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While infographics are often a great way to attract attention, there are times when they are not the proper solution for a client. Here are six instances where infographics don’t provide a good return of investment for the client and shouldn’t be used.

  1. Sites with Questionable Links – All SEO experts know about the huge shift created by Google’s Penguin and Penguin algorithms. Owners of penalized sites will often ask if infographics can solve their problems. Infographics can assist in varying backlinks, but it can’t solve all of the issues. Before recommending an infographic, you need to know about the specific penalties.  Also, many sites with “grey links” haven’t been penalized. Infographics can cause these sites to be identified and then get hit by penalties. Investing money for an infographic (which can cost thousands of dollars if independent research and design is needed) is not a wise recommendation when a website may be already on the edge of penalties.
  2. Under-developed Sites – So, you have a brand new website. Wouldn’t an infographic be a great and easy way to advertise your site to the world? Probably not. They don’t just bring links. They also help place your brand in front of the proper audience. By publishing on an under-developed site, clients may get the impression that you are sloppy or lack experience. Also, like is commonly found in SEO, the ROI relies on how you leverage the assets you already have. Infographics may help leverage your Social Media status and RSS subscribers, but you’ll want to make sure that these are all up to date beforehand.
  3. Lack of Social Media Plan – A real social media plan is not just having a Facebook or Twitter. Infographics are designed to be viral and attract tons of social-media savvy people to your website. If your social media accounts aren’t updated or lack content, these visitors are unlikely to become an audience. Before you use an infographic you need to update your content frequently, court a number of followers and have a stategy for identifying members of your demographic.
  4. Lack of Mailing List – Using an infographic without a mailing list means missing out on a massive opportunity. Having 10,000 unique visitors sounds wonderful initially, but is not likely to provide a long term audience. However, having just 50 people sign up for your company’s mailing list is an essential part of converting visitors to leads.
  5. No Budget – While numerous places offer infographics for relatively cheap, they don’t allow you to rise above the clutter of the internet. According to Topsy, in 2012 17,000 tweets included the word “infographic”. That means a mediocre infographic will not capture the attention of the biggest markets. Making an infographic requires a skilled team and usually costs over $1,000. If you can’t afford that much, you’re more likely to see a return on your investment with link bait articles or guest postings.
  6. You Don’t Understand Infographs – Infographs are for good content but that content may not always be what you personally enjoy. It is aimed at your demographic and the online sources that focus on that market. Trying to squish a long detailed report may seem like a great idea, but it is unlikely to go viral. It may be visually appealing, but it won’t convert potential customers.

To see the original article by Danny Ashton:
When NOT to use an Infographic: 6 Examples

 

jQuery is the biggest open-source, CSS3 compliant, cross-browser, JavaScript library available. What makes jQuery stand out is its simplicity and ability create Flash-like animations that are viewable on iOS, which doesn’t work with Flash. The popularity of jQuery is growing quickly, so we think it’s important you know the pros and cons of using it.

Pros

The biggest upside to jQuery is its simplicity. It takes only a little bit of programming knowledge to create crowd pleasing animations. It is also incredibly flexible because jQuery allows users to add plug-ins. If you don’t know how to do it in CSS, jQuery can help you.

It is also a very fast solution to your problems. While there may be “better” solutions, jQuery and its development team work to make sure you can implement jQuery quickly and effectively, which saves money. Those in the open Source software community support jQuery because it has great technical support, interacts well with other types of code, supports plug-ins and makes basic animation as easy as can be.

Open source software means quick growth and the freedom of developers to provide the best service possible without corporate red tape.

 

Cons
Open source software does have some problems however. There is no set standard amongst providers, which means if you or the developer do not have the money, time or ability to fix issues, you may never find a solution if you have a problem. Also, frequent updates mean community members are also unlikely to provide solutions.
There are also many versions of jQuery available right now and some are less compatible than others.
Also, jQuery’s lightweight interface may lead to problems in the future. Not being able to actually code can lead to many problems in implementation. Not knowing how to program means not knowing how to fix issues that arrive with jQuery and it doesn’t pick up the slack for you. While jQuery is seemingly easy and impressive, making it actually work can be much more troublesome. To make jQuery work, you have to keep up with community developments and realistically understand your skill level.

 

jQuery is  slower than CSS in many cases. Its simplicity is its curse, as it is not meant for client-side interactions. If you misuse jQuery, you get code that multiplies and multiplies until it is unmanageable, which means a few simple lines of code can quickly make maintaining your site a nightmare. The community is working to fix this issue but for now it is a very real problem.

Conclusion

While jQuery is easy, know if you can handle it before trying. It is meant to simplify tasks for skilled programmers and not to be used as a crutch for beginners. While the less experienced may be able to make jQuery work for them, they will most likely need a lot of assistance.

 

For more information on jQuery, look at Richard Larson’s article for webdesignerdepot.com.

 

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

 

Today Google announced a change that’s going to be gradually rolled out starting today, called the Knowledge Graph. This is an effort to connect more with the variety in meaning all keywords tend to have, and help people find what they’re looking for a little more easily.

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