How Infographics Can Propel Your Content Marketing

Say the phrase ‘content marketing’ to many people and they will instantly assume you’re talking about blogging. For many of us, ‘content’ is a term synonymous with ‘writing’ but in fact, content can mean much more than that.

In reality, the word content means pretty much anything that you use to fill a website or blog and give it value. Thus, it can also mean any other type of media (videos, podcasts, pictures) and it can mean software (apps, programs). Branching out and taking advantage of these other types of content then, is one of the best ways to differentiate your site and to give it something additional to help it stand out.

While everyone else is dealing with writing, you can create videos, questionnaires and pictures in order to offer more value in a more memorable way. And one of the best tools of all for doing this? Infographics.

What is an Infographic?

In case you’ve been living under a rock (infographics are rather popular these days), an infographic is essentially an image that conveys qualitative or quantitative information. In other words, it’s like a pie chart or a bar graph but more engaging. More often, it will be a flow chart with images and text, or a selection of different data visualizations arranged in an attractive manner.

Either way, these infographics will condense large amounts of information and display them in such a way that it a) looks great and b) is easy to absorb from a quick glance.

The Value of Infographics

Infographics are without a doubt one of the very best tools you can use when it comes to content marketing.

Why? For starters, when you use them on your own website, infographics give your visitors a large amount of information without them having to spend time reading a block of heavy-going text. This is immediately much more engaging and is fantastic for reducing your bounce rates and getting people to stay on your website longer.

At the same time, infographics also make any blog or website look instantly more professional. It takes a lot of software, expertise and know-how to create an infographic and as such, it leaves a great impression on your visitors.

Meanwhile, infographics can also be highly useful for promoting a website in the place of guest posts. A guest post is any piece of written content that you give away to another blogger. The idea then, is that they post your content on their site for free – thus gaining more valuable information to share with their visitors – but in return they make sure to include a link back to your website so that you get a free backlink/referral.

Guest posting works well because you are getting links in exchange for something high value. But seeing as infographics are more difficult to make and seeing as they are more unique, they actually often have more value comparatively.

Finally, you can also invite other visitors to your site to publish your infographics on their own blogs and social media, as long as they include your watermark or logo at the bottom (or even tell them to include a link to your site). This method can potentially get you a huge amount of exposure – especially if it gets published by a big site or if it goes ‘viral’. And unlike publishing writing, there is no concern with ‘duplicate content’ to worry about.

How to Get Started With Infographic Marketing

So with all that in mind, you may well be considering getting started with some infographics of your own. The question then, is how do you get started with something that will really grab attention and get you the exposure you’re looking for?

The first thing to do is to pick a topic or an idea for your infographic. If you’re creating a flow-chart infographic then this is a great way to tackle a comprehensive subject in a succinct way (like a ‘cheat sheet’). If you have any large, in-depth articles on your site, then you might consider this as a good way to condense them into something more useful.

Another way to use infographics well is by looking at data from a new angle – finding an interesting correlation, comparing two different data sets, or just exposing the sheer scale of some fact or figure that will affect a lot of people. Try to create an infographic that in itself tells a story.

Remember to add content to the page when you publish your infographic too. Not only will this help to give the image more context and background but it will also help Google to better index your pages and thus gain you more exposure.

Finally, consider using a tool like Visualize, Canva, Google Deevelopers or Easel.ly to create your graphics.

Good luck!

The Best Smaller Social Media Sites You Should Keep an Eye On

Mention social media to someone – even some of the savvier marketing types – and they will often assume that what you’re talking about is Facebook and Twitter.

In fact though, social media marketing goes well beyond just those ‘big two’ social media sites. In fact, the likes of Google+ and LinkedIn are in some ways potentially even more powerful than those two depending on your main aims.

And then there are more of the ‘smaller’ social media sites that are nevertheless growing and important in their own ways. Read on and we’ll take a look at some of the social media sites that aren’t Facebook and Twitter but still worth your time and attention…

Learnist

Learnist is a ‘social learning service’. The idea is that users can help to educate each other on new subjects and this works through a digital clipboard where members can post content, images and lessons that they have found useful. It also has a curated content section and has big potential to take off – it makes a lot of sense to leverage the power of social for the purpose of learning and as such, this is a great tool for anyone interested in promoting a site that teaches a particular subject, selling learning materials or otherwise in a niche that has an educational element.

Ning

Ning is not a social media site but rather it is a site that lets you build social media sites. Right away that is probably interesting to anyone interested in starting their own web 2.0 business but it also has other benefits as well. For instance, you can use it to find the social networks that other people have built with it and then join in with those communities.

BodySpace

Here’s one you likely haven’t heard of – BodySpace! While you may not have heard of it though, a lot of people have as it is connected to the simply huge bodybuilding.com.  Bodybuilding.com is the 309th most popular website in the world and BodySpace is a tool that members can use to show off their training pictures and progress and compare with others. If you have a fitness brand in particular, then this is potentially a very lucrative place to promote yourself.

Hi5

The big focus of Hi5 is playable games. At the same time though, it also markets itself as a ‘social entertainment site’ and lets users share photos, videos and more while connecting with others.

Snapchat

Snapchat has been a fairly prominent brand in the news after turning down an acquisition by Facebook. Already it seems to be losing steam but for now it remains one of the larger smaller networks (if you catch my meaning…). Lately Arnold Schwarzenegger has been using it to promote himself by sharing short clips with people who add him and there’s plenty of opportunity for brands to do something similar.

Listgeeks

Listgeeks, as the name suggests, is a site that’s all about building lists. The idea is that you create lists of things that are important to you and in theory it has potential to be the next ‘Pinterest’ as users can share their lists and see the lists of others for inspiration. At the moment it’s still in the beta testing phase but you should expect it to take off when it launches. It’s easy to see how this could be used to promote a brand – whether by listing your top products or by listing useful tools and resources to add extra value to a post on your blog.

Thumb

Thumb allows you to ask questions and get feedback from other users. That’s not like Quora or Yahoo Answers, rather the questions are about people’s opinions and you can use this to get advice on everything from whether you should go out tonight to whether you should dump your partner. But while it is different from Quora, that doesn’t mean you can’t promote yourself on it similarly.

Spotify

Spotify is predominantly a music streaming service but it also has some quite impressive social elements built-in. Specifically it lets you create your own playlists and share them as well as embedding music and playlists into your web pages.

In theory then, you could create a branded playlist for consuming your own media and then embed it right in your blog content. Then you may get people following you (which you can also now do with Spotify) and that way they’ll be reminded of your brand every time they listen to one of your recommendations.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a popular IM service that can send messages and pictures over WiFi or 4G instead of a cellular network. It’s also a great way to let visitors to your site share your content with their contacts when they’re reading on a mobile device!

Google Insights vs GTMetrix – The optimal way to improve the website speed

While internet speeds continue to improve, it is nevertheless still crucial to ensure that your website or blog loads as quickly and efficiently as possible. Page loading speeds are one metric that is strongly considered by Google when it comes to ranking your site and even a slight delay can be enough to lose the attention of your visitors and to significantly increase bounce rates. If your site doesn’t load in the blink of an eye, then you need to find ways to speed it up and optimize it.

The best way to do this, is with tools that can help to show you just how fast your site is and just where you should focus your efforts if you want to improve that number.

Two of the biggest tools for monitoring and improving page speeds are Google Insights and GTmetrix. We’ll look at both of these free tools to see how they differ and which you should rely on.

The most important thing though? Make sure you’re using one of them. If you run a business and you’ve never run a page speed test, then you might well be losing a ton of traffic and visitors to poor performance.

Google Insights

Google Insights – AKA Page Speed Insights from Google – is a very accessible and easy to use tool. Head over to the link, enter your site’s URL and click analyze. After a very brief loading time, you’ll be given a speed out of 100 along with some recommendations.

Very helpfully, these recommendations are split into categories including ‘Should Fix‘ and ‘Consider Fixing‘. This way, you know what is most pressing. You can also view your performance on both mobile and desktop.

Some of this will be out of your control – server response times for instance may come down more to your hosting provider in which case you could consider switching. Other tips may seem very complicated. For instance, this is a real report from Google Insights regarding one website:

Your page has 4 blocking script resources and 10 blocking CSS resources. This causes a delay in rendering your page.

None of the above-the-fold content on your page could be rendered without waiting for the following resources to load. Try to defer or asynchronously load blocking resources, or inline the critical portions of those resources directly in the HTML.

This is the sort of thing that you might potentially find hard to fix on your own. In which case, consider using a web design company like Color Whistle who can handle the process for you.

Finally, other suggestions you should be able to fix relatively easily. One common suggestion for instance is ‘Leverage Website Caching’ which we’ve talked about in the past and which only involves the installation of a single WordPress plugin.

You’ll also find that you get a ‘User Experience’ score here, which is very useful for telling you about your mobile compatibility.

Don’t worry too much though if your page speed seems low. BIG successful websites like Facebook actually have a low mobile score (Facebook’s is currently 43/100!). The Verge has an awful 14/100 for mobile page speed and only 51/100 for desktop.

Do your best, but apply some common sense to the suggestions as they won’t all be relevant.

GTMetrix

GTMetrix has long been a favorite tool for many webmasters with the biggest advantage being that it’s comprehensive and in-depth. As with Google Insights, all you need to do is to enter your URL and hit analyze to see your results.

Again like Google, it also gives you a ton of potential solutions which are marked in terms of priority. Many of these are very simple to fix – for instance you will get recommendations such as specifying image dimensions and optimizing images. Like Google Insights, it also shows you the things you’re doing correctly – which is a nice touch.

Also similarly though, there will likely be some aspects that you struggle to fix on your own. For instance, one common tip is to ‘defer parsing of JavaScript’. Again, this is the sort of situation where you might want a hand from your web design company.

Interestingly, you also get a ‘YSlow’ score here, which is a tool that grades websites on a number of predefined rules for optimal performance. Again, some suggestions may not be relevant. Not everyone for instance will need or want to use a content delivery network.

Conclusions

So which of these tools should you use?

Well… both obviously. It only takes a quick go with these tools to see that they often provide different results and the more suggestions you can get, the better. Put your site through both of these and while you’re at it, try WebPageTest.org as well. This site gives you some more interesting information such as the time it takes to load a site for the first time, versus the time it takes to load the second time (as a result of caching etc.).

If you were to only use one tool though, then the recommendation would have to be that you go with Google Insights, which is likely to have the best impact on your SEO. After all, Google make the rules when it comes to search ranking so it’s best to listen to them!

How Four Big Websites Have Changed Their Design Over the Years

Web design is changing all the time. What was modern and considered ‘best practice’ only a few years ago is today often old-hat and dated. If you want to stay on the top of your game and compete in your niche, then you need to recognize this and you need to change with the times. Your web design looks great now but keep an eye on it because in three years, it probably won’t.

Web design trends come and go in response to changes in the technology available to us, changes in style and fashion and a gradual improvement in our ability to make the most of the medium.

To demonstrate this ‘permaflux’, it can be enlightening often to look back at the web of yesteryear. In this post, we’ll examine how four big websites have changed over the years to reflect broader design trends. By knowing our past, perhaps we can better glimpse the future.

Overstock.com

Overstock.com is a big ecommerce site that sells furniture and a range of other items for homes. It’s been around for well over a decade now and it was one of the earlier successful ecommerce stores.

The store was a hit when it first launched and it’s still very successful today. What’s responsible for that success is an adaptability and willingness to change with the times.

One big change for Overstock happened in 2010. At this point, it moved from being a 960px design to being a full-width, responsive layout. Of course, this is more suitable for mobile browsing and at the same time, it’s also more ‘immersive’. Immersion has been improved all over the web actually – and this can also be seen in the way that many browsers have lost the ‘chrome’ around the edges.

If we compare Overstock today, to a version dating back to 2004, another clear change is in the icons. Often those icons would be small detailed photographs, whereas today it tends to have flatter icons. Again, flatter icons and banners along with a more minimalist layout is something we have seen move all across the internet – partly inspired by iOS no doubt.

Mashable

Mashable is a blog that has a focus on technology and social media. The site today is very modern with lots of large, high definition images and plenty of white space.

Were you to look back to 2010 though, you would see a blog design less inspired. Back then, the front page had a lot more written content versus images (which is partly due to slower internet connections) while the color scheme was a little less vibrant. If you head back further to 2008, the site becomes more cluttered still with lots more content and lots more banners and menus.

IGN

IGN is a blog that focusses on pop culture, computer games, films, comics and more. The site has been around in 1998 and when it first launched it had a narrow design with lots of text links and few images. By 2000, the site had already reduced its text but it still had a menu made of text links rather than buttons and images (remember that?).

Now the site is adaptive, with big images and lots of empty space. It also has an accompanying Android and iOS app.

The Four Hour Blog

Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Blog is home to fitness, productivity and lifestyle advice and is also a personal blog for the popular author. The site has in many ways moved against the tide and has actually become narrower and darker than it was at the start, as well as becoming a little more packed and dense. Today it even has text links in a right hand column!

Still though, many of the design requirements of today are there – such as a responsive design and nice big images. As a personal blog though, the Four Hour Blog has a much different set of goals compared with something like Overstock or IGN. As such, the design is focused a lot more on the content and is intended for heavier reading rather than news and reviews.

So what clues can all this give us as to the future of web design? Well for starters, we can expect to see sites to continue to be dictated by the technology they’re being viewed on. So think: how will technology change and influence design moving forward?

We’re also seeing sites become more and more optimized. Unnecessary clutter is removed, white space is increasing and text is being replaced by images. The more you can say with less, the more efficient your site will be in generating income and having the effect you hope for on your audience.

And if you want to do more of your own research, be sure to check out the Internet Wayback Machine, which is a fantastic site that allows you to look back at archived sites from days gone by!

How SEO, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing and Influencer Marketing Are All the Same Thing

If you have any interest at all in internet marketing or pushing your business online, then you will likely have come across a number of popular buzz phrases. These will probably have included such terms as ‘Search Engine Optimization‘, ‘social media marketing‘, ‘content marketing’, ‘influencer marketing’, ‘brandscaping’…

It seems that every five minutes there’s a term to describe some new method of promoting your brand online. It essentially boils down to marketing companies trying to rebrand themselves and that way get more customers. But that’s not to say there isn’t some truth or value behind each of these strategies.

The point instead is just that these methods have been misrepresented as separate and ‘new’ strategies. In fact, all of these methods have been around forever. And all of them should be used in conjunction for maximum effect. They are not separate strategies but instead simply aspects of the same one.

Content Marketing and SEO

The most obvious synergy here is perhaps between content marketing and SEO. SEO is search engine optimization and it is very largely about creating lots of content so that you give Google more to ‘index’. Google looks at your site to learn what it’s about and to match it to the right search queries – and the more content you have on your site, the more search queries you will be likely to answer. But Google is smart these days and so for this to work, the content must also be really good.

At the same time, SEO works by generating inbound links. Every time a big blog links to your website, Google sees that as a sign that your blog is important – as a testimonial almost.

One great way to get links from high profile sites and blogs is by writing such good content that it encourages inbound links. This is called ‘link bait’.

Content marketing meanwhile is about offering engaging content on your website or blog such that people clamor to read it. By producing consistent quality, you get regular readers and you get ‘organic’ likes, shares and referrals. Eventually you gain more traffic and you build the trust of your visitors to the point that they are willing to buy what you recommend.

In short then, both content marketing and SEO are all about creating lots of very high quality content. In other words, they clearly go hand-in-hand very naturally.

Content Marketing and Social Media

The same goes for content marketing and social media marketing. Why? Because the very best thing you can share on your Twitter account or Facebook page in order to get people to come to your site is a very well written article with an eye-grabbing title and image. Likewise, by building social sharing buttons into your site and placing it right on your top posts, you can invite your readers to share your content with other users of social media.

If you don’t have content on your site… what are you going to share on social media?

And of course there’s also the point that your Twitter posts and Facebook posts themselves are content and thus a form of content marketing.

Influencer Marketing and Social Media

Then you have ‘influencer marketing’ which is the process of getting people who are already influential in your niche to promote your site for you. This way, the intention is that you will be able to ‘leapfrog’ the competition and the usual slow process of building followers and likes by simply getting someone who has already done the leg-work to share your stuff.

One of the best tools out there for influencer marketing is LinkedIn. LinkedIn doesn’t just link you with other professionals in your niche – it even goes to the lengths of showing you how influential each person you contact is and showing you who can help you make an introduction.

We’ve already seen that good social media strategy is predicated on a good content marketing strategy. And as content marketing is also pretty much the backbone of SEO… See how they’re all connected?

In fact, this is true to the point where there are even some terms that you can’t clearly define as falling into any of these categories.

For instance – is e-mail marketing an example of content marketing or influencer marketing? And how about guest posting? Is that content marketing, influencer marketing or SEO?

Of course there all of these things… and that’s because all the strategies are in fact one and the same. Stop thinking of your marketing strategy as being comprised of lots of different subsets and instead see it as one big, interconnected campaign.

And it all begins with building your brand and then putting out quality content that people will want to read and share!

Your Comprehensive Outsourcing WordPress Development Checklist

Looking to create your own WordPress website? Then you’ll likely need to use a WordPress web development company that you can rely on to handle the process for you. Creating a WordPress site yourself is certainly doable but with a professional team you’ll be able to get your own custom theme, ensure the site is optimized for SEO and performance and add in lots of more advanced plugins and features.

All starting to sound a little complicated? Head spinning a little?

Well then you’ll likely find the following comprehensive outsourcing WordPress development checklist helpful. This is a simple WordPress development checklist to help talk you through everything you need to do to oversee the creation of your WordPress site:

Step 1 – Decide What Type of Site You Want

The first thing to do is to have a think about the type of website you want. This comes right at the start because you’ll need to know what type of site you want before you can choose a best website development company and before you get a quote.

What type of sites is there? For instance, a website might be a static scrolling page that simply highlights the many services and products you offer as a business. Alternatively though, you may instead opt to have a strong content marketing angle in which case you’ll want a regularly updated blog with lots of featured content. The design and function of these two sites will be entirely different, as will the way you design them. You may even decide that WordPress isn’t for you as you do a little more research.

A good step at this point is to look at some other sites for inspiration and to collect a collage as a Pinterest board for instance. Later this will come in handy for showing your website development company.

Step 2 – Decide on Your Budget

This is also going to be important when it comes to determining who you work with and deciding how many features you want.

Step 3 – Decide on Features

Now you have the type of site you want and you have the various features outlined as well.

Next, you just need to think about the precise features you want. This is something that you can discuss with a WordPress development company but it certainly doesn’t hurt to have an idea of the kinds of things available to begin with.

Some popular options then include:

  • A content slider – To show your featured content and an image and to scroll through multiple different stories
  • Social sharing buttons – These let your users share your content to their social media pages at the click of a button. Some will scroll down the page.
  • Hover menu – A hover menu is a menu that follows users down the page, allowing them to more easily navigate to other parts of your site once they’re done.
  • AdSense integration – This is one form of monetization for a blog and integration makes it very simple to use.
  • Optin form – An optin form is a sign-up form for a mailing list, ebook or something else. Generally it will live in the right hand column of your site as a widget, or be embedded into your page.
  • Shopping cart integration with something like WooCommerce & Payment Gateways

Step 4 – Finding Your WordPress Web Development Company

Now it’s time to find your WordPress web development company. Make sure that they can offer all the features and the design you want and show them the Pinterest board you’ve come up with. It might also help to sketch out some layout elements.

From here, you can then get a quote from multiple companies to see which one is best. Take a look through their portfolios as well to compare the quality of their work.

You also need to be sure that they offer everything you will need to be successful. Some requirements that you absolutely need include:

  • Hosting provider and set-up – You can’t have a website without a hosting account. If you’re not confident in setting this up, then find a web development company that can handle the process for you and just send you the bill.
  • WordPress set up and installation
  • Custom theme design – This means that they will create a brand new and unique design based on your sketches and ideas, rather than buying one or finding one readymade. This is important if you want your site to be unique.
  • Search Engine Optimization – This ensures your site is going to be easily found by Google’s ‘spiders’ and thus get found by more visitors as well.
  • Plugin installation/Creation – Plugins are bits of code written by other WordPress users that give your site the extra features. Just make sure they can handle all the features you’ve requested.
  • Optimization – You need to ensure your site runs quickly and loads in the blink of an eye

Once you’ve done all these checks and compared which services can offer you the best rates, you’ll be ready to go. Don’t forget to give ColorWhistle a try!

Need a Professional WordPress Website? Here’s How to Start!

These days, every single business needs a professional looking website to help them maximize their visibility, to increase their turnover and profits and to bring themselves up to date to help them impress visitors and prospective customers.

And the good news is that it has never been easier to create a professional website! This is thanks in no small part to the existence of WordPress which is a CMS (content management system) and platform that makes it very simple to build fully functional websites and to add features, content and more subsequently.

At the same time, there is now a huge industry of web developers, marketers and designers all of whom can help with WordPress web development and now for a very reasonable price.

And then there’s this article. Here we’re going to go over everything you need to consider and every step you need to take, so that everything is laid out for you. Follow these instructions and you’ll have your own professional WordPress site in no time at all.

Step 1: Getting Ready

Before you begin looking into WordPress website development, there are a few things you will need in place. First of all, you’ll need a plan and or a business/business model. The way that you design your WordPress site is going to depend entirely on your objectives whether those be to gain sales or to make money from display advertising with a personal blog.

You should also have a think about some other things like the URL you’re going to want and what your budget is going to be. A web development team can help you with all of that but at least having a company name will speed things up a fair bit and ensure you end up with a product that suits your goals and your vision.

Step 2: Doing the Research

Again, you can leave this step entirely in the hands of your WordPress web development company. That said though, it helps to have at least some idea of what you want your website to look like starting out to ensure that you and your designers are on the same (web)page.

If you’re stuck for inspiration, then you can try looking around the web to get inspiration from other websites. Find a couple you like the looks of and make a note of the URL, that way you can send the information to your website development team along with your initial queries.

Step 3: Getting in Touch

Next you need to find a company that can help you and get in touch with your requests. Of course, ColorWhistle is one of the fastest growing WordPress development companies on the net right now and we would be more than happy to help you to build your site. We offer considerable discounts to new businesses and non-profits and if you like the look of the site you’re on now, then you can rest assured you will find our site creation to be professional and eye-catching.

Whatever you decide, make sure you research the company first and compare prices and websites to make sure you pick a professional outfit.

Step 4: The Domain

The next step which might be handled by you or by the web development team will be to purchase a URL and a hosting package. The hosting package is what will allow you to store your website files on the net (on a server specifically), while the URL is the address that visitors will type to bring up your site. There are a ton of great hosting providers out there but the popular ones are BlueHost, GoDaddy, SiteGround, and Hostgator.

Whether you do this yourself or with your website design company, you’ll need to pay for a monthly hosting package which varies in price by can cost up to a few hundred dollars for a basic package for a year. You’ll also need to ensure that the URL you chose is free and if it isn’t you might have to have a rethink and research some alternative addresses.

Step 5: Creation

The actual creation will be handled on your behalf by the WordPress website development company. The steps that they will undertake though will invariably be as follows:

  • WordPress installation (onto the server)
  • Theme creation (to match your logo and branding)
  • Adding functionality like Shopping, Membership, Payment Integration etc..,
  • Additional design tweaks
  • Plugin installation (to optimize your site and to add more features)
  • Testing

During this process, you will likely find that they send you their work to check and to open a dialog. It’s very important at this point that you are willing to engage them in a discussion and that you are honest but constructive. Don’t be afraid to say if there’s something you don’t like but at the same time do trust their judgment – they’ve been doing this a while!

Five Powerful Ways to Strengthen Your Brand

Branding is crucial for any business and this is just as important when your business operates largely online. The objective of any brand is to tie together all your various products and services under one umbrella, such that your customers and clients associate your logo with a certain quality and a certain experience. It’s via a recognizable brand that you can turn a customer into a lifelong fan of your business and thereby gain repeat custom from them. At the same time, it’s through a recognizable brand that you will be able to create more marketing opportunities and drive more traffic to your site.

To do all this though, it is not enough to simply have a brand. Rather, you need to know how to build the prominence of your brand to increase awareness and to increase the positive emotion attached to it. Read on for five effective ways to do this and to improve your recognition and authority.

Improve Your Logo

Perhaps you already have an amazing logo that you’re happy with. Then again though, if you designed your logo years ago, or if it just isn’t as instantly memorable or as simple and elegant as the competition, you might want to consider upgrading it or redesigning it.

One way to do this is by hiring a company like ColorWhistle. We offer affordable logo design and will craft something for you that is highly professional and memorable.

A few pointers though if you decide to go it alone. Firstly, make sure that you are avoiding clichés and don’t have any planets, ticks, speech bubbles or lightbulbs. These have all been overdone and will make your site seem contrived.

Keep your design simple and ensure that it will be versatile to work in lots of different circumstances. Finally, ensure that you have designed your logo in vector software using a program like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw. These programs result in images that have much higher definition, that are much easier to customer and which you can shrink or enlarge with no loss of quality.

Change Your Web Design

If it isn’t already, then you should strongly consider integrating your logo design only from top logo design company into your web design. This means that your logo’s colors should be placed throughout your website, that you should include images that recall the design of the logo and generally that any part of your site should make it obvious that the page belongs to your company.

This is important because it means that even when someone scrolls straight down and never reads the name of the website they’re on, they’ll still be more likely to recognize your logo in subsequent marketing or returns to your site.

Add a Personal Touch

Some of the biggest brands on the web are the names of individuals. People like Pat Flynn, Steve Pavlina, Tim Ferriss, Mike Chung and Elliot Hulse are practically household names and are raking in a lot of money for their site. Of course they also have separate business/website names but the fact that they’re so closely linked to their brands personally makes them much more relatable and much more memorable.

If you run a very professional B2B company, then featuring yourself front and center may not be appropriate. Even in a corporate setting though, this can be effective – just look at Richard Branson or Steve Jobs!

It takes guts to put yourself out there, but you may just find that doing so makes it that much easier to build trust in your brand and to bring more people back to your site.

Be Everywhere

To strengthen your brand, you need to make sure that you take advantage of every opportunity to promote yourself through social media and other means. That means having a presence on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on YouTube and everywhere else. And on all these sites you should have the same logo, the same username and the same ‘tone’ and message. This way, you create multiple inroads for people to discover you and you consistently reinforce your brand each time someone uses a different social media account.

Take a look at ColorWhistle’s Twitter account for instance to see how we have taken full advantage of the cover image and profile picture to reinforce the brand and the logo!

Print Everywhere!

And finally, make sure you make full use of your logo. It shouldn’t just be on your website: it should be on your business cards, on your invoices, on your newsletters and in your office. You can even look into giving away/selling corporate gifts such as mugs, lanyards, caps and t-shirts with your logo printed on them! And if you create a video promoting your company, make sure that everyone featured in it is drinking out of one of your branded mugs!

Top Growth Hacking Techniques for Blogs and Websites

If you created a website either to promote your business or to make money from, you may have found yourself disappointed after the first few weeks to find that not much had changed yet. Creating a website or a blog is definitely a ‘long term’ strategy and one that won’t pay off until at least a few months – probably several years – have passed.

But does that mean you won’t start seeing ROI for that long? Not necessarily. Employ some strategic ‘growth hacking’ techniques and you can accelerate the growth of your blog significantly, resulting in massive increases in traffic and income sometimes overnight.

But how precisely does one ‘hack’ the growth of their blog in 2015? Read on and we’ll look at some smart strategies that can help you to leapfrog the competition and drastically speed up your progress…

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of the best strategies you have up your sleeve when it comes to getting ahead and effectively enables you to ‘skip’ all of the slow-going parts of social media marketing and SEO.

Essentially, influencer marketing means that you’ll be targeting someone within your industry or niche that has already established themselves as an ‘authority’ and that has already acquired a large audience that trusts them.

How does this work in real time? Well for example, if you were promoting a self-improvement website, then you might aim for a big ‘influencer’ in that field. That might be Tim Ferriss, Dave Asprey or even Tony Robbins. You will then either sponsor them, offer to work with them, or just design content that you think will fit their audience and then share it with them (LinkedIn is a great tool for influencer marketing). Either way, your goal is to get them to post your link or to mention your brand to their considerable audience. And in doing so, they will then give you exposure to hundreds of thousands of people in a single post – potentially bringing hundreds of thousands of new subscribers and fans overnight.

This is very powerful for growth hacking because it allows you to make the most of groundwork laid by someone else in your niche. Thereby you don’t have to build your own audience – you’re just getting direct access to their!

Give Something Away

Another way you can bring a large new audience to your website or blog and to convert even more of them into paying customers is to give something away for free. This is a strategy that seems off putting to many bloggers and business owners as it seems counter intuitive. In fact though, giving stuff away for free is one of the best ways to get them to pay for your other things.

Not only does giving away a freebie demonstrate the value and quality that you’re capable of delivering (and get them ‘hooked’ on your products) but it also enables you to entice people to sign up faster than they otherwise would.

An excellent example of a freebie is a free eBook. With one of those, you can then encourage people to sign up to your mailing list, to visit your website, or to open your e-mail marketing message. Or alternatively, you could go another tact and just try to get as many people as possible to have a copy of your free eBook on their computer and then market your business through that book. Some companies give eBooks away for free on Kindle and Amazon for instance and then just fill the copy with references to their website and with reasons to buy their products.

Social Bookmarking + Great Content

Predominantly, content marketing is about the ‘slow burn’. Most marketers use this strategy as a way to gradually build more of a following and more trust with their audience. Then, once they have established themselves as thought leaders and experts in their field, they will be in a position to start selling things.

Alternatively though, social bookmarking can be combined with content marketing in order to get immediate results. To do this, you just need to think of a unique concept for an article or a blog post. Ideally, you should have a target audience in mind when you write it and you should know a great way to reach that target audience and to get them interested.

Most important of all though, the title should promise something unique and different from any other website. This should be something that you would read yourself if you saw the title on Facebook or on another website. That means it should have an ’emotional hook’, it should be controversial or it should provide real value by giving instructions and information on a fascinating topic that hasn’t been fully explored much online before.

If you can do that and then post a link to that content in the right place, then you can potentially start seeing hundreds of thousands of new visitors that day rather than waiting to slowly build up an audience.

How Press Releases Help to Generate Traffic and Exposure

If you’re looking for a new way to increase your exposure and to generate new traffic to your website or blog that doesn’t involve social media or SEO, consider a press release.

What is a press release? Essentially, this is a news piece that is written in such a way as to generate media attention and to encourage coverage in magazines and newspapers. The objective here is that you’ll get stories written about your business/website and if you do this well, it can bring hundreds of thousands of eyes to your site and your brand.

Let’s take a look at how all this works…

What is a Press Release?

Anyone who has ever worked as a writer or editor for a big blog or a print magazine will be very familiar with press releases and probably have worked with them on a regular basis.

The way it works is simple. To be successful and to increase circulation, blogs and magazines need news stories. News is what sells newspapers and industry/niche stories are what sell magazines with a specific intended readership.

So, if you have a magazine about gardening, you need new stories about gardening in order to get people to read regularly and to consider your magazine to be useful. Conversely, if you run a business that sells garden rakes and you’ve just released the ‘Garden Rake 5,000’, then you need stories and coverage of that rake in order to find your potential customers and buyers. As you can see, there’s something of a symbiotic relationship here.

And it’s that symbiotic relationship that the press release relies on. This is an article that is written specifically for the magazine/blog writer in such a way as to provide all the crucial details and information that they need to write a good story with all the facts.

The Benefits

As a blogger or business owner then, you will write press releases and then submit them to websites, bloggers, magazines, newspapers and websites like ‘SourceWire’ which is designed specifically to be a repository for these press releases.

From here, the hope is then that lots of writers and media outlets in your niche will see your post and will pick up the story. As a result you can then end up with your product or website written about in multiple magazines and on multiple websites. Potentially, each one of these might have circulations numbering into the hundreds of thousands which would mean huge exposure for your brand and for your product specifically. If some of those websites also included a link back to your website, you might receive some great backlinks and a boost to your PR and Google ranking. This is an excellent strategy for SEO for small business.

How to Write and Use an Effective Press Release

To make your press release work as intended, you need to think carefully about how to write it and where to send it. The thing to remember here at all times is that your press release should be designed to benefit the writers. They aren’t about to give you free coverage to promote your product, their only concern is for their readers and for telling good stories.

So ask yourself, how can you turn your product or website launch into a newsworthy story? And who would want to read it?

A good example of this is to find your local paper and to send them a press release for a story about how a ‘local entrepreneur’ made it big online. Those always go down well. An alternative strategy might be to start giving away free products or to run a competition and then to release press releases.

Remember: it will be easier to get coverage from a small niche magazine or a local blog, than it will be to end up on the Verge or in the Times.

Likewise, you also need to make sure that you use the correct formatting. Here is a good post on formatting but as a general rule, you need to keep it to one page, include your contact details and create a large bold headline with the prefix: ‘FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE’.

Always write in third person and try to sound objective – just as the writer will do when they cover your story. Some writers will even copy and paste bits of your text and your aim is to make things as easy for them as possible.

Finally, make sure you include some quotes. Articles love including quotes in their articles as it makes them seem more professional and makes the story seem more exclusive. Again, this will make their life easier and that will increase your chances of getting coverage.

If you’ve never tried using a press release before then give it a go, you might just be surprised at the response you get!

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