I'm a small business - why do I need a brand?

If you are a small firm or a sole trader, you could be forgiven for thinking that branding is not for you. "Big names spend money on branding, small companies just get on with the job" is a typical response when small businesses are asked about their brand activities. But this perception is wrong, as Rachel Miller writes

Even if you do "believe in branding", it may come low on your to-do list after vital day-to-day tasks that keep your customers happy and keep revenue coming in. That's understandable.

Why do small firms need a brand?

So how can I convince you that branding matters - whether you are a window cleaner, a solicitor or run a restaurant?

Perhaps the first thing to do is to tackle the wording. If you were to replace the word "branding" with "reputation" I might get your attention. You care about your reputation, right?

Well branding is all about the impression you make. If you want to succeed, that impression should do two jobs - it should convey what is special about your business and it should show you in a positive light.

Of course, many small businesses make a good impression most of the time without ever giving a thought to their brand. But think how much more successful you would be if you gave a good impression all of the time.

What I am advocating is that you think about the impression you want to make - your brand - and actively take steps to manage it.

There are two parts to this process. Firstly, you have to decide what you stand for - what your USPs are, who you are aiming at and how you want to position yourself. Then you need to make sure that all aspects of your business are in line with this.

It's about applying your values to everything you do, clearly and consistently.

There are many small firms that have seen real financial benefits as a result of improving their brand. Fiona Humberstone, managing director of Flourish Studios, has worked with many one-man-bands and small businesses. "For instance, we worked with a plumber on his logo," reveals Fiona. "He used it on some new business cards which he distributed in his area and immediately got three new jobs. We've also helped a management consultant with her branding. We redesigned her proposal document as well as providing a new logo and website. As a result, every proposal that she has made that year was accepted - a 100% success rate."

Mark McCulloch, founder of Spectacular Marketing says, "You have a brand whether you like it or not. It's best to embrace that and find the best way to connect your brand with your target audience."

Mark worked with a company called Exhilaration some years ago that sold experience days out and was run by a husband and wife team that loved sky-diving. The business came to a crossroads when it had to develop its online presence.

"It was a tiny company with a tiny marketing spend," says Mark. "The name was good - Exhilaration summed up what they did - but their communications were very dry and didn't convey the excitement of what they were selling at all."

Mark transformed the company's literature and their website and injected the excitement that was missing. "Personality was everything, so we gave all the communications a new tone of voice," he says. Not only did customers respond but suppliers and investors also sat up and took notice. The result? "Their turnover rose from £1 million to £3.5 million and they became second in the market," Mark reveals. Exhilaration went on to be bought by Lastminute.com.

Creating the right impression

But if you don't think branding is for you, you are not alone.

"Many small business owners I meet think that brands are something that only large companies need or can afford," says Bryony Thomas of Watertight Marketing. "But your company name, the way you answer the phone, what your customers say when they're asked about you - these things all build to create an impression of your company and what it's like to do business with you - and that is your brand. So, you can either just let whatever impression you give happen haphazardly, or you can take control and manage it to your advantage."

One small firm that has benefited by developing its brand is Gradwell, the Bath-based small business ISP. "I tended to pick marketing up on the rainy days, and then drop it again. I'd never really given it much focus," reveals managing director, Peter Gradwell. "We had grown organically among tech enthusiasts, but knew that for major growth we'd need to appeal much more widely."

Bryony undertook market research and discovered that Gradwell's existing image was off-putting to less tech-savvy small business owners. A new brand identity addressed this.

"It was a really tough decision to spend money on something that wouldn't directly generate leads.  It was about building the foundations," says Peter. "But, I'm absolutely sure that it was the right thing to do. It has had huge benefits across everything we do. To give a tangible example, we were approached by Hewlett-Packard to appear as a pretty high profile case study, and I'm sure they wouldn't have shared a stage with us if we hadn't looked as polished as we now do."

It goes to show that your brand may be just as important to your relationships with partners and suppliers as it is to your customers. Take Best Years, a supplier of knitted toys to independent and high street retailers. " Brand is extremely important to us," says commercial director, Gaynor Humphrey. "We have worked hard to put a distance between ourselves and our price-driven competitors. A strong brand boosts traffic to our website. And if our brand values chime with the values of retailers they are more inclined to buy from us. Our foot is halfway through the door before they have even met us!"

Dee Blick, author of Powerful Marketing on a Shoestring Budget for Small Businesses, has worked with many small businesses on their branding. "Branding doesn't take shed-loads of money. It takes passion and time and thought," she says. But you neglect your brand at your peril, she warns. "Businesses don't own their own brand, they are custodians of it. Perceptions can alter quickly. Brands are constantly evolving and they need a lot of tending."

The message is clear. If you've got a business, then you've got a brand. What you do with it is up to you.


Reasons Why You Need a Website in 2016

 

1 : Increase Sales and Revenue

Any professionally run business will make up the cost of a website easily over the course of the first year. And after that, the low annual running costs mean increased profits in the future.

2 : Cheaper Advertising

A website is the most cost–effective form of advertising you could buy. Compare a small advert in the Yellow Pages or Thompson Local with a small website, or compare a large advert with a large website: the website will generally be cheaper.

And a website’s running costs are much lower — just an annual fee for the domain name and hosting. With a paper advert, you pay the same large amountevery year.

A paper advertisement can only give customers a brief overview of your services. Your website will contain all the detailed information your customers need, at a fraction of the long–term cost of a paper advertisement.

3 : Give a Professional Appearance

Most people now expect a business to have a website. Even if a customer doesn’t visit your website, seeing a web address on a business card or in an advertisement gives the impression that you are a solid organisation.

Perhaps you work from home. Perhaps you have just started a small business. With a good–looking, professional website, you can show that you are just asserious as a larger, established competitor.

4 : Your Competitors Will Have Websites

Very few products or services are bought on impulse (apart from chocolate biscuits, perhaps). Customers like to do a bit of research first. Today, a large proportion of sales begin with an internet search, and that proportion is only going to increase. A business without a website is out of the game.

Actually, there is one exception to this rule. For a business, having anamateurish website is often worse than having no website at all. Find out about the dangers of using a cowboy web designer.

5 : Save Time Dealing with Enquiries

How often do you find yourself saying the same thing to prospective customers — describing your services, your products, your prices? If the information that people need is on your website, they can check it out easily, any time it suits them.

How much time do you waste fielding enquiries from people who are nevergoing to buy your products? Give them an easier way of getting the informationthey want, and you won’t have to cope with enquiries that don’t lead anywhere.

Put the information on your website, weed out the tyre–kickers, and concentrate on the serious enquiries!

6 : More Customers, All the Time, Everywhere

The internet doesn’t open at 9 o’clock and close at 5:30. Your website will be attracting customers 24 hours a day, from all over the world.

 


Do i really need a website? Here are 21 Reasons why

Why Do I Need a Website?

 

Reason #1 – Online brochure

Companies spend millions creating brochures and distributing them. By having a website you can skip that entirely. Your potential customers can find out about you and any of your products online. If you get most of your business through networking and personal connections, then they will want to check out your website.

Reason #2 – More customers

More than 2.4 billion people use the internet every day, and some 90% of those have purchased something, or contacted a company, online in the last 12 months. So by not having a website, you will be missing out on a big piece of the pie.

Reason #3 – Business value

Have you tried getting a business loan recently? It’s not easy, but if you try and the bank manager asks to see your website, you better have a pretty good one. It doesn’t just stop with the bank, the perceived value of your business will be lower in everyone’s eyes – especially your customers.

Reason #4 – Influence

By having a website potentially thousands of people are going to see it. You are able to influence people’s decisions and educate them.

Reason #5 – Time to show off

You know that great feeling you get when people recognize your work? Well, by having a website you can show off what you do and take pride in your work.

Reason #6 – Helps with business goals

That’s right! When it comes to writing the content for your website you are going to revisit things about your business that you haven’t in years. You will most likely reassess your business goals.

Reason #7 – Low barriers of entry

Ever wanted to start a business? Well, now you can do it with virtual space. In fact, by using this service and by clicking here, you can get decent rates on full branding, website and CMS for start up companies

Reason #8 – 24 hours per day

Your website runs 24/7 without any supervision or need to lock it up. You can always be there for your customers.

Reason #9 – Communication with customers

By having a blog or even just a feed on your website, you can update customers on your newest offers, products, promotions, events, photos, or any other content.

Reason #10 – Marketing

The internet has opened up a whole new world of marketing that didn’t exist before. Your website can attract new business by using a whole host of low cost marketing techniques.

Reason #11 – Customer support

You can greatly reduce the cost of customer support by have a ticketing system, or even just an FAQ on your website. I can think of about 5 companies off the top of my head that streamline your customer service straight from your website.

Reason #12 – [email protected]

I know there are other ways to do this, but by having a website you can have your own email [email protected] It is more professional and easier to remember. I know you love your [email protected] , but it doesn’t really resonate with customers.

Reason #13 – Press releases

I know that sounds a bit far out, but it is true. You can run really cheap press releases online about your business, but to do it you will require a website. In fact, I have had clients who were absolute nobodies get one million views on YouTube because of online press releases.

Reason #14 – Stick it to the man

The best answer to “Why do I need a website?” would be that you can stick it to the man. It is the easiest way to quit your job and earn a living.

Reason #15 – Any topic or hobby will do

Do you love sports? How about ballet, alternative dance, photography, holidays, Kit-Kats, cars, skateboards, science or animals? Well, then you have a business idea just waiting to happen. The internet has room for an unlimited number of niche blogs that can attract traffic and revenue. Just pick something you love and start writing about it.

Reason# 16 – Connect with fellow web masters

On a little side note, if you own a website you get to call yourself a ‘web master’. Pretty cool! But reason #16 for ‘why I need a website’ is that you can easily make new business and personal connections with other website owners. This can lead to extra streams of income for you!

Reason #17 – Gives you a voice

Have you ever been in an argument with someone and said “Well, I have written an article about that on my website, and actually, that isn’t the case.” It feels great! For some reason people don’t want to argue with you if you’ve written about something on your website. It also gives you a place where you can voice your opinion without judgment. If someone leaves you a comment you don’t like you can just drag it over to the spam folder.

Reason #18 – Do business your own way

You don’t need permission from your boss or company lawyer. Ash Ambridgedrops the ‘F-Bomb’ all the time because she can, and no else is asking her to stop. Now she has a world class business with thousands of customers.

Reason #19 – Beat the big guys

Have you ever wanted to get into business, but don’t know how to compete with all the big names out there? By creating an incredibly beautiful website with a solid strategy behind it you can smash the big guys to pieces. You have no chance of building bigger skyscrapers, but your website can break down the perceived wall between you and them.

Reason #20 – Instant credibility

Have you ever had difficulty making that sale? Or convincing someone that you are the real deal. By having a well structured website you can foster instant credibility with anyone. You can provide the ultimate proof that you are, in fact, the realest of all deals (couldn’t resist that phrase).

Reason #21 – Helps you to find a new job

I bet you didn’t see this one coming. I have been harping on about how a website can help your business, but it can help you personally too. Not only can a website host your resume or CV, but by owning and managing your website you have demonstrated tons of hard and soft skills. Having worked in HR once upon a time, I know it is valuable.

So… why do I need a website?

Can you think of a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t? It wouldn’t be a balanced argument if you don’t.


CREATING ILLUSTRIOUS BRANDS: STORYTELLING THROUGH DESIGN

A graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, Paul Wearing is a commercial artist who has applied his distinct illustrative touch to many projects, from large-scale architectural installations to campaigns for brands including Herman Miller, Elsevier, IBM, Bang & Olufsen, Neiman Marcus, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and The Royal Bank of Scotland. Often reflecting a passion for food, fashion, interior design and travel, his illustration agency’s work regularly appears in design annuals, art magazines and mass-circulation publications including The Wall Street Journal, M Magazine, Le Monde and bon appétit. He spoke with BrandingBusiness Chief Creative Officer Michael Dula, about his creative process, the power of colour and the role of creativity in branding.

Dula: As an illustrator, an artist, an image-maker, can you describe the look of your style for our listeners?

Wearing: I guess the essence of it is, it has a contemporary look. A lot of the influences that arise in my work come from mid-century type of styling — my interest in things like Charles and Reims furniture. Some of the artists who were working in that period come through my work in one way or another. What I guess it has is familiarity, in one respect, and, hopefully, freshness in another.

Dula: Tell us a little bit about your creative process. Do you create for yourself or do you create for your client's audience?

Wearing: I produce work for myself, whether or not it has an application anywhere or not. What is great is when you work with a client who has a view and wants to harness your work and take it further forward. That way, there's an interaction between the two. They'll bring something towards what you do and you'll add something to what they want to achieve.

Dula: How does your mind think when it comes to reaching your client's audience and drawing them in?

Wearing: I’m looking a lot to what the client talks about at the initial briefing on where their position is and where they're leaning, in terms their product or brand, and look at what's going on in the existing market with their competitors — trying to do something which doesn't repeat things other people do, so they have their own distinct, individual characteristic and they tell the story that is relevant to their company — their history or their characteristic¬ — and try and get across some of the essence of what the company or the product is about.

Dula: Do you spend a lot of time researching your clients, researching the background?

Wearing: As much as possible. I also try and keep abreast of current affairs and things that are happening in retail or fashion or anything like that.

In a previous life, alongside illustration, I used to work as a design consultant — advising retailers on trends, colors, products they should be developing. That involved going around the world, basically looking at what everybody was doing, going to various trade shows to see the newest colors that were coming in, and reading a lot.

That kind of background feeds into what I do now. As well as the artistic and creative side, which may be more powerful to me, there's also an awareness of the commercial aspects and socials trends manifesting themselves across a broader spectrum of areas.

Dula: How does color play out in your work?

Wearing: For me, color is absolutely key. Taking back to one of my first art history teachers, a fantastic, charismatic man who liked to tell you, “Color is the first thing anybody sees.” Essentially, I think he's right. After that, you see form and then line.

One of my earlier trainings was as a print textile designer, and color is so key in that area.

One of the most wonderful things… you can almost tell a story with color. If the colors aren't right in something, it never quite works for some reason. If they're right, things fly. And you'll see how much care people put into that when they apply it to areas of business like branding — the enormous amount of energy and focus on detail in trying to get people to have their individual look and individual color and individual stamp.

Dula: When I look at your illustrations, there is color harmony and balance and color complexity. It does seem fundamental when I look at a Paul Wearing illustration, whether you're using three colors or 100 colors. There's a certain harmony. Does color come naturally? Do you go through a lot of experimentation?

Wearing: I work almost exclusively on the computer now. When I begin a job, into the file that I'm working in, I'll bring in several pieces of work… images and colors that I think are pertinent to that particular job. Then I'll just begin playing. The beauty of working in digital media nowadays is the ability to recolor things. It's just fantastic.

Dula: It's amazing to me the vastness of your work, in terms of the application — whether it's on the side of a building, in an ad, on a website. Is there a difference between working with consumer brands and corporate brands?

Wearing: Sometimes just because of the pace of things with retail brands, things move faster. They're slightly more predetermined.

Sometimes with corporate brands, there's a more organic growth or a development period, probably because a lot of parties need to be involved in the decision-making. Also, there aren’t the pertinent deadlines you might get if you’re launching a product.

Dula: So many stories and ideas pour out of your imagery. Whether they'd be minimalistic, whether they'd be more complex, each one seems to hold a story. When you think about storytelling, how big of factor does it play?

Wearing: I think it's quite a big factor — not necessarily in a straightforward type of narrative like a storybook. A lot of my work will involve layering of imagery, subtle patterns and sometimes patterns which tell a story. They may not be immediately obvious.

For example, I had a great commission for Cedars Sinai Medical Center to develop a book promoting their child acute-sickness ward. In that, we had a child being picked up. And within the child, there was a repeat pattern. You got the sense that it was caring not just for one child but numerous children.

Dula: I've gotten to know you and your work through our client Elsevier [a leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services]. Can you talk about your recent work for them?

Wearing: What a fantastic job, to begin with. It's not that often that a client will come to you and want to base their whole look and brand around a lot of the graphic handwriting that you produce.

One of the things about the job… they liked what your colleague Drew [Letendre] termed “visual wit”… the idea of a tree within a head that signified knowledge. But because it had to do with digital downloads, the tree's roots were then made out of circuit board.

It sounds slightly trite when you say it, but when you illustrate it in the right way, it can be beautiful and it can work so nicely and tell a story in a very succinct way.

Dula: In your experience, what role does creativity play in the world of B2B branding?

Wearing: I think creativity everywhere is important, but especially in branding. To differentiate your company, get your company to tell its unique story. To have somebody come in with a creative spark and add a creative idea of how you can do that, I think, is so important.


Quiqup Branding Re-imagined for the Future

Contributed by Rosie Andrews of London-based MultiAdaptor.Quiqup

With well over 100,000 orders fulfilled, and millions of pounds of investment raised just one year into trading, Quiqup is a major force in the rapidly growing on-demand delivery market.

Whether it’s delivering dishes from your favourite restaurant (that doesn’t do takeaway); picking-up and dropping-off a last-minute gift for a special occasion; or running an essential errand you don’t have time to do yourself — Quiqup delivers.

 

Colour and imagery — bringing the freshness

In a market flooded with red brands, we clearly differentiated Quiqup with a super fresh bright green — setting an energetic tone that reflects the fresh-from-the-kitchen and fresh-out-the-box promise of the on-demand delivery experience.

 

The big idea — Forever flexible

A truly flexible brand was required to reflect a truly flexible service. Unlocking and liberating the ‘loop’ in the Quiqup Q, we developed a framework to consistently communicate this quality, that is infinitely adaptable but instantly identifiable.

Ambition — Reshaping the way the world sees delivery

Quiqup are at the forefront of an exciting new market that transforms the established business models of delivery, courier, and even concierge services through technology.

Like the Uber of on-demand delivery, Quiqup brings benefits to their network of drivers and riders that deliver to customers; and to the bricks and mortar retailers — from the big to boutique and everything in-between — who are competing with the e-commerce giants that dominate consumer buying habits.

View more identity work on the MultiAdaptor website. Follow MultiAdaptor on Twitter


17 Free Online Tools to Help You Grow Your Blog to 1 Million Visitors

"Free" is the most awesome price of all. "Free" gets you started when you have nothing. "Free" took me from 0 to the first 1,000,000 visitors to my blog.

Related: 5 Tools For Entrepreneurs to Grow Their Online Presence in No Time

"Free" is also the price that most people gravitate to when they are first starting out. But, the trouble is, most of those people also think that you have sign up for some big, expensive service once your audience numbers get serious.

Nope.

You don’t have any excuses, because free web services and products available today are so good that you can easily use them to build up your own blog to 1 million visitors. You can start today, from scratch, and use every single one of these every day along your journey. From idea creation, to producing, publishing and designing your content, to sharing, marketing and promoting your brand, you'll find these tools free and accessible. Here are the 17 best ones I myself used to grow my blog at iDoneThis:

1. Quora

At its most basic Quora is a Q&A site -- you go there, ask a question and get an answer. It offers a seemingly infinite array of knowledge. But, when you start using the site properly, and you're interacting with others, Quora blossoms into so much more.

Quora is a great place for content ideas. You can search for a topic, see what others are asking, and answering and then write it up, adding to the conversation. But there's more: Kevan Lee at Buffer recently set out all the ways you can use Quora to market yourself for your business. Quora helps you establish yourself as a leader in your area, if you use it right. If you have a product, you can use the site to get feedback from users and to generate new feature ideas.

2. Feedly

Feedly is the best blog reader around. You have to be reading a lot of other blogs if you want yours to stand out. Once you start reading the top blogs from key influencers, you will learn the right style that drives traffic, and what sets top blogs apart from the rest.

When Google Reader shut its door a couple of years ago, almost everyone flocked to the then-new Feedly app. You can sign up for blog feeds from the app, share your favorite posts, bookmark the ones you still have to read and read them, in Feedly's intuitive, magazine style.

3. Buzzosumo

BuzzSumo is an awesome tool,with one simple aim: It helps you find what articles people are sharing, and who is sharing them. From this simple start, you can gain a wealth of information: the best length, type and content for a POS. With the free account , you can only get limited information, but definitely enough to find out what works and what doesn't.

The site can also help you target the key influencers in your area of expertise. One of the reasons I love BuzzSumo is that data is at the heart of it. The folks behind the site recently analyzed all their data to find out what goes viral. They found that having just one key influencer share your post can increase your number of shares by over 30 percent. Just having three will double the number of times your post is shared.

4. Quip

There are a trillion word processing apps available, but Quip has my vote as the easiest and most intuitive app to use. It is by your words that you are going to live or die. So, write them in style.

What's unique about Quip is that it was designed, from the ground-up, to be a mobile-first word-processing app. Bret Taylor, the co-founder, says that, “Offline and online are no longer separate binary states.” Quip works as quickly as a local app, but everything is in the cloud. This particularly works well for companies like iDoneThis, where team members might be thousands of miles apart but working on the same post. With Quip, we can all edit documents as if they were on our local machines.

5. Hemingway

The Hemingway app is all about making your writing clearer and more accessible. For some people, writing flows naturally through their fingers; for the rest of us there is Hemingway. The app helps you avoid complicated, hard-to-read sentences, passive voice and adverbs. Hemingway is ideal for people who have to explain complicated ideas to a lay audience.

6. Trello

Trello is an organizational tool, letting you organize work via "boards" where different ideas, pitches, outlines, drafts and articles are in your publishing pipeline. Richard White, CEO of UserVoice, described Trello as “a very open-ended product.” Yep. When you first open Trello, it seems both simple and daunting. But what wins me over to Trello is that so much of the organization is left up to you -- there is no right way to use Trello, just your way.

7. WordPress

There are countless content management system (CMS) options, butWordPress is still the best. Once you have got your site up and running, you need a way to publish your stories. Somewhere like Tumblr is great for your own personal blog, but if you are looking to get north of a million visitors, then you need the type of platform WordPress provides.

On WordPress you can customize your site and add plugins for a ton of different needs, from SEO optimization to image presentation, from email forms to capture. Plus, other apps on this list, like SumoMe and Google Analytics, have one-click setup plugins to get you up and running immediately.

Related: 10 Affordable Tools to Help Online Entrepreneurs Succeed

8. Canva

Canva is a design service for people who can’t design. An image in a post will increase shares, and increased shares means more visitors. Ergo, you need images. So what happens if you are artistically-challenged? Welcome, Canva. Anyone can use it for anything: A sheriff even used the site to design a wanted poster. The site uses simple drag-and-drop principles to help you create art and design for your site, allowing you to choose from thousands of images, fonts and colors to get exactly what you need to illustrate your story.

9. Share As Image

Images are also the best way to share ideas on social media, and Share As Image lets you create amazing text-based images, helping you get more engagement and shares on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

You can create quotes and daily inspiration messages, or just have a line from your latest blog post as a teaser. You can also take in information from images ten times faster than from text alone; and because visual processing is what our brains are designed for, sharing ideas as images immediately invokes a reaction in your audience.

10. Death to Stock Photo

Death To Stock Photo is what stock photo services should be like. A few years ago Wired published an article about stock photography, or laughing-stock photography as it should be called.

When the Wired article came, out Death To Stock quickly contacted the editors to say that not all stock services are bad. And they were right. Death To Stock Photo shows that you can have awesome image content for your site for free. As I said earlier, images increase shares, and having great images will definitely get your blog noticed more.

11. Typeform

Typeform helps you build contact forms and surveys, meaning you can interact with your audience and become a meaningful place for dialog.Tasked with surveying some of the top business leaders in the world, Mia Mabanta at Quartz turned to Typeform. She got a survey completion rate of 55 percent (which is awesome) and surveyed 940 top executives. She spent zero dollars doing this.

Her team chose Typeform because responders could easily navigate it whether they were on a desktop or mobile, and users could stay on the page throughout, rather than wait for the next page to load -- one of the main reasons people bug-out on a survey.

12. TinyLetter

TinyLetter is a super-simple app that lets you create and distribute email newsletters, which are a great way to get your ideas into everyone's inboxes each week.

Alexis Madrigal, deputy editor at The Atlantic, has grown his own newsletter to thousands and thousands of readers using this tool. TinyLetter let him get set up the moment he had the idea and distribute the newsletter to all his readers; it even lets people sign up straight from Twitter. The simplicity and ease of use of TinyLetter is why it is a great place to start building a following.

13. SumoMe

SumoMe is a suite of apps that lets people interact with your site better using share and social buttons. It also helps you build up an email list with popups, and can even tell you where people are clicking on your site. Noah Kagan, founder of SumoMe and AppSumo, and employee #30 at Facebook, built a massive email list of over a million emails for AppSumo, so he obviously knows what he is talking about.

SumoMe gives you an in-depth analysis of what works on your blog and what doesn't. It also integrates with other services' email lists so you can seamlessly build your email list to grab all your visitors.

14. Wisestam 

Wisestamp lets you link to your online presence automagically in your email signature, adding links to your social media, blog and latest posts.

A story illustrates its use: British Cycling used to be terrible. When Dave Brailsford took over as performance director in 2003, Britain’s best Olympics haul in cycling was still the one it had achieved in 1908. But since 2003, British cyclists have won 18 Olympic gold medals, 59 World Championships and -- though it hadn't ever won the Tour de France in the race's 112-year history -- British cyclists have won it three out of the last four years.

Brailsford puts this down to marginal gains: If you break every problem down to its components and improve each by just 1 percent, you will have a significant improvement when you put it all back together.

When I saw Wisestamp, it reminded me of this story. Most people won’t see their email signature as a way to gain traffic, but that is exactly how Wisestamp sees it. If you want to hit a million users, you have to look for every single marginal gain. Find all of Brailsford’s 1 percent improvements and add them up and they will eventually lead you to your million visitors.

15. Print Friendly and a PDF

Print Friendly is a Chrome extension that will transform your blog into a PDF, getting rid of all the extra crap and just leaving your audience with a well-formatted booklet of your posts. A great way to gain a following is to create an ebook that's a "content upgrade," in the form of a PDF that visitors can download and read offline -- in exchange for their email address. 

This is an awesome trick that Noah Kagan used to gain thousands of more subscribers from his guest posts. This might seem like an major extra hassle, but thanks to Print Friendly, it doesn't have to be. The strategy is particularly great if you have a long, detailed post that would work well as an ebook. You just need a couple of clicks with Print Friendly. 

16. Buffer

Buffer seems like a simple tool to manage your online social media presence. But, in the right hands it can be turned into a demon of analysis, allowing you to reach more people with your posts and tweets and optimize your content for social sharing.

Madhav Bhandari handles growth at Hubstaff, and is using Buffer to analyze the site's posts. Hubstaff has used Buffer to boost its social traffic by 350 percent, simply by analyzing what makes posts shareable and what doesn't. Once you start to analyze your posts at this level of depth, you will quickly realize what is worth the effort, and what is a waste.

17. Google Analytics

So, how do you know when you have hit that cool million? You need Google Analytics. In fact, you need it way before then. You should be checking out your visitor numbers from your very first post, analyzing what posts get the highest views and where those views are coming from. Then, you can start to tailor your operation around those ideas. Keep what works, and throw out the rest.

Google Analytics is the most extensive suite out there, and even the biggest sites are still using it. Google obviously knows its numbers, and if this is a major place your visitors are coming from, who better to tell you the good news?

Over to you

What do you use to grow your blog traffic? I'd love to hear about what you think the best free services and products out there are to grow your audience.


Copyright infringes are all too common, not cool to steal

This post is short and sweet to outline the fact that copyright, stealing and borrowing are all too common nowerdays that we're simply not taking the time to look at how things have been made and what sort of complexity goes into each vector you spend 2 minutes to download and slap into your mates flyer design.

someone, somewhere has taken time to create this particular vector from the stroke up, check out the Infograph below to see the final piece being dissected. 

Copyright to pixaroma.com see link below for download
Copyright to pixaroma.com see link below for download

Spread the love... Fanks

 

 


Portfolio of the week!

Thank you to everyone who voted this past week to get me to the top of Portfolio of the week! Sitting on the top with a measly 3 votes between myself and the competitors i thought it was never going to go in my favour, but you all smashed it and pulled through in the end!

Check out Daily Design Break for some amazing editorials jam packed with design tips and coverage of all up and coming designers.

http://www.dailydesignbreak.com/