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Why you should add Gravatars to your Blog

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The recently released WordPress 2.5 was a major update and included many new features, most notably the inclusion of Gravatars. Gravatar stands for globally recognized avatar. It essentially provides an easy way for blog commentators to attach their own image to comments all across the web.

Why you should add Gravatars to your Blog

GravatarGravatars are supported by all major blog platforms however it’s the inclusion of Gravatar in a WordPress Release which will really make it the system which all bloggers use (I’m actually suprised it took so long for Gravatars to be integrated with an official release of WordPress as both are developed by Automatic).

WordPress is without doubt the most widely used blogging platform which means more and more people will be using Gravatars than ever before. In the last few weeks I have seen loads of non web development related blogs add Gravatar support to their comment areas and commentators have jumped on the Gravatar bandwagon. When you see non-internet savvy users take to a service you know it’s going to be popular!

They are signing up because :

  • Signing up only takes a few minutes
  • Users can add many different images to their profiles and quickly assign them to their email address.
  • Users can use different email addresses for different blogs they comment on so that the pictures are unique to those blogs (ie. you could use a golfball image for a golf blog you visit and a fishing image for a fishing blog you like).
  • Once you have set everything up you don’t need to do anything else, your avatar will simply appear next to your name.

As I said above, the inclusion of Gravatars in WordPress is a big thing as it is encouraging the use of one system for comment avatars. In the past blogs have used a variety of websites for commentators images including blog communities like MyBlogLog and BlogCatlog and in house registration systems (ie. asking the user to sign up).

Gravatar was also popular but it does now seem that most WordPress bloggers will favour this comment image system as it officially supported. I have no doubt that once the vast number of WordPress bloggers add Gravatar support to their blogs, other blogging platforms will be encouraged more to add it as well.

How do you add Gravatar to your blog?

Bloggers who use WordPress 2.5 and above can now use the get_avatar function to add Gravatars to their blog. Older versions should download the WordPress Gravatar Plugin.

If you don’t use WordPress, don’t worry, as Gravatar is supported by most major blogging platforms including MovableType, TextPattern and Expression Engine. They are also trying to add offocial support for hosted blogging platforms LiveJournal and Blogger (Note, 3rd party solutions exist for Blogger).

Full details of how you can add Gravatar to your blog can be found in the Gravatar implementor’s guide.

OverView

Avatars are a great way of encouraging more participation on your blog as it allows your readers to express themselves with their own picture or image. With more and more people using the Gravatar service it makes sense to make sure your blog comment area supports it.

link : Gravatar

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Kevin Muldoon is a professional blogger with a love of travel. He writes regularly about topics such as WordPress, Blogging, Productivity and Social Media on his personal blog and provides support to bloggers at Rise Forums. He can also be found on Twitter @KevinMuldoon and .

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Design & Coding

4 Essential Elements of Web Design (No.3 Will Shock You!)

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If you’re a small business owner take note of these four elements of web design. They’re essential for boosting your online presence. Click here for more info!

Have you ever wondered why most business websites tend to look the same? It’s like you’ve seen one and you’ve seen them all.

The truth is a lot of business owners prefer the easy route. That means going for a website builder, which offers templated designs.

If you want something different, you’ll have to go custom. But that takes a lot of time. Plus, you’ll have to look for a skilled designer/developer.

Whatever route you choose, you need to understand the elements of web design. After all, it’s your website. If you choose to hire a pro, you need to know what to ask for.

And if you opt to DIY it, then you can steer clear of cringe-worthy web design. That said, here are 4 web design elements that will help boost your online presence.

1. User Journey

You can scroll through countless website design guides and you’ll never see one that says, “ignore what users think.”

Consider mobile apps. Would you download something that’s hard to use and has a lot of annoying ads?

When you design your website, put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. Is your website hard to navigate? Does it load fast?

But how do you know if your user interface is good? Aside from consistency, it has to be simple, intuitive, responsive, and flexible.

This is why it’s good to test different designs first before committing to one. It saves time and eliminates the need for major changes later on.

2. Content

Designing for the web doesn’t stop when you have a “pretty” website. Sure, your target customers will appreciate nifty graphics and all. But if your content doesn’t offer value, users will leave your website.

Now, this doesn’t mean huge blocks of text that will drown your visitors with information. Opt for conciseness. Give your target audience content that’s easy to digest so they can process it better.

Depending on what CMS you are using, content creation is usually the easy part. This is especially the case when using platforms like Weebly, WordPress or Wix. Since most of these platforms are drag and drop, it’s simply a matter of getting familiar with each platform, and knowing how to create great content. There are no programming or design skills required.

3. Accessibility

Did you just check the title again? If yes, you may be wondering why this would be shocking. Shouldn’t this be part of any website designing guide?

The thing is there are plenty of websites that use low contrast for text because it’s trendy. But you have to take into account users who have vision problems.

There has to be enough contrast between text and background. And you also need to choose your colors well. You don’t want to alienate color-blind and blind users who use assistive technologies.

4. SEO

Some people approach website design as a separate entity from search engine optimization. But there’s a way to be strategic about the process so that design elements improve the SEO of your site.

The easiest way would be to outsource to an all-in-one design company such as https://www.databerry.com/. When they build your site, they also take care of the backend coding stuff. This ensures your title tags, meta tags, etc work for better search ranking.

Want to Know More About the Elements of Web Design?

Knowing the elements of web design is your first step to a website that looks and functions well. But getting them all right takes a bit of trial and error.

For more web design tips, don’t forget to check out our other blog posts.

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Design & Coding

Defining the Best Colors, Style and Design for Your Brand Logo

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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?
Of the many different types of logos you can choose from, the most popular are emblems. However, you will also see a popular occurrence of word marks, pictorial marks, abstract marks and letter marks.
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Design & Coding

11 Homepage Design Features That Will Boost Traffic

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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.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

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.

Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

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.

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors Website Development

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.

Ben Landis, Fanbase

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.

Justin Faerman, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine

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.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

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.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

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

Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding

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.

Matthew Manos, verynice

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.

David Ciccarelli, Voices.com

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.

Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

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.

If you enjoyed this expert round up, be sure to read our previous ones on top SEO methods for 2018 and also 7 low-cost site builders to consider when creating your next site.

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