Bloggers need to accomplish projects from time to time. The problem is most of us just dive in with little thought to the process and an unclear understanding of what we’ll be doing. A project is a series of tasks that has a start date, an end date, and which produces a unique output. I’ve taught project management for several years, now. Although much of project management is overkill for a small blog, we can borrow quite a bit from it to help us tackle some of the bigger objectives we need to accomplish. Writing posts and responding to comments isn’t a project, it’s everyday work on a blog. But starting a new blog or designing a new WordPress theme is a project. Switching from Blogger to WordPress is a project.
The Stages of a Project
Projects are generally divided into four phases or stages:
Let’s describe each stage briefly and what happens in it.
Stage One: Initiation
The initiation stage is the conceptual stage. This is where we figure out the most basic, important aspects of our project, such as its purpose and objectives. For a blogger wanting to start a blog or take an existing blog to the next level, the initiation phase might consist of the following:
- Defining the problem the project will solve
- Defining the purpose of the project
- Defining the major objectives that need to be accomplished for the project to complete
- Setting a finish date and time frame for completing the project planning and work
- Defining the scope of the project (what will be included and not included to help you stay on track)
For a blogger, it’s usually enough to just sit down and write these things out in a word processor or Google Docs.
Stage Two: Planning
Planning your project consists of figuring out:
- What has to be done (tasks)
- How much money has to be spent (budget)
- What people and tools you have to accomplish your work (resources)
In large projects involving hundreds of people and tasks over several months, we use fancy-schmancy project management software that uses Gantt charts and which tracks task dependencies and the critical path. But for blog projects, we need to operate at a smaller scale. Personally, I use Remember the Milk. It has just enough features without being bloated for managing task lists. One thing I like about it in particular is that it works with Google Calendar. There are plenty of similar task management tools on the web or in desktop software.
For tracking costs and spending, if necessary (usually it’s not), I use Google Docs and make a spreadsheet to list costs. I make a list of my resources in Google Docs, dividing them between what I have and what I need to get. I need to make sure I acquire the correct resources before they’re needed during the project. For blog projects, resources can be anything from a designer you’re hiring to software and plugins or domains and hosting.
Stage Three: Implementation
Once our plan has been made, then we execute on it. We complete the tasks and check them off the list. For blog projects, we don’t need to keep track of much, but some things you want to note are:
- Where you under- or overestimated dates, times, and costs
- Whether you thought of everything and if not, what you missed
- What you have accomplished, and what you still have yet to do
- Any problems that crop up and seem to throw off your plan
If other people are involved in your blog project, you need to keep communications open, frequent, transparent, and non-accusatory (tempers can rise under stress so stay cool).
Stage Four: Close-Out
The fourth stage is about wrapping everything up and making sure you haven’t forgotten anything. For blog projects, this often involves testing things to make sure they’re going to work. It could also include getting involved with other people in a pre-launch marketing effort. Other blog project close-out possibilities might include:
- Testing plugins
- Testing every possible type of content in a theme or template
- Subscribing to feeds to make sure they work correctly
- Testing the search functionality
- Testing 404 pages
- Testing comments when you’re not logged in
- Combing through the archives to make sure imported blog posts are there
- Combing through posts to make sure image links still work after a migration or permalink change
- Making sure all blog authors can access the blog and perform their duties
- Testing any other software integrated into the blog, such as forums or AdSense revenue-sharing plugins
- Pizza and beer! You have to celebrate! 😀
One thing you want to do after every project is jot down some notes for yourself about lessons learned so you can do better next time you’re trying to accomplish something similar.
Defining the Best Colors, Style and Design for Your Brand Logo
Have you ever thought about why some companies and brands are more successful and well-known than others? In many cases, it comes down to the products or services they offer, but the actual look and feel of the company brand can play a huge part in this as well.
A great example of this would be every brand that currently has a well-known logo design or identity, even though it doesn’t have the actual name of the company within the logo. Names like Nike, Target, Apple, Microsoft, and Starbucks come to mind. Billions of people from around the world can recognize these brands simply by seeing their logo… and they don’t even need to see a name associated with it. You can see some of the most popular brand logo designs and changes they’ve made over the years in this famous logos reference guide.
With all of that in mind, it’s important to create a logo design for your business that not only represents what you do but also one that resonates with your audience as well. To give another example of the many different ways an industry can influence the way logo are created to relate and brand with an audience, let’s take a look at some of the top online survey sites from a site like SurveyClarity.
What do you notice about each of the popular survey logo designs below? Not only are they mostly text-based, they are all different variations of GREEN! WebPageFX.com says the following about the color green in logo design:
Green is Youthful and Earth-Friendly: Health – Tranquility – Freshness. Green represents growth, and evokes a feeling of relaxation and healing. It is the color of healthy vegetation, so it reminds viewers of nature and health. It is also associated with money and wealth.
This is something you will see in many different markets. Another great example is the banking or make money space. Many of the banks will have a green or blue feeling to them — which both represent calm, financial, and fresh feelings and emotions. However, many other brands like Twitter and Dell are using BLUE to represent their compani\y logo and brand as well.
Now that you likely have a better understanding of what different colors are being used in logo designs today, you might be thinking about the different styles, variations, and colors you can use within your own company or site design and branding.
Thanks to the “What Type of Logo is Right for You?” infographic below (provided by Designhill), we are going to break down the many components and choices of logo design, and how to best represent your brand.
To get started with the process, you should first decide on if you want a font-based logo or a graphic design. No matter which option you choose, you can tweak both design types to work with whatever style you’d like to go with.
A “Word Mark” logo design is one that is made up of a stylized type font, yet is also original in design. A few good examples of this would be the HBO, NASA and CNN logo. At their core, they are text fonts — but also with a unique and custom design in the process.
After you’ve given some thought to the different colors, design types, and styles of logos you can create, we recommend you take a look at the new AI-powered logo maker from Designhill. Not only is the tool free to use, it can create an unlimited number of logo designs for you to choose from. Keep scrolling through the designs until you find one that you like, then complete the process by purchasing the fulicensednced version of your logo design, which also comes in a wide range of file types.
How to Find the Right Logo Design for Your Band
As shown in the infographic below, we can answer a few simple questions to see what type of logo you might want to focus your efforts on for your brand. Depending on how you answer each of these questions, you will find a different result for your brand identity.
- Is your business well established?
- Is your business internationally known?
- Do you plan to remain a small business?
- Does your company have a long name?
- Do your company contain a unique word?
11 Homepage Design Features That Will Boost Traffic
It’s never been easier to create a website — and it’s never been harder to get people to stay there. With mere seconds to capture a visitor’s attention, your homepage needs to clearly and concisely state your value, and convince the visitor that your business is worth their time.
One of the biggest website-related challenges for businesses is increasing traffic, whether that comes from organic search, a referral or a marketing campaign. Sometimes encouraging more people to visit your site is as simple as incorporating appealing design elements.
To boost traffic, 11 members of Young Entrepreneur Council share key design features to include on your homepage.
1. Information on the Solution to a User’s Problems
Visitors come to your site in search of solutions to a problem. Information about where they’ll find that solution should be the first thing they see. Too many businesses fill their homepage with irrelevant information that doesn’t help the visitor solve their immediate problem. Evernote’s homepage is a great example of this done well: clear copy, clean design and a signup form above the fold.
2. A Mailing List Sign-Up Form
It’s no secret that a mailing list is one of the best ways to attract regular visitors and customers online. Having a clear link to a contact form on your front page can be the most effective means of increasing traffic. It’s even more effective if you find a way to incentivize visitors to sign up through exclusive offers or opportunities.
3. Your Target Keyword in the Page Title Tag
Whenever I see a website with the word “Home” or “Welcome” in its page title tag, I see a missed opportunity to drive more website traffic. Why? Because the page title tag is an important (and easy) thing to address to optimize a website for SEO. Avoid making this mistake by identifying your most valuable, descriptive keyword, and include that in your homepage title tag.
4. Easy Navigation
If someone is visiting your website, they don’t want to have to search for the content they came there for. Make it easy on them, and you’ll find them coming back for more.
5. Blog Content
People share relevant, interesting content, not homepages. Your homepage is rarely going to be the main traffic source for your website. What brings in traffic is quality content, so you should be funneling people into that. Content will get shared and drive traffic to your website, which will inevitably spill over to your homepage as people seek to learn more about your company.
6. Google Tag Manager
You can’t increase traffic if you don’t know what traffic sources are best. Google Tag Manager is going to give you a much more simplified tagging and management process for your analytics.
7. A ‘Contact Us’ Form
If you’re not getting any leads from your website, then what is the purpose of having one? Implementing a call-to-action form is critical for turning a prospect into a hot lead. If they’re visiting your website, that means they’re interested. Make it easy for them to contact you with a “contact us” form so that you can add them to your mailing list.
8. Client Testimonials
Studies have shown that consumers trust online reviews and testimonials, so showing your social proof is a powerful way to get new customers to trust and believe in you. Rotate new client testimonials often and, if possible, get reviews from known influencers in your niche. These testimonials can improve user engagement signals, which in turn improves traffic and rankings
9. Calls to Action on Every Important Page
Your homepage should be all about funneling people to the rest of your site. Think of your homepage like the lobby of a hotel — a series of well-lit and clearly labeled paths to the things that matter. As a result, your homepage should feature calls to action to every important page or subpage on your site to help people find what matters to them.
10. ‘As Seen In’ Media Logos and Copy
If you’ve been featured in the business section of your local paper or had a profile done on your company in an industry trade journal, consider including an “As Seen In…” section on your homepage that includes a brief excerpt from the story and the logo of the media outlet. By including these proof points, you’re establishing credibility with current and prospective customers.
11. Social Media Buttons
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites are fantastic channels for traffic. Make it super easy for your existing traffic to share articles or your homepage. Simply add a text widget and format social media buttons on a sidebar or footer as well as various content articles on the homepage.
How to Create the Best Content and Site Design Possible
When creating any type of content on the internet these days, it needs to be about user engagement and providing your audience with the value they are looking for. The same can be said about your site design and how users can navigate it. With more than a billion active websites on the internet today, there is no longer a need to push content out there just to simply to ‘put something out there’. At the same time, you also need to consider the different ways users might be visiting your site, such as through mobile, tablets, and desktops. Follow this advice and all of the actionable tips above to find more ROI with your content creation and marketing efforts.
10 Premium PSD Website Templates With Stunning Design Layouts
A unique web page must have a set of unique templates that are tailor made to suit it. Luckily, Photoshop offers a range of pre-made PSD website templates that are easy to use, and give your site a striking and memorable appearance. You can choose from a wide range of free and premium templates with varying features and functionalities.
In this article, we are listing out 10 of the prettiest and premium website templates in Photoshop PSD. These offer additional perks in comparison to their free counterparts, allowing you to get a lot more done in one package.
Here are the 10 Striking PSD Website Templates for Business, Blog Portfolio, and other awesome websites
This web page template bundle from WrapPixel consists of 140+ PSD templates across 15 different categories like admin dashboard, landing pages, magazines, marketing agencies, medical, eCommerce, real estate, personal blogs, WooCommerce, Prestashop, creative businesses, and other multipurpose psd templates . So no matter what kind of web page you’re making, this one has got you covered! Every template is made with a pixel perfect design and developed carefully to deliver the best user experience. The highlights of this template bundle are the Google Fonts integration, Bootstrap grid, a lifetime of updates and 1 year of free customer support.
This is a great theme for repair shops or automobile websites. It has a completely responsive design with many unique features and layouts. It comes with pre-built demo content that can be replaced with your own content quite easily. This is an HTML 5 based template with a flexible layout. It has a dark layout that contrasts great with the white spaces on the web page, where your content goes.
This is one PSD template that’s light on the pocket but big on the features! It has a load of responsive template options to choose from, with some seriously flexible and editable coding, HTML 5-CSS3, and many many personalization options. You can customize colours, menus, categories, column numbers, fonts, etc. If you aren’t sure of the kind of site that you want to create or are looking for something very flexible, then this is a great template for you.
Cordova is a great template for those who wish to go the minimal and classy way, and want to create sauve web pages. You have the option of choosing from various column layouts, and the dark/light colour schemes with contrasting fonts puts the attention on your content while giving your website a classy appearance. This template is HTML 5 coded, and works great for corporate sites or businesses.
5. IT Company
This template makes for a great landing page, especially if your website is aiming to be extremely professional and/or minimal. The highlight of this PSD website template is the focus awarded to making a clean, classy layout and design. You will find elements such as long shadows, lesser use of colours, subdued hues, large icons, blocks with inclined borders, progress bars, and a lot more. This template is suitable for coming soon pages, landing pages, and professional-layout-inclined sites.
Not just dogs, but this theme is great if you an animal lover with a pet store, pet hostel, or even a shelter. It will appeal to the dog person in you with its quirky layout, cute features, and 3 different colour schemes. This is a responsive template with HTML 5 coding and is perfect for a pet e-Commerce store, blog, or even adoption agency. Editing is very easy with this template as it supports free fonts.
Design is another beautiful premium PSD template that’s perfect for the more artistic websites and web pages. If you own a creative agency or generally like using visuals to captivate your audiences, then this is a great template for you. Design is a layered template that uses a combination of visuals, colours, minimalism, and class to give you the ability for creating stunning sites.
If you are the creative type with the desire to make unique, memorable web pages, then Diskos is a great template of choice. This responsive template works well for all kinds of websites, irrespective of the industry, if you want to add a flair of creativity to it. This template has many colour and font options, giving you a lot of freedom to go wild! Diskos is a layered template with a lot of room for editing.
The highlight about ProIndustry is the modern and contemporary design and layout, and the high quality and top end solutions that it uses to create these stunning layouts. The catchy design makes use of page wide images and icons to take up the entire screen, and the pages offer hexagonal icon layouts for an added effect. The semi-transparent menus add a dash of the unique to this PSD template. ProIndustry is great for professional sites.
Travel is perfect for travel blogs, photography websites or travel agencies, as the name suggests. This is a layered PSD website template that uses minimal elements to give your web pages a sophisticated and classy look. For instance, it uses a lot of transparent elements to accentuate your content and drive users towards it whilst not cluttering the web page. It gives the site a light and modern appearance.
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