Affiliated Business Logo Affiliated Business News
44

Most of you are too busy monitoring Google's latest algorithm updates, examining web analytics, and building links and content to stay up to date on the design world.


Usually, creative people who excel at design aren't very good at the left-brain thinking required to succeed in the highly-technical search engine optimization industry. Likewise, very few people with the analytical mindset required for search engine optimization would do well in the free-spirited design industry.


Unfortunately, in the real world, you're often expected to do exactly that. And while most

Read More
people understand that it would be ludicrous to expect their doctor to also troubleshoot their plumbing, they don't seem to understand why they shouldn't expect the person responsible for their SEO to also handle their design needs from time to time.


So you're often forced to design things for your clients from time to time. Or sometimes, you just need to whip up something for yourself instead of trying to find someone who can deliver what you need on Fiverr.


Since you probably won't start sporting a black turtleneck and talking about crop marks, press checks, or CMYK colors anytime soon, it seems silly to shell out thousands of dollars on software you'll only use occasionally, so I've compiled a list of design resources for non-designers.


The resources in this list are every bit as powerful as any of the professional-grade software, but they are free. (Some do offer premium versions with more options.) The only downside is that it might be a little bit tougher to find tutorials for some of these programs compared to the industry standard software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.


Image editing


Image Editing.


We all need to edit and create images from time to time, but if you only do it occasionally, software like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator works out to be pretty expensive. Fortunately, there are several feature-rich image editing programs available.


  • Gimp - Anything you can do with Photoshop can be done with Gimp, and it runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The learning curve can be steep, but it's worth the time.

  • Pixlr - If you're used to Photoshop, this program has a very similar interface, and it even opens native .psd files with the original layers intact.

  • Canva - The drag-and-drop interface of this web-based design program make graphic design quick and simple, plus it comes with a library of over one million professional stock images.

  • Inkscape - Easily create illustrations, logos, technical drawings, and vector images with this free alternative to Illustrator.

  • SVG Editor - If you're obsessed about website speed, you probably love SVGs (scalable vector graphics) and this handy tool from Google make it easy to create and edit them.

3D


OK, so you're not going to compete with Pixar anytime soon, but 3D capabilities do come in handy for designing mockups of books and DVDs, creating characters, and even complete photorealistic animations.


  • Online 3d Package - This tool lets you quickly and easily create photorealistic mockups of books, boxes, DVDs, and CDs.

  • Blender - If you occasionally need to create 3D renderings but can't justify spending big bucks for professional-grade software that you'll only use a few times, Blender is the perfect (and free) alternative.

Web design


Web Design.


Designing a website requires a blend of creative and technical skills. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available to efficiently complete both. From the pretty parts, to the nuts and bolts, to the little details, here is everything you'll need:


Palette generator - Upload an image and this tool will generate the perfect color palette to compliment it that you can download as a CSS file.


Subtle Paterns - Creating seamless backgrounds can be a pain, so instead of starting from scratch, just download from over 400 high-quality seamless background images, including textures and patterns.


Web page editors


Whether you're building a website from scratch with a WYSIWYG editor or fine-tuning the code on an existing website with an HTML editor, web design software will probably get a lot of use in your hands. If you have the technical chops to hand code your websites, that's ideal, but if not, or if you just don't want to, here are several options:


  • Kompozer - With a WYSIWYG editor in one tab and raw HTML in the other, on-the-fly editing with built-in FTP, Kompozer will make creating and editing web page a breeze.

  • Google Webdesigner - Build HTML5-based designs and motion graphics that can run on any device without writing any code! (If you want to get your hands dirty, you can edit all HTML and CSS by hand.

  • Expression Web - Microsoft offers another free web page editor which has made significant improvements since that abomination called Frontpage.

Favicon Generator - A truly polished website needs consistent branding throughout, and that means all the little details, including a favicon—that tiny little image that sits in the tab or bookmarks. Just upload an image file, such as your logo, and this handy tool will spit out the .ico files you need.


Web Developer Toolbar - This browser toolbar is available for Firefox and Chrome, and helps you troubleshoot your website and even test it at various screen sizes.


Infographics


Infographics.


Infographics are still an effective method to earn social shares and links, and they are a great way to present a lot of data-rich information, but they can be a pain to create. Here are several tools to simplify the process that might even be better (and easier) than traditional design software.


  • Infogram - Build beautiful data-driven infographics in just three steps with this free tool.

  • Piktochart - With a simple point and click editor and over 4,000 graphics, icons, and template files, Piktochart makes it easy to create infographics that look exactly the way you want.

  • Easel.ly - Loaded with tons of creative templates and an east-to-use interface, this is another powerful tool to create your own stunning infographics.

  • Venngage - This drag and drop interface provides all the charts, maps, icons and templates you'll need to design attention-grabbing infographics.

  • Vizualize.me - Turn your boring resume into a unique visual expression of your skills and experience to stand out from the crowd.

If you are in a saturated market or have a great idea you are certain will be a success then it may make sense to splash out for a custom designed graphic, but in less competitive market some of the above quick-n-easy tools can still be remarkably effective.


Data visualization


Google Charts is a great way to create all sorts of charts, and the best part is that you can create them on the fly by passing variables in the URL.


Typography


Typography.


Today you have plenty of options when it comes to font choices, so please stop using Arial, and for the love of all that is good, never use Comic Sans or I will hunt you down. You can choose from thousands of free fonts, so it's easy to pick one that fits your project perfectly.


  • Typegenius - Choosing the perfect font combo can be tough, but Typegenious makes it easy. Just pick a starter font from the drop down list and the site will recommend fonts that pair well with it.

  • Google Fonts - I recommend embedding Google fonts instead hosting them on your own server because they load more quickly and there is a chance they're already cached on visitors' computers.

  • Font Awesome - This is an awesome (hence the name) way to add all sorts of scalable icons without a load of extra http requests. Simply load one font for access to 519 icons that colored, scaled, and styled with CSS.

  • DaFont - Download and instal these fonts (.ttf or .otf formats) for designing documents or images on your computer.

  • What the Font - If you've ever experienced the rage-inducing task of figuring out what font was used when your client only has a 72dpi jpg and no idea how to track down their previous designer, then this is the tool for you. Just upload your image and it goes to work figuring what font it is.

Social media


Social Media.


Social media can multiply your website's exposure exponentially, but it takes a lot of work. From branding profiles on each network to crafting engaging visual content your fans will share, you'll have to create a lot of graphics to feed the beast. Doing that manually, the old-fashioned way is tedious and slow, so I recommend these tools to speed up your workflow.


Easy Cover Maker - Stop wasting time trying to position your cover and profile photo for your Facebook and Google+ page. This tool lets you drag everything into position in one handy interactive window, then download the image files.


Quote creators


  • Quotes Cover - Just select a quote or enter your own text, apply various effects for your own unique style, and download eye catching pictures perfect for social media. It even creates the perfect dimensions based on how you intend to use it.

  • Chisel - This tool has the most user-friendly interface and tons of great images and fonts to create the exact message you want to share.

  • Recite This - There are plenty of images and fonts available, but the downside is you have to scroll through images one at a time, and fonts are selected randomly.

Jing - From the makers of Camtasia, this free program gives you the ability to capture images or video (up to 5 minutes long) of your computer screen, then share it with the click of a button.


Social Kit - Create cover images, profile pictures, and ad banners for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube with this free, up-to-date Photoshop plugin.


Social media image size guide - The folks over at Sprout Social created (and maintain) this handy and comprehensive Google doc listing the image sizes for all major social media networks, and since it's a shared document, you can have Google notify you anytime it's updated!


Meme creators


Instead of wasting time searching for the perfect meme, why not just create your own?


Stock photos


Powerful photos can mean the difference between a dry post that visitors ignore and one that entices them to read more. The good news is you don't have to take your own spend a fortune on stock photos because there are several free and low-cost options available.


  • Unsplash - These are not your typical cheesy stock photos; they lean more towards the artistic side. New photos are uploaded every day and they're all 100% free.

  • StockVault - With over 54 thousand free images available, both artistic and corporate-style, you should be able to find the perfect photo for just about any project.

  • Dreamstime & iStockPhoto - Both of these sites give you the option of a subscription model or a pay-as-you-go credits. Many images on one are available on the other, but I've found great images that were only on one of the two sites, so it's worthwhile to check both.

Inspiration


Even the best designers hit a wall, creatively speaking, so it helps to look for inspiration. These sites curate the best designs around and are updated regularly, so you'll find plenty of fresh ideas for your project.


Tutorials


Since you're days are filled with keyword research, content development, link building, and other SEO-related tasks, you probably don't have time to stay up-to-date on the latest design trends and techniques. No worries—with these websites, you'll be able to find a tutorial to walk you through just about any design challenge.


  • CSS-Tricks - Whenever I have a CSS question, I always slap “css tricks” on the end of my search because Chris Coyer has the most detailed, yet easy-to-understand tutorials on damn near every scenario you could imagine.

  • Tuts+ - Learn everything about graphic design, web design, programming, and more with a growing library of articles and tutorials.

  • Smashing Magazine - This is probably one of the most comprehensive web design resources you'll find anywhere, going wide and deep on every aspect of web design.

About the Author


Jeremy Knauff is the founder of Spartan Media, a proud father, husband, and US Marine Corps veteran. He has spent over 15 years helping small business up to Fortune 500 companies make their mark online, and now he's busy building his own media empire. You can follow Spartan Media on Twitter and Facebook.

Categories: publishing & media
46
Bing has made an amendment to its advertising policy to prohibit advertisers from putting multiple display URL domains under one ad group.
Read More
yn0Lo">
35
Setting up a mobile-only account allows marketers to test the impact of mobile campaigns without a direct impact on the primary account's performance and metrics.
Read More
~ff/sewblog?a=5m8PipX84bg:6tN4lchAgd8:F7zBnMyn0Lo">
10
Whether your business is big or small, brand reputation is hugely important. You need to be constantly thinking about how you want to be known and remembered by your leads, customers, and website visitors. Most business owners would probably say that they want their company to be well-thought of, but don’t necessarily have a plan to execute on. So here’s a workable plan, also known as – what I like to call – the eight be’s (you’ll find out why in a second). Here’s how you can build your online business with brand reputation in mind. Be Transparent Tran
Read More
sparency is
40

We have seen a growing number of enthusiasts spending more time climbing the hills of the UK in pursuit of keeping fit and escaping the pressures of everyday life. While it’s easy to get lost in the beauty of British landscape, the unpredictable weather conditions ranging from heatwaves to hail create a demand for people […]

The post rel="nofollow" href="http://white.net/blog/market-report-outdoor-clothing-camping/">Reaching new heights: How outdoor clothing & camping retailers are achieving success online appeared first on rel="nofollow" href="http://wh

Read More
ite.net">White.net.

19

Search PandaMonium


A couple days ago Microsoft announced a deal with AOL to have AOL sell Microsoft display ads & for Bing to power AOL's organic search results and paid search ads for a decade starting in January.


The search landscape is still undergoing changes.


I am uncertain to what degree they are testing search results from Google, but

Read More
on some web browsers I am seeing Yahoo! organics and ads powered by Bing & in other browsers I am seeing Yahoo! organics and ads powered by Google. Here are a couple screenshots.


Bing Version



Google Version



Comparing The SERPs


Notable differences between the versions:


search provider
Bing
Google
top ad color
purple
blue
top ad favicon
yes
no
clickable ad area
all
headline
ad label
right of each ad near URL
once in gray above all ads
ad URL redirect
r.msn.com
google.com
ad units above organics
5
4
ad sitelinks
many
fewer
ad star rating color
blue
yellow
Yahoo! verticals like Tumblr & Answers
mixed into organic results
not mixed in
footer "powered by Bing" message
shown
missing

When the Google ads run on the Yahoo! SERPs for many keywords I am seeing many of the search arbitrage players in the top ads. Typically these ads are more commonly relegated to Google.com's right rail ad positions.


The Google Yahoo! Search Backstory


Back in 2008 when Yahoo! was fighting to not get acquired they signed an ad agreement with Google, but it was blocked by the DOJ due to antitrust concerns. Unless Google loses Apple as a search partner, they are arguably more dominant today in general web search than they were back in 2008. Some have argued apps drastically change the way people search, but Google has went to great lengths to depreciate the roll of apps & suck people back into their search ecosystem with features baked into Google Now on tap & in-app keyword highlighting that can push a user from an app into a Google search result.


In Q4 last year Yahoo! replaced Google as the default search provider in Firefox in the United States.


And Yahoo! recently signed a deal with Oracle to bundle default Yahoo! Search settings on Java updates. Almost all the Bing network gains of late have been driven by Yahoo!.


A little over a year ago Yahoo! launched Gemini to begin rebuilding their own search ad network, starting with mobile. In their Q1 report, RKG stated "Among advertisers adopting Gemini, 36% of combined Bing and Yahoo mobile traffic was served by Yahoo in March 2015."


When Yahoo! recently renewed their search deal with Microsoft, Yahoo! was once again allowed to sell their own desktop search ads & they are only required to give 51% of the search volume to Bing. There has been significant speculation as to what Yahoo! would do with the carve out. Would they build their own search technology? Would they outsource to Google to increase search ad revenues? It appears they are doing a bit of everything - some Bing ads, some Yahoo! ads, some Google ads.


Bing reports the relative share of Yahoo! search ad volume they deliver on a rolling basis: "data covers all device-types. The relative volume (y-axis) is an index based on average traffic in April, therefore it is possible for the volume to go above 1.0. The chart is updated on a weekly basis."



If Yahoo! gives Google significant share it could create issues where users who switch between the different algorithms might get frustrated by the results being significantly different. Or if users don't care it could prove general web search is so highly commoditized the average searcher is totally unaware of the changes. The latter is more likely, given most searchers can't even distinguish between search ads and organic search results.


The FTC was lenient toward Google in spite of Google's clearly articulated intent to abuse their dominant market position. Google has until August 17th to respond to EU antitrust charges. I am a bit surprised Google would be willing to run this type of test while still undergoing antitrust scrutiny in Europe.


Choosing to Choose Choice


When Mozilla signed the deal with Yahoo! & dumped Google they pushed it as "promoting choice."


A cynic might question how much actual choice there is if on many searches the logo is different but the underlying ads & organic results are powered by Google, and an ex-Google executive runs Yahoo!.


"Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black." - Henry Ford


Categories: yahoo
20
While a targeted PPC campaign can certainly help boost your traffic, it's not immune to click fraud, which can waste up to one-fifth of your budget.
Read More
OyQ:F7zBnMyn0Lo">
10
According to recent research from IgnitionOne, paid search is up year-over-year, particularly in mobile. Meanwhile, Facebook's display growth continues to threaten Google.
Read More
atch.com/~ff/sewblog?a=7-5WMeDoqEI:K5fNNx5BAko:F7zBnMyn0Lo">
37
Very few people are naturally-born speakers. The thing is, if you start doing more speaking engagements, you will become more recognized as an expert in your field. It can get you a lot more attention for your business too. So there are a lot of benefits to getting into the game, but there’s also a lot to know. Check out the following 10 keys for improving as a speaker and getting more opportunities. Just Get Started People tend to have a lot of fears associated with public speaking. This stops them from doing anything. But not you, right? You’re serious
26
One of the recurring themes I’ve been seeing in the past few months, comes from web publishers trying to confirm when and where Google updates actually happen. This type of thing has been going on for years and it’s not a new topic, what is new is that Google is now confirming that there is a lot of contradictory information out there, making things more difficult for everyone. Having been around for a few years, I’d like to provide a little perspective on the current situation.



What is a Google Update



There’s a phrase from Cool Hand Luke that sums up this situation,
Read More
“what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”, or put more simply, we aren’t speaking the same language as Google. To Google the word “Update” has a very specific meaning, most likely it means a deliberate change to the way things are ranked in the SERPs. What it doesn’t mean, is a change to the underlying data that is used in the algorithm, that results in a change in the SERPs. Google is constantly crawling the web, seeing new pages, new links, new social activity, new user data, link rot, disappearing content, and hundreds of other factors, and making ranking adjustments based on those factors.
Join Our Newsletter:


What is Affiliated Business?

Affiliated Business is a social network of bloggers, webmasters, and Internet entrepreneurs. It allows you to publish and share your news and to discover the best resources, tips, and ideas concerning affiliate marketing, blogging, homebusiness and making money online. You can submit your stories, vote for interesting news, take part in discussions, and network with other site users.

Latest Comments
Affiliated Business RSS Subscribers