iStock Photo  Royalty Free Stock Photography, Vector Art Images, Music   Video Stock Footage - iStock

What sites have the best selection of stock photos?

Finding good quality photos for your digital media, web and print projects can be a tiresome task.  Here’s a list of the best sites out there to make the task easier:

Photodune

http://photodune.net/

Shutterstock

http://www.shutterstock.com/

Over 28 million stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos

Cobrisimages

http://www.corbisimages.com/

IstockPhoto

http://www.istockphoto.com/

GettyImages

Choose from 60 million images, 1 million video clips, 200,000 music tracks.

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/

Top 5 Free Responsive WordPress Themes

Responsive Theme

This Free Responsive WordPress Theme that features 9 page Templates such as Blog, Blog Summary and Template based layout designs: sidebar/content, sidebar/content half, content/sidebar and content/sidebar half. This is a very flexible theme and very nice looking to boot! Perfect for those business style portfolio sites.

Demo | Download

 

Responsive Twenty Ten

Responsive Twenty Ten is a child theme of the default WordPress theme. This free responsive wordpress theme has been based on Todd Halfpenny’s Responsive Twenty Ten with the addition of some special touches such as flexible images, nice margins, and some mobile image rules.


Demo | Download

 

Scherzo

Scherzo is a clean, readable free responsive wordpress theme that boasts a mobile first design, which means it displays perfectly on all mobile phones as well as desktop monitors.


Demo | Download

 

Yoko

Yoko is a flexible HTML5/CSS3 responsive wordpress theme. With the responsive layout based on CSS3 media queries, the theme adjusts to different screen sizes.


Demo | Download

 

Constellation

The Constellation theme is a good starting point for any WordPress project. It has the flexibility to provide custom styles for different devices, up-to-date HTML5 code, and a flexible grid system.


Demo | Download

So there we have it, my top 5 free responsive WordPress Themes. Happy blogging!

WARNING: Website Help Needed! 5 Signs That You Need Help

It is sometimes difficult to admit that you need help. Especially when you have just hired a web design company and they have not delivered what you expected or you are trying to build your own site by reading a for dummies book and for some reason you are just not getting the website traffic you thought you would.

Here are the top 5 signs that you need help with your website.

Website Help Needed! 5 Signs That You Need Help with Your Website

  1. Your website looks like a car wreck, unbalanced colours, font’s are all different and the navigation sucks!
  2. Your website traffic is bellow 10 people per day
  3. You don’t have any data on your website traffic or you are ignoring it.
  4. Not had any sales from your website (This may be due to your product or business, deep questions may need to be asked).
  5. You Rank nowhere in Google

You require a truly professional and trustworthy company to give you a second opinion. Please post your website address to us to have a look. You are under no obligation to buy anything from us. We just want to help.

wordpress-logo-notext-rgb

What is WordPress?

This video is part of a series in progress.

To start off this course, let me answer a simple question: what is WordPress?

WordPress is an open source application that was originally designed to create blogs but now is used to build almost any website you can think of.

Using WordPress, you can design anything from a simple blog to an advanced website. There are 2 options, either using WordPress.com – which is a cloud hosted service – or you can install WordPress on your own server and host it, which one to choose and why we will cover in later sections.

WordPress was created Matt Mullenweg. On his blog you can read about what he is doing.  Matt’s blog is a standard blog that outputs a lot of content, and you can read it, you can click around if you want to, and it also has pages that you can go to that have more information.

However WordPress doesn’t have to be just a blog; it can be pretty much anything you want. A lot of magazines use WordPress because it’s an easy way of organizing content, and you can also style it and make it look like pretty much whatever you want. The Huffington Post is a good example. It’s a magazine, but it has kind of a blog structure and a lot of advanced features, like social media features such as Facebook like and recommend buttons. It has advertising. It has lots of navigational tools, and it’s pretty easy to read. There are also other sites that have no blog like features at all, such as eCommerces and some business portfolio sites.

As you progress through this course, we will be building a site for the fictional company Joe Blogs Plumbing. This is a self-hosted site, and it has a lot of interesting features.

Not only is it easy to build content, but more importantly, managing that content is very easy through the WordPress dashboard.
The WordPress dashboard is something you will find both on WordPress.com and also on your self-hosted sites.

If you want to just set up a basic web site and you have no idea how to do any type of web design or web development, you can set up a WordPress web site and never have to worry about the code.

WordPress ships with a full Administration panel that appears inside your browser. So all you have to do is activate WordPress, set it up, and then you can manage all your content, write new posts, new pages, manage photos and videos, all from within this Admin panel, through your browser.

That means you don’t have to constantly upload and download files and manage the HTML and CSS code; you simply work in this very easy to understand panel. This is the true strength of WordPress: easy usability for everyone.

Anyone can set up a WordPress site and anyone can make it work to their advantage.

Web Form Design best practice

One of the major elements of web design that often gets overlooked is form design. I will admit that I have been guilty in the past of neglecting this major part of web design. It is only recently since I have been reading the work of Luke Wroblewski that I remembered how important this is. One of the many reasons we don’t spend enough time designing forms is because “Forms Suck!”. No one likes filling in a form. As a web designer it is our job to make the process as quick as possible for the user.

Here are some of the top form design tips I have picked up:

  1. Get rid of fields that are unessential
  2. Keep your labels on top of your input boxes
  3. Make your submit (action button) button clear and left align with the form
  4. Get rid of cancel buttons and allow people to save progress on longer forms
  5. Use input masks to indicate what needs to be entered into the field
  6. Help text should go under the input field  if required
  7. Save people time and use smart defaults

Paying attention to the details of form design can have a very big impact.

Luke Wroblewski

What elements do you think makes for good form design?

A Linkedin Workshop for Small Business

I delivered one of my first social media workshops today which was about LinkedIn. It generally went quite well, although even I was caught out at a few of the questions as it seems LinkedIn seem to add some new feature every week. As with most of these large social networks there are more features included with them than you will ever need.

When engaging on social networks for business development purposes I think the most important question to ask is how does this fit in with my overall marketing strategy?

Here are few key point from the workshop:

  • Have a complete profile, with all your interests and photo included
  • Make connections
  • Ask questions and do surveys
  • Answer questions and become an expert in your field
  • Join relevant groups
  • Recommend and get recommended

Some of the questions asked at the workshop were:

How do I block other users from viewing my connections?

If you don’t wan’t anyone to see your connections then you need to change the setting from here https://www.linkedin.com/settings/?modal=nsettings-connection-visibility

Hopefully in the future Linkedin will allow you to choose block certain people from parts of your profile.

What is Google Presentation?

Google presentations are a professional way to introduce yourself and your work. Add a presentation to your LinkedIn profile to:

  • Showcase a recent talk or presentation.
  • Display a visual portfolio of your professional accomplishments.
  • Introduce yourself to recruiters and professional contacts viewing your profile.

It is quite easy to use, just upload a power-point or create a presentation from scratch using the Google tools.

There are lot’s of additional apps you can install on LinkedIn such as Google Presentation, check them out and see if they can add value to you profile.

http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=application_directory

How can I get a vCard on my profile?

 

You will not see a vCard for yourself, this only appears when looking at someone else’s profile. Users who use Outlook may already be familiar with the use of vCards, these are files that contain the contact information of a person to import into another contact databases such as Outlook address book.

Feedback

Feedback from the workshop was positive overall.

Thank you for all attending and I hope to see you at the next one. Twitter next, then Facebook, hurrah!

If you have any further questions related to the workshop please leave a comment here

 

Ten Things to do after installing WordPress

Installation of WordPress is quick and simple for many which is included by most hosting providers. Once installed the real work begins. Here are 10 things you should do after installing wordpress blog. If you are a client of ours you are in luck as we do all this stuff as standard practice and a bit more.

  1. Registration : Register at wordpress.com to get an API key required to activate Anti-spam comment’s plugin Akismet.
  2. Change structure of permalinks : By default, wordpress permalink setting is something like ../?p=123blahblahblah. It is recommended to have search engine friendly URL structure, change this to /% postname%. This will give you pretty urls like yourdomain.com/portfolio. The options are available under settings menu of your WordPress dashboard.
  3. Implement system cache : Improve performance of your blog by installing a cache plugin. It increases the response speed and minimizes server load. There are a few to choose from, personally I use Wp-cache. I recommend turning this off when you are developing your site, it will confuse the hell out of you when you are wondering why noting you do appears to be updating.
  4. Create Sitemap : This is essential, your Sitemap is something which helps Search engines to crawl your site content more easily. It can be created by simply installing the Google XML site map plugin.
  5. Change Feed direction to feedburner : Install FeedSmith plugin to do this.
  6. Add tracking code : Track the performance of your site. Add google analytics, Statcounter or some other one. Personally I use Google, but I have also heard that Statcounter is reliable.
  7. Add your site on Webmasters’ tools :  Google Webmasters’ tools has all functions that lets you upload your sitemap for fast indexing and gives search statistics and errors related to your site.
  8. Create robots.txt : Using Google Webmasters tool you can analyze if you already have one or you it can generate one for you.
  9. Design : First impressions count, make sure your blog looks it’s best with a clear navigation structure. There are loads of great themes out there and loads of rubbish ones too, look beyond the looks of a theme and do a bit of research before committing yourself, you may regret it later.
  10. Start Content posting : Tell the world what you are going to write about and introduce yourself. Add a contact page with Wp-contact form plugin or my one of my favourites CformsII. Remember to create an about page for visitors to find out more about you.

There are a ton of other things that you could also do, but this list should be the essentials covered. Good luck!

 

Use this Google Analytics Checklist to get more visitors to your Website

Here is a complete checklist you can use to get the most out of your Google Analytics reports.

Can’t be bothered to read it, watch this video instead!

 

Getting Started

  • Install Tracking Code: Install your tracking code and view reports within 24 hours.
  • Interpret Your Data

http://youtu.be/_qfG2d9etvk

Custom Reporting

  • Custom Reporting: Use the drag-and-drop interface to create reports with the metrics and dimensions you want.
  • Create customized email reports: Send regularly scheduled reports to stakeholders within your company.

Maximizing Online Advertising & Ecommerce

  • Link to AdWords: Monitor your AdWords revenue, conversions, and ROI. Watch this short video to learn how.
  • Link AdSense Got an AdSense account to monetize your site?
  • Link your AdSense and Google Analytics accounts to gain more insight into your AdSense performance.
  • Find out which pages and referrers generate the most revenue, and optimize your site’s performance using AdSense Reports.
  • Optimize keywords: Watch videos to learn how to get the most value from your advertising spend.
  • Tag campaigns: Track conversions on banner ads, email marketing, and other marketing initiatives.
  • Track Ecommerce: Link ecommerce performance to keywords and marketing campaigns for details on ROI and more.
  • Advanced Segmentation: Create and use custom segments to isolate and analyze specific parts of your traffic.

Exploring Advanced Features

  • Set up goals: See conversion rates for ads, marketing initiatives, and visitor segments.
  • Flash Tracking: Simplified tracking for Adobe Flash, Flex and AS3 content.

Getting Help

  • Ask a question: Post a question to our experts
  • Watch more videos: Learn about new features, keyword optimizations, usage tips, and more.

Simple LinkedIn Checklist

Here is a simple checklist of things to do on Linkedin when you first register for a profile.
  • Have a clear Job Title
  • Include a photo (get one done professionally if you can)
  • Only put relevant work history
  • Invite people you know
  • Keep your summary clear and focused on your goals and experience.
  • Ask someone to read your profile for mistakes, treat it like a CV
  • Have a compelling call to action for visitors
  • Make your profile 100% complete

Personally I feel that Linkedin should only be used to keep in contact with business connections where as sites like Facebook should be used more for personal contacts, I am pretty sure that your boss doesn’t need to know what you got up to last night.

What are your top tips for LinkedIn?