’re looking for and this content must then drive and accelerate desired business results.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>b2c</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 website development trends that rocked 2017 <p>over the recent past, websites have entirely become vital corporate tools. they are used at least in every field from marketing to engineering. the high demand for websites has put developers on the spot, a situation that explains the current industrial competition for better platforms.</p> <p>regardless of the technological dynamics, a good website should be easy and affordable for use by the web owner or their clients, a convenience which should be prioritized by web developers. hence, the following website development trends made to the top list in 2017.</p> <h2>1. angular js</h2> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>angulajs</a> should be familiar with those who are always up to date which technological advancements in the web-based development industry. the tool is an open-source javascript framework that is designed for single paged web applications using an mvc (model viewer controller) architectural framework.</p> <p>angularjs is a front-end plan aimed at supporting your web page design process. the new angularjs 4 is extensively different from previous versions such that, it’s building blocks are data bindings, components, dependency injections, metadata and more. angularjs also uses a component of hierarchy as its principal architectural concept, and more so, its modularity makes it more of a faster and lighter core.</p> <p>in summary, the following <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>features make angularjs</a> an important 2017 trend:</p> <ul> <li>it can deliver modern based web capabilities and experiences like offline availability, high performance, and zero-step installation.</li> <li>enables faster creation of ui views.</li> <li>boost your web’s command line tools, for the development side.</li> <li>faster loading of apps.</li> </ul> <h2>2. artificial intelligence</h2> <p>it is another advancement that has revolutionized the modern it industry. ai (artificial intelligence) was first conceptualized by tech giants like google and facebook, but today many app developers have adopted the tech to make their inventions operate more like humans. for example, facebook uses facial recognition in photo tagging.</p> <p>the key advantage of ai is that it facilitates devices to web-platforms to automatically operate without strict human interventions. hence this leads to improved accuracy, efficiency, and generally better user experience. linkedin, a global leading web-based professional site has become the latest adopter of ai. the website now targets mobile users with its improved interface, this owing to the previous research, which suggests that 50 percent of its users use mobile phones to access the website.</p> <p>ai is not only a trendy dynamic, but it also enhances user experiences. a study by merril lynch estimates the <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>ai market to rise to $153 billion</a> by the end of 2018. <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>microsoft’s cortana</a> or <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>google assistant</a> are some of the high-level web-based ai adjustments of this age. online marketers and retailers have also adopted this tech as their branding strategy.</p> <h2>3. virtual reality</h2> <p>vr technology is often associated with video games. although the tech has been around us for some time now, its potential is increasingly getting realized by corporate bigwigs days on. bigger industrial players like google have already incorporated their apis (application programming interface) to enable web-based vr transition.</p> <p>the vr tech generates improved customer experience through virtual presentations for products like golf courses and real estate properties. thanks to this tech, major brands have reported improved sales. thus, it strategically positions itself as an important marketing and web-based tool that needs to be observed over time especially this period where web users are increasingly demanding for improved content consumption experience.</p> <h2>4. ruby on rails</h2> <p>also referred to as ‘rails’, the tech is a server-based web application system. although since 2005 rails has not shown much competitiveness in web development, the rise of rails 5 on june 2016 has proven the tech’s influential capabilities. features like <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>actioncable</a> and turbolinks 5 are amongst the favorite in the new re-engineering.</p> <p>with turbolinks 5, web developers can directly create single paged applications from rails stack. meaning that with the system, developers don’t require client-side javascript frameworks. ruby on rails 5 performance has also been improved and enhanced using aesthetic flexibilities, which capacitates web developers to shift their focus on the overall website’s appearance.</p> <p>the actioncable feature enhances an integration of websockets with other rails applications. moreover, they enable the real-time writing of features on ruby in similar form and style of other rails applications while maintaining scalability and effective performance.</p> <h2>5. static website generators</h2> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>staticgen</a> combines language markups like restructuredtext or markdown with engines for creating templates such as jinja, to generate html files. html files developed from the process can be served and hosted by a cdn (content delivery network), or a web server without using other dependencies like a wsgi server.</p> <p>the advantage of static content files like css (cascading style sheets), javascript, and html is that they can be served using a cdn at a low cost yet with high scaling. cdn’s can also sustain the high concurrent traffic on a website that is statically generated without dropping connections.</p> <p>generally, static website generators work by allowing users to generate html files through coding of template files, written in a markup language. html generated from this process regenerates each type of templates or markup modification. with the staticgen, websites can also be created using plaintexts as opposed to coding.</p> <p>other techs, like jekyll, can help enhance the speed, security, ease, and bolster the handling of a traffic surge on a static web. other common static generating elements include <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>pelican</a>, which is often used to create a full stack python, lektor a content management system, and more others. the staticgen technology has also improved the efficiency of web host managers like the 24/7 <a href='' rel='nofollow noopener' target='_blank'>wordpress support</a> team in dispensing their supportive services such as live customization of css forums.</p> <p>to conclude, websites are increasingly becoming important tools for individuals and corporate branding, marketing, and more other uses. these means that web developers should rise to the occasion by remaining versed with the industrial dynamics especially in the contemporary world where consumers are getting more inclined on consumption experiences.</p> <p>origianl article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tnw</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Boy Scouts’ change to let girls in some programs: ‘A big deal’ <p>embracing a historic change, the boy scouts of america announced wednesday plans to admit girls into the cub scouts starting next year and to establish a new program for older girls using the same curriculum as the boy scouts. </p> <p>under the plan, cub scout dens – the smallest unit – will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. the larger cub scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. the program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the coveted rank of eagle scout.</p> <p>“that is a big deal,” said ralph voelker, scout executive for the south sound-based pacific harbors council. “boys have been able to put this on applications for jobs and schools and everybody knows what it means. now, girls will have the same opportunity.” </p> <p>the boy scouts board of directors, which approved the plan unanimously in a meeting at bsa headquarters in texas, said the change was needed to provide more options for parents. </p> <p>“we believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said michael surbaugh, the bsa’s chief scout executive. </p> <p>“the values of scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” surbaugh added.</p> <p>voelker said the news changes are exciting. “it’s our mission to teach young people to be leaders and to make ethical and moral decisions,” he said. “not just boys.” </p> <p>the announcement follows many months of outreach by the bsa, which distributed videos and held meetings with the boy scout community to discuss the possibility of expanding girls’ participation beyond existing programs, such as venturing and sea scouts. </p> <p>the girl scouts of the usa criticized the initiative, saying it strained the century-old bond between the two organizations. girl scout officials have suggested the bsa’s move was driven partly by financial problems and a need to boost revenue.</p> <p>“the girl scouts is a great organization,” voelker said.</p> <p>in august, the president of the girl scouts accused the boy scouts of seeking to covertly recruit girls into their programs while disparaging the girl scouts’ operations. </p> <p>“i formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of american boys not currently participating in boy scouts … and not consider expanding to recruit girls,” wrote gsusa president kathy hopinkah hannan in a letter to the bsa’s president, at&t chairman randall stephenson.</p> <p>the girl scouts, founded in 1912, and the bsa, founded in 1910, are among several major youth organizations in the u.s. experiencing sharp drops in membership in recent years. reasons include competition from youth sports leagues, a perception by some families that they are old-fashioned and busy schedules that prompt some parents to despair of meeting all their children’s obligations. for some families, scouting programs that welcome both boys and girls could be a welcome convenience. </p> <p>as of march, gsusa reported 1,566,671 youth members and 749,008 adult members, down from just over 2 million youth members and about 800,000 adult members in 2014. the boy scouts say current youth participation is about 2.35 million, down from 2.6 million in 2013 and more than 4 million in peak years of the past.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'>the news tribune</a>.</p> All categories Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How chatbots and artificial intelligence will save banks and the finance industry billions <p>chatbots, computer programs that typically use text-based live chat as an interface to carry out tasks for customers on behalf of the business, are emerging as an inexpensive way to introduce artificial intelligence (ai) in banking.</p> <p>new digitally savvy companies have found success attracting consumers with user-friendly offerings, while legacy banks are finding it difficult to invest in and adopt innovative products. to remain competitive, these large banks will have to adapt their traditional services by incorporating more robotics in banking that will attract more tech-savvy customers.</p> <h2>chatbots in banking</h2> <p>chatbots in banking are a digital solution that is relatively inexpensive to develop and maintain. for starters, chatbots require less coding than standalone banking apps. and the current growth in popularity of messaging platforms saves banks the cost of developing their own channels, as well as saving on data storage thanks to chatbots' cloud-based systems.</p> <p>companies such as cleo, stripe, and wealthfront are giving traditional banks a run for their money. however, for these players it is more difficult to meet the demand of key bank products (such as loans) due to less restricted regulations that force their customers to spend heavily on compliance and maintain large capital cushions.</p> <p>dbs uses kasisto’s kai, the underlying technology of mykai, to allow customers to conduct transactions such as transfers and bill paying. furthermore, they can ask about their personal finances using messaging applications such as facebook messenger and eventually whatsapp and wechat, all of which are the top messaging applications used across the world.</p> <p>in 2016, swedbank launched on its website and mobile application nuance’s nina, who helps answer customer inquiries more quickly by sourcing information relevant to their query using intuitive analysis.</p> <h2>chatbots in finance</h2> <p>the finance industry is built on processing information, which makes it an ideal industry for automation and reduction of salary expenditure, according to a <a href=''>new report from pwc</a>. however, two-thirds of us financial services respondents said that they’re limited by operations, regulations, budgets, or resources to make the investment in such innovative development.</p> <p>fintech companies such as plum, digit, and cleo use chatbots that drive microsaving by putting small amounts into savings each day for their users. these companies’ chatbot is their core product, unlike legacy banks that use it to supplement a core product.</p> <p>these companies are improving various financial services that provide their customers more than just automated savings. chatbots can provide wealth management for the masses, underwrite loans and insurance, provide data analyses and advanced analytics, and detect and notify of fraudulent behavior, all through an automated virtual assistant.</p> <p>bank of america uses erica to give customers key and real-time updates on their finances using a channel of their preference. her predictive analytics and cognitive messaging helps customers make payments, pay down debts, and check their balances. </p> <h2><a href=''><img alt='robot' src='' style='height:330px; width:440px' /></a></h2> <h2>chatbots set to grow</h2> <p>although chatbots have been around for a long time, recently the underlying ai technology has made waves in the market.</p> <p>bi intelligence, business insider's premium research service, has found that the technological advancements in ai has made leaps and bounds in recent years in financial services.</p> <p>the growing popularity of messaging apps have made them reliable hosts for chatbots, and the increasing public acceptance of chatbots have created more trustworthy relationships with users, particularly for millennials, whom banks are trying to target.</p> <h2>more to learn</h2> <p>chatbot technology will continue to improve in the coming years, particularly thanks to robotics in banking and chatbot financial services. chatbot architecture and design will evolve to the point that interactive ai will become standard for customer service. but there are numerous applications for chatbots across a variety of sectors.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>business insider</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 7 Mobile SEO Tips You Need Right Now <p>most searches are done on a cell phone and it’s time to put a mobile seo strategy in place. here are 7 tips you need to help you get started.</p> <p>did you know that mobile devices account for <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>more than 52%</a> of all internet searches?</p> <p>nowadays your online marketing campaign has to target mobile users. our highly-connected world has enabled people to search and view websites while on the go from a variety of devices.</p> <p>this means that if your website isn’t optimized for mobile usage, you’re losing leads and conversions. a non-optimized mobile site will also slip in search engine rankings.</p> <p>the good news is that optimizing your site is easy. keep reading for 7 mobile seo tips to boost your site’s visibility.</p> <h2>1. determine how mobile friendly your site is</h2> <p>before making any decisions as to a way forward for mobile seo, you’ll need to know where you stand.</p> <p>google offers a free tool that will determine the <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>mobile usability</a> of your site. with this tool, you can test all sorts of mobile factors including:</p> <ul> <li>use of plugins</li> <li>viewport width</li> <li>content sizing</li> <li>use of flash</li> <li>font sizes</li> <li>positioning of page elements</li> </ul> <p>the report results can be used to shape your next moves. maybe you need to redesign your website for smaller screen usage. or maybe you need to optimize content and remove certain plugins.</p> <h2>2. use responsive design</h2> <p>one of the best mobile seo tactics is to embrace responsive design.</p> <p>this design approach responds to a user’s platform, screen size, and orientation. in turn, your website is more likely to load for a larger number of users.</p> <p>but why not just create a mobile site for all mobile users?</p> <p>the biggest issue with a mobile site is that screen sizes continue to change. with new mobile phones and tablets released each year, you’re going to have a hard time keeping up with the dozens of screen sizes.</p> <p>responsive design is all encompassing and will deliver the best experience for mobile users.</p> <h2>3. get involved in social media</h2> <p>the use of social media on mobile devices has continuously grown. in fact, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>80% of time</a> spent on social media is through the use of a mobile device.</p> <p>getting involved in social media is a must if you want to grow your company’s visibility. this mobile seo strategy allows you to engage with potential consumers while targeting existing customers.</p> <p>use facebook to share company information and updates. twitter is the ideal place for holding hashtag contests.</p> <p>the key is to get involved and stay involved. engaging in conversations and campaigns keeps your company’s name relevant.</p> <h2>4. focus on page load time</h2> <p>for mobile browsers, there’s nothing worse than a slow website. in fact, mobile users expect pages to load within 3 seconds or less. after 3 seconds, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>53% of users</a> will abandon the page.</p> <p>slow pages may be costing you leads and conversions. so how can you speed up your website?</p> <p>some steps to take include:</p> <ul> <li>removing unused script</li> <li>minimize http requests</li> <li>compressing files</li> <li>enabling browser caching</li> <li>optimizing images</li> </ul> <p>page load time is a critical factor in the success of your website.</p> <h2>5. focus on local searches</h2> <p><a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>local seo</a> is another important piece of mobile optimization. mobile users often search for products and services in their area.</p> <p>this means that your website will need to be optimized for local searches.</p> <p>one of the easiest ways to do this is to include state and city names in your content. this includes meta descriptions, title tags, and h1 headings.</p> <p>aside from onsite content, offsite content is just as important.</p> <p>to build your company’s visibility, create a google my business listing. this is a free service that allows internet searchers to locate your business as well as read customer reviews and even view images.</p> <p>you may also want to create a google maps as well as a google+ page.</p> <h2>6. optimize for mobile keyword searches</h2> <p>if you already have existing content, such as a <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>company blog</a>, chances are you know about the importance of keyword optimization. but, mobile keyword optimization is a little different.</p> <p>the days of text-based internet searches have taken a back seat. instead, consumers are increasingly using voice-based searches.</p> <p>in fact, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>41% of mobile users</a> have embraced voice search. it’s much more convenient to ask siri or google to find a local business for you.</p> <p>with mobile keyword optimization, you’ll want to focus on voice search-friendly keywords. as consumers embrace more voice activated technologies, your website content will need to keep up.</p> <p>to make your website more voice search friendly:</p> <ul> <li>optimize using conversational search queries</li> <li>answer questions in your content</li> <li>use structured data markup</li> <li>create a faqs page</li> </ul> <p>the voice search trend isn’t going away anytime soon. your business will want to focus on voice search optimization to stay ahead of competitors.</p> <h2>7. consider using accelerated mobile pages</h2> <p>google’s <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>accelerated mobile pages</a> (amp) is a new initiative that seeks to provide faster mobile pages. these pages don’t look any different than a normal html web page. the biggest difference is the insanely fast load time.</p> <p>with faster pages comes a much better browsing experience for users.</p> <p>pages designed using amp incorporate simpler forms of client-side scripting. this means you can still use html, css, and javascript on your site, but you’ll instead use the amp versions.</p> <p>these script libraries are slimmed down and load much faster than standard libraries.</p> <p>for added speed, the pages are cached in the cloud. script and caching techniques combined enable an under a second page load time.</p> <p>other benefits of using amp including improved search engine ranking as well as increased visibility. while this initiative is still evolving, now is a good time to benefit from it.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'>business 2 community</a>.</p> All categories Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Your website, your business: Maintain it well <p>a web presence is a fundamental part of business. it’s a virtual brick and mortar that provides customers and potential clients essential information for doing business with your company. by having this information available online, phone calls are cut down and employee time can be used for other projects. a good website with proper maintenance can only benefit your business.</p> <p>inaccurate website information could lead to missed sales and discouraged clients. however, keeping your website current and factual can seem like a significant or expensive undertaking. better business bureau offers the following tips for basic website maintenance:</p> <p>• own your domain. don’t allow others to purchase it for you as part of an agreement.</p> <p>• document key information, such as the security key and password, as well as what web editing software is being used. if the relationship is severed, you’ll want to have access to your website.</p> <p>• do not agree to “free trial” websites.</p> <p>• proofread. check for spelling and grammatical errors in your website content.</p> <p>• keep it simple. many hits may come from mobile devices, which do not easily load music, flashy animation, etc.</p> <p>• make sure all claims are accurate and true. for example, do not use the term “licensed” if there is not a license required for your field. be able to back up any claim you use.</p> <p>• set your website as the homepage on your computer. this gives you the opportunity to check it daily.</p> <p>maintaining an effective website doesn’t have to be time consuming or intimidating. build trust and credibility with a well-made virtual brick and mortar.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'>dayton daily news</a>.</p> All categories Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 Ways You Can Build Links Like a PR Pro <p>for years, i’ve been saying that public relations practitioners should make the best search engine optimization professionals. in fact, i even <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>wrote about it</a> 10 years ago. little has changed since then.</p> <p>the premise is simple:</p> <p>search engines like quality links.</p> <p>public relations professionals work every day to get their clients mentioned in the press. in most cases, the press will provide links in these mentions. these links are far more valuable than any links you can get from other sources.</p> <p>building links is the hardest part of search engine optimization (i’m sure some will argue after me on this point – well, prove me wrong).</p> <p>so if public relations professionals can do the hardest part of seo, they should be the best seos.</p> <p>but with few exceptions, they aren’t.</p> <p>there are many reasons that pr folks don’t like seo. they think it’s just for techies; they don’t want to be seen as an seo; but mostly they don’t realize the value links can have for their clients or organizations.</p> <p>but many pr professionals are changing their attitude toward seo and embracing search. others, though, are happy to pitch away, worrying more about the ink than the link.</p> <p>but as a search engine marketer, you have an advantage. you can do what pr professionals do, even if they can’t do what you do.</p> <p>here are five ways you can build links using the time-worn media relations techniques that have been practiced for years by pr pros.</p> <h2>1. find your influencers & create relationships with them</h2> <p>seo professionals are typically tech-minded. seos typically work to create scalable solutions that automate everything. no exception in link building.</p> <p>from e-mail scraping tools to private blog networks, seos will jump on any link building tool which promises to create links <em>en masse</em> that they control. well, at least until google bans those techniques and the tools start getting websites into trouble.</p> <p>i can tell you from experience that successful link building is more about quality than quantity. i’d rather have one link from the wall street journal than 1,000 links from joe schmoe’s blog. but a link from the wall street journal is difficult to obtain.</p> <p>you don’t have to go that big.</p> <p>finding the influencers in the niche you are working in isn’t hard. it just takes time and research.</p> <p>once you find those influencers, engage them. not by spamming them asking for a link. really read what they are saying.</p> <p>comment. send influencers helpful articles that have nothing to do with your site. when the time is right, they’ll be more apt to link to what you want them to, even if it’s not quite a fit.</p> <p>it’s the law of reciprocity – if you do something for the influencer, they will feel that they need to help you out.</p> <p><strong>pro tip:</strong> whenever possible, meet with influencers in person. buying a journalist or blogger a beer typically has a very high roi.</p> <p><strong>pro tip #2:</strong> limit your reach. this sounds counter-intuitive, but if you target everyone, you target no one. identifying the top 10 or 15 best influencers and cultivating relationships with those folks is, in most cases, far more effective than trying to interact with 100 influencers. everyone has limited resources. use yours wisely.</p> <p><strong>seo pro tip:</strong> when looking at influencers, look at their search presence. if a decent influencer has a bad search presence, offer them some tips for free. depending on the influencers, it can be profitable to even offer to fix their site for free. i can say, however, that i’ve turned influencers into clients with this tactic. again, law of reciprocity.</p> <h2>2. look for opportunities that tie into current events</h2> <p>many seo pros already do this, to an extent. but most write an article around something timely and then pitch it.</p> <p>for many of the top sites, that’s too late.</p> <p>have your experts ready to go quickly. when a news story that affects your niche hits, have your list ready and offer expert commentary. expert commentary almost always comes with a mention and a link.</p> <p><strong>pro tip:</strong> set up google alerts around key topics and people in your industry. that way you can know when a big story hits.</p> <p><strong>pro tip #2:</strong> practice getting the word out. create “fire drills” with your team and client and act like a big news story just hit. this is a good way to get your team and client onboard with what you are doing so you don’t get blank stares or flat or refusal to participate when the real thing hits. this is especially important for seos who work with other pr professionals. get the other pr pros involved in the process. that way they don’t feel like you are taking over their job – a common problem for seos who practice pr tactics for link building purposes.</p> <p><strong>bonus pro tip:</strong> make sure you have your lists ready as much ahead of time as possible.</p> <p><strong>seo tip:</strong> in most of these cases, it’s ok to ask if you get a link expert commentary. you don’t need to demand one. in most cases, you’ll get one, but influencers sometimes forget. better to ask before their story goes out rather than trying to get the link from them later.</p> <h2>3. use press releases for big news</h2> <p>a few years back, seos almost ruined the press release. we found out that a tool that has been used for decades by pr pros also worked to create links on a ton of sites. and so we use them, abused them, and almost “losed” them.</p> <p>today there is still some abuse of press releases, but most legitimate services have increased their prices so that sending out a press release is not practical for every little piece of news.</p> <p>but when you have something big to say? the links are still there. but they don’t come from the syndication.</p> <p>in fact, most of the links that are syndicated are now nofollowed or carry no value.</p> <p>like you (see tip #2), influencers are monitoring for new stories. they will see your press release. if you don’t get any calls, that means you either used the wrong service, didn’t use the right keywords in the release, or your news wasn’t big enough.</p> <p><strong>pro tip:</strong> the “emabargoed” release, or a release that goes out to a few influencers before it is syndicated, is a great way to get an influencer’s attention. if you have one that you really want a link from, send them the press release beforehand and ask them not to put anything out about it until it goes live – but make sure to tell them when it goes live. in some cases, you can even let them break the story, which influencers love to do.</p> <p><strong>pro tip #2:</strong> if you don’t embargo (or more likely don’t embargo to everyone), you can send links to your release in the sites that pick up the release through your wire service of choice. if you send a link from the houston chronicle or even the influencer’s local paper that has your news in it, you’ll get their attention.</p> <p><strong>seo tip:</strong> if you work with a pr firm, ask to see their releases before they put them on the wire. that way you can insure that the keywords you want in there are actually in there. pr folks love language, and sometimes use different words than what is searched. showing them the light in regards to specific keywords is a win for everyone.</p> <h2>4. look at haro</h2> <p>help a reporter out was founded by peter shankman initially as a facebook group to help reporters find sources for stories. shankman knew that most reporters are looking for sources, and pr pros are looking to provide sources.</p> <p>the facebook group was such a hit he turned it into an e-mail list. then cision bought the whole thing for several million dollars.</p> <p>today there are still tons of journalists and other influencers asking for sources for stories. there is a veritable linking gold mine in every issue of haro. and there are three issues per day.</p> <p><strong>pro tip:</strong> it takes some time to really read through haro every day. if you can, assign someone on your team to be responsible for looking through each issue to see if there is anything relevant for your client or your company.</p> <p><strong>pro tip #2:</strong> follow haro on twitter at @helpareporter to see urgent requests from journalists.</p> <p><strong>seo tip:</strong> there are frequent questions from reporters around search related subjects. don’t forget to check it for yourself.</p> <h2>5. research your niche</h2> <p>most pr pros are news junkies. many came into the profession from a journalism background. good pr pros always know what is going in their niche – from the latest rumors down to the competitor offerings.</p> <p>most seos i know are news junkies when it comes to seo, but not when it comes to their clients. seos miss out on so many link building opportunities when they don’t know the industry they are working in.</p> <p>for our clients, we try to become experts in their field. we may never know the business as well as the client does, but we can certainly become proficient enough to identify linking opportunities we would never find if we didn’t know the industry.</p> <p><strong>pro tip:</strong> if there are publicly traded companies in your niche, read their earnings reports. you can learn a lot from earnings reports, and your influencers may not be reading them, so letting them know what’s up is a way to further the relationship.</p> <p><strong>pro tip #2:</strong> if your niche is wide, try to narrow it. the more you can narrow the niche, the easier it is to become an expert. and once you learn one aspect of your niche, it’s usually easier to expand to broader topics.</p> <p><strong>seo tip:</strong> keep tabs on what your competitors are doing in search, what’s working for them, and what isn’t working. don’t forget to <a href='' target='_blank'>look at their backlinks</a>. by doing this, you will become better at optimizing your own sites.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'>search engine journal</a>.</p> All categories Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How Graphic Design Is Evolving <p>twenty-some years ago, we found ourselves in awe of how computers and the internet changed so many aspects of life. just when we thought technology had reached its peak, we were also blithely aware that more was going to unfold.</p> <p>today we can only look back at the impact the digital revolution made on how we communicate, the way we work, and even the way we socialize. graphic design is no exception to this change. technology now plays a major role in the creation of digital work available in many fields. portfolio design, presentations, signage, logos, websites, animations and even architectural production have all traveled far since the dawn of the digital revolution.</p> <p><strong>appreciation in graphic design investment</strong></p> <p>gone are the days when graphic design was solely focused on the obvious graphic elements of a product like its packaging and marketing materials. technology has enabled brands to have more exposure online, allowing businesses to interact with their clients and consumers, which has also allowed us the ability to review and analyze real-time data to measure and see what sources are driving more traffic. we can actually analyze digitally the type of content and graphics that are getting more media impressions, more likes, more saves and, ultimately, are more appealing and converting to an audience.  <strong> </strong></p> <p>with the internet as the major source of marketing and exposure, companies have invested so much ion content creation for customer communication, analytics and real-time feedback from consumers. companies like <a href='' target='_blank'>ikea</a> and <a href='' target='_blank'>johnson & johnson</a> employ the world’s most sophisticated marketing teams to spread their message and gain analytics across digital media globally. for example, according to the <a href='' target='_blank'>digital agency network</a>, ikea launched a virtual-reality kitchen experience that brings you a life-size virtual ikea kitchen. the pilot program is aimed at gathering feedback and suggestions from users. this is a great example of how companies are using analytics and customer feedback to improve their content marketing strategies and product offerings.</p> <p>content marketing and the evolution of graphic design for digital marketing is continuing to rise. one industry that is seeing the impact of this growth is the hotel industry. it is the amalgamation of creativity, technology and the right graphic and web design tools that made some businesses in the hospitality industry stand out from the rest. on paper, the last two years have been great for the hospitality industry, with digital marketing playing a huge role in generating revenue. graphic design and quality content are influencing this, as content remains king. hospitality giants like virgin hotels and marriot are continuing to invest in modern marketing to boost occupancy rates and get heads in beds. <a href='' target='_blank'>virgin hotels</a> has seen an uptick in online bookings and is constantly a/b testing the content tiles on its website home page. these hotel brands can effectively generate engagement by presenting eye-catching graphics in online media to gain a competitive edge over others. today’s hotel sites are no longer solely for contacts and reservations but also serve as a portfolio of the hotel’s interior design and amenities to gain critiques.</p> <p>the visual power of graphic design is even inspiring companies to combine useful tools for the office. for example, peerhatch, one of our clients, employs graphic designs to create customizable wall surfaces. with its collection of images that companies and workspaces can customize to fit their own spaces, they are able to create stunning visuals for any work area that lends itself to brainstorming, allowing employees a collaborative environment where all ideas feel welcomed. we have helped peerhatch develop an effective communications strategy that incorporates modern content marketing campaigns to expand their exposure to its target market.</p> <p><strong>connectivity and the</strong> <strong>progression of the graphic design career</strong></p> <p>along with the improvement of digital graphics technology, careers in this field have also evolved. graphic designers are no longer glued to their workstations. with graphic design software now readily available on laptops and mobile phones through apps, it has made it much easier for them to work anywhere in the world, which also makes it easier for companies to outsource talent without having to hire in-house.</p> <p>in 2016, <a href='' target='_blank'>adobe</a> made a whopping $5.85 billion compared to its $4.8 billion 2015 revenue. this figure represents what the company earned from its subscriptions that seamlessly connect photoshop, indesign and illustrator through its <a href='' target='_blank'>creative cloud</a>. graphic designers can now work anywhere they want and still be connected with their offices. this occasion led to the rise of freelance designers now working in their respective creative spaces anywhere in the world, which some companies have realized is much more cost-efficient than hiring someone in-house. take <a href='' target='_blank'>upwork</a>, for instance. this company built its entire existence on the use of creative freelancers where companies, sole proprietors or individuals can source freelance talent by reviewing resumes, portfolios and reviews from clients in a matter of minutes.</p> <p>it goes without saying that technology and creativity never take on a steady form, so it is inevitable for graphic design to change as we move forward. the rise of content marketing and good design is going to continue to make an impact on businesses' bottom-line revenue. graphic design will always be a necessary tool for artistic, economic, marketing and architectural expression and will continue to evolve as a result of advances in technology and online mediums.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>forbes</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 9 Reasons You Might Need to Rethink Your SEO Approach <p>have you ever wondered why your website isn’t generating any traffic?</p> <p>perhaps you have traffic, but it’s the wrong audience and not converting. maybe it’s because you are still living in the past.</p> <p>many are still using seo practices that were effective years ago, but have no value today.</p> <p>if that’s the case, you need to rethink your seo strategies.</p> <p>best seo practices evolve, over time, as google and the other search engines change ranking methods and algorithms.</p> <p>seo is a practice that never stays constant.</p> <p>whether you consider yourself a marketing professional or a newbie, you’ll only stay on top of your game by knowing what works and what is outdated.</p> <p>in this post, we’re going to discuss the reasons you may need to rethink your seo approach, by exploring practices that no longer work.</p> <h2>1. dated content marketing practices</h2> <p>if you still consider keyword density an integral part of your content marketing, knock it off.</p> <p>that practice dates back to a time when google used strings of meta data for rankings.</p> <p>today, google uses <a href='' target='_blank'>artificial intelligence</a> in the form of <a href='' target='_blank'>rankbrain</a> to understand the context of a page.</p> <p>not only does keyword stuffing make your content appear spammy, in the most egregious cases you could also trigger the panda algorithm and take a ranking hit.</p> <p>instead of worrying about keywords, focus on being contextually relevant and genuinely useful to the users</p> <h2>2. dated title tag practices</h2> <p>stuffing keywords in your titles is no longer a recipe for success and could even be counterproductive.</p> <p>study after study shows pages now ranking for keywords that neither appear in the title nor on the page.</p> <p>instead of worrying about keyword placement in the title, think about creating a snippet that describes the page and encourages users to click on it</p> <h2>3. paid link building for higher rankings</h2> <p>there was a time when pointing “enough” exact match anchor text links from high pr urls to your page would guarantee top ranking. i’m not naÏve enough to say this practice is dead, (like public pagerank) but it certainly is on life support.</p> <p>just take a look at any of the black hat forums and you will find members bemoaning the fact that private blog networks (pbns) just don’t work like they used to.</p> <p><a href=''>link building</a> is still crucial for seo success, but after the release of the penguin algorithm, things are different (see: <a href=''>link spamming in the age of google penguin 4.0</a> to understand why). cutting corners and taking shortcuts in link building is a waste of time.</p> <p>you must shift your attention to acquiring high quality, topically relevant links, rather than focusing on getting any link. if you know how to properly execute link building, less is more.</p> <h2>4. pointless press releases</h2> <p>few seo practices have been abused like the press release.</p> <p>there was a time that seo practitioners would create a stream of nonsensical press releases for the sole purpose of getting an exact match anchor text link.</p> <p>of course, google caught onto this practice.</p> <p>in the end, google devalued these links and many of the pr firms decided to nofollow their links.</p> <p>when you decide to issue a press release, it shouldn’t be for getting a link. a press release should only be created for a genuinely newsworthy event.</p> <p>if you can’t honestly say that you would issue a press release, even if it held no seo value, then you probably shouldn’t do it.</p> <h2>5. reliance on automation</h2> <p>auto-generated or spun content is one of the most prevalent remnants of a long-gone seo era.</p> <p>with google on a mission to deliver quality search results and a good user experience, there is no room for this garbage in the serps.</p> <p>if you automatically generate, copy, or spin content, don’t be surprised when you’re slapped with a <a href=''>pure spam penalty</a>.</p> <p>that said, natural language generation programs (nlg) have been successfully used at the enterprise level to create content at scale. nlg, a form of artificial intelligence (ai), produces content based on data input.</p> <p>for smaller businesses, nothing beats original content written by humans.</p> <h2>6. disregarding the mobile experience</h2> <p>more than <a href=''>60 percent of searches</a> done on google are from mobile devices. with google’s commitment to a <a href=''>mobile-first index</a>, this can no longer be ignored.</p> <p>to succeed online, websites must be seamlessly optimized and responsive across all platforms, including tablets and mobile devices</p> <p>the current algorithm factors in at least some <a href=''>ux elements</a>, specifically <a href=''>distracting pop-up advertisements</a>.</p> <p>if you aren’t putting users first, your chances at maximizing online visibility will diminish.</p> <h2>7. publishing thin content</h2> <p>gone are the days of writing a keyword-“rich” (a.k.a., spammy), 300- to 500-word article to rank for anything competitive.</p> <p>in most cases, it’s a waste of time.</p> <p>in the worst cases, it will draw a penalty.</p> <p><img alt='manual action due to thin content' src='' style='height:310px; width:600px' /></p> <p>to get maximum visibility on search engines, long-form content rules. <a href=''>studies have shown</a> that blog post pages with over 2,000 words ranked higher than shorter blog posts.</p> <p>if you have any doubts, do a quick search of whatever pops into your head right now and you’re likely to find long-form content.</p> <h2>8. depending on guest blogging for link building</h2> <p>the only “seo tactic” abused more than press releases is <a href=''>guest blogging</a>.</p> <p>prior to google’s <a href=''>public warnings</a> against this practice, “online marketing strategists” took every blogging opportunity to write content, irrespective of whether the content was good, bad, or relevant. i still see tons of offers for guest posting on “authority websites.”</p> <p>selling blog posts became a big enough problem that <a href='' target='_blank'>forbes, entrepreneur, & inc</a>, among others, had to start adding nofollow tags to external links.</p> <p>long story short: if you engage in guest blogging, ensure that you do it on relevant websites – sites that are recognized as trusted in your niche. forget about high volume guest blogging on low-quality websites.</p> <h2>9. depending on ‘trophy phrases’ for quality traffic</h2> <p>another misconception about seo is that ranking highly for a “trophy” or head phrase translates into a high volume of quality traffic to your site.</p> <p>there’s no denying that high ranking means that your page will be seen by more people. however, this isn’t a guarantee that you’re going to receive more click-throughs or conversions.</p> <p>as a rule of thumb, trophy phrases drive traffic, but long-tail drives conversions.</p> <p>your keyword strategy should be contextual in nature. your webpages need to describe, in detail, precisely what your product or service delivers.</p> <h2>the takeaway</h2> <p>search engine optimization is unique. it is the only area that i am aware of where doing the same thing, over time, will actually yield different results. <em>that would normally be considered insanity.</em></p> <p>because search algorithms are fluid and always changing, your approach to seo must be fluid as well.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>search engine journal</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 The Latest Trends and Prospects for Beauty and Personal Care Packaging in the U.S. <p>beauty and personal care packaging saw 1% volume growth in 2016, an increase which, even though slow, maintained the positive trend that began in 2015, as the economy seems to continue improving and consumption recovers.<br /> <br /> the category saw an increase in the use of small packaging sizes, which facilitate greater convenience for consumers in terms of portability, and allow a wider range of consumers to access premium brands which also offer high-end products in these formats. euromonitor international’s 2016 beauty and personal care research shows that packaging in the range of 0-50ml grew by 5% to reach 589 million units in 2016.<br /> <br /> companies in the beauty and personal care arena continue to push for recycling, moving towards greener positioning as consumers become more demanding in terms of sustainability.  a clear example of this is <a href='' target='_blank'>burt’s bees lipstick,</a> launched in july 2016, with a squared lipstick packaging with distinctive honeycomb-shaped cutouts in the side of the overcap/lid. this packaging is 100% recyclable polypropylene, and is composed of 60% post-consumer recycled materials. another example is new market entrant, <a href='' target='_blank'>switch fresh deodorant</a>, launched on indiegogo in january 2017, with plans for a broader launch in summer 2017. this is claimed to reduce deodorant plastic usage by 96% through a unique refillable deodorant system.<br /> <br /> linked to convenience, research shows that plastic screw closures continued falling, with a 2% decline in 2016 and a negative 2% review period compound annual growth rate, while aerosol sprays grew by 5% in 2016, driven by strong growth of 7% in skin care and 9% in deodorants. metal aerosol cans also performed well in color cosmetics and hair care with respective 8% and 6% growth rates, according to euromonitor international.<br /> <br /> squeezable plastic tubes saw 1% growth in beauty and personal care, with a continued fall of 2% in bath and shower packaging as well as baby and child-specific products packaging in 2016. on this packaging type’s positive side, color cosmetics saw 5% growth for squeezable plastic tubes and 3% growth in men’s grooming packaging in 2016. even though this packaging type remained flat in oral care, in 2016, sanofi launched its brand act, a toothpaste aimed at children from two years of age. the product comes in a colorful squeezable plastic tube, available in fruit punch and bubble gum flavors, so producers are trying to attract consumers through packaging design and new flavors.<br /> <br /> environment and sustainability will most definitely continue to influence the packaging market for beauty and personal care products. recyclable, re-used and lower carbon footprint are features consumers want and will continue to demand as consciousness grows regarding waste reduction. euromonitor’s 2016 beauty survey shows that green features are secondary only to efficacy, suitability, and a quality-price balance in consumers’ decision-making for beauty products, and are more salient in purchasing deliberations than low prices and strong brand names.<br /> <br /> digitalization and technology will also continue marking the beauty and personal care industry as well as other industries, and this will also transform packaging. new purchasing formats with the use of mobile phones, new apps that help consumers test and try products such as color cosmetics, or customization of packaging through digital platforms, will allow consumers to personalize their packages and final products.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>beauty packaging</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 6 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 2018 SEO tips and predictions <p>gone are the days when all you had to do to build a solid online foundation was splash as many keywords as possible across a web page and link to as many (non)relevant sources out there. </p> <p>though we may feel like we have put these rudimentary tactics behind us, many are those who are still looking to get the easy way out – they rely on the unethical practices in order to yield the best possible results in the least amount of time. </p> <p>but here’s the trick – search engines tend to nip such people in the bud. in the long run, this shortcut has done more damage to your website than good. </p> <p>manipulation of results is out of the question, and while you are <em>under google’s roof, you obey its rules.</em> over the years, these rules have more or less changed, and quite often we found ourselves surprised by the new regulations, that only makes it more difficult for users to predict the search engine’s next step. </p> <p>still, if we were to look at the past changes a bit more carefully, we might be able to notice a pattern; we might be able to conclude which area of the digital marketing world search engines are likely to target next.</p> <p><strong>amp as a ranking factor</strong></p> <p>as the whole world is going mobile, <a href='' target='_blank'>google</a> is about to make sure the accelerated mobile pages project takes center stage. so far, amp has not been officially declared a ranking signal, however, it still has a great impact on website performance and search. </p> <p>users’ abandon websites which don’t load in two seconds and are usually using their mobile devices to check out one of your pages, it is only logical to make sure they load fast on a small screen.  </p> <p><strong>beyond links and keywords</strong></p> <p>search engines are beginning to pay more attention to the way users interact with your website. while <a href='' target='_blank'>seo</a> used to be a job for the technical team, the responsibility was transferred to online marketing professionals; they are required to possess rich knowledge of on- and off-site seo, need to be creatives in order to craft quality content pieces and need to understand user behavior. after all, they are the ones you are after. </p> <p>if google is devoting more time and energy to improving its understanding of visitors’ queries and needs, why wouldn’t you? search engines are doing their best to fully <a href='' target='_blank'>understand the semantics</a> behind each query, website owners have to do whatever it is in their power to optimize content in such ways that both users and search engines understand what the pages are about.  </p> <p><strong>emphasis on the design</strong></p> <p><img alt='design' src='' style='height:523px; width:960px' /></p> <p>note that design still plays a significant role. aside from the responsive, mobile-first approach to website development, we are hearing more and more about the importance of a visual effect. in fact, experts from <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>websitesthatsell</a> report that from their own experience, users will stop interacting with a website if they find it unappealing. for this reason, we are seeing more and more graphic elements, high-resolution photographs, video and other visual content being implemented on websites. </p> <p>now, while glitz and glam can make a lasting impression on some, bear in mind that the 2018 user will appreciate the simplicity and straightforwardness of your website’s message. </p> <p>minimalist design is the preferable option, since the 21st-century visitor is always on the go, looking for an instant solution, and is as such in need of a site that will lead them right to the answer to their query, not bombard them with a multitude of flashy elements.  </p> <p><strong>spammy comments</strong></p> <p>believe it or not, a not-small number of those who dare to call themselves online marketing professionals implement these activities in their digital strategies. it also represents one of the most irritating tactics around. </p> <p>namely, the comment section of a quality article quite frequently contains an abundance of relevant opinions and advice from industry experts, what makes it a great appendix to the post you have read a few minutes ago. </p> <p>when you leave a clearly promotional comment, you not only kill the conversation, you also lose respect from your fellow colleagues. in 2018, it will be all about building relationships and reputation via informative statements – slowly but surely, you will not only be rising in the search results but also the eyes of your peers.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>know techie</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 6 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 killer icon design tips <p>at <a href='' target='_blank'>reasons to</a> in brighton last month, designer <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>jon hicks</a> took to the stage to share some tips for designing icons. as the man behind the icon design for skype and spotify, as well as the author or <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>the icon handbook</a>, he had plenty to share.</p> <p>there are two types: iconic and symbolic. iconic icons represent an object – for example, an envelope sign to indicate email. </p> <p>symbolic icons are abstract, and their meaning must be learned. think of an arrow for 'play', or more recently the hamburger icon to indicate a hidden menu. </p> <p>if you've decided to create a bespoke icon – rather than using a <a href='' target='_blank'>free icon</a> – then no matter which type of icon you're using, there are some icon design tips you should follow.</p> <h3>01. if there's a convention, use it</h3> <p>the most important thing is that people understand what your icon means</p> <p>you're a creative type, we know – but this isn't the time to think outside the box. </p> <p>"you have to have something that's instantly recognised," urges hicks. that means if there's an existing convention, you need to use it. </p> <p>look up your subject on google image search to see if there's an established icon that users will already know. hicks also recommends doing some research using the <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>noun project</a>, a global community that collects together icons.</p> <h3>02. run your ideas through local knowledge</h3> <p>an owl symbolises wisdom in the west, but stupidity in the east</p> <p>this is especially important if your audience is not local to you. to complicate matters, different symbols mean different things, depending on where you are.</p> <p>thinking of using a thumbs up icon? you'll need to think again if your product is destined for australia, greece, or the middle east: instead of indicating a job well done, you're essentially saying 'screw you' to your customers.</p> <p>similarly, in the west an own stands for wisdom, while in the east it's a symbol of stupidity. poor old owl. hicks suggests making the most of your client's knowledge at this stage to make sure you're not making any local faux pas.</p> <h3>03. use your webcam</h3> <p>"if you're researching for emojis, you can't beat your own webcam," says hicks. take snaps of yourself expressing the emotion you want to capture, then work on translating that into emoji form. </p> <p>it's a quick and easy way to see how different facial features change to indicate different moods.</p> <h3>04. keep sizing consistent</h3> <p>pay attention to perceived harmony as well as graphical accuracy</p> <p>hicks suggests starting with the baseline grid. "ideally you want the icon to be slightly larger than the text – you don't want it to mistaken for a text glyph," he explains. </p> <p>while you want to work to a standard area for all of your icons, be aware that you need to pay attention to your icons' perceived size, too. this is because even if your icons are all the same height, they might not look that way to viewers. if you need convincing, take a look at our article on how a recent discovery about the google logo <a href=''>sparked a heated discussion on 'correct design'</a>. </p> <p>another tip for maintaining consistency is to work on all of your icons within one document. you can't make a unified set if you work on each icon separately.</p> <h3>05. keep it simple... but not too simple</h3> <p>icons should be simple – everyone knows that, right? "one of the key things is not to get too fancy. keep it as simple as possible... but not too simple," advises hicks. </p> <p>say you want to design an icon for a shopping bag. the simplest version might be a square with a loop at the top. but that exact same icon could also be a weight, or a padlock. however, add some handle details, or a 10kg label, or a keyhole, and you've removed all possible doubt.</p> <p>hicks suggests adding more details when the icon is being used at a larger size. he also advises adjusting your stroke weight at different sizes in order to keep the icons balanced.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>creative blog</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 6 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 After Launch: 8 Steps You Can’t Overlook When Redesigning Websites <p>congratulations, you just launched your new website. now what? before you pop the champagne, make sure you have an ongoing website support plan in place to sustain the momentum. here's what banks and credit unions must do to maximize any new website, build traffic and increase online engagement.</p> <p>significant planning, preparation and production goes into redesigning a financial institution’s website. but is equal consideration given to the post-launch strategy?</p> <p>a bank or credit union typically overhauls its website about every three years, requiring careful coordination between internal and external teams. most website redesigns involve months of planning, designing, writing, programming, marketing and testing. once complete, the result is (hopefully!) a website that’s on-brand, mobile friendly, content-rich, functionally useful, and ada compliant.</p> <p>launching a new website is only the beginning of the institution’s work effort. successful banks and credit unions also plan ahead for what happens <em>after</em> the site goes live — maximizing the user experience, enabling inbound marketing and collecting valuable data.</p> <p>while a new site serves as the online hub, the overall digital strategy is shaped through a combination of online marketing, maintenance and management. here are eight ways you need to sustain the momentum once you’ve rolled your new site out.</p> <h3>1. search engine optimization (seo)</h3> <p>you simply can’t compete if your site doesn’t play nice with major search engines like google and bing. search engine optimization (seo) must be a major focus before-, during- and after your institution’s site is built.</p> <p>once a website is optimized, it needs to <em>remain</em> search-friendly through a strategic seo nurturing program. the goal is to keep or improve on the traction that the website redesign project attained through foundational search engine best practices.</p> <p>analyzing your current website statistics, seo experts should review how your site is performing and make recommendations for improvement. combining on- and off-page optimization tactics, continual seo services involve conducting keyword research, creating custom meta titles and descriptions, copywriting certain pages, as well as advising on the current site’s architecture, link strategy and build.</p> <p>furthermore, regional financial institutions can develop a local seo strategy to maximize searches at the town or metro area level, leveraging google my business listings, schema markup and local landing pages.</p> <p>routine seo upkeep also bodes well with inbound marketing services, including content marketing, search engine marketing, remarketing campaigns and social media marketing. to keep up with the evolving search algorithms and bolster your ongoing marketing efforts, seo is a perpetual process that your financial institution should do during the site build and after launch and not just “set it and forget it.”</p> <h3>2. pay-per-click advertising campaigns</h3> <p>supplementing your seo best practices, pay-per-click (ppc) advertising displays your institution’s site with paid ads alongside the highly competitive organic search results. as your website listing naturally climbs up the search ranks, ppc advertising ensures that your target market will see your brand and its services on popular search engines like google and bing.</p> <p>ideally, your search engine marketing (sem) specialist will be a google adwords certified expert, giving your institution some peace of mind with its investment in ppc. targeting relevant keywords with lower or medium competition, the sem specialist can create a customized ppc campaign for your institution, pinpointing consumers in your geographic footprint, by what kind of device they use, and other specific criteria.</p> <p>sem is equal parts art and science, requiring strategic keyword research, ad copywriting, media budgeting, campaign management, bidding adjustments and performance tracking to maximize effectiveness. carefully crafted ad copy serves to further attract target audiences, directing them to click through to an optimized landing page for more information and ultimate conversion.</p> <p>to assure the ppc campaign is working, custom analytics can assist with conversion tracking with the collected consumer information used to propel subsequent remarketing initiatives. complementing your organic seo strategy, ppc advertising gets more eyeballs on your new financial site with targeted, pay-to-play ads.</p> <h3>3. social media marketing campaigns</h3> <p>social media marketing is a smart way to accentuate your institution’s site redesign, especially if that coincides with a brand refresh. your existing social media channels will benefit from the continuity of a reskin that matches the updated look and feel of your new site. your cover images, profile pic and image-based posts should reflect the digital style of the re-launched website, bringing forth consistent brand messaging.</p> <p>facebook, twitter, linkedin, google+ and the like are appropriate channels to tease your audience with the redesign, and then subsequently guiding users through the transition of the new site once launched. your site launch also represents an ideal opportunity to reinvigorate your existing social media presence, putting more emphasis on current channels. additionally, it presents a timely opportunity to introduce additional channels, like youtube, instagram, pinterest and snapchat to your social media mix.</p> <p>because members and customers often turn to these social media channels with customer service issues, your social media team needs to be ready to assist the online community during the new site launch.</p> <p>planning a social media campaign around the launch of your new institution’s site makes sense from both a customer service, as well as from a marketing point of view. and, plugging into an integrated marketing campaign or site launch campaign, a social media campaign can generate excitement, highlight new features and answer frequently asked questions surrounding the site launch.</p> <h3>4. integrated marketing campaigns</h3> <p>with its updated design, advanced functionality, user-friendly interface, robust content and strong calls-to-action, your new site should become the focal point for your integrated marketing campaigns.</p> <p>promoting your institution’s brand, products and services, integrated marketing campaigns bring together content marketing, traditional marketing, social media marketing, search engine marketing and email marketing initiatives with a singular focus.</p> <p>with optimized destination pages and landing pages, your new site should have plenty to market, including your institution’s latest rates, limited-time offers, account openings, product promotions and more. in most cases, your site redesign either reflects a rebooted brand or serves as the centerpiece of a refreshed style guide. to clarify the message and earn consumer trust, your institution’s online and offline marketing tactics should have continuity with the look and feel of your site.</p> <p>your institution’s coordinated promotions – from in-branch print materials to online blog articles – should carry the same consistent brand messaging exemplified on your site redesign. guiding target audiences along the sales funnel, this inbound marketing strategy will drive consumers to appropriate internal pages on your institution’s site or campaign landing pages for subsequent tracking and conversion.</p> <h3>5. site launch campaign</h3> <p>a website launch campaign is an effective means to build excitement for your institution’s new site, as well as guide consumers through the transition of a redesign. a website launch campaign leverages elements of integrated marketing campaigns, using print and digital tactics, such as direct mail, posters, flyers, statement promotions, email, site banners, and more to call attention to the new site before and after launch.</p> <p>a landing page often serves and the primary communication mechanism, giving customers and members a heads up to the redesign pre-launch and then offering updated content about the new site’s features and benefits post-launch.</p> <p>adding a contest to the launch campaign incentivizes consumers to take notice of the redesign and explore the new site features. reinforcing your institution’s brand positioning and driving traffic to the new site, the contest can ask consumers to share their financial success stories, find a hidden digital asset on the site, participate in a site-related quiz, or forward the site to a friend to qualify for a chance to win a relevant prize.</p> <p>throughout the transition, social media marketing performs a starring role in your launch campaign, calling attention to the site redesign, communicating its new functionality, promoting an associated contest and driving to the corresponding campaign landing page. a well-conceived website launch campaign can also help reduce call center volume, while increasing adoption of your new financial site.</p> <h3>6. ada compliance and support</h3> <p>ada website compliance needs to be a priority for your institution’s redesign, making it accessible to all audiences, including those with disabilities. launching your new website to be conformant to wcag 2.0 standards is the first step. but, it’s important to have an ongoing process to keep it accessible for all consumers.</p> <p>because your site is continually being updated with new content and you will likely have many people with administrative website access, ongoing compliance scans are a necessity to maintain conformance. meeting ever-evolving conformance rules, specific legalities and site standards, ada conformant websites require proper business analysis, design decisions, content strategy and site testing to achieve compliance.</p> <h3>7. analytics strategy and reporting</h3> <p>when your new website is up and running, will you know how well it is performing and (more importantly), if it’s delivering roi? that’s why an ongoing analytics strategy and reporting plan is key for all bank and credit union sites.</p> <p>before launch, your business goals and marketing objectives should align with quantitative success metrics for your site. the key performance indicators (kpis) need to be set up and tracked in your site statistics, allowing you to monitor, measure and adjust tactics accordingly.</p> <p>as the most ubiquitous website tracking platform, google analytics is free to use and offers robust reporting capabilities for banks and credit unions, while being compatible with other products, such as google adwords, google tag manager and google data studio.</p> <p>whether your analytics monitoring needs require just the basic google analytics tracking code or more sophisticated goal and event tracking using google tag manager, trained analytics experts can help to report against pre-determined goals.</p> <p>furthermore, custom analytics show how audiences are engaging with your site, reporting on the effectiveness of inbound marketing campaigns. robust statistical reporting is integral to proving a worthwhile return on investment to key stakeholders within your financial institution, as well as making more informed marketing decisions with your new site.</p> <h3>8. site hosting and monitoring</h3> <p>website hosting is one of the most critical components on your financial site’s success. after all, what good is a world-class website if your consumers can’t access it?</p> <p>banks and credit unions need a safe, secure and reliable hosting environment as the lifeblood to the financial institution’s online presence. while each institution will have unique needs, all will require a secure, robust web-hosting package should include ssl secure certificates, firewall/traffic routing and ddos mitigation services.</p> <p>some institutions may also require data encryption, load balancing, geographic redundancy and dns failover services. moreover, your hosting provider should provide continuous support to protect your consumers and institutions from threats, such as website monitoring, intrusion detection, penetration testing, vulnerability reporting, anti-phishing and anti-pharming services.</p> <p>website hosting must offer more than dedicated servers and multi-cloud connectivity; you need the human support behind the services to help address any issues. combining automated processes with manual review, your institution’s site hosting and monitoring requires a reliable solution for uninterrupted service.</p> <h3>making a continual investment in your website</h3> <p>indeed, your institution’s new site development is a monumental undertaking, necessitating proper allocation of time, money and resources to ensure a successful launch. however, before going live, planning how to sustain the momentum of your new site should be built into your digital strategy.</p> <ul> <li>optimize the site to show up in search results with proper seo.</li> <li>drive traffic to the new site and gain valuable feedback with social media.</li> <li>with various online and offline tactics communicating your brand messaging, prominently figure integrated marketing campaigns into the new site.</li> <li>promoting before and after the new site goes live, a website launch campaign informs and educates your customers and members.</li> <li>from a usability standpoint, your site redesign must comply with the latest ada conformance standards for accessibility.</li> <li>set up the right site metrics and interpret the reporting properly to assist in the long-term viability of the new site.</li> <li>and last, but not least, ensure its continuous uptime with dependable hosting and monitoring.</li> </ul> <p>thinking ahead, you can put the right plan, people and process in place to make sure the site is continuously monitored, measured, updated, marketed and compliant.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>the financial brand</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 6 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Tips to Ensure a Solid Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses <p>digital marketing is the way of the future and it is a necessity for small businesses. whether you use a professional website builder or tackle the task on your own, it is important that you make a plan that is going to be effective. using tips and information from those who are experts in digital marketing is a great place to start.</p> <h3>budget for your plan</h3> <p>as a small business, the budget is one of the most important elements. you want to budget for the various marketing strategies you plan to implement, as well as a website builder if you are going to take advantage of one. it is a good idea to create a budget that is slightly higher than you think you will need. this will help to cover any overages that might occur unexpectedly. you should also utilize methods that are cost-effective, such as email marketing, social media, search engine optimization and affiliate marketing.</p> <p>all of these methods are known for being highly effective for attracting new customers and keeping current ones interested. however, they cost very little, to nothing in some cases, to start and continue using.</p> <h3>know your customer base</h3> <p>all companies have a target audience and you need to determine what yours is. this takes a little time, but once you have it done, it will be much easier to create marketing campaigns that are going to be effective. this information ensures that your advertising and marketing gets in front of the right people and inspires them to purchase a service or a product from your company. this can also save you a lot of money on your marketing.</p> <h3>utilize social media</h3> <p>social media is absolutely necessary for small businesses in today’s world. there are a number of platforms, so it is best to <a href='' target='_blank'>start with one or two</a>. this gives you a chance to really focus on them so that you can build them up and be able to attend to your followers. you want to make sure that you are posting about once or twice a week. this frequency will not feel overwhelming to your followers, but it is often enough to keep them interested.</p> <p>take the time to get onto your accounts and answer questions left by your followers. when you interact with them, it makes you feel more human to those following you. people who feel valued by and connected to a company will be more likely to want to do business with them on a regular basis.</p> <h3>create a blog</h3> <p>a blog is a way to communicate with your customers and clients. it allows you to give them something of value and hosting a blog on your company website costs very little. post once or twice a week and make sure that the content is valuable and high in quality. solve a problem and let readers know that you are an expert offering information that they can use.</p> <h3>involve your clients and customers</h3> <p>affiliate marketing costs nothing unless your affiliates help you to earn a sale. you simply provide them with links and agree to give them a predetermined commission when a sale is made via one of those links. people tend to trust their peers the most, so them posting links can be an incredibly <a href='' target='_blank'>effective way to drive sales</a>. just make sure that your commission structure is fair, but not one that will have a significant effect on your profits.</p> <p>whether you need to start creating a digital marketing strategy or you simply want to audit your current one, these tips are relevant. they will help to ensure that you are successful and able to meet all of your <a href='' target='_blank'>marketing goals</a>.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tech shout</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 6 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0800 11 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Understand About Website Development <p>startups can jump headfirst into competition with other firms if they have a great website and an online presence. building a website is as simple as choosing a web hosting service, buying a domain, selecting a template, filling it with good content, and publishing it for the world to see.</p> <p>but if you want a website that’s seriously successful, you should understand the following 11 points about website development and maintenance.</p> <h3><strong>1. ui/ux design</strong></h3> <p>ui and ux stand for user interface and user experience. basically, you need to understand the ui/ux design of your website to ensure it’s designed with your target market in mind.</p> <p>think about colors, navigation, domain name, branding, and calls to action, among other things. the layout and overall design should exert a major psychological impression on your users. it will guide their response and encourage or discourage future visits.</p> <h3><strong>2. downtime</strong></h3> <p>businesses that have network performance issues lose revenue and business opportunities during each outage. by <a href='' target='_blank'>using a reliable network performance monitoring tool</a>, you can easily identify dead zones, reduce network outages, and enhance website performance.</p> <h3><strong>3. typography</strong></h3> <p>the text of your website is one of the design metrics that has the greatest impact. text that’s too large will make your content look puffed-up and amateurish; but if it’s too small, readers will have to squint to read it and get annoyed (and most likely just click out).</p> <p>additionally, you don’t want to use fonts that are difficult to read. stick to sans-serif fonts such as arial for the best online reading experience. avoid using multiple fonts as well. as a general rule, a website should use a maximum of three fonts, but two is preferable.</p> <h3><strong>4. security</strong></h3> <p>many websites find themselves subject to an attack simply because they don’t have proper security measures in place. if you think you’re not going to be a target because you’re a small business, think again. many hackers target small organizations because they so often lack adequate security.</p> <p>in fact, <a href='' target='_blank'>43 percent of cyber attacks</a> target small business. unfortunately, only 14 percent of such companies say they have sufficient security to minimize their vulnerability. installing security plugins, two-factor authentication, and encryption on outgoing information can decrease the risk.</p> <p><strong>5. site performance and speed</strong></p> <p>errors in functionality will significantly slow your website and affect visitor satisfaction. people won’t read your content if it loads too slowly.</p> <p>on average, a consumer will abandon a website if it takes <a href='' target='_blank'>longer than three seconds</a> to load. optimize your website for speed and performance. minimize http requests, reduce server response time, enable browser caching, allow compression of larger files, and enable other speed-encouraging measures.</p> <h3><strong>6. search engine optimization (seo)</strong></h3> <p>most entrepreneurs have heard of seo before, but do you know how it applies to your website? certain essential plugins will promote your site’s seo, such as yoast seo.</p> <p>if you know a little coding, you can also build seo tags into the framework. this will make it easier for your website to be categorized in google’s caches, which will create a better connection with your target audience.</p> <h3><strong>7. plugin options</strong></h3> <p>there are plugins to handle a variety of your website needs. they can alert you to security breaches, optimize your site for seo, collect subscribers, back up your website, cache your files, and handle many other functions automatically.</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'>explore plugin libraries</a> for your preferred website creation tools and add the ones that will keep your site running quickly and at optimum performance.</p> <p><strong>8. competitiveness</strong></p> <p>everything that happens online entails a huge competition, and business owners should be aware of what their competitors’ websites look like before they design their own. this will give you ideas about what works, what doesn’t, and how to capture your target audience’s attention. it will also help you avoid creating blatant copies of your main competitors’ work.</p> <h3><strong>9. responsive design</strong></h3> <p>in case you haven’t heard, responsive web design is absolutely critical to a successful business website. <a href='' target='_blank'>about 60 percent</a> of internet access takes place on mobile devices, but 91 percent of small businesses don’t have their website optimized for mobile use.</p> <p>this has become the industry standard, so companies who accept this and incorporate it into their websites will instantly have the high ground.</p> <h3><strong>10. basic coding</strong></h3> <p>you don’t need a web design certificate, but some basic knowledge in coding will be substantially advantageous. try to learn the terminology and the kinds of coding requests that your website type often involves.</p> <p>even if you choose to use a template, <a href='' target='_blank'>your coding knowledge</a> can help you customize the design and make your website more secure. you’ll save time and money on repairs in the future, have a better idea of project timelines, and be able to communicate with your web developer more readily.</p> <h3><strong>11. it costs</strong></h3> <p>up front, you may have to pay for your domain name, hosting service, templates, web designers, and plugins. this may cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. then there’s the cost of repairing and maintaining your website through its life.</p> <p>this cost is absolutely necessary, of course, but you’ll want to be prepared for its impact on your business. it’s one of the most essentials considerations when launching a website, and it can certainly shape the final product.</p> <p>allocate sufficient budget that you’re able to do your website right the first time.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tg daily</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 26 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 easy-to-miss SEO mistakes blogs make <h2>is your content great, but not ranking? here are some of the more common seo errors bloggers and content marketers make.</h2> <p>the digital marketing landscape has evolved significantly over the last two decades. and between google’s ever-changing algorithm and the deluge of misinformation floating through the digital marketing sphere, it’s easy to lose sight of basic practices we should be employing in our own seo and content marketing strategies.</p> <p>with every new algorithm update and technological shift in search, we become obsessed with how the field of seo will enter a wholly new paradigm, and we shift our focus to reflect this. yet as much as the medium may change, the core principles remain the same — and it’s time to get back to the basics.</p> <p>we all understand the secrets and best practices of seo, so why do we often fail to leverage these tactics? let’s explore five common blogging mistakes you may be making right now.</p> <h2>unoptimized keyword structure</h2> <p>despite the rise of semantic search and machine learning technology, <a href='' target='_blank'>keyword research</a> should still take precedence when modeling an internal content marketing campaign. all on-site content should be thematically linked by topics and keywords to your overall business objectives.</p> <p>if our content is simply covering topics and not keywords, how do we know what users <em>really</em>demand? without keyword research, how can you truly know who your audience is and who you are writing for?</p> <p>keywords serve as the bridge between user intent and informational/transactional content. keyword-optimized content helps to position individual web pages to rank higher organically and drive impressions for targeted searches. this effectively makes blog content a lead generator.</p> <p>for on-site blogs, the focus should remain on informational long-tail keyword phrases. common examples include question phrases beginning with <em>how, what, when, where</em> and <em>why</em>.</p> <p>other keyword ideas could include actionable phrases that are often searched for, such as the top “tips” and “hacks” to improve upon some process.</p> <p>bloggers often fail to optimize their headers, meta tags and content with targeted keyword phrases. consider the fact that specific keyword phrases will often be bolded within the meta description of a serp listing, potentially increasing your click-through rate.</p> <p>inadequate keyword research runs deeper than failing to optimize your header structure (e.g., title, meta description). many bloggers fail to leverage semantic seo, or similar keyword phrases with the same meaning. semantic seo allows bloggers to create more thorough and <em>readable</em> content that can drive impressions for multiple keyword phrases, answer more user questions and qualify your content to be a <a href=''>featured snippet</a> — think of the rise of voice search.</p> <p>on the other hand, over-optimized content could cross a dangerous line as well. keyword stuffing, or possessing a high keyword density, will qualify your content as spam. keyword stuffing also obstructs your content’s readability, which results in poor user signals.</p> <p>following seo best practices, it’s still important to optimize all relevant site elements, such as urls and meta tags, with targeted keywords to categorize and rank individual web pages. and aside from signaling to search engines the main focus of your on-site content, keywords also serve an important function for your site architecture.</p> <h2>inconsistent internal links</h2> <p><a href='' target='_blank'>internal linking</a> is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of seo optimization, and issues with internal links frequently occur on seo agency websites themselves!</p> <p>there are many functions of proper internal linking for seo:</p> <ul> <li>establishes paths for users to navigate your website.</li> <li>opens up crawling to deep linked web pages and increases crawl rate.</li> <li>defines site architecture and your most important web pages to search engines.</li> <li>distributes “link juice,” or authority, throughout your website.</li> <li>indexes linked-to web pages by the keywords used in the hyperlink anchor text.</li> </ul> <p>while backlinks remain the gold standard of search engine ranking factors, their magic can be amplified through strategic internal linking.</p> <p>ideally, you’ll want at least three to five internal links per blog post, and a drop-down or navigation menu on your home page to provide deep links to inaccessible web pages. just because a piece of content is posted to your blog, it doesn’t mean google or bing can automatically access it.</p> <p>conduct a thorough internal link audit and record which web pages have the most authority. simply insert internal links on these pages to other high-value internal pages to distribute authority evenly throughout your domain.</p> <p>many websites display featured posts in a drop-down menu or on the home page to distribute authority to their blog posts. a blogger’s home page will be his/her most authoritative. limit the number of links between each blog post and your home page to evenly distribute link juice throughout your domain.</p> <p>don’t overlook the importance of a sitemap, either. this will ensure all web pages are properly crawled and indexed — assuming url structures are clean and keyword-optimized.</p> <p>finally, optimize all anchor text to categorize and drive impressions for linked web pages. be sure to use varying anchor text phrases for each link so that you can rank your web pages for multiple search queries.</p> <h2>poor page copy</h2> <p>as we often say in digital marketing, it’s important to write for readers and not search engines. keep content light, don’t try to show off knowledge with excessive jargon, and write for readers on an eighth-grade reading level.</p> <p>in most cases, on-site content is not about publishing, but building awareness around a need. i always suggest placing actionable tips in informational content to provide value.</p> <p>content marketing is as much a branding exercise as it is a marketing tactic. consistent content production establishes your brand’s ethos and also creates your voice as an author. in turn, this establishes you as an authority in your niche.</p> <p>don’t sacrifice this authority with poor body copy.</p> <p>look over your blog post as a whole. what does a reader experience when they first encounter your web page? consider the fact that the average attention span is estimated to be eight seconds. optimize your header structure and meta tags to encourage easy scanability and communicate a clear purpose.</p> <p>leverage a powerful headline to pique reader interest, and nurture this interest with a strong introductory paragraph. always insert clear transition phrases, and consider using animated gifs and videos to give users a mental break between long chunks of paragraphs. these will also increase your average user dwell time.</p> <p>make your content visually appealing by utilizing white space properly and inserting images after every 400 words or so. this essentially chunks content and prevents information overload.</p> <p>finally, edit fiercely. many writers live by the rule that about two-thirds of writing should be editing and reworking. use tools such as grammarly and the hemingway app to create concise and clean body copy.</p> <h2>unoptimized images and videos</h2> <p>speaking of poor page copy, most bloggers still ignore image and video optimization. unoptimized image file formats and sizes are the most common load time mistakes that deteriorate seo performance.</p> <p>all on-site images should be formatted as .jpg, and all vector images as .png.</p> <p>always optimize image alt text to position it to rank in a targeted keyword image search. the alternative text is what’s displayed when a browser fails to actually display the image and tells search engines the content of your image. (it’s also used to describe images to those with screen readers.)</p> <p>when optimizing video files, host all of your video files in a single folder and create a video site map for search engines to index your videos. you should optimize the meta description of all video pages with targeted keywords for indexation. leverage a call to action in your meta description and video annotations.</p> <p>video marketing can be distributed from multiple channels, as well as your blog. according to <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>a recent survey by hubspot</a>, 43 percent of consumers want to see more video from content marketers.</p> <h2>poor content promotion</h2> <p>this leads us to probably the greatest error that plagues bloggers and stumps small businesses. we’re told that a good piece of content should serve as a natural link magnet and even rank highly based on the merits of the writing itself. to be candid, from experience we’ve discovered this isn’t always true.</p> <p>consider the idea that a 10-hour project totaling 3,245 words, featuring exquisite content and imagery, is just as useless as a poorly written 400-word listicle if it doesn’t drive conversions or traffic. this is what i refer to as potential energy. without a proper technical structure or any content promotion strategy at work, your awe-inspiring content is a dud.</p> <p>what if, after writing his theory of relativity, einstein had simply posted his theory on his front door and waited for someone to discover it? content distributed over a blog on a young domain won’t gather backlinks or social shares without promotion.</p> <p>leverage your connections, and follow these strategies to promote content and allow it to compound over social media:</p> <ol> <li>have influential members of your organization share and promote a piece of content.</li> <li>contact influencers over social media to share content.</li> <li>request a quote from an industry thought leader to place in your content; advertise this in your rich snippet on social media channels.</li> <li>repurpose content into a video or infographic for greater shareability.</li> <li>contact websites that have linked to similar content in the past.</li> <li>submit your content to replace relevant broken links on authoritative sites.</li> <li>run a paid advertisement campaign over social media to place content directly in front of targeted audience members.</li> </ol> <p>content promotion involves thorough audience analysis. segment audience members into one of three boundaries based on habits, demographics and psychographics. investigate what social media channels each audience segment uses the most and the points of time when they are most active.</p> <p>understand which pieces of content perform best over specific social media channels. the most viral content examples include:</p> <ul> <li>“how-to” tutorials</li> <li>infographics</li> <li>videos</li> <li>listicles</li> <li>“why” articles</li> </ul> <p>content serves as an effective pull marketing tactic and inbound lead generator. yet, if content is simply sitting on the shelf and gathering dust, it’s a lost investment.</p> <p>social and user signals factor greatly into organic ranking. essentially, social promotion will draw users to your content, which will determine — based on their engagement — the efficacy of your content.</p> <h2>conclusion</h2> <p>seo agencies and content marketers often tell clients about technical and onsite errors they may be making. but sometimes it takes a little realism to take a step back and analyze our own campaigns for greater success in the long run.</p> <p>hopefully, you’ll take the news that your seo content strategy is imperfect in the right way. it’s an opportunity to refine and improve.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>search engine land</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 50 Business Ideas Using Google AdSense <p>it’s easier than ever to start a website. and advertising platforms like google <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>adsense</a> can make earning an income from those websites easy as well.</p> <p>but not all websites are created equal. there are certain topics that tend to earn more than others when it comes to including adsense ads. and there are some topics that are especially popular with online consumers. of course, you’ll need some actual knowledge and expertise in the niche you want to build a website around. but if you’re looking to stick with a topic that has some adsense earning potential, take a look at these 50 options.</p> <h2>adsense business ideas</h2> <h3>health information</h3> <p>health is one of the most profitable topics out there for adsense websites. if you’re knowledgeable on health topics, you can offer general information or focus on a specific health related niche. but use care when dealing with medical advice.</p> <h3>fitness tips</h3> <p>you can also focus on fitness rather than other health issues. offer workout routines and tips to those looking to change up their exercise methods.</p> <h3>diet tips</h3> <p>for another popular health related niche, you can offer some diet tips and recipes for health food and weight loss.</p> <h3>technology</h3> <p>technology is another popular topic for adsense sites. you can create a website that share information about new innovations or even focus on a specific brand or type of device.</p> <h3>it news</h3> <p>you can also create a site that’s more geared toward it professionals or that can help individuals troubleshoot various tech issues.</p> <h3>smartphone information</h3> <p>smartphones are clearly one of the most buzzworthy types of products out there. so within the tech niche, you can create a website that’s all about different smartphone options and the new models being released.</p> <h3>mobile apps</h3> <p>you can also create lists and databases about the various mobile apps that are available, as mobile apps are another popular topic within adsense.</p> <h3>software information</h3> <p>or you could focus on a specific type or brand of software and build a business around sharing information and updates related to it.</p> <h3>fashion</h3> <p>fashion is another popular topic. you can share news from designers, trends, fashion tips and more.</p> <h3>beauty tips</h3> <p>you can also create a website where you share beauty tips and trends related to makeup, hair and nails.</p> <h3>relationship advice</h3> <p>if you have experience in relationship counseling or related fields, you can start a website where you answer questions and offer advice on personal relationships.</p> <h3>family topics</h3> <p>family related websites can also help you integrate a number of popular adsense keywords. you can share family friendly events and activities, parenting advice and more.</p> <h3>home care</h3> <p>or you can create a website that serves as a great resource for homeowners, offering tips and solutions to common home care issues ranging from decor to necessary home repairs.</p> <h3>gardening</h3> <p>gardening can also fall into that category, though you can also build a standalone website that’s just dedicated to gardening tips and advice.</p> <h3>personal finance</h3> <p>finance is a hugely popular topic online and when it comes to adsense earning potential. you can start a website where you offer finance tips and news that could relate to individuals and their finances.</p> <h3>forex trading</h3> <p>or you could get even more specific and build a website that’s completely dedicated to foreign exchange trading rates and updates.</p> <h3>student loan information</h3> <p>student loans also offer a lot of opportunities for you to share relevant information with people looking for help with their student loan related decisions.</p> <h3>mortgage information</h3> <p>you can also focus specifically on mortgage rates and updates to provide valuable information to homeowners and those looking to buy.</p> <h3>credit information</h3> <p>or you could focus more generally on credit and offer comparisons and valuable insights to help people make credit related decisions.</p> <h3>insurance information</h3> <p>insurance related keywords pay relatively high per click from google adsense and have relatively low competition so a site containing detailed and valuable information on various kinds of insurance might be a very profitable one.</p> <h3>real estate information</h3> <p>real estate is another popular topic for adsense websites. offer real estate listings or information geared toward a specific area.</p> <h3>automobiles</h3> <p>you can also create a website that shares information related to automobiles, like automotive news, vehicle listings and even repair tips.</p> <h3>celebrity news</h3> <p>popular celebrities also garner a lot of search traffic. so you could start a celebrity news site or start a fan site related to a specific celebrity.</p> <h3>entertainment information</h3> <p>or you could focus on more general entertainment topics, like reviews about movies, tv shows or books.</p> <h3>sports news</h3> <p>sports are also hugely popular online. so you could start a website that offers sports scores and headlines or one related to a specific city or team.</p> <h3>online games</h3> <p>online games can also be a great subject for a website business. you can develop your own games so that people are likely to spend a lot of time on your site. or you could also provide information and insights into popular games that people can play on other platforms.</p> <h3>political updates</h3> <p>political news and updates can get a lot of attention online. so you could start a site where you share news and information about different candidates or politicians.</p> <h3>viral videos</h3> <p>everyone loves a good viral video. so if you create a website where you share funny and interesting viral content, you could potentially get a lot of views and thus, a lot of adsense income.</p> <h3>travel</h3> <p>travel is another topic that’s popular with adsense advertisers, especially information about airlines and hotels. so you could create a website that shares travel tips and deals to get in on this popular niche.</p> <h3>photography tips</h3> <p>there’s also a lot of advertising power behind the photography business. so if you start a website where you share photography tips and opinions about different types of equipment, you could potentially earn a lot of revenue from adsense.</p> <h3>stock images</h3> <p>or you could start a website where you offer stock images in a particular niche and simply include some adsense space on your site.</p> <h3>blogging tips</h3> <p>blogging tips are also popular in online searches. so if you’re an experienced blogger, you could share some of your expertise in a separate website.</p> <h3>social media news</h3> <p>you could also start a site where you share social media tips and news about the various platforms that are popular with individuals and businesses.</p> <h3>search engine optimization</h3> <p>another aspect of blogging and running a website, you can use your seo expertise to gain a lot of search traffic to your seo website, then reap the benefits from adsense.</p> <h3>web design</h3> <p>you can also start a website that offers information about web design and development topics.</p> <h3>graphic design</h3> <p>or you could focus on graphic design related topics.</p> <h3>domain and hosting information</h3> <p>domain and hosting information is also fairly popular when it comes to adsense. so you can start a website where you offer tips and information related to those aspects of starting a website.</p> <h3>money making tips</h3> <p>one of the most profitable topics for adsense websites is money making tips — specifically, making money online. so you could start a website that offers tips and methods people can use to make some extra income online.</p> <h3>money saving tips</h3> <p>similarly, you could also start a website where you provide tips and methods for people to save their money or spend less.</p> <h3>business tips</h3> <p>most of the popular adsense topics are geared toward individual consumers. but you can also create a website that offers tips and information for businesses.</p> <h3>marketing tips</h3> <p>more specifically, you can offer marketing tips and valuable information on various marketing methods.</p> <h3>advertising news</h3> <p>advertising is another b2b topic that can be profitable for adsense websites. you can provide tips or share examples that advertisers can look to for inspiration.</p> <h3>cybersecurity</h3> <p>cybersecurity has become a major issue for both consumers and businesses. so you can help those looking for information and earn some adsense revenue by starting a website on the topic.</p> <h3>farming and agriculture</h3> <p>farming is another profitable adsense topic. so if you’re knowledgeable about farming and agriculture techniques, you can make a business out of sharing your expertise online.</p> <h3>education news</h3> <p>things like online classes and information about various colleges get a lot of search traffic. so websites that offer information in those areas can earn a lot of adsense revenue.</p> <h3>charitable information</h3> <p>there’s also a lot of popular keywords related to charitable giving, specifically donating cars or other large items. so you could set up a website where you can point people looking to donate those items in the right direction.</p> <h3>traffic updates</h3> <p>though this would take a lot of updating, people are always looking for updates on traffic in their area. so you could start a site dedicated to providing those updates in real time.</p> <h3>local business listings</h3> <p>you could also start a website where you list local businesses in different niches, ranging from restaurants and stores to service providers like plumbers and electricians.</p> <h3>law and lawyer information</h3> <p>specifically, information about lawyers and lawsuit information can generate a lot of search traffic and be very profitable for adsense sites.</p> <h3>breaking news</h3> <p>and of course, so many people turn to websites now for breaking news updates. so you could start a blog or online publication dedicated to sharing the latest breaking stories.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>small business trends</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 12 SEO Mistakes To Avoid For Better Search Engine Rankings <p dir='ltr'>the power of search engine optimization is stronger than ever before: as many as 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search engine results, according to stats compiled by <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>search engine journal</a>. this is reason enough that you need to employ good seo techniques and get your business to rank on page one of every targeted keyword search.</p> <p dir='ltr'>employing poor seo practices can leave your business buried in search engine searches, making it impossible for your customers to find you. below are the most common seo errors that could be hurting your search engine rankings.</p> <p>search engine optimization is constantly evolving. here, 12 forbes agency council members share advice on how to avoid common seo mistakes.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>1. lack of quality content </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>while user experience is increasingly paramount, you also have to think about what search engine bots see when they crawl your website. your content needs to be effective in communicating to your audience and to bots. each page on your website should have 400 words of quality content at the very least, but 700 to 1,200 words is optimal. remember, this includes your product and collections pages as well.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>2. seeing double </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>one of the most common seo mistakes out there is duplicate content. if you have the same content on more than one page on your site then the search engines will be confused and your pages will end up competing against each other or your website will get penalized.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>3. choosing the wrong keywords </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>the definition of "wrong" keywords extends to selecting keywords that don't accurately describe your products and services, or selecting keywords that don't convert into customers. select target keywords carefully, as they are your biggest determinant in seo success.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>4. not optimizing for engagement </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>while backlinks are still a heavily weighted value in seo rankings, you should focus on user engagement. we are finding that longer, well-written content that captures the reader's attention is increasing rankings. incorporate images, videos, quotes, resources and infographics to assist with the reader engagement. your bounce rate should reduce while the time on site and rankings increase.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>5. lack of title tag optimization </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>one of the biggest errors we see with our clients' websites is that the textual content is not optimized. it is a best practice to have variations of your primary target keywords in three heading tags across your homepage and any other sub-pages where seo work is being done. the heading tags consist of h1, h2 and h3 title tags. keeping those optimized will help boost your rankings.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>6. keyword stuffing </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>now that google’s algorithms are much smarter and always change, they can recognize and penalize sites for keyword stuffing. instead of overstuffing, use relevant keywords within your site’s content but always in moderation. always keep your audience in mind.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>7. absence of a blog strategy </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>one big seo initiative that we work on with our clients is developing a consistent, ongoing, informative blog strategy. too often, people create a blog and don't take the time to blog properly – helpful, meaningful information with regular posting that uses appropriate keywords. this is very helpful for organic search, plus it provides great content to share on socials and e-newsletters.</p> <p><strong>8. thin content lacking target keywords </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>one of the most common issues for my clients is the use of thin and irrelevant content that lacks a target keyword and related keywords. content needs to have depth and deep analysis of the subject, and each piece should focus on one or two keywords at most. next, semantically related keywords are needed for algorithms to grasp the relevancy of the topic.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>9. index bloat </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>i'd say about 35% of the leads we receive suffer from index bloat in one way or another, whether from poor wordpress optimization resulting in tag, category, media and archive pages being indexed or from an absurd amount of thin content being indexed. typically, an excessive number of thin pages comes from blogging for the sake of blogging, rather than providing value and answering searchers' queries.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>10. not prioritizing high-value non-branded keywords </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>like with many other practices, success in seo starts with the fundamentals. and the reality is, many firms, including prominent ones, do not include valuable non-branded keywords in their title tags, especially on their most important pages. simply put: if you aren't taking the effort to use the keywords your target market is, they are going to have a harder time finding you.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>11. too broad optimization goals </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>trying to attract everyone. optimizing for broader, more generic keywords is an easy and understandable trap to fall into. but here are the pitfalls: 1) there’s a lot of competition when optimizing for generic keywords, and 2) you may be drawing traffic to your site that will never convert. instead, be as specific as possible with your keywords. you may get fewer visitors, but you’ll get more buyers.</p> <p dir='ltr'><strong>12. title tags not describing the page/business </strong></p> <p dir='ltr'>one of the most common seo errors is incorrect assumptions about how to label title tags. a lot of companies make their homepage or sub-page title tags the title of their company. instead, this should be a short description of the product or service the company provides.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>forbes</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 4 Tips To Ensure Your Website Design & SEO Is Done Right <p>website design and organic search performance are intrinsically linked, which is to say that design has an observable effect on a website’s ability to rank well for relevant terms. this can become problematic for companies with isolated teams, where design and marketing don’t work closely together, or in cases where marketing is only brought onto a project after a site has already been launched. sites designed without seo in mind can cause ranking issues down the line. </p> <p>at our digital agency, we work with clients across industries to design and develop websites that are built with seo best practices in mind. our marketing strategists are involved in design and redesign projects from the beginning, collaborating with the designer to create a website that is search engine friendly. from this experience, we’ve gained a lot of insight into the interplay between a site’s design and its ability to rank well in organic search.</p> <p>below we cover 4 methods to ensure your design is helping, as opposed to hindering, your seo efforts.</p> <p><strong>1 - know your usability factors</strong></p> <p>the goal of search engines is to provide the best results they possibly can to users who search on their platforms. this is the best way to ensure customer satisfaction and keep users coming back. more users equal more advertisers, and more advertisers equal more profits. </p> <p>what this means on a practical level is that search engines will reward sites that offer great experiences to users. the last thing they want is to place a site in the first position of the results page and have a user click on that site only to realize that it’s frustrating or difficult to use. poor usability translates to a bad user experience with the search engine. good usability translates to user satisfaction with both the website in question and the search engine that included it in the results. </p> <p>good user experience will bear itself out in longer time spent on a page/site, higher volumes of inbound links, and a healthy amount of social shares. these factors are seen as indications of quality and therefore are rewarded by search engines. of course, by now we all know that it’s not enough to focus solely on desktop usability - <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>mobile usability</a> has an equally important role to play in the overall picture of user experience. mobile-friendliness is an absolute must if you’re hoping to make gains in organic search visibility, and it should be a primary design focus.</p> <p><strong>2 - design for content discoverability</strong></p> <p>in order for content to be crawled and indexed by search engines, it needs to be discoverable. search engines, though sophisticated, are limited to discovering content through links. if the proper links to your content don’t exist, or they’re buried or broken, your content won’t be discovered and it will be impossible to get your site’s pages to rank. </p> <p>your goal from a design perspective is to create a site architecture that is intuitive for users to engage with, while your goal from an seo perspective is to create an architecture that allows pages to be crawled and distributes internal links judiciously. fortunately, these goals are aligned and can be achieved simultaneously. prioritize your most important content high up in the architecture - this will include top level service or product categories, which should also map directly to your priority keyword themes. from there, create subcategories and individual product or service pages. </p> <p>a search for ‘craft beer’ on bing results, guinness has mastered content discoverability through seo.</p> <p><strong>3 - plan for high quality content</strong></p> <p>the content on your website is what tells search engines what each page is about. where it once was enough to stuff landing pages full of keywords to achieve rankings, modern seo is all about quality content. </p> <p>in order to create content that can truly be called high quality; you need to begin planning for it before the design phase or redesign is underway. for each page you’re creating you should ask yourself: what purpose does this page serve? what do users want/need to know about this topic? what types of content are necessary to convey our message as effectively as possible? the answers to these questions should be used to inform the design of the site because the design of it must be conceived to accommodate the content you’ve deemed necessary. the alternative means wedging content in after the fact, when ideas about the design may have already become entrenched and difficult to alter.</p> <p><strong>4 - be vigilant during a redesign</strong></p> <p>a redesign can be a dangerous time for the seo value of a website. a website redesign that’s done without the input of a search expert puts the company at risk of losing much of the seo value it’s spent years building. not realizing this, many companies waltz blindly into a redesign, only discovering their error when their organic traffic takes a nosedive. </p> <p>before you begin the redesign process, you should crawl your site to come up with a view of the current site, including all the pages on the site and relevant information associated with them (eg; current rankings, existing title tags). are any of these pages outdated or redundant? if so, where can they be redirected in your new architecture? which of the current site pages rank highly for your target keywords? comb through all of your content to make sure that none of it gets left behind in the redesign - it’s essential that high value content is maintained on the new site. if you’re changing url structure make sure to do a redirect map and have redirects in place at the time the new site goes live.</p> <p> </p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>forbes</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Five tips to enhance brand design <p>design is not about mere decoration, but is a marketing tool whose primary purpose is to create common ground between a brand and a consumer, according to a leading industry figure.</p> <p>in a warc best practice paper, <a href='' target='_blank'>how to use design in today’s fragmented media mix</a>, katie ewer, strategy director at creative agency and brand consultancy jones knowles ritchie in singapore, notes a recent convergence of design and communications.</p> <p>while design has always been with us, its current growing influence is in part a consequence of a changing media landscape, she says.</p> <p>“fragmented, superficial and complex, we often have a handful of silent seconds in which to communicate with our audience. nothing does that job as well as an image.</p> <p>“an image has no story to tell; it is not dependent on dialogue or music, and it has no punch line. design is immediate, instantaneous and instinctive.”</p> <p>research shows that humans process visuals thousands of times faster than text, with one mit study finding that the human eye is able to interpret an image in just 13 milliseconds. and social media posts and tweets with images are more likely to be shared and liked.</p> <p>accordingly, ewer offers five tips to guide marketers in their use of design, starting with clarity on what a brand stands for and how design can advance that idea.</p> <p>what results can be outward expression of a brand’s inner spirit or something as mundane as a re-sealable bag for frozen peas, but, she stresses, “design is more than just surface-level adjustments”.</p> <p>the role of design is often to simplify unnecessary complexity, ewer adds, whether that’s through improving a user journey, making complicated data easy to understand, or making decision-making effortless and intuitive in a supermarket.</p> <p>related to that, marketers need to continually remind themselves that consumers often do not make rational choices. so covering packaging with product claims, for example, is unlikely to persuade as it simply “puts friction into the decision-making process”.</p> <p>but, done properly, packaging can be an effective communications medium. limited editions, for example, “allow buttoned-up brands the opportunity to let their hair down and bend the rules of their brand visual equities”.</p> <p>finally, it is important to understand the user journey, since today there are always multiple touch-points to consider, and “each should be visually cohesive, yet able to deliver specific messages at the right moment”.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>warc</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Why Website Design Is Given So Much Importance? <p>having a website with simple functionality and dull website design is not going to fulfill the objective of any business. a website is an online presence of a business and has to be such that it clearly depicts the business and its objective to the online visitors and turn them into potential customers. it has been seen that intriguing design of a website tend to attract more visitors than websites that have a dull user interface and simple website design.</p> <p>website design tells a lot about many aspects of the business like creativity, objective, usability etc. it doesn’t matter how functional a website is but if doesn’t have an attractive design that defines its business services or products or objective well the visitors are not going to stay on it for too long. this means that the website will not be able to hold the visitors and in this era of technological advancements more and more people visit a website to enquire about a product or service before making a purchase decision. so if a website doesn’t have a good design it will lose its precious visitors and ultimately lose potential clients.   </p> <p>this is the reason that website design is given the utmost importance when building a business website. let’s quickly look at why good website design is important for a business?   </p> <p><strong>helps in better navigation and usability</strong>: no matter if the website is full of information but if the user is not able to find what they are looking for it is of no use. any visitor can judge the website within mere seconds of arriving on it. websites that are chaotic, confusing or cluttered the visitor will instantly hit the back button and will move on to the competitor’s website. good website design makes sure that the navigation and usability of the website is simple yet creative so that visitors find what they are looking for and stays on it and make a query.  </p> <p><strong>helps to build customer trust and provides better service</strong>:  a business website is no less than a customer service representative. so the first impression it will make is going to decide whether the customer will opt for the service or not. poorly designed websites tends to make impression of rudeness and unhelpful customer service. on the other hand a website that is well designed creates an impression of politeness and friendliness and makes the visitor to stay on it till he finds what he is looking for. good <strong>website design</strong> helps to build a better business-client relationship. </p> <p><strong>helps to surpass competition</strong>: it’s tough to survive the competition these days if you don’t have something that stands out of the competition. having an online presence of a business with <a href='http://https//' target='_blank'>good web design</a> and smooth functionality lets the business surpass the competition. this is because websites that look shoddy and amateur cannot stand against the steep competition as every business look to grab his share of clients.  </p> <p><strong>helps with consistency and coherency</strong>: it has been seen that people doesn’t like website that uses different fonts and is laid out differently. people are more likely to stick to a website that uses same style, set of format and typeface guidelines. all this serves as the backbone for all the pages of the website and creates a sense of consistency and creates a more coherent experience for visitor.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>training zone</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 How To Sell Web Design To A Sceptic <p><strong>in today’s competitive market it is extremely important for businesses to invest in web design. with the plethora of digital advancements available, competition is growing and getting stronger. that is why businesses need to understand the importance of having a well-designed website. however, there are remain many web design sceptics, or people who don’t see the value in website design or understand the concept. so how do you sell website design to a sceptic? it’s simple: show how important it is for having a successful business in today’s fierce market.</strong></p> <p>web design is a strategic field that involves the design, construction, function, and maintenance of a website. the design and function of the website are entirely moulded around the client’s brand, audience, and requirements. great web designers keep themselves updated on developments and trends in their field and appropriate them in fulfilling their clients’ needs.   </p> <h2>why is web design important?</h2> <p>there many reasons why web design is important, but the main idea is that a business’s website is an expression of its brand, an extension of its identity. how it presents itself online can contribute to its success or failure. it basically means if your business doesn’t have a website, has a poorly designed one, or has one that hasn’t been updated in a while, then you risk turning off your customers or not registering in their consciousness at all.</p> <p>in today’s market, potential customers are using the internet to find companies they trust or find appealing. no one uses the yellow pages anymore, and phone calls are rarely happening. think of the <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>website as a business storefront</a>: it is what customers see right away and what establishes your brand from the get-go. without a well-designed website, businesses are seriously lacking new customers and increased revenue. here is what web design does for your brand.</p> <h2>adds credibility</h2> <p>web design is essential to providing a business with credibility. when a potential customer is searching for a product or service, they are more likely to use the internet. if 85% of consumers are using the internet to find a local business or product, having an impressive website is extremely important. while customers are searching for the desired service, they are only going to choose one that has a website backed with credibility.</p> <p>web designs come options on how to build your reputation and gain trust. depending on the nature of your business, you could have customer reviews and testimonies, portfolios, or have dedicated pages for awards and citations. an attractive website that looks better than your competitors’ could also build your credibility to potential customers.</p> <h2>builds brand image</h2> <p>another vital aspect that web design provides for a business is a strong brand image. ever heard of the saying, don’t judge a book by its cover? unfortunately, potential customers are doing exactly that with your website. web design includes colours, visuals, and features, that strategically express your image and identity. your home page or landing page gives you that unique opportunity to show your brand image it a way that will resonate with your customers. </p> <h2>generates sales</h2> <p>having an online channel <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>connects you to more customers</a>. each visitor is a potential buyer. even if you’ve got a brick-and-mortar and have no plans of going the e-commerce route, your website could connect you to potential customers that your storefront and your traditional media efforts might not be able to reach. </p> <h2>what does web design include?</h2> <p>web design encompasses a variety of skills and disciplines. starting from the blank page, adding the layout, then company logos and images, there is a lot that goes into to constructing a website. web designers and developers usually offer packages that provide you with everything you need for a fully functional website that will draw customers in. here are typical inclusions in web design packages:</p> <ul> <li>domain and hosting – <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>online real estate, t</a>he address and space to build the structure.</li> <li>interface design – everything that a <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>visitor sees and interacts with</a>.</li> <li>navigation and layout – ensures that visitors can intuitively find what they’re looking for.</li> <li>graphic design – appealing aesthetics that are consistent with the brand image.</li> <li>add-ons – enhance user experience or facilitate management and site analysis.</li> <li>seo – helps users get to the site when they <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>enter a search term</a> in a search engine.</li> <li>full maintenance –  makes sure the site remains up and running.</li> <li>e-commerce – sets up the facilities for an online shop, including payment channels.</li> </ul> <h2>conclusion: so is it worth the investment?</h2> <p>this is the one question that gets sceptics hesitant to invest in web design. however, based on all the information provided above, it’s easy to see where all the money is going. creating a customised platform requires a lot of work and maintenance. also, you aren’t paying just anyone—you’re paying experts in the field. most web design packages not only cover construction, but also routine maintenance and updates. this means your website will always look up-to-date and functional.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>bcw</strong></a>.</p> All categories Mon, 25 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Visual Search: Looking Beyond Image SEO Marketing <p>i want to tell you a story about a young google algorithm.</p> <p>he was born blind, in a world where a picture is worth a thousand searches. this little algorithm had one dream. to be able to see. so he got his friends to describe him images, but still he couldn’t see.</p> <p>he built magical google goggles, but these didn’t work. then one day, he built a learning machine and finally, after years of struggle, he could recognize images.</p> <p>that little algorithm who could is named <strong><em>visual search</em></strong> and has taken on a job as the world’s personal shopper.</p> <h2>image searches are now commonplace</h2> <p>look at the two options below, which is more useful if you wanted to buy a handbag?</p> <p><img alt='google web vs image search results' src='' style='height:400px; width:760px' /></p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>slyce</a> asked that question to consumers. 74 percent of them replied that text-based keyword searches are inefficient in helping to find the right product online.</p> <p>a 2017 report by <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>jumpshot & moz </a>further supports that discovery through pictures is alive and well, with around 27 percent of all searches being for images. mozcast reports image blocks in around 11 percent of google results. while jumpshots’ data shows images earn 3 percent of all google search clicks.</p> <p><img alt='moz & jumpshot image serach' src='' style='height:392px; width:380px' /></p> <h2>image seo: the early years</h2> <p>let’s be honest, image optimization is the dinosaur of the seo world. sure you <em>say</em> you implement image seo for additional ranking opportunities in google image search, but in most cases, you don’t truly believe this will have a significant impact on your kpis.</p> <p>when is the last time you looked at the sessions from image search in google analytics? did you even notice years ago the change from the referral path /imgres under referral to a fully fledged source medium as</p> <p>most of the image seo best practices are more for user experience than search engines rankings. take a critical look at common <a href=''>image optimization tips</a>:</p> <p><strong>primary reason behind common image optimization tips</strong></p> <p><em>user experience</em></p> <ul> <li>rankings othershy away from stock to use original, high-quality images</li> <li>shy away from stock to use original, high-quality images</li> <li>context is key, be relevant to surrounding text</li> <li>appropriate file format so images are crisp</li> <li>optimize image file size for web page load times</li> <li>use standard image ratios</li> <li>use image dimensions large enough to be clearly visible on any device</li> <li>add descriptive captions for users who scan</li> </ul> <p><em>rankings</em></p> <ul> <li>descriptive image file names</li> <li>descriptive alt text</li> <li>descriptive image titles</li> <li>submit an image sitemap</li> <li>schema markup</li> </ul> <p><em>other</em></p> <ul> <li>open graph tags</li> <li>twitter cards</li> <li>beware of copyright</li> </ul> <p>and one can argue descriptive image file names, alt text, and image titles are used as an opportunity to add a keyword in order to rank the page, not necessarily the image itself.</p> <p>not to say the image optimization tips above are not valuable. you should still do these things.</p> <p>the hard truth is seo professionals often neglect image optimization as an afterthought to page-level optimization, if it’s considered at all. and this level of image optimization alone is not going to be enough to win users.</p> <p>so why are you reading about it…</p> <h2>the rise of visual search</h2> <p>in the past there was image search, where search engines took a text-based query and tried to find the best visual match.</p> <p>in the present there is visual search, where search engines, social networks, ecommerce powerhouses, startups and many companies in between take an image as the query.</p> <p>a change in consumer behavior is happening. in the words of jeffrey gitomer “people don’t like to be sold to, but they love to buy.”</p> <p>when you see something you’re interested in, whether it’s online or offline, you want a fast an easy way to get more information.</p> <p>for example, you see a pair of shoes in a magazine. with image recognition, you can take a photo and find similar item for sale online.</p> <p>this see-snap-buy behavior is becoming commonplace and has opened up opportunities for companies to enter the purchase cycle with the photo as the search query. this places them higher in the conversion funnel than a text-based search query.</p> <p>visual search is fast becoming a staple of shopping apps. and with the impact on kpis, it’s no surprise why.</p> <p><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>bloomreach</a> found that visual search is associated with 48 percent more product views. consumers are 57 percent more likely to make a return visits and spend on average 9 percent more on mobile than those who do not use it.</p> <p>amazon, pinterest, and many more have launched visual search capabilities on mobile. there is a battle of the brands to be your snap and shop app of choice.</p> <p><img alt='visual search timeline of brand entry' src='' style='height:394px; width:985px' /></p> <p>at present, early adopters amazon (turning the world into a hyperlink) and pinterest (promoting on online discovery) are leading the pack. but google isn’t taking this lying down.</p> <p><img alt='pinterest visual search' src='' style='height:540px; width:301px' /></p> <h2>visual search & google</h2> <p>google has been quietly adding <a href=''>machine learning</a> and image recognition capabilities to mobile image search over the last years. plotting the updates, you can see clear stepping stone technologies building on the theme of visual search.</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>related images</a> (april 2013)</strong>: click on a result to view visually similar images.</li> <li><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'><strong>collections</strong></a><strong> (november 2015)</strong>: allows users to save images directly from google’s mobile image search into folders. google’s answer to a pinterest board.</li> <li><strong><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>product images in web results</a> (october 2016)</strong>: product images begin to display next to website links in mobile search.</li> <li><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'><strong>product details on images</strong></a><strong> (december 2016)</strong>: click on an image result to display product price, availability, ratings, and other key information directly in the image search results.</li> <li><strong><a href='' target='_blank'>similar items</a> (10th april 2017)</strong>: google can identify products, even within lifestyle images, and showcases similar items you can buy online.</li> <li><strong><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>style ideas</a> (april 17, 2017)</strong>: the flip side to similar items. when browsing fashion product images on mobile, google shows you outfit montages and inspirational lifestyle photos to highlight how the product can be worn in real life.</li> <li><strong><a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>image badges</a> (august 1, 2017)</strong>: label on the image indicate what other details are available, encouraging more users to click. for example, badges such as “recipe” or a timestamp for pages featuring videos. but the most significant badge is “product” – shown if the item is available for purchase online.</li> </ul> <p>these developments highlight that google is making a play to turn image search into shoppable product discovery. it’s easier to show than tell.</p> <p><img alt='google image search mobile functionality' src='' style='height:623px; width:360px' /></p> <p>the new visual search capabilities are all algorithmically selected based on a combination of schema and image recognition. google told <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>techcrunch</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>“the images that appear in both the style ideas and similar items grids are also algorithmically ranked, and will prioritize those that focus on a particular product type or that appear as a complete look and are from authoritative sites.”</p> </blockquote> <h2>how to get your brand’s images featured</h2> <h3>1. implement <a href='' target='_blank'>schema markup</a></h3> <p>badges are simple enough to win:</p> <ul> <li>for the recipe badge, use recipe markup.</li> <li>for the video badge, use video markup.</li> <li>for the product badge, use product markup.</li> </ul> <p>getting into the similar items and related items sections are a touch more challenging. to do this, ensure you have product markup on the host page with the meta-data minimum requirement:</p> <ul> <li>name</li> <li>image</li> <li>price</li> <li>currency</li> <li>availability</li> </ul> <p>but the more quality detail, the better, as it will make your results more robust. how product markup elements are populated into google image search is shown below.</p> <p><img alt='product markup for google image search' src='' style='height:639px; width:858px' /></p> <h3>2. validate your implementation</h3> <p>run a few urls through google’s <a href='' rel='noopener' target='_blank'>structured data testing tool</a>. don’t simply scan if there are no errors and move on. be sure to look at the information itself to ensure it’s user-friendly.</p> <h3>3. wait</h3> <p>it can take up to one week for your site’s images to be crawled. like all schema markup, how items display in search results is at google’s discretion and not guaranteed. however, quality markup will “increase the chance” of your images showing up.</p> <h3>4. do a query</h3> <p>why your own site? to confirm your images have been indexed. be sure to do this image search on mobile web or in the android search app. it is a mobile-first world. not all image search functionality is visible on desktop.</p> <p>if you see no image results badges, you likely have an implementation issue. go back to step two.</p> <p>if you see badges, click a couple to ensure they show your ideal markup in the details. once you confirm all is well, then you can begin to search for your targeted keywords to see how you rank and if you are eligible for similar items or related items.</p> <p><strong>note</strong>: while badges and related items are common, similar items only cover a limited number of products in fashion. google says it will expand in the coming months.</p> <h2>the next steps for visual search</h2> <p>the future is “<a href='' target='_blank'>lens</a>” – using your smartphone to translate real world input to digital action. no more qr codes or snap tags.</p> <p>markerless image recognition is coming. a world where nothing needs to be done to an image or object to turn it into a visual trigger to cue digital content. the static world becomes digitally connected simply by pointing your phone at it.</p> <p>both pinterest and google have the functionality, but i’ll let google ceo sundar pichai explain in more detail:</p> <p>i can envision:</p> <ul> <li>product packaging coming to life. you point your phone at the product and it displays recipe possibilities, maps to nearby stores with the item in stock or coupon for an online order.</li> <li>billboards of celebrities endorsing products will naturally connect you to the store to buy the product, but may also provide the latest gossip on that celebrity.</li> <li>stranger’s outfits become walking ads when i can snap a pic and literally buy the shirt off their back. this will be a world where you can spontaneously buy most items you can see.</li> </ul> <p>that is the power of visual search.</p> <p>so, what are you doing to make your brand more visually appealing?</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>search engine journal</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 8 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 A Beginner’s Quick Guide to Using Google Search Console for SEO <p>if you want a better website with better content, google search console should be one of your first stops. it's a powerful set of tools that can give you valuable information on errors you may have in your code, usability, search traffic and so on. and yes, there can be a slight learning curve if you're new to it.</p> <p>in the <a href='' target='_blank'>pr news guidebook: google for communicators</a>, chris hornak, owner of blog hands, argues that fluency with these tools is well worth the afternoon or two it might cost you to learn how to use them. he provides a thorough guide to using search console to maximize your search engine optimization and save yourself time and money. but to distill this advice into its briefest form, excerpted below are hornak's five simple steps to follow for your first foray into search console:</p> <ol> <li>add your site and verify it: this is step one. create or log on to your search console account, add property (your site), and follow the steps to verify that you are someone with access to the site. take your time and get this right. it gets a lot more interesting very quickly afterward.</li> <li>link <a href='' target='_blank'>google analytics</a>: an optional step, but one that will give you the best information between both sets of tools.</li> <li>make a sitemap: this is an ideal way to ensure that google crawls all of your website.</li> <li>test your robots.txt file: <a href='' target='_blank'>google’s tester tool</a> ensures that your robots.txt file is error-free. it’s a good thing to do.</li> <li><a href='' target='_blank'>crawl for errors</a>: this section of the search console lets you know what, if any, errors are present on your site. armed with this information, you can fix the problems before they impact your page rank.</li> </ol> <p>if you are looking for additional help with specifics in the google search console, visiting the <a href=''>google search console help center</a> will not disappoint. it gives you valuable information about the console, how it works and what steps you can take to implement best practices for your site.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>pr news</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 8 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 6 SEO Trends That Will Influence Your Content Marketing <p>in the world of marketing, there are plenty of trends for leaders to stay on top of. from <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>pr trends</a> that affect their branding on a larger scale to the content marketing and <a href='' rel='noopener noreferrer' target='_blank'>social media tools</a> that affect their day-to-day communication, leaders have a lot on their plates.</p> <p>i hate to be the guy who adds to your list, but if seo isn’t also on your radar, you could be missing out on serious opportunities. thankfully, moz ceo sarah bird shared lots of valuable insights on the future of seo at this year’s mozcon. my team rounded up a few of the biggest trends she highlighted and spoke with other experts in attendance to learn more about how seo and content will affect brands’ marketing; here are six trends in seo you need to know about:</p> <p><strong>1. search is taking on new and different formats.</strong></p> <p>most marketers tend to think of search as it relates to audiences typing queries into search engines, but that’s changing. you can now speak  directly to alexa or google home and search using your own voice in your own words. not only is this exciting for us as humans, but it ’s also pushing the industry to learn more about its consumers and exactly what they want.</p> <p>people are searching more than ever, probably because they have more ways to perform those searches. it’s your job as a leader and marketer to figure out how to influence search results on these different platforms and formats.that comes down to getting into your audience members’ heads, understanding who they are, and delivering what they want — only then can you start to unlock the analytical and creative processes of optimizing for search.</p> <p><strong>2. new formats mean new opportunities — but not all will translate into dollars for your brand right away.</strong></p> <p>this increase in search — and ways to search — doesn ’ t necessarily mean you ’ re going to be able to capitalize on it commercially. think of recipes, for example:  people could be using alexa to search certain recipes as they prepare dinner, but showing up as a result there probably won ’ t translate into dollars for your brand every time.  some formats and types of searches reveal purchase intent, and others don ’ t; this change in search trends just reinforces how important it is for marketers to understand those differences and create and optimize accordingly.</p> <p><strong>3. </strong><strong>paid search is seo</strong><strong>’s</strong><strong> biggest competitor for marketing dollars.</strong></p> <p>despite the fact that people tend to scroll straight to organic results on search engine results pages, the paid ads industry is still huge, making pay-per-click one of the biggest competitors for would-be seo dollars. sure, ppc can be a great way to test your organic strategy or boost your high-performing organic efforts, but building out your organic seo efforts is a more effective long-term strategy. eventually, we’ll see more and more dollars funneled into marketers’ organic search efforts, but a lack of patience is keeping this from happening sooner.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>4. marketers have to remember the long-term benefits of their search strategies.</strong></p> <p>when marketers start making search a priority, it’s not uncommon to see them focus on short-term wins — early signs that things are going well — before they spend a lot of money on tactics that aren’t getting them much closer to their goals. the thing about search is that the biggest benefits typically aren’t visible right away. </p> <p>paying to play in the short term is fine to get started, but you have to build your long-term <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' title=''>content marketing strategy</a> to create a foundation for your brand and your audience over time. seo is more of a brand-building and authority-boosting tool than a strict transaction. it doesn’t help that many times, marketers are incentivized to think in the short term, like through monthly or quarterly goals, instead of one to three years down the road. if you put in the time and budget to do it right, it should land you future sales calls, not just sales calls today. marketers and content creators would do well to remember the big picture as they execute individual search tactics.</p> <p><strong>5. content marketing is in a great spot for the future of search.</strong></p> <p>according to matthew edgar, co-owner of <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' title=''>elementive</a>, one of the classic functions of seo is shifting. in the past, marketers relied on search engines to drive traffic to their sites — but with google now displaying content on serps instead of directing users away from the page and to new sites, this is starting to change.</p> <p>google wants to give users as much information and content as possible on serps directly instead of forcing them to navigate to and from different sites. this is a powerful reminder for marketers that <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' title=''>content marketing</a> must be truly valuable, educational, and engaging to readers, not simply designed to get people to a specific site.</p> <p>and when people <em>do</em> land on your site — whether they’re coming from a google search or elsewhere — you’ve got to make sure you’re delivering a meaningful experience with high-quality content. that’s how search engines will know your content is worth ranking or displaying in the first place.</p> <p><strong>6. the fundamentals behind search will guide marketers through these trends.</strong></p> <p>heather physioc, director of organic search at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' title=''>vml</a>, noted that while the formats of the content we create and how we optimize that content will continue to evolve, the fundamentals will remain the same. some of the biggest changes we’ve seen have come in how people perform searches, from searches on ask jeeves from a desktop computer to mobile and voice searches today. there are dozens of places to search for and consume content, but at the heart of it all is exceptional content.</p> <p>i get it — keeping up with trends in seo and actually executing a strategy that generates the kind of results you’re after is challenging. but it’s well worth the effort. it helps you build your brand, attract and engage your audience, and generate leads, sales, and opportunities. start with these trends, and make seo a priority for your team. if you don’t, i promise your competitors will.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>forbes</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 8 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Apple iPhone 8 event: what to expect <p>apple’s upcoming september 12th event is more than just its annual hardware event: it marks 10 years of iphone launches, which first shipped in june 2007 and is undeniably apple’s most important product. so, it’s not surprising that many of the early reports and rumors about this event have been focused on the iphone. will it have an oled display? will there will be a “pro” version of the phone? and just how much will it cost? </p> <p>but over the past decade, there have been just as many other notable product developments for apple, on its path to becoming the world’s most valuable tech company. it created the app store, and the app economy. it shipped the long-rumored ipad. it got into wearable computing and health and fitness tracking with the launch of the apple watch. its “services” business became one of the fastest-growing areas for the company. </p> <p>so this event could very well be about other products and services as much as it’s about a new iphone. here’s a rundown of what to expect from the event.</p> <h2>new iphones</h2> <p>okay, with all of that said: this event is really about new iphones. </p> <p>we are expecting as many as three different iphones. first and most obviously, there should be updates to both the iphone 7 and iphone 7 plus. the cadence between a new, numbered iphone and an "s" update is something apple has been doing since the iphone 3gs. all rumors point to that happening again this year. s models usually include faster processors and better cameras, so that's probably a safe bet, too.</p> <p><q>we’re expecting as many as three different iphone models</q></p> <p>as for naming, we still don’t know whether apple will continue its tradition of affixing an “s” to an existing model number, or if it will be called iphone 8. but our best guess is on the s model, because there’s <em>another</em> new iphone that everybody's expecting, and this one could be a very good candidate for being called the “iphone 8.” (other guesses include iphone x, iphone pro, and iphone edition — though those candidates don't seem as likely.)</p> <p>it’s widely expected that this will be some advanced version of the iphone, one that could possibly ship later this year. rumors and leaks point to an edge-to-edge oled display, a new 3d face-scanning camera, wireless charging capabilities, and a nonexistent home button. </p> <p><img alt='' src='' /><br /> <cite>photo by amelia holowaty krales / the verge</cite></p> <p>many of the new iphone headline features are new for apple, but not new in the broader industry. other high-end smartphones have bright, edge-to-edge oled displays, are using biometric sensors like iris scanners, or have done away with a physical home button, opting instead for fingerprint sensors on the backs of phones. and inductive charging isn’t even entirely new for apple, since the apple watch charges this way. </p> <p>what would set apple’s phone apart is the way it integrates this new design with software features, or gesture or voice controls, since apple’s distinct advantage is having control of the full stack in its products. we've also not yet seen a consumer phone with a face-unlock solution that wasn't insecure or slow (they're usually both). so if apple has figured that out, it will be a genuinely new thing that it can claim to take the lead on. </p> <h2>apple watch 3/lte</h2> <p>the wearables business isn’t nearly as important for apple right now as its phone business, but that hasn’t stopped the company from making vague claims about the apple watch being comparable to the size of a fortune 500 company all on its own. and, according to recent data from idc, apple is now only second to xiaomi in terms of worldwide wearable shipments. so it’s still a noteworthy product area for apple. </p> <p><img alt='' src='' /><br /> <cite>photo by vjeran pavic / the verge</cite></p> <p>that’s why it’s not surprising that we may see another update to the apple watch, one that adds an lte modem to the device. this means that certain features that currently require having your phone nearby — like making phone calls, sending text messages, streaming music, or even installing new software — could work on the watch independently of the phone. other smartwatch makers have tried this before, including lg and samsung. but one thing that often suffers when you try to make a tiny smartwatch act like your phone, and not an <em>accessory</em> to your phone, is battery life. so it’s still tbd what lte would do to apple watch’s 18-hour battery life. </p> <p>apple’s new watch software, watchos 4, is also expected to roll out in the coming weeks. this will bring new features like a siri-ready watchface, a tri-sport (or multisport) mode, and some direct integration with gym equipment. </p> <h2>apple tv</h2> <p>this may be the year that apple finally catches up with amazon, roku, and chromecast by offering 4k support on its streaming media device. the next generation of the apple tv, according to a <a href='' target='_blank'><em>bloomberg</em> report earlier this year</a>, will stream videos in 4k and in more “vivid colors.” (we're hoping for both hdr10 and dolby vision.)</p> <p><img alt='' src='' /></p> <p>it’s a move that will likely help boost sales of the box, which were down in the 2016 holiday season from the previous year, because it’s a shiny new thing. but apple tv has still been more expensive than many of its competitors, and it has an “app”-like interface rather than one that models a more traditional tv “channel” experience. </p> <p>apple, unlike amazon, has also struggled to make compelling original content that hooks people into its services the way it undoubtedly hoped it would. but if wwdc was any indication, apple is also fully aware of that: the company said at the developers conference that the <a href='' target='_blank'>amazon prime video app would come to apple tv</a> sometime this year. </p> <h2>homepod, imac pro, and mac pro</h2> <p>all three are products that apple has announced, but has yet to ship. so whether they'll get stage time is anybody's guess. the homepod's planned release date is december, and apple has, so far, marketed it <a href='' target='_blank'>more as a high-quality speaker than a digital assistant</a>. apple will surely remind us that it's coming, but probably won't do much more with it.</p> <p>the <a href='' target='_blank'>imac pro is also slated for a december release</a>, but there probably won't be time to touch on it during this month's event. as for the fully <a href=''>redesigned mac pro</a>, that won't arrive until next year, and it's hard to imagine that apple will unveil it now. sorry, mac fans. you'll have to wait a little longer.</p> <h2>ios 11, arkit, and macos high sierra</h2> <p>new hardware is great, but apple’s software rollouts are a lot more critical for people who aren’t planning on buying new macs or iphones in 2017. and this year, ipad users are arguably going to benefit the most: the new ios 11 software could very well transform the ipad into an actual productivity device, with a redesigned dock, advanced multitasking, and new drag-and-drop features. and on both ipad and iphone, ios 11 brings a bigger, consolidated control center, a new, grid-like app switcher, and a new file-storage app called, simply, files. </p> <p><q>apple’s software rollouts are a lot more critical for people who aren’t planning on buying new hardware this year</q></p> <p>these are just a few of the features — there’s even more stuff to come around siri, notes, screengrabs, and file markups — but one of the biggest advancements that’s rolling out with ios 11 is the launch of arkit, <a href='' target='_blank'>apple’s new app platform for augmented reality apps</a>. we’ve already seen a bunch of ar apps on iphone and android (the tremendously popular <em>pokÉmon go</em> is a favored example), but most ar mobile apps to date have been basic, 2d or “flat” imagery. arkit, on the other hand, lets developers build advanced, 3d ar apps without requiring months of work or computer imaging expertise. it’s expected to be a big deal in the ar world — especially since <a href='' target='_blank'>google</a> has also <a href='' target='_blank'>just rolled out its own version of this, arcore</a>, for android devs. </p> <p><img alt='' src='' /><br /> <cite>photo by amelia holowaty krales / the verge</cite></p> <p>we still don’t know exactly when apple’s newest software will roll out — it happened in mid-september last year — but it’s safe to guess that it will likely coincide with when the new hardware goes on sale. </p> <h2>steve jobs theater </h2> <p>there’s another new product out there that most of the world hasn’t seen yet, and that’s apple’s <a href='' target='_blank'>new $5 billion campus in cupertino, california</a>. (in fact, most apple <em>employees </em>still haven’t been inside of it yet.) the september 12th event will mark the first public event taking place in the steve jobs theater, a <a href='' target='_blank'>brand-new, 1,000-seat auditorium</a> named after the late co-founder and ceo of apple. the auditorium is also underground, according to <a href='' target='_blank'>floor plans</a>, which hopefully won’t impact wi-fi signals. as always, <em>the verge</em> will be on the ground (under the ground?) bringing you all of the latest news.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>the verge</strong></a>.</p> All categories Fri, 8 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Finally, Someone Finds a Use for the Apple Watch <p>the 2004 comeback of the boston red sox against the yankees in the american league championship, coming back from 3 games down to win the best of 7, was as close to a miracle in baseball as you might get. except for now. the sox have done what no one else was able to do: find a use for the apple watch.</p> <p>apple has been in a money-making funk. it <a href='' target='_blank'>depends on the iphone</a> to drive profits. other product lines, like apple tv, have never come close to that level of popularity. even news that the <a href='' target='_blank'>apple watch saw a 50 percent increase in sales</a> might make your head shake.</p> <p>when a company seems worried about saying how many units of a product it sells even as it reports all the other major lines, a 50 percent jump might mean, what, someone sold an extra 20 or 30?</p> <p>a big problem for the apple watch is that it seems so unnecessary. you need an iphone for most of what the device is supposed to do. if you've already got the phone, who needs to strap a display to their wrist? how many people do you know who opt to use a watch to tell the time when they have a phone in the pocket.</p> <p>but the red sox pulled off another miracle that transcended sports to touch on tech. they reportedly <a href='' target='_blank'>made an apple watch useful by using it to spy on opponents</a> like the yankees, said the new york times.</p> <blockquote>the yankees, who had long been suspicious of the red sox' stealing catchers' signs in fenway park, contended the video showed a member of the red sox training staff looking at his apple watch in the dugout. the trainer then relayed a message to other players in the dugout, who, in turn, would signal teammates on the field about the type of pitch that was about to be thrown, according to the people familiar with the case.</blockquote> <blockquote>baseball investigators corroborated the yankees' claims based on video the commissioner's office uses for instant replay and broadcasts, the people said. the commissioner's office then confronted the red sox, who admitted that their trainers had received signals from video replay personnel and then relayed that information to red sox players -- an operation that had been in place for at least several weeks.</blockquote> <p>see? even in a miraculous case like this one, the apple watch needed help from another source. the good tech news is that the yankees also resorted to top-notch electronics -- video cameras clearly equipped with a long telephoto -- to get their evidence.</p> <p>and then the sox said that the yankees use a video feed from the team's television network to steal pitchers' signs during games. the yankees said that wasn't true. quick, check them for apple watches.</p> <p>apparently there is also a rule that electronic devices are not to be used in the dugouts. what will people do? the players are almost all millennials. how will they survive prolonged phone deprivation (hereby known as ppd).</p> <p>here's an idea. forget all the sneaking around. just wait for some entrepreneur to natively enable the apple watch to steal signs. then the players can shrug their shoulders and say, "who knew it was wrong? there's an app for it."</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>inc.</strong></a></p> All categories Thu, 7 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 e-commerce marketing tips to promote your online business <p>having a website simply isn’t enough. while having a website that is beautifully designed and takes into account <a href='' target='_blank'>user experience</a> is essential, it’s important to realize that promoting your site is a necessity. regardless of what industry you’re in, there’s a lot of competition and you need to ensure your website is found online and keeps people on your site long enough for them to consider making a purchase.</p> <p>these 5 e-commerce marketing tips help to get people to your site.</p> <h4><strong>tip #1: offer a contest or giveaway</strong></h4> <p>this is a great e-commerce marketing tool because it plays into something everyone loves (winning) while generating buzz for your site and brand. make sure you’re offering a prize your ideal client/customer actually wants and once you’ve announced that the competition is life, keep the momentum going right up until it closes. promote the competition via every channel accessible to you.</p> <h4><strong>tip #2: use video effectively</strong></h4> <p>making how-to videos can help give the customers an idea of your products.</p> <p>how-to videos are simple but highly effective marketing tools. they show your customer what their experience will be like before they need to invest anything or even before they’ve made a connection with your brand. in a brief 2 to 3 minute timeframe, a video establishes if your product or service is ideal for the customer in question.</p> <h4><strong>tip #3: showcase your own original content</strong></h4> <p>when your site is rich with unique content, you’re displaying your expertise while building credibility for your site. of course, original content is also ideal and highly beneficial for search engine optimisation (seo) – be aware that it’s dangerous to copy/paste content from elsewhere on your website. this could land you in legal trouble and at the end of the day, you’re not achieving anything because you haven’t tailored the content to your audience.</p> <h4><strong>tip #4: ask customers for testimonials</strong></h4> <p>is there a more powerful tool in the online world? it can take quite a bit of time to establish trust with a potential customer. when people can easily see a number of testimonials from other satisfied customers, it helps to nurture the relationship. of course, it’s always more powerful to have customers spreading your message than to self-promote.</p> <p>you can ask satisfied customers for testimonials for your products to help you in promoting your business.</p> <h4><strong>tip #5: use personalization to your benefit</strong></h4> <p>there is so much noise in the online space. within your industry, you may be competing with hundreds or even thousands of competitors at any given time. personalisation is becoming more and more important, especially as consumers grow savvier. getting this right isn’t hard but it does take thought<strong>—</strong>audit all of your communication points and assess where you could be doing better. wherever possible, use your customer’s names, provide them with relevant links and ask for their feedback so that you can continue personalizing their experience. once you know enough about them and their habits, you can tailor your emails accordingly.</p> <p>using the above tips as part of a clear marketing strategy helps to ensure that people are visiting your website. you can’t expect your ideal customers to just stumble across your website. it’s important to be proactive with your marketing so that you’re driving people to your e-commerce site.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>born2invest</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 7 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Brand building through irresistible packaging design <p>food entrepreneur jason cohen, a driving force behind skinny pop, veggie straws and other fast-growth brands, divulges advice for effective packaging design for small companies with big plans.</p> <p>what do brands like skinny pops, veggie straws and core hydration have in common? one of the principals behind the amazing success of these brands is “better-for-you” food entrepreneur jason cohen, co-founder and ceo of halen brands, fairfield, nj, which is focused on helping small food and beverage businesses get distribution and grow market share. cohen has an exceptional track record, having helped bring to market seven food brands over the past 15 years including chef’s cut jerky, which has reached $65 million in sales and skinny pop popcorn, which was taken public by goldman sachs for $1.3 billion.</p> <p><em>packaging digest</em>  tapped cohen’s advice on how brands can design packaging that’s irresistible.</p> <h3>what’s the importance of on-trend food packaging?</h3> <p>cohen: today packaging is a critical element of any food product as consumers see it as an extension of who they are. in the better-for-you category, product design is shifting away from medicinal look to a more stylized packaging and the goal should be to make consumers feel confident when they pull the package out of their bag—it’s like it’s just another accessory.</p> <h3>what are key market drivers in foods? </h3> <p>cohen: on the nutrition front, there are three significant shifts in consumer behavior that has caused a fundamental impact on the food and beverage industry. the focus on clean eating is because food allergies are hitting home. it is likely that a family member or acquaintance has one or more allergies even if a consumer is not directly impacted. today, one out of every four kids has a food allergy of some form, so this is definitely a key concern of parents.</p> <p>protein is also a highly sought-after macronutrient. we’ve seen a rise in protein-packed snack options, including jerky and cheese chips that provide nutrients to keep consumers satisfied and fueled throughout the day. consumers need on-the-go snacks that provide essential nutrients in between meals not to feel full, but to know that they are fueling their bodies properly.</p> <p>consumers’ taste buds are highly sophisticated and they are seeking more advanced flavor profiles whether that is a multi-flavored product or a global influence on flavors. we are going to see this space evolve tremendously over the next year with more complex flavor combinations.</p> <h3>what’s an emerging trend that brands should pay attention to?</h3> <p>cohen: snacking continues to grow and we expect that this will keep at a steady pace over the course of the next couple of years, especially in the better-for-you food category as people look for healthier options and ways to eat decadent foods. we are going to see a continued push on cleaner labels, but with consumers expecting that they won’t have to sacrifice flavor for healthier ingredients.</p> <h3>what are examples of effective packaging—and why?</h3> <p>cohen: skinny pop packaging is a great example. our packaging conveys that the consumer can feel comfortable eating the whole bag, because it’s “skinny.”</p> <p>additionally, we’re transparent with our labeling, highlighting notable product qualities such as non-gmo, no artificial ingredients and more. with core water, the bottle’s uniqueness provides a sense of empowerment for consumers when they are carrying it. (see <a href='' target='_blank'>core hydration goes big and small with bottled water</a>, published february 2017)</p> <p>for veggie straws packaging, the word <em>veggie</em> conveys the functional benefit of eating something that is better for you than a traditional snack.</p> <p><img alt='' src='' style='height:422px; width:750px' /></p> <p> </p> <h3>how do you know a design is ready for market?</h3> <p>cohen: part of this intuitiveness is having a firm understanding of what is motivating consumers to purchase products. our team is constantly looking at what packaging designs are on-trend through color palettes that deliver the right messages to consumers and engage with retailers.  when designing the product packaging, we like to get feedback from retailers before finalizing the design because they can provide valuable insights and perspectives that help move the product from the shelf to the cart.</p> <h3>how much attention do you give millennials? </h3> <p>cohen: millennials are currently spending more money on snacks than any other generation, so halen brands definitely takes their viewpoint into consideration when developing packaging designs. especially important for this demographic is ensuring that products are designed in a way that millennials can easily make the product a part of their lives which they are actively sharing on social media.</p> <h3>what’s a lesson learned you can share? </h3> <p>cohen: over the past few years, a key learning has been that packaging, the quality of the product and overall taste are all significant purchasing factors for millennials. these three points must have an equal mission. packaging is an extension of brand identity and ultimately, a reflection of the consumer’s personal identity, but at the end of the day, the balance of taste, packaging and overall quality of the product is the true recipe for success.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>packaging digest</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 6 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Study: 57% of Google search traffic is mobile <ul> <li> <p>mobile searches on google <a href='' target='_blank'>now represent about 57% of all search traffic</a>, as mobile web site traffic is now clearly outpacing traditional desktop traffic, according to a new study from content performance marketing company brightedge.</p> </li> <li> <p>the study also found that 79% of all searches were different across mobile and desktop, suggesting a significant shift to the mobile-first search index google announced last year. brightedge said its research confirmed the emergence of two separate search indexes –– one for desktop and one for mobile –– with 47% of keywords in positions 1–20 ranked differently on mobile and desktop search engine results pages.</p> </li> <li> <p>additionally, the study found that the first page that ranks for a domain on a search query is different on mobile and desktop search engine results pages on about 35% of searches.</p> </li> </ul> <p>through 4500+ hd screens in 300+ of america's favorite malls, adspace delivers high-impact video impressions to 71mm unique shoppers steps from your storefront & is proven to increase retail store traffic by 1.5x.</p> <p><a href='' target='_blank'>see the study</a><img src='' style='height:0px; width:0px' /></p> <h3>insight:</h3> <p>the ultimate takeaway from this study goes a little something like this: mobile is happening, people. get with the program.</p> <p>we have been hearing about <a href='' target='_blank'>the impact of mobile search </a>for a while now, so this study should not come as a complete surprise to retailers. there is more detail, of course, to the lessons that can be learned from this study, but a big part of it is that brightedge is presenting some evidence that mobile search traffic represents the majority of search traffic by a margin — 14% — that is only going to grow. well, that and the notion that a mobile-first search index has some unique value.</p> <p>the frequency with which search results come out differently for mobile and desktop-initiated google searches means that retailers need to have search engine optimization, content and marketing strategies that reflect those differences.</p> <p>some retailers and brands may already understand this. in the study, brightedge notes that carlos spallarossa, director of seo at l'orÉal, is pushing for a mobile-first perspective. "we are developing content with a mobile-first perspective to connect with our users with info, use advice, and reviews — especially when they are near a store where they can easily purchase,” he said, according to the study. </p> <p>others may not be so far along in understanding it, and brightedge has a few suggestions about how to change up their approaches. designing and optimizing websites for speed and mobile-friendliness is a start, but among other suggestions listed in the study, retailers and brands need to understand different online consumer intent signals across desktop and mobile devices. also, producing separate mobile and desktop content that resonates on multiple device types is a good idea. brightedge also advises tracking, comparing and reporting mobile and desktop share of traffic continuously, as well as tracking organic search rank for mobile and desktop separately. </p> <p>mobile commerce may have once seemed to be nothing more than a sub-set of the broader e-commerce universe, but now it's becoming clear that mobile is charting its own unique territory.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>retail dive</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 6 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Apple Inc.'s Big iPhone Secret Revealed <p>there has been a lot of speculation on how apple will name its upcoming trio of iphones. in the press, the two lcd models were referred to as the iphone 7s and iphone 7s plus, while the all-new oled model was often called the iphone 8 or iphone x.</p> <p>however, while those names were certainly helpful during pre-release discussions, they probably wouldn't have been great from a marketing perspective.</p> <p><img alt='three apple iphones showing various aspects of the apple app store.' src='' /></p> <p>image source: apple.</p> <p>thanks to a new report from <a href='' target='_blank'>9to5mac</a>, which cites information from case makers who claim to have seen the final packaging for the next-generation iphones, we now know -- or, at the very least, have a <em>really </em>good idea of -- what apple is planning to call all three new models.</p> <h2>sensible naming </h2> <p>the 4.7-inch lcd model, which will succeed last year's iphone 7, is said to be called the iphone 8. the successor to the current 5.5-inch lcd iphone 7 plus will reportedly be called the iphone 8 plus.</p> <p>and the "premium" iphone -- the one that everyone is seemingly looking forward to -- will be known as the iphone edition.</p> <p>this naming scheme seems rather sensible. even though the iphone 8 and iphone 8 plus are rumored to sport the same form factors as the current iphone 7 and iphone 7 plus, except that they'll have glass backs rather than aluminum ones, apple is reportedly bringing a whole host of improvements to the devices, including a new <a href='' target='_blank'>a11 fusion chip</a>, <a href='' target='_blank'>true-tone display tech</a>, <a href='' target='_blank'>wireless charging</a>, and possibly much more.</p> <p>those improvements, in my view, justify a new number. after all, apple would be downright silly to cram in all these wonderful enhancements and innovations only to name the devices in a way that implies that they are merely incremental improvements to the current models.</p> <p>further, given that apple currently uses the name "edition" to distinguish its premium apple watch models from the more mainstream models, and given that the name <em>sounds </em>premium -- an argument i've <a href='' target='_blank'>made before</a> -- this seems like smart naming to me.</p> <h2>future names</h2> <p>what seems a little bit unclear now is how apple will name its devices going forward. apple had previously been <a href='' target='_blank'>rumored to launch three new iphone models next year</a>, which would've made it easy to have an iphone 9, 9 plus, and yet another iphone edition.</p> <p>however, a recent report from <em><a href='' target='_blank'>the korea herald</a> </em>claims that apple canned its plans to introduce a next-generation iphone with a 5.28-inch display and instead plans to launch its 2018 iphone models in just two screen sizes: 5.85 inches and 6.46 inches.</p> <p>in that case, it's harder to predict how apple will market its next-generation line of phones. my best guess now is that the company would call the 5.85-inch model simply "iphone" and then call the 6.46-inch model the "iphone edition."</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>the motley fool</strong></a>.</p> All categories Tue, 5 Sep 2017 00:00:00 -0800 The New iPhone Will Look Completely Different <p><a href='' rel='' target='_blank'>apple</a> plans to transform the way people use its next high-end iphone by eliminating the concept of a home button and making other adjustments to a flagship device that’s becoming almost all screen, according to images of the new device viewed by <em>bloomberg news</em> and people familiar with the gadget.</p> <p>the home button is the key to the iphone and the design hasn’t changed much since it launched in 2007. currently, users click it to return to the starting app grid that greets them multiple times a day. they hold it down to talk to the siri digital assistant. double-click it and you get multitasking where different apps screens can be swiped through like a carousel.</p> <p>apple is preparing three new iphones for debut next month. one of the models, a new high-end device, packs in enough changes to make it one of the biggest iphone updates in the product’s decade-long history. with a crisper screen that takes up nearly the entire front, apple has tested the complete removal of the home button—even a digital one—in favor of new gesture controls for tasks like going to the main app grid and opening multitasking.</p> <p>in the new, high-end iphone, apple also plans a taller screen with rounded corners, a cutout at the top of the display for the camera and sensors, and new antenna locations, the images show. apple often tests different designs and the details may differ from what the company ultimately releases. an apple spokeswoman declined to comment.</p> <p>across the bottom of the screen there’s a thin, software bar in lieu of the home button. a user can drag it up to the middle of the screen to open the phone. when inside an app, a similar gesture starts multitasking. from here, users can continue to flick upwards to close the app and go back to the home screen. an animation in testing sucks the app back into its icon. the multitasking interface has been redesigned to appear like a series of standalone cards that can be swiped through, versus the stack of cards on current iphones, the images show.</p> <p>the new model’s overall size will be similar to that of the iphone 7, but it will include an oled screen that is slightly larger than the one on the iphone 7 plus (5.5-inches), people familiar with the product have told bloomberg news. the phone will have symmetrical, slim bezels around the entirety of the screen, meaning the area below the screen that used to house the home button and the area above the screen for the earpiece have been removed. the earpiece, facial recognition sensor, and selfie camera are instead present in a cutout, or “notch,” at the top of the screen, the images show.</p> <p>the new screen is rounded on the corners, while current iphone screens have square corners. the power button on the right side of phone is longer so it is easier to press while holding the device in one hand, according to the images and the people.</p> <p>the screen is also noticeably taller than the iphone 7 plus’s screen, meaning it could show more of a web page or additional text messages, the people said. the phone will still have six vertical rows of apps, showing 24 icons on each page, excluding the dock, a grey bar at the bottom that houses commonly used apps. the dock is redesigned with a new interface similar to the one on the ipad version of ios 11, the images show.</p> <p>apple has opted to not hide the notch area at the top of the screen, showing a definitive cutout at the top of apps with non-black backgrounds. the cutout is noticeable during app usage in the middle of the very top of the screen, where the status bar (the area that shows cellular reception, the time, and battery life) would normally be placed, according to the images. instead, the status bar will be split into left and right sides, which some apple employees call “ears” internally. in images of recent test devices, the left side shows the time while the area on the right side of the notch displays cellular and wi-fi connectivity and remaining battery life. because of limited space, the status bar could change based on the task at hand, according to a person familiar with the testing.</p> <p>the color reproduction of the oled screen means that when the display shows black, it blends in nearly perfectly with the phone’s notch and thin black edges on the front, presenting a seamless look, according to the people familiar with the product. the screen itself, however, is flat like current and past iphones and lacks the fully curved displays of the latest samsung phones.</p> <p>apple also plans to include a stainless steel band around the phone which the glass curves into. the steel band has small antenna cuts on the corners like past iphones to improve reception, the images show. apple previously used steel sides and a glass casing for the iphone 4 and 4s before moving to a mostly metal back and sides with the iphone 5. the iphone 6 line and newer have had completely metal backs.</p> <p>apple also is planning two additional new iphone models that use faster processors, but include the same screens as the iphone 7 and iphone 7 plus. the new devices will debut at apple’s september launch event alongside upgraded apple tv and apple watch models.</p> <p>original article posted on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>fortune</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0800 5 Web Marketing Strategies for Your Business <p>today, most people are operating an online business. digital marketing is essential to help businesses to increase their brands influence and outreach.</p> <p>going online will open new financial opportunities for your business. once you have joined the digital revolution, marketing will become an important factor for success.</p> <p>when it comes to web marketing,there are several ways to advertise your goods and service online. a business owner has different resources to win potential customers. if you advertise and market your brand, products, and services accordingly, there will be an immediate benefit for you, and your clients.</p> <h3><strong>utilize email marketing:</strong></h3> <p>commonly, with the help of advertisements, you reach out to potential customers and solicit new products to already customers. email marketing is a more targeted method to get the message out, it also increases brand recognition and brand loyalty. when you start a business and market a product via email, it gives you better growth chances for the new product. this is an efficient way to stay connected with your customers or clients and promoting your business.</p> <h3><strong>efficient use of seo:</strong></h3> <p>everyone knows that search engine optimization is one of the more important factors of digital marketing. this allows your company name and website to be more visible on search engines. a strong seo strategy helps you rank higher in search engine results, increasing the chance of being noticed by potential customers searching the web for products, or services, similar to yours.</p> <h3><strong>make use of social media marketing:</strong></h3> <p>social media is one of the most popular marketing platforms for small and large businesses. with the help of social marketing, you can get extraordinary approach to web marketing . it is cost effective and simple to access. lots of tools are available to increase internet marketing strategies and offer more productivity to your business.</p> <h3><strong>use content marketing to measure your strategy:</strong></h3> <p>for this you should use content to inform readers, maybe some troubleshooting or comparison reviews. this helps increase the visibility and authority of your brand, creating an audience of potential customers. you can post content on blogs to help attract more traffic to your website, achieving different goals, good traffic and leads.</p> <h3><strong>advertise via ppc:</strong></h3> <p>ppc (pay per click) is for businesses to advertise their product on targeted websites. this helps boost your business website and send more targeted messages to viewers. through adwords, you can launch a pay per click campaign and follow the impact in real time. this helps you get a feel for the market and react fast.</p> <p>original article posted on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>tg daily</strong></a>.</p> All categories Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Top Web Design Trends To Look Forward To In Q4 2017 <p><strong>in today’s fiercely competitive market, presenting and marketing the business idea successfully in front of customers plays an important role. one of the tools for doing this is the strategic ‘web design’ process. web design is a field that requires varied skills, disciplines, and essential tools for the production and maintenance of websites. considering the ever-evolving nature of the digital world, it’s imperative to keep a pulse on the ongoing web design trends. here are the latest web design trends that are going to define q4 in 2017…</strong></p> <h2>excellent layout features</h2> <p>one of the important web design trends to look out for in 2017 is the layout features of the web designing process including the web graphic design, user experience design, user interface, website strategy etc. since the well-designed web design services help the business owners in establishing a strong online presence, it is essential to build a resource pool of web design tips, free graphic ideas, website templates etc that every website and web designer should follow. </p> <p>here are some of the basic principles to make good web design using the resource pool that will continue to define the web design space of 2017: </p> <ul> <li>clarity in terms of colour, images and grid system: to make a crisp and sharp web design, it is important to consider the web templates, alignment, relevant images, and colouring etc.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>safe web fonts: it is imperative to consider the fact that there are few fonts which are supported by most browsers which makes font selection a key factor while making the good web design.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>web graphics and usability: one of the important principles of web design is the intelligent use of web graphics and its usability. the web page should be made in a way that is easy to use without unnecessary cluttering.</li> </ul> <h2>grid layout & card design</h2> <p>this is another definite web design trends to watch out for in the last quarter of 2017. one of the golden rules in any good web design is how crisp and sharp the design is. have you taken into consideration alignment, relevant images, and colouring, manually clean up of extra line, shape, and boxes, appropriate grids to make the content looks simpler and easy to read & understand? it is all about the experience you are giving the users and it all comes down to these basics.</p> <p>grid layouts in the web design are particularly suitable for pages with an abundance of data, as they help in making the information more accessible, and aesthetically pleasing. the card design layouts will be a big part of the web design trends this year with a focus on a lot more dynamic grid style in 201. a good web design agency will always adhere to standards, keeps basics in place and understand the business thoroughly. they work towards the purpose of building a brand and delivering information in a technically sound and visually coherent way but also make the website designing a fun process. </p> <h2>conversational interfaces & ai powered bots</h2> <p>when it comes to of visuals, bots are unlikely to have a big impact on web design; however, they will significantly influence how designers think about creating websites. the conversational interfaces and ai powered bots are going to dominate the web design services, empowering businesses to automate communication and sales in the long run. the online businesses will be able to leverage various tools such as letsclap, pixlr etc to connect with their customers via messaging apps like whatsapp, facebook messenger or wechat, providing customised customer support and commerce solutions.</p> <h2>the use of cinemagraphs</h2> <p>cinemagraphs are yet another interesting trend of 2017 to watch out for. the cinemagraphs are the high-quality videos or gifs that run on a smooth, continuous loop to provide an all immersive web design experience. they have become a pretty popular way to add movement and visual interest to otherwise static and mundane web pages.</p> <h2>illustrations</h2> <p>more and more brands are experimenting with the illustrations to add liveliness to their web pages. the illustrators and graphic artists have the expertise to create bespoke illustrations for the websites, which is an interesting trend of this year to look for. to break the monotony of the flat design and minimalism in the websites, adding illustrated touches is an excellent way to achieve a sophisticated web page.</p> <h2>experimenting with horizontal & vertical text</h2> <p>to achieve a great web design, the qualified web design agencies are exploring the idea of mixing horizontal and vertical text. this concept of freeing text from its usual horizontal alignment and placing it vertically on a page adds a certain uniqueness and a refreshing dimension to the web page.</p> <p>web design services involves a complex process of achieving a design that is relevant, user-friendly and pleasing. there are different areas of web design including web graphic design, user experience design, ai powered bots etc that will continue to be the top trends of 2017 in web design space. to achieve better outcomes with this entire process, it is essential to keep a tab on the market and hire a web design agency with the deep understanding of the market and creativity in the working style.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>business computing world</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0800 4 Vehicle Wrap Design Tips and How They Impact Your Bottom Line <p>these graphics are like mobile billboards that can geographically target the audience, while also delivering call to action messages. however, design can impact just how effective a brand's vehicle wrap can be. here are four vehicle wrap design tips and how they impact your bottom line.</p> <ul> <li><strong>tip #1: negative space matters</strong> important messaging gets lost in the jumble of cluttered design. use white space to make important elements such as value propositions, ctas, and striking brand-relevant visuals, stand out. ample white space serves to highlight priority messages which will drive traffic, conversion, and brand awareness.<br />  </li> <li><strong>tip #2: make it readable</strong> resist the urge to employ fancy font that won't be legible from a distance. utilize bold font that is easy-to-read, contrasting colors to make elements such as font pop, and vary font size by priority. make ctas, value propositions and contact information large so that the audience can read them when driving or from a distance. keeping vehicle wraps legible from a distance will increase audience impressions and make information easy to retain, prompting audience action such as lead generation and conversion.<br />  </li> <li><strong>tip #3: design to represent your brand image</strong> utilize relevant industry imagery, custom images, color schemes, and verbiage style that reflects the brand's target audience and aspirational consumer to command the attention of and drive traffic from a qualified audience. qualified traffic leads to higher conversion and repeat business.<br />  </li> <li><strong>tip #4: consider the angles</strong> vehicle wraps are not the same as banners or other one-angle marketing formats. vehicles have four sides to market on and neglecting any of that space can mean that people on that side of the vehicle miss out. repeat images and text on both side views of the vehicle, include branding graphics on the front hood, and include important cta, value proposition, and contact information on the back of the vehicle to ensure audience visibility from all sides. utilizing all sides of a vehicle will greatly increase audience impression potential to drive traffic.</li> </ul> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>business insider</strong></a>.</p> All categories Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Apple set to unveil its new iPhone lineup on September 12th <p><em>dow jones</em> is <a href='' target='_blank'>reporting</a> that apple will unveil its 2017 iphone lineup at a special event scheduled for tuesday, september 12. while apple has yet to issue official invites for the event, the september 12th date does align with previous rumors that recently emerged over the past few days. assuming that the september 12 date is in fact accurate, apple in just about two weeks will introduce a brand new iphone 7s and an iphone 7s plus. of course, it goes without saying that the main attraction at apple's upcoming event will be the highly anticipated iphone 8, a device which may very well usher in the largest iphone refresh apple has ever seen.</p> <p>at this point, it's no secret what the iphone 8 will bring to the table. according to a number of credible sources, the iphone 8 will feature a edgeless oled display and will incorporate advanced facial recognition technology. what's interesting, though, is that the inclusion of facial recognition technology might see apple remove touch id altogether. from what we can gather so far, apple initially wanted to embed the touch id sensor underneath the oled display itself, only to abandon this approach after encountering a yield issues during initial production runs.</p> <p>as for other iphone 8 features we can expect to see, apple's next-gen device will likely incorporate a new wireless charging feature. though android smartphones have had wireless charging for quite some time, it's nice to see apple finally deciding to join the party. on a related note, a recent iphone 8 rumor claims that wireless charging on apple's next-gen device will not be up to par with what some android smartphone owners already enjoy. as we <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank'>covered earlier</a>, rumor has it that the iphone 8 -- along with apple's iphone 7s lineup -- will only support qi's slower wireless charging standard.</p> <p>as for some other iphone 8 tidbits worth mentioning, it's believed that the entry-level iphone 8 will sport 64gb of storage, with more premium models offering users 256gb and 512gb of storage. price wise, <em>the new york times</em> recently published a report indicating that the entry-level iphone 8 will start at $999, easily making it the most expensive iphone model ever released.</p> <h2>more from bgr</h2> <ul> <li> <h3><a href='' target='_blank'>i'm worried that the iphone 8 might be the wrong iphone to buy this year</a></h3> </li> <li> <h3><a href='' target='_blank'>the iphone 8 will have wireless charging, but it still won't be as good as android</a></h3> </li> <li> <h3><a href='' target='_blank'>6 free iphone games that just launched on the app store this week</a></h3> </li> </ul> <p>lastly, we've also seen rumors claiming that pre-orders for the iphone 8 will open up on friday, september 15 ahead of a worldwide launch on friday, september 22, two dates which fit in nicely with the aforementioned september 12th unveiling.</p> <p>new iphones aside, apple on september 12 will also unveil a revamped version of the apple watch along with a brand new 4k capable apple tv.</p> <p>update: <em>the wall street journal</em> also has a report corroborating the september 12th date, adding that the event will be held in the 1,000-seat steve jobs theater located at the company's new spaceship campus.</p> <p>original article on <a href='' target='_blank'><strong>fox news</strong></a>