Creative Industry Related Information for Graphic Designers & Web Designers!

How to Calculate your Hourly Rate for Freelancing (animated)

Posted: June 24th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Funny Stuff, Resources | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Great video clip on pricing your hourly rate. Make sure to charge correctly or it could cost you!


Why Your Business Should Consider Having A Greater Online Presence

Posted: November 12th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Business | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

You’re missing out on several big opportunities for improving your business by refusing to spend more of your time online. You should know that there are several good reasons for why you need to consider having a greater online presence.

Find out what these explanations are so you can more intelligently contemplate if it’s the right move for your company. Take the time to educate yourself regarding what the Internet can do for your business and then be prepared to take action. There are quite a few benefits that will come from your efforts in this area that you’ll want to know about as well.

Increase Sales

One reason you should consider having a greater online presence for your business is that you’ll be able to increase your sales. Drive people to your products or services by building a website and selling these items online. You can use a custom website builder to help you establish your existence and then configure your store once you’re up and running. It’s no secret that an increasing number of consumers want to make purchases from the comfort of their own home.

Engage with Customers Regularly

You should also think about gaining traction online, so you can regularly engage with your customers.

How can you do this?

  • Through your website
  • On social media
  • With email campaigns

Use this as an opportunity to build relationships with those who are interested in or already have purchased your products or services. It’s important to always be top of mind with consumers if you want to draw in more business and make a name for yourself.

Outlet for Advertising Products & Services

In addition to regular engagement, you might also want to consider having a greater online presence so you can efficiently and cost-effectively advertise your products or services. The internet is the perfect medium for you to get your brand message across quickly and clearly without even having to leave the office. It’s also a way for you to get in front of your target audience without being pushy or intrusive.

Brand Building

A great strategy for building trust with your customers is to have an online presence so they can check you out and get to know you better. For example, having a long list of positive customer reviews will help you gain respect and entice consumers to want to do business with you. The more they see you in a positive light, the more likely they’ll be to want to work with you later. You can also use your blog to showcase your knowledge and share valuable information with your audience.

Conclusion

You should now have a better understanding of why you need to get your business in the online space. You’re missing out on a lot of chances to connect with your customers if you choose not to engage over the Internet. Give some or all of these ideas a try and see what works best for your business so you can proceed accordingly.


How Companies Benefited by Improving Their Web Design

Posted: October 12th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Design | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Great web design is sometimes unfairly brushed off as a luxury only huge brands can afford to carry out successfully. Companies with generous design and marketing budgets usually do take full advantage of their options and provide users with great online experiences.

However, although it may seem like this is a major league game, even simple web design tweaks and investments can result in huge payoffs. In this article, we’ll explore how several companies managed to increase their revenue and conversions by implementing some of the current web design trends. The following case studies and tips based on research compiled by DesignAdvisor help illustrate the power of good web design, and how any business can wield it.  

Make your site easy to navigate

The percentage of sales lost because customers can’t find what they require on a website goes as high as 50%. Nowadays, users online are accustomed to finding what they need quickly and easily so navigability is key. By improving their site’s architecture and ease of navigation, Botanica managed to increase sessions by 78%, page views by 102% and organic search traffic by 55%.

Provide easy access to information

A site’s search functionalities can help users find what they need in case they are unable to do so merely by browsing. If a search function in not implemented correctly or worse, missing entirely, the user’s overall perception of a website and the quality of their experience is likely to be negatively impacted. 60% of the time, when users can’t find information it’s due to poor search functionalities.

In the case of Volleyball BC, the sports site managed to increase user engagement by improving their search options. They implemented an advanced filtering system for searching results by game and team as well as searching events by location. As a result, the site saw a jump of 28% in visits and an increase in social referrals of over 500%.

Don’t forget about mobile devices

As more users migrate from laptops and desktops to mobile phones, companies failing to update their design to enable responsiveness to mobile devices are bound to see some adverse effects. Almost half of all users will take the fact that a website does not perform well on their phone as a sign that the business associated with it just doesn’t care enough.

HMT updated their site to fit mobile specifications and increased their monthly revenue by 159%; merely by introducing responsive web design, time spent on the site increased by 60%.

Speed up

Almost 50% of users think that a site should take no more than two seconds to load, and investing in meeting these expectations can have some very positive outcomes for a business. Allowing users to get to where they want to go faster helps you sell products and services. Shopzilla increased its conversion rate by 7-12% by simply getting their site to load 5 seconds faster. These small tweaks can clearly have significant impact on your business.

Check out plenty more trends, case studies and resources in the infographic below.

infographic


Art Space Design Launches New Website

Posted: June 27th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Design, Quick Blurbs | No Comments »

 

 

Need help with a website? How about WordPress Development? We can help:


How to boost your online store to the top: 5 methods

Posted: June 4th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business, Design | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Venturing into the world of e-commerce? If you’re looking to become a driving force within your chosen market, it’s important you know how to do it. With so many people fighting to claim the top spot, these five tried and tested tips will ensure you’re ahead of the pack and growing exponentially and continuously, ensuring success for the future.

Have a good level of customer service

One of the best ways to attract new customers whilst keeping existing ones around is by ensuring you upkeep a great level of customer service. It’s the most important part of any business – if you’re offering constant communication and customer service, you’ll be ensuring you build those valuable consumer relationships which will keep your business thriving.

Ensure you have an easy, straightforward way for customers to get in touch in regard to products and services they may have queries about. A phone call is regularly said to be the most effective form of communication, building trust and relationships between businesses and customers – but an email is a good choice if a phone line isn’t feasible. So long as you’re able to communicate clearly with customers and establish yourselves as a reliable company, you’ll keep people coming back.

Ensure you’ve got the right hosting

First things first – you need to make sure you’re choosing the right level of hosting to suit your future goals. Are you looking to remain relatively niche, with a limited outreach that remains consistent? Or, do you want to keep getting bigger and bigger, with no limit in sight? If you’re reading this post, it’s likely the latter.

And so, with that being said, you need to consider which hosting provider to opt for. There are plenty out there to choose from, and it all comes down to your personal desires – should you want to grow exponentially, a dedicated server may be your best bet. Although it’s more expensive than a shared server, having your very own dedicated platform reduces the risk of overloading due to increased traffic, which could end up with significant downtime upon your site and effectively making customers look elsewhere.

Design your site to look appealing

Another way to grow your site and establish yourself as a worthwhile company is by ensuring your design is forward-thinking and easy to navigate, whilst also being visually appealing. Consider the appearance of your competitors and the frontrunners in your market – although it’s good to stand alone and excel from the crowd, you need to understand just what makes your neighbours so successful.

Flat, clean designs are all the rage on the internet currently, so consider stripping it back and letting your products do the talking – you’ll be sure to reap the benefits. Minimalism is in, and combined with responsive design you’ll undoubtedly get the best results.

Also be sure to remove any elements of your design that could harm your ranking—everything from the wrong header tags to intrusive pop-ups could lead to penalisation.

Employ “niche marketing”

There’s a difference between a niche market and niche marketing, and you need to be aiming for the latter. Where a niche market will limit you in terms of potential customers, as there’s less of a demand for the products you’ll be selling, niche marketing will have a completely opposite effect.

Niche marketing basically means you’ll be finding your own space in a market that is perhaps oversaturated with the same own. Stand out from the crowd and offer something new, and you’ll attract customers who are looking for the next big thing.

Make sure your site is secure

Another way to ensure your store doesn’t suffer any setbacks is by having a sufficient level of security to protect it. Attacks such as SQL injections are common upon online stores, and with the risk of things such as sensitive information being leaked, it’s important you’re doing all you can to prevent it.

If you do suffer any security breaches or attacks, it’s likely your customers will begin to look elsewhere as a result. Be sure to prevent anything that could prove to be detrimental to your success.


4 Elements Your Website Needs so You Can Land High-Paying Clients

Posted: May 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business, Design | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

There are elements that make the best websites tick.

“How do they acquire and convert high-paying clients consistently?”

“What do these websites have that we don’t?”

These are the questions those who barely get any sales out of their website often ask.

In this article, we aim to uncover some of those reasons.

Surprisingly, some of them are easily overlooked and are just considered normal elements of a website when in fact they can be the difference between a successful sale and lost one.

The Basics

Before we talk about the elements, we must make sure that the basics are in place. By basics, we mean good on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

To name a few, good-on page SEO consists of good site architecture, a good keyword strategy, and a better than normal website loading speed.

Out of the three, a lot have hiccups on the site speed factor, especially on mobile. According to Google, the benchmark for website loading speed on mobile is three seconds.

If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you might want to consider optimizing your loading speed.

Using a CDN can help speed up the delivery of your webpage content to your users.

You can also minify your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript codes.

Good on-page SEO equals a usable and reliable website for your visitors to use. A usable and reliable website is the foundation that goes hand-in-hand with the elements below.

1. Social Proof

Robert Cialdini, the author of the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, said that when people are uncertain, they tend to look at the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own.

We are more complacent to purchase something if it is used or endorsed by an influencer or accepted by society.

In a nutshell, social proof is something like this – “others say that this brand is awesome, so… this brand must be awesome”.

Think about it. We would be compelled to buy something from Amazon if it is rated five stars and has a lot of positive reviews.

There are different kinds of social proof depending on your industry and website. Moreover, some are more applicable for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies while some are leaning towards Business-to-Business (B2B) ones.

For those in the B2C space, social proof you can use on your website can be social media in the form of Facebook posts or tweets from customers.

On the other hand, B2B companies can leverage on testimonials from past and current clients to persuade future ones.

(Zoho, a CRM platform shows testimonials from brands that use their platform.)

Showcasing your client’s logos or media publications where you are mentioned in on your homepage is another good social proof for B2Bs. These are also known as trust icons.

(Salesforce, another CRM platform, showcases the brands that use their platform.)

2. Blog Platform

A blog can help build your brand’s thought leadership and expertise in the industry by providing relevant, informative, and useful content to your customers or clients.

When we see a brand publish noteworthy content on their blog, we consider them authoritative and competent on what they’re doing.

The content you publish in blogs helps nurture your customers as they go through the customer journey.

For example, you can publish blog posts aimed at generating awareness for your product or service.

On the other hand, you can also craft content that aims to remove doubt and last-minute questions to help your customers reach a purchasing decision.

Other than building thought leadership and lead nurturing, a blog is also a useful repository where you can store content that can help your website get found easier with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

3. Consistent Call-to-action

The best websites are designed to have one end-goal or conversion in mind. Those conversions can be a sale or a sign-up on a lead generation form. These conversions depend on your industry, website, and whether you’re B2B or B2C.

For example, if you are a B2B website, your conversion can be a lead. Of course, the occasional inquiries that directly lead to a sale is good. But most of these big-ticket clients needs some nurturing before they buy.

If your aim is to generate leads, your website’s call-to-action and the copy must be consistent all throughout. Every page must be designed to lead to that end-goal.

(Ahrefs, a tool for marketers, communicates one call-to-action on their homepage.)

Some websites forget about these end-goals and add other call-to-actions or generate copy that makes the visitor ask “what do you want me to do?” or “where do you want me to click?”.

Or even worse, some websites even forget to add a call-to-action that often leads to a visitor leaving with no meaningful interactions with the website.

4. Lead Generation Mechanism

If a visitor lands on your website, lucky you! He or she chose your website instead of the countless others. But the challenge now is how to transform the visitor from a visitor to a paying consumer or client.

Not all visitors will convert on the spot, and this applies to both B2C and B2B companies. That’s a reality we all have to accept.

The visitor is interested in your product or service but there are a lot of factors that can influence his or her purchase like lack of money or lack of time to make the purchase itself.

You don’t want that interest to die down now that he or she is aware of your product or service, don’t you? Remember, awareness is hard to come by nowadays.

A useful element to add to a website that helps keep leads interested are lead generation forms. These forms are where visitors can opt-in in exchange for something of value like an ebook or a free trial of a software.

(FreshBooks provides a lead gen form where visitors can opt-in in exchange for a free trial.)

A lead generation form typically subscribes the visitor to an email newsletter. Email newsletters help your visitors navigate through the consumer journey by sending our targeted and well-timed emails depending on where they are on the journey.

For B2B companies, programmed emails help prospective clients learn more about the product or service on the awareness phase. This also helps them keep interested in the product or service.

On the flip side, sending an email that encourages your clients to renew a trial or consult with you if you are offering a service is effective in the consideration phase.

Conclusion

The four elements, when done and integrated right, can be powerful tools to increase and retain your customers and client base.

Found this article helpful? Help others learn more about these four elements by sharing this article.


B2B Digital Marketing: What New Trends Can We Expect?

Posted: March 2nd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

B2B

B2B digital marketing isn’t easy. Marketers are expected to be fully in sync with the sales team to understand both branding and performance, stick to a comprehensive data-driven approach, as well as run reliable tests using a range of tools and technologies. Still, the B2B digital marketing space is a lot more exciting today than ever before.

With the rise of technology, there are even more possibilities for engagements between B2B businesses and their potential prospects. Therefore, the best way to prepare is to anticipate upcoming trends and incorporate them into new, more effective strategies.

Awareness of the latest trends means that B2B businesses can embrace changes early, stay ahead of the competition and reap the attached benefits. Here are some of the new trends we can expect in B2B digital marketing.

Account-Based Marketing and Sales Strategies

For the past few years, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has generated a lot of interest in B2B marketing, growing steadily all the while. Studies show that the value of ABM is recognised by 92% of firms as a ‘must have’ in B2B marketing. ABM represents a more effective way to generate new business, instead of relying only on ‘inbound’ methods of lead generation. This is especially true for B2B companies with lengthy, complex cycles that often involve different transactions and stakeholders that are generally high-value in nature.

Account-Based Marketing requires a close collaboration and alignment with business development, but companies are also beginning to see the importance of a transfer to an account-centric model for marketing and sales purposes.

Marketing Automation

As a consequence of the simplicity and affordability of the web/cloud based marketing automation platforms, the B2B industry is seeing a fast-paced growth in the adoption of marketing automation. It’s therefore the perfect time to understand customer needs, break down and classify the customer database, and prepare need-based or seasonal email marketing campaigns.

Such campaigns target a highly customised audience and use trigger-behaviour-based emails / drip email marketing methods. To achieve a seamless outcome, businesses need to integrate email marketing with their content marketing strategy.

The full potential of marketing automation systems (to create comprehensive customer engagement throughout the purchase process) is yet to be realised. Still, more businesses can be expected to adopt automation, with email marketing being the easiest place to start.

LinkedIn Marketing

If your B2B business is yet to invest in LinkedIn marketing, you still have a lot to do. Social selling has grown to become a lot more than an experimental marketing strategy. It is the new standard as far as B2B sales is concerned.

Generally, social media was regarded as a better fit for B2C lead generation and marketing, with B2B marketers choosing trusted hosting companies to handle Domain Names space and other online advertising methods.

However, more B2B marketers are changing their focus to social media as a means to communicate with and educate their potential prospects. In addition, LinkedIn – once regarded as a hub hosting sketchy recruiters and hungry job applicants – is now one of the most widely recognised advertising giants for B2B marketers.

Following their 2016 acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn has released a number of features, all working towards cementing the site as the most cost-effective and efficient platform companies can use to reach a B2B audience. Now, targeting for ads using this network are incomparable for reaching specific subsectors of potential customers in a range of industries and job roles. Therefore, just as in the previous years, the platform can be expected to outshine other social channels for B2B businesses.

We can therefore expect to see an increase in the use of LinkedIn’s social lead generation forms – InMail Analytics. This is one of the recently released features that works to improve the performance of your entire team, and help attract greater response. B2B marketers are making use of LinkedIn to make more data-driven decisions than ever before, and this trend is expected to continue in the future.

Improved Thought Leadership

Well-written content will always have a place online – despite the rise of video and other types of media content. B2B content marketing therefore needs more focus placed on genuine thought leadership, instead of concentrating solely on sales and self-promotion. There is an important role which thought leadership generated content (with valuable insight) plays throughout the buying process.

Such content follows the buyer from awareness of the product to consideration and then selection. We can expect content marketing to return to its original form, where the main aim was to create and share relevant, valuable and consistent content to attract and hold on to a specific audience. We can also expect an increasing demand for thought leaders creating their own content on LinkedIn and other social networks.

The new trend in B2B digital marketing calls for content that looks to inform, educate and demonstrate the thought process and expertise of a company to a prospective buyer. Such content will be characterised by less focus on sheer quantity, and more emphasis on quality thought leadership.

How can B2B businesses take advantage of this trend to improve marketing?

More demand should be placed on business leaders’ experience to create insightful pieces that can be accessed on the network. If a network shows interest and connects with you, it’s an opportunity to further showcase your expertise, creating content that provides a window into the level of thinking your company is positioned to deliver. A more obvious benefit is that prospects will have a more personalised channel to engage with your business.

In addition, alternative content formats should also be explored. Different forms such as infographics, whitepapers, videos and whitepapers should be used appropriately across the network. Backlinks can also be created to give your intended B2B audience (researchers and decision makers) the impression that your brand’s products and/or services are everywhere.


Why You Need to Build a Business Blog

Posted: July 27th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Whether you are running a restaurant, an eBay shop or are a freelance creative, running a successful business blog could raise the profile of your organization or enterprise significantly. It might seem like a whole lot of work, writing posts then sharing them, and maybe you are not a natural writer, or you think that you don’t have anything to say. Whatever your hesitation, it’s time to move on. A blog alongside your website could be the difference between your business getting by and thriving. Read these top reasons to start blogging, and get yourself ready for the world of interacting with other people in the written form.

Raise your Personal Profile

Making yourself more visible and occupying a public position may seem intimidating, but establishing yourself as somebody who is engaged in their particular field is only going to help you further grow your business. In the age of social media, the individual has more of a status than ever before, and personality sells products and services. If you are able to write a blog each week, ensure your content is relevant and insightful: write about industry tips, demonstrate a good working knowledge of the business environment, and engage with your clients and customers. Make it readable, and you are guaranteed to inspire confidence in potential customers.

Promote the Right Kind of Sharing

Each blog post you produce will be read by some person or people, therefore, the chances of your post being shared are quite high. Although it may not go viral, a few shares of a single post means it’s working, and you should continue writing or blog post. Improving your number of shares, however, will take time. It’s a slow game, and not one you can rush. Of course, when your traffic starts to increase, you need to ensure your blog is able to withstand a large amount of people, all at ones. Consider using a service like Best Web Hosting that offers affordable packages.

Establish Your Business as a Part of a Community

Blogging is a means of creating and nurturing a group of people who are interested in what you have to say and write about. You can build a network of like-minded individuals, and watch your blog thrive as people start to conversate with one another. Not only does this increase your Google ranking and your success, but it also means you’re a reliable, reputable business who people turn to when they need support.

Develop Your Business Brand

One of the main benefits that blogging could have on your business is the discoverability of your brand. With catchy, field specific titles you could direct traffic to your website from different fields and even countries. This is where having a strong brand which is distinguishable becomes incredibly important; therefore, make sure whoever reads your blog also sees your branding.

Even if they don’t click on your business page right away, they might remember you or feel familiar with your aesthetic when it comes to choosing a service or product you offer down the line. Chances are, if they are reading a blog on your page, then they are interested in the industry you operate within.

 


Defining Project Scope – Scope Creep

Posted: July 21st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Design | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

You’ve met with your client and defined your project’s goals. You understand the scope and have worked with the client to define a clear goal. You breathe a sigh of relief, knowing everything is in place for you to get started. But then things start to change …

Suddenly, the client has a better idea of what you can do to make the project a success, which, yes, will involve some additional work you didn’t talk about earlier. You’ve worked hard, but the client now wants to change direction, making everything you’ve done a waste. What you thought was a straight shot to launch has turned into a meandering journey through the backroads of indecision.

Welcome to the wonderful world of scope creep.

What is scope creep?

You’ve probably heard the term somewhere. But what is it? Is it some sort of curse? If you say “scope creep” three times in front of your laptop, will the simple website design you’re working on turn into an an email campaign, social media contest, anda logo redesign?

Read More


3 Common Tax Mistakes Most Small Businesses Make

Posted: March 28th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Business | No Comments »

Launching a product that has insufficient demand and targeting the wrong audience are among the most common reasons for a business to fail. A less common reason they go under, but one certain to kill a business that makes them, are tax mistakes. Small errors can be corrected if discovered soon enough, but many common tax mistakes literally compound with interest and fees until the firm is shut down. Here are the three most common tax mistakes small businesses make.

Not Handling Withholding Correctly

Unless you are running a company with only contractors and partners, your company needs to withhold income taxes, Social Security taxes and FICA taxes for your employees. Failing to do so will result in penalties. Withholding the money without sending it on to the IRS leads to major problems, and if they think it was done deliberately, you risk criminal charges. Conversely, failing to segregate the tax withholding funds in a separate account could result in someone spending the tax withholding funds by accident. A tax expert with an accredited master in taxation can assist you with this.

Not Handling Sales Taxes Properly

Find out if you need to deal with sales tax before you start selling your product or service. If you are obligated to collect sales tax, you will probably have to register for a sales tax permit. Then you have to set up your online shopping cart and cash registers to charge the right amount of sales tax for every transaction. Complicating matters are the complex rules regarding what is taxed and at what rate.

For example, many states exempt food from the sales tax, but disagree on what is classified as food. Thus the salted peanuts sold by your store aren’t taxed, but chocolate coated and honey roasted peanuts probably are. If you’re selling a variety of taxed and untaxed products, you’ll need an inventory management system that can track the tax rate based on the product’s inventory number.

Online shopping carts typically don’t have a sales tax associated with the purchase unless the buyer is in your same state or you’re lucky enough to live in a state that doesn’t charge sales tax, but you still need to track the sale amount for income tax purposes later. Someone who has earned an online master in taxation degree can help you do this.

Failing to Send 1099s

Even if you set up your business so that it consists entirely of partners and contractors, you can’t avoid filling out at least a few tax forms each year. You are legally required to send 1099 forms every year to individuals and partnerships you pay each year. You are required to send a 1099 form to both the contractor and the IRS if the transactions totaled over $600 over the course of the year.

Keep your personal and professional finances separate from the start to protect yourself. Piercing the corporate veil to pay your bills out of the business account puts you at risk personally in case of business failure, while trying to pay today’s bills out of the tax withholding accounts risks criminal prosecution.