30 Creative Business Card Designs for Inspiration

Business cards are the simplest yet most powerful tools in job-hunting and contact-building. They contain, in its small area, all pertinent information that anybody needs to know about you. They help your prospects understand who you are, what you offer and how you can be contacted. However, the competition for one job could be so tight that presenting ordinary business cards might not do any good. In truth, poorly-designed and printed cards may even give future clients or employers a bad or wrong impression of you.

Here, we have collected a variety of design samples to help you get your creative juices flowing and craft that perfect business card. You can now shy away from the plain and boring. Enjoy!

Please feel free to join us and you are always welcome to share your thoughts even if you have more reference links that our readers may like.

Deceptively Simple

instantShift - Creative Business Card Designs for Inspiration

The Essentials Of Web Development; A Comprehensive Guide

Getting into web design is a series of learning, practicing and trail-and-error experimentation that takes time and dedication.

The Essentials Of Web Development; A Comprehensive Guide

Many aspiring developers need to not only go through the basics of making a new website page, but also learn the upcoming technologies powering the web. This is because the fast paced market always brings out more and more iterations of current generation’s technology and following them is crucial.

In this brief introduction, we won’t be trying to predict the future, but we will cover the basics of what kind of technology and tools go into make a new page for the web. If you are completely new to web design, this would be a great place to start. All basic websites require six essential things that make up a simple page and here, we will discuss in detail as to what they are, how they work in functioning a website and why it is crucial to learn about them.

HTML5

HTML5

HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language and it is the language in which all websites are written. When you load a web page, the first thing your browser does is download the HTML for the website which consists of a specialized syntax. It then reads through this language to understand the contents of the webpage. Everything from links, buttons, videos, animations, pictures and graphics are all embedded within the HTML and will tell the browser what the web page contains.

The HTML that has been running the web was introduced more than two decades ago. However its utilization exploded when HTML’s fourth version (known as HTML4) was introduced at the cusp of the new millennium. HTML4 changed everything and web browsing became ever popular as web development became easier.

However, HTML4 still had some issues. While it was a robust language, it still lacked the ability to support intricate functionalities such as animation and video streaming. To support these things, plugins had to be installed which only made the user’s computers and mobile devices slower and inefficient. So it quickly became apparent that a newer version of HTML was needed.

This led to the recent release of HTML5. The biggest feature of HTML5 was its ability to stream videos more efficiently saving both bandwidth and battery life. It became the new standard for most website to follow and many websites completely discarded plugins to run their site properly. While there are still some functions only achievable with plugins, HTML5 has nearly all the necessary capabilities a user could hope for and it definitely going to be the only language used for web development now and in the future.

CSS3

CSS3

When a browser loads a web page, it usually downloads two things to render the final website; HTML and CSS. We have already discussed HTML, it is the language which contains all the essential contents of the web page. However, HTML does not contain how most of this information should be displayed. For example, if an HTML tells the browser that the page consists of a text line, the browser still won’t know exactly where the text should be placed and how it should look. These kinds of information that relates to how the web page looks like visually are stored in a separate file called the CSS file.

CSS has been mostly the same for many years, whoever with the recent developments in HTML, a newer version known as CSS3 has been released to support video streaming and complex animations.CSS stands for Cascade Style Sheets and it has only one purpose, to tell the browser how to present the HTML and any essential visual style. It does this by containing all the necessary information within its code that also has a unique syntax. CSS works in conjunction with HTML and aligns all the tags and headers into the style required for the website. You might have seen what the lack of CSS can do to a website. Sometimes, when you load a page, you only see the text and hyperlinks, but they are poorly lined up and there are no colors on the page. This occurs when a browser is able to successfully load up the HTML for the page, but not the CSS.

jQuery

jQuery

Interactivity with a website almost always needs to be a feature with websites today. If your website has no interactivity whatsoever, then it is nothing more than a bulletin board and has very little use. Imagine YouTube or Facebook without any button in it to easily navigate through their content. Interactivity provides a user friendly experience which in return gives you website more traction and user retention.

To provide interactivity, most web developers have been using Java and JavaScript. These are languages used in conjunction with HTML to make a website more vibrant. However, these languages, especially JavaScript, are old and cumbersome. Many developers recognized that and demanded a better language be created to makes their lives easier. That is why we have had the recent introduction of jQuery.

Simply put, jQuery gives the developers all the necessary tools to implement an effective website with lavish interactivity, but it is less work intensive. To give you some idea, one function executed in JavaScript that takes 10 lines of code can be implemented in jQuery but with only 2 lines or less. The obvious benefit of jQuery has been so popular among developers that prior to its introduction, more than 60% of the websites online use jQuery.

jQuery even allows network engineers to handle a lot of the back-end work, such as retrieving and storing information in databases. This has rendered many other database management systems useless as jQuery can handle most of the work load. In short, jQuery is a must for any web developers as it makes their work easier and more efficient.

Illustrator

Illustrator

Before you get to work on the website, it is generally a good idea to draw it up first in order to get a sense of how it will look. This can be done in multiple ways; you can sketch the website on paper, you drawn up the website’s features on a spreadsheet or you can make the entire website interface using a simple illustration tool. One of them that is both accessible and powerful is the one made by Adobe called Illustrator.

Illustrator is a graphics design tool that is generally used for digital arts. However, its versatility allows it to be employed for other purposes as well, such as drafting a web page. We highly recommend any aspiring web developers to take advantage of the power of Illustrator. Not only will it give you and your clients a better understanding of how the website will look like, but also allow you to easily put together the web page using Dreamweaver, which we will talk about later.

Using Illustrator is very much like using an art board. There are multiple tools at your disposal that you can use to quickly put together how your website will look. You can begin with a standard template and then work your way up. You can make layer after layers and then stitch them together to make your final composition. Once you have finished you can render your final image into a high resolution preview to see for yourself how the website is going to look as well as show to others.

Photoshop

Photoshop

If you are interested in the idea of drafting your website, then Illustrator is not the only tool at out there. The most popular image editing software you can use is none other than Photoshop.

I misconception with Photoshop is that it is generally only used to image editing for photographs and graphics logo. However, there is no limit to using Photoshop for other purposes. Photoshop support many plug-in as well as image formats. It also utilizes the layer system which illustrator uses which means you can build a website on the program.

Using Photoshop is akin to using tracing papers and piling them together for a final composition. You should start by making a backdrop for you website. Simple color scheme and hue pallet should be enough to lay a basic ground for you website. Next you can add to it by making text boxes as well some other links and drop downs that should be on the page. Furthermore, Photoshop also allows you to easily put together custom fonts, which are very useful for website development as you generally want to avoid using conventional fonts. By making these custom fonts, you can give your website originality as well as some much needed identity, which is essential in a world where almost every website looks the same in some way. We highly recommend using Photoshop even if you don’t plan to show a preview to a customer. It is a great way to be self-aware when making the website and have a picture in mind that you can use as you goal.

Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver

Many graphics designers are now employed in web development companies and artistic expertise are essential to creating a great looking website. However, after all the drafting and previewing, there will come a time to transfer your great looking images onto an actual web development platform. It’s useless to make all those images and website illustrations if you don’t have a way of realizing them in the end. That is exactly why there are easy to use web design suites out there, namely the Adobe Dreamweaver.

Dreamweaver is a simple platform that you can use to put together a great looking website while giving it the necessary programming back-bone to run online. It does this by allowing you to easily generate a CSS and HTML snippet every your paste an image onto the program. You can think of the software as a visual translator; you tell Dreamweaver how your website should look, and in return Dreamweaver will tell you the codes needed to run it.

However, it is not all that simple. Sometimes, automatic code generation is not the ideal way to make a website. It’s better to paste the image draft and then writer the code yourself. This avoids any unnecessary run-time bugs as well as makes it easier for you to re-write and revise your code with time.

Conclusion

In conclusion, designing a website should be breeze for anyone with a passion for it, but it demands attention and a hunger for learning more. The internet has made available several tools that give you the power to produce amazing looking website, you just need to have the time and energy to go out there and absorb as much as you can.

By our estimation, it should take someone no longer than a month to understand the essentials and get enough practice to put together a basic functional web page. From there, you need to push yourself in order to make great looking web pages that stand out.

Visit us at InstantShift.com

RapidxHTML

Best Tools for Multi-Author WordPress Site

Having a multi-author blog has a huge number of advantages. For example, it means you can share the workload so that you’re not the only one churning out the content or coming up with ideas. It also means that you’ve got multiple people building bridges, marketing, getting the word out as well as UI and UX.

Best Tools for Multi-Author WordPress Site

That said, it does come with a set of its own problems. One of the biggest ones is of course that your quality is only as good as the worst of your authors. The other is that the more people are involved the harder it becomes to manage the whole ordeal, with it – for example – becoming hard to know who is still supposed to do what on a new post.

Fortunately, the online world has been working hard on creating a whole host of different solutions for both those problems. By having the right tools in place you can check each other’s content, work towards deadlines together and generally make the whole process run more smoothly.

Sold yet? Let’s take a look at some of these tools I’m talking about.

User Role Editor

User Role Editor is a very useful plugin that allows you to decide what roles people will take. Basically what this amounts to is what rights they have when they’re on the site. It is, in fact, a very good idea to limit people’s abilities – even your own – so that a mistake can’t do too much damage.

A good strategy is to create an admin account and then some contributor (or editor) accounts. Everybody normally uses the contributor and editor accounts. Only if something fundamental needs to be done do you log in as an administrator.

The great thing about dividing it up in this way is that you’ll be far more aware of the damage you can cause when you’re logged in as an admin and therefore extra careful.

Author Image

Of course, one of the biggest problems with having multiple writers on the same website is that people will not feel they get credit for the posts they write. Enter, stage left, Author Image. This useful little widget allows you to put up people’s image on the sidebar so that everybody immediately knows what post was written by who.

Edit Flow

If you’re having trouble getting things handed in on time, check out Edit Flow. This allows you to take care of the meta-process of getting posts up on the right day by giving you a calendar which specifies when things are meant to be published as well as what stage there in.

There are five basic stages, which are: “Assigned”, “Draft”, “Pending Review”, “Pitch” and “Waiting for feedback”. You can also add custom stages in case your workflow is different from how everybody else wants to do it (Everybody wants to be different nowadays!)

Pre-publish reminder

Sometimes we’re forgetful. That’s just the nature of the game. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to have a checklist that everybody needs to run through to make certain they’ve done everything. In that way, you can avoid those embarrassing mistakes where some post doesn’t have a featured image.

Pre-publish reminder helps you do exactly that. It offers you a list of things that people should run through, making certain that your blog looks like a well-oiled machine rather than the product of five blind men feeling their way around an elephant.

Draft Notification

A wonderfully WordPress plugin that emails the admin when a new post is drafted. The email contains the post’s title, the author, and a link. Yup, that’s pretty much all it does. Still, that’s quite enough in my book, as it will speed up the working process by making certain that drafts are checked and approved in quick order (as when that doesn’t happen that can be immensely frustrating for a budding author).

If you’re of the mindset that sometimes simpler is simply better than be certain to get a draft notification.

Co-author

Perhaps you’re one of those websites where multiple authors work on the same post. You know, perhaps you do science things, your posts require a lot of research, or perhaps you like lots of cook doing things with broth. I don’t really know. Whatever floats your boat, you know.

I think I’ve had too much coffee.

If it’s having multiple authors, then get co-author. It allows you to set multiple authors for a post, who can all contribute to it. This will allow other authors to catch those mistakes and thereby make certain that you can avoid the common mistakes in your blogging, like not editing a sentence all the way through, or other stupid typos.

Audit Trail Plugin

Got a bit of Big Brother Syndrome? Want to know what’s going on your blog? Well, then you need Audit Trail Plugin. This will log who is logging in when, as well as other things like what they’re doing and changing and even allows you to restore a post to a previous version.

In this way, you can at least undo some of the damage in case somebody is being malicious and might even be able to figure out who has hacked you and from where. Of course, if they know about this particular plugin you might not be so lucky, but hey, you can’t have everything!

Report Posts

Got a huge number of contributors and you’re no longer able to track all of it? Got a fan base that might find the certain content objectionable?

Got milk?

In the former two cases, you should install report post, as this will allow users to let you know when people are putting up content they really shouldn’t be.

In the latter case, good for you. I hear it’s very healthy as long as you are not lactose intolerant.

This is also a useful plugin in case you’re worried about people hacking your page and changing your content, as people are far more likely to report strange content if they’ve got a big button to do so. In that way, you won’t end up not advertising some product you really shouldn’t be for several months because you didn’t check if a page was still as it was supposed to be.

Hide Dashboard

Okay, a gold star if you can figure out what this plugin does! It is very useful if you want to modify the dashboards of certain roles so that they don’t actually get to see the parts that they don’t need to see.

This can be particularly useful if you’re dealing with people who aren’t necessarily that computer literate, or if you’re dealing with people who don’t like it that they don’t have full access as with the hide dashboard plugin they won’t see what they can’t touch – and as they say what you don’t know can’t harm you.

Except, of course, a baseball bat to the back of the head. That can certainly harm you. Actually, that saying doesn’t make any sense. Who makes up these saying anyway? Sometimes it seems like somebody just threw a dictionary in a blender and took whatever came out as gospel truth.

Adminimize

Not just a clever name but a great plugin to boot, Adminimize lets you not just decide what roles people can play but also lets you decide what parts of the backend they can actually see in that you can activate or deactivate any part of the menu or sub-menu.

Yeah, in that way it’s similar to Hide Dashboard, but I just really liked the name. And at least now you’ve got a choice.

Author Exposed

Yeah, I wish it would do what you think it does as well. Except with Larry. I really wouldn’t like to see Larry exposed. Susan says you can’t really tell where his head hair stops and his back hair begins. And that’s just disturbing.

Author Exposed does not do that, however. Instead, it offers you this neat little pop up that gives users a better insight into the author of a post. That’s pretty neat as well, I guess.

The plugin does the same thing as actually clicking on the author’s name, except that in this case, it puts it up on a little pop up on the screen the user is already on. That means the user experience will be that bit smoother and your page will seem that bit nicer. Or that’s the idea, anyway.

List Author Widget

The List Author Widget allows you to have a list of the authors of your blog in the sidebar, with each of the names linking to an author’s PHP page. A great way if you want to put the authors first and center, as well – of course – as showing off how many people you’ve got working on the site.

Of course, it doesn’t work half as well if you’ve only got one or two authors as in that case it will just make you look like a pauper.

Dashboard Notepad

This one is great in case you want to leave behind a note for one of the authors, in that it allows – as the name suggests – for you to hunt Wookies with a bowcaster. Oh jeez, I kill me (or should that be ‘somebody please kill me’?).

So no, it doesn’t do that, instead Dashboard Notepad does exactly what the name implies, which might not be half as much fun, but can certainly save you a lot of hassle in case they’re not logged in and you really need them to know something before they post their next article.

Author Advertising

If you’re making money through your blog and have multiple authors contributing to it, then you might want to actually share the income (or you might be forced to share the income – the outcome is the same). In that case, you want to use Author Advertising as that is exactly what it allows you to do.

It works with Yahoo, Google, Adsense, Amazon, Allposter and more, so yeah most of the advertising bases have indeed been covered.

Last words

With these tools, you’ll be in a much better position to make certain that your blog runs smoothly, that your authors work together well and smoothly, and that when inevitably the arguing and sniping does start, it stays behind the scenes instead of erupting onto the main pages of your website.

And something always has to be said for appearances! So, armed with these plugins, you should do well. Let us know if we missed out on any and good multi-blogging.

I’m off to get another cup (or six) of coffee and see what author has exposed them today.

Visit us at InstantShift.com

RapidxHTML

5 Best Tips to Grow Your YouTube Channel

YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing website. It is very easy to create a YouTube channel and post videos. In this blog post, I am going to share the top 5 tips to grow your YouTube channel.

5 Best Tips to Grow Your YouTube Channel

You can very easily market your brand and earn revenue from your videos on YouTube. But you need to create a consistent brand experience across your YouTube channel and your website.

It is very important to use SEO and other video optimization techniques to get visitors to watch multiple videos.

YouTube is a great place to share video content, to build an awesome community, and even to make money.

I’m going to share with you some of the top YouTube strategies. Here are top five tips for improving your YouTube channel.

1. Create a Website or Start a Blog

Creating a website is very simple and easy. There are so many Content Management Systems are available to create powerful websites and blogs very easily.

Having a website’s really important for anybody who’s on YouTube for a number of reasons. First of all, it gives you a lot more credibility.

You can also embed YouTube videos on your website. So, when we talk about ranking and search engines, you can name your video whatever you want and add the description on YouTube.

Don’t forget to tweak the title of the article that you’re posting on the website with your embedded video just a little bit, add some more text, so that you rank for different keywords.

Certain ones your YouTube video ranks for, and then certain ones your website article ranks for, and either way, they’re finding your YouTube video.

If you do have a website, you want to make sure that you’re linking back to your website/blog in all of your YouTube videos, either with annotations in the actual video themselves or at least in the video description.

2. Consistent Branding

A really important aspect for all YouTubers is branding, making sure that you are consistently displaying your logo or just have something that users can recognize you by.

Another really important thing that you want to think about is having a short and sweet intro. You can also have an unsubscribe trailer.

When you set up YouTube channel, you have the option to set which video people see when they’re not currently subscribed to your channel, and you want to make sure that you pay attention to that.

You can create a video that tells what your channel is about, what people can expect to find, and why they should subscribe to your channel.

Because that’s your opportunity right there to grab them, pull them in and get them subscribed so they can keep consuming your contents.

You can use the same logo on your YouTUbe channel, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. You don’t always want your logos to be exactly the same, cause that can be kind of boring. People like that differentiation. But it needs to be recognizable.

3. Optimize videos for Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important part of any website and it is just as important for YouTube as it is for your blog or website.

To get more subscribers and views, You need to make sure people can find your content when they are searching in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Your videos should have Descriptive titles, descriptions, and don’t forget to make use of the tags feature on YouTube.

This is really important, a lot of people forget about YouTube’s tag feature because for websites, blogs and articles, search engines don’t actually look at metadata keywords anymore but YouTube does.

Always add relevant tags when uploading a video on YouTube. Always add a descriptive title and don’t forget to write the description.

You should research before you actually title your videos and add descriptions, you can just search on Google and type in a keyphrase and see what automatically pops down when you search on Google, those are very commonly search terms.

4. Entice viewers into viewing more videos

One of the most important things to think about on YouTube is user retention, and getting users to view multiple videos on your channel. It’s just going to be that much more memorable for them. It’s also going to increase your views, and hopefully revenue.

You should always link to similar videos and you can do this in a couple of different ways. Don’t forget to put some links in the description of your videos on YouTube.

Think about other videos on your channel, that are similar, that the audience that’s watching the current video would also be interested in, and then put a link to that video down in the description of the video that you just uploaded.

You can also make use of annotations feature. You can put a link in the actual video, for people to click on and move right on to the next video. Don’t just upload a video but also promote the other videos on your channel, that’s really going to help your user retention.

PlayLists are one of the most important feature of YouTube. You should always create playlists and group those videos with other similar videos that are either on the same topic or the same category or are just somehow related.

YouTube Playlists make it a lot easier for viewers to go through your YouTube channel and watch multiple videos at once.

5. Research your competitor

If you really want to improve your YouTube channel, it’s important to not only focus just on your channel, but also on other popular and related YouTube channels, and the YouTube community as a whole.

There are a lot of YouTubers out there, that are doing really innovative things on their YouTube channels. You can learn a lot from them to improve your own channel.

Find few YouTube channels similar to yours and subscribe to them. Some of you might think that that’s helping out the competition, but in reality, it’s helping out you, because You can keep an eye on your competitors and You can see what they’re doing best, what they’re doing wrong, what works, and what they’re doing that doesn’t work.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the competition and other YouTube channels to get inspiration for your own YouTube channel.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to improve your YouTube channel, increase your views, increase your revenue, and just increase your overall success on YouTube.

Visit us at InstantShift.com

RapidxHTML

Great Examples Of Website Personalization

We are well and truly in the technical era – every man and their dog has a website, and if you have a business without some sort of online presence, then you are setting yourself up for failure.

Great Examples Of Website Personalization

Partly thanks to this advanced technical era, consumers are getting smarter and expectations are growing. No longer is it acceptable to simply have a webpage with information and expect the consumer to do all the work. Unless you are able to personalize the content in some way, then there is a very high chance that the consumer will get bored or be uninspired and go somewhere else.

The fact of the matter is that there is so much competition, and you can bet that there will be a company or two (or more) offering the same product or service as you, but with better personalization. If the consumer has a choice of two websites – one which makes them feel like an individual and which only makes them feel like a number or statistic, then you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know which company will generate the most business.

The internet can be a complex and often confusing web of information. It is fine for me to say ‘personalize your content’, but what exactly does that mean? Are you, as a business or website owner, expected to be online 24/7 waiting for a visitor to the website to then work out who they and what they want? Or are you expected to hand type every single individual email to make sure that the same generic content is not sent out? You can if you like, but this is neither sustainable or at all feasible.

Luckily for you, there are many examples of websites currently using personalization that you can look at for inspiration, and there are online companies that exist purely to assist in the automation of personalized content.

Now that you know what you need to do, below is an overview on exactly how to achieve the ultimate personalization, complete with real-world examples. You will see that so many of your favorite and most recognizable brands already use personalization on their websites, without you even knowing it. That is the ultimate goal – don’t make it obvious that you are targeting individual people – make it subtle and effective and it won’t be long until you are reaping the rewards through improved click rate and increased profitability.

What Is Website Personalization

It is fairly self-explanatory – website personalization in a nutshell is personalizing the experience for a visitor to your website. Whether it be the tailoring the visible content on a website’s home page, or ensuring that certain emails and promotions are only sent to the prospects or customers that will properly appreciate them, and be most likely to use them. There really are so many different types of personalization that will depend on what you are offering, who your customers are and what industry you are in.

Examples Of Website Personalization

Website personalization is not a new concept. It has been around for some time, and is currently improving and evolving over time. There are many industries and businesses currently engaging in website personalization.

1. Amazon

Amazon and other online department stores are all about personalization, and are really reaping the benefits. If you have ever logged onto Amazon or any of the other online stores (whether they are selling electronics, clothing or even pet supplies), you may notice that it seems to read your mind and will predominantly feature products that you are interested in, or even products that compliment previous purchases you have made.

This is personalization. The home page for Amazon looks different to every person that visits. The website analyses previous shopping behavior so it actually is kind of reading your mind!

2. Netflix / Google Play

Even websites that are not your traditional shopping sites offer personalization. The biggest evidence of this is the fact that if you are located outside of the United States, you cannot even visit the U.S Netflix site. For example, if you are on an Australian IP address and you type in www.netflix.com, it will automatically redirect you to the Australian website. It has worked out where you are located and personalized the website to suit you. It figures that you have no use visiting the U.S site.

All online streaming sites offer personalization – they remember what you have previously watched, and when you log in (regardless of what device), the home page will introduce new movies or shows that it feels you would be interested in. This is really beneficial for the users as at times this is the only way that they may know of certain shows, and creates customer satisfaction.

3. Spotify / Pandora

Working in the same way as Netflix, but focusing on your ears rather than your eyes – Spotify, Pandora and other music streaming sites offer personalized playlists and radio stations based on what you have listened to the most. It will even recommend new albums and songs that it thinks you will like. It is a great way to find new music, and benefits both the artists and the consumer. Enter in a particular song or genre and it will a build personalized playlist for you.

4. Facebook

Possibly the most deliberate of personalization is on social media – namely Facebook. Nearly everyone has a Facebook account, and anyone who has logged in within the last few months will have noticed strategic posts and sponsored adverts that are freakishly relevant. You can be scrolling through your newsfeed and suddenly an advert for a product or service that you have been thinking about will appear. As if Facebook read your mind. Rather it reads your browsing history, both within and outside of the Facebook website.

Facebook will also note frequently used key words in your posts and put two and two together to work out what you are into. If you start talking about volunteering in Cambodia and have googled different companies that offer such volunteering programs, prepare to start seeing volunteering adverts pop up on your Facebook feed. Another way that Facebook personalizes content is to predominantly show posts from close friends that you interact most with, rather than those who have profiles that you barely look at.

5. McDonalds

Ever noticed that the McDonalds website seems to know when it is time for breakfast no matter what time zone you are in? This is personalization. Rather than have a homepage that offers every potential burger and meal under the sun at all times, the website will work out where you are by your IP address, and it will not only show you meals for that particular time of the day, but will provide specific information about your local restaurant. So you will not get information on a burger that is not available in your area.

A lot of fast food websites use this style of personalization – otherwise if the website looked identical no matter when or where you logged in, then there would be a lot of irrelevant and potentially incorrect information given to you.

6. Scholar Advisor

Scholar Adviser is another unlikely source of website personalization. It is an essay writing service, and when you register, they use the information gathered to basically build a profile of you. Then every time you log in, they know who you are, what you are interested in and from all that, the services that you are most likely going to use. If you log in as a 17-year-old high school student majoring in sports science, then it would be pointless for them to offer up essay writing services on university nursing studies. When the 17-year-old sports scientist logs on, they will notice plenty of advertisements and offers for sports science writing services. Same as if you were a writer – you would only be offered jobs that fit into your field of expertise.

Types Of Website Personalization

We have already looked at some of the more common examples of website personalization that many of you will have experienced firsthand (unless you have never ordered a burger or been on Facebook). But what are the types of personalization? If you have a website and you know that you are needing to personalize, then where do you start, and what is even out there on offer? Below is a brief highlight of the three most common and most effective types of website personalization. Not all of them will be relevant to you, but they are good to know, and should be utilized where possible.

1. Variable tags in an email

Arguably the most basic type of personalization is the use of variable tags in any emails or other correspondence sent. If your company or website is corresponding to customers or prospects over email, then variable tags are a must. Otherwise you will either need to hire someone to manually fill out their name and personal information before sending, or have every email sent be identical with some sort of impersonalized ‘to whom it may concern’ as a header. With variable tags, all you need to do is spend just a bit of time writing out a standard body of an email – perhaps one targeted at one demographic (young females) and a different one targeted at a different demographic (older males). Leave things like their name as variable tags – these tags will self-populate before being sent.

So these customers or prospects will receive an email that appears to have been personally written for them, and is only based on their individual needs (so females will not be sent marketing material for men’s pants). The main benefit being that once the initial work is done, the rest is automated and personalized emails can be sent out while you sleep or holiday!

2. Segmentation

Segmentation is another highly utilized method of personalization. Put simply, it is when a website targets a particular demographic or area. The website will build a profile of a customer based off information it might gather from a survey or a log-in, or even the browser history, and only offer content that is relevant to them. So if you were to log into an online clothing store, it would use your purchase history and your gender to display other clothes or items that you would be interested in.

One commonly used method to gather data for segmentation personalization is to offer an incentive to sign up or subscribe – a few strategically targeted questions will give you all the information you need to successfully target them in a way that will maximize the potential for a sale (if that is what you are after). This can be the first step in building a long term relationship with a customer. There are many businesses that can assist in providing segmentation strategies, such as Yieldify which uses a predictive marketing technology to assess your customers and market accordingly.

3. Dynamic Content

Dynamic content is basically taking a segmentation strategy to the next level. It does more than just market according to the user, but it will change the entire website according to the user’s demographic. The potential for dynamic content is endless, and it really depends on what type of website you have and what you are trying to achieve (simple sales or gaining of long term contracts). Examples of dynamic content include having a ‘locations’ page only show the two or three closest stores to the customer, or have special deals and prices visible only for customers in a particular area.

Dynamic content is just that – dynamic. So even the same customer will get different content depending on what day it is, what the weather is like in their local area, their past behavior and browsing history or even what is going on in their area (such as Independence day in the United States). Any part of a website can be made dynamic – landing pages, forms, available products etc. One business that specializes in building dynamic content for website personalization is Personyze. Using Personyze, simply group your visitors into particular audiences, tell them how you would like to target each audience and leave the rest to them. Your existing CRM data can be easily integrated into Personyze for maximum effectiveness.

Steps To Website Personalization In A Nutshell

Now that you can recognize companies that use personation, and know about the main types of personalization, there are some basic steps in getting there. It will not happen overnight, but if you take it seriously and invest time into your website personalization, then the results will definitely pay off. These steps are just a basic outline to get you going in the right direction. Your best bet of course is to seek the assistance and guidance of a professional.

  1. Consider your audience. The number one step is to know your target audience. Who are they and what are their different visitor attributes? If you were a customer to your website, what would you most like to see? What would you not like to see?
  2. Create personalized content. There is no reason you cannot start creating personalized content from the get go. Start typing out simple emails aimed at your different segments from step 1. Do you want to have special promotions purely aimed at a particular demographic?
  3. Optimize and automate. This is where you may need to seek the advice of a professional. Automation is the key to great personalization. Worker monkeys don’t actually exist, so having your website work for you around the clock is vital. Especially for global websites where you can expect visitors at all hours of the day. Once you do have automation in place, then set up control groups to measure overall impact. The only way of knowing how well something is working is to measure its success. Sounds simple, but it is a step you cannot take too lightly.

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Critical Steps to Make Your WordPress Site Mobile Friendly and Why this is Important

There was a time, long gone by, when having a desktop website was enough to increase brand awareness, drive product/services visibility, generate revenue and enhance profitability.

Critical Steps to Make Your WordPress Site Mobile Friendly and Why this is Important

Having a website was the ‘in’ thing and every business wanted to create the kind of website setup that not only looked good (many businesses actually made this the key parameter determining success) but also brought in the moolah. A business without a website was called ANCIENT.

Today, having a website is a given in the hyper competitive world of business. But, there is a twist. Businesses are not just expected to have a website that works perfectly on PCs, desktops and laptops, audiences expect them to have a website that works perfectly on their handheld devices as well. Yes, the expectations of your target customers have changed and you need to cater to them. Not doing so, will just lead to heart burn resulting from decreasing revenue generation for your business.

Why Should Your WordPress Website Be Mobile Friendly?

There are many reasons why you need a mobile-friendly WordPress website:

Accessibility and Convenience

One of the key reasons why your business created a WordPress website was to make your business’s information, products/services easily accessible to potential customers. Well, this reason stands true for a mobile friendly website as well. In fact, such sites make your business even more accessible to their existing and potential customers as they can access your website anytime and anywhere, on the go.

This can increase the number of people accessing your site, which in turn will have a positive impact on the click-through and conversion rates of your business. What you are essentially doing is ensuring your website is always available for potential customers wherever they are. This improves revenue generation and scope of profits.

Helps Leverage Social Media

Do you know more than half of Facebook’s users access the service from their mobile phones? Did you know 83% of Twitter’s Q1 2016 monthly active users were on mobile? Now, why are these stats important for your website, especially your mobile-friendly website? Because you will have to leverage the immense popularity of social media for business benefits, and if a large percentage of social media users are accessing the various social platforms with their mobile phones, you need to make your website mobile friendly as well.

Imagine a scenario, wherein, a potential customer is going through his Facebook account using his smartphone, comes across your site’s link and lands up on your site. Horror of horrors, what if your site isn’t mobile friendly?You will definitely lose this customer – No doubt about that.

The Crazy Growing Popularity of Mobile Search

Another critically important reason for making your WordPress site mobile friendly is mobile search. According to Forrester, 87% of US smartphone owners depend on their mobile browser to search for information. Marketers have wised up to this fact, which is reflected in the mobile search spend that has increased 55% YOY. Google’s banking on mobile as well, with mobile driving its revenue growth.

Mobile friendliness is also a ranking signal on Google and it also rolled out a mobile friendly update that affects search rankings on mobile devices. Yes, it’s just one of the signals that Google uses to determine SERPs but it is an important signal.

Your Audience Expects a WordPress site that is Mobile Friendly

You know that saying, ‘Give the audience what they want’. Well, that’s what you are doing when you give them a mobile friendly WordPress site. Also, remember you are not doing them any favors. Most businesses these days offer their target customers a mobile friendly website and you should be doing the same; or you will lose your customers to your competitors. The equation is as simple as that.

All said and done, there is no reason why your site shouldn’t be mobile friendly. When you create a website, you must ensure it displays as correctly on mobile devices as on PCs because it makes great business sense. If you are looking at better branding, more visibility and more business profitability, your website cannot afford to alienate mobile devices. In fact, in today’s world they are your business’s best friends.

But that is provided you get your website’s mobile friendliness right. If you don’t get it right, you will still miss out on a huge and growing potential customer base that is using mobile devices to browse sites. What’s more, if your website isn’t mobile friendly enough, it will have diminishing conversion potential, which is as good as not having a mobile website.

I am sure many of you are aware about making a website in WordPress, but how do you go about creating a mobile friendly WordPress site.

Make Your WordPress Site Mobile Friendly

The following steps are critical to the process. Miss out on any one of them and your mobile friendly site won’t do justice to your brand:

Let’s go through them:

Step 1. Test, Test, Test

The first thing you need to do is go to Google’s very own mobile friendly testing tool, to judge the ‘friendliness quotient’ of your site vis-à-vis mobile devices. All you need to do, is key in the URL of your website, allow the tool to analyze its various aspects and wait for it to deliver its results. If you get a result in red, your website isn’t mobile friendly, but if it’s green, you are home free. There is nothing much left to do.

If the tool is saying ‘Not Mobile Ready’, here are some steps you need to follow from here on:

Step 2. Update your WordPress Installation

Now before you actually get started on the responsive theme selection that will help you make your site more responsive, there is something else you should do. Make sure you are using the latest ‘stable’ WordPress version available. What you need to do is go to the administration panel and check the version number that is visible right at the top of the Dashboard or near the footer (typically seen in older versions of WordPress).

You could also check the version through your WordPress website. All you need to do is view the‘source function’ of your web browser. The generation meta tag on the page will contain the version number.

If you find, you are not using the latest version of WordPress, update it to avail the various benefits in the form of security updates, patches, bug fixes that it brings to the table. There might be feature upgrades from the mobile point of view as well, which will benefit your website.

Step 3. Game of Themes

The mobile friendliness of your site is primarily based on themes. The first thing you must do after updating the WordPress version is to check whether your theme needs an update and if an updated theme is available. For that, Go to the Admin Panel and click on Appearance and then on Themes. If an update is available, you will find it here, otherwise you need to begin the process of picking a responsive theme.

The process of choosing a responsive theme for your website setup:

  • Go to your WordPress Dashboard.
  • Under Appearance, Click on Themes and then click on ‘Install Themes’.
  • Search for a responsive theme by keying the appropriate keyword for e.g. ‘responsive’.
  • This search will throw up results that include responsive themes; pick the one that is in perfect sync with the purpose and branding objectives of your site.

Note: Going the responsive way ensures you don’t have to come up with a separate mobile website or even multiple domains. This is the ‘one site fits all’ option and will save you a lot of money that will be otherwise spent on building a separate mobile site.

Also, if you don’t want to use a different theme for your desktop website and want to keep your current theme intact, you can use plenty of third party plugins for this purpose. A plugin like WP Touch ensures your website theme remains the same, but your mobile site visitors will be presented with a different theme.

There are plenty of options available out there, all you need to do is explore and pick the one that suits your needs best.

The use of the responsive theme or the third party plugins are going to make your site mobile friendly, and you can stop here. But, there are other steps you can follow to make your site even more mobile friendly.

If you want to continue:

Step 4: Load Site Faster

Google and your mobile site visitors not only want a site that renders perfectly on mobile screens, but also loads faster keeping the needs of mobile users in mind. Your primary targets in this regard are images. The problem with images is that they take a lot of time to load on mobile devices and if you can get them to load quickly, your site will load faster.

The solution for this problem lies in (you guessed it right) a plugin. One of the better plugins is WP–Smush; it has a feature called the imager smusher, which compresses all your website images and resizes them to improve the loading time for your site on a mobile device. So, go to the plugins area on the WordPress dashboard and install this or any other plugin that you deem fit.

Step 5: Test Again

While there is no doubt, your WordPress website will become mobile friendly once you follow the steps give above, test the site again. After all, it doesn’t take too much time and what if you’ve made a mistake somewhere and not realized it. Can’t take a chance with your site considering everything that it represents!

So that’s about it. If you follow these steps your WordPress website is now mobile friendly and a Google “darling”. Of course it’s not really as simple as deploying a responsive theme or a plugin. You need to get the other elements of the website absolutely right, which includes visuals, text, and call-to-action buttons amongst others. You will need to keep checking the engagement metrics of your site to see whether it’s doing just fine or changes are in order.

The good news is that you can pick from numerous plug-ins that will improve the lead generation and conversion quotient of your site. So, don’t worry.

Before I end this article, here are a few pitfalls to avoid, while making your WordPress site mobile friendly:

  • Make sure the Googlebot can access JavaScript, HTML, CSS and image files used on the site. If Googlebot cannot crawl these files, it will have a bearing on the indexing and how your site is ranked.
  • Make sure content like videos used on your site are playable on mobile devices. Rather than choosing from the numerous proprietary video players available out there, it is advisable that your HTML 5 standard tags include videos and other animation.

Conclusion:

What you must have gauged from this article is that the single most important factor that can help you create a mobile friendly WordPress site is ensuring responsive design is built into your WordPress theme. But to see that as a be all and end all for getting your WordPress site ready for a mobile audience will be erroneous. You will also need to think about how you are going to make the mobile website work for you. But that’s a completely different topic.

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What Are the Most Common Mistakes during PCB Design? 3 Printed Circuit Board FAQs

You could spend decades creating printed circuit boards, and you’d still learn something new almost every time you develop a PCB.

What Are the Most Common Mistakes during PCB Design? 3 Printed Circuit Board FAQs

The architecture is constantly evolving, and engineers are always pushing the boundaries to make PCBs more durable and efficient.

Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to PCB development, the best way to advance your skills is to ask questions and research the latest design techniques. The answers to these three FAQs can help you avoid common mistakes, save time and make the design process far less tedious:

1. What should I look for when purchasing EDA software?

Electronic design automation software can cut your design time by hours – if not days. This software makes it easy to develop, edit and test PCBs before going to fabrication.

However, not all EDA software offers the same features. Here are a few points to look for when comparing the options:

  • Easy-to-Edit Schematic Capture: The best EDA software has a schematic capture that makes it easy to notice and fix layout problems. The program should also allow you to test changes to your schematic instantly.
  • User-Friendly PCB Editing: Beyond the schematic capture, your EDA software should have editing features that make it easy to route traces and place components.
  • Expansive Component Library: With more than 350,000 PCB components available, it’s easy for engineers to feel overwhelmed. Your EDA software should have a well-organized and expansive component library. The best programs provide real-time inventory information from component vendors.
  • Free Trial: You don’t want to be stuck using EDA software that doesn’t fulfill your needs. Make sure the program you choose offers a free trial.

Pro Tip: The EDA software from Circuit Studio has all of these features, and it’s a popular choice among both novice and experienced PCB engineers.

2. What are the most common mistakes during PCB design?

After countless hours, days and weeks of labor, you discover a fundamental mistake that sends you back to the schematic. If you’ve found yourself in this position, then you’re familiar with how frustrating PCB design can be.

Fortunately, the most common PCB development mistakes are easy to avoid:

  • Mistake #1: Not Leaving Space to Add Components: The routing is perfect, the component placement impeccable, and it’s time to go to fabrication. But wait! Before you take that final step, make sure you have room to add components if necessary. Venture Outsource recommends that you create space by adding extra components that you can remove without affecting the PCB’s functionality.
  • Mistake #2: Not Keeping a Backup of Your Work: Building a printed circuit board is a time-consuming endeavor. Creating the schematic, routing traces and placing components can take days – if not weeks – to finish. But all that hard work will be wasted if your hard drive crashes. For this reason, about tech recommends that PCB engineers always keep a backup.
  • Mistake #3: Using Insufficient Edge Tolerances: If you do not incorporate the appropriate edge tolerances, then there could be a short with the metal chassis and cases. Try to place your ground plates and traces so they end 0.01 inches from the board’s edges.
3. At what stages of development should I ask other PCB engineers to review my work?

You might be the bee’s knees in the PCB design world – or even the cat’s pajamas – but no matter how experienced you are, it never hurts to let another developer review your work. In fact, it can save you a lot of time, and it will help you avoid disappointing clients if you were hired to build their PCB.

In particular, you should request a review during these three stages of the design process:

  1. Following the creation of the schematic and before component placement;
  2. Following the completion of routing in hard copy;
  3. And after you assemble the data package and manufacture the printed circuit board.

Building a PCB that functions correctly is a satisfying feat. You can make the process a whole lot easier by using the appropriate EDA software, avoiding common mistakes, and asking engineers to review your PCB at certain milestones of development.

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Which Colors to Avoid in Web Design

Advertising is a tricky business and it all depends on how you present yourself. Colors are the heart of any advertisement that decides how successfully it will promote your brand, merchandise or services. That is why using appropriate color tones have become imperative for today’s businesses in order to win the attention of your target audience because every product requires varying forms of advertisement.

Which Colors to Avoid in Web Design

If you are looking towards learning the fundamentals of color choice in your web design, this article will help you increase your knowledge on how to do it properly. The right color scheme can be the deciding factor in how successful your ad campaigns will fare, so executing the perfect combination is no easy task.

Importance of Color Schemes

The power of color schemes is something not to be underestimated. If given the right exposure, it can be harnessed to become your greatest strength in any web design. If used creatively, even the simplest of colors can be arranged to stir the minds and hearts of the target audience and win their attention. A color scheme that utilizes the appropriate combination of color hues not only boosts the ability to advertise but also improves the time a user spends on a website averagely.

However, choosing the wrong color schemes can be disastrous to say the least and can drown any product or service, regardless how big it is or what it brings to the table. Some advertisers opt for flashy colors to display their brands to capture the attention of their target audience. Although they may succeed in getting the heads turn in their direction, the audience will eventually lose interest in the long haul. A designer would only do this to distract the customer and mask inferior quality of the merchandise. This eventually ends up damaging brand image and reputation of the business.

In this article, we will cover which types of color schemes to avoid in online advertising. Our team has coined together a list of “NOT TOs” along with an alternative method for you to try.

Using one Color

Having just one color representing your entire website makes it both bland and uninteresting for your target audience. It is most unlikely that the audience will even try skimming it before moving to the next site which is developed with more appropriate color schemes.

Try this:

Adjusting color schemes accordingly is a critical task to ensure for a professional design, capable of drawing attention towards the important aspects of the website. Elements such as buttons, subtitles, quotations and hyperlinks should be issued colors accordingly to highlight their importance.

Picking the Wrongs Color

Choosing the wrong color for your web design can mean the difference of being ignored on a magazine rack or sold on sight. For a website that has a product to sell or even a service to promote, it can easily pick a hue from the exterior of the product or the philosophical property of the service. Either way, a profound representation of your website with what you’re offering helps build a connection with the user. Using a dark color such as navy blue for a web design made to sell beauty products will be disappointing.

Try this:

Before allowing your website to spiral into a costly catastrophe, use color theory to select those hues that are closely associated with the product or somewhat exhibit its characteristics. This helps the viewer to remain engaged to the website and even give the products a shot.

NEON Colors

Using Neon colors is not prohibited at all, but celebrating Holi with them on your web design could be stupid move. Neon colors are created by raising the intensity of the brightness by a tinge to make it stand out in the contrast.

There is no doubt they are funky and fun to be around in the design but just by the appreciable amounts. Using them incessantly on your template can really make the viewer’s eyes tear up, but also cause the text to bleed into the contrast disrupting their readability. If I’m not wrong, your objective is to engage the visitor not cause an epileptic seizure.

Try this:

However, if you’re really persistent, you can always remove the unnecessary brightness from the Neon colors so it makes the text a little darker and less intense. Also, if you have already decided to add Neon colors to the theme, make sure you use them for the smaller elements so the reader can easily see them.

Vibrating Colors

Now mixing or pairing colors with bad blood is like blurring your visitor’s vision intentionally. This happens when colors that are highly saturated interact with each other and ring a “vibrating effect” that makes a glowing motion. This vibrating effect is highly disliked by users.

By combining these brightly colored hues the vision becomes bothersome and produces an afterimage effect that messes up the vision. It not only prevents the user from reading the content but also makes one hell of a mess out of your text.

Try this:

Yet again it is not recommended that you combine vibrating colors with each other, but if so it necessitates, the best way to accommodate this is by introducing a neutral color in between the two bright colors so either one of the two becomes a darker shade.

Also, if you need to find which colors will vibrate you can put them side by side and you will notice:

  1. The High Saturation of color present in between them
  2. Complementary and spaced apart 180 degrees on the color wheel
  3. Little contrast appears when the colors are converted to grayscale
Rainbow Themes

To my opinion anything that breaks the rules of the color theory can be hazardous to your web design sooner or later. So let’s face it, rainbow colored websites just don’t work. Just imagine how many rules you have butchered just to create a rainbow themed template in your head right after reading this.

Rainbow colored web designs are not only unconventional but also misleading – if you know what I mean. You want to promote, advertise or sell something, but showing rainbows to your clients and visitors won’t help.

Try this:

However, if you are interested in producing a multicolor web design with more than 3 colors, use color blocking or card style for your template. This allows you to assign colors to categories block by block without compromising the color balance in the design.

Light Colors on White

Each time I see this mistake I realize how the customer tends to lose interest and moves on to the other website. Using a light color against a light color background is same as selling a sandwich filled with bread. You need to balance light with dark and set a reasonable amount of difference that allows the reader to smoothly scour the website instead of abandoning it. In the latest web design trends, the increase in use of header images is making this a common mishap.

Try this:

The best way to avoid this is compare the background color with the palettes on the color wheel. You can easily distinguish the right combination by checking the contrast friendliness with each other. A good mix will unite the content with the design and produce a natural appeal in your web design.

Experimenting with Detailed Backgrounds

This is probably the most lethal of mistakes regarding colors in web designs. Business owners hire designers to produce the best of their work and erect them a website that has what it takes to bring their business and revenues to the top. But that is where sometimes things go a little off balance. Website designers are always looking into new ways to impress their contractors and in that pursuit they often add excessive amount of color details in the background. Temporarily, it doesn’t look that bad, but when the design moves to the final steps with all its elements and content setting in, it becomes one ugly piece of template.

Try This:

The only way to avoid this debacle is instructing your web designer to refrain from adding color details in the background and keep your team in the loop if anything new is being tested or implemented in the original plan.

Pale Yellow and Bright Blue

Most designers are well aware that Bright blue and Pale yellow are terrible choice of colors when it comes to background of a website. Bright blue is intense and always aggressive towards any other color that comes in their domain. Pale yellow reacts differently and defeats the purpose of a background color by affecting the mood of the visitor and causing other hues to radicalize. Here is why you should never attempt using them.

Bright Blue as Background

Now I don’t mean to offend any bright blue color lovers by saying it looks terrible in as a website background, it’s just a fact that it can’t be, never will be, a good choice of color to set for the contrast. For one, bright blue too strong to be set against the website’s content and two, it leaves the designer with too little of options for combining it with another hue from the palette. It has a vibrating effect that brings it closer to Neon colors and if you did read what I discussed above, Neon colors are a big NOPE!

Try this:

You can use lighter shades of blue especially when you have a card style design to for your website. It will neutralize the vibrating effect as well as serve the need of having a blue color for the background.

Pale Yellow in Background

Adding a little bit of yellow to the headers and maybe some text of the titles might seem ok, but drowning it with the background can mean the difference of a highly visited website and a floating piece of garbage on the internet. It not only gives an unappealing hue, but reflects poor taste of the business towards its clients. Yellow has a sentimental significance for hitting a note of happiness and glee within the audience. Thus, using it without perspective can be irreversibly damaging to your website in terms of cost and loss of customers.

Try this:

You can use it with brown, dark red or orange to ignite a retro look and then use it later on other instances as well. A white background that has yellow tint can surprise your visitors if combined with the right color for the header and footer such as orange.

Ignoring Color Matching Tools

Color scheming isn’t an easy task though, as landing the perfect combination of colors to attract customers is easier said than done. This is because having in-depth knowledge about color mixing and what combination draws the preferred reaction from audience is an art very few people come to embrace. This leads to a heavy reliance on trial and error method, which is extremely risky for advertising. A single mistake can end up failing your entire campaign.

Fortunately, there is a solution to overcome this color scheme barrier, which presents itself in the form of a color matching tool which is built to combine different colors together with the results comparable to veterans of this field.

Try this:

Color matching tools such as Adobe Color CC tool are developed to simplify the selection process of choosing accent colors when you have selected what your dominant color is going to be. Although the tool may seem complicated, in reality it is designed to be both simple and effective.

Color matching tools are equipped with options to simplify color scheming such as:

  • Choosing dominant color around which to select accent colors
  • Choosing a photo around which to select accent colors
Importance of Accent Colors

Important information on the WebPages can be highlighted using accent colors to signify their importance. They may range from hyperlinks to other content on webpage that you wish to draw your audience’s attention to. It is advisable to stick with one or two accent colors, as greater number of accent colors end up creating confusion for website visitors.

Conclusion

While colors play an important role in giving a website its dress code and appeal, using them in correctly in your design templates is imperative if you seek to get a successful business running. Without the right hues at your side, your website will not just be a laughing stock, but also a costly disappointment.

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The World of Instagram and Food – An infographic

As of January 2016, #food has been used over 160 million times on Instagram. The #foodporn isn’t far behind with over 76 million uses. You might argue that the growth of Instagram has been heavily influenced by the food hashtags.

The World of Instagram and Food – An infographic

Instagram is synonymous with pictures of food and has even had a potential effect on the demand for unique dining experiences with an increase in demand from 40% to 51% between 2006 and 2013.

Food posts on Instagram have extended far beyond posting pictures of what you had for dinner that day between friends, and there are now Insta’ Influencers who have made a career from it. People like Joe Wicks began his career on Instagram and he now has a bestselling book called ‘Lean in 15’ and his own TV show. His Instagram following has grown to over 1 million.

Other Instagram stars such as Sarah Phillips have done similar but with a slightly different approach. She used her influence to create her own website called CraftyBaking.com, and she has turned her food images on Instagram in to an e-commerce business that prints the photos onto phone cases and tote bags.

Samantha Lee has a slightly different tact again and collaborates with a lot of big brands through her Instagram. She has become a high respected food artist and stylist.

The success these people have achieved is incredible and people really engage with the content they post on the platform.

What’s interesting is that it’s individuals who seem to be using Instagram most effectively and businesses seem to be struggling to realize its full potential. When one person can have such an influence on there, what’s stopping business achieving the same success? Some might argue that people engage with individuals on these platforms more, but businesses would be foolhardy to ignore how influential Instagram can be in helping a business grow.

Instagram lets businesses reach a wider audience and all businesses should attempt to build a following on there. Using the relevant hashtags can help you reach people that aren’t even in your location. It is particularly effective for visual businesses and regular high quality posts to Instagram will help build your brand.

Check out this infographic from Lakeshore Convention Centre which outlines how influential Instagram has become as well as offering advice to businesses on how to best use it to grow their business.

The World of Instagram and Food - An infographic

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13 Best WordPress Plugins To Detect Malicious Code in Your Site

In the world of automated programs and malicious softwares, thinking that your website is safe is just too good to be true. Even when you are integrated with upgraded security measures, WordPress websites remains a target for hackers. Though there are many premium users who pay the money to stay safe and secure from potential threats, but they can never be too sure about their safety.

13 Best WordPress Plugins To Detect Malicious Code in Your Site

Hackers are professionals who know their job very well. They have plenty of ways to get access to your website and deprive you of any valuable stuff. Sometimes, they even spend several days to analyze the code of your website and then find a loophole to get control on it. Since you have to do so many things with your website, you cannot keep an eye on every granular activity on your website.

So if those malevolent intruders get a hold of your site, you can kiss your reputation goodbye. However, there are many top WP plugin that can help you secure your website and bid farewell to hazardous softwares once and for all. Here they are:

1. Theme Authenticity Checker (TAC)

One of the most reliable anti-virus plugins, TAC helps you search every suspicious file to avoid any damage to your website. It does it by listing the malicious files along with the theme file, line number and snippet of the code.

Once you get this information, you can then contact the author of the theme and communicate information regarding the file. This plugin enables you to quickly check any unwanted codes for the scan so that you can prevent your website from any risk.

2. Exploit Scanner

With the help of this plugin, you can scan the files and databases of your site. Unlike other techniques, this is the best and more reliable way to ensure that your website is safe and secure.

Although it doesn’t stop anyone from hacking your site, it does let you know if there are any malicious or infected files on your website.

Whenever a website is hacked by a hacker, he leaves behind scripts and modified content. You can search them up by manually scanning the files. Once you are able to search the files, the posts and the comments of your site, you will then be able to examine your list of plugins for any suspicious filenames.

3. Sucuri

Sucuri is the best plugin when you want to do a complete scan of your website. This plugin contains a range of features that you can use to secure your website. Security Activity Monitoring is one such feature that keeps a check on all the events of your WordPress website. The tool records every minute changes that your website undergoes.

The plugin also features a Remote Security Malware Scanning system which lets you know about any malware that might affect your website in future. Apart from a paid version, Sucuri is also available for free. However, the free version has limited features which make it ineffective for big businesses.

4. Anti-Malware Security and Brute-Force Firewall

Anti-Malware is a direct competitor of Sucuri. It allows you to run a complete security check and get rid of any known security threat as well as backdoor scripts. The firewall can prevent SoakSoak and other black-listed viruses from spoiling your website. You can even upgrade it to vulnerable versions to fight against timthumb scripts.

Just remember to download Definition Updates so you can fight new threats.

However, you must download definition updates to keep synchronizing it to fight with newer threats. With premium version, you can block Brute-Force and DDoS attacks by integrating your wp-login and XMLRPC.

In addition, you can even register to GOTMLS.NET and avail more features, such as Automatic Removal that will automatically stop any suspicious program from entering your website.

5. BulletProof Security

BulletProof Security is another solid WP plugin that protects your sites against 100,000 attacks. It is effective, reliable and easy to use. The efficacy of the plugin can be validated by the fact that it has been downloaded for about 1.5 million times.

It uses .htaccess files for security which makes it impossible for any suspicious script to malfunction the system, even before they get a chance to reach the PHP code in WordPress. BulletProof Security ensures effective optimization of the performance of your website and keeps it abreast of any potential threats.

It doesn’t allow any unverified data to enter into your WordPress Database. BulletProof Security can also speed up your website by using the Speed Boost Cache Bonus Code. It will block all SQL Injection hacking attempts/attacks regardless of who performed the attack. Moreover, it doesn’t use excessive Server Memory & Resources.

HPF Cron checks the folders in the database for any hidden or empty plugin folders. It also checks for any altered or non-standard WP files in the folders.

6. AntiVirus for WordPress

This plugin one is pretty simple to use and pretty effective as well. It can fight malware, viruses and spam injections. Instead of manually going through the files and databases yourself, you can configure this program to do an automatic scan of your website. If it picks up anything suspicious, it will notify you with email.

Even if your WP website gets hacked, it will inform you right away to take an immediate action. Once the malicious plugin is removed, it will perform a comprehensive cleanup of your site.

The admin bar includes a virus alert to notify you about any threat. It also features Google Safe Browsing for monitoring any traces of malware and phishing activities. It also allows you to perform a manual check on your template files.

7. BBQ: Block Bad Queries

This is the latest and one of the fastest firewall plugins that protects your site against malicious URL requests. BBQ inspects all incoming traffic and silently blocks untrustworthy URLs, such as “eval(, base64_”, or the one that are very long. It is best for those who cannot use a .htaccess firewall.

In addition, it does not require any configuration and contains no frills in the installation. The free version is good for the basics, but the premium version is what will give you the best of the features. You can customize it the way you want, for example setting up your own status code and more.

8. WP Antivirus Site Protection

WP Antivirus Site Protection does a very deep scan of your site to detect and remove any malware, viruses, and suspicious codes. Its scanners pick up Trojan horses, rootkits, worms, backdoors, adware, spyware and hidden links among others.

Apart from theme files, it also scans the files in the plugins, upload folders and more. Users who download WordPress themes from torrent and free websites can make use of this application.

9. Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security is one of the most downloaded WP security plugins out there. Powered by Threat Defense Feed, this incredible tool lets you feel reassured about the safety of your website. It has the same proprietary feed as all of the social media platforms.

The Live Traffic view will assist you in monitoring your site for traffic and any possible attempts for hacking. But if it still does not provide you strong reasons to plug it into your website, let us inform you that it is available for free.

Although, there is a premium package available for the clients which empower you to benefit more from this powerful tool. Once you subscribe to the premium version, you will be able to avail Scheduled Scans, Password Auditing, Country Blocking and IP address detection.

10. iThemes Security

This WordPress plugin deserves a special mention for its range of features that will keep your website protected from potential threats in 30 different ways.

iTheme is a particularly effective against incognito hacking activities that tend to harm a website without you ever notice anything. This WP plugin enables you to lock your website, restrict any automated program to run on your website, fix common loopholes in the security of your website and secure user credentials.

The plugin also comes in a paid version which includes even more valuable features, such as Google Authenticator (Authy) and Salts & Security.

In addition, you can have your site automatically scanned every day to find any issues related to viruses, malware and automated programs. If anything malfunctions, you will get an email with all the details related to the issue. iThemes Security makes many backups of your WP database which allows you to get back your entire data quickly in case of a theft.

11. Acunetix WP Security

Acunetix WP Security is comprehensive and the good thing is that it is available for free. You can use this tool for securing your database, hiring the version, securing file permissions, protecting admin and many more things.

12. Quttera Web Malware Scanner

This is yet another powerful plugin you must try. It fights against Trojan, malware, worms, viruses, spyware and backdoor. It also fends off JavaScript code obfuscation, illicit code injection, malicious iframes, exploits, redirects and hidden evil code.

It will update you about whether your site has been blacklisted by Google or any other web authority. The good news is that you can get all these features without paying a penny.

13. All In One WP Security & Firewall

If you want a comprehensive, stable and easy-to-use security plugin for your WordPress site, then All In One WP Security & Firewall is just perfect for you. It is a simple and hassle-free tool that does not require you to be an expert to install this plugin. This fantastic tool uses the latest WordPress security practices.

All In One WP Security & Firewall uses a grading system that measures the level of security on your site. It allows you to apply firewalls to your site without affecting the performance of your site. In addition, the plugin will make sure that there aren’t any user accounts with the same login and display names.

Additionally, the password strength tool of this WordPress plugin allows you to ensure higher password strength. The Login Lockdown feature protects you against Brute Force attacks.

Certain IP address and range will be locked out of the system for a while. You can also choose to be notified by email in case of too many failed login attempts.

 

The security of your WordPress website is one of the primary things you must supervise once you launch a website. After all, you don’t want to lose all your time and money just because an attack of a virus or a hacking activity.

The above-mentioned 13 WordPress plugins are what will serve as a protective shield to protect to protect your website from any such as acts so that you can smoothly run your online business.

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4 C’s in Refining Your Content: The Power of Editing

Content writers are much in demand at the moment, and for a considerable time to come. All businesses require regular content for their websites, and it is like Christmas every day for content marketing professionals.

4 C’s in Refining Your Content: The Power of Editing

The situation creates another problem. With so much content bring posted every day, getting the attention your content needs is becoming more and more challenging. It is not enough to publish content online. You want the reader to take a certain action, and that is unlikely to happen if you don’t have great content. That is where the power of editing comes in.

Great content does not happen by mistake. Making sure that the content is relevant to the target audience is the work of the content marketing strategist. Creating the content itself and making sure that everything is in order is the responsibility of the content writer.

It is important to make sure each post fulfills the 4 Cs of polished content: Clear, Concise, Coherent, and Correct. The only way to do that is to do thorough proofreading and editing. Here is the lowdown on how to achieve the 4Cs through the power of editing.

Ensure Your Message Is Clear

How can people understand your message if you don’t make sure you are expressing it in a clear manner? Defining what is clear with regard to content is not easy. What may be clear to you may not be clear to the reader because people come from different experiences.

You may have experienced this in school. Some teachers just seem to have the knack for explaining the lessons in terms their students can understand, while others, no matter how knowledgeable, can’t seem to teach students anything.

Experts on anything are particularly bad at this, because they make a lot of assumptions over what their readers know. For example, ask a psychologist to explain paranoia and you will probably get a long explanation using terms that will only make sense to another psychologist. Putting it in terms that an ordinary person can understand is probably a stretch for many professionals.

As a content writer, this is something you have to overcome. You cannot assume your readers can follow your train of thought unless you walk them through it step by step. Keep your reader’s probable level of experience in mind. At all times, aim for the lowest rung of the ladder. Only then can you edit the content so the message will be clear to any of your readers.

You can try the following techniques to reach that goal.

  • Use headers – Headers serve like a roadmap to your content. Your readers can see at a glance what you have to say, and they can help you stay on point. Headers help you organize your thoughts so you don’t go off on tangent. It can also make your content look more professional.

  • Cut up long passages– Many writers get caught up in the moment when discussing a topic, and simply go on and on.

    It can be difficult for your reader to follow what you are saying if you present them with a long block of text or in a run-on sentence. It is even worse when you jump from one point to another.

    Cutting up long sentences and long paragraphs make your content more visually relaxing and easier to read. It also makes it easier for you to catch where you may have digressed during editing. If you experienced a “Wait, what?” moment, it is likely your readers will go through the same thing, so work on that part of the content.

  • Use simple words– The most important technique is to use the simplest words you have in your arsenal. It is not so much as dumbing down your content, but ensuring it makes sense to the least knowledgeable of your target audience. If your target audience happens to be rocket scientists, then use language that the dumbest of them can understand.
  • Use proofing tools – Some text editors, such as Word, have built in proofing tools that include readability statistics. You can use them to identify passive sentences, wordiness, and other things that can make content unclear.

Editing is often harder for writers than the actual writing, so if you find yourself going around and around in circles, then maybe you need to take a break.

Working too long and too hard on something can make it hard for you work effectively. Do something totally unrelated to writing, preferably something physical. If you are still finding it hard to get your point across, then maybe you are trying too hard. Leave it alone and work on something else. Make a point of drawing back from what you are doing for a few hours. This way you can go back to revising your content with a new perspective.

Ensure Your Content Is Concise

American novelist Ernest Hemingway is known for his laconic writing style, and if you were to look up the word “concise” in the dictionary, you might find his picture next to it.

Concise means “cut short,” from the Latin concisus. The ability to be concise is especially important today, because readers have a short attention span. They would not appreciate long-form content that is long for the sake of being long. Using a dozen words when one would do is a sure fire way to cause your readers to click away.

It is the same case with your choice of words. You may fancy yourself smart by using long, complex words in lieu of short, simple ones even if they are more effective, but they only serve to make you sound pompous.

As the “Father of Advertising” David Ogilvy says, “Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.”

The Power of Editing

Using more words than you need will certainly make the content longer, but it will not make it more meaningful. It can even hurt your aim to increase readership. So, you have to be ruthless with your editing. An online app such as Hemingway can help cut away the fat by identifying violations of conciseness, including:

  • Oft-repeated words
  • Passive sentences (is/are + verb)
  • Adverbs, i.e. extremely
  • Idiomatic expressions
  • Wordiness, i.e. the use of “that,” “this,” “these”

After you have taken care of the basic problems with conciseness, you can start more comprehensive editing. Check the work line by line, and identify words, sentences, or even paragraphs you don’t need.

Mark Twin said, “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Take out certain words then read the sentences. If they still make sense, you can leave them out.

The Power of Editing

Ensure The Message Is Coherent

Some people say that clear and coherent may be the same thing, but they would be wrong. Coherence focuses on delivering consistency than clarity. The purpose of editing in this instance is to make sure the choice of words, tone, and verbs follows a pattern.

For example, the term Wi-Fi is regularly used as a generic term, but in fact, it is a name of an organization, so you cannot play fast and loose with the way it is written. You cannot write it out as WiFi, Wifi, or wifi. None of these are correct, so make sure you use the proper format throughout your article. Create a style guide for all the terms you use to make sure you use the same one all the time.

You also want to avoid long, involved sentences that are like breadcrumbs in the rain. You risk confusing and losing your reader. If you use several commas in one sentence, and think semi-colons are a gift from heaven, then you have this problem.

American author Kurt Vonnegut puts it another way, “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.” Instead of semi-colons, use a period.

The next step is to proofread and edit for errors in grammar. This includes verb confusion, typos, and wrong use of punctuation. A few misspellings may not ruin your message, but they can affect your credibility. They make you look unprofessional. As Ernest Hemingway would say, “Write drunk, edit sober.”

Of course, that sounds simpler than it really is. Most writers tend to scan through their own work, and may not do as good a job of proofreading as they would if they were checking someone else’s work. You develop “writer’s blindness,” and you miss obvious errors and inconsistencies. You can think of it as trying to find something wrong with a much beloved child. It is very hard to be objective.

Your text editor will probably have some type of spelling and grammar checker, but that is not going to be in depth. A tool such as Grammarly can correct many errors that fall through the cracks on the first pass in your draft before you do manual proofreading.

Even the best and most expensive automated proofreaders will not catch everything. If you feel you have writer’s blindness, you can get professionals like the editors at EduGeeksClub to give your content a look. They can provide good suggestions on how to improve your content as well. Nothing beats the human input when it comes to proofreading and editing for ensuring good flow and readability.

The Power of Editing

Ensure Your Content Is Correct

Check your facts to make sure they are correct. Most writers make research their first stop for gathering raw data and information they will need to populate their content.

Back in the day, this required going to the library and hitting the books. Research has gotten a lot easier now with the Internet. However, with so much information floating around on the Web and no one to monitor their provenance, it is your responsibility to separate the chaff from the wheat.

The thing you have to keep in mind is the value of the content to your reader. The sole reason most people go to the Internet is to get information, so you want to make sure what you are saying is right.

Avoid statements and generalizations until can find supporting information. Go through each one of your statements and facts, and verify them using reliable sources. This will keep you from getting lazy and on your toes.

You can develop credibility by consistently doing the research. Confirming your facts before you publish is the responsible thing to do. Make sure to choose sources carefully, and cite them as links in the text of your article, or as footnotes.

On the other hand, if you are stating an opinion, then you will not need sources. However, you must make it clear that it is your personal opinion or experience. There is a place for your personal stories.

Novel writer Neil Gaiman says, “Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that — but you are the only you.”

The Power of Editing

However, there is a time and a place for personal stories. You have to earn the right to express an opinion on some subjects and have people believe them. Many experts can express an opinion as fact, but unless you have already attained that status as an expert, you have to rely on professional or peer-reviewed studies to support your content.

The Takeaway: Create awesome content through thorough editing

Editing can greatly improve the quality of your content. You can justify all the effort you put in to make it a valuable read for your audience. However, it is not as easy as it sounds. Few writers have the ability to edit their own work effectively. The best way to do comprehensive editing is to hire a professional to give it an objective look.

If that is not possible, then you should cut the work up in chunks and work on it in easy stages. Walk away at regular intervals for a few hours, or even a few days if your deadline allows it. This will give you time to get over your writer’s ego and go through the content with a new perspective. You can then edit the work to achieve the 4Cs for your target audience.

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