ref11

7 steps to finding meaningful freelance design work

7 ways to find freelance design work

1. Build and update your portfolio website

If you’re a web designer, and you don’t have your own personal website, with a portfolio, then you have some self-examination to do.

Your portfolio website is step one. You can’t lazily email prospective clients a list of links to sites you’ve worked on. Your personal site should be the crown jewel of your portfolio. You have to prove yourself as a design professional if you want to be taken seriously and secure high pay. Your portfolio is your cred.

None of the rest of this post will hold true if you’re lacking a portfolio. If you don’t take the time to do this, the next designer will. This is a crowded space, so don’t expect cutting corners to work out well.

Once you have a portfolio built, link to it everywhere — even where it doesn’t seem relevant: in your email signature, on your social media channels, and on business cards if you have them (yes, cards are old school, but they’re still useful for random social encounters … someone’s always looking for a website).

2. Create social profiles on design websites

You should also create accounts on sites like Dribbble and Behance. These sites have well-established SEO (search engine optimization), so they often show up on the first page of Google. Almost certainly more often than your own portfolio does! Use their SEO advantage to drive more search traffic to your work and site — even if you don’t bother engaging on those platforms.

Dribble and Behance were built for designers who want to share their work and get feedback from other professionals. That makes them excellent ways to get your designs seen by potentially thousands of people who may eventually refer you. You might even get really helpful feedback to improve your skills.

(Never design in a vacuum! Even the best designers continually seek and listen closely to feedback from peers, colleagues, and others. You can always grow as a designer.)

Of course, building a portfolio requires detailed, time-consuming work. So when you sign up for Webflow, be sure to fill your public portfolio with your best work. It’s low-effort, and has already brought many designers a wealth of job inquiries. Other designers, companies, and would-be clients can follow you and message you about contracts.

Remember, don’t just wait for people to come to you — make it easy for them to stumble on your work in so many different places that they’ll have no choice but to reach out. Seriously — this can have a significant impact the volume of work you get.

Why? Because once you have even a couple contracts in place, it’s much easier to get more. Freelancing is a career path built on referrals. Good designers who reliably produce quality work always get referred, especially if they’re easy to work with.

(In fact, being an enjoyable person to work with matters more than how good your portfolio is. Life is short, and people want to work with good people.)

If you’re looking for inspiration for your portfolio site, we have a list of some of the best sources of web design inspiration on the web, or if you want help getting started, you can check out the portfolio templates on Webflow.

If there’s one secret to freelance design and development, it’s that you only have to put serious energy into securing your first few contracts. The rest will come more naturally.

3. Freelance job marketplaces

There are many freelance websites out there to find work. Here are a few top ones:

Upwork

Upwork is an online marketplace designed to connect freelance designers with prospective clients. Create a profile, upload your portfolio, and start bidding on design projects. You can even apply for jobs you might not feel totally qualified for yet — that’s how you grow and become an even better designer.

One thing to note before you join Upwork: You’ll probably notice a lot of bids far below a rate you’d be comfortable working for.

Don’t let this discourage you. I consistently won over 50% of my bids on Upwork, even when I was vying against 30 other people asking for significantly less.

Why? Because employers don’t want to waste their time. They generally prefer to work with freelancers that have great design skills and are good communicators who don’t come with the baggage of a 16-hour time difference. In other words, no, clients on these platforms don’t just care about how much they’re paying. They want quality. Massive companies like GoDaddy and Fortune 500’s rely on these platforms. Don’t dismiss them.

If you’re not comfortable with written communication, honing your English and your writing will be more important than improving your portfolio. That’s priority number one. Otherwise, international work (or work in the biggest markets) will often be hard to find — or disproportionately low-paying.

Two quick tips for Upwork:

  1. Complete your profile ASAP — their algorithms will rank you higher in search results!
  2. Work toward Top Rated status so you can get priority access to the best-paying jobs

AngelList

The combined startup/employment directory AngelList provides another fantastic place to find freelance work. Companies searching for skilled employees there range from “dude in a basement” to booming enterprises like Uber and Stripe, so it’s an excellent place to secure contract work with a well-funded startup.

Just create a profile, search for jobs, and — if your portfolio is up to par — expect quite a few to come looking for you. A junior developer friend I recently visited had a Skype call with a new company from AngelList every day I was there — so believe me, it works.

If the position excites you, and there’s a great fit with the startup, you could even consider joining the team full-time, and gain serious equity in the process! Welcome to startupland.

Toptal

Toptal is a freelance marketplace I’ve seen getting some attention on Twitter (on both the designer and the client side).

They advertise themselves as having the top 3% of freelance talent out there. They’re able to do this by taking applicants through a screening process to make sure that design freelancers are a good fit for their network. This makes sure their clients, like Airbnb, Thumbtack, and even Zendesk, receive the best freelancer designers out there.

While it may be a little harder to get into Toptal, compared to something like Upwork, you can be assured that you’ll be working with quality clients.

4. Create content and start blogging

Create content and share it with the world like Wilian Iralzabal

Product Hunt’s Ryan Hoover has a great article about how building an audience is the best first step to recruiting a great cofounder or startup team, and the same goes for finding clients when freelancing.

Writing intelligently about the topics you’re most passionate about can position you as an expert in your field. It’s the quickest way to garner credibility, awareness, and — if you take the time to thoughtfully share your posts with the right people — some much needed traffic to your design portfolio.

Start your blog on your personal site, and repost to Medium a few days later. Write useful and relevant industry content. Make sure to let your personality shine through your posts. Remember, clients want to work with good, interesting people, and your writing can show that you’re exactly that.

So show your prospects that you have impressive insights and opinions, and the desire to help others by sharing them. This is all about building your personal brand. It’ll undoubtedly turn some people away, but those people would be terrible clients for you anyway. Be yourself and you’ll attract people who will wind up loving working with you.

Don’t expect a monsoon of visits to start with. Like all things that matter, building an audience takes time, patience, consistency, and some marketing. Do not get discouraged. A blog is a long-term investment in yourself. You’ll always get some value out of it, even if it’s not in the form of paying clients. A few views from the right people can mean infinitely more than a million views that lead nowhere. Numbers aren’t everything. Create as many opportunities as possible for inbound serendipity.

Just know that the work doesn’t end after you hit Publish. Promote your blog by posting it on social media platforms, Hacker News, Reddit, and contacting newsletters, article curators, and other bloggers/tweeters in the industry who might find your post useful and share-worthy.

Just don’t be spammy about it. The purpose is to educate, not self-promote

2.1

Website Design And Development Best Practices

In today’s global marketplace, it’s not enough to just have a digital presence. To capitalize on opportunity and captivate real, live, human readers, an optimized, functional, interactive website is a must. Unfortunately, the Internet is swarming with poor website designs that miss both the technical and content mark. Worse yet, clients and developers alike continuously contribute to the current outbreak of design delinquency in equal measure.

It’s time to end bad websites, once and for all. Let’s take a look at how clients and developers perpetrate this trend of low-quality websites and pinpoint new design and development standards in 2018 that will help end this vicious cycle of “all-surface-no-substance” sites.

A client’s unrealistic expectations can doom a website to fail before the design process even begins.

Unfortunately, many clients have limited knowledge of what a website should be, and more importantly, what a functional, intentional website can deliver. They underestimate the value of going beyond esthetics with their sites, assuming that build success relies solely on an appealing interface. Clients believe that, as long as their site “looks good,” it will float in cyberspace, effectively extending brand reach while magically attracting millions of interested users and converting them into customers.

The truth is, that’s not how website magic works.

To deliver digital results, a website must offer an engaging, dynamic user experience. Yes, graphics are critical to the design process. However, to optimize success, your site must provide more than compelling graphics. Your developer is or, at least should be working hard behind the scenes for you, creating a sophisticated infrastructure of both site and SEO functionality that must be developed and tested before going live. That is where the website magic truly begins.

A client’s budget expectations can also play a major role in launching an inferior website. When it comes to promoting your brand, it’s important to remember that you ultimately get what you pay for. Effective, intuitive website design is complicated. But the return is well worth the investment. So, clients, invest already. And trust your developer’s insight, talent, and experience as you navigate through the process to a final design that doesn’t just look great, but also achieves all of your critical online marketing goals.

Developers

Of course, clients aren’t the only ones perpetuating bad websites. Developers themselves can also contribute to the slew of poorly-designed, ineffective sites plaguing the Internet. How? It often starts by treating must-have digital marketing features as “extras” when offering site packages to clients.

Not cool, developers. Not cool.

Developers, 2018 is the year you up your game and raise the bar on acceptable industry standards. No more static, one-dimensional tactics that render a site into a mere Powerpoint presentation (aka a static and boring data deluge). Going forward, refuse to work on a design that isn’t multidimensional and fully-functional. Every project you take on should have all necessary digital marketing functions to elevate both owner and user experience.

Yes, some of your clients will express a bit of sticker shock. Stand firm. Rather than dilute design features, enlighten them on the many benefits offered by a highly-functioning website. If they insist on a cheap and crummy website? Don’t take on the project. It’s far better to refuse one client than to lose countless prospects who notice you have a knack for churning out poor product.

Ready to put an actionable plan in place to redefine the new normal for 2018 sites? Here are nine non-negotiable standards (and two bonus tips) to implement on your site:

1. Fast Loading — No one wants to wait (and wait and wait) for your site to load. Design sites with prompt loading times for all users on all devices (even the ones with slower Internet connections). You can use Pingdom or Pagespeed Insights by Google to check your website speed and see how you can improve.

2. Mobile Ready — Virtually everyone uses smart devices on a daily basis. Create an engaging, mobile-friendly design that your audience can access whenever they want, wherever they roam.

3. Tracking Enabled — Analytics matter – it’s the best way to determine that your website is actually doing its job. The final design should include functionality to gauge key indicators such as traffic, goals, and conversions.

4. SEO Savvy — Don’t underestimate the power of optimizing your site for both browsers and humans. Develop compelling, readable content for your followers. For the search engines, always include all important on-page SEO tags and elements, including schema and XML sitemaps.

5. Enabled CMS — We aren’t quite done with the power of the written word just yet. Consistently publishing fresh, original content not only captivates your audience, it can deliver invaluable, long-term digital marketing momentum. Include a back-end Content Management System in the design so clients can post and edit content as needed.

6. Conversion Optimized — Have a conversion-centric client? Implement tools for creating campaign landing pages into your design. These designated pages can keep your readers moving through your site and direct them to schedule an appointment, request a product demonstration, and even make a purchase.

7. Email Marketing — Yes, email marketing is still a thing – and a highly effective thing at that. A site’s email capture forms should sync with the client’s email marketing system for seamless access and connection.

8. Social Media — Never miss an opportunity to leverage the power of social media. Integrate all relevant social media platforms within your design. Allowing users to quickly access social media pages from the website instantly broadens a brand’s reach and helps increase visibility and traffic.

9. Strong Security — Never compromise on-site security. Every design should include fundamental security and privacy protocols, such as basic security checks, to protect client and user data.

This concludes the non-negotiable portion of our 2018 website design guidelines.

Social media communication concept

10 Website Design Tips for Improving Conversion Rates

If you’re looking to improve your website’s conversion rate, then you’ll want to read this blog post! We will discuss 10 website design tips that are known to help increase conversions. These tips range from making sure your website is easy to use, to ensuring that your call-to-action buttons are properly placed. Implementing these tips is a surefire way to see an improvement in your conversion rates!

If you want to increase your website’s conversion rate, start by making sure your site is easy to use. Navigation should be intuitive and easy to understand. Visitors should be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily. If your website is difficult to use, chances are good that visitors will simply give up and go elsewhere.

In addition to being easy to use, your website should also be visually appealing. Use high-quality images and videos, and make sure they’re properly placed on the page. Avoid using too much text; instead, let the visuals do the talking. Remember that first impressions matter, so make sure your website makes a good one! An example is this melaleuca products page.

Once you’ve made sure your website is easy to use and visually appealing, it’s time to focus on your call-to-action buttons. These should be placed prominently on the page and easy to spot. The text should be clear and concise, and the button itself should be large and easily clickable. Avoid using generic phrases like “submit” or “click here”; instead, use something that will grab attention and make it clear what you want visitors to do.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to improving your website’s conversion rate. Just remember that the most important thing is to keep testing and tweaking until you find what works best for your business. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to website design, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what works for you. With a little effort, you can see a big improvement in your conversion rates!

Do you have any other tips for improving website conversion rates? Share them with us in the comments below!

tip: If you want to increase conversions on your website, start by making sure it’s easy to use. Navigation should be intuitive and easy to understand. Also, use high-quality visuals throughout your site as they are known to help with conversions. Another tip is to make sure your call-to-action buttons are placed prominently and easy to spot with clear and concise text. Finally, keep testing and tweaking until you find what works best for your business as there is no one size fits all solution. Experiment until you find what works for you and your website visitors.

What other tips do you have for increasing website conversion rates? Share them with us in the comments below! Thanks for reading!

We hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you found it helpful, please share it with your friends and followers! And be sure to check back soon for more great content like this. Thanks for reading!Until next time… Happy Converting!

The team at [Your Website] wants to help you increase your website’s conversion rate. We offer a variety of services that are designed to improve your site’s performance, including:

-Website optimization

-Landing page design

-Conversion rate optimization

-And more!

electric bikes

Find the Best Folding Electric Cruiser for You in Newport Beach

Do you need to chill out a bit? Do you feel lethargic after a long day on the couch? If yes, you can find that a foldable rugged electric bike is the solution you’ve been looking for. You can have a relaxing day at Newport Beach, CA, which is best for recreational activities. Meanwhile, one of the best electric street bikes for you can be a folding bike as you can take it along with you at the beach. Also, a foldable e-bike can help you increase your speed while also lowering your carbon footprint.

Without question, the most defining feature of folding e-bikes is their portability. If you’re a frequent commuter who must rely on public transit, this function will come in handy in the majority of circumstances. But, on the other hand, some folded electric bikes are difficult to transport due to their heavy weight. Consequently, while determining which folding e-bike to purchase, you must consider some most significant aspects, which are given below.

Weight

Weight may range from 16.5kg to 22.5kg – even heavier than a standard bike. The heavier the bike, the more difficult it is to move and carry, and the more work it takes to get it going, especially if the battery is dead. If you’re in a shop, pick the bike up when it’s unfolded and folded to check if you’re physically capable of doing so and of getting a sense of how balanced it is in your hands.

Battery

Obtain a bike with a battery that you can remove. If the battery is easily accessible, you can reduce the bike’s weight by removing it and transporting it separately. If the battery is integrated into the frame and cannot be removed, then it cannot be conveniently stored, charged, or replaced. So, while purchasing a folding electric bike, double-check its battery.

Foldability

If you decide on commuting with the electric bike, you’ll be folding and unfolding it frequently. Make sure the bike folds up nice and compactly and that you’re happy with the folding process. You must check how to easily fold and unfold a bike, how to carry it quickly, and how to balance it. Remember that some inferior folding bikes are difficult to fold and unfold, and even when folded, they take up a lot of room. They may also feature low-quality hinges that are difficult to tighten or untighten and are prone to wear and strain, as well as corrosion.

Battery Range

You must know the range of the folding e-bike battery before purchasing it. The claimed range must exceed the distances you intend to cycle to avoid running out of battery. Manufacturers offer ranges under ideal conditions; thus, the actual range you should expect will be smaller than the quoted range. Long-range batteries are available for an additional fee when purchasing an e-bike. So, if you plan on cycling longer distances, this is something you should consider purchasing.

The Bottom Line

Electric bike riding is one of several types of exercise that get you outside and refresh your mind. At the same time, you can have more things to do and more ways to spend your time at Newport Beach, CA. Relax, unwind, and take in the breathtaking vistas of dawn and sunsets there. What’s more, don’t forget to take your folding electric cruiser with you.

Cleanse up your online reputation

Cleanse up your online reputation

 

What can you do if you need to clean up your internet presence for a job search? Plenty. We’ve outlined each important step that every job seeker should take. You’ll learn how to uncover search results, remove negative content and develop a positive online presence.

But make no mistake: It’s not easy to manage your online reputation. In the next sections we’ll break down several strategies to give you a clean slate and a great reputation.

 

Start Early

If you’ve just entered the employment market, you may be eager to rush out and apply for jobs right away.Slow down. Consider your online reputation first.

 

Recruiters and hiring managers will consider your online presence. So if your reputation isn’t up to snuff, employers will take one look at your online reputation and run.

 

Before you pound the pavement, improve your online presence. But remember this: it takes time and effort to clean up a messy reputation. However, you’ll always see a return on your investment.

 

Potential employers may not initially check applicants’ online reputations, but they may eventually do so before making an offer.

 

Google Yourself

 

Employers will turn to Google to assess your online reputation. That’s why it’s so important to know what they’re likely to find. Here are some quick takeaways from our article about how to Google yourself:

 

Is it attractive to employers, or could it cause a problem?

 

Take note of any results that match you, both positive and negative.

Be sure to check out the first few pages (30-40 results) in Google.

 

List your active profiles as well as any dead ones where you haven’t posted in years. It could be embarrassing if a potential employer finds an old gaming profile you started in high school. If you find things that you don’t like, log in and update or delete old accounts.

 

You should also examine social media profiles to see how they can be viewed publicly. Most have the option to view a public timeline or offer a “view as” option so you can see how others view your profile.

 

It’s critical to make note of other people who share your name. They can seriously influence your search results and may confuse potential employers. If you share a name with a criminal, porn star, or other unsavory character, you may have trouble landing a job. Make sure you use an up-to-date photo in all of your professional profiles to help employers suss out which ones belong to you. You can also attempt to drown out the imposters with positive results that are relevant to you (more on that later).

 

Look for Red Flags

 

First and foremost, you’ll want to put out the fires. While it’s important to develop a positive online reputation, the first thing you need to do is clean up the bad stuff. Employers are on the hunt for reasons to dismiss your application, so don’t give them any.

Red flags can include:

Embarrassing or inappropriate photos

Negative or inappropriate language or strong opinions

Complaints about current or former employers

Poor grammar or spelling

Association with negative characters

References to illegal activity, drinking, or drug use

Legal challenges

Inconsistencies between your resume and online presence

Any indication that a candidate lacks maturity or good judgement

You must take action if your search results have any of those red flags. Do your best to delete what you control, remove things if you can or bury what you can’t clean up.

 

Don’t Go Nuclear

 

Some job seekers decide that their online presence will be too difficult to clean up so they take the nuclear option. They delete their social media accounts, change their last names and obliterate their online identity.

 

While that approach can disassociate your name from negative content, it’s far more likely to make employers suspicious. Most will wonder why you have no presence online – and they may even question if you have something to hide.

 

But more importantly, it leaves you with a blank slate. That might sound appealing, but it’s actually dangerous. It means there’s nothing to hold back damaging content should something surface. It’s far better to develop a mostly positive reputation with a few blemishes than to have nothing at all.

 

Further, a good online reputation isn’t just about cleansing the negative. It’s also important to accentuate the positive. If you delete your entire internet presence, you will give up control of your online reputation as well as your ability to connect. Remember that you can positively interact with recruiters, hiring managers, companies, and others in your network.

Remove Negative Results

 

Once you know what you’re up against, you’ll need to remove search results from Google if you can. That’s a piece of cake to do on websites, blogs or profiles that you control. However, you may meet resistance if you need to remove content from third party websites.

 

Take charge of your content

 

If you’re dealing with comments, posts, or photos that you’ve put up yourself, just log in and delete them. It’s best to completely remove content rather than hide it behind privacy settings. You should also clean up your friends and connections, and review your likes, comments, shares and follows.

 

Lock down your privacy

 

Review your privacy settings, and make posts and photos available to friends only. You may even consider filtering your friends into different audiences for different posts. But remember that everything can potentially become public.

 

Ask friends for help

 

It’s trickier to remove negative results that other people have shared. Ask friends to take down content that looks unprofessional. Mention that you’re applying for jobs so they’ll be more likely to act quickly for you. If they can’t or won’t, remove the tags and delete the content from your wall.

 

Politely request removal

 

Blogs or websites may rank higher on search engines and cause more damage to your reputation. Negative articles and bad reviews can really come back to haunt you and can have potential employers running for the hills. To make matters worse, some website owners will not change or take down content willingly. Tread lightly, be polite, and explain how the content is could hurt your employability. Do not get caught up in demands, and definitely don’t threaten to sue.

 

Get legal help if necessary

 

If a gentle approach doesn’t work, you may need to call in some help. Some content is illegal by law. For example, Google may remove sensitive personal information or copyrighted content. Online defamation may be worth pursuing legally, but be careful. You may in fact call attention to the content that you want to clean up.

 

If you can’t delete embarrassing content completely, don’t worry. You still have options. Even if negative search results persist, it’s entirely possible to bury them with positive content. In most cases, the best course of action is to push down negative search results where nobody will find them.

 

Push down results with positive content

 

Let’s face it: it’s usually not possible to delete negative results. However, you can still clean up your online reputation. How? Build a positive brand to push down negative search results on Google. You’ll not only develop a great first impression for recruiters, but you’ll also hold back future negative press. Here are some techniques you can use to do just that.

 

Be a real person online

 

It sounds silly, but the best way to establish a positive online reputation is to be active, and be yourself. Use your real name, fill out your social profiles with legitimate information, and use a professional head shot that shows your face.

 

Get your own domain name

 

A personal website domain usually costs about $15 per year or less to register. You’ll show that you’re serious about developing a professional brand, and you’ll improve your internet presence.

 

Link to your positive results

 

If you found positive results on Google, make sure you link to them. Targets to consider include your portfolio, positive news stories, videos, and more. Link to them on your website, blog, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you find relevant. You’ll show employers (and Google) that these results are important to you.

 

Create a well informed blog

 

You don’t have to write weekly essays, but you should develop a blog that shows off your expertise. A blog is an excellent platform to offer commentary on topics that you care about. You’ll show employers that you’re informed, vocal and that you care about what’s happening within your industry.

 

Establish a social media presence

 

\If you’re not already on professional and social networks online, now is the time to start. Sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook, Cameron Clokie Twitter, and other social media sites where you can build your personal brand, connect with others, and share links that reflect positively on you.

 

Be professional online

 

Show employers that you’re a mature, intelligent candidate. Use proper grammar, be respectful of others, and avoid getting into arguments.

 

Become active in your community

 

Volunteer and reach out in your local community, connect with industry influencers, and be publicly active online. Just be sure that your activity is positive and doesn’t throw up any red flags. Back up your activities with photos, posts and other online evidence of your involvement. Connect with influential organizations and associations as well as influencers in your community, and participate in industry conversations on social media and in active networks.

 

Showcase your skills and interests

 

Make videos on YouTube, post photos on Flickr, link to accomplishments and interests on Pinterest. Use social accounts to point to what you do best and make sure that employers can find them.

 

Use LinkedIn effectively

 

Don’t just sign up and connect with a few people, really use LinkedIn. Share links to your work, join communities, reach out to new contacts. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations as well: these act as virtual references that hiring managers and recruiters love to check out.

 

Support your resume

 

Employers are often looking to make sure that what you’ve shared on your resume lines up with your online life, so it helps to leave evidence that you are really doing what you say you’re doing. Add jobs to LinkedIn and Facebook, post photos, links to events, recommendations, and any other indications that your life on your resume accurately reflects your life online.

 

It may seem like a lot of work to build a great online reputation, and it is. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start small, and take one step at a time to clean up negative or neutral results and replace them with a positive results.

 

Build a Strong Online Presence

So you’ve filtered out negative results and promoted positive content. But keep in mind that you’re still not done. You’ll need to continue to invest time and effort to keep your internet presence clean. That’s why so many people hire online reputation management services to do the work for them. Don’t throw away your hard work by neglecting your online reputation once you’re happy with it.

 

How to Choose an ORM CompanyRead the Article

 

Here are a few more tips to maintain a squeaky clean online reputation.

 

Watch what you share on social media You should only need to clean up your reputation once. After that, put a filter on your posts to prevent future issues. Think about how your boss, grandmother, or children would feel about what you plan to share.

Ways to clean up your online reputation

Ways to clean up your online reputation

What can you do if you need to clean up your internet presence for a job search? Plenty. We’ve outlined each important step that every job seeker should take. You’ll learn how to uncover search results, remove negative content and develop a positive online presence.

But make no mistake: It’s not easy to manage your online reputation. In the next sections we’ll break down several strategies to give you a clean slate and a great reputation.

Start Early

If you’ve just entered the employment market, you may be eager to rush out and apply for jobs right away.Slow down. Consider your online reputation first.

Recruiters and hiring managers will consider your online presence. So if your reputation isn’t up to snuff, employers will take one look at your online reputation and run.

Before you pound the pavement, improve your online presence. But remember this: it takes time and effort to clean up a messy reputation. However, you’ll always see a return on your investment.

Potential employers may not initially check applicants’ online reputations, but they may eventually do so before making an offer.

Google Yourself

Employers will turn to Google to assess your online reputation. That’s why it’s so important to know what they’re likely to find. Here are some quick takeaways from our article about how to Google yourself:

Is it attractive to employers, or could it cause a problem?

Take note of any results that match you, both positive and negative.

Be sure to check out the first few pages (30-40 results) in Google.

List your active profiles as well as any dead ones where you haven’t posted in years. It could be embarrassing if a potential employer finds an old gaming profile you started in high school. If you find things that you don’t like, log in and update or delete old accounts.

You should also examine social media profiles to see how they can be viewed publicly. Most have the option to view a public timeline or offer a “view as” option so you can see how others view your profile.

It’s critical to make note of other people who share your name. They can seriously influence your search results and may confuse potential employers. If you share a name with a criminal, porn star, or other unsavory character, you may have trouble landing a job. Make sure you use an up-to-date photo in all of your professional profiles to help employers suss out which ones belong to you. You can also attempt to drown out the imposters with positive results that are relevant to you (more on that later).

Look for Red Flags

First and foremost, you’ll want to put out the fires. While it’s important to develop a positive online reputation, the first thing you need to do is clean up the bad stuff. Employers are on the hunt for reasons to dismiss your application, so don’t give them any.

Red flags can include:

Embarrassing or inappropriate photos

Negative or inappropriate language or strong opinions

Complaints about current or former employers

Poor grammar or spelling

Association with negative characters

References to illegal activity, drinking, or drug use

Legal challenges

Inconsistencies between your resume and online presence

Any indication that a candidate lacks maturity or good judgement

You must take action if your search results have any of those red flags. Do your best to delete what you control, remove things if you can or bury what you can’t clean up.

Don’t Go Nuclear

Some job seekers decide that their online presence will be too difficult to clean up so they take the nuclear option. They delete their social media accounts, change their last names and obliterate their online identity.

While that approach can disassociate your name from negative content, it’s far more likely to make employers suspicious. Most will wonder why you have no presence online – and they may even question if you have something to hide.

But more importantly, it leaves you with a blank slate. That might sound appealing, but it’s actually dangerous. It means there’s nothing to hold back damaging content should something surface. It’s far better to develop a mostly positive reputation with a few blemishes than to have nothing at all.

Further, a good online reputation isn’t just about cleansing the negative. It’s also important to accentuate the positive. If you delete your entire internet presence, you will give up control of your online reputation as well as your ability to connect. Remember that you can positively interact with recruiters, hiring managers, companies, and others in your network.

Remove Negative Results

Once you know what you’re up against, you’ll need to remove search results from Google if you can. That’s a piece of cake to do on websites, blogs or profiles that you control. However, you may meet resistance if you need to remove content from third party websites.

Take charge of your content

If you’re dealing with comments, posts, or photos that you’ve put up yourself, just log in and delete them. It’s best to completely remove content rather than hide it behind privacy settings. You should also clean up your friends and connections, and review your likes, comments, shares and follows.

Lock down your privacy

Review your privacy settings, and make posts and photos available to friends only. You may even consider filtering your friends into different audiences for different posts. But remember that everything can potentially become public.

Ask friends for help

It’s trickier to remove negative results that other people have shared. Ask friends to take down content that looks unprofessional. Mention that you’re applying for jobs so they’ll be more likely to act quickly for you. If they can’t or won’t, remove the tags and delete the content from your wall.

Politely request removal

Blogs or websites may rank higher on search engines and cause more damage to your reputation. Negative articles and bad reviews can really come back to haunt you and can have potential employers running for the hills. To make matters worse, some website owners will not change or take down content willingly. Tread lightly, be polite, and explain how the content is could hurt your employability. Do not get caught up in demands, and definitely don’t threaten to sue.

Get legal help if necessary

If a gentle approach doesn’t work, you may need to call in some help. Some content is illegal by law. For example, Google may remove sensitive personal information or copyrighted content. Online defamation may be worth pursuing legally, but be careful. You may in fact call attention to the content that you want to clean up.

If you can’t delete embarrassing content completely, don’t worry. You still have options. Even if negative search results persist, it’s entirely possible to bury them with positive content. In most cases, the best course of action is to push down negative search results where nobody will find them.

Push down results with positive content

Let’s face it: it’s usually not possible to delete negative results. However, you can still clean up your online reputation. How? Build a positive brand to push down negative search results on Google. You’ll not only develop a great first impression for recruiters, but you’ll also hold back future negative press. Here are some techniques you can use to do just that.

Be a real person online

It sounds silly, but the best way to establish a positive online reputation is to be active, and be yourself. Use your real name, fill out your social profiles with legitimate information, and use a professional head shot that shows your face.

Get your own domain name

A personal website domain usually costs about $15 per year or less to register. You’ll show that you’re serious about developing a professional brand, and you’ll improve your internet presence.

Link to your positive results

If you found positive results on Google, make sure you link to them. Targets to consider include your portfolio, positive news stories, videos, and more. Link to them on your website, blog, LinkedIn, and anywhere else you find relevant. You’ll show employers (and Google) that these results are important to you.

Create a well informed blog

You don’t have to write weekly essays, but you should develop a blog that shows off your expertise. A blog is an excellent platform to offer commentary on topics that you care about. You’ll show employers that you’re informed, vocal and that you care about what’s happening within your industry.

Establish a social media presence

\If you’re not already on professional and social networks online, now is the time to start. Sign up for LinkedIn, Facebook, Cameron Clokie Twitter, and other social media sites where you can build your personal brand, connect with others, and share links that reflect positively on you.

Be professional online

Show employers that you’re a mature, intelligent candidate. Use proper grammar, be respectful of others, and avoid getting into arguments.

Become active in your community

Volunteer and reach out in your local community, connect with industry influencers, and be publicly active online. Just be sure that your activity is positive and doesn’t throw up any red flags. Back up your activities with photos, posts and other online evidence of your involvement. Connect with influential organizations and associations as well as influencers in your community, and participate in industry conversations on social media and in active networks.

Showcase your skills and interests

Make videos on YouTube, post photos on Flickr, link to accomplishments and interests on Pinterest. Use social accounts to point to what you do best and make sure that employers can find them.

Use LinkedIn effectively

Don’t just sign up and connect with a few people, really use LinkedIn. Share links to your work, join communities, reach out to new contacts. Don’t forget to ask for recommendations as well: these act as virtual references that hiring managers and recruiters love to check out.

Support your resume

Employers are often looking to make sure that what you’ve shared on your resume lines up with your online life, so it helps to leave evidence that you are really doing what you say you’re doing. Add jobs to LinkedIn and Facebook, post photos, links to events, recommendations, and any other indications that your life on your resume accurately reflects your life online.

It may seem like a lot of work to build a great online reputation, and it is. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Start small, and take one step at a time to clean up negative or neutral results and replace them with a positive results.

Build a Strong Online Presence

So you’ve filtered out negative results and promoted positive content. But keep in mind that you’re still not done. You’ll need to continue to invest time and effort to keep your internet presence clean. That’s why so many people hire online reputation management services to do the work for them. Don’t throw away your hard work by neglecting your online reputation once you’re happy with it.

How to Choose an ORM CompanyRead the Article

Here are a few more tips to maintain a squeaky clean online reputation.

Watch what you share on social media You should only need to clean up your reputation once. After that, put a filter on your posts to prevent future issues. Think about how your boss, grandmother, or children would feel about what you plan to share.

Is a SWOT analysis still used?

If you’ve ever taken a marketing course, you’re likely to have learned about creating a SWOT analysis. And no, it has nothing to do with swatting flies. Although, sometimes it seems as if we might as well be, because so many times creating a SWOT analysis is truly a waste of time. Long-held as a fundamental skill in the marketing world, many are asking if a SWOT analysis truly is necessary. Is a SWOT analysis still used in the modern, digital marketing world?

What is SWOT

First, let’s have a quick refresher on the acronym. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. A SWOT analysis looks into how each of those four categories pertains to a certain product or service. I’ve created many SWOT analyses, but to be honest, the vast majority of them were to satisfy the demands of a college course or the requirement for a business loan.  For the most part, my business planning doesn’t include a formal SWOT analysis as a separate document. The reason is simple. The way I see it, a business plan is already answering all of the questions a SWOT analysis probes into. I think a SWOT analysis is obsolete at worst and merely a means to an end at best.

When someone says to me that they think we should create a SWOT analysis, I tend to think that they’re being a little too academic and naive. For me, a SWOT analysis is nothing more than using words to describe common sense and gut-feeling.  The real analyzing should take place with financial modeling. Enough with the SWOT swatting already. Sadly, in many cases, creating a SWOT analysis is as productive as playing the Google T Rex game.

Conclusion

So, in conclusion, to answer the question: Is a SWOT analysis still used? The answer is yes, but quite frankly it seems to be more a product of academic assignments than real-world, rubber-meet-the-road business advancement. Unfortunatley, people get so caught up with creating a pretty-looking SWOT analysis to impress a boss that they forget the real purpose of their business isn’t to impress the boss, but to move product and make money.

 

 

What does CTR mean in digital marketing?

When I help clients with marketing campaigns, I sometimes use the phrase, “no amount of messaging can compensate for poor campaign design.” In other words, before you launch a marketing campaign, it is vital to know exactly what your customer’s journey will be from beginning-to-end, from first notice to purchase. And, even then, the customer journey is arguably longer, when you take into account such things as customer retention and deepening customer loyalty.  Probably one of the most common misunderstandings when it comes to digital marketing is knowing exactly what you want a customer to do as a result of a digital ad that is served up, whether it is a Facebook ad, Google display ad, Google search ad, etc. A pretty ad means nothing if users don’t click on it. Actually, that’s not quite true. A pretty ad with no users clicking on it means two things: (1) you’re losing money if you’re paying per impression and (2) customers aren’t interested in your ad! What you’re aiming for is click-throughs! You can’t have conversions online if you don’t have click-throughs. So what does CTR mean in digital marketing? It means Click-Through-Rate!

Why does CTR matter?

CTR matters because, the higher the CTR the more traffic you have reaching your landing page, which is a vital step to converting the customer. A low CTR isn’t all bad, as long as it’s not zero, because if you have a low CTR, it means some people actually are interested in your product, which means your trouble might be in the way you’re targeting the ad or simple the design of the ad. There’s a host of ways you can tweak a digital ad while it’s in-flight in order to help boost your CTR. Whatever you do, don’t leave your ad stagnant. Monitor it!

What is a healthy CTR?

That’s a good question because it really depends on the industry and the ad platform (FB, Google, etc.) . As a general rule of thumb, a CTR between 1% and 5% is considered good. Above 5% and you’re rockin’! However, it really is wise to become familiar with what is considered a healthy CTR for your industry. Here is a helpful resource to begin learning more about that.

What if my CTR is really high, but my conversions are really low?

That probably means you’re putting ads that are too much like click-bait. Be honest and authentic with your ads.

I have good online sales, and I don’t track CTR. Why should I care about that now?

Congrats on having great online sales! Even if you don’t care much about the CTR for your ads, you really should if you care about your sales (which you do). Tracking CTR is just one step in the online conversion process. If you’re already measuring online sales (which you are), it takes hardly any additional effort to begin monitoring CTR. If you increase CTR by just 1%, it has the potential to increase revenue by a lot!

Conclusion

So, hopefully after reading this post you have a better understanding and appreciation for the role CTR plays in the digital marketing process. Stay tuned for more great SEO and digital marketing updates, and yes, even fun online game updates!

 

How to beat the t rex game

If you’ve ever experienced an internet outage, (which, of course, you have unless you’re Melaleuca, which recently invested millions to upgrade its IT infrastructure to protect against breakdowns and outages), you may have stumbled upon the Google T-Rex game. This fun, simple game, is a throw-back to the 1980s with its style and simplicity. If you’re not careful, you could easily waste hours on this mind-numbing home arcade. And although the game is intended to be nothing but good fun, many find themselves frustrated because they can never reach the end of the game! Either they run out of lives, or they run out of time. So, here are some tidbits pertaining to “how to beat the T Rex Game.”

3 tidbits about the T-Rex Game

  • Tidbit #1: There is NO end to the T-Rex Game

That’s right. It is impossible to win the T-Rex.  The closest thing to winning is simply reaching the highest possible score, which is 99,999.  So, if there’s no way to win, can it actually be called a “game?’ In my opinion, no. Perhaps a more correct name would be the “T-Rex Exercise.” However, there is a replica of the game, which is available at chromedino.com, which makes it possible for you to compare your scores to other players. In this case, perhaps it is fair to call it a game because you’re trying to compete against other players for a higher score.

  • Tidbit #2: You can manipulate the code

You can actually manipulate the code for the T-Rex game (the real T-Rex game) to cheat or hack the system. By opening the editing console, Ctrl+Shift+i, you can change a wide range of parameters to change running speed, gravity, and more. You can even manipulate it so the dino doesn’t ever die.  Instead of going into an exhaustive list of the many possible hacks, I recommend checking out this helpful YouTube video which goes into much more detail.

  • Tidbit #3: You don’t have to wait for an internet outage

You don’t have to wait for an internet outage to play the T-Rex game, if you are willing to play copy-cat versions. There are many copy-cat versions of the T-Rex game, as a simple google of the term “Google T Rex game” will show. However, my recommendation is to consider looking at the one found at chromedino.com. Be careful. There are plenty of T-rex copy-cat sites that show NSFW content!

If you insist on playing the official Google T-Rex game, the easiest way to do so without waiting for an unplanned internet outage is to simply disconnect the internet from your computer. Then open the Google browser, which should automatically show the game.

Conclusion

The T-Rex game was never intended to be a full-on, in-depth game for hours-upon-hours of play. It was designed for short-term internet outages to help pacify users while awaiting a reconnect to the internet. My advice is to resist the urge to expect more from this game than what it was designed to deliver.

 

SEO in Newport Beach

SEO vs PPC

There are two key differences when considering SEO or PPC. The first is that paid ads appear at the top of the page, above the organic listings influenced by SEO. The second is that traffic from organic via SEO is free, whereas traffic from PPC has a cost for each click. In many cases, SEO and PPC work best when integrated and strategically aligned. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Traffic is the lifeblood of any online undertaking. The success of an online business greatly depends on the amount of traffic it can generate for its pages. This is an indubitable fact.

What is subject to a lot of debate, however, is the matter of SEO vs. PPC, two of the most powerful traffic generating approaches. SEO stands for search engine optimization. PPC stands for pay per click. Though their end goal is the same, they are different concepts that require different techniques and methodologies.

When Is It Best To Use SEO?

SEO refers to a group of techniques that are aimed to propel a website to the first page of the major search engines.

SEO is very important for online businesses, as statistics show that 80% of the traffic that can be generated for any website will come from the search engines.

The biggest search engine is undoubtedly Google, which garners more than 3.5 billion searches per day; hence, most SEO campaigns target this specific search engine.

When Is It Best To Use PPC?

Now we go to the other side of the SEO vs. PPC debate.

Pay-per-click marketing is a method of advertising on search engine results pages. Basically, you bid to have your ads appear in the sponsored results when someone types in a query including your keywords.

Why is it named “pay per click”? Because you have to pay for every user who clicks on the ad you are promoting.

SEO: Improve your organic traffic

What are the pros and cons of organic traffic from search engines? Let’s begin with the pros:

Awareness. Visibility in search engines for your targeted keywords puts your business in front of potential customers in much the same way as if you were to advertise, and it drives brand awareness.

Branding. Visibility around commercial search terms and informational queries related to your business area can have a positive branding benefit. Your brand can become associated with and trusted by searchers who are asking questions as they conduct the research that will lead to a purchase. You can become an authoritative voice around a given topic.

Credibility and trust. Having your site return in the organic results can influence your perceived credibility with an audience looking for your services. Many users skip ads and trust organic results more highly. Being visible gives your business that all-important stamp of approval. Also having strong review and reputation signals in place will deliver further benefit.

Website traffic. Increasing website traffic provides you with more opportunities to drive awareness of your business and educate a prospect as to why they would buy from you.

Cost per click. Traffic from organic search is free… sort of. Developing that visibility will take time and effort (money), but there is not a direct charge for each impression or click.

Return on investment (ROI). Organic search engine traffic can provide an improved ROI over traditional forms of paid media and certainly improve upon PPC.

Cost. While SEO is neither cheap nor easy, it will generally be more cost-effective than all other marketing tactics for delivering brand awareness and relevant traffic to your website.

Sustainability. Unlike paid search marketing, organic traffic does not dry up the moment you stop paying. As such, efforts to develop organic traffic can sustain a business when marketing spend is cut back.

Improved click-through rate (CTR). A higher percentage of users click on the organic results. While there are exceptions to this rule, you will generate more clicks from a highly placed organic listing than from a highly placed paid ad.

More clicks overall. To maximize visibility and clicks, you will want to have listings in the paid and organic results. Keyword-level experimentation is needed here to see if you are paying for clicks you would get for free or increasing overall clicks and CTR in both paid and organic — but to truly maximize results, strong visibility in paid and organic is needed.

Scope. There are so many new queries every day that to maximize scope, you will need strong organic visibility. You will not want to pay for all kinds of clicks either or advertise every piece of content on your website.

Strategic advantage. Visibility in organic search is not quick or easy — which is a good and a bad thing. Once you have established yourself in the organic results, your competitors can’t simply buy their way in (assuming you have done things the right way). This can provide a strategic advantage over the competition if they are relying on paid search.

It is not all sunshine and rainbows, though, and there are certainly cons to SEO. In many cases, organic traffic can be slow to come by, and you may be wildly outgunned. If you are just starting out, and the keywords you are targeting show results dominated by titans like Amazon and eBay, then you may need to rethink your strategy.

You may also need to develop content assets to achieve strong organic visibility. Not all businesses have the in-house resources to tackle content development, and this can pose a problem. Tactics such as safe, sustainable link building can be difficult to master, and often, a strategy is needed, along with expert support.

Organic traffic may also largely come in via informational or pre-purchase research queries. This is valuable traffic, but a more staged approach may be required to nurture those users to a purchase. This is a cornerstone activity in digital marketing; however, it is not always easy, and it is not a good fit for all businesses.

PPC: Laser-targeted visibility

How does paid search differ from organic search? With click-through rates and trust heavily stacked in favor of organic search, why would a business look at paid search? Here are some of the benefits PPC offers:

Position on the page. Paid search dominates above-the-fold content. With typically four ads on desktop and three on mobile, a user will always see the paid search ads, even if they choose to scroll past them.

Improved ads. PPC ads are just that: advertisements. As such, you have far more granular control and more space for delivering your marketing messages. Calls, locations, sitelinks, pricing and bullet points (callouts) are just some of the options for creating ads that dominate the page.

Brand visibility. Running paid search advertisements gets you seen by the right people. Even if they back off and conduct a brand search before clicking to your site, that visibility will pay dividends to your marketing.

Budget. PPC allows for a tight control of budget. Determine how much you are willing to spend per day (ideally with some initial and ideal ideas of returns), and set that fixed limit.

Targeting. PPC provides a laser-targeted way to get in front of potential customers. Ads can be targeted by search keywords, time of day, day of the week, geography, language, device and audiences based on previous visits. Organic traffic, by comparison, is far more scattershot.

Speed. While developing good organic visibility can take time, a PPC campaign can be created in days and ramped up in weeks. There is no faster way to get in front of customers at the very moment they are primed to buy than paid search engine advertising.

Agile. Speed provides agility. Want to test a new product? A new marketing message? You can get rapid feedback on a new product launch (or minimum viable product) by running a short PPC ad campaign.

Marketing intelligence. Where organic largely hides keyword data in the name of privacy, there is no such restriction with paid search. With conversion tracking and a solid integration with analytics software (like Google Analytics), we can determine what keywords convert and at what percentage and cost. This intelligence can be fed directly into organic search (SEO) marketing and can inform all other advertising to improve results across the board.

A/B testing. Easily split-test ads, landing pages, and even call-to-action buttons to determine where the very best results lie. Again, this information can be fed back into all other digital (and traditional) marketing endeavors.

Stability. AdWords does not suffer the same turbulence that the organic results can suffer from. There are changes, but they tend to have a far lower impact and are more easily managed. Careful use of match types and analysis of the search term reports allow for the removal of junk search and an increase in ROI over time.

Cost. Despite what many advertisers believe, a PPC account that’s well set up and managed can be a low-cost way to generate leads for your business. If you are a local business targeting a small geographic area and a small set of keywords, you may find that you can generate more than enough leads without breaking the bank. Additionally, over time, accounts can be further optimized to drive down costs and increase return.

As with organic search, there are many benefits to paid search advertising or PPC. However, there are also some pitfalls for advertisers to be wary of.

PPC can be expensive. It is not always the case, but costs can quickly add up. If you are targeting entire countries or running international campaigns, those costs can spiral.

Paid search advertising is, as the name suggests, paid — so it requires constant investment. Stop paying the piper, and your ads go away and your lead generation dries up. So long as you have a solid acquisition cost, then this should not be a problem, but in contrast to SEO, it can feel like a bad deal. Of course, SEO should be ongoing to keep the opposition at bay, but organic traffic can be a little more robust.

There are various options for search advertising with PPC, and making smart choices here will influence results. If you see product listings dominating the screen for your keywords, then text ads may not perform so well. Likewise, if you run product ads, and only text ads are returned, then these ads may not deliver the goods.

It is not unusual to get into bidding wars with other advertisers, which can drive costs up. As you start to run your ads, often you are taking a bite out of some other advertisers’ digital apple. Doing so can result in some spiraling costs.

Strategically, PPC is relatively easy to copy. If a competitor notices you are running ads, they can run ads. Your messaging can be imitated. Your entire funnel can be easily evaluated by competitors. This is the digital marketing landscape, and you have to accept that to some extent.

Successful PPC needs skilled management and optimization — from monitoring bids, Quality Scores, positions and click-through rates. Some of this can be done with scripts, but if you are too busy to do this properly, ensure you have an expert on hand to take care of keeping your account in tip-top shape.

SEO or PPC?

It’s just not possible to answer this question without taking the unique situation of a given business into consideration.

A hyper-local business with little competition and a requirement for just a few leads per week could likely develop good visibility in the local and organic search results with a little spend or some DIY SEO.

A new e-commerce store that is competing with a page of results from Amazon, eBay and other major department stores and online retailers is likely going to struggle in organic search (in the short term, at least).

Do you need leads now? Are you looking at the long game? Do you have much in the way of website authority? What is the competition like in organic search? What is the cost per click in paid search?

A clear digital marketing strategy and clear short- and long-term goals are essential in making an SEO or PPC decision here.

SEO and PPC

In an ideal world, we would look at both SEO and PPC. They both have pros and cons and work best when supporting each other synergistically. Where you can get SEO and PPC working together, you will often be able to drive results that are greater than their component parts.

The benefits of running SEO and PPC together include:

  • Keyword and conversion data from PPC can be fed into organic search (SEO).
  • The total volume of traffic can be increased by targeting clicks in paid and organic for high-performing keywords.
  • High-cost keywords, high-volume or low-converting (yet still important) keywords can be moved from PPC to organic search.
  • A/B testing of ad copy and landing pages can be fed into your organic listing and landing pages.
  • Remarketing allows you to stay in front of visitors after an initial touch via organic search and customize messaging around their engagement with your site.
  • Test your keyword strategy in PPC before committing to long-term SEO strategies.
  • Target users at all stages of the customer journey from research to comparison to purchase with commercial keywords.
  • Increase confidence and awareness by having both strong organic and paid visibility.

In our experience with hundreds of businesses, an integrated search strategy that looks at both SEO and PPC is the optimal approach. Results are improved in each channel by utilizing both paid and organic. This will not be right for every business, but for high-growth, aggressive marketing, you will want to develop a holistic search engine strategy rather than look at SEO or PPC in isolation.