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May 14 2013


The Benefits of Using a Tumblr Corporate Blog

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Tumblr is an online social network for blogging and connecting with other users. It is easy to post new photos and reblog what others have posted. I really like this system because of the Dashboard UI, which displays all the latest reblogs from everybody you follow. It is much different than Facebook or Twitter and you can share all types of media, from text to videos and audio too.

designmag flickr photo tumblr network interface

But what about the option of using a Tumblr blog for your company? The idea is very popular among new startups which are not interested in hosting their blog locally. This provides an external resource for managing company updates. And users who are on Tumblr may follow your blog to keep themselves in the loop with new posts. I’ll share just a few benefits to using a Tumblr blog and why it may be a good choice for your company.

External Hosting

The concerns of keeping your website up is a more hassle-free way to live. Granted this also comes with the burden of nervousness when Tumblr is having server issues or shuts down for maintenance. But it still gives you a distinct freedom which cannot be applied to managing your own blog.

I think that founders and company CEOs need to decide what their priorities are based on. Would you rather have your own internal team of server administrators to keep your website online? Or even if you want to pay a 3rd party webhosting company, you may still need to handle your own local data backups and renewals for the domains & hosting package. Tumblr is completely free and even offers a custom subdomain if you don’t have your own.

open working space tumblr layout loft offices

The external service also means you are not constantly working to keep the site updated. When WordPress releases a new version you should consider updating to patch any vulnerabilities or security holes. The same goes for plugins and other WP themes which receive updates. Just remember that while Tumblr can manage a good portion of the nitty-gritty tech stuff, this will remove a lot of control from your team.

Large Existing Memberbase

Consider the amount of people who use Tumblr on a daily basis. Many of these people run 2 or more blogs from the same account! They are constantly checking for new posts and updating with new content, which brings in more users to the network.

When you launch your company blog on Tumblr you can start following similar accounts related to your own interests. People will often check their new followers and follow back if they like your blog or product. Since the company blog will not require a whole lot of marketing, you can use this large network to your own advantage. Do not be afraid of reaching out to other members and letting them know about what you are creating.

Advanced Publishing Features

In comparison to WordPress you can have access to a lot of new features. The Tumblr backend is magnificent for allowing users to upload and store photos, smaller videos, audio files, and photo galleries. WordPress may be customized to handle these post types but it will take a lot more work.

tumblr photo logo paint illustration

Overall I think that Tumblr is a great choice if you know how to use it. Their services are completely free and you have the ability to redirect onto your own custom domain name. It is a fantastic option since your users will not notice much of a difference. And the people who are using Tumblr may now follow your blog to keep updated on all your new company posts.


I feel that Tumblr is a generally misunderstood network. There are so many various purposes and uses for their functionality. And because of this we can see a major divide between users in the overall member base. However it is worth your time to learn the system and see how it can give you a stress-free alternative to writing blog posts. If you have similar ideas or questions feel free to share with us in the discussion area below.

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August 22 2012


How to Properly Use Instagram and Pinterest For Your Company

After the first two Etiquette Guides for Facebook and Twitter, I’ve decided to also tell you something about two other services which, although popular, are quite new to the market: Instagram and Pinterest. If you find them difficult to use in such a way that your company will benefit, this article will most likely answer your questions and help you make better use of these two underdogs.

What’s Instagram

You’ve probably heard about Facebook buying Instagram for a billion dollars some months ago, news that was a hit in the stands for many weeks. With more than 15 million users signing up in the past year and more than 400 million photos uploaded, Instagram might have been able to put a dent in Facebook’s hopes of internet domination. So Zuckerberg decided to buy the small company with only 13 employees. It was not the features of the app, but the database of people Facebook bought that defends this astounding price. Instagram might have become more than just a photo sharing app with a reported number of 26 new pictures uploaded every second and with a new user signing up every second.

Apparently, Facebook bought Instagram for $300 million in cash and 23 million in shares. And with the updated stock values, Instagram is somehow short of $300 million.

Basically what Instagram does is simple: it allows you to take photos with your smartphone, apply filters and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and other networks. Basically it does nothing more than you could do with other apps – so again, its power is translated by the number of registered users.

Who uses it?

Instagram is used by a number of companies, news channels, sports teams and so on. Almost everybody with an iPhone or an Android-based device uses Facebook’s app.

What companies like is that for every time you check-in on Facebook, you advertise them. Every time you write something about them on Twitter, you advertise them. And every time you take a photo of a product and share it with Instagram, you advertise them yet again. This is the way people tell stories nowadays. It is much easier to post a picture of a product than trying to describe it. And this is why Instagram is so powerful. And when you will go by a Starbucks and will see a Cafe Latte in the window, you will remember the picture posted by your friend on Instagram and might go in to try it yourself. And you know what the funny part is? You might post a picture of the same Latte again.

Other big companies use Instagram to run contests of submitted consumer images, such as General Electric. Thousands of people submitted their picture and hoped to win. And all of this just to win a trip to Wales where you had to take pictures of an aviation facility. The results of the #GEInspiredMe campaign were incredible compared to the prize.

Some other companies use Instagram to tell consumers more about their inside workings or to introduce new products. Engaging customers is probably the best bet a company has with Instagram.

What about you?

Now you could say that other companies were successful in using Instagram because they already have a huge database of followers. And I have to agree. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. Some tips for you? Sure, here they are:

  1. Decide on what you want to do. By just starting and posting random pictures of random things won’t make you successful. You need to know from the beginning what it is you want to do and ONLY do that thing. Have a plan. It can be showing the world how you design a website and the whole process behind it; it can be showing how you relax on your lunch breaks; it can be how your small company employees have fun on their breaks; it can be literally anything. But let it be something interesting, something part of a routine, something you will be able to share about in the following days.
  2. Establish a posting routine. When you own a blog, it is a good idea to get your readers used to a posting pattern. If you post daily for two weeks in row, then for the following two you post three times, this inconsistency might not please your readers. They usually expect something from you. They don’t know exactly when it’s coming, but they know it’s close. It is important to have consistency in posting, so keep this in mind when you make your plan.
  3. Get your followers involved. If you really want to engage customers, Instagram is one of the best ways of doing it. This is the way to ensure followers will participate and they will continue to follow you. Ask them to post pictures of your product and see what the results are.
  4. Follow uploads. While it can be very funny to ask customers to post images of their new sun glasses that your company makes, it can also be quite damaging if they get shipped the wrong product or a product in a bad shape. It is important to keep an eye on what people upload to assure that you protect your brand. If bad uploads are found, then always respond in a calm and helpful way and correct any misunderstanding. Do not EVER get into a war.
  5. Take quality pictures. You might not be a professional photographer, but keep in mind that picture quality is an important element of a good brand. If you are not good at taking pictures yourself, let someone else do it for you, or read some tips and tricks that can improve your skills.
  6. Connect and share. Integrating Instagram with other networks is crucial. I would immediately start with Facebook, Twitter, maybe Flickr and Foursquare. This way you can take images and share them using hashtags on other networks. Proper SEO will bring in many views.

What’s Pinterest?

The concept behind Pinterest might be a bit more complicated than Instagram’s. The basic idea is that you have a digital bulletin board and post everything you find interesting there . You basically have the option of creating and managing theme-based image collections (events, hobbies, interests and others) and you can like or re-pin other user’s content. The idea behind Pinterest is to connect everyone  through the things they are interested in using the tool.

Pinterest is, just like Instagram, one of the fastest growing social services in the world and can be considered a mix between Facebook and Twitter, which allows you to have lots of followers to whom you can share your interests. Although not as effective as Instagram, Pinterest has some advantages of its own.

  1. Spend the time.  There is no social media network where you will be popular right from signing up. You need to spend time on all of them. You need to prove your followers and readers you are an important and credible source of information. It takes months for even the biggest companies in the world to reach a high number of followers – and they will never reach all of their customers on social media for various reasons. Keep in mind that spending time to build a profile is important. On Pinterest you can get recognized as a profile that only posts valuable pins. If you own one of those profiles, it will be easier for you to move the relationship on another media and make the best out of it.
  2. Promote others. The first temptation for a new Pinterest profile owner would be to only post products he/she sells. But this is entirely wrong. Many successful Pinterest users declared that in order for a profile to become popular, you also need to pin tips, products from other companies and interesting news. If you only post your own products, Pinterest users will spot that sooner or later and might not be interested in your updates anymore.
  3. Learn from the elite. It is a good idea to follow big hitters on Pinterest and see what they are doing. If a huge company does something a specific way, there is definitely a reason behind it. Try to catch up on that and do the same if the strategy fits your target customers.
  4. Connect online with offline. Remember to always draw a connecting line between the online profile and the offline location. If you have a store, include some ads on the walls for your Pinterest profile (and other social media networks for that matter). And if you have something like it (and you should), then advertise all your Pinterest promotions there as well. Combining the offline with the online is a good recipe for success.
  5. Do you fit in? It is an important questions to ask when you sign up on Pinterest. Is your company really fit to use this particular social media tool? There are companies out there who are simply not a good fit for Pinterest because their target audience is not present on Pinterest. If you think the ones you want to do business with are there, then use Pinterest, otherwise try to avoid spending time on it and focus on something else.

Bonus: Pinstagram

So we’ve talked about Instagram and Pinterest..did you know that there’s a fairly new application called Pinstagram? Pinstagram is a service that lets you use and enjoy Instagram on the web and make it easy to share your photos on Pinterest. Since the two applications/services deal with photos, Pinstagram is a valuable tool to fully utilize Instagram and Pinterest at the same time!


Online success can be achieved with Facebook and Twitter – and it would be enough. But if you are good enough and interested in adding different networks, your audience can get much larger and you might get clients and contacts you’ve never dreamt of. Instagram and Pinterest are two of those underdogs who offer the goods only to people who want to spend time and learn how to use them. If you are one of these people, I hope this article inspired you to go out there and experiment a brand behaviour on two of the hottest social media networks out there.

So, let’s see, do you use Instagram or Pinterest? Is it for personal use or for a company? And how did you find these two in the first weeks when using them?

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April 30 2012


Why Does Google+ Bring More Business To People Than Facebook?

This is the link to the original article creator of this site, if this message appears to another site than 1stwebdesigner - Graphic and Web Design Blog - 1stwebdesigner is a design blog dedicated to bloggers, freelancers, web-developers and designers. Topics focus on web design and inspirational articles. it has been stolen, please visit original source then!

Google+, sometimes abbreviated as Google Plus or G+, is a social network developed and maintained by the tech giant Google. The network was released in beta to the public 9 months ago, by the end of June 2011. The full release came in September. While the network was supposed to be a strong opponent for Facebook, it was never even close to it. The fact that many people use it today is entirely based on curiosity and mostly on Google’s name and powerful brand and not because it brings something new to the business. Or is it…?

Google estimates the social network will have around 400 million users by the end of this year, while Facebook approaches a billion. Twitter only has around 100 million users while LinkedIn with 30 million users more than the micro-blogging platform.

But while Google’s last addition to its huge portfolio doesn’t bring many new things to the table, it is a powerful tool and it is arrogant to ignore it as it incorporates great features. Actually, after closely studying and researching behaviors there, it seems Google+ can actually be an influence on your business and bring you more clients than initially expected. This might be because of the more professional look and feel G+ has in comparison with Facebook, or just because some features are better developed. While G+ will probably never reach Facebook’s success, the truth is that it doesn’t even need to – quite frankly, their niches are different.

1. Communicating with targeted potential customers

Google+ incorporates a service called ‘circles’ which allows users to define the feeds displayed on their home screen and who can see them. Privacy settings also allow users to hide the list of members in their Circles. Everything is done quick through a drag-and-drop interface. Specific content can be sent out to targeted groups or individuals instead of everybody in your network. This means that the content you deliver will only reach the people you want to.

Image by Magnet 4 Marketing dot Net.

G+ Circles mostly replaces the typical “Friends” list you have on Facebook and allows you to define your own groups. The default Circles are Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Following. A definition of the “Following” circle would be “People who don’t know you personally, but whose posts you find interesting“, according to Google. Quite like Twitter I would say.

This function makes the platform valuable because it allows everybody interested in your services, posts or updates to follow you and stay in touch.

2. Easily reaching prospects

If you have a company, then you are also in need of clients. They are the ones bringing in the profit and allowing us to continue. If something is crucial, then reaching out to them is it. Moreover, the need to communicate with prospects and potential clients is very important, as it might as well be the difference between landing a huge project or failing miserably at maintaining your company on the lifeline.

The platform allows G+ users to connect with these people and more others, including influencers and people in their respective industry. This happens first because of what described above – everybody can follow everybody’s updates without needing a friend request to be accepted. This element is quite similar to the one on Twitter, where you can follow everybody you are interested with and interact with their content. You might ask yourself why use G+ when there is Twitter. Well, firstly, G+ does much more than just allowing you to follow people. And secondly, the user’s database is to be four times bigger on G+ than on Twitter by the end of this year, according to estimates.

Image by CubaGallery.

G+ also allows you to share information with only the right people, instead of sharing it with everybody who follows you. This is something Twitter does not allow you to.

Finding people on Google+ is also really easy thanks to the powerful search function. But more about this later.

3. The professional environment

Maybe the main difference between G+ and its bitter rival Facebook is the professional and business-like environment. Although possible for them to register, 15-year-old high-school drama queens simply don’t find G+ interesting. The same with Justin Bieber male fans from all over the world. Google Plus is clearly for people interested in doing business. In this matter it is quite similar to Twitter and LinkedIn. It just attracts the right crowd.

Basically this means on G+ you will in most cases find only people whom you have something in common with, have a company, are part of the same industry or share the same interests. And this will only get better with more and more people registering and being active on their G+ accounts.

4. +1 and the search function

Google added a +1 button few months after the beta release of the service and this only improves the experience. A +1 is similar to the “Like” on Facebook. But while the “Like” doesn’t mean much more than an ego-booster, a +1 helps the user much more beyond personal fulfillment. The more +1 an update gets, the higher the chance to be found through a Google search will be. And with Google still being the most powerful search engine in the world (and will remain like that for many years to come), this is a strong feature nobody else can offer. Linking the two services was probably the smartest move of Google+.

Image by west.m.

Users can get a lot of exposure thanks to the +1 buttons, which are available in everything that can be shared on the platform, including images. And while the feature is already incredible, bear in mind that Google Plus is still in its early development phase and improvements are likely to come.

5. The showcase features

Although Facebook allows you to do this as well, the capability of turning your G+ profile into a showcase portfolio is really well developed. Google Plus not only allows you to make it a visual portfolio, but also to make it in a written format like a classic CV. Again, some similarities can be drawn with another service – LinkedIn. You can say G+ gets the better out of two worlds.

Not only the pictures can be used in order to create a visual impact, but the “About” section is much more complex than on other platforms. It contains a big range of materials, links and details about where you’ve lived and how can you be contacted.

6. Google+ Hangouts

A strong feature Facebook and the other social networking platforms lack is the video chatting capabilities. Well, just for your information, even the US President used G+ Hangouts for a press conference several months ago. This allows you to communicate with up to 10 people on your network instead of asking them to call you or contact you on Skype or other service. You have everything under the same roof and gives Google a strong advantage over its competitors.

Bottom line

Google Plus has always been an underdog to Facebook and, in the beginning, even to Twitter and LinkedIn. But it seems people found the good in it and start using their accounts much more often. And while individuals still try to get a grip of it, companies and freelancers already use it to its full potential and land clients and projects through it.

Until next time, what is your experience with G+? Why it is exactly you use Google+ instead of letting go of it like many others do? Have you ever landed a gig on Google Plus?

March 24 2012


6 Tips to Stay Focused on Project Deadlines

Staying focused on your goals may be difficult at times as a freelancer. Not having a nine-to-five job, selecting your own clients, setting your own rates and deadlines and also doing PR work for yourself is quite different than being a full-time employee in a web design agency, where many of the things above are done by different individuals or departments. One of the most difficult things I encountered when I started as a freelancer was staying focused on the deadlines. And not only keeping my focus, but also meeting the deadline and delivering the project on time – at the end of the day, this is one of the most important things alongside the quality of your work.

You can do this by following some of these techniques. It is not physics, chemistry or math. They’re all easy to follow, therefore I think you should give them a try if you struggle with keeping yourself on schedule. As this has something to do with personal and time management, and not with the field we work in, it suits both designers and developers.

1. Be a perfectionist

Designers and developers usually need to hold perfectionism at bay, as we are creative individuals. All artists in the world have a tendency to try reaching for perfectionism. You need to know when your piece of work still needs more polishing, or when it is done. Wasting time with improving something that can’t be improved will not make help you manage your time.

Image by tom1.

Looking objectively at your projects is the solution to this. Also, it has something to do with the initial planning process. If you’ve done it right, there is no reason to go back and add something. Just because you found a cool new feature on the internet halfway through the development process doesn’t mean you have to integrate it. There is always the next project and it is probably too late to integrate something new in a current project.

If you always look for that perfect design (nothing wrong with this, by the way) you will find yourself spending more time analyzing then actually finishing the project. This needs to be worked out, as the client expects you to finish your work on time. Getting your personal feelings in the way of your work is also something you should avoid doing, as feelings have nothing to do with the business.

2. Pre-defined time for each task

This is what project managers are good at: Planning and defining time spans for each phase of a project, you need to have a solid plan in place in order to be successful.

A solid plan means working on a specific task one at a time. This will ensure you stay fully focused on the one task you have to do and therefore finish earlier or at least in time. Beginning with a typical routine is likely to wake you up in the morning or help you relax in the afternoon, therefore place them in the beginning or in the end of your work plan. Checking e-mails, Facebook, Twitter or your RSS feed are potential good routines for such times.

Image by Michael Dales.

I am sure most of us work best when we can focus 100% on the specific task in front of us. I am also sure about the fact that the ones who can’t always reach deadlines are good at undergoing the routines mentioned above all the time. This is not good because it interrupts your workflow and concentration and slows you down. Not letting yourself get distracted is where you should begin. If you feel staying focused is one of your issues, then concentrate on working only!

Taking breaks is something recommended because none of us can work for eight hours straight. Take a 15 minutes break every two hours or a five minute break every hour and this will likely keep you fresh. Don’t forget about eating and drinking during these breaks, as a hungry person will never have enough energy to work.

3. Have a daily plan

If you work on a freelance project, you are likely to be working on your own, so you don’t depend on anybody else. This means you can have your own schedule, as nobody will influence it. Have a daily plan all the time. Break it into small tasks and, at the end of the day, see what was good and what was not. It isn’t always easy to plan ahead, but you can use this to see where it goes wrong for you. You may even notice after keeping track of your program that you are very unproductive during a certain time span.

Having a daily plan is also good for your confidence. Keeping a close eye on every phase of a project will likely make you feel better at the end of each day. Most of us break projects into larger tasks and only feel accomplished once per week, or who knows how seldom. If you manage to do something every day (and keep track of it) you will feel accomplished more often.

While planning, you can also think of keeping something out on purpose. It is always better to finish more than planned at the end of the day, then to finish less. Therefore many freelancers are in a bad mood at the end of the day. When planning to finish a lot of work and not everything is done by the end of the day, there is a feeling of disappointment. This can’t happen if, before going to sleep, you notice you are a step further down the road than expected few hours before. This will also make you feel better the second day and will probably make you look forward to further developments.

4. Work breakdown structure

Having a to-do list might work well for small projects, but once you start working on a larger scale, small lists might not be so effective.

Image by bluegum.

The work breakdown structure (WBS) is something I learned about during my first year as a student. Breaking down more complex projects into smaller phases is a popular project management concept. If you have lists with large, complicated activities, checking them off at the end of the day is not likely to happen, therefore you need to break the work down into smaller bits. Having sub-lists with smaller tasks will be more rewarding for you at the end of the day.

Breaking work into smaller phases might feel uncomfortable in the beginning, but it is very rewarding in the end. The main reason behind this is to make you feel better about the project and the work you’ve completed and to make you look forward to finish it and check it off the list.

5. Larger scale management

Besides the small to-do lists and the WBS you do quite often, having a detailed monthly schedule is also recommended. Planning in advance can’t go wrong when you think of it very well. Scheduling routines is very easy with online tools such as Google Calendar, therefore trying this out for a project is something you should consider. Now I am not saying this will work for everybody, but being organized is the first step into learning how to better manage your time.

6. Reward yourself

This is something I didn’t try myself, but one of my co-workers recommended it to me. He has a reward for himself at the end of each week. It makes him look forward to reaching his goals and to the next week. Now don’t think he goes to Hawaii every weekend. His rewards are different, from small things like watching an extra hour of TV to playing video games, going out or surfing the web without having to work at the same time, to bigger things like taking a weekend off once in a while. He finds a different reward every time and keeps his work life challenging.

My friend also told me that if he finishes a task earlier than planned, he rewards himself again. Many of us try to complete the project faster, but he doesn’t. When I asked him what he does then, he answered:

“I have a strong schedule, I think about it a lot before submitting it to the client. If I finish a smaller task earlier, I take the rest of the day off. I deserve it! I never work more than planned, however I am also always on time with my work, so I never have to work more than planned either. The secret behind this is the amount of hours I put into planning and creating schedules.”

Bottom line

Being able to focus better on deadlines is something all of us are capable of; we just need to make the effort. Whenever I write an article on this topic or give someone some advice, I end up with the same conclusion: it is impossible to be good at maintaining your schedule if you are not organized.

Being organized is where everything starts. It is helpful for all of us because otherwise it is a tough job to keep track of all the things we are in charge of. For individuals that do not have a fixed schedule from nine to five, self-discipline is the only way to success.

Until next time, how easy is it for you to focus on deadlines? Have you ever had problems with delivering on time, or is this something you need to improve?

July 28 2010


Coca Cola – A bottle can be iconic

Coca Cola has been an example for good branding practices throughout the years because of it’s consistency over the years especially if you compare it to Pepsi. Coke’s bottle silhouette might be one of the most iconic symbols in the world next to the like of a Nike swoosh.  When you’ve got a good thing going why change it?

When you think about Coca Cola and their use of the Coke bottle, it’s the glass bottle that’s always used. The one with the nice little pop-top cap that is refreshing, crisp and better than the taste of it’s plastic bottle counter parts. Without knowing where the bottle has come we’re not sure where the bottle could go in the future. Here is a look at some of the uses of the bottle designs and stylings over the years.

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Coca Cola – A bottle can be iconic

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