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  • 08/15/19--06:30: 8 blog SEO tips and tricks
  • Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the lifeblood of organic traffic. Get it right, and you can enjoy hundreds, thousands, or for the truly lucky, millions of new visitors to your website for free. Get your blog SEO wrong, and you might barely register a blip of interest in the vast space that is the blogosphere.

    Because here’s the thing my bloggy friends, there are millions of blogs out there competing for attention. “To date, there are over 1.6 billion websites in the world and more than 500 million are recognized as blogs,” according to hostingtribunal.com. “Their authors account for over 2 million blog posts daily.”

    So yeah, there are a lot of websites aiming to swoop in and take what could be your page views.

    You need to get the upper hand now if you want to succeed.

     

    Regardless of how long you’ve been a blogger, getting more traffic is always going to be top of mind.

    To help you, I’m sharing eight blog SEO tips you can use to start moving up in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and hopefully get more page views in the process.

    By the way, this article assumes you have a WordPress blog. In my opinion, WordPress is the best platform for bloggers trying to optimize their content for search engine rankings. And considering there are more than 75 million blogs on WordPress, many people out there agree with me. But, I digress … Let’s get on with the tips, shall we?

    Related: How to increase blog traffic with 13 proven tactics

    The top 8 blog SEO tips to implement

    In no particular order, here are the best strategies for blog SEO that are helping bloggers improve their search rankings:

      1. Use better keywords, and in the right way.
      2. Install an SEO plugin for your WordPress blog.
      3. Use schema markup.
      4. Optimize your images.
      5. Secure high-quality backlinks.
      6. Write better meta descriptions.
      7. Make your posts longer.
      8. Ensure that your blog is mobile-friendly.

    Now that you have an overview of what’s working, let’s break things down so you can move on up!

    1. Use better keywords, and in the right way

    Odds are, by now you already know that you need to use a keyword or keyword phrase within your blog content.

    The idea behind these keywords is that it’s the word or phrase that someone would type into Google or their favorite search engine to search for the products or services you offer. Then, if your blog content has that keyword or phrase within it, you are more likely to show up in the SERPs.

    Once you have chosen a keyword, then what? Do you just douse it all over your content and then — BOOM — end up in the search results? Well, not exactly.

    The trick is to use the keywords in the right way.

     

    Let’s explore what this looks like.

    Choose one keyword theme per page or post

    As bloggers and website owners, we often think we need to rank for a really competitive “magic phrase” and that our homepage should be what shows up in search results.

    But search engines actually index separate pages and blog posts, so you can have a ton of different keyword-optimized posts that act as doors for people to enter your website.

    Focus on a specific keyword theme (i.e. SEO for blogs, SEO for bloggers, SEO-friendly blog).

    Research the keyword

    Check out how much competition your keyword has — and whether anyone is even searching for it. You might think that people are searching for “Brooklyn restaurants,” but what they’re really searching for is “Brooklyn TexMex restaurants.” If you own a TexMex restaurant, then you know you’ll want to pick the most specific keyword.

    Google Trends is an easy tool to use for simple keyword research.

    Another that will give you even more data, however, is Ubersuggest. Owned by marketing genius Neil Patel, Ubersuggest will let you see which pages are ranking the highest for the keywords you want to use, and will even give you additional keyword ideas, content ideas, backlink data and more. All for free.

    Blog SEO Ubersuggest Homepage

    There are plenty of other free and paid options out there for keyword research. Do some, well, research, and I’m sure you will find the perfect one for you.

    Related: Keyword research and content optimization tips

    Work that keyword!

    Make sure you use the keyword on the page or in the blog post in question. Since we’re talking about blog SEO, it’s a good idea to include the keyword in the title of the post, and also in any sub-headings that you have in your post. This is to tell the search engines what the page is about!

    A word of caution: Don’t throw your keyword around frivolously. Search engines see right through that.

    For example, a common shady SEO practice back in the day was to add the keyword all over the post and then change the color of the text to match the background. Though it worked when SEO was first becoming a thing, Google caught wind of it and rolled out an algorithm update to filter that junk out of search results.

    A better way to use your keyword or phrase is at least once in your title, once in your first paragraph, in a subhead or two, and naturally throughout your copy. Bonus points if you can get your keyword or keyword phrase into the blog post’s URL.

    Publish great content with the keyword

    Make everything you publish on your blog something that’s worth reading and sharing. When you publish great content, the search engines won’t be able to stay away, and more people will find you, too!

    High-value content is by far the most vital part of having a successful blog.

     

    Your goal is to create blog content that actually addresses what a user is looking for. If someone searches for something and somehow lands on your website, they want to find the answer there. If the answers they seek aren’t immediately available, they will bounce.

    Fun fact: Bounce rate can indirectly push you down in the SERPs. While Google has said bounce rates are not a factor in search engine ranking, dwell time is. User intent is also huge for search rankings.

    Therefore, the longer that people are dwelling on your page and engaging with your content without needing to head back to search for the same thing they just looked up, the more it tells Google that you have what people want to read on your website. That is where the gold is, my friends.

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    2. Install an SEO plugin for your WordPress blog

    Blog SEO Yoast WordPress Plugin LogoI highly recommend installing some kind of SEO plugin for your blog. One of the most popular options is Yoast SEO. They have both a free and premium version of their plugin.

    These plugins can give you valuable information while you’re typing up your brilliant content.

    For example, some WordPress SEO plugins will tell you if your posts have room for improvement, and even give you suggestions to help you tweak the content until the post is as search engine ready as it can be.

    Most quality SEO plugins also have blogs of their own that offer a wealth of knowledge on how to better optimize your blog posts for better search results.

    Related: How to set up the Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress

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    3. Use schema markup

    What is schema? Schema markup is code that “provides a collection of shared vocabularies webmasters can use to mark up their pages in ways that can be understood by the major search engines: Google, Microsoft, Yandex and Yahoo!”

    Essentially, it tells the search engines exactly what is in your blog posts, in the right context.

    As Neil Patel explains: “When a website has schema markup in place, users can see in the SERPs what a website is all about, where they are, what they do, how much stuff costs, plus plenty of other stuff. Some people have taken to calling schema markup ‘your virtual business card.’”

    Related: What is structured data and How to add schema to WordPress

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    4. Optimize your images

    Remember earlier when I said to use keywords in the right way? One of the “right ways” to use keywords is to include them in your “image alt” text.

    Blog SEO Image Alt Tag ExampleTo increase your chances of ranking high for your keyword, you need to provide lots of hints to the search engines about your topic. If you add an image to your post, make sure that the alt text (alternate text) on the image has your keyword in it, too!

    Your alt text for your images should be descriptive, but it should also be brief — no longer than 125 characters.

    According to SEO expert Rand Fishkin, “a third of all searches performed in Google are for images and 12.5% of SERPs show Image Pack results.”

    This means that in order to give your images, and hence your blog posts, the best chance of appearing in the search results, you need to optimize your image alt text.

    Bottom line — everything in your post is a signal to the search engines.

    Related: 4-step guide to WordPress image optimization

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    5. Secure high-quality backlinks

    Now that you have geared your posts toward specific keywords, it’s time to get some links to your content.

    There are many different ways to get the search engines to recognize your new post … some of the easiest ones are to share your post on social media.

    The more social signals and shares that you get, the more incoming links you have, and it tells the search engines that your post is filled with relevant, and high quality content.

    Though social media links won’t necessarily help your rank, they can get your content to show up by being indexed faster. What that means is that each time you post a new blog post, the search engines will come around and add it to their site directory.

    You’ll also want to build other more permanent links to your blog posts to boost SEO.

    Think about (1) having your friends who run relevant blogs link to you, (2) writing on other websites as a featured expert, or (3) linking from one post to another on your own site (internal linking).

    Blog SEO Woman Typing On Laptop

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    6. Write better meta descriptions

    Depending on your blogging platform, you might have built-in fields to specify a page’s meta description, title and keyword tags, or you might need to install a plugin. Again, if you’re on WordPress, you can use WordPress SEO by Yoast. Once it’s installed, you’ll see three new fields to fill out each time you publish a blog post.

    Make sure to include your keyword in these three fields, to be super clear with the search engines.

     

    Why is your meta description so important?

    It is the summary that will be displayed in SERPs. It tells the users who are glancing at their search results what your link is about, so they know if it’s relevant to them.

    It’s important that the keyword they are looking for is in that summary or they might not click the result. Of course, even worse, if your keyword or keyword phrase isn’t in the meta description, it might not show up in results for the search in the first place.

    Related: What is a meta description?

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    7. Make your posts longer

    Again, user intent is vital to Google. That is why the search giant loves in-depth posts by experts because those types of posts are more likely to fully give a user the information they are searching for.

    Improve your blog SEO by creating longer pieces of content that address everything a user may want to know about a subject.

    For example, instead of a broad, 500-word piece about baking bread with a recipe and the keyword phrase “how to bake bread,” you could go much deeper. Your post could address things like:

    • Preferred techniques for how to bake bread
    • Which pans to bake with
    • How to properly knead the dough for the best results
    • Your top bread recipes
    • Links to what to do with freshly baked bread
    • Strategies for keeping your bread fresh the longest

    Do you see how a post that addresses things like this could be much more helpful to a user than a simple bread recipe?

    So, how long should your blog post be? The answer is a little more complicated than a simple number. Here’s what I can tell you — it should be long enough to give plenty of value to a user to keep them around.

    If you’re itching for a concrete number, however, CoSchedule recommends aiming for about 2,500 words. There are conflicting studies on this, but CoSchedule found that many articles ranking well on Google were about 2,500 words long.

    Moz advises that instead of trying to find a perfect number, look at your own audience and analytics and see what’s actually working for you. Maybe your readers resonate more with 1,000 words or less, or perhaps you need a much higher word count to address complex topics that you cover.

    In other words, the jury is still out on what length makes for a great post.

    Still, it does stand to reason that you need more than 500 words to give maximum value. And a longer word count gives more opportunities to add your keywords or keyword phrases throughout your post without it feeling forced.

    Related: How to write a great blog post

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    8. Ensure that your blog is mobile-friendly

    Blog SEO Gondolier Reading Mobile Phone
    Mobile devices are one of the top ways readers consume blogs. In fact, according to We Are Social, mobile devices account “for more than half of all global web traffic.”

    As a result, Google tends to favor sites that are mobile-friendly in search.

    Google’s developer page states: “If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly, you should. The majority of users coming to your site are likely to be using a mobile device.”

    Google’s Webmaster Central Blog confirms that the search engine is boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results:

    “Now searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”

    If your blog isn’t mobile-friendly, your page rank could suffer for it.

    Related: Google’s mobile-first index — How you can prepare your website

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    Bonus SEO tips

    The bonus tips that follow aren’t directly related to blog SEO, but they can have an indirect impact on your page rankings.

    Make use of categories on your blog

    Without proper content organization to help users discover content, and a proper taxonomy for search engines to crawl and organize your content, you’ll end up confusing both persona types.

    • User confusion keeps visitors from finding the information they are seeking and causes bounce rate to increase.
    • Search engine confusion causes a lack of trust from the search engines, and an inability to effectively understand keyword focus, content value and site structure.

    Related: Using a content silo structure to boost SEO efforts

    How many categories should your blog have?

    Too many categories will thin out content sets, and too few categories will be too generic. For the majority of websites with less than 1,000 articles, 10 categories or less should be plenty.

    How many categories should each post be placed in?

    Experts suggest one primary and one secondary category. This helps focus Google’s crawl and discovery of content and keeps categories from being bloated.

    Note: If you have the category in the URL of your post page, placing a post in multiple categories will cause duplicate content issues.

    Improve your blog’s design

    I can’t stress enough how much Google cares about its users and the experience they have on your website/blog. You may have heard the terms “SEO website design” or “user-centered website design,” but were not sure what those strategies mean.

    SEO website design is the practice of creating a website or blog with all the essential foundational elements needed to have solid on-site search engine value when the website launches.

    User-centered website design is the practice of understanding your users’ journey and intent and building those insights into the design and content of your website.

    Both of these web design strategies help create a solid foundation that is needed for users to have a positive experience when visiting your website.

    Combining these two web design strategies can create a website experience that increases site traffic and gets users to engage with and share your content. This leads to increased trust in your business and increased sales of your products or services.

    Make it easy to share your content

    Creating an easy and effective way for users to share your content is important when trying to amplify your brand. You’re probably wondering if social sharing affects search engine ranking; the short answer is yes, but not in the way you might think.

    Google has said many times that it doesn’t use Tweets or Facebook social signals to rank pages. But, the search engine has been known to use the user metrics that are a result of social amplification to influence their rankings for short periods of time.

    The two ways social media affects rankings are:

    1. User metrics: When you share something of value it tends to get shared many times, and drives traffic back to the piece of content on your blog. It is this influx of traffic and user metrics that can impact rankings.
    2. Gaining links: This is based on the premise that the more people within your primary persona target who see your high-value content, the higher the chance that they will link to it, or share it with someone who will.

    Pro tip: Include social sharing buttons prominently on your blog to make it super-easy for readers to share your content.

    Have a goal in mind before you write a single word

    While having a blog can boost your search rankings, for any resulting page views to matter you have to have goals in mind.

    • What is the purpose of your website?
    • Why are you bothering to take your time writing content on the interwebs?
    • Why are you trying to get page views in the first place? Is it just to drive traffic for ad revenue?
    • Are you hoping to bring your users to a specific page to buy something?

    Consider exactly what your goals are. Write them down, and then reverse engineer how to accomplish them with your blog. When you begin with the end in mind, you can create a better strategy for what you want to write, the keywords you want to rank for, and so much more.

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    Ready to boost your search rankings? Let’s do this.

    You’re now armed with strategies to enhance your blog SEO. It’s time to get out there and start writing some valuable, search engine optimized blog content!

    If you want even more help with your blog SEO, GoDaddy has you covered. GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting features a built-in SEO Wizard that provides step-by-step instructions to optimize your site, and get it seen on Google and other major search engines.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Bill Ross, Nathalie Lussier and Jesse Fowler.

    The post 8 blog SEO tips and tricks appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Since the origins of the web nearly 30 years ago, web designers have written tens of thousands of web design articles.

    Trends have come and gone, best practices have been created and made obsolete, and the devices we browse on look nothing like those of the past. In short, the world of web design is constantly adapting and improving—and many of those improvements can trace their origins to humble blog posts.

    So, to honor some of the best writing on web design, here are ten of the most influential and widely regarded articles on web design. From its origins in print to the flexibility of today’s browsers, web design continues to influence makers everywhere. You’re sure to find some inspiration in these articles that you can bring to your own design work.

    A Dao of Web Design by John Allsopp

    In the early days of the web, when the digital design industry was still finding its feet, most web design was heavily influenced by the medium of print. Modeling an existing medium made sense at the time—the web was still so new that the best practices we take for granted today simply weren’t even possible yet.

    “The web’s greatest strength, I believe, is often seen as a limitation, as a defect.” – John Allsopp

    John’s now-famous manifesto argues that elements being borrowed from print design constrained the possibilities of the early web, and that web designers should embrace the unique characteristics that digital design unlocks.

    “It is the nature of the web to be flexible,” John writes, “and it should be our role as designers and developers to embrace this flexibility, and produce pages which, by being flexible, are accessible to all.”

    Even now, almost two decades after it was written, Dao is still an invaluable read for any web designer.

    Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte

    Inspired by John Allsopp’s piece from a decade prior, Ethan’s 2010 essay was the first to coin the term “responsive web design,” when clients at the time were still asking for “an iPhone website.”

    “Rather than tailoring disconnected designs to each of an ever-increasing number of web devices,” Ethan argues, ”we can treat them as facets of the same experience … In short, we need to practice responsive web design.”

    Ethan Marcotte was the first web designer to coin the term Responsive Web Design.
    Ethan Marcotte was the first web designer to coin the term Responsive Web Design. Image via Unsplash

    For designers who had until then been creating entirely distinct experiences for different devices, the idea was a revelation: Hundreds of devices with infinite screen resolutions—all served by a single, responsive design that adapted content to fit the screen.

    With the meteoric rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets over the next decade, responsive design quickly became the default way of designing new websites—all thanks to Ethan’s original article.

    The Web’s Grain by Frank Chimero

    The question at the core of Frank’s wonderfully illustrated essay on responsive design is a fascinating one:

    What would happen if we stopped treating the web like a blank canvas to paint on, and instead like a material to build with?

    Drawing inspiration from the art world, he explains how the unavoidable edges of our screens limit how we approach web design. This approach, while based on proven design patterns, inevitably leads to much of the modern web looking uncannily similar. Frank argues for “edgelessness” in design—instead of beginning by drawing a box, designers should first understand what needs to go in it.

    It’s an inspiring read that pushes web designers to think outside the box when it comes to their designs.

    Atomic Design by Brad Frost

    Traditional web design has always started top-down. Designers create the overall structure of the site, then drill down, designing smaller interface components like inputs and buttons to fit within the overall page.

    Brad’s chemistry-inspired approach to design flips this idea on its head. His 2013 article suggests starting with what he calls “atoms”—the smallest possible design elements, things like labels, inputs, and buttons. Each atom can then be combined into simple “molecules,” like search boxes, and even larger “organisms,” like site headers.

    Atomic design involves breaking down design into the smallest elements.
    Atomic design involves breaking down design into the smallest elements. Image via Brad Frost

    The concepts first described in Brad’s article have had an immense impact on the design world. Atomic design gives teams a clear methodology for creating consistent and collaborative design systems, helping teams speed up the design process and reduce their design debt.

    Since the article was published, Brad has expanded his thoughts on design systems into a book that he wrote live on his site—it’s worth a read if you’re looking to create and maintain your own design system.

    Four Letter Words by Jason Fried

    No, they’re not the four-letter words you’re probably thinking of.

    Jason’s short but galvanizing essay warns web designers to beware of certain four-letter words in the workplace: Need, Must, Can’t, Easy, Just, Only, and Fast. The words, according to Jason, are especially dangerous when strung together, like in his example:

    We really need it. If we don’t, we can’t make the customer happy. Wouldn’t it be easy if we just did it like that? Can you try it real fast?

    While avoiding these words may not directly affect your designs, collaborating with others is an essential part of delivering great designs. Jason recommends using the words sparingly, since they often discourage helpful conversation and can prevent you from getting real work done.

    This is a Web Page by Justin Jackson

    “At its heart,” writes Justin Jackson, “web design should be about words. Words don’t come after the design is done. Words are the beginning, the core, the focus.”

    Justin’s punchy essay argues that web design should be about more than just responsive layouts or style guides. Written with vanilla markup in a standard text editor, the article challenges web designers to think about their words first, both through Justin’s writing and the no-frills design of the page itself.

    First published in 2013, Justin’s article has since been shared thousands of times, and has been translated into 26 different languages. Now that’s something to write home about.

    In Defense of Eye Candy by Stephen P. Anderson

    Stephen’s 2009 essay on the importance of aesthetics gives a great contrast to Justin’s article on words, asking readers: is “pretty design” important?

    Stephen P. Anderson argues that eye candy is essential to good design.
    Stephen P. Anderson argues that eye candy is essential to good design. Image via A List Apart

    In Defense of Eye Candy makes the case that aesthetics are just as crucial to good web design as function. On top of communicating the meaning of visual elements to users, visual appeal improves trust and brand perception, and users are more tolerant of problems with things that they find attractive.

    Citing scientific studies that back his case, Stephen’s argument that form and function aren’t separate items, and that web designers should treat aesthetics and function with equal weight, should inspire you to consider beauty an essential part of your design approach.

    In Search of the Holy Grail by Matthew Levine

    A good number of early blogs were built around the same layout. Three columns—one fixed-width column for navigation, a second fixed-width column for advertising and other assorted widgets, and a fluid center column that expands to fit the width of the page.

    Implementing this layout in a way that works across multiple browsers and screen sizes, though, proved a challenge for many web designers—that is, until Matthew’s 2006 article came along. The value-packed post describes Matthew’s approach to designing what he calls the “Holy Grail” page layout, with descriptive code examples and step-by-step diagrams explaining the design.

    The resulting “floating column” layout became the basis of countless blog templates and page layouts, and can still be found behind many popular websites today.

    Color Theory for Designers: The Meaning of Color by Cameron Chapman

    Color theory is simultaneously one of the most important and most misunderstood parts of web design. Understanding the effects color has on site visitors is a valuable skill web designers can offer to their clients. Even simple changes like adjusting the hue or saturation of a color can evoke an entirely different feeling.

    Understanding color theory is crucial to great web design.
    Understanding color theory is crucial to great web design. Image via Unsplash

    The first in a three-part series, Cameron’s weighty article on color theory explains how different colors and color families can be used to invoke emotion and action in your web design projects. Dozens of examples show the effect of each color on different sites. She also links to additional resources to learn even more about the theory of color.

    Her post is among the most popular on Smashing Magazine, and for good reason—if you’re looking to understand how best to use color in your designs, Cameron’s article is a great place to get started.

    Everything You Know About Web Design Just Changed by Jen Simmons

    Perhaps this one is cheating a little bit, since it’s a video instead of an article, but Jen’s talk on intrinsic web design at An Event Apart in 2018 describes the cutting edge of what’s possible today in web design.

    Intrinsic web design takes elements of Ethan Marcotte’s approach to responsive design and makes them inherently “squishy.” Instead of relying on fixed breakpoints and fluid columns, intrinsic design lets designers describe the layout of the content directly. This unlocks designs that were only possible by hacking existing layout tools—things like fluid columns and rows, images that scale dynamically without distortion, and intentional white space that remains, regardless of screen size.

    Just like Ethan’s groundbreaking essay from eight years prior, Jen’s presentation describes what many see as another inflection point in how we design websites—it’s a valuable glimpse into the future of web design.

    In web design, change is the only certainty

    With the fast pace of innovation in web design, nothing stays fixed for long. New technologies become the standard, current standards become outdated, and the only thing that’s certain is that 30 years from now, the web design industry will look entirely different.

    These ten articles, though, have stood the test of time, continuing to influence the path of web designers years after being written. Take some time, read them end-to-end, and you’ll no doubt find some insights to help inspire your own design career.

     

    Header photo by Hal Gatewood on Unsplash

    The post The 10 most influential web design articles appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Web designers these days have dozens of ways they can learn to improve their craft.

    YouTube videos, blogs, online courses and in-person classes are all wonderful options—but there’s still no medium quite like a physical book for quickly leveling up your web design knowledge. Authors spend years refining their knowledge, collecting best practices, examples, and tutorials and distilling them into a format you can absorb in a short amount of time from the comfort of your own couch.

    The one downside? There are a lot of web design books on the market—Amazon lists over 30,000 books on web design alone—and sorting the wheat from the chaff ain’t easy. There are, however, a handful of web design books cherished by the pros—books that any web designer or developer should have on their shelf.

    To kickstart your own collection, we’ve put together 20 must-have web design books. Ranging from typography and CSS, to client management and research tips, there’s a book here to suit everyone. The list is broken down by category to easily find the right book for you, and each title on the list is available as either a hard copy or as an ebook, for those who prefer the convenience of digital books.

    Without further ado, here are 20 must-have books for web designers. Enjoy!


    Browse web design books by category


    Books on web design

    Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy

    Essential web design books: Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy

    Instead of directly teaching the principles of web design before providing examples, David’s 2011 book deconstructs classical designs in order to find out what makes them remarkable—and how they could be better.

    Drawing on eclectic examples ranging from Target’s red shopping carts to ancient graffiti from Pompeii, the book explores color theory, interaction design, composition, and more, teaching web designers how to apply the principles and techniques to their own work.

    “Kadavy’s book does an excellent job of linking the theoretical to the practical in a very readable format.” – Brad Feld, cofounder of Techstars

    Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton

    Essential web design books: Thinking With Type by Ellen Lupton

    First published in 2004, design educator and historian Ellen Lupton’s book is the definitive guide to using typography in visual communication.

    The book covers numerous visual examples of typography in practice, explaining the principles and rules behind great type (along with when and how to break them). Whether you’re just starting out or brushing up on your type skills, Ellen’s signature wit and down-to-earth style make this book a must-have for all web designers.

    “Type is the foundation of print and web design. Everything you need to know about thinking with type, you will find here. This richly detailed update to the classic text belongs on the shelf of every designer, writer, editor, publisher, and client.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

    Tragic Design: The Impact of Bad Product Design and How to Fix It by Jonathan Shariat and Cynthia Savard Saucier

    Essential web design books: *Tragic Design by Jonathan Shariat and Cynthia Savard Saucier

    If your clients think good design is expensive, wait until they see the cost of bad design.

    Jonathan Shariat and Cynthia Savard Saucier’s provocative book shines a light on the impact of bad design—how poorly designed products can anger, sadden, exclude, or even kill users. The book looks at real-life examples of UX gone wrong, explaining how design can adversely affect users and telling stories through in-depth case studies and interviews with design industry experts. It’s an insightful read for any designer creating digital experiences, and gives a starting point for creating positive change in UX design.

    “Tragic Design shows how thoughtful design solutions drive positive change and make more meaningful products.” – Andy Law, Director of Product Design, Mobile & Website at Netflix

    Theory of Type Design by Gerard Unger

    Essential web design books: Theory of Type Design by Gerard Unger

    A great balance to the practical approaches in Ellen Lupton’s book, Gerard Unger’s guide to type swings more toward the theoretical and historical side of typography. “Of all designed objects, letters are probably the most pervasive,” Unger explains at the beginning of the book. “Very familiar yet amazingly diverse in their appearance … there seems to be no limit to human ingenuity when it comes to varying letterforms.“

    The book presents wide-ranging theories behind how we make sense of text, explaining how our eyes and brain process letter shapes in order to understand text, what type designers were trying to accomplish with each design choice, and how designers can include those ideas in their designs.

    “It was perhaps one of my favorite books on type that I’ve read so far … the book [is[ an essential for users of type (designers especially)!” – Jason Pamental, author of Responsive Typography

    Art Direction for the Web by Andy Clarke

    Essential web design books: Art Direction for the Web by Andy Clarke

    Art direction has been central to the “look and feel” of print design for decades, but conversations on art direction in digital design are few and far between.

    Andy Clarke’s new book brings art direction into the digital age. The book teaches designers the basics of art direction, providing a framework for applying art-direction theories to the web. Packed with examples from influential art directors across both digital and print, Art Direction for the Web will help make your designs more compelling and effective.

    “With historical context and real-life examples, Andy inspires each of us to be more purposeful about the choices we make. And true to form, he follows up all that inspiration with demos and the practical knowledge needed to see our ideas manifest online.” – Trent Walton, co-founder of Paravel Inc.

    Books on web development

    Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery Set by Jon Duckett

    Essential web design books: Web Design with HTML, CSS, JavaScript and jQuery Set by Jon Duckett

    Jon Duckett’s two books—one covering HTML and CSS, the second teaching JavaScript and jQuery— are highly recommended both for those new to web design, and as a reference for experienced front-end developers.

    The books are highly visual, teaching beginner to intermediate web design and development topics as a series of bite-sized concepts. Readers can also download the code for each example from the companion website, making it easy to play with the code and learn more effectively.

    CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems by Lea Verou

    Essential web design books: CSS Secrets: Better Solutions to Everyday Web Design Problems by Lea Verou

    Building on the concepts presented in Duckett’s set of books, CSS Secrets covers nearly 50 undocumented techniques and tips for solving web design problems using CSS.

    Rather than focusing on design, each chapter presents a specific web design problem, along with one (or sometimes more) clever CSS-based solutions. Lea talks through her process behind how she developed each technique, teaching readers how to develop their own CSS secrets for future problems they might come across.

    Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte

    Essential web design books: Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte

    After introducing the world to responsive web design in his 2010 article, Ethan Marcotte expanded his ideas and recommendations for web designers to think beyond the desktop in his book Responsive Web Design.

    Ethan’s book explores design principles and CSS techniques that let web designers deliver a high-quality experience for users, no matter how big or small their display. Now in its second edition, the book includes up-to-date code samples and expert guidance on using modern techniques, like grid layouts, flexible images, progressive enhancement, and more. It might be a short read, but it’s a handy reference for any web designer or developer building responsive sites.

    “Day by day, the number of devices, platforms, and browsers that need to work with your site grows. Ethan’s straightforward approach to designing for this complexity represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.“ – Jeffrey Veen, Design Partner at True Ventures

    JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

    Essential web design books: JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

    Published in 2008, Crockford’s guide approaches JavaScript from a completely different angle to most other programming books.

    The book digs into the history of JavaScript to explain why the language mixes outstanding ideas with so many that are downright awful. The lowlights of JavaScript are scraped away, leaving a detailed look at all the most useful and elegant features behind the most popular programming language on the web. It’s certainly not aimed at beginner programmers; for advanced web developers looking to up their game, it’s a must-read.

    The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

    Essential web design books: The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt and David Thomas

    Most software development practices in Pragmatic might seem simple on the surface, but internalizing them can take an entire career’s worth of practice. Instead of teaching what to program, the book gives guidance on how to program.

    Hunt and Thomas present an approach to software development that goes beyond just typing code or copy-pasting examples. The book breaks down 70 practical tips and anecdotes learned over the years by successful programmers, from mastering your development environment, to taking pride in your work, and fixing problems when they come up instead of leaving them for others.

    Instead of teaching what to program, the book gives invaluable guidance on how to program within the boundaries of real-world projects. It’s filled with practical programming “life advice” for any web developer.

    Books on the business of design

    Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro

    Essential web design books: Design Is a Job by Mike Monteiro

    Design is a job—a fact designers often overlook in favor of focusing on their craft. Mike rightly calls his first book “a guide to making a living as a designer,” packing it with sage industry and business advice for freelance web designers.

    The short but dense book gives a map for navigating the business of design. Mike focuses on his experience running the design consultancy Mule Designs, teaching freelance web designers how they can (and should) build better businesses, how to value their time, and how to work with clients. It’s a great resource if you’re freelancing for clients, or looking to go independent in the future.

    “This is crucial—[to help people] understand what it is that we do as designers, how to present, how to manage feedback (and give feedback!) and how to operate as a professional.” – Anton Sten, UX consultant

    You’re My Favorite Client by Mike Monteiro

    Essential web design books: You’re My Favorite Client by Mike Monteiro

    Most web design projects require equal participation from both designer and client, but to most clients, the design process feels like a black box.

    Mike’s second book is a great companion to Design Is a Job, explaining the business of design from a client’s perspective instead of the designer. He demystifies the design process for clients, giving guidance on the right questions to ask, how to provide effective feedback on designs, how to hire the best designer for your project, and what to do when things go wrong.

    The book makes a great gift for web design clients, with discounts available for buying a pack of books to share with clients or colleagues. Give a copy to your favorite client, and help them get to know the design process!

    “Businesses finally understand the value of investing in design. Mike has created the guide to making sure every dollar spent on design produces real results.” – Anil Dash, CEO of Glitch

    Pricing Design by Dan Mall

    Essential web design books: Pricing Design by Dan Mall

    Pricing your web design services is one of the trickiest business decisions you’ll make—but it can also have a huge impact on the success or failure of your business.

    Dan Mall’s short guide can help you earn more, explaining what your clients really want—and what they’re willing to pay for. Dan teaches the right questions to ask your clients and when you should ask them, how to turn your clients’ requirements into hard prices, why hourly rates don’t work, and much more. Whether you’re running an agency or freelancing for clients, it’s an essential resource for earning more.

    “This has been really helpful for me as a freelancer, not just at pricing design projects but how to think of the value I provide.” – Anton Sten, UX consultant

    Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing For Business by Paul Jarvis

    Essential web design books: Company of One by Paul Jarvis

    The tech industry loves to celebrate scale—but what if the real key to a richer and more fulfilling career meant working for yourself, setting your own hours, and becoming a (highly profitable) and sustainable company of one?

    Paul’s book explains how web designers can find success by staying small. Through his own experience and the stories of other businesses, he explains how staying small gives the freedom to find more meaning in your work, and avoid the headaches that come alongside growth. He explains how you make this counterintuitive strategy work for your business, with practical advice for staying profitable, keeping clients happy, dealing with crises, and more.

    “Jarvis makes a compelling case for making your business better instead of bigger. A must-read for any entrepreneur who prioritizes a rich life over riches.” – Cal Newport, author of Deep Work

    Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

    Essential web design books: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

    Kleon’s bestselling manifesto on creativity in the digital age challenges readers to inject more creativity into their work and life. The book outlines ten concepts for artists and creators of all kinds, all centered around a central idea: nothing is original, so you should remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. It’s a short read full of inspiration no matter where you are in your web design career.

    “Equal parts manifesto and how-to, Steal Like An Artist aims to introduce readers to the idea that all creative work is iterative, no idea is original and all creators and their output are a sum of inspirations and heroes…” – Forbes

    Books on usability, research, and psychology

    Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

    Essential web design books: Don't Make Me Think, Revisited by Steve Krug

    Designing easy-to-use, intuitive websites that perfectly match users’ needs isn’t easy—but Steve Krug’s guide to web usability is a great place to start learning.

    Don’t Make Me Think is a lightweight and practical manual for creating usable websites, covering topics like intuitive navigation, information design, usability testing, and much more. The recently revised edition also includes updated examples and new content on mobile usability and accessibility. Steve’s signature wit shines through on every page, making the book feel less like a textbook and more like a book you’d casually read for enjoyment. It’s a great read that belongs on the shelf of every web designer and developer.

    “After reading it over a couple of hours and putting its ideas to work for the past five years, I can say it has done more to improve my abilities as a web designer than any other book.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

    Seductive Interaction Design: Creating Playful, Fun, and Effective User Experiences by Stephen P. Anderson

    Essential web design books: Seductive Interaction Design by Stephen P. Anderson

    An inspiring read for design and psychology buffs, Stephen’s book belongs on the shelf right next to Don’t Make Me Think.

    The book examines what motivates people to act, explaining how to create seductive designs that users can’t resist through the universal (and delightful) analogy of dating. Stephen includes dozens of detailed examples throughout the book, explaining how to apply psychology principles to create more effective user experiences.

    “If you’re a UX designer, a designer, a web developer, or any person interested in learning more about human behavior, or interested in making your products more popular or trying to build a stronger online existence, then this is definitely a must-read for you. I cannot recommend this book enough.“ – Sara Soueidan

    100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

    Essential web design books: 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk

    Psychology is something not many designers consider in their work. But according to Dr. Susan Weinschenk, designing without an understanding of what makes people act is like exploring a new city without a map: inefficient, confusing, and likely to fail.

    100 Things delves into why users behave the way they do, and how to use design to elicit responses from users. The book combines Susan’s 30 years of experience with psychological principles and practical examples, delivering a handy guide that teaches you how to create more intuitive and engaging designs that match the way people think, work, and play. It’s a great place to start for web designers who are interested in what makes people tick.

    Just Enough Research by Erika Hall

    Essential web design books: Just Enough Research by Erika Hall

    Good research is the basis of every successful design project—asking questions and thinking critically about the answers are skills every web designer should learn and practice.

    Just Enough Research brings together Mule Design co-founder Erika Hall’s years of experience in design research into a concise cookbook of research methods. The book explains how to identify your competitive advantages, spot your own blind spots, understand your findings, and apply your newfound knowledge to create more effective designs.

    “The relationship between design and research is one of the most misunderstood parts of product design. Erika finally presents a guide to research, in the context of making great interfaces. Bravo.“ – Nate Bolt, founder at Ethnio

    Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones

    Essential web design books: Clout by Colleen Jones

    The final book in our series covers something that’s an unfortunate afterthought for many web designers: content. You might have a killer design for a client site, but without great web content, you simply won’t achieve the results you want.

    Colleen Jones’ book Clout teaches designers how to create high-quality, compelling content that attracts people and achieves results. Filled with practical examples and principles showing how to influence users with content, explaining how to create a content strategy, understand (and sell) the business value of great content, evaluate the performance of web content, and more. Compelling web content can boost the effectiveness of your web design work, and Colleen’s book is a great place to begin learning.

    “Clout is for any professional who wants to create content that people will actually care about…put this on your short list.” – Kristina Halvorson, coauthor of Content Strategy for the Web

    Boost your web design game with these books

    There you have it: 20 essential books for web designers and developers.

    Of course, this is by no means a complete list: technology is constantly changing and improving, and new web design books are being released every day. But these particular web design books have stood the test of time, and have been recommended by beginners and experts alike as a solid foundation for web designers everywhere.

    One last thing: don’t feel like you need to read all of them at once. Start by picking just one, apply your newfound knowledge to your design work, and watch your web design career blossom.

     

    Cover photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash. Background pattern by Ben Neale on Unsplash. Book images from Amazon, A List Apart, Smashing Magazine, and Paul Jarvis.

    The post 20 web design books recommended by the pros appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Looking for home business ideas? Working from home might be a dream you’ve had for quite some time. But, today, with the prevalence of the internet, more and more workers are finding success with their home-based businesses.

    Best of all, the startup costs for your new business can be incredibly low, often requiring nothing more than a laptop, a website and the desire for success.

    A strong online presence will drive the success of your business. GoDaddy Website Builder makes it easy to create a beautiful, effective website in under an hour. Bonus: You can start for free.

    If you’re not completely sure about what kind of home business you’d like to start, then use the following list for inspiration.

    25 home business ideas with low startup costs

    Here are the types of home business ideas we’ll cover in this post:

    1. Freelance writer.
    2. Virtual assistant.
    3. Social media manager.
    4. Blogger.
    5. Graphic designer.
    6. Web developer.
    7. Digital marketing.
    8. Online tutor/teacher.
    9. eCommerce store owner.
    10. Sell online courses.
    11. Self-publish Kindle books.
    12. Join a freelance site.
    13. Data entry.
    14. Etsy store owner.
    15. Online consignment store owner.
    16. Sell stock photos/video.
    17. Photographer.
    18. Pet sitter/dog walker.
    19. Fitness instructor.
    20. Music teacher.
    21. Event/wedding planner.
    22. Electronics repair shop.
    23. Personal chef/caterer.
    24. Sell baked goods.
    25. Run an Airbnb.

    Read on for a variety of home-based businesses that you can start. You’ll notice that some are more computer based, while others will force you away from your screen and have you dealing face-to-face with clients.

    Related: How to start a service business for less than $500

    1. Freelance writer

    If you have a passion for writing, then you can build up a great business writing for the web. Even with little experience, you can build up a stable business rather quickly.

    The first step is figuring out your niche.

     

    For example, will you write emails for SaaS companies? Blog posts for supplement companies? Or focus on copywriting for fitness professionals?

    With your niche narrowed down and your website built, it’s time to start pitching companies who need your services. If cold pitching seems a little daunting, you can always start by browsing jobs posted on freelancer sites like Upwork and Freelancer.

    2. Virtual assistant

    If you love planning and organization, then a virtual assistant business might be right up your alley. As a virtual assistant, there are a ton of different tasks that’ll fill up your workday.

    It might range from bookkeeping and responding to emails, scheduling meetings, posting to social media, or doing general data entry.

    A lot of online businesses and solopreneurs are turning to VAs to handle daily tasks they don’t have time to themselves.

    If this sounds like the right home business idea for you, you can explore gigs on sites like Upwork or Remote.co, or learn more here about this field.

    Related: How to become a virtual assistant on the side

    3. Social media manager

    Nearly all of us are active on social media these days. But, did you know you can build a business around managing and growing social media accounts for others? Brands will pay decent money for people to manage and grow their social media accounts. CNN even lists social media manager on its list of top 100 careers.

    If you’ve had success with your own social media accounts, you’re already a step ahead. If not, there are a ton of different educational resources you can use to build up your skillset.

     [Image ALT: Home Business Ideas Social Media Icons4. Blogger

    Creating a blog gives you a multitude of opportunities to create an excellent side business or even full-time income. There are tons of success stories floating around online about bloggers earning crazy profits online.

    It will take a lot of work to get to this level as a blogger, but with the right strategy, you have a solid chance of building a business.

    A blog in and of itself won’t make you any money. But there are many different ways you can monetize your site once it’s picking up traffic, such as:

    • Selling affiliate products
    • Paid advertising
    • Selling eCourses and eBooks

    Related: How to make money blogging

    5. Graphic designer

    If you’ve always had a love for design, or spend your off hours toying around with Photoshop and Illustrator, then you can build a business around these design skills.

    There are several different niches you can tap into with your graphic design skills. For example, you can find work in markets like:

    • Book cover design
    • Front-end web design
    • Logo design
    • UX design for mobile apps

    There are nearly endless array of niches open those with the right skillset.

    6. Web developer

    If you have a knack for web design or you’ve always wanted to learn how to build sites, then you can build a viable business.

    Your first step is learning how to code, and building up your skills and portfolio. Once you feel confident in your abilities, it’s time to start getting clients.

    You can start pitching clients on platforms like Upwork or start building relationships with businesses directly.

    To increase your chances of success, it’s always a good idea to find a niche for your services. For example, do you build websites for real estate agents and property managers? Are you focusing on a local market? Or, maybe you build sites for startup eCommerce companies?

    Related: Becoming a full-time freelancer — 3 tips for web developers

    7. Digital marketing

    Digital marketing is a pretty broad category and can cover virtually any online marketing task. But, as more and more companies jump online to stake their claim, you can build a business by helping these companies succeed.

    Once again, deciding upon a niche will help to increase your chances of success.

    Here’s a quick look at the types of skills you can build an online business around:

    • SEO and SEM
    • Content marketing
    • Email marketing
    • Building websites
    • Google My Business page creation

    You can either build up a roster of local clients or serve clients virtually across the globe.

    Home Business Ideas Wood Map of World with Pins in Cities8. Online tutor/teacher

    If you have a penchant for teaching, you can start a business teaching or tutoring online. If you live in an English-speaking country, you can make up to $25 an hour teaching English online.

    It’s more of a contractor role than a traditional business, but the work is consistent, and the need for competent teachers is high.

    You can explore virtual teaching roles on sites like VerbalPlanet and Learn4Good.

    If you prefer to take the tutoring approach, you can build a sustainable tutoring business teaching kids about your favorite topics. For this approach, you can find solid leads on your local Craigslist page or on sites like Chegg Tutors.

    Related: How to start a school from your home

    9. eCommerce store owner

    Ecommerce stores have been growing in popularity in recent years. If you prefer to sell physical products instead of digital services, then this might be perfect for you.

    With eCommerce, you can either create and sell products you’ve manufactured yourself, or source cheap goods from a foreign country and sell them at a markup.

    With the right idea, there’s no reason you can’t be the next big success.

    Related: How to sell stuff online — A comprehensive guide for eCommerce success

    10. Sell online courses

    Chances are, you have some existing knowledge you can package up and sell as an online course. The online education industry is projected to grow to $325 billion by 2025. There’s enough room to make a name for yourself in this space.

    You can package up your knowledge and sell it in a ton of different ways. You can integrate your course into an existing blog, sell courses from your social media profile pages, and even use one of many education platforms like Udemy or Skillshare.

    The online world is so big. There’s room for even the most niche of information. For example, the course Learn Scrivener Fast is solely dedicated to helping writers master the writing tool, Scrivener.

    Related: 5 things to ask before teaching online courses

    11. Self-publish Kindle books

    Home Business Ideas Reading an eBook on a KindleIf you’ve been dreaming about making a living as an author, this reality may be closer than you think. As a self-published author you can make up to a 70% royalty on your books.

    The prevalence of self-publishing has brought down the walls between you and your career as an author.

    The ease of publishing means there’s more competition, but by writing a book that satisfies reader expectations, you can still make a name for yourself.

    Spend some time figuring out the genre you’re going to write in. Then, write the best book possible, and build an email list of readers to whom you can sell books in the future.

    Related: Want to sell books online? Read this first.

    12. Join a freelance site

    There are many massive freelance platforms that you can take advantage of by selling your freelance skills.

    For example, you can join Fiverr, Guru, Freelancer and Upwork, to name a few.

    To build a sustainable business on the back of these platforms, you’ll need to create a niche for yourself. For example, do you do SEO for large content sites? Are you a graphic designer who does startup web design? Or, are you a writer who specializes in small business personal finance?

    These platforms are a quick path toward a reliable income. As your experience and reputation grow, you can expand beyond these platforms and diversify your client base.

    13. Data entry

    Data entry might not seem like the most exciting job.

    But the fact that you can work from home, or a beachside bungalow, might help to make it a more appealing home business idea.

    Plus, the skills required to get your business off the ground are minimal.

     

    All that’s needed is the willingness to learn how to input information into your clients’ desired software program.

    This kind of business might not be as lucrative as others on this list, but it won’t require as much attention either. So, feel free to listen to a podcast or put on Netflix while you work.

    14. Etsy store owner

    Do you love crafting and regularly create Pinterest-worthy crafts, art and other goods? If so, you might be sitting on an Etsy goldmine. Spend some time exploring Etsy to see if there’s a market for what you produce, then make sure you can keep costs low enough to turn a profit.

    If you can satisfy these two conditions, then you have a solid chance of running a successful Etsy business.

    If you can move enough of your products on Etsy, you always have the option of moving to a full-fledged eCommerce store as well.

    Editor’s note: With GoDaddy Online Store, you can list your products on online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy and you can manage your orders from one simple dashboard.

    Related: 10 hot crafts to make and sell on the side

    15. Online consignment store owner

    Thrift stores and consignment shops are more popular than ever. If you have a talent for putting outfits together and finding stylish clothing, then this could be the business for you.

    Consignment shops can work well as an online business too. So, you don’t have to worry about a building lease or employees.

    Plus, there are sites like Poshmark and Mercari that allow you to create a virtual closet to sell your products.

    Related: An insider’s guide for how to sell clothing online

    16. Sell stock photos/video

    If you have a passion for photography or videography, you can turn it into a business. All you have to do is upload content that’s in alignment with what’s selling.

    Some stock photo sites include iStockPhoto and Shutterstock. I you prefer to go the video route, you can upload your stock videos to sites like Pond5, VideoBlocks or VideoHive.

    To build a long-term business, it can be helpful to create a niche for yourself on these sites, either through you unique style or the topics you capture.

    Related: Selling photos online for beginners

    17. Photographer

    Home Business Ideas Woman Taking PictureWe’ll continue with the home business ideas for camera lovers. There are a number of different photography-based businesses you can build from home.

    For example, you could specialize in wedding photography, portraits, product photography for eCommerce, studio photography, drone photography, events, real estate photography and more.

    Of course, you’ll have to leave your house for most of these niches, but once the photos are taken, you’ll be spending hours in your home office, editing away.

    18. Pet sitter/dog walker

    If you have a deep love for animals, then it’s hard to imagine a better job. You spend your days watching and playing with pets while their owners are away. Or, walking a group of dogs down to your favorite park for the afternoon.

    Most pet owners care for their pets as if they were their children, so attention to detail and a high degree of trustworthiness are essential qualities to possess.

    Typically, dogs and cats will be the most common animals. But, you may have to take care of fish, birds, rabbits and other animals on occasion.

    You can scale this up even further by offering a service like mobile grooming services, in addition to pet walking and sitting.

    Related: How to set dog sitting rates

    19. Fitness instructor

    If fitness is your passion, you can create a business sharing this with others.

    There are multiple paths to success as a fitness instructor. You can make house calls, create group fitness events in your local park, work out of a gym or have clients come to you (if you have the space and equipment).

    Social media marketing tools like Instagram can be very effective in helping you build your brand, whether you’re operating your fitness business out of a gym or offering personal consulting.

    Related: How to estimate costs for starting a fitness business

    20. Music teacher

    As a child, you probably took your fair share of piano or guitar lessons. Now, if you have the musical skills, you can pass on this same love of music to the next generation.

    If you have the right setup at your home, you can teach lessons right from there.

     

    Otherwise, you can market yourself to preschools, kindergartens and other daycares — teaching lessons or offering musical performance training.

    21. Event/wedding planner

    The stress of event planning isn’t for everyone. But, some people thrive under this pressure. If you love planning and coordinating events, hiring caterers, booking talent, managing staff and more, then this could be the right home-based business idea for you.

    As an event planner, you can either focus on a specific style of event, like weddings or conventions, or serve your local area by tackling the variety of events that’ll come up.

    Event planning is largely a word-of-mouth space, but with a quality online presence, you can make success that much more likely.

    Related: 10 qualities of a great wedding organizer

    22. Electronics repair shop

    Do you love fixing your own devices and electronics? If so, you can build a business doing this for others too. Lucky for you, a lot of modern electronics are pretty fragile, and people need help with cracked screens, dead batteries and other problems.

    You can start a home business fixing a certain type of electronics such as new iPhones, or you can be more of a generalist and serve your entire local community.

    23. Personal chef/caterer

    As a personal chef, you can have a pretty broad customer base — anyone who loves to eat who has the budget for your services.

    To be a success, you not only need to be a master of the kitchen, but also be up-to-date on the latest food handling and health regulations.

    You might only have one client for whom you prepare meals or multiple families. Be ready to adapt to various kitchen setups or invest in your own portable kitchen utensils.

    If you want to scale up your cooking even further, you can start to cater events. To produce this volume of food, you may need to rent out a commercial cooking space and bring on additional staff. But, the fee you can make per gig can be much higher.

    24. Sell baked goods

     Home Business Ideas Decorating Cupcakes Frosting and Sprinkles
    Photo: Yonko Kilasi on Unsplash

    If you prefer baking, you can create a business selling baked goods to local businesses. Most coffeeshops and cafes don’t make their own baked goods in house. Instead, they outsource this to others with the proper skills.

    You can specialize in a certain type of pastry, like gluten-free or vegan baked goods, or instead opt to cast a wide net and bake every kind of pastry under the sun.

    Related: Learn what customers want to help your bakery prosper

    25. Run an Airbnb

    There’s a lot that goes into managing a successful property via Airbnb. But, if you’re serious about renting out your home, or even just a room, then you have the chance to build a decent side income.

    Depending on how desirable your property is, and the reality of your local rental market, you may be able to offset your entire rent or mortgage just by renting out your place on the weekends.

    Tips for home business success

    Starting a home business can help reduce overhead and shorten the pathway to business success. When looking through the list of ideas above, make sure you choose an idea that you’re passionate about, and not one based solely for potential profits.

    Starting and running a business takes a lot of work, and having passion beyond the bottom line will help to carry you through.

    Beyond passion keep the following rules in mind as you launch and grow your new business:

    Carve out a home office space

    You don’t have to convert a spare bedroom if you don’t have one to spare! Even a closet or partitioned-off section of a room will do for your home office. But do designate space for it.

    You need to spatially — and emotionally — stake your claim over part of your home for your business. Otherwise, you end up working on the couch, sitting on your baby’s squeaky toy.

    Set dedicated hours

    Make it clear that you want to focus on work when you’re in your office, and let your family know when you will be available. Time block your calendar to increase productivity — scheduling time for both work and personal tasks.

    Treat it like a real business — because it is

    You might work from home but you run an honest-to-goodness business — so treat it like one! Invest in things like a professional website and the right business structure to ensure you succeed.

    Build a network, online and off

    Working out of your home doesn’t mean you don’t need help or shouldn’t hire it because you don’t have the office space. Delegating work — like creating blog content, graphic design or accounting work — can be affordable if you hire freelancers.

    It also can make you feel less isolated if you connect with other entrepreneurs who also work from home online. You can find them in forums, online communities and social media.

    Take care of yourself

    Work-from-home business owners can get so wrapped up in their work that they neglect their physical and emotional well-being. Before you know it, you’ve been sitting at your keyboard for four hours and you forgot to eat lunch. It happens.

    Use the time-blocking calendar strategy to schedule wellness breaks.

     

    Build a few minutes into your schedule every hour to get up and stretch (set an alarm on your phone if that helps). Keep a water bottle handy to stay hydrated; it’s easy to over-caffeinate when you’re on a mission. Celebrate successes by treating yourself to a massage, a movie, or something else you really enjoy. You deserve it.

    Score a home run with your home business

    Hopefully, these 25 home business ideas have sparked enough excitement and intrigue to help you take the next steps to realize your business dreams.

    Spend some time evaluating your skills and thinking about how you want to get paid for your time. Treat this list as a springboard for further research and dive deeper into the ideas that intrigue you.

    And remember: You’ll need a strong online presence to make your home-based business a success. GoDaddy offers all the help and tools you need to start and grow your new venture. Good luck!

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by the following authors: Nellie Akalp and Chris Smith.

    The post 25 home business ideas with low startup costs appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Even five years ago, the web looked very different than it does today.

    Today more browsing happens on mobile than desktop. New web technologies like CSS3, programming libraries like Vue.js, and faster bandwidth have opened up interactive and engaging designs that were impossible just a few years ago. Visitors demand more user-friendly experiences, abandoning sites that aren’t up to par, making quality web design more important than ever before.

    To help make sense of how digital design continues to change, we’re diving deep into the most important web design trends from the past half-decade. These popular trends helped define the look of today’s web—and while this is by no means a complete list, there’s little doubt that designers will continue creating an innovative digital experience over the next five years.


    Web design trends: 2015 – 2019


    A recent history of web design

    Before we look at each trend, let’s take a look at some of the overarching themes that brought the web to where it is today.

    There hasn’t been a single monumental shift in the web design world to match the scale of, say, broadband internet or the creation of the smartphone. Instead, a nearly constant series of small improvements and trends have slowly brought the web to where it stands today.

    Looking at each trend in isolation—for example, minimal designs—it’s easy to miss the greater shifts in how we interact with technology and the web. In fact, nearly every web design trend from the past five years has been driven by just a handful of advancements.

    Mobile devices became more sophisticated

    Mobile usage exceeded desktop usage for the first time in 2016 as more visitors began turning to their phones first—and designers responded accordingly. Users’ phones and tablets continued to become more powerful, with high-resolution screens and desktop-class performance. And slowly, the traditional drawbacks of mobile design faded away, leaving behind new interactive and alluring experiences available anywhere in the world.

    Mobile web usage surpassed desktop usage in 2016 and continues to rise.
    Mobile web usage surpassed desktop usage in 2016 and continues to rise. Image via StatCounter

    Bandwidth increased at home and on mobile

    New mobile network technologies and increased availability of fast internet speeds at home opened up design possibilities that previously weren’t feasible on slower connections. Designs using full-screen video or interactive 3D games became popular, again giving designers the opportunity to create new experiences that delighted users.

    Design was democratized

    The proliferation of flexible layout tools and powerful front-end libraries meant designers finally broke through the barriers of the web’s origins in print design. Digital design has become a true medium in itself—web designers can now create engaging online experiences that only a few short years ago would have required considerable time and custom development.

    Easy-to-use design tools like Figma and InVision have made it easier than ever to create high-quality work. Second-rate designs were slowly deemed unacceptable, while online experiences became more interactive, more delightful, and more accessible, pushing the bar ever-higher as quality design becomes a competitive advantage.

    An example of a landing page designed in Figma.
    An example of a landing page designed in Figma. Image via Roman Kamushken on YouTube

    Sophisticated mobile devices, increased bandwidth, and design democratization drove nearly all the major web design trends over the past five years. Let’s take a look at some of those trends and how they came about, starting back in 2015.


    Web design trends 2015

    2015 was the year of engagement. Interactivity, dramatic colors and headings, and intriguing page layouts went mainstream, creating a more pragmatic and engaging online experience for website visitors.

    Bigger and more dramatic text

    In 2015, bigger truly was better.

    Monumental titles made a dramatic opening statement with distinct typefaces overlaid above high-definition background videos and images. The rest of the page content was hidden below the fold, and navigational elements like menus and search bars were made smaller or even eliminated altogether.

    Cafe Frida's floral design shows the 2015 design trend towards bold page headings.
    Cafe Frida’s floral design shows the 2015 design trend towards bold page headings. Image via One Page Love

    Not only did this trend make for some impactful designs, like the floral-themed example from Cafe Frida above, it was also easier for developers to code since the layout remained the same for both desktop and mobile. The simple layout also let designers include crystal-clear calls-to-action.

    Ignoring the box shape of a monitor screen

    At the opposite end of the spectrum of the bold-text-over-full-screen-background trend, developers also began thinking outside the bounds of the rectangular screen.

    Rectangular page elements turned into circles, hexagons, blobs, and other irregular and more interesting shapes. Birds-eye view backgrounds, like the wooden restaurant table seen in this example from The Rosa, gave the illusion of depth. Even simple elements like screenshots were skewed diagonally to bring a feeling of movement to an otherwise static design.

    Background elements on The Rosa's 2015 website add a sense of depth.
    Background elements on The Rosa’s 2015 website add a sense of depth. Image via 99designs

    Multimedia, advanced animation, and interactive elements

    As older web platforms like Flash began phasing out in favor of newer technologies like HTML5, CSS3, and front-end JavaScript frameworks, web designers and developers could create almost any interactive experience they could dream up.

    Suddenly the web was filled with deeper and more engaging experiences, like scroll-based navigation, interactive backgrounds, location-based tools, and more. Check out this great example from Ava Sessions—the super-interactive and experimental one-page site created to promote the sci-fi film Ex Machina draws your portrait based on a webcam image or uploaded photo.

    The interactive Ava Sessions website from 2015 draws your portrait in a unique style.
    The interactive Ava Sessions website from 2015 draws your portrait in a unique style. Image via One Page Love

    Tiles and cards

    The shift in screen sizes also led web designers to include more collage-like tiles and cards in their designs.

    Cards gave designers a practical and flexible way to re-flow content without changing the look of each card. Wider desktop screens could include multiple columns of cards, and their narrower mobile counterparts flowed each card into a single column. Front-end frameworks like Bootstrap made it easy for all developers to create the kind of aesthetic seen in this example from Behance.

    An example card layout from Behance's site in 2015.
    An example card layout from Behance’s site in 2015. Image via One Page Love

    A close cousin to the card layout, tiles tend to be more graphical. Each tile has a different design with some larger tiles and some smaller, like in this example from Spotify. Both cards and tiles are easy to code and intuitive for users to understand and navigate.

    Brightly colored tiles on Spotify's website in 2015.
    Brightly colored tiles on Spotify’s website in 2015. Image via Wayback Machine

    Flat Design 2.0 and more minimalism

    Stemming from a backlash against skeuomorphism that began with the iPhone, flat design and minimalism staged a dramatic comeback in 2015.

    Unlike the truly flat designs of years gone by, web designers in 2015 included a few extra flourishes in their designs. Highlights, gradients, vibrant and playful colors, strong typography, and drop shadows all worked together to create simple yet effective designs without pretending each page element was a real object.

    Minimal and sharp design from Studio South in 2015.
    Minimal and sharp design from Studio South in 2015. Image via Wayback Machine

    In addition to just looking sharp, minimal designs like the above example from Studio South were also quick to load (which in turn improved SEO) and easy for users on both desktop and mobile devices to read and understand at a glance.


    Web design trends 2016

    2016 saw the continuation of many trends from the previous year as web designers found more ways to take advantage of new technologies and the shift to mobile.

    Microinteractions and interactivity

    Single-action tasks like animations on swipes or clicks or transitions between pages — called microinteractions—became popular in 2016. Our eyes are naturally drawn to movement; even subtle animations, like the below heart animation from Christopher Ingraham, can add interest and make for a more intuitive user experience.

    Microinteraction animation for liking a post or page.
    Microinteraction animation for liking a post or page. Image via Christopher Ingraham

    Lots of websites started taking interactivity a lot further than just microinteractions. Check out the Cybeer Bar website from 2016, for example.

    The Cybeer Bar site let you pour a virtual beer in 2016.
    The Cybeer Bar site let you pour a virtual beer in 2016. Image via One Page Love

    Digital agency Leavingstone created an interactive single-page site that let visitors pour their own virtual beer. It’s fun, it’s quirky, and it showed off the new possibilities of interactive web design.

    Duotones and dynamic typography

    The trend toward minimal design continued as designers got creative with bold typography and bright images, pushing the boundaries of minimalism.

    Duotone images became a popular design aesthetic, adding a splash of color and piquing visitors’ interest without distracting from the content. Brands like the KIKK Festival took advantage of duotone images to create a compelling and consistent, yet simple, design.

    With the increased focus on visuals, designers also began playing with stylized typography. Pulling inspiration from the print world, headings became ever bigger and bolder, and services like Google Fonts and Adobe Typekit (now Adobe Fonts) made it incredibly easy for people to customize the fonts on their site. Designers could now rely on a third party to host the fonts and serve them to the end user rather than manage the font files directly and hope that users could see them properly.

    The Outpost's 2016 site showed off the power of typography in web design.
    The Outpost’s 2016 site showed off the power of typography in web design. Image via Wayback Machine

    Some sites, like the above example from The Outpost, even abandoned imagery almost entirely in favor of stellar typography.

    Experiments in scrolling

    Narrow screens and rapid “flick” scrolling on mobile devices also made longer web pages more popular in 2016. The trend went against the common notion among web designers that users hated scrolling. In fact, that year they learned users were happy to scroll through (and across) longer pages—as long as designers provided animated backgrounds and interactive scroll events.

    QUO+ played with vertical and horizontal scrolling on their 2016 site.
    QUO+ played with vertical and horizontal scrolling on their 2016 site. Image via 99designs

    Some websites even toyed with innovative mixed scrolling, like the example above from QUO+ that switched between horizontal and vertical scrolling as users explored the site.

    Dynamic storytelling

    Long-scrolling pages and high-definition images opened up new opportunities for online storytelling. Brands began creating immersive stories, combining video, images, and text into dynamic layouts and using scroll-based animations to build an immersive brand experience like no other. A great example of this is Frames Collection’s Tunnel Rats.

    Dynamic and interactive storytelling was popular in 2016.
    Dynamic and interactive storytelling was popular in 2016. Image via Frames

    Even basic brochure sites like Tom Cole Architecture began including elements of storytelling. Tom Cole opted to capture their own high-resolution photos and videos instead of using stock imagery, making for a unique and engaging design.

    The website for Tom Cole Architecture told a simple story through dynamic design.
    The website for Tom Cole Architecture told a simple story through dynamic design. Image via Wayback Machine

    Tom Cole’s website also used animated logos and text to help tell their story—it’s a great example of what can be achieved with just a little attention to detail.


    Web design trends 2017

    2017 marked a swing away from flat designs and back towards reality without resorting to skeuomorphism. Web designers pushed the boundaries of responsive design even further, experimenting with new menu placements and split-screen designs that worked equally well across desktop and mobile devices. Faster network speeds both at home and on mobile led to more dynamic experiences, like cinematic backgrounds and interactive games.

    Innovative and hidden navigation menus

    Small mobile screens made hiding menus off-screen a necessity, and eventually the trend of hiding menus took off on desktop as well. Designers disguised their navigational menus in a number of creative locations:

    • Framing the page with navigational menus on the top, left, and right—or even all three
    • Covering the entire page with a full-screen popup menu
    • Simplifying the design by using hamburger menus on both desktop and mobile
    • Ditching the menu almost entirely and instead allowing users to explore on their own

    Some designs, like this one from Studio Rotate, even integrated all of their content directly into the navigation itself:

    Studio Rotate had a unique rotational menu design in 2017.
    Studio Rotate had a unique rotational menu design in 2017. Image via UXpin

    The unique rotational design certainly showed off both the studio’s design skills and brand personality.

    Tactile design

    After the push from prior years towards cleaner lines and flat designs, designers in 2017 began adding a more tactile, real-world feel back into their designs without resorting to the skeuomorphic designs of years past.

    Dropbox, for example, did a fantastic job of blending tactile objects into their digital designs—the hands add a personal touch, while the shadows make the laptop and other objects jump off the page.

    Dropbox blended digital and tactile design in their 2017 web design.
    Dropbox blended digital and tactile design in their 2017 web design. Image via Wayback Machine

    Online vitamin company Ritual took a similar approach, using floating text alongside floating pills to create an approachable and whimsical design.

    Vitamin company Ritual used pill bottles as a central design element.
    Vitamin company Ritual used pill bottles as a central design element. Image via Wayback Machine

    More and more popular sites like Dropbox and Ritual started including this trend in their 2017 designs. Real-world items seamlessly blended into digital designs—objects maintained their light and shadows, bringing a sense of depth to what would otherwise be a flat design and helping visitors connect emotionally to the design.

    Split screens

    Dividing web pages vertically into two distinct sections became a popular design pattern in 2017.

    Designers frequently chose two contrasting colors to create an eye-catching look that felt in some ways like a return to the hierarchy and mindset of print design, invoking feelings of reading a book or glossy magazine.

    Warby Parker split their 2017 website into two halves.
    Warby Parker split their 2017 website into two halves. Image via Wayback Machine

    Split designs were quite practical—the two sides could be stacked vertically on smaller devices without losing the feel of the design. The two sides of the page also allowed for twice as many calls-to-action—Warby Parker, in the example above, let users choose to take a quiz on the left side or shop for new glasses on the right.

    Cinematic experiences

    While full-screen video backgrounds started becoming popular a few years prior, bandwidth improvements and faster loading times made video a dominant visual trend in 2017.

    Gourmet House, for instance, added enticing videos of their food products in the background, overlaying the video with headings and navigation—you can see examples of the videos here.

    Gourmet House used full-screen videos on their site to entice visitors.
    Gourmet House used full-screen videos on their site to entice visitors. Image via Awwwards

    Humboldt County took the experience even further, letting users interact in real-time with their Alice in Wonderland-style video to plan their dream vacation.

    Humboldt County’s video-based site delighted users in 2017.
    Humboldt County’s video-based site delighted users in 2017. Image via Visit Humboldt

    The complete design creates a full-screen cinematic experience that’s easy for users to navigate while continuing to watch the video.

    Gamification

    The same improvements in download speed that made video backgrounds possible also brought new possibilities for interactive sites. 2017 was the year many browsers also began including native support for 3D elements via WebGL—designers could suddenly create engaging game-like experiences for visitors.

    The Swiss Army Man lets users play with a 3-dimensional mannequin using their mouse.
    The Swiss Army Man lets users play with a 3-dimensional mannequin using their mouse. Image via Swiss Army Man

    One delightful (and hilarious) example of this trend was the WebGL-powered website for the movie Swiss Army Man. Visitors could interact with a 3D version of the lead character, typing commands and throwing him around the website. Of course, the site also linked to the movie trailer and sales pages for the movie and the soundtrack.


    Web design trends 2018

    The trend away from flat design continued in 2018. Designers built depth using layered shapes and drop shadows, adding custom illustrations for more memorable branding. 2018 also brought design systems to the fore as UX and web designers worked closely together to create a cohesive brand experience. Let’s look at a few of the biggest web design trends from 2018.

    Component-based design systems

    Just like a content team might have a style guide for writing, 2018 saw more and more companies adopting design systems to help keep their designs consistent and manageable across their team.

    A design system includes not just documentation and standards for designs but also a shared UI toolkit with patterns that can be re-used across multiple areas of the design or even multiple products. It’s a living document, constantly being updated by the designers as they discover new or better solutions and helping them ensure consistency across all their work.

     

    Complex on desktop, simple on mobile

    In the past, designers working on mobile sites often duplicated the desktop version of the site, scaling down as needed. But cramming a complex experience into a tiny screen or scaling up a limited mobile experience for desktop users isn’t exactly a great option.

    In 2018, mobile and desktop versions of sites split apart as companies began designing device-specific versions of their sites. On mobile devices, we saw background videos replaced with still images, hover effects replaced with gesture controls, and complex menus replaced with the (now) ubiquitous hamburger menu.

    Check out this example from Intercom—core elements like the heading and signup form remain the same on both desktop and mobile, but the navigation and company logo are simplified in the mobile version, and the pop-up chat interface is hidden.

    Intercom’s desktop design includes extra elements not seen in the mobile design.
    Intercom’s desktop design includes extra elements not seen in the mobile design below. Image via Intercom

     

    Intercom’s mobile design leaves out some elements from the desktop design.
    Intercom’s mobile design leaves out some elements from the desktop design. Image via Intercom

    The changes might be small, but the effect is dramatic, making the site easier to navigate and use on mobile.

    Shadows, shapes, and layers

    As browsers began supporting many new layout elements like CSS Grid, we began seeing sites with more unique shapes, layers, and drop shadows.

    Once again, this was a reaction to the flat design trend of years past—floating geometric shapes grabbed visitors’ attention and created a sense of movement, while drop shadows helped emphasize specific design elements and provided a sense of depth.

    Branding agency Anakin combined all these elements on their website, creating a bright and engaging experience for potential clients.

    Branding agency Anakin creates depth on their site using unique shapes and layers.
    Branding agency Anakin creates depth on their site using unique shapes and layers. Image via UXpin

    The clean lines and bold colors create a simple design style that makes a bold statement.

    Retro throwbacks

    Retro design has permeated a lot of our culture: clothes, music, architecture. It makes sense, then, that web design would also fall into this—even the New York Times agreed that websites are taking a step back to invoke a kind of “hipster nostalgia.”

    While sites like Arcade Fire’s album Everything Now take nostalgia to a new level, requiring visitors to click through a series of Windows 98-style pop-ups, many took a more subtle approach, choosing only the best elements to add to their designs. Design agency Caava, for example, combined a vintage-inspired palette with the bold shapes and colors of more modern designs, adding a texture layer to complete the look.

    Design agency Caava brought retro design back to the present in 2018.
    Design agency Caava brought retro design back to the present in 2018. Image via Wayback Machine

    It’s a striking design that certainly sets Caava apart from other sites.

    Animation and illustration

    Around 2018, every website looked nearly identical with a bold hero photo overlaid by a heading and CTA. Luckily designers agreed, and brands began to abandon the hero images in favor of stylized animations and custom illustrations.

    FlowMapp, for example, used custom illustrations to highlight the benefits of their online planning tool.

    FlowMapp's custom illustrations bring a friendly feel to the site.
    FlowMapp’s custom illustrations bring a friendly feel to the site. Image via FlowMapp

    Illustrations gave brands a way to show their playful side—colorful and friendly, they added a sense of whimsy and delight to traditional designs. They could easily be customized to match the brand’s design aesthetic, helping them stand out among competing sites and making brands feel more approachable.


    Web design trends 2019

    2019 has so far seen designers continue the trends of years past while adding a few new twists. Serif typefaces came back in a big way, and designers continue nailing the small details and microinteractions that make each site engaging and delightful.

    The serif comeback

    Serif typefaces have traditionally been reserved for print design, while most web designers relied on their serif-less cousins to build their digital designs. While sans serif continues to be the preferred choice for body copy, brands like Medium have started making more traditional serif fonts a central part of their brand.

    Medium designed a custom serif typeface to use on their site.
    Medium designed a custom serif typeface to use on their site. Image via Medium

    A natural continuation of the trends towards retro and minimal design from prior years, the bold, rounded serif titles help give brands a memorable and distinctive look.

    Natural, more organic and flowy shapes

    Designers continue pushing the envelope on how they lay out each site. New styling capabilities and layout tools are turning the geometric shapes and stark edges from the previous year into more natural, curved lines and shapes.

    Once again, this trend stemmed from the push to add depth. Web agency Mawla’s site is a wonderful example of the trend—there are nearly no straight lines whatsoever in the design.

    Design agency Mawla's site is curvy, colorful, and memorable.
    Design agency Mawla’s site is curvy, colorful, and memorable. Image via Mawla

    The drop shadows and layering we’ve seen in past years continue in a big way as more organic shapes and wavy lines lend the feeling of movement and comfort.

    More micro-interactions

    Yes, we’ve already called them out as a trend from 2015, but micro-interactions feature heavily in sites in 2019.

    Designers start to feature more interactive elements designed to delight users. Page transitions, fading and sliding images, and subtly animated graphics all serve to make user experiences more rewarding and create an emotional connection with visitors.

    Online fashion retailer Madewell keeps their interactions simple, displaying short blurbs about each product when a user mouses over the product image. It might only be a small touch, but it creates a connection with shoppers and encourages them to click and find out more about the product.

    Fashion retailer Madewell displays a short caption when a user hovers over a product image.
    Fashion retailer Madewell displays a short caption when a user hovers over a product image. Image via Madewell

    Going beyond merely providing feedback on user actions, microinteractions prove to visitors that brands care and create a more human experience.

    Diversity

    2019 also brought a shift towards inclusive web design. The prior shift away from generic stock photos continues with brands including diverse images from all cultures, ages, and gender identities in their content.

    Brands like MeUndies replaced photos of professional models with everyday people, making social acceptance a central part of their brand. Designers even created tools like Humaaans to let other designers mix and match illustrations for use in their own designs.

     

    Humaaans lets designers quickly create illustrations of people of all kinds.
    Humaaans lets designers quickly create illustrations of people of all kinds. Image via Humaaans

    Beyond just visuals, though, 2019 also brought improvements in web accessibility standards, opening up more of the web to everyone. Designers still have a long way to go, but the shift toward more diversity and acceptance is a welcome trend online.


    Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond

    As much as we like to predict which direction the web design industry will head next, there’s simply no way of knowing for sure. Designs from five years ago are already beginning to feel dated, and most modern websites are built using technology that simply didn’t exist until recently.

    One thing we know for sure, though—web design is moving in a new and positive direction. Greater diversity, dynamic design tools and frameworks, and potent technology make change inevitable. As much as we’d like to predict where the next five years will take us, it’s truly up to you—the humble designer—to continue pushing the boundaries of the web.

    Where will you take us next?

     

    Header photo by Stephan Henning on Unsplash

    The post A recent history of web design trends: 2015 – 2019 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    It’s a well-known fact that more and more companies are starting to offer work-from-home job opportunities to attract highly talented individuals who value lifestyle-related perks in the workplace.

    It probably won’t surprise you to learn that in 2018, many of the highest paying jobs around were in excess of $100,000 but not more than $200,000. Not one year later, FlexJobs reports the highest paying home-based jobs come with a salary up to $350,000.

    While that’s an impressive rise in earning potential, it’s still nowhere near what the top individuals are raking in each year doing work that can, ostensibly, be accomplished from a home office.

    This year Bankrate listed 20 of the most popular work-from-home jobs that includes professions like :

    • Web developer
    • Teacher
    • Writer
    • Designer
    • Accountant
    • Project manager

    But employment that may require an expensive qualification, or years of experience, isn’t the only way to go.

    Related: 25 home business ideas with low startup costs 

    Work from home and become a top earner

    There are plenty of jobs available to self-made people who forge their own path regardless of whether it is a recognized profession or not. It’s these people who are blowing out the earnings curve by turning their jobs into something more than a business.

    To make millions, you have to turn what you do into a phenomenon.

     

    These talented people make it look easy (you can see the full list of top earners over at Top 10 Highest Earners Doing Work From Home Jobs).

    Image ALT: Work From Home Jobs Author James Patterson Headshot

    1. $86 million: James Patterson (author)

    Forbes reported that Patterson earned $86 million in 2018 after selling 4.8 million books in the U.S. alone. They go on to say that his earnings in 2019 will likely surge again thanks to the release of The President is Missing.

    Related: 12 things every author website needs 

    2. $58.4 million: Jeff Koons (artist)

    Huffpost reported that a single piece of Koons’ artwork, entitled “Balloon Dog,” sold for $58.4 million back in 2013. That’s still a hefty paycheck in today’s money, I’m sure you’ll agree.

    Related: How to sell art online

    3. $22 million: Ryan ToysReview (YouTuber)

    Last year, Forbes reported that the highest earning YouTuber in the world was a 7-year-old named Ryan who makes his money reviewing toys his mom buys him via his YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview. With more than 19 million subscribers, it’s no wonder Ryan’s channel earned him a cool $22 million.

    Related: Making money on YouTube

    4. $15-20 million (approximately): Paul McCartney (songwriter)

    Yes, Paul McCartney is, perhaps, one of the most famous musicians in the world, and he has certainly earned more than $15 million over the years. But these millions came from just one song that is only played for a short time each year: “Wonderful Christmastime.”

    Since the song’s release in 1979, he has made between $400,000 and $600,0000 per year, bringing in upwards of $23 million as of 2018. And, this is on top of all other royalties he makes from the Beatles, Wings and other solo projects.

    Related: Careers in music — 4 tips on making it 

    5. $1 million per post: Kylie Jenner (Instagram influencer)

    In 2018, CNBC reported that Kylie Jenner commands up to $1 million per sponsored Instagram post. With over 137 million followers, it’s not surprising why. It’s not a fluke either. Kylie is closely followed by Selena Gomez, who can earn up to $800,000.

    In fact, all of the top 10 Instagram influencers make at least $500,000 per sponsored post, according to the CNBC article.

    Related: 5 steps to build a personal brand with a personal website

    Get inspired to create your own work-from-home path

    Of course, it’s difficult to reach the pinnacle of the highest earners in virtually any sphere. But everyone on this list had to start somewhere.

    All you need is a great idea, passion and determination and anything becomes possible.

    Editor’s note: Got an idea? Put a name to it. Search for the perfect domain name.

    Hopefully, this list has shown you that while there are growing opportunities for home-based employment, there is virtually no ceiling when it comes to making money building your own career working from home.

    Best of luck, and I hope to be covering your meteoric rise to fame and fortune in next years’ top earners list.

    The post These savvy people earn millions doing work-from-home jobs appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    When you run a small business, keeping your personal calls separate from your business calls is paramount. You can’t afford to miss out on any potential opportunities due to the constraints of a single phone number. While many people try to do this by using a dedicated device for each type of call, having two cell phones actually makes customer communication more difficult.

    With a second phone, you’ll always need to make sure that both devices are within reach and in good working order, not to mention the additional costs. These concerns will have a direct and negative impact on your work/life balance.

    With a second phone line app like SmartLine, it’s easy to keep your business and personal communication separate without the added costs and confusion of using an additional mobile device.

    A second phone makes communication less efficient

    Small business owners need to manage a myriad of different tasks to keep their company running smoothly. That means that efficiency is a key part of everything you do. Having two phones might sound like a great solution to help you stay organized, but you’re actually setting yourself up for more confusion.

    With a second phone, you need to keep track of where both devices are at all times. Imagine you’re working out of your home office; that doesn’t sound like too much of a hassle, does it? What if you need to run an errand or meet with a client, maybe you’re headed out to dinner with the family — not only will you need to remember to take both phones with you, you’ll need to carry them somewhere and make sure both are fully charged.

    A second phone means you need to keep track of multiple chargers and battery packs as well. You won’t be able to charge both at the same time with just a single charger. All of these factors make it more difficult for you to keep your business and personal calls separate.

    Both phones can also ring at the same time or while you’re involved in a call on the other device. This means you have to make the decision to either end your current conversation early or miss out on another call. At every step of the way, you’re forced to make decisions that can have a direct impact on how easy it is for you to communicate with customers and prospects.

    Having two cell phones is expensive

    Another consideration with using a second phone for your business communication is the price. When you have two cell phones, there are additional charges related to the setup and maintenance of that phone. As a small business owner, keeping your spending to a minimum is paramount.

    Depending on your provider, adding a second phone to your contract can increase the cost by $50 to $100 a month. That doesn’t even include the cost of purchasing a new device, insuring it, or making repairs if necessary.

    Those costs increase even more if you’re considering using a toll-free or 800 number. Don’t let the costs of an additional phone impact your bottom line when a second phone number app can significantly cut down on these costs.

    Work/life balance is easier with one phone

    Having two phones makes it harder to keep your professional and private lives separate. You’ll always have to think about where your business phone is, whether or not it’s charged, or if it’s okay to turn it off/make it go to voicemail during your off hours.

    With SmartLine, you can eliminate these issues entirely. All of your business contacts are listed in the app alongside their conversation history, and you’ll immediately know whether your business or personal number is being called when your phone rings with the designated notifications.

    Setting up your business voicemail is easy as well. Not only can you record a greeting, but you’ll also receive automatic text transcripts of any message that’s left. And, most importantly, you can set specific business hours when your phone will ring or go directly to voicemail. This makes it easy to disconnect from your hectic day-to-day responsibilities and foster a better work/life balance.

    How SmartLine can help

    When you use a second phone number app like SmartLine, business calls are automatically separated from your personal ones. You’ll have all the benefits of a designated business phone number without any of the hassles associated with using two cell phones. And it’s a fraction of the cost.

    All of your business interactions are stored in the easy-to-use app. Texting, call history, and voicemails are all stored in your personal phone for easy access. It’s a much more efficient solution and one that makes it easy to maintain a healthy but productive work/life balance.

    Sign up for a free trial today!

    The post Here’s why you don’t need a second phone for your business appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    With more people and businesses joining Instagram, and over 1 billion Instagram users worldwide, there’s a ton of potential for businesses to use Instagram Stories for digital storytelling. Many businesses today use their Instagram feeds and Stories to connect with new customers. And, many users are on Instagram to connect with the businesses and brands that they love. Use Instagram Stories to get connected with users and turn them into customers! 

    Fact: 80% of users follow at least one business on Instagram. 

    Fact: 1 in 5 Instagram Stories shared by a brand receives a direct reply on the platform from a user, according to TechCrunch.

    Jump in! Start sharing what’s happening at your business and all the elements that make your business unique. Use Instagram Stories for digital storytelling, and you’ll be sure to engage your loyal fans and potential new customers. 

    What are Instagram Stories?

    “With more than 250 million daily users, stories made Instagram a place for people to share all of their moments – the highlights and everything in between.” —Instagram company blog

    On Instagram Stories, you can share photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. (Note: This is different from adding a photo or video to your Instagram feed.) Since Instagram Stories are temporary, they give you a fantastic digital storytelling opportunity. In the Instagram app, you can hit the camera icon in the top left corner to start sharing content to your Story. 

    With Instagram Stories, you can share less-polished, behind-the-scenes, real-life content that tells a compelling story of everything that’s happening at your business. 

    Since it’s real, in-the-moment content, you can be you and be genuine. This is extremely attractive to the Instagram community, which is a community that craves authenticity. 

    Use Instagram Stories for digital storytelling

    1. Post about new products, events and specials

    Instagram Stories provide a great channel to share information about your new in-store items, new dishes on the menu, upcoming events and special promotions. Your followers are always interested in what’s new and happening at your business — that’s why they’re following you! So, post content to get your followers excited about stopping by for all of your new and exciting offerings.

    When creating your posts for your Stories, first, think about the flow of how you want to send out your photos and videos. Many users take photos and videos ahead of time, then upload them to Instagram Stories in the right order. That way, you’ve been thoughtful ahead of time, you can take your time editing and you can get your message across in a fun, engaging way.  

    Here are some examples of businesses using Instagram Stories for digital storytelling — sharing great content about their new products and services and upcoming events. 

    Top row, left: a new in-store item, top row, middle : an interesting menu offering, top row, right: a seasonal cocktail. Bottom row, left: an in-house concert, bottom row, middle: a happy hour event, bottom row, right: a spring events calendar announcement. 

    The content is temporary, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. However, it does have to be engaging, and it should be consistently on brand for your business. 

    Post to Instagram Stories like a pro — use our best practices to elevate your Instagram Stories for digital storytelling:

    Best practices for Instagram Stories 

    After you’ve taken a photo or video you’d like to add to your Story, go into the Instagram app and tap the camera icon in the top left. Pick your photo or video, then, you can pinch to zoom in/out or make the image smaller or larger. Then, you can swipe across the photo to add a filter. Next, you can tap the icons on the top row to really take your Story to the next level.

    • Text: Tap the “Aa” icon to type on top of the photo or video you’re adding. Adding text and emojis helps to give the content more context, and with a little humor, you can type something that makes the photo or video more engaging.
    • Location: Show some local love! You can pick the location tag, and add your business’s location with a geotag like “Hotel San Jose,” a city tag like, “Austin” or a more specific neighborhood location like “South Congress.”
    • @Mention — Tag your friends, customers, partners and neighbors! When you mention someone in your Story, that person will get a notification of that mention. So, you can see how tagging friends/users and other brands/companies will ensure that your Story gets in front of those users. Tagging others also encourages others to add your post to their Stories. 
    • #Hashtag — Reach new eyes! You can add a hashtag, (or a few) to help your content get some extra reach (i.e. #atxeats.) Hashtags are searchable in Instagram Stories in the same way they are when you add hashtags to your Instagram posts. So, any user searching for that hashtag might come across your Story.
    • FYI: Once you add in a location, mention and/or hashtag sticker, you can tap them for more color and style options. 
    • Other stickers — you can include time, temperature, music, emojis, GIFs and more. All of these additions can make the photos in your stories more fun and engaging. 

    Play around with styles, filters, fonts and stickers on Instagram Stories to find the ones you love using the most. Then, stay on brand! 

    Make sure you’re being consistent with fonts and colors every time you post content to your Instagram Story. You want your brand to be recognizable to your followers when they’re checking out Stories from their friends and the brands they love.

    1. Share in-the-moment content

    Instagram Stories are all about what’s happening right now. That’s why they’re perfect for sharing content that is centered around an event or something happening live at your business. You can shoot a behind-the-scenes video with your smartphone, take photos of your in-house team for the day or share a sneak peek at your seasonal cocktail menu for the night. Think of ways you can use Instagram Stories to get people in your doors! 

    Local Austin favorite, Easy Tiger, created an Instagram Story during an event they held called Rosé Day: 

    They’re using Instagram Stories in this scenario to entice locals to join them at their event and keep fans up-to-date on how the event is going.

    You can see how they used a consistent font and text color, and integrated a shot of their space, product and event partner. They also tagged their partner “@dandypinktx” to increase engagement on their Story. 

    Here’s an example of behind-the-scenes (or BTS) photo and video content from D.C. restaurant Compass Rose, making their signature dish, Khachapuri: 

    This kind of digital storytelling on Instagram Stories pulls your audience in. Now, your customers are a part of how their favorite dish is created. This makes customers feel included and special. Plus, having an insider view of how your team operates and what it’s like to be at your business only serves to build brand loyalty. 

    1. Incorporate user-generated content 

    Take your followers along for the ride when you use Instagram Stories for digital storytelling — repost from customer Stories to your own Story.  

    Bonus: You might just get more Instagram followers with this tactic. The more your customers share content about your business that you engage with, the more exposure your brand and business will get as a result. 

    Fact: 70 percent of Instagram users watch Instagram Stories on a daily basis.

    Keep an eye on your fans who are posting about your business in their Instagram Stories, then share that content on your own Story! 

    Here’s how you do it:

      • If a user mentions your business in her Story — a notification will appear in your DMs. (The DM icon looks like a paper airplane and is on the bottom row of your feed.)
      • Open your notification, then, click the “Add this to Your Story” prompt that appears under the content. 
      • In the Story creation screen, resize the content and add stickers, text and more to make it your own.
      • Using the mention sticker, tag the original user in the photo or video to give credit.
      • Hit, “Share to Your Story” to share that user-generated content with your followers. 

    In these examples, Washington, D.C. cocktail bar Dos Mamis is sharing content from user, @nikkirap. This user shared the original post, Dos Mamis added it to their Story, and then tagged that user back with a fun emoji to say thank you. 

    Call Your Mother, a D.C. bagel shop, shared a post from @eliserichman to their Story. She tagged @callyourmotherdeli in her post, so they added it to their Story, incorporating user-generated content into their digital storytelling. 

    Remember, users are more likely to trust recommendations from strangers than from their friends and family. 

    Fact: 86% of millennials say that user-generated content is an indicator that a brand or service is good quality. 

    Every time you share user-generated content into your Instagram Story, it’s like sharing a mini testimonial from people who love your business. And, it’s a great way to get more Instagram followers!

    If you’re not getting a ton of tags from users when they visit your business, first, do a gut check on your overall Instagram presence. Make sure you have a compelling Instagram feed. If you have engaging, highly-visual posts in your feed, users will be more likely to post about you — tagging and geotagging you in their posts for all their friends to see. 

    Related: 4 ways to get more Instagram followers

    We’ll leave you with one final tip. Remember to have fun with your Instagram Stories! This is an area of social media where your content can be a little less polished and a little more fun. So, let loose. Your followers want to see content that’s authentic, so let them in on what’s happening inside your doors. Use Instagram Stories for digital storytelling at your business. 

    Engage your customers like never before with GoDaddy Social. We help businesses elevate their online presence on the platforms that matter most. Get started with us here.

    The post 3 ways to use Instagram Stories for digital storytelling appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    A total of 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, making a dominant presence on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs) essential for driving traffic to your website. Unfortunately, it’s not a problem you can throw money at with regards to buying ads, as nearly 80% of users ignore paid ads in search results. Your strategy isn’t really complete without an organic traffic generation component, which requires that you use the best SEO tools you can get your hands on.

    Too often when people hear about search engine optimization (SEO), they have a knee-jerk reaction thinking that it’s too technical or complicated to implement. Though the nitty-gritty of finding success can get technical, the best SEO tools can help you fill in the blanks and provide support throughout the process.

    By taking a hard look at your needs, and digging into the details on the best paid and free SEO tools on the market, you’ll be able to decide exactly what’s best for your business.

    Depending on your budget, this can involve anything from a DIY free SEO tool approach to letting GoDaddy’s expert team make things happen for you.

    Related: Beginner’s SEO guide for small business websites

    5 best free SEO tools

    Keyword research is the foundation of every SEO strategy. This research allows you to identify common and industry-specific terms and phrases that are driving traffic to SERPs.

    These five free SEO tools can help:

    1. Keyword Tool.
    2. Ubersuggest.
    3. Answer The Public.
    4. Google Search Console.
    5. Yoast SEO.

    Many of the best free SEO tools have some relation to keyword research, helping you identify the particular phrases and words people are searching for on Google, Bing and other major search engines.

    1. Keyword Tool

    Keyword Tool HomepageKeyword Tool, a free SEO tool that focuses on keyword research, prompts you to enter a short keyword phrase and designate a specific language from which to display results. It also allows you to choose what platform you want to research keywords for: including Google, Amazon, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

    The suggested long-tail keywords supplied by Keyword Tool are generated using Google Autocomplete, providing up to 750 suggestions per seed keyword, arranged alphabetically.

    The company also offers a paid version of the tool, which provides additional information about terms, such as search volume, competition and cost per click.

    2. Ubersuggest

    Ubersuggest HomepagePreviously an independent tool, Ubersuggest has been acquired by Neil Patel, who beefed up its features. The original version of Ubersuggest.io was similar to Keyword Tool but was slower and had fewer suggestions — making it a notably inferior product.

    Today, however, Ubersuggest’s keyword research feature includes three sections: keyword overview, keyword ideas and SERP analysis.

    The keyword overview shows you the search volume of a keyword over the past 12 months. This allows you to see if the keyword is gaining or decreasing in popularity over time.

    The keyword ideas tool is tied back to Ubersuggest’s original functionality — providing keyword options based on Google Autocomplete and Google Ads data. This feature also allows you to see the breakdown of cost per click, SEO difficulty, and the paid difficulty for the keyword. Additionally, it provides the estimated visit count based on keyword ranking, as well as keyword filtering options.

    SERP analysis gives you an overview of the top 100 sites that rank for the given search term. It’s a particularly handy feature if you have known competitors, as it will allow you to get a better idea of what keywords are working for those websites.

    Related: 10 ways to improve Google keyword ranking

    3. Answer The Public

    Many people go into the keyword research process seeking keyword ideas from Google Keyword Planner, but this is a mistake for organic search efforts. Google Keyword Planner shares Google Ads data, which is related to but doesn’t correlate exactly to organic keyword rankings.

    Answer the Public is a better place to start the process because it curates common questions asked by people on forums, blogs and social media platforms.

    The primary advantage of this particular tool is that more than half of all search queries are for long-tail keywords (such as questions made up of multiple words), which narrow in on specific topics.

    One of Answer the Public’s best tools is the “vs. keywords.” It’s helpful because it allows you to compare how many people actually do searches containing two similar or completely different keyword phrases.

    4. Google Search Console

    Google Search Console HomepageSince Google is the largest search engine in the world, it makes sense for them to provide some free SEO tools to help you measure your success.

    Google Search Console, previously known as Webmaster Tools, is a free web service offered by Google. It allows webmasters to check indexing status and optimize website visibility.

    The service provides a plethora of tools, including one that confirms that Google can find and crawl your site, which is how it knows if the content is relevant to a user’s Google search.

    It also helps you fix indexing problems, request re-indexing of new or updated content, show you which sites link to your website, as well as troubleshoot issues for AMP (accelerated mobile page), mobile usability and other search features.

    Additionally, it allows you to look at Google Search traffic data for your site to determine, among other things:

    • How often your site appears in a relevant Google Search
    • How target search queries are actually ranking
    • How often searchers click through for those queries

    There’s no good reason not to use Google Search Console.

    On top of everything else, it alerts you when Google encounters indexing, spam or other issues on your site.

    Related: How to integrate Google Search Console with your WordPress site

    5. Yoast SEO

    Yoast SEO HomepageWhat best SEO tool list would be complete without Yoast?

    Yoast is a must-have plugin for WordPress users.

     

    It gives users suggestions regarding how to optimize pages or posts based on a target keyword.

    Yoast SEO also performs various webpage analysis tests to remind you of important SEO tasks you might have overlooked.

    Additionally, it generates XML sitemaps so that search engines can easily consume information about the URLs on your site.

    Related: Critical steps for setting up the Yoast SEO plugin

    Paid SEO tools

    If you’re serious about getting SEO right for your website, you’ll need to consider paid SEO tools. Here are some of the best:

    1. Ahrefs.
    2. Moz.
    3. SEMRush.
    4. Screaming Frog.

    Free SEO tools are great while you’re getting your feet wet and getting a better grasp of exactly how important SEO is for driving traffic to your website. However, once you realize that top-flight SEO can make or break your business, it’s time to upgrade to one of the best paid SEO tools on the market.

    Note: All prices were current at the time of writing. Please check each website for the most up-to-date pricing.

    1. Ahrefs

    Ahrefs HomepageAhrefs is an all-in-one SEO tool that is second only to Google in terms of the extent to which it crawls websites.

    In fact, Ahrefs is planning to build a search engine of its own!

    Ahrefs is best known for its competitor analysis feature — specifically the backlink checker tool — which allows you to check on your competitors’ backlinks. This tool includes a feature that shows you when your competitors lose or gain a backlink.

    Other important tools include a content checker, which checks social media for the most viral content, and a keyword tool that helps get keyword ideas, traffic estimations and keyword ranking.

    If you want to try everything that Ahrefs has to offer, they offer a seven-day trial for $7. Otherwise, the most basic plan starts at $99 a month.

    2. Moz

    Moz HomepageMoz offers a suite of SEO tools that help you increase traffic, rankings and visibility across search engine results.

    One of the reasons why Moz remains a favorite of many SEO experts is because they always seem to be on top of Google’s frequently changing algorithm — which is no easy feat.

    Moz Pro includes the Moz Site Crawler, which crawls through your site to highlight potential issues and recommend possible actions. It also allows you to track how your site ranks across thousands of keywords.

    Additional features include:

    • Keyword Explorer: A keyword research tool that helps you determine the best keywords to target
    • Link Explorer: A backlink analysis tool that mixes a variety of metrics, such as page authority, domain authority and spam score.

    A recent addition to Moz is Moz Local, which completes your location data and puts your business listings in more than 15 of the major data aggregators, such as Google, Facebook and Foursquare.

    This is particularly useful for brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on searches such as “best pizza near me.”

    Moz Pro starts at $99 a month for the most basic plan, which includes 24/7 online support, a one-on-one walkthrough and custom reports. Moz Local features are available for an additional subscription cost, starting at $129 a year per location.

    Related: What is domain authority?

    3. SEMRush

    SEMrush HomepageSEMRush is an all-in-one marketing toolkit primarily used for keyword research. This paid SEO tool provides advanced analysis of your site, as well as your competitors’ sites.

    The projects section allows you to centralize reporting and remain organized. It’s also where you can find the overall SEO health score for your site. Many also swear by it for its useful PPC (pay-per-click) tools.

    The standard plan starts at $99 a month and comes with 28 advanced tools and features that range from domain and keyword analytics to projects and marketing calendars.

    4. Screaming Frog

    Screaming Frog HomepageScreaming Frog is a UK-based marketing research agency best known for its SEO tools, specifically the SEO Spider tool, which crawls through your website to perform a technical SEO audit.

    Preferred by trusted names such as Amazon, Disney, Google and Apple for the speed at which you can get your insights, Screaming Frog is clearly one of the best SEO tools on the market.

    The Spider tool will inform you of duplicate content, bad redirects and other errors to fix. You can also use it to crawl competitors’ websites for ideas. For additional insights, it’s possible to integrate the Spider tool with Google Analytics.

    The tool may be downloaded for free (for up to 500 URLs), but there’s an option to pay to access advanced features, such as structured data validation, custom robots.txt, and crawl configuration. The standard plan is £149 a year.

    Related: How to set up 301 redirects in WordPress

    GoDaddy SEO tools

    With all the knowledge GoDaddy has gained by serving so many webmasters, they’ve put together a number of SEO tools for getting ahead.

    1. GoDaddy Integrated SEO Tools.
    2. GoDaddy SEO Services.
    3. GoDaddy Local Business Listings.

    Check out what GoDaddy has to offer.

    1. GoDaddy Integrated SEO Tools

    GoDaddy SEO Website Builder ExampleAmong the best SEO tools available for free are those that come with signing up for GoDaddy’s Website Builder and Managed WordPress Hosting plans.

    The Website Builder Business, Business Plus and eCommerce plans include an easy-to-use tool that helps you add extra information about your site to catch the digital attention of search engines. Here’s how to use it.

    Managed WordPress Hosting plans also include built-in SEO help. GoDaddy’s WordPress search engine optimization (SEO) plugin walks through your pages and automatically handles your basic SEO needs so Google can find your site.

    2. GoDaddy SEO Services

    If you’re a business owner who already has too much on your plate without having a full helping of SEO, GoDaddy SEO Services is going to be the way to go.

    This expert service gets you on the phone with a member of GoDaddy’s team of SEO experts who will take the time to learn about what makes your business tick and your end goals with SEO. During the phone call, you can determine the best plan for your budget and let the team get to work, starting with a site audit and market research.

    Then, they will implement their updates.

    GoDaddy SEO experts use a mix of onsite and offsite optimization, and can even help you with content creation. SEO — because it relies on developing organic traffic — isn’t an overnight fix.

    However, 80% of GoDaddy SEO services’ clients see first-page results for their targeted keywords within six months.

    And getting on that first page for search results makes all the difference in the world.

    3. GoDaddy Local Business Listings

    Local SEO is vital for brick-and-mortar establishments. This type of SEO provides your business address, contact number, website, operating hours, menu/price lists, payment, delivery options and photos (among other pertinent information) to potential customers.

    With the GoDaddy Local Business Listings tool, you can find success with local SEO by getting your business listed everywhere it matters — Google, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, CitySearch and so on. Having this information readily available is essential in funneling consumers toward your business.

    The bottom line is that creating multiple listings is exhausting. So, this tool consolidates everything for you and allows you to update information and correct errors from a single place.

    GoDaddy Local Business Listings start at $19.99 a month.

    Related: Local Business Listings — The easier way to manage your online business listings

    Final thoughts: The best SEO tools (free and paid) for websites

    SEO is essential to brand visibility online. Without the right SEO, it’s more than likely that your website — your window to the online world — will end up somewhere on the back pages of any given search.

    Though SEO is complicated, having the best SEO tools in your toolbox makes it possible for you to move your webpage and business to the front page for relevant search terms.

    This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Kristen Ennis.

    The post 12 best SEO tools to help your website show up in search results appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    It happens to every freelance web designer eventually. One month you’ll be booked solid, and the next you’ll be scrounging for projects to keep bills paid and tummies full. You need new clients—stat.

    When you’re crunched for time, most of the usual advice for getting new clients doesn’t apply. Writing blog posts works well for generating leads, but it can take upwards of a few months to start seeing results, and your bills can’t wait to be paid. And waiting for referrals to come to you isn’t a great option, either—you can’t rely on them to come when you need them.

    So what can you do to break the slump? How can you pick up one or two (or hopefully many) web design projects right now? Here’s a list of battle-tested tactics you should try for getting new web design clients in the next 30 days.

    If you’re just starting out freelancing, these are also great tactics for getting your first client or two.

    8 tactics for getting web design clients pronto

    1. Narrow down your services.

    It’s easy to feel like the best way to make more money is to offer more services, or a range of different services, especially in the early days of your freelance career.

    The problem with this approach? It forces the client to work out which services they need and how those services could benefit their business.

    Most clients would prefer to have this decision made for them. They want to know—before they get out their wallets—that your offer will fix their problem.

    The trick to getting clients quickly is to make things easy for them. That means offering only one specific service, to one specific ideal client, at one fixed price. Everything becomes easier—you’ll get better results from your marketing by excluding everyone who won’t find value in your service, and your ideal clients will quickly see why your service is worth the investment.

    To get started, pick one service you’ve offered in the past, that you know is highly valuable to clients. Here are some web design services you could offer:

    Jarrod Drysdale attracted dozens of web design clients by offering to design and build a landing page in just one day.
    Jarrod Drysdale attracted dozens of web design clients by offering to design and build a landing page in just one day. Image via Landing Page In A Day

    Next, choose one specific type of client business that could benefit from a website audit—even if your service could benefit clients in other verticals, make sure you’re starting with just one.

    Once you’ve chosen who to target, you need to set a fixed price for your service. The price should be low enough that your client sees it as an impulse buy—the lower the price and the more niche the service, the faster you’ll be able to bring in new clients. Think of it as an opportunity to get your foot in the door—once they’ve become paying clients, it’s much easier to get them to upgrade to higher-ticket services.

    There’s so much more I could cover here, but here’s some more info on how to develop targeted, productized services you can offer as a freelance web designer.

    2. Offer value for free.

    Shrinking your services even further brings up another great tactic for quickly getting web design clients.

    Offering a small piece of your full services as a free lead-generation tool can give clients a taste of the benefit of hiring you, without the financial risk for potential clients, and without requiring you to invest a bunch of time. Offering this service for free where clients already hang out—Facebook groups, email newsletters, and the like—can build your brand and create connections that would otherwise be difficult to find.

    Take your core service, and cut out all the fluff—you want something that takes you half an hour or less, and that you’re willing to offer for free. Think something like a 5-minute off-the-cuff video audit that lists the three biggest opportunities for increasing conversions.

    Once you have your offer, find your potential clients’ watering holes—social media is a great place to start. Share your offer with them (you don’t even need a landing page at this point), and offer to answer any questions or give advice for free. Your goal here isn’t to sell—instead, simply offer to answer questions or provide free advice and you’ll quickly be seen as the expert in your service area, at which point clients will be drawn to you like moths to a lamp.

    Business coach Luisa Zhou used this exact method to find her first client from Facebook groups:

    A woman I’d been helping for free — answering her questions about how to set up a basic advertising campaign — asked me how she could work with me, and when I told her the price — $5,000 for six months (calculated based on my hourly salary) — she said, without missing a beat, “I’m in.”

    The main downside to this method is that competition can be fierce. There’s a good chance you’re not the only web designer looking to provide advice. It’s not uncommon for business owners looking for feedback and advice to be swamped with offers, but by starting now with free advice before they’re looking for help, you’ll be the first one they turn to.

    One more tip: Go where the clients are, not where your colleagues are. I see so much advice out there telling freelance web designers to join social media groups targeted at other web designers—and while this can be a great way to drum up cross-referrals and partnerships, you want to make sure you’re spending time in groups where your ideal clients hang out.

    3. Reach out to your network.

    As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, friends, family, and colleagues aren’t thinking about you and your work nearly as often as you are. Sometimes, personally reaching out to people in your network is all it takes to remind them you’re looking for new clients.

    Yes, the chances of hitting a bull’s-eye and finding a potential client in your direct network can be slim. But the people you already know are often your best source of referrals. You just need to make sure they’re thinking of you at the right times.

    The people you already know are often your best source of referrals. You just need to make sure they’re thinking of you at the right times.

    Start by listing out everyone you know that has some presence online—business owners, people you’ve worked with or met at networking events in the past, and other industry professionals are the people you’ll want to target first. You can leave past clients off this list—we’ll address how to reach out to them separately below. And you can follow this up with friends, family, and other colleagues later.

    Next, draft a short email to each one (don’t send a form email!) asking how they’re doing and including a few personal details to show you’re thinking about them. Your email should also give a short intro about the kind of work you’re doing and the type of clients you’re seeking to help. And mention that you’re open to referrals. You can even include a short script they can copy and paste into an email or a social media post to make it even easier for them to spread the word.

    Finally, look for opportunities to give back. Ask if there’s any way you can support their work or promote their business—offering to help them out as well increases the likelihood they’ll share you with others in their network.

    4. Partner with freelancers and other businesses.

    Business owners are always on the lookout for ways to improve their online presence—whether that’s through web design, SEO, content marketing, copywriting, or other services. One way to quickly collect freelance clients is to reach out to freelancers, agencies, and other established companies who offer related services to the same clients, suggesting you pair up your services with what they’re already offering.

    This tactic can be a quick win for both you and the company you partner with. You get access to your partner’s existing client base for selling your services. Your partner gets to offer your services to their clients to create additional value. You split the profits, and you get exposure to a ready-made audience of clients.

    It’s best to start out by targeting potential partners in your local market, since meeting face-to-face can quickly build trust. Search Google for local freelancers or agencies serving the same client base, and use a service like Norbert to track down their email addresses.

    Once you have their contact details, send these companies an email mentioning you’re local to their area and pitching your partnership offer. Focus on what they (and their clients) would get out of the deal: Clients would get better results from a more complete service that includes web design, and the new package would bring in more revenue for both parties.

    Most business owners are busy with other work, so if you don’t hear back within a few days, send a polite follow-up email asking if there’s any interest. Offer to meet up to discuss a potential partnership—and once you come to an agreement, get ready to watch the clients roll in.

    5. Upsell existing clients.

    Finding clients quickly is all about maximizing the results from your effort. It’s exponentially easier to sell to clients who have already seen the value of your work than it is to sell to brand-new clients. If you already have an established client base, your quickest path to more revenue is to create more value for the clients you already have. It may not technically bring in “new” clients, but if you’re looking to pick up one or two new projects quickly, this can be a great approach.

    Upselling existing clients is up to 12x easier and 4x cheaper than acquiring new clients.
    Upselling existing clients is up to 12x easier and 4x cheaper than acquiring new clients. Image via Proposify

    Think of clients you’ve worked with in the past, and the kind of business problems they’re struggling with. Are there ways you can help solve those problems? What services can you pitch that they’d be interested in?

    Reach out to those clients via email with specific, targeted advice on how to solve that problem. Don’t pitch your services initially; just offer advice and let them know you’re available if they want to talk about how to move further. At this point, there’s a strong chance they’ll simply say “do it,” then you’ll be off to the races—if not, pitch the value of investing in additional services with you before letting them know the cost.

    If you’re looking for further reading, check out this great article on upselling existing clients.

    6. Ask past clients for referrals.

    In addition to current clients, you can also tap your past clients as potential referral sources. Even if your past clients aren’t actively looking to hire someone, there’s a strong chance they know someone who is. Referrals with a warm introduction will always bring higher-quality projects and clients than those you find on the street (not literally on the street though—that’s not a tactic I recommend).

    The best time to ask for referrals is right after completing a project. Try using a survey tool like Typeform to create a form asking two simple questions:

    • Would you refer me to a colleague?
    • Why or why not?

    Just asking whether they would recommend you may spur them to actually do so—happy clients love telling others about the great work you’ve done for them.

    If not, follow up with the people who answer “yes” and make it super easy for them to refer you to others. You can even send a simple script they can copy and paste to send to potential referrals, maximizing the chances of getting a recommendation. This article from HubSpot includes a few email templates you can try.

    7. Search industry-specific job boards.

    If your web design service is niched down to a specific industry or vertical (which it should be!), there’s probably an industry-specific job board dedicated to that industry. Unlike generic service boards like Upwork or Craigslist, industry-specific boards are a great place to find higher-quality clients who understand the value of your services and are willing to invest more for higher-quality work.

    Here are a few places to try:

    You can also take advantage of job-curation services like SolidGigs or Workshop to deliver freelance jobs right to your inbox, for a monthly fee.

    If your niche isn’t listed above, try a Google search for “web design jobs [your industry].” You’ll no doubt turn up a few good places to start looking. Remember, too, that while many of the listings might be for full-time work, don’t be afraid to pitch your services as a freelancer or contractor—many hiring managers will be open to considering the option because it can bring more flexibility for both you and the company.

    8. Cold email potential clients.

    Last but not least, cold-emailing potential clients can be a great way to quickly drum up some web design business.

    Cold-emailing often feels icky at first when you haven’t done it, but it doesn’t have to. The trick is to focus on the quality of your outreach over the quantity—it’s better to approach 10 companies and land one than to approach 100 companies and land none. Your goal with cold emailing isn’t to sell—it’s simply to start a conversation.

    Freelance copywriter Laura Lopuch used cold emails to launch her freelance business.
    Freelance copywriter Laura Lopuch used cold emails to launch her freelance business. Image via Copyhackers

    The most successful cold emails always start by providing value before making any requests. Research the company you’re targeting—find out what their goals are for their online presence, list any opportunities you see for improvement, and be sure to collect a little background information about the company and the head of marketing (or the relevant point of contact) to show you’ve done your homework.

    Once you have your information, put your cold email together. Include one or two personal details about the company you’re targeting to help capture their attention. Explain who you are and how you’ve helped businesses like theirs in the past (case studies are super helpful here), and share some free advice on how they can improve their online presence. Don’t sell your services; instead, offer to jump on a call or send an email with more detailed advice—again, for free.

    Finally, make sure you follow up. Most business owners are busy, and if you don’t receive a reply straight away, it’s much more likely that they’ve simply forgotten than that they’re ignoring you. Wait a few days, then send a succinct and polite follow-up email asking if they’re interested in your advice. If they don’t reply to your follow-up email, it might be time to move on to other potential leads.

    To get a head start, check out this article from Ryan Robinson for some great advice and free templates to use for your cold emails.

    Don’t rely on these tactics alone

    While these strategies for generating new web design leads might work well in the short term, they may not be sustainable for the long term for your business.

    A slow period of client work can be a great opportunity to invest in your own marketing and business growth. By balancing your time between short-term and long-term lead-generation tactics, you’ll slowly notice your client funnel stays consistently full, and the slumps will come less often.

    But for those times when you just need some dollars in the piggy bank, these tactics are a great start.

     

    Header photo by bradley on Unsplash

    The post How to get web design clients, fast appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Imagine you’ve spent weeks bringing your idea to life on WordPress. Or, if developing and designing WordPress-based sites is your full-time gig, imagine you’ve been working with your client to deliver the perfect site for their business. 

    You’ve decided on a theme, added items to the online store, spent the time to ensure your content reflects the business, and made sure the functionality of the site is successful. Now, after your site has been published, your customers go to check it out, only to tell you that the site isn’t working or taking too long to open.

    Just like that, you are now presented with the very real challenge of a site that is not performant. I can tell you from experience having owned and run an Agency in my earlier years, nothing takes away from all the hard-work that went into creating a site than a customer that can’t appreciate the hard-work because of a non-performant site. It’s a real challenge, not just for you and me, but for the 20,000+ websites published daily. 

    Let’s face it, slow websites stink. In the best of scenarios, they make you wait a few seconds as you impatiently flip between different tabs or aps. Worst case, they make the entire site inaccessible and worse yet, they lose you a potential customer/visitor. . Slow load times aren’t just inconvenient, they are costly

    It’s because of this that we’re leaning into the problem. 

    We believe that our customers have a reasonable expectation of certain features, and performance is one of those. They shouldn’t be forced to integrate third-party networks that complicate their configurations and add complexity to their deployments. It’s why we’re extremely happy to do just that. 

    We are happy to announce Boost on our Managed WordPress platform. 

    Boost is a FREE, light-weight Content Delivery Network (CDN) that focuses on distributing a sites static assets around the world. What makes this especially valuable to you is that it’s a seamless integration, which translates to not having to install or configure any additional services.  

    Faster load times with Boost

    A standard website hosting server will deliver websites from one single location, anywhere around the world. This process means that all of the visitors to your site will access the same server in whatever country it is based, which can cause delays in relaying the information. High volume traffic or hardware failures can also cause downtime for your website. 

    Boost leverages Sucuri’s CDN technology to distribute your assets around the world, making them more accessible on request (i.e., the static content does not have to make the full roundtrip when requested because it’s cached closer to the requestor). Assets include things like images, CSS, JavaScript any other static files that exist inside of /wp-content and /wp-includes. 

    Boost is not a full-site CDN. It is, however, built on the same anycast network, which allows the distribution of the static assets to our dozen Points of Presence (POP) around the world. This dramatically reduces the total time it takes for your site to render around the world which translates to it loading faster, and your users having a more delightful experience. What makes it especially exciting is that it’s based on our own technology, removing dependencies on third-party partners and networks. This translates to improved network performance and better support services when you need it most.  

    In a study by DoubleClick, Google found that 53% of mobile sites were abandoned if the page took longer than 3 seconds to load. The same study showed that if a site loaded within 5 seconds it had 70% longer sessions, 35% lower bounce rates and 25% higher viewability.  Other findings suggest that for every three seconds there’s a delay in page loads, there’s a 48% decrease in customer satisfaction, 40% of customers leave, and you’ll see 33% fewer page views. The message is clear, having a performant site is important to the success of your venture.

    GoDaddy Managed WordPress now includes Boost

    With more than 10 million hosted sites, we are the leading web hosting provider, offering basic web hosting you can trust and with industry-leading load times. 

    GoDaddy plans offer a streamlined, optimized hosting platform for building and hosting WordPress sites. This platform is the world’s largest paid managed WordPress product and the entire hosting environment is built around making your WordPress sites run faster and more securely.

    We understand the tools you need to be successful. Managed WordPress is a one-stop shop for handling basic hosting administrative tasks, such as installing WordPress, automated daily backups, WordPress core updates, and server-level caching. Managed WordPress automates these setup tasks and saves you more than 3 hours a month on every site you manage. 

    9 out of 10 website visitors will switch to a competitor’s website if the company’s website fails to load

    Additional research found that 9 out of 10 website visitors will switch to a competitor’s website if the company’s website fails to load. For this reason, we boast a 99.9% uptime guarantee. This means sites are up and running with no downtime. We also offer 24/7/365 WordPress Hosting Support to help answer technical questions and provide site-related advice.

    Managed WordPress isn’t just for pros, it’s for the everyday developer. That’s why we offer a variety of WordPress plans to meet your specific needs, including Basic, Deluxe, Ultimate and Pro 5+

    Each Managed WordPress Hosting Plan from GoDaddy includes the following: 

    • 99.9% uptime promise and money-back guarantee 
    • Free 24/7 support
    • CDN Boost for up to 50% faster load time
    • Automatic WordPress core software and security updates
    • One-click migration tool
    • Access to thousands of free themes and plugins
    • Latest version of PHP 7
    • SFTP access (Deluxe and Ultimate plans)
    • Free Microsoft Office 365 email for one year with the purchase of annual plan 
    • Temporary domain name

     

    To view the full list of inclusions for each plan, read more about Managed WordPress

    The post GoDaddy Managed WordPress is now Powered by Boost appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    “Blog to book?” It’s a question that’s probably crossed the mind of every serious blogger. Not only will it challenge you immensely, but it will help you grow as a writer. It’s also a fabulous feather in your cap that announces to the world that you really are an expert on the topic you blog about.

    While there is no guarantee that you can turn that book into a bestseller, it is still something you should do for yourself, your readers and your business.

    Turning a blog into a book can feel daunting. However, the good news is that if you have been writing a blog for a while, you’ve already done a lot of the heavy lifting. You can take the exact content from your posts, and recycle and rearrange it into a book you can sell.

    With that in mind, I thought it would be a great idea to expand on this topic as more and more bloggers are hopping on the blog-to-book train.

    Below, I’m going to share with you how to get started, strategies you can use for your content, what’s working now for authors, and ultimately how to go about getting your work published.

    12 steps to go from blog to book

    We’re going to take a deep-dive into transforming related blog posts into a book, including:

    1. Decide on the topic of your book.
    2. Pull all pre-existing content related to the topic.
    3. Create a rough layout of the book.
    4. Craft new text to fill in the gaps.
    5. Begin organizing the content.
    6. Develop your outline.
    7. Put the book together.
    8. Begin promoting before publication.
    9. Edit, cut, re-write, add more, make it perfect.
    10. Research publishing options.
    11. Design your book for publication.
    12. Publish your book.

    I’ve interviewed some amazing people, as well as researched several successful blog-to-book stories, and I can’t wait to share with you all the best tips on making your book a reality. So without further adieu, let’s dive right in!

    Editor’s note: Power up your blog with GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting — the perfect solution for anyone who wants the power and simplicity of WordPress without the hassle of constant updates and technical adjustments.

    1. Decide on the topic of your book

    When it comes to deciding on a book topic, this will be an incredibly easy decision for some bloggers. For example, if you have been writing about pies nonstop for the past six years — well, you already have your topic nailed down. Your book topic is easy as pie. I couldn’t help myself there.

    Lifestyle bloggers and those who write about a variety of topics, on the other hand, are a different story. You might be passionate about several subjects, but will need to commit to just one for your book.

    I would recommend the one you are most well versed in, or that you have written the most content on. After all, if this is your first transition from blog to book, you don’t want to make it too hard on yourself. Once you have decided on a topic, you can go to the next step.

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    2. Pull all pre-existing content related to the topic

    What have you already written on your blog, or elsewhere about your topic? Pull all the links, or save all the text with relevant headings into a Word or Google document. This will simplify your subsequent steps.

    One of my favorite stories about going from blog to book is from Pat Flynn and his website Green Exam Academy. You see, he started his first “blog” as an online space to keep track of his study notes for the LEED exam. (In case you are like me and are curious, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and it’s an architectural exam.)

    Pat says, “Apparently, I had written so much relevant content about the LEED exam (over a year’s worth of notes were available for free on the site), that Google ranked many of my posts at the top of their search results for various LEED exam-related keywords. My visitors liked what they read and shared it with others too, which helped build more traffic.”

    Later, he decided to compile all of that amazing content into a study guide his readers could purchase.

    Pat said that 80% to 90% of his first book was pulled directly from his blog.

    From there, he drafted new text and reorganized his existing content into a format that made sense chronologically.

    In October 2008, he published “The LEED AP Exam Walkthrough,” an 89-page study guide available for $19.95.

    The floodgates of smart passive income officially opened for him.

    “The book sold 309 copies within the first month! Combined with advertising earnings on the website, the business earned a total of $7,906.55 in October 2008, and my life was forever changed,” he said.

    But, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Let’s turn back a page, to your blog-to-book journey.

    Related: 3 ways to generate passive income from your blog

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    3. Create a rough layout of the book

    You’ve got your topic, and you’ve got some pre-written content. Well done! Now, you need to create a rough layout of how you’ll get from blog to book.

    This is where you’ll find out if you have it in you to follow through with the other steps. It’s where the rubber meets the road if you will.

    Take a few hours and really dive deep into your topic. Does your niche have enough substance to make an entire book? You need to know this now before you go any further as you don’t want to waste your time.

    Think about how much relevant information it would take to fully explore your topic. Is there enough to fill an entire 10,000, 20,000 or even 50,000 words of text? If not, you might need to pull the plug now and go back to step one.

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    4. Craft new text to fill in the gaps

    Blog To Book The Fire Path

    You don’t need to have all of your blog to book content written ahead of time. You can fill in the gaps as needed. In fact, your blog can simply serve as inspiration, as was the case for my bloggy friends Kate Erickson and Natalie Sisson.

    When Kate wrote “The Fire Path”, it was simply inspired by her partner’s blog and podcast “Entrepreneur on Fire.”

    Natalie’s book, “The Suitcase Entrepreneur,” was also inspired by her blog of the same title. However, she only took one chapter directly from her site.

    Blog To Book Suitcase Entrepreneur

    As Natalie explained: “I actually wrote everything afresh for my book, bar one chapter about outsourcing. I took that chapter from a very solid in-depth blog post I’d already written, and then updated and added to it.”

    Find a balance that works for you

    Many blogs that transition into books meet somewhere in the middle, with the authors pulling enough content from their existing blog and drafting new text when needed.

    For example, Krayl Funch’s book, “An Appealing Plan,” used roughly 25% of existing content from her blog.

    Similarly, Candace Braun Davison’s book, “Collegiate Cookbook,” featured 30% of the recipes from her blog, Collegiate Cook, at the time of its publication.

    Find a happy medium by balancing original blog posts with inventive new content.

     

    So what does all of this mean for you? If you have engaging content on your blog, then you might already have a good foundation for the makings for an awesome book.

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    5. Begin organizing the content

    As you start going through your existing content and consider your ideas for new content, you might realize that a flow is already emerging. An introduction, main idea, headings and even much of the text might be staring you straight in the face.

    If this is happening (and even if it isn’t), it’s a good idea to start organizing your content together in a cohesive fashion.

    For example, let’s say you blog regularly about wedding planning and have decided your book will be about creating a dream wedding on a budget. Your organization might look like this:

    • Pre-written posts about trends related to attire
      • You could list all links to your blog posts on the subject
    • Drafts for how to pick vendors
      • Perhaps you have started some posts, but they aren’t done. Create some Google Docs for everything you’ve considered posting on your blog
    • Links about the honeymoon and best destinations perfect for romance
      • Even if your content is in the research phase, and not a single word is written, pool all your research in one spot
    • A brainstormed list of posts you want to write for touchy subjects such as the bride having more guests, dealing with troublesome family members, flying in your crazy relatives, etc…
      • Take your list or lists of ideas and put them in a file for your soon-to-be book

    Related: Best practices for managing your brand’s digital footprint

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    6. Develop your outline

    It’s time to start getting serious about what will be in your final piece. Your first place to look for inspiration is feedback on things you’ve already written.

    As Kate and Natalie told me, your audience might already be telling you what you need to put in your book.

    Kate says she was flooded with emails from readers asking for specific information. She gave it to them on her blog and then they wanted her to make that content available as a download. She knew that meant those nuggets of wisdom belonged in her book.

    Blog To Book Natalie Sisson
    Natalie Sisson, author of “The Freedom Plan” and “The Suitcase Entrepreneur”

    Natalie had a similar experience. After years of interacting with her audience in person and online, they basically told her what they still wanted to know. Then, once she had an idea of what she should include in her book, she ran her ideas by many of her audience members to confirm she was on the right track.

    But what if you don’t have a strong or active blog following?

    If you’re just starting out, “you should go to Google Analytics and look at your most popular content and see if there is a theme coming out of that and whether you have enough content there to make a book,” Natalie suggests. Great advice!

    Pro tip: Use Google Analytics to figure out your most popular blog content — and include it in your book.

    Related: How to use Google Analytics and increase traffic

    Ask yourself these questions…

    1. Will my audience want to know this?
    2. Does my audience already know this?
    3. Does the content fit with the theme I have decided on for this book?
    4. Do I know enough about this content to include it in a book?
    5. Am I answering everything my target audience wants to know for this book’s theme?
    6. Can I break my theme down into smaller categories?
    7. Should the content be divided into more than one book? Are there multiple themes being developed that make more sense as a series of books instead of a series of chapters?

    Pro tip: Don’t make the mistake of including too much content in one book. This can overwhelm your readers. Likewise, don’t include material that’s completely out of left field (i.e., interesting but unrelated to the rest of the content).

    Of course, there are probably a lot more questions you could ask yourself, but these will at least help you get the process of creation going from blog to book. After you figure out what you want in the final piece, you’ll need to decide how to organize it.

    How to organize the content

    First and foremost, keep your audience in mind as you outline your book.

    As Kate says: “Remember, your number one goal with the content, and therefore how you should approach your outline, is to focus on the biggest struggle your audience is facing. Then, figure out how the material/ content you have in front of you could best serve them and help solve that struggle.”

    Pro tip: Organize your content with a focus on solving a problem for readers.

    Related: Why a target audience matters (and how to find yours)

    Blog To Book Flowchart
    Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

    Again, you want to focus on flow when you’re outlining your book’s content. We might not always think about flow when writing posts for a blog, but it is key when you’re creating a book.

    Think about instructional books such as those that teach you how to speak a new language. The book doesn’t begin with the text in the language you are hoping to learn and end with the “how to speak it” part.

    Instead, it begins with basics like common words and slowly moves into fundamental sentences, and then into complex words and sentences. In other words, you wouldn’t include a master skill at the beginning of the book that is teaching a beginner how to do something.

    Pro tip: Keep a logical flow of information in mind as you construct your outline.

    Natalie recommends thinking of it like a play. Acts 1, 2 and 3 are the various sections of the book, and the scenes are like the chapters. Everything flows. It makes sense. It has a structure.

    How to create an outline

    By now you have decided on your theme, gathered related materials and collected your blog links for content you’ve already written. To complete your blog to book outline you need to:

    1. Break down your theme into smaller categories. For example, an introduction to WordPress might be broken down into categories such as creating a WordPress account, themes, basic HTML coding, etc.
    2. Once you have your smaller categories, take a look at the subtopics you have written down and place them in their appropriate category.
    3. Now that you have a rough outline, fill in the holes. What is your category missing to make it complete? This might mean you’ll need to write some new content. Or you might find you have leftover topics. Should you create a new category for them or save the extra material for another book? Choices are good.
    4. Take a look at your outline with your reader in mind. If you were buying this book, would the flow of the outline you just created make sense? Does something need to move? Move things around until you’re happy — and then leave it alone for a little while.
    5. Look at the outline again after 24 to 48 hours with fresh eyes and/or run it by someone you trust for feedback.

    After you have settled on an official blog-to-book outline, it’s time to put the full manuscript together.

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    7. Put the book together

    So many of your puzzle pieces are ready to go. Can you see the picture emerging? I hope so!

    At this point, all your text should be written. You can now start copying the text and pasting it into your final outline where it is supposed to go. If pieces are missing, it’s time to fill them all in. Keep going until all your main points and subtopics are addressed.

    While you’re writing your book, feel free to continue posting to your blog. Ask your readers questions, and use their answers to help you plug any gaps that might still exist in your manuscript.

    Blog to Book Kate Erickson
    Kate Erickson, author of “The Fire Path”

    As Kate says, your audience is an invaluable source for inspiration and guidance. They are your target market (aka ideal customer), after all. Therefore, it would be in your best interest to engage with them and find out if there is anything you have not yet considered that needs to be covered in your book.

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    8. Begin promoting before publication

    Say what? I know — it can be kind of scary to start promoting a project before it’s finished. But, the reality is this can lead to interest for your upcoming book and, if you’re lucky, presales income.

    Did you know that if you decide to sell on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform you can pre-sell your book up to 90 days in advance?

    According to Amazon: “You’ll list your eBook as you would any other KDP eBook. When you’re setting up a new eBook, you can choose to make it available for preorder and set a date in the future. Though your eBook isn’t available for download yet, we’ll still publish a detail page for it. Customers can order the eBook anytime leading up to the release date you set, and it will be delivered to them on that date.

    After you set up a preorder, you’ll see a timer on top of your book’s setup pages that keeps track of the deadline to submit the file you’d like delivered to customers. You have until this deadline to make changes to your book, but we encourage you to finish setting up your preorder early in the event that changes are needed to meet our publishing guidelines.”

    Why would you do this? To further gauge desire for your book, and to start making money right away, of course!

    While Kate didn’t use Amazon’s pre-order feature, she and her partner John did use Kickstarter and their blog to gauge interest on their book project, The Freedom Journal.”

    Related: Top 20 crowdfunding platforms of 2019

    Blog To Book Freedom Journal
    Kate Erikson and John Lee Dumas with their book “The Freedom Journal”

    They spoke to their audience on their blog and via their email list, and asked flat out if they were interested in a planner that would help them accomplish their No. 1 goal in 100 days. While chatting with their ideal customers, and promoting their new book/planner, with a goal of raising $25,000, they raised $453,803 from 7,063 backers.

    From here on out social media is your friend.

     

    You can use it and your blog to promote your book project like crazy. You can also offer special discounts and bonuses for anyone who preorders your book.

    Related: A beginner’s guide to social media for small business

    Blog To Book Chillpreneur

    One example I love is Denise Duffield-Thomas, and her advance promotions of her book “Chillpreneur.”

    Before the book was even completed, she started selling it, and promoting a special Facebook group that anyone who purchased the book could join. The group would give readers/fans access to webinars that Denise was not offering anywhere else. These webinars took the teachings of the book just a little bit further.

    Related: Using 3 elements of viral videos to promote your business on social media

    Blog To Book Freedom Plan

    Suitcase Entrepreneur Natalie Sisson did something similar, albeit not on Facebook, for people who purchased her new book, “The Freedom Plan.” Anyone who bought the book got special access to a free training exclusive with proof of purchase.

    Related: 5 things to ask before teaching online courses

    Lewis Howes, blogger, podcaster and author of “The School of Greatness,” also has some excellent advice about using this part of the book creation process to test your product with your target market. He says:

    Blog To Book School of Greatness“The best way to sell a product online is to first test your market to see if people actually want to buy it. You do this by not creating the product first … but by selling it first. There’s no point in spending time, energy and resources on building something that might be a flop.”

    I agree with Lewis!

    Related: 5 tools for product market testing on a budget

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    9. Edit, cut, re-write, add more, make it perfect

    Do yourself a favor here and don’t go it alone. Hire an editor, or at least let a friend re-read your final product to make sure it’s as awesome as you think it is.

    When you get attached to a project, it’s hard to see any errors that might be present. I do this with my blog posts all the time. I get so excited that I misspell words all the time.

    This is why it’s so critical you don’t try to edit your own book before it goes to publication. You’ve been writing your content so long you might not even catch the blunders.

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    10. Research publishing options

    You’re almost ready to go all the way — to publication, that is.

    Every blogger I’ve spoken to went the route self-publishing route, at least in the beginning. Why? It boils down to three basic reasons:

    1. Creative control
    2. Time
    3. Money

    Blog To Book eBook On Kindle

    Here’s the thing though — a couple of these bloggers did land publishing deals. However, it wasn’t until they started making bank and proving their worth. Denise and Natalie are just two who leveraged their self-publishing success into book deals.

    Denise self-published her first two books based on her blog, and then landed a book deal with her dream publisher Hay House for her third book. And Hay House also re-released the first two books that she had previously self-published via her blog.

    Natalie self-published “The Suitcase Entrepreneur,” and then re-released it with publisher North Star Way. She later released her newest book, “The Freedom Plan,” with publisher Motivational Press Inc.

    For the rest of us though…

    When you go the traditional publishing route, you most likely will not be offered a boatload of cash upfront. Unless, of course, you have a blog that is so popular that your page view stats would make even Taylor Swift blush.

    The truth is, the multimillion dollar book deals are reserved for the prom kings and queens of the internet (or at least the people who have already released books that were wildly popular).

    Speaking of cash, you’re likely only going to see 8% in royalties on sales with traditional publishers (on average), and that’s only after you’ve met any advances already received.

    For example, if you received a $1,000 advance payment for your work, you will have to sell enough books to meet that $1,000 before you ever receive additional royalties.

    When you consider that self-publishing can yield as much as 70% in royalties plus the rights to all of the work in your book, it starts looking mighty sexy.

    In addition, traditional publishing often means you’ll have to sign away a lot of creative control. The final product might not actually be up to you, let alone what happens to it after publication.

    For instance, Tucker Max, who is famous for books like “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell,” said that when his book was optioned for movie rights, he didn’t have much control over what they did with the story line. Other writers have said that their original stories came back from publishers bleeding with red ink or requests for changes. By the time their work was actually released, much of their voice had been lost in translation.

    Finally, traditional publishing can take a long time — like a few years. Talk about anticipation!

    With self-publishing you can write your content by the pool during the summer, have it edited, make final touches and then publish it before the autumn leaves wither and fall to the ground.

    In my opinion, and the opinion of many authors who have gone from blog to book, self-publishing is the best route to take. So, if you opt to self-publish, how do you get this bad boy ready for its debut? Well, let’s talk design.

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    11. Design your book for publication

    There are plenty of options to choose from, so be sure to do your research to find which method best suits your style.

    Blog To Book Brainstorming Design Options

    Design software

    If you’ve got some mad design skills to go along with your writing chops, you might go with an eBook layout option like Adobe InDesign. You can make your book look however you want, and be pretty much guaranteed that your layout will be unique.

    Krayl Funch (An Appealing Plan), Candace Braun Davison (Collegiate Cookbook) and Natalie Sisson (Suitcase Entrepreneur) all used Adobe InDesign to lay out their original masterpieces.

    Presentation software

    It’s more common in the blogosphere, however, to use presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides and Keynote. These programs are much easier to learn to use (you’ve probably used at least one of them already), but your layout options will be more limited.

    Pro tip: HubSpot offers downloadable eBook templates for both PowerPoint and InDesign.

    Specialty eBook design software

    You’ve also got some really good free and paid options for specialty eBook design software — although there might be a learning curve. A few popular choices include:

    • iBooks Author, a popular, free, software that offers a number of eBook design templates for Mac and iPad.
    • eBook Maestro, which offers customizable templates for a variety of digital formats.
    • Canva, which teaches how to design an eBook cover that stands out, but you might need to use your own word processor for the text.

    Related: How to use Canva to create branded images in less than an hour

    Word processing software

    Some self-publishers go the word processing route (hey, we use it to write, why not for layout, too?) with programs like Microsoft Word, Google Docs and Pages. It might not be the best solution, but it works.

    Kate Erickson, author of “The Fire Path,” designed her book entirely in Word. She also made the decision to hire a designer to create the cover (a great choice for a unique, professional-looking cover).

    These are the most common options available, but there are plenty more out there. How you choose to design your book is entirely up to you.

    Popular self-publishing platforms

    Like layout options, you’ve got plenty of choices (both free and paid) when it comes to where you actually publish your book. Here are a handful of the most popular platforms:

    Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Create Space Amazon’s KDP program combined with Create Space in 2018. This is the only option I’m aware of that has no fees associated with self-publishing outside of printing costs for physical copies.

    You simply upload your book and your cover’s design, and as soon as it’s approved for publication by Amazon (typically in 24 hours or less), your book is live. That means in as little as a day you can start selling and earning up to 70 percent of the retail price you set. While the KDP program is for eBooks only, they now have options for print-on-demand books that pay as much as 60% in royalties less the cost of printing.

    Lulu has a DIY option and additional alternatives to pay for assistance in creating your book. Lulu also offers the option to purchase an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) that you can use worldwide. Plus, you retain all rights to your work.

    Blurb offers print-on-demand options as well as bulk ordering. It is considered a fabulous choice amongst many authors (based on reviews) for printing cookbooks and children’s books with a lot of graphics. Blurb also has a distribution program that allows you to sell in 39,000 online stores including Amazon. You can use your own ISBN or buy one through Blurb.

    Draft2Digital doesn’t charge authors for formatting or distributing books. Where it profits is on the percentage of each of your books’ sales.

    According to Draft2Digital’s website, “When you sell a book, we both make money. We keep about 10% of the retail price. We don’t try to upsell you to some expensive services package or nickel-and-dime you for making changes to your eBook.”

    Candace and Natalie used CreateSpace to publish their first books, and Kate opted for the KDP software. All three have had success with their books — you just need to use a platform that is comfortable for you.

    Luckily, even though CreateSpace has gone the way of the dodo, it has now integrated with KDP’s software. This means you still have the chance to offer your audience printed copies of your book should you choose to do so via Amazon’s self-publishing platform.

    Pre-publishing questions

    Before you decide to publish your book, ask yourself the following questions:

    1. Do I want this book available in print, or am I happy with just an eBook?
    2. Am I hoping to sell it in stores and online? CreateSpace only gives you an ISBN to sell online, so if you want to sell it in stores you might want to consider an alternative for publication.
    3. Should I hire a designer, editor and/or media company to handle all of this for me?
    4. How much can I budget for printing and publishing my book? Although the most popular self-publishing platforms do print on demand, there are fees for things such as designing, loading the book, securing the ISBN, etc.
    5. How fast do I want my book available for purchase?

    Once you answer these questions, you’ll be well on your way to finding your self-publishing path. The good news? You’ll own the rights when you self-publish, and you can always scrap the project completely and start over, even if you already released it!

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    12. Publish your book, and promote like crazy

    At some point, you’re going to have to bite the bullet and publish your book already. Then, it’s time to take a nap — er I mean celebrate!

    But the blog to book work is far from over. You have to promote your tail off now. Sell, sell, sell!

    Tips for success

    So you want your book to be successful. Makes sense. However, this might not be as easy as writing it.

    These days you need more than just a book to be successful as a published or self-published author.

    You’ll be better off packaging it with a course, an audio book, one-on-one training or some other bonus if you really want to see it take off.

    Audio books are hugely popular right now, according to Natalie. And, if you record your audio book at the same time you create your digital or print copy, you could double or triple your earnings without much additional work.

    Kate says don’t be afraid to update and re-publish your book as needed.

    “We actually just completely reworked our eBook on podcasting, ‘Podcast Launch,’” she said. If times change, and something in your book is suddenly outdated, there is nothing wrong with taking it offline, reworking it and then re-releasing it to the world.

    Related: Content promotion strategies to earn traffic and links

    Add a strong call-to-action in your book

    Kate says that this is one of the most important things she sees missing in most self-published books. You’re missing out on a huge opportunity if you skip this step.

    For example, when she and her partner John re-released the book “Podcast Launch,” its call to action was a free eCourse. This gets readers on their email list so they can be re-targeted and sold new products later.

    In other words, don’t think of your eBook as a single entity that stands alone. Think of it as the first step in a larger funnel that guides your ideal reader/client where you want them to go.

    Related: Beyond the lead magnet: Next steps to draw your prospect down the funnel

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    Are you ready to go from blog to book?

    When I was writing one of my first book, I started by blogging it out on my WordPress blog. I plan on using the same method for future books I publish, too.

    The post Blog to book — 12 steps to turn blog posts into a book appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Our Malware Research and Incident Response teams work diligently around the clock to identify and stay ahead of the website security threat landscape—and we’re dedicated to sharing our knowledge and publishing our findings.

    In the spirit of security education, we’ve curated a selection of our most popular posts and discoveries from July to help you protect your website.


    How to stop a DDoS attack

    Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks use fake traffic to flood a network, server, or application and prevent legitimate users from accessing a website. If a website isn’t positioned to mitigate the threat of DDoS, the results can have a significant impact on their business and traffic.

    These attacks are quite cheap for attackers to perform and can lead to devastating results for website owners:

    • Over 2,000 DDoS attacks occur worldwide on a daily basis
    • Incurred costs can range between thousands to millions of dollars for victims
    • Cybercriminals can purchase a week of DDoS attacks for as little as $150

    How to prevent DDoS attacks

    Being unprepared for DDoS can lead to loss of reputation and sales, but fortunately there are a number of preventative measures you can take to reduce the impact of a DDoS attack on your website.

    1. Monitor website traffic

    Volumetric DDoS attacks are made of massive amounts of traffic, emphasizing the importance of monitoring for any peaks in site visitors which may allude to a DDoS attack.

    Would it be suspicious if your website suddenly received millions of new visitors in one hour?

    Dramatic increases in traffic are a massive red flag for DDoS attacks. Use monitoring tools, set up alerts, and check your log files to stay informed of potential threats. The time of day, origin of visitors, and time of year also play an important role in determining the legitimacy of your traffic sources.

    2. Activate country blocking

    Country-based blocking can be effective at minimizing the risk of a DDoS attack, but keep in mind that regional origin is related to IP addresses, which may be based off of outdated tables.

    Would you expect a large amount of traffic from Indonesia if you’re a local bakery in Canada?

    Country blocking can have negative implications for your website, however: it’s important to consider what effect it might have on legitimate website visitors from the country you’re blocking.

    Attackers can also work around country blocking by employing a proxy or some other anonymous communication, like Tor.

    3. Use a web application firewall (WAF)

    A web application firewall filters and inspects all incoming requests to your website to identify if they are malicious. Whenever traffic is determined to be harmful, the firewall blocks the request before it even reaches your server.

    Some web application firewalls offer automated DDoS threat mitigation. These services also help protect against file inclusion, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks, and SQL injections.

    What should you do during a DDoS attack?

    The most obvious answer is to block these malicious traffic sources as soon as possible to prevent downtime and mitigate the risk to your website.

    However, there are a few things that you can put together to help prevent and respond to a DDoS attack.

    • Create a systems checklist and properly configure your hardware and software components
    • Form a response plan and define responsibilities
    • Ensure that team members know who to contact in the event of an attack
    • Develop communication workflows to inform your customers of any issues

    Sucuri Firewall

    The Sucuri WAF intercepts and inspects all incoming Hypertext Transfer Protocol/Secure (HTTP/HTTPS) requests to your website. Malicious requests are stripped before it arrives at your server, preventing downtime and mitigating threats in real-time.

    Sucuri Firewall customers also enjoy added performance benefits from the globally distributed Content Distribution Network (CDN), which can see increases in site speed up to 70% faster.

    Read more from the original post by Victor Santoyo.


    7 things you should monitor in your WordPress logs

    WordPress activity logs can be extremely useful when troubleshooting – or when trying to identify a hack.

    Activity logs are mandatory for ecommerce shops and PCI-DSS compliance.

    When it comes to WordPress, there are a number of core areas you should be monitoring.

    1. Website changes

    Integrity checks can provide an early warning of a potential compromise.

    Ensure that you are set up to receive notifications any time a file or DNS record is modified in any way, or if important changes are added to security settings, users have been modified, or downtime occurs.

    2. Blog post changes

    Changes to a posts status, including both post creation and modification, can highlight unusual activity on your website.

    3. WordPress plugin changes

    Detection tools can help you maintain visibility over your plugins. These tools will inform you if a plugin has been installed, activated, deactivated, deleted, or has had any settings modified.

    Storing unused plugins in your WordPress environment increases the risk of a security incident, and we encourage website owners to remove them if they are not being actively used.

    4. WordPress theme changes

    Keeping track of any changes to your WordPress themes is just as critical as your plugins. Set up alerts for any modifications made to your themes, or with your theme editor.

    5. WordPress core integrity

    If you didn’t authorize changes to your WordPress instance, this should be considered an immediate red flag. Make sure you set up alerts to track any changes to your WordPress version, along with modifications to directory permissions.

    6. User login activity

    When reviewing user activity on your website, you should ask the following questions:

    • Who is logging in?
    • Are there provisions for new user access?
    • Should this user be logging in?
    • Were those logins successful? Did they fail?
    • Why are they changing that post/page?
    • Why are they logging in when they should be sleeping?
    • Who installed that plugin?
    • Who installed that theme?
    • Why does that user have administrative privileges to adjust other permissions?

    WordPress allows users to attempt a login unlimited times by default, but this leaves a site vulnerable to brute force attacks. Add an extra layer of security by limiting the number of login attempts against an account through a plugin, or by using a Web Application Firewall (WAF).

    7. Website security changes

    Monitor changes to your security configurations and answer the following questions:

    • Who logged in?
    • Did the log in succeed or fail?
    • Were there changes to any settings?
    • Where there any sites impacted by the change?

    The free Sucuri Security plugin helps address a number of these questions and is a useful way to centralize WordPress logs.

    Read more from the original post by Victor Santoyo. 


    How to perform a website security audit

    Cyberattacks typically happen due to poor security practices. One of the first steps you can take to improve your security is to audit your website and identify exactly what’s been installed there.

    Website audit checklist

    We’ve provided a simplified template in checklist format for you to follow.

    • Change default CMS settings for users, comments, and information visibility
    • Set suitable file permissions for each account and role
    • Check for software updates and apply the latest security patches
    • Use security extensions and check your plugin settings
    • Review third-party components and ensure they are updated
    • Backup your data offsite and create a backup recovery plan
    • Follow server configuration file best practices
    • Install an SSL certificate to encrypt data in transit
    • Automatically scan your site for malware on a regular basis
    • Employ strong, unique passwords for all of your credentials
    • Check for blacklisting

    Once you’ve performed an initial audit on your website, we encourage you to regularly review your settings and logs, remove inactive third-party components, and update software with the latest security patches.

    Read more from the original post by Pilar Garcia.

    The post Top website security posts by Sucuri – July 2019 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    A web development company does its best to figure out the current needs and preferences of people to satisfy them on their online products and solutions.

    Any self-respecting web development company will always seek surprising, new ways to show off their services to potential clients and make them desire collaborations, and what better avenue to do this than through their own website?

    This article created by our team at Amelia, will gather together a few of the best web development company website examples to inspire you — whether you’re looking for a company to handle your web development or you’re starting your own.

    These websites caught our eye for the amazing solutions they put forth, while also creatively presenting them in an attractive, persuasive manner.

    See below for the extensive selection.

    Web Development Company Website Examples

    TMS

    TMS is one of the most popular development hubs for web applications. It’s aimed at those looking for a complete professional solution that includes planning and building apps from scratch or even enhancing existing apps.

    Compared to other outsourcing companies, TMS is focused on helping the client organize and conceptualize the development workflow with a view towards bulletproof product functionality, before anything else.

    From a glance at their website, you can tell that TMS pays great attention to end-user adoption and creative ideas to reach business goals effectively.

    VintaSoftware

    Those who need Python projects should look to Vinta Software. It is a world-class web development company in Latin America and they specialize in creating amazing sites and apps in Python, while also sharing tools, libraries, and processes with the community.

    Netguru

    Netguru builds digital products that let people do things differently. Share your challenge with our team, and we’ll work with you to deliver a revolutionary digital product. Our clients have changed the way people do banking, listen to music, learn languages, and rent bikes. Their products have been featured in TechCrunch, Business Insider, and Product Hunt.

    Sparx ITSolutions

    Sparx IT Solutions is yet another web development company that points all its resources to the client, thus creating highly-customized solutions for their collaborators.

    Their software products are meant to engage the audiences as much as possible, and that is entirely achievable given the dedicated team of professionals sitting behind this company.

    Their homepage is visually interesting at every scroll point and keeps the visitor engaged all the way to the end.

    iTechArt Group

    If you are looking for a web development company that shifts all their workload according to your business’ needs, you’ve found it. ITechArt is a top-tier company that specializes in custom development services.

    ITechArt has around 1300 engineers ready to tackle your projects. The company collaborates with VC-backed startups and big companies. ITechArt is one of those client-centric web development companies that fully engage in the projects they get, and this really shines through on their website.

    Tivix

    Tivix is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in London, Wrocław, Portland, and New York City. Their primary focus is the agile development of cloud-connected web and mobile apps.

    Django Stars

    Django Stars is a technical partner with a business vision. They transform your ideas into successful digital products, building it from scratch and supporting as long as you need.

    Merixstudio

    This company building both functional and awesome-looking digital products is a matter of close collaboration between various, unique talents. Their team’s diverse expertise guide the innovative choices that solve business challenges.

    The Software House

    A custom application development company from Poland established in 2012. This company offers specialized development services in PHP (Symfony, Laravel), Node.js and Javascript (React, Angular, Vue).

    Experion Technologies

    Experion Technology is one of the oldest players on the market when talking about web development companies. They have no less than 12 years of experience in delivering high-quality IT solutions and their reputation — along with an amazing website — has netted them more than 100 top-tier customers in 26 different countries.

    Experion can handle mobile, web, analytics, cloud, and other digital technologies, all efforts being directed to unlocking the maximum potential of their clients. They collaborate with both early-stage companies and large enterprises.

    Capital Numbers

    The team at Capital Numbers can deliver more than their clients expect. It is a web development company based in India that has obtained their ISO 9001 certificate and it is also registered with D&B.

    They later obtained a Google Partner certificate. Capital Numbers excels at white label web design and development, as well as digital marketing services.

    Though their website isn’t exactly a visual dazzler, it is stunningly effective through its simplicity and clean design, with the perfect amount of elements to catch clients’ interest and hook them in.

    Unleashed Technologies

    Unleashed Technologies is a fast-growing company that adopted a proactive growth model to make sure that their clients exceed their goals.

    Their team is always ready to meet the toughest standards, as they are client-centric and prepared to manage any type of project. This web development company is recognized as a global leader in the industry across various specialties including Drupal and WordPress.

    What you will immediately notice about Unleashed Technologies’ website is its striking and dynamic color scheme which greatly complements the animated backgrounds and buttons.

    Iflexion

    Iflexion is another old company in the field of web development that never ceases to impress its clients through the services they offer. They offer advanced full-cycle web solutions, which means they can handle all areas from CMS to portals and eCommerce websites.

    Since 1999, Iflexion continued to gather experience in digital technologies and now they are one of the top choices for people who seek professional collaboration with a web development company.

    Mobikasa

    Regardless of the size of your project, Mobikasa is ready to help you. They offer both full-package services and a-la-carte services for all types of companies. The engineers in Mobikasa’s team can develop quality products in the most popular languages: Java, Objective C, PHP, Ruby, Jquery, and more.

    With generous use of white space and bold, high contrast colors, Mobikasa has managed to pull off one impressive website for themselves.

    Boldare

    If you heard about XSolve and Child before, you’ll find it easy to place Boldare. This web development company is a merger between those two and it took the best out of them.

    The result is a high-end web development firm that has around 14 years of experience and which has released a whopping number of over 250 products. The team gathers together 130 brilliant minds.

    The Boldare website certainly lives up to its name, too, with it’s fun, funky, and bold design.

    EL Passion

    Those who need Ruby on Rails applications can stop their search for the perfect web development company. EL Passion is the exact solution you are looking for.

    They create responsive, feature-rich iOS/Android apps for all types of clients. EL Passion flawlessly combines UX and UI design to come up with stable, good-looking products.

    The minimal whitespace feel of their site is expertly combined with well-placed and quirky background images, which emphasizes their creativity.

    10Clouds

    Since 2009, 10Clouds delivered a variety of projects for companies of all sizes – from one-person startups to enterprises like Pinterest, Asmodee, universities, and non-profits. They build client relationships on trust, openly sharing the work methods and the rules they rely on.

    Infinum

    Infinum started its journey in San Francisco and it is now a big family of more than 50 members, working together to offer the best experience for people through their mobile and web development services.

    They work with clients from a wide range of industries, mostly finance and automotive. Infinum collaborated with banks, large brands, media publishers and mobile carriers throughout the years, and they won’t stop any time soon.

    Their use of big and bold typefaces combined with an exceptionally neat layout helps them claim a spot on this list with ease.

    Crafton

    Crafton owes the success to its team. They are the driving force behind each and every project that they deliver. Their passion for cutting edge technology and great design brings them together and motivates them to work harder with each passing day.

    Anadea

    Though you probably haven’t heard much about Anadea until now, it’s a web development company with more than enough experience behind it. The web dev firm is active on the market for more than 10 years now, and their forte is high-end mobile applications.

    The team adopts a customer-oriented approach as well, which is ideal for those businesses that have individual needs that require individual solutions.

    The Anadea website is both professional and playful at the same time, perfect for attracting clients from all walks of life.

    SteelKiwi

    SteelKiwi is a company that got popular thanks to its full-cycle web solutions. They also deal with mobile development and other web services based on Python and Django. The team can handle both back-end and front-end technologies, and they are known for using modern ones such as Angular.js or React.js.

    The company is continuously expanding. Currently, it is located in Ukraine, but it has sales representatives in Israel and Slovakia. SteelKiwi plans to become bigger in the future and collaborate with larger businesses.

    Mobomo

    A premier web development company that’s worth taking a look at, Mobomo appeared on the market a while ago and innovated it through their creativity and complexity.

    The team behind Mobomo can operate with various tools in order to create functional, high-end mobile and non-mobile web design.

    Like all companies in the industry that want to be proactive, Mobomo focuses on the clients’ needs and wants. They also consider the limitations that their clients have, thus coming up with solutions that are tailored for each and every collaborator.

    Brocoders

    Brocoders is a development company that came together a bit over 9 years ago. The team behind this name is dedicated and entirely composed of highly-qualified people.

    Brocoders is more than a web development company — it is a family of programmers, managers, and marketing specialists that know exactly what they are doing.

    Taking a look at Brocoders’ portfolio is a rollercoaster that will surely impress anyone who sees it. It includes everything from web/mobile apps to scripts or simple websites.

    STRV

    STRV brings together more than 200 experts in the field of development. You can find them in LA, San Francisco, London, or Prague. The development firm was founded in 2004 and keeps on growing and growing.

    They offer services like UX/UI development or app testing, as well as team augmentation engagements, and more.

    STRV delivers no less than 70 apps each year and considering that they work with big, medium, and small companies all at once, this is no mean feat. They also offer eCommerce services and education programs.

    SumatoSoft

    SumatoSoft is a relatively new web development company. The small enterprise was formed in 2012 in Belarus and it’s currently working its way up to the top. SumatoSoft works with midmarket businesses and startups, but their services are promising and accessible.

    The team behind this project is dedicated and the range of solutions they offer is quite impressive given its size.  Their website includes all the necessary elements to come across as attractive to clients big and small.

    Brainvire

    Brainvire started in 2000 as a small project in South Jordan, UT. Slowly, but steadily, the firm continued to grow and it expanded throughout the world. You can now find offices across the US, India, and the UAE.

    Brainvire is specialized in eCommerce, but they also focus on web/mobile app development, game development, ERP/CRM integration, and so on.

    They use open-source frameworks instead of their own, which means you can easily check out the code yourself. The team at Brainvire uses Node.js, Python, PHP and Microsoft premium solutions.

    Brainvire currently has 11 official locations around the world, around 600 professional workers and more than 1500 successful implementations in their portfolio.

    DockYard

    DockYard has an experience of 9 years in the field of development. It started as a digital product agency back in 2010 in Boston and it continues to expand today, collaborating with popular brands among which we can name Netflix, Harvard, Apple, and WNYC.

    Their dev team is known for their skills in Ember, Elixir, and Phoenix, and the firm caters to all sorts of clients nationwide.

    The DockYard website impresses with its down-to-earth yet futuristic aesthetics thanks to its interesting imagery and inviting color scheme.

    AndPlus

    AndPlus was founded in 2009 and has a current team of more than 30 engineers and software architects and UI/UX developers. The company is one of the best for those who seek IoT, web, or mobile design services.

    They always offer first-class technology to their clients and they are renowned for how well they communicate, which is clearly apparent to anyone visiting their website for the first time.

    Spiral Scout

    Spiral Scout is a web development company that excels at creating eCommerce websites. They can also help businesses write eLearning software or build educational games for various purposes.

    If you have a lot of data to structure, Spiral Scout should be your go-to. Compared to other development firms out there, the team at Spiral Scout can handle a larger variety of tasks, including CMS, DAM, assessment, scrapping, and others.

    RebelDot

    RebelDot was founded in 2008 in Romania. Their offices are located in Cluj-Napoca and Oradea. The team gathers together 38 specialists in UX and UI design.

    Their main target is represented by midmarket businesses in the IT sector, but is not limited to these. RebelDot collaborates with organizations for creating custom-crafted software in plenty of industries.

    This website development company makes great use of imagery and color on their website to emphasize their creativity and outspoken edginess.

    Fingent Corp

    Fingent Corp is a web development company in NY that has two additional offices in Dubai and India. They deal with web and mobile application development, SaaS, IoT development, and ESD.

    They accept collaborations with businesses in any given industry or technology area. Fingent Corp collaborated with more than 150 businesses to this day, some being part of the Fortune 500.

    Fingent Corp pulled out all the stops in their website design to leave a powerful impression on their visitors.

    ImageX

    ImageX was founded in 2001 in Vancouver and they quickly became a strong competitor among web development companies. They opened another center in Ukraine and they are now well-established, managing over 40 employees.

    ImageX is specialized in Drupal development, being exclusive to it since 2006. The open-source CMS is their specialty and this seems to be a highly-appreciated feature for those who seek complex Drupal solutions for their companies.

    DigitalEchidna

    Digital Echidna is headquartered in Canada and their team numbers 60 people. They have almost 20 years of experience, which is nothing to be scoffed at.

    They offer both web design and digital strategy services, which makes them a perfect candidate for those businesses that want the full package included. They also rely on open-source technology like Drupal.

    UrbanInsight

    Urban Insight is a small digital design agency with around 20 employees. The company is going strong on the market since 1997, completing no less than 500 projects for their big and small clients.

    They can handle CMS services and projects that are based on popular open-source frameworks like Drupal.

    Their homepage is simple and to-the-point,and it packs one heck of a punch!

    IndiaNIC

    Unlike other web development firms presented in this list, IndiaNIC helps companies tell their stories through amazing websites. They focus on the experience people get from a website, making the best out of their programming and web design experience of years and years.

    They use their strong expertise in PHP, .NET, Java, and others to put together their beautiful projects. IndiaNIC has delivered around 8,000 projects to this day, in all industries you can think of.

    Zealous System

    Zealous System has considerable experience in mobile app development for both iOS and Android. They make use of the latest technologies in the industry. To name a few, the team behind Zealous System uses Xamarin, Ionic and React Native like a charm.

    Their portfolio section is certainly something to take inspiration from, with a beautiful and detailed breakdown of some of their best projects to date.

    Konstant Info solutions

    Konstant Info solutions started their story in 2003 and have increased their team up to 170 members till now. The team consists of IT professionals that excel at development solutions and consulting services.

    The biggest clients they’ve worked with are Wonder Cement, Volkswagen, RawBank, Nestle, NASSCOM, and many others.

    Blue Fountain Media

    Blue Fountain Media can handle B2B, B2C, Enterprise, eCommerce, Education, NGO projects and more. The company ensures that any project that goes through its gates is treated with the utmost professionalism, offering foolproof results in terms of increased traffic, enhanced brand loyalty, new leads and so on.

    Dark Bears

    Dark Bears has a staff of more than 70 professionals and they focus on web development and advanced computing. What’s different about this company is that it can successfully complete projects that involve blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, IoT, or system programming.

    ValueCoders

    ValueCoders is one of the few web development companies that focus entirely on offshore software services. They have more than 12 years of experience in this industry and they bring together 450 employees for their projects.

    They work with all types of clients that desire a stress-free IT outsourcing experience. Although they pride themselves on affordable services, they didn’t skimp on the design of their website, which features a comprehensive homepage created to the highest of standards.

    Rightpoint

    Rightpoint helps clients thrive in their market by leveraging data to inform strategy, adopting agile processes to increase speed to market, approaching customer and employee experiences like a product that is forever beta, and designing impactful experiences that ladder up to their brand promise and vision.

    WillowTree

    Driven by a simple goal, they amaze clients by delivering high-quality digital products that solve their business needs and ensuring the projects run smoothly, strategically and predictably.

    Hedgehog lab

    Hedgehog lab is a global product consultancy, specializing as mobile app designers and developers with offices in UK, USA, Europe & India.

    Emerge

    Through every stage of the product life cycle, Emerge is a brain-trust dedicated to forward-thinking, creating value for their clients and the customers they serve, building digital products people love and use.

    WDG – Web Development Group

    Web Development Group, is an award-winning web design & development company in Washington, DC. WDG is recognized for its amazing website experiences built on WordPress and Drupal.

    STX Next

    Based in Poland, STX Next, Python development company employs a total of over 300 professionals including UX designers, automatic QA testers and communication experts ensuring smooth cooperation with their partners. With over 14 years of experience under their belt, provides full-stack development services to clients across all industries.

    Dev Technosys

    Dev Technosys is an ISO 9001:2008 certified Web/Mobile App Development Company, commenced in the year 2010. In their 9+ years of experience, they have continually delivered modern technology solutions that have strengthened the enterprise’s technical infrastructure and helped them lead in their business Domain.

    SimbirSoft

    In 2001, four engineers who were passionate about programming founded SimbirSoft. Due to their professionalism and high goals they set for themselves and the company, SimbirSoft has evolved from a small team to a global enterprise.

    Yalantis

    Yalantis was born two months after the App Store, in 2008. Since that time, they’ve made their way from a small agency focusing merely on iPhones to a solid full-stack web and mobile design and development company.

    Sunscrapers

    Sunscrapers, an experienced team of developers who provide leaders with technical expertise tailored to support their business objectives.

    Sloboda Studio

    If you specialize in e-commerce, want to start a blog, an online community or your website needs CMS, then an ideal solution for you is a database-driven web application with RoR. The outstanding team of the Ruby on Rails agency is made up of top QA specialists, brilliant RoR experts, and detail-oriented project managers.

    INOXOFT

    Inoxoft is an IT outsourcing company based in Lviv, Ukraine. They partner with small and midsize businesses, they have wide experience in the Web, Cloud, and Mobile software solutions.

    Railwaymen

    This company service includes developing innovative and comprehensive software solutions based on business requirements and its analysis as well as consulting the technology aspects of each project. This company provides mentoring for popular companies with successful exits and awarded for instance by TechCrunch and 500 startups.

    Radixweb

    Radixweb is a hub of eerie minds keen for desired accomplishment; stirred by technology to reinvent possibilities. Future-proof your IT projects for new-age customer demands. Be it a new software product or re-engineering legacy application, Radixweb mold technologies bringing the right value to your idea.

    Shakuro

    Since 2006, Shakuro has built outstanding web and mobile applications for businesses of every size in every industry. They bring strategic and technical expertise, progressive design, and a personal touch to every project.

    Planet Argon

    Planet Argon, From a one-man shop in a Portland apartment in 2002 to the agency it is today,. This helping companies with existing Ruby on Rails web applications make them better and more maintainable.

    Postlight

    Postlight is a team of creative technologists working together to build great digital platforms for their clients and for the world. The team is made up of product strategists, designers, and engineers, who share the knowledge and experience necessary to ship high-quality new products on time.

    Scopic Software

    US-based Scopic Software is a leading authority in quality, economical custom solutions for web, mobile, and desktop. Founded in 2006, Scopic now has over 200 team members spread all over the world.

    Tintash

    Tintash is a tech design and dev studio where talented, skilled and experienced teams are led by Stanford University, Apple, and Paypal Alumni. It all started in 2007 with a breakfast at Hobee’s Palo Alto.

    Hashrocket

    Hashrocket, a world-class, user-centered design, and development company has brought hundreds of applications to life since 2008. With the expert team of designers, developers, and consultants work with an array of different technologies and industries to build amazing things for amazing people.

    BairesDev

    BairesDev has been the #1 fastest growing outsourcing company in Latin America for the last 4 years. With over 800 expert developers, BairesDev is expanding operations to the rest of the globe without changing its mission: harnessing the untapped IT talent in Latin America and becoming the region’s biggest outsourcing company.

    Ending thoughts on the Web Development Company Websites Showcase

    The list is long, the options are numerous, the decision is hard to make —we know. But one thing is sure, web development represents the future and the more companies focus on it, the faster this industry will grow.

    The web development company you choose should be tailored to your needs and requirements to ensure the greatest success for your software product, be it a website or an app.

    This collection is meant to give you some idea of what a good web development company looks like and what are the key aspects you should keep in mind when choosing one: the team’s experience, their portfolio, their main focus, and their various specialties. Hopefully, this article will help you make a wiser choice.

    If you enjoyed reading this article about web development company, you should read these as well:

    The post Web Development Company Websites That Look Great appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.


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    Learn how to become a clinical nurse specialist. Research the education requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career as a clinical nurse specialist.

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    This post was originally published on Feb. 2, 2016, and was updated on August 26, 2019.

    When you hear the terms “metadata” and “open graph,” are they foreign to you? If so, you’re in the right place. Why? If you want to get found online, and have your stuff shared the right way on Facebook and other social media sites, understanding how social meta tags work is essential.

    The social platforms we all know and love have ever-changing algorithms, and you have to do all you can to get a leg up on your competition.

    That’s why keeping your social pages optimized for search engines is so important.

    So let’s break things down, and get you found online!

    First up, what is metadata?

    Metadata is information about a piece of content. Metadata is used to describe a blog or a website or give information about a piece of content within it.

    For example, the information contained in a page’s metadata is frequently used to generate the snippets that are used when other sites are taking excerpts of a blog post or a website page. Other types of metadata may describe the length of a piece of content or what language it’s written in.

    Metadata (literally “data about data”) tells search engines and other systems that consume content useful information about what that content contains.

    When a user searches for specific keywords and phrases, the results also typically show descriptions related to the search inquiry. If your website is cool enough to show up in the search results, the viewer will probably see your site’s name embedded with a link to the site. Underneath that link is the site description. That’s an example of metadata, too.

    Google Search Results Interior Designer Cedar Rapids
    Meta description in a search for “interior designer + cedar rapids”

    Metadata + social media

    When you share a link to your blog on Facebook and LinkedIn, a description pulled from your site’s metadata generally populates as a preview to the site. Facebook, in particular, uses highly structured metadata called “open graph tags” or “OG tags” so it knows what metadata to use when sharing a link to your blog or website.

    Related: Meta tags and the head section of a website

    What is open graph?

    As Facebook explains, open graph is a set of rules/protocol it created to control “how your content appears on Facebook.”

    “Without these tags, the Facebook Crawler uses internal heuristics to make a best guess about the title, description, and preview image for your content.”

    However, by using open graph tags, you can ensure that your content shows up the way you want it to on the platform.

    On your website, you can insert these social meta tags into the head of an HTML page, and change how your titles, images, descriptions, and more look when a page is shared from your site to Facebook.

    Example Facebook Metadata Yoast SEO
    Have a WordPress website? The Yoast SEO plugin includes a field for Facebook and Twitter metadata. Simply enter the requested information and the data will appear properly in those social sites.

    Some examples of open graph tags include:

    1. URL of the page
      <meta property=”og:url” content=”” />
    2. Content type
      <meta property=”og:type” content=”article” />
    3. Title of the page/article/blog post
      <meta property=”og:title” content=”” />
    4. Description of the page/contents of the article or blog post
      <meta property=”og:description” content=” ” />
    5. This is where you add a link to the image you want used when a user shares your page on Facebook
      <meta property=”og:image” content=” ” />

    Here’s how it looks in practice:

    Open Graph New York Times Tag Example
    Image: The New York Times on Facebook

    With the above example, the open graph tags might look like this:

    <meta property=”og:url” content=”https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/29/science/meteor-shower-delta-aquarids.html” />
    <meta property=”og:type” content=”article” />
    <meta property=”og:title” content=”Southern Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower Will Peak in Night Skies” />
    <meta property=”og:image” content=”https://static01.nyt.com/images/2017/08/09/science/00METEORSHOWER-deltaquariids/00METEORSHOWER-deltaquariids-superJumbo.jpg?quality=90&auto=webp” />

    Facebook has published a more complete list of open graph tags it uses. At the bottom of the page, Facebook also explains to website developers and bloggers how to test whether or not their open graph social meta tags are working correctly.

    As recently as July 22, 2019, Statista reported that Facebook is still the most popular social media platform. Therefore, if you are hoping your stuff will be shared on social media, it’s important to include open graph tags so your website shows up the way you want it to.

    Do social shares really help your rank on Google and other search engines?

    That’s a complicated question. Google uses many factors to determine where web pages rank, and one of them is user engagement with a URL. Another one of Google’s most important factors is user intent — it wants to provide the best answers in the best order for people searching for things online.

    While Google has said that social media is not a direct SEO ranking factor, there’s evidence that the “correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high,” according to Searchmetrics.

    It stands to reason that if your content is getting shared a lot on social media, leading to engagement and click throughs, search engines will start to notice that the public finds your content interesting. This could give your page an indirect boost in the search rankings.

    That’s why it’s so important to make sure your content is showing up the right way on Facebook.

    The better your content looks, the more likely it will be noticed by Facebook users, who will, perhaps, engage with your website.

    To generate even more notice, it’s also a smart move to optimize your other social media pages with metadata related to your blog or website. In other words, add your meta description to all of your social profiles. How? Read on to find out.

    Related: SEO for business — A collection of resources

    How to optimize your social media metadata

    By now you know that social media is a great platform to get the word out about your website. Optimizing your social media metadata makes it easier for search engines to find those profile pages, too. Here’s what to think about.

    Let’s say your blog is a fashion review site. Every one of your social media pages that is dedicated to your blog needs to have the words “fashion review” in the description. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn give you a description area to say what your page is about.

    Facebook

    Though we covered open graph tags above, you can further optimize your Facebook business page as well. Simply add a description in the page’s “About” section. Copy and paste your page’s meta description in the area for a “short description.”

    Related: How to use Facebook for your business

    Instagram

    You can post your meta description in the bio section. It will appear at the top of your profile.

    Be sure to fill out the “website” portion of your profile, as this is currently the only spot on Instagram where you can post a clickable link to your site for pages with less than 10,000 followers.

    GoDaddy Instagram Bio

    The exception to the 10,000 followers link rule is adding a link to IGTV. Marketing & Online Business Guru Elise Darma posted this YouTube video explaining how you can add links to IGTV so you can share links without meeting Instagram’s followers requirement. For the rest of us, we’ll have to rely on Instagram’s bio section for our link juice.

    Related: Ultimate Instagram guide for your small business

    Twitter

    You should also add your meta description to the bio section of your business’s Twitter profile. Modify your description to fit if you run short on characters, but be sure to retain your keywords.

    For optimizing your Twitter metadata even further, ilearn about Twitter Cards. They are similar to open graph social meta tags on Facebook, but not as advanced. Still, every edge helps, right?

    Here is an example of a Twitter Card to give you an idea of how they look on Twitter. This one is what Twitter calls a Summary Card as it features an image and text, effectively summarizing what the user will find on the web page if they click through:

    Twitter Example Summary Card
    Image: Twitter Developer Pages
    The more specific you are in the description, the better.

     

    General searches will always show the most popular and recent activities, but to really guarantee that the viewers you want on your page will see them, get a little more specific.

    If you have a site dedicated to the hottest and newest Cadillacs, for example, you want to include the word “Cadillacs” in the meta description. “Car website” isn’t going to cut it. “Car website devoted to Cadillacs” — much better.

    Related: 4 essential Twitter tips for businesses

    Go public for greater visibility

    Although it might feel like you need to have a popular page to get noticed, popularity is only one piece of the puzzle. Another important factor in optimizing your social media profile is to make the page setting public.

    Most search engines won’t display results for private pages.

     

    If you have to “approve” a follower, you’re telling the search engines you don’t really want to be found.

    Tailgate on trends

    You can gain even greater visibility by posting about trending topics.

    Let’s say you wrote a post about Taylor Swift. In a twist of fate (or luck), the media has been covering Taylor all day and sharing all those news articles and videos all over social media. Now’s a good time to post a link to your blog post so you can take advantage of that traffic.

    Popular references can draw potential followers to your pages.

    And, that will tell the search engines your website is relevant to searches about that subject.

    It’s OK to post about trending topics even if your blog or website isn’t directly related to a particular subject — just don’t overdo it. No one likes posts that bait and switch, promising one thing and delivering something totally different.

    Related: How Google Trends can help you find your next customer

    Searching within social sites

    Search isn’t limited to traditional search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. You can search for topic-specific websites and blogs within various social media platforms.

    Remember that fashion review site I mentioned? If someone searches for “fashion review” in Facebook, they’ll get pages that contain the words “fashion review” in the description plus articles, blog posts and images that have those keywords in the social media metadata.

    This is a prime opportunity to get new viewers onto your site’s social media pages, and eventually onto your blog or website.

    Now what?

    Optimization of your social media pages isn’t difficult, but taking the time to do it for your pages will significantly improve the number of page views your site sees in a given month.

    Need some help? Give the experts at GoDaddy Social a call.

    The post What you need to know about open graph tags and other social media metadata appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Transparent dialogue on equal pay and compensation is a crucial foundation for equality efforts. Having the courage to look at your own data and dig into it with the intention to learn takes guts and can make a difference.

    Publicly sharing your strengths, shortcomings and solutions is what it takes to improve our industry and advance equality in the workplace.

    I reflect on the courage many companies have demonstrated in the last few years opening their people data to transparently show what is working and what needs work. For me, this work is a continuation of a long history of equality efforts, not the least of which took place 99 years ago with a group of brave women fighting for their right to be heard and be counted.

    Inspired by pioneers in human rights equality

    Women’s Equality Day Picture of Equal Suffrage League of Richmond
    Equal Suffrage League of Richmond, Va., February 1915
    Image: Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain

    August 18, 2019, marked the 99th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote and hold public office. The path to this amendment was paved by courage and resilience, beginning with a peaceful civil rights movement at the world’s first women’s rights convention in 1848. Decades later, in 1973, Congress designated August 26 as “Women’s Equality Day” to commemorate this milestone in U.S. history, calling attention to the continuing fight for equality.

    Here at GoDaddy, we’re inspired by these human rights pioneers.

     

    We strive to be a great place to work for all of our employees and we’re honored to be one of the nation’s top places to work for women in technology.

    It is our goal to ensure we treat all of our employees with consistency and fairness, although our work doesn’t stop there.

    We continue our pursuit through transparency, equal pay, equitable promotion paths and a constant effort to ensure a forward-thinking workplace for everyone.

    Laying it all out on the table

    In 2015, we became one of the first technology companies to share gender pay data with the world when our then-CEO took the stage at the Grace Hopper Conference.

    We believed, and still believe, that by measuring and sharing our data we can both drive change and continue to improve.

    As a Leonard Cohen song that I hold dear puts it, “Forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” It was our turn to shed a light in the dark corners to see what we could find. It was scary — and we believe both uncomfortable and very worth it.

    Our 2015 diversity and pay data highlighted progress, but also gave us good insight into potential problem areas.

    We found that we paid our men and women nearly the same.

     

    On average for non-technical roles, for every $1 a man earned, his female counterpart in a similar role earned $1.01. For our technical employees, women were paid one cent less than their male counterparts and female managers were making 96 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned.

    However, when we reviewed the data from additional angles, we noticed that women were not being promoted at the same rate as their male counterparts.

    And with that discovery, we dug in to focus on what we could do about it.

    Fighting for fair promotion paths and careers

    Female GoDaddy Employee Smiling at Whiteboard

    Our learnings that first year were a crucial piece in laying out a blueprint for our future equality and diversity initiatives.

    Following the results, we set out to learn how we could improve. In 2016, we focused on reducing unconscious bias in our people processes. We partnered with Stanford’s Clayman Institute for Gender Research to refine how we evaluate performance at GoDaddy. This helped us to create consistent and specific behavioral criteria aligned to key qualities most central to performance. We also experimented with how we identify qualified candidates for promotion consideration.

    The work has been paying off.

    Many of the process changes we made became fundamental to how we organically produce pay parity for employees.

    We saw promotion rates for women and minorities grow significantly, while men’s promotion rates held steady.

    In fact, by 2017, we saw 50% of our promotions to vice president and above going to women.

    In 2018, 33% of senior leaders at GoDaddy were women.

    The positive changes we saw in 2017 and 2018 were a direct result of the improvements we introduced in 2016 to proactively identify qualified internal candidates, so that no one is overlooked for a promotion. Not all employees recognize or know how to advocate when they are ready for a promotion. We felt it was important to make sure no one was forgotten and that we’re all seen for the merit of our work and reviewed with equal consideration.

    When we decided to share our learnings about compensation, what we ultimately uncovered led us to refine and overhaul our career progression paths.

    Even if the experiment had not yielded successful results, it was worth it to try because that is how we create change.

    As employers hell-bent on improvement, we owe it to our people to rethink antiquated processes that don’t produce equality and inspire them to do their best work and advance their careers.

    Since our early years reviewing our data, experimenting and sharing our learnings, we’ve continued to focus on this important work.

    In 2018, we increased the total population of women at the company from 26% to 29% of the total workforce. We’ve also expanded our analysis to include ethnicity. In 2018, we found that minorities comprised 32% of GoDaddy’s workforce population, on par with 2017.

    Culture matters

    We believe our culture is a catalyst for inclusion and it is felt in our hallways and even in our conference calls.

    Across the globe, we turn on our cameras and connect face to face. We see each other and are here for each other.

    We care deeply about each other and encourage our folks to express themselves and be heard.

     

    If we look at data from our employees in our last employee engagement survey, GoDaddy Voice, we find many statistics that make us proud. Nearly 90% of our employees feel their manager creates an environment that allows them to be themselves at work. In fact, our top 10 items from our survey usually center around a culture of trust, respect, the ability to express ourselves freely, and to be a part of a team that makes a difference.

    And, if it isn’t already abundantly clear, let me say that we pursue this important work for our employees — and for our customers.

    Like many companies out there, we know that a more diverse team best serves our diverse customers.

    With 19 million awesome customers, it would be a disservice to not serve them with a team as diverse as they are.

    Looking back to see ahead

    Currently at GoDaddy, we’re proud to say that we don’t treat diversity and equal pay as one-off programs — they are woven into our people processes and company culture. We aren’t afraid of transparency and there is still much work to do.

    Women’s Equality Day is a strong reminder of the strides we’ve made as a company, the strides we’ve seen across our industry, as well as the work that still remains. This fall, we’ll be releasing our 2019 data report and we look forward to the next 99 years of progress, together.

    The post Women’s Equality Day: How GoDaddy bridges the equality gap appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    This post was originally published on Nov. 29, 2017, and was updated on Aug. 26, 2019.

    Maybe you have a small business and you’d like to generate more traffic. Perhaps your business is booming, and you’d like to have more of an online presence. Or, it could just be that you have a very strong opinion about why kiwi-flavored meatloaf should be a “thing,” and you want to connect with like-minded individuals. Whatever your reason, you’ve decided to start a blog, but you’re not sure where to start. After all, if you’re going to invest time and effort into blogging, you want to make sure you learn how to design a blog that converts into actual leads.

    Don’t worry — blogging for your venture doesn’t have to be rocket science or brain surgery. Anyone can learn how to design a blog that converts with the right tools, knowledge, and just a little elbow grease.

    Related: How to write a great blog post

    First things first

    Assuming you don’t already have a website, start by choosing your platform.

    For this, I highly recommend you use WordPress.

    First off, it’s free (music to any small business owner’s ears), although you will need to pay for hosting. WordPress is also a great way to let you design a website when you’re not a website designer. The number of available themes and plugins are vast. And, because WordPress is open source, the support community is huge as well.

    GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting makes starting and designing your own WordPress blog easier.

    Managed WordPress features a Quick Start Wizard, pre-built themes, core software updates, daily backups and 24/7 support. This means the bulk of behind-the-scenes work is done for you. You can simply focus on writing a blog that converts … without worrying about how to configure everything.

    WordPress was designed from the very beginning as a personal publishing tool, and as such yields itself extremely well to blogging. You also have a nearly unlimited library of articles, advice, themes, and other tools that have already been created for WordPress at your fingertips.

    Related: How to build a WordPress website for the first time

    How to design a blog that converts

    Now that you’re set up with a WordPress site, let’s take a look at some of the main features that will help ensure your site attracts users (and converts them into customers).

    Every “expert” has their own set of tips and tricks; however, most successful blogs all have several things in common.

    1. Choose a clean layout.
    2. Responsiveness is key.
    3. Include a call-to-action.
    4. Content is relevant to the discussion.
    5. Categorize and search.
    6. Make friends with SEO.
    7. Measure success.

    Start with these ideas as a guideline and you’ll be well on your way.

    1. Choose a clean layout

    No one likes a website that is so busy and distracting they can’t find basic information. A user arrives at a site for one reason: information.

    Whether they came to your site specifically or arrived via a search or other redirect, they’re looking for something.

    If you want your blog to convert users, you must make the information the are seeking easy to locate.

     

    Here are a few pointers:

    • Stick to simple color schemes (usually only two or three colors) and clean graphics.
    • Don’t go crazy with fonts; most good websites use only one or two.
    • Keep your navigation easy to see and intuitive to use. Your menu names should be clear and make it easy for your visitors to find what they’re looking for.
    • While strategic use of videos and animations/transitions can be sleek, avoid their overuse. A single, well-placed video can increase your conversions, but covering your home page with them will just prove distracting. Consider using clear, relevant images in place of videos or sliders.
    • Make sure your navigation is clear and easy to find. All menu items should be simply named and all links and buttons have an obvious purpose.

    Other simple design features can help increase your conversions, and you can find more conversion tips in this easy-to-follow guide.

    Related: 11 web design trends to watch in 2019

    How To Design A Blog Artist Covered In Paint
    Photo: Alice Achterhof on Unsplash

    2. Responsiveness is key

    Responsiveness refers to a website’s ability to look good on any device or at any screen size.

    A responsive site will look just as good on a mobile phone or tablet as it does on a desktop monitor.

    By 2018, over half (58%) of website visits were from some sort of mobile device instead of a traditional desktop. More and more users are visiting websites from their phones and tablets.

    If you want to effectively explore how to design a blog that converts, a responsive website is essential.

    Fortunately, there are hundreds of responsive themes available for WordPress. Starting with a responsive theme will help ensure your site looks good for as many potential customers as possible.

    Check your site on several different screen sizes to make sure your content still looks good no matter what the device.

    Related: Responsive web design tutorial

    3. Include a call-to-action

    When someone visits your blog, you want to encourage them to take the next step. Whether you want them to sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase, or join as a member, you need to make the process easy and clear.

    Make the next step easy and clear for your visitors by placing a CTA above the fold, with a link to the desired page. This will drive your user to act.

    The best way to do this is with a call-to-action (CTA).

    Be sure to place it above the fold — meaning the user sees it on the initial page without having to scroll. A single click should put the user right where you want them.

    A good CTA will include just a little information (usually a headline and small blurb) and a clear button or link to the desired section or page. Avoid using verbose language or confusing graphics or colors in your CTAs; you want the user to ACT, not to get distracted.

    Related: 8 costly call-to-action mistakes you’re making on your website

    4. Content is relevant to the discussion

    Everyone has something to say, a unique perspective to offer or advice to give. So far, we’ve discussed mostly design and setup concerns.

    However, if you want to design a WordPress blog that will be relevant, you need to focus the most on your content.

    The best blogs are those that are updated frequently and present relevant information in an enjoyable, easy-to-read format.

    The style of your writing may depend most on your desired target audience, but make sure it’s well-written.

    Re-read, proof, and edit your blog posts before you publish them.

     

    Few things are more annoying than poorly written blog articles pumped full of choppy sentences and poor grammar. Before you dive in, create a list of ideas and topics that you could write about and keep it handy. Add to it when inspiration strikes, and refer to it when you feel “stuck.”

    Another factor in keeping your blog relevant is to post new content frequently. Users who return to your website often to read new posts are more likely to convert.

    If you feel the urge to write several posts in one sitting, utilize the “schedule” feature for WordPress posts. Instead of publishing several articles at once, you can schedule them to be automatically posted at future dates/times. This spreads out your new content and contributes to the “freshness” of your blog.

    Your own content is always best. However, feel free to reference or point back to other posts or articles of interest to you. Keep in mind the following guidelines if you do:

    1. Make sure the post you’re referencing is relevant to your blog/audience.
    2. Give credit where credit is due; tell people it’s a reference to content you didn’t create and include an appropriate link to the original author.
    3. Avoid re-posting articles in their entirety. Paraphrase or reference the original and post a link, but don’t copy and paste the entire post.

    Related: Guide to writing a search-friendly blog article

    5. Categorize and search

    How To Design A Blog Magnifying Glass
    As you get the hang of how to design a blog — and it starts to grow — you’ll need an easy way for potential customers to find the information they seek. Skimming through titles is easy when you only have three articles posted. But what happens when your blog extends to 30 posts? Or 150? Or 1,500?

    Smart blog design with categories

    Enter the wonderful world of categories.

    Adding categories for your blog posts is a fast and easy way to direct your users to the topics of their choice.

    You can display categories on a sidebar, and a single click will direct the user to the articles that match the criteria.

    With the ability to cross-categorize (i.e., a single article can appear in more than one category), having a large number of blog posts is suddenly much more manageable.

    When using categories on your blog, keep in mind the same guidelines we discussed with navigation.

    • Make sure your categories are easy to find and use.
    • Use category names that clearly represent what they point to. If your categories have names like “Category 3” or “General Stuff”, they won’t be useful to your visitors.
    • Keep your categories somewhat broad.
    Example Categories GoDaddy Blog
    Example of categories on the GoDaddy Blog

    Tag, you’re it

    What if you want to offer a more specific group for your users? This is where you would use taxonomies (or “tags”). Think of these as “keywords” for your articles.

    For example, you could have a main category on your blog for “Music.” If a visitor clicked this category, they would see posts about all music. If you wanted to allow a narrower search (for example, only posts about “reggae”), you would use a tag.

    You can tag posts with as many keywords as you want, regardless of the category.

     

    You might create a post about Memphis in your “Travel” category, but not want to include it in the “Music” category. Adding a tag of “blues” would still allow music lovers to find the post easily.

    Tag Example GoDaddy Blog Post
    Example of tags on the GoDaddy blog

    Make search simple

    Another critical element for your blog is the search box.

    Any customer not finding the information they want within the first several seconds is likely to start looking for that little magnifying glass.

    WordPress offers a built-in search that will automatically search the entire site — blog posts included. Adding that search box to your blog is a fast, simple and effective way to ensure your users can find articles and information easily.

    6. Make friends with SEO

    Ahh, the dreaded topic of search engine optimization (SEO) … such a daunting and complex-sounding task. SEO refers to the practice of adjusting your website to be friendly to search engine ranking requirements — and hopefully raising your position in the search engine results in the process.

    While this is an ever-changing and evolving area, there are some basic items you can address to make your site more SEO-friendly. Fortunately, WordPress makes these tasks easy as well, and you don’t have to be a marketing genius to optimize your site effectively.

    Use permalinks

    Start by using pretty permalinks. This feature simply adjusts how your page URLs (the “permanent links”) are displayed to the user. Instead of seeing a link with a post number, like this:

    http://example.com/?p=104

    … your user sees the name of the page instead:

    http://example.com/?p=about-us

    This not only makes more sense to the customer, but the search engines like it better as well.

    Set this up BEFORE you begin blogging!

     

    If you have already created content and change your permalinks, the links to all your previously created pages and posts will change. If search engines have already started indexing this content, users who attempt to visit the old link will receive an error page instead of your post.

    Leverage the parent page structure

    Another easy SEO tip is to make use of the built-in “parent page” structure in WordPress.

    For example, let’s say you have a page called Dogs. You also have specific pages for Labradors, Poodles and Greyhounds. By setting Dogs as the parent page, you essentially organize your website for the user.

    This kind of tiered structure — as opposed to flat URLs — is beneficial for SEO.

    More blog SEO tips

    Other simple tips include:

    • Making sure all images have title/alt tags specified.
    • Using an SSL certificate on your website.
    • Making sure you’re targeting appropriate keywords.

    It also bears repeating that responsiveness is a big deal, as it has a HUGE effect on SEO.

    Mobile-friendly websites generally rank much higher on search engine results than their non-responsive counterparts.

    We have plenty more SEO tips and strategies if you really want to dive into the subject in depth.

    Related: Blog SEO tips and tricks

    7. Measure success

    So, you learned how to design a blog, set up all the correct features and elements, and you’ve published your posts. How do you know if any of this is helping? How do you know if all your efforts to design a blog that converts were successful?

    There are several metrics you can use to assess changes, but one of the most useful is Google Analytics.

    Adding a simple script to your website allows this tool to track the traffic patterns on your website and offer insights into trends and potential issues.

    Whether your business is new or has been around for years, everyone can benefit from a clear website and clean blog. Now that you have reviewed the basics, it’s time to throw on your thinking cap, site down behind your keyboard, and start writing!

    Related: How to use Google Analytics

    The post How to design a blog that converts appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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    Medical billing and coding clerks are responsible for interpreting the information on a patient's chart and generating invoices using the corresponding codes from insurance companies. Find out how you can become a medical billing and coding clerk, the courses and training required, and the available certification options.

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    If you’re running a brick-and-mortar or service area business, you know the importance of local search. After all, consumers usually search the web for products or services near them when they’re close to making a purchase. A high-quality online business listing can help you reach customers in your area, but setting one up can be daunting.

    

    The Google My Business listing feature in GoDaddy Website Builder

    We know you’re busy running your business, so we have all you need in one neat package with the Google My Business (GMB) listings service.

    The GMB listings service offers a way to boost visibility for your business by displaying your hours, phone number and location in Google Search and Maps results.

    This website builder tool allows users to create and manage their GMB listings at no extra charge and without complicated add-ons.

    Google My Business Listing GoDaddy Website Builder Dashboard
    Create and manage your GMB listings right from the Website Builder dashboard.

    The Google My Business listing feature makes it easier for local consumers to find your business via Google Web Search and Google Maps, and even improves your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) ranking.

    Related: 10 local marketing ideas for connecting with customers in your city

    Who’s it for?

    If you’re looking to attract local customers without spending a lot of time or expense, our Google My Business listing service feature is for you. It’s available in the Business Plus and Online Store plans for customers within the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada (English).

    What problem does it solve?

    While most entrepreneurs recognize the importance of local search, many may not be aware that they can set up a Google My Business listing for their business.

    Setting up the listing can be tricky and keeping the information accurate can be time-consuming.

    Most business owners’ lives are complex enough without having to learn another online tool and remember yet another password.

    Meadhall Google My Business Listing
    Consumers are searching for businesses like yours. Connecting your website to a Google My Business listing ensures that the information about your business on Google is accurate and discoverable.

    How does GoDaddy’s Google My Business Listing feature help?

    First, Website Builder will guide you through the setup process and create your Google My Business listing using the information from your website. In some markets, like the U.S., we’ll review your listing for errors or problems before submitting to Google so that it gets published faster.

    GoDaddy Website Builder Google My Business Setup Page
    Website Builder’s Google My Business listing feature guides you through the process of creating your listing.

    Once your listing is published, you’ll be able to see how many potential customers you’re reaching, monitor your rating and even reply to reviews — all from your Website Builder dashboard.

    GoDaddy Website Builder Google My Business Dashboard.
    With GoDaddy’s Google My Business listing feature, you can monitor your listing right from your Website Builder account.

    Save time and reach more customers

    Meet Scott Cooper, owner of Meadhall, a gastropub featuring craft beers and meads in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts — home to world-class universities and a thriving tech scene. Scott and his team built the Meadhall website using Website Builder. After that, they created their GMB listing in Website Builder, quickly earning a stellar 4.3-star rating.

    Meadhall GMB Listing Star Rating
    Meadhall’s Google My Business listing shows up in web and map search and is connected to its Website Builder website.

    The Google My Business feature is so easy to set up, you might not even realize it’s there. Scott’s employee, Stephanie, set it up without even realizing it while building the website. She says:

    “It was very easy. It was all step-by-step and easy to follow.”

    Now when local diners search Google for great beer in Cambridge, they’re sure to see Meadhall’s favorable reviews, as well as up-to-date information such as hours, location and website address. And chances are, many will pop over to the site to check out the menu. And hopefully, pop in for a meal. “I don’t really care if we have any visitors to our website,” says Scott. “I want visitors to our restaurant.”

    Ready to attract customers in your neck of the woods?

    Head over to Website Builder and create your Google My Business listing today to be discovered in Google Web Search and Google Maps search results. Local customers are just a few clicks away!

    The post Standout tools: Website Builder Google My Business listing feature appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.


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