What are the steps of designing a website and how to create one?

Designing a web page is not an easy job. The job is very creative, but also a challenging one. Let’s first explain the difference between web design, web development, and programming. Web designers are the people who work on a visual project of a page using mostly programs such as Photoshop, Sketch or Adobe Illustrator. Then, the visual project in PSD document is handed over to a front-end developer who brings a page to life by writing a code. This involves the knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Next, the back-end developers work on the website to make it functional. This requires knowing languages such as PHP, Python or Ruby.

Here are some suggestions on how to design a website:

1. The design project

Before you jump into Photoshop, think of a plan. Gather all information about your customer requirements. Make yourself familiar with the subject of a page you are going to design. Browse the Internet for some inspirations. Sketch the framework of the page on a piece of paper. Try to include as many details as possible. Then, open a Photoshop and start designing. Remember to add a grid. This will help you to structure the layout of different sections. Next, choose a color theme and a typography. The font you choose should be big enough and simple to read in most cases. The color theme is very important as it should correspond with the brand of a company.

2. Working on details

Divide your layout. The page should be user-friendly and easy to navigate. The most important components on the page should be underlined. Think of all small details on your design. These may seem irrelevant to you, but they actually matter. Add a bit of an innovation to your design. You may consider using a gradient for buttons, adding a stroke around a box or creating a small animation. All these things make the page more attractive.

3. Re-evaluation of work

Try to prepare the worst case scenario for your work. Bear in mind that users browse sites using different screens, so plan your design to fit smaller screen sizes. Share your concept with a client as soon as possible to ensure that you both are on the same page when it comes to a design. Once the initial project is accepted, you can polish the details.

4. Translating a PSD document into a code

Once the website is done, you can hand it over to a front-end developer who will turn your PSD document into a working website. The front-end developer needs to have a range of skills for completing the job. He needs to know HTML, CSS, and JavaScript very well. The person working in this field should be familiar with Photoshop on a decent level. They do not need to be proficient though. It would be enough to know how to resize, crop, or edit an image. The front-end developers should also know one of the content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla. There are also other choices, but these three are the most popular ones from which WordPress is the biggest one.

5. What happens next?

This is where back-end developers come into play. The designed website needs to be made functional now. The back end developers need to have a good knowledge of the programming languages such as PHP, Ruby or Python. They should understand how HTML, CSS and JavaScript languages work for a better communication with front-end developers. They should have a knowledge of security compliance and an experience with version control such as Git.

CONCLUSION:

As I previously stated, designing a good website is not an easy job, but definitely a rewarding one. The work is usually done in a team environment. There are, however, skilled individuals who can create a website on their own. They need to master all of the above-mentioned skills to do the job. These people usually work as freelancers or have their own companies. What do you think of a web development field? Are you interested in pursuing your career in this field? If so, are you willing to learn a front-end development, back-end development, web design or perhaps all of them?

10 tips to improve your Google rankings

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a process of optimizing a content so that it shows up at the first pages of Google as a result of a search for a certain keyword.

10 tips on how to successfully increase your website visibility.

1. Create valuable content

It is very important to create a good quality content consistently. It can, however, be very difficult to come up with interesting topic ideas on a regular basis. There are some ways that may help you out with that. You may want to check websites such as Wikipedia, Reddit or Pinterest. Just type in the search box the field of your interest and you will receive some nice suggestions. Check Wikipedia’s references, Reddit’s comments section and Pinterest dashboards. You may find there all the popular topics people search for regularly. Once you have an idea for a blog post, think of a good design. Your photos should be of a good quality and they should be drawing the attention of a potential reader.

2. Use keywords

I am not referring here to Google keyword meta tags, because Google simply doesn’t use them anymore. The keywords that you use in your content are a completely different story. They are very important, but you should never overuse them. Jamming keywords into text will hurt your rankings. Your page may simply get classified as spam. Google not only looks for the keywords you use but also for relevant synonyms. Use www.semrush.com for effective search on your competitor’s keywords. Your page design matters too. The easier your site is to navigate, the better it is for Google to scan it. Also, sites that load quickly rank much higher than those that lag.

3. Learn HTML

There is no need to be a professional programmer to do the simple job. There are plenty of free resources such as Codecademy or W3Schools that can teach you the basics. Firstly, every page should only have one h1-tag to make the title clear to Google. Secondly, consider adding meta descriptions to your site. This is a 160 characters snippet, a tag in HTML, that summarises a page’s content. Thirdly, subheads (h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6) have definitely less power than h1-tag, but they still count and affect SEO. Google spiders crawl from one page to another through links on your site. You will make their job much easier by creating a sitemap. Also, remember that your site should be mobile friendly. Most WordPress themes are mobile friendly and if they are not, you can always install a relevant plugin that will take care of that.

4. Create backlinks

Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage. Normally, sites with a lot of backlinks tend to rank higher on Google and other major search engines. It is not a very good idea to buy backlinks. It can do more harm than good. They may be low-quality links directing to spam sites. Find people in your industry and try to make relations. Consider getting a column on an industry publication. Check sites such as www.alltop.com. Type your keyword in the search box and you will get plenty of publications and blogs relevant to you. Then, check them carefully and see whether they have a page on their site where you can apply to be a writer. You may also consider leaving comments under other people’s blog posts once you find them interesting and informative. Whenever you post a comment, you naturally create a backlink to your page. However, you should not treat this as an ultimate strategy. As long as you aren’t actively using blog comments as a way to increase your backlinks, you should be fine.

5. Coordinate a co-marketing campaign

It is not reserved for bigger brands only. Find a potential co-worker who is genuinely interested in building a trustworthy impression. Co-marketing campaigns are a great way of reaching out to a bigger audience and they bring mutual benefits. You both promote each other’s content through a blog or social media channels. You may also create a webinar or a course together and sell it for free to an audience. The cooperation may be successful in the long term and you can become good business partners. Make an analysis of the results that the campaign brought. That knowledge will help you to enhance your results next time.

6. Create engaging content 

Make your content engaging by creating nice videos, posting good quality photos or both. It takes time, but it definitely pays off. Sites such as Google Plus or Pinterest can be good for SEO, especially Pinterest that is known for referral links. You may consider learning basic Photoshop skills or using platforms for video animation such as www.powtoon.com or www.goanimate.com. As you probably know, always make sure that the content that you create whether it is a pdf file, review, chart, webinar, interactive guide, tutorial, survey or other is of the highest quality possible. Also, create content that will help people to solve their problems. Check what they ask for on Quora or Reddit and try to deliver a relevant solution.

7. Invest in Google Analytics

Track the results of your work with Google Analytics. It will help you to understand what you are doing right and where you still need to improve. This tool will show you behavior patterns of your site visitors. You will know how much time they spend on certain pages and how they navigate away from your site. It is a free tool that will measure your website, app, digital and offline data to get the best customer insights.

8. Ask for feedback

Try to reach out to people and ask them for a feedback on your website or a blog. It can not only help you to form potential business relations, but it will also increase your credibility in Google search engines whenever someone leaves a positive comment. Also, find out who is linking to you. Use tools such as Google Search Console. This way you will know which content works for you and which doesn’t.

9. Regularly update your content on social media platforms

Social media marketing is a part of SEO. It cannot do the work itself, but it can greatly contribute to optimizing your page. There are many social media sites that can be a powerful tool in your successful marketing management. The most popular ones are obviously Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and YouTube. There are also some other underestimated sites that may turn out to be a great strategy for your business such as Pinterest, Quora or LinkedIn. Social media cannot be treated as an ultimate way or SEO strategy, but they can definitely be helpful.

10. Gain Google’s trust

This one is not easy, but there are few things that you may do to not be considered as a spam. Make sure your page includes Contact and About pages, so Google can consider it as a trustworthy, not a malware site. Do not double your content. Always write new fresh blog posts and provide updates to your older publications. A quality site should produce meaningful interactions with people. It matters how long visitors stay on your page and if they click through links or just immediately leave your page. The quicker they navigate away from your page, the less valuable it looks for Google.

What is your SEO strategy like? Do you have some nice ideas you would like to share with me? Let me know in the comments below!

How can you protect yourself from hackers?

It is very important to protect your computer from the theft, or a damage to hardware or software. Hackers use many ways to gain access to computers and steal all sensitive data. We live in the world of a free information where anyone can gain access to anything they want at any time. It means that people with a limited technical knowledge can potentially cause a damage to your computer if you remain inattentive.

How to stay safe online?

1. Physical security matters

Keep your laptop, tablet, and phone with you. Leaving them lying around would be an easy invitation for a potential thief. Use a secure lock screen on your devices. As annoying as it might be, it can save you from a lot of problems in case your computer, phone, tablet or any other device you might have gets stolen. Another good idea is to take regular back-ups at regular intervals and before and after making key data changes. You can keep a few writable CDs or DVDs or SD cards of key back-ups in a secure location such as the roof of your house, the floorboard, or the basement. Most people do not put attention to it until it is too late.

2. Antivirus program is not enough

There are many antivirus programs that provide a very good protection for your devices. However, it is always good to take a few more actions that can keep you safe. One thing to remember is to always put automatic updates on. Many people turn them off because they find it annoying. This is a mistake because malicious attackers look for unpatched systems they can attack. Another obvious thing is a good antivirus program. You can invest in paid antivirus software such as Norton, Bitdefender or Kaspersky. There are also quite good free alternatives such as Avast or Microsoft Windows Defender. A good antivirus program is a must, but it is not enough. Consider using Malwarebytes. It is meant to complement regular antivirus software as it catches the newest, most cutting-edge threats that other antivirus companies may be overlooking.

3. Passwords and encryption

If you have a confidential data on your computer, you should always lock them with a password. It is not a good idea to have one password for all your pages. Once the password is broken, the person has access to all your information. Make sure that your passwords are strong and update them regularly. Your password should not include nicknames, birthdays, quotations, or pet names and it does not matter that you add digits at the end. Any password cracking program can do that as well. Make your passwords fourteen characters or even longer and remember to mix lower case, upper case, digits and punctuation marks together. You may also consider using a password manager such as LastPass, KeePass or 1Password. Another way of keeping your data safe is encrypting your files. Encrypt your files using VeraCrypt Software, Windows BitLocker feature or FileVault for Mac.

4. Basic knowledge

Do not open emails from unknown people or even your friends. Those emails might be infected and your friends might not even know about it! The first thing to do is to check where they point to. Hover the cursor over the link or right-click on the link and select ‘copy link address’ and then paste it into the notepad document and carefully examine it. Stop using pirating software if you do it and be careful about downloading programs from unverified sources from the Internet. Phishing has also become very popular recently. Watch out for emails from companies asking for the change of your personal information such as name, password, bank details or others. These might be hackers disguising themselves as a trustworthy organisation! Also, there are some file extensions that you should be familiar with. The files can cause a  serious damage to your computer once you open them.

Here are some of the extensions you should be aware of:

.EXE – This is the most popular type of Windows files. It contains an executable program that can be run by double-clicking the file.

.BAT – This is a DOS batch file used to execute commands with the Windows Command Prompt. It usually contains a series of commands that it runs once it is opened.

.CMD – This is another type of batch file used by Windows. It can be used for malicious purposes such as deleting data in a directory. It can also replicate itself repeatedly to delete a computer’s resources.

.MSI – This is a Microsoft installer file. It can install various applications on your computer, also malicious ones.

.SCR – This is a screensaver file for Windows. It is used to display graphics, text or videos. A malicious code can be hidden inside them.

Use all or some of the above methods and keep yourself safe by minimising the potential damage from viruses, hackers, and spam. Have you heard of some other ways of protecting yourself against Internet threats? Let me know in the comments below!

Why is your e-mail marketing strategy not working the way you want?

You have gathered many e-mail addresses. You manage your list regularly, but still without a success. Your newsletters are nicely designed, but there is still something that is not working well. There are either too many bounces, too many unsubscribes, or your emails simply hit a spam folder.

I have done some research and here are some important facts on why your email marketing strategy is not as successful as it should.

Where to look for mistakes?

1. List of Your Subscribers 

How did you create your list? Have you collected these e-mails manually or rather electronically through your website or a blog? That can be a huge difference. One of the most important things in every successful newsletter campaign is a clear and well organized list. The list that consists of e-mail addresses of real people who actually want to receive a message from you. Some companies are adding e-mails to their lists, simply without asking for a permission from a potential customer. This is not a good way of collecting e-mails and can only lead to anger and frustration. In consequence, your unsubscribe rate grows. The best way of collecting e-mails is through a website or a blog. Create a sign-up form. Give people something for free. It can be an informative e-book, free monthly access to your premium content or a physical gift. It is a simple exchange. Their e-mail for a gift. Once they sign up for your list, make them stay by creating a good and interesting content.

2. Segmentation of Your List

Segmentation is very important to your list. It helps you not only to keep your list organized, but it also enables you to send the right message to the right person. There are four of segmentation variables. These are demographic, psychographic, behavioral and geographic. You can divide your list on the basis of age, lifestyle choices, population density, gender, weather and many other. It depends on your specific product, content or a marketing strategy. It is good to know your customers. It will help you to prepare the best possible offers for them. If the only information you have are name and e-mail address, then make a survey. You can use websites such as www.surveymonkey.com , www.freeonlinesurveys.com , www.surveyplanet.com or some other. Feel free to make your own research and choose the best option for your needs.

3. Spammy Words & Brand Promotion

There is a huge list of spammy words that should not be used in any newsletter. There are some words that can determine whether your newsletter goes to spam mailbox or not. Some of these words are free, amazing, great, fantastic, winner, winning or dear. Also, be careful when using word combinations such as fantastic deal, lowest price, order now, buy now, promise you, dear customer or amazing promotion. Please keep in mind that the best newsletters usually include 70% or 80% of educational stuff and only 20% or 30% of offers and promotions. Create great newsletters that are full of information and make sure that these information is of the highest quality possible. It applies to every offer or a promotion you are recommending. Make sure that your products are worth buying. The most important thing is to gain people’s trust. Once you have it, do not let them down! Keep up a good work and you will notice a growth in your list of subscribers.

4. Your Brand Introduction

This one is crucial. The “From” is as important as the “To”. Make sure your subscribers know who you are. Let people know your name, your brand, official nickname or products that you sell. It helps your subscribers know who they are hearing from and reassures them that you are not a cheater or a hacker that wants to steal their personal data. Do not send people plain texts. Include some photos or videos in your newsletters. Make them well readable and attractive. You may also add some advice, an upcoming event or a quick fact about something interesting. Send your newsletters on a regular basis. If you promised to do that once a week, then work hard and achieve that goal. Always try to prepare something in advance. It will help you to double check your work before sending.

These are some of my suggestions on how to run a successful marketing campaign and build a genuine audience through your newsletters. If you know some other tips that can be useful in a successful e-mail marketing strategy, then share with me, please!

How can you market yourself well on social media?

Social media are a very powerful tool nowadays. They can help you to grow your business effectively, even if your budget is very limited. I have done some research and here are some interesting facts that I would like to share with you today.

The list of ideas and strategies:

1. Set up a clear goal

You are a unique individual. You need to clarify what is your hobby or interests. Once you find that out, start learning and blogging. The best way to learn is to blog. You teach others. Others teach you. You grow together.
Here are some of the tips that may help you to build your presence on social media:
Find the most popular people in your specialisation and follow them. Do not follow too many people at once. Choose your favourite accounts and be inspired by what they do. Remember to never copy their work.

Check your favourite social profiles regularly. Sign up to their newsletters. Write a comment and don’t be afraid to ask for a bit of support! Speak to them, try to make good relations.

Do research on the topic of your interest and remember to update your knowledge on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid of failures. Growth isn’t possible without them!

2. Let others know about your existence

Market yourself well. It is great that you put in an effort and write informative and good blog posts. You just need to make them visible now.

Here are some ways that may help you out with that:

Link your social media profiles to your website, add sharing buttons and create a newsletter form for people to sign up for the latest updates from you.

Inform people about your new blog posts on your social accounts. The most popular ones are Facebook and Twitter. However, depending on your business you may want to use Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube or Google Plus. They are all very good for driving traffic to your website.

Finally, add social icons to your newsletters. Try taking part in some marketing events. You can participate in online chats or attend some live marketing meetings.

3. Create engaging content consistently

Build your brand. Start slowly. No one can be an expert within one day. However, there are some tips that can help you to grow your business effectively.
Here are the tips on how to be visible online:
Fill out your website with keywords and meta tag descriptions. Use hashtags for your social media posts. Remember to not overuse them, though.

Tag other people in your posts. Read their blogs. Leave comments if you find their work inspiring.

Never leave your readers without a post. Consider using Hootsuite, Buffer or other similar software that will help you to schedule posts regularly.

Consider making competitions. Give something away for free or make some games. People love to be entertained. This can be a great way to thank your readers that they are being with you for such a long time.

Use images. Posts with photos get much more attention than those without them. There are many free platforms that you may use for finding the right picture. Some examples of such sites are www.freeimages.com , www.pixabay.com , www.everystockphoto.com .

Create interesting collages and use quotes. Collages are a great way to show your creativity! Quotes may be very inspiring.

Enter social media groups and chats. This is a very good way to make new relations, meet other inspiring people, connect with others and learn from them. It helps you grow as a specialist in your field.

CONCLUSION:

I think the key to success is to be yourself. You should believe in what you write. You should never pretend to be somebody else. Do not copy other people’s work. You are unique and certainly have some values and knowledge that you can share in your own way. Good luck with growing your business. If you have some more tips on how to grow on social media, share with me, please!