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- 05/20/19--09:15: _Introducing Link Mo...
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- 05/24/19--06:30: _Create It — Buildin...
- 05/24/19--07:00: _14 useful web desig...
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- 05/20/19--09:15: Introducing Link Monitor
- Response codes
- Link URLs
- Link text
- Which content the link belongs to
- edit the link,
- unlink it from the text,
- add a nofollow tag (this tells search engines to ignore this specific link),
- or to ignore it.
- 05/23/19--18:01: RT @Farina_Travlaw: I was quite nervous about speaking at the #BarclaysTravelForum on #DiversityandInclusion in the travel industry - I’m much more used to talking about law and regulations! But the feedback I’ve received has just been so amazing - thank you so much everyone! @BarclaysCorp https://t.co/uV0DCBQ054
- 05/23/19--18:01: RT @eightfoldai: Organizations that prioritize D&I are far more innovative, collaborative, and responsive to customers. Learn about Eightfold's Diversity Analytics! https://t.co/joWqcTALVo #diversityandinclusion #AI #TalentManagement #TalentAcquisition #Recruitment #Hiring #HumanResources https://t.co/qOXpRfKnAo
- 05/24/19--06:30: Create It — Building your presence, brand and product
- Your presence is critical because your online presence is where your customers, prospects and extended community of supporters interact with you. Unless you solely have a brick-and-mortar set of interactions with your connections (that means no email, no website, no social media, no phone), your online presence literally is your connection to the rest of the world.
- Your brand is critical because your brand is a high-speed emotional shortcut to the promise you make to the world.
- Your product or service is critical because it’s how you deliver value to your customers or community. No product or service? No value.
- Dream It.
- Create It.
- Grow It.
- Manage It.
- Your domain
- Your website
- Your professional email
- Your social media presence
- Your second phone number
- Who is your target market? Who are you serving?
- What are your goals for your venture?
- What can customers achieve by partnering up with you?
- What’s the personality of your brand? (Unsure? You can take a brand personality quiz to get some ideas.)
- Adobe XD.
- Adobe Color.
- Foundation for Emails.
- 05/24/19--07:00: How to ask for testimonials and reviews from your clients
- How do you like the design and function of your new website?
- How would you rate our timeliness and responsiveness in meeting your requests?
- Would you recommend our services to others? If so, why?
Few issues are as problematic, and as easy to solve as broken links. They reduce your SEO rank, make site visitors frustrated, and lose revenue.
It’s a good thing then that you now have Link Monitor.
What is Link Monitor?
Link Monitor is a powerful broken link checker for your websites, available right from the Pro Sites dashboard. Link Monitor will check the links in all the posts and pages on a website, and give you an overview of:
You can also get an alert of anything wrong with the links, letting you act on it. We’ll get on to the benefits of this next.
What can Link Monitor do for you?
Link Monitor lets you proactively deal with broken links on your sites and client sites. It lets you solve SEO issues faster, with minimum effort.
Unresponsive or broken links are bad for SEO. One of the methods search engines use to rank websites is following each of, or, “crawling”, the links on a site. Where there are unresponsive or broken links, this can cause the crawl to error and thus stop. Not having your site fully crawled may lead to pages on your site not being indexed by the search engine, and thus ranked.
You want to make sure you don’t have broken links, and Link Monitor lets you do this.
Unresponsive or broken links also make for a really poor user experience! When a visitor clicks a link, they’re trusting you to take them to the page they’ve clicked on. If the link or unresponsive or broken it may not be your fault – if, for example, the link is on a third party site – but it undermines the trust the visitor places in your or your client’s site.
What’s more, unresponsive or broken links can lead to lost revenue. If a product, service, or checkout link is broken, visitors to your or your client’s site may not complete a planned purchase.
Link Monitor solves all of these problems for you: you’ll get automatic checks and alerts for any unresponsive or broken links on the sites you’re monitoring. This lets you deal with these proactively and avoid the issues above. You’ll avoid any negative impacts on SEO, the user experience, or revenue, and either you’ll have a better site, or your clients will love you for it.
Under the hood
Once Link Monitor is turned on, your website will go into our checking queue. It will go over all of the tag links, and check their response time and code for you. If the link response time is slow, or the response code is not 200(OK) (which indicates the link is working), Link Monitor will automatically flag the link in “Links with issues”.
You’ll get data on each link on your monitored site, with the response code (200, 404, 500, and so on), link URL, link text, and link source all available in one place.
Link Monitor will run through all the links on your monitored site once every day. In addition, whenever you publish or update a post or page on your site, Link Monitor will automatically schedule all the links on that page for a recheck.
And the best thing is that it’s completely run on our architecture, which means that the strain to your hosting will be minimal.
We’ve built this tool in-house with our development team, and have been working on it for a while. We’re delighted with the result so far, and will of course continue to make improvements over time.
Link Monitor lets you conveniently deal with broken links
All this information is no use if it doesn’t result in action, and we’ve made it easy for you to take action right from the Pro Sites dashboard.
When a link is flagged as unresponsive or broken, we’ve given you options in the dropdown menu to:
*Ignoring the link will put it back in the “All Links” tab, and the link will be tagged as “Ignored” so you can easily recognize it.
All of these options will change the links directly on your website. If you want to edit the link ‘the old-fashioned way’, we provided 2 additional options – Edit Post & Preview. This way you can edit the link though your regular editor and save the post revision in case you want to revert the changes.
On top of that we’ve added link bulk management options (bulk ignore, nofollow, unlink) and a way to export the list into a CSV file.
You can use Link Monitor today
Link Monitor is available like most of our existing Pro Sites add-ons: with simple and affordable pricing.
It costs $1/month to activate Link Monitor on one website, with bundle option at $25/mo. for up to 100 sites. This is an excellent price for the convenience, extra professionalism, and avoidance of any SEO, revenue, or user experience issues.
And in case your website runs on our Pro Managed WordPress Hosting – you’ll get this tool for free with the rest of our premium add-ons.
Head to your Pro Sites dashboard to activate Link Monitor today.
We’re always improving the Pro Sites and can’t wait to hear your thoughts on Link Monitor. Whether you want to use this right away, or have feedback or improvements to suggest, we can’t wait to hear: let us know through the ‘send feedback’ form on your Pro Sites dashboard.
You have that world-shaping idea that you’ve been dreaming about. You know where you want to go and, in your mind’s eye, you’ve sketched out the key points of the path to get there.
At this stage of the Journey, you need to create three key components to set a solid foundation for your future success: your presence, your brand and your product or service.
As entrepreneurs, we often get most enamored by our idea for our product or service. This is totally normal!
The idea is the thing that drives us. It’s our creation; it’s our baby. But having a great product or service isn’t enough by itself.
Plenty of great products never achieved their potential because the market was unaware of them, or didn‘t understand their value, or didn’t see how they were different or better than the things that were already available.
Launching the triad of presence, brand and product are all part of the Create It stage of the Journey. These three components set the foundation for all that is built and done as the Journey progresses.
The stages in the Entrepreneur Journey
As a recap, there are four distinct stages of the Entrepreneur Journey that track the path from idea to maturity of a venture:
The Create It stage of the Journey
The “Create It” phase of the Journey is the inflection point where “thinking” turns to “doing.” The Create It stage is where the initial creation of presence, brand and product takes place.
It’s important to remember that the Create It stage is a point on the Journey, and is not an end in and of itself. The path of the Journey is progressive and iterative.
In the previous article in this series on the Journey, we talked about the way that naming your idea breathes life into it. Now it’s time to take that idea and create the three things that will connect it to the world: your online presence, your brand and your product/service itself.
Creating your online presence
Before the internet and other electronic communications networks, if someone wanted to connect with a business or other venture, they had to go there in person and show up at the shop to interact. In the early days of the internet, this was still more-or-less the case, with organizations setting up their websites and people going to them via their web browsers.
With the explosion of the web, public and private social networks, online marketplaces, messaging, and other ways that humans communicate and gather online, the model has shifted and turned 180 degrees.
Instead of everyone coming to you, you need to have a presence wherever a critical mass of your community is likely to want to connect with you. At the same time, you need to have a “home base” (your domain and website) you can control.
It depends on where your customers and community are.
(Important! You don’t need to be everywhere at all times, but you do need to think about where are the right places to be now and also stake out a claim in the other places that you might want to go in the future to secure your brand there. For example, you might not choose to use Twitter today to connect with folks, but you’ll still want to at least secure your Twitter handle to both reserve it for future use if and when the time is right and also to prevent someone else from diluting your brand by taking that Twitter handle.)
5 basics elements to create an online presence
At a bare minimum, there are five things you need to create the foundation of your online presence to make sure people can find you:
While your domain and website are closely related to each other, they are different and you need both. (If you want to do a deep dive, here is everything you need to know about domain names.)
Conceptually, you can think of a domain like your street address and the website as your physical home itself. The street address (your domain) is how someone finds your location, and your website is akin to your actual home itself that exists at that address.
Like homes, websites can vary significantly in style, shape, size and purpose from one to another.
At a minimum, your domain name should represent your brand, and your website should be modern, cleanly-designed, work well, and look great both on desktop computers and mobile devices.
When setting up the foundation of your online presence, you’ll want to make sure that you are using a professional email address that is connected to your domain.
Having a professional email address is important for your brand. (We’ll talk more about branding in a bit.)
If you were a prospective customer and you received an email from a bike shop, you’re much more likely to trust the bike shop if the email comes from firstname.lastname@example.org and less likely to trust the email if it comes from email@example.com, for example.
Securing your social media names (called “handles” in some places) is important because customers, prospects and community members are now everywhere online.
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other networks are now the public square, and you need to have a presence there as well.
Where possible, try to get handles on the major social networks and have those handles match your domain name.
That way, your community can find you no matter where they are or, at a minimum, you prevent imposters from grabbing your name out from under you and diluting or impersonating your brand.
Similar to having a professional email address, part of your professional presence includes having a second, dedicated phone number for your venture, instead of giving out your personal number.
The reasons for this are twofold:
First, for credibility and trust reasons, you want to have a dedicated contact number that is for your venture. (This prevents the situation when you’re expecting a call from your sibling and the phone rings and you answer with “Hey, what’s up?” only to find out with a blast of adrenaline that it’s your largest, and very straight-laced, client on the other end of the line. Awkward.)
Second, you just don’t want to give out your personal number for privacy and security reasons.
Thankfully, it’s really easy to get a second number these days; you can just add one to your existing mobile phone via a second phone number app.
Creating your brand
Your brand connects the core of what you’re promising to deliver to your customers to a set of triggers that remind the customer of that promise.
Brand promise vs. brand reality
A portion of creating your brand is the colors and fonts and look of those interactions. A unique and distinctive visual branding provides a shortcut that reminds a customer of that promise every time they are exposed to the brand across various media.
More than the brand promise, however, is the importance of the brand reality — that is, the experience that customers have when they actually interact with you.
During the Create It phase, you set the tone for the first interactions with your venture — your brand — and those interactions and how they made them feel are what customers will share with others when they are asked about your brand.
As you create your brand, you also have some decisions to make.
As you develop your brand during the Create It phase, you are creating the visual, mental and experiential model that will exist in your customers’ consciousness.
This model is the proxy for what customers believe you stand for, and what emotions your venture evokes when customers are exposed to it.
Creating your product or service
During the Dream It stage, you likely had a raft of ideas about your product or service. The Create It stage of the Journey is where you fashion its first versions and get it in front of customers.
In many cases, physical objects can now be prototyped quickly either at home or via third-party services and presented to prospective customers for feedback.
Here’s a real-world example: I was recently at a gathering and started speaking with one of the other attendees, David, who described himself as a “part-time inventor.” David said he was currently working on a new way to rapidly create buildings and other structures for disaster recovery and other uses based on a new type of building block that he had designed.
The building blocks were a completely new design of the cinder blocks we have all seen. Instead of carrying around 35-pound bricks, however, he simply ran out to his car and came back with a shoebox filled with miniature samples of his design that were the size of LEGO that he had printed using a low-cost 3D printer to conceptually show how the system worked. It was very compelling.
Like David, as you create the first iterations of your product or service, you are looking to quickly get something in front of customers to gather their feedback and hone the idea.
Your product is not going to solve every problem right out of the gate, and it’s better to create a “minimum viable product” that solves a particular pain point for customers at first and add additional capabilities later.
This applies if you have a service as well. Find ways to cost-effectively get it in front of customers while keeping your infrastructure costs low.
The most important thing is to get your offering in front of customers to get feedback that enables you to iterate quickly and improve your offering to a point where it delivers so much value to them that people are clamoring for it.
It’s great to Create
If naming your idea is the place where it becomes “real,” creating your online presence, brand and product or service is the point on the Journey where things become really real.
While it’s easy to be focused primarily on the product or service that you’re creating, the other two components of the Create It phase — creating your presence and creating your brand — are equally important.
If customers can’t find you, don’t trust you, or don’t have a way to remember you, it becomes significantly more difficult as an entrepreneur to effect change in the world with your product. All three areas must gracefully work together for you to be set up for success.
Stay focused, do the work, and create!
Get yourself out there and connect with your first customers. Find ones who will give you solid, unfiltered feedback on all three of the areas discussed here. Iteration is the key to success in the Create It phase.
Create, ship, get feedback. Repeat.
Feeling good about your presence? Getting resonance with your brand? Are folks who aren’t friends or relatives starting to come to you for your product or service? Excellent! Now it’s time to move forward and into the Grow It phase of the Journey.
The post Create It — Building your presence, brand and product appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
Are you looking for the best web design tools to help you with fast and efficient website development? The good news is that there are a ton of options. The bad news is that sorting through them to find the right ones for the job can be time consuming and overwhelming.
To take the pain out of the search, we’ve collected some of the top web design tools and summarized them below.
The best web design tools improve workflow and increase efficiency. They help you get a fast-loading, good-looking website up in minimal time. Essentially, they make your design life easier!
14 web design tools to improve workflow and increase efficiency
This list includes both free web design tools and products that require payment. Free is great, but sometimes it’s worth a few bucks to get exactly what you need.
Editor’s note: All costs included below were current as of the time of writing, but are subject to change.
Web design and prototyping tools
Creating an initial design and presenting it to your client are cornerstone tasks in web design.
The following tools are ideal for creating great website designs, from starter wireframes through advanced prototyping.
1. Adobe XD
Adobe XD offers design and prototyping in one package.
Design, prototype and share your UI/UX designs with this robust tool from Adobe. XD is short for Experience Design, and this tool is primarily used for UI/UX design along with prototyping. Unlike Photoshop, which is intended for graphic design of all sorts, Adobe XD is among the web design tools optimized for page and app design.
It’s loaded with convenient features, such as making it simple to quickly repeat common elements across artboards with a few clicks and drags.
Prototyping is built-in, making it easy for you and your clients to see what the design will look like in action.
Adobe XD has the advantage of simpler ease of use compared to Photoshop. Photoshop users will find the transition easy, as a lot of the shortcuts used in both apps are the same. For newbies, there are plenty of learning materials available to get you up to speed fast.
Adobe XD is supported by an active community that provides free UI kits, icon sets, plugins, and more to help you automate common tasks. It also does something that no other prototyping software does: using voice triggers and speech playback in prototyping.
Adobe currently offers a starter version of Adobe XD for free.
This version limits you to one shared prototype and a limited font set compared to the subscription versions but otherwise provides all the tools and features you’ll need to design and prototype a killer site. If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, you’ll find this included with your other apps at no extra charge.
InVision is a prototyping go-to.
One of the favorite web design tools for UXers, InVision is a cloud-based app that’s all about prototyping your designs.
Forget sending your client a bunch of screenshots or PDFs — with this app, you can send an interactive mockup instead. Screens uploaded into InVision will be presented and behave like actual web pages. Discuss the mockups inside the app using comments and notes linked to particular points of the mockup.
The app also features mobile prototyping, with gestures like swipe left and double-tapping.
Additional features include the ability to keep multiple versions so you can have a record of iterations of your design and track version history.
Finally, InVision includes a Live Share feature. With Live Share, you can collaborate in real time using a browser-based screen share. InVision offers a free version which allows one prototype. If you need more, subscription plans are available starting at $15/month.
Related: Website mockup tools
Sketch is an industry-leading design tool for Mac only.
If you work on a Mac, Sketch may quickly become your go-to for web design tools. This vector-based UI design tool has replaced Photoshop in the toolboxes of many designers and is a market leader in this category. Users report it’s simpler to use and creates smaller files.
Some of the big pluses include a clean UI built specifically for mobile and web design workflows, a built-in grid system, and “art boards” that let you easily work on multiple views at the same time.
With “Mirror” you can connect your iPhone to Sketch and live check changes for how they’ll appear on mobile.
Sketch is also supported by a community that has created hundreds of plugins to handle common tasks. While it does allow some prototyping via its Sketch Cloud service, that is still very basic and limited compared to some other applications.
The app is sold via annual subscription, but you can test-drive before you buy with the seven-day free trial.
Image and color manipulation
Ooh la la, look at those colors!
That’s what you want your client to say when you’re handing over designs and artwork — and it should factor into your choice of web design tools.
You can’t let those awesome graphics bog down site speed, so there’s a delicate balancing act required. If you’re not a natural at color selection, you can still make the magic happen, thanks to these awesome tools.
Downsizing your work without losing quality is also just a few clicks away.
4. Adobe Color
Adobe Color makes it easier to find your perfect palette.
Are you building a site but shaky on choosing coordinating colors? Worry no more — if you have an image or logo to work from, upload it to Adobe Color and the program will generate a color scheme keyed off the image’s colors.
You can change the color “mood,” to suit your needs. Options include Bright, Colorful, Muted, Deep, Dark, and Custom.
With this most colorful of web design tools, you can also build a color scheme from scratch or select one from the library of examples. You can only save the color schemes as ASE files, which can be opened by Adobe products, but even if you’re not on that bandwagon, this tool will help you find colors that work perfectly together.
The RGB and Hex codes for each color swatch are displayed on the screen so you can easily use them in any application.
Canva is a go-to web design tool for drag-and-drop graphic design.
If you need to design an eye-popping infographic or an HTML email header that won’t get ignored, Canva stands out from other web design tools.
This online service offers millions of images (or upload your own), photo filters, free icons and shapes, and hundreds of fonts. Templates are available for a huge variety of projects.
You don’t have to be a design pro to use it, either. The simple drag-and-drop interface was designed with ease of use in mind.
A basic Canva account is free (forever), and gives you access to over 8,000 templates. Photos are available for $1 each. If you want more, including free photos and illustrations, you’ll need to upgrade to Canva for Work, which costs $9.95 per user monthly.
Squoosh is an awesome tool to downsize image files.
This is one of Google’s free web design tools and it lets you compress and resize images or reduce the palette size. The easy drag-and-drop interface allows you to upload and download with ease.
Play with the Quality slider to see what your image will look like with different compression levels and find the ideal balance between picture quality and file size.
You can also select a different image format than the original, including PNG, JPEG, PNG and others. Squoosh is an open-source app, and the code behind it is available on GitHub if you’re interested in just how this magic is accomplished.
Creating a web design proposal? Beewits can help.
Writing a proposal is necessary but often tedious. Cut out much of the tedious part with this handy free tool from Beewits. Simply fill in the blanks in the proposal questionnaire and hit the generate button and voila — instant, professional proposal ready to send to your client.
Download the proposal as a Microsoft Word file that you can further tweak to your heart’s content. You don’t even have to sign up, surrender your email address, or create an account to use this nifty service.
Did we mention this is one of the web design tools you get for free?
Related: How to write a web design proposal
Online proposals are here.
This one isn’t one of our free web design tools, but it has a lot of features going for it. Rather than creating a proposal for you to mail via Word document or PDF, Bidsketch hosts the proposal online, where both you and your client can interact with it. You’ll automatically receive a notification when your client views the proposal or makes a comment.
Add reusable content, such as images and fees, that you can apply to different proposals. Easily upsell by marking certain fees/activities as optional on your proposal.
Clients can accept the add-ons when viewing the proposal. You can also set special messages that get shown after the client approves the proposal, such as providing instructions on what to do next.
Since Bidsketch proposals are hosted online, you can opt to set up your own subdomain to keep visitors on your domain and maintain your branding throughout.
You can try it out for 14 days but after that you’ll need to pay. Plans start a $23/month for one user and go up from there.
Getting clients to deliver content
Gathering content from clients for pages on that new website might seem to be an easy task, after all they’ve laid out the dough for a shiny new website and the iron is hot. However, clients being clients (busy on other pressing needs) this part can easily drag behind.
Check out “6 tools for gathering content from website design clients” for helpful tools and tips to keep the content feed on track.
Designing HTML Emails
HTML emails can be sharp, interactive and powerful selling tools. They can also be a major challenge to get working across the many client email platforms out there.
These web design tools help simplify the process and ensure your email campaigns look right every time.
This might be the foundational emailing tool you’re looking for.
Take the pain out of creating HTML emails that work with all clients, including Outlook.
Zurb, a product design company, created this tool to streamline the process of building HTML emails. It provides powerful, tested components including a fully responsive grid, buttons, menus, callouts and more.
It even handles the tiresome process of inlining (putting CSS into your HTML file instead of a separate one) for you.
This isn’t one of the cloud web design tools you use strictly online. Instead you download the components (choose CSS or SASS version) and work with the files locally. The process can feel complex to newbies, but Zurb provides step-by-step how-to’s to get you on track and keep you there.
You can also make use of Zurb’s templating language Inky to use simple template tags in place of complex HTML.
Related: 10 email automation tools
Avoid email surprises with Litmus.
This is one of our web design tools that isn’t free, but if it’s crucial that your email looks right across a wide variety of email clients, it can be a worthwhile investment. The Email Previews feature provides screenshots of your emails across 90+ apps and devices so you can quickly check compatibility.
This isn’t just a simulation, the Litmus system actually sends your email to real email clients set up on physical machines, then takes screenshots of the results. You’ll know for certain how your email will look on virtually any client.
Frameworks are exactly what the name suggests: foundations to build upon. Previously time-consuming tasks can be accomplished with a few clicks or simple lines of code. The goal is less programming and more design time for the site builder. Here are a few of the best:
When turning your design into code, getting the right stuff in exactly the right place (down to the pixel) is key.
The responsive grid system behind Bootstrap makes it one of those web design tools that really stands out, making it easy to develop sites and apps that look great on any device.
Thanks to the grid, you can change the width and layout depending on screen size or other characteristics.
Originally developed by Twitter, this framework is free, open-source, and quite popular due to its ease of use.
This framework created by Zurb offers similar functionality to Bootstrap but in a different package.
With Foundation, you get a collection of code, templates and styling to help you fast-track website development. If you want to preview what’s inside, check out this page that shows all Foundation components.
Like other front-end frameworks, this one provides easy-to-use classes, grid creation, typography, and cross-browser responsiveness.
While Foundation is currently slightly less popular than Bootstrap, it’s the the top pick for web design tools for some major brands including Pixar, Adobe and North Face.
Like Bootstrap, Foundation is free.
Although Bootstrap and Foundation can be used to build WordPress sites, some designers prefer to call on WordPress-specific frameworks — no surprise, since WordPress runs more than 33% of the internet.
A WordPress framework provides the functionality of a theme combined with the flexibility to design the site’s appearance in any way desired.
The framework contains core code that enables specific functionality and design elements. If you’re only putting up a splash page or basic blog, employing a framework is overkill and a WordPress theme will likely serve you better.
If you’re designing a complex website, a framework might be just the ticket toward a speedy launch. Popular web design tools for WordPress frameworks include:
Genesis is put out by Studio Press. It is intended to serve as the foundation of your website.
You use a child theme to add customization and styling.
Genesis is not free — you have to purchase the framework and developers often also obtain a child theme to go with it. But of course you could make your own. There are plenty of official and unofficial child themes to choose from.
The Genesis framework is built with SEO in mind and page-load speed are also a top priority.
Adjusting site layout or color scheme can be accomplished through drop-down options.
You can choose among six different page layouts via clicking on a radio button. The framework costs $59.95. If you design lots of sites, you’ll want to consider the Pro Plus Membership at $499.95, which gives you access to all child themes and tutorials as well.
If you’re looking for a free and open-source web design tools, check out Gantry. Offered by the popular theme shop RocketTheme, Gantry features drag-and-drop functionality, a layout manager and a menu editor — among other features.
The goal is to let you focus on design rather than programming, although there is still a learning curve.
Gantry uses a responsive design based on Bootstrap, so you can rely on effective resizing and formatting for all sizes and shapes of screens.
The framework is free, but if you need tech support, you’ll need to sign up for $99/year.
Remember, when you use a WordPress framework, be sure to employ a child theme. Frameworks roll out regular updates and if you’re not using a child theme, you’ll either have to skip updates or risk all of your hard work being overwritten.
More web design tools
Team management can be another struggle when developing websites. Be sure to check the list in “7 team management tools for website development” to find the best one for your needs.
If you’re a WordPress shop, take a look at “90 essential tools for WordPress web designers and developers.” You won’t need 90, but there are sure to be some gems you didn’t know about.
Having trouble staying organized and on track throughout the design and development cycle? Check out these “8 great productivity tools for web designers and developers” and you may discover a tool that will notch things up a level.
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This article was originally published on June 20, 2018, and was updated on May 24, 2019.
When it comes to attracting new clients, few things are more powerful than social proof. If you haven’t heard the term before, it basically means that shoppers often move as a group — more likely to jump on the bandwagon than to opt for the road less traveled. While individuals might not find this characterization flattering, it’s a marketing truth that you can leverage to bring new clients knocking. Testimonials, reviews and case studies are the tools to make it happen. Here’s how to ask for testimonials and take advantage of these credibility-boosters to bring in new clients.
How to ask for testimonials (and why)
A testimonial is a direct quote from a client reporting how great your business is. What better way to show off your value than by letting happy customers do the talking?
Testimonials are generally short and to the point. Because they take up little physical space, they can easily be added to your website, print collateral and email outreach.
In one case study, a company increased sales 34 percent by adding three lines of testimonials to its sales page.
If you’ve never attempted it before, obtaining testimonials may seem daunting. Turns out, it’s easier than most people expect. In many cases, all you have to do is ask. Timing is key. The ripest moment is when you’ve successfully delivered that new website — especially if you’ve over-delivered.
One of the smoothest ways to painlessly collect testimonials is to send out a short satisfaction survey containing three or four questions, similar to this:
The answer to number three, basically, is how to ask for testimonials. If the client provides a positive response that’s not worded ideally, summarize it with any necessary editing and ask if you can use it as a testimonial. This neatly sidesteps the paralysis that some people get when directly asked to write a testimonial. Of course, if your survey reveals the client isn’t happy, fix the issues and try again.
In lieu of a survey email, some designers and developers create a survey page on their website that includes a textbox specifically asking for a testimonial. On project completion, they send out a link. Others feel an email is more personal and likely to generate a better response.
How to ask for reviews
Unlike testimonials — which are usually included in your own website and promotional materials — reviews are often located elsewhere. Reviews on sites like Yelp, Google and Facebook can act like a magnet, attracting new customers to your door. The bad news is that unhappy clients are the most likely to leave reviews on their own. The good news is that, these days, all customers recognize the importance of reviews, and to build a trove of good ones often all you need to do is ask.
Like we learned with how to ask for testimonials, timing is everything. Ask immediately and make leaving a review as easy as possible.
Make sure you’ve already set the foundation in place by creating profiles on the most popular review sites. Include direct links to the profiles in multiple places. Your website, newsletter and follow-up emails are prime locations.
Editor’s note: Looking for an easier way to manage your business’s information on multiple online review sites? Check out GoDaddy’s Local Business Listings tool. You simply update your business listing from one convenient dashboard and the changes appear across all sites.
The next time a client compliments your service, tell them you’d appreciate it if they would leave the same feedback in an online review and provide one-click links that take them directly to the review sites. Online recommendations like these have become nearly as influential as direct referrals, with 85 percent of consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations — so this is well worth the effort.
How to ask for case studies
Case studies provide proof that your services work. As a marketing tool, they capitalize on the idea that potential clients perceive long, in-depth reviews as more reputable than brief quotes. If you’re wondering how to ask for testimonials, keep in mind a case study typically details the problems you addressed for a client, the solutions you used, and the results achieved.
Producing a case study takes more time than obtaining a simple testimonial or review, but it has the power to draw in new clients and can help you stand out from other designers and developers who don’t bother to invest the time and effort.
In fact, according to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends report from the Content Marketing Institute, only in-person events and webinars are more effective for drawing new business clients in.
The first step to producing an effective case study is to choose a project or client that exemplifies the kind of job you want more of. For example, if you cater to inexperienced, mom-and-pop shops, your chosen case should profile one of those — not that fancy tech startup that gave you more headaches than income. Be sure to ask the client’s permission. Often a satisfied client will enjoy being featured as a success story, because the case study indirectly promotes their business as well.
Next look for hard numbers that demonstrate what you delivered. Did the number of clicks on the “Buy Now” button go up? Did the average bounce rate go down? Does the new site load in half the time of the old one?
Those goals become the “angle” that your case study will follow. The headline will often come directly from this choice as well, such as “Using website design to boost engagement 200 percent.” It’s best to focus on one or two key goals rather than enumerate every benefit you delivered.
Scan the web for example case studies to use as models for your own. The finished case study can be simple and factual or gussied up with fancy graphics, as long as it drives home the point of the metrics you accomplished.
Start building your cache of social proof
When trying to build up a cache of social proof, knowing how to ask for testimonials will often do the trick. Incentivizing is also an option, but tread carefully if you go this route. Offering something like a free upgrade is acceptable, but charging a higher price to someone who doesn’t agree to leave a review could get you in trouble with the FTC. To be safe, it’s often wiser to stick with encouragement over incentivizing. Often that’s all you’ll need to get the power of social proof working to boost your bottom line.
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