How to Create a Strong Brand as a Web Professional

Knowing how to create a strong brand is incredibly important whether you are a freelancer, own an agency, or have just graduated from school. In fact, for many web professionals, their business brand IS their personal brand since they are usually the sole provider of services to clients.

Web designers, developers, SEO experts, online marketers, and other Internet careerists have to make sure that their brand stands out in a unique way. After all, they are competing with thousands of others advertising their web services online. Another part of building a strong brand is the ability to connect emotionally with prospective clients. This way, clients feel more of a connection and even an investment in you, and therefore are more likely to turn to you when they need your services.

Photo Credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Compfight cc

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Is Your Freelance Web Design Business a Hot Mess? Five Questionable Business Practices to Avoid

You know you’re good at web design, but your freelance business just barely gets by. What could be wrong?

It could be that your freelance business is a hot mess, and you don’t even realize it.

In slang terms, a hot mess is an attractive person whose appearance is messy despite their underlying good looks. The term is often used to refer to stars and other celebrities who are spotted wearing ill-fitting clothes or who make questionable hair, makeup, and fashion choices.

Your freelancing business a hot mess if you are so disorganized that your business is failing despite your underlying design talent.

The thing about a hot mess is that they usually can’t see it in themselves. It takes someone else to point out their questionable choices and bad habits.
hot-mess1

Likewise, if your freelance web design business is a hot mess, you probably don’t even realize what’s wrong.

In this post, I’ll point out five questionable “hot mess” business practices that are keeping your design business from succeeding. These bad practices represent some of the worst business choices a freelancer can make. I’ll also explain how to stop being such a hot mess and get your web design business back on track.

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Be Unforgettable. Build Your Web Design Online Presence Even When You’re Busy

How do you get more clients? Build a strong online presence, of course.

If clients and prospects see you online, they are more likely to contact you about web design projects. An easy and cost-effective way to build a strong online presence is through social media.

The only problem with building an online presence through social media is that most freelancers tend to slack off when they are busy. It’s easy to participate in social media activities when your schedule is slow. It’s not so easy to participate when you are rushing to meet deadlines.

Unfortunately, when it comes to your online presence the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” often holds true. If your potential clients don’t see your name mentioned for a while, they are likely to forget about you and hire someone else.

You need a plan.

In this post, I share an easy plan for maintaining your social media presence when you are busy. Best of all, it only takes 40 minutes a day.

online-presence
Image Source: Remember me this way by basibanget CC by 2.0

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Brand New! Career Resource PSDs

Starting a new career? Trying to jump start your business? Maybe you just need sure fire designs to use for your client work. New to the Shop this week are all kinds of career resources to help you make that buck. Identity and Brand Mockup PSD Kit With so many platforms to grow your business […]

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How to Help Your Client Decide if a Native App is Necessary

More and more people across the world are using their mobile devices to access digital content. According to eMarketer, mobile phone use will grow from 61.1% to 69.4% worldwide. The same article also claims that nearly one-fourth of the global population use a smartphone monthly, but by 2017, this number will increase to 50%.

American cell phone use has already surpassed the global numbers. The Pew Internet Research discovered that as of 2014, 90% of American adults own a cell phone, and 58% of those cell phone owners have a smartphone. Interestly enough, though, America only ranked number 13 in the 2013 list of countries with highest smartphone penetration. The top 5 in the list were United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Norway, respectively:

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10 Helpful Resources for Testing Responsive Web Design

Testing is a critical part of the responsive web design process. The purpose of using a responsive layout is to make the website useful on any type of device, but without extensive testing it’s not possible to know for sure how the site is behaving in different situations. Fortunately, there are a number of different tools and resources available that can help you to test your responsive designs. In this article we’ll take a look at 10 helpful tools that you may want to try for yourself…

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25 Free and Premium jQuery Menu Scripts

If you are designing or developing websites chances are you are going to be using jQuery on many of your projects. Navigation menus are just one of the elements of a website that can be enhanced by jQuery, and there are a number of ready-made scripts that can be implemented into your work very quickly.

While you always have the option of coding a jQuery menu from scratch, sometimes there is a script already available that will help you to accomplish exactly what you need in a fraction of the time it would take to code from scratch.

In this post we’ll link to 25 different jQuery scripts that can be used in your own work. Some are free and some will cost a few dollars. (the free ones are listed first).

Premium jQuery Menu Scripts:

jQuery Menu ($5)

jQuery Menu

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Best Twitter Practices for Improving Visibility

One of the best ways for freelance graphic designers and web developers to gain exposure online is with social media. Twitter is an especially successful avenue simply because it is such a common platform. Freelancers, big and small businesses, non-profit organizations, retailers, individuals – Twitter is full of world-wide activity, across every industry.

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Compfight cc

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Website Designs that are People-friendly are Google-friendly

Google has always had the goal of making sure that their search engine provides the most relevant results to searchers. Through the use of algorithms, Google determines how related a site is when an Internet user completes a search for a certain keyword or keyword phrase. Recently, though, Google has made some very drastic changes to its algorithms. These updates have left many unaware website owners wondering how to make their sites appear on Google searches.

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Should I Use a Hosted E-Commerce Platform?

When you’re trying to decide what platform, shopping cart, or CMS to use for an e-commerce site the options can become overwhelming. You could go with an open source option, a simple shopping cart for selling digital downloads, an enterprise system for large shops, create your own custom system, or choose a hosted platform.

In recent years several hosted e-commerce platforms have gained in popularity, partly because they are very easy to setup and use. Every option will have pros and cons, and in this article we’ll take a detailed look at hosting platforms to help you decide if this is the right option for you or your client.

What is a Hosted E-Commerce Platform?

A hosted e-commerce platform will provide you with web hosting as well as the e-commerce functionality. You’ll pay one monthly fee that will cover all aspects of the service, and you’ll get support from one company for both the hosting and e-commerce. A company like Shopify has created their own e-commerce system and it can only be used on their own servers. You can’t use a traditional web host and use Shopify on your site, it must be hosted with them. Of course, there are pros and cons of doing it this way, and we’ll look at them in just a minute.

Shopify

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