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How to Create Killer Design Contests with Designhill

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In this increasingly competitive and crowded market, it can be difficult to get noticed. That’s why you want to have a logo and website design that not only captures the essence of what your brand or company has to offer, but also one that stands out from the crowd. So, how do you get that?

Rather than rely on a single designer with a singular vision, Designhill lets you tap into their “community of awesome designers [to] create dozens of designs for you.”

Leveraging the Power of Crowdsourcing

The fundamental principle behind Designhill should be familiar. Two heads are better than one. And dozens of heads are better than two. Designhill is an online marketplace for custom designs.

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I’m using the example of a company logo, but the marketplace is set up to accommodate a broad range of design requests, including clothing, infographics, business cards, letterhead, CD covers and mobile icons. This all works through the process of a design contest.

How Does It Work?

From the perspective of the client, you don’t need to sign up for an account before getting started with launching a design contest through Designhill. Instead, you can simply jump right into the design brief. After choosing the category of design that you need (logo, website, brochure, etc.), you are presented with a page where you can describe the details of your desired design.

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Again, using the hypothetical example of a logo design, you will be asked if you want to have a name and/or slogan in the logo. You’ll also be asked about the type of design that you prefer, like a “pictorial mark” or an “emblem.” It’s helpful if you upload examples of logos that you like too, as this gives the designers a sense of the direction you’d like to take. You can choose the colors you have in mind too.

Toward the bottom of the design brief are a number of sliders with dichotomous values: feminine vs. masculine, young vs. mature, luxury vs. economical, and so on. You choose where you’d like your design to land within these spectrums. The design brief also allows you to describe your organization, its target customers, where you’d like to use the logo, and the file formats you require.

After completing a few more details and completing payment, you can launch your design contest. At that time, the Designhill community gets to work on fulfilling your request and you will start to receive dozens of designs. You can rate them and provide feedback, eventually choosing your favorite, and completing the handover process, complete with the AI/PSD and other design files as requested.

Current Jobs and Designs

To get a sense of how Designhill operates, take a look at some of the current contests running on the site.

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Each design contest will then display the design brief, as well as open up a comment area for discussion. While the public can see that entries have been submitted, the actual designs are only visible to the client. The client can also communicate directly with the designers to provide further guidance and clarification.

Designers also have profiles with a feedback system in place so that clients can see the average design rating from a particular designer.

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The Designhill community continues to grow and browsing through the design gallery should give you an idea of the quality that you can expect. Of course, providing an excellent design brief is essential.

The Pricing Scheme

Unlike some other crowdsourcing and design contest websites, Designhill does not allow its clients to define their own prize levels. Instead, there are four set pricing packages for each category of design. Logo designs start at $199, Powerpoint designs start at $249, and so forth.

There is no guarantee for the number of designers and entries you will receive for your contest, but Designhill does provide an estimate for how many you should expect. In terms of payment, the money is effectively held in escrow until you select a winner and the funds are released.

The package prices that you see include all fees and commissions. That includes a non-refundable $40 posting fee, though the remainder comes with a money-back guarantee. The remainder is also subject to a 35% commission before the designer receives payment. For instance, a designer would net just over $103 from a $199 logo design contest ($40 posting fee, $55.65 commission on $159).

Design contests hosted by Designhill can offer great benefits to clients and designers alike. Clients can choose from dozens of submissions for how much they’d spend on a single agency, while designers avail themselves to clients they may not otherwise get. Moving forward, Designhill is also developing an online store for ready-made logos for the fastest turnaround possible.

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A professional freelance writer based out of Vancouver, Michael Kwan focuses mostly on the worlds of technology, gadgets, and the Internet. You can find him blogging at Beyond the Rhetoric, among several other websites around the web.

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Managed WordPress Hosting From 1&1 Makes Websites Easy

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We’ve come a very long way since the early days of the Internet. Way back then, you had to dig right into the raw code if you wanted to create your own website. The technical aspect was overwhelmingly complex and intimidating for the vast majority of people. Thankfully, building a website is much easier than ever before and it’s a lot more affordable to boot. The key is finding the right platform and the right providers to fuel your online journey and 1&1 Internet wants to be on your team.

A Full-Featured Web Hosting Provider

It may surprise many of you to learn that 1&1 was actually founded way back in 1988, back when the public Internet was still in its infancy. Since then, the company has proudly served up some 15 million customer contracts around the world, employing more than 7,000 people around the globe. A fly-by-night operation they most certainly are not.

What you can expect from 1&1 is a full suite of product and service offerings so you and your website can be successful online. This starts with domain registration with your standard .com and .org TLDs, as well as more unique TLDs like .online and .club if that is what you are after. When you “claim your perfect domain” with 1&1, you also get a free email address and unlimited subdomains.

As you make your way around the 1&1 website, you’ll find an impressive array of services, including multiple web hosting options, cloud server services, business email solutions, online accounting software, several options for building and running an eCommerce website, local and online marketing tools, and web security. This is just about everything you’d need.

The 1&1 Website Builder

For people who aren’t at all interested in getting themselves elbow-deep into the complexities of a custom web design, the 1&1 MyWebsite website builder is ideal. The goal here is to provide an all-inclusive package for not only building and designing a great looking website, but also supporting whatever it is that you wish to accomplish with the website. This includes marketing tools like a newsletter to keep your customers informed of what’s going with your business.

The process starts with choosing one of the numerous customizable design templates for your website. These templates cover a broad range of industries and usage cases, including real estate, arts and leisure, professional services, restaurants and tourism, health and beauty, and even just personal pages. There are literally thousands of these templates to choose from, each of which can be customized to align with your brand.

What’s great is that you are also offered access to a high-quality image archive with over 20 million images to give your website the visual appeal you desire. As you work through your website project, you will be offered image and text suggestions to make the process even easier. It really is approachable by just about anyone, even if you’re not technically inclined. There’s even an integrated Google translator to serve international audiences as well as a built-in online photo editor to edit those images on the fly.

WordPress Web Hosting

You can certainly choose to pick up a standard web hosting plan from 1&1 and install WordPress yourself. All you’d have to do is log into your 1&1 control panel and then search for WordPress through the provided app center to start your website project. However, for people who are less technically inclined or who don’t want to deal with the finer details of administration, the Managed WordPress packages from 1&1 could be much more appropriate.

The monthly price for the Managed WordPress plans with 1&1 cover the same range as the regular web hosting plans, but these are targeted specifically at users who plan on using WordPress and would like to take advantage of the easier installation, plus automatic security updates, pre-installed plugins, WP Expert support, and more. This will help you hit the ground running.

You see, while you could take the standard hosting plan and go through to complete the regular security updates on your own, this managed hosting plan puts your mind at ease, because you’ll know you’ll always have the newest updates installed and running properly. And since the most popular plug-ins come pre-installed, you don’t have to spend time doing that either.

The monthly plans are based mostly on the number of WordPress projects you wish to have. The basic plan is just $0.99/month for the first year ($7.99/month after that) and it supports one project with 50 GB of SSD storage and unlimited visitors, plus a free domain for 12 months. Most users will likely step up to the second tier with the plus plan for $4.99/month for the first year ($9.99/month after that) for five WordPress projects and 250 GB of SSD storage, as well as unlimited visitors and the one-year free domain.

The other big difference when you upgrade from a basic plan to the plus plan, even if you don’t have much interest in running more than one WordPress site, is that you gain access to the 1&1 CDN (content delivery network). This ensures the best possible experience and the fastest loading times for your site visitors. You also get up to 2 GB of RAM guaranteed and the SSD web space means faster performance too. They say you get up to 50% more speed compared to traditional hard drives!

Your Home on the Web

Should you ever get to the point where you’d rather administer your WordPress site yourself entirely, you can always move away from a managed WordPress experience to one that is self-guided. The reverse isn’t true, so most WordPress users should at least start with the managed packages first. And realistically, if you plan on powering your sites with WordPress, there’s no reason not to get the managed plans. Just the automatic updates alone make it an excellent choice.

Creating, designing, launching and running a successful website doesn’t need to be hard. When you opt for a hosting plan with 1&1, you gain access to a wealth of terrific features at an affordable price. No wonder they’ve been around for so long and have proudly served millions of satisfied customers around the globe.

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Megapu.sh Push Notifications Ad Network Really Clicks

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The world of online advertising has changed significantly since the early days of the Internet. Publishers want to maximize their earnings while advertisers want to maximize their return on investment. Part of the challenge stems from the ongoing battle to get a user’s attention and one of the fastest growing trends to address this conundrum is the push notification. And Megapu.sh is “the first advertising push notifications network.”

The Network of Push

The earliest memory you may have of a push notification may have been when you received an email message on your BlackBerry. Push notifications have evolved tremendously since that time and they’ve been pushed onto desktops as well. This represents a huge opportunity for publishers and advertisers alike.

With Megapu.sh, you gain the opportunity to deliver your visual ad creative to users by push notification directly onto their device. This includes both mobile devices and desktop. Push notifications offer several key advantages over other types of online advertising. Rather than putting out an ad and hoping that the user goes to the right website and then hoping that the user notices the ad, the push notification puts your message front and center.

As an advertiser, you want to attract the attention of the right user at the right time at the right place. Push notifications allow for that, especially if you tap into advanced functionality like geo-activated notifications. You can target based on device, OS, browser, country, ISP and more. And you only pay for the clicks you receive (CPC) to maximize your potential ROI.

Usage Cases and Scenarios

Megapu.sh lists several potential usage cases where a push notification ad campaign can be very successful and profitable for the advertiser. Push notifications are a great way to inform customers about special offers and promotions, for instance, as well as a way to attract new subscribers for your email marketing list.

You can just as easily utilize a push notification to inform users about news and content as you can if you want to tell them about free games, free downloads and more. It really is as versatile as you want it to be. The push notification itself takes on a standard form where you upload an image (2:1 aspect ratio), along with title text and a short description. Whatever you want to promote, you can do it with a push notification.

Among existing advertisers on the Megapu.sh platform, you’ll find a fairly even split between such verticals as sweeps, dating, products, news, binary options, bookmakers and gambling. As long as you follow the rules — adult content is prohibited, for example — you can advertise almost anything you’d like. You do need to pre-fund your account before launching a campaign; the minimum deposit is $100.

Getting Started

The first thing that you’ll need to do when you log into your account for the first time is to review the Megapu.sh rules. There’s no button for “I Accept,” but it is in your best interest to read through these rules carefully to ensure you comply with the network’s guidelines. After that, simply click on the “My account” button in the top-right corner to access your dashboard.

This is all pretty straightforward and easy to understand. If you click on your name in the top-right corner, you can select to edit your profile from the resulting pull-down menu. There’s not too much on this page aside from your name, Skype contact, Telegram, and phone number, as well as the option to change your password. Next to your name is the option to switch between English and Russian as your language of choice.

On the dashboard, you’ll be shown the number of clicks you’ve received across all campaigns today, as well as your total ad spend for the day. Below that is a chart for the same information over a period of time, and below that you’ll see some information about your top campaigns, as well as the geolocations with top campaigns across the network.

The main navigation is along the left sidebar where you’ll also see your support contact information, plus where you can create a new campaign, access existing campaigns, add funds to your account, check the total volume across the network by country, look into your referral program stats (7%), and look into the rules, news, API and FAQ.

Create a Campaign

The process for setting up a new campaign in Megapu.sh consists of just a single page. Just click on “new campaign” in the left sidebar.

On this page, you’ll be asked to provide all the pertinent details for your campaign. This includes a campaign name, which is mainly only for your own reference. Beyond that, you’ll need to provide a target URL for the link, a title (maximum 30 characters) to appear in the push notification ad and a message (maximum 45 characters) to appear in the push notification. For the latter two, there is a “smiley face” button there if you’d like to insert an emoji.

After that, you’ll need to upload the primary image (492 x 328 pixels) and the icon (192 x 192 pixels) for your campaign. There don’t appear to be any specific guidelines for file format here. I used PNG and JPG files and had no problem. You will need to resize them to the right dimensions though. Below that you’ll find all your targeting options, like country and browser, as well as your CPC bid in cents. In other words, a bid of 0.1 is equal to $0.001 or 1/10th of a penny per click.

When you select a country, you will be shown the minimum price and the average price for that geolocation. Understandably, some countries are more expensive than others. The average bid in Canada was about 5 cents, whereas the average price for Albania is just 0.3 cents. Your mileage may vary. Below this is an option to select a start and end time, define an IP range, and choose between five networks: MegaPush, AdMaven, AdSterra, PropellerAds and Advexxx.

Click on the red “preview” button and you’ll be shown what your push notification ad will look like when deployed. Click on the blue “create” button and your campaign will be submitted for moderation. And that’s it. Once your ad is approved, you can check up on its stats, group it with other campaigns, top up your budget, and so on.

The Future Is Push

Generating over 12 million clicks every day from countries all around the world, Megapu.sh is a demonstrated leader in the arena of push notification advertising. Minimum prices are as low as $0.001 per click and you get a full tracker with no need for third-party trackers. Some of the top geos include India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia and Thailand, but you can just as easily target just about anyone from anywhere. Sign up today and unleash your potential.

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Ask Lorem to Tackle Your Web Design and Development Projects

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I believe it may have been Tim Ferriss of Four-Hour Workweek fame who said that you should focus on your strengths and outsource the rest. While working only four hours each week may or may not be truly attainable for most people, it is absolutely true that most small business owners find themselves strapped for time. They’ve got all these things they want to accomplish and not nearly enough time to address them all on their own.

And even should they decide that they cannot tackle all these projects on their own and they want to outsource some of them, the process of finding and vetting the right professionals to handle the job can also be remarkably stressful and surprisingly time-consuming. It needs to be easier and that’s where Lorem can come to the rescue.

Fast, Affordable Results

Whether your actual business is of the brick-and-mortar variety or it resides exclusively on the Internet, there is a good chance that you depend on your website as a critical component of your overall business. And there’s always more you want to achieve with it.

Even if you have some technical expertise and you could feasibly take on some of these web development and design projects on your own, you can oftentimes find yourself time-starved. As such, it makes a lot more sense to outsource these types of projects so you can focus on growing your business and handling the tasks that cannot or should not be outsourced.

The big appeal of a service like Lorem is that you don’t have to go through the complicated and sometimes challenging process of finding the right developer or designer to help with your one-time projects. There are marketplaces out there, but you can never be sure of their quality or expertise until you take the time to get to know the individual workers better… and that’s time you simply do not have.

Pre-Vetted Professionals

Instead of sifting through dozens or even hundreds of proposals and pitches from innumerable freelancers and unknown entities, you can tap into a huge team of eager professionals at Lorem.

Before someone can join the team of Lorem experts, they must first pass through a “rigorous vetting process that tests their technical background, communication skills, and professionalism.” The net result is that only the top 3 percent of candidates are ever accepted, so you can have the confidence that you’re only working with the best. These are perfectionists who “bring years of experience to the table.”

In this way, you save a tremendous of time that would otherwise be wasted browsing and reviewing the profiles of so many potential freelancers for your one-time project. Wouldn’t you rather just hire someone you know can do the job and get it done? And get it done quickly and affordably too?

What Can They Do?

Just about anything related to your website and your online business, really. There is no monthly fee and you simply pay for your projects on an as-needed basis.

Because there are so many Lorem experts available at just about any hour of the day, you’ll get paired with someone whose experience and expertise best aligns with your specific project needs. Some potential projects include:

  • Improve Google search rankings
  • Set up a WooCommerce store
  • Make a website design more mobile-friendly
  • Update several plugins on a WordPress site
  • Set up online payments through Stripe
  • Add an online store to a Squarespace site
  • Redesign the layout of a MailChimp email newsletter
  • Configure Google Analytics for site tracking
  • … and so much more

Whether you already have a specific project in mind or you have more of a general objective and you’re not really sure how to achieve it, a Lorem expert can help get you set up and on your way. If it has to do with your website or any other aspect of your online presence, someone at Lorem is there for you.

How Does It Work?

To get started with Lorem, you’ll need to first install the Chrome extension. This ties into the whole ecosystem and it’s how you will interact with Lorem experts, including dealing with payment.

Once you’ve got the Chrome extension installed, the way that Lorem works is actually really simple, really fast, and really easy to understand. You’ll start by launching a chat session where you describe the project you have. Usually within five minutes, you’ll be paired with a Lorem expert who will then chat with you in real-time to discuss any further details.

Lorem boasts that they have “a few hundred experts online at any moment,” so you don’t have to wait around for applications or pitches. Your time is invaluable and you want to get started right now, and that’s a big reason why Lorem is so appealing. After the details have been determined, the expert will provide a price quote outlining what is involved. The actual chat itself costs nothing.

Most jobs are in the $25 to $250 range, but obviously there will be some individual variation there. No additional fees or charges are added. The rate quote you receive is what you will pay, and you only pay when you are satisfied with the results. The expert gets to work, asks for feedback along the way, and then you approve and pay for the work when it’s all done. Super easy!

Put Your Mind at Ease

Running a successful small business is hard enough. You don’t need the added stress of finding the right people to handle your one-time design and developer projects. Lorem experts can do everything from customizing Shopify stores to backing up WordPress sites, integrating MailChimp with websites to adjusting page layouts to match a PDF.

Most projects can be completed for $25 to $250, making Lorem a fast, convenient and affordable way to get the job done. Sign up and mention Zac10 to get 10% off your first project on AskLorem.com!

Get started today and you’ll see results sooner than you might think.

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