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Your website is coming along nicely. You have a lot of the basics down: a home page, an about page and a contact page. But there’s one other often-overlooked page that plays a key role in your visitor’s transition from casual browser to customer — or even brand advocate. That’s your FAQ page, also known as frequently asked questions, help or support.

What is an FAQ page?

Your FAQ page is a well-organized collection of valuable, honest answers to questions that customers (and partners) ask about your products and services.

While your about page focuses on stories about your brand and company — such as how you got started and what you stand for — your FAQ page focuses specifically on questions about your products and operations, from product contents to shipping timelines to return or refund policies.

Editor’s note: Build a beautiful website in under an hour with GoDaddy Website Builder — complete with every page you need, including an FAQ page.

Why do I need an FAQ page?

Many businesses decide to build an FAQ page when they, or their customer service team, gets tired of answering the same question over and over and over. But there are many more reasons to create an amazing FAQ page for your website, even before the questions become frequently asked.

When casual browsers visit your FAQ page, it signals that they are actually sales prospects.

 

By checking out the FAQs, they’re clearly indicating that they’re interested in learning more about your products or services.

Here are a few other ways you can use you FAQ page:

Earn trust with your customers

Proactively providing information on an FAQ page easily helps you build trust with your customers. If you’re positive and transparent in your FAQ answers, your customers get a good sense for how you’re going to behave in the rest of your business.

By publishing these answers where anyone can see them — yes, even your competitors — you demonstrate that you have nothing to hide.

Beyond the trust factor, you also establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

Reduce barriers to purchase

Many consumers today want to do their own research, not wait for a salesperson or customer service rep to get back to them. In fact, it can take between six and eight touches before someone is ready to talk to sales  or move forward with buying.

A well-crafted FAQ page can provide many of these touch points, and help move clients from the interest stage to the decision (or even buying) phase of the sales funnel.

If you sell online with an eCommerce shop, FAQ pages and help pages keep visitors on your site for answers, instead of heading back to a search engine. That increases the likelihood that they convert from browser to buyer.

Alleviate concerns your sales copy may not address

You write your sales copy to be as compelling and motivating as possible, but your ideal customers may still have concerns or objections you can’t address easily.

Your FAQ page can provide visitors the reassurance they need that this buying decision is the right one.

 

You can even address questions they hadn’t thought to ask. That shows them that you’ve really thought through every aspect of your product.

Related: 5 ways to use urgency to boost eCommerce sales

Improve SEO

Your FAQ page gives you the opportunity to target additional keywords and use alternate phrases to describe your products and services, both of which improve your SEO. This extra content is full of valuable information for your customers and search engines. It’s often picked up for featured snippets on search engine result pages.

Build your brand voice

Your FAQ page is a great place to practice using your brand voice.

Whether you’re friendly and approachable or buttoned up and professional, using the same tone throughout your FAQs helps you establish and extend your brand personality.

The key to doing this successfully is to be consistent throughout your website and marketing materials.

Reduce stress for your customer service department

The last, but certainly not least important, reason to have an FAQ page is to reduce stress and workload for your customer service department.

Rather than fill their phone queues and inboxes with the same repetitive questions, allow your customer service department to shine by helping customers with more unusual requests.

Your customers also will thank you for empowering them to do more on their own without waiting for a response from a busy customer service representative.

Related: 5 ways to wow with customer service on social media

How to write an FAQ page in 3 steps

Now that you know the benefits of having an FAQ page, it’s time to start creating your own. To do that, there are three important steps:

  1. Identify your frequently asked questions. 
  2. Write answers to each question.
  3. Organize the questions and answers on the FAQ page.

Let’s take a closer look at each step.

1. Identify your frequently asked questions

One of the first things you’ll need to do is identify your actual most commonly asked questions. The best places to find these are your customer service inbox, customer support tickets and call logs.

After you’ve collected those questions, consider the follow-up questions that someone may have after you’ve answered the initial question. For example, if one of your common questions is about shipping, you can follow up with questions and answers about upgraded shipping options and gift packaging. Ask (and answer) the questions they haven’t even thought about asking yet.

You also can strategically create additional questions that educate and drive demand for your products or services.

 

For example, a business coach might post the question “How many clients do you work with at a time?” In the answer, she can state that she only works with five one-on-one clients at a time, so each client can get adequate attention on their business. The exclusivity built into this question and answer helps drive demand and give the potential client the insight that they’ll be getting plenty of personalized attention.

Finally, you can turn common sales objections into questions.

If you’re providing an exclusive or high-quality product, such as handmade candles infused with essential oils, you may often get objections based on price. Your FAQ page can share why your candles are worth the higher price than they may find at their local home decor shop, based on the slower burn time and essential oil enhancements.

Overall, your FAQs should focus on questions that are highly relevant and drive engagement and conversation with your customers.

Don’t add questions that nobody would ever actually ask, like “Who are the awesome ladies who make these candles?” or “Man, that candle smells so good. Can I eat it?” While you may see those questions as clever or engaging, they also can be distracting to customers who have real questions they’d like answered.

2. Write answers to each question


Once you’ve picked out the questions you want to address, make sure to structure the questions appropriately.

Write your questions from your customer’s point of view with openings such as “How do I …?” Then answer them as the business owner using language like “We provide” or “You should …”

Once you have all of your questions written, it’s time to start answering. Be sure you answer your questions in a positive way.

For example, one of the questions may be about how you compare to a competitor. Rather than point out flaws in the competitor’s product or service, focus on the advantages to and benefits of your product.

When you start writing, you might find yourself a fount of knowledge, with answers flowing like spring runoff.

You might have to temper your enthusiasm a bit and focus on only providing the answers customers really need. Otherwise, your potential customer could get overwhelmed and move on to another choice. It’s better to be clear and concise than overly precise.

Of course, your FAQ don’t have to just be written content. Some of the best FAQ pages include images and video to help answer user questions!

3. Organize the questions and answers on your FAQ page

FAQ pages usually have a lot of information, so it’s really important to make it easy for readers to find what they’re looking for. One way to do this is to organize the page into sections, such as “shipping timelines” or “about the product.”

You also may want to integrate short versions of your FAQs onto specific product pages. This is a great way to enhance the content (and SEO value) of your product pages.

Broad questions that apply to all your products, like shipping timelines or return requests, should be part of a centralized page, linked to from your navigation or footer.

If you have a complex product or collection of product offerings, you may want to have a self-service help desk to organize your FAQs.

It’s also impossible to answer every question, so be sure to include ways for your customers to reach you if they happen to have an infrequently asked question. This may include a support email address, phone number, contact form or even a chatbot.

Get inspired by great FAQ pages

Looking for a little bit of inspiration on how to write an FAQ page? Here are some great examples of FAQ pages from well-known brands that can get you moving in the right direction.

Dollar Shave Club

This company uses a help desk organized into categories, such as blades and shaving products, all with cute custom graphics. Once you get into the category you’re interested in, you’ll see more traditional lists of questions like “What are the ingredients in Dream Hair Cream?” or “Why should I buy True Hair Fiber?”

Photo: Dollar Shave ClubPurple

Similar to Dollar Shave Club, bedding company Purple has categories for the nuanced browser, but they also pull some of their most popular questions front and center, including “How do I return the mattress for a full refund?”

Photo: PurpleVat19

Vat19, a novelty gift shop, integrates FAQs on individual product pages, like this one for NanoDot cubes. You’ll even find questions from the community — spelling errors and all.

Photo: Vat19Ancestry

If you offer a lot of different services, you probably have a lot of FAQs. Ancestry’s support page includes a search option front and center to help visitors find what they need before moving into common questions for their two most popular products: Ancestry DNA and the classic Ancestry account. They also feature popular articles that may not exactly be the question you had, but do give you new ideas on how to use the site.

Photo: AncestryHulu

Hulu not only keeps their support pages simple, they also make sure they’re timely. In April 2019, for example, they featured questions about how to watch “Game of Thrones” on Hulu (just in time for the final season premiere), as well as details on watching Major League Baseball. Hulu also personalizes its FAQs if you’re logged in, to anticipate your needs.

Photo: HuluCards Against Humanity

Cards Against Humanity does a brilliant job of maintaining its brand throughout the FAQ page. If you’re familiar with the game, you already know it was developed to be irreverent with a healthy dose of rudeness. That personality definitely comes through in one of their questions about returns:

I would like to return my order.
If you want to return something unopened that you bought within the last six months, we can help you out. Just reply to your confirmation email. If you bought your thing from Target or Amazon or anywhere other than this store, you’ll have to take it up with them.

Photo: Cards Against Humanity

 

Salesforce

As one of the largest businesses in the world, Salesforce takes a slightly different approach to their FAQs, with each product line (or cloud, as they call them) having its own FAQ page. The pages are easy to scan to find the question that you have — plus some you didn’t know you had — with plenty of links to additional resources including blog posts, eBooks and contact pages.

Photo: SalesforceNext steps

Whether you call it FAQ, help or support, adding an FAQ page to your website or product pages can help you accelerate the buyer’s journey from casual visitor to intentioned buyer.

A well-thought-out collection of questions and answers can save valuable customer support time, extend your brand and even help your SEO.

It’s easy to get started by simply reviewing your most common existing customer service questions and answering them on your website. Your FAQ page will evolve and change as your business grows, so there’s no time like the present to get started.

The post FAQ page: Benefits, best practices and examples appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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This post was originally published on Dec. 30, 2015, and was updated on July 18, 2019.

Why learn how to build a WordPress website? Well, here’s a scenario to consider: You run into a friend you haven’t seen in quite some time at the supermarket. While catching up, you mention that you started your own business recently and things are going well. She immediately responds with, “Oh, that’s great! I’ll have to check it out … What’s your website address?”

Panic. Dread. Cold sweats.

You see, you haven’t yet tackled what you view as the overwhelming issue of building a website. You know you want to use WordPress, but you don’t know how to build a WordPress website. Who even knows where to start?!

Deep breaths … you can do this.

Learning how to build a WordPress website for the first time isn’t as hard as you might think.

How to build a WordPress website — A guide for first-timers

With the right tools and a little know-how, you can have a great-looking website that you’ll be proud to show off. Here’s what we’re going to cover in this guide:

Ready? Let’s get your first WordPress website up and running!

What is WordPress?

WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) available, powering more than one-third of all websites. While that might sound highly technical, it’s really quite simple.

A content management system does exactly that — it manages how your content is displayed.

Basically, you provide what you want to show on your site, and the CMS takes care of how it gets displayed. This means that a CMS is fantastic for anyone who wants to create or maintain a professional-looking website without having to earn a new degree in computer programming.

There are many different content management systems available, but we’re going to focus on WordPress. It is widely supported, easy to customize, and best of all, free to use (with the exception of hosting — more on that below). WordPress is a great option for building a flexible, polished website without learning code.

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Who should use WordPress?

In short, anyone who wants an easy-to-maintain but highly customizable site should learn how to build a WordPress website. WordPress is often thought of as a platform for bloggers, but it works well for many different types of websites.

A small business needing an online presence to advertise, a family wanting to keep loved ones up to date with photos and news, and the professional offering their services to the public can all benefit from WordPress.

And yes, it works great for blogs, too.

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OK, but how does WordPress work?

Think of it like this — WordPress is your framework. Just like a house, you first start with the framing.

Think of WordPress as the skeleton of your website.

 

It is the backbone and provides the support for all the main functions you will need.

Next, we add the content. This consists of text, images and videos that you use to convey your message to visitors. In our house analogy, this is the furniture, pictures and items within your site.

Your theme controls how your site looks; overall colors and page layouts are part of your theme. These are your paint and carpet in your website house.

But, as you’re learning how to build a WordPress website, what if you decide you want to change your color schemes and rearrange your furniture? You don’t want to have to buy a whole new house just to change the look. This is where building your website with WordPress provides a huge advantage. Once your content is set up initially, you can change your design without having to recreate your pages.

The beauty of WordPress is you can easily edit content, add features, or completely redesign your site without having to start over from scratch.

You can expand, remove or edit content without any change in functionality. You can also choose to change your look (i.e. your WordPress theme) without losing any content or having to recreate your page structure.

WordPress can do many things right out of the box, but what if you want to add functionality?

This is where plugins come into play.

Plugins are additional features you can install (or plug INto) your WordPress website to add functionality. Think of them like adding apps to your mobile device; you can add capabilities to the basic structure by finding a plugin that does something WordPress doesn’t offer by default.

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What you need to build a WordPress website

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: what do you need to get started?

Every website needs two main components: a domain name (also called your URL, or website address) and hosting.

The domain name is how people will access your site, and the hosting refers to the physical computers that store and serve the website files.

A word of advice: stick with a reputable hosting company. “Discount” hosting can cost you much more in the long run.

Start by securing your hosting and domain name.

Related: How to buy a domain name in 3 steps

A GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting account would be a great place to start. WordPress is automatically installed and configured on these plans. And with managed hosting, tasks such as automatic core software updates, website backups and malware scanning are handled for you.

If you decide to go with an unmanaged hosting plan and install WordPress yourself, you can grab the latest version download from WordPress.org. Any hosting plan will work as long as you have access to both a database to store values and a place to upload files. We’ll cover self-installation below.

Once you’ve secured hosting and registered a domain name, there are a few other things you’ll need to gather to get your website up and running:

  • Content — What are you going to say?
  • Images and/or videos — Because an all-text website would be incredibly dull.
  • Theme — WordPress comes with several defaults installed, and there are many free themes to choose from beyond the default options. If you prefer a certain look, there are also themes available for purchase from online sources such as ThemeForest
  • A cup of coffee — OK, I guess this one could be optional.

What you DON’T need to get started:

  • Expensive editing or web-design software — Everything in WordPress is created, added and edited from within your web browser.
  • A rich uncle or family inheritance — WordPress is free and hosting plans are very affordable.
  • An advanced degree in computer programming, mathematics or physics — once you know the basics, WordPress is easy!

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The easiest way to build a WordPress website

The single easiest way to set up WordPress is to start with a hosting account specifically designed for WordPress websites. If you choose a plan like the GoDaddy Managed WordPress Hosting account, for example, WordPress is already installed for you.

GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting makes building your first WordPress website easier with a Quick Start Wizard, pre-built themes, core software updates, daily backups and 24/7 support.

Many hosts will offer a one-click option or simple directions to install WordPress directly from their control panel. If WordPress is already installed, you can skip the next section.

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How to install WordPress manually

If you are feeling more adventurous and want to install WordPress yourself, we’ve still got you covered. Before you can install WordPress, we’ll need to do a little bit of setup work. Let’s install WordPress manually.

1. Create a database

We’ll start by creating a database. A WordPress website is slightly different from what we used to think of as the “standard” site. Back when the internet was new (you know, when dinosaurs roamed the earth), websites were only a collection of files stored on a computer.

WordPress operates differently; your site is generated from a combination of files stored on a server AND information saved and accessed from a database. This means we need to set up a database for WordPress to use.

You should have received credentials to log into your hosting control panel, or cPanel. Once you log in, you should see several options on your administrative dashboard. We want to start by locating the Databases section; we’re going to create a database using the MySQL Database Wizard.

Follow the prompts in the wizard to create your database. You will specify a database name and create a database user with a password. When prompted, make sure that the user has “All Privileges” to the database.

Note the database name and username and password you set — you’ll need these in a minute.

2. Upload the WordPress files

Next, we’re going to set up the files needed by WordPress. Download the latest version of WordPress from WordPress.org.

Return to your cPanel dashboard and click on your File Manager.

Once there, click on the public_html folder; this is where you want to set up your files. Click Upload and upload the zip file you just saved from WordPress.org.

Once the file is finished uploading, return to the main File Manager window. Right-click on the file and select “Extract”. This will unpack all of the files needed by WordPress into your working directory (be patient, this part might take a few moments to complete).

Once finished, you’ll see a “wordpress” directory under your “public_html” folder. Click on that folder and select everything inside.

At the top of your screen, click Move and move all of the files into your pubic_html directory. You can delete the (now empty) “wordpress” folder and the original wordpress zip file. If you’ve done everything correctly, you should now have a file structure that looks like this:

3. Install WordPress

For the final step, go to a web browser and visit your website at whatever domain name you picked. The installation process should begin automatically for you by asking you to select a language.

4. Enter your database credentials

Remember those credentials we saved from earlier? Here is where you will need them. Enter the database name, username and user password in the appropriate boxes. Most hosts will use localhost for the hostname.

If you are uncertain, your web host can provide this information.

It’s also a good idea to change the default table prefix from wp_ to something different. It doesn’t matter what you choose, just make it different from the default. Click Submit to continue the installation.

5. Set username and password

Now you will set the username and password that you will use to log into your new WordPress website.

It is a good idea to use a username other than “admin.”

This is the default username, and therefore increases the chances of your site being hacked later on.

Select a secure password, or let WordPress generate one for you. Give your website a title if you wish, and continue the installation.

That’s it! WordPress is now installed.

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Getting to know the WordPress dashboard

As you learn how to build a WordPress website, the dashboard is where you will control every aspect of the project. Access the dashboard by going to “yourdomainname/wp-admin” in your browser. Log in using the username and password you created in the last step of the install process.

This dashboard is the center for all things WordPress. Where to start?

Let’s begin with a quick overview of the different areas you can use to add content to your site and configure WordPress.

The bulk of your website will be built using posts and pages. Posts are generally used for content that is updated frequently, such as blog articles. For content that does not change as frequently, such as an About Us or Contact link, it is better to use Pages.

Most themes will display your most recent posts on the home page by default (think blogs). However, you can change this setting to always display a static page if you wish. This option, as well as other options — like setting your time zone or changing the administrator email address — are found under the Settings tab on the left menu.

The Appearance menu is where you will control your theme and everything related to the visual display of your website. Here you can select and upload themes, create menus, and decide what will show in your sidebar using widgets.

The Plugins menu allows you to view plugins currently installed and add new ones.

Any plugin currently installed on your WordPress website will show on this page. However, only plugins that are activated can be used on your website.

Sometimes when you install a plugin, a new menu item will be added to the left-hand menu (themes can also add these menus). Often, however, new options will be added to one of the existing menu items.

The Media Library is where you can view, edit or delete images you have added to your WordPress website. All images, regardless of where they are added, will appear in the media library. For example, you can add an image to a post or page directly from the post or page edit screen.

These images will still show up in the gallery. If you add an image directly to the media gallery, it is accessible from the Content section of your pages.

Now that you’re familiar with the different areas, let’s do some basic setup work. Start by setting your URL structure.

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Setting your URLs by configuring permalinks

By default, WordPress utilizes a form of URL writing that is not SEO (search engine optimization) friendly. We want to change this setup so search engines will rank the website pages higher in their results.

Do not wait to complete this task — get it done quickly before you start publishing pages or blog posts.

There are many other WordPress SEO tips and tricks you can use later, but let’s start by setting your permalinks.

In the Dashboard find the Settings category link on the left rail navigation. Select Settings and then Permalinks. The Plain URL writing rule will be selected by default. We need to change that, so select the Post Name and click Save Changes.

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Can people really be making money on YouTube? This is a question many of us have thought to ourselves — after all, we’ve heard the success stories of how much money some of the top influencers make through advertising and sponsorships.

The reality is, yes, you can make money on YouTube — and if you are creative and strategic enough, you can earn good money doing it.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking for ways to monetize YouTube, consider the guide below as a starting point.

How do you make money on YouTube? Four revenue tracks to consider.

The tactics in this guide will show you:

  1. How to earn money on YouTube through the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
  2. How to get started with sponsored videos.
  3. Why you should consider selling your own goods or services.
  4. How to use branding, SEO and marketing to earn more money on YouTube.

Let’s dive in.

1. Join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP)

Starting in January 2018, YouTube changed its monetization policy to gain more control over their users’ ability to earn revenue through the platform. Now, users must apply and be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) before they are able to monetize their content and channel directly.

Not only is there an application process, but there are minimum eligibility requirements. The threshold to being admitted into the YouTube Partner Program:

To apply for the YouTube Partner Program, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your YouTube account.
  2. Navigate to the Creator Studio.
  3. Using the left menu, select “Status and features” under the channel section.
  4. Select “Enable” under the monetization section.
  5. Complete the steps and apply.

Note: As of March 8, 2019, YouTube notified users that the application process to be accepted into the YouTube Partner Program is taking longer than one month.

Once accepted into the YPP, you will have access to creator resources, tools and support. But, most importantly, you’ll be able to start earning money on your content directly.

Below are some of the monetization options for YouTube users within the YPP.

Earn money with AdSense

YouTube is a subsidiary of Google. As such, they allow users to monetize their videos using one of Google’s other products — AdSense. Google AdSense is a free service that connects publishers with relevant advertisers. If you’re an approved publisher, when a viewer lands on your video, they might see an advertisement related to your audience or content.

If that viewer clicks the ad, you get paid.

 

Advertisers are looking for channels to reach their target audience, and YouTubers want to monetize their video content.

AdSense provides a bridge for those two objectives. As it relates to the earning potential of AdSense on YouTube, it’s estimated that creators earn between $3 and $10 per 1,000 viewer engagements, which for someone who can generate 10,000 views a day can be $300 or more.

To start earning money from your YouTube channel with AdSense, you’ll need to have an active AdSense account. If you don’t already have an AdSense account, you can apply for one here.

There is more to AdSense than just signing up. You will need to make some decisions about the type of advertisements you want to display and the format of those ads on your channel.

If you want to block specific brands or sensitive categories, such as religion, gambling, sexuality, etc., you can do so within the AdSense dashboard. You can also dictate the ad experience to a certain extent by choosing the ad format on your videos or channels.

Related: How to use YouTube for successful digital marketing

Benefit from YouTube Premium revenue

While ads are the most common revenue stream for YouTubers, a second monetization option for YPP members is shared revenue from YouTube Premium views.

YouTube Premium is a service from YouTube that allows viewers to pay a monthly subscription to view original and ad-free content in addition to downloading videos for offline viewing.

The users benefit from a friendlier experience and YouTube benefits by receiving a direct revenue stream irrespective of ad interactions.

If viewers are not being shown ads, how are your earnings determined? YouTube distributes a percentage of its revenue to creators based on the number of viewers and length of time spent viewing your content.

YouTube Premium and its revenue-sharing model incentivize creators to continue to produce high-quality videos, which in turn provides value to its viewers through premium, original content.

Add the Channel Memberships feature

Do you have a highly engaged following? If so, you might want to see if your YouTube channel is eligible for channel memberships.

YouTube’s channel membership feature allows select channels to offer special rewards and perks to viewers who subscribe and pay a monthly fee. In exchange for being a paying member to a channel, the viewer might gain access to exclusive content, live chats or other bonuses like custom badges or emojis. These small perks provide additional value to the end user in exchange for a small, recurring payment.

Creators earn 70% of the monthly membership fee after sales tax.

 

In other words, channel memberships can be an excellent revenue source for YouTubers who can find creative ways to incentivize paying members.

Sell products with merchandise shelf

YouTube has also designed a feature for creators who offer merchandise to their fans — known as the merchandise shelf. If you live in one of the approved countries and have more than 10,000 subscribers, you might be eligible to start earning money with YouTube’s merchandise shelf.

This feature is pretty straightforward in that it allows YouTube channels to display up to 12 items from the creator’s Teespring merch page (this feature is only eligible for products created on Teespring).

YouTube is also incentivizing creators to push this revenue stream by offering an additional $1 per item sold through the merchandise shelf on top of the revenue earned through the sale of the merch.

If you’ve built a loyal fanbase and have a marketable brand, the merchandise shelf could be an additional way to earn money on YouTube outside of the more traditional advertising models.

Enable the Super Chat function

Lastly, within the YPP, creators can monetize their channels through another feature called Super Chat.

Super Chat allows viewers to pay to have their comments pinned to a live video or chat messages.

The more a viewer pays, the more prominent their message. This enables your followers to feel more connected to your content and gives them the opportunity to interact with you directly. As a result, you receive a percentage of the fee they paid to feature their comment.

2. Sponsored video: Become an affiliate or sponsor other brands

The traditional way of making money on YouTube has always been the YouTube Partner Program. But how do you make money on YouTube if you’re not part of the YPP? In fact, there are many other ways to use YouTube to drive revenue beyond AdSense and other YPP monetization features.

One of the best ways to generate revenue through your YouTube channel without relying on YPP is through the marketing of other brands: aka influencer marketing.

Most followers of YouTube channels have distinctly similar demographic and psychographic characteristics — for brands targeting those markets, partnering with a channel that already has a following allows the brand to circumvent the time and resources necessary to build their own, engaged audience on YouTube.

Instead, they can simply pay the creator to market their products or services to their viewers in an organic and engaging manner.

The direct line to a targeted audience isn’t the only benefit to using a YouTube influencer; brands can also mitigate the expense of creating content while also acquiring some of the trust that viewers have for the YouTuber.

In other words, sponsored videos on a YouTube channel are like micro-celebrity endorsements.

 

We know brands value YouTube sponsorships, but just how much? It’s estimated that YouTube creators can earn about $2,000 per 100,000 followers when working with sponsored videos.

If you do decide to go the sponsored videos route, remember that you need to follow FTC guidelines for sponsored content and mark your video as an advertisement.

Also, keep your audience in mind as you create the sponsored content. They are following you for a reason, and if you start posting too much promotional content or videos that are outside the scope of your typical content, you might lose your viewers.

Related: How to work with brand influencers when you don’t have a budget

3. Sell your own goods or services

Another way to use your channel to generate revenue is to create and sell your own products or services.

YouTubers can go beyond the merchandise store’s Teespring page and create their own online store through an eCommerce platform. Then, using the reach of their YouTube channel, they can attract and convert viewers into paying customers.

While most YouTubers will go the merchandise or branded swag route such as T-shirts, coffee mugs, hats or bags, the more innovative you are the better.

For example, if you publish motivational or inspiring videos on your YouTube channel, consider writing and publishing a physical book or eBook. Or, maybe you can sell individual consulting or mentoring calls to interested viewers.

When it comes to using YouTube to generate revenue through your own products or services, it’s all about finding creative ways to market your talents or goods. Think outside the box and look for ways to offer value to your viewers beyond the normal merchandise.

4. Leverage branding, SEO and marketing to make more money on YouTube

Now that you know how to earn money on YouTube, it’s time to look at how to actually succeed at generating revenue with your YouTube channel. While getting accepted into the YPP or finding sponsorship opportunities are nice, you should aim to create steady and sustainable revenue streams.

Here are three ways to do that.

Build an engaged audience and following

First and foremost, the only way you are going to earn substantial revenue on YouTube is to have an engaged and active fanbase. If you are not able to generate views on your videos consistently, you’ll struggle to earn much money on YouTube.

The best way to build a successful YouTube channel is to create high-quality content.

This might sound easy, but it’s incredibly difficult. Producing a great video takes time, strategy, creativity, execution and skill. Moreover, you must frequently post great videos on your channel. If you fail to meet viewers’ quality expectations, they could unsubscribe — if you go on a hiatus from posting videos, you risk losing the attention of your viewers.

Take time to develop your channel identity before you start publishing a lot of videos.

 

Emphasize understanding your target audience and be methodical about developing your brand voice.

By taking a measured approach, you can create content that is specifically targeting the views, interests and problems of your target market — thus, setting your channel up for success.

Optimize your channel and videos

Another way to increase your chances of success on YouTube is to make sure you understand and implement optimization techniques for your channel and videos.

Most YouTube creators are not SEO experts and might not even realize that YouTube is a search engine. But, much like its parent company Google, YouTube uses an algorithm to display content that it deems most relevant to various searches.

When you type “best domain registrar” into YouTube’s search bar, it’s using hundreds of internal signals to determine which video is best to display.

Much like with traditional search engines, subtle nuances can have drastic effects on your rankings for various searches. Understanding the basics of YouTube SEO can help you improve the organic visibility of your videos, which can help you drive more views and subscribers.

From video keyword research and exact match titles to tagging and strategic descriptions, invest a few hours learning the ropes of SEO for YouTube and continue to test techniques to help you improve your view count.

Market your brand and videos off YouTube

While the goal is to use YouTube as a revenue-generating channel, you aren’t limited to using the video content on YouTube alone. In fact, the best YouTube channels have active websites and social media channels where they distribute content.

YouTube is just one of the many communication mediums for your brand — not the only one.

Find creative ways to market your brand and videos on your own website and other social platforms.

You can up your digital marketing game with GoDaddy’s Online Marketing tools — from easy DIY solutions like email marketing to managed services such as SEO. Using these skills, you can grow a channel-agnostic brand online.

Entrepreneurs who can build a brand that is not dependent on one specific channel for revenue stand the best chance of sustaining success in the long run.

If you invest all your eggs into one basket (YouTube) and the platform makes a change that hurts your ability to drive revenue, you will be left out to dry — just look at Vine or Myspace.

Get started

By following these four revenue tracks — and some patience and hard work — you can start making money on YouTube.

Once you decide on how you’re going to make money on YouTube, you need to get a plan in place to market your YouTube channel.

Beyond monetizing your YouTube account, you’ll need to claim your social media handles, create a website that your YouTube channel can point to, and have a plan for engaging video content in place.

The post How do you make money on YouTube? Try these tactics. appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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So, your business is all set up on Instagram. You’re posting great content at a regular cadence and getting a fair amount of likes. But, you know you could be doing more to get more Instagram followers. 

As a savvy Instagrammer, you know that more followers means more likes, and more likes means spreading more word-of-mouth about your business. You also know that spreading the word about your business, especially on Instagram, is a great way to get new customers in your door. But first, you have to get more Instagram followers.

Get more Instagram followers
  1. Make your Instagram bio awesome
  2. Infuse your Instagram with personality
  3. Use effective hashtags to attract new followers
  4. Incorporate fan content into your Instagram Stories
Make your Instagram bio awesome

Find your voice and put together an Instagram bio that scores clicks to get more Instagram followers.

You want people who are likely to follow and engage with your business on Instagram to find you easily. This means that your Instagram bio should represent who you are and show off what you’re all about. It should also have the right link (since Instagram bios can only include one!)

Consider that your bio link is often your first introduction to a potential customer. In this example, The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans, LA says, “A Garden District gem — Established in 1927.” Right away, you know their location and that they’re a long-standing establishment in NOLA. Then, they point to their link.

The Pontchartrain says, “Book your stay with us!” ahead of the link. It’s important to tell your visitors what to do next in your bio. Help them take the next step to book with you.

They also included a hashtag in their bio — the popular and localized, “#FollowYourNOLA.” If this makes sense for your business, think about using a widely-used hashtag. Or, you can always add your own branded hashtag if you want to encourage your followers to use it in their posts. 

Adding these elements to your bio will make it easy to get more Instagram followers (and more business!) when users come across your page.

Infuse your Instagram with personality

Your business has a unique personality, and so does your Instagram! Don’t be afraid to use your authentic voice, incorporate humor and have fun with everything you’re posting to get more Instagram followers.

Instagram users appreciate authenticity. They want to engage with content that feels genuine and real. And, they’re astute at identifying content that’s either lazy or trying too hard. So, go for the voice that feels like you! They’ll appreciate getting to know the real personality behind your business. Your genuine vibe will only help you get more Instagram followers.

How can you infuse personality into your content? Try using user-generated content, questions and team shout outs. 

User-generated content

Have you started using user-generated content, yet? Your customers are giving you great content to repost. Take advantage and share their posts on your feed to get more Instagram followers!

Here’s an example from East Austin Hotel in Austin, TX. They loved a photo posted by another user, so, they shared it on their account and gave him credit in their caption by saying “📸: @ryann_ford⁣.” 

Questions

You can also use your Instagram captions as a good time to ask your audience questions to encourage engagement and get more Instagram followers. It can be as simple as “How do you take your coffee?” like the Graduate Seattle Hotel in Seattle, WA asks in the example below. 

Or, you can ask your audience for feedback like, “What’s your favorite dish on our menu?” or “If you could have the recipe to any of our dishes, what would it be?” paired with a photo of a fan favorite. 

Showcase your team

It’s also never wrong to show off your team. It gives your employees a shout out, and it presents a familiar face to the people who love and follow your business. 

Here’s an example from M3Yoga in Athens, GA wishing one of their instructors a “Happy Birthday.” You can see in their comments that their followers sent lots of birthday wishes as well:

If people searching for your business see varied content like this that incorporates content from their fans, interactive captions and posts and team appreciation, they’ll be attracted to your account. If they love what you’re doing, you’ll be sure to get more Instagram followers.

Related: 5 ways to upgrade your business’s Instagram strategy

Use effective hashtags to attract new followers

Hashtags create great visibility for a post or campaign on Instagram and can help you reach your target audience to increase your following. In addition to adding any brand hashtags you’ve created to your posts, (70% of hashtags on Instagram are branded!), use relevant hashtags that you know your audience already follows. That way, anyone searching for a hashtag relevant to your business will come across your page and could become a new follower. 

This Washington, D.C. restaurant, Rose’s Luxury, posted their newest selection of cocktails on Instagram with effective hashtags:

The descriptive caption is followed by branded, industry and local hashtags. They also break it down to individualized neighborhood hashtags to make sure they reach their community members. 

Branded hashtags: #rosesluxurydc 

Industry hashtags: #michelinguide, #foodandwine

Local hashtags: #thrillistdc #dclife #eaterdc #dcdining

Neighborhood hashtags: #capitolhill, #easternmarket, #barracksrow

Users can discover content by searching hashtags on their own or tapping through related posts for a particular hashtag. If they are searching for one of those hashtags above, they will likely come across the post from Rose’s Luxury. Seeing a great post like this might make them follow their account and like their posts. This is the kind of attention Rose’s Luxury is working for to get more Instagram followers through effective hashtags.

Related: How to hashtag on Instagram and Twitter

Incorporate fan content into your Instagram Stories

Take your followers along for the ride — repost from customer Stories to your Story to get more Instagram followers. 

Fun fact: 70 percent of Instagram users watch Stories on a daily basis.

Keep an eye on your fans who are posting about your business in their Instagram Stories, then share that content on your own Story!

Here’s how you do it:

  • If a user mentions you in his or her Story — the Story will appear in your DMs.
  • In your DMs, click the “Add this to Your Story” prompt that appears there. 
  • In the Story creation screen, resize the Story and add stickers, text and more to the background.
  •  Share that user-generated content with your followers. 

Remember, users are more likely to trust recommendations from strangers than from their friends and family. 

86% of millennials say that user-generated content is an indicator that a brand or service is good quality. 

Every time you share user-generated content into your Instagram Story, it’s like sharing a mini testimonial from people who love your business. And, like all of these ideas, it’s a great way to get more Instagram followers!

Editor’s note: Want to get more Instagram followers? GoDaddy Social can help you with all of your Instagram needs. Get started with us here.

The post 4 ways to get more Instagram followers appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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Our Malware Research and Incident Response teams work diligently around the clock to identify and stay ahead of the website security threat landscape—and we’re dedicated to sharing our knowledge and publishing our findings.

In the spirit of security education, we’ve curated a selection of our most popular posts and discoveries from June to help you protect your website.

Why your website’s SEO makes it a target for attackers

Sucuri eats, sleeps and breathes website security. We deal with thousands of hacked sites every day, and one of the most common attack scenarios we see are spam infections.

When a website is infected with spam for a long enough period, search authorities like Google or Bing commonly blacklist them from their search results or display warnings that the site may be hacked. This can have a significant impact on a website’s traffic – and ability to generate revenue from organic traffic.

Even small sites make attractive targets for bad actors.

Website owners who think their small site makes them less of a target may be surprised to find out that factors like website size doesn’t contribute to the likelihood of a website being targeted for malicious spam campaigns. In this post, we explain why.

So, what does a spam infection look like?

Spam content can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but typically includes spam links to legitimate pages or doorways that redirect web searchers to spam sites.

From a visitor’s perspective, spam keywords often appear in search results and web pages. Discount fashion, pharmaceutical, and gambling are among the most common types of SEO spam. It’s not uncommon for spammers create tens of thousands of pages on your site in order to rank for their keywords.

Why would attackers target my small site?

When a bad actor injects malicious spam on a website, they usually link back to a website to promote their clients’ content.

After a website is created, it starts to accrue domain authority and pagerank. New websites start to become relevant to search engines after a few months of creation, which is around the time that they become attractive to attackers.

By leveraging your own website’s domain authority and page authority, attackers are effectively raising their pagerank and increasing the visibility of their campaigns.

Another common reason for an attacker to target your site is to increase your spam score, which indirectly promotes another website. They may also leverage your website to redirect web searchers with doorway links.

How do I avoid spam infections?

We’ve got a few simple recommendations for you to mitigate the risk of a website spam infection:

  • Keep your CMS and software up-to-date.
  • Remove unused third-party components (like plugins and themes).
  • Choose strong passwords and change them regularly.
  • Use a password manager.

Read more from the original post by Douglas Santos. 

Why do hackers hack?

When a website gets hacked, a natural question that often comes up for website owners is, “Why was my site targeted?”

It may feel deeply personal for a website owner — but in the majority of cases, these attacks are actually opportunistic and based purely on automation.

Automation is key in today’s website attacks.

In fact, bad actors aren’t always so fussy about what kind of business you’re running, who your customers are, or how much traffic you’re getting. Instead, their motivations are centered around a few main areas: resources or financial gain.

Resource Motivation

When an attacker targets a website for it’s resources, they’re looking to leverage assets like your server, pagerank and domain authority — or simply add your site to a large-scale malware campaign. The actual target might even be another website on your host or shared server.

Some examples of exploits that fall under the resource category include SEO spam, pharma spam, and defacements.

Financial Motivation

Bad actors frequently seek out vulnerable websites for valuable data such as credit card information, contact information, and login credentials like usernames and passwords.

Examples of how this data is used include selling the information for a profit on the darknet, generating advertising revenue, or maintaining access to websites to collect personal information.

Sometimes, an attacker will hack a website just to prove that they can. Or, they might build their reputation and campaigns by obtaining valuable information from compromised websites.

Read more from the original post by Pilar Garcia. 

Website reinfections from FTP passwords

Logs are extremely valuable for website owners. While reviewing a website’s logs may seem like a daunting task for some users, they keep an important record of what actions have been performed on a website, and by whom.

Typical log entries consist of the following values:

current-time   transfer-time remote-host   file-size filename transfer-type   special-action-flag direction access-mode   username service-name authentication-method authenticated-user-id completion-status

This information can be used to identify important details – for example, what username transferred which file through FTP, and at what specific time.

Using FTP logs to determine attack vectors

In a recent investigation, we had access to the logs and were able to perform forensics on a website seeing frequent reinfections.

What we discovered was while the website was initially compromised on February 7th and cleaned up shortly afterwards, the FTP passwords were not reset. The following week, the website was compromised again and new malware was uploaded.

By using the website logs, we were able to identify which usernames were associated with the initial and subsequent compromises and malicious file uploads.

If your website has been compromised, we strongly encourage site administrators to reduce the risk of a website reinfection by practicing good password hygiene.

Read more from the original post by Krasimir Konov. 

Stay ahead of emerging threats. Subscribe to Sucuri’s .

The post Top website security posts by Sucuri – June 2019 appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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When building a marketing strategy for your business, it’s key to make your social media and email marketing strategies work together. Strategize well on both channels, and your social media and email strategies will keep you top-of-mind and at the top of those customer inboxes.

Why do social media and email marketing need to work together?

59% of companies have integrated their social media and email marketing channels, according to eConsultancy

Together, your social media posts and email campaigns can maximize your brand’s impact with your target audience. You can find new customers (through social media). And, at the same time, stay relevant with your fans (through email marketing). 

  • Social media platforms help you reach a wide variety of potential customers, and email marketing helps you build and nurture relationships with those customers.
  • Social media is a great way to spread the word about your business to new customers, and email marketing keeps those customers engaged with your business. 

90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness, according to Hootsuite.

You can introduce new customers to your business with great social media content, and then, use email marketing to keep them up-to-date. You can use both channels to give your customers incentives to make a purchase or come visit your shop. 

66% of online shoppers made a purchase after receiving a message through email, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

We have what you need to make your social media and email marketing work together. Start building brand loyalty with new and potential customers with these key tips:

Claim and optimize all social media pages

Take a look at all of your social media pages before you use an email newsletter to drive traffic there. You want your social media presence to look polished and professional. Claim any unofficial pages and optimize any existing pages you’re running (with great photos and up-to-date information).

Once you claim and update your listings, you will have control over your business’s online brand, voice and reputation. That way, when your email subscribers click to find you online, everything will be up-to-date and looking great. 

Collect those emails!

You can build your subscriber list with both online and in-store tactics. In store, try a sign up sheet at your host stand or next to your register. On your website and social media, you can add a space where interested customers can enter their email to sign up or subscribe. It’s also a great idea to use social media posts to drive your followers to your email list.

Get your social media followers to subscribe

Many of your social media followers are your most loyal fans. They want to hear from you and know everything that’s happening in your business. So, get them to subscribe to your emails so you can spread the word! Just keep in mind that you should give your social media followers a reason to subscribe. Let them know that your communication will include news about new products, and especially, deals. Most people are looking to receive email communication for deals and discounts. 

70% of subscribers open marketing emails in search of a discount or a special deal, according to eConsultancy. 

Create posts on Facebook and Twitter with links to subscribe to your email list and pin them to the top of your feed, offering incentives for customers to subscribe. 

You can give your followers a coupon or discount for subscribing. For example, Sign up for our emails and get 10% off your next purchase!

On Instagram, you can use your Story to remind your followers that they should sign up to hear news and receive promotions from you. A good caption for a post like this would be, “Sign up for our email newsletter for our best deals and steals. Link in bio!” (Just make sure you’ve changed the link in your Instagram bio to your email sign up link!) 

One post is not enough, though. Think about posting a monthly reminder on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Get your followers excited about receiving your newsletter and/or email campaigns. 

Send your subscribers to social media

Give your email subscribers the opportunity to engage with your social media content in every email you send. Add social media icons with links to your pages at the bottom of your templates. Mix in links to your best social media posts to keep those readers clicking to your pages. 

You can really pump up your best Facebook, Twitter and Instagram content by incorporating your posts into the body of your emails. 

Think about it: The people who want to receive email content from you are more likely to interact and engage with your social media content. 

And, every one of those interactions and shares has the chance to get your content in front of new eyes. 

A subscriber might see a social media post they like in an email, then visit your page and give you a follow. If they’re already following you, they might like and share that post with their friends. Their friends will see this on their timelines and, now they might follow you, too!

Interacting with both your email subscribers and your social media followers in a meaningful way can increase your brand awareness and drive real results for your business. Get a strategy in place for both your social media and email marketing channels to build relationships with new and loyal customers.

Now, go forth, and use both social media and email marketing together to bring customers in the door!

Editor’s note: GoDaddy Social offers a variety of products to help you develop relationships with your customers — including our social media services and our professionally designed, branded email campaigns. Get started with us here.

The post Make social media and email marketing work together appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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If you’re an entrepreneur and small business owner without professional design experience, it can be really intimidating to think about how to design a logo for yourself. Where do you start? What tools do you need? How do you make it look professional? I get it, it’s scary. But it’s also completely teachable, I promise.

Even though your logo is just a small image, it has a huge impact.

Learning how to design a logo lets you say a lot in a small space. A custom logo makes you look more established and trustworthy. Customers feel like they can depend on you to stick around and continue to provide support to them because you took the time to create a solid brand for your business.

Another perk to having a custom logo is that it acts as a sort of visual shorthand for your business.

Anytime customers and website visitors see your content online or receive a letter embossed with your logo, they know it’s yours. And since they trust you already, this just further reinforces that trust, which results in more sales and more sharing about you with their network (which results in even MORE sales).

It’s a win all around.

There will come a point in your business life when you’re ready to hire this out to a pro, but if you’re just getting started or have a small budget, then learning how to design a custom logo yourself is worth the effort. All you need are some step-by-step instructions and examples.

Related: Collection of resources for building a brand

How to design a logo in 12 steps
    1. Learn some custom logo design best practices.
    2. Pre-work brainstorm.
    3. Choose a design tool.
    4. Pick a font for your custom logo.
    5. Purchase some premium graphic elements (optional).
    6. Get your file set up.
    7. Stack logo text creatively (in black and white).
    8. Play with graphics and icons.
    9. Try different arrangements and stacking.
    10. Add a border or background.
    11. Rearrange and test at different dimensions.
    12. Mock up your logo for different formats and sizes.

Finally, we’ll go over some custom logo design tips for success.

To help get you started, we’re going to practice with custom design for a fake company. Teresa is opening up a wedding photography business in her hometown in Seattle, Wash. She’ll be using her logo on her website, business cards and flyers, as well as on custom printed swag that she’ll gift to her clients.

She’s in the wedding industry right now but wants the ability to branch out into other types of photography in future. The name of her business is Engaging Photography.

Ready to help design Teresa’s custom logo? We’ll do a little pre-work and then walk through this process using her fictitious logo as an example. Feel free to follow along at home.

1. Learn some custom logo design best practices

Before we dig into actual design, it’s important to learn some custom logo design best practices. When you see how some of the big brands handle this, it will likely spark some ideas for your project, too.

Try it with just text

One of the most helpful things to keep in mind when designing a logo is simplicity. This is true for professional designers and non-designers alike.

The smart option for a first timer is to just use your business name by itself in text form.

No fancy icons or illustrations. Start learning how to design a logo with a font that makes sense.

There are more nuances and decisions that go into adding illustrations or graphics to your design so if you dip into that idea too soon, you run the risk of having an amateur-looking logo.

One inspirational example of a logo made entirely from words is Coca-Cola. They probably tweaked this logo when they created it but it’s essentially just a fancy swirly font. You can get this kind of effect with your logo design easily.

I strongly suggest you stick to one or two fonts maximum if you go this route.

I prefer to pick one font family that has several thicknesses to choose from so I can combine two styles of the same font into a single, cohesive logo with a naturally stylish look.

Create in black and white to start (no color)

Playing with color in your logo is super fun, but I want you to hold off on this in the beginning.

The truth is that when you actually are using your logo out in the wild, you’re sometimes going to be stuck with a grayscale version. Either for cost reasons (color is expensive) or because your logo was snagged to be shared on social media and your colors were altered.

You need your logo to stand on its own whether it’s in color or not.

Another reason to start in black and white is because you want to focus on your shape and concept first. If you dive into color too soon it can be very distracting and actually makes it harder to hone in on a strong logo design because you’re depending on color too much.

You don’t want color to do all the heavy lifting. You want your logo to be rock-solid first, then add color later. Or if your brand is light on color, maybe it stays black, white or gray.

The point is, you want a recognizable brand whether color is there or not.

Just like with the Apple logo. You’ve seen this a million times I’m sure, and you never wonder what company it represents. No matter the color, this is clearly the Apple logo every time.

Keep it scalable and versatile

Your logo needs to look amazing whether it’s blown up huge on a billboard, or printed onto small flyers. If you use a ton of text in your design or overwhelm it with patterns and layers of imagery, that’s all going to become a muddy, unrecognizable mess when it’s shrunk to the size of a business card.

If you design your logo with variations of text and no text, then you can strip out the nonessentials for smaller usage, like when you need to turn your logo into the “favicon” that shows up in the tab of your internet browser.

Be sure to resize your logo and test it out at different dimensions to make sure it still looks great.

One example of a well-known logo that works whether it has text or not (and at different sizes) is the Taco Bell logo. You recognize this easily whether it’s big or small.

Watch your balance and alignment

One major thing to focus on when you learn how to design a logo is balance. If things are off balance in your design, then people feel subconsciously uneasy, and have trouble trusting you.

A well-balanced logo design feels solid, strong and trustworthy.

Portraying that balanced feeling is subtle but has a lot of impact — so it’s worth it to pay attention to this with your custom logo design.

One tip for keeping things balanced is to make sure you are aligning portions of your design properly. If you’re using Photoshop, turn on the smart guides and use the Align Panel to help with this. You don’t want to guess about where the center is on your design; use these tools to do it perfectly, easily.

Related: 5 must-know Photoshop tricks for beginners

You also want to make sure your fonts work well together, size-wise. Use all the same size, or at a contrast that looks nice.

The basic idea is to get every part of the logo to flow well together. Nothing way taller or wider, too loud or too quiet, or the balance will be thrown off.

An example of a nicely balanced logo is the Twitter bird. Note how all the curves are the same angle as one another. It has perfect symmetry with pleasing proportions and alignments.

Use your words (or not)

Many of the most famous logos in our lives, like Nike and McDonalds, are recognizable even without words included. So it’s easy to drop all the words for uses where only a small image can fit. You may be wondering how to do this if you’ve designed your logo entirely out of text.

Sometimes for long business names, you can just use the initials as the logo or a decorative piece that accompanies it.

Take a look at your design in the early stages and ask yourself what happens to your logo if you take away an element like the tagline. Does it still work? If so, maybe you don’t need it there at all.

There’s no room for fluff in your logo design.

As you learn how to design a logo, remember every piece should be intentional and deliberate.

One example of a design that works well with words and without them is the Adidas logo. See how it’s effective either way?

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2. Pre-work brainstorm

It’s important to take 20 to 30 minutes before you get started and set a really solid foundation for learning how to design a logo. Ask yourself these questions:

What image are you trying to convey?

When you sit down to pick a symbol that represents your company, you have to be very clear on what image you’re trying to put out into the world.

What’s your brand personality?

  • If you are in a more serious field like accounting or financial services, then a cartoon character doesn’t make sense.
  • If you sell children’s toys, however, then a cartoon character is a perfect fit.

Custom logo design is like choosing how to dress. You head to the office in your business casual clothing, not a clown costume … unless you’re a clown. Take a few moments to think about how your business would dress itself.

How can you represent your image, visually?

Now that you’re clear on the image you want to convey, think about what kind of visual best represents that.

If you run a yoga studio, then a lotus flower or bubbling brook might fit the bill for the relaxing feel you’re creating. If you’re a landscaper, maybe you want to use a leaf or a lawnmower in your design.

There’s no need to get too clever with this. Obvious works. And don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel, either. Take a look at what other businesses in your industry are using to visually represent their brands.

Inspiration is everywhere.

Related: How to design a killer logo for your landscaping business 

What parts of your name and tagline are critical?

Look closely at your business name. Is it really long plus an accompanying tagline — or is it short? Since logos aren’t just used on websites, you need to plan for occasions when the area it fits into are constrained. Like the pocket of a T-shirt, for example, or the back of a baseball cap.

Printed promotional materials have different needs from digital ones.

If your logo name is long, it’s essentially becoming a wide but short rectangle. What if you need it to fit into a square space?

Consider some variations of your design where wording is stacked so it fits well into these applications. I’ll show you how to do this with Teresa’s logo in the tutorial section below.

Where will you be displaying your logo?

You need to be super practical here. Is your logo going to be on a billboard? Or lapel pins? Or both?

Keep your logo as simple as possible so it’s recognizable from a distance or up close. Big or small.

And if wording needs to be included, make sure the font is readable at all sizes. Display fonts like fancy scripts are sometimes hard to read at small sizes.

Related: Website typography basics for online businesses

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3. Choose a design tool

The next thing you want to do is choose a design tool to work in. Your best options on the market right now for custom logo design tools are:

  • Photoshop
  • Canva
  • PicMonkey
  • WordSwag

Professional designers would likely use Adobe Illustrator, but it’s very advanced so I don’t recommend it for beginners. Canva, PicMonkey and WordSwag are excellent for beginners.

For purposes of this article, I’ll be showing you the steps in Photoshop screenshots.

Just make sure that whatever design tool you end up choosing can create crisp designs and has the ability to save out transparent .png files. And if the tool also gives you the ability to use high-quality fonts you’ve purchased, that’s even better.

As we learn how to design a logo, let’s look at these four design tools in some detail.

Photoshop

Photoshop is a “raster” image-editing tool. This means it uses pixels (tiny squares) to create images. This has advantages and disadvantages.

It’s great because it gives you incredible control over every aspect of your design. The disadvantage of using a pixel-based tool is the risk your design will look blurry.

Sometimes working with a large file to start with will help offset this issue. When learning how to design a logo in Photoshop, you’ll want to save it out as a transparent PNG file. This ensures the custom logo stays crisp and doesn’t look blurry in the final version.

That’s the advantage Illustrator has over Photoshop. Illustrator is a “vector” based tool (no pixels) so lines stay sharp and focused at any size.

Like I said above, it’s pretty complex so not the best tool for non-designers, but your end results will look more polished and professional once you’ve mastered this tool.

Canva

Canva, on the other hand, does work with vectors. So it’s a great choice for your custom logo creation because you can feel confident that your final exported logo will be crisp. No pixelation worries here.

Note that Canva comes with some fonts of its own, but if you want to use custom ones you’ve purchased, then you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version of Canva.

Related: How to use Canva to create branded images in less than an hour

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a paid program, and a popular alternative to Photoshop. It’s a photo editing and graphic design program aimed at beginners.

You can edit your photos, and create new items ranging from collages to social media posts and logos. There is a free tier but to get full use from the program, including the ability to use your own fonts, you’ll need the paid version.

WordSwag

WordSwag is an excellent mobile application option. Since it’s a phone application, (available on iOS and Android) you can create your logo from anywhere — no laptop required.

The advantage of this app is that it is built to arrange words beautifully, and that’s what you want when you’re making your custom logo design. However, since the built-in fonts and layouts are limited, there is some risk that your logo will look similar to someone else’s. I wouldn’t worry too much about this, though, as your business name is unique so chances are slim someone would mimic you exactly.

When you use WordSwag to create a logo, be sure you head to the “free photos” section because there’s an option for a transparent background there. You’ll need to pick that first, then add in your logo text. That way when you save the final file, it’s on a transparent background — a MUST for logo creation.

Related: How to make Pinterest pins on your mobile phone

Again, I’ll be designing our practice photography business logo in Photoshop.

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4. Pick a font for your custom logo

When you decide to create a unique one-of-a-kind custom logo for yourself, but it’s simple and text based, invest in a paid font. If you use a font that’s easily accessed by everyone else for free, there’s more risk that someone else’s logo will look too much like yours.

High-quality fonts used to be hundreds of dollars, but these days you can find nice options for less than $30.

One of the best places to buy your font is on Creative Market. And the great thing about this site is that when you are looking at a particular font, you can actually preview how it will look before buying.

Just type your business name in the box, testing uppercase and lowercase letters.

Let’s look at Stay Classy, a beautiful font duo option. A “duo” means it includes two versions of the font. In this case, it has a serif as well as a script version included in the package. And it’s only $22 for the standard license so it’s very affordable.

If you scroll down the page a little bit, you’ll find the box where you can type in your business. Let’s try it with Teresa’s logo. Type “Engaging Photography” into the box and it will show you a little preview of your text in both the serif and the script version.

Try this out on a few fonts and then download and install your favorite.

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5. Purchase some premium graphic elements (optional)

While you’re on Creative Market, take a look through the icons and illustrations. There might be something perfect to add to your logo design.

I know we were focusing on keeping our logo simple and text only to start, but I found this camera icon and since it’s only $3 there’s pretty much no risk in snagging it to try out.

Important: Make sure to always check the licensing requirements before you buy any icons or fonts for your logo.

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6. Get your file set up

To help get you started we’re going to open up a new Photoshop file. If you’re learning how to design a logo at home, make it 8.5 inches wide..

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Not every web design certification is created equal.

Many are built for those new to design—students, new graduates, and people starting out with their first clients.

Some are more technical, helping more experienced designers and developers understand specialized topics like front-end development frameworks and digital marketing tools.

Others… well, let’s say some others just aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

So how can you separate the wheat from the chaff? Which web design certifications will keep your skills up-to-date with the ever-changing design industry?

To help you out, we’ve put together seven valuable web design certifications to keep your freelance business competitive. These certifications cover a range of web design and digital marketing skills, from web analytics to inbound marketing and paid social advertising, so you can find at least one certification that’s relevant to your niche and valuable for showing off your expertise.

While most of the certifications do require some experience or study, each of the certifications can be completed online, and they’re all comparatively affordable—many are even free.

Let’s jump into our first web design certification—Google Analytics IQ.

7 web design certifications to boost your freelance rates
  1. Google Analytics IQ
  2. Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)
  3. General Assembly Bootcamp Courses
  4. freeCodeCamp Certifications
  5. Google Mobile Web Specialist
  6. HubSpot Academy Certification
  7. Facebook Blueprint Certification
Web design certification #1: Google Analytics IQ Image courtesy of Content Marketing Institute

Yes, understanding web analytics isn’t strictly the domain of web designers—but it’s certainly a skill that’s in high demand from clients. And when it comes to web analytics, Google Analytics is undeniably the heavyweight.

So how can learning Google Analytics further your freelance web design business? Basing your web design decisions on data instead of assumptions leads to better results for your clients. You’ll be able to uncover what works (and what doesn’t) on your clients’ sites, and improve their ability to attract and convert visitors. You can also find and patch the holes in your clients’ existing sites, saving them money on potentially expensive redesigns. Certifications from recognized brands like Google are also instantly familiar to clients, building trust and validating your experience.

The best way to demonstrate your analytics expertise is through the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) certification. The certification covers everything from setting up dashboards, tracking events, measuring conversion goals, and reporting site performance. You can also brush up before taking the exam with two optional courses covering beginner and advanced concepts, each of which takes an hour to complete. The exam takes an additional 90 minutes and can be taken online.

Cost: Free. Certification is valid for 18 months and must be retaken to maintain the credential.

How to get started: Sign up for the Google Analytics Individual Qualification right here.

Web design certification #2: Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) Becoming an Adobe Certified Expert can help increase your freelance web design rates.

Adobe makes some of the most widely used web design tools in the industry, and there’s a high demand for Adobe-certified professionals. Although the cost of getting certified for each individual product can quickly add up, becoming an Adobe Certified Expert shows potential clients you know Adobe’s products inside and out.

Adobe keeps close control over their testing process and certification curriculum. This makes it one of the rare certifications that truly sets you apart from other self-titled “experts” in the design industry. Clients trust that when they see Adobe Certified Expert on your resume or freelancing site, you have a strong knowledge of the products you’re certified in. Clients can also locate ACEs by name, expertise, or location in an online directory, helping to drive leads to your business.

Each of the products in the Adobe ecosystem comes with a different exam and certification. The exams can be taken in-person at a testing center, or online—individual exams cost $180 either way. Each test includes a series of multiple-choice questions covering your knowledge of the software—you don’t actually have to do any creative design work to pass the exam. Adobe also offers plenty of resources to help you study for the exams, as well as a free skills assessment to get a snapshot of your skills. Certifications don’t expire, but Adobe updates them frequently as they release new product features, so it helps to periodically retake the exam to stay up to date.

Cost: $180 per exam, one exam per Adobe product. (Adobe frequently runs buy-one-get-one sales, letting you take two exams, or one exam plus a retake, for the price of one.)

How to get started: Register for Adobe Certified Expert exams or learn more right here.

Web design certification #3: General Assembly Bootcamp Courses General Assembly’s boot camp courses can help you increase your freelance web design rates.

General Assembly‘s bootcamp has the most extensive and valuable courses on web design and development you’ll find anywhere. They offer extensive on-campus and online courses teaching everything from basic front-end web development to more advanced JavaScript frameworks, web and mobile app development, and digital marketing skills.

What makes GA’s courses stand out? First of all, the instructors are all industry experts, sharing real-world insights from top businesses like Google, Amazon, and Airbnb. The courses focus on helping students develop practical skills—hands-on lab sessions help you apply the skills you’re learning to real-world projects. This makes GA a great choice for web designers and developers looking to boost their skill set in a short period of time.

Courses are offered both in-person at one of GA’s 20 campuses or as self-paced online courses. The extensive knowledge being taught, and the experts teaching it, mean the courses demand a higher cost—sometimes reaching into the thousands of dollars. But General Assembly does offer free introductory courses on topics like user experience design and JavaScript programming to give you a taste of the full experience.

Cost: Free to $4,000, with payment plans available.

How to get started: Sign up for courses at generalassemb.ly.

Web design certification #4: freeCodeCamp Certifications freeCodeCamp gives you hands-on web design experience for free.

Of course, unlike General Assembly, certifications don’t always need a high cost to be highly valuable. freeCodeCamp lets you learn new web design and development skills for free, offering thousands of videos, articles, and interactive lessons, as well as thousands of local study groups from around the world at a cost that’s impossible to beat.

In addition to their free educational materials, freeCodeCamp is unique in that they let you gain hands-on experience by contributing to open-source software projects used by nonprofits. This free experience is particularly valuable for freelancers who are looking to build their portfolios.

freeCodeCamp offers six certificates:

  • Responsive web design
  • Algorithms and data structures
  • Front-end libraries
  • Data visualization
  • APIs and microservices
  • Information security and QA

The curriculum for each certificate takes roughly 300 hours to complete and includes five required projects. Completing all six certificates grants a Full Stack Development Program Certificate, signifying completion of roughly 1800 hours of hands-on training and experience.

Cost: Free

How to get started: Sign up at freeCodeCamp.org

Web design certification #5: Google Mobile Web Specialist Image courtesy of Google Developers on YouTube

Our fifth certification brings us back to Google. The Mobile Web Specialist certification from Google lets you show off your mobile web development skills and set yourself apart from other web developers.

Google’s developer training group worked hard to create a more generic certification that wasn’t based on a specific curriculum, with the idea being that such a certification would be seen as more valuable by clients. “Based on a thorough analysis of the market,” program manager Sarah Clark explains in her post on the Google Developers blog, “this new certification highlights developers who have in-demand skills as mobile web developers.”

The online exam challenges developers to write code in response to real-world tasks, covering topics like progressive web applications, performance optimization, accessibility, and mobile web forms. Completing the exam gives you a digital badge you can share on your website or social media, as well as a listing in a directory of developers who have completed the certification, proving your skills to potential clients and generating more freelance leads. Google even provides a free Mobile Web Specialist study guide to help you prepare for the exam.

Cost: $99, includes study guide and up to three exam attempts.

How to get started: Sign up to take the Mobile Web Specialist exam on the Google Developer site

Web design certification #6: HubSpot Academy Image via HubSpot

The line between web design and digital marketing is blurrier than ever. Clients need an online presence that can sell around the clock—baking digital marketing right into your clients’ sites can help them grow leads and conversions, and can help you charge more for your design services. HubSpot’s free Academy is a great way to start learning the ins and outs of digital marketing.

For web designers, understanding the basic principles of digital marketing helps you demonstrate the ROI of your design services to clients. Focusing on ROI makes your designs more effective, generating more value for your clients’ businesses. You’ll also help clients increase conversions without having to pay for expensive redesigns every few years, while charging more for valuable optimization work. It’s a win-win.

HubSpot offers a number of popular certification courses on their site, with topics ranging from growth-driven design to , social media, and more. As a web designer looking to expand your service offerings, you’ll likely find the most value in the Inbound certification course, where you’ll learn the fundamentals of inbound marketing, how to understand the buyer’s journey, and more. Each course is available for free, and most take between two and four hours to complete. After completing each course, you’ll also be eligible to add HubSpot certification badges to your website or LinkedIn profile.

Cost: Free

How to get started: Sign up today on the HubSpot Academy site.

Web design certification #7: Facebook Blueprint Certification Image via AdEspresso

HubSpot’s free course on inbound marketing is a great first step into the world of digital marketing for web designers—but as social sharing continues to decline, paid promotion is becoming a necessity for most clients. The good news is, Facebook’s laser-sharp audience targeting, sophisticated analytics, and innovative retargeting tools make it one of the most powerful advertising platforms on Earth.

Becoming certified as a Facebook advertising professional through Facebook’s Blueprint Certifications can make you highly valuable to clients and employers alike, proving you’re experienced with the platform and that you can help them reach their marketing goals. The Blueprint certifications are administered and proctored by Facebook, and are designed to test your proficiency developing ad strategies, measuring campaign performance, and troubleshooting any issues. Once you’re certified, though, you’ll be able to charge clients upwards of $1-2k per month or $100-150 per hour, according to this pricing survey from marketing matchmaker Credo.

Full certification requires a minimum of two exams—the Facebook Advertising Core Competencies exam, as well as either the Facebook Certified Planning Professional exam or the Facebook Certified Buying Professional exam. Each exam must be re-taken once per year to maintain the certification. The exams are challenging, and the proctoring process is thorough—Reddit user simohayha writes that “I like Facebook’s process because they want their certifications to have value. I am cynical to the point if someone tells me they are Google AdWords certified, I immediately think they just looked up the answers to the test. Facebook is actively avoiding this pitfall by making their tests as rigorous and truthful as possible.”

Cost: US$150 per exam—each certification requires two exams, for a total of US$300.

How to get started: Learn more about Blueprint certifications and get started on the Facebook Business website.

Remember, certifications aren’t all that matters

Landing the best web design clients requires more than just a certificate from Facebook, or a HubSpot badge on your website.

Most clients don’t choose designers based on which certificates they’ve completed. Instead, they’re more concerned about what you can do to help their business grow. To quote Jeff Atwood from Coding Horror:

“The certification alphabet is no substitute for a solid portfolio; you should be spending your time building stuff, not studying for multiple-choice tests. But that doesn’t mean they’re worthless, either. I don’t think certifications get in the way, as long as you can demonstrate an impressive body of work along with them.”

The seven web design certifications listed above are all great ways to boost your hourly rate, prove to clients and employers that you’re an expert in your field, and set you apart from the competition.

It’s important to remember, though, that providing value is not just about what you’ve learned. Make sure you’re demonstrating your newly gained knowledge by creating great work you can show off to potential clients and tying that new work to the knowledge and experience you’ve gained while getting certified.

Header image via Pixabay on Pexels

The post 7 web design certifications you can use to increase your hourly rate appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from Vito Peleg at WP Feedback, a visual website feedback tool for WordPress. Looking for more tools to save time and manage your web projects? Join GoDaddy Pro for free.

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Have you reached a point in your business where you’re struggling to scale? Are you spending too much time on providing support to your clients and managing their websites? Leaving you with no spare time to grow your business, and chipping away at your profitability?

We see this happen often in the web industry. Having multiple clients on your monthly support plan is great for sustainability, but trying to provide great support to 50+ clients (or even 5+) while trying to land more big projects can seem impossible.

What aspects of your workflows could you change to ensure you are serving your clients in the most efficient way possible? How can you alter your client communications to create a blossoming relationship, where you are working in perfect harmony?

In this article we are going to take a peek into issues that arise when your client base begins to grow. We’ll look at how to streamline your client communication and website management, so you can improve your client relationships, and have more time to focus on your business.

What are the best ways to communicate with clients?

Every person is different and we all respond to things in our own ways, so it’s difficult to say that one way is better than the other.

The majority of all communications across the internet are done through email, we all know that. Naturally, this is the case when we’re talking about design agencies, freelancers… anyone who is working in web design and development.

And why wouldn’t it be? It’s the easiest way to communicate, isn’t it?

It’s definitely easy for one client, but it’s far from the easiest when dealing with multiple clients.

There are many platforms striving to become the ultimate way to communicate with clients; to be rid of 10 different emails with a single point in each one; to stop unclear screenshots from clogging your inbox.

Unfortunately, these communication platforms are completely separate from your client’s website. They’re usually over-complicated, too. Sometimes they even make communications messier than if you had stuck to emails.

Visual website feedback clears up confusion

Wouldn’t it be easier to meet with your client face-to-face? So they can point at the screen and say “I don’t like that it’s too small”, or “can we change this image, it doesn’t fit”?

But, again, this takes time and scheduling. Either you or your client needs to travel. And imagine trying to meet up with 50+ clients a month… you’d lose your mind.

The catch-22 of providing ongoing client support

As you grow and increase the number of clients on your monthly support plan, it’s both great and awful at the same time.

On one hand, you can finally stop worrying about your — or your team — salary. You have more money to put into your marketing, and you can be picky with the projects you take on.

On the other hand, you are bombarded with support requests from every angle. You have a huge amount of websites that you need to keep up-to-date, create back-ups for, and ensure that everything is in working order.

There are platforms that aim to solve this problem. They provide automated backups and updates, which can ease some of the stress. But how do you deal with the 100s of emails you receive every month?

Lack of technical knowledge from your clients

I want to preface this by saying that this is not your client’s fault. They aren’t a web designer or developer. They don’t know why “above the fold” is so important on a landing page, or why that call to action needs to be higher up on the page. Why would they?

This can create situations where you waste time, trying to convince your client that the design you’ve created should stay the way it is. It can make it a struggle for your client to describe why they want something to be different.

“Can this red be redder?”

“No Jim, it can’t, it’s as red as can be.”

In essence, this forces you to teach your client how to communicate with you, and vice-versa. You spend hours trying to get on the same page, and finally, you are communicating gracefully about the design of their new website…

…but then comes the dreaded content collection, and you have to teach them all over again.

What if you had a visual website feedback tool?

What if there was a tool to communicate efficiently with your clients at every stage of a project? A tool that is intuitive to use, doesn’t require any technical knowledge on your client’s part, and you don’t have to spend more than 10 minutes to teach them how to use it?

We’re working on a WordPress plugin called WP Feedback that is trying to achieve this.

How is WP Feedback different?

WP Feedback enables you to visually communicate with your clients.

Adding a comment in WP Feedback

When you and your client are discussing their website, how do you usually go about it? I assume it’s done over email, with a few sentences, describing an issue. Maybe there’s a screenshot or two to give more clarity.

Sometimes though, your client’s technical knowledge about web design/development is lacking (it’s not their fault, this isn’t what they do for a living).

This can cause your client to struggle when trying to provide feedback. Maybe they can’t describe what they want clear enough. This leads to a back-and-forth through emails, or force you to get on a call and share your screen. (Then you have to walk your client through how to use the screensharing tool…!)

With WP Feedback, this is all removed.

Firstly, all communications are directly on your client’s WordPress website. They don’t need to sign up with another platform, or spend time learning how to use it. And you don’t need to add another account login to your already-gigantic list.

Once the WordPress plugin is installed, on any live page, your client simply clicks the plus icon and enters into “comment mode”. This allows them to hover over any part of the page to click and leave a comment.

When hovering over an element, the plugin detects the <div>s of the page, meaning you’ll know the specific point your client wants to discuss. Once a comment has been left, a task is created in WP Feedback. You’ll have a whole bunch of awesome options from there.

Viewing comment details in WP Feedback
  • You can set the urgency of the task, letting other users know whether a task is highly urgent or can be left till last.
  • You can set the status of the task.
  • It gives you the technical details from the user that made the first comment and created the task, saving you the hassle of having to ask your client for it should you need it.
  • All of the tasks are neatly organized into a dashboard in the WordPress admin area, which you can filter based on user, status and urgency.
  • It even has the option to take a screenshot of the current view, which is posted as a comment to the task automatically.
  • Any file type can be uploaded to the task and is also uploaded to the media library of the website.

As you can see, all of those long back-and-forth email chains are transformed into a concise task list on your client’s live website. They are no longer held back by their lack of technical knowledge, and you don’t have to spend time deciphering what they are trying to tell you.

You can demo the WP Feedback plugin here to see how it all works.

We’ve even included demo pages for the most popular page builders on the market.

Managing everything in one place

Both WP Feedback and GoDaddy Pro share the same philosophy: “Spend less time managing, more building.” What WP Feedback can do for your client communications, GoDaddy Pro can do for your website management.

We want you to be able to handle hours of website maintenance with just a few clicks. That’s why GoDaddy Pro and WP Feedback compliment each other so well.

GoDaddy Pro gives you access to all of your WordPress websites from a single dashboard, meaning you also have access to all of your client communications within WP Feedback.

All of your client communications are neatly organized into each website, and GoDaddy Pro Sites allows you to login with the click of a button.

  1. Add your client sites to GoDaddy Pro Sites
  2. Log into each client site in one click
  3. Communicate with your clients in WP Feedback

You can see all of the different tasks that have been created by your client. You can follow up on specific points, almost as if they are sitting with you, pointing at your screen and telling you what’s up.

Responding to comments in WP Feedback WP Feedback + GoDaddy Pro: Saving you time every day

When you turn your computer on in the morning, I bet the first thing you check is your inbox.

It goes a lot like this: You have 10 different emails from 4 different clients. Some are requesting design changes, some need support, and others are sending you content for the site.

You have to go through each email and log in to each client’s website to see what they are talking about. Maybe you even take some screenshots for your replies.

This is all taking up precious time that could be better spent elsewhere.

So what if it went more like this: You check your inbox and see notifications from WP Feedback that some comments have been added.

You log into GoDaddy Pro to access to all of your clients’ websites. Then you log into each one with the click of a button, go to the WP Feedback dashboard. You respond to the comments directly on their own website.

In the long run…

Getting monthly contracts to provide support is the best way for you to scale your business. But the time it takes to maintain all those sites can hinder you from landing bigger projects in the future.

With GoDaddy Pro, combined with WP Feedback, you can save time on the major processes of a website project: collecting content; getting client approvals; and providing support.

Do you require content to finish a page? Add a comment directly on your placeholder text to request content from your client. They can even see the design implications, like why the text has to be a certain length, without you having to explain it.

Your new design needs client approval? Your client can visually flag issues directly on the page, letting you know what they might want changed.

Does your client require support? You’re not just providing great monthly support with automated updates, backups and reports in GoDaddy Pro Sites. With WP Feedback, clients can also leave a comment on a page, while the plugin automatically takes a screenshot and collects technical information.

Not only will this save you time, but it will make your client feel taken care of, even if they are only one of  100+ clients you support.

Bottom line? It’s better for your business.

GoDaddy Pro Sites empowers you to maintain all of your client websites in one place.

WP Feedback empowers your clients to easily provide visually accurate and detailed feedback.

Justifying your monthly care plan becomes much easier, and you can use all of the time saved to start scaling your web design/development business.

The post Finally, a visual website feedback tool built for WordPress appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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Have you ever wondered how media outlets, bloggers and other professionals are able to write about major brands with such speed and accuracy? Most writers couldn’t do this without the help of a media kit. What is a media kit?

It’s the not-so-secret source of high-resolution images, detailed information on how and why the company started and even quotes to make the article more immersive.

If you know how to create and popularize a media kit, you can capitalize on its utility, and get featured more frequently and more accurately in the press.

Related: Media relations insights from “The Fourth Estate”

What is a media kit (aka press kit)?

A media kit, also known as a press kit, is a set of materials, images, content, files and information related to a company or organization (and sometimes, an individual), all organized for use by the press.

The “press” here could be practically anyone, from national news organizations to local bloggers.

If properly assembled and easy to access, a media kit can make it more likely that your business appears in published articles, and increase the correctness and consistency of how your business is presented.

Why your business needs a media kit

There are several advantages to creating a media kit, all of which focus on improving the benefits of appearing in the press. Being mentioned in the media in the form of reviews, announcements, press releases and industry-focused discussions is almost always good for your brand. It means more people will be exposed to your brand, and you’ll likely earn a link that passes referral traffic your way.

A media kit streamlines this in several ways:

Accessibility

Having a media kit on your website increases the likelihood that a journalist or blogger will write about you. With the details readily available, it’s easier and more convenient to write a feature.

Convenience

Making a media kit accessible on your site also increases your own convenience.

Ordinarily, a journalist might reach out to the leaders of your organization, asking the same basic questions about your company history and requesting quotes. If you bundle all this information together in a media kit, you’ll cut down on the number of people reaching out to you.

Quality

Putting together a media kit gives you more control over the quality of the content being published in relation to your brand.

For example, rather than relying on a journalist taking their own low-quality photos or grabbing low-res images wherever they can find them, you can provide a convenient source of high-resolution images, good quotes and other good materials.

Consistency

Media kits also give you a chance to dictate consistency standards for how your brand is represented.

For example, you can ensure that your company’s name is spelled and formatted in a way that reflects your brand standards (assuming journalists follow the rules stipulated by your kit).

How to create a media kit

So how can you create a media kit? Depending on what stage of business development you’re in, you’ll have a few options.

For example, if you have a creative director and/or a team of graphic designers, you could enlist their aid in creating a media kit from your branding and style guide. You could also hire a professional to assemble (or design) all the necessary elements. If you have access to your own brand files already, you may be able to create the media kit yourself.

Your media kit should include all (or most) of the following:

The story of your brand


First, you’ll want to tell the “story of your brand.” If this sounds vague, that’s because it is. Many brands will start by introducing the name of the company or organization, followed by why it exists.

If you have a mission statement or a vision statement, this is your opportunity to include it for media coverage. Other brands may get more creative in setting the stage for their organization, but make sure you don’t leave too much to interpretation.

Literal, blunt descriptions tend to work best.

Related: How to tell your story on your website in 3 easy steps

Company history

You may also want to include a paragraph or two about your company or organization’s history.

Some journalists will use this to provide context to readers, and others will mainly rely on it to fact-check. In any case, briefly explain how and when your company got started, and where it plans to go from here. If you’ve launched a series of products, this is a good opportunity to list and describe them.

Company location

Many businesses will benefit from listing where they are located. Depending on the nature of your business, that could mean listing the address and phone number of your headquarters, your factory locations or locations of your retail outlets.

If you’re going to launch new locations in the future, consider listing them as pending or forthcoming (if you want them to be mentioned).

Related: Local Business Listings —The easier way to manage your online business listings

Logos, branding and other assets

Brand assets include things like logos, taglines and signature elements that make your brand distinctive.

You’ll generally want to include high-quality files that allow media outlets to use your brand assets appropriately. This usually means including multiple file sizes and file types, and possibly different versions for different applications (such as a color version of your logo and a black-and-white version).

Related: Resources for building a brand 

Branding requirements

While you’re on the topic of your brand, make sure you specify how you want your brand to be represented, if you have specific requirements.

For example, you may require that your company name be lowercase, or be punctuated in an unusual way. You may mandate that certain colors be used in association with your brand, or that certain logos must be used in different applications. Be concise, straightforward and specific here to avoid the possibility for miscommunication or misrepresentation.

Related: A beginner’s guide to branding your business

Key team members (and bios)

Some companies will want to identify and describe key personnel who are relevant to the brand.

For example, you might list the CEO, other C-suite executives, your head of engineering, your head of marketing and advertising or your public relations director. There’s no right or wrong person to include here, so long as they’re relevant to your press goals. Be sure to include the correct spelling of their names, their contact information (if relevant) and possibly a brief bio for each.

Existing press releases and press coverage

If your brand has been featured in the press recently, consider linking to or providing those articles. You can use these as examples of how you want your brand to be represented, or as references for other journalists to cite for their own work. It may also make you seem more “worthy” of press coverage.

Awards and recognition

If your company has recently won any awards, or has been recognized in some other important capacity, be sure to list those credentials. It rarely hurts to get a mention of your accolades in a press article, but you’ll only get those accolades mentioned if you list them explicitly.

Social media links


Chances are, you have links to your social media profiles somewhere on your website already, or that you’ve made them as easy to find as possible. However, it never hurts to include them anyway—just in case a writer has difficulty finding them, or can’t be bothered to hunt them down.

Related: How to claim social media handles — and why you should do it now

Specific quotes (in context)

Assuming you put some thought into them, quotes can be a powerful addition to any article about your company.

Consider collecting a handful of quotes from your leaders, polishing them for press use and displaying them in your media kit. You may also want to diversify the quotes that are available, ensuring there’s an equal mix of both short and long quotes.

FAQ

If you’ve encountered confusion about the nature of your brand or your brand assets, you may want to include a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) section in your press kit. Here, you’ll be able to proactively list some of the common questions journalists and writers might have, like “where do I find more images?” or “what’s your company’s stance on ____?”

Samples

Depending on the nature of your company or organization, your media kit may include a sample of the product or service you offer.

For example, if you sell water bottles, you might send a free water bottle to reviewers who request one.

Though you may think of your media kit as a one-time effort, in reality it’s something that will require some degree of ongoing maintenance.

As you take more photos, develop new products or change company directions, you’ll want to update your press kit with new files and content. You’ll also want to periodically review your media kit for accuracy, changing location addresses as relevant and altering quotes for better accuracy.

Where to host your media kit or press kit

Using GoDaddy’s Website Builder, you can create a specific page for your media kit. You can format the written elements of your kit (like your company’s story and FAQ) and provide download links for the multimedia content. You could also package all these elements together in a .zip file and include a download link for it on your press kit page. Alternatively, you could host this content on an about page or a contact page.

In some cases, you may also want to put together a physical media kit, including printed documents with details on your company.

This is especially important if you plan on giving away free samples of your physical products.

In this case, you’ll need to include a “request media kit” link on your website instead of or in addition to your digital asset download links.

Media kit examples

It’s often helpful to see some live examples of well-done media kits. Learn from these companies and organizations, and consider modeling your own media kit after theirs:

Coca-Cola

As you can imagine, an international brand like Coca-Cola needs to pay close attention to how it’s represented — and has many assets and facts to share with journalists. Its press kit includes a list of recent press releases, formal company statements, bios for all its leaders, a video library, an image library, and a list of contacts within the company you can reach for more information.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn offers a number of assets on its press kit page including its logo and color patterns. But most prominently, it offers a download link where users can download all the requisite information for a press article.

JimmyCase

JimmyCase’s media kit also leads with an email address to contact for more information. It then has a short list of articles in which the brand was featured, and a handful of images for use in future articles.

Drupal

Instead of listing all the assets on a single page or within a single download link, Drupal has a series of links to other pages, with more specific categories of assets, like contacts, social media links, logos and photos.

If you’re curious to see more examples of real-life media kits, consider searching for one of your favorite brands followed by “media kit” or “press kit.” Most major brands will have a press page, giving you more context for how to put your own kit together.

Customize your media kit

As long as your information is thorough, concise, organized, and easy to find, there isn’t really a right or wrong way to put your kit together.

Do what makes sense for your brand.

Putting together a media kit is an important step for the success of your company. However, no one will be able to find your media kit if you don’t have a website — and ideally, one that looks professional. Use GoDaddy’s Website Builder to create your website in under an hour, and create a unique page for all your media assets.

The post What is a media kit and how do you create one? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.

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