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Archive for July, 2012

Holidays Provide a Great Opportunity to Increase Website Traffic

Website Designers and Website Developers who use content marketing to generate awareness for their services and increase traffic to their website should write blog articles during the holidays. Holidays provide a great opportunity to attract new visitors to your website if you create holiday-related content and optimize it with holiday-related keywords.

There are a number of reasons why holiday provide an excellent opportunity to increase website traffic. In this article we will explain why holidays offer website designers and developers such a great opportunity to increase website traffic, review the benefits holiday-related online content provide, discuss planning for upcoming holidays, show you how to come up with content topic ideas that correspond to annual holidays, and talk about the different types of online content website designers and website developers can create.

 

How Can Publishing Content around Holidays Can Increase Website Traffic?

Holidays can provide website designers and website developers who use content marketing to increase awareness about their services and drive traffic to their website with an excellent opportunity to attract new visitors to their website. Why? Well, the reasons are numerous. Here’s the short list:

  • There are more people searching the web around the holidays. (Larger quantity of potential website visitors)
  • People have more free time around the holidays. The time people spend online usually increases around the holidays. (Longer time spent online)
  • People are always looking for holiday-related “things” online. Many people (thus business owners) know that they can usually find discounted pricing on products and services around the holidays.
  • More likely to get media coverage around the holidays if you’re offering something interesting or news-worthy.

The list above is comprised of just a few of the reasons why website designers and website developers should take advantage of holidays for attracting more visitors to their website. Knowing that more people are spending more time online during the holidays, and armed with the fact that those people are looking for holiday-related content, website designers and developers should at minimum come up with creative holiday-related content to publish on their site. That said, if website designers and website developers want to take it one step further they should come up with a holiday-related marketing strategy that includes a promotional offer designed to convert these new visitors into customers. Either way, taking advantage of the holidays to increase website traffic is a smart idea for website designers and website developers.

Benefits of Publishing Holiday-Related Content for Website Designers and Website Developers

We started getting into a few of the benefits in earlier portions of this article, but in this section we are going to cover a few more of the top benefits that website designers and developers will receive if they create a marketing strategy around producing holiday-related content and/or holiday-related promotional offers. Below is a list of the top benefits of publishing holiday-related content:

  • Increased traffic to your website.
  • Increased awareness of your products and services.
  • Longer time spent on your website by website traffic.
  • Great opportunity to convert website visitors into customers via a holiday-related promotional offer.
  • Better chance for an idea going viral as more people and businesses like talking about holidays (it’s something that many people share, thus a larger portion of people online are likely to talk about it).
  • Higher potential for media coverage based on how relevant and creative your strategy is.

The list above are some of the top benefits that website designers and website developers would receive if they take the time to come up with a holiday-related marketing strategy that leverages publishing holiday-related online content.

Content Planning for Upcoming Holidays

If you are considering leveraging holidays in order to increase traffic to your website then the single biggest piece of advice I can give you is to plan accordingly. One of the best things about coming up with a holiday-related marketing strategy is that you know exactly what holidays people celebrate and exactly when they will fall each year. This means you can start your planning at the beginning of the year or even the year(s) prior. If you really want to have success with this strategy it is imperative that you take time to plan for it. The more time you dedicate to planning, the more likely that you’ll come up with a creative idea that not only generates more website traffic, but also has a good chance of converting new visitors into customers.

Content Planning: Set Goals

The very FIRST thing you need to do whenever you start planning for ANYTHING is to set goals. Setting a goal for each holiday OR for your entire holiday-related marketing strategy will give you something to work towards. Everything else that you do should be geared towards achieving that goal.

Content Planning: Define Your Strategy & Tactics

Once you’ve come up with your goal(s) it’s time to develop your marketing strategy. You know you want to leverage content marketing, so now you must decide if you want to tie in a promotional offer and use this opportunity to generate sales. Once that decision is made you can now start flushing out the actual marketing tactic(s). Answering the following questions will help you define your tactic(s):

  • How much time do I have to create and manage this tactic?
  • What content vehicles should I use? There are 4 types of online content (discussed more below), which ones will you leverage for this tactic?
  • What will you offer visitors in order to get them to take action (the action is defined by the goal you set)?
  • How will you get your online content in front of your target audience?
  • How will you fulfill your offer?

Once these questions are answered your holiday-related marketing tactic should start coming into view for you.

How to Come Up with Content Topics Related to Holidays

Coming up with holiday-related content topics is actually easier than you might think. It’s really derived from your marketing strategy and your goals. After that it’s all about creativity. Below are a few tips that you can leverage when trying to think about holiday-related content topics:

  • Review your goals and strategy for this initiative and start thinking about content related to that.
  • Think about the holiday. What time of year does it fall? What’s the meaning behind it? What are some of the cultural elements of it?
  • Take a look at your target audience. Do they celebrate the holiday? Does it resonate with them moreso than others? Can you leverage that?
  • What fun things do you do on the holiday? How about your company? Would telling those stories appeal to your audience? Does what you do at home spark any ideas for interesting content ideas to write about?

Here are a few example holiday-related content topic ideas for website designers and website developers:

  • Images of your company celebrating the holiday
  • Special Offer – Update Your Website Design to correspond to the holiday. You can run a special promotion whereby you charge customers to update their website design to include a few holiday-related elements.
  • Where is your company located? Write about local holiday-related news or stories that your customers might find interesting.
  • Participate in a charity event or donate your time/employees time to help the local community around the holiday.
    As you can see from the lists above, once you start thinking through it, you can probably come up with dozens of holiday-related content ideas.

4 Types of Holiday-Related Online Content

As we mentioned above, there are 4 main types of online content, and holiday-related online content is no different. Website Designers and Website Developers should take a look at the goals they set and the strategy they have come up with, and then determine which type(s) of content makes the most sense to leverage for this initiative. So what are the 4 types of holiday-related online content? They are as follows:

  • Blog (or written) Content
  • Video Content
  • Audio Content
  • Image-Based Content

Holiday-Related Online Content: Blog Content

Blogging is a great way to increase website traffic. If you use a blog to share information with your website visitors then I would highly recommend at least including writing holiday-related blog articles as at least one component of your online content strategy. Blogging allows you to tell your story and then optimize it full of holiday-related keywords in order to attract relevant visitors to your website. Holiday-related blog articles are great for SEO, as well as, for viral marketing. People love sharing great holiday stories.

Holiday-Related Online Content: Video Content

Video content is much more engaging than blog content, so definitely consider using video as a component for this marketing tactic. Now, creating holiday-related videos requires much more time, planning, and possibly money to produce, but the impact is much more powerful. It might be as simple as shooting a quick video around the office. You can interview some of your employees and get them to share their favorite holiday stories, or let your audience know something they plan on doing for the holiday, etc. When people think of video marketing most of the time they think of production level video, but in reality, a real-life video giving your audience a glimpse into your company could be just as powerful.

Holiday-Related Online Content: Audio Content

Maybe you can create your own holiday song related to your company, your audience, or even your products and services. Perhaps you want to do an interview with some local residents to find out what they are looking forward to during the holidays? Do you used podcasts as part of your marketing mix? If so, a holiday-related podcast could be a great tool for this initiative.

Holiday-Related Online Content: Image-based Content

Last, but certainly not least, image-based content is very easy to produce and can make quite an impact with your audience. Holiday-related images are always fun. People enjoy seeing holiday pictures. Think company Christmas party or a designed Valendtine’s Day E-Card that shows off your company’s design skills. You can either take pictures or you can create pictures in Photoshop that align with the holiday and your strategy for this initiative. People love sharing great pictures. Think of how many pictures you see people sharing on Facebook around the holidays. You can leverage this to achieve your goals.

Increase Website Traffic by Taking Advantage of Upcoming Holidays

Now that you have a better idea of all of the benefits that holidays can provide your company, will you implement a holiday-related content strategy for your website design and development company? People love holidays because they have time to spend with their friends, families, and even themselves. When people have more free time, website traffic and time spent online increases. Website design and website development companies should take advantage of this by implementing a holiday-related content strategy.

Modern Design Trends for Landing Pages

Product landing pages can have a very different feeling based on what you’re selling. Internet marketers are always studying the best design tips for gaining traction and increasing sales numbers. But unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. Instead you have to consider which modern design trends are working for other people in your shoes.

In this article I want to share a few ideas for creating picture-perfect landing pages. Whether you’re selling e-books or website templates you’ll want to know how to grab your visitor’s attention. All of these trends can be noticed in many other websites all around the web.

Showcase your Best Talent

The most important piece to any landing page is the content you’re selling. Whether this is a digital product visitors can purchase, or even if your landing page just needs to gather e-mail addresses. Content is what drives the Internet and different interests between people.

I like the example from WP Bundle not just for the design, but also for the unique color scheme and branding techniques. Right away you are presented with a thumbnail gallery of WordPress themes which you can click through to read more information. Large graphics and background textures catch your eye within the first few seconds after the page loads.

WP Bundle also has graphics further down the page which display their themes in a very positive light. You need to coerce visitors to purchase your products, and this requires their trust and attention. Design your product graphics to include tricks such as split views and magnifying glass zoom effects.

Simple and Professional

There’s no reason you can’t build a landing page which is both professional and minimalist. You want to present all the bare-bones essential information right off the bat. Then visitors can choose to go through deeper pages on your website if they’re interested.

Many of the HTML5/CSS3 additions make developing professional templates a breeze. You can use CSS3 gradients and transition effects which look stunning in modern browsers. Cubender has a very simple 3-field input form where visitors can sign up for their web services.

Fill Up Gaping Spaces

You should be able to determine when your layout is cluttered vs. openly bland, plain, and boring. When you design a landing page you’ll want to utilize any and all space necessary to pitch your product. A great example is on Flow’s landing page where each section has been split vertically.

Many of the graphics and screenshots fill up the browser window by default. Large monitors and laptops can adapt, which makes the viewing process all the more enjoyable. As you scroll down you’ll notice much of the text has been sized to also fill up a majority of the window. I like this technique because it’s super easy reading content when you’re sitting a fair distance away from the monitor.

Plus when you increase font sizes your headings and paragraphs with naturally fill in more room. When you don’t have a lot to write about, larger typography makes your landing page feel more important. Each feature of your product is carefully processed – especially if you can list out the important design qualities.

Sexy Eye Candy

Possibly the greatest way to keep visitors glued onto your landing page is through stunning graphics design. Using custom icons and illustrations will help with branding your product, and this makes your website memorable weeks down the road. People will return to your website and instantly remember seeing the layout before.

Sophiestication is an app development studio who builds mobile apps for iOS. Their landing page offers different graphics based on each of their apps, which you can cycle through by clicking on the individual app icons. It’s a really beautiful layout and the additional sub-pages for each application adds a whole extra level to the website.

Highlight your Key Traits

Every digital product has some good points and some bad points. Ultimately it’s your job as the designer to create a landing page which highlights all the super important, best features available. You can do this with screenshots and captions, along with sponsored testimonials.

To build up some extra hype you could additionally offer sales and sponsored deals for select clients. When visitors purchase a larger plan you can offer free coupons or discounts on the original price. Or alternatively setup a time-sensitive sale which only lasts a few days.

When people inevitably find your product there will surely be complaints and support requests. This is the stage where you can figure out just how much value you are offering with these sales. Always remember that you’re building products for customers, and so these users find your website and hold judgements until proven otherwise. Make sure these judgements are positive and showcase your skills in a beneficial light.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully these tips can get you thinking about design trends from a marketer’s perspective. Internet users aren’t stupid and they know when you’re trying to sell them something. It’s best when you work with your potential customers and offer a very simple yet secure checkout process.

It will take a lot of practice before you can master the art of landing page design. But along the way you will learn invaluable lessons about Internet marketing which cannot be taught in a day or even a week. Push through the early stages and keep practicing! If you have similar ideas or questions about landing page designs feel free to share in the post discussion area below.

How to be More Productive as a Freelance Web Developer

Web development has blossomed into a full-profit enterprise over the past two decades with the rise and continued rapid growth of the internet. Getting information out there as quickly as possible, attracting viewership and clients, and doing it more creatively and efficiently than the competition has turned into a big money maker throughout the global economy.

Given the fast-paced nature of the business and the ever changing economic climate, web development is definitely a higher stress job than most. Being able to deliver a stellar product on a budget and within the tight constraints is a continual challenge for the successful web developer.

Be More Productive as a Freelance Web Developer

Knowing and Using One’s Strengths

There is a great book on the market today titled “Now, Discover Your Strengths” authored by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. Serving as a follow-up to Buckingham’s “First, Break All the Rules”, this book focuses on effective management skills within Corporate America, however; the message is just as applicable to web development. When one knows the areas in which they excel and in which they falter, they can then play to their strengths, and rely on others to mitigate their weaknesses.

In web development, there is nothing wrong with collaborating with others who possess different strengths. It is far better to hire out processes to ensure they are done as effectively as possible.

This will also allow one to apply more focus on areas where they themselves are strong. Doing this ensures the overall process is that much stronger due to the individual contributors being better together than they are separately.

Make Yourself at Home

One of the best ways to increase productivity is to ensure the workspace and environment being used is conducive to ensuring one is comfortable in their surroundings. Having a comfortable chair that is ergonomic, relieving the stress of sitting for extended periods of time is paramount to increasing one’s productivity.

If someone has to get up or move around more in their chair because they are not comfortable, this will ultimately take away from their ability to focus on the task at hand, developing web pages or applications. Some other options for relieving stress from working at a desk are going wireless, utilizing soft-gel mouse and keyboard rest to alleviate joint stress, and using dual monitors to maximize the amount of screen space one can use to view multiple applications at one time.

Be Comfortable

The Top Ten List of “Must Have” Web Applications

Here are ten of the best applications to utilize when it comes to web development. Each work to increase usability and productivity for the end user.

BrowserShots
BrowserShots is a straightforward, free tool for checking what your website looks like in a wide range of different browsers. It really couldn’t be simpler to use. All you have to do is enter your website’s URL into the address bar at the top, check or uncheck to select which browsers you would like to get a screenshot from, and press Submit. You can fine-tune your search by screen size and color depth, as well as enabling or disabling JavaScript, Java and Flash.

BrowserShots

ShortStack
This is a great web development tool which allows the developer to create customized, more user-friendly Facebook tabs.

ShortStack

Socialspring Present.ly
Great for employee communication, Present.ly aids in colleague calibration with one another on a number of different projects throughout a company.

Socialspring Present.ly

Concept Feedback
When looking to get marketing quality feedback on products and services, Concept Feedback is the way to go.

Concept Feedback

Neosites
Building and maintaining websites for both business and personal use is the cornerstone function of Neosites.

Neosites

Google Analytics
This application will provide great marketing detail showing a business how visitors got to their site, as well as where they came from to get there. It also indicates which online marketing initiatives are cost effective or not.

Google Analytics

Roxer
Roxer is great because it allows for web page creation without programming knowledge.

Roxer

Play Nice.ly
Another collaboration application, Play Nice.ly allows multiple users to work together on an assigned project at any given time.

Play Nice.ly

GitHub
GitHub will bring together public Git responses, collaborator management, issue tracking, wikis, downloads, code review, and graphs, storing all of this information in one place.

GitHub

Mixpanel
Offering real-time analytics, Mixpanel allows corporations to see how users interact with web applications.

Mixpanel

Don’t Forget to Exercise

Although web development may requires very little physical strength and stamina, the mental wear and tear one will undergo will more than make up for it. Taking time out of a busy schedule to work in both cardio and weight training exercises will keep one’s energy level up throughout the day.

Studies have also shown an increase in exercise partnered with a healthy diet will also lead to lower stress levels. Lower stress levels have also been linked to a reduction in risk of stress related issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and numerous other stress related health issues.

Sometimes it is About Who One Knows

Try to avoid the Debby Downers of the world. Even those with an extraordinary positive outlook on life will succumb to negativity when constantly surrounded by it. By talking to people who are upbeat and cheerful throughout the day, it becomes easier for one to adapt to that climate and also see things in a more positive light. It is also important to take time off to spend with those folks that make a person feel good such as friends and family.

Striking a work/life balance and surrounding one’s self with positive individuals are two great ways to ensure when it does come time to work, one can stay at the peak of their productivity.

Keep Work at Work Even When Work is at Home

In many instances, web development is a work-from-home career. It definitely has its benefits, but needs to be kept in check or else one finds themselves working all the time. Especially if one has a family at home, regardless of job, they have to come first. It is important to set specific hours one will work, or even set up rules.

Whether they maintain a standard Monday through Friday, eight to five schedule, or work something more modified, once the schedule is in place, it is best to stick to it as closely as possible. When one understands they have a limited amount of day to get their work done, it is much easier to focus during that time making them much more productive.

Nothing Personal. Just Business

The downside of web development is similar to many other specialized jobs. As soon as people know someone has that talent, they always want the specialist to either do it for them for free or at a discounted price. Although good-hearted as it may seem to give in to these requests, it always takes away from the job one is getting paid to do, or at the very least burns them out so they cannot do their normal work as well.

Al Capone once said, “To kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.” If one cannot say “no” when asked to take on jobs without pay or drastically discounted pay, they will quickly become overworked, and far less productive. If one does opt to take on additional work, they also should be wary of doing it for less than it is worth. If one is going to spend additional time on it, they should be equally compensated for their time.

Help

Schedule the Schedule

One of the biggest deterrents to productivity is the managing of personal communications. This includes e-mail, social networking, online chatting, and taking phone calls. Whereas some of this has to be done, nearly 90% of e-mails which come in do not need to be responded to immediately. A great way to protect the day from the onslaught of communications coming and going is to set up times throughout the day to check in, and then stick to them.

A good rule is to dedicate 90 minutes a day to communications, scheduling 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at midday, and 30 minutes in the afternoon. Not only will this help one to remain productive outside those times, but once people realize they will not get a response until those times, they will quickly realize a lot of what they need can wait, thus actually lowering the number of internal communications a person will receive each day.

Prioritize: First Things First

Much like moving from one house to another, the best things to move first is the heavy stuff when everyone is fresh and full of energy. That way, as people get worn down throughout the day, even though they may have less energy, the energy they have to expend is equally less as well. The same goes for web development.

Figure out what the hardest or toughest job is going to be and knock it out first. Then move on to the next toughest job and so on. This way, the stuff needing to get done at the end of the day will be easier to do with less energy, and still allow for productivity to remain at its peak.

Always Be Prepared

Just like the old Boy Scout Motto, always make sure there is time to research the project, assess the skills needed to be successful at it, and taking the time to continue developing those skills to stay ahead of the curve.

Doing so, will not only make one a more efficient and productive web developer, but will also ensure they continue to be marketable in the ever-changing technologically driven world in which they live. Because things change daily, staying up to date with the market will greatly benefit the productivity level of any web developer.

Who Says the Workweek Has to be Long?

There is a great blog by Tim Ferris, an entrepeneur who helps apply prime ideas to increase productivity and workflow in the lives of others. Some of the things Ferris teaches that will improve productivity are as follows:

  1. How to outsource one’s life and do whatever they want for a year, while still not only making money, but actually increasing their bank account.
  2. European economist’s tactics to eliminate up to 50% of one’s work within 48-hours.
  3. How to create “mini-retirements” by cashing in on the long haul career and working more productively in short bursts.
  4. Learn the difference between absolute and relative income, and how to apply that knowledge to one’s personal fiscal well-being.
  5. How to train one’s employers to promote based on performance and not presence.

 

Conclusion

These are ten great tips web developers around the globe can utilize to maximize their productivity without sacrificing their work/life balance. Much like any list of tips, to be successful the end result is dependent upon the ambition and drive of the one behind it. Ultimately to make these tips work, one has to be willing to implement, and more importantly, stick with them.

On average, it takes twenty-one days to form a habit, and although seemingly simple on paper, some of these tips are easier said than done. Even if all ten cannot be implemented today, pick a few that can, and then build from there. Doing so will lead to a more productive, less stress-filled life.

The Truth about Web Design

As a freelance web professional, designing websites is your livelihood and in some cases, your life. Your ability to create a website that does everything but make and pour coffee is commendable, but the sad truth is that other than yourself and other web designers, nobody cares about the design at all.

What they care about is what it can do for them. Truly great web design supports the purpose of the site, focuses on what the client wants and needs, and most of all makes it easy for the user to meet his goal in finding the information he is searching for. This can be a difficult concept for a web designer to embrace, as creative individuals often have a fierce love for their own creations.

Site Design and Site Purpose

A website’s purpose defines the structure of the site. Identifying and clearly stating the purpose of a website provides direction for the design work and helps establish the stages required in site construction. It also helps in estimating the scope of the project, and your fees.

Informational or content sites may include hundreds or thousands of articles, requiring a robust search and navigation system as well as interactive tutorials or videos. Transactional websites and e-commerce sites may act as digital catalogues utilizing shopping cart features and more sophisticated digital image or slideshow capabilities. Other websites simply exist as a sales tool to drive readers into a bricks-and-mortar business, and require a very basic website with a homepage, about us page, portfolio, contact us form and a blog. Site design sets the stage for the star of the website show, which is the web content that fulfils the purpose of the site.

Site Design To Please Your Client

Unpopular though this idea may be, good web design is about pleasing people. First, please your client. Secondly, please the readers who are going to visit your client’s site. While it is arguably more important to please the user than the client, the client is paying you and keeping food on your table, so it’s best to keep him happy. In order to create a site that makes him smile and meets his expectations, it is imperative that you have a very clear understanding of what he wants and needs on his website. This is much trickier than it sounds.

 

Ideally, a client’s vision for a website goes hand-in-hand with the purpose, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, what a client wants doesn’t line up with what is needed to achieve the goal of the site. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners hear that their peers and competition have websites, “so we better get one too.” They may have a general idea of what they want in terms of including their logo and basic information about their businesses, but be prepared to ask a lot of questions of your web design clients to ensure your project meets their requests.

An experienced web designer realizes that often client needs may be different from their wants, and through questioning the client they can skilfully extract the necessary elements of the site. Ask your clients about their biggest competitors and then visit their sites. Find out what it is that that the client likes most and least about their competitors’ websites. This may help fine-tune their vision for their own site. If not, a few carefully worded questions can point out the discrepancy between a website dream and the more practical reality of a site that will achieve the desired purpose. With practice, an experienced web designer can develop phrases and questions to delicately suggest to a client that what they want may not appeal to their readership.

Site Design to Please the User

The longer a user remains on a website, the more likely they are to perform the action the site owner (your client) wants them to, fulfilling the purpose of the site. Sadly for designers, complex, over-the-top website design that makes use of the latest innovations is not enough to keep users on site, unless of course, the users are website designers themselves and the purpose of the site is to illustrate the latest and greatest design techniques.

Keep your design clean and simple, but don’t worry, you can still put your creativity to work by finding a way to make your project stand apart from competitor sites. Remember that good web design creates a user experience that enables readers to immediately determine the purpose of a site, and that whitespace is not to be feared, but can be used effectively to draw the reader’s eye to important content on the page.

 

Once they confirm that the site meets their needs and contains the answers to their questions, readers need to be able to quickly find the specific piece of information required. Nothing frustrates online users more than not knowing how to find the information they need. While you may be tempted to get creative with navigation and search capabilities, please don’t. Effective site design allows users to find the required information quickly, and solid web content is what keeps them onsite once they’ve found that information.

The best user interfaces are designed with the target user in mind, and website designers should always be cognisant of just who will be visiting the site. Many designers and clients forget that users may require different words and phrases than those used by the web designer and the client, especially if they don’t know the acronyms and nicknames for industry norms, products and services. Websites designed without consideration for the user may be marvels of ingenuity yet completely useless to the target user and the client.
Once the typical user is identified, it is easier to set the guidelines for what type of content is best to populate the site. Text may appear in one or more forms including blog posts, product descriptions and articles. Images, infographics, videos, slideshow galleries and interactive components may also be included. Great site design seeks to accommodate and highlight the identified web content that will most appeal to the target user.

Web Design is the Framework of a Web Content Vehicle

It can be tough to confront the idea that your design isn’t the centre of the universe, but the fact is, it isn’t. Your most recent web design may be awesome, a thing of beauty to you and your peers, and it may even garner a grudging compliment or two from your competition. The fact of the matter is that your digital creation that went through revision after revision and kept you up late at night and drinking far too much coffee, is simply the frame of a vehicle for a client who wants to entice readers to take an action that will likely result in a sale.

Getting your head wrapped around this idea of web design as simply a vehicle for web content isn’t meant to belittle your talents, but rather to provide a filter through which future web design decisions are made.

What You Like Does Not Matter and This Should Make You Happy

Another hard truth about web design is that what you like doesn’t matter at all. What the client wants matters. How well the site design supports the purpose and content matters. What matters most is what the online user needs, because if they find it on the site that you designed they will buy something, making the client happy. You may find the site bland and boring, but if it meets the requirements, fulfils the purpose and meets or exceeds the client’s goals, you will have a happy client. A really happy client will refer his friends and family members to you so you never have to do any marketing for your website design business ever again. And that should make you happy.

And there you have it. Web design is secondary to web content, and exists to support the purpose and content of a site which in turn exists to encourage users to take an action. While a great website design may not win the Best Actor award at the website Oscars, it can always take home Best Supporting Actor!

How I Became a Web Designer: Following My Passion

Web designing is one of the most popular and well-paid jobs today. Just a few years ago, parents pushed their children to become doctors, engineers, and scientists; today parents push them to become web designers as well. Those who are most passionate about web designing can make it really big. Web designing is part of the creative arts and requires designers to explore their own creativity and imagination—whether creating a logo for a website banner or designing a home page—along with their technical knowledge.

This article explores my inspiration behind web designing in terms of what increases my passion for design and the journey I have made to become a passion-driven designer. Before getting into the seven wonders behind my passion for design, let’s take a look at how I approached designing and how it changed my life—if not completely, then at least my approach.

 

Journey to Becoming a Designer

As a kid, I liked designing things: designing buildings while playing, designing a banner in paint, designing online games, and more. As I grew up, I was constantly trying out new designs. After developing a little knowledge, I started playing around with website codes, themes, colors, and so on. A little traction towards this interest and a strong push from my mind led me to pursue design full time and become an independent artist. I started out by making basic websites and logos. After completing more than 20 projects, I had achieved a level of mastery in designing. However, initially I made some terrible blunders; looking back at my mistakes, I realize how experience makes a man perfect. Slowly but surely, my hobby became my life’s calling. Now, let’s see how web designing has changed my life.

Changes that Came Along with Designing

Web designing has changed my life not only in terms of earnings and designing, but also in terms of my approach to the web world. This change came with both positive and negative factors. As a designer, I am able to create my own website. I have been maintaining blogs for quite some time, and my design knowledge has helped me maintain my blogs. Instead of having to rely on the host, I can create my own blogs. I also learned to use a theme to complement my content instead of, for example, writing about mobile phones on a blog that looks like a garden. I customize my own pages per the requirements and demands of the theme. In addition to the minute details based on fonts, colors, and combinations of colors—which I used to overlook out of my ignorance — I can now create a better looking site with far smoother user experience. Indeed, I have greatly benefitted from my design knowledge.

However, my knowledge has also brought about a few negative factors. A few days ago, I came across an article about the inability to enjoy trivial things on the web after becoming a designer. It is so true! Things I used to enjoy now lead me through a strict process of analysis. Just as an editor or proofreader finds it difficult to read an article without constantly correctly little-known grammar issues, making it impossible to enjoy the essence of the article, or as a cook focuses on combining various ingredients in a dish instead of enjoying the taste of the food, web designers cannot simply peruse the web without judging the sites—the typography, the combination of colors, the saturation, the logo…the list goes on and on. I have become hyper-critical about the design used and how it can be better. Instead of spending a moment to leave a comment on a site, today I spend half an hour thinking about the interface and the backend. At the end of the day, I fail to enjoy the trivial happiness that I used to experience before becoming a designer.

It is not surprising that web design became my passion. By nature I am inclined to photography, art, painting, and design work, all of which falls under creative imagination. I initially started designing to learn about websites and develop a good source of income; however, as I explored the horizons of designing, I started enjoying the new realms that the design world opened for me each day. Like other artists, I became addicted to my art. The process of creating something new and witnessing the birth of the design is really amazing. Even today I always get excited to see the end product emerge. Waiting to see it is challenging as thousands of questions flood my mind: Will it be good enough? Can I make it better? Why does the design look incomplete? Is this what I imagined? The challenge and excitement that comes with every design convinced me that I do not want to do anything but web designing.

If you are interested in design, it is important that you be able to create something new out of nothing. You also need to be able to review and change your design as well as experiment with different strokes from the design world. Various factors are involved in driving a person toward designing. The following 7 factors drove me toward this passion.

Seven Wonders that Drove My Passion Toward Designing

1. Switching Things

Web designing is not only my job, but also my passion. Sometimes when a hobby becomes work, you can lose interest in it. A person who loves to cook might decide to become a chef, but that same person might become frustrated when cooking for an audience that requires following rules when preparing dishes. Similarly, I need to design to meet my clients’ demands. Where did all the creativity lessons vanish to? I have been able to maintain my passion by switching things up. The moment I become too caught up with work and want to relax, I let my imagination flow and create my own design. I need not go somewhere else or buy something else; all I need is my computer and my designing session starts. This switching from one regulated task to a free work is great indeed. In addition, I can move across projects. Web designing mostly covers projects that keep changing over time. The scope of web designing covers a vast field, which this makes the shifting process easier than in other jobs. Three ways to maintain your passion toward web designing are:

  • Take a break and change your focus from the design you have been concentrating on. This will help you refresh your state of mind.
  • Explore the design project and analyze things that are interesting that can be tried with the project.
  • Balance your design work with fun and work. This will help you to work on your project as well as maintain your fascination for designing without becoming bored or frustrated.

2. Everyday Experiments

Most people complain about their job. I do not. It is not that my job is perfect or that I am the top performer. Rather, my job doesn’t let me get bored. It keeps me engaged with experiments, which also increases my passion for design. I experiment with design work every day, whether by creating a logo, a form, a field, a banner, or a website or maintaining the backend and front end.

There are innumerable websites on the web, and each one has a different design and look. Behind each design is a designer. I am responsible for different designs, but this responsibility also involves a challenge to keep them unique. After creating a particular design for a site, I cannot write the same code to design a similar design for another site. Therefore, my work demands innovation and experiments along with creativity. Just like a painter does not reproduce the same art again and again, I do not reproduce the same design unless it is for the same website. I am constantly learning about mixing colors while designing a website, experimenting with my skills and techniques for the successful completion of the project. Therefore, web designing is not mundane work. This lack of monotony is one of the major factors that has kept enhancing my passion for design.

3. Engaging in Personal Projects

To remain passionate, you must experience fulfillment. If designing is not fulfilling my aims and my practical and emotional needs, it can never continue to be my passion. Fortunately it does satisfy me, which has helped me turn my hobby to design into a passion. Designing is a well-paying job; by making good money, my practical needs are fulfilled. Designing also allows me to experiment with new designs and learn new skills every day, so it fulfills my emotional needs. Finally, it allows me to engage in personal projects. Whether freelancing or starting something of my own, I can explore new areas.

Web designing is a popular freelancing job that allows you to do something beyond your regular job; in addition, web designing lets you start your own site dealing with anything that interests you. Knowledge of web designing lets you control your site and design however you want. You can make money from it, share your knowledge base, or maintain a personal treasure. You have a wide range of options for dealing in something beyond your regular work and engaging in personal projects, which alleviates boredom and enhances your passion. Therefore, this flexibility of this profession let me be stable in my passion for designing.

4. Everyday Learning Sessions

In every job a person learns new things every day. I do too, which is another reason that my passion for design has increased. Every day I increase my knowledge base. My work doesn’t end with designing a website. I need to continue managing the site and its backend as well as monitor that everything continues to be well on the frontend. As a designer, I must deal with various bugs; each one leads me through a learning session. Although theoretical learning might not be that interesting, practical learning is much more fun. The challenge of resolving a problem inspires me to continue designing and go through learning experiences every day.

5. Adobe Software

Another inspiration for me in designing is Adobe software and its host of tools. Adobe Photoshop lets me go through new experiments every day, whether playing with fire effects, reflection, inversion, or graffiti. Photoshop motivates me to use the tool more, explore its uses, and apply it in my design. Adobe’s Creative Suite, including Photoshop, illustrator, Flash, and Fireworks, adds to my learning exercises with design and allows me to grow every day as a web designer.

6. Play Around with Logics

Playing around with logics also increases my passion for design. Web development is nothing but converting ideas from plain language into a logical structure using programming languages such as PHP, Python, Ruby, and C++. I need to play around with logic and mathematics while developing websites. Programming interests me a lot; this interest keeps increasing my passion for designing.

7. Growing Market and Increasing Competition

Finally, web designing has a big place in the growing market, and the growing number of web designers is increasing the competition as well. To challenge oneself in this growing market and look ahead with a goal to make it big are great inspirations for many web designers. In the current world of web technology, web designers hold a strong position. I remain in the middle of this growing market with the hope of making something big, thereby increasing my passion for designing all the more.

 

These seven factors, among others, have increased my passion for design. These are the reasons that I am passionate about designing despite the few disadvantages mentioned at the beginning of this article.

21 Interesting Myths about SEO

Like several other fields of this world, SEO consists of hundreds of myths, which have made this field quite confusing. In the starting days of SEO, everything was easy and direct. The techniques were not that complex and it doesn’t require a lot of time to make someone aware of its techniques. However, as time passed by, search engines launched more complex tactics which lead the field to these myths.

 

You think that you are an SEO professional and you have been practicing it for many years. Well! Everyone is not perfect. You must take a look at these myths which are sometimes ignored by most of the search engine optimizers. They think that what they are doing is right. But they don’t know that some of their beliefs can drop down the level of effectiveness of their SEO practices.

 

“Research” is the most important part of this field and you always have to go with the updates. Maybe you are not aware of those techniques which worked in past years but they don’t work now. So, out of those hundreds of myths, here are twenty one most interesting and most popular ones explained:

1. “SEO is a selection of techniques to deceive look for engines”

If you are “fooling” the search applications, then you are probably sleeping customers too. Think how good that kind of action converts? “Real” SEO has many more than improving articles, getting hyperlinks and using non reusable marketing “techniques”. Tricks and techniques may be an argument of connotation based on who you discuss to, but a lot of the techniques we affiliate with effective and lengthy lasting SEO.

2. “Individuals in our market do not use search applications”

You do not have to perform too much analysis to discover out if market is practical for marketing through the search applications.

According to an analysis by comScore qSearch, about 4.9 thousand internet looks monthly and 133 thousand exclusive guests are found. Those statistics have actually moved up a little bit since the analysis. It’s obviously true that some of the market groups in the globe look for utilization is little, but I have difficulties considering any.

A fast way to start checking out a market is look for and discover out how much appropriate articles are out there. If you have made a brand new market, then you may face no problems taking over it on search applications by becoming a power on the subject previously than your competitors.

3. “SEO, a single event”

This part is still persistent and a sign of what SEO used to be. Kind of like “SEO circa in 1999?”when all the thing you had to perform was upgrade Meta data, add key phrases to websites and publish. Those are the Style T days of the SEO.

Search applications like Google look at aspects or “signals” to figure out relevance and to choose how to type SERPs. Add in the more and more competitive records from various press, weblogs and website along with more intelligent look for promoters and it is easy to understand that effective SEO needs continuous interest. what about: innovative link-building, growth and marketing of new articles, incorporation with other online and online marketing, public networking, statistics and optimization improvements.

4. “SEO is an operate of IT”

SEO began out in the workplaces of information Technology, but has shifted its way in the professional workplaces for many of the companies. Ii is believed the most latest SEMPO state of the look for market studies have shown that the companies are no more credit from other cost facilities to buy their look for engine marketing projects. It’s an organization decision line product like any of the other market expenditures.

However, IT and Web Development are crucial for appropriate execution and it is very important to know that in bigger companies, SEO is a multi-departmental. IT, Public, marketing, Relations, Lawful, Creative and possibly functions might all be engaged in some manner with an ideal effort to help arrive at organization objectives through enhanced look for efficiency.

Besides of the size of organization, SEO projects should be handled tactically by the organization like any other significant marketing initiative.

5. “The website does not many of the guests, so SEO would not work for us.”

With myths and comments like this, you must think, “Who on the globe is Lee discussing to?” You might be amazed how many brilliant, achieved business promoters have said that.

The truth is that feedback like this is an indicator of uncertainty about look for as a self-discipline or about look for as a practical marketing route for a particular organization. Smart individuals say this type of things due to the reason that they aren’t assured about the remedy being provided and want to get rid of or prevent the discussion. Anyone else using such reasoning just does not comprehend marketing.

Another way is that if companies are considering SEO, regardless of who allows them, they want look at it lengthy lasting. SEO is not force option marketing and it’s not for the eager. The lowest period is six months after execution before assessing whether SEO has guarantee as a successful marketing route.

6. Search Engine Optimization is a dark-colored art

And it is done, usually in a darkish room, by some criminal SEO advisor, without demanding the participation of the consumer / relaxes of the organization. If SEO was like that, our life would study like spy stories.

7. SEO is one-time

You have observed someone saying “We just completed SEOing our site”? It is completely wrong SEO is continuous. Just like a person’s website is never “completed,” neither is a person’s SEO. Collection promoters get this better than anyone: they are used to improve every inch of their produced catalog. There’s always more efficiency to be squeezed out. “Set it and ignore it” false impression is particularly frequent among IT employees — they usually cure everything like a venture. In that way they can get through projects, close their “ticket” and shift on, and thus sustain their peace of mind. I cannot say I responsibility them.

8. Computerized SEO is spammy or Black hat

There is nothing incorrect with or incorrect in using automated. Indeed, it alerts a stage of maturation in the market when industrial-strength resources and systems for large-scale automated are available. Without automated, it would be very difficult for the business organization to range their SEO initiatives across the huge of articles they have released on the Web. Bob Jackson reveals a powerful image for SEO automated in this traditional publish.

9. A website map is not for people

A great HTML website map is developed as much for people to drink as it’s for robots. Whenever you make pages/copy/links completely for a look for engine, expecting they will not be seen by people, you are asking for problems.

10. Google won’t catalog webpages that are only available by a website look for form

This supposed to be a case, but Google been able to complete types and spider the outcomes since 2008 at least. Observe this does not offer you authorization to intentionally ignore your website availability to robots, as you would probably be dissatisfied with the outcomes.

11. Need Of Website Submission To Google

Ok Now You might have read those offers or services which ask you to submit your website to Google and charge hundreds of bucks. Yes! Thousands of SEO companies are working out there which actually do this fooling to those people, who don’t have much knowledge about this practice.

Well! There is no need to get your website registered by Google and you don’t have to perform any submission task. This is an automated task which search engine bots do. Google much often finds websites through links attached to different other websites.

12. Website SEO Allowed Once

Most of the people think that spending money just once does not leave any margin for more SEO practices. However, this myth will always remain a myth.

Keep one thing in mind that your website needs proper and regular attention in this regard due to the updates launched by Google. The thing is just like buying a cell phone. The warranty lasts for a short period of time and after that, its chance of getting attacked gets increased.

If you don’t spend money regularly on your website, then it will soon fall down.

13. SEO Isn’t Useful At All

There are many people who say that they never showed any concern about search engines and everything is going fine for them.

Well, some brands, singers and star bloggers can find a way with not using any SEO. For other people who are not popular like them, however, using SEO for your website and working to better search results is essential. But you shouldn’t make all the things or decisions solely on search engines, Contemplating them and understanding how search engines work is better because being an ordinary personality, you can’t get much traffic without the help of search engines.

14. Your Rankings Are Waste

The trend of personalized results has lowered down the real importance of search engine rankings but, however, they aren’t totally obsolete. You may not get an accurate picture but they fairly indicate where any site ranks for majority of visitors.

15. XML Sitemap Boosts Rankings

It is believed that bearing an XML sitemap is worth it from SEO perspective. People consider it as the greatest SEO activity which boosts the rankings of your website exceptionally.

However, threads posted across different forums and blog posts likely transformed it into a myth which states that an XML sitemap boosts your rankings exceptionally. The belief that an XML sitemap gives a ranking boost to your pages is believed my most of the beginners. But actual professional search engine optimizers know that this does not help. XML sitemaps are only useful for the navigation of your website. They do not play any other role in your website optimization.

16. Meta Data Doesn’t Play Any Part In SEO

Meta Tags can be considered as less important but that never means that they do not play any part in SEO.

We’ve observed that Google ignores Meta tags and Meta descriptions when you have not used the best tag or description but at least it uses your tag as a hint. So, you cannot consider these tags worthless.

Meta data provides you a way to convince the readers that the thing they are searching for is waiting for them right here. You cannot neglect the importance of Meta tags because they sometimes provide traffic by a mean through which other SEO practices cannot.

With the exclusive launch of Google’s social networking website Google Plus, each time you publish a link on this social network, a description and a title is scraped. If your site doesn’t possess any data, then Google pulls in whatever it finds, and your website link can end up with pretty ugly looks.

17. Just Reading Up Makes You Eligible to Practice SEO

In each industry of the world there are professionals and SEO world is not any different. There are many gurus in this field who keep theorizing the facts of this field and pay less attention on the practice part.

Reading up books and other related matter doesn’t make you an SEO expert. You have to practice properly. So, be careful when choosing an SEO for advice.

18. Google AdWords Make or Break Your Rankings

Keep one thing in mind that Google AdWords does not improves your website’s organic search results. There is no truth in the fact that using Google AdWords is effective from SEO point of view. It is only related to earning phenomenon.

19. Keyword Density Is Everything

This myth is worth-mentioning because of its uniqueness. Besides, this myth is evergreen and is repeatedly buried. Noobs and Intermediate search engine optimizers pay great attention on keyword density due to some facts explained by different websites.

Let me take you back in search engines’ starting years. These launched a rule of magical density of keywords which explained that that each page must add a specific density of keywords in their content and other places to get a good rank. If things didn’t go well that time, professionals used this rule. It was as easy as eating a piece of cake.

This technique has now lost its effectiveness and has died out several years ago. Now keyword density is not considered that important. So, don’t waste your time in this less useful practice.

Write only for humans who want interesting and useful content. You are not writing for plants or animal kingdoms only that can bear this keyword studding.

20: No-follow Keywords are Worthless

No-follow attribute gives a way to webmasters to let search engines know that they don’t have to or they should not follow links of particular links or specific mentioned pages.

It explains them that they don’t vouch for website they are linking editorially out and hence, no anchor Page rank, anchor text or any other authority of your website should be crawled by their bots. No-follow is essential contraception for website’s links.

This phenomenon led to a common belief that a link that the link that is claimed “No-follow” does not possess any importance. Well! This is wrong. The links with “no-follow” are useful. Two reasons make this fact true:

  1. Many leading sites no-follow some of their links. But on the contrary, the exposure and traffic opportunities still make that “no-follow” claimed link worthwhile.
  2. It is unreasonable to imagine the fact that engines assess the nature of the looks of your link profile. Generally speaking, a website really picks up no-follow claimed links naturally; it will look suspicious if the link is only contingent on do-follow links.

The reality explains that many search engines and their different algorithms get produced most of the time but basic or fundamental principles of this phenomenon remain the same – create that website which is of high quality and has the potential to delight, engage and provide values to the audience be it your customers or your readers.

21. Great Content Can Do Anything

High-quality content can be considered as one of the biggest parts of SEO, but the sad part is that it cannot be considered as the shebang of this whole practice. This means that don’t depend singly on the content. It is true that “Content is the King” but it can never do it all.

 

Building a good strategy for a website and great content is principal to SEO – without a strategy, any time spent or resources given in content can potentially go wasted.