Design

10 Essential WordPress Plugins For Your Website

  • September 30 , 2018

10 Essential WordPress Plugins

Here on Bizzebee, we have talked about how important your website is to your business and why, when you create one, you should be using WordPress to build it.  One of the great things about WordPress is that there are literally tens of thousands of WordPress plugins that you can install to your site to fill a number of different roles.  That could be for a design purpose, security, SEO, etc. or in all likelihood, all of the above.

In this post we look at some essential WordPress Plugins for your website.

Creating A FREE Landing Page Using Instapage.com

  • April 15 , 2014

Today I wanted to put together a quick video introducing you to the excellent online software/service called Instapage. This software/service makes it easy for non techies and newbies to build great looking landing pages using pre created templates.

instapage

This is a paid service but comes with a basic free service.  We are not affiliated with Instapage and we get no money from them if you do decide to take up one of their paid services but it isn’t the paid services that I wanted to tell you about.

For small local offline businesses I think the free landing pages you can create with Instapage are great and could save you a lot of time and money. If you have a WordPress website then you can easily add your landing page to your website using their WordPress plugin. This plugin connects the two together nicely.

If you are using one of several email marketing services like AWeber then you can connect them to the landing pages to start collecting email names and build that important email list.

The system is a great tool to anyone who wants to start building an email list as part of the online side of their business.

Watch the video below as I give you a quick look inside Instapage.com and show you how easily the templates can be edited.

Creating A FREE Landing Page Using Instapage.com

Creating A FREE Landing Page Using Instapage.com

The Best WordPress Theme For Your Business

  • March 20 , 2014

Hello, my dear readers and fans of our site.

It’s been a long time since I have written any blog post for any website especially here at Bizzebee. I had a terrible accident back in November (21st) 2013 which led me to have an operation on my left hand to fix my elbow.

Anyway, I am back in action and today I would like to share some 0f  the best WordPress themes that I have found which would work well for any business website or blog.

As a Web application and WordPress developer I am continuously working with different clients from around the globe. Which means I spend a lot of time looking at themes, some of which are really great, and some are not so user friendly (down to poor documentation, and YES even I find it difficult even though I am a developer!)

So finding the right theme is important both for your business and for the site manager. Your theme should have an easy integration process plus have a great appeal for the audience when they are visiting the site. But knowing where to start can be a little like finding a needle in a haystack!  Don’t worry I am here to help so stick with me whilst I talk you through some of the best themes I’ve found which are suited to many different needs. And remember, I’m a developer, so my thoughts are honest, rather than being “just another blogger trying to promote a theme” 🙂

KALLYAS – Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme

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This theme has all the support and features that you are looking for! It has responsiveness , multi language support and also e-commerce compatibility.I highly recommend that you take a look at this theme, because seeing really is believing with this theme, KALLYAS – Responsive Multi-Purpose WordPress Theme. It has all the sliders bundled together that you won’t even think about using any other on the site. The theme option might seem complicated for a new user but it is well documented. And if you need a developer who can integrate it for your site just give us (me) a shout! We can offer the service at very reasonable rates.

Increase – Premium Business WordPress Theme

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As the Theme producer says, “Increase your success” – I believe you can certain do that for your business with this neat and clean theme’s design. It is responsive and looks well also. With a good theme option panel that is easy to understand and navigate.
Increase WordPress theme’s main feature – is the ability to change colour easily precisely for any element. Great customization possibilities are offered by the new version of cmsmasters’ custom wordpress admin panel. The 1.2.1 admin version features all the functionality of 1.2 version, but also includes more customization options. In fact, your wordpress website can be easily turned into a completely custom-designed website, and there is no need to deal with any code for this. All the customization is playfully easy, reminds more of a game rather than website setup.

emode – Responsive Multipurpose WordPress theme

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If you are an entrepreneur , I think this theme will really appeal to you! With a colourful appearance this theme can make your audience feel instantly happy about your business and services and ultimately buy into it! emode is a premium WordPress responsive theme with unlimited skins. This theme is perfect for all businesses, corporations and creative portfolio sites. It has powerful CMS functionality and a long list of premium features,  go and have a look at emode – Responsive Multipurpose WordPress theme

Avantgarde Creative Theme

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If you are in a creative business then this WordPress theme is for you! It has lots of cool features that suits artists, models, designers quite perfectly. A nice clean design with a good integration panel can make your life easier. You can use it for any creative businesses. Visit Avantgarde Creative Theme Page for more information.

Lotus, Flexible Multipurpose & Responsive WP Theme

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The final theme of this post will be Lotus, Flexible Multipurpose & Responsive WP Theme. It  is a powerful and flexible theme that comes with very rich tools and options to make creating website as simple as possible. For example one of its tools is Smart Page Builder. In short, this is an awesome drag & drop page building tool. By this tool you can create any page (for example home page) layout with very rich collection of web elements in a minute without writing html or touching even one line of code. In other words, you can quickly design unlimited unique looking pages in simple drag & drop visually.

That is it for today from me. I hope to catch you up in my next article with a cool tutorial about WordPress tips & tricks. If you have any questions or post requests / topics  feel free to ask me, by dropping me a line over at our Bizzebee Facebook page! 

Techno Bee – Miz 🙂

5 Pages Every Website Needs

  • February 3 , 2014

5-Pages-Every-Website-Needs

No matter what your site is about, there are just certain pages every website needs to include.  Whether you have a small site that only consists of a few pages or one that has hundreds, you need to make sure that you have these up and running for people to find.  In this post we will take a look at these vital pages and explain just how important they are.

About Us Page

Many websites seem to overlook having an ‘About Page’, which is daft really as it is arguably THE most important page of a site.  For anybody wanting to find out more about a certain website after finding it, the ‘About Page’ is the perfect place to go.

Here you can introduce yourself/business and share information about what the main aim of your site is.  This might include when you first started the site, what made you set it up in the first place, where you are based (perhaps with a map), or simply what you can expect to find whilst browsing the site as a whole.

You’ll often find that your ‘About’ page is one of the most visited pages of your entire site.  This means that it is crucial that you make a good first impression.  Think of it like a big advert for your site that people can find, so be open, honest and welcoming to all your new visitors.

Contact Page

No surprises to see that a ‘Contact Page’ made our list.  Having said that, I do see many sites that seem to forget to include one.

There are a million and one reasons why someone would want to get in touch with you/your site, for example;

  • To ask a question,
  • To ask for advice,
  • Advertising options,
  • To point out a problem with your site,
  • Guest post submission,
  • Product question,
  • Customer service,
  • Complain,
  • To say thank you,
  • …and so on.

I have personally had people contact me for every one of the above points, some of which have led to building some great professional contacts.  Now it’s always nice to hear some positive feedback now and then, but some of the best emails I’ve received are when people spot something that’s wrong/not working on the site that I have not noticed.  It’s almost impossible to keep an eye on every single image, link, URL, etc. of a site that keeps growing, so having someone point that out via the contact page is always welcome.

Contact pages are really simple to set up as all you need is a contact form for people to send you an email.  There really shouldn’t be any excuse for not having one on your site.  As well as an email form, make sure to include your social media links so that people can contact you that way as well.

Sitemap

One page that is easily forgotten about is the sitemap.  For anyone that doesn’t know, a sitemap is… well exactly that, a map of your entire website.  It consists of a list of every single link that makes up your site in one easy to find place.

A sitemap has 2 main reasons;

  1. Help people find your pages,
  2. Help search engines crawl your site.

By far the most important of the two of these is to help search engines crawl your site.  Search engines will naturally find your site whilst crawling the web, but only tend to go a couple of pages deep into your site (follow all links on any one page > follow the links on the following pages).

The more of your site that you can show to search engine spiders, the more likely that they will index all of your content.  This is where the sitemap comes in.  By adding a link to it in your footer, search engine spiders will be able to crawl your entire site and find your latest content.

Legal Page(s)

Yes, they are boring and dull, but you need to make sure that you include the proper legal information on your site for people to find.  “Which” legal information will depend heavily on the type of site you are running, for example an eCommerce site will likely need legal info about payment details and shipping costs, or blogs (like ours) may need affiliate/advertising disclosures.

There are plenty of copy & paste type legal information that you can use online, so find the ones that are most appropriate for your site and add them in your footer.

Blog Page

This may seem like an odd one to include, especially if you don’t run a blog type website, but a blog page is pretty important for most kinds of sites.

You may run an online shop selling different colours widgets and thingamebobs, but you will still need a blog.  You see sites need to publish regular content in order to be seen as “active” by the search engines.  Without regular content, your site could be viewed as “dormant” or “inactive”, in which case they won’t send you as much traffic.

There is an infinite number of things that you could write about for your blog.  Try and keep it themed around your website (or perhaps product line) and it will help attract traffic.

These are just some of the types of pages every website needs.  Depending on your niche, you could also include pages such as;

  • Subscription page,
  • Landing page,
  • Thank you page,
  • Confirmation page,
  • FAQ page,
  • Product page,

What other important pages would you add to this list?  What pages couldn’t you do without?  We want to hear from you, so please leave a comment below.

Welcome To The Hive – Official Launch!

  • January 6 , 2014

The-Hive-Launch

It has been a long time coming, but today is the day that we finally launch the official Bizzebee membership areaThe Hive.  I can’t quite express just how excited I and all the rest of the Bizzebee team are to launch today.  We are all eager to see what you think of it.

What Is The Hive

Here on the Bizzebee blog we strive to provide you with great free content for you to use and learn from. That can only go so far though, which is why we wanted to create a separate area for members who want to learn even more from us.

In ‘The Hive’, members will gain access to; tutorial videos, audio files, whiteboard presentations, eBooks, vidcasts and more that we have put together for you.  These will cover subjects, such as;

  • WordPress tutorials,
  • Social media tips,
  • SEO,
  • Blogging,
  • Content creation,
  • Business tips,
  • Web Design,

…and much, much more!

This Is Only The Beginning!

We are all very proud to launch this membership area, but as far as we are concerned this is only the beginning!  We will be adding more content to The Hive every month; we are planning on doing some exclusive Google hangouts for our members, one-on-one consultations, podcasts and more.

Our overall aim is to help you get your business up and running online and teach you how to grow it.  There is an awful lot to learn along the way, but we are here to help you.

So register today for your Hive membership, or try us out for FREE for 30 days!

How To Edit Featured Image & Blog Post Excerpt Length In Genesis

  • November 11 , 2013

How-To-Edit-Featured-Image-&-Blog-Post-Excerpt-Length-In-Genesis

A website’s blog post excerpt is an important thing as that is what a lot of visitors will read before clicking onto one of their posts.  For that reason, it is important to make sure that your post excerpts are looking great for all your visitors.  Anything less and you could be losing out on traffic!

What Are Post Excerpts And Why Are They Good?

When you run a blog, you publish lots of different posts on a regular basis (or at least you should be doing).  All these posts need to be found on your site, otherwise they will just get lost under more and more content.

One of the best ways of letting people find all your content is to categorise them and present them on ‘Category Pages’ and ‘Blog Pages’ (just like the ones we have).  These are essentially just pages that list your posts one after the other depending on what category you add them too.

Post-Excerpt

Now, instead of having a (category) page that displays the full versions of your posts one after another, you can choose to display a post excerpt for each post.  This is good for several reasons;

  1. It helps speed up your site – Instead of having one LONG page with several posts all loading (with included pictures, video, audio, etc.), you simply have a page listing your latest posts with a short description next to each of them.  This helps to cut down on load time and speed up your site.
  2. It increases pageviews – By listing your posts with an excerpt, you are encouraging visitors to click on and read your post on a single post page.  This boosts your pageviews as you are getting visitors to navigate around your site’s different pages, which can be good for advertising revenue.  You also encourage them to leave comments and share the post via social media as those features can only be displayed on single post pages.
  3. It helps people find what they are looking for – Post excerpts can be seen on category pages, tag pages, blog pages, search result pages, archive pages, etc.  This greatly helps visitors to quickly browse through all your posts to find what they are looking for.  This is especially relevant if you have a large site.

Enabling Post Excerpts In Genesis

In order to enable post excerpts in Genesis, you need to make sure your theme is setup correctly.

Quick Note: Your theme may already by default be set to display post excerpts.

Navigate to ‘WordPress Dashboard > Genesis > Theme Settings’ and scroll down to the ‘Content Archives’ section.  Here you can switch between ‘Display post content’ and ‘Display post excerpts’.

With post excerpts selected, your blog pages will display your posts with the first few paragraphs next to your featured image.  For most people that will probably suffice, but what if you want to change the length of the excerpt?

Editing Your Post Excerpt Length In Genesis

For whatever reason, Genesis doesn’t allow you to edit the excerpt length in the theme options.  In order to do so, you need to add the following code to your functions.php file.  (WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Editor > Theme Functions – functions.php)

//* Modify the length of post excerpts
add_filter( 'excerpt_length', 'sp_excerpt_length' );
function sp_excerpt_length( $length ) {
return 50; // pull first 50 words
}

Add this code and simply edit the number (50) to however many words you want your excerpts to display.  In order for this to work you MUST have selected the ‘Display post excerpts’ in your theme options.

Now that we have sorted that out, what about the featured image size?

Edit Featured Image Size

There are a few different ways to edit the size of your featured image next to your post excerpt.

Firstly, you can select one of the pre-existing sizes.  Go back to your theme settings (WordPress Dashboard > Genesis > Theme Settings) and scroll down to the ‘Content Archives’ section again.  Here you can simply choose to switch to one of the other images sizes to use.

If none of these pre-existing sizes is of use to you and you want to use a different sized image, you will need to set that up.  Either;

  1. Navigate to your Media Settings (WordPress Dashboard > Settings > Media) and change one of the image dimensions to suit.  Make sure you don’t change one that you are already using!
  2. Navigate back to your theme functions file (WordPress Dashboard > Appearance > Editor > Theme Functions – functions.php) and edit/add to this code.

Featured-Image-Size

Once you have set your preferred image dimensions, simply select that in the theme settings options.

Now you have customised both the excerpt length and featured image size.  If you have any questions about this, let us know in the comments section.

Business Cards Are Not Dead | Bizzebee

Business Cards Are NOT Dead!

  • November 6 , 2013

With the rise of the Internet and smart phones and tablets storing data, the more traditional “physical” ways of capturing data are often deemed void in today’s world.

However, I would like to politely and firmly disagree with such claims.

Granted, the need for the traditional printed marketing materials may have lessened with more people using online methods to advertise and connect with people, but one thing that has not lost it’s place or importance, in opinion and experience is the Business Card.

For those of you who don’t know my background, it comes from Printing and Graphic Design. My family have a printing business and I have a lot of involvement in the day to day running of this business, and only this morning we had a problem with some cards that were due to be printed, and it inspired me to write this post.

Ok, Business Cards – the FIRST and LASTING impression that ANYONE can leave with potential clients and future business contacts, but do they still have a valid place in the world now with the introduction of things like QR Codes which can take the same data and automatically save to your device?

On an average week for our medium sized printing company we print on about 4 runs per week, with 11 cards on each run, and we are one of many printing company’s in the UK that does the same.

That alone leaves me thinking that no matter how far forward we move with technology – QR codes, the linkedin card munch – people STILL value business cards as the most important marketing tool in their arsenal.

That said, there are good and bad ways of putting business cards together – and I am going to share 50 amazing Business Card design tips a little further down with you, but I also want to touch on some other things to consider with Business Card Printing before hand.

Business Cards Are Not Dead | Bizzebee
Vistaprint Budget Business Card Advert On Their Website

The fastest and most simple way to answer this question is to first answer this question

“Will you come into contact with ANYONE that you could potentially do business with?”

If you answer yes, then you need business cards.

Secondly – How important is the impression you leave with the person taking your card?

If you know that your business card is THE single most important physical reminder you can leave with someone (knowing they might come back to it / find your card later on down the line) then you will want to ensure what you are leaving with them is a true representation of what you stand for – so the design needs to be good, and so does the print quality of the card.

If costing is your biggest restraint, and you know you will work hard at relationship building with said person over different mediums  (email, skype, telephone, social media) then maybe you just need to leave a basic card that “does the job” so you don’t need to spend lots of money. Perhaps you are a business start up – money might not be readily available – there are printers online who can provide a fair service in this area.

Vistaprint is the most obvious and well known budget online printer, they offer an excellent range of low cost, in some cases FREE business cards – perfect for those out there who want some business cards to get by with.

Business Cards Are Not Dead | Bizzebee

Then you have the next level on online printers – MOO.com – slightly targeted at the client who really wants to leave a lasting impression of luxury and quality – and maybe stand out a little bit with their business, they are famously known for their MINI business cards (again a great way of standing out and leaving an impression – you card is different from every one else who leaves theirs)

Business Cards Are Not Dead | Bizzebee

Lastly the option you have is to support local business, and use a local printer to your town – something I personally prefer (even though my business is internet based) maybe I am biased because my family is your “local printer” what do you get with buying local and supporting local – a first class service, and people you know you can call directly and have a conversation with, the same people that you would want to tell all your friends about on Twitter for providing you a good service.

The local business is not the cheapest, but again not the most expensive in printing business cards, but the local business will deliver the service you expect for what you are paying. Business Cards Are Not Dead | Bizzebee

So like today when we went to print a full run of 11 cards our print operator noticed with his clever eye glass that the quality wasn’t the high level we would press pass for the client. We went back up to pre press department to check the original files, we noticed on one card that there was a problem when we converted the file, and the other card’s design just didn’t work when it went from screen to print. We’ve had to re run the printing plates, doctor the files slightly so the customer got the best possible end result for their card – all at our own cost. That is not something you would get with either types of online print company’s – they are trusting the client to send their files over print ready – which is fair of course.

Those are the options, but how do you know WHAT to include in your business card design?

Here are my TOP 50 Business Card Design Ideas

1. Decide on the shape of your business card when visualizing your design — consider perfect squares, rounded edges, or the traditional rectangle.

2. The only phone number you should hand write on a business card is your personal phone number.

3. Make sure to keep all information, like address, city, and state, up to date on your business card.

4. Lower your costs by ordering large quantities of business cards.

5. Never print your business cards at home. Even if you have a small business, always have them professionally printed.

6. Avoid using any art that may resemble clip art. It will immediately undermine the impression you’re looking to create.

7.  Select the highest quality card stock; since so much business is done online, you want your business card to leave an impression

8. Consider adding a QR code that links back to your website or blog.

9. Don’t be intimidated with traditional layout. Think about including short text on how you can help the client or give them a fun fact on the back.

10. Consider glossy UV coated cards if you’re looking to stand out.

11. Get distinctive by utilizing raised ink business cards that literally give a feel to the cards.

12. Try fold over business cards if you need to give your audience more information.

13. Printing your business cards on linen card stock adds texture and depth.

14. The logo is one of the important parts of a business card; make sure your brand’s colors are utilized on any full color designs.

15. Don’t use a personal email on your business card, that’s why they call it a business card. Invest in a professional or vanity URL for your business.

16. Put the URL of your website on your business card.

17. Make sure your card matches your personality and profession. If you’re a graphic designer, it’s ok to be trendier. If you’re a banker, go for a more sober look and feel.

18. Make sure you use the same font and typeface on your business card. Multiple typefaces make it difficult to read.

19. Check the spelling on your business card. Spelling errors are completely unacceptable.

20. Avoid digital printed business cards. While they cost less, it’s reflected in the ultimate quality of the card; instead use offset printing.

21. Print on plastic if you want your card to stand out from the rest.

22. Include a business card with all packages and correspondence.

23. Put important social media links on your business card, such as LinkedIn or Twitter.

24. If you hand your card to someone and they don’t immediately offer a compliment, chances are your card is not memorable.

25. Stash you business cards in your jackets, luggage, car, office, and wallet. They only work when they’re given away.

26. Avoid card stock that clashes with your brand identity and logo.

27. Use the backside of your business card to engage the people reading it with checklists, tips, or interesting information about your company.

28. Don’t be too quick to offer your business card; you don’t want to be viewed as being pushy.

29. If you conduct business internationally, use the back of the business card as a translated version of the card.

30. Want a logo raised up from the card? You’ll have to create a cast die that will emboss your card with your logo or graphic. It’s more expensive, but leaves a lasting impression.

31. Produce multiple versions of your card and encourage people to collect them.

32. Brand yourself with a slogan and include it on your business cards. Readers will have a short idea to remember your business.

33. Bright colors like black, red are given a rich look and are visualized much attractive when given a UV coat.

34. UV coating gives business cards a feel that it is been printed on a thin marble sheet.

35. Print business cards on 12pt or 14pt thickness. If you want to minimize unnecessary bending or tearing opt for 16pt business cards.

36. The 16pt business card comes with a thick card stalk to make the content much more visible to the viewers.

37. For financial business cards, matte uncoated business cards on a 16pt linen stock offer a sober and professional approach.

38. Consider a logo update if your business’ name doesn’t stand out.

39. When laying out a business card, make sure to leave at least .25 inches of room from the edge so your text isn’t hugging the border.

40. Round cornered edges give business cards a fresh look, in addition you don’t have to worry about the corners being damaged by frequent handling.

41. If you are a small business, pick a title that will give the person reading your card the impression that you work for a larger company without having to say you’re a CEO.

42. Add logos of organizations your company belongs to or works with, such as the Better Business Bureau, GSA, or member associations. Third party organizations act as rubber stamps of approval and an endorsement for your company.

43. If you participate in an affiliate program, make sure your affiliate URL links are on your card.

44. Always protect your business cards in a sleeve or case. There’s nothing worse than pulling out a damaged or slightly used looking card.

45. Scan all the business cards you receive with Google Reader (available for the iPhone or Android). It will automatically parse the data and add your contacts to your contact list.

46. Add LinkedIn information to your card in the form of a QR code. It’s an easy way for someone to scan your card and connect with you directly.

47.  Collect examples of great looking business cards, then use them as inspiration for future designs.

48. If you’re having trouble selecting what you want on your card, remember less is more; leaving a lot of white space usually translates to a more sophisticated approach.

49. Make sure your cards outline exactly what your company does. Your cards should articulate your core value proposition.

50. Work with a local printer or design firm to get the best possible printing results for your business cards. Local printers and design firms can give you the best options and ultimately be responsible for delivering a top notch product

Clair 🙂

There Is More Than One Way To Make Money Online

  • October 30 , 2013

The internet really excites me and it should you, the reason it excites me is because it is full of so many great opportunities to make money from your own home.1

There are so many different business models from drop shipping, affiliate marketing ecommerce sites right up to making money selling your own designed T-Shirts on CafePress, promoting your own music and even renting out websites.

Yes that is right, I did say renting out websites, a website is in many ways a virtual property. Like a bricks and mortar building in a street in a town, a website has a location. If you own a website that is similar to the best shop on the busiest street which in the cyber world means being at the top half of the first page of Google for a certain keyword, your website could be worth a lot to the right person.

Imagine that you owned a website that was at the top of the first page of Google for the keyword ‘professional plastic surgeons in Scotland’ (A random keyword I know, I couldn’t think of anything better) Someone somewhere in Scotland who was a professional plastic surgeon may not realise how much traffic that keyword was getting but when shown that they are missing out on potentially thousands of pounds worth of business, they then would see a value in paying you to add their details to your site and ‘rent’ the site and its location from you.

We have all heard of internet marketing and how people like Pat Flynn and John Chow regularly make thousands of dollars each month from blogging and recommending relevant products, with so many niches online now there are so many markets to choose from.

A keen gardener could set up a website and start selling his own eBooks from his site or even make his site a subscription based site similar to an off line magazine. Membership sites are incredible things and have made a lot of people very wealthy. People will pay to be a member of anything as long as you offer a service they need and believe is worth the value.

People will pay to access training videos for things like yoga or football, whatever ideas you come up with, the chances are there are people around the world who will happily pay for it. The world is changing; the internet has opened the world up for people who have never met to work with each other.

Twenty years ago the idea of someone like me having graphics, videos and articles created by people in countries like India and the Philippines  was simply not thought of but now I can have a pick of thousands of great people around the world who are willing to do some work for me. I can also do work for others, I can write for clients around the world as long as I have an internet connection.

Teenagers today who are creative and motivated have every opportunity to travel the world funded by an online business and a small laptop or maybe even just a tablet. Cafepress.com is a website that has grown and now has several localised versions of itself like Cafepress.co.uk, Cafepress.au and many more. The great thing with the Cafepress is that they are an online printing company which allows people to upload their own designs and create a shop selling T-Shirts, Hoodies, baby clothing, notepads, mugs and the list goes on.

2

They have created several very successful home based businesses where young designers have been able to introduce their artwork to the world. There is no need for the designers to search out printers or buy the printing equipment themselves which would cost several thousands of pounds, they can create designs and add them to their CafePress shops, using marketing techniques they drive traffic to the shops and when a sale is made CafePress do the rest.

CafePress will print the items and they will send them to the customer on your behalf. They take out their costs for the manufacturing etc and then at the end of each month they pay you your share. You set the price of your merchandise so what you make on top of each item you design is down to you.

TuneCore.com is a similar set up to CafePress except they deal with digital music. You create the music, you pay an annual fee and they then distribute your music as digital MP3s to big sites like iTunes, Spotify & Amazon. You keep the rights to your music and you keep all 100% of the profits made.

3

With most people now having access to some great recording software or music software like Audacity, Sound Forge, Cake Walk and Reason, people can create and record quality music from the comfort of their home and share it with the world via sites like TuneCore.com. Again, music can be created via laptops and tablets anywhere in the world allowing the music lover to travel the globe and earn a living.

OK so it will not be as sophisticated as the equipment in big studios but laptops are far more sophisticated than the machines bands like altern8 and the Prodigy used to create legendary rave tunes back in the early 90s. There is no reason why someone cannot create a stunning album using just a laptop or a tablet these days. Electronic music pioneers like Kraftwerk would have dreamt of machines like those we have today.

I mentioned earlier the system known as drop shipping; this is another system that requires very little physical work. It is a form of affiliate marketing but you promote physical products usually based around the same niche. For example, a young skateboarder could create a website around skateboarding, filling it with videos and pictures of his friends skateboarding he could then have several pages selling skateboards, parts, DVDs and clothing which are from other people’s companies.

He himself would not need to touch the products himself, the order is processed either by the company or he forwards on the order once it has been taken and they send out the product. The companies will send out any money earned at the end of each month or whatever the agreed time frame is that they use. (Please note I say ‘he’ just for ease, I am not saying that there are not any female skaters out there who would be entrepreneurial and open up their own drop shipping site. I am sure there are plenty.)

Using free networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube it is very easy to find a potential worldwide following of people who love the niche you’re in. Music, skateboarding and graffiti for example have followers and lovers in virtually every country you can think of.

It is the same for gardening, opera and even knitting, there are people who love their hobbies and have access to the internet, if you can get your website address in front of these people and give them excellent content and service then you increase your chances of growing a successful business.

Stop and think what you can do online, if you are good at art you could design T-Shirts like the CafePress example or you could do website graphics for people around the world. If you are good at writing you could write website content for people, do product reviews, write eBooks & reports and even become a self-published author selling your books on Amazon Kindle store.

4

We might be facing hard times with a global economic recession and crisis but the Hilton hotel empire was built during the great depression when Grandpa Hilton went around buying up hotels cheap that were forced to close due to lack of business.

A recession is not bad for everyone and times are changing, many of the companies that are closing these days are closing because of the change in how we shop and buy. The internet has killed of some localised businesses and created a breeding ground for thousands of newer home based global trading businesses, businesses that you and I can quite easily create and profit from.

 

10 Common Website Mistakes To Avoid

  • October 28 , 2013

Website Mistakes To Avoid

Running a website is no easy task, so it’s inevitable that we will make mistakes from time-to-time.  Mistakes can even be a good thing if we learn from them, but to save you the hassle, I’ve put together a list of some common website mistakes to avoid to help you.

1. Unresponsive Website (Not Mobile Friendly)

You are making a BIG website mistake if your site is not “mobile friendly”.  More and more people are connecting to the internet via their smart phones and tablets, which is why it is vital that your site is responsive across multiple devices.  If it is not, you are simply limiting the number of people that can visit your site.

There are plenty of WordPress themes that you can install that are ‘mobile responsive’.  Sites like StudioPress have a wide variety of responsive themes for all types of site that you can use.  There really isn’t any excuse for people not being able to access your site on their mobile devices, so make sure that yours is good to go.

2. Bad Website Navigation

You can spend all the time in the world creating fantastic content for your site, but if no one can find it once they get there, then what is the point!

Bad website navigation stops people from finding all the great content on your site.  Whether you have only a few pages or hundreds of posts, you want people (and search engines) to be able to find them easily.   Only then will you get visitors staying on your site for longer, which helps to increase your pageviews.

Think about the menus and links that you display on your site.  Are people able to find the different sections/categories of your site?  Do you display a search box?  Can people easily find your search box?  Which are your most important pages/posts?  These are the types of questions that you need to be asking yourself in order to improve your site navigation.

3. Not Building An Email List

An email list is a very powerful thing for a site to have, which is why you should be building one.  You see, the people that signup to your site (whether it’s to an eCourse, newsletter, to receive offers, etc.) are your best customers.  They are the ones who are interested in what you have to say on your site, allowing you to send them offers, promote products or just encourage them back to your site.

AWeber is the market leader for email marketing software where you can create and schedule a set of emails to be broadcast automatically once people subscribe.  You can create signup boxes, newsletters, broadcasts and much more by using them, helping you to grow and manage your email list.

4. Not Posting Enough

Every website needs regular content published as that helps to drive traffic.  People (and more importantly search engines) will see that the site is active, which will encourage them to come back again and read more.

If you don’t post enough, then your site can become stagnant.  A lot depends on what your site is about, but you wouldn’t keep coming back to a site if nothing changed.

Make a list of all the things that you can write about and keep adding to it when you get inspiration.  If you end up struggling for ideas, it may mean that your niche is too small, in which case you may need to broaden out a bit.  I think a lot though comes down to getting into a regular routine.  Try to update your site regularly (perhaps once or twice a week) and stick to it.

5. Posting Too Often

Some people go to the other extreme and post far too often.  Like we said, regular content is good, but too much can be overwhelming for your readers.  If you are publishing 4, 5 or even more posts a day, then you can’t expect visitors to keep up.  Sites that post this frequently tend to be massive news sites with lots of writers and millions of visitors.  That is certainly something to aim for, but you certainly can’t do that on your own.

You also have to consider the quality of what you are posting.  Publishing 1 high quality post is MUCH better than lots of little mediocre posts.  As the saying goes, “It’s quality not quantity!

6. Doing Zero Social Media

Social media is a fantastic way to market your site, so it makes sense that you should be using it.  Make sure that you have an active presence on all the major social networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.), particularly the ones that relate to your site.

Just having a page setup on each of these networks will help people to find you, but by engaging with your audience, it is such a great way to build a following for your site that you shouldn’t overlook.

7. Doing Zero SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an often understood practice that seems to confuse and petrify people at the same time.  It may sound complicated and unfathomable, but it’s really not too difficult when you get to know it.

SEO is simply a way of getting your website/content seen by search engines so that they can index it and present it to as many people as possible.  Search engines, like Google, are by far your best bet to get traffic to your site, so it’s best to work with them.

By using On-Page & Off-Page SEO techniques, your content can rank highly on search engine result pages (SERPs).  The higher you appear on the SERPs, the more traffic you will get.

Essentially, all it involves is making it clear what your posts are about.  This is done by including keywords in your post/page titles, meta descriptions, sub-headings, alt-tags, etc.  That way, when the search engines find your content, they have a better understanding of what it is about, allowing them to show it to people who are looking for that information.

If you are doing zero SEO for your site, you are essentially sticking your head in the sand.  Spend some time learning about SEO and actively doing some for your site.  It’s not as scary as you may think.

8. Not Interacting With Your Readers

If people spend the time leaving comments on your site, sending you emails or asking questions via your social media channels, you should make sure to respond to them.  Not only is it good manners but it is also good for business.  If people see that you are happy to interact with them and help, they will be much more likely to keep coming back for more.  It also shows that your site is an active one, which again can encourage people to keep visiting your site.

Admittedly, this can become a problem if your site is very popular (can’t reply to everyone), but you should at least try to reply to as many as you can.

9. Not Testing Your Site On Multiple Browsers

Any changes that you make to your site, you should always check to see if everything is working OK on different web browsers.  Most people tend to use only one, but that doesn’t mean everything will display fine for all of them.

I have in the past made changes to my sites, only to find that they were not displaying correctly on another browser that I didn’t use regularly.  Once you know about the problem, it’s usually very easy to fix, but you need to test it to find out.

Get into the habit of testing your website on Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Safari (the 5 most popular web browsers) whenever you make any changes to your site.  That way, you can see whether there are any issues that need fixing.

10. Thinking That Your Website Is Finished (Biggest Website Mistake!)

This is probably one of the BIGGEST website mistakes on the list that many people fall victim too.  The minute you think that your site is “finished”, you may as well pack up and do something else.

The internet is constantly evolving and there is always competition looking to overtake you.  You should always be looking to update, reinvent, add new features/products/content, etc. to your site to keep it fresh.  This is one of the things that I absolutely love about what I do, there is always something new to learn about and improve on your site that you should never find yourself standing still.  Keep pushing yourself and striving to create a better site for your visitors.  That is the best way to run your site.

What website mistakes have you made on your site and how did you go about fixing them?  What other common website mistakes would you add to this list?  Please let us know below by leaving a comment.

timeline cover design

The Importance of a Good Quality and Useful Timeline Cover Design

  • September 27 , 2013

Any respectable business these days has a social media presence online. Some will have just the one social media profile while others will have the full bag. Either way if you have just one or have many there is one thing that you must do from the outset.

The value of a good timeline cover design is vitally important and will go a long way in getting a Facebook Like, or a Twitter Follower or being added to a circle in Google Plus.

As with all your branding for your business you should obviously keep a running theme throughout all your profiles. So, if your website’s primary colour scheme is green do the same for your Facebook timeline cover etc. This rule should also apply for all other accounts. People get familiar with a brand and the logo. Colour schemes as well as fonts will all be on the readers/fans/followers eyes. They will expect familiarity here, so give it to them.

What should you include on your Timeline Cover Design?

The rules change all the time with the social media giants, for a while up until recently Facebook used to have a 20% rule, meaning no more than 20% of the timeline cover could have text on it. There are some reports of peoples covers getting rejected with very little text on them.

I am pleased to announce that they have now relaxed those rules and companies are allowed and should be encouraged to put their details on their timeline cover designs.

I would advise to put at least the following basic details on any design cover where applicable:

·         Name (Company or personal)

·         Website URL

·         Email and Telephone Number

Although Facebook have relaxed the rules, I would still edge on the side of caution with it. Nothing major is going to happen if they do not like it – they will just tell you to remove it, or remove it themselves. Don’t fill your covers with text. I personally would avoid large brash “Calls To Action” like “Buy My Latest Book Here” – they look too desperate.

Remember branding – try to include a snapshot of what your business is all about. For example, if it is a restaurant try and use a picture that shows the buzz and atmosphere of the restaurant. Include the logo where applicable and use high resolution pictures/photos where you can for your covers.

The thing in the past that has been a problem for marketers and company owners is that the sizes of the various social media timeline covers has been a little bit unknown. It can be a little annoying if you get a great cover picture made up and when you go to install it on the page it does not fit or half of it is cut off.

Well, the simple Infographic below shows the sizes of the more popular social media networks so you no longer have to worry. Also included are the sizes of the profile pictures. Keep to this and you will be fine. All sizes are in pixels. Not to scale.

timeline cover design infographic

So, there we go. A handy little guide to getting the best form your timeline covers. Please share it if you think it is helpful.

Have you experienced any difficulty or rejection in getting your timeline covers set up? If so, get in touch and we can help you. Please drop a comment in below.

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