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How To Create An Editorial Calendar For WordPress

By now, you have heard all about the amazing benefits that blogging can bring to your business and you are ready to start utilizing blogging. After you have developed your content strategy, it is time to start turning that strategy into action. One of the best ways to do this is to create an editorial calendar for yourself and/or your blogging team.

What Will An Editorial Calendar Help Me With?

An editorial calendar should be designed to help you stay on top of your blogging schedule. You can think of it as a sort of “to-do” list, you will list out all of the blog posts that you want to write so that you can have a clear idea of what needs to be done.

The point of using an editorial calendar over a standard to-do list is that you can include more information about your post that is useful and will help you stay on target. Some basic items that you will want to list out in your editorial calendar are: a working title for the blog post, who is responsible for writing it, the date it will go live, what site it is for (depending on if you do guest blogging or not), a call to action, any useful links for the article, keywords, category, and the status of the blog post (draft, scheduled, or posted).

What Are My Options?

When it comes to making your editorial calendar, you have several options. You can make it on a good ol’ fashioned desktop calendar, in your hand written planner, with spreadsheet, or by using a WordPress plugin.

Write It Down

Many people stand by the tried and true method of writing it down. The advantage of this system is that it is quick (no loading web pages, trying to find a document, or worrying about natural disasters momentarily wiping out your internet connection) and some people remember better when physically writing something down. The downside is that it is hard to share, you don’t have access to it everywhere, and if you lose that piece of paper you are screwed.

Use A Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets are a great option for setting up an editorial calendar, and one that I highly recommend to a lot of companies or individuals who practice guest blogging. The downside of using spreadsheets is that you have to set it up, if you aren’t using Google Sheets it can be difficult to share, and it doesn’t usually offer a good looking interface (which may deter you from using it). The upside to using spreadsheets to create your editorial calendar are that they allow for tons of flexibility so that you can tailor the spreadsheet to fit your needs.

Use A WordPress Plugin

The final option that you have is to use a WordPress plugin. The downside of using a WordPress plugin to manage your editorial calendar is that it is another plugin that you have to install, and depending on how many you already have, it may slow down your site speed a bit. The upside to using a WordPress plugin is that it is always there inside of WordPress waiting for you, you can schedule out posts with ease, and you can have a calendar overview of your blog posts that really puts your content efforts into perspective. The following are two great options if you want to use a WordPress plugin:

Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar WordPress Plugin overview
The editorial calendar plugin for WordPress is a great plugin that does what it needs to without overdoing anything. This plugin creates a simple calendar layout where you can drag and drop your draft posts to set up your blogging schedule. You can also create a new draft post straight from the calendar page, allowing you to set the time, date, blog title, and add any quick info or links that will be useful later on. You can even have a unique calendar for your different custom post types to help you stay organized and avoid clutter. This plugin works great for an individual or a small team managing a blog.

Edit Flow

Edit Flow editorial calendar WordPress plugin
Edit Flow is similar to the Editorial Calendar plugin in that it gives you a calendar overview of your blogging schedule and it allows for easy drag-n’-drop scheduling and management. However, this tool is meant for more robust team-oriented blogging. You can assign posts to authors more easily, you get custom statuses (such as pitch or needs edit), you can add custom editorial metadata (tell person what the post is about, assign a first draft due date, etc..), and it includes editorial comments, allowing you to proofread others’ posts and add your two cents about it. Overall, this plugin is pretty awesome, although, it is not as light weight as the other one.

What option are you going to use? Or, what option have you found to work the best for you and your blog? Let us know in the comments and be sure to include why your method works best.


Do you need help making sure that you have a killer content strategy for your blog? Don’t sweat it, contact me for quick and pain-free consulting!

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SEO Saturday: Should I Invest In PPC Ads Or Content Marketing?

This can be a tough question to answer for many business owners and managers. Should you invest more of your money into PPC ads and see results now or should you invest in content marketing and possibly reap the investment for years to come? Which choice is the best one for you? Let’s explore how to arrive at that decision.

If It Ain’t Broke…

First of all, if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it! This holds true for your marketing. If you are running PPC ads with strong ROI, then keep it up. If your organic content is making you a killing, then keep that up. The point is, if you are already doing something and it is successful, keep doing that.

However, don’t forget to experiment with other marketing and advertising to see what works because this will change over time. For instance, you can maintain your PPC advertising campaign, but go ahead and try a small amount of content marketing for one month and measure what effect it has.

Core Differences Between PPC Advertising And Content Marketing

There are two essential differences when it comes to PPC advertising and content marketing, and those two factors are time and guarantees.

Time

Once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying

PPC advertising has an extremely short life span, once you stop paying, your ads will stop displaying. This means that you have to constantly spend money to keep traffic coming to your site.

On the flip side, content marketing can have a indefinite impact. One post that you write this week could bring your site a substantial amount of traffic for the next several years. Content marketing has a longer shelf life than a PPC ad by a long shot.f

Guarantees

PPC advertising has a sort of guarantee that comes along with it. You will know ahead of time about how much traffic you can generate at what cost. This consistency and ability to know before starting is what comforts a lot of marketers and businesses alike.

Content marketing lacks any gaurantee. You could spend weeks writing what you think is the greatest blog post to ever be written only to find out that not a single person on the internet cares. It could also take weeks for your content to pick up any traction, or it could be months, or years. Costs for content marketing can be all over the place too, do you need a video or an infographic this week? How much does that cost? Oh, this blog post took longer than expected to write, that will be an extra $150! These variables can be a campaign killer for an unorganized marketer or business.

Choosing A Side

Now that we have covered the basic differences between the two types of marketing, we can begin to discuss which marketing method is best for your business or situation. Although it is generally recommended to use a balance of both techniques, some businesses may cater themselves strongly to one side or the other.

Ask yourself the following 5 questions about your marketing campaign goals:

  • Is it time sensitive?
  • Do you have specific sales goals that need to be met?
  • Do you sell your product/service online (no phone call or further action needed)?
  • Does your product have a short buying cycle?
  • Is there enough search volume to sustain your business?

If you answered yes to these 4 questions, PPC advertising is mostly likely your best option. If you answered yes to most of these questions, your answer is most likely yes as well, but I highly recommend talking to a marketing consultant or agency about your situation.

If you answered yes to some, but not all of the above questions, ask yourself these 6 questions to see if content marketing is best suited for you:

  • Are you willing to invest the time?
  • Do you have the basic writing skills?
  • Do you have other ways to promote content?
  • Is branding (and brand recognition) is a major goal of the campaign?
  • Do you need authority to sell your product?
  • Is there a long time between consumer purchases?

If you can answer yes to all of these, content marketing is a great option for you to explore. Content marketing will offer you traffic now and increasingly in the long run, making this marketing method a great option for campaigns that aren’t facing definite short term goals. You will also need another way to promote this content, especially at first before you start getting traffic from the search engines. A few ways to do this are to utilize your social media channels, do some guest blogging, use forums, and you can even use PPC ads!

Sites that need authority to help sell their products or services will generally benefit the most from content marketing. Companies that need authority to sell are companies that tend to charge a premium price for their product. Customers need content to be convinced that your product or service is worth the additional cost.

Products or services with long purchasing cycles tend to experience good results with content marketing as well. This is because these kinds of purchasing decisions are usually made with more research. This means that you need to have a steady supply of onsite content, as well as other online touch points for your potential customers to find you (they won’t do all of their research on just your site).

In conclusion

You should now have a pretty good idea about how to make a decision between PPC advertising and content marketing. It is not always a clear cut decision, and as I mentioned earlier, it is usually best to utilize both for maximum effect. If you are still not sure, ask me on Twitter or on Google+ and I’d be glad to help.

Be sure to let myself and others know how you determine whether to use PPC advertising or Content Marketing in the comments below!

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15 Amazing Android Home Screen Designs Worth Drooling Over

The beauty of Android lies in its ability to make it uniquely yours. This inspiring design collection sets out to bring you some of the best Android home screen designs. Click on the images to be taken to the creator’s original post or click any of the Apps/Widgets links to be taken to the Play Store where you can download the app for your self.


Marco Pedrazzoli

This Android home screen layout, designed by Marco Pedrazzoli, offers a calm and tolerable interface. It uses Google now sized tiles, a gently textured background, and fair amount of information that is useful to create this relaxed, yet sophisticated vibe.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple and Flat Android home screen layout

Steve Bullock

Steve Bullock keeps it simple with his Android home screen. Flat icons coupled with the thin, white fonts and subtle boldness make a great look. The background he uses really just tops it off.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Starry night android home screen layout

David Johnson

David Johnson created this stellar work of art. Using a simple background of the tall tress leading up to a starry night sky, almost anything would look good on this screen. He selects a cool folder icon and uses simple, white icons on the dock that compliment the starry sky above. The see through clock adds a nice, unobtrusive touch to the theme.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple, flat, and beautiful typography based android home screen design

Juan Garcia

I like pictures of space (and so can you!), so when I saw Juan Garcia‘s post with this awesome background on the home screen, I fell in love. The clean, white typography again compliments the starry background and packs in some great information at a glance. The tiny icons allow him to have more apps on the home screen, adding easy app access without creating visual clutter.

Apps/Widgets Used:

  • Unknown Launcher
  • Unknown Icons
  • Unknown Widget

Google now inspired Android home screen design

Calvin Goetz

Calvin Goetz has created a theme that visually stands out and feels very Googley. He even goes as far to say “Now THIS is a true Google edition HTC One.” I would have to agree with him, post a link if you have seen a more Google like HTC One.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Orange and texture based android home screen design

Luigi Vitali

Luigi Vitali styles up his Android home screen layout by utilizing a background and matching widget by StrangerWeather to catch the eye. The icon arrangement in the middle utilizes differently sized and spaced icons and folders, creating a pretty cool look.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Very flat and minimal android home screen design

Leche Style

Korean designer, Leche Style, brings us this wonderful Android home screen. This aims to have a simple look while also offering tons of functionality. Leche Style also offers other awesome designs on their website, I highly recommend checking it out.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple and minimal android home screen layout

Curtis Mayers

What do you do on a rainy day? Curtis Mayers creates wonderful home screen layouts like this one. A beautifully simple background accompanied by small and simple white icons make this a design that few would’t be jealous of.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple space inspired android home screen design and layout

Pieter Uys

Pieter Uys brings us back to wonderful space themed designs. This one uses the UCCW widget theme that resembles a crescent moon for a cool effect. It also uses ssLauncher so that he can precisely control the icon placement to follow the edge of the planet.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple and clean android home screen layout

Curtis Mayers

Curtis Mayers gives us a gentle background and soft icons in this Android home screen design. Gentle gradients, soft lighting, and simplistic design aesthetic make this screen something to drool over.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple and vertically aligned Android home screen layout and design

Curtis Mayers

Curtis Mayers brings us a cool Android home screen design with this winter themed beauty. This layout puts all the focus on the background, utilizing a minimal white icon set and clock widget to bring usability without visual clutter. He also uses a transparent icon placed over the small house at the bottom, allowing access to the app drawer without sacrificing any of the wallpaper. Every detail counts.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Clean and beautiful city layout android home screen design

Curtis Mayers

Curtis Mayers is at it again, creating another amazing home screen. This home screen design uses flat design elements all across the board. Everything works together very well visually, making this hard to look away from.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Clean, simple, and minimal android home screen layout and design

Dustin Garwood

Dustin Garwood creates a nice effect with his Android home screen. Using a beautiful UCCW theme and a simple icon set on top of the blurred background is a cool look. Try blurring out some different photos for cool backgrounds that you can use with your own similar set up.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple, beautiful, and clean android home screen layout and design

Dustin Garwood

Dustin Garwood uses another blurred background to make his icons and widgets pop. This home screen setup uses the UCCW skin for the weather as his last theme and he is also using the rounded version of the icons.

Apps/Widgets Used:


Simple, beautiful, and clean typography based Android home screen layout and design

Debra Oatman

Debra Oatman uses transparency and minimalism everywhere on this Android home screen design. She even goes as far as to use Tasker to gorgeously display phone and text information.

Apps/Widgets Used:


If you know what any of the apps that are unknown are called, please let me know in the comments and I will be sure to update it in the article.

Thanks for stopping by and checking this out. Feel free to leave a comment or hit one of the share buttons!

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Samsung ARM Chromebook running Chrome OS

Tech Talk Tuesday: Chrome OS Hacks To Boost Performance And Usability

Chromebooks are great laptops for casual web browsing or as a secondary device. However, for those of us who use them for work or heavy browsing, the performance and usability can sometimes be a bit disappointing. As a Samsung ARM Chromebook owner, I can say that while this machine does what it promises to, there are a few tweaks that I have found in Chrome OS that make this device much better in the hands of a power user.

Heads Up! These are experimental features and hacks, so something could go wrong and I take no liability in you messing up your device. You are doing this because you knowingly choose to do so on your own free will, ain’t nobody making you do anything here. With that being said, I have found that the hacks we are going to cover here are stable and I have not encountered any errors using them. Now, lets start by giving your computer a performance boost!

Increase The SWAP Memory

The problem with the low end Chromebooks is their lack of RAM. Most only come with 2GB of RAM, and if you have the Samsung ARM Chrombook like I do, you have no way of adding more RAM to your device. This can quickly become a problem for anyone who is used to having 30 tabs open at a time, as most of your tabs will have to be reloaded when you go back to them. This is a headache and a half!

This hack is going to help alleviate some of that pain for you. While this might not let you have 30 tabs open (I get away with 15-20 without a problem), increasing the swap memory will help out significantly and reduce the number of tabs that need to be reloaded, if any at all.

Ed Hewitt, from over at OMG Chrome, explains how to do this quite nicely:

To activate SWAP, you will need to open terminal (Ctrl + Alt + t). In terminal, type the following command:

swap enable 2000

This will create a 2GB SWAP partition on your Chromebook’s SSD, adjusting the number will change the SWAP size. The Chrome team recommends 2GB. A restart is required to activate your newly created SWAP partition. It is regarding as an experimental feature, and is not recommended for daily use. To disable the SWAP partition type the following command in terminal and restart:

swap disable


Welcome To Chrome OS Flags

For the rest of the hacks that I am going to cover today, they will all be utilizing Chrome Flags to improve the usability of your device. To access these flags, simply type “chrome://flags/” (without the quotes of course) into your search bar and hit enter. Once you do that, you should be presented with a screen that resembles the following screenshot:

Chrome OS Flags - Enable advanced and hidden features of Chrome OS

Enable Immersive Fullscreen Browsing

Let’s face it, your Chromebook’s screen isn’t that big. The tabs, search bar, and bookmarks bar takes up a good number of pixels. When you add in pixels from the launcher at the bottom of the screen, you are losing close to 1/5 of your screen. You need all the screen real estate that you can get, this is why you need to enable immersive fullscreen browsing.

Enable Immersive fullscreen browsing in Chrome OS

Doing this will let you enjoy a full screen browsing experience while still having access to your launcher and tabs. Basically, the top of the browser that includes the tabs, search bar, and bookmarks bar will hide at the top of the screen. When you mouse over the top of the screen, this part of the browser will drop down, giving you easy access while giving you back lots of screen space. You can autohide your launcher to get even more screen space, simply two-finger click the launcher and select “Autohide launcher” at the top.

To enter immersive browsing, You click the settings and controls menu (looks like 3 horizontal bars) to the far right of the search bar and select the fullscreen option next to your zoom level. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut: “shift + fullscreen.” The fullscreen button is the button to the right of the refresh key on your keyboard, the icon is a rectangle with two small triangles in two of the corners.

Enter into immersive fullscreen browsing on Chrome OS

Change tabs via 3 Finger Scrolling

Cool, so now you have your entire screen to browse the web. You might soon grow tired of switching back and forth between tabs when you have to go to the top every time. For example, if you are writing a Google Doc in one tab and researching in another, you may find yourself needing to switch back and forth quite often. This can become a bit of a hassle when you have to wait a second to mouse over your tabs. There is a simple fix for that, enable tab scrubbing.

Enabling tab scrubbing will allow you to switch between your tabs in a window by horizontally scrolling with 3 fingers. It can be a bit touchy at times, but in general it works pretty well. Try it out for yourself and see what you think.

Enable Workspace Scrubbing

Located just beneath the previous flag, enable workspace scrubbing. This flag will let you switch between your different browser windows by performing a vertical 3 finger scroll gesture. This will let you quickly swipe away your twitter feed when your boss comes in. You can also use this to set up virtual desktops, sort of. While they won’t really be virtual desktops, grouping tabs into different windows and 3 finger swiping up or down will be the closest thing you can get on a Chromebook.

Do you have any tips or unique workflows to help improve usability of Chrome OS on your Chromebook? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

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What Is A Marketing Persona And Why Would I Need One?

So you have at least heard of a marketing persona by now, but what the hell is it and why on earth would your business need one? I often hear this type of question from my clients at the beginning stages of their project, but not long after that they start to see the full power and usefulness of creating these buyer personas. Even more exciting, they really want to help and offer to make these themselves! Of course I don’t let my clients do all the work and then pay me for it, but the fact that they are getting that excited shows off the greatness these personas can have.

Consumer Targeting History 101

Let’s start with a little bit of history, but not too much. In the past, marketers didn’t have access to their customers and the hoards of data that we do today, so they had to rely on what they could measure. This usually meant age, sex, location, income level, and maybe ethnicity.

Well, as you have probably observed in your life, you can’t really predict a person’s actions very well based on that criteria. Things had to change. With the rise of large data farms, social networks (not much different than a data farm), analytics, and more in depth sociological and consumer studies, we now have way more information about consumer behavior than we ever did before.

So, what can we do with all of this access to consumers and their buying habits? We create marketing personas of course! But wait, what is a marketing persona?

What Is A Marketing Persona?

A marketing persona is essentially a fictional consumer profile based on who your company’s customers really are. We are beyond the days of targeting middle income Latina females between the ages of 30-50 or black men between the ages of 18-24. That was the old way. The new way allows us to dive deeper into who our customers are. We ask questions like what are their goals and values, where do they research before buying, what pain points do they come across during the buying process, and more. HubSpot has written a great post about the kinds of questions you can ask to make these profiles highly useful.

Asking and answering these kinds of questions allow us to really understand who our consumers are so that we can improve our products, buying experience, marketing materials, and web presence in a way that will attract and convert more of the customers we want. You do want more customers and lower customer acquisition costs, don’t you?

Why Do I Need A Marketing Persona?

When we create these marketing personas, we are painting a really clear picture of who our customers are. When we know who our customers are, we can offer them what they want and how they want it. When you offer what your customers want and give it to them the way they want it, you can increase your sales and profits. It is a win-win situation for consumers and marketers alike.

Creating these profiles is extremely useful for marketing. However, as I tell all of my clients, it is much more than that! These profiles should be the backbone of everything your business does. Without customers, you don’t have a business, so don’t overlook the weight these personas carry. Marketing personas should be implemented in everything your business does, including the products/services that you offer, your pricing, marketing, design style, customer service approach, and anything else that your business does.

Great, So Now What?

Awesome, you now understand that marketing personas are fictional consumer profiles based on your real customers. You also know that these profiles extend greatly beyond just your company’s marketing materials and they help form the backbone of your business. Well, now that you have the basics, I highly recomend checking out a marketing persona template so that you can wrap your head around what this might look like when it is finished. Also, feel free to see what others have done as well, some can be very simple while others get very complex and detailed.

Do you need help putting together your marketing personas? Hire an expert marketer to help!

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Hootsuite bulk tweet upload Google Spreadsheet tool

Spreadsheet Sunday: Hootsuite Bulk Tweet Scheduler

Hootsuite is a great tool for almost any social media manager out there. It lets you manage multiple accounts and schedule social media posts across channels. Hootsuite is probably most used by marketers to help manage multiple twitter accounts and streams, and it is a great tool for doing that.

One of the power features that Hootsuite offers is bulk message scheduling via a CSV file. Bulk scheduling tweets can be a huge time saver, especially if you want to promote certain tweets or links several times throughout a month. However, creating a bulk upload sheet can be a bit of a pain with the default CSV template that Hootsuite provides.

Worry no more, you can use this simple Google Spreadsheet to help you bulk schedule your tweets with ease! Simply use the “Editor” sheet in this Google Doc and you can enter your tweet’s information. What this sheet will help you do is after you add your message and a link (if you want to include one) and this sheet will perform a character count for you to make sure your tweets are within the 140 character limit. You can also choose the time and date with ease by clicking on the little triangle in the cell and selecting the options you want from a drop down menu.

When you are ready to schedule your tweets, simply go to the “Export” sheet and export the sheet as a CSV file to upload to Hootsuite. This “Export” page automatically puts the data in the proper format for uploading to Hootsuite, so there is no extra work for you to do.

To get your own copy, click the button below, select “File” from the menu, then select “Make a copy…” to create a copy that you can use. Don’t forget to share this page with anyone who you think might find it useful!

Get It Now

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SEO Saturday: Should I Be Worried About Google’s Organic Results Space Decreasing?

A recent article by Aaron Harris has sparked a lot concern and controversy lately over Google’s organic results on the SERPs. It claims that only 13% of Google’s SERPs are dedicated to showing organic results. This information has a lot of uniformed SEO’s and marketers going crazy.

Are Google's organic search results dead?

The problem with this lies in the way they calculated their findings. The page was only calculated with what was shown above the fold on a 13in MacBook Air, not the entire page. The way he breaks up the content on the page isn’t exactly a science either, more so it is a bad assumption.

Even Search Engine Land has added their two cents on the issue, citing “if you measure the page not by pixel count but by actual listings, the situation is brighter than some of the “death of organic listings” proponents might think.” They also go on to say later in the article that if we look at the total number of listings, and not the pixel count, we find that the “Total paid versus unpaid: 70% to 30%” and “Paid versus unpaid, middle column: 50% to 50%.” These numbers are again counting the listings “above the fold” and not the entire page.

When I ran the same search on my 11 inch Chromebook here in Chicago, I found that there were 6 ads and 4 organic listings above the fold, making this a 60/40 spit between paid and organic results respectively. When we consider the entire page, we find that there are 11 ads and 18 organic listings, meaning that we are seeing close to 62% organic listings, and only about 38% paid listings. This is painting a completely different picture.

Google SERPs for Auto Mechanic showing that organic results are not dead

So, you can now make the decision to fear Google and believe that it is trying to kill organic and useful listings, or you can be a grown up and realize that you are just consuming garbage information without researching it for yourself. What will it be?

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Geometric Art - bear

Geometric Art Design Inspiration

Image Source

What Is Geometric Art?

Modern geometric art is a kind of art that focuses on using basic geometry to create or compliment an image. The simple shapes can be combined, multiplied, and styled to create some pretty jaw dropping effects. While the style is similar to polygonal art, it still maintains and demands its own identity.

Minimal Design Geometric Art

This is a collection of minimal design coupled with geometric art. These illustrations are all done by graphic designer Jaime Romero. You can find more of his samples over at weandthecolor.com.

minimal design geometric art
minimal design geometric art
minimal design geometric art

Oh My God, It’s Geometric Art!

Polygon art worthy of the gods themselves. These recreated gods are a pretty cool demonstration of what can be done with polygon art, showing off fun visuals without too many details.

mythical gods and goddesses recreate as polygonal geometric art
mythical gods and goddesses recreate as polygonal geometric art
mythical gods and goddesses recreate as polygonal geometric art

Andy Gilmore’s Abstract Geometric Art

Artist Andy Gilmore takes his shapes seriously. Most of his artwork is composed of simple geometric shapes organized by symmetry and is brilliantly colored.

abstract geometric art by Andy Gilmore
abstract geometric art by Andy Gilmore
abstract geometric art by Andy Gilmore
abstract geometric art by Andy Gilmore
abstract geometric art by Andy Gilmore

Rob Baily’s Geometric Art

Designer Rob Baily focuses his geometric and polygon art on animals and humans.

Rob Bailey geometric animal art

(image source)

Rob Bailey geometric art of a vikings ready to fight
(image source)

Kasper Pyndt Abstract Geometric Art

This next set of beautiful geometric designs are done by design student Kasper Pyndt. This collection of art takes on a more abstract form, but is absolutely gorgeous nonetheless.

abstract geometrical artwork by Kasper Pyndt
abstract geometrical artwork by Kasper Pyndt
abstract geometrical artwork by Kasper Pyndt
abstract geometrical artwork by Kasper Pyndt

Geometrical Tattoo Art

Why should geometric art be limited to computer screens and framed canvases? These guys take geometrical art with them every where they go.

tattoo with geometric art
tattoo with geometric art
tattoo with geometric art
tattoo with geometric art

Ronit Shwartz’s Nature Inspired Geometric Art

Israeli artist and mother, Ronit Shwartz gives us a taste of man made geometrical design coupled with nature. This perfect compliment led to a really creative design solution for us to drop our jaws at.

Geometric Art Orange Circle Green leaves

Tadaomi Shibuya’s Stunning Geometric Art

Japanese artist Tadaomi Shibuya has created some of the most breathtaking a amazing looking geometric artwork the world has ever seen. You can find more of his work here.

stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya
stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya
stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya
stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya
stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya
stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya
stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya
stunning geometric art by Tadaomi Shibuya

Bright, Fun, And Colorful Geometric Artwork By Morgan’s Robot

The artist that goes by the pen name Morgan’s Robot has created some really great looking artwork. She does a lot of design work that is inspired by geometry, and looks really interesting. I highly recomend that you check out more of her design work here.

bright and colorful geometric design

Pablo Abad’s “New Futurism” & Other Geometric Artwork

Art Director & Graphic Designer Pablo Abad from Spain really knows how to play with simplicity and patterns. He explores many different kinds of subject matter, but he still maintains this clean, shape based, and repetitive patterns that create shapes in and of themselves. He is a brilliant designer, you can see how he can even carry out his style beautifully in a magazine from page to page without overdoing it.

geometric and symmetrical pattern based art by pablo abad
geometric and symmetrical pattern based art by pablo abad
New Futurism design and artwork by Pablo Abad
New Futurism design and artwork by Pablo Abad

Vicente Mora Scoler’s Artwork

This kind of artwork is not what Vicente usually does to pay the bills (he has another style for that), this is the kind of artwork that he does to feel free and creative. The kind of work that you just let devour and consume you, and this is the result.

stunning geometric artwork
stunning geometric artwork

Thanks for checking this out, add a comment below to let us know your favorite one!

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Adwords Ad Formating Google Spreadsheet to test the character count of PPC ads for Google Adwords

Spreadsheet Sunday: Easy Adwords PPC Ad Formatting

When you manage Google Adwords PPC ad campaigns for your self or for your clients, you know that going into Adwords can be a waste of time when all you want to do is test some new ad copy. I’ve experienced it many times myself, I know how annoying it can be to set up a new ad just to see if your character count will fit. It is especially annoying when you are proposing ads, as the client often won’t have an account or they want to see a few examples of what you might give them before the buy into it.

Your pains are no more. Use this simple Google Spreadsheet to help you format your proposed PPC ads for Adwords. Simply fill out the required lines in the Spreadsheet and it will automatically show you if you are beyond the allowed character count. As an added bonus, the ads are all formatted like they would appear on Google, so you can copy and past your ads on to another sheet and send the client a PDF of what the ads will look like!

Get Your Free Copy Of The Adwords PPC Ad Formatter

Ready to get started? Simply click a button below, make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet (File > Make a copy), and you are all set and ready to go!


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Yelp listings fetcher Google Spreadsheet for local seo

SpreadSheet Sunday: Copy and Paste Yelp Competitor Info With Ease

If you handle local seo or just seo in general, you know that Yelp can be a very powerful tool to help you with competitor research. If you have ever gotten tired of going to each company’s page to get their info, you are in luck. With this new, easy to use spreadsheet you can easily copy and paste any info that you might need from your competition all in one easy place. If you can use yelp and you know how to copy and paste, there is nothing else to learn!

Here are some ideas you can use this spreadsheet for, please add your own ideas to the comments below to let others know.

  • Gathering the names and contact information of local business that compete with your company.
  • Getting a list of competitor URL’s to use for keyword and SEO research.
  • Discovering where you fit into the rankings for certain keywords
  • Discovering the number of reviews your competition has
  • Collecting the names and phone numbers of local businesses that you want to visit on a trip.

Ready to get started? Simply click the button below, make a copy of the Google Spreadsheet (File > Make a copy), and you are all set and ready to go!

Sure, I’ll Check It Out

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Why Keywords Are Dead

For a long time, marketers have been caught up in a game of over optimizing for keywords in order to top the rankings and bring in sales. The trend of over optimizing has come to an end thanks to the likes of Google’s initial Panda update and other updates since then. There is a problem however, with Google Analytics and Google’s Adwords tools, we are still facing a set of data that puts keywords at the forefront of our marketing. I am here to tell you that this trend is fading, and that’s a good thing!

The Semantic Web

One of the biggest things pushing this change is the rise of the semantic web. The semantic web allows search engines to know and uderstand so much more about how ideas relate to one another. This alone is helping to destroy the keyword based web. Search engines are no longer paying attention to just a few metrics that can be gamed, now they are listening to social chatter, reference websites, and so much more to determine where your content fits into the web of information.

User Tracking

User tracking will be the future of the web. HubSpot has been implementing it, and now Google offers a half baked version through their Universal Analytics (read more about UA from Marketing Land).

Why does User tracking matter so much? Let’s consider this scenario: You are walking through the city and you see a really cool t-shirt in a window, you take a quick picture to save it for later. You come home later and you are watching TV, during a commercial break you suddenly remember that awesome t-shirt and reach for your tablet to do a quick price search. You find the shirt online, price compare it to a few other places quickly and decide where you will get it from. Your show comes back on and your attention is taken away again. The next day while at work you remember the awesome shirt and show it to your coworker, who also thinks it is awesome, so you then give yourself a mental reminder to order it when you get home. When you get home, you pull out the trusty laptop, find that awesome shirt again, and then make an order.

90% of multiple device owners switch between screens to complete tasks.

Source: The New Multi-Screen World Study

What does all of this mean? In terms of Google Analytics, you would have already had at least 3 unique views from this scenario. In addition to this misleading data, you would have likely seen a conversion from a brand related keyword, since the user most likely searched your website name on Google to get there and place his order from his laptop. The reality is, this is not the keyword that brought the user to your site or helped them actually convert, it is simply the keyword they used to finalize the purchase after they already decided that you were the right choice. As you can see, we are really getting an unclear picture of what is happening here.

With HubSpot’s tracking software, you get to really see who your customers are, where they are coming from, what they care about, and then you can follow up with them based on what marketing buckets you place them in. I see this as being the future of where marketing will go, since keywords are helpful, but so is knowing who your users are and what they are doing. Whoever can give us access to this user based tracking, create a UI that makes sense, delivers powerful insights, and is affordable will be the market leader in the Analytics and Advertising platforms of the future.

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performing market research for your website, the good old fashioned way

Content Strategy Research Essentials: The 4 Things You Need To Know

When it comes to conducting content strategy research for a website, there are 4 main areas that you will want to research to ensure that you have your bases covered. These 4 areas are simple, yet essential and powerful. If you choose to ignore them or research them lazily, I can almost guarantee that you will screw something up.

The research phase of creating your website’s content strategy is important and valuable for pretty obvious reasons, the more informed you can be, the better decisions you can make. However, don’t get caught up in the notion that you will need to know everything ahead of time or you may get stuck in fear of starting the unknown, which will likely kill your project before it ever gets started. There is plenty that will happen that you just can’t know until you get there, this is completely normal for marketing (and everything else), so don’t freak out.

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” Sven Goran Eriksson

It is also important to note that the research your content strategy never really ends, it simply just has to begin. There will be things that you know before you get started and there will be things that you won’t discover until long after you launch your site. The thing to remember is that you need to document everything and update all of your research as you go along, there is no point in doing the work if you can’t refer to it later on. You can only act upon the information you have available (memory is a sloppy tool).

Now that you have been prepped to take on this article, let’s get you started with the first area of market research, the customers.

Customer Research

This is the the most vital part of the research phase. Unfortunately, most people or agencies tend to skip through this section and just make simple assumptions. This can and will seriously hurt everything you do from this point forward, so don’t skim over this lightly and assume that you are right.

When researching your target audience, you really have to really dive deep into the subject matter. Doing so will help reveal small subtleties that your competition is either unaware of or just ignoring all together. These small subtleties can be turned into a major competitive advantage for you. You do want to have a better chance than your competition, right?

So, what information do you need to know about your target audience in order to develop a content strategy that users will love and choose over the competition? Know what they are truly looking for and why. If you get nothing else out of this, at least burn that into your brain. It’s one thing to know that your customers are looking for a specific product, but to understand why they are looking for it and being able to cater to that why will help make your website really stand out to a user.

Other important information to discover or decipher are your customers’ pain points, their motivations, their demographics, their buying process, their purchasing frequency, and how your product or service fits into their lifestyle.

It is at this point where I like to create my marketing personas. A marketing persona is essentially a fictional consumer profile based on your research. The point of these is that you learn to stop targeting demographics and start targeting real world people who use your products and services.

Keyword Research

The next phase of the content strategy research process is to execute the keyword research. Your keyword research should start with your marketing personas. Knowing who your customers are, why they are looking for your services, and how they find your services online will lead you into finding the keywords that really matter.

Take these keywords and start plugging them into Google and/or Bing and look at what it is recommending for related searches and results. This will give you a solid idea of good, related longtail keywords. You can also use the Long Tail Keyword Prospecting Tool (Instructions), it does essentially the same task for you in a Google Spreadsheet.

One of the free, go-to resources for keyword research by almost all online marketers and SEOs is Google’s Keyword Tool. This tool will help you discover what Google thinks are related terms to your keywords. You will have to think of a few basic search terms that your personas would type into a search engine, and then Google will create a list of related search terms to help you expand your list. Be cautious with this though, make sure you analyze these keywords to make sure they are a good match and don’t fall into the lazy habit of just checking them simply because they are on the list.

You will also be able to see and filter the number of local and global searches for these search terms, helping you find keywords that will match the volume of clicks you need to generate. As a bonus, this should also help you reduce costs from wasteful keyword targeting.

Finding keywords with high search volume and low competition is usually a good recommendation, especially for smaller or newer companies. However, you can’t ignore keywords with high competition either. It may be a good idea to target these at the start with PPC ads, it can be a decent way to get some brand exposure on the low level topics just so people become familiar with your name in the product category while generating some top of the funnel traffic.

Using other keyword tools will probably help you discover similar results, while also having the added bonus of a few other features or insights.

Other notable keyword research tools include:

Competitive Research

Searching what your competition is doing to find success in the rankings is a great idea. This will help expedite some of your strategizing by giving you insights into what is working for other businesses that you can uniquely adopt for your own site and strategy.

You should be looking for who your competition is, where are they getting links from, what keywords they rank well for, what kind of content they are generating, how users are used to doing what you want them to do, and much more depending on your specific circumstances and competition.

To get your competitive research started, open an incognito or private browser window and start searching for keywords that you want to rank for. You can then see who is ranking for these key terms and go to their site to find out why they are ranking so well. You will want to be sure to check for how they are positioning themselves, what kind of content is popular on their site, and other notable aspects to their online presence. To get a more thorough example of how to do this, read up on HubSpot’s post How to Conduct Competitive Analysis to Step Up Your Content Strategy.

There are also a host of great tools for doing competitive research and finding great insight into the more technical aspects of why they are ranking so well. On the flip side, you also want to pay attention to what they aren’t doing to see if there are gaps in the rankings where you may be able to take over.

Some of these tools are free while others are paid. Do a little research and find the tools that will work best for your business. While these tools do provide a lot useful data, data is only as useful as the person who interprets it. Don’t think that just because you have a ton of graphs and charts flashing on your screen that your job is over and you are ready to move on. Take the time to carefully analyze this data and make valuable documented insights.

Social Media Research

Social media research is not the most important area to research for your content strategy, but it can lead to some interesting insights and help you learn who the influencers are. You will want to start by searching for some of your keywords across LiknedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. Pay attention to what kind of content pops up, and again, what kind doesn’t. After you search around for a while and get familiar with the content (document your research!), it is time to start finding the key players.

You may have already seen some big names from looking at content, that is a good place to start. Once you have them listed, perform searches for Twitter Lists and other top lists of people to follow in the industry for sites like Google+ and Facebook. These are likely filled with a lot of big names in the industry, start to follow many of them and pay attention to what they are doing and how well its working.

At this point, you will also want to document key websites and people that you can connect with for blogging outreach and places to share your content. Social is a great source for this beyond search engines because it helps you discover what people are actually talking and excited about, not just sites that were chosen by a machine trying to understand people.

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Why I Prefer Google Spreadsheets Over MS Excel For SEO

Microsoft Excel has been a staple program for SEO’s for a long time. However, the days of Excel acting as the reigning champion in this category are over. Everyone, make room for Google Spreadsheets as your go to spreadsheet program for SEO.

Excel was a great tool because it had arguably the most functional spreadsheet editor known to computer users. There are also some powerful extensions out there that make Excel even more powerful for SEO work. So why then would you want to give all of that up and make the switch to Google Spreadsheets? Keep reading to find out.

Web Scraping

This is arguably the most powerful reason to choose Google Spreadsheets over Microsoft Excel for your go to SEO tool. While there are ways to do this in Excel, it is not exactly built in nor easy to use. With Google Spreadsheets, you can easily scrape all sorts of data from Google and from specific websites. The main way to do this is to use the “importxml” function, which you can learn how to use it here.

This powerful little function lets you scrape all sorts of great info like Google Search results, Trends, and even to find specific HTML tags on a page (list elements, titles, links, etc..). You can get very creative with how you use it, the options are pretty much endless and many of them are quite simple to make. You can check out a few useful SEO tools that others have made here, this will give you a good idea of what kind of power this can have. After that, you can take a stab at building your own agile Google Spreadsheet SEO tools.

Direct Export to Google Spreadsheets

Like many SEO’s out there, I heavily rely on Google Anayltics, Keyword Research Tools, and other Google products to get the job done fast and efficiently. Another nice thing about using Google Spreadsheets over Excel is that you can export data directly into a Google Spreadsheet from most of the other Google products.

This eliminates the hassle of having to download a file and open it in Excel or worse, downloading a file and having to upload it back into Google Drive to use it. You can even bypass this whole exporting process and get live Analytics data directly into your Google Spreadsheets, this can be a huge time saver if you manually generate reports for clients via Spreadsheets.

This doesn’t work for all of Google’s products, yet. But for where it does work, it is a much needed and appreciate function.

Effortless Online Backup, Synchronizing, Sharing, and Collaboration

Needless to say, all of the other joys that come from using Google Drive over Microsoft Office come into play here as well. Knowing that your files are being instantly saved and backed up online is a major relief. Having all of your files ready to be shared with a coworker or client is another great feature that we can’t overlook. And last but not least, the ability to work with someone live on the same document can be such a powerful feature to have, especially when it comes to slicing and analyzing data.

What reasons do you have for choosing Google Spreadsheets over Excel? Or do you think Excel is the better choice? Let us know your reasons in the comments!

Do you need help with your SEO? Get a free one hour consultation phone call today!

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How To Understand The Differences Among Inbound Marketing Offers

inbound marketing offers sales funnel

Kickstart your Inbound Marketing and download your free 6 Month Inbound Marketing Plan Template.

One of the most important aspects of Inbound Marketing besides creating your marketing personas, is creating your inbound marketing offers to attract and convert those leads. There is a lot of confusion surrounding what kind of content is best suited for each stage of the buying process, I know that I was a little confused with this for a while when being trained as a partner with HubSpot. After doing more of my own research and completing my training through HubSpot, I am here to help clarify this stage of the process for the rest of us.

Top of the Funnel – Generating Leads

The top of the funnel is the first stage of the buying process. These are the people who are doing the equivalent of window shopping. They are out looking around, not really ready to buy and not entirely sure what they want, but they are open to options.

It is at this point that you want to start getting on the customers’ radar. Let them know that your business has the products or services that they might be interested in and let them know what benefit you can offer them.

    Here is some great content for Top of the Funnel Offers:

  • Ebooks
  • Educational Content
  • “What is ‘X’?”
  • Email lists
  • Infographics

Middle of the Funnel – Creating Prospects

The middle of the funnel is the part of the buying process where the shopper has identified that they need something and they are taking a look at their options. This is the stage where you will want differentiate yourself from the competition so the customer will be more likely to choose you over the competition.

You really want to go deeper into describing the benefits of your product or services at this stage. The customer is more aware of the market and competition, and has likely picked up on some buzzword lingo.

    Here is some great content for Middle of the Funnel Offers:

  • Case studies
  • “What can ‘X’ do for my business
  • Stats analysis
  • Trend reports
  • Templates
  • Tip sheets
  • Tutorials
  • Checklists
  • Advanced email lists
  • Videos
  • FAQ sheets

Bottom of the Funnel – Convert Prospects into Sales

This is the final stage of the sales funnel. The customer knows their options and they are preparing to make a decision. You should have talked to them personally at least once by this point, if not, do so immediately to boost your chances of getting the sale. If you have talked to them once or more, it is time to start pushing the sale.

    Here is some great content for Bottom of the Funnel Offers:

  • Pricing
  • Coupons or limited time deals
  • Free trial
  • Assessment or consulting session
Are you still struggling to understand the differences? Schedule a free 1 hour consultation with me to get the answers and help you need.

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Top 10 Questions To Ask An Employer During an Interview

Preparing for an interview can be stressful and intimidating, especially if it is for a position that you truly care about getting. Most people focus on how to answer questions that are most likely going to be asked, which is a great idea. However, it is equally important to know what questions to ask the interviewer to make sure that you are a good fit for the position and that you will enjoy the work environment in the long run.

  1. How will you define success for this roll?

    Knowing how the company will define whether you are successful or not can take a lot of stress off of your plate. Asking this during the interview process is great because it will let you know ahead of time if you are likely to survive and thrive at the company, or if you aren’t going to last long at all.

  2. Where do you see your company in the next 5 years?

    Sound familiar? This all too common question that employers ask employees is just as valuable for you as it is for them. Knowing what their plans and goals are will help you realize if this position truly does fit in with your personal and life goals. Don’t be afraid to ask, but if they aren’t sure how to answer, be cautious. This question can also help you better answer their same question for you, if you know where they are going to be in 5 years, you can align your words with their description.

  3. What role does this position play in the success of the company?

    Knowing where your position fits into the company should give you some insight into your position and how well you will perform at the company. If the position doesn’t seem to have much weight at the company, be prepared to be put on the backburner and left out. If the position is more vital at the company, be prepared to take on lots of responsibility and accountability.

  4. What kind of personality traits indicate that someone is a great fit around here?

    Ask what kind of personalities fit in best with the company. No one really wants to work at a company where they don’t fit it, so its best to know ahead of time.

  5. What do you enjoy most about working for this company?

    This question can give you insight into some of the intangibles or subtleties about the company that you may not have been aware of. Asking this will also give you some insight into your interviewer and what they like, which may help lead to some friendly talk in the interview, which is always a plus.

  6. Is there opportunity for growth?

    No one wants a dead end position, so you better find out if that is what you are getting yourself into. If the position has no room for growth, you likely want to start asking why and why not. If the answers scare you, it may be time to politely excuse yourself from the interview.

  7. What are your company’s biggest challenges?

    Asking this question shows the interviewer that you are interested in the company and shows that you are ready to help. In addition to that, knowing this can help you identify and inefficiencies in the company, and if you can help solve those, you have something powerful to talk about with the interviewer.

  8. Why is this position vacant?

    It is always wise to ask why the position is not currently filled. Knowing how the previous person was let go can give you insight into what things the company will not tolerate in the position. It can also give you some insight into the sanity of the company, if they have a high turnover rate or have fired people for some ridiculous reasons, you may want to continue your job hunt elsewhere.

  9. Where are the successful people who used to hold this position now?

    Knowing where the people who you used to hold the position you are seeking is great insight into where you may be headed if you get this position. If they all got fired, you know what is likely in store for you. If many of them have advanced through the company or moved on to other companies with equal or better roles, that is a healthy sign.

  10. Do you see any reasons why I wouldn’t be fully qualified for this position?

    Ask direct, ask bluntly. This question will probably throw off your interviewer a bit, but you are well within reason to ask this question. If this interview doesn’t work out, at least you will know what you need to get the position you are going for, at the next place. If you do end up getting hired or considered, you know what you need to take care of right away.

  11. (Bonus) What is the typical process for someone in this role?

    Asking what the job will be like often gets you a response that is far off from the reality of the position, that is why I like to hone in and ask what the process will be like. This forces the interviewer to give you a better idea of how they are used to the job being performed, and thus, will better answer your question of what your actual role at the company will be. If you are filling a new position, ask what they think your process will be. This can help set a more realistic idea of what can be done in a day if they are way overboard, or you can give them some insight into why you think a different process would be better, which will usually impress them.

What are your favorite questions to ask during an interview? Post yours in the comments to get the conversation started.

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