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Why Use a Website Builder Instead of a Web Designer?

Should you just use a web site builder or hire a web designer to put up your site together? Well, the answer to that question requires that you put many factors into consideration. When you do so, it will be easier to figure out why website builders are the best choice in most cases. So if you’re getting started now, consider the following points:

Your Budget Size

If you have a small budget, a website builder is the number one choice to pick. Do not even think of hiring a website designer if you’re operating on a modest or mid-size budget. But what’s a midsize budget in this case? Well, you can consider something in the excess of $5,000. If what you have is less than this figure, a website builder will still get you there cheaply and conveniently.

What About Web Designers Who Charge $400 or Less?

These guys are never competent in their job. Why are we judging? Because that quote doesn’t indicate that the person doing website design for you is doing it for a living. That’s a huge red flag because it indicates that the person you’re hiring is also an amateur. Hiring this type of person will cause all sorts of problems to your website building project.

In fact, anything less than $5,000 will frustrate your life rather than be making it easier. Again, not everyone can afford a $5,000 budget. That’s why website builders are usually the best option for the majority of people looking to start a website.

Website Builders Create Conventional Websites

Conventional websites are actually good. If you’re running a restaurant business, you need 3 things on that website. You need an online menu, contact info and your location. Now the big question is; do you always need to re-invent these things whenever you are building a new website for a restaurant? No you don’t! Luckily, website builders can do a great job when it comes to building websites with conventional things. Also, the most popular website builders out there have stylistic flexibility which allows you to customize your site just the way you want it. There is actually no place for web designers if the things they are going to do for you are already included in a website builder package.

You Won’t Spend A Lot When Customizing Your Site

If you stay conventional, you will basically work with things such as text, paragraph e-commerce features, photo galleries etc.

With a website builder, you are buying 95% of the customization at 10% of the total cost. But if you need 100% customization, then you’ll probably be looking for a web designer. But generally, you do not need 100% customization for your website to look appealing.

Conclusion

With a website builder, you can do things on your own. This will give you a sense of the realities that face web designers. Also, with a site building package, you generally don’t need to spend money on hiring someone. Even if you don’t have the experience, it is often as easy as dragging and dropping. You don’t need a college degree to learn how to drag and drop using your mouse.

10 Less-known Tips to Decrease Your Site Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is one of the commonly misunderstood metric with many negative connotations. When you understand what truly constitutes bounce rate, it is clear that a high bounce rate is not necessarily a bad thing.

A bounce means a single webpage visit. If a user clicks on a link to a page on your site, spends five minutes reading that page, and then exits your site, they’re a bounce. Furthermore, a user could find exactly what they are looking for, have a great experience on your site, and still be counted as a bounce.

Less bounces means more page views, which may translate into more revenue, more engagement, or a stronger connection with readers. An unusually high bounce rate is also a signal of poor user experience, so it’s worth decreasing it to a point where you’re sure that your users are ‘good bounces’, not bad ones.

Reduce Bounce Rate

So, what are the best ways to lower bounce rate? Here are 7 tips that will help you get started:

1. Update your content on regular basis

Still have content from 2009 live telling people how to optimize their Myspace page?  You will want to fix that. Even in less extreme cases, it’s important to keep old high-traffic posts up-to-date to keep your bounce rate down.

2. Say NO to pop-ups

Generally, popups are awful for the user experience and should be avoided at any costs. The only case where it is okay is when you are using a tool like Bounce Exchange, which uses mouse tracking technology to identify when a user is about to bounce, and then shows a popup to reduce the likelihood of this. However, I would suggest that this is a bad user experience.

Stay Updated : 5 Great Tips for an SEO Friendly Web Design

3. Write shorter paragraphs

Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, which is why it is important to write concisely and in short sentences.

4. Translate your site for international traffic

If you website is written in English but you also receive a lot of traffic from countries like Japan, Israel, and China; than you should think of translate your website for international traffic. You can install WPML to translate your site into a few different languages.

5. Make your website search more prominent

Many people are search-orientated and these users will look for a website search box as soon as they enter a site. Don’t make it difficult for your website visitor to search for what they are looking for.

6. Make your 404 page more useful

Google explicitly advises that your 404 error page should be useful in helping people find what they were looking for. They also advise using the enhanced 404 widget to include a search box on your 404 page.

Low Bounce Rate for Your Site

7. Reduce your broken links

Lots of broken links will cause a poor user experience, driving your bounce rates up. Using the Webmaster Tools crawl error report, or a scraper like Screaming Frog, identify all of the broken links on your website and fix as many of them as possible.

8. Make all external links open in a new window

For blogs, it is likely that a large portion of your site bounces are coming from people clicking on external links in your posts. If you are using WordPress, there is a plugin that will automatically open all of your external links in a new tab.

9. Improve your page loading speed

57% of users will abandon a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Therefore, if you want to reduce the bounce rate, you should improve the loading speed of your site. There are various online tools like alexa.com that will calculate the exact loading speed of your site.

10. Put banners and hyperlink to existing content

Always put eye-catchy banners and inter-link your content to the older posts to retain your website visitors.

5 SEO friendly ecommerce platforms to use in 2016

To get your web campaign off to the right start, you need to have a web platform that will give you a strong foundation to build your web business. There are several CMS options floating around on the web. And as easy as they sound to setup and operate in the short-term, selecting the wrong platform could cost your business thousands of dollars to change or upgrade over the long-term. If you are new to e-commerce, Online Marketing Gurus recommends that you look into the following CMS platforms, which can help fulfil your commerce and SEO requirements.

Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce solutions on the market today. The platform is SEO friendly, easily customisable for displaying the catalogue of digital or physical goods as well as providing the shipping options and payment gateways. Plans for Bigcommerce start at $29.95 per month for the standard, $79.95 for the Plus and $199.95 for the pro. There is also an enterprise option that offers customisable developments at varied pricing.

One of the things to bear in mind with the different packages is that you have a limit on the amount of sales orders that you can process with your CMS package. On the plus side, customers that purchase through Paypal on Bigcommerce can expect to pay lower rates.

Magento

For people that want a strong CMS commerce solution, Magento provides a strong ‘off the shelf solution’ web platform to get your online store operating quickly and hassle free. Magento provides many free and paid plugins to enhance the performance of your website.

Magento is usually developed with SEO friendliness in mind and the directory expansions makes it easy to manage the business’s merchandising and web marketing efforts for those that aren’t so web savvy. The Zoey cloud solution is completely hosted on their servers and prices start from as little as $89/month.

Drupal

Drupal is one of the world’s leading Open Source ecommerce platforms and is used extensively on the web. There are thousands of active developers that work together on the platform and its modules to make it better. Other solutions that are driven by profit-motivators tend to have their developers work in silos and usually requires the purchase of modules (which can be up to a few hundred dollars) to get the site functioning exactly as you would want it to. The Drupal commerce system is all built from the same base Drupal 7 components and each new module uses the underlying API, which can be used with existing modules.
The Drupal CMS is flexible, SEO friendly and cost-effective.

Shopify

Shopify is a relatively new player in the CMS game and has been winning over web entrepreneurs with its ‘easy-to-use’ platform, which is catered for the non-savvy web person. The catch is that any additional plugins are generally quite expensive.

WordPress

WordPress is one of the most used platforms on the web. In terms of SEO, it is probably the best CMS solution to help sites amplify their organic search reach due to their functionality with tagging, URL structure and content markup. Setting up the site for an ecommerce solution requires configuring plugins (of which some are free and some are paid for) in order to get the right ecommerce solution for your business.

When it comes to selecting your CMS provider for your ecommerce solution, you want to make sure that the platform will allow your web business to scale easily with as much SEO friendly integrations as possible.

Make your windows stand out with these genius ways

Believe it or not, the appropriate type of window treatments can change the aspect of a room to 180 degrees. It is a great way of redecorating a space without investing a fortune in new furniture or accessories. Replacing curtains and opting for more modern variants might be exactly what your home needs to feel welcoming, modern and appealing again.

How do we make a room feel stylish once again using the simplest, most conventional ideas? Believe it or not, there are so any things you can change in your home on a budget. All you need is some imagination to get started. Here are some trivial but genius ways to make your windows stand out.

 Picture1

Neutral elegance

Neutral beige colors are the best when you’re trying to have an elegant living room. Floor to ceiling window treatments will add more height to your space, as well as width. Your room will appear larger and it will feel fresher. Also, beige accents give you the opportunity to play with colors; add stronger accents for the throw pillows and accessories, and transform your home into a comfortable, modern and stylish environment.

Contrasts are a great way of adding a touch of ingenuity into your personal space. Pick a theme, adapt is to your personal preferences and make it work. For example, naval influences are in trend this season. Choose light blue for the shades, stripped blue in the same hues for the cushions and throw pillows, and complement the room with a darker blue rug. The end result will exceed all your expectations.

Simple elegance

When adorning window treatments, you should know that drapes and curtains are not always the most important accessories. Sometimes, it’s all about the hangs and ring headings. Choose luxurious varieties with interesting designs and color palettes and keep the aspect of the curtains as simple as possible. Light orange drapes for example will match perfectly with all-black stainless steel hangs and rings. Counterbalance and make your windows pop; choose window accessories that shape the frames and give your home an architectural, innovative appeal.

 Picture2

Pastel pinks

Pink is not just a color that goes into your little girl’s room. When properly adapted and adorned, the hue can actually work miracles in the living or dining area too. It’s all about staying away from strong accents of bright pink and fuchsia. Pastel pink on the other hand, shouldn’t be neglected. Ideal in home with little sunshine, curtains and drapes in this nuance will bring more light into your home; it will make your space look bigger and your furniture more chic.

Dramatic draping

Add more drama into the living room and invest in longer drapes and curtains. This will make your space seem extravagant, out of the ordinary and incredibly chic. Loose linens make a space seem more fluid; they’re excellent in the bedroom when you want the ambiance to scream comfort and elegance. For a more casual allure, leave the curtains shorter but opt for a striking design. Stripes for example, might be the best solution to create a dramatic living space without cluttering it.

Industrial accessories for window treatments

Now that you’ve done with the window installation process, how about changing the general look and appeal of your drapes with some innovative drapery hardware? This season, all eyes are on the industrial trend. Unique and colorful holdbacks, curtains finials and additional accessories are an excellent way of adding glamour and shine to standard drapes and curtains. The variety of styles and colors is endless. Choose holdbacks with interesting designs – colored flowers, twigs and leaves – and after you’ve selected your curtains, pay some attention to accessories like rings, hooks, and rod brackets. These will give a finishing touch to the window treatments, and your home will scream both comfort and style.

 Picture3

Changing your home’s appeal is a lot easier than you think. Believe it or not, you can make your space feel comfortable and look chic without spending a lot of money. Be smart and invest in high-quality window accessories. Choose drapes and curtains in timeless colors, and pick materials that are thick, full and durable. Warm combos are the best because they provide warmth and comfort; however, if you want to welcome more light into your home, lighter shades are also highly recommended.

By Paul Trevino and VanessaArbuthnott.co.uk!

Best Steps To Hiring A Perfect Mobile App Development Company

In this digital age, taking in to consideration the huge variations in prices from one web development company to the next, web development and application development is a highly convoluted area.

There are thousands of budding new development companies joining the market everyday and a lot of them are inexperienced or have jumped on the bandwagon to make a quick buck.

When developing your website or application, it is quite common for you to never actually meet the person who is developing it. Therefore it is very important that you know what to look out for, can recognize potential ‘red flags’ and how to separate the genuinely professional application and web development companies from those who are unlikely to deliver on your request.

Also Read : Why Enterprises Invest High on Mobile App Development?

Here are a few tips on how to find out if the mobile application company will:

  • Successfully deliver on your website development or application development project.

  • Meet your deadlines effectively.

  • Ensure that your website or application is error free and working correctly.

  • Follow logical project management steps to ensure the website or application is built correctly.

  • Initial contact with the web/mobile application development company

Mobile Application Development

When dealing with the web development / mobile application company for the first time, here are the main things that should be covered, both from the customer’s standpoint and the developer’s:

  • The mobile application / web development company should always offer to contact you either by phone or via email to discuss your plans for the project at no cost to you.

  • The web development company should always conduct a preliminary ‘discovery’ meeting, where they will go through the overall plans for the project, application or website functionality, timescales, general website or app design and they should also offer up clear and concise advice and recommendations with the minimum of technical jargon. This should also be at no cost to you.

  • When speaking to the mobile application development company, the customer should always find out:

    • How long the company has been in business, where the company is based and if the company is registered in the country they are in.

    • What work they’ve done in the past (such as websites they have online and applications they have on app stores. If the company has their link at the bottom of the websites or applications they’ve developed, that is a strong sign of their authenticity).

    • If they have any references or received any recommendations that they can show you. Ask if there is a previous client you can speak to before making a payment.

    • The project payment structure. This will vary from company to company. It is common to make up front payments in the industry – however it should be clearly defined, in the form of a contract, as to what will be done upon each payment. The customer should NEVER pay for the full project up front. The full payment should be split in to manageable payments. If you are in any doubt as to whether the company is above board, do NOT make a payment. Remember that the development company is there to work for you and should be willing to make certain concessions and work hard to get your business.

    • What the overall plan of the project is. The website or application development company should be able to give you a clear understanding of what the project will entail. For example, they should specify the technological platform they plan on using for the website or application, they should give clear information as to what the website or application will look like and the different types of functionality available (more on this later).

    • Who you will be dealing with on the project. It is very common in the industry, to deal with a project manager, therefore that person should be knowledgeable and capable.

    • What the projected timescale is. It is normally safer to ask how long it will take (approximately) in working days.

    • Use your gut instinct to determine if the person you are speaking to is honest, forthright and doesn’t evade questions.

    • You should always expect a strong customer service ethic and the guarantee of a high quality product.

At the start of the mobile application or website application project

Before paying for your project to start, you should always receive an overview of the project plan, a proposal and terms and conditions in writing. This will give you a strong idea of how your project will be managed.

Proposal

This will contain an explanation of everything that the customer needs to be done. This is ordinarily what is detailed in the management report.

It should also contain:

  • The terms and conditions (how long you have to get coding errors fixed, how many changes you can make to the system before you need to start paying for them etc.)

  • An overview of the project plan.

  • The amount of working days the project will take to complete (approximately).

  • Any discounts that may be offered (and the terms and conditions of those discounts).

  • The full price split in to manageable payments.

The project itself

Project management varies a great deal depending on the size of the project, however nearly all information technology projects will require the following phases to be carried out:

Must Read : iPhone App Development Trends in 2016

Application or website documentation (where necessary)

This normally contains:

Every page title that will be included in the website or mobile application and a brief description of the page.

The functionality the website or mobile application will contain. It is very important this is explained in full as there are numerous functions and styles that can be included in the application or website, and they generally affect the price. A few of these are:

  • Screen sizing

  • An events calendar

  • A rotating image banner

  • An e-commerce section

  • An advertising banner

  • A sign in section

  • A permissions section

  • A contact form

  • A donations section

  • Social media linking

Upon payment of the first installment, your project gets underway.

iOS Mobile App Development

There are a few key phases that all website and application development projects will always contain. These are the main steps, in order:

Wire frames

Wire frames are normally an outlined ‘sketch’ of what each page; of the website or application, will look like. This is ordinarily done using certain software – and can also be done using Photoshop. They give the customer the opportunity to move things around on the screen and make changes to screens where necessary, and to get an overall idea of what the screen will look like upon completion.

This is the main area for the customer to discuss and make changes.

Website / Mobile Application Design

This is the design of the screen once all the colours and the company logo has been added. This should be exactly what the site or application should like on the screen or device, when it is officially ‘live’ (on the web or on a mobile device).

Website / Mobile Application Development

This is the website or application coding that ensures the site/application functionality works correctly.

Error testing and fixing

All information technology projects should be thoroughly tested to make sure they work correctly. They should be tested on all the main browsers (Chrome, Safari, Explorer, Firefox) and the functionality should be checked, to ensure that you can, for example, add an event to the events calendar and it saves correctly or log in to the site and add your details or add permissions to a certain document so that only designated users can see it, etc.

The company should offer a period of at least 30 days for the customer to use the site and to fix any coding errors found.

For more information on how ACT Mobile Solutions works, please visit our Mobile Applications page.

Wrapping Up:

Here is a complete checklist that help you to determine the best mobile application developer/website developer for your needs:

  • Always have a lengthy ‘discovery’/introductory meeting with the developer.

  • Never pay for anything until you feel completely comfortable that they are ‘on the level’.

  • Ask general questions about the company, including what they have developed in the past (do they have links at the bottom of the site or application?). Do they have references you can speak to/email?

  • Determine whether you were getting straight, honest answers.

  • What project steps will they take for your project (Report, Wireframes, Design, Development, Error testing etc.)?

  • Have they provided you with a contract, a project plan, a proposal and terms and conditions?

  • What’s the general timescale for the completion of each phase and the project in its entirety?

  • Does the cost seem reasonable for the work that is to be done and the professionalism, size, location of the organization?

*Please note: Information Technology/development costs vary significantly from company to company, the country they are in, overheads and size of company. You will most likely be quoted very low and very high prices, depending on who you talk to. If you look for:

  • Professionalism

  • Honesty

  • Customer service and a product guarantee

  • Initial work carried out without the expectation of payment

  • Knowledgeable staff

  • in the individuals you speak to, that should be enough to determine the company is legitimate.

For clear, honest advice delivering excellence in the mobile application and website design and development industries, don’t hesitate to contact PixelCrayons.

How Brand Design Is Going To Change Your Business Strategies

Brand StrategyOne of the biggest mistakes any small to medium size business can make is not investing time and money into their brand identity.  So why is it that so many SME’s invest in building their brands?

I’m a business owner myself and I know the daily demands on your time when running a business. You may think brand building is relatively unimportant when struggling to get your product or service to market, or even to try and find your niche market fit. But don’t dismiss the power of good brand building.

Good branding does not cost the earth and nobody telling you to hire expensive brand strategists to explore your company’s market or image. But it is important to go beyond just picking some colours and a nice font and then calling that you’re ‘Brand’.

Below I have put together some thoughts on how we can all learn from the big brands and how we you can make your brand just as powerful within your industry.

Develop your brand standards

Think about everything you know about Coca Cola. Now think about a new can that has been released which is blue and has ‘Times New Roman’ font as the words ‘Coca Cola’. You can’t picture it right?

That’s because Coca Cola has one of the clearest and most recognisable brand standards out there. Everything from the packaging, television commercials, website and social media profiles, draws on its colours, fonts, motifs and experiences. None of this is just by coincidence.

A big part of Coca-Cola’s success comes from its ability to transmit feelings and expectations through its branded elements. When you see that red and white can, you know you’re going to get a crisp, refreshing beverage, no matter where in the world you’re buying it.

One key way to develop your brand is to create a set of design rules that tie together the look and feel of all your marketing materials. These rules are often referred to as “brand standards.” Ideally, brand standards do the double-duty of creating awareness of your brand and differentiating your brand from your competitors. Think you’re not big enough to worry about your brand? We recommend that even the smallest companies develop and maintain brand standards from the very beginning.

The breadth and depth of your brand standards can vary greatly, depending on your needs. Keep in mind that if you’re too strict, you may get issues when trying to be creative, while if you’re too loose, design chaos can result. Focus on strategy and consistency in the following five areas:

1. Logo.  There’s perhaps no single more important element to your brand standards than the consistent use of your logo. First, you should never alter or redraw your logo. Second, its placement and sizing should remain consistent within each communication vehicle (for example, your letterhead, brochures, postcards, fliers, etc.). Rules can vary according the type of material you’re using your logo in, but they shouldn’t vary drastically.

And if you want to look like a large company, remember this irony: The bigger the company, the smaller the logo.

2. Graphics. Use distinctive symbols and shapes in a consistent way. Choosing the same basic graphic elements will help customers remember your brand faster. Also, be consistent when using borders and/or backgrounds–or show a pattern of consistency that complies with your brand standards. For example, you could choose a cupid-themed border for a Valentine’s Day ad and a clover-themed border for a St. Patrick’s Day ad. In both cases, your border should be consistent in size and/or weight (the amount of emphasis it receives relative to the other elements on the page).

3. Colors. Color is one of the most important components when it comes to brand identity. The colors you choose will make an immediate impression on your audience, and play a large role in memory retrieval. Therefore color can significantly impact someone’s perception of your brand. For example, gold, silver and burgundy are perceived to be upscale, while green is viewed as fresh and healthy. I highly recommend you research and/or test-market certain colors before you commit to a palette. One easy–if not scientific–way to do this is to create a brochure or ad in three or four different color palettes, then survey various people for feedback. And remember that colors have different meanings in different cultures.

4. Fonts. Choose just a handful of fonts for use on all your materials, selecting at least one serif font and one san-serif font. Serif fonts have “feet” at the bottom of the font to guide the reader’s eye, while san-serif fonts don’t–“Times” is an example of a serif font; “Helvetica” is an example of a san-serif font. Serif fonts work well in paragraphs or body copy because they give the eye something to “hang on to.” San-serif fonts should be reserved for headlines, numbers in charts, very small text or text that’s reversed out of a color. As a general rule, you should use no more than two fonts in a document, although a third, decorative font could be used sparingly.

5. Illustrative or photographic style. Consider what type of visuals-pictures–you want to feature on your marketing materials. Will your visuals consist of illustrations or photos? Try to stick with one or the other. Regardless of your choice, your visuals should be similar in style and color usage–black and white, four-color, two-color, etc.

When you’ve identified rules for the above areas, write them down and distribute them to any employee or vendor–such as a printer–who may need to reference them. Your brand standards will go a long way toward building your brand equity. It’s worth the time and effort to do it right.

Dedicate one agency and person with your company to guide and enforce brand standards

Once you have worked with a brand agency to create your brand standards, it is critical that you appoint either the agency or someone within your team working with the agency to manage this and enforce this with all your marketing material online and off.

Your brand ‘ambassador’ should be involved with everything that your brand goes out on whether it be packaging, online marketing or offline brand collateral. No matter how branded elements play into your company’s business processes, give this person/agency the overarching authority to make changes — even if they aren’t convenient (or cheap).

Just like Coca-Cola wouldn’t let that purple can go down its assembly line, don’t let anything your company produces interfere with the standards you’ve set for yourself. Doing so will only create confusion and diminish the effectiveness of your efforts.

Embrace telling your story

There are many great examples of storytelling. But this nike example is a great way in showing how this can be done. Check out one of the ‘Find your greatness’ campaigns produced by Nike

Harnessing the power of storytelling isn’t limited to the big brands alone. We tend to think of stories as things that might begin with “once upon a time,” present us Good Guys and Bad Guys, take us on a journey which is resolved, if we’re lucky, with a happy ending.

But how does a Powerpoint presentation fit into this scheme? Or a television spot promoting a particular product benefit? Or a marketing campaign that aims to associate your brand with a certain set of images and feelings?

Share the story of how your company came to be. Post case studies that show how you’ve impacted the stories of your customers. Forget about talking like a marketer and instead focus on sharing the things that make your company unique.

Brand storytelling is:

· The reason why your company came to be

· What motivates your team to wake up and come to work everyday

· How your product came to be

· What types of customers find value in working with your brand and why

· A transparent view into the people behind the company

· A relationship-building tool

· More subtle than you realize

· A concept that underscores your entire web presence

· Something that your entire team, at organizational levels, embraces

· A look into who you are as a company

· Direct

Brand storytelling is NOT:

· A long-winded, 5-paragraph essay about your company

· A blog post

· Something isolated

· A fragmented view into your company

· Something reserved for the marketing team only

· A PR stunt

· A viral video

· A tool to manipulate customers and prospects

· Boring

· Artsy

· You’ll be amazed at how quickly your customers adopt these stories and spread them for you.

You’ll be amazed at how quickly your customers adopt these stories and spread them for you.

Look to take advantage of data

“Big data” is one of marketing’s latest buzzwords, but just because it’s “big” doesn’t mean it’s unattainable for smaller brands.

Chances are you already have a number of programs producing data for you, from Google Analytics to your customer-relationship management system and more. But are you actually doing anything with this data?

Start by figuring out what metrics matter most for your company’s success. Then, figure out how to extract reports from your data sources that will measure your progress towards these key performance indicators.

Once a month (or more or less frequently, depending on the length of your sales cycle), run your reports, read through them and make at least three changes based on what you find.

Don’t overcomplicate things, and don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of data you have access to. Begin with this simple process, but refine your approaches as you get more comfortable harnessing the power of data.

Community Matters

At its core, branding should draw people in. People who observe your branded elements should feel as if they’re part of a community, that they have a shared bond with others in the same situation.

Some big brands choose to make this relationship more explicit, as in the case of Expedia’s “Find Yours” campaign:

The campaign encourages participants to share their travel stories, creating a powerful sense of community amongst those featured in the videos, as well as those who view them.

No matter how you approach it, find ways to encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brand. It’s a powerful approach to community-building that serves the dual purpose of building brand exposure and awareness as well.

Final Thoughts

You don’t have to have a big budget to create good brand standards and. The most creative marketing solutions tend to develop out of necessity, not when you have a lot of financial padding. The creative juices really start flowing when the funds are limited.

HTML5 Cheat Sheet

Cheat sheet is a graphical method to summarize anything in a single image. It obviously save our time and make the things more live. When we think of organizing HTML5 tags, definitely cheat sheet is the best solution because most of us can’t make sure to carry every tag or snippet on memory. This is a cheat sheet which would help developers with a well-organized list of up to date HTML tags along with their meaning.

 html5 cheat sheet

Following are some examples showing the various HTML elements. It would help the newbie:

Hyperlink

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang=”en”>

<head>

   <title>HTML example</title>

</head>

<body>

<p><a href=”http://www.hostingreviewbox.com/”>HostingReviewBox</a></p>

   <p><a href=”../images/html.jpg”><img src=”../images/html-thumb.jpg” alt=”Cheat Sheet “></a></p>

   <p><a href=”http://www.google.com/”>Google Search</a></p>

</body>

</html>

Heading h1- h6

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang=”en”>

<head>

<meta charset=”UTF-8″>

   <title>Example-HTML headings</title>

</head>

<body>

   <h1>level 1</h1>

   <h2>level 2</h2>

   <h3>level 3</h3>

   <h4>level 4</h4>

   <h5>level 5</h5>

   <h6>level 6</h6>

</body>

</html>

Paragraph

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang=”en”>

<head>

   <meta charset=”UTF-8″>

   <title> HTML Paragraphs</title>

</head>

<body>

<p><b>This is bold Text</b></p>

   <p><code> computer code</code></p>

   <p><em>This is emphasized text</em></p>

   <p><i>This is italic text</i></p>

   <p><small>This is small text</small></p>

   <p><mark>This is marked text</mark></p>

   <p><strong>This is strongly emphasized text</strong></p>

   <p>This is <sub>subscript</sub> and <sup>superscript</sup></p>

   <p><ins>Inserted to the document</ins></p>

   <p><del>Deleted from the document</del></p>

</body>

</html>

 

Simple Table

<!DOCTYPE html>

<html lang=”en”>

<head>

   <meta charset=”UTF-8″>

   <title>HTML Table</title>

</head>

<body>

<table border=”1″>

       <thead>

           <tr>

               <th>No.</th>

               <th>Name</th>

               <th>Email</th>

           </tr>

       </thead>

       <tbody>

           <tr>

               <td>1</td>

               <td>Bryan</td>

               <td>bryan@mail.com</td>

           </tr>

           <tr>

               <td>2</td>

               <td>Jason Hope</td>

               <td>jason@mail.com</td>

           </tr>

           <tr>

               <td>3</td>

               <td>John Dasher</td>

               <td>jhon@mail.com</td>

           </tr>

       </tbody>

   </table>

</body>

</html>

DealFuel’s Mixed Bag Of Freebies And Jaw-Dropping Deals For Designers

What started as a modest attempt at providing budding designers a plethora of great resources at one place, soon turned out to be something pretty impressive.

From daily deals to thousands of downloads, DealFuel is fast becoming the go-to hub for every designer and as a token of thanks, we’ve rounded up some of our best freebies and deals for you.

Check them out and be sure to tell us which one did you like the best!

 

1. Beautiful & Sophisticated Waterlily Typeface for Free

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Flowers have their own ethereal touch adding a subtle charm without a lot of work. And waterlily has that exquisite effortless gracefulness about itself, which is why this freebie would make your pages look radiantly beautiful by just using the font against a complementing backdrop.

The handwritten typeface comprises of over 80 different characters to suit the needs of different dialects and languages. Now, no matter which language your websites is primarily written in, you can still give it a nice flowery twist with the Waterlily Typeface.

The typeface can be used across a varied range of platforms like Photoshop and MS Word, and is licensed for both personal and commercial usage.

Download Now

 

2. Bundle of Free Photoshop Actions for Sports Effect

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Anyone well-versed with Photoshop recognizes the need for Photoshop Actions that not just cut the work in half but also enhances images taking them to a visually superior level altogether.

The Photoshop Actions that you get with this freebie is sports theme related. If you are a photojournalist or a blogger with an interest in sports, this bundle would be a saving grace for you. Just a few clicks are all it would take to transform and enhance your pictures.

This freebie works seamlessly with CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 and CC as well and comes with installation instructions.

Download Now

 

3. Free Invoice Template in HTML with Auto Calculations!

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As someone who’s received incompetently drawn up invoices way too often, we are thrilled that this freebie exists! This, not just gives a professional and sleek look cutting straight through the clutter, but it also makes your work easy and quick.

For those (read everyone) who absolutely hate drawing up and tabulating invoices, this invoice template would not magically make your income more, but it would make sure your income isn’t less due to calculation errors with its auto-calculation feature.

All you need to do is put in the details and hit go, your total would be unerringly calculated, which you can then send to your employer.

Download Now

 

4. 5 Superlative UI Kits

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UI Kits are every designer’s ticket to success, no seriously you might put in tons of effort and work diligently, but UI kits empower you to work smart. These UI kits come with half of the work already done, which saves up on time leaving room for newer projects and subsequently more money.

While there’s no doubting the scope of and need for UI kits, we are particularly excited about this eclectic bunch of UI kits that you can use across different niches. From e-commerce to mobile UI kits, this bundle of freebie would come handy and often.

So stock up on this to work smarter this year and achieve your new year’s resolution of higher income.

Download Now

 

5. Royalty free graphics worth $54

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A list of resourceful freebies is incomplete if we don’t get you free graphics. So here we are trying hard to fit the bill with our royalty free graphics that also happens to be one of our most downloaded freebies.

With 22 different vectors, 9 vector illustrations and 3 high-res images, you will find repeated requirement for these graphics in existing and upcoming projects. Use them for web-related work like on web pages, blogs and social media or include them on print invites, postcards, hoodies and mugs.

Get the freebie as an instant download and start working with it already!

Download Now

 

6. 100 Super Premium Infographic Templates

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Infographics are a content staple now. With its ability to compress big chunks of data in an easy-to-understand and visually attractive way, Infographics are pretty much ruling the informative content arena at the moment.

And that only means more such work coming your way as webmasters and bloggers alike scour the web for designers who can quickly create stunning Infographics. Make designing Infographics a lucrative source of income that would hardly take any time with our Infographics templates.

This deal that comes at an 81% discount will get you templates perfect for every industry and concept. All of the 100 templates are completely customizable and is power packed with a lot of creative and impressive design elements.

Learn More

 

7. 35 Quality HTML Templates by TeslaThemes

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Probably what self-rising flour is to a baker, themes are to a designer. Irrespective of the industry and the purpose of a website, themes are an integral part of the designing process that also makes your work manifolds easier.

Some of the themes come pre-loaded with powerful features that can change the face of a website while some have such a sophisticated outlook that it gives the website an instant facelift. It’s like transforming a website without doing any major work.

Every designer needs a chock-full of themes in their kitty if they want to make it big. And here’s one you shouldn’t miss out on at all, with up to 95% off, this deal of 35 templates is a clear winner.

Learn More

 

8. Create Photoshop Actions To Make Money

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If you have good knowledge of Photoshop, you probably have a horde of freeloader friends taking advantage of your Photoshop skills for their Instagram pictures. But why waste time and effort when being well-versed in Photoshop can actually make you sweet money?

If you have basic knowledge, this course will teach you the nuances of creating Photoshop Actions that are being sold like hot cakes. And you don’t just learn by watching videos but also working on 5 live projects that strengthens your knowledge and skill level, empowering you to create better Photoshop Actions than your competitors.

This is perfect for when projects are slow, and you have time on your hands. Grab this deal at 93% off!

Learn More

 

9. Learn logo designing using Adobe Illustrator with 4 eBooks

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There are tons of new businesses coming up and what each needs is a logo, and this is where you come in. Are you already designing logos in Photoshop you say? But do you have any idea just how much easier and superior your logos would turn out if you use Adobe Illustrator.

This collection of not two or three but 4 e-books will teach you every aspect of logo designing on Adobe that you need to know. From creating logos from rounded triangles to circles, learn how to stay ahead of your peers with this insightful knowledge that would make a huge difference in your work.

For a limited period, get the e-books in multiple formats and for only $12!

Learn More

 

10. Create a character with character creation kit

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Personalization is the key to customer engagement and conversion but how do you personalize a website? The easiest way to do that is with a website mascot, a character that the customers connect to.

Plus it offers uniformity throughout your web presence whether it’s on your actual website or on social media. And creating such a character is child’s play with our Character creation kit. Choose from different options and create a character in minutes.

From superheroes to doctor mascots create and use characters to explain better and connect personally.

Which of our freebies and deals do you like the best?

Learn More

Project Management Best Practices for Creative Freelancers

As a creative freelancer, you’ll usually find yourself working with more than one client at a time. Successfully juggling simultaneous jobs requires a system that can handle all aspects of project management without slowing you down. If you routinely find yourself sliding down the rabbit hole of lost time and slowed productivity, try these project management best practices to get yourself back on track.Project Management Best Practices

Start Managing Your Time

Freelancing has a way of taking over your life, so the first thing you should do when approaching project management is set aside a daily block of time every day as working hours and stick to it. Whether it’s in the morning when you’re fresh or at night when the kids are in bed, make these the only hours you dedicate to freelance projects. Making yourself available all the time and letting work creep into your personal life leads to burnout that can be difficult to recover from. Include regular breaks during work time so that you can disconnect, recharge and return to your work with a fresh perspective.

Find the Right Apps

Thanks to cloud technology, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of apps available to handle every facet of creative freelancing. It doesn’t take long to find a range of options if you browse Google for:

  • Time management
  • Collaboration
  • Invoicing
  • Accounting
  • Content management
  • Customer relationship management
  • File storage, organization and sharing

The majority of apps include multi-platform interfaces so that you can take your work with you and update from anywhere. You should be able to find free trials of most, if not all, of the apps you come across. Try out various offerings until you find what caters to your personal creative flow. Avoid apps that come stuffed with features that you don’t need, since having an excess of options can slow you down just as much as not having enough.

Integrate Everything

Apps are meant to increase productivity, but if you get too many, you can find yourself having to bounce from one program to another to locate the information you need for your projects. Apps that integrate into complete systems prevent this problem by allowing you to manage projects from start to finish through a single interface or dashboard. After one initial entry, data is instantly available in every app you’re using. This allows you to move smoothly from one job to the next without sacrificing precious paid time or getting hung up wondering what task to handle next.

Collaborate When Necessary

Part of being a freelancer is acknowledging when you’re not the best person for a job. Should you run into trouble with a project, it’s better to ask for help from someone with more advanced skills than to waste hours trying to muddle through on your own. Get in touch with experienced colleagues, team up and use the collaborative tools provided by your suite of apps to keep each other updated in real time.

Outsourcing other tasks, such as bookkeeping and taxes, is also helpful when you’re trying to focus on multiple projects at once. If your budget allows, consider hiring someone else to handle any part of your freelance business that takes up time that could be better spent focusing on your clients.

Have a Working System

The point of integrating apps, learning to collaborate and having others handle distracting detail work is to build the most efficient system possible. No two freelancers are alike, so don’t be afraid to play around with your system a bit until you find a workable solution that suits you. Whether that means using sticky notes in addition to your apps or working at the local coffee shop instead of in an office, you need an approach that keeps you focused every day.

Communicate Virtually

Talking to clients in person means time lost driving to and from meeting places. Using the phone can be just as problematic if a needy client monopolizes your time. Keep communication strictly to email, however, and you’re in control of when you answer and how much time you spend on each reply. Clients will stop expecting immediate responses, and you’ll be able to work with fewer chances of interruption.

Know When to Say No

The word “no” is just as essential to your project management toolkit as your favorite apps. It helps you set clear expectations and boundaries with clients and prevents you from taking on too much work. Productivity suffers when clients spring last-minute changes on you that weren’t in the original project description. Set the scope of each job from the start, and you’ll be able to say “no” if a client tries to extend the work beyond what is reasonable. There’s also nothing wrong with refusing a job when you have more than enough to do, because even the best time and project management strategies can’t help you when you try to do more than is humanly possible.

Freelancing can be a tough gig, but with the right tips and tools, you can master the processes necessary to achieve success with every project. Play around with apps and systems until you find what works for you. Sticking with the best methods reduces stress, increases efficiency and helps you move easily from one paying job to another to make every day as productive as possible.

Blog Marketing 101 – The Basics

Starting a blog is something that all of us can do, we can download WordPress or even create a WordPress account and begin writing, easy stuff. If we’re feeling a little bit devious we could also consider blogger, but let’s assume we’re not that deranged. The other option is to not use a traditional blog at all and use something like this website builder. But what then, how do we get people to see our fresh newly written content that we think is the best thing since sliced bread? Well I can tell you, from personal experience it’s a real challenge. Getting a blog off the ground, however well-written it is for the most part is a tough, tedious task. Experienced bloggers struggle, big companies with great articles published day in day out struggle and even some of the most well known blogs on the Internet today struggle to maintain a regular readership – so what hope do the rest of us have?

blog marketing

This article will explain the basics on how to get your blog out there and get an initial audience but how well you can retain that audience and grow it to the levels needed to perhaps generate revenue will be down to you and your own marketing abilities.

1) The E-Mail List – People these days scoff at the idea of creating a mailing list, surely e-mail is a thing of the past and we all just read sites and tweet/fb each other if we have something to ask? Well, like it or not a well built e-mail mailing list is still one of the best way of getting in touch with a visitor after they’ve come and gone to the website in question. If you want to grow your blog the first step is to maintain your readership once you have hooked them in. It is much better to get 10 readers and have those 10 people read your blog for the rest of time than to have a quick influx of 1000 visitors and have none of them bother come back around a second time. Building an e-mail subscription list at least gives you the chance of a repeat visitor. Be sure to make sure the actual e-mail you send out worthwhile though. People get enough junk in their Inbox already without seeing your post round ups. Make it worth their while, limit the unsubscribes!

2) You need a social presence – Even if you despise posting Facebook updates and those who do it, you need to participate. Same with twitter. Regardless of what you think of the platform it’s still a fantastic way to get the word out about what you’ve posted and also as above can give people a way to keep track on your blogs development rather than randomly finding it again months later. If you’re posting/tweeting about things you’re posting you will also find that you can get instant traffic through to your content from a live audience – no waiting months for Google to position your content in a way that actually yields visitors from search. Good content, well introduced will yield social traffic if promoted correctly. Social media really can be a case of build it and they will come unlike traditional search traffic.

3) Find like-minded bloggers – If you’re in one of the more popular niches or sectors you will no doubt have lots of competition. That can either be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you position yourself and the extent of your marketing efforts. You need to get yourself featured on these blogs in some way, shape or form. If you have a finance blog, people reading other peoples finance blogs are your audience. You need to steal them away. There are numerous ways of doing this. You can buy a direct ad from the third party site, you can guest post on their blog or you can give your insight on one of their posts by way of the comments. All of these methods will work in some sense and will provide some traffic. Sure, the traffic will be minimal but it will be your desired audience which is worth ten fold the equivalent in non-targeted traffic.

4) Optimize it for search – Search engine traffic should still be at the forefront of your mind when marketing your blog. People still search and will do for a long time to come so your content needs to be visible and relevant to the sort of thing people search for. I’m not suggesting to create content solely for search engine purposes but be sure to include relevant phrases and keywords within your blog posts that people search for. You will probably do this naturally anyway if you’re creating good content but make sure your title and opening segments get to the point and are geared primarily to the main topic if your post.

5) Links, you need links to your site – Buying them is a no go area but if you create good content you shouldn’t have any trouble getting other blogs to link you. This may happen naturally but you may need to present your content to the right people in order to get that ever important link back to your site. Perhaps contact some of the people you have identified in step 3 and see if they want to share your subject idea with a reference to the post you have created on the same matter. This usually works providing the article you have written is of value to the audience – both yours and theirs.

So there we go, not a complete list by any means but these 5 steps will all yield traffic either from the outset or on going. You can use any or all of the steps above in order to yield traffic but make sure when you do get the traffic you try your upmost to retain it. Good domain, design, content are ever important and you shouldn’t neglect any of these factors.