Should You Hire a Graphic Designer or a Graphic Artist?

Who should you seek out — a Graphic Designer or a Graphic Artist? The answer to this question is actually fairly simple ­— if you consider what you have to work with and what you want to accomplish. Customers often ask me to work on a project as a Graphic Designer without realizing that what they really need is a Graphic Artist. When I meet with a client and they request art to be created from their ideas rather than use their images and information to communicate, I often have to redirect them. Graphic Designers and Graphic Artists have many similarities when they sit down at the keyboard - they both use similar software and work with design elements, after all. But the “ingredients” they begin with and the creations they end up with differ as significantly as the kitchen creations that a chef or a baker might produce. Before you search out either a Graphic Designer or a Graphic Artist, consider what you have on hand now and what you want to have at the completion of the project. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame]   Does a Graphic Designer Best Fit Your Needs?   Does one (or more) of the following statements describe your graphic branding situation? You currently have a strong visual platform. You are looking for a mode to communicate something. You want to reach an audience with your established branding but just need the optimal visual medium for your message. You have a strong company image, numerous product photos and/or technical guides already in use. You know who you want…

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What Your Facebook-Only Business is Missing

Most businesses these days have a Facebook presence. Some business owners have a Facebook presence and little – if anything – else. But are Facebook-only businesses missing out? Let’s take a look at some of the weaknesses of the Facebook-only business model. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame]    Facebook’s Audience is Huge. Everyone’s on Facebook. Or at least almost anyone with an Internet connection is. Facebook is free and it’s an easy place to connect with others, which theoretically makes it the perfect place to launch and operate your business. However, Facebook is free for a reason. Zuckerburg and the Facebook HQ team know that everyone is on Facebook. They also know that you, the business owner, want to interact with all of the people on Facebook and sell them things. It is not advantageous for Facebook to have a free open marketplace for every John and Jill who wants to sell widgets from their corner of the world. Oh no, it is not. Facebook needs to act as the gatekeeper between you and all of the people that you want to reach. How do they do that? Ads. If you want people on Facebook to actually see and interact with your Facebook-only business, you need to pay for advertising on Facebook. This is pretty much the only way you can guarantee that your messages end up in (some) people’s newsfeeds (somewhere). Will the posts show up in your friends’ newsfeeds? No. Probably not. Will they show up in your target audiences’ newsfeeds? Maybe. Maybe not. The Facebook advertising algorithms are veiled behind a…

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Do Keywords Still Matter in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

What keywords are you ranking for? You want your website to rank for words and phrases that your ideal customers are using in their search queries. Some online marketers still advocate for a high percentage of the words on any page containing the key words or phrases you are attempting to rank for. Other online marketers are touting a new era of interconnected topical and contextual ranking methods that utilize keywords more deftly. This has led many businesses (and organizations) to question whether or not keywords still matter in their SEO strategies. Psst! Keywords still matter for SEO... but shouldn't be used quite like they were in the 2000s. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame]    What's a keyword anyway? A "keyword" or "key phrase" contains the idea or topic your content is about. If, for example, you run a cleaning business and you write a post about best window cleaning methods some of the natural keywords for that content may be "clean", "windows", "wash", "how to", and others. Hopefully, if your content is well written, many of these keywords would show up in close proximity to one another within the same sentence to make up a few "key phrases" or "long tail keywords". If your content is naturally using keywords that your target market is searching for you have a higher chance of driving organic search traffic over time. Effective keywords are, essentially, the topics and ideas on the minds (and screens) of both your business and your ideal customers. The obsession with keywords Search engines still primarily crawl text when determining what your…

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The 25 Best WordPress Plugins for Small Business

Getting your small business website up and running opens a whole new world of possibility: online marketing and e-commerce. WordPress is a powerful tool that powers over 30 percent of websites currently online and has big names using its interface, including the New York Times, Disney and Mercedes-Benz. When you join the ranks of businesses and bloggers that trust their brand’s online presence to WordPress, you enter a world of opportunity. WordPress websites are incredibly versatile and customizable, primarily through bits of code called plugins. From helping you build an online shopping cart for customers to fill to giving tweetable tidbits of your blog posts with the push of a button, WordPress plugins transform the user experience when visitors come to your site. There are limitless ways that you can customize your site, but today we’re going to look at the 25 best WordPress plugins for small business. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame] 1. Sumo.com One of the fastest ways to grow your audience is to build your subscriber list. But to build your subscriber list, you need ways to capture visitors’ email addresses. To do that, use the Sumo.com package of plugins, like their nifty email capture CTA popup that non-annoyingly pops across your screen and encourages visitors to enter their email addresses to stay in the loop. 2. Yoast SEO When you write a post or develop a page, the last thing you want is to put all that effort in and lose out on prime SEO rankings. Yoast SEO is a plugin that sits in your dashboard and monitors the SEO…

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What’s the Ideal Blog Post Length?

Blog posts are an essential part of your marketing strategy. But when you’re developing your editorial schedule, it can be a challenge to target the ideal blog posts that your readers want to see. As you balance post types, topics and authors, you need to also consider your blog post lengths. But does length really matter? In short, yes. Blog post length is important for driving new customers to your site and to boost your SEO rankings. Aim to vary your blog post lengths to keep content fresh and make your site look like it’s run by actual humans sharing useful information. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame]      Want to mix it up? Here are the top blog post lengths you should aim for: Short (300-600 Words) Short blog posts offer information quickly and concisely. Your readers can be in and out without dedicating any significant time to your post. While this might sound like a bad thing, in a day and age where readers have shorter attention spans than ever, it’s actually not. When writing short posts, aim to cross the 300 word threshold – anything shorter works against your SEO – but keep it below 600 to maintain brevity. A lot of marketers still think that the 500-800 word “essay” post is best, but when everyone’s doing it, no one stands out. Don’t blend in with the crowd. Long (1,000-2,000 Words) Long form blog posts are very popular right now, and for good reason. They give your readers more than a bit of information to whet the whistle and they are…

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HubSpot vs WordPress: The Ultimate Comparison

So you are thinking about launching (or re-launching) a website. You've probably heard of popular services like HubSpot CMS and WordPress. Which should you choose (if either)? Let's pit HubSpot and WordPress against each other and see who comes out on top. In this article we'll cover both HubSpot' and WordPress's access to data, analytics, blog management, extensibility, page building, search engine optimization (SEO), and theming and styles.    Content Management Systems Both HubSpot and WordPress offer their users content management systems. A content management system (CMS) gives website developers, owners, and admins the ability to build, write, modify, and extend web content. Using a CMS means that you may not need to write any code to modify a page, publish a blog post, add a product, or change simple settings. Both HubSpot CMS and WordPress do these things and more. HubSpot CMS HubSpot launched in 2006 and set the marketing world ablaze with talk of "inbound marketing". At its heart HubSpot is a marketing company that offers software and services to help businesses grow. One of their software packages is the HubSpot Content Management System (formerly branded the HubSpot Content Optimization System). HubSpot CMS is a website builder and blogging platform that works seamlessly with HubSpot's email, marketing, analytics, and search engine optimization (SEO) services. The HubSpot CMS is an all-in-one solution to your online marketing needs. According to HubSpot, more than 40,000 customers are using their services. WordPress Compare that with WordPress - the most popular CMS on the Web - with more than 60 million active websites (including 35% of the top 10k most visited websites). WordPress is at its heart a content management system so the…

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Should you pay per project or per hour for your web development and design?

If you are in the market for web-development you will eventually be presented with a pricing model for the services you're requesting. One Facebook user recently commented on a request for WordPress support that "eventually developers will slap a price on it". Well if you are in the market for web development services you are already aware that there will be a cost associated with it. What you may not be aware of is the different pricing models used in the market. There are generally two pricing models you could be presented with: per project or per hour. Some web developers and web designers will only follow one pricing model while others will use either one depending on the circumstances (or give you, the client, a choice). You may be wondering... Which pricing model should I prefer? Is one better than another? What are the dangers I should watch for with these pricing models? What benefits do these pricing models have? We at Rystedt Creative think that you should be empowered as much as possible when shopping for creative content. So, to that end, here's our list of pros and cons for paying per project vs paying per hour: [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame] Paying Per Project for Web Development Per project pricing is the most common pricing model among established web-developers, web-designers, and web firms. Consequently, if you have been shopping for web services you have probably already received some proposals with per project pricing. Con of paying per project: Despite being the most common pricing model amongst established professionals, per project pricing…

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Say Hello to Your Virtual Front Office Staff: Your Blog

When you have an online business, it can be challenging to convey a personal connection with those who enter your online store. Whether you’re selling high end clothing or virtual coaching services, you need a front office staff that lets your customers get to know you. After all, personal connections go a long way when you’re trying to make sales or retain clients. If your brand exists exclusively online, you need every page of your website to welcome visitors to connect with you at a deeper level. And you need a central location where visitors can engage more deeply to get answers to questions and learn more about the products and services that you offer. This is where your blog comes in. It's helpful to view your company blog as your front office staff. Here are some ways that your blog can act as your virtual receptionist and sales staff, so you don't have to do all the heavy lifting on your own. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame] Say Hello to Your Receptionist For many visitors to your site, your blog is the first place where they’ll be introduced to your brand. Sure, there’s a lot of hype about custom landing pages, but in truth, there are still loads of customers who will visit a company blog before interacting further with the brand. It’s critical that your blog acts as an attentive receptionist to capture new audiences and guide them to the pages that’ll answer their questions. Just as a receptionist in a physical office location gives direction and helps field simple questions, your…

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A Marketing Primer for Online Sales

In today’s online marketing vernacular, there seems to be little, if any, distinction between marketing and promotion. Many marketing “experts” even use the terms interchangeably to refer to the act of selling products online. In truth, marketing and promotion are two separate but interrelated activities. Both are essential for pushing products or services and attracting new customers. But there are some significant differences. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame] Promotion is a Part of Marketing… But Not All Marketing is Promotion You may have learned in geometry class that all squares are rectangles, but that not all rectangles are squares. Similarly, promotion is part of marketing, but the whole of marketing is not promotion. Sure, the primary goal of a successful marketing strategy is to land sales. But it’s a mistake to assume that promoting the product is the ultimate goal of a marketing strategy. The Marketing Mix At its core, marketing is the flow of four activities that make up a package called the “marketing mix”. These activities are: Product Price Placement Promotion (My business school professors would be so proud that I remember this ? ) The four pillars of the marketing mix work in tandem to ensure that a marketing strategy is successful. I like to think of them as the four legs of a table – without one or two, the table would be entirely useless. When it comes to online sales strategies, there seems to be an overwhelming emphasis on the promotion pillar. After all, products live and die by whether or not a company can adequately promote them on its…

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What’s The Real Cost of Creative Content?

When you think about working with a creative content professional to boost your brand or business, there are probably two things that immediately come to mind: First: “I’m going to get a personalized product that perfectly fits my business and brand!” And: “Holy crap! This is expensive!” If you were to order something like a customized ceramic pet food bowl from an artisan potter, you expect to pay more than you would for a similar product from, say, Walmart or PetSmart. You might pay three or four times more for a bowl that’s made without toxic chemicals or has a color scheme that you picked and your pet’s name etched into the side. The same rule applies when you are in the market for intangible creative products, like photos, design work or custom content. It’s hard to value creative intangibles when you’ve never shopped the market for them before. Often, people imagine that creative work should only cost them a little more than an out of the box product, like a subscription to a drag-and-drop web builder (Weebly, Wix, Squarespace), for example. And unfortunately, the internet – which connects businesses and individuals to any type of creative professional we could ever imagine – does a lot to devalue the hard work that creatives put into the products that they offer. This is a huge problem. [text_with_frame id="368c1dbfefba91dceb946d322e0e86bc" content="‹¨›p‹˜›‹¨›em‹˜›If you find this article helpful consider giving it a share‹¯›nbsp;‹¨›/em‹˜›?‹¨›/p‹˜›" line_color="rgba(0,0,0,.07)" text_font="body" heading_font="heading" animation="none" animation_speed="2" animation_delay="0" __fw_editor_shortcodes_id="e6852c2dacc162bc8c34ba646905e841" _fw_coder="aggressive"][/text_with_frame] What Happens When Businesses Devalue Creative Work? As a writer, I spend a small portion of my time browsing writing job postings to stay on top of emerging niches and content types that companies…

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