All posts by ovsyannykov

Is Brand Management Important for Your Design Website?

I was reading about a recent six-figure purchase of the brand.com domain name and researching into brand.com reviews online when I thought about how interesting it’ll be to connect the topic of branding and design.

While there are countless articles on design inspiration, tools for building awesome websites, and tips on marketing, business and even SEO on this blog, I think little has been written about branding.

In fact, most designers don’t see brand management as being an important part of their identity. Not only is it important; it is critical!

Effective Branding is More than Just Design

Yes, you should have a strong logo and thankfully an article about this has already been written on this blog. The typography of your website matters, and there’s an article about this on this blog, too.

However, effective branding is about more than just these things; as a designer, it’s easy to work on things like typography, the logo, and the look and feel of your website while you ignore other important things that you should focus on such as:

What results are being displayed when people search for your site online
What do people think when your name/website is mentioned
How much control do you have on what is being said about you online
There are lot of other factors but ultimately, it’s about making sure you’re in control of your brand and what people see when they decide to check out what you have to offer as a designer.

Why is Brand Management Important for Web Designers?

Whether it’s to buy a $10 book or commission a $5,000 web design project, people are now relying on reviews more than ever.

In fact, recent data from Local Consumer Review Survey has revealed that, when it comes to paying for products or services online, 79% of online consumers trust reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.

Especially in a period where Google is a click away, people find it convenient to search for your name + reviews than to get recommendations about you. You only have a few minutes to capture their attention; if you’re not effectively managing your brand, you can lose more than half of your leads as a result.

Tips for Effectively Branding Your Website Design: A Case Study in Brand.com Reviews

Brand.com is one of the top sites online when it comes to branding and reputation management and I think they make for a great case study when it comes to learning effective brand management.

Below is the screenshot of the first few results I saw when I searched for “brand.com reviews” in Google. You can view the results for yourself here:

google search results1 Is Brand Management Important for Your Design Website?

You should probably notice a few things if you dive further into the results for this search, however, there’s a summary of the lessons below. Whether you’re a freelance designer who has a single-page website, a blogger, or a web design agency, implementing these tips on your design website can lead to some massive results:

1. Accept and Display Testimonials

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Start accepting testimonials from clients who love your work, also try to get in touch with clients you’ve worked with in the past that are willing to give you a testimonial. Create a special page on your site where their testimonial is featured; by doing this, when people search for your brand online, they’ll come across this.

When you search for “brand.com reviews” in Google, the first few results show various pages on the website, including a page that feature testimonials from clients.

2. Create a Page Dedicated to Promoting Positive Reviews about Your Website/Services

When those who say good things about you are rewarded, more people will be inspired to say good things about you.

You don’t necessarily have to reward them by offering them money; instead, you can reward them by letting them know that you saw and appreciate their review of your website/services. A great way to do this is by creating a page on your website dedicated to appreciating people who review you; you should also link to their reviews so people who come across this page by searching for your brand will be able to check them out.

Read the rest here!

40 Groundbreaking Bokeh Photographs

In photography, bokeh is the blur or the aesthetic quality of the blur in out-of-focus areas of an image. The term comes from the Japanese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze.” Bokeh occurs for parts of the scene that lie outside the depth of field. Photographers sometimes deliberately use a shallow focus technique to create images with prominent out-of-focus regions. In simple terms, the goal is for the subject to stand out.

Bokeh is often most visible around small background highlights, such as specular reflections and light sources, which is why it is often associated with such areas. This type of photography is very interesting, and can make even the simplest objects look spontaneous and beautiful. For your inspiration, here are some of top notch photographs showcasing this style of photography.

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See the rest photos here!

Floppy Disk Portraits by Nick Gentry

Nick Gentry is a British artist from London. Much of his artistic output has been generated with the use of contributed artifacts and materials. If you do not know what a floppy disk is….well to be honest it means I’m getting old. His art is influenced by the development of consumerism, technology and cyber-culture in society, with a distinctive focus on obsolete media.

He is best known for his floppy disk paintings, placing an emphasis on recycling and the reuse of personal objects as a central theme. Such artistic works of social commentary have been featured in galleries in the UK, USA and in cities throughout the world. His work has been exhibited alongside established street artists and as such has been linked to the urban art scene in London.

nick 1 600x97311 Floppy Disk Portraits by Nick Gentry

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nick 311 Floppy Disk Portraits by Nick Gentry

See the rest here!

Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

Offering high quality customer service is essential to your business’s success. Even if you offer the best prices, if you have poor customer service, they will find somewhere else to shop.

You don’t have to go to college or pay a fortune to learn how to offer high quality customer service. There are a lot of informative, helpful books that you can check out. Read the list of books below to find one that suits your business.

The Thank You Economy, by Gary Vaynerchuk

the thank you economy1 Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

This book focuses on making your relationships with your customers stronger. Vaynerchuk focuses on not taking your customers for granted. He stresses the importance of spending time with your customers, claiming that the things that are crucial to your business’s success don’t happen in board meetings. He also finds that the businesses that are the most successful use social media to form relationships with their customers. So, it’s necessary to embrace social media.

The Starbucks Experience, by Joseph A. Michelli

the starbucks experience by joseph a michelli1 Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

Michelli focuses on creating an innovative customer experience. If you offer this experience, your customers will be raving about more than just your products or services. Starbucks is presented as an example throughout the book. Readers take a look at the five principles the company has used for success. Michelli also gives facts about Starbucks that illustrate its success, such as their low turnover rate.

I Love You More Than My Dog, by Jeanne Bliss

i love you more than my dog1 Accelerate Your Knowledge: 10 Essential Books on Customer Service

This book is all about maintaining customer loyalty, even if the economy is at its worst. It presents five decisions that businesses can make to motivate employees and maintain loyal customers. Some of these decisions include deciding to trust customers and employees, deciding to be honest with employees, and deciding to apologize when necessary. Bliss has worked with many major, successful companies, like AAA and Costco, so she clearly knows a lot about how to make a business succeed.

Read the rest here!

Designing a Hang Tag? Words of Advice and Inspiration Before You Start.

If you’re in the apparel industry, the hang tag you use can influence whether a customer will purchase your product or not. If your tag looks cheap, they may associate your clothing with poor quality. So, how do you design a hang tag that will influence your customer’s purchase decision? Read the tips below to find out how to create the perfect hang tag.

1. Make sure your hang tag reflects the market you want to sell your clothing in

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There are a lot of different clothing markets, from kids’ clothing to high-end women’s clothing. If you’re selling clothing for kids, your hang tag should reflect this. Hang tags for children’s clothing should have bright colors and imagery that is attractive to kids.

However, there are even different clothing markets for children. If you are selling clothing for very small kids, your hang tags should be more angled towards parents. If you are selling high-end women’s clothing, your hang tag should look elegant.

Your hang tag can enhance how your customer perceives a clothing item, so be careful. Be aware of your key demographic and try to create your hang tag with this demographic in mind. To get an idea of whether your hang tag will be effective, get a lot of feedback from your friends, family, and colleagues.

2. Include tips on how the clothing item can be worn on the hang tag

The hang tag gives you a chance to tell your customers how your product should be used. You can use the hang tag to convince your customers to buy your product. You can do so by making an argument for the item’s usefulness or attractive design.

If you’re selling athletic or outdoor clothing, your hang tag should tell your customers how your clothing item is useful in that regard. For example, if you’re selling a winter jacket, what kind of weather is the jacket ideal for? Let you customer know, put it on the hang tag. Similarly, if you make surf gear, your hang tags should explain what the item you’re selling is intended for. A lot of clothing is purchased as a gift by customers who know nothing about the clothing’s use. Always keep that at the back of your head.

3. Add images to your tags

If you add images to your hang tags, you can give your customers a good idea what your product looks like when worn. You can also use images to illustrate other items that a clothing item would look good with. For example, if you’re selling a blouse, you could include an image of a woman wearing the blouse on the hang tag along with a pair of pants that complement the blouse.

Not only do images on hand tags allow you to suggest ways to wear an item to your customer, it can also convince them to purchase your item. Images on hang tags are particularly influential for customers who are buying items as gifts. If a clothing item is being purchased as a gift, all the customer has to go off of is the image on the hang tag. They aren’t going to be trying the item on.

4. Make the name of your clothing line stick out

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You want your customers to know who made the clothing item as soon as they look at the hang tag. If the brand name is hard to find, customers may think your clothing is low quality, because high quality clothing often has a very prominent name on the hang tag.

Keep in mind, however, that the name of your clothing line needs to be written to attract your key demographic. If you’re making budget work clothing, you might not want to have your clothing line written on the hang tag in a fancy cursive font. If you’re targeting hip young adults, you might want to write your name in a minimalistic fashion.

If your customers can easily see your clothing line name on the hang tag, they may remember it and purchase your products again in the future.

Read the rest here!

20 Resources for Incredible Content Marketing

The secret to content marketing success is creating awesome content that is highly shareable, and then distributing that content in an effective and targeted way. This involves looking at a variety of key metrics to help you analyze your audience, tweak your site with CTAs and improve user experience all to drive more traffic to your site and increase your customer base. Seems difficult right? Well, only if you don’t have the proper tools and resources in place to help you be awesome.

Always remember: create awesome content, distribute content, improve your site, analyze key metrics, change and make adjustments, and make sure you’re not spinning your wheels. That’s the secret to success. To help you do all of these things, I’ve compiled a list of 20 tools, techniques, and resources to help you go above and beyond with your content marketing efforts.

1. Tools Content Creation

tools content creation1 20 Resources for Incredible Content Marketing

They say content is king, but some others have argued that content distribution is really king…and I’d have to conclude that it’s a little bit of both. You have to create awesome content, but you have to distribute it properly afterwards. The first part of the story is creating awesome content that has a chance to go viral and has the potential to be highly shareable…that’s what will drive a ton of traffic to your site and keep people coming back for more.

Here are some of my favorite tools to create content:

Evernote: This program allows me to take notes, draft blog posts and ideas, and write on the go. It’s a great way to keep everything organized and in one place. All of your notes sync of with your phone, tablet, and any other devices. Easy to capture audio, video, and other images and store it all in one place.

Storify: This tool allows you to curate content from around the web and then compile it together and embed it or distribute it anywhere you choose. The idea is that you can find media from all over the web and compile it in one place to help you tell a full and complete story.

Listly: Here you can create lists (and who doesn’t love lists) featuring information from around the internet. Show off the coolest cats on YouTube or the funniest gifs you’ve ever seen. Even link to the most innovative Start-Up founders in one complete list.

Issuu: If you’re looking to create a book or magazine that your readers can download and see, Issuu lets you do just that. It’s a great tool to use especially if you want to craft something interesting for them to download as an incentive for people to sign up for your newsletter.

2. Subscribe to Blogs

One of the best ways to become a better content marketer or creator is to see what other people are talking about around the web, read informative articles, and discover interesting content. Part of being able to do your job well is seeing what other people do and whether or not it’s effective for them, and seeing how you can do it even better.

I suggest that you come up with a list of blogs and subscribe to them to see their updates, discover what these expert blogs are doing right and see how you can do them even better.

Kissmetrics Blog: This blog is well known for their ability to craft interesting content that tends to be incredibly shareable and popular. Most of their posts generate a mountain of traffic not only because they are informative, but because they are crafted in such a way that people want to click on their titles. Subscribe to this blog not just to learn a lot, but to see how to create viral content.

BuzzFeed: I frequent BuzzFeed simply because they are constantly generating a lot of unique and quirky content. Pay attention to how they craft the titles of their posts, the way they lay out their lists, and the way they grab people’s attention.

Mashable: If you’re like me and completely involved in the tech scene and sometimes forget to watch the news or read the paper, Mashable will provide you with a snippet of what’s going on in the world as well as interesting techie news and resources.

Read the rest here!

How to Create Effective and Engaging Content

Whether you maintain a Facebook page or a website, if you don’t have interesting content, your viewers aren’t going to stick around. You might feel that you aren’t capable of generating interesting content because you don’t have a creative mind. This isn’t true.

If you follow some of the tips below, you can create content that is both engaging and effective. So, stop worrying and listen up!

1. Use images in your posts.

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You don’t have to do all of the talking if you include images or videos with your posts. No one likes to read a bunch of text anyway. If you sell a product, when a user visits your Facebook profile or website, they want to see images of your products. This is true whether you own a restaurant or a shoe store. Videos are also useful, as they can give customers an idea of what your business’s atmosphere is like.

2. Be informed.

If you are running a website on mobile technology, make sure that you know mobile technology well. A lot of the time, writing just seems daunting because you don’t know about the subject matter. If you know, for instance, a smartphone’s specifications, you can center your post on that. That’s what your viewers are there for anyway. It’s much better reading a dry, informative post than an exciting post that is devoid of real content.

3. Don’t use words that sound like spam.

Read through your post and ensure that it flows. Anyone who knows anything about content writing is familiar with search engine optimization. Sometimes, the articles you find online are written by contracted writers who know nothing about the content. These posts typically have keywords that are repeated awkwardly multiple times. If your post sounds is too repetitive or seems to contain keywords, you may be discredited by your readers.

Read the rest here!

9 Ways to Improve Productivity and Stay Inspired

If you’re a freelancer or business owner, it’s easy to get bogged down with admin tasks. Here are some tips to stay inspired and get on with the important work.

Outsource

If you have boring work that needs to get done, why not outsource it? You can find freelancers willing to take on all sorts of jobs that would give you time to get on with the more exciting work. Look at sites such as elance.com and peopleperhour.com to find top quality freelancers who will bid for your work.

If it’s admin tasks you find difficult, think about hiring a virtual PA to deal with things like invoicing, answering emails and sorting out receipts.

Sync

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Make your life easier by syncing up all your devices. If you have a tablet, smart phone and computer, you can make sure you’ve got access to all your files with something like Dropbox. You can also sync your email and calendar between devices.

This means you’re never caught short if you need to check your diary or have a few minutes free to do some work.

Keep things simple

If you employ people and have an office running a number of computers, you should consider cloud computing. It’s a great way of keeping all your work safe and you get added benefits like automatic updates, added security and it’s great for the environment too.

Cloud computing services also allow you to work from wherever you want as long as you have internet access. This means that if you need a day away from the office, you can still get those few important things done.

It also makes it easy for employees to work from home. Some people tend to be more productive when away from the distractions of the office so this, again, can help to cut down on costs while making your employees work harder.

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Loop Tea Strainer by Kinto

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This is a stick-shaped tea strainer. Open the slidable part, scoop tea leaves directly without a teaspoon, and place in the hot water in your cup. It’s a smart way to serve a cup of tea. It comes with a stand so that you have a place to put it when you are done. The slidable part is easy to remove so that you can wash each part quickly.

Source: Fancycrave.com

Leather & Canvas Campus Backpack by Incase

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The black InCase Designs Leather & Canvas Capsule Backpack is a durable backpack constructed from genuine pebbled leather and coated canvas. Inside is a dedicated notebook compartment that fits up to a 15″ MacBook Pro. This compartment features faux fur lining with 360-degree padding to protect all sides and edges of your computer.

There is also a second large compartment with mesh pocket and storage for an iPad and iPhone. Additionally, there are two external zippered pockets and an external water bottle pocket. The pack is secured shut with custom zipper pulls. For enhanced breathability and comfort, there is a padded air mesh back panel. The pack can be carried using the adjustable shoulder straps or top or side carry handles.

Source: Fancycrave.com

Remix Collection Dining Table by The Hansen Family

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The table, part of the Remix Collection by Gesa Hansen and the Hansen Family, is manufactured out of massive oak wood. The table possesses a strong handicraft character and offers dining space for up to 8 people.

In the middle of the table top there are two compartments which are suitable to store or present decorations, table accessories or other small things. The colorful compartments can be hidden with two boards so that the content remains a secret and the table can be used as one is used to it.

As well as the table, the covering boards consist of massive oak wood on one side and out of slate on the other side. If the panels are placed upside down on the compartments, they can also be used as pot-coasters.

Source: Fancycrave.com

Industrial Modern iPad Stand

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This industrial modern iPad or tablet stand is made from a chunky square of old growth Douglas fir with two steel feet. Finished with locally-produced tung oil and beeswax.

Source: Fancycrave.com

The Blaster Bluetooth Speaker by Nixon

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Bigger, better, louder, prouder and all without any bothersome wires or cords to get in your way. Mobile portability built tough to withstand the elements to take it anywhere. Grab it and go to a house-party, skate park, snow park or beach – all with Bluetooth connectivity means there are no limits to where it can go.

Source: Fancycrave.com

50 Inspiring & Creative T-shirts You Can Actually Buy

One obvious way a person can express his or her views and feelings is by fashion. As creatives, we love to see interesting designs and unique perspectives. I often found that t-shirts are one of the top ways to infuse others with ideas without even saying a word. Whenever you see a person you’ve never seen before on a street, you can clearly get a hint about their personality and opinions just from their t-shirt.

I know most people don’t really go that deep to think about graphical t-shirts, after all you might simply think it’s a cool shirt, however our subconscious mind acts like a sponge every time we see something thought provoking. You might not consciously care about someone else’s t-shirt design, however later on your brain will cross-reference the subconscious storage room with something else and wala!

Today I collected inspiring examples of creative t-shirt designs. If you’re thinking of starting your own clothing line or simply want to get a custom t-shirt printed, the following t-shirts should serve as great inspiration. The best part is that you can actually purchase every single t-shirt listed. Whatever your taste might be, I can personally guarantee that you’ll like at least one of the t-shirts below. I hope these t-shirt designs will get your creativity juices flowing. Enjoy!

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See the rest shirts here!

Affiliate Marketing – How to Do It Right

You may not know what affiliate marketing is, because it’s an often underutilized resource. Affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy in which a company gives money or rewards to affiliates for every customer that they refer to their business.

Affiliate marketing may sound tricky, but if you know what you’re doing, it can be highly lucrative. To be a successful marketing affiliate, you need to establish relationships with your customers, choose appropriate products, provide reviews of the product, prove that you have experience with the product, and lastly, pitch the product.

1. Establish relationships with your customers.

how affiliate marketing works1 Affiliate Marketing – How to Do It Right

Your customers are more likely to buy from one of your affiliates if they feel that you are their friend. So, to make it more likely that your customers will follow through, nurture relationships with them.

It’s most important that you listen to your customers. If you are constantly talking at them, they will feel distant from you. Get them involved in the conversation, and get them excited about it.

You should also be completely open with them. If they feel that you are hiding something from them, they won’t trust you or feel that you’re their friend.

You could also try doing nice things for them without expecting anything in return. For instance, if it’s possible, take them to out to lunch. If you can’t meet with them in person, you could send them a gift card online.

2. Choose products that are appropriate for your customers.

If you recommend the wrong product to a customer, they might think that you don’t know anything about what they’re interested in. Not only can this result in you not getting a referral, you may also lose the established trust.

To make sure that you’re recommending the right products, it helps if you have experience with the product. This is the only way to know for sure that your customer will like it.

Furthermore, you also need to make sure you’re correctly profiling your customer. Over time, it will be easier for you to recognize what kinds of products a certain type of customer is typically interested in. For instance, a mom is likely interested in different products than a single college student.

Once you know the product, find the affiliate program. If there isn’t one available publicly, perhaps you could find a private one.

Read the rest here!