Brand Identity Brand StrategyRead Transform Your Business Presence Into an Extraordinary Brand
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Transform Your Business Presence Into an Extraordinary Brand

Do your marketing efforts feel exhausting? If you feel like you’re always chasing new clients instead of them chasing you, it’s time to make a change. You may be a business with a presence — a name, a logo, a place — and you may have secured your social media profiles and pages or thrown up a quick website, but that doesn’t set you apart from the crowd.

It’s time to transition from mundane to extraordinary and become a memorable, magnetic force in the marketplace.

Are you ready to generate a lucrative income stream of ideal, high-paying, ready-to-get-started clients and new opportunities?

If so, join me for a FREE webinar — yes, it’s completely free — I’m giving with Prestige Conference on May 27, 2015 at 11:00 am Pacific. I promise you’ll learn at least one new thing you can put to use in your business right away.

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Genesis Framework Recommended DeveloperRead Using The Genesis Framework On Your WordPress Site
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Using The Genesis Framework On Your WordPress Site

Recently, I joined the WP Watercooler crew along with my fellow Genesis recommended developers for a discussion about using the StudioPress Genesis Framework for your WordPress website — and of course we all shared why we use the framework and what we like about it.

While the episode is heavy in back and forth banter, we do cover some key things that you should know if you’re considering using the Genesis Framework as the foundation for your WordPress website.

What is the Genesis Framework?

I jumped in and shared that calling it a framework is really a misnomer. Genesis is just a parent theme. It’s no different than using the 2015 WordPress theme and building a child theme on it. The Genesis Framework is a toolbox for building child themes that gives you a consistent output of HTML markup and a standardized style sheet to work from.

I also pointed out that while calling it framework is great for StudioPress’s marketing efforts, it does cause confusion and misunderstandings in the larger WordPress community about how it works.

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Mobile-Friendly Websites and Responsive Web Design in SacramentoRead Mobilegeddon Is Here! But Should You Even Care?
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Mobilegeddon Is Here! But Should You Even Care?

In November Google started warning website owners about the importance of sites being mobile-friendly. We saw this example in mobile search results with the label “mobile-friendly” added to search engines results page listings.

Then in February they made it official, stating that as of April 21, 2015 (TODAY), a new algorithm change will go into effect, meaning that whether a site is mobile-friendly or not will affect on your mobile search rankings.

Back in March I wrote a post on our blog — Google Drew A Line In The Sand: Your Site Better Be Responsive (Mobile-Friendly) — that details the announcements, shows you examples and screenshots, and provides more details about responsive design and mobile-friendly site design.

Mobilegeddon is fear-mongering at its worst.

Marketers and less experienced web designers and developers have been putting the fear of Google into website owners over the last 4-6 weeks, with scary warnings and threats… and some serious misinformation. What makes my stomach turn though, is those who are cheering for the change solely because it’s a way to scare/persuade past clients to hire them again to redesign their site and rework the code.

Let’s look at the reality of this algorithm change and what it means for you.

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WordPress Security VulnerabilityRead Security Vulnerability Uncovered And A WordPress Security Update
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Security Vulnerability Uncovered And A WordPress Security Update

A coordinated plugin update occurred Monday morning between many popular WordPress plugins to address a common security vulnerability that allows for XSS cross-site scripting attacks.

Post Status published a great article explaining the security vulnerability, and Yoast published a post explaining the backstory.

The exact number of plugins affected is unknown, but a number of the most popular WordPress plugins are affected, and millions of websites are vulnerable due to this issue. Jetpack and Yoast’s WordPress SEO alone are active on well over a million websites.

Sucuri has identified a minimum of fifteen plugins affected, but they have only looked into the top 300-400 and others that were notable.

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Facebook Page PluginRead Facebook Like Box Deprecated, New Page Plugin Recommended
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Facebook Like Box Deprecated, New Page Plugin Recommended

If you have the Facebook Like Box on your website, pay attention:

With the release of Graph API v2.3., the Like Box, a version of the Like Button for Facebook Pages that embeds a feed of content from a Page into a website, is being deprecated and will stop working on June 23, 2015.

Facebook is recommending that you switch to the new Page Plugin instead. The Page Plugin lets you easily embed and promote any Facebook Page on your website. Just like on Facebook, your visitors can like and share the Page without having to leave your site.

While the standard configuration of the Page Plugin includes only the header and a cover photo, which is ideal for promoting your Page in a small space, such as the top of a sidebar, you can customize it.

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How To Plan A Blog PostRead How To Plan A Blog Post In 10 Minutes
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How To Plan A Blog Post In 10 Minutes

Every website owner loves the idea of a blog. They love hearing about how adding a blog to your website is one of the fastest and easiest ways to increase traffic, improve search engine rankings, build a big email list, gain expert positioning, and attract new clients.

They love the impact it can have on their social media content strategy and they love that blogging for business is free — it doesn’t add another monthly bill. But blogging isn’t really free — it takes time, energy, focus, and commitment.

As a result, end though website owners love the idea of blogging for business, they are not using their blogs! Often nothing new has been published since the site originally went live, or it’s been three, six, or even twelve months since any new content has been added. Yikes!

In my latest article for CoSchedule, How To Plan A Blog Post In 10 Minutes So You Can Write It Better And Faster, I address the biggest hurdle business blogs face — creating content and planning posts.

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Shift Mindset From Can't to Can For Better Client ExperiencesRead Shift The Client Conversation From Can’t To Can
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Shift The Client Conversation From Can’t To Can

As a freelancer or an agency, client relationships are the most valuable asset we have. Clients are the backbone of every successful services company and happy clients result in more referrals, more sales, and more business.

Clients come to us because they need help. They need direction, guidance, advice, consulting, strategy, and design and development work. They need an expert in an area they know very little about, and they need to trust the designer or developer they hire to deliver a quality product and quality experience.

But that isn’t always the case. In my latest article for The GoDaddy Garage, Shifting the client conversation from can’t to can, I write about the negative implications of using the word can’t in conversations with clients, and how ti can sabotage the experience your clients have working with you.

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“Whether your brand is you or the brand you’re working for, you may be copied, but can never be duplicated. It’s your brand advantage.”

Tanya Lee
Create Content That Attracts Clients And Grows BusinessRead How to Consistently Create Content That Builds Your Business And Attracts Clients
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How to Consistently Create Content That Builds Your Business And Attracts Clients

I recently partnered with iThemes Training to deliver a FREE webinar training for graphic designers, web designers, and developers — and you don’t even have to opt-in to watch it!

There is a plethora of information available about how to build a successful web design business, how to write code, and everything from how to choose typefaces and color palettes, to how to design a logo or website. There is also an abundance of information about the effectiveness and power of content marketing, but there is a shocking lack of information about how designers and developers can create content that will help grow their business AND attract clients.

Are you a designer or developer who:

  • Struggles to consistently create content that resonates with your audience
  • Experiences frustration with rocky client projects or client confusion
  • Is drowning in administrative or project management tasks
  • Doesn’t have time to add yet another task to your to-do list for the week

If you answered yes, this webinar is for you. In it, I walk you through a simple content creation process you can use to grow your business, automate your processes, and attract more clients — and we’ll talk about repurposing content to save you time and effort.

Watch it for FREE with NO OPT-IN needed right now!

Watch The Webinar

Pricing The Unknown In Web DesignRead Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty When Quoting Web Design Projects (WordCamp San Diego Presentation)
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Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty When Quoting Web Design Projects (WordCamp San Diego Presentation)

On March 28-29, Brian and I attended Word Camp San Diego 2015, held at the Hall of Champions in gorgeous Balboa Park. With about 250 attendees, the two-day event drew people from across the US and beyond, and featured: a speaker/sponsor dinner on Friday night, learning sessions, lunch, and an after-party on Saturday, learning sessions on Sunday, and loads of snacks and drinks all day. Plus, there was a lot of swag, including t-shirts, beach balls, frisbees, and water bottles.

Saturday was broken down into four tracks — Beginner, Admin (site owner), Designer, and Developer — each with seven sessions and one panel. Brian spoke in the Design Track, delivering a talk titled Child Themes and The Genesis Framework.

Sunday featured two hands-on, progressive bootcamps — one on theme development and one on plugin development — as well as two business tracks, with one focused on services and one focused on products. I spoke in the Service Business Track, delivering a talk titled Pricing The Unknown: Dealing With Uncertainty.

Below is a complete recap of my Word Camp San Diego presentation, including all of my slides and some extra thoughts on the topic.

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Get The Color Palettes of Your Favorite BrandsRead Web Design Tool: Brand Colors
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Web Design Tool: Brand Colors

I love Twitter. One of the best things about the platform is that I discover all sorts of new and awesome tools from the network of people I follow. One of those awesome people is David Bisset.

Recently David shared a very cool web-based resource for figuring out and downloading the exact color palettes used by your favorite brands.

Love the Adobe color palette? Maybe the Dribble or Mixpanel palettes? No problem! With the website Brand Colors you can:

  • See the brand color palette
  • Get the HEX code for any color in the palette
  • Download the ASE, SCSS, LESS, or CSS for the color palette

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“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated.”

Paul Rand
Detect Content Theft and Plagiarism with CopyscapeRead Free Tool to Discover Plagarism And Content Theft
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Free Tool to Discover Plagarism And Content Theft

Recently a friend reached out with some disconcerting information — Another web design company was using our content and images. At first she didn’t notice, but when she saw my photo on their website, she looked a little closer and sent me a link to check it out.

Unfortunately today owning a website and doing business online also means that if you’re any good or if your site ranks well with search engines, others will steal, rip off, and copy what you do, that you write, what you say, and even how you look. If you’ve never done the research, the blatant thievery and lack of integrity among content thieves online can be shocking and disheartening.

But how do you know if someone is stealing you hard work?

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Mobile Search Rewards Responsive, Mobile Friendly SitesRead Google Drew A Line In The Sand: Your Site Better Be Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)
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Google Drew A Line In The Sand: Your Site Better Be Responsive (Mobile-Friendly)

The gauntlet has been thrown. On February 26, 2015, Google affirmed their position on the importance of mobile-friendliness and it’s affect on your mobile search rankings.

Google originally warned us of this change back in November in the post Helping users find mobile-friendly pages, on their Webmaster Central Blog.

In the post, they point out how terrible the experience is when visiting a non-mobile site on a mobile device and you have to pinch and zoom and scroll sideways to see the all of the content, or you can’t click any of the tiny links or menu items with your gigantic fingers.

We began to see hints of this coming back in November 2014, when mobile search results began displaying a “mobile-friendly” label in their search results — and we saw it displayed on our own listed in mobile search results.

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Successful Strategic Partnerships-with-design-studiosRead Why Your Approach To Working With Designers and Developers As Subcontractors Is All Wrong (And How To Fix It)
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Why Your Approach To Working With Designers and Developers As Subcontractors Is All Wrong (And How To Fix It)

I’m a FIRM believer in working with specialists.

It’s why we focus on design and development, on killing it in building powerful, profitable, complete online platforms, custom WordPress sites, and the design of branding and marketing materials that support our clients’ broader business growth efforts.

No one wants to invest in a generalist who knows the basics about a lot, but not the important, critical details on the one thing they need. No one wants to be sold something by a person who doesn’t fully understand what they are selling. No one wants to invest thousands of dollars in a website that was built by a non-expert — someone who doesn’t eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff day in and day out — especially with the rapid pace that technology shifts and changes.

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Follow Up To Build Better Stronger Relationships And Create New Business OpportunitiesRead Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities
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Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities

How did you do it? It’s a question I get asked at least once week from other designers, developers, freelancers, and business owners. They want to know how I got to where I am today, how I get the opportunities I do, and how we’ve been able to build such a strong brand.

In my article Follow Up To Build Relationships and Create Opportunities for WP Elevation, I share the answer to those questions — and it isn’t a sexy answer.

You won’t get easy magic tricks, but you will learn how to prepare for new opportunities and how to use specific follow up tactics to build better, stronger relationships that create new opportunities.

Check It Out

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“Design is a means toward accomplishing the end goals of serving markets and generating profits. Furthermore, design is an element in social responsibility. Good design allows ‘form to complement performance.’ The way things look is not irrelevant to the way things work: how they work is how they should look.”

Thomas F. Schutte
Join.me simple screen sharingRead Join.me: Share Your Screen For Free
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Join.me: Share Your Screen For Free

Recently I was searching for a simple screen sharing option for a non-tech-savvy client — one that didn’t require them to have a gmail account, to download any software, or learn how to use a new piece of software.

So I jumped on Twitter, asked for recommendations, and my friend Diane Kinney responded with a recommendation for Join.me.

Join.me provides instant screen sharing, meeting tools, and unlimited audio

It is easy to get started and easy to manage. I was up and running testing my first screenshare session in less than five minutes.

According to their website: millions of people, from universities, startups and Fortune 500 companies, use Join.me every month to simply and more effectively share their ideas and work, making join.me the fastest growing collaboration product in the world — and I can see why. I love this tool and I can host or join a meeting from a desktop, an iPad, or any mobile device.

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2015 Prestige Conference Las VegasRead Prestige Conference Las Vegas: Exceeding Expectations
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Prestige Conference Las Vegas: Exceeding Expectations

This past weekend, Brian and I attended Prestige Conference Las Vegas, the second event of it’s kind, with the first being Prestige Conference Minneapolis in October 2014.

I feel like I said this about the first Prestige Conference, but seriously, this event was by far one of my favorites — and not just because so many of our friends were also there

Among the meetups, WordCamps, business conferences, and networking events, Prestige Conference has quite effectively carved out a solid position in the market. It serves business owners, agency owners, and freelancers alike, do business better — or at least think about their business with a fresh perspective.

With a mix of personal stories, lessons learned, business nitty-gritty, and actionable get it done steps, Prestige is quickly becoming the go to conference for those who are interested in upleveling themselves AND their businesses or careers.

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Word Swag Photo Quote ExampleRead Word Swag: Make Beautiful Photo Quotes In Minutes
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Word Swag: Make Beautiful Photo Quotes In Minutes

Have you ever wanted to share a beautiful quote on your blog or via social media? You know the ones I am talking about — the quote images with the eye-catching background images and cool typography…

If so, I’d like to introduce you to Word Swag, an app that automatically turns your words into beautiful photo text designs with awesome typography.

With Word Swag, you can create custom quote images to use on your blog, in print, via text, and on social media in seconds. And the app isn’t just for quotes, you can use any text you want, so it could be used to create birthday greetings, thank you notes, and more.

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Freelance Designer Pricing StrugglesRead The Freelance Conundrum: Do You Want To Be A Good Friend Or A Great Service Provider?
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The Freelance Conundrum: Do You Want To Be A Good Friend Or A Great Service Provider?

Have you lowered your rates to ensure you landed a new client or kept your rates low over time to keep them? Have you ever done the work but billed for fewer hours than you spent on the project because you felt guilty, you didn’t want to (potentially) make your client mad, or you thought it “shouldn’t” have cost that much?

What about standing up for your design solutions? Have you ever held back and not shared your opinions or thoughts to avoid arguing with your client? Have you made revisions to a project that you knew would hurt it more than help it just to be “easy to work with” and make your client happy?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to read my new article for the GoDaddy Garage: The freelance conundrum: Do you want to be a good friend or a great service provider? In this article, I share my own experiences, insecurities, and challenges with pricing my services and standing up for my design, as well as lessons learned — and hopefully some tips you can use too!

Check It Out

Iconic Responsive SVG Icon SetRead Iconic Responsive Icon Font Set
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Iconic Responsive Icon Font Set

As part of the Bourn Creative site redesign, I created our own custom icon font set to use in the site. It was the first time I had gone through this process and it was much easier that I thought it would be. The most difficult part was selecting the final icons to include in the set.

During the research for our own custom icon font, Brian stumbled across Iconic. He sent me the link and I was enthralled. I even shared the resource as my Bar Trick on DradCast.

Iconic is billed as an icon set designed for the modern web. It’s a multi-weight, responsive, SVG icon font designed within a grid, so it produces sharp, optimized, consistent icons.

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