v

Why Stock Images Don’t Work

As a brand strategist, I know what works and doesn't work. But more importantly, why doesn't it work? The biggest factor that I notice is stock images on websites and social media. This element can downgrade your brand.

I take time each month to create my images and take pride in doing so whether it is the creation of digital images or photography. Performing this task helps keep my brand on point and cohesive like I tell my clients about all the time.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Sunset chaser.jpg

Here are the top reasons why stock images don't work for your brand.

1. I thought I just saw that image. Chances are they have seen it somewhere else and just got your brand confused because they are thinking of the previous picture they just saw, possibly from a competitor. It now sticks to their mind that it wasn't original, and they are left confused.

2. Stock images won’t connect your audience with your brand. If it doesn't match your brand and audience, you are leaving everyone puzzled. You have just wasted time and money when you could have done it correctly the first time.

3. I don't know about you, but before I invest in any company, I do research and make sure that I see brand awareness and consistency. Stock images don't make you look authentic. Let's be real. People sitting at a conference table with a white background seems fake; get creative and fun and show your personality.

4. Too many stock photos make you seem fake. Have you ever visited a website with so many stock images you didn't even know what they were offering? Does it look like a fake rather than a “real” company? Maybe, maybe not. I would back away, though.

There are plenty of other reasons why stock images don't work well for any business. I understand that it might be pricey to have a brand specific photoshoot, but it will be well worth it to stand out. Not to mention, if you don't even have copyright releases to these images, are they even worth using? Invest your money on custom photography so that your audience will mark you as professional and genuine.

v

The One Tool Every Business Owner Needs

If you are trying to manage emails and find yourself getting lost in them, I have the perfect solution for you. If you are a business owner looking for the next best thing to get your emails and documents under control, then you want to check out G Suite.

v

One Tool I Use Every Day in My Business

Dubsado is the best tool for the productive business owner. They build software that allows you to take back your time, money, and attention and reinvest it into your business, family time, or whatever else you're hoping to do in life.


v

3 Easy New Ways to Double Blog Traffic

Everyone wants traffic to their blog and website, right? The problem is how do we get the numbers there? It might seem like social media is the key, but there are numerous other opportunities out there.

blogtraffic.jpg

3 Easy New Ways to Double Blog Traffic

  1. Do a Massive Vanity Post:: This way is when you create a massive round-up post of the best advice or tips from a minimum of 25 other relevant bloggers, experts, and influencers. You will want to make sure it is a good quality article, and that the contributors have a good audience. From there, of course, ensure your SEO is on point. Then comes the fun time. You send the link back around to everyone who has contributed and see if they’d also like to share this amazingly useful content. It's a win-win for all involved. You can boost this blog post and tag the others on social media to truly help gain traffic to your website. It's super easy!

  2. Create A Mega Pin For Your Best Post: Graphics are a huge item to create to help get a flow to your website or offerings. The best step you can take is to create infographics, excellent and informative infographics. (You should always have pinnable images on every blog post, but for this one specifically, make a nice infographic to interest people.) You should know your audience and know what they want. So, create a few different infographics, and schedule the images on Pinterest. Keep it simple and picturesque.

  3. Guest Blog:Guest blogging is a great way to increase exposure. You literally write for someone else, and they publish the piece. It links back to your website and social media as long as THEY promote it for you. You want to check that you have unique and fun topics, but always with heavy SEO keywords throughout the composition. Here, you are the expert, so have an editor review the article a few times so that the internet can be 'wowed.'

Do you find other ways to help gain more publicity organically when it comes to your blog posts? There are many fun and free ways to do this; these are merely my top three ways.



v

Influencer Marketing - Top Five Elements in a Media Kit

If you desire to work with a brand of any sort, you will want to have a media kit. You should make sure that you have everything covered and it is top quality. A lot goes into a media kit, and I am going to break down the top five elements a media kit should include.

influencermarketing.jpg

1 ABOUT ME: People want to know more about you (especially if you are an influencer). Throw in a little backstory about how you got started, and add in some of your interests or passions. People want to know that you are human and want to be able to relate to you; this helps you stand out from the crowd.

2  STATS: This information is hands down the most important you’ll include in your media kit. You need to add your social accounts, media outlets (like a blog, podcast, writing credits, etc.), and your analytics for each. Numbers don't always mean everything; they just want to check that you are active and have a following of some sort. High engagement rates can sometimes beat out a larger amount of followers.

3: FOLLOWER DEMOGRAPHICS: You need to have many followers that fit your niche and interact. So, find insights to show them who your audience is made up of (like real data). Get as specific as possible here! This info is super important for brands trying to target their ideal market.

4: OFFERINGS: You should also incorporate what sorts of collaborations you can provide to your potential partners. There are a ton of possibilities for this section. Will you do social posts, videos, stories, write sponsored or guest blog posts, write recipes, create freebies, host takeovers, contests, etc.? Define as much as you can and add in the rates for these charges.

5: CONTACT INFO: Include your email, phone number, and anything else they might need to reach out to you. Make sure to enter links to your blog, website, podcast or any other social media profiles as well.

So, ready to get your media kit together? Hit the contact us button below, and we can help start the process to put this together both visually and content driven.



v

Why Your Website Needs a Wireframe

Let’s back up and talk about what a wireframe is first. For those looking to build a website of any size or shape, wireframes are the foundation on which to begin building. Wireframing usually comes after the site architecture has been determined by a sitemap or flowchart of the website’s pages and before the creative design phase.

YourWebsiteNeedsawireframe.jpg

What is a wireframe?

Wireframes are simple black and white layouts that outline the specific size and placement of page elements, site features, conversion areas and navigation for your website.

They are devoid of color, font choices, logos or any real design elements that take away from purely focusing on a site’s structure.

laurenthrosonwireframe.jpg

We often say that they are much like a blueprint to a home, where you can easily see the structural placement of your plumbing, electrical and other structural components without any interior design treatments.

Here is an example of what a wireframe looks like:

Overlooking this step to get to the look and feel is a huge mistake that would prove disastrous for any website or any contractor building a home. To reinforce the importance of this phase in a web process, I have outlined seven fundamental reasons why you need to wireframe.

1. Wireframes display site architecture visually

A sitemap can be a bit abstract, especially ones that are quite large. Taking the sitemap to wireframe starts the first concrete visual process for a project. Wireframes turn the abstract nature of a flowchart into something real and tangible without distractions. This step ensures that all parties are on the same page.

2. Wireframes allow for clarification of website features

In many instances, clients may not understand what you mean when you say “hero image,” “google map integration,” “product filtering,” “light boxes,” and hundreds of other types of features. Wireframing specific project features on a website provides clear communication to a client about how these features will function, where they will live on the particular page, and how useful they might be.

Sometimes you may decide to take out a feature once you see the wireframe because it just doesn’t work with what your goals are for the site. Observing the components without any creative influence allows a client to focus on other equally important aspects of the project and clarifies any expectations about how to execute features.

3. Wireframes push usability to the forefront

This step is one of the most critical points of the entire wireframing process. Creating wireframes pushes usability to the front in showcasing page layouts at their core.

It forces everyone to look objectively at a website’s ease of use, conversion paths, naming of links, navigation placement, and feature placement. Wireframes can point out flaws in your site architecture or how a specific feature may work. And this is a great tool.

4. Wireframes identify ease of updates

For clients who purchase a content managed website, this point is especially vital. A wireframe will immediately identify how well your site will handle content growth.

For example, if you only have ten products offered right now, but in six months you may have 100, you will want your website to accommodate this growth without impact to the website design, site architecture or usability. Wireframes will identify these crucial areas of content expansion.

5. Wireframes help make the design process iterative

Instead of trying to combine the functionality with the layout and creative with the branding aspects of the website in one step, wireframes ensure that these elements get taken in one at a time. This method allows clients (and other team members) to provide feedback earlier in the process.

Skipping wireframes delays this feedback and increases the costs of making changes because reworking must happen on full design mockups, not just simplified wireframes

6. Wireframes save time on the entire project Wireframing spares time in a multitude of ways Your designs are more calculated. Your development team understands what they are building. Content creation becomes much clearer. You avoid hacks later on in the process. Everyone from the web team, the agency and client are all on the same page about what the website is supposed to do and how it should function.

7. Experience shows it works

Building a website is a process. Wireframing is one of those parts of the web process that you should not skip, just as you wouldn’t construct a house without a blueprint, or live in it without decoration. Each step has an essential place in a larger process.


Enjoy our weekly favorites




v

What Website Platform to Use

Having a business can be expensive; we know that. Getting a website set up can be both time consuming and costly. There are 30 million small businesses in the United States; that is a lot!!

what-website.jpg

According to the 2018 Small Business Profile Report from the US Small Business Administration, there are over 30 million small businesses in the United States! These small business owners work incredibly hard, and while the benefits of being a creative entrepreneur are many, ensuring that the financial rewards are worry-free is paramount.

You can set up a Weebly website, but did you know you can sell with 0% Weebly transaction fee? They also have the ability to add unlimited products to their stores and have access to a variety of powerful e-commerce tools including inventory management, reviews, tax calculator, and more. The Weebly Business plan is just $25/month when paid annually

Is Your Business Just Starting Out? No problem!

Weebly's Starter or Pro Plans are great for entrepreneurs who are just getting started or want to test the waters. While there is a low 3% Weebly transaction fee on these plans and a reduced set of tools available, the Starter and Pro plans can be very cost effective for new businesses while they fine-tune their product lines and strategies. The Starter plan is available at $8/month when paid annually, and the Pro plan is available at $12/month when paid annually.

We encourage you to create new content and posts for your site, especially around the Weebly Business and Performance plans. If you need help setting up your website, feel free to contact us below.

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Don’t forget to check out our weekly faves

v

What is SEO and Why Do You Need It?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website so that it performs well in organic search. Search terms that rank highly are known as keywords. Using these words increases the visibility of a website, which leads to a higher number of visitors to the actual site.

What is SEO and Why Do You Need It?.jpg

As a business owner, you need to have a plan in place to promote your business, regardless of what your business entails. SEO should be a part of your system because of the following...

Blogging is a leading source of leads and traffic for businesses. They must use optimization properly for a search to be effective. SEO is made to ensure your blog posts get found.

Before you can optimize your website, you have to know what you are optimizing it for. This step simply means, knowing what terms people use to search for what you offer.

Once you have identified keywords that people are using to find products, you need to implement them on your website.

Content is a significant part of your website, but it is far from the only on-page factor that will affect how well your website performs. You need to realize there are other aspects. You should have a clear hierarchy to your site with keywords inside your content.

SEO is a great way to create organic traffic to your website if done correctly. There are endless things to learn about SEO, so let's sit down and have a chat about your needs.

Enjoy our weekly favorites




v

Why You Need a Website for a Business

If you plan on not growing or scaling your business, then you probably don't need a website. I do not take any business seriously without a website. You have to invest in your business a little bit, and the first investment should always be branding and website design.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Sunset chaser (1).jpg

 

It doesn't matter if you are a service or product based business, you need to have a website. Websites are not simply for e-commerce businesses.

 

With all of that said, here are the top six reasons you need a website.

 

1. Customer Expectation: Your customers are the first and foremost reasons you should. If you do not have a website, you better believe that your patrons will go to your competitor.  Consumers go to sites to make sure that they are professional and legitimate.

2. Social Credibility: With the internet mixing the honest with the shady, people want proof that you are, in fact, a business. They want to investigate your website and social media pages to get to know you better!

3. Bang for Buck: You will reach thousands of, if not more, people just by having a website. There are so many great benefits such as widgets, SEO, and google ads that can help the visibility of your webpage.

4. Be Ahead: If your customers are searching for something on the internet and your competitor is online, then you are missing out on a sale. Websites help establish brand awareness.

5. Automate Work: Your website does the work for you! Add your hours online, and people can find you based on searches. Also place your location in google maps, which makes it easy for people to find you and click right on it. Another option, insert your phone number online, and interested parties can dial the business directly if they are on their phone. There are many great features to implementing a website.

6. Google Search Visibility: This exposure is one of the most important reasons for a website. People can search on Google and find your website based on their needs. Without a site, there are slim to no chances of a person discovering your business. This step is also where SEO plays a vital role.

With so many great reasons to have a website, these are only just a few. You will find that a site is imperative and, over time, will be the best return on investment for your business. Interested in a free consultation? Click on contact us to set yours up.

Enjoy our weekly favorites

v

What to Include in a Media Kit

A media kit proves essential for every business; there is NO exception on who should create one. A media kit contains information about your business or event. The point of a media kit is to catch someone’s eye and make them want to work with you. It should be a one-stop shop for all of the necessary information. Media kits can be print or digital; it depends entirely on the person and preference. I recommend always having both because most places like to have both an electronic and a physical version.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Sunset chaser.jpg

 

What should your media kit contain?

A few basic items should always be in your media kit.

  • Contact Details: You should add the contact details (phone, website, address, email, etc.) of the person who can interview.
  • Social Info: People like to have your social media information (links, stats, and following). They want this data for a couple of reasons: one, because they can see you have an audience and two, they like to tag and share with their audience.
  • Brands Assisted: Always enclose the companies/businesses you have worked with before. Prior experience gives the credibility/testimonials that you need.
  • About the Company/Person: Provide a quick, yet informative bio. Try not to make the blurb more than three paragraphs per person/business.
  • Media Release: Plug in some details about the event/service/product. Your media release should have quotes from the person available for interviews.

TIP: Put some images in your media kit that journalists can use.

If you have recently appeared in the news or other publications, make mention of this to increase your social proof and credibility. You don't need to use media kits all of the time. People don't always care about the numbers, etc. They want to make sure that you are a great fit and credible!

Enjoy our weekly favorites

v