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Choosing someone to build your website can be a very daunting task. There’s not even a real consistency to what we call ourselves: Website Developer, Website Designer, Front End Developer, Programmer and Coder are just the most common ones.

If you are unfamiliar with the technology options available, it can be hard to even know where to start. In this post, I’m hoping to give you the confidence to know the right questions to ask and make you aware of some common pitfalls. Read more »

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

We all know that old saying and it’s never been more true than it is today when everyone has a million things warring for their attention. A photo or info graphic can help readers get a sense of what your post is about without having to read all those pesky words.

Images are Protected by CopyrightPlus,  it’s so easy to get pictures! Just do a Google search for the type of graphic you want, save it and voila! You’ve got a great image for your blog post. The problem is, what you’ve just done is illegal.

This is copyright infringement and you can be sued for it. It happens often. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if your intentions were innocent or you didn’t know the photo was copyrighted or that you didn’t make any money or no one even saw it. If a lawyer or the owner finds out, you could still end up paying thousands of dollars in legal fees and court costs.

How Do I Get Images for My Site?

Your best option is to use your own photos. Most of us carry a smartphone with a pretty decent camera with us everywhere we go. Take the time to snap pictures of common things you might use on your website or blog like street signs, pretty landscapes, blue skies with fluffy clouds, stormy skies with gray and foreboding clouds – really the possibilities are endless.

Sometimes, though, you need a professional photo and there may not be the time or the budget to hire a photographer. This is where sites like iStock Photo can help. For just a few dollars you can get a high quality, royalty-free image you can use on your website or in other marketing materials.


 

The takeaway here is:

  • Always assume the image you want to use is copyright protected.
  • Take steps to obtain permission to use it by paying for the image or asking the photographer.

 

We’ve all seen plenty of pitches on websites to encourage you to sign up for newsletters. They offer tips for this and that, free stuff and other creative incentives to entice you to share your e-mail address.

Creating an auto-responder to share your special offer when visitors sign up for your newsletter is very easy. MailChimp will walk you through it in just a few steps.

But What If We Kick Up the Auto-Responder a Notch?

Why stop with one free thing if you can create a compelling “10-day course” to provide value to your audience, making you a hero and setting yourself up as an expert.

It doesn’t have to be 10 days and you can design it any way you want – one month of positive messages; a new recipe every Monday; a daily, 20-minute, no-equipment-needed workout, etc. You could set up any of those ideas through a regular newsletter. You could also create a unique offer for specific groups. The incentive would  be delivered after an action by the recipient.

For example:

A business coach offers a 10-day course on how to increase sales. New people who sign up receive an e-mail the next day. Those who are already on the coach’s mailing list can get the lessons by clicking a link in the latest newsletter.

Everyone gets an e-mail every morning that week. Once this is done, you can restart the campaign at any time. Let’s say you do it in January. In June you can send out an e-mail to everyone who has signed up for your list since February 1, when the campaign stopped and run it again with a new audience. Another option would be to keep this incentive program up for a while for every new subscriber.

What You’ll Learn

By using multiple campaigns like this on different topics, you will begin to learn what your readers are looking for (based on what they click), which subjects keep their interest (do they open every e-mail over the 10 days?) and the topics you should continue to include.

The possibilities for this are endless. Get creative and make it fun for you and your audience! What’s going to keep them coming back for more?

Have You Updated WordPress?

August 11th, 2014

Last week Mashable reported on a serious vulnerability in WordPress.

If you haven’t updated your WordPress site to version 3.9.2, you should stop reading this and do it right now. Seriously.

I know I talk about this a lot, but keeping WordPress and plug-ins up-to-date is absolutely vital. No matter who you are, if you see the message below when you try to open your website, your heart is going to sink and your day is going to be a very different one than you had planned.

Chrom Malware Ahead warning from www.atechjourney.com.

Photo Credit: atechjourney.com

Read more »

Remember the Alt Text!

August 4th, 2014

One of the most often overlooked elements on a website is the alternative text for images. Sometimes called the alt tag or alt text, this little line of copy has an important role to play.

The purpose is to give web user agents (like search engine bot programs and screen readers used by visually impaired people) an idea of what the image contains. This can also be useful for users who have turned off image loading or those with a slow connection speed.

The secondary benefit is that this alt text will tell Google what is in the picture. This makes it an excellent place to use appropriate keywords.

Here are some examples: Read more »

You see their ads everywhere – on Facebook, on hosting websites. You even hear them on podcasts.

“Build a professional-looking website in 10 minutes!”

“Drag and drop tools give you control over your website design.”

The thing is, their claims are mostly true. You can build a decent-looking site on your own these days. This can be a great way to get online when your business is new and you just need a presence to be taken seriously.

There are definitely some disadvantages, though. It is almost never as easy as they say it will be, unless you use a template and don’t try to customize at all. You may have to pay monthly fees and your site will not be optimized for search engines (SEO) as well as it could be. Read more »



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