The Importance of Beautiful Images

Beautiful Design

Images are more important than ever when it comes to using them as a tool to market your business effectively. Truth bomb: your potential customers will factor their buying decisions on what sort of images they are seeing from you.

Savvy folk are using images everywhere, from social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest to Infographics on their own sites and every place in between. These people are using them effectively to present their message to their specific target market.

I’m not talking any old image here. I’m talking hero images, ones that are worth our time and attention! There’s a reason regular stock photos become the butt of some pretty funny sarcastic jokes, they’re generic, fake, boring and they unwitting tell the story that you’re not that special, you’re Plain Jane.

Let’s look at the top 5 ways imagery works in your online presence.

1. Images are a way for you to communicate your message in a way that can be instantly seen. People can try to visualise something you are saying in written content, but add an image and the picture becomes instantly clear to them. Giving a visual reverence grabs their attention.

2. Images provide another source for search engine optimisation for your blog posts, social media posts and your web pages. By placing a keyword related ‘alt tag’ and anchor text on your image, you can easily increase your Google lovin’.
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Truly Gorgeous! Handmade Business Cards

Watercolour & Stamped Handmade Business Cards

I’m finally getting this blog post out into the world, it’s a wonderful chance to show you how with a touch of inspiration and creative magic you can create your own business cards at home!! Whilst doing your own business cards may sound a little scary, I promise you, with a little bit of practice they won’t end up looking like a cane toad designed them. Your handmade cards will look loved. quirky and oh so unique! Handmade says “hey look at me, I’m made with thoughtfulness, love and devotion”  As always, a beautiful brand effervesces heart via all the little things you do, the personal touches.

If you’re thinking, do you really need business cards? That’s a fair thought, with all the online interaction they’re hardly an essential (I was quoted $600/box for the printing of mine, ouch, but that’s for really fancy schmancy ones with gold foil stamping & letterpress), but… seeing as it’s something anyone can make quite easily at home then it’s really worth it, and I’m sure there has been or will come a time when you wish you have a little card to give to someone on the spot.

So… time to set aside some time (and if you have little ones, some space), have a cup of tea, check out these ideas and then get down to it. You’re only limited by your imagination.

These cards are a heavy cotton paper, cut into 2.5×3″ rectangles.
These cards are a heavy cotton paper, cut into 2.5×3″ rectangles.

Materials for Handmade Business Cards

  • Card Stock (anything upwards of 220 GSM thickness, you will cut these into 3.5 x 2″ rectangles.
  • Watercolour Paint // I just use acrylic in water and stir it
  • Paint Brush(es)
  • Custom Rubber Stamp (I order from Stamp Out Online or Mancoo Design, both ship to Oz)
  • Ink Pad
  • Paper Towel & Bowl
  • Heavy Books, to weigh down, or clamp to flatten the cards
  • Spray Paint (for edging)
  • Exacto Knife and Plastic Cutter’s mat & metal ruler, or use a guillotine

DIY Business Card Edging

Handmade Stamped Business Cards

Fancy some Washi Tape?

Sources: {thank you} Foreign Policy Design Group for Playground Studio | Daniel Renda  |  PrettyPeas  |  OhSoBeautiful Paper  | Wildly Spun  | Emily Walker  |  AtHomeInLove

I’ve just let all the images speak for themselves here but soon I’ll be popping up some of my own photos when I get a new camera (thank you to my son who thought our camera needed a bath), and stay tuned for the DIY Gold Foiling Tutorial using Toner Reactive (TR) Gold Foil and a simple laminator.  Let’s even go down the path of embossing hey!  Whilst I am yet to make an attempt to even learn embossing, I have an appointment with a lady next week who is going to explain everything to me.

If you do end up making any cards, pretty please with a cherry on top I would LOVE to see them!

Tee x

PHP Auto Year Script

Here’s a small snippet of code that you can add to your site to ensure your footer PHP date is always at the current year, it’s so handy, hence I’m putting it out there. I’m sure the eagle-eyed users of the web are still seeing sites stuck on ‘© 2011 Copyright’ etc, so here’s a few easy ways to overcome it, forever, automatically.

First thing you’ll need is a PHP web page. If your server handles PHP, then use the code below to insert into your website’s footer. Please note this will only work with PHP web pages not static HTML.
Single Year Display

This literally just pulls in the current date using server technology, and is really easy to implement instead of manually typing the year (and forgetting about it).
© <!–?php echo date(“Y”); ?–> Copyright.

Gives you: © 2015 Copyright.

Website Start and Current Year

Little longer PHP snippet – in which you set the date your website was launched, and let the PHP automatically keep the current year up to date. See below and example for details.
© <!–?php $copyYear = 2008; // Set your website start date $curYear = date(‘Y’); // Keeps the second year updated echo $copyYear . (($copyYear != $curYear) ? ‘-‘ . $curYear : ”); ?–> Copyright.
Gives you: © 2008-2015 Copyright.

Shine Online To Attract Your Ideal Audience

brand-styling-web-design

Your online presence consists of everything that you use to get your name out there online. It’s important that you create a plan of action and design the marketing collateral that you need to impress your audience. The following ideas will help you develop your online presence to get the word out about your services.

[vc_actionbox type=”alternate” controls=”right” title=”Create or Have a Professional Website Created” style1=”primary”]

It is the main source by which your clients will learn about your offerings. It should be designed to appeal to your audience in terms of design, content, copywriting, layout and navigation.

[vc_actionbox type=”alternate” controls=”right” title=”Create or Have Created a Well Crafted Lead Magnet” style1=”primary”]

Often called “click bait” or “freebies,” this product is designed to get leads to sign up for your email list. You may deliver a newsletter, updates, and more via the email list, but the product that you create should be laser focused on your audience – to the point that they know it’s meant for them and they have to have it.

Create or Have Created Some Audios and/or Videos

You can create these by repurposing a webinar or podcast. These types of information will impress your audience, especially if you are giving away the information that helps your audience answer questions or solve a problem that you know that they have. This will further cement your online presence as one that is in service to your audience.

Publish an eBook

The barriers to entry are very low today when it comes to publishing, but it doesn’t take away from what you can do with a published eBook. Write, or have ghostwritten, an eBook solving a problem or teaching your audience something important. Not only can this be a source that helps establish your expertise, but it can also be another income stream.

Form an Active Social Media Presence

Sign up and create accounts for any social media networks that you believe your audience uses and takes part in. Fill out the profiles completely, keeping a cohesive brand throughout, but taking into consideration the unique nature of each network. It’s best if you focus on only one at a time so that you can make the account truly reflective of your business and what you offer clients. Then as you get used to keeping up with one, add another. Just don’t allow any of them to go dark. They must have unique information disseminated on them on a regular basis to be of any use to you or your clients.

Blog Regularly, Purposefully, and Consistently

When you blog, talk directly to your audience addressing a very small laser focused issue in each blog post. You’ll want to develop a distinctive voice on your blog; a style and format that you keep consistent. Try to blog three to five times a week for the best results. But, avoid putting up content that has no purpose or meaning to your audience.

Develop an Autoresponder Series

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$85,000 Reasons To Sparkle

glitter

 

Nothing says “I don’t like you” like getting a whole pack of glitter dumped on you when you least expect it, it ends up in your hair, up your nose, on your cat and in your car, 3 years later. And before you say “oooooh big deal” there is a point to my story (!) You may have heard the hype of a certain glittery website lately; shipyourenemiesglitter.com is offering messy revenge in the form of sparkly glitter bombs!

Shipyourenemiesglitter.com crashed under the weight of visitors and most likely people who want to get back at their boss, last week and then the owner threw his hands up in the air (is he perpetually covered in glitter?) and decided to sell the website off on Website Flippa to get it out of his hair (glitter pun #546873626), and here’s the thing…. last I heard the highest bidder was up to $70,000. Okay, I’ve just done another check and it sold after 345 bids for a total of…..

$85,000

Here’s another amazing stat: This website generated $20,000+ in sales and bought in 2.5 million visits in 4 days, the website was launched on 12 January 2015. That’s right, the site was up for circa 7 days. The only marketing that was done was a tweet from [creator] Matthew’s personal twitter account and a post on the website Product Hunt.

*High Five* Matthew Carpenter (22 year old Glitter Genius & fellow Web Designer, who was just bored one weekend).

I’ve checked out the new owner’s site, which is not as good, the hilarious dry wit and sarcasm in the copy is gone, I mean what other website told it’s viewers to go **** themselves, in a funny-not-offensive way?

*85,000 non offensive ways.

Future Opportunities for the Brand

You can see the website & brand have so much potential for expansion and more media attention. The new owner has reopened the floodgates by putting the order form back up on the website which you can pay via PayPal and glitter bombs are now half the price, look out! Possible long term objectives could include introducing other annoying products for users to send to prank people they don’t like or perhaps your own boyfriend after some illegible bickering? The SEO and natural backlinks are already there too and can only grow. Smart thinkin’ 99; there’s branding on each letter sent out with the glitter bombs which obviously make for excellent referrals to people who similarly want to dump glittter on other people (aka new sales).

What makes this Website stand out from it’s competition?

When the website was launched it was the only one of it’s kind. It had 0 competitors. Though, it only took a couple of days for the copycats to get busy. The majority of the clone sites are ugly, not designed well and lack any sort of entertaining content.

Setting Up Email in Thunderbird

Setting up your Email in Thunderbird

Thunderbird is not just some mythical bird said to bring thunder, it’s also a really great (FREE!) email program putting you in control of your inbox.

Here’s the latest of what you need to know about setting up and/or configuring your email inbox(es) in the recent Thunderbird software. If you’re feeling extra savvy you can sync up gmail, yahoo and other emails to the one place too (more on that below).

Firstly, you’ve downloaded Thunderbird here

Before you set up any new email in there, make sure you have these details in front of you: chop, chop!

Your domain name: example.com
Your email address: email@example.com
Your email password: *******
Incoming/Outgoing Servers (if you know them). If you don’t know them ask your Internet Service Provider or google it!

For these instructions, we’ll be setting up a simple POP Account in 2 steps. The difference between a POP & IMAP inbox is for another day, but basically a POP account will mean if you delete an email on your computer it won’t sync up and delete it on your phone for example. This comes in handy when you don’t have access to your computer when you’re out and only have your phone! Continue reading

CSS for an Image Homepage Background

Hi fellow WordPress junkies, here is an easy way to place an image as your background for just the homepage using CSS.

You’ll of course just need to pop this bit of css code at the end of your stylesheet (style.css) through your WordPress editor of if your theme has a space for custom code you can pop it in there.
Appearance > Editor > place code > Update

CSS

body.home {background: url(images/FILENAME.jpg) no-repeat center center fixed;
-webkit-background-size: cover;
-moz-background-size: cover;
-o-background-size: cover;
background-size: cover;}

For extreme newbies to WordPress, the image needs to be saved in your themes folder under images or img, then insert the File Name into the URL above.

The background image will work responsively on the following browsers:

Safari 3+
Chrome (shouldn’t matter what version)
IE 9+
Opera 10+
Firefox 3.6+

Viola (!) a gorgeous and responsive homepage background style.