Digital Branding

4 Ways to Improve Your Web Design So You Connect With Your Audience

For any business, a website plays an increasingly important role in nurturing relationships and connecting with the intended audience. It is the face of your business which helps in making a lasting impression, resulting in improved sales and business. Similarly, a poorly designed website can translate into a loss of business due to poor engagement, recognition and recall.
Thereby, the need of a professional look and engaging website is greater than ever. With cut throat competition in the digital space, your professionally designed website can help foster relations with your audience.

Characteristics of a Professionally Designed Website

Your website is an important marketing tool, allowing you to promote your business. Thus, it is extremely important to strike a balance and make it visually appealing, user friendly and functional.
A strategically designed website makes use of attractive colours, easy navigation, responsive layout, content and visual elements that allow users to lure potential clientele. However, many businesses struggle with getting all these aspect in perfect synchrony. Thereby, here are a few ways through which you can improve your web design and connect with your intended audience.

1. Plan Smartly

If you have decided to build your website, you have already made an important decision that will help your business grow. However, the next important step is to plan smartly.
Planning your web design will ensure a visually appealing and responsive site. Before you actually translate your vision into reality, start working on the sitemap. It is a wise idea to see competitors and seek inspiration. However, coming up with a unique and interesting website is the goal of the exercise.

Once you have decided the template you would follow, the next step is to ponder on the flow of content and overall usability of the site. Your primary aim is to facilitate the visitor’s experience and make it easier for them to navigate across the platform.

2. Work with a Web Design Agency

Once you have a plan in mind, the next step is to take action. The planning phase is a comprehensive exercise to help you gauge the type of website you require. Once you have successfully done that, you will need the help of a professional web design agency.

Hiring a professional web design company will make it easier for you to design a website. Such a company will work alongside your business, translating your vision into reality. Moreover, working with professionals who have in-depth experience in web designing can allow you to experiment and come up with a design that stands out.

If you’re in search of reputable web designers in the UK, you may want to look at the services offered by the web design Manchester agency Design by Day. They’ve worked with the NHS and Manchester City FC and are highly recommended. You can explore their web design services here: https://www.designbyday.co.uk/.

3. Responsive Web Design

Once you have designed your website, the next thing to look at is its responsiveness. The primary goal of any business website is to engage the audience. Thereby, having a website that is responsive on mobile and other devices can bolster engagement.

Those businesses that work on the responsiveness of their website reap greater rewards with improved visitor and conversion rates. According to Google, websites that are not mobile responsive are likely to suffer from poor search rankings.
Responsiveness is one of the primary elements of a professional website. This way, you will not only get a website that looks great but is also easy to navigate and browse on different platforms and devices.

4. Digital marketing

It is important to make your website design search engine and social media optimised to reach a broader audience. To do so, you will be required to extend your reach beyond a web designer and look into Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Social Media Optimisation (SMO).

SEO and SMO are important aspects of digital marketing that focuses on creating high-quality content. Your digital marketing can help you create a buzz amidst the clutter. Thereby, it is important for you to come up with a comprehensive digital media strategy to rank better on search engines and social media platforms. The primary goal is to direct people to your website which is not possible without effective and strategic digital marketing.

Bottom Line

A good and professional website design is integral for the success of your website. If your web design is attractive, you will easily be able to engage your intended audience by providing them with a pleasant and enchanting experience.

Quality design leads to a higher recognition and recall, allowing visitors to revert back when needed. By improving your website design, you can give your business a substantial boost by opening newer horizons of growth.

Let social media aid your job search
Digital Branding

How to Use Social Media to Promote Yourself for Potential Employers

Social media is now an integral part of our lives. From marketing to job hunting, everything is based around social media in this contemporary era. While you use social media for entertainment and many other purposes, you can also leverage it to promote yourself for potential employers.

As per Brighton UK, almost 91% of employers admitted that they screen prospective employees via social media.

Potential employers usually skim through prospective employees’ social media presences to get to know everything about them before hiring them.

Here’s a guide that’ll assist you with branding and marketing yourself over social media.

Stay connected iwth social media

Stay Connected with the Industry

It is essential to learn about the dynamics and developments in your industry and social media is the best way to keep yourself updated about any developments related to your trade.

Also, you should follow the organizations and bodies in the industry of your trade.

Strengthen your Social Media Presence

To promote yourself in the best possible manner, you should strengthen your presence on the most noticeable social networks including Facebook and Twitter. You should create a decent page for yourself and get it verified from the respective authorities if possible.

Moreover, another handy platform to stay connected with your professional circle and promote yourself to potential employers in LinkedIn. You can make your CV available over there, build your network and follow the industry expert to keep up with everything.

Promote via Facebook

Facebook is the largest social networking platform out there with over 1.94 million monthly active users. The social network is a great platform to market yourself and promote yourself for potential employers. You can create, develop, and join professional circles over Facebook.

Promote via Twitter

Twitter is among the largest social networks. The reason why twitter would help you promote yourself to potential employers is that it hosts a highly engaged and an extremely active community. Moreover, the presence of professionals on twitter is also higher compared to any other social networks. Not only can you follow the most influential players in your industry, but can also promote yourself via influential, inspiring and informative tweets

Promote via Instagram

Instagram has been growing at an overwhelming rate over the past few years and has emerged as a marketing platform. Considering the dynamics of this social networking platform, it has now become an extremely effective platform for marketing and promoting your brand or even yourself.

Instagram is a great platform for personal branding. You can grow your Instagram and strengthen your professional profile to possibly promote yourself for potential employers.

Let your personality shine through on social medial

Manifest your Personality

Emotional intelligence is becoming an important and widely popular concept. As the concept of EI is considered more and more important while interviewing and hiring candidates, potential employers tend to check your emotional intelligence via your personality, interests, and habits. This makes it important to promote your personal interests and personality traits on social media, for potential employers.

Personal Branding

Branding yourself is perhaps that best way to exhibit your worth to the public and increase PR. You can establish your image as a leading player in your industry through effective branding. You can buy an inexpensive domain to create your own personal website, where you can manage a blog and provide information related to your trade.

Managing a blog is actually a great idea to market yourself on higher levels, making it easier for potential employers to notice you. You can use your blog to highlight your skills, experience, and abilities.

This will increase your credibility in front of potential employers.

Use Professional Email Signatures

Using professional email signatures is a great way for professionals and corporate firm to brand themselves via emails. These modern email signatures are almost electronic business cards. You can add brief information about yourself and your profession in your e-mail signatures. This way, you can promote yourself for potential employers.

In the contemporary era, an email signature is a part of your corporate identity. To market yourself and brand yourself in the most effective manner, you can design a professionally carved, brief yet informative email signature and attach it to all relevant emails.

For more information, click here.

Digital Branding

The Morning Routine Of Successful Professionals

Do you catch the worm or chill away in the mornings?

Due to the nature of most jobs and the obvious challenges that come with them (regardless if working from home or from the office), it seems everyone has a steady morning routine they follow.

But, not all of them are honing down on their routines to make them successful.

That’s why we are sharing how some very successful professionals are setting up their mornings for success.

You will see how these professionals get into the “zone”. These are habits that they incorporate and they work for them. You just might find that they will work for you too. Read through them. Tweak them and twists them. Make your own, unique routines. Create methods that get your creative juices flowing and then do them every day.

Every weekday morning I take a time out while I’m getting ready to drink my coffee. For just 10-15 minutes I enjoy that delicious cup of caffeine and catch up on the news with some morning newsletters, like the “New York Times Morning Briefing” and “Need to Know”. It’s a little me time before the rush of the workday!

Each morning I take a moment to remind myself that today is a brand new beginning. Whatever did or didn’t happen yesterday, last week, or last month is irrelevant — these next 24 hours are mine to create. So often throughout our lives, we wish we could press a do-over button, yet fail to recognize that each sunrise is life’s natural reset button, providing a fresh start to live the life we want.

My morning routine is often a juggle between getting my 3 girls ready for school and tackling a few client tasks before we head out to the bus stop. That just means my mornings are a tad crazy. I will usually schedule social media content or paste a blog post in some of the Facebook blogger support groups I’m in. I do NOT check email first thing in the morning; I save that for after school drop-off.

I start my day by trying to sleep for as long as possible to keep my 18th-month-old son sleeping. I then get up and change his diaper and get him cleaned up and clothed for the day. We then go downstairs and proceed to feed him the food my wife has prepared. We then play a little bit. After that, I try to respond to emails from parents from the studio and do studio business. We start teaching at around 3:30 pm most evenings. We finish lessons at 8:45 pm. That is a typical day for me.

If there’s one good thing I’ve picked up ever since I joined my husband in his military lifestyle, that is definitely being as much of an early bird as one can be. I wake up at 5:00 sharp and start my day with some stretching. Having a toddler, and carrying him in my arms all the time requires I also exercize and keep my back strong. After that, my day – followed with a cup of coffee and light breakfast – can start. My kids get up and we start to tackle every day as is.

  • Lindsay Burton  of Youngbway.com explains that sometimes a slow start is best:

I’m awful at getting out of bed after the first alarm so I usually lay in bed checking my emails and scrolling through Young Broadway’s and Kids on Tour’s social media feeds. We’re mainly a news website so I try to check first thing if news broke while I was sleeping. Then once I’m a little bit more awake I get dressed, do my hair and makeup, eat breakfast, then immediately start my work day with gathering articles, photos, and videos to post.

  • Sania Siddiqui of allthingsgud.com proves that some people go against the trends:

My day starts will a shrill alarm just when the sun is about to peep out. Involuntarily, I pick my phone. Yes, I am guilty of checking the notifications first thing in the morning while my eyes are still trying to adjust the focus of ‘light and life’! I know this is not healthy and fair but so are many other things in life. Five minutes later, I become this multitasker, superwoman with magical powers to finish off umpteen chores within an unrealistic time window of 35 minutes before I send my daughter off to school. A brisk walk of five km and I come back famished. Time for a hearty breakfast and to get ready for work!

Get outside! Morning sunlight will give your daytime energy a boost (and help you fall asleep at night). Not only does it balance your circadian rhythms (a body’s natural cycle impacted by many things from hormones to proteins to the rise and fall of the sun) but exposure to sunlight prevents melatonin release, which is what tells us to “go to sleep!”. So whether you check emails, enjoy coffee, work in the garden, take a run, read a book or sit in meditation be sure to do it outdoors. Get outside daily, as soon as the sun is up, and you’ll experience more energy and clarity throughout your life.

A key element of my morning routine is to have my phone programmed to avoid interruptions –no emails, no texts, basically, airplane mode — for the first hour I am awake. This little bit of uninterrupted “space” allows me to think through my day or get ideas without being bogged down by work before I’m even out of bed.  I also enjoy using that time to connect with my family without immediately jumping into texts, emails and being disconnected from real life.

I’m at my most productive in the morning so I tend to hop out of bed early, get dressed and do hours work before breakfast. That way I already feel like I’ve broken the back of my work and can relax with a rush-free breakfast of soaked oats and a cup of tea. I like to browse through social media at this point and connect with my friends before taking a spiced tea up to my office and start tackling my emails. The rest of the morning passes in a blur of blog posts, content writing, and photo editing and it’s often 2 pm before I start thinking about lunch – and only then because my cats remind me that they want to feed too!

As soon as I get up, I start the mighty ritual of making coffee. I usually drink bulletproof coffee in the morning, then sit down to meditate for 10-15 mins. This helps me to settle my thoughts and wrap my head around the day. Then, I start journaling. My journal is not for being productive or anything like that – it’s a great therapy and helps me to unwind. Sometimes it makes me aware of an underlying issue that has bothered me and kept me back from being productive.

“I’m an early morning dude. Not by any virtue or discipline. That’s just my nature. So I like to stack my meetings as early as possible starting around 6 am. However, my best mornings are the ones I carve out the first 45 minutes or hour to write on the next thing that’s due. No social. No email. No distractions. Just writing. Starting my work day like that sets a powerful tone and I get a lot more done.”

We normally kick off the day with an espresso, we are big fans and I am not sure how we could live without it! We then go on to see all the submissions that are sent to us throughout the world and play them live, and look out for the gems! We then plan out our day engage our writing teams to get the reviews up on the site and push out as much content from unsigned artists as we can. We then touch base with our clients and start planning campaigns for that day! If you want to know more about us please check us out www.anrfactory.com

May day starts with some morning affection from my two cats with some coffee, on days I have the boys we make breakfast together and get ready for school, upon returning I generally re-heat my coffee and sit in my black chair beginning the day making Dance Attack happen with our events answering and sending out needed emails! generally hit the gym around 11 and return to continue on my day of building Dance Attack, until its time to get the boys from school!
I am most productive in the early AM. Around 4:30AM when everything is quiet I can get more work done in 30 minutes than I can for the rest of the day.
My morning routine is so important to me! I just feel a little bit off all day if it doesn’t happen. I love waking up early, drinking coffee with my husband, spending time in prayer, getting myself ready for work, and eating a healthy breakfast before getting my kids up and ready. My quiet mornings are often the most treasured hours of my day!

Never expect the routine to go perfectly. It’s not about perfection, it’s about showing up.

“With a toddler and a 3rd grader, getting them out the door so my older one can make the bus in time is often challenging. To save time in the morning, I’ll ask my oldest daughter to pick out her outfit the night before. With my youngest daughter who’s filled with toddler on-the-go energy, I sometimes have her even sleep in her next day’s clothes if I know we have to be somewhere extra early. We’ll eat a simple breakfast, and then the girls do ‘The Routine’: wash their faces, brush their teeth, and go to the bathroom if they haven’t already done so. Then it’s out the door to the bus stop. Mission accomplished!”

 

“5 AM Large Fresh brewed espresso lightly sweetened splash of heavy cream, mobile device, and ready to peer into what the world is up to today”

Mornings should be for snuggles, big breakfasts, and hot coffee. Instead, they end up with me running around like a lunatic, screaming at everyone to get dressed in a timely manner, jamming whatever I can find for breakfast down my family’s throats and hot coffee (hmm – yeah right, try ice cold coffee!) I am trying extra hard to prepare at night for the next morning. That really is key. It seems so simple but what joy it brings.

My mornings usually start at 5 AM very first thing is to get the day started and enjoy a large fresh brewed iced espresso lightly sweetened with a splash of heavy cream. Then while enjoying my drink grab my mobile device, and I am ready to peer into what the world is up to while I slept.  With the internet and social media so much happens and can be quickly ascertained.  I usually spend about an hour to an hour and a half reading through the internet, emails and social media to get my daily schedule lined up being in a  global network, as well I am mindful of time frames in different parts of the world to be sure I reach a global audience. From there I am ready to take Oliver, my Jack Russel for a nice morning walk usually about a mile or 2, this time is helpful to organize with a clear mind. Once done walking with my dog then I am ready to dig in and get into what kind of action sports news is to be delivered, whether it being news, video, featured or highlights.

“As a mom to a school-aged child and two under two, I find that teaching my oldest son responsibility is key for a smooth morning.  The night before we discuss what we are doing the next day.  I set his alarm, we pick out clothes to wear for the next day.  Then in the morning he wakes up to his alarm, gets dressed and brushes his teeth on his own.  I get myself and the babies ready for the day and we all meet in the dining room for breakfast.  I am very proud of my oldest son that he is able to do this and it helps my morning run very smooth knowing he is able to handle this part of getting ready on his own.”

“I get up about an hour before everyone else does.  That way I can have my coffee, catch up on the news or any school delays and get breakfast prepped for my husband and my oldest.  After they head out to school and work, I then work in my planner and plan out the goals/plans for the day.  I should say at least plan what I’d LIKE to get done that day.  By then my youngest is up and I get her breakfast together and get her ready to go to school.  I find if I sleep in those extra 30/60 minutes and get up when they do, my day is out of whack.”

“Although I am not a morning person, the most crucial part of my morning routine is to take a moment and give my kids a big loving squeeze before I send them off to school. Nothing makes kids happier and healthier than getting a boost of affection from their parents to start their day.”

“My alarm clock goes off at 5:30 and I snooze about 3 times to make sure I don’t fall back to sleep while saying my prayers. My children’s nanny rings the doorbell by 6 and if there’s a power cut she bangs on the door real hard. It’s time to get up. My husband gets the door for the nanny while I jump in the shower. Soon I hear the children screaming blue murder because they don’t like brushing their teeth. She’s good with them so I can concentrate on applying my “war paint”. Someone doesn’t want to eat. Someone didn’t finish their homework the night before. We’re late because I had to change my blouse again. Shoo, shoo, everyone out the door. Kisses to hubby who’s stretching out in front of his computer since he owns his business. I pull out of the gates and park right in the middle of the street because that’s where the traffic starts. It’s slow going from there till I drop off the boys and run right back into traffic on my way to work. Just a typical morning in Lagos.”

I always start my day with a written plan. There’s something “magical” about the pen meeting the paper. It creates a mental contract on which my mind focuses intently on fulfilling.
Digital Branding

Six Ways Hiring a Business Coach Can Take your Company to the Next Level

When running your own business, it is important to take advantage of every resource available to you. Business coaching is a tool that can help you run your company at a much higher level. From your top level executives down to your lower level employees, business coaches can help your organization run much more smoothly. Here are six ways hiring a business coach can take your company to the next level. 

Business coaches can help you go outside your comfort zone 

Some entrepreneurs need help expanding themselves and their personalities. Online business owners can be especially introverted due to their lack of face to face communications. This can be very detrimental to a career as a business owner. However, a business coach can help you learn communication skills that can take your personality and business to a whole new level. The Everest Academy is a great example of a team of coaching professionals that can help you get out of your comfort zone

Have someone to be accountable to 

If you have ever tried to stick to a workout routine or diet, you will know that it is much easier to stay consistent when you have someone to stay accountable to. A business coach will act as an individual who will keep you accountable during your pathway to business success. They will help you set captivating goals and check on your progress toward those goals. 

Develop more self-confidence 

As a business owner, your self-confidence is key. You will not be able to take the proper action if you are not confident in your business. Business coaches train in the art of teaching self-confidence to their clients. 

Find someone who isn’t afraid of calling you out

There are many times that you can be operating inside of a bubble as a business owner. None of your employees will want to tell you that your ideas are bad. Your friends who look up to you as an entrepreneur may always be praising your new ideas simply because they admire the fact that you run your own company. A business coach will be able to tell you if an idea is a good or bad one. They will call you out on your mistakes and help you fix them. It is good to have someone on your team who will actually give you constructive criticism. 

Increase your productivity 

A business coach will be able to help you determine where you are wasting your time. This will be key to increasing your productivity. Everyone only has a certain time during the day in which they can get their work done. If you are effectively using this time, you will be much more productive with the growth of your business. 

Finally, increase your revenues, profits, and income 

After working with a business coach for an extended period of time, you will see that your revenues, profits, and income will increase. This will help you feel more accomplished in your business and make the expansions that you need.

social media management
Digital Branding

How to Keep Your Blog Active When Disconnected from the Internet

You work hard. You work long hours and you pour your heart and soul into your blog. There are times, however, when you just need to take a break from the internet. Whether you are moving and won’t have internet service set up for a period of time, or whether you’ve decided to take that well-earned vacation, you need to have the systems set up so that your blog stays active even when you are disconnected from the internet.

The key to keeping your blog active when you will be disconnected from the internet is automation. Before you disconnect from the internet, you need to take the time to set up the systems that your blog needs to remain active whilst you are not on the internet. Most of the tools you need to stay active are available to you for little or no cost, so there is no excuse for your blog to be inactive just because you are disconnected from the internet.

 

Schedule Your Emails

You are growing your email list, right? It can be difficult to see a return on the time you spend on social media, due to your social media following mainly consisting of family and friends. For every $1 spent, email marketing supposedly generates $38 in return. On the other hand, less than half of marketers agree that social media gives them any return on investment at all.” This is why people are noticing the importance of building a following over emails.

Many people are now using high converting plugins that have a range of tools helping them to build their customers and email lists, and I would strongly advise you to join them! A great plugin available is Optinmonster, they have a range of features from polite scroll boxes to mobile specific pop-ups that focus entirely on attracting more visitors, turning them into loyal customers.

All major email service providers have automation or scheduling capabilities. Spend some time before you disconnect to plan out the content of your emails and get them scheduled. Make sure your readers see you in their inbox regularly, even if you aren’t there hitting “send” each time.

 

Schedule Your Posts

Consistency in blogging is the key to increasing your traffic and growing your following. Just because you are taking a well-deserved and hard-earned break from the internet doesn’t mean that your blog should go silent.

Take some time before your break to plan out and write your content. Create your graphics and schedule your posts to go live as they normally would if you were there at your computer. WordPress offers you the ability to write and format your posts ahead of time, and then schedule your posts to go live for a particular day and time. Take advantage of this function to maintain your posting consistency.

best-tech-blogs

Keep creating content and make sure to maintain your consistency. Taking even a short period of time off, whether you let your readers know ahead of time or not, will hurt your traffic.

 

Schedule Your Social Media Shares and Posts

As you are creating new content, you should be taking the opportunity to share those new posts across your social media channels. But do you often remember to share your older posts as well? With hundreds of millions of tweets being sent in a day and Facebook algorithms that are showing your posts to fewer and fewer people, it is unlikely that the majority of your followers saw that time you originally shared your new blog post.

Share your older blog posts repeatedly across your social media accounts. You have new followers who haven’t had a chance to see that particular part of your content yet. You never know which of your posts will speak to a group of your readers and will get shared over and over. Do not limit your chances of a viral post by only sharing your blog posts once or twice across social media.

blogging

If you are growing a community or working on increasing your visibility across social media, make sure to schedule your posts there as well. While announcing to your community that you will be disconnected is important, you can still maintain your presence online by pre-scheduling posts. Use free tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule posts to your blog’s business page and any groups that you have started or manage.

If one of the ways you drive traffic to your blog is through share threads on social media, consider hiring a virtual assistant to handle those threads while you are disconnected. Your virtual assistant will be able to share your posts across different Facebook groups and will be able to properly reciprocate on your behalf, allowing your traffic to continue being directed to your blog.

Set up an Auto-Responder

You do not need to be spending time worried about your inbox while you are disconnected from the internet. Take a moment to set up an auto-responder that tells your readers who reach out to you that you will be away from the internet for a set amount of time and that you will address their questions or concerns when you get back.

 

Taking time off to disconnect does not need to be detrimental to your blog. Make the time before you disconnect to put systems into place that will allow you to remain active and show up consistently even when you are not at your computer. This will help your blog to grow even when you are unable to work on it direct

Local Branding

Make Your Home Cozy with The Right Accessories

Many homeowners want a home that is cozy but also light and modern at the same time. A cozy home is one in which everything there feels inviting and it’s easy to relax. When it comes to creating a home that is cozy in every way, the details are crucial. Properly chosen accessories can help set a mood and make any home feel full of warmth and charm. It’s a good idea to think about specific items that help create the desired end result. Using accessories such as pillows, rugs, pictures and window coverings can help the room really look delightful. Even a few small items can really make a big a difference in the overall look of the room. Look for items that feel right and have the colors you want. 

Fabric Choices 

Fabric is important. The right fabric can help set a mood. For a look that says cozy, consider using heavier fabrics. Heavier fabrics like brocade and velvet add heft and a feeling of pleasing warmth in any space. Scatter a few cushions on the sofa that you can find at ttMall homewares. Vary the size of the cushions so as to create a space for each person to relax. Fabric can also be used in other ways. A thick rug spread on the floor provides a welcome space for people to rest their feet on a cold day. Look for rugs that match the style of the cushions and the rest of the choices in the home. Each one should look just right. 

Covering Windows 

When it comes to creating a cozy room, light plays a crucial role. Look for lighting choices that help create a mood in the room. For example, placing candles on small tables can help add color and small pools of light that make the room seem romantic as well as cozy. A series of uplights can also do the same thing. Uplights help create islands of light and highlight the room’s best features. Task lighting can also do the same thing. Use smaller lights on desks and tables to help make it easy to read, sew or just cuddle up with a loved one on a rainy day. 

The Entire Home 

In order to turn any home into a showcase for cozy feeling, it’s a good idea to think about the entire contents of the hoe from the furniture to the windows to any doors. It’s easier than ever to make each part of the home a wonderfully warm retreat from the outdoors. Think about how each item makes you feel. Many homeowners instantly know that dark colors, heavily cushioned sofas and the use of soft fabrics is just right for the look they want. Accessories should harmoniously, easily, effortlessly blend in with the other details in the house to create a home that invites all kinds of cozy activities. Consider each accessory and the net result will be a beautifully, welcoming truly cozy home.

Uncategorized

What Is A Chillum? The Origin And History Of Chillum

A Chillum is a traditional pipe, designed to smoke tobacco or hashish extracted in dry or water mixed with tobacco, made with neutral materials such as mud or wood. Used in India and Nepal from time immemorial, these pipes are a tool more known to the Sadhus and Hindu holy men, who use it to smoke during their rituals and before the prayers as an offering and spiritual contact with Shiva (god of tobaccos, described as an ascetic yogi of broad knowledge.

Chillum- shaped pipes have also been found in South America, which suggests that their practical design made several cultures that had an interest in tobacco cultivation and consumption reach the same conclusion at the time to smoke a conical.

Long, and clay pipe with a small stone inside it as a filter is a great option to smoke tobacco, as it allows for cooling the smoke while respecting the taste.

Later, the Rastafari culture originated in the 1930s in Jamaica, used this tool for spiritual use, smoking with it, to get the elevation, and to know the truth, being closer to God, Jah. They even evolved it, joining a Chillum with a coconut or clay sphere as a water pipe, creating the so-called Chalices or chalices.

This Rastafari movement, coupled with the birth of the hippie culture in the 60s, drove the implantation of this type of pipes in Western culture, especially in America, where it’s still possible to find shops that sell them, worked and decorated, in wood, bamboo or clay.

Today, or rather since the 1990s, the use of chillum is less popular because of all the modern paraphernalia for smoking, and in fact, there are more chillums made in Italy than in India. But the older consumers of single) hippy scene continue to use this archaic and very direct form of smoking tobacco, and also for the fact that the device must be passed from hand to hand to share the experience. Even the Rastafarians use chillums in their day to life.

Extraordinary Variations Of Chillum

There are some extraordinary variations of chillum – people are very inventive and carve disposable chillums of carrots or organic radishes (good idea, by the way, it gives the smoke an interesting flavor) and others make an art of creating the chiles. Darrel Pipeman Mortimer, for example, a street artist from San Francisco, made almost 10,000 chillums since 1970, and signed and sold them personally – is not that dedication?

Use And Cleaning Of A Chillum

Pipes, like Chillum, are really simple to use, but at the same time, they are very comfortable and efficient, both for the practices they are and for how well they restrain the ash and debris, as long as they are clean and in good condition.

These pipes consist of two parts, the body, shaped like a cone, empty inside, made of clay, wood, stone, glass and even metal. The stone will make a filter, being smaller in size and length to fit inside the cone, and will have cuts on the sides that will allow the passage of smoke, leaving the space just on the top of the pipe to put the grass.

With the Chillum upright, we place the tobacco to smoke in its upper part (the widest) chopped or not, according to tastes (even if the grass is compacted and slightly compacted, this tends to catch better). It is given fire for it to burn, and then two or three short strokes are given to light it well, followed by a long one, which will be the one we will bring down to our lungs. We will repeat the process until the load is complete.

It can also be held by placing the narrow part between the third and fourth finger, with the hand closed, placing the mouth over the gap between the big toe and forefinger, and inhaling the hand through the inside.

Once we have finished using it, we must clean it thoroughly to remove the remains of resin from tobacco and tarry residues that may have been deposited. To do this, we remove the stone from its interior and clean it with a cloth moistened and with water or alcohol, as well as the interior of the body, you can help by using a clean brush.

Finally, all these tobacco smoking pipes have been greatly improved from being created using animal horns as well as wood. However, you can still come across carved bamboo old-school chillums, the majority of one-hitters these days are created with glass.

SEO strategies
Digital Branding

7 Basic SEO Rules You Can’t Afford to Forget

Search engine optimization is not as simple as it used to be a few years ago. However, one thing that has remained a constant throughout is valuable user experience. All search engines focus on providing high quality, useful and practical content to users. For big-money marketing, the focus of your SEO strategies should be entirely upon providing a worthy user experience, which is why you always need to keep upgrading your SEO techniques.

No matter how much you drill modern SEO techniques into your business practices, there is always room for improvement. If you’re completely clueless about where to start with SEO, this quick tutorial by Codeless should be able to put you in the right direction. When applying advanced SEO rules, there is a need to ensure that you do not skip some basic rules, including the following.

1.  Relevancy

Search engines demand relevant content from you. Initially, keywords were used to showcase relevancy to Google crawlers. However, Google algorithms have become more intelligent now. These crawlers not only check the keywords’ relevancy with the topic, but they also check the relevancy of one keyword with others before optimizing your content.

Google and other search engine optimize strictly niche-based content only. For example, orange is a fruit and a clothing line as well. Crawlers compare the keyword ‘orange’ with other keywords in the content to optimize it for an audience looking for clothes or fruit. Audience and niche relevant SEO strategy is the key to optimizing your content.

2. Site Speed

Site speed and bounce rates have always worked parallel to each other for optimizing your content. Fast loading speed of your site retains user interest and reduces the bounce rate. Google introduced Mobilegeddon to optimize mobile-friendly websites and prioritize these websites over others for SERPs.

Accelerated Mobile Page is another project of Google and Twitter, purposed to make fast mobile-friendly web pages. It is a condensed form of HTML used for developing web pages that are fast loading – the key purpose is to reduce the loading speed of a web page. Considering these facts, you cannot afford to ignore the speed of your web pages on any platforms, including desktop, laptop, mobile and tablets.

3. Internal Linking

Google has tightened its rules for external linking for white hat SEO. However, there is still some leeway when it comes to internal linking. Once you improve the site speed and reduce loading time to 2 seconds or less, the next step is to engage visitors.

Internal linking not only engages the visitors and keeps them on your website for a longer time, but also improves your site rankings. This is because it provides visitors with relevant reading options and increases optimization opportunities for your primary keywords. Also, it allows Google crawlers to fetch more information from your website and deem the content as trustworthy.

4. H1 Tags

During early SEO years, search engines started the research process from H1 tags. This process is still in effect. Although search engines crawlers use semantic indexing techniques to fetch content from your web pages, they still start from H1 tags. This simply means that to optimize your content, you should always start from a well-crafted H1 tag.

5. Consistency

If the bounce rate of a website equals the number of visitors arriving at your landing pages, Google crawlers automatically decrease your rankings. Similarly, if you update your web pages once in a blue moon, your web pages will be blacklisted after some time. Google translates consistency as an effort to keep your visitors updated, and counts it as a positive SEO practice.

seo-practices-for-your-website

6.  Backlinking

We have always been told that the number of links on your website is equal to its rank on SERPs. Links can help build audience interest. However, if you put too many backlinks in your content, the audience may lose interest, resulting in increased bounce rate. Similarly, missing out on an important link can lead to reduced visitors. The right balance of quality and informative links in your content is necessary.

Let’s use CareerCrawlers.com as an example. If the webmaster wanted to rank better in Google for keywords related to CNA testing, an example anchor text to use is “CNA Practice Tests“. You want to be careful not to reuse the anchor text over and over again however. Natural backlink profiles mean highly varied anchor text.

7. Size of Content

Around five years ago, Google considered a 300-word document long enough for optimizing your website. Today, semantic indexing techniques of SEO require longer copies to evaluate the quality of your content. The size of your content matters even if you dislike SEO rules, you cannot optimize your website without following them. Therefore, posts of around 800-word posts are necessary for making your content eligible for optimizing on SERPs.

Needless to say, it is important to ensure that you cater to all types of audiences. If your website is not optimized for mobile audiences, this is the right time to make it mobile-friendly.

SaaS Branding

5 Tips for Building Web Presence on a Limited Budget

In today’s competitive online environment, building a powerful presence on the web is a critical step in achieving your business goals. In order to enhance your brand and increase visibility online, you must ensure that you are noticed and ranked highly by search engines. Regardless of how much you have to spend, the following tips can help you get started and begin driving the right traffic to your website.

Optimize For Your Audience

For many small businesses, investing in online advertising targeted directly at your preferred demographic is the most efficient way to increase revenue. Having a unique selling proposition is one of the most tried and true concepts in the marketing industry. It applies to online as well as conventional advertising. Make it clear that you are offering something that your competition cannot match!

audience

Having the correct key performance indicators is an important element of your tactical plan. Create a series of KPIs that is simple, easy to understand and directly related to an increase in your company’s bottom line. Pay attention to metrics that are performing especially well. For example, cost per conversion is often one of the most dynamic metrics for a growing business. Once you have identified the root causes of your most successful KPIs, you’ll be able to focus your energy more efficiently on enhancing your company’s performance.

Create a Budget for SEM

Paid search engine marketing methods are an essential component of your online marketing strategy. Following a budget for SEM allows you to take control over the keywords that will drive traffic. Depending on how much you decide to spend, your SEM budget can also dictate where your business appears within the search results.

One of the biggest advantages of SEM is that it allows you to determine the precise amount of money you are willing to spend. You can set your budget according to how much you wish to spend each day or for each click. You can even make a down payment that serves as credit, or you can use a prepaid credit card to pay as you go.

Start by researching the SEM programs offered by major search engines such as Yahoo, Google and Bing. They all provide SEM plans that are effective and easy to use. Next, write competitive ad copy that stands out from the crowd. Emphasize your strengths. Stress concepts such as free shipping, complimentary design services or unsurpassed inventory.

Gain the Right SEO Traffic

The best organic web traffic is free of charge, and you can achieve it through search engine optimization tactics. Begin by writing guest blogs for reliable sites that will direct blog readers back to your primary web presence. Existing sites in categories related to your niche are frequently looking for guest bloggers to lend them their expertise.

Your goal should be to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Once you have achieved that goal, demand for your guest blog posts will rise. To start, aim for publishing one guest blog post each month. As you pick up momentum, you will be able to leverage your extra traffic into new customers.

Create Fresh, Original Content

Keeping an eye on the latest big news items, reacting quickly, and writing insightful commentary can go a long way in gaining favorable spots on search engine results pages. Remember that Google’s algorithm favors fresh, original content.

tech-blogs

That means if you are among the first to post a clever reaction to a hot topic, you can attract a lot of extra web traffic. If your post inspires viral sharing and natural linking, you will benefit even more. According to industry experts, new traffic and engagement are two of the most significant factors that signal freshness to search engine algorithms.

Focus on Fast Mobile Speeds

According to Google, more than half of all search queries worldwide now originate from mobile devices. As a result, sites that load quickly on mobile devices and are easy to read on mobile devices are rewarded in search results. If your site loads slowly or is not mobile-friendly, you can be sure that your search results are not performing optimally. Update your site ASAP so it works efficiently on mobile devices.

Building a strong web presence won’t happen overnight – it takes time to cultivate, much like a flower garden or treasured bonsai. And the best part is you can gain the traffic your company needs to thrive on a budget big or small.  By using the right tools, a little creativity and a balanced approach, you can establish yourself online without breaking the bank.


Beth Kotz is a contributing writer to Credit.com. She specializes in covering financial advice for female entrepreneurs, college students and recent graduates. She earned a BA in Communications and Media from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, where she continues to live and work.

brand-name
Digital Branding

Powerful Ways To Create A Brand Name That Really Thrives In A Competitive Industry

 

While the term ‘brand’ conjures up plenty of marketing-speak, let’s keep things simple by defining branding as it is → your brand is what tells your customer what to expect from you and how you’re different from the other businesses operating in the same industry.

However, branding itself is not easy. Looking at any industry, there are plenty of multi-billion-dollar businesses with near-infinite marketing budgets, and trying to build your business’s brand from scratch can seem like an impossibility. Yet, many small businesses continue to surprise us, by using clever tactics to set themselves apart.

Not every business is built with a brand new idea that’s never been executed on before. Chances are, your business has plenty of competition, and your product (or service) is just one more in a plethora of options available to your competition. Unless your brand name is strong, you’ll be lost in the crowd, and forced to compete only on price, before you eventually perish. To ensure your business stands a fighting chance, here are some tips on creating a brand name and brand that is successful.

Great Tips For Creating A Brand Name That Sells

Analyze Competitors + Keep It Simple

Before coming up with any name for your new business, it’s a good idea to first take a look at your largest competitor brand names. As an example, let’s take a look at the fast food industry. If you’re a new fast food business franchise you may have competition from:

  • McDonalds
  • Hungry Jacks
  • Red Rooster
  • Burger King

If you take a look at these names what do they all have in common? They’re simple and memorable names. Creating a new brand name should be something that’s memorable, easy to remember, and something that is one, two or three words long. Any longer than this and you risk being forgotten. Longer names tend to be hard to remember and can be tiresome to say. For example:

Mrs. Pickles Specialty Hot Pies

This could be shortened to

Mrs. Pickles Pies

As you can see the second brand name is easier to remember than the first one, thus is easier to remember for your potential customers. This is why some brands such as Ford, Toyota, Uber, Windows, Apple, and other one liners work extremely well because they’re easy to remember and they also offer great products or services as well.

Use Complimentary Wording

When using words together to create a strong brand name, it’s important to make sure they complement one another and it doesn’t feel awkward when saying the name. For example:

  • Awkward: Burger Sword
  • Complimentary: Burger King

If you look at many large brand names with multiple words, you’ll find some have one thing in common. They have a descriptive word, and a noun. Example of the fast food restaurants:

  • Hungry Jacks
  • Red Rooster

Hungry and red both are descriptive words that help to lift the noun and make it more memorable because it gives a visual picture in your customers head. When creating a brand name, depending on your overall industry, try to put nouns and descriptive words (adjectives) together and see what you can come up with that may help envision your dream business name.

Make Sure It Looks Good On Paper

Before finalizing your brand name, you also need to make sure it looks good on paper and as a domain name online. The idea of this is because it will be seen and printed many times, and it needs to look good with the initial design and layout. When considering the design and layout here’s some things to remember:

  • Use simple drawings and colours to help create a more memorable brand logo. Complex logos aren’t as memorable as the single word or simple drawing designs.
  • Make sure the brand name looks good if you wrapped it around merchandise or promotional products. While you may not start out with promotional products, you still need to make sure it looks good for future reference.
  • Will it look good on different media mediums: Eg: billboards, flyers, magazines, webpage etc.

Sounding good and looking good on paper are two separate things. This is why it’s so important to really draw out some logo design options to make sure you can create a name and design that will be remembered years from now.

3 Power Steps For Brand Success

Laying The Foundation

In order to build a brand after the name has been decided that not only finds its way to the top of your target audience’s minds, but also increases your bottom-line while keeping the competition at bay, you must remember that your brand is not just about your logo. Or what a nice office space you have. Or even how awesome your website is. In order to get started on building your brand’s presence in a competitive industry, you must have a clear understanding of your:

  • Brand – What is/are your product/services, organizational values, vision and mission?
  • Target Audience – Know your target market inside and out. In fact, the more information you have, the better. We might even suggest that you build a ‘customer persona’ so you know exactly whom you’re targeting.
  • Competition – What are they offering? How are they differentiating themselves? What are their marketing strategies? Again, be as thorough as possible with your research.

Once you have the above information, you’re in a strong position to start building a brand strategy. Remember, as simple and obvious as the above seems, many businesses skip this step in a hurry to get with the ‘shiny’ aspects of marketing.

Define Your Brand

The moment you try to be everything for everyone, you’ve lost the game. Using the information, you collected in the above step, you will have a clear idea of where your business stands, strengths, weaknesses and plenty of competitor-related information. Now it is time to take the following steps and clearly define your brand:

brand image

What are the one (or two) things you want your brand to be known for (e.g. Google – Search, Uber – convenient transport). This will also be your unique selling point. It can be awesome customer service (e.g. Zappos) or a revolutionary addition to an existing product

  • How will the above help you differentiate your brand from those of your competition?
  • What qualities and feelings do you want your customers to have when they think of your brand?

Marketing Communications

Now that you’ve built a solid foundation, it’s time to put pen to paper and get to work on the “face” of your business. Don’t hold back. Let your creative juices flow. Remember, no brand stands out by being conservative. Look at your competition and identify ways in which you can differentiate your brand. Now, it’s time to work on your logo and other marketing collaterals:

  • What colors do you wish to use, that will help show off the personality of your brand while also differentiating yourself from competing brands?
  • Design a memorable logo and keep in mind that you will be using it everywhere. So, try to minimize or eliminate complex designs.
  • Establish brand guidelines so that all your communications will be consistent with your branding
  • Design your website in line with your logo and brand colors
  • Ensure all your marketing material such as social media profiles, leaflets, advertising etc. are consistent with your brand

Many businesses jump to this step directly. Step 3 is only as strong as the effort you put into Steps 1 and 2.

Conclusion

The above steps will help you get started in the branding game and build a solid foundation based on which you can launch your marketing efforts. If you look at any industry, the brands that are killing it and truly setting themselves apart from the competition are the ones who have done their homework on their market, product offering and competition. They understand that a brand goes way beyond a sleek logo and flashy website.

What challenges have you faced when trying to differentiate your business from your competition?


Bill Sheikh – Owner/Founder

I am the founder of U-Thrive Marketing. U-Thrive Marketing is one of the premier online marketing and website design firms in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Myself and my company have helped hundreds of companies across the US put their business on the map online and offline. I specialize in generating customers for the businesses I work with by utilizing proven online marketing tactics such as SEO, PPC & Social Media. I have been personally featured on many national and local publications with features and articles related to online marketing.