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As a web designer or developer, it’s always important to understand what the client wants. That’s why it is strange how few designers and developers understand online marketing.

Understanding and implementing online marketing give any developer or designer a great advantage in the marketplace and promises much more of a long term reward than those that fail to learn about online marketing. This isn’t to say neglecting your designing or developing skills is a wise decision, but by combining your skills with online marketing, you can do three things:

1) Get more clients – When clients post ads for developers or design jobs, they often get responses detailing what features and formats the person could implement. They promise so many pages, or list how they are proficient in HTML5, jQuery, and W4C standards. This may seem like a great approach for contacting potential employers, but it has a great weakness.

Potential employers want to know what you will do for them, and what they want you to do is make more money. Employers want to hear that you will raise the number of subscribers a certain percent, or will raise their revenue. Wether you use HTML5 or jQuery is not of much importance to them.

There are plenty of good web designers that can make nice looking websites, but there are way less designers that know how to increase sales. Those that know online marketing will get the better clients, and higher rates.

2) Build Your Brand – The biggest problem for every freelancer is building a base of clients. It would be great for clients to just come to you ready to pay however much you want, but that is a fantasy. Or is it?

Building a strong personal brand online attracts clients by exhibiting your skills to them beforehand. This can be fairly difficult and requires a lot of perseverance, but there is a basic pattern. First, you build a popular blog, followed by establishing a decent social media following. Then, you participate in outside activities like conferences, and make yourself known about.

This path does two very important things for you. It establishes you as a reputable expert, and gains you tons of publicity many would pay for. When employers need work done, they go to the experts they know first, and if you’ve built a strong brand, they will know about you.

If you want to know more about building a personal brand, I highly recommend watching the TED talk by Jacob Cass.

3) Earn extra income – Freelancing is far from a stable career and anyone should be prepared for unexpected problems. That is why it is important to make yourself as financially secure as possible before the problems arrive.

One of the best options for securing your finances is to diversify your streams of income between client work and passive income. If you are already perceived as an expert in your field, creating a passive income shouldn’t be difficult. There are a slew of monetization options, such as creating and selling your own products or even simply displaying ads on your site.

It does take effort to create a product, and even more to market and sell it, but it could be extremely important in your future.

Think of it this way, if you want to run a local bakery, you have to be as good at business as you are at baking. Otherwise, the business won’t get off the ground. The same goes for creating a business online. If you want to be successful online, learn online marketing.

 

If you want to learn more about online marketing and the mistakes you can make while starting out, read more at 1stwebdesigner.

Most people skim articles until they find something that catches them. You could use a gimmick to grab people’s attention, but the best way to get your readers to read your entire post is to create high quality content with proof to back it up. Case studies are one easy method to get into a topic while providing your readers with quality information. They are also one of the most favorable forms of content on the internet and wonderful “social link bait” or quality links.

Creating a case study should be easy if you can write high quality content. By adding reasearch and data, you can make a superb case study.

All case studies are unique. Your experience on a given topic and the amount of time you allocate for creating content make every study different. You will have to experiment, but the more time you put in will probably decide how good your content will be. You’ll need to do a lot of reasearch so that you can disect whatever the topic is well enough for your readers to understand. True quality content takes a lot of effort and time to make something the majority of a demographic will be interested in.

Case studies have a lot of benefits, including increased website traffic, brand recognition, social link bait, networking and overall site improvement.

Out of the many benefits of creating high level content, especially case studies, one of the best is the creation of social link bait. Social link bate is “any content of feature within a website designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website.”

Social media has become ingrained in the lives of millions.  This has lead many away from Google and SEO over the past ten years. This is why link building is essential. “People will start caring less about links in future years because social popularity will become the new link popularity.” (Point Blank)  Google and Bing have even started including social media information in their searches. It also seems logical that Google will put in place a “social rank” system to compliment the “page rank” system many are unhappy with. With these changes, more professionals have seen the divide between research and data-driven results.

Social link bait is similar to regular link bait except it is shared by more websites. Social media is the most common platform for our demographics to share link bait.

To create social link bait, remember that it must be “socially sharable.” You can use sites like ThingLink for image optimization. It even includes a way to include links in your images.

Articles are simple and classic, but content can be made other ways. Why not try out a case study and try to make some social link bait? Money isn’t needed to make viral content and trying these methods might be a great start.

Gregory Smith writes for Search Engine Journal.

 

No designer wants to spend hours and hours doing unnecessary revisions and redesigns. You especially don’t want your client to throw out an idea at first glance. We know making the “best” design for your client’s specific needs on the first try is almost impossible but that doesn’t mean your first designs can’t have the potential to become the best design. With these few simple steps, you can make sure your designs have potential from the beginning and, hopefully, provide better designs for your client.

  1. Know Your Brand: Designers often ignore this step. It’s easy to think, when starting out as a designer, that the brand you’re working for doesn’t matter on the first try. They will just give you tons of revisions either way, right? Wrong. Knowing the business and the brand you’re creating for gives you a better understanding of what they need. Once you know what they need, you can give them what they want. Knowing a brand means knowing who they want to attract. By doing the research, you can help solve the client’s problems.
  2. Know the Industry: There are a few reasons you want to know what is happening in a client’s industry. To begin with, design is incredibly trendy and what is “in” right now varies by industry. You want to make sure your client sticks out in a positive and logical way. Don’t try to blend in but don’t let your design be the equivalent of a Hawaiian shirt at a formal event. Secondly, while knowing what is popular with your client’s industry is important, it is also essential to know what is attractive to their customers. Your design should focus as much on their needs as it does the client’s.  Researching the industry lets you know what people in that industry want and reveals what needs to be improved.
  3. Be Creative: When faced with creating something new, we all look for inspiration. Designers usually go online and look at other designs anywhere from blogs to showcases. After finding something that inspires us, many accidentally end up copying the original source. Using inspiration does not mean changing small features of another design to make an almost identical but subtly different design. It means being creative with what inspired you. You can borrow some things but you want your inspiration to push you to try something new. Good creativity and good design lead to innovation.
  4. Details, Details, Details: Rushing to get a design finished can lead to silly mistakes that are absolutely avoidable. While focusing on the layout is important, the details are just as essential. You don’t want to have a beautiful design with a misspelled banner or a typo in a sidebar. Some clients will brush off little mistakes like these, as they are easy to fix, but many will be less forgiving. If these mistakes are easy to fix after you’ve shown the design, they should have been fixed before you showed it.
  5. Explain Your Design: We, as designers, love to understand what we create and why we did it. The problem is, we’re often bad at communicating this to others. Sending an explanation of your design when you submit it allows you to answer most of the client’s questions before they can ask them. It shows intent and purpose behind the design. While a confusing design with no explanation will almost certainly be refused before you can defend it, allowing the client to understand it from the outset will help them see potential in the design, and offer their own opinions,

Every design will need revisions but there is no reason to fear them. However, if you make the best design you can for your client’s needs on the first submission, you will likely find they are more willing to work with what you created. Communicating with clients and trying to give them what they want, rather than what you like, will make your clients happy and could open up more room for creative freedom later.

 

For more ideas on how to improve your designs, go to Kendra Gains’ article at webdesignerdepot.com