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Colin Smith

10 Most Important Parts of a Homepage

The 10 Most Important Parts Of a Homepage

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Your homepage: the front window of your business where you get to put what you do on display. The perfect setting to put your best foot forward. The first, and possibly only, impression on a potential customer or client. With so much at stake, you want to be as prepared as possible by leaving no detail unattended to. That’s what makes these the 10 most important parts of a homepage.

1) Headline

Have a single sentence clearly stating what your site has to offer. Get your viewers attention with something that has a little personality to it and leaves a unique impression. People are more likely to read this than your actual copy, so make it count.

2) Sub-Headline

This is your chance to further describe whatever it was that you previously stated in your headline. Elaborate a little more to maintain your viewer’s interest and prompt them to continue exploring.

3) Primary CTA’s

Guide your audience with a well positioned Calls-to-Action above the fold. These CTA’s should take the user to your main objective. If you’re an E-Commerce site take them to your ‘Shop’ page. If you’re selling a service, take them to the page with your differentiating factor.

4) Visual Support

Most people are visual learners, meaning seeing truly is believing. Beautiful, professional photography will be the best way to show off your products, service, or team. Try to restrict stock photography, though there is some worth using, and be sure to show your personality.

5) Benefits

What sets your company or product apart? A few key points highlighted on the homepage make for quick associations the viewer will hold with them as they peruse the rest of your beautiful site.

6) Navigation

Speaking of perusing, make sure your visitors have a clear navigation to guide them. Nobody likes hanging out somewhere where they keep getting lost with no clear way home. Keep it simple, easy to find, and readily available. If possible, include a search bar so if they want to find something specific, they can.

7) Logo

Like we said earlier, most people are visual. A logo gives people something unique they can instantly associate with your company, and the pleasant experience they (hopefully) had while visiting your site. Even if it was brief. Be sure to keep your branding consistent as well to further encourage association.

8) Contact Information

Make it easy for people to get in touch with your company. If you have a brick and mortar location, be sure to include that.

9) Social Media Logos

Give the visitor a way to connect with the company and see it’s personality a little more. Only feature buttons for social platforms that you’re active on, there’s nothing less engaging than a dead social media outlet.

10) Actionable Elements

Videos, downloads, blog posts, animations and other visual elements that involve user engagement will encourage a longer stay and more exploration.

A good homepage won’t look the same for every company in every field, and that’s a great thing. Just be sure you get you point across and give people an ample opportunity to know what you’re about, how to engage with you, and how to buy your product or service if they so choose. If you’re able to do all of that without someone leaving your homepage than I’d say you’ve done a good job.

How to Keep Your Email Content Fresh

Keeping Your Email Content Fresh

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Email marketing is an effective way to engage with your customers, drive traffic, and increase sales. In a previous blog we talked about the benefits of making your emails visually appealing, but what about the meat of it? It’s not easy keeping your emails full of fresh and creative content, but your audience sure will appreciate the effort. Here are some new ways to add content to your email.

Video

It probably seems like videos are everywhere you look, and that’s because they get people’s attention. They are visually stimulating, interesting, and they provide a great opportunity for your company to try something new. Whether you make a fun video about the history of your company, find a creative new way to announce a new product’s release, a useful tutorial, or a personal way to meet the team, videos give you a lot of options to branch out. Plus there’s no better format for your company’s personality to shine.

Reminders

A friendly reminder is always acceptable because your intention is clear. Have an upcoming event or a sale? Keeping your customers up-to-date is a genuine and thoughtful way to reach out. The key here is to not flood their inbox. Certain reminders won’t pertain to your entire mailing list, but for the most part your customers want to know what’s going on.

Progress Updates

Non-profits, small start-ups, and large businesses can all benefit by keeping customers in the loop. It can make for a fun way to roll out a product, or just so customers can see how well your company is coming along. People like being a part of success, so share yours with them.

Get Social

An email campaign dedicated to building your social following is clearly self-promotional, but if you are effectively using your social accounts then there’s a good chance your customers will be interested. Share examples of what they’ll see if they decide to follow you, and include some buttons to make it easy for them.

Collaborate

Use your mailing list as a place to get exclusive email content. Collaborate with another company to come up with creative, fresh, and interesting content that aligns with your audience while exposing them to something unique. No two collaborations will be the same, so your content is guaranteed to be original. Plus, the added exposure will be mutually beneficial.

The main takeaway is to keep things interesting. If your email marketing is becoming redundant, then it will become forgettable. You’ll lose the interest of your most loyal customers, and risk diminishing a valuable avenue for engagement. Before you click send, ask yourself “Would I want to open this?”

WordPress + WooCommerce: What does it mean?!

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If you run a WordPress site, and you use it to sell stuff, there is a pretty good chance you’ve opted for WooCommerce as your e-commerce solution. With over 7.5 million downloads, 600,000 using the paid version, you aren’t the only one who made the same match. According to WooThemes (the parent company of WooCommerce), WooCommerce powers over 24% of all online retail sites. A top 10 WordPress plugin, it only made sense for Automattic (the owners of WordPress) to scoop it, and the whole WooThemes team, up. Automattic paid more for WooCommerce than any other acquisition they’ve previously been a part of, for a reported $30 Million. They feel e-commerce is a profitable market, and have proved they are willing to put their money where their mouth is. While this won’t mean much for WordPress.com users, the rest of us who use WordPress.org will likely see plenty of changes in the near future. With the acquisition due to be complete in the next month, there has been a lot of speculation about what’s to come.

For those unfamiliar with WooCommerce, here is a brief explanation: it turns your WP site into an online store. You can add, adjust prices, organize, and edit products as needed without much hassle. It’s also great from a payment standpoint, coming fresh out of the box PayPal ready and offering extensions to increase it’s payment method capabilities. WooThemes has also stuffed it with other goodies including inventory management, coupon codes, shipping management, analytics, and other facets necessary for a user to easily run a store. Woo has also included a variety of extensions and themes to make customizing your shop easy.

So what does the Automattic acquisition mean for users in the future? The WordPress + WooCommerce combination should lead for more open source development, flexibility, and integration. A major hope is that this union will bring stability to the connection between WordPress and e-commerce, carrying over into the rest of the plugin offerings as well. The more the two can be integrated, the better they will be as a platform for online sales and growth. As a small online company grows, the hope is they can just expand their sites capabilities rather then look to custom coding to cater to their growing demand. There has also been a lot of user speculation (read: hope) that this means lowered prices for extensions, bundles, and plans. That or a beefed up free version offering things like the shipping extension and styling elements, both of which are currently reserved for pricier plugins.

Aside from the anticipated improvements, WooThemes has promised to continue business as usual for their themes and plugins (including WooCommerce.) The biggest difference  is they will now have the support and access to Automattic’s resources, including their manpower and technology. Feel free to watch Matt’s announcement video below.

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Podcasts and the Art of Storytelling

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Storytelling is the oldest and most effective method humans have to pass along knowledge. It’s how we’ve developed cultural values and passed history from generation to generation. We are wired to remember it.

This is why learning how to tell your story is just as important as what it is you have to say. If your delivery is boring, cluttered, or disorganized people start to lose interest. Think of it as a dinner party. The people who take control of the conversation and demand the most attention are those who are the best at telling stories. They may not have the best stories at the table, but their ability to make what they’re saying interesting and entertaining is what wins over the crowd.

While there are endless outlets for your brand to tell it’s story, only one format has brought back the classic type of storytelling. Oral storytelling is an intimate and traditional relationship between the storyteller and audience. It’s been around for as long as we’ve used language to communicate. Although it is unlikely you will be speaking to your audience in close quarters, huddled tightly, it still offers an important lesson. The best way to experience the oral tradition of storytelling without interrupting your daily life is by listening to podcasts.

Podcasts have been around for a good while now, but as of recently there have emerged clear victors when it comes to storytelling. They offer lessons in effectively finding your voice, style, and feel to best reach your audience. They’re also great ways to spend long roadtrips or long days at the good ol’ 9-5. Here are some great podcasts to get you started:

Serial: If you managed to make it the past 6 months without hearing about Serial, then I’m genuinely impressed. After its release last October, Serial set a new presidence of what radio-journalism could be. It follows a reporter’s investigation of a murder from 1999. Without giving too much away, it’s a gripping series that reached the top of the charts.

Longform: A Q&A format podcast that focuses on the creative process of writers and journalists. It’s an in-depth and intimate look at a professional storyteller’s processes–both grounding and relieving (hint: everyone struggles sometimes). That being said, it’s always inspiring to hear people in love with their craft and career.

Radiolab: Taking a complex and philosophical subject matter and creating an interesting and understandable radio show is no easy task, but Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich do just that. Their series of podcasts use storytelling to explain or examine broad and sweeping subjects, such as time. Another great part of the show is the production value, which adds to their stories without being distracting.

The Truth: You can’t handle the truth! The Truth is an entertaining Fiction podcast utilizing the tagline “Movie for your ears.” Between improvised dialogue, interesting production, and captivating story lines, The Truth is definitely worth a listen. Also, I don’t apologize for the A Few Good Men reference. Worth it.

99% Invisible: One of my favorites, 99% Invisible hosted by Roman Mars focuses on art, design and architecture. Each episode examines a specific example of design, dicussing it in depth with professionals, experts, or those directly influenced by the matter at hand.

While this is just a short list, there are tons of great podcasts. Each has it’s own story, and they all tell it in an incredibly unique way. It might come in handy when telling your own story someday.

Keep Organized With These Small Business Marketing Extensions

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Marketing for a small business can get hectic, time-consuming, and unorganized. Between the hundreds of accounts, sites, and content resources used everyday, it is easy to get overwhelmed. Luckily there are plenty of browser extensions that can be added to your web browser to help keep your efforts clutter-free. Here are some great extensions that the Shout Out team uses to stay sane:

Awesome Screenshot:

Screen capturing is nothing new, but Awesome Screenshot is the most versatile and capable screenshot tool I have come across. It allows you to capture either a selected area, the directly visible area, or the entire web page. After you have selected your screenshot, you can annotate it in a variety of ways, and even censor sensitive information. The final benefit of Awesome Screenshot is it gives you the option to email, share the url, or save the image. Showing edits needed on site pages, individual posts or photos has never been easier.

 

Hootlet:

If you’re in charge of social media for your small business, there is a good chance you are no stranger to HootSuite. Hootlet is their browser extension which helps you save time and effort. You can post to multiple social media profiles at once, schedule your posts, and find targeted content all without leaving your browser window.

bitly:

bitly is a link shortening/ branding extension that does so much more. After you create custom bitlinks, you can then manage and review their performance from the analytics and reporting from bitly. It keeps your social sharing looking clean, and helps you track click-throughs.

 

riffle:

Riffle is the Twitter dashboard you’ve been looking for, assuming you were looking for a Twitter dashboard. Get a Twitter profile’s vitals, influence assessments, top shares, usage and it’s activity rate all in a single dashboard. It’s a great way to learn about your followers or potential influencers.

Pocket:

Save the content you find for later with Pocket. This nifty extension will save, categorize and sync content so you can access it later, from any device. Pocket is a great way to curate articles, videos, or photos to share from your brand’s social media accounts.

MozBar:

The MozBar browser extension provides free SEO metrics and data. You can search keywords, locations and individual search engines. MozBar also lets you analyze on-page elements with their Analyze Page overlay. It provides you with a break down of social shares and metrics. Save time on SEO research by adding MozBar to your extension arsenal.

Other useful extensions that will save you time and effort:

Check My Links:

As the name suggests, this extension is a link checker that scours through your page or post and will make sure all your links are working. Once it’s done it will highlight working links in green, and it highlights the broken links with red. This is a great time-saver, especially when you’ve been editing content for an entire day.

RiteTag:

It can be hard to know which hashtags to use on your social media posts. RiteTag takes the guessing out of it by grading your hashtags on a three point scale. Updates shared through RiteTag are also monitored for click-throughs, replies, retweets, favorites, and follows.

Check out the extensions above and let us know what you think! We’d love to hear of any extensions you use that have simplified your daily workload.

How To Create Well-Designed Emails

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A few months ago, we did a post for our favorite Attention Grabbing Email Marketing Campaigns. As was mentioned by a few team members (myself included) a well-designed, eye-catching email is something that we found to be the most attractive aspect of different campaigns. Being able to grab someone’s attention is the first step in getting the engagement you hope for in email marketing. But what makes for a well-designed email?

 

The goal is to motivate, not intimidate.
When we talk about good email design in a marketing sense, we are mostly referring to design that marries form and function. The reason this is so important is because it will motivate action, leading to a higher conversion rate. If an email is designed well, a viewer will clearly and calmly be able to locate and utilize a call to action, understand the incentive or promotion, and know who it’s coming from. As a marketer you want to make it as stress-free and appealing as possible. The consumer assumes all of the risk: lost time, doubt in a company, or doubt in security. Using design appropriately can reduce these concerns, and bridge the gap between you and your customers. Here are 5 ways to create an effective and attractive email:

Example Email from IFTTT

Example Email from IFTTT

  1. Use a Header– Put your logo or company name at the top of your email, making it clear who is sending the message.
  2. Create a Hierarchy- Just like any other form of content, having a hierarchy allows a reader to skim and quickly decide whether they are interested or not. It also helps to break up your content (someone is more likely to skim or ignore a large block of text.)
  3. Easy to Navigate– If a reader wants to learn more on your site, make it easy for them to get there. The easier you make this, the more likely you are to see conversions. One of the best ways is to have a Call To Action that is pronounced and clear.
  4. Use Imagery-The power of a picture has been praised repetitively. Using photo and video assets will always help. But it is important not to overcrowd and clutter with visual aids, using only what you need will also keep the file size down.
  5. Less is More- While this is usually true in most of design; it especially applies to email design. Having a clear message, promotion, or incentive tells your viewer exactly why you were contacting them. Keep your email simple, legible, and organized. This is the best way to get the attention you deserve for your content.

 

On average, viewers spend around 15 seconds looking at marketing emails. With such a small window of time to make the right impression, use your space wisely. The less clutter, excessive content, and clickable areas there are, the easier it will be to navigate and understand.

Brand Building: Attracting Your Ideal Audience

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Whether you are establishing a new brand or taking a closer look at an existing brand, one key aspect to take into account is your audience. Furthermore, are you attracting the audience you want? Successful brands are able to identify and align with their audience in a way that is both natural and genuine.

The ability to identify your ideal audience allows you to establish a connection between your brand and your consumers. Having a clear understanding of the type of consumer you want gives you an advantage when it comes to the rest of your marketing efforts. Even if you’re a small business and don’t want to exclude a potential customer, identifying your target audience is crucial to branding.

Values: The values of your company should be apparent in your brand. Are you a company who values tradition and quality? Or do you value innovation and contemporary style? These types of questions should be able to be conveyed simply through your branding. That’s why luxury brands don’t waste resources by trying to reach out to every consumer. That’s also why their branding reflects the exclusive lifestyle they want to attract.  They focus on being selective, high quality, and not available to the everyday consumer. By doing this they set themselves apart and attract the type of customer they want.

Social Media Engagement: What kind of audience does your brand attract on social media? Is it a younger crowd who enjoys entertaining and humorous content or is it an older crowd looking for engaging and informative content. Does it mirror the type of people you hope to attract as customers, or are you missing the mark? Social media is a great way for companies to see where they stand when it comes to branding. It gives both the consumer and the company an opportunity to give direct feedback to one another.

Be Original: It’s easy when developing a brand to look at what is working for other companies. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do for inspiration and ideas, it is a bad thing to do when you try and mimic another brand. To stand out from the crowd and attract the attention of people, you have to find your own image. Even though two car companies are fighting for the same customers, they tend to go about it from a different angle. They have their own story to tell, and that story is unique to them. Find your unique story and use it to build a brand that is all your own.

Don’t Over-do It: Trying too hard to appeal to your audience can come off as just that, forced. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, and don’t be something you’re not. Find the middle ground that keeps true to your company, but is also attractive to the audience you hope to gain. This middle ground will be the best opportunity for success.

Lastly, think about the long haul. Build a brand that can be adapted over time while staying relevant to your target audience. Building a brand for the now is setting it up for a complete overhaul. Keeping the long-term in mind will help you build a brand that can stand up to the test of time. You will always need to adapt because your audience won’t stay the same forever, but adapting is easier than changing.

Photo Credit: Roger Reuver

What To Consider When Selecting Your Website Typeface

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There are plenty of ways to make your website stand out from the crowd. The overall look of your site is a reflection of your company, brand, and overall personality. The typefaces you use are a big part of your site’s feel, but there are some things you have to take into account when choosing your type. First, not every typeface will appear on every computer. Each computer has common system fonts that most users will be able to see when they go to your website, but that list is short and limits your ability to be expressive. Luckily, there are several ways to include the font you want on your website which will allow users to view your site the way you intended them to.

Fonts can be embedded in your site, which allows them to stay consistent even if a user doesn’t have the font you use downloaded on their computer. They are also compatible with the major browsers your viewers might be using. There are a variety ways to embed or link your fonts to your website, allowing a browser to access them and show them in your site. Before embedding a font in your website, make sure that the license for that font allows it. If it doesn’t you may have to get an extended license to do so. That being said, each way of embedding has its drawbacks.

sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement)

sIFR uses Javascript and Adobe Flash that enables text on HTML webpages by replacing them with Flash replacements. It mimics normal HTML text, meaning it can be resized and copied relatively easily. Some downsides of this method are the requirement of Flash and Java make it vulnerable to things like ad blockers and any platform that doesn’t support Flash. It also affects the load time of webpages, but its biggest drawback is that it wasn’t intended for body copy, making it one of the more dated methods.

Cufón

Cufón also uses Javascript, but unlike sIFR it converts fonts into vector images. It’s easy to use, has small file sizes, and doesn’t require Flash which eliminates some of the issues sIFR has. One problem Cufón runs into isn’t new to embedding fonts, and that issue is with Copyright.

Both Cufón and sIFR include the font files making it possible for people to steal the fonts. These methods use JavaScript, Flash and PHP to embed fonts. Something to be aware of about sIFR and Cufón is the conversion of the font into another format (flash and javascript). Some fonts that are free, even for commercially distributed uses, prohibit the conversion of the font file into another format. If you still want to convert them you will need explicit permission from the author of that font.

@font-face

@font-face uses a CSS rule allowing you to download a particular font from your server to a website, allowing a visitor to see that font even if they don’t have it installed. Unlike sIFR and Cufón, it doesn’t embed the font on the site. Instead it tells the browser where to find the font.

As it has progressed, there are now a host of sites that provide Web Fonts that utilize CSS and/or Javascript to embed in your site for use. a web font is a file downloaded from a web server and used by a browser to render the HTML text. Your webpage accesses it using the @font-face rule. Most font files will include each type of file needed to make sure it is compatible on every browser and platform (.eot, .ttf, .otf, .svg, .woff). Every font is controlled by an End User License Agreement (EULA) which will tell you what you can, and can’t, use that font for. Here is a list of a few sites where you can find great web fonts to use on your site:

Fonts.com is a subscription font hosting service with CSS and Javascript embedding available and +3k free fonts to choose from.

YouWorkForThem offers one-off per font licenses you can embed using CSS. With many big name clients, YWFT is a great resource for beautiful fonts.

Typekit is a resource brought to you by Adobe that offers subscription plans, as well as plans through the Creative Cloud to bring you a large collection of fonts which can be embedded using CSS and Javascript.

Fontsquirrel is a great site for typefaces that are %100 free for commercial use. They can be embedded using CSS.

Google Webfonts is open source with 501 free fonts that are available to embed using CSS.

With some options of how to embed font on your site, and some resources to find your typeface, all that is left to do is find the font that fits your company best! With so many to choose from, take your time and find what reflects your brand’s personality. Be creative, but make sure its legible at various sizes and on different platforms.

Photo by: Kyle Van Horn

Tables and chairs

Keeping the Office Creative

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The ever changing landscape of business today is full of opportunity, risk, and the constant need to stand out in the crowd. Whether it’s a small business or a large corporation, the goal is the same: stay innovative and unique. This doesn’t only apply to products and services but also to problem solving techniques, new ways to increase productivity, and creating experiences that are fresh for both clients and employees. A company that is desirable to work for will result in a company that is desirable to work with. So how are companies staying innovative? By promoting creativity.

Creativity can be hard to sustain on a daily basis, but a good place to start is the environment where employees will be working every day. Looking at the offices of successful and creative companies, there are things they do that break the mold of a standard office building. The first thing you will notice is how open they are. While you may see desks with individual work spaces adorned by personal pictures and objects, the rows and rows of grey cubicles are nowhere to be found. Having open work areas promote communication, interaction and community which all lead to a more productive and social workforce. Fluorescent lit rooms used for one specific purpose are also not very conducive to a creative environment. Instead, there is a move towards open offices with a lot of natural light, color, and space.

An office is a reflection of the company and people who work in it. It is a reflection of the brand, culture, and work produced by the company. Having examples of work, indicators of a companies values, and items that reflect the brand are great ways to make the office more than just a place to clock in at the beginning of the day. Innovative companies are moving towards office-zones: spaces with different intentions. An area of movable and comfortable furniture promotes co-workers to work together, solve problems, and discuss ideas freely. Areas to write and doodle are also common in these areas. Whiteboards where people can ask questions, draw ideas and provide insight are all great ways to promote productivity and creativity. Other “zones” designated for employees to work in a quiet area without interruption are also great for individuals to get away from the more social parts of the office. While collaboration and conversation are great for inspiration, a place to focus on an idea is also necessary for it to come to fruition. The idea is to create an environment that creates a community of people who enjoy where they are, the people they are with, and what they do.

Aside from forming inspiring and inviting offices, companies are also providing employees with opportunities to grow and explore new ideas. These opportunities go beyond an occasional work trip, and occur much more frequently. Another reason they work is employees get paid while taking part in these activities. Here are three companies who have different approaches when it comes to allocating time to experiment.

3M

3M has been creating products we use on a daily basis since 1902, and now produces more than 55,000 products. Innovation has been key to their success and is the reason they have been able to continue to grow for over a hundred years. One of their ideas has been adopted by many tech companies today, including Google. 3M allows for employees to spend %15 of their time to create, experiment, and pursue their own ideas. This paid free-time has led to products that they still make today, including the Post-It Note. They feel it is well worth it to give employees this paid opportunity to pursue ideas, as it has led to thousands of patents and ideas from which the company has greatly benefited. The key to this free-time is to be supportive and open to new ideas.

Foursquare

Foursquare and their “Friday Afternoon Art Hour.” As it suggests, every friday at 5 p.m. a group of Foursquare employees gather for an hour. Each week someone purposes a new exercise, problem to solve, or a goal for the individuals to work on. They each spend a few minutes brainstorming, after which they draw their final solution. While the activities aren’t necessarily related to ways to improve Foursquare, they are a way to stretch the imagination and problem solve in a stress free environment. Besides, everyone is a little fried by the end of the week, and this gives them a chance to shake off responsibility and think outside of the box.

Google

It’d be near impossible to talk about innovative companies without bringing up Google at least once, for a variety of reasons. A company that started as a search engine has become one of the most innovative corporations in the world with recent releases such as Google Glass, Google Fiber and autonomous cars. One way they promote thinking outside of the box is a space that is accessible to all departments of the company, from legal to design. It’s called The Garage, and its sole purpose is to promote creativity. The name is an ode to Google’s roots, and the culture of silicon valley where start-ups are born in the garages of the next-big-thing’s home. The Garage’s main purpose is collaborative creativity and boasts everything from laser cutters to 3D printers so employees are able to create anything they think up. By making sure the space is flexible, accessible, and open to everyone, Google gives everyone a chance to contribute. In a sense it is an adult’s playground where teamwork leads to productivity.

While creativity and innovation can’t be taught, they can be given the chance to flourish. By creating an office with an environment that promotes free thinking, productivity and community, companies can be sure they have employees who want the company to grow. Secondly, companies who provide employees with the opportunity to grow as individuals will lead to creative thought, new ideas, and progress. The final part to ensuring innovation is by being open to new ideas and different ways of thinking as a whole. The ability to step back and approach ideas from a different angle will give a company the upper-hand on it’s competitors. Companies full of passion and creativity will be the companies with the brightest future.

Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary

Tips and Tools for Increasing Your WordPress Skills

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WordPress: You’ve got the basics but where to next? While learning as you go can get you to your destination, it wouldn’t hurt to have the tools and resources help make the process easier. A simple search of “Wordpress Help,” or something of the like, could end up leading you on a wild goose chase for the  guidance you were looking for. One easy way to expedite this is to know what you’re searching for, the second is to know where to look.

Having a solid foundation is the key to improvement. Knowing the basics of WordPress will allow you to turn your ideas into reality. Here are some ways to improve your WordPress skills:

WP101  is a site that provides you with step-by-step video tutorials to guide you through the beginning stages of WordPress. They also have a Q&A Forum for you to find the answers to the questions they may have not covered.

WPBeginner is a great website which includes tutorials as well as a Beginners Guide and other resources specifically for new WordPress users.

Your foundation is set, but you still have questions when it comes to development. These sites can help you on your way:

WPArena goes talks through some of the more in-depth subjects regarding WordPress. Their blog’s content includes how-to’s, plug-ins and theme suggestions.

You have your basic WordPress set up, but now you want to learn how to make it more customized. That’s where WPModder’s  tutorials can help.

At this point you have some references and have developed your knowledge to where you are comfortable tackling your own site. Now you want to keep up to date on news, advancements and general conversations regarding WordPress. Or maybe you want to see examples of other peoples work for inspiration. Either way here are some great sites to keep you in-the-know:

Manage WP

WPMudev

WPCandy

Tips and Tricks HQ

Smashing Magazine

Pingable

Another great way to keep up with news and trends of WordPress is through Twitter. If you want to fill your feed with posts and updates related to WordPress, here are a few to get you started:

@TheTorqueMag: The self proclaimed Wordpess news core.

@wplift: Dedicated solely to WordPress, WPLift covers everything from tips, to plug-in reviews.

@DavidWells: David is a WordPress designer and developer, as well as the founder of Inbound Now.

Learning WordPress, or developing your skills, is not a lonely journey. There are endless sites and sources to help you on your way. Finding sites that answer the questions you have, or the content you desire, will help WordPress go from a foreign or overwhelming site-development tool to a place you can be creative and deliver your content in the way you desire.

Photo credit: Nicholas Wang

dictionary

Digital Marketing Terms Defined

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If you’re new to digital marketing, you may find yourself in a world full of unfamiliar acronyms and jargon. It can seem intimidating, confusing, and even exclusionary. But, most of the time it’s a way for marketers to communicate with each other in the most efficient way possible. Knowing some of what it means can help you as your company enters a digital marketing venture. Below is a list of commonly used terms you will come across in digital marketing, and what they mean. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can feel confident moving forward with your companies marketing goals.

B2B:

Business to Business refers to business interactions that occur between two businesses. It is the way goods or services are exchanged between two companies. This is usually part of the development or manufacturing of one company’s consumer goods.

B2C:

Business to Consumer is similar to B2B. A business to consumer transaction is when a consumer buys a final product or service from a company for use.

CTA:

A Call to Action is a something on your company’s website that grabs the attention of a viewer and invites them to view another part of your site. It can be something like a banner or button, such as a “Learn More”  button at the end of a paragraph, inviting the viewer to continue reading. In other words, it is a lead or a prompt.

Bounce Rate:

This is the percentage of people who visit one page on your site but leave it without visiting any other page. It is better to retain a viewer’s attention and get them interested enough to visit more of your site.

Blog:

A blog is what you are currently reading. For a business, it is a chance to self-promote. You can put out original content, create site traffic, and grab the attention of potential clients. It’s a good way to interact with your audience by starting a conversation.

Brand: 

In marketing, a brand does not just refer to your logo or tagline. It is identifying what you want the target audiences’ perception of your company to be, and how your company’s voice reflects that image.

ROI:

Return on Investment basically comes down to getting the biggest bang for your buck. You want to see results, and developing a strategy geared towards providing ROI (Return on Investment) is the first place to start.

SEO: 

Search Engine Optimization is the visibility of your site in a search engine’s “natural,”  or unpaid, results. The better your site’s SEO is, the more views it will get from this “organic”  traffic.

SEM:

Search Engine Marketing is the promotion and SEO development to increase site visibility.

UX:

UX is an acronym for User Experience. In terms of digital marketing, this is the experience your visitors will have when they visit your site. User experience takes into account the actions you’d like the user to take and the information you’d like them to obtain. The more they enjoy that experience, the more likely they are to spend time looking at what you have to offer.

While this is not a complete list, it can give you a better understanding of what’s being discussed in digital marketing. In the fast-changing culture of the Internet, and therefore digital marketing, it is nice to have a base of reference to lean back on.

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