• Design
  • THE OVERLOOKED BUT ALL-IMPORTANT ANDROID FEATURE GRAPHIC

    Once you’ve built an Android app, it’s time to think about the promotional materials that you’ll put together in order to get the app seen and downloaded in the Android market. Since you’ve spent so much time and effort on developing the app, many of these promotional details may have been pushed to the back-burner.

    The truth is, some of these details are just as important as how your app functions because they may be the determining factor for whether or not a user will download your app. One of these details is the feature graphic, which appears at the top of the screen when you look at the details for an app in the Google Play App Store.

    The feature graphic acts as a visual summary to describe your app’s purpose and its benefits to users who may not have ever seen or used it before. The image should be colorful and eye-catching in order to stand out in the sea of apps in Google Play or any other Android app markets.

    feature graphic example for android play market

    Android Feature Graphic Rules

    Feature graphics must follow the guidelines that Google provides in order to fit perfectly in the space provided in Google Play. It’s better not to take a graphic that you used for a different promotional spot, like on your Facebook page or your app splash screen, and stretch it so that it fits in the feature graphic space. The feature graphic should be specifically designed for use in the Google Play Store.

    That being said, you can certainly use elements or the style from other graphics you’ve created for your app. Just make sure that your designer creates the feature graphic using the dimensions outlined by Google. The design requirements can be found in the SOP document available for download above.

    feature graphic for localization of app

    When considering the design of your feature graphic, think about whether you plan to translate the app into different languages in the future. If this is the case, you should think carefully whether or not you want to include any text within the feature graphic. Google allows you to change the feature graphic for each language but this may end up being a an unnecessary use of your time, especially if you plan on keeping the style of the app updated with market design trends.

    If you can come up with an image for the feature graphic that describes your app without any text, it will simplify your work in the long run. Additionally, try to avoid using screenshots of your app in the feature graphic or you will need to update the graphic every time you make changes to your app.

    ANDROID FEATURE GRAPHIC SAMPLE GALLERY

    The Importance of the Feature Graphic

    The feature graphic is the very first thing that your audience will see related to your app after they click on the app icon in Google Play. They will see this graphic before they see the your app’s written description. They may even judge your app based solely on this graphic.  

    Creating the feature graphic for an app is often an overlooked or rushed task, but it’s important to spend a little bit of effort creating a graphic that grabs the attention of your target audience. Choose bright colors, simple messaging and make sure you don’t crowd the space with unnecessary images or text. This will encourage users to download your app which in turn will lead to a higher ranking in Google Play and more potential revenue for your team.

    take time to create a quality feature graphic

    As the design is so important for the feature graphic, outsourcing this task to a designer with a marketing background may be a good idea if you don’t have one in-house. Experienced graphic designers will understand the best layout for the space and will know which elements to include within the graphic to attract the attention of your audience. The designer can use some of the working files from your user-interface design and playfully incorporate them into a graphic which becomes an eye-catching ad for your app.

    The SOP document that will be emailed directly to your inbox is a creative brief with all the instructions that your designer needs to create a feature graphic for Google Play.

    You will get a PDF and a DOCX that you can edit yourself to add in your specific requests or details. Pass the SOP to your designer and they will pass the feature graphic back to you. Good luck on your project!

  • SOP Library
  • APOLOGY LETTER TEMPLATE FOR COMPANIES

    Uh-oh…Something happened in your business and it’s time to apologize. Even if it’s not your fault it is important to let your users know that you care about them and that you’re doing your best to right whatever wrong has happened.

     

    Sometimes this happens when you’re working with a 3rd party service and they make a mistake. You still need to take responsibility for what happened because at the end of the day, your users are trusting you to provide them with good service and take care of their needs.

     

    When you discover something unfortunate happened it’s best to get ahead of the wave of support emails that might come in by being quick to release an apology letter to describe to your users the details about what happened.

    infographic for damage control action plan

    COMPENSATING FOR A MISTAKE IN YOUR BUSINESS

    As an apology to your loyal customers you might want to offer them something for free.  If you have a subscription service that was suddenly not available to your users, you may want to offer them a free month of service or a discount on another product that you offer.

     

    If you have a blog and your blog was down over the weekend, you might want to offer them a freebie PDF or e-book. Although problems with your site or online services are a serious thing, you might want to try and be light-hearted about it and slightly tongue and cheek and offer them a “How Not to Let Your Website Crash” PDF based on what you’ve learned from the incident.

    PREVENTING ERRORS IN THE FUTURE

    It’s all about building brand loyalty. You want your users to trust. Even if you think most of your users will not even be aware of the problem, you still an use it as an opportunity to gain trust. Being totally transparent about what happened can make your company appear more personal instead of being just a faceless corporate structure that your users may imagine your company to be.

     

    When writing an apology letter, it’s best to have one person address your audience as themselves instead writing it from team’s perspective. For example, use the real name of somebody working in the company to sign the letter instead of signing it as “The Blah-blah-blah Team”.  

    MISTAKES ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO GAIN TRUST

    This is also a good opportunity to reassure your loyal customers that you and your team will try and prevent this kind of issue from happening again. This also makes you open to customer feedback and may help you find additional customer concerns that you may not be aware of.  

    The SOP Template provided includes suggestions for what you should add in your letter. Some sections to include might be a question and answer portion where you consider what a user might be asking about with regards to the incident. For example, What happened to cause this issue?, Why didn’t it get fixed earlier?, and What will you do in the future to prevent this thing from happening?.

    Blog post image apology letter template

    BE PREPARED FOR FUTURE MISTAKES

    Use this letter as an opportunity to remind your users that there are people behind the scenes who care about their interests and are on their side. Even if you haven’t had a problem happen with your business before, you may want to download a copy of this letter anyway just so that you can put it into your own SOP for the procedures that you will take when something like this happens. That way you are ready to go should an incident arise and you’re not scrambling around trying to think about how to deal with it.

     

    In fact it’s very important to have this kind of emergency plan in place. You should know who will handle the users and what responsibilities each person has in order to solve the problem. You may even want to discuss with the rest of your team about potential issues that they foresee happening in the future that you may not have thought of. Cover as many bases as you can so if something like this happens, you will be ready.

    You might want to go even further than this to prepare yourself by adding this apology letter into your email manager, such Convert Kit and then should the situation arise, all you’ll have to do is fill in the details and send it out.

     

    We hope you’ll never have to use this letter and that your business will run flawlessly, but should an error occur, we hope this letter helps you maintain and even gain more trust with your users. Get the letter template sent to your inbox by filling in your email. Cheers!

  • Research
  • FINDING YOUR COMPETITORS IN GOOGLE (so you can crush them)

    Let’s put the “anal” in Competitive Analysis! I nerdily just cracked myself up with that one. But seriously, competitive analysis is tedious and dull, and yet absolutely critical for you to do for your website. The competitive analysis template that is downloadable above will help you get this task done without the headache. Once you’ve finished, you’ll have a good understanding of your market position and have a wealth of new sources for content ideas, designs and social media strategies.

    It’s easy to get convinced that you’re the only person out there creating a website about a certain topic or product. Maybe you haven’t heard of or come across one before that provides the information or resources that yours will have. It’s time to put in a little elbow grease and find out exactly what’s out there and whether those sites are strong competitors to what you are offering. By the way, having competitors shouldn’t scare you out of creating your site. On the contrary, having competitors often validates your idea, proving that there is a market out there interested in your service or product.

    If your website is already live and you still haven’t done a competitive analysis, don’t worry. No matter what stage you’re at in your business, you can glean great insight and inspiration from understanding who else is out there working in a similar niche.

    You might be afraid to seek out your competitors, thinking that you’ll discover someone out there who’s beating you at your own game. Suck it up, soldier! It’s better to understand the threats facing your business and tackle them head on than to blindly find the competition after you’ve already sunk your blood, sweat and precious time into your project.

    There are various methods of doing competitive analysis, but the one we’ll be focusing on here is to find out who your competitors are in Google. Unless you have a massive marketing budget (congrats for you!), you’ll want to make sure that people are able to find your website when they search in Google.

    Blog image organic seo template

    People that find your website by searching in Google or other search engines like Yahoo or DuckDuckGo are called “organic traffic” because they naturally find you without being served an ad or visiting your site directly through your URL. The more organic traffic you get, the less money you’ll need to spend on advertising to attract an audience. Plus, organic traffic is often more valuable than traffic created through advertisements because the people that come to your site are those who actually want to be there!

    Determining Your Target Keywords

    Before you start this competitive analysis, you’ll need to know which keywords you are targeting for your website. That is, what would you want someone to be typing into Google in order to find your site?

    For example, pretend you run an e-commerce site that sells luxury dog beds. Potential customers might type keywords like “best dog beds” or “most comfortable dog beds” into Google in order to find your website.

    If you already know which keywords you are going after, great, keep going! If not, take 20 minutes now to learn some strategies for picking great keywords from the links of resources that we’ve wrangled up below.

    As a general rule, you should aim for keywords for which it will be possible to rank in the first page of Google. If all the links in the first page of Google are already being dominated by big names like Wikipedia, eHow, etc. for a keyword, then throw it out and go after some different ones. If you’re not sure about the strength of your competitors, you’ll know more about where you stand after completing the competitive analysis SOP available above.

    Here are some resources from trusted sources for choosing the best keywords for your website:

    1. Beginners Guide to SEO (non-affiliate)
    2. Keyword Research (non-affiliate)
    3. Niche Site Keyword Research (non-affiliate)
    Know your keywords blog graphic

    Once you have your keywords ready, you can collect thorough data about your competitor’s websites. This task takes a bit of time but it doesn’t require any special skills. If you are strapped for time, pass the SOP document to your freelance worker and they will handle it for you.

    Even if you’ve done a competitive analysis in the past, it’s best to run the research again every six months or so to make sure that there aren’t any new players on the market that you are unaware of. That’s why we recommend getting into the practice of outsourcing this task using the SOP template so that you can get it done regularly by a freelancer or virtual assistant without sucking up your own precious time.

    Steps for Completing the Competitive Analysis Template

    The process in the SOP template provided entails plugging your keywords into Google while using a special Google address that doesn’t skew the results based on your location or previous searches. This is all explained clearly in the SOP’s step-by-step instructions.

    Afterwards, you will record the websites that come up within the first 15 positions in Google. You’ll then evaluate each of these sites using a free tool that will help you determine how strong of a competitor those sites are and how difficult it will be to outrank them in Google.

    How to find google competitors template blog image

    You can find key information, such as your competitor website’s domain authority, using some great free tools. These tools allow you to peek behind the curtain of your competitors, rather than having to guess. In online business data is king, so use it to your advantage. 

    The SOP download includes simple step-by-step instructions that anyone with basic computer skills will be able to manage. It will take you or your freelancer through all of the steps necessary to finish a competitive analysis and uses some excellent free online tools to collect the information that you need to determine your position in the market.

    Get everything you need delivered to your inbox now by entering your email in the box above. Good luck with your business!

  • Design
  • FREE TEMPLATE FOR REPOSTING ON INSTAGRAM

    With Instagram there is currently no way to repost or share other people’s photos to your personal feed. There have long since been rumors that Instagram will be releasing a feature that allows for this capability but alas, we are all still waiting. So in the meantime, here is a way to cheat the system with Photoshop and a simple template.

    If you don’t currently have Photoshop or you prefer to edit your photos directly on your mobile we’ve also found that you can use our free PNG repost template with Adobe’s Photoshop Mix app. Scroll down to the “WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE PHOTOSHOP?” section of this blog article if you prefer this method.

    Info graphic for instagram repost apps

    A REVIEW OF REGRAMMING APPS

    There are a lot of apps out there that claim they can repost photos from other feeds to your feed. After testing several of these, we found the following problems:

    1. You can only post one photo at a time, so you’ll have to say goodbye to any multiple-photo posts, a.k.a. Carousels and videos.

    2. You don’t have much choice about the style of the repost tag. You may be able to move it around a little and change the color from black to white but that’s about it.

    3. The photos that get reposted are essentially screenshots of photos. Anyone can do that with a simple template and a little bit of knowhow.

    These regramming apps are essentially glorified Photoshop templates, without the ability to fully customize the output. Essentially what these apps seem to be doing is taking a screenshot of the post that you want to repost, cropping it so that other bits on the screen don’t appear, and finally putting a stamp with the profile photo and username of the original creator on it. There is nothing technical or specialized- so these apps are not necessary to accomplishing the repost.

    From what we’ve seen in our own testing, the apps out there that help you to regram a photo can only post one photo at a time. As we all know, people sometimes like to post a series of photos and you can’t do that with these regramming apps.

    This is not a very sophisticated way to handle regramming, in fact you can do it yourself. If you’re going to hack something together anyway, then you might as well have the freedom to make adjustments when necessary so that it fits in with the rest of the posts in your feed. All of this can be done by using the simple Photoshop template available for free above.

    If you’ve got a little design skills, you can also easily make your own from scratch. The SOP provided above has step-by-step instructions that you can use whether you end up using our template or creating your own.

    WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE PHOTOSHOP?

    If you haven’t used any Adobe products recently, a lot has changed. Previously, Adobe offered software with a massive price tag. I remember years back when Photoshop came out, my brother bought it with a half-price special student discount and it was still over $400. Yikes! Nowadays we non-millionaires can get it for $9.99 a month. Here’s our Photoshop affiliate link if you want to try it. Alternatively, you can use a mobile app. Whether you choose Photoshop or the app, the downloadable instructions have got you covered.

    Most people use their mobile devices to take pictures for Instagram so it makes sense to use another app without leaving your mobile, edit the image and share. If this is how you normally post and you’d like to do the editing all on your mobile, we’ve also included an extremely simple PNG template that you can use with Adobe’s free Photoshop Mix app. Be aware that you won’t have as much creative control as you do when using the full Photoshop template, but you will still have more options than using an Instagram repost app. Plus, Adobe’s Mix app is pretty rad and definitely worth checking out.

    USING THE SOP TEMPLATE

    The template provided is very simple to use and comes with an SOP of instructions. Having the instructions written out also makes it easy to delegate this task to a coworker, freelancer or friend. Pass them the documents we email you and then simply ask them to follow the instructions. This task doesn’t take any specific skills to complete so if you’re strapped for time and have some help, delegate!

    Using the Instagram repost template provided, you will have full control over the editing as well as the amount of photos that get posted your Instagram feed. You can post one of a series of photos or post two out of four instead of all of them. With the template you have all the freedom as if the Instagram post were your own.

    WHY YOU SHOULD USE A REGRAM TAG

    You might wonder why you would ever need to use this template. The biggest reason is that you should give credit to whoever created the original photo. I’ve had lots of experience where I’ve found my own images reposted on Instagram without any credit, and it’s extremely frustrating when you spend lots of time and energy creating a picture.

    Ideally, it’s good Instagram etiquette to ask someone if it’s okay to repost their photo before doing so. The absolute least you can do is to send them a little love by making sure you use this regram template so at least they get some credit. And of course, make sure you leave a link to their profile in your text content.

    TAGGING THE ORIGINAL CREATOR

    Another little trick that I like to do when reposting somebody else’s photo is that I like to tag them in it when posting. That way, they get a notification that their photo is on your feed. If you don’t tag the person, they’ll have no idea unless they happen to follow you and see the repost in their feed.

    Tagging them in the repost is also good etiquette because it allows your audience to see other work that they’ve done. It draws your audience to their profile page too and creates a more beneficial relationship for both sides: you are using their work while they are getting an opportunity to reach your audience with their content.

    DOWNLOAD THE SOP TEMPLATE

    While we’re all still anxiously awaiting Instagram to get itself in gear with this new regram feature that everyone has been whispering about for the longest time, you can get our free template sent to your inbox now. There are no watermarks or logos in the template, it is fully customizable. It comes with clear instructions for how to add a new user profile and username so that you can share other people’s photos onto your own Instagram feed.

    Get both the Photoshop and PNG templates to your inbox along with easy to follow step-by-step instructions for you, your freelancer, or a coworker by entering your email above. Enjoy your regramming!

  • Design
  • CREATE ENGAGING IMAGES WITH THIS SOCIAL MEDIA GRAPHICS CHECKLIST

    There are lots of tools out there to create your own social media images, but if you really want to make your mark on social, you can outsource your images and have a designer create your images by following this social media graphics checklist.

    WHY ARE SOCIAL MEDIA IMAGES SO IMPORTANT?

    Using social media images have been shown to improve social media shares, earn more retweets, and get more engagement. Your social graphics are also a great way to show your companies values and shows your audience what your brand is about.

    UNIFORMITY AND BRANDING

    To make sure your audience recognizes your social media graphics, you need to keep certain aspects of your images uniform. Many experts recommend keeping your companies logo in the same location on every image and using your brand colours or text.

    Although you probably won’t use all of your brand’s colour or type fonts in every image, using 1 or 2 of them throughout your graphics will create a connection between your business and your social campaign. When your audience sees your images, they’ll instantly recognize your brand.

    To make sure your designer and team use a consistent theme for your social media graphics, you might consider creating a style guide for your brand.

    Buzzfeed’s Proper Tasty videos have the same visual style, making their recipes instantly recognizable on Facebook.

    TYPE FONTS

    If you haven’t yet established type fonts for your business you can use several tools that can help you use find fonts that work together visually. Choose the main font for headlines, another for subtitles and a font that is easy to read for the body text.

    For example, you might use a similar version of a font such as italics or bold for your subtitle and use a contrasting font for the body. Try to keep the body text as simple as possible, so that it’s easier for people to read. There are several fonts that fit the bill including Georgia, Helvetica, Open Sans and Verdana.

    BRAND COLOURS

    Selecting your brand’s colours is an important part of establishing your brand. You might employ a designer to help you choose colours that reflect the values and niche of your business.

    Once you’ve chosen the main colour for your brand, you can easily find an aesthetic colour combination using tools such as Paletton to find complementary colours or Color-Hex for similar colours and to browse colour palettes.

    To help your audience recognise your brand, it’s important to keep the colours of your social media images consistent throughout.

    Marmite consistently uses their unmistakable yellow and black colours through their Instagram content. There’s often strong product placement too, with a jar of Marmite in almost every post.

    SOCIAL IMAGE SIZES

    Each platform has its own size guidelines for images, so it’s important to create your graphics for the social media platforms you’ll be using. Optimised images will look much better and also shows professionalism. Of course, cross-posting across platforms is a common occurrence now, and it is possible to reuse certain images over several social media platforms.

     

    Here’s a list of sizes for shared social images as of 2018:

    CHOOSING CONSISTENT IMAGES AND FILTERS

    If you’re using images, either stock or your own photos you should try and keep them thematically similar. They should be a visual reflection of your brand, whether you’re a company or a person. Your images are also a good way to show your businesses character.

    If you’re using overlays for text in your images, you should consider keeping the location of the layer the same in every image, which will help to further your brand’s recognition.

     

    Similarly, if you’re using filters or effects, choose 1 or 2 for your social images and continue to use them throughout.

    By following and creating visually consistent social media images you can establish templates that will not only create brand recognition but will allow the quick and continuous creation of your social media images.

    Download your free social media graphics checklist to make outsourcing your social media images a breeze.

  • Content Creation
  • KICKOFF YOUR CAMPAIGN WITH THIS SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY PLAN TEMPLATE

    Although it’s nice to be spontaneous on social media, if you’re using social for your online or physical business, you should really prepare your content in advance.

    WHAT IS A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY PLAN?

    Before you start posting, you need to know WHAT you’re promoting, WHERE you’re promoting it and to WHOM you’re promoting it to. To make sure all these questions are answered, create a strategic plan to keep you (and your team) focused on your goal.

    A social media strategy plan can be used to help you plan a specific campaign for your product or business across various social media platforms.

    Your campaign or strategy is just a collection of social posts that all share a similar call-to-action, theme and also hashtags to promote an event, product or maybe a specific blog post.

    WHAT’S YOUR GOAL?

    So first you need to set your goals. What’s the purpose of your campaign? Maybe you want to increase your audience? Or maybe you just want to improve awareness of your brand.

    When you’re setting your goal, make sure that they’re S.M.A.R.T!

    S.M.A.R.T is an acronym that stands for the following:

    SPECIFIC

    MEASURABLE

    ACHIEVABLE

    REALISTIC

    TIMELY

     

    You should bear in mind these 5 points when setting your social media campaign goals.

    CHOOSING YOUR AUDIENCE

    Selecting your audience is important in order to direct your social posts, including for example,  ‘targeting’ posts on Facebook. You also need to know what kind of language to use with your audience. You need to use different words for a younger audience than with an older one. You also need to know who you’re targeting your product towards in order to make your images too!

    WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS SHOULD YOU USE?

    Some social media platforms are better at promoting certain things than others. For example, if you’re promoting something very visual like a physical product, you might want to use Instagram or Pinterest. However, if you’re trying to promote a video course for new business owners, you might want to use LinkedIn, and target a more ‘professional’ audience.

    PLANNING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN SCHEDULE

    You need to decide the best time to promote your campaign and this might depend on your campaign goal. If you’re promoting winter jackets, you would obviously want to begin your campaign when winter begins. It might also affect the amount of time you have to post before your campaign starts (and ends), for example, if you’re promoting a sale, special event or challenge.

    Social Media Calendar Template

    Organize and outsource your content in 2018 with this social media calendar.

    MEASURING YOUR RESULTS

    In order to know that your campaign was successful, you need to set specific metrics. Once you’ve set your goals and chosen the social media platforms you want to use, you can decide on the best metrics to track. You also need to learn how to analyse each platform, and also have a good understanding of how your content is usually received.

    CREATING AND SCHEDULING YOUR CONTENT

    Once you’re ready with your campaign plan, you get to work writing the copy for each post, bearing in mind the right tone and character length for each platform. You also need to create your post images or send a brief to a designer to make them for you. Schedule your content using our social media content schedule template to make sure you don’t forget anything!

    You can get your free social media campaign strategy plan template by filling out your deets below. Check your inbox for your template along with tips and advice on how to use it!

  • Design
  • COMPLETE FAVICON DESIGN GUIDE WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR PNG, ICO AND SVG

    A favicon is the tiny icon that appears on the left in the browser tab when somebody is viewing any of the pages of your website. Most website creators don’t spend much time creating and implementing the favicon. This tiny design element however, plays a great role in your brand’s identity. Consider how often you have multiple tabs open in your web browser. Even those of you out there who have sworn off multitasking know how often they have a multiple browser tabs open.

    A well-designed favicon can make it easy to navigate back to the pages that you want to view, even without reading the text on the browser tab. You can give your website a more solid brand identity by spending some time on this little bitty icon. After all, this icon appears on every webpage you publish!

    you can often recognize websites by their favicon image

    Back in the day, when Google analytics was still just a dream, many website owners used the favicon to estimate the traffic to their sites by tracking the amount of people who added the site to the their bookmarks. These days the favicon is more about the user experience.

     

    The favicon should be a graphical representation of your brand. While it may be tiny, it can help your brand stand out in a big way. Websites that don’t design and implement a custom favicon resort to using the default icon for the platform used to develop the website. Using this default icon can make your project look overall unpolished and unprofessional.

    Make sure you aren’t distracting the user from all the great content that you offer on your website by implementing the favicon in all of the necessary places of your site’s code. After you complete the SOP available for free above, you’ll not only have all the formats needed for your favicon but you’ll have the HTML code needed to implement the favicon on your website.

    FAVICON FORMAT GUIDELINES

    Due to the limited space for the favicon you shouldn’t just stick in any image, like your brand’s logo, and expect it to look good when made into a favicon. You should make sure you have a designer create the image specifically for the favicon space so that it looks great in all of the following places:

    • Classic desktop browser
    • Mac OS Safari
    • Windows 8 and 10
    • Android Chrome
    • iOS Safari

    All of the instructions and specifications for creating a favicon for each of these places are included in the SOP above and they are extremely easy to follow. We found a free tool that makes this daunting task quick and painless without you having to sacrifice any opportunities for brand awareness.

    make sure your favicon works for every device and browser

    Because this is an important but often overlooked aspect of your website, it’s important to have a designer take a specific visual feature from your website or logo to create a relevant and eye-catching icon. This isn’t a very time intensive task, and if the designer uses the SOP provided above then the task becomes even faster. While you may be on a tight budget, getting this done right should not break the bank.

    Pass this SOP directly to your designer and they will have all of the latest requirements and constraints of a favicon so that you don’t have to worry about assembling them yourself. Using the SOP, your designer will be able to create a favicon in all of the formats needed for the various browsers, tablets, mobile phones, etc. without wasting time.

    Once you or your freelancer has followed the SOP to generate your favicon in all file types and sizes needed, you can implement it on your website. Give the icon a final check to make sure it looks the way you want it to on every platform. This is fast and easy to do by using this free favicon checker tool.

     

    The checker will show you how your favicon will look in all places on the web, including on Microsoft’s tablet computer and Safari’s pinned tabs, both of which have more unusual favicon requirements.

    Download the SOP above to get started today. A good designer will get your favicon back to you in no time. Best of luck on your website!  

  • Design
  • EASILY FIND PROBLEMS IN YOUR WEBSITE UX

    You might have a good understanding about your target audience, but you can’t know know how a real user will view respond to your website unless you’ve had one test it out. Even if you’ve agonized over every detail, perfecting the layout and choosing your images carefully, there will always be some unexpected issues.

    Stepping back and watching somebody else look over your website can give you incredible insights into the potential usability problems or confusing information on your site. This kind of testing is addicting- once you realize how quickly you can gather valuable feedback this way, you won’t want to stop testing. The website testing plan example available for download above makes it easy and fast to gather information that will be of immediate value to your business.

    If you’ve been working on your website for a decent amount of time, everything on the site may seem obvious and easy to use from your perspective. The only way to see it from the point of view of a new user is to get someone who hasn’t seen it before to take a look. You’ll be surprised at what you’ve missed that can easily be fixed or improved.

    how to user test your website

    CAN I GET MY FRIENDS TO UX TEST?

    Ideally the person who looks at your website should have no connection to your project as this may influence their opinions and thoughts about the design and user experience. If the person has no vested interest in your project, you will likely get more real and honest feedback. Your friends may be hesitant to nitpick through your project.

    Someone who has no knowledge or understanding of your project will give you clear insights into how a normal user will feel when coming across your site. A person who is completely unfamiliar with what you do should be able to tell by looking at your website what your company does without any additional explanation.

    ux test your target market

    Do user testing with people in your target market, making sure to include a range of ages and backgrounds so that your feedback is more complete. You can experiment with a few testers from outside your target market as well. These people will likely add further insights about your website user experience.

    KEEPING COSTS LOW WHEN TESTING YOUR WEBSITE

    Keep in mind that your friends might sugarcoat their experience with your website so as not to offend you. It’s better to find a neutral party who can analyze your site from a real user’s perspective. Conducting user testing doesn’t need to be expensive. Using the SOP provided above, you can ask anyone in your target market without any special skills to conduct this test. You can find freelancers on websites like Fiverr (non-affiliate) or Upwork (non-affiliate) to do this test for you.

    Using third party platforms like Fiverr or Upwork can also be beneficial because the users testing your site may have backgrounds in design or user experience themselves. These freelancers have probably worked on a multitude of other websites and are aware of what does and doesn’t work, especially when it comes to design.

    how to choose your color palette

    If you tend to favor a certain color palette in your personal taste, it may help you to see those colors through the eyes of another person. You might find that some color schemes distract the reader from the actual content or make it more difficult for the reader to use the website.

    You may not have considered that some of your users might have some kind of color blindness which would make it difficult for them to distinguish between different shades of certain colors. You want to make sure that your colors don’t ultimately make it more difficult for someone to use your website properly. At the end of the day, you want to deliver your message clearly and with as few obstacles as possible.

    Take time throughout your development process to periodically do user testing. This will help guide your user experience as well as help you to avoid wasting time on unnecessary features and designs. Use the SOP at the top of this blog post to get started with some basic user testing.

  • Content Creation
  • Complete These 10 Things to Improve Your Blog Post Ranking

    The blog post template that you can download above provides you with 10 areas that you should consider before, during and after you’ve written your blog post. It’s simple to use, just full in the details under each heading, and then transfer each section onto your blog. You can make one for to plan every blog post you write, not just to ensure you don’t forget to add these essential details that will improve SEO and readability, but you can also use it as a method to outsource your blog posts.

    We use a version of this template for our SOP Template blog posts, and you can easily customize this template to fit your own blog post requirements.

    Do Some Keyword Research

    Before you start writing your blog content, do some keyword research. Although keyword research is becoming more difficult, you can still get a good idea of a keyword or phrase by simply searching for it using google.com/ncr and the Moz Chrome plugin. You will be able to see how your competitors are ranked for that specific keyword and decide whether you are able to write something that is quality enough to rank higher.

    If you have a search bar on your site, you can use a plugin or service such as Swiftype to see what people are searching your site for. This may give you clues as to what to write about in future blog posts. You should also consider that certain content will be searched for in Google at different times of the year, so you may want to write content associated with a specific holiday or event.

    Write a Compelling Headline

    In order to persuade people to read your article, you want to craft a headline that will captivate your audience enough to click through and read more. To improve your SEO, try and use your chosen keyword or a variation in your headline.
    It can sometimes be difficult to know if your headline is catchy enough, and there are tools and resources that can help you write a headline that your potential readers will be interested in. Coschedule have a great tool, called the Headline Analyzer. It breaks down your headline and gives you a score out of 100 based on a variety of elements, including how ‘wordy’ your headline is and the emotional and unusual words you have included.

    Check that your headline does not exceed the limit for Google results, as the title will be truncated once you hit a certain amount of characters. You may do this on purpose to create suspense and add further interest to your content. Also take into consideration if you want to include your site’s name at the end of your title.

     

    If you’re using the YoastSEO plugin for WordPress, you can see a preview of your headline before you publish your blog post. You can also see a basic preview if you use Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer, but Yoast also allows you to edit your SEO title, post URL and metadata.  

    Include Optimized Images

    Having an eye catching feature graphic will help attract your potential readers attention, whilst also promoting and increasing the chances of shares on social media. Images help break up your text, and hold the reader’s attention as well as providing a relevant visual aid to your content.

     

    When choosing images either for your blog post’s featured image, or images that appear in your post, make sure to use royalty-free images, or include a citation if you have taken the image from another source. There are plenty of resources for royalty-free images, including Pixabay, Shutterstock and GraphicStock. Some of these resources offer free images, but many provide a yearly subscription of high quality, unlimited downloads on vectors, photos and video content, or a package of X amount of downloads for a one off payment.

    Alternatively, you can create your own images using a graphic design platform, such as Canva and BeFunky or you could outsource image design to a freelancer, if you want something different and customized.

    If you optimize your images, which is explained in the SOP, your images may also help your SEO and drive traffic to your site if they’re found in a search engine. Don’t forget to resize and compress your images as big files will slow down your site and affect your SEO.

    Categorize and Tag It

    Your blog post categories should be decided before creating your content and all of the posts that you write should fit into one of these categories. There are some ways in which you can decide which categories to choose for your blog

    Consider the ‘tone’ of your category names, and try and make sure all the categories have a similar level of specificity (the category shouldn’t be too broad a topic, or too narrow). You should also try and have as few categories as possible.

    If you’ve already got your blog up and running, you may want to do a ‘cull’ of your existing categories, if you only have 1 or 2 blog posts under one category or rename those that aren’t self explanatory or too broad a subject.

    Tags are a way of narrowing down content that may overlap across several categories. They should be more specific than categories, and are also a great way to help your visitors navigate your site more easily. If you’re using WordPress, you can keep track of your existing tags from the Posts area in the menubar. When you’re adding tags to your blog post, you can choose from ‘Most Used Tags’. The larger the text, the more posts include the tag. You can also hover over the tag to see how many blog posts contain that particular keyword.

    External Links to Other Blogs

    Although you might think that linking to external sites will take your audience away from your site, this is a great way to improve your SEO, as it shows that you content has been researched and therefore more valuable. Linking to other sites that may be related to your content may also promote positive engagement between the sites and lead to further cooperation down the line.

    When you link to another site, you can have the page open in a new tab, instead of replacing your site with someone else’s. You can do this simply in WordPress by ticking the ‘Open link in a new tab’ box when adding a link.

    Meta Description

    Your blog’s meta description provides the reader with a brief overview of what the blog post is about, or what they will get from reading your post. If you don’t edit this before publishing, Google, or other search engine will pull the first few lines from your blog post and use that as meta. It’s best to customize this to ensure click throughs to your site. If you’re using the YoastSEO plugin, this can easily be edited and you’ll see a preview of how it will appear in a search engine. The meta description should ideally include your keyword(s) or a variation of them.  

    Call Your Readers to Action

    Your blog post’s call to action is probably one of the most important sections of your post after the actual written content. A call to action is meant to prompt the reader to take the next step or ‘action’ after reading your post. Your call to action might be a free PDF for your reader to download in exchange for their email address or a prompt to get a free trial of your product. Your call to action should combine an attractive image with text that is to the point and interesting.

     

    Get ideas for your next blog post’s call to action from HubSpot’s article, 8 Types of CTAs You Should Absolutely Try on Your Blog.

    As mentioned at the beginning, you can use this blog post template in a few different ways; fill it out yourself and use it to make sure elements of your blog aren’t forgotten about, outsource your content by handing the template to a freelancer for them to complete. You may even want to complete the template yourself and then pass it onto a colleague who put the content onto your blog.

    You can also use this Blog Post Template in conjunction with our Content Calendar Template.

    Download this Blog Post Template at the top of the page to start planning your blog posts today!