Should you use oversized images for your site and how do you do it?

oversized images for your site

Should you use oversized images for your site? It looks so cool and trendy but it’s impirtant to know as much as you can before making a decision.

Over the course of the changing months, in terms of trends that govern the styles and layouts of web design, it seems the term ‘the bigger, the better’ – a.k.a. mega image design – has reached a successful standing amongst the hottest trends of webpage design. It basically involves the selection or use of large backgrounds, may it be a simple yet appealing photo or a captivating graphic illustration, as the main centerpiece or design of the page, forgoing the usual bits of pieces like moving .gif images and glitter. (Don’t ask.)

WHY MEGA IMAGE DESIGN?

Most use or prefer this style in terms of web design because of its ability to give an impact. It’s a pretty picture that practically takes up a chunk of your screen. How in the world does that not get your attention? But aside from the obvious size, it also gives us a sleek sophisticated feel to it. The added use of simplicity also appeals to those budding minimalists.

Some might argue that it’s content that matters most, but why not have both? Let’s be honest, we are a judgmental bunch. We prefer to look at things that are rather easy on the eyes, both literally and figuratively. So yeah, content does matter but you need to attract your readers before anything else.

WHO USES THIS?

Dell. KinderCare. Google Analytics. Just to name a few companies who’ve decided to incorporate this style to amp up their web pages. And the results?

Dell’s contact page had an estimate 36% rise on form completion while Saloman, a French snowboard manufacturer who also used mega images design, gained a sales increase of 39.8% from the French market and a 29.7% with the global one.

In addition, the flexibility of this style can be incorporated to almost any type of blog. Using a large image and its ability to give emphasis or give a bit of a highlight could be adapted for tourism pages, inspirational blogs, anime sites and the list basically goes on.

HOW DO I START?

In case, you do decide to use mega image design as your web design, here are some tips to get you started.

Tip 1: Choose your image.

Start with most obvious one, choosing an image. Easy, right? Wrong. Aside from the aesthetic approach where we all get nitpicky and have the ‘it looks fine but not perfect’ moments, we also have to consider the proper resolution because even though a high res pic looks good, it has a tendency to load slower than a snail. Therefore, moderation is key, in terms of size and resolution. Also, don’t forget to use original photos and if you do use stock photos make sure you got permission from the right people.

Tip 2: Do some testing.

What looks acceptable in your screen may not be so acceptable in others so make sure you test your image design on various screen sizes and resolutions. Also, don’t forget that due to the advancement of smart phones and tablets, most people prefer to use them nowadays rather than the usual PC, so it’s good to consider smaller screen resolutions.

Tip 3: Be careful with using center, tiles and scales.

Like it or not, it’s all about presentation. May you be simply the designer or the owner of the webpage, you have to present people quality work, hence, the reason why you should be careful in centering, tiling or scaling images because it may get distorted and/or pixelated and appear weird or unpolished.

Tip 4: Pick the right format for the right image.

Believe it or not, there is a difference when it comes to image formats. Should you use a .gif or a .jpeg? Those who are just starting to learn web design may not be familiar with this. So to cut it short, you should use .gif for simple graphics and texts, and use .jpeg for photos.

Tip 5: Explore

Do not limit yourself. If you’re in a bit of a bind and can’t get the right image, do some surfing to catch some inspiration. The world is open to many things and opportunities.

SO SHOULD YOU USE OVERSIZED IMAGES FOR YOUR SITE?

In all honesty, it’s all up to you. Why? You’re the designer. It’s your blog. You have the basic freedom to do whatever you want. But a little tidbit to add before this ends and we go on with our merry lives, those companies didn’t choose this design because they hoped it would work for them, they chose the mega image design because they were confident enough to know it would work for them. Just go with the design you’re confident and comfortable with.

How to make your site work faster?

How to make your site work faster

Are you worried about how fast your site works? Or rather, how slowly it loads? Google has recently announced that when determining search engine ranks they factor in website speed. Everyone hates waiting for slow websites. While a 1-second load time may be your goal, if you can get your site to load in under 3 seconds, visitors will be happy. A slow site can also ruin your conversions and ultimately your revenue stream. If you’re looking for ways to make your site work faster, keep reading. I’ll share some basic tips with you on how to make your site work faster.

 Reduce the amount of files required to display your site

When you have a visitor to your website the corresponding files of your site must be sent to their browser. Ultimately this means that each file used to enhance your website design weakens its performance. An easy fix to get your site to work fast is to remove everything that is unnecessary. Because more often than not, the extra load time isn’t worth it.

 Make images as small as possible

Many people forget or simply don’t compress their images before they upload them to their website. Many images contain a lot of unnecessary metadata that can significantly increase the size of the image file. This means that if your site is image rich, by not compressing those images you are drastically reducing your load time. Don’t make this mistake. Also, only upload images to the size that is necessary. Some people make the mistake of uploading images larger than what is needed. Using resizing and compress functions is key!

Remove white space from your code

When you see html, CSS or Javascript code presented nice and orderly, it’s only that way to make it easier for us humans to read. In fact, your website server and your visitor’s browsers could care less what the code looks like (as long as it executes properly). All this extra whitespace in your code can make download times slower. So once the code is correct, your can make your site work faster by simply removing all that whitespacese a

Use CDN (Content Distribution Network)

A CDN, or Content Distribution Network, is a large system of servers used across multiple data centers. The goal of which is to serve users with high performance. By using a CDN for your site you can most effectively increase the speed of you site. Dollars spent on this development are well worth it. And your customers will thank you!

Zip and compress your website components Make sure that you compress files before your server sends them to users browsers. If you think about it, it’s obvious – smaller files will travel faster. This will translate in your site working faster for customers. GZIP Compression is something you need to do or hire someone to do. It’s an easy compression  procedure which is a simple, effective way to save bandwidth and speed up your site.

Make use of browser caching

Most people understand that websites cache files. Make use of this and set up your site so that it doesn’t require a customer’s browser to download another copy of static files each and every time they access your website. Instead, allow the browser to hold onto those files for a certain amount of time. When the files are needed again, it can be loaded directly from the browsers cache.

Are you going to try to work your way through all of these tips how to make your site work faster! There are more changes that you can make to your site if you dive deeply into the HTML coding. But by following these simple tips you will see an immediate difference in your site’s speed and performance. Now only that, but your customers were thank you (by spending money on your product or services).

           

2 major news from Facebook – reduce on click-baiting and more posts with links

2 major news from Facebook - reduce on click-baiting and more posts with links

On 25th August Facebook announced two major changes to the algorithm in which the posts are displayed in people’s newsfeed.

“Today we’re announcing some improvements to News Feed to help people find the posts and links from publishers that are most interesting and relevant, and to continue to weed out stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see. We’re making two updates, the first to reduce click-baiting headlines, and the second to help people see links shared on Facebook in the best format” – says Facebook official newsroom blog.

Click-Baiting Headlines

“Click-baiting” is when a publisher posts a link with a headline that encourages people to click to see more, without telling them much information about what they will see. Posts like these tend to get a lot of clicks, which means that these posts get shown to more people, and get shown higher up in News Feed. These posts will be punished.

Sharing links in posts

Our second update relates to sharing links in posts. When people share a link on Facebook it often appears in News Feed with a large picture, a headline and some text that gives context on the link. These posts will be favoored over simple text and phot updates.

Read full article with all the details here

How to tweak your posts for different social media

tweak your posts for different social media

Each social media has its advantages, and catering to those is what will make your posts stand out to become more successful. Social media marketers today need to be creative and patient when posting on different platforms. Here we’ve taken six of the most prominent social sites on the internet, and give you tips on how to  tweak your posts for different social media and make your business online as successful as possible.

Facebook

They call it the Newsfeed for a reason: people flock to Facebook to get information. Make sure to post high-quality information that your subscribers find useful, and better yet, find worth sharing. Many users also use Facebook over their smartphones, so creating mobile-friendly posts and content is always a plus. But the most important tactic for a good Facebook post is to include an image. A recent study found that posts including at least one photo have the highest rate of engagement on Facebook!

Twitter

Punctuation and correct grammar are often sacrificed on Twitter to follow the 140 character limit. But keep in mind that you want your business to look professional, so avoid using abbreviations or misspelling words to try and add more information. Another helpful tip: keep at least 20-30 characters left over after typing out your tweet, which will allow users to Retweet your content with a comment of their own.

Google +

Some of the basic tools within Google+ may seem like common sense, but should be used as often as possible to promote content interaction. This includes adding images, using relevant hashtags (so you can be found with searches), tagging other pages and people, and especially commenting and interacting with those who have commented or engaged with you. Google+ doesn’t leave as much room for interaction compared to other social media sites, so making the most of the comment sections will really put your customer interaction ahead.

Pinterest

Luckily enough, Pinterest has a simple enough interface that there are TONS of statistics showing which types of pictures get the most pins or shares. For example, pins that are orange or red are twice as likely to be repinned. Personal pictures are also not for this social platform; images containing human faces were repinned 23% less than those without. Also take your colors into account: using 50% color saturation is the best, since images with this edit were shared four times as often as 100% saturated ones, and ten times more often than black and white photos.

LinkedIn

Since LinkedIn is strictly a professional social media site, you are going to have a very specific audience to target your posts towards. Spend some time researching your audience and analyzing which posts you’ve shared in the past that have gotten the best reactions, and tailor your future posts with this information. Users also don’t want to linger on LinkedIn, so try and keep your posts as informative and useful as possible, and under 60 characters.

Instagram

Instagram may make anyone feel like a professional photographer, but that doesn’t mean basic photography rules can be avoided. Always use the rule of thirds, where the subject of your picture occupies 2/3 of the screen. Also, don’t go too crazy with the photo editing. Try and keep your filters consistent, to provide a standard look for your company posts. And possibly the best thing about Instagram is its comments section, which always attracts people to share their opinion. Use this to your advantage by asking a question in the photo description, and responding to commenters in a way that doesn’t simply sell your brand.
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12 Most Go-To Grammar Tips – from 12most.com

12 Most Go-To Grammar Tips

All online and social media enterpreneurs and marketers are making mistakes. Of course some people can be very proud of their grammar skills but most of us  keep making the same silly mistakes over and over again.

12most.com pot together a dozen of probably the most  common and offensive mistakes one can make – let’s see if you’re guilty?

So, next time you need grammar help on the fly, here are 12 go-to tips!

1. Accept/Except

Accept = Receive
I must accept blame for the accident because I ran the red light.
He accepted the award on behalf of the whole group.

Except = Excluding
Everyone is going except Harry.
I like all vegetables except broccoli.

2. Advice/Advise

Advice = Noun
The advice you gave me was really useful.
No, I don’t need, or want, your advice.

Advise = Verb
He advised her to be careful in dealing with the complicated situation.
I don’t know anything about it; please advise me how to proceed.

THERE IS MORE – Read full article here

Make people click on your newsletter

Make people click on your newsletter

“Time is money.” Such a commonly used phrase nowadays, hardly anyone understands just how important it is to the success of modern marketing. But think of the saying this way: your time is like money in that it is one of the most valuable things in your life. Therefore, to make people read your email newsletter you have to prove to them that reading through it is worth their oh-so valuable time. You have to be able to ‘sell’ it to your readers, and completely convince them how much of a good deal it would be for them to read the newsletter. These next 8 easy-to-follow steps will help you to do just that, and get the newsletter readership you’ve always wanted. Make people click on your newsletter with these easy steps.

1. Showcase Fast Results

What was I just saying about that time vs. money thing? Well for starters, you can easily tap into that way of thinking to get more newsletter clicks. Write in the email how your readers can reach the goal they’ve wanted to “within minutes”. This will peak the curiosity of most readers, leading them to click on the link and find out how.

2. Use Celebrities

Whether you have them endorse some of your content, or write an article for your newsletter themselves, any well-known people within your network can always be used to your company’s advantage. No offense meant to you, but readers are typically much more interested in what a celebrity has to say!

3. Be Their News Source

If you promote your newsletter with a fact or event that your readers have never heard of before, they’ll be much more inclined to click on the link. Browse through the newsletters of your competitors (if possible) and even the news headlines, to find out the old news that you shouldn’t write about. Make it your goal to be the source of new facts!

4. Everyone Loves Bullets

We live in the era of quick and valuable information, so show your newsletter’s value with a bulleted list of the newsletter’s highlights. This list is incredibly simple to make, and works because different points within it could be the selling point to different potential readers.

5. Be Brief

If tip #4 doesn’t work for your readers, then perhaps they prefer their emails short and sweet. Write no more than a few sentences along with your newsletter link, leaving the important information for them to find out. After all, being extremely brief can sometimes create the most curiosity.

6. Promise Something More

Whether it be a rare offer, coupon, or bit of information, readers like to be spoiled. Offer them something they would find valuable, but can only find out by reading the newsletter. And one special hack that actually works: rather than a link, attach the newsletter as a PDF. Your readers will want to own the PDF for themselves, giving your newsletter a much higher click rate from eager and greedy readers.

7. Change it Up

The same old marketing claims of ‘improve your marketing within minutes!’, or something of the like, can get old to readers very fast. Change up your email style and tone every so often, even if it means finding a different email writer. This will keep readers interested, and prove to them that your newsletter is a constantly evolving source rather than the same old thing with a different date.

8. Content is Key

All of the above tips may get your newsletter clicked on for the first time. But what really makes your readers come back is excellent content. Write about things that are of great value to your readers, stuff they can’t find anywhere else. Then the hardest part: continue to provide unique content week after week. Follow through on all the content-marketing you’ve been doing, and your newsletter is sure to be a success!

Did you like these tips on how to make people click on your newsletter? Share yours in the comments section below!

 

 

 

How to Take Better Selfies – from Adorama

how to take a better selfie

Today, selfies are everywhere—created and shared by people from all backgrounds across the globe—providing glimpses into daily lives, exciting accomplishments, special moments in time, and much more. But one important question still remains… How to take better selfies?

www.adorama.com puts together a comprehensive infographic on what to do to get the best selfies in town

Read the original article here

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Did you like these tips on how to take better selfies? Share yours in the comments section below!

5 tips on hiring the best freelancers

Tips on hiring the best freelancers

Your business is growing and you find yourself at the point where you need more help. Congratulations! Having your business take off is a great achievement, but it doesn’t mean you are ready to add the hassle or expense of hiring more employees. A great solution that is becoming more popular among business owners is to work with freelancers.

With the current economic climate, many experts are turning to freelancing to boost their income or as their only source of income. This is great news if you are looking for a freelancer because you can choose from a fairly large pool of people with the expertise you need for each job. If you feel that working with freelancers is the best way to meet the demand of your business, keep reading for 5 tips on hiring the best freelancers.

Find talent online.
The Internet is a great way to source freelance help. There are many websites that both host freelancers and will allow you to post a description of your project. You can browse from a pool of resumes as well as review resumes sent to you from freelancers interested in completing your job.

Work your network.
While searching online is a great start, do not neglect your professional network when looking for a freelancer. Many business owners or colleagues may have already worked with a great (or not so great) freelancer. A word-of-mouth recommendation from a colleague or friend should give you a pretty good idea of the work to expect from that person. So tap into your network to find some good recommendations.

Negotiate upfront.
Your freelancer may be working remotely so it’s important to negotiate and clearly define the project upfront. Negotiate what you will pay upfront and when you will award the rest of the payment. Set milestones and deadlines so that you can still maintain control of how the work is going. Don’t be afraid to critique the work by your freelancer so that they know what you want and you can be happy with what they’re producing for you. Draft a legal document that states that all work belongs to you (and make sure your freelancer signs it).

Cheaper isn’t better
Choose your freelancer based on their expertise and experience rather than the price they quote for your job. Look at samples and portfolios of potential freelance candidates to see that they have done project like what you want in the past. You will always find someone to complete a job for you within your budget, but that doesn’t mean they will complete it according to your expectations.

Understand that you and your freelancer are not exclusive.
It’s important to understand that you are not the only client for your freelancer. Unfortunately, they can’t be dedicated to you and your project alone. This means that they may not always be available or accessible exactly when you want them. Realizing this before you begin a project will go a long way.

The truth is, there are a lot of freelancers out there and it can be tough to find the best one for you. Even though your freelancer may be situated remotely, you will still be working closely with this person so it is as much about their capabilities and expertise as it is about a personality match between you. Remember, following these 5 tips on hiring the best freelancer will work to fill the void you have in your business without the long term commitment.

Have you worked with freelancers before? How did you find them? Add your own tips in the comments below.

 
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Facebook Turns Off Like Gates!

Facebook Turns Off Like Gates!

If you haven’t already heard then you need to prick up your ears for the Latest Facebook “Like Gate Scandal” – It’s like Watergate but for some marketers much much worse. Facebook Turns Off Like Gates!

What is a LIKE GATE?

You know those page which tell you to like a page before you can access the goodies (competition, free download, watch the video etc.). This is called a LIKE GATE or a FAN GATE.

This is often 3rd party Technology such as Heyo which allows you to create two alternative Facebook fan pages. An UNLIKED version and a LIKED version.

People who LIKE the page get access to the FREE STUFF!

So why are they stopping them?

Facebooks announcement goes as follows:-

“You must not incentivize people to use social plugins or to like a Page. This includes offering rewards, or gating apps or app content based on whether or not a person has liked a Page. It remains acceptable to incentivize people to login to your app, checkin at a place or enter a promotion on your app’s Page. To ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives. We believe this update will benefit people and advertisers alike.”

In short Facebook thinks, or claims to think that fan gates water down the genuine likes of a page and make it harder for fans to get relevant content.

I personally think it’s a bit late in the day for that, with most major brands already establishing their fans and Likes through competitions and incentives.

It’s just means people who are just setting out to build LIKES are going to have an uphill struggle against those who already have them.

So what are you allowed to do?

The terms of service seem to state that you can incentivise people to like your page… (Which of course is obvious, imagine if displaying a “Like us on Facebook” sign in your office was contravening some Terms of Service!

However what you can’t do is FORCE them to LIKE the page in order to access benefits, freebies or whatever.

What you will probably have to do as an alternative is make registering an email as a means of getting the Freemium Content, and then ask them to LIKE, SHARE, and Comment.

When will this happen?

Well it sort of already did, as of 4 days ago Facebook put a blocker on creating new LIKE GATES, and as of the 5th of November existing LIKE GATES will no longer work.

So it’s time to rethink your LIKE getting strategy and ask yourself if getting LIKES as valuable as it once was!

The Value of a LIKE

A few years ago companies would go crazy for LIKES, most of them didn’t know why but they get incredibly excited when some LIKES came in and they had a growing fan base.

At that time there wasn’t as many things to like and many of the comments you posted on your fan page really got through to the audience of Fans.

Things are very different now, with potentially thousands or posts per day coming in from your friends, family, and pages you are fans of this is getting massively watered down.

One thing is for sure, your comments are going to have to get more engaging, more relevant, and you are going to have to learn to target adverts effectively if you are going to get the traffic and following that you need.

What are your thoughts?

Do you think this is good, bad, or it doesn’t make a slight bit of difference for the industry?

I personally think that LIKE GATES incentives with real and relevant content and Freemium’s was a brilliant way of getting those 1 click opt ins and had some great results with that. I’d even go for the email address as a step 2 of the process, and it worked brilliantly.

However the “Win a FREE Ipad” brigade have probably filled the fanbase up with lukewarm prospects that just act as another number and social proof.

What’s your take on all this? Dhare your view in the comments section below!

Make your registration forms convert better

make your registration forms convert better

Getting people to agree to click on your registration form is often a lot of work. But unfortunately, it is often only half the battle. Typical registration forms can ask for a lot of personal information that consumers may not want to share so quickly. That’s why high conversion rates come from complete trust between your company and the consumer, so they don’t feel like they’re signing their life away! To create this absolute trust, and to learn some other persuasive conversion techniques, here are 7 useful tips on how to make your registration forms convert better:

1. Offer Great Value

Why do most people come to the registration form in the first place? Usually, it is the promise of valuable information or offers. When asking people to register, make sure to showcase just how much value they’ll gain by registering. Make people feel like they’re entering an exclusive membership, filled with opportunities that they couldn’t get without completing registration.

2. Size Matters

No, but really, with registration forms the size has a huge impact on whether or not you’ll convert people. Asking them to give a ton of information, even if it’s simple questionnaire things like how they found your website, could scare off potential customers. Require only the bare minimum, like their email address and name, and your conversion rate will soar.

3. Tell Their Immediate Next Steps

The promise of long-term value is great, but immediate valuable results are even better. Provide an opportunity for subscribers that they can access immediately after finishing the form. Many websites have found the most success for this by including this next step right on the registration form, substituted for the ‘submit’ button. For example, if you want to register more bloggers then put in a ‘Start Blogging’ at the end of the form.

4. Watch What You Ask For

Requiring users to fill in a certain field on a registration form may seem like nothing to you, but could actually scare off tons of potential subscribers. The best example of this is asking for a phone number. It may seem like the most valuable and simple piece of information to you, but to a person who just gave you their email and birthday, it may seem like too much. Keeping the concerns of wary subscribers in mind can always bump up your conversion rate.

5. Give More Flexible Options

The biggest problem with registration forms is that they are a hassle. Try and avoid this by offering people the option to instead connect by signing in to a social media site, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. As an added bonus, this option can also give you insight as to which social network your customers most prefer. And if you still aren’t convinced, a recent survey showed that social logins like these can increase your registration conversions by 40%!

6. Get Rid of Distractions

It may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people choose to abandon registration forms because of online distractions. The registration form page should contain only the form, with no sign of any advertisements or other products they may be interested in. Your page should, however, clearly lay out your company registration policy or any other common concerns customers may be wondering about.

7. Don’t Be Format Picky

The more times a person has to attempt to complete the registration form, the more frustrated and likely to abandon it they’ll get. You can fix this by clearly highlighting which fields are required to be filled out. But also, make sure customers aren’t getting caught up by using a / instead of a – in the date, or other annoying formatting errors. Clearly provide an example like MM/DD/YYYY, and include links describing how to input certain information. The simpler you make the process for subscribers, the more conversion success you’ll have!

Did you like our tips on how to make your registration forms convert better? Share you experience in the comments section below!