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You know the main goal for your website, but do your visitors?

You might have the best product on the web, a gorgeous website with a user-friendly interface, and be generating loads of traffic from your effective SEO techniques. But if it isn’t crystal-clear what you want your visitors to do when they land on your site, you’ve lost them.

If you’re struggling to translate visitors into customers, you probably need to pay some attention to your CTAs.

What is a CTA?

A call to action, or CTA, is a rallying cry that appears on your website that invites readers to take a specific action. Its primary job is to grab people’s attention and nudge them into doing something that leads them down your conversion funnel.

Common CTAs include:

  • Download an eBook, guide, or coupon code
  • Sign up for an email newsletter
  • Start a free trial
  • Learn more
  • Add to cart
  • Get a free consultation

CTAs take several different forms, including underlined text, icons, and images, though buttons are generally the most common.

The importance of your CTA

Your CTA is the fundamental step that turns visitors into customers; it’s the gatekeeper to the success of your brand. As such, they demand their own design rules. And with minor changes having the potential to make a huge impact on conversions, it’s essential that you get this one right.

Here are ten best practices to designing wildly effective CTAs.

1. Color

The color of your CTA button is one of the most important design choices you’ll make. It needs to be visually striking so it stands out from other elements on the page.

There’s a lot of debate over which color performs best for CTAs. The fact is no single color is a magic converting wand – it depends on several things, including your audience and the color scheme of your site.

Visual hierarchy, however, does matter, so the color you choose should stand out from everything else on the page. For this reason, contrasting colors are the way to go.

Choose a vibrant color that contrasts with the rest of your site, yet fits in with the overall design.

2. Give it room to breathe

Do you work best on a nice, clear desk with lots of space around you or surrounded by mess and clutter? For most people, a clean desk equates to a clear mind and the ability to be more focused.

The same applies to your CTA. Including a healthy chunk of negative space around it creates essential breathing space and separates it from other elements on your interface. The fewer distractions you include around the all-important button, the greater your chances of making a conversion.

3. Action-oriented text

Forget dull, boring copy, like “enter for more info,” and whatever you do, don’t expect people to “submit.” If you want to encourage your readers to take a specific action, use compelling, action-oriented language, like “download,” “try,” “join,” or “start,” so people are clear about what they need to do next.

Your text should be brief – ideally between two and seven words – but it should communicate exactly what the visitor will receive when they follow the action. This is not the place to experiment with clever or confusing words.

Research has shown that the more personal the message, the more successful it will be. Changing “Create your account” to “Create my account,” or “Start your free 30-day trial” to “Start my free 30-day trial” can improve your click-through rates by up to 90%.

4. Add a value proposition

In addition to compelling your readers into a certain action, your text should convey the benefits they’ll receive when they click through. If it isn’t clear what’s in it for them, they have little reason to follow your instructions.

You can see a great example of this on Copyblogger:

Copyblogger incorporates the word “free” in its text, which is a great persuasive word. “Bonus” or “instantly” will have a similar effect.

5. Create a sense of urgency

Emotion is a great driver when making a purchase. One emotion that’s great for lead generation is curiosity, and a great way to pique somebody’s curiosity is by stoking a feeling of urgency and scarcity.

By making a time-limited offer and combining it with a benefit, such as a free ebook or a discount if you sign up within a specific timeframe, you’ll motivate people to claim the offer while they still can. Fear of missing out can be a powerful motivator to taking action. Even using the word “now” can convey a subtle sense of urgency.

6. Placement

The placement of your CTA is a hot topic. Traditionally, above the fold was seen as the ideal spot, so it’s unmissable when people land on the page.

But this isn’t always the case. If you’re in a shop where the salesman jumps in with his “buy now” spiel before describing the benefits of the product, you’re likely to back away from the purchase.

Neil Patel discovered that people generally wanted to know more about an offer before signing up – his research saw a 17% decrease in conversions when the CTA was placed above the fold. This is especially true if your product is complicated and people need to know more before making the commitment.

At the end of the day, if your offer is compelling enough, people will find the CTA; don’t force it on them before they might be ready. If you have a long-form sales page, sprinkling a few CTAs down the page is good practice, as it gives people the opportunity to make the conversion as soon as they’re ready.

7. Special effects

Don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to the design of your CTA button. The button needs to look like a button, so people know it’s clickable.

The button should be a good size – large enough so that it stands out at a glance, but not so big that it dominates the rest of the content. The shape of the button can affect its success, with rounded corners being easier on the eyes, and you can play around with special effects such as shading, 3D effects, subtle gradients, and arrows, and include PayPal or card logos for peace of mind.

Finding the right balance between being big and bold without being overbearing is the key to an effective CTA. Essentially, the more noticeable the button, the more likely that people will click through.

8. Reduce options

Offering too many options can lead to decision paralysis for your visitors, which could result in them clicking away from your site. Where possible, it’s best to stick with one option.

If you do need to include two or more options, always give more visual weight to the most important option. To do this, give the less-important option a lower contrast color or even make it transparent, as Starbucks has done here.

Sometimes, including two options can help people feel as though they have more control over the process, which makes them more likely to convert.  You can include a second option that simply reinforces the first, for example, “Yes please, send me the free eBook” and “No thanks, I’m OK for now – maybe later.”

However, I have seen examples where people are almost shamed into making a certain decision by the text on the second button. While this might entice some people into taking action, you’re likely to annoy many more, so use this technique simply and carefully.

9. Support with convincing messages

Adding supplementary text around the CTA button can help convince hesitant prospects to take the plunge. This is particularly useful if your CTA is encouraging people to sign up for a free trial.

Convincing messages can include guarantees such as “no risk,” “no commitment,” “no credit card required,” or “money-back guarantee.” You could also include testimonials from satisfied customers or privacy promises.

Netflix addresses the customer’s ability to “Cancel at any time” before its “Join free for a month” CTA.

10. Test, test, test

Once you’ve created your CTA and implemented all these helpful tips, your job is not over! You need to check that your CTA is having the desired effect.

Carry out A/B testing to see how changes in color, message, offer, design, and placement affect your conversion rates. Play around until you’ve found the right combination – sometimes tiny, easy-to-make changes can make a huge difference. And don’t forget to periodically check in to see that the CTA continues to be effective.

Do you use CTAs wisely in your online copy? What are your tips and tricks to designing an effective CTA? Tell us in the comments below.

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With each new year come new web design trends we see across platforms and designers alike. There are some types of design that hit home with audiences, bring a sense of nostalgia, and simply look striking on all kinds of sites. These 8 design trends for 2018 do all of that (and more)!

To kickstart your inspiration, we’re giving you an introduction to common design trends that have been popping up all over the web in 2018 (and even some examples of cool brands that are using them). Then we’ll go one step further and look into how to create each design trend on your very own site!

The 2018 design trends we’re going to cover:

  1. 90s tech
  2. Double exposure effect
  3. Duotone images
  4. Intertwined typography
  5. Neon sign treatment
  6. New retro wave
  7. Simple cinemagraphs
  8. Glitch effect

PS – These trends are all part of our free Design Trends email course! By signing up, you’ll get 8 days of design inspiration, Photoshop resources, and step-by-step tutorials delivered straight to your inbox. Check it out here!

90s Tech

Remember when computers were big and clunky? Or when TVs were square and boxy? While this trend might be a bit of a play on technology trends, it’s becoming increasingly popular to show off your new, innovative tech and designs on — you guessed it —old technology.

One group on the 90s tech trend is the Swedish agency, Station. On their pages, they feature some white, monochromatic old technology from chunky laptops to bulky keyboards. It’s all pulled off in a modern and sleek design that perfectly accents their webpage.

Clearly this trend is a great way to show just how far technology has come over the last couple decades. That’s what leaves this trend so unique — it sparks some awe and reminiscent feelings in us all.

Looking for your own retro design elements? Check out these 16 awesome freebies! Double exposure effect

Double exposure (also known as multiple exposure) originated in film photography. Nowadays with image editing software, it’s essentially two images layered and masked on top of each other. This design trend is a play on light and can give the image subjects a more connected feel. In fact, double exposure is so popular it has become the inspiration for other work like this dance duet, this website template, or this book cover.

While this is a neat camera trick, not all of us are professional photographers or have access to a DSLR camera. That’s why this simple Photoshop tutorial gives us the perfect step-by-step how-to!

Duotone images

This 2018 design trend is perfect for branding! If you’re looking for a new way to make your photos pop or give them an on-brand look, you can incorporate new colors into your design! Holm Marcher & Co. is a great example of how duotone can give a website such a beautiful aesthetic.

Perhaps one of the most well-known duotone campaigns was the 2016 Spotify ads. And believe it or not, this look is super simple to create yourself using just a few steps in Photoshop. You can follow this tutorial to do it yourself!

Intertwined typography

If you’re looking for a more 3D look to your work, intertwined typography is just what you need! This design trend layers various elements of the text and graphics to really pull out certain details and trick the eye into seeing it more realistically.

While this trend is increasingly popular with other types of design like calligraphy, wedding invitations, and floral patterns, there are so many ways to incorporate this look into your web design work and add some extra dimension to your designs!

Need an awesome font to go with your new intertwined typography design? We have the perfect solution to fit every style from calligraphy to retro!

Neon sign treatment

Neon signs traditionally attract attention from their bright glow and brighter colors. While you might think it’s hard to incorporate something so vibrant in a digital design, neon sign treatments are blowing up campaigns everywhere. Why? It makes a perfect, stand-out call to action!

Most recently, it’s been popularly used in sales campaigns, like our Flywheel Black Friday campaign. And you can create it for yourself as well with this Photoshop tutorial!

New retro wave

Similar to the 90s tech trend, new retro designs bring back a fresh, video-game vibe with pre-21st century flair! While many examples are bright and colorful, this look can be incorporated with countless color schemes and fonts.

Just like the record label, this look combines bright neon lights and 80s music nostalgia. While new retro wave might not fit everyone’s style, it’s a great design trend to have some fun and try something new!

Simple cinemagraph

It’s not just a gif or a video, but that might be the best way to make one! Cinemagraphs are little motion clips that can give you a sense of suspense or add a little life to your photos!

Some of our favorite cinemagraphs come from Sagmeister and Walsh and Octavo Designs. They bring their graphics to life in the most interesting, creative ways. You can catch the trend for yourself with this easy-to-follow how-to.

Glitch effect

While there are so many ways to create motion (like cinemagraphs), you can also create a sense of motion with a glitch effect! Depending on how you use it, this can give your designs that old-tech feel or a futuristic curiosity. Much like our robot, a glitch effect has become popular with designers for it’s versatile use.

By following this tutorial, you can create this false sense of motion for yourself! And if you’re looking for inspiration on how you could incorporate the effect, check out Vintage and their unique use of the glitch effect design trend on their homepage.

Get the look

Want to know the best part? You can get all the resources to create all these trends for free just by signing up for Flywheel’s Design Trends email course! It’ll help you take a further look into each trend and give you everything you need to make it yourself. Sweet, right?

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With the web becoming more and more visually oriented, images are becoming a more important part of any web design. In many markets, good photos can make or break a website’s effectiveness, so any pictures you use have to be good, and they can’t be the same pictures everyone else is using, either.

But we’re designers, not photographers. So where are we supposed to get our pictures these days? The obvious answer is stock sites.

But now what? Stock sites are constantly growing and changing, and some of them are expensive. Plus, a lot of them are clunky and hard to navigate…or just aren’t designed well, which can be tough to overlook when you’re all about good design. (If that’s you, there’s judgment here!)

Just for you, I’ve combed through all the great stock photo sites we know of to make my recommendations for the best free stock images you can find on the web right now. I’m looking at things like overall quality of the images (including both file size and image definition), ease of use, and clear stipulations about image use guidelines. Here’s what I’ve got for you!

Unsplash

Unsplash has long been my favorite source of free images. Their stock tends to be moody and evocative, just the way I (personally) like my images to be. It’s easy to search, easy to use, and full of breathtaking views and angles. Their landscape photos are unparalleled.

One caveat for Unsplash: I’ve noticed in the past several months that some of the images being submitted aren’t quite as high-quality as I’m used to from Unsplash. If you need a super-high-def image for your design, make sure to zoom in on the photo you’re considering before committing.

Pixabay

I have to admit, I tried to use them a few years ago and wasn’t impressed. The pickin’s were just so slim that I eventually stopped trying with Pixabay. Recently I revisited the site during a chat with someone else, and I was really impressed by some of the search results that popped up! Their inventory of stock photos has come a long, long way since the days of 2014. As a result, this stock photo site is now back on my list of go-tos when I need a new image that hasn’t been “done” into the ground.

Want to create a double exposure effect for your photos? Follow this quick and simple tutorial! Burst

Burst, brought to us by the folks at Shopify, isn’t just for eCommerce people. Their image bank is full of interesting, versatile photos that do work well for shop owners, but there’s a lot that will work for any kind of design. Their images are all arranged by the topic of the image, making them easy to sort through, especially when you have a sense of what you want.

Personally, I love the tile-based layout of Burst the best of all the image sites. My favorite might be the Backgrounds database, but I’m a bit of a texture nut myself. Burst also includes helpful related categories at the top of each page, which makes it easy to keep clicking through until you get what you want (instead of back-tracking).

StockSnap.io

One of StockSnap’s strengths is its robust catalog of flat lays. Whether you need food, gadgets, or something else, they’ll probably have it. There’s a huge variety in composition, with a lot of compelling close-ups and a great amount of work-related images, too, which aren’t always easy to come by outside of the computer-and-journal motif.

ISO Republic

Still on our favorites list is ISO Republic. One thing I personally like about this one is the counter on each image, telling me how popular it is. But, as we’ve mentioned before, one thing ISO Republic does really well is textures.

The shortcut to finding a bunch of interesting texture-based images is by going to Photo Categories and selecting Abstract. You can also do a search for things like bokeh, paint, wall, and of course texture. There’s something so visually satisfying about looking at the “wall of textures” that comes up with any of these searches.

FreeImages.com

As the name says, http://freeimages.com/FreeImages.com is a nice source of free stock photos. The quality there is generally very good and what I like about their stock is that it’s vibrant — there are so many colorful, interesting images there that make this site stand out above a lot of its competitors. If you’re looking for a splash of color to pop your project, include FreeImages.com in your search.

SkitterPhoto

Skitter is great because it’s more closely curated than a lot of the other sites, so you aren’t going to find images that everybody’s used already. Last time I browsed SkitterPhoto, it was near a big holiday and there were a ton of great holiday-related shots in the new photos section, so it’s obvious that it’s being updated regularly.

Canva

This is maybe a little bit blasphemous to include in a blog for people who love the Adobe suite, but I’m including it anyway! Canva, the cloud-based drag-and-drop graphic design site, has a great inventory of stock photos. If you’re just hopping into Canva to put together a quick graphic for social media or a blog post, do an image search within Canva itself before going to an external site. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Check out these 20 social media tools to help step up your agency’s marketing! Your favorite goes here

It’s easy to get into a stock photo rut and keep dipping back into the same “wells” you always visit. Did you discover a new site in this list? What are your go-to stock photo sites? Would you be willing to dredge through a clunky interface in search of an image?

PS: Wanna know a secret?

I’ve been writing for Layout for quite a few years now, and one of the things that has been consistent with this particular brand is the exceptional use of images. I never know what image is going to be assigned to one of my posts here, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when it publishes. Have you ever thought the same thing about this blog?

Layout uses images that no one else is using, that much is obvious. But what you might not know is that everything you see here at Layout is produced in-house! If you look closely, you’ll be able to spot individual staff members all over the Flywheel website. It’s fun, sure, but keeping this publication visually distinctive is also a valuable marketing tactic.

Meet Kimberly, Flywheel’s in-house photographer!

That, my friends, is what we call “branding.” Your brand makes a certain set of promises, and if you’re in the online space, odds are good that the visual “feel” of your site is a part of your brand. That kind of consistency is critical for web design, and we’re happy to demonstrate it for you right here, every day.

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CSS units are one of the most fundamental aspects to consider while creating a site layout. These units will define how your design will interact on various devices.

But when it comes to CSS units, there are many options to choose from and all options are not equal. CSS units are not limited to fonts only, so as a front-end developer, you should understand how these units effect layouts, also.

In this article, I’ll show you how different CSS units work, so you can use them to create better layouts and site designs.

Types of CSS units

CSS units can be separated in the following categories:

  • Absolute units
  • Font relative units
  • Viewport relative units
Absolute units

Some units depend on certain absolute values and are not affected by any screen size or fonts. These units display may vary depending on different screen resolutions, as they depend on DPI (dots per inch) of screens.

These units are:

  • px (pixels)
  • in (inches)
  • cm (centimeter)
  • mm (millimeter)
  • pc (picas)
  • pt (points)
Pixels

Pixels are the most commonly used and accepted unit. And it’s considered the base of measurement for many other units. It provides the most consistent result among various devices.

The box element in the following example has a height of 150px and width of 150px, and it will remain the same on all screen sizes.

.box{
height:150px;
width:150px;
}

All other absolute units like in (inches), cm (centimeter) and mm (millimeter) are real-world measurement units with very little real-world CSS use cases.

It’s still good to understand their relationship to pixels, however, so this is how they compare:

  • 1in = 96px
  • 1cm = 37.8px
  • 1mm = 3.78px

While pc (picas) and pt (points) are directly related to inches.

  • 1in = 72pt
  • 1in = 6pc

The relation between all absolute units can be demonstrated like this:

Rem

Apart from pixels, all other absolute units have very little to no use cases for screen CSS, but since they are real-world measurement units, they can be effectively used in print CSS. (In case you are wondering about pixels, they work fine in print CSS as well!)

Font relative units

There are some units which depend on the font size or font family of the document or its parent level elements. This includes units like:

  • em
  • rem
  • ex
  • ch
Em

Em is a relative length unit; it depends on the font size of the parent element or the document. By default, 1em is equal to 16px if is no font-size is defined.

Em inherits size from its immediate parent’s font size. Say, if a parent element has font-size:18px, then 1em will be measured as 18px for all its child’s.

Here we have a div .post with three childs, .post-item, with a title and some text.

<div class="post">
<div class="post-item">
<h2>Title</h2>
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s
  </div>
<div class="post-item">
<h2>Title</h2>
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s
  </div>
<div class="post-item">
<h2>Title</h2>
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s
  </div>
</div>

Now the parent .post has a font-size:20px and the child element .post div has its own font-size:1.2em with padding:0.75em and margin:0.75em, so the computed padding and margin will be 18px (20px*1.2em*0.75em).

html{
font-size:20px;
}

.post{
font-size:20px;
}

.post div{
font-size:1.2em;
}

.post-item{
background:pink;
padding:0.75em;
margin:0.75em;
}

.post-item h2{
font-size:1.5em;
margin:0.5em 0;
}

.post-item p{
margin:0;
font-size: 1em;
}

As you can see, the child elements are inheriting values from the parent.

The advantage of using em is, if you decide to change the font-size, padding, and margin of each element proportionately, then you just have to change the parent element font size and all other elements will adjust accordingly.

That won’t be the case with absolute units like px, where you have to adjust each element individually.

This inheritance nature can be a bit tricky to manage, however, if nested elements have their own font-size in em, too.

Like in the previous demo, if you wrap the title and paragraph inside another div in one of the child items, you’ll will see strange results.

<div class="post-item">
<div>
<h2>Title</h2>
Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s
  	</div>
</div>

Because post-item has a nested div, the base size will change from 24px to 28.8px (20px*1.2em*1.2em), and font-size and margin for h2 will change to 43.2px (20px*1.2em*1.2em*1.5em) and 14.4px (20px*1.2em*1.2em*0.5em), respectively.

Rem

Rem can be really helpful in these types of situations because they always refer to the root element font size, not the parent element.

If you take the previous example and change the units from em to rem for .post div, you’ll see all child elements fix themselves.

.post div{
  font-size:1.2rem;
}

Once the unit is changed from em to rem, its base changes from parent div to root element, which has a front-size:20px.

So, the calculation will be 20px*1.2rem*value and  h2 and p both will have consistent font-size and margin, regardless of their parent.

Ex

Ex is relative to the x-height of the current font and it’s very rarely used. The x-height measurement is not consistent; sometimes it comes from the font itself and sometimes the browser calculates itself.

Like em and rem, it depends on font but the major difference is that ex will change when you change the font-family too, which is not the case with the other two.

.box{
width:150ex;
height:150ex;
}
Ch

Ch is similar to ex but it doesn’t depend on the x-height; rather on the width of the zero (0) character. It also changes with font-family.

.box{
width:150ch;
height:150ch;
}
Viewport relative units

There are a few units that depend on the viewport height and width size, such as:

  • vh (viewport height)
  • vw (viewport width)
  • vmin (viewport minimum)
  • vmax (viewport maximum)
Vh

Vh (viewport height) is measured as 1vh equal to 1% of the viewport’s height. This unit is very useful for creating full height elements. Vh reacts similarly to percentage, but doesn’t depend on the parent element height.

You can use vh anywhere but the most common use case of vh is for making full height elements. In this example, the full-height class will create a blue container which will be 100% height of the viewport.

.full-height{
height:100vh;
background:blue;
}
Vw

Vw (viewport width) is similar to vh but it considers the width, rather than height of the viewport.  1vw is equal to 1% of the viewport width. These units can be really helpful if you want to create a responsive viewport based on typography.

In this example, font-siz of h1 is 6% of the viewport width, so if viewport width is 1000px, the font size will be 60px, and if the viewport is 500px, the font size will be 30px.

h1{
font-size:6vw;
}
Vmin

Vmin is calculated on the basis of the minimum value of the viewport’s width or height, whichever is smaller. Say you have a viewport size of 1000px tall by 800px wide. 1vmin will be equal to 8px.

Vmax

Vmax is calculated exactly the opposite of vmin, where the maximum value is considered of the viewport.

Like the previous  viewport example with 1000px tall by 800px wide, 1vmax will be equal to 10px.

Now let’s explore how you can use vmin and vmax effectively. Using our previous example, let’s say we want to have a fluid padding and margin based on the viewport size now, rather than a fixed value.

In this code snippet, I’ve set the padding to 3vmax and margin to 1.5vmin.

.post-item{
background pink;
padding:3vmax;
margin:1.5vmin;
}

The padding and margin will change according to the viewport size.

Percentage(%) unit

Percentage(%) unit doesn’t belong to a any particular category mentioned above, but can be categorized as a relative unit. It is relative to its parent element.

Percentage is primarily associated with height and width of an element, but can be used anywhere where CSS length units are allowed.

Percentage is one of the most useful units for creating a responsive or fluid layout. Popular frameworks like Bootstrap, foundation, and Bulma use percentage for their base layout.

Here the full-width class will be of 100% width of its parent element.

.full-width{
width: 100%;
}
Conclusion

I’ve covered almost all CSS units available for use. Depending on your goals, some will be better suited than others. As a front-end developer, it’s always good to know your options because you never know which one you might need in your next project.

So, which units do you use most frequently to get the desired result? Let me know in the comments section below!

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LinkedIn: It is the equivalent to the older, more professional and sophisticated sibling to other social media platforms. While Instagram is for artfully curating and highlighting your life in hopes of receiving double-digit likes, and Twitter is for composing thoughtful, witty statements in 280 characters or less, LinkedIn is for presenting your best self as a hireable candidate for your most desired jobs. Although it has the same capabilities of messaging, adding photos, and sharing stories to your feed, the overall tone needs to be qualified, yet inviting.

In this article, I’ll describe some ideas and steps to take to spruce up your LinkedIn profile for those working in creative fields!

1. Own your skillset

For starters, don’t think of LinkedIn as an intimidating place! Sure, you may see profiles of highly successful people with hundreds of contacts, but what you bring to the table is just as exciting and important in your own field. The goal is to maximize the impact of your skillset as displayed on your profile to future employers and not get bogged down by others in the process.

The goal of LinkedIn is to maximize the impact of your skillset to future employers and not get bogged down by others in the process.

2. Don’t let creativity overshadow your identity

The obvious first step is your name. Display your full name that you use in professional situations, and this can include your middle name, maiden name and married last name, or not. Use what you would like others to call you, and don’t go with an obscure nickname that you used in your elementary school days.

Brooke and Lauren from Flywheel’s People Operations team

Listing educational credentials after your name is a personal choice. If you have earned a degree and want to add the initials after your name, go for it. Some choose to add degrees and certifications to the end of their name so the achievement doesn’t get buried, while others may feel that adding it at the top is solely for bragging purposes. You decide whether it feels right for your brand or not.

Your profile photo should be a headshot, taken in good lighting that shows your face. This is not the place to use a photo of you with your cat, your children, or while holding up a drink at a party. However, you should smile and wear clothing that is suitable for your field. Don’t wear sunglasses or have a portion of the person standing next to you visible after the photo was badly cropped. The purpose is to put yourself in the best light, literally and figuratively, to help you land your next job.

Additionally, choose an interesting cover photo that coincides with your field. This can be an image you designed, a screenshot of your work or a photograph you took. Make sure the imagery isn’t NSFW, has a high-quality resolution, and is clear.

Some designers may want to use their personal logo instead of a headshot, but it’s best to have the profile photo remain a photo to show that you are an actual human. If you still want to show off your logo, incorporate it into the cover photo.

3. Clearly explain the work you like to do

Directly below your name is a space for your headline and summary. Your headline should succinctly state what it is you do. “Fine Artist,” “Graphic Designer,” “Composer,” or “Video Editor” are clear and to the point. If you are seeking opportunities that aren’t so specific, something like “Graphic Designer | Researcher | Social Media Expert” could also work. Additionally, you can add a complete sentence that describes your work style. For example, “Graphic designer helping brands become brilliant” is catchy and unique. 

For your summary, take some time to think about a short blurb that best describes your work and personality. Write two or three sentences that encompass your past work, present situation, and possible goals. It’s also not a bad idea to view the summaries of others in your field for inspiration and to help define your personal tone and voice for your profile.

The Experience section is pretty straightforward, including your job titles, places of employment, dates, and some key projects in the descriptions. LinkedIn has the option to add media for each job experience, and you should use this space wisely. If you showed artwork in a gallery, include a photo of it hanging on the walls. Designed a logo for a company? Show off that logo. Did you edit a video for a marketing campaign? Upload the video. You get the point. Creatives have the ability to show actual design work they made, and your profile can showcase these works.

If you do freelance work, list your company as part of your experience. Here you can also navigate viewers to your website, which will generate traffic for you. However, be sure that your site is professional and is limited in personal content. You don’t want future employers to be bombarded with your activities outside of work, as they may use that as a way to judge your productivity. Conversely, if you are seeking a job in Social Media, show that you have thousands of Twitter followers and send viewers to your personal platform so they can witness your ability to generate interesting stories. Just be sure that the content you post isn’t offensive and continually remember that your social media persona is tied to your professional life as well.

4. Fill out the essentials

Education is another easy area. List the schools you attended along with the degrees you earned. Start with college credentials; it is considered a faux pas to include your high school information.

For the Volunteer Experience, refer to non-profit organizations where you have volunteered your time for a worthy cause. List your experiences, such as creating the website for a church, managing social media for an animal rescue, or designing the programs for a theater group.

Recommendations are important, as they show visitors that your work is good enough to be praised, but you also need to be careful that you don’t collect endorsements from users who did not collaborate with you in a superior role or have posts that don’t appear genuine. As you seek and collect recommendations, ask that they cite a specific task or instance that made you a valuable worker, and this section will not be at risk of sounding fake.

There is an Accomplishments area, which includes: Publications, Certifications, Patents, Courses, Projects, Honor and Awards, Test Scores, Languages, and Organizations. This part is to show how your work experience has led you to additional achievements beyond your hired roles. Include certificates, honor societies, journal articles, and extracurricular courses that have expanded your knowledge base.

5. Maintain a professional persona in all you do

With your profile completed and as you join the job hunt, be aware that prospective employers can google you with keywords found in your LinkedIn profile along with your name. For example, try to expunge any unfavorable photos of you on the web that are associated with your fraternity days. While your name might be fairly common, the combination of your name and college affiliation may bring up photos from your early adulthood. 

Like other social media platforms, LinkedIn has a newsfeed where users can write posts. This venue is a way of promoting your completed work, sharing articles you have written, or engaging with other creatives. Be sure to curate what you post; you want to join the conversation, but make sure the content is interesting and others will enjoy it as well.

Last, don’t make spelling mistakes. You don’t want viewers to believe you are inarticulate or lazy, or both. It’s never a bad idea to have a friend review your writing to spot errors you might have missed.

In conclusion, you want to project the best representation of your achievements in your online LinkedIn persona. The above tips are examples you can easily do to achieve this. Enjoy showing off your hard work, and good luck in the job search.

All photography in this article was shot in-house at Flywheel.

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Ever feel overwhelmed? Stuck in a rut? As a freelancer, you promise to not waver. You vow to persist. You will take control of your life, yes, but right now work feels just a bit too much. Your task list towers like the pile of laundry you’ve yet to sort out. You need systems. You need tools that will help you reclaim order in your freelance life and thereby produce work that matters and sings.

Luckily, there are tools you can take advantage of. And more importantly for you, dear solopreneur, there are apps that can help revert you back to productive heights you’ve enjoyed before, and they’re quite affordable apps, too.

But as the ol’ adage goes: It’s not the bow and arrow; it’s the archer. Let that be your takeaway from this extensive unpacking of the best productivity apps that won’t break the banks of freelancers and solopreneurs like you. Some don’t even cost a penny.

Looking for something specific? Jump to the productivity management categories you need!

Essentials: Productivity apps I cannot live without Trello

A huge bulk of my work’s success may be attributed to Trello. Its intuitive UX makes it really easy to create editorial calendars, freelance client CRMs, project dashboards, goal setting, or really, anything that suits any requirement. I use it every day to track all my projects so that I’m on top of everything relating to my freelance work.

Todoist

Todoist is a really smart task management tool. It helps me sort out my to-do list by way of priority, duration, and designated projects. But its indispensable feature has got to be the Smart Scheduler, which, through algorithms, automatically suggests a schedule from the words you key in for the task. It saves me a few clicks and offers me peace of mind, knowing that I’ve saved my task at my chosen schedule and that I’ll be notified.

Evernote

The granddaddy of note-taking apps, Evernote offers the most effective solution for creative professionals and business owners. Its features, while reliable and robust, are very intuitive and flexible to suit most people’s needs. It’s my go-to app for when I need to take a quick note or when I have a million-dollar idea I need to put on paper (well, not technically “paper,” but you get the point). Plus, there are great add-on features, chiefly the Web Clipper, which allows me to save web pages as notes for later reading.

Getting paper: Making sure you get paid Bonsai

Contracts. Don’t ever work without them. The valiance of our work is helping great companies solve great problems. The trouble is there are also not-so-great, pesky clients who can prolong payments—or worse, not pay at all—unless they’re legally bound. Bonsai makes it easy for freelancers to make sure this doesn’t happen. It’s a whole suite of tools essential to freelancing, including invoicing, proposals, and project management.

Wave

If you’re just starting out, you’re probably pulling your hair out from sorting out the mess that is your finances. Why not turn to our technological overlords and try such apps as Wave? It’s a turnkey solution for freelancers who are losing the financial battle when it comes to payments, cash flow, and more. Make no mistake: though Wave is a free app, it comes packed with great features I’ve been enjoying since the first day I’ve started using it, chief among them are the gorgeous invoice templates.

Freshbooks

To those who need a more complex and flexible solution, cast your eyes to Freshbooks. It’s designed with small business owners and solopreneurs like yourself in mind. It edges out Wave by a few premium features, being that it’s a whole suite of tools essential to anyone from self-employed professionals to fully-fledged agencies. Although it isn’t free, it’s still a steal at $15/mo., which gives you (or your accountant) a generously-sized room to play with in terms of features. Freshbooks also offers a 30-day free trial.

Client management: Keeping clients happy Typeform

I use Typeform a lot. Its standard use is surveying, but it can be more vital to your business than that. I, for example, use Typeform to collect information from clients before even considering working with them. Such a process is called “roadmapping,” fulfilled in a bid to determine whether a prospective client is a good fit. Setting a roadmapping questionnaire is easy, thanks to Typeform’s clean and intuitive interface.

Looking to double your freelance revenue this year? We have the perfect (and free) guide! Slack

How do you communicate with clients? Surely email is on the table. But here’s the thing: email is a little too congested; it actually deters rather than enable creative professionals like yourself to produce awesome work. Slack is a much better solution. I have one set up for my team, and there we bounce around ideas in real-time, as though we’re high schoolers bickering on an iMessage group chat. It’s a lot of fun—especially with the Giphy integration—and though it won’t replace email anytime soon, it makes things more interactive, efficient, and faster.

Basecamp

I’ve heard many great things about Basecamp that it warrants its spot here. I’ve only tried using it a couple of times, but in those few times, I’ve been consistently impressed. Its key features, mostly directed at the client-worker interaction during a project, I can easily replicate in Trello, an app that I’m more familiar with. Like Trello, it makes the work process more streamlined and involved, especially because the client gets to pitch in their ideas. Basecamp is a premium app, with a 30-day free unrestricted trial for new users.

Timesavers: Apps that save you time through automation IFTTT

IFTTT, which stands for “If This, Then That”, is a great productivity tool. Its premise is simple: you make recipes, formulas that connect apps through a triggering action that deploys an automated sequence from one app to another. For example, you can set up an IFTTT recipe that automatically saves your Instagram posts to a Google Drive folder. Great, huh? I know. I’ve been using it for years, and have shaved off a great fraction of that workload. You should try it, too.

Streak

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Have you ever tried to override a CSS rule, only to find it not working as it should have? Or noticed when one element is targeted multiple times with different CSS selector combinations, only one rule is applied at a time? This is all because of CSS specificity rules.

CSS specificity rules can be one of the most confusing concepts to understand, especially for beginners.

If you are just starting out with CSS, as a standard order rule, you might think the latest CSS rule should override the old one. It seems simple, but it doesn’t always work out that way. It depends on CSS specificity, when and which CSS rule should apply.

So let’s break down what CSS specificity is and how to use it efficiently.

What is specificity in CSS?

In simple words, if you have multiple CSS selectors for one element, the one with the higher specific value will be applied.

Different selectors have different weights and the browser will decide which one is the most relevant to that element.

How does it work?

The specificity of a selector can be categorized in the following four levels:

  1. Inline style or CSS
  2. IDs
  3. Classes, pseudo-classes, and attributes
  4. Elements or pseudo-elements

Inline styles or CSS, where CSS is applied directly on the HTML document, look like this <p >. Inline styles will always have the highest specificity level.

Second in this order are IDs, like #content. So any selector using an ID will have the second highest specificity level.

Classes, pseudo-classes, and attributes are third in this order. They look like: .post, :hover, and [title], respectively.

Elements and pseudo-elements have the least value. li and :after are basic examples of an element and pseudo-element.

The calculation

The specificity value can be calculated with the following guideline:

  • Inline style or css: 1,0,0,0
  • ID: 0,1,0,0
  • Class or pseudo-class and attribute: 0,0,1,0
  • Elements and pseudo-elements: 0,0,0,1
  • Universal selector(*): 0

To check your selector’s specificity level, you can use the Specificity calculator.

Basic rules of CSS specificity

Now that you have an idea of how specificity is organized, let’s discuss some general rules and examples!

This is the base HTML I’ll use in my examples. Here I have a small list within a container with #content.

<div id="content">

<ul class="list">

<li>Item 1<li>

<li>Item 2</li>

<li>Item 3</li>

</ul>

</div>

Rule 1

If you have two or more of the same selectors for an element, they will all have the same specificity value, hence the lower one or the last one will be applied.

In the following CSS snippet, both selectors have equal specificity, so the li color will be yellow, since it’s placed further down the line.


ul li{

color: green;

}

ul li{

color: yellow;

}

Rule 2

If multiple selectors are used for one element, the selector with the higher specific value will be applied.

In the following example, li is targeted by two different selectors and both affect the font color. So, which rule should apply?

Like the previous instance, in CSS order concept the second one should apply (so the li color would be green) but because .list li has a higher specificity value than ul li, the color will remain red.


.list li{

color: red;

}

ul li{

color: green;

}

Rule 3

We saw class outweigh elements in specificity level, now let’s see what happens with an ID.

In the following example,  we have a class and ID both targeting the same element and affecting the font color. Again the same question: which rule should apply?


#content li{

color: blue;

}

.list li{

color: red;

}

As mentioned before, ID has higher specificity value than class, attributes, and elements, so the color will be blue. Always target ID for higher specificity level.

Rule 4

!important will override any selector of any specificity value. But keep in mind that !important shouldn’t be overused, because it’s not considered a CSS best practice. 

If you are the author of your CSS and not overriding an existing rule, you would hardly need to use !important.

Use !important only when you are trying to override someone else’s CSS and your specificity is not able to outweigh the previous selector, especially when you can’t control the placing order of your CSS in the HTML.

This will happen mostly while working in WordPress, where you will find many CSS files already added by different plugins and themes.

Generally, plugin CSS is specific to the plugin and use IDs, inline-css, or even !important for higher specificity, to avoid any CSS conflict. To override that CSS, you have to use even higher specificity; for these scenarios you can use !important.

In the following example, I’m recreating the previous scenarios, with li targeted with different CSS selectors, but you can see that !important overrides all rules and the color will be yellow.


#content li{

color: blue;

}

.list li{

color: red;

}

ul li{

color: green;

}

ul li{

color: yellow !important;

}

!important will give you the power to enforce your CSS above any specificity level. 

You need to be careful while using !important because you can’t override this rule. The only way to override an !important is to use another !important later in the CSS, so your CSS can easily look messy if you don’t understand the power of it.

A few exceptions

Elements and pseudo-elements have the least specificity, but there are a few interesting (and slightly confusing!) exceptions. (Confusing because they don’t seem to follow the rules we just saw.)

In this example, you’ll see  :first-child (pseudo-class) and :first-line (pseudo-element). We just learned that pseudo-classes will have higher specificity than pseudo-elements, so according to that, the paragraph’s first line color should be green, but instead it will be pink.


p:first-child{

color: green;

}

p::first-line{

color

:pink

;

}

You may think the ordering would be an issue here, but even switching the order won’t change the output. The specificity calculator shows a different picture than the outcome.

This is where specificity gets a bit confusing. I can only assume that the reason for this outcome is :first-line is closer to the element and probably treated as inline-style. You can check jsfiddle for another example.

How to use specificity efficiently?

If you understand the CSS specificity rules, you can use it very efficiently and make your CSS reusable.

Let’s say you want to use the same .button but with different background colors, so you set up a specific selector: .red-block .button.


.button{

background: #97bc2d;

font-size: 1em;

display: inline-block;

}

.button a{

display: block;

color: #fff;

padding: 1em 2em;

text-decoration: none;

}

.red-block .button{

background: red;

}

If .button is wrapped in a .red-block container, then the default button background color will change to red.

CSS specificity is very useful when customizing WordPress themes, where you are trying to override the theme author’s CSS with your own.

Common mistakes to avoid

Some people use ultra-specific selectors, which is not a good practice. Be as specific as required only. For example, this code snippet targets the li but is too specific.


div#content ul.list li{

color: purple;

}

If you are too specific with your CSS, it will become rigid and harder to re-use. You could easily write .list li instead of div#content ul.list li, which will make your CSS cleaner.

Additional resources
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Conclusion

As you can see, CSS specificity is an important tool and every front-end developer should have it in their toolkit. A clear understanding of this concept can go a long way in making you a good front-end developer.

Looking for another CSS tutorial? Try one of these!

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Designers love it, yet website owners want to fill it. White space is often regarded as a waste of valuable screen space.

Yet it isn’t a waste of space; it’s an essential design element and a powerful tool for effective web design. In fact, it’s equally important as website content. Intelligent use of white space gives your content room to breathe. It helps to create a balanced interface that’s easy to read and doesn’t overwhelm your visitors.

What is white space?

Often referred to as “negative space,” white space is the space left between other elements of a page. It covers everything from line and letter spacing, to the space surrounding text and images, to margins and gutters.

Think of it as the adhesive that holds a mosaic together or the silence in music. Without it, things are left unstructured and cluttered – a little like white noise. White space holds your design together and helps to shape the overall flow of the page. It’s an active element and a fundamental building block of good design.

Here’s a guide to the effective use of white space in web design.

1. Improve the legibility of text

Text that’s tightly spaced feels cluttered and is difficult to read. Space it too far apart, however, and the reader feels a disconnection and can lose their place in the text. At a time when users face information overload, if you don’t make your content easy to consume, they simply won’t bother.

The correct use of white space in text can increase readability by up to 20%. Think about paragraph margins and line spacing when designing your page. The amount of white space should reflect the pauses the visitor takes while reading. It’s like visual breathing space for the eyes.

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2. Organize your content

The law of proximity details how the human eye perceives the relationship between certain visual elements. Things grouped closely together are perceived to be related, whereas those at a distance are believed to be different.

The amount of white space between your content acts as a visual cue, showing visitors the relationship between different elements of the content. Objects can be grouped together by decreasing the white space between them, or divided by increasing it.

In terms of text, the law of proximity helps us to understand text as a whole, making use of paragraphs to group ideas together. It’s also useful when designing forms, placing the labels closer to the relevant field for clarity.

3. Create focus and emphasis

A cluttered interface overwhelms your visitors, confusing them with too much information and losing the core message of the page amongst all the noise. By removing these distractions, you draw the visitors’ eyes to the most important element of the page. The more white space surrounding an object, the more the eye is drawn to it.

MailChimp has perfected the technique of using white space to create natural hotspots in its layout. When you land on their homepage, your eye is instantly drawn to the all-important “Sign Up Free” call to action in the center.

It’s also a great technique to use in text. If you wish to emphasize a certain element of text, perhaps to ensure a header really draws the attention, try increasing the spacing between its letters. This breaks the pattern of consistency and grabs readers’ attention.

We’re learning the art of reselling hosting in this free guide — no art skills experience required! 4. Structure your content

Masterful use of white space can direct the eye to flow from one element to another, giving a visual cue to the hierarchy of information on the page and guiding the reader on a path through it.

A popular formula is the Z-shaped layout, which mimics natural scanning habits. Readers start in the top-left corner, following a horizontal line to the right, then drop back to the bottom-left before following another horizontal line, as demonstrated in the Basecamp homepage.

Alternatively, an asymmetrical layout provides directional emphasis in a more unexpected, interesting form, which is great for directing focus to a particular element of the page, as perfected by Dropbox.

5. Give an impression of luxury

While white space is mainly used as a technique for improving the user experience of a website, it also has its uses aesthetically. If you’ve ever flicked through a glossy magazine like Vogue, you’ll be aware of how generous use of white space gives an impression of elegance, luxury, and sophistication.

Angela Roi champions a sustainable, ethical approach to luxury fashion. The abundance of white space demonstrates that the product is far more exclusive and important than the real estate of the webpage.

6. It doesn’t have to be white!

Finally it’s worth noting that, despite its name, white space doesn’t have to be white! You can use any color, or lack of, in your negative space. You could even use a patterned or textured background or a background image.

If you’re designing a long-scrolling site, your use of white space is key to keeping the page flowing and managing the organization, focus, and emphasis of the content. A great tip is to alternate complementary blocks of color down the page to segment different sections while maintaining the direction and flow of the content.

White space isn’t wasted space; it can be a website’s best friend. Effective use of white space creates a design that’s enjoyable, comfortable, and easy to interact with.

How do you use white space in your designs? Do you have any tips to add to the list? Tell us in the comments below.

All photography in this article was shot in-house at Flywheel.

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The way you present information on your website is crucial to its success. This is especially true for businesses, where the way you convey information can affect your sales and conversions. There are plenty of ways to communicate with your visitors, but one of the most effective is by using images.

As the saying goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This idiom is as true for websites as it is for art. Using images enables you to communicate and explain concepts more effectively than by just using text. In turn, this will lead to increased conversions and improved sales.

In this post, we’ll introduce you to the importance of using images on your company website. We’ll then share five ways to use images most effectively, as well as five tools – including a WordPress gallery plugin – you can use to improve your site’s images. Let’s get started!

The importance of suitable images on your company website
Popular and trusted websites such as HubSpot use images to draw attention and increase user engagement.

Your site probably already contains a fair amount of images, but it’s important that you’re using them right. While images can be used to break up content and offer context, they can be used for so much more.

Optimizing your image usage comes with several benefits. Most importantly, they can improve the user experience of your site, as they offer context and improve the flow of content.

Images can also be used to highlight products and steer users toward important areas of your site. They’re also great for communicating complex concepts in a way that’s easily understandable.

As you can see, the way you use images on your site can have a significant impact. In turn, a growing audience and improved user experience will ultimately result in increased sales and conversions.

5 image tools to use on your company website

Before we get into how to use images effectively, let’s discuss some key tools for displaying them.

1. NextGEN Gallery

One of the most popular WordPress gallery plugins available, NextGEN Gallery provides you with practically everything you need to add beautiful images to your website. Once installed, you can create eye-catching image galleries and add them to any page or post.

The plugin includes 12 gallery display styles, a full collection of tools to help with eCommerce, and even social options, such as commenting and sharing.

The plugin version is free, and it includes two gallery display types and album styles. There are also two premium versions of the plugin to choose from: NextGEN Plus and NextGEN Pro. At $79 and $99 respectively, you’ll gain access to premium support and unlock all gallery and lightbox extensions. With Pro, you’ll also receive access to extended eCommerce and social features.

2. TinyPNG

TinyPNG is a popular web tool that enables you to compress your images, which helps to improve site speed. As a result, you’ll improve UX for all site visitors, while providing them with crisp, beautiful images.

While the website is a great tool to use, the TinyPNG WordPress plugin makes the optimization process even simpler. This will automatically compress all uploaded images with no file size limit, so you can upload original images and let TinyPNG take care of the rest. Even pre-uploaded images in your Media Library can be optimized with the bulk optimization option.

The website tool and plugin are free. However, the plugin includes a monthly limit of 100 images. To increase this, you’ll need to purchase extra “credits.”

3. Smart Slider 3

There are various ways to incorporate images onto your site. Using a slider enables you to display several images in one space in a visually striking way. 

Smart Slider 3 is an image slider plugin that creates beautiful and functional slideshows. You can create sliders in minutes with the use of pre-built designs, which you can personalize with background animations and transitions.

With sliders, you can group your images together and display them wherever you want. For example, you can create a slideshow of product images that you display on each landing page. This enables you to share a variety of images without cluttering the page.

The free plugin includes an array of premium-style features. However, for just $25 you can upgrade and expand its functionality.

4. Landscape

Using images on your social media platforms is just as important as employing them on your website. With Landscape, a free web tool created by Sprout Social, you can do just that.

Landscape is a social media image resizer. You simply upload your images and choose the social platform you’re using. Landscape will then resize the images appropriately, and help you crop them.

This is a great tool to use for your social media. By uploading pre-sized images for each platform to your website, your readers can easily share them without hassle.

5. Regenerate Thumbnails

Thumbnails are reduced-sized versions of pictures that are automatically generated when you upload an image.

With Regenerate Thumbnails, you can create new thumbnails from your existing images. This ensures you’ll see the best version of your image attachments in the WordPress Media Library, and it even optimizes your post and page feature images. This plugin also enables you to delete unused thumbnails.

5 key ways to use images on your company site to increase sales and conversions

Using quality images on your site is important. How you do so, however, will impact their effectiveness. Let’s take a closer look at five ways to use images on your company site to increase sales and conversions.

1.  Evoke an emotional response from visitors

While many would like to believe otherwise, we’re often ruled more by emotion than logic. In fact, emotions are a key factor in our purchasing decisions, and as such, it’s an important tool to leverage.

Written content is a great way to evoke emotions, but images can be just as effective (if not more so) when used correctly. For example: 

  • Use human-focused images. Humans are essentially trained to interpret the facial expressions of other humans. You can use this to your advantage to set the tone and make your site seem more friendly and personal.
  • Use images that highlight your target audience. For example, if your target audience is 20-something woman, include young women in images on your site where possible. This will help your reader relate to your brand.

When choosing images for your site, it helps to consider the emotions that have compelled you to make online purchases in the past. By putting yourself in the place of your consumers, you’ll get a better idea of what works best.

2. Draw attention to your products

Products and services are your company’s bread and butter, so it’s important to draw attention to them. By using well-placed images, you can draw the eye of visitors to your products and increase the chances of a conversion.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Use various image placements. Utilizing different image placements – such as hero images – can help guide your visitor’s eye where you want them to look. As humans can process images very quickly – as quick as 13 milliseconds – this enables you to take advantage of multiple placements on one page.
  • Incorporate context. Show your products in their natural element, as they’re likely to be used. Highlight its uses by featuring your product in contextual settings.

In short, we’re naturally attracted to visual elements. By using them on your website (and, more specifically, on your product pages), you can make them more desirable to your visitors.

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Anderson Creative is a boutique, independent design and branding firm bridging the gap between art and business just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. They love brand development, creating identity systems, and bringing brands to life online. Their go-to work is design and branding, including front-end web/WordPress design and UI/UX.

Each year, the team chooses a new theme as the foundation of their work. It all started when the founder/creative director, Arin, went from a one-person consultancy to a full design firm in 2015. These annual concepts emerge out of conversations about what they’ve done the past year, what trends are emerging, and how they can tie their mission, to bridge the gap between art and business, into those conversations.

These changing themes are a driving force for client work, but it’s a delicate balance. The theme becomes more of a foundation for thought throughout the year that helps address client challenges while remaining true to the Anderson Creative vision.

“When we started this 3 years ago, we found that it can be really easy to lose what a client needs, in favor of what they want. It’s not always easy to fight for great work, and the world of design comes with so much subjectivity and grey area. There aren’t a ton of industries that play in this grey area, so in a way we aren’t just designers or brand developers, we are educators. We are constantly teaching our clients how their brands can live, and thrive, in the grey area. The concepts are simply a launching pad for creativity.”

-Arin Anderson, founder and creative director at Anderson Creative

To get a feel for the Anderson Creative process, let’s dive into some of their past themes.

2015-2016

The work smart monsters explored the idea that individually they were good, but they were best as a team. This theme also played into finding a brand’s personality and owning it. Stylistically, it involved advanced iconography, illustration, and hand lettering, which were all making a comeback in 2015.

2016-2017

This mixed media collage addressed the idea of creative breaks, and featured several projects the team created during these creative sessions. Arin strongly believes in the importance of integrating these daily breaks to keep everyone fresh, motivated, and inspired.

2017-2018

This year’s concept explores the balance between the mechanical processes of design in the digital space and the life and art behind them. Arin and her team coin it as “beauty in the binary.” They’re creating a new space of form and function to remind the world that there are people behind the screens and life behind the designs.

Arin’s advice for other agencies and creatives is to make something that can grow with you. Create something that can be added to, further explored, and developed over time. Embrace the evolution of your concepts and use them as a foundation for individual and team growth. Encourage your team to explore the concept in a different way, use it to try out new techniques, use new tools, and challenge each other.

“We love working with Flywheel because it allows us to really focus on what we are good at and not worry about the rest. It allows us to give extra attention to detail and collaborate with our clients in a really cool way.”

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