How Many Ways Can You Say ‘Helvetica’ in Picture Form?

If a picture is worth a  thousand words, saying ‘Helvetica’ should be easy.

A (‘slightly’) satirical view of social media and its senseless-appearing use and function for promoting your business using pictures. Read on to learn how ‘Helvetica’ fits into the story. The examples used in this post are not necessarily true in every individual case and have been used for entertainment value and expressing the sentiment of the subject of using a picture to convey an idea for promoting a product or service.

So there ‘she’ was, undoubtedly a beautiful looking face.

Intrigued by the way in which the moody lighting accentuated those curves,
compelled me to click the photo, but only to find that the link would take me to a whole
bunch of similar looking faces…

platform 4 to london paddington

Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook – I have a confession; sometimes, I just don’t understand where you are going!

Normally, I have a simple formula that I often use when deciphering whether something should make sense or not. It’s simple really, moreover it’s quite obvious; (x + x = 2x). And so, if something doesn’t weigh-up, then either – you don’t have the full story as to what ‘x’ is, or, some form of ‘jiggery-pokery’ has taken place. Or, maybe it’s time to change my formula.

With today’s fast moving digital world, it is easy to go around missing out on a question that simply does not present itself as a question.

You see, on the internet, there are so many tentacles that connect an intention and the result. And as a consumer, you are privy to one world, whilst as a business owner, another. Together, and with the knowledge of both perspectives you often have conflicting expectations about how things should work.

Meanwhile, social media has steadily developed into a ‘thing’ that has a significant influence on not only how we communicate through marketing. But also, how that communication is received and interpreted.

So, Continuing with first, Pinterest…

What happened to YOU, the face I first saw? I wanted to know more about the person behind that face, its name, its story. I don’t know what else! but basically, something that would tell me more about the face in the image and the people behind it. I thought my click would have taken me to a page where I could learn more about the beautifully sculpted face in the photo. But instead, you give me more similar faces with no explanation and no further information regarding what I am looking for.

So what’s the point? Am I supposed to just ogle these photos for sheer pleasure – a dopamine hit maybe?

After all, what’s ‘geekier’ than collecting images and placing them into categories for easy reference…

Maybe I am simply the wrong type of ‘potential customer’.  And I get it.  I understand that there may be a leaning towards monetizing your service.  And so, therefore, unless I worked for a modeling agency or fashion ‘something’ this would all make better sense.

So, tell me, what is the point? Where is this all going?

If my interaction with an image is solely made possible so that I demonstrate my approval with a ‘like’ or clicking a heart shaped button… (‘hello!’ this feature has now been removed) – Who exactly does this help?

Okay, okay, I’m busting your balls – I know it’s all about inspiration and ideas but I also know that you may well be experimenting with artificial intelligence and facial / image recognition technology. And your social media platform is still learning what’s what. Does this mean you (or, someone else) is developing what may be the ultimate digital person finder? Can you imagine, inputting details such as ‘Donald Trump look-a-likes’ into an image-finder app, that calls up all the portraits of people that it thinks looks like Donald Trump? But, doesn’t that already happen?

And then there was Facebook.

Now, as for YOU, Facebook, Who do you really want to be? Because It seems to me, that you want to be all the other social media networks at the same time. Should I call you FaceTube, FacePin or Face-a-gram (suggestions welcomed below)? You just keep changing things around causing a disturbance, especially for the people that help keep you in business, no matter how small.

You see, my Typographer friend is bewildered as to how he can reach out to the gazillion members you have with his typographic designs. Plus, the audience he has pointlessly accumulated over the years.

Whilst he also uses your advertising service, he finds that his ads are hardly ever approved – they apparently contain more ‘type’ than they contain ‘image’. He is a typographer after all. And the worse thing is, he keeps receiving advertising suggestions from you ( yes you Facebook). To which, when he responds by placing an ad, it is promptly met with a “Sorry, your Ad was not approved” notification.

Now, due to his lack of success with his current visual approach to his Facebook Ads strategy, he is now thinking of taking the ‘visual metaphor’ approach, where he uses images and graphics that express the fonts and typography he designs – but he feels this might be misleading to his audience. I mean after all, how many ways can you say ‘Helvetica’ in picture form?

Oddly enough, though, he does feel that his posts perform much better when he uses photographs or casually shares images with no real business related objective. The problem is, he has no idea whether people are responding to the aesthetics of his posted photographs, or to the actual subject matter if there is one.

This reminds him of how he may be misleading people with the similar approach he uses for his paid advertising. Which wouldn’t help much especially as his intentions are on showcasing his actual work and not just the images he uses to promote his work.

confusion

Is this approach really misleading?

Well not really. But it can be, and especially where there is a likelihood that there is no obvious or conceivable connection between the image and the service or product being offered. But then again, the reaction to an image may arise for a number of reasons; for example, It may be relevant as a reference to a particular moment in someone’s life, or, simply because an image is considered to be attractive in some way.

However, as in my typographer friends case, only a very few people actually venture past the ‘visual barrier’ and make it to his website.

So, who else is there, inadvertently making the internet experience confusing?

Oh yeah, Instagram. Now, I understand that during these digital times, NOT having a mobile phone may seem a little out of place. But let’s just say you don’t have a mobile phone!

What then, Instagram?

Fortunately, there are ways around this, that is; uploading pictures to Instagram without a mobile phone. Not sure how long before this feature is broken in the name of ‘monetisation’ but it sure works right now

Now, besides the mobile phone issue and ‘ogling’, I can’t really think of any other Instagram peeves. How about you?

Join or start discussions like this, here.

DOWNLOAD THIS ARTICLE


RELATED CONTENT:

Do algorithms reveal sexual orientation or just expose our stereotypes?

Visual Metaphors In Advertising 

D&AD Visual Metaphor Training


9 handwritten modern script fonts.
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How Do I Become An Architect Online?

architecture drawing architect header

What do I need to know before studying to become an architect?

As an architect, you will be responsible for undertaking projects that require the assurance of safety and functionality. Your role will involve designing and overseeing the construction of homes, offices and other buildings. Before you can practice commercially you will need to first obtain a license or a validated credential.

What skills and qualifications do I need to become an architect?

If you are a self-determining individual, you may be keen on discovering alternative methods online. Having a creative imagination and drawing skills will certainly help in most cases, especially where providing a portfolio is part of the requirement for entry.

Traditionally, high grades at GCSE for maths and physics are crucial. An Art degree or equivalent will also be useful. As with graphic design, there are two divisions of architecture, ranging from the highly technical, to the more creative and artistic aspects of the practice.

Whilst there are still many architects with great drawing skills today, computer skills is an obvious skill requirement as many firms us CAD for producing highly finished drafts and presentations.

How long will it take before I can practice architecture commercially?

Typically, whilst it takes 7 years of study before becoming a licensed architect in the UK with a B.Arch or DipArch. Completing a BA or BSc can be achieved within three years. It should be noted that requirements will differ from one institution or country to another. And in the United States requirements may even differ from state to state.

Taking an online course will require real-world interaction, as at some point you will need to work under the supervision of an already qualified architect.


Online Courses

edX Online

edX offers free online architecture courses from some of the best institutions around the world. A great starting point for anyone with a general interest in architecture and design.

edX is a leading MOOCs provider, that is both nonprofit and open source. MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses. You can learn more here

Open edX is the open-source platform that powers edX courses and is freely available. With Open edX, educators and technologists can build learning tools and contribute new features to the platform, creating innovative solutions to benefit students everywhere.

Online courses continued >>


Other Useful Links 

RIBA Validation 1 – Architecture.com
RIBA Validation 2 – De Montfort University Leicester

Glossary

MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses 
An online course aimed at unlimited participation and open access via the internet.

B.Arch – Bachelor of Architecture
A bachelor’s degree designed to satisfy the academic requirement of practicing architecture.

DipArch – Diploma in Architecture
A postgraduate diploma designed to satisfy the academic requirement for pursuing advanced levels of education after graduating high school or college.

BA – Bachelor of Arts

BSc – Bachelor of Science

CAD – Computer Aided Design
Mostly technical 3d or elevation styled drawings produced on a computer.

 


ARCHITECTURE AT CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY


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Should I Start A WordPress Blog For Business – Is it really worth it?

do yo really need a blog

With the likes of content management systems such as WordPress. It’s understandably easy to guess why many of us jump feet first and start building a blog without really knowing much about what’s involved.

Blogging, or managing a business website can be fairly complex, especially if you intend on monetizing your content.


Before we go further into the overview of building a website… [LISTEN]


But, Do You Really Need a Blog or Website?

It’s perhaps easiest to think of a blog as the dynamic section of your business website where updates and announcements are added on an ongoing basis. If you are blogging as a hobby, then by all means…

…But, the thing is, with there being so many blogs already, what can your blog offer that makes it worthwhile?

What do you expect from a blog?

Well, more and more businesses are embracing the idea of using a blog as a way of reaching out to both existing and potential customers. A ‘managed’ WordPress.com site makes this extremely easy for almost anyone with internet access.

For artist; designers, photographers, musicians and the likes,  a blog may be used to showcase your work or create a closer rapport with your clients and followers.

You may also feel you need an online ‘space’ or forum for discussion, sharing ideas or helping others solve their problems. It sort of acts like a supplement to whatever it is you offer.

Blogging – where things may seem fuzzy.

In the early days, a blog was considered to be a personal take on a subject, normally the day-to-day experience from the writers perspective.

A further definition may go something like this; A blog is an online journal, normally arranged in chronological order…

A website, on the other hand, was, and, still is considered as a type of online brochure, shop front or informational guide. Which actually encompasses what a blog may be considered to be by many people that actually blog today.

How I break it down is to think of your overall business website or ‘blog’ as consisting of 2 parts;

1. Your Posts as;  the continual or dynamic section of your website used for publishing updates.

and

2. Your Pages as;  the static and normally evergreen section of your overall website. You may even include pages that break the standard layout of the WordPress theme you are using, with landing pages for marketing your products and services.

On this occasion, a ‘self-hosted’ option using WordPress makes this extremely easy with the aid of plugins and themes available, plus you have the flexibility to freely explore different frameworks, third-party integrations and much more.

Here are 3 top hosting providers for getting started with a self-hosted WordPress website. They all provide a simple 1-click installation solution to make things real simple.

BlueHost

2 Sitground

3 Flywheel

So, do you need a blogging strategy

Remember we’re talking about blogging for business, so if you are serious about supporting your business with a blog, then it goes without saying that you will want to be perceived by your audience as a trustworthy source.

And how do you do that?  By starting out in the right manner.

too many email
If you cannot do it all yourself – you may need to hire!

This may require some careful thinking… write about what you know or consider hiring writers to help produce content?

Also, if applicable, where will you source your imagery or graphics? Will you hire a freelance designer? Or, will you set up and design your website yourself?

And how about advertising and marketing, how will you go about performing the necessary tasks involved. Plus, you may need to reply to comments and other feedback from your visitors.

On top of all that, you will also need to deal with security.  You are aware that WordPress is constantly being updated for security reasons as well as enhancements? And so are WordPress plugins and themes

Ignoring updates can result in security breaches and malware being injected into the pages of your blog without you even knowing. Which is why you may need someone to keep an eye open for you.

D’you see?

Blogging, overall, isn’t really that simple. At least not as simple as it to today in setting up a blog. There are so many other factors surrounding the maintenance and management of a blog to consider.

Okay, so what are the fastest methods of monetizing your blog?

If you have absolutely no idea at this point how to do that, it’s probably because you do not have a product of your own. Although not entirely necessary, you should give some consideration for producing your own product for generating income.

Otherwise in the meanwhile, signing up for a Google Adsense account or becoming an affiliate with networks such as Share-a-Sale or Affiliate Window may be the simplest method to start with. [ see how to monetise ]

These networks consist of a number of brands or merchants that provide banner ads and other creatives or linked messages for placing on your website. You will also be provided with a unique affiliate link ‘id’ in order to keep track of when your visitors click your link before making a purchase.

Of course, there are other means of monetizing your website. However, for now, the above method is perhaps the most straight forward for beginners.

The link below will take you to a video that discusses some of the things you should know before building a website or blog.

Email Marketing Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated?



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Fashion Innovations – 3D Printed Clothing

 

At Home With Danit Peleg and Her 3D Printed Fashion Design Dresses.

I always felt most creative working when I worked from home…

It was during the compiling of her graduate collection at fashion school, that Danit Peleg decided to design an all 3D printed, ready-to-wear fashion collection entirely from home. 

Danit Peleg has been well received for her innovative approach, her work has subsequently been featured at the 2016 Paralympics Opening Ceremony.

Her creations are now available for online purchase. What it is that makes her creations so special is something you need to see for yourself – even better if you could touch!

With closer observation, you will notice just how intricately simple’ Peleg’s designs are; and ultimately positions the scope for fashion design and wearable fabrics on another level.

Liberté Filaflex.

It was the Filaflex 3D filament that helped Danit realize her goal in finding a material suitable for her 3D fabric; something stretchable as well as pliable enough for wearing as clothing. In fact, when worn in some cases, here dresses even suggest a bouncing motion with the wearer’s movement.

To get started with any 3D printed project you’ll need to go through the process of choosing the right filament, which is the material a 3D Printer uses to produce the physical object you have decided to reproduce. Filaflex allowed Peleg that flexibility she needed for her 3D fabric, something stretchable as well as pliable enough for wearing as clothing.

Powered by Creative Market


3D Printing First Steps.

Assuming that you already have the skills or a known process for converting your designs from drawing to a print-ready 3D model. Your next step to producing a physical representation of your design is to hook-up your computer to a 3D Printer.

Connecting your computer to a 3D Printer in its simplest form is through a USB connection. However, you may be required to install the necessary software beforehand. MakerBot is one 3D Printer supplier that provides support for a simple ‘get started right out of the box’  type approach and are worth checking out.


All Rights reserved: Photo credit: Daria Ratiner

3d printing


3D Printing Heads Up…

… starting with, Heidi Lee, another designer to dance with the edge of technology boundaries. Check her work out here.

3D Printing in the medical world has opened the way for further advances in the treatment of patients requiring a transplant or corrective surgery. Exploration has excelled to the point where actual organs are being made today. [ read on ]

Did you know that Chuck Hull is known as the inventor of the stereolithography process?

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Business Relationships Through Email – How?

which email

email marketingemail bombardDon’t believe that just because I have signed up to your email list or newsletter, I will be overjoyed at receiving a load of junk, unrelated buy, buy, buy! emails from you…

Now that I have your attention, let me just say that this post is mostly intended for those considering email marketing as part of their businesses promotional strategy.

You want a marketing solution equipped with tools for not only capturing leads but also a 1 stop home for designing your own landing and sales pages.

Below, I highlight some of the benefits of email marketing and mention a few of the related tools and resources available.

In my opinion, email marketing is not only a component of your overall customer relationship management process but also an alternative or even standalone means of acquiring and building a relationship with your customers. And of course, get them to see your offers.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy building an email list from scratch – so start with your existing customers, if you have any.

Most of the tools mentioned below are either free or within an affordable price range for most individuals or small online businesses.

Take a look and let me know what you think. And if you have something to add or share, please do.

(above: EmailSpike is software that allows you to include a countdown timer and video to your email)

List Building Through Email Marketing – The Tools.

Any business person will tell you; in order to sell your ‘art’ or any other product, you need people to sell to – right?

Now, this needn’t be one-on-one, or on a face-to-face basis – ’course not, there’s the Internet!. And of course, you’ll need to have a product or service that people actually want, or are at least willing to spend for. 

word of mouth

Email marketing works as an automated gateway for familiarizing your audience with your business as well as forming a community of followers.

This is where, unless you have already done so, win the hearts and minds of your audience by truly presenting a ‘stage’ for rapport by providing valuable information, and where applicable, an invitation for establishing an ‘open floor’ for discussion in a forum, group or other membership.

There are many services available out there, many of which are mentioned or referenced in some form in this post. The immediate list below includes just some of the services I have tried myself or have been strongly recommended by members of the various communities I sometimes follow.

I have listed a few below in comparative pairs for your own research.

ConverKit  vs Mailchimp
(ConvertKit is said to be easier to use – Mailchimp has lots more useful features including integration with Facebook Ads)

GetRepsonse vs AWeber
(both of these have been around for a while and have grown in the number of features available; including landing/squeeze pages)

MailerLite vs MinuteMailer
(ideal for quick, minimal fuss email marketing)

There are many other similar emailing systems available online. Each offering the same basic features of allowing you to create web forms for embedding on you own website; listing your subscribers and segmenting, customising your newsletters and emails. The more advance systems may go as far as integrate with your ‘customer flow’.

Make your readers feel comfortable

To really create that ‘vibe’ of having a rapport with your subscribers, once you get them, you need to take an approach which allows you to speak to their concerns and interests. Inevitably where a customer can relate to your messages or actions, the better the chance of a good relationship forming.

So perhaps as an ongoing process, consider the practice of collecting the real full names of visitors subscribing through your website ‘opt-in’ forms. In this way, your communication can be more personal.

Eventually, you can personalize their experiences even further by employing a ‘predictive’ type automation or technology with your ecosystem, where each customer’s journey through your online business is specifically tailored for them.

Plus, most people are more likely to make purchases from people they feel they know and can trust. List building allows you to build a relationship with your subscribers. Making those connections will boost your trustworthiness, encouraging additional sales.

How and Why Should I Build an Email List?

Even if you’re new to promoting your online business, you’ve probably heard that same old saying more than a thousand times; “The money is in the list”. And you know, it’s kinda true; building a list of responsive and interested individuals is probably the most powerful way to maintain a profitable online business.

Once you start building a list you can easily begin marketing your own product or service. If you don’t have your own product, start as an affiliate partner.

This is a really easy method of generating online income without having a product of your own. You can send your new list messages or reviews about the products you are promoting and earn a commission for any sales made.

Which is why email marketing is one of those marketing strategies you simply can’t afford to ignore. But it can also be fairly difficult…

There are 3 factors in list building you need to consider:

1. Your Opt-in Page (with web form)

2. The Incentive (call-to-action)

3. The Thank You Page (this may include a download link)

Let’s face it, and you can probably relate to this too, but, in most cases, people need to see a marketing message more than once before taking action.  So, besides your email messages, you may also engage in social media marketing.

How do I start building a list, will it take long?

First, you will need a good website form builder in order to collect the details of your visitors. There are many good options that allow integration with other platforms, including social media, some you may already be familiar with. Using Mailchimp you can even do this directly within Facebook.

Typically your form is placed on a landing or squeeze page specifically designed to do one thing –  convince your visitors to become part of your list by surrendering their names and email address. Adding too much information may defeat the purpose.

In many cases, businesses encourage subscribers by offering something of value as a giveaway.

Landing Page or Squeeze Page Basics Checklist

1. No outgoing links –  with the exception of the “submit” button – do not give your visitor the opportunity to wander away from your form.

2. Keep your message brief – try not to give away too much information.

3. Your CTA ( Call To Action) should be clear and include the value of subscribing.

4. Offer a good “bribe” – Offer something of value for subscribers.
eg. cheat-sheets, reports and ebooks, graphic resource, templates etc.

Online list building is a powerful way to improve your Internet marketing performance. It’s not a coincidence that top marketers all rely on their lists. So it might be true – “The money is in the list!”

Email List Building Strategies and Tools

Okay, so you’re still reading….

Maybe you need a list too.  it’s the most tried and tested method for maintaining a (semi) captive audience. Especially as you can market to your list whenever you want. Keep you list fresh by continually seeking new subscribers, but of all, keep your messages relevant and exciting as you do not want to suffer the consequence of ‘list fatigue’.


ThriveLeads – One of the most flexible web form builders for WordPress users.
fb-3

More on Landing and Squeeze Pages.

Although it may not be a ‘given’ amongst marketers, however, I personally like to think of landing pages as a more elaborate version of a squeeze page.  

Unlike landing pages, squeeze pages have the one and only tasks of attempting to squeeze your visitor’s details from them. So, obviously, it has to be carefully constructed, with the ‘opt-in responses’ and other related links correctly placed.

If you want to add an extra ‘kick’ to your landing pages, as opposed to your squeeze pages, adding video may help. Remember, videos have been proven to aid with arousing curiosity and far easier to consume than reading for many people. There are also a great number of list building systems that provide squeeze page templates for adding video.

Ideas for your incentive, or bribe…

Nobody likes spam, so people are very careful with whom they give their email addresses to. Therefore your incentive or ‘bribe’ must not only be compelling by providing real value but must also be trustworthy.

Here are a few ideas of what you may give away:

A report or e-book

Software – (eg. a downloadable app)

Training videos

An email training series… (using an autoresponder)

Ultimately, the success of this all boils down to having good quality content, products, and services. However, as hinted earlier your ‘give away’ also needs to be something of value; something that’s appreciated or helpful to your audience in some way.

Not confident? You can always hire a writer.

If you have the budget, or if you’re not confident about creating content yourself, you can always hire a writer to produce content for you. Simply brief the writer with the topic plus any other relevant detail. An alternative to hiring a writer would be to buy the license of a white label or PLR product which you can sell, or give away as your own.

What is an Autoresponder ‘System’?

I call it a system because it can involve many different parts. During your email marketing research or initiation, you may well have come across terms such as; autoresponder, follow-up email series or sequence, and bulk email.

Well, with an autoresponder, you can create a sequence of automated email messages, newsletters, or even a training course, all scheduled for sending out at different dates or when triggered by members of your mailing list.

The Opt-in Success Page – ‘Thank you’

The “thank you” page is normally where your subscriber is notified that their submission has been successful. You may also include a link to your ‘give away’, or simply provide this detail with your automated email setup.

This is where your visitor goes after opting into your list. It’s nice to give them some great content right away. That way, you make them feel reassured or at the least, justified for giving up their email address. Now they are more likely to open your emails in the future.

Here are some more interesting resource worth taking a look at.

Instapage is great for designers and agencies working as a team
Unique to the industry, Instapage is the only platform with a fully integrated collaboration solution. A highly customizable publishing platform with landing page builder, an extensive integrations system, analytics, and optimization.


Read the Beginner’s Guide to Landing Pages here:
What are landing pages exactly? When should you use them? Where do you host them? Do you need them in your business and how can you create one?


Ambassador – More Referrals Start Here
How to Increase customers, referrals, and revenue by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth.


Read the Beginner’s Guide to Landing Pages here:
How to Increase customers, referrals, and revenue by leveraging the power of word-of-mouth.


Oh, and just to let you know, some of the links within this document may be related to one of my sponsors. In which case, it would be only right to inform you that if my referral results in a purchase by you. I may receive a commission. This does not affect you in any way, however, I thought you might like to know anyway.

Thinking of Making A Social Investment? Join me at Zopa



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Search Engine Optimisation, But Which SEO Tools?

website traffic and seo tools

SEO Tools Basics And Why WordPress:

Shedding some light on your website’s activity, is a crucial practice for determining how best to move forward with the progress of your websites.

Even the most basic, but appropriate, SEO tools can provide you with more than sufficient data – that will help you make informed decisions to significantly enhance and improve your marketing efforts…



So What Are Experts Using to Enhance Their SEO Strategies?

Well,  starting from the very basics of employing the use of code and  ‘h’ tags, for example, which can be quite a mystery for those of us who are new to creating content for the internet, or even know any code for that matter. The only other thing to concern yourself with is finding a strategy that works best for your individual and specific type of website. 

SEO is not a simple fix once and leave activity…

Although there are many items that may well remain constant regarding your websites SEO.

However, constantly having to improve or tweak your SEO, seems to be an ongoing trend within the industry.

Fortunately, there are a number of website platforms, namely WordPress, that will help you intuitively build and learn how to format for SEO. But, bear in mind there are two WordPress options. The self-hosted option and the managed hosting option.

Now, WordPress, the self-hosted option,  alongside SEO tools or plugins such as; Yoast, Optimise Press, LongTail Pro, and Content Samurai, you can readily expand the thoroughness of your search engine optimization. 

So, if you really want to make a start at looking at your SEO and keeping on top of things right from the start. Even if just to familiarize yourself with the mechanics of Search Engine Optimization strategies, it may be a good idea to check out popular SEO services such as SEMrush and Moz. 

traffic research and seo tools

In What Easy Ways Can Tools Improve My SEO Strategy?

Personally, I would answer that question with; “Tools cannot improve your SEO – good content improves SEO”. However, that would seem like a dumb reply for most experts that understand how SEO works. And how even the worse content can rank high amongst the popular search engines. Perhaps less so nowadays…

Anyway, depending on the SEO tools you use, they can be useful for an array of purposes such as helping you format your content without the necessity to know how or where to place any code.

As vague a question it may seem, as an entrepreneur, blogger, writer, artist, or even budding developer who may be unfamiliar with SEO. At some point, you realize the importance of the search engines being able to find you. And  you will inevitably ask the question;

How do I determine what my keywords are for my content?”

Or, you may ask;

“How do I make the description that appears in the Google search results – actually read, or, “say’ what I want it to say…”

Besides the obvious text related aspects of your website, there are other considerations for images and website loading speed to be considered.Now, if you use WordPress, naming your

Now, if you use WordPress, optimizing and naming your images’ ‘alt’ (alternative name) for example, is a cinch. So is entering the meta description that appears in the Google search results. In fact, WordPress combined with a few plugins and other integration makes for a really flexible and powerful platform.

And I know that Yoast will certainly help you quickly and easily resolve your ‘SEO phobia’ (if you have one). Yes, within a few clicks, Yoast will even help you create a sitemap – but don’t expect it to perform magic.

You can find one of my musings with Yoast here; an experiment with lorem ipsum.

So, to conclude, SEO tools will not make your content rank better. However, there are tools and strategies that will help you prepare your content to its optimum. You want the search engines to love your site. Not only that, remember SEO is also about your visitors having a seamless and enjoyable experience. So think about your visitors journey.


RE-PUBLISHED / EDITED 
(ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: Jul 26, 2015)

Traffic Help? Free Cheat Sheet Reveals How To Generate Traffic with Video


Take Note:


Why use iPage?

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What Are The Benefits In Creating Or Using Vector Graphics?

vector art

Creating Digital Vector Drawings – Using Blends and Paths.


 

Working with Vector Paths – The Basics.

The one undeniable advantage and really useful benefit with vector artwork, i.e. graphics created using ‘paths,’ is, the flexibility it allows throughout the reproduction and implementation processes that may be involved with creating and managing your ‘graphic design images’, and especially when preparing for commercial purposes.

Now, for those of you not familiar with illustration software. Using vector graphics software for creating illustrations, logos and other graphic design elements allow for greater application and creative flexibility. Eliminating issues such as; resizing, creating multiple formats including; camera or print-ready artwork, managing image quality or image resolution, and so on.

These issues are all simplified or resolved by the use of images created and saved in vector format. Plus, there are many useful formats that can be generated directly from a vector graphic design. For example, graphics saved as png files with a transparent background.

During the process of constructing a vector artwork, there are basically 3 types of paths that you will use; curved, closed and straight.

Of course, vector graphics have its limitations. However, the illustration below demonstrates how a combination of vector paths, along with blends and color fills, can sufficiently capture the tonal values of a given subject.

LEARN MORE

harley-davidson-drawing

enabling artist and designers with almost boundless control and ease of use for efficiently achieving an expansive range of creative possibilities.

Q: Does having the latest version of Adobe Illustrator matter – Can I achieve the same results with older versions?

A: You really do not need to have the latest version of Illustrator to create Illustrations with Blends.

The principles are fundamentally the same in the old versions, as with the new. Although, over the years most of the enhanced or adapted tools found within the more recent versions of Adobe Illustrator® have evolved – enabling artist and designers with almost boundless control and ease of use for efficiently achieving an expansive range of creative possibilities.

Bear in mind that with the older versions of the software, you can equally achieve the same visual results.


 

harley-vector-draw-illustrator?

About the Video above; Understanding the use of Paths in Illustrator.

The video above explains what paths are and how they work. Understanding how paths work will help you quickly grasp how best to construct your vector drawings or illustrations, logos, typography, textiles, and other graphic designs…

Additionally, you will learn to intuitively know where to make considerations for applying blends and other effects to the variety of shapes and situations you encounter during the construct of your illustrations.

 

Looking for more info and tips like this? Receive occasional tips on the possibilities of vector graphics, plus other creative inspiration…
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Or, please leave a comment below describing how you benefit from using or creating your own vector graphics.

REPUBLISHED 2017


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Setting Up Online Payments 7 Point Checklist Basics

7 point check list

policies

Collecting Data for Designing Better User Experiences

– Continuing from where we left off;

here is a scenario you can experience for yourself whilst at the same time helping you take care of the typical blind spots when marketing your product.

It’s an example of how very simple factors, if overlooked, can result in leaving your audience feeling at a lost… 

 

Haven’t read “The Importance of Collecting Data for Designing Better User Experiences” yet? << then go back to the previous post or  Grab the FREE “bloglett” download

 

Okay, the following demonstrates just one of the many common types of situations you may find yourself in, whilst creating and preparing content for an online marketing and advertising campaign. It is intended to highlight the type of vagaries that occur which may or may not be in your control.

CAMPAIGN SETUP CHECKLIST:

1. Check that all your links are correct and lead the user to the intended destination. So, let’s imagine you have a product going at a bargain price. You proceed to design your page by first entering something like; 55% Off Photo-Editing Software

You then ‘burst your brains’ coming up with a short description followed with a ‘buy now’ and ‘learn more’ button. Finally, you’re all set to run your paid ad campaign…

self annoying copy

Annoying, isn’t it?

When you find that after running your paid ad campaign, you discover that you have entered the wrong destination links…

That’s money down the drain through carelessness;  Well, it’s not always due to carelessness, but sometimes it could be due to some unexpected third-party intervention. Which you may have no control of.

What you do have control of, is that you ensure that when someone arrives at your page, there is some connection with the message or image associated with the target link. In that way, you may salvage at least some trust or familiarity for a second shot.

Nonetheless, there is still nothing more confusing than when, as a user, you arrive at a page with no apparent connection to what may have triggered you to show interest in the first place.

TIP: MAKE IT EASY TO USE

2. Check that it is easy for the user to recognize your offer? Beside your call to action or product offer, any third-party integration with delivery and fulfillment services, payment gateways and so on, all need to be part of a seamless journey throughout the ordering process.

TIP: MAKE IT AS SEAMLESS AS POSSIBLE

3. Check that your ordering or download function works correctly?Remember, you would like it your way – or the highway!  Keep your visitors happy within the understanding you intend.

It is normally best to always provide acknowledgment of successful transactions; conclude each action the user commits with a clear response. A ‘thank you’ page is a common example.

4. Is your ordering or download process easy to follow? The internet and software normally aim at being intuitive enough to meet most user’s expectations. However, this is a difficult task with there being so many variables to consider and especially when designing for so many different people.

scramble head

So what happens when things go wrong? What causes the breakdown?

Well, to start with, there is the absence of the human to human interface… So what are we left with – imagination?

…yes, we have to use more imagination.

So imagine, those typical, almost subconscious abilities we have and use every day for reading into things like; facial expressions, different tones of voice, body language, and so on… Imagine, they’re all gone (well, sort of). And instead, you have to rely on completing the gaps based on what may be the most probable expectations in the minds of your users.

TIP: LEVERAGE WHERE POSSIBLE

5. Are you also capturing details for your mailing list? When you hear marketers ‘banging on’ about building relationships, there is a good reason for this.  Having a means for communicating and building a rapport with your audience is where you can help with filling in the perception gaps that are formed. As an ongoing practice, providing a subscription form for collecting the details of interested visitors to your offer is a useful standard method of support for building relationships.

TIP:  WORK WITH PARTNERS OR THIRD PARTY THAT FIT YOUR BRAND.

6. Do your links lead to any third-party in a discordant manner? One of the perhaps overlooked aspects of developing a flowing user experience is ensuring that any third-party integration does not stand out like a sore thumb. A third-party integration that works in a way that is congruent with your setup, tone of voice and brand normally provides the preferred user experience.

TIP:  DON’T FORGET THE LITTLE THINGS…

7. Do you have a page for ‘legal’ details? Who reads privacy policies and disclosures anyway? You’d be surprised but more people than you’d ever believe actually do. Even the result of a small test I performed in the past, seem to back this up. But don’t just take my word for it – research or test for yourself!

Now, although the above checklist might seem quite basic, it does, however, help with alleviating the chances of those unpredictable tasks that may sometimes crop up…

…All with the difficulty of anything between the difference of hitting the bull’s eye of a moving target, to the simplicity of catching fish in a barrel.   

What are your most annoying things about the internet? (please comment below)



software folder working in the dark

Better Than WordPress Default Editing Options


Monarch Social Sharing Plugin


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Discover High Dynamic Range Photo-Editing

new york - from sandys office signed

Divi WordPress Theme


Q. How do you get your photos to look so rich with color and depth?

A. I use Aurora HDR

Photographer: Dan DeChiaro from Long Beach, NY, USA

High Dynamic Range Photography – How to Make Your Images Come Alive.

Some people love that highly finished, dramatic, painterly and sometimes surreal look and mood that can be achieved with High Dynamic Range imaging. The great thing is, with the right software and techniques (or presets), achieving a minimal or extreme effect is really down to you.

Photographer: Dan DeChiaro from Long Beach, NY

Yeah, but how do you get your photos to look so good?

If you are thinking that perhaps a new camera will fix that for you, well, err…, that’s not necessarily the solution.  Although If I were to recommend a decent and value for money camera – I do have my sights on the Nikon D3300 and the D800. I think the D800 may win though and only because I have this innate feeling that the higher 32 megapixels, as opposed to 24, may provide a better foundation for achieving an even more colorful and crisply focused, quality photo.

So, Here’s The Software You Really Need…

That was me above, playing with Aurora HDR… Anyway, what you really need is the right software. You can tinker around with other software you already have. But, it has to be said Aurora HDR by Macphun is kitted to make the whole experience a lot more actionable, easy, enjoyable and most of all personalizable. Plus, there are other ways in which you can use Aurora HDR without changing the way you already work.

If You Have an Existing Workflow Method – Add Aurora HDR

You can use Aurora as a Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture plugin. Yes, that’s right. You see, Aurora is a kind of stand-alone plugin, that works as a self-contained app, or as a plugin within the software applications you already use. So no interruption to your typical work flow.

If you found this useful and would like to learn more about Aurora HDR please visit my link here for more details. Below are other links to HDR related images.

Switch to Aurora HDR

Aurora HDR 2018 for Mac and PC


Main Featured Image:

Spidey View of New York by brianjonesfrancis

Related Links and Image Sources:

WallpaperUp

UhdWallpapers

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Something for Everyone | Part Three: Starting an Online Store.

Starting An Online Store

Ecommerce and Marketing – Your First Questions

If you are interested in selling a product or service via the internet for the first time, there are a number of common questions most people tend to always ask.

The following will deal with the common questions asked, plus any you may not have thought of yet.

If e-commerce is totally new to you, you may find working out how the whole process actually works to be a little gray. Sure, you understand that displaying photos of your products is one of the things you’ll need to do. But your next thought might be; How do I receive online payments?

Shopping Cart Integration

Inevitably you will require a means of collecting your customer’s details. This is done by having them complete a web form on the order page of your website or a third-party payment gateway.

There are a number of ways of adding a web form to your website, or as part of the steps a customer takes in order to make a purchase.

1. Use an online payment service provider such as PayPal, Stripe or Payza. These services also provide means of adding payment buttons or links to your website or e-commerce store.

In such cases where you are just simply adding a link or button, you will not need to add a web form to your website. This will be dealt with by the online payment service provider

2. Use e-commerce software with your website or an e-commerce website building service. Magento,  Shopify, Squarespace, and WiX are good options to look at. If you use WordPress, woo-commerce provides a powerful and customizable plugin.

Now, your next question is likely to be; How do I get my products to a customer’s home or office address?

Customer Order Fulfilment

Depending on the type of products you sell, delivering purchased goods to your customers can be as simple as providing your customers with a download link for digital products, or directing them to a third-party service that will deal with delivering physical items on your behalf.

You can do all this seamlessly, without your customers ever knowing that a third-party service has been involved in the ordering process.

If you are selling apparel, poster and other items that require printing. There is a Californian based company, that I personally use, called Printful.  You can learn more about Printful at woppd.com.

So, to conclude, selling digital products such as software, ebooks, graphics and other digital items. Your customers simply require a secure download link.

Whereas physical products require a means for transporting the ordered items to a customer’s address.

Amazon is an obvious example of a company that provides such a service. However, you can find a list of order fulfillment services following this link.

 


FEATURED IMAGE: Pixabay
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