6 Most Useful Browser Extensions for Digital Marketers
As digital marketers, we spend a lot of our time online, browsing the web. In a quest to make that process less tedious and more productive, I have outlined six of the most useful browser extensions that every digital marketer should have. Let’s get started.6 of the most useful browser extensions that every digital marketer should be aware of include RiteTag, Grammarly, Gyazo, Rapportive, vidIQ, Adblock Plus. Click To Tweet
For you social butterflies out there, this handy, lightweight extension gives you the ability to see which hashtags are currently trending across Twitter. This therefore prevents you from using hashtags which rarely get used. The more popular a hashtag, the more likely your target audience will see your social posts. This will inevitably increase the traffic to your website.
By visiting the RiteTag website, you can easily compare hashtags and view a more overall, statistical view of how they perform. Here’s an example of how the hashtag #digitalmarketing is performing.
Grammarly is a handy extension for us busy digital marketers who spend a lot of their day on social media, emails or just… copy in general. We may from time to time, send an email out only to feel like a complete fool, realising that it contained a few ridiculous typos! With Grammarly, these mistakes can be quickly picked up on and corrected beforehand. As it says in its name, it will also fix grammar mistakes and suggests better words to use. Check out the video below to see it in action.
Gyazo is personally one of my favourite extensions. It expands on the basic screenshot function all PCs already have (just above the delete key on your keyboard) and allows you to capture a certain selection of your screen (rather than all of it). It then gives you a copied URL to view the screenshot online. This URL can easily be shared with your friends. Note: I used Gyazo for the images under the RiteTag heading!
If you use Gmail, then this extension might just be for you. Whenever you receive an email, Rapportive will give you an overview of information fed in through that contact’s Linkedin profile. As we all know, information is power!
vidIQ Vision for YouTube
As videos are now becoming ever-growing in popularity as the platform to share online, we are presented with vidIQ Vision, an extension which gives us handy stats to the side of any YouTube videos. This extension will inevitably help us create videos which better engage and most importantly, get seen by our specific target audiences.
Take the most patient and calm individual on the planet and I guarantee that online adverts irk them. Well maybe not the skippable ten second video ads you get on YouTube but the 30 second long non-skippable ones? You’re probably having awful flashbacks of those right now, I imagine. How about the adverts that pop up over videos, taking up half the screen? What about the spread of adverts across webpages as you try to scroll through? If any of these scenarios annoy you, then AdBlock Plus is for you! AdBlock Plus does what it says. It automatically removes any adverts which are enabled to show on any website, at no cost to the speed of your computer.
So there we have it, six of the most useful browser extensions for digital marketers. Do you have any you think should make the list? If so, leave a comment below. We would love to know of them!
Why Video Matters To Your Business’ Online Success
Almost every single social media platform is beginning to (or has) integrated video into their service. But why? How can this give businesses and professionals the edge in their industry? And, if so, is there a right and wrong way to go about it?
Hopefully by the end of reading this blog article you will have the confidence to start creating and uploading engaging videos for your own audiences – or at least, understand the need to.
What are the challenges?
Videos, as effective as they are to engage and/or inform, take longer to film, edit and even publish, than your usual image/text post. This is likely to be the key reason as to why quite a lot of businesses are put off to start posting. However, like most things – the more you do it, the easier it’ll become and if we take a look at the graph below, it is most definitely worth it as it shows the percentage of shared video over mobile devices between August 2011 to June 2015.
Image Credit: Ooyala.
What type of video engage audiences?
Depending on the types of clients you or your company attracts, the type of videos are going to change. In general however, your videos should hit the 4 criteria below to a tee to be successful.
1. Short videos, under a minute.
2. Avoid using too much text (across the screen) or heavily branding the video.
3. Professionally edited and filmed in landscape (we all hate vertical videos!).
4. Call to action at the end – What was the point of the video? Where should it lead the customer?
Twitter, Instagram or YouTube?
Why not all three? You can create short under 30 second videos for Twitter and Instagram and then upload the longer, more informative ones to your YouTube. After all, most users who use Twitter and Instagram scroll through many posts each day and with so much to look at, wouldn’t want to spend most of it watching just the one long video. On Instagram, videos cannot be any longer than 60 seconds in length, and it’s 2 minutes 20 seconds for Twitter – so keep this in mind.
Let me also segway into saying that having a video on the homepage of your website can be a very clever way of engaging a customer. It can grab their attention as soon as they land onto your website and if engaging enough, can leave them with an important question to answer – Is this product/service for me? Airbnb, 4 Rivers Smokehouse and charity: water use video on their websites effectively.
Interested by the world of Video? Why not check out our Video Production service and have a chat with #TeamCariad about what we can do for your business? There are many different forms of video content from vlogs to ads to even promotional showreels about your business which you can show to prospective clients. You can call us on 01992 582 824 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
7 Must Have WordPress Plugins for your website
First off, what is a WordPress plugin and how can they benefit your website?
WordPress plugins allow added functionality to a website. So, if you’re ever thinking – “I’d love a calendar on the sidebar of the home page.” or “I’d really like my customers to see a map of where my business is situated.” – You can simply login to your website and add it in via the ‘Plugins’ tab.
Fortunately, the WordPress library of plugins is vastly filled, so you’re likely to find at least 10 variations of the one plugin you need to choose from.
Above, adding a plugin into a website using the search term ‘google map’. With that in mind, let’s kick it off with what I believe to be the top 7 plugins you should have on your website.
1. Yoast SEO
This is one of my more favourite WordPress plugins. Yoast SEO can help you write better SEO friendly content for your pages and posts across your website (see below). It can also allow you to configure your SEO settings and preferences without having to touch any of the code in your website.
2. Contact Form 7
As the name suggests, this plugin allows contact form functionality on your website. It is commonly used on a contact page to allow customers to get in touch with the company and it offers a range of different field and radio button types (see Cariad’s very own contact form below). Also, with CSS code you can customise their look.
3. Anti-Spam by CleanTalk
Spam is annoying. We all know this. Banish it away from your website with this plugin. You will receive an email each week with an update of how much spam has been blocked against how many legitimate enquiries your website has had (see below).
4. User Role Editor
This handy lightweight plugin allows you to create your own custom user roles. It can also let you edit the permissions of the native WordPress built in user roles i.e. Author, Editor etc. For example, if you would like a user to have the permissions of an Author but a couple of other Editor only permissions, you can set this up quickly and easily.
5. WordFence Security
As its name suggests, the WordFence Security plugin gives your website the protection it needs to safeguard itself against bots and people attempting to hack into the backend. It will automatically ban those who attempt an array of different login names and passwords and it will also keep an up-to-date record of the time of attacks and where they are coming from with their location and IP addresses tracked. Emails are sent to the administrator of the website when a user is attempting to login and if a user has been banned for too many unsuccessful login attempts. Furthermore, it can also track plugins which are out of date as well as any other present issues (see below).
6. Screets Chat X
A lot of modern websites have live chat functionality and one handy way to go about this is through the power of this beautiful little plugin. One downside, you have to keep the backend chat dashboard open in a separate tab in order to keep on top of when users come online or send messages. Fortunately, the plugin switches from live chat to a contact form so that if people do try and get in touch and you happen to be away from your computer, you’ll receive an email of their enquiry instead.
Every website needs to have the capability of setting up redirects. This is especially the case for websites that have recently been recreated and given a new domain name. With the redirection plugin, all old URL links can be redirected to their new ones. This avoids any users from landing on a nasty 404 error page.
There are plenty of other WordPress plugins out there that, if you can dedicate the time to understand the functionality and benefits of, could give your website that edge over your competitors. Or if you’re interested in exploring plugins but don’t dare to touch them yourself, you can always speak to the Cariad Team about web-development and how we can help your website. Just call on 01992 582 824 or email email@example.com
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Best Digital Marketing Learning Resources – Top Three
Learning can be fun, it just takes a pinch of motivation, an end goal and the right resources to get you started. Luckily, there are several websites out there which can help you out. I tend to use a collection of these personally, from home, in order to learn new, useful skills.
Learn to code, build a website, launch an app or even start a business with Team Treehouse. It costs just £17.55 / $25 a month but – there’s even the possibility of reducing that investment so that you pay nothing. That is, if you refer 5 other active people to the service.
Team Treehouse offers its students a vast array of courses (see below) hosted by many different digital marketing professionals within Web development, Design, SEO, Business and lastly, App development.
With various new courses being added monthly, this gives students a very wide library of new skills to learn. I also really enjoy the process in place of learning at Treehouse. The courses are made up of informational videos, practice challenges and quizzes. An active forum is in place where students can have their questions answered by others or even better, by the teachers themselves. This adds a very personal level to the popular learning resource and gives you the warming sense that you are part of an active community.
Another handy feature is the simple yet extremely effective motivational progress tracker (see below). This tracks your learning progress throughout each week, so if you’re slipping behind on your learning, maybe that’ll kick-start your motivation! There are many other cool features to Team Treehouse but I’ll let you find those gems out on your own. Why not get started here and receive 50% off your first month.
Student or teacher, you will love Udemy. The website allows anyone, be it the average Joe, to the experienced tutor, the ability to create and upload their own courses for students to enrol and purchase (some courses are even free!).
Udemy not only offers a tonne of digital marketing themed courses but practically ‘anything’ you could imagine that you would like to learn. Whether it be a new language, learning a new craft or upping your knowledge of social media, there’s likely to be a course available to suit your own personal learning goal. Simply type in what you’re interested in learning and take a look through the results.
As a digital marketer, I believe that it is essential that those involved in this modern, ever-changing industry to have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. With that said, it can be a little tricky to start learning from scratch. However, Codecademy is a great source to get you started. With ‘Code Challenges’ it gets the student geared to learning by completing short tasks with an end goal in place to create something new, whether it be aligning some text neatly to an image or producing your first navigational bar to a website. It then challenges the student at the end of each segment to see if they can write the code freely without any help.
The major plus side to Codecademy is that you can learn for completely free, no charges, but with payment for further in-depth learning as an optional addition.
5 Predictions for Web Design in 2016
With the New Year creeping up on us all too quickly it seems a good time to reflect on the future of web design. Below are our 5 predictions for Web Design in 2016.
Top 5 Predictions for Web Design
1. Further progressions in responsive web design
Responsive web design, i.e. a website which can proportionally scale down from desktop to laptop, from tablet to mobile while maintaining its functionality and a worthy user experience, is no longer viewed by designers/developers as a ‘trend’ but rather now as a necessity.
Today, due to a new algorithm confirmed within the Google search engine, websites which aren’t responsive are now more under the knife to make the change. If they are to remain as a static website (non-responsive) this could result in a much poorer search ranking. This is something which Google hopes will motivate companies to go ahead with an upgrade to a responsive website.
2. Importance of typography
Typography has always been largely the deciding factor from a good design and a bad one in graphic / print design, subsequently only in the last 2-3 years has a website’s frequent use of typography at its core for the design/layout, been trending. Fortunately, going into 2016, I can imagine that there will be many more website designs being produced which are experimenting with this modern trend. So expect more variation in fonts, colour scheme and layouts as well as further instalments into clean minimalistic design across new upcoming websites!
Check out the links below which show just how successful great typography can be for your website.
3. One page design
One page designs have been increasing in popularity over the last few years and for good reason. One page website designs allow greater functionality for use on mobile devices and tablets because they reduce the amount of loading time between pages at the cost of long scrolling up and down one singular page divided up into multiple sections.
This however, does face desktop users with the crux of having to scroll for what seems like ‘forever’ in order to find exactly what they’re looking for throughout a website.
Take a look at a few websites which incorporate the one page website design, below.
4. Continuation of sliders
Often today and into 2016, you will see sliders being implemented into the full-width of a website home page with the content aligned to the centre.
This not only looks great (especially if professional photography is used) but can also be a great way to represent your website’s content with a ‘call to action’ button. Seeing its popularity throughout this year – among many websites, I can envision that this will also continue into 2016.
We have an example of our own slider on our website here at Cariad Marketing, shown above.
5. Demise of popup content
Ever been on a website reading a blog article and then a pop up appears in the centre of the screen, trying to catch your attention to sign up to their newsletter or to purchase a new product? Annoying right? Well luckily today, popups aren’t actually as prominent as they used to be in the early noughties and going into the New Year, it’s fortunately, predicted that they will continue to be on the downfall in popularity.
Google unveils its New Logo
Following Google’s recent news regarding its move to a new holding company, Alphabet, Google has unveiled its new logo (see below).
Personally, I’m a big fan of simplistic and clean logos. However, I think Google may have gone a little over-board to the point where it gives me the impression of a children’s playgroup, rather than a top search engine…but hey, maybe it’s been so long since its last drastic logo change that it’ll grow on me. What do you think?
Let’s take a look at some of Google’s old logos, starting with its last one…
(2013 logo) – Personally, I think that Google made a wise choice to remove the drop shadow effect they had going on in the logo before this (2010 logo). The logo is clean and subtle yet impactful.
(2010 logo) – Probably the most memorable logo for many or the one you picture when you think of Google. This logo incorporates a lighter drop shadow than the 1999 version and for good reason too!
(1999 logo) – Back when having a shadow behind your logo was all the rage! The idea to give it more form and stand out, backfired. Although, this logo was a big improvement on its first one, see below.
(1998 logo) – We’re jumping back now to Google’s first logo, back when owners Larry Page and Sergey Brin came together for their Stanford University graduate project.
Our Pro Tips for a great logo design
A logo is more than just a logo. What do I mean, you ask? A logo is the defining face of your company. Your logo defines your brand’s service. It is not only important that your logo stands out from the pack of other businesses just like yours, it is also important to give your clients the instant feeling that your company is going to professionally deliver and put your needs first. A logo can do that in one, short, glimpse.
Just like how a great looking website is more likely to hold a customer’s interest long enough to make a purchase, a great logo gives the impression that your company is professional, modern and dedicated to delivering a superb service. A memorable logo is even more powerful!
Interested about our Logo Design services? We’d be glad to help! Find out more, here.
A Designer’s Guide to Creating an Infographic
Information graphics or ‘infographics’ as they are commonly referred to, are a great way to amplify and represent data and/or information in a visually exciting and interesting way.
Here, I am going to be outlining the key factors which can help you make your very own awesome infographics.
(A heads up though: To create infographics similar to the ones mentioned in this article, you will need an intermediate amount of experience working within Adobe Illustrator or a similar design program).
1.) Start out on paper
Before you dive straight into creating your infographic, I would advise creating a plan of how it’ll look from top to bottom on a sheet of plain paper. This not only helps you avoid making any design mistakes later on, but can also help to get your creative juices flowing!
2.) Decide on the theme
Now that you have decided on the perfect layout for your infographic, it’s time to decide on its theme.
Your theme depends on your infographic’s topic. If the topic was recycling for example, you might think that it would be best to stick to shades of green to promote the idea of a clean environment.
Another example, if your infographic was about travel you might think that in terms of colour it would be quite varied, but in terms of its overall theme, you might envision it to be full of engaging graphics of roads, cities and vehicles.
3.) Consistency or Adventurous?
Will your infographic be consistent and clean (think Apple) or engaging and adventurous (think Fanta)?
This is something to think about from the beginning and to remember sticking to through to its completion. However, there are some parts of your infographic which should remain the same throughout.
The distance between elements in your design is an example of this. I would also advise not to use too many different fonts, as some go a little overboard here – so much so it’s difficult to follow.
4.) Do not rush
It is easy to speed through an infographic section to section, especially if the copy you are using is numbered or ordered in a particular way. However, this is likely to set you back rather than forward.
Unless you spend time experimenting and putting thought into every section of your infographic, it just won’t flow and you’re likely to end up having to go back to it later and revamp it.
The best infographics follow a kind of ‘pattern’ or ‘story’ which guides the reader through an interesting and visually beautiful experience.
- Be colourful!
- Be well-organised but not plain
- Be vector based – not pixels i.e. not photographic
- Have a noticeable flow or pattern to allow the reader to easily interact with it
- Does the infographic need to be branded? If so, stick with the company’s colours and fonts.
- Understand the content from the provider – can changes be made to the infographic’s copy to fit the infographic? Some clients may not allow this.
Now you have all you need to know to get out there and create a great infographic! Good luck!
20 Actionable Ways To Improve Your Office Reception Design
After improving our own office design here at Cariad towers, SEC Interiors got in touch with us about how we could improve our office reception here, with this lovely infographic!
We’ve got to say, our favourites are #1, #15 and #20 (#1 probably the most, for obvious reasons).
SEC in their own words said to us: “People sometimes forget just how important it is to have a professional and smart-looking reception area. It’s like going for a job interview where first impressions really count – you don’t want it to be a bad reflection of what your company really stands for and you definitely don’t want it to look scruffy”.
One of their points that they also raised which we really liked was this: “You really shouldn’t have to introduce yourself to new clients by apologising about your reception – it’s not going to help your relationship!”
And here it is…
The importance of changing your business’ social media page banners
Your business’ social media pages can attract a lot of attention. It is therefore important to display exciting and relevant custom-designed banners and covers to grab the attention and affection of your customers.
Creating banners which emphasise the current season or an upcoming event are also significant. Your business’ creativity can give your company a professional yet, friendly touch.
(Above, a Halloween banner I recently designed for Cariad).
The distribution of your innovative banners can correspondingly attract further views to your company which can spark off discussion and opinions through comments, tweets and social media site sharing. As we know, the more people we have talking about our business, the more potential customers we are going to make.
So what are you waiting for?
Cariad Marketing would be delighted to help with your banners. But, maybe you’re feeling creative? Why not have a go at creating your very own?
- Twitter banner dimensions – Width: 1500 px Height: 421 px
- FaceBook banner dimensions – Width: 851 px Height: 315 px
You can download these useful design programs; Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator from https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/photoshop.html and https://www.adobe.com/uk/products/illustrator.html which last up to thirty days. These programs, strongly recommended by myself and James (of the Cariad Team) not only make it easier to design your social media banners but also give you greater freedom to be innovative and original.