No-Hype SEO: A Realistic Formula To Making SEO Work For Your Business, Part 1

SEO- A realistic Formula
Looking to simplify your SEO efforts? Columnist Daniel Faggella has a simple formula for putting together an SEO regimen that will achieve results.

on December 29, 2015

SEO (search engine optimization) has come a long way.

After experiencing the “wrath of Google” years ago, some marketers have exited the SEO game and opted instead to use paid traffic to generate their leads and prospects. However, when done correctly (and ethically), there is no match for the longevity, consistency and quality of the lead flow you’ll experience from SEO. Today, I want to offer you an insider’s view of how to do this well.

All of my businesses are built entirely on organic SEO, and if I were to stop doing everything today, they would continue to experience high-quality lead flow consistently for many months to come. This just isn’t the case with paid traffic. Of course, the best marketing systems utilize both organic and paid traffic.

In this article, I’ll give you my thoughts on a time-tested and proven strategy for creating your SEO regimen.

Principles & Basics

All marketing is built on the notion of “desire” — i.e., you want something (whether it’s clothes, food, information, better abs or something else), and some business comes along with marketing promises to fulfill that desire.

In his book, “Breakthrough Advertising,” the late (and great) Eugene Schwartz stated that marketing could not (and should not) create mass desire, but that “it can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.”

This is true. Great marketing, whether it be paid advertising or organic (SEO), is built on this principle. In the old days, the only way to tap into this mass-market desire was to show up in front of where the market happened to be (TV, newspaper or another medium).

This was (and is) both expensive and risky. If you pay large amounts of money to run an advertisement on TV, and you misdiagnose the desire of the market, you will not make any money.

Simply spending money on advertising doesn’t guarantee earning a return on that advertising.

Organic marketing, like SEO, provides you the opportunity to reverse this formula. Rather than needing to go out to where your market is located, you can attract your market, causing them to come to you.

This has changed everything: You can now put together marketing that fulfills the desires of your market very cheaply (or for free) without risking too much if you should misdiagnose or otherwise get it wrong.

SEO: The Self-Funded, Self-Regulating Lead Generator

Here’s a simple formula that will help you wrap your brain around SEO:

(B1 + B2 = DP), DP ≅ Your Organic Strategy = $$$

(Belief + Behavior = Decision Patterns), Decision Patterns Your Organic Strategy = Sales

The first “B” is belief. The second “B” is behavior. The belief and the behavior are always correlated; together, they make up the “Decision Patterns” of your prospects, (Tune into this interview with Artillery Marketing founder Douglas Burdett for more on determining buyer persona.) I’m going to get deeper into this in a bit.

When the “Decision Patterns” of your prospects are congruent with your organic strategy, your SEO kicks into hyperdrive, and you start seeing serious traction.

There are really four levels to your organic (SEO) strategy:

  • High Level (search terms, PPC terms).
  • Top of Funnel (indirect content).
  • Blog Level (relevant blog topics and lead generation tools).
  • Back-end (marketing automation and database marketing).

Today, we’re going to outline the first two levels, and in Part 2 of this series, we’ll tackle the last two levels.

Attractional SEO: Getting People To Come To You

The first level is “High Level.”

Instead of going out to set up shop in front of where the market is located, the internet allows you to build marketing assets that will “pull” your prospects towards your business. This starts with the Top Level of your SEO strategy: determining the terms specific to your offering and your market.

Many refer to these as “PPC Terms” because they are the terms your prospects are putting into Google when looking for a solution. (If you’re a little rusty on your PPC definitions, this article fromPPC Hero provides a succinct glossary.)

We do this by outlining the belief and the likely behavior of your market. For instance, if you are an online marketing consultant who serves affluent businesses in Boston, you might come up with this list:

  • Email marketing consultant Boston.
  • Digital marketing agency.
  • Experienced InfusionSoft consultant.
  • Landing page optimization expert.

This is your master list, but it’s only the top level. Remember, there is a correlation between the things people are looking for and the behavior they perform. This means your search terms will be divided into different levels of quality, which we’ll get into later.

The second level is your “Top Of Funnel.”

The top of funnel is the area of indirect interest. For instance, using the same scenario as above, you might come up with this list of “Top Of Funnel” terms:

  • How To Make Better Email Newsletters.
  • How To Create Profitable AutoResponder Series.
  • Compare InfusionSoft to Hubspot.
  • Case Study of Email Marketing for E-commerce Business.

These are all going to attract people who are interested in your specific offering, and you can use these to create the “building blocks” of your SEO strategy. Webinars, white papers, free reports and other such “opt-in” devices can be created from these “Top Of Funnel” terms.

Next week, as we get into the second two levels, I’ll show you how to connect all of these levels together into a seamless regimen. Before then, here is your homework:

Create your list of “PPC Terms,” and, from there, your list of “Top Of Funnel” devices. Like a car on a long road trip, these two lists will act as your map and your guide when we start creating blog content and database marketing material to monetize your SEO system.

Tune in next week for Part 2 on making SEO work and generating more traffic for your business.

 

 

Beginner’s Guide to Using Rich Snippets in WordPress

Not sure what are rich snippets, and why you should use it on your WordPress site?
Not sure what are rich snippets, and why you should use it on your WordPress site?

Do you want to add rich snippets on your WordPress site? Not sure what are rich snippets, and why you should use it on your WordPress site? Rich snippets allow you to have custom search listings for special content such as reviews, recipes, events, etc. In this article, we will show you how to use rich snippets on your WordPress site.

Why You Should Use Rich Snippets on Your WordPress Site?

Rich snippets provide site owners another way to communicate with search engines. Structured data allows search engines to see different types of content on your site, and use rich snippets to show additional information in the search results.

A recipe in search results with rich snippets data

This additional information in search results make your listing more noticeable in search, which means more organic traffic for your site.

It also helps you build authority in your niche, as your site becomes more visible in the search.

Rich snippets are not just for reviews or recipes. You can use rich snippets for events, products, people, video, music, apps, articles, blog posts, etc.

Now that you know how beneficial rich snippets can be, let’s take a look at how to add rich snippets in WordPress.

We will show two methods: manually adding rich snippets in WordPress as well as using a rich snippets WordPress plugin.

Adding Rich Snippets in WordPress Using a Plugin

Maintaining rich snippets manually can be difficult even for the most experienced site owners. Luckily, there are several WordPress plugins that will make it super easy for you to add rich snippets in your WordPress posts.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets plugin. Upon activation simply click on the Rich Snippets menu icon in the sidebar to continue.

All in One Schema.org supported content types

You will be able to see different content types that you can create with the plugin. The list includes:

  • Item Review
  • Events
  • Person
  • Product
  • Recipe
  • SoftwareApp
  • Video
  • Article

Clicking on any content type will show you the fields that will be available when a user is writing a post/page or any custom post type.

Now you need to create a new post or edit an existing one. Just below the post editor, you will see a new meta box labeled Configure Rich Snippet. Inside, you will see a drop down menu where you can select content type for the post you are working on.

Choose a content type to add rich snippets to a WordPress post

Selecting a content type will display the rich snippet fields you need to fill. In the screenshot below, we selected the article content type, and it showed us article name, author, short description, and article image fields.

Rich snippets for article content type

You can change it to recipe, event, or whatever content type you are creating and then fill in the fields. You are not required to add all fields but some of the fields are required by Google to display rich snippets.

Don’t forget to save your post to store the rich snippets data.

Adding Rich Snippets Manually in WordPress

Rich snippets or structured data markup can be written into three different vocabularies. These vocabularies are microdata, RDFa, and JSON-LD. You can use any of them on your site. However, most beginners find RDFa to be more beginner friendly.

Here is an example of a user’s about page in WordPress. Normally the text of the page will look something like this:

John Smith rich snippet post

 

 

 

 

 

This can be easily transformed with rich snippets. If you are familiar with HTML, then you can easily understand the following example:

Rich snippet image 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

For each content type there are some special properties that need to be defined. Schema.org is the organization that helps maintain the standard for different content types. You will find extensive documentation with examples for eachcontent type on their website.

Here is another example of a recipe with rich snippets.

Rich snippet image 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are manually adding rich snippets into your WordPress posts, then you will need to use Text editor so that you can write the required markup. You may also need to refer to Google’s Developer resource on structured data to understand which properties are required for a content type.

Testing Your Rich Snippets

Google and other search engines may not immediately pickup your rich snippets or show it in search results. How do you know that you are using rich snippets correctly on your site?

You need to simply visit Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. You can either paste your markup in the tool box or click on the Fetch URL link to enter a URL. Click on the Validate button and the tool will review your markup.

Testing your rich snippet markup

We hope this article helped you learn how to use rich snippets on your WordPress site. You may also want to checkout our list of the 9 best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.


Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi. Page maintained by Syed Balkhi.
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Are Your Making The Most of Pinterest?

by Brian Basilico December 17, 2015

Pinterest is a not a staple in my daily social media diet, but I can tell you that foodies, fashionistas and hobbyists are flocking there in droves every day. Those topics are the most searched pins and boards on Pinterest. But, I can tell you that Pinterest is so much more than just that. Yes, you can search for Bacon, but then try searching for something more geeky like Apple Mac, Internet Marketing, or Avatar. There are so many topics you may want to search for on Pinterest and the results are amazing!

Pinterest Basics

IMG_1696 (1)Some of you will remember the old cork boards we used to have in our bedrooms and classrooms. When I worked in corporate America, we had wall panels in our cubes where you could use push pins to post notes and documents all over your cube (including phone numbers, lunch menus, meeting notes and so on). That was the good ol’ Days! (my home office still has them and I use clips, buttons and push pins to this day … please don’t tell others or I may lose my geek Boy Scout badges).

That is what Pinterest is. You create digital boards, and you can add pins to them (including pictures, recipes, infographics and so on). You can pin your own original material, or you can scour Pinterest and pin ideas to pin to your own boards. People can then re-pin your pins to their boards. It is social media at it’s best … posting and sharing with a purpose.

Each board has its own category. Some of mine include Bacon (of course), blogs, podcasts, infographics, my books, quotes, Google, funny stuff, music and more. Take a look at mine. Other people choose what their interests are and create boards that they want to save and repost or create custom pins.

Accounts

There are two types of accounts. You can have a personal account and a business account at the same time – they do need to have different email addresses for each in the profile. There is a benefit to having both. You can keep your personal stuff, like hobbies and recipes on your personal account, while adding business stuff, including your business content to your business account.

A business account comes with additional benefits. The most important benefit is that it has analytics, so you can measure traffic, audience and demographics, and click back to your website(s) and SO MUCH MORE! You can also do promoted posts (advertising), if that fits with your business model.

Three Tips

  1. Create Original Content – You can pin other people’s content to your heart’s content, but what’s your plan and purpose? I would suggest you create your own content and post it. Use free graphics programs, like Canva or Word Swag, to create graphics, quotes or infographics to share your thoughts and concepts with your audience. Read on to get some ideas of how to use them.
  2. Pin Images From Your Website – You can pin these directly to your boards in Pinterest, but if you want more web traffic, then take an extra step. Create a special blog category in your WordPress website for quotes, or infographics, and add the original content there first. Then use a pin-it button from your browser or a plug-in to easily add content from your website to your business Pinterest account. This will drive people back to your website where you control their attention and your own messages.
  3. Measure Traffic With Analytics – As I mentioned, you have analytics inside of your business Pinterest account, so use that for feedback. But then, don’t neglect Google Analytics. See which posts (or types of posts) are driving the most traffic back to your website. This will tell you which types of posts are giving you the biggest return on your investment in Pinterest and social media in general – measurement is King (and Queen)!

pinterest_badge_redFinal Thoughts

You are probably in one of three camps … “What is Pinterest?”, “I know of it and I need to know more!”, or “I am an addict and I have 100 boards and 100 pins in each!”. If you are in the first two groups, then you owe it to yourself to take some time to explore it more, to see if and how it can increase traffic to your website and how it can help you create more business. If you are the Pinterest addict, then you may need an intervention (or not if you are happy).

Like most social media, it’s all about trial and error. Give it a try and see if it could be an untapped resource for you and your business.

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and experiences with Pinterest.  Comment away!  Please feel free to comment here on Virtuadmin as well.
Source: http://www.business2community.com/pinterest/are-your-making-the-most-of-pinterest-01406926#RtXiJ2QsQgSYT6rB.99

 

 

29 Checklists and Cheat Sheets to make Marketers’ Lives Easier

Checklists and Cheat Sheets
To Make Marketer’s Lives Easier
Business 2 Community
Checklists and Cheat Sheets by Natasha Alex December 10, 2015

Digital marketing is a multifaceted beast that evolves and gets more complicated every week. With so many different ways to reach your audience, it’s important to stay on top of the latest tactics and trends.

From content and social to analytics and retargeting, you’re staying up to date on it all. It’s a lot easier when you can do so with simple, easy-to-digest guides. So I’ve pulled together 30 cheat sheets and checklists to keep your digital marketing fresh and make your life easier.

1. Periodic Table of Content Marketing

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/the_perdiodic_table_of_content_marketing-blog-full.png.png

the_perdiodic_table_of_content_marketing-blog-full

This periodic table is a unique chart highlighting the important terms in content marketing. it covers everything you need to keep an eye on. From content strategy to metrics, it’s an all-inclusive index that can help you deliver great content.

2. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Awesome Marketing Emails

Email marketing is a key element of any campaign. From the subject line to the email footer, every section of your email contributes to its overall ability to convert. If you think you’re having trouble with your email outreach, this cheat sheet from HubSpot can help you dissect your emails and optimize each aspect of your campaign to obtain the best results.

3. A Detailed Guide to Photo and Image Sizes on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and More

When it comes to social media, great visuals increase engagement. But this only applies when your pictures are relevant, eye-catching, and of course, optimized. With so many types of images to choose from, it’s not easy to keep track of the rules for each network.

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/twitter-image-sizes.png.png

twitter-image-sizes
This handy infographic shows you all the different images in your social media profiles, along with what they’re used for. It includes recommended sizes, image scale, etc. to make it easier for you to get the most out of your images.

4. Advanced Content Promotion Checklist

Writing content is hard, but promoting it is even harder. With all the distribution tools and channels available to you, it gets tough to keep track of where you’ve promoted your piece and where you’ve yet to share it.

And that’s after figuring out what to do in the first place. Process Street has created a great checklist to streamline content promotion, originally made for themselves before giving us all access.

5. Google Analytics Cheat Sheet

Google Analytics is an absolute essential for any marketer, and this cheat sheet from Portent has you covered. From setting up your account to tracking your goals and conversions, this cheat sheet can really help you get the best out of Google Analytics.

6. Retargeting Cheat Sheet

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/retargeting-cheat-sheet.png.png

retargeting-cheat-sheet

This cheat sheet simplifies the process of retargeting your customers. It covers the basics to get you started, along with advanced tactics and tips to help you succeed.

7. The Ultimate SaaS Metrics Cheat Sheet

Chart Mogul created this cheat sheet with every important metric you need to know for your SaaS. What’s covered: which ones are important, why they’re important, and how they’re measured. All condensed into a simple 2-pager.

8. The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet 3.0

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/moz-seo-checklist.png.png

moz-seo-checklist

Moz, an industry leader in SEO, created this fantastic cheat sheet for SEO newbies and professionals alike. It’s constantly updated by the Moz team, and is great help for web developers to keep their work SEO-friendly and up to date.

9. The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Checklist

This comprehensive checklist covers all the essentials of inbound marketing. Drafted like an ebook, it not only tells you what to do, but how to do it. This guide is a must-have for any marketer’s toolbox.

Recommended for YouWebcast: Sales and Marketing Alignment: 7 Steps to Implement Effective Sales Enablement

10. 101 Copywriting Dos and Don’ts

This PDF from Copy Hackers contains all the dos and don’ts of writing great copy that converts, from how to order your bulleted lists, to which famous authors should inspire your copywriting.

11. Google Adwords Cheat Sheet

Google Adwords can get a bit confusing, so Perry Marshall and Bryan Todd came together to create a resource to help. It shows you how to set up, the rules you need to keep in mind, and how to write ad copy that works. It also goes on to define some of terms that might have seemed like gibberish when you first got started.

11. Local SEO Checklist

This checklist is a great way to keep track of your local optimization. From on-page SEO to social signals, this list covers every aspect your SEO to manage your process in the easiest way.

12. Social Media Marketing Checklist

Social media is an essential channel for marketers and this infographic can help you manage your efforts and make sure you don’t miss a beat!

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/social-media-marketing-checklist.png.png

social-media-marketing-checklist

This fill-in-the-blank infographic will guide you through setting up the beginnings of a social media marketing strategy, from identifying your audience through measuring your results.

13. A Complete Conversion Rate Optimization Checklist

Conversion science can get messy when you don’t know what exactly brings you conversions. This checklist helps you streamline the process and identify the factors that can be optimized to improve your overall CRO, from choosing KPIs through designing A/B/ tests.

14. Google Analytics Metrics and Dimensions Cheat Sheet

Google analytics can be confusing to a beginner. It can take forever to discover all the data it’s tracking without a guide. This PDF helps you understand the metrics and dimensions you need to figure out the various aspects of your customers’ interaction with your website.

15. The Ultimate SEO Checklist

The Ultimate SEO Checklist from Leapfroggr covers on-page and off-page SEO for anyone who’s looking to make sure that their website has a good foundation for their digital marketing strategy.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/ultimate-seo-checklsit.png.png

ultimate-seo-checklist

But unlike most other SEO checklists, it’s not a list of the ranking factors or how to optimize for them. It’s fully covers creating an SEO strategy, from performing market research to reputation management.

16. The Shelf’s Blogger Outreach Checklist

When it comes to reaching out to bloggers or influencers, any old email just will not do. This checklist from The Shelf covers the essentials of your outreach for the best results, including best practices and sample outreach emails.

17. Site Audit Checklist

Site audits can be intimidating, but Annie Cushing (aka Annielytics) makes it easy with her site audit checklist. It’s in the form of a Google Spreadsheet, so you can quickly make a copy and start tracking things yourself.

It becomes a lot less daunting to check track your work one section at a time. The sheet includes the initial data pulls, architecture, analytics, e-commerce, and pretty much everything you need to make your audit a breeze.

18. Universal Analytics Cheat Sheet

This comprehensive cheat sheet simplifies Google Analytics. It has three sheets that cover general usage, method and field reference, and limits and quotas.

19. Startup Launch List

image: http://cdn2.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/startup-launch-list.png.png

startup-launch-list

The Startup Launch List is an amazing compilation for budding entrepreneurs. Its reading list gives insights into each aspect of building a startup – from the initial idea to raising finances from investors. These tidbits from experienced hands can help you get your idea up and running.

20. The Social Platform Cheat Sheet

There are so many social channels out there, and they’re constantly changing. This cheat sheet guides you through the main platforms, who’s on them, and how to engage them.

21. .htaccess Cheat Sheet

Redirecting pages can get a little tricky for anyone without a technical background. This cheat sheet teaches you the basics for redirection, security, and other rules.

22. The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Advanced Search

Twitter’s one of the best ways for a brand to engage with its customers. And advertising there has proven awesome for many marketers. Even if your company doesn’t even have a Twitter handle yet (but it does, right?), you can find leads, track brand mentions, follow important topics, etc.

This Zapier guide is your way into the world of tweets, with its step-by-step guide to using advanced search to get real time data about your customers.

23. The Google Guide to Making Search Easier

Google advanced search is an essential skill for any marketer. This search guide can help you use search operators to get specific search results on Google.

You can use this to find really specific content, search unique mediums, and perform any kind of research faster.

24. A 50-Point Checklist for Creating The Ultimate Landing Page

When your landing page is your key to conversions, it’s important to make sure that you’re not missing any key elements. This Unbounce checklist highlights all the essentials of a great landing page so that while you’re building one, you don’t miss anything.

25. Website Usability Checklist

Building websites can be difficult for marketers, and in the process of making a beautiful site, it’s easy to lost sight of usability when you’re not an expert.

image: http://cdn.business2community.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web-usability-checklist-1024×474.png.png

web-usability-checklist

The website usability checklist covers the common problems faced by users on a website. From forms to navigation, it helps you make sure that your site is not only well designed, but also user-friendly.

26. The Ultimate Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet

Google is constantly updating its algorithm to provide a better user experience. Neil Patel has created a cheat sheet to simplify these changes and help marketers make sense of the ranking factors and how they can affect your website.

27. The Keyword Research Cheat Sheet

As a marketer, you know how important SEO is. This keyword research cheat sheet covers the basics of the way keywords work and how you can use the best ones to bring in relevant, converting traffic.

28. The SEO Cheat Sheet for WordPress

WordPress is the easiest way for marketers to get their blog out there. By using themes, connecting your blog to useful plugins, and a few other tricks covered in this resource, you can optimize any page.

29. Website Launch Checklist

The launch of a website is stressful enough as it is, without the hassle of forgetting something simple like checking links. Launchlist makes sure that you’ve got all your bases covered before your site goes live.

Prepare Yourself

Most marketing missteps come from skipping a step, rather than actually not knowing what to do. We’re busy, we’re stressed, and we handle it really well most of the time. And with checklists to ensure accuracy, we can handle it well all the time.
[Source: http://www.business2community.com/marketing/29-checklists-cheat-sheets-make-marketers-lives-easier-01399754#D5RKwYfTEchq047U.99]

How to Use Photoshop: The Ultimate Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners

When you open Photoshop for the first time, it’s easy to click around in confusion for a minute and then reach for your freelancer’s phone number instead. Trust us, you’re not alone in this.

It’s an incredibly powerful design software with a lot going on, including a wealth of tools that can seem overwhelming at times. But Photoshop isn’t just for the professionals.

With a little help, you can easily teach yourself how to use it to create beautiful, compelling graphics. All it takes is an introduction to core elements — in plain English.

To get you started, we’ve picked 12 of the most useful tools in Photoshop and explained what they do, where to find them, how to use them, and a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of them. We’ve also included some great resources in there in case you’d like to learn about a tool in more depth.

Click here to download our free guide for more do-it-yourself design tips.

Table of Contents

Click on a section name to scroll automatically to that section.

1) The Layer Tool
2) The Color & Swatches Tool
3) Custom Fonts & The Text Tool
4) Custom Brushes & The Brush Tool
5) The Select Tool
6) The Move Tool
7) The Zoom Tool
8) The Eraser
9) The Crop Tool
10) The Fill Tool
11) The Eyedropper Tool
12) Blending Options

How to Use Adobe Photoshop: A Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners

1) The Layer Tool

What It Does: A layer can be used for an image, text, brush strokes, background colors, patterns, and filters.

I like to think of layers as sheets of glass stacked on top of one another that you’ll use to create a final product. Each sheet can be modified individually without affecting the project as a whole, which can save you tons of time when making edits to individual elements of your graphic.

photoshop-layers.png

Image Credit: StackExchange

Layers are by far the most important element of Photoshop — and, in my opinion, they’re one of the reasons many people throw their arms up in frustration. But once you understand how they work, I promise they’ll make your life much easier.

Where It’s Located: It has its own module on the bottom right-hand corner of your Photoshop screen, by default. You can also access it by clicking “Layer” in the top menu bar.

photoshop-layers-1.png

Pro Tip: Always name your layers. Keeping them organized will help keep you sane, especially if you find yourself working on a project with a large number of layers. 

To add or delete a layer:

From the top menu bar, choose Layer > New > Layer…

To select a layer:

The selected layer is highlighted in blue. To edit a specific part of your image, you’ll need to select that specific layer.

You’ll also notice there’s an “eye” symbol next to each layer: Click that symbol to turn the eye on and off, thereby toggling the visibility of that layer as you work.

To duplicate a layer:

First, select a layer or group in the Layers panel. Next, either drag the layer or group to the Create a New Layer button, or right-click the layer to choose “Duplicate Layer” or “Duplicate Group.” Enter a name for the layer or group, and click OK.

Pro Tip: You can do all sorts of cool things with layers — and believe it or not, making animated GIFs is one of them. Check out our step-by-step tutorial here.

To learn more about adding, deleting, and duplicating layers in Photoshop, check out this video tutorial.

2) The Color & Swatches Tool

What It Does: The Color and Swatches tool lets you use, modify, copy, and save custom colors for your content. While this may seem like a pretty self-explanatory element, it actually has powerful features that will keep your visual content vibrant and unify your color schemes.

Where It’s Located: It has its own module on the top right-hand corner of your Photoshop screen, by default.

photoshop-color-tool.png

Another place to find the Color tool is at the bottom of the toolbar on the left, indicated by two overlapping boxes:

photoshop-color-boxes.png

To create your own custom color:

Open the Color Picker by double-clicking on the top box either in the Color module, or in that menu on the left.

From there, you’ll see a vertical spectrum of color with a slider on it, which you can adjust to create your own custom color. Alternatively, if you already have a specific color of which you know the hex value (i.e. #1fb1ee), then enter it in the appropriate box to find that color automatically. You can also select your color swatch based on RGB or CMYK values.

photoshop-color-picker.png

Any colors you create can be added to your “Swatches” if you click “Add To Swatches.”

Pro Tip: Take your company colors and save them as “Swatches” so that you can reference and reuse them whenever you’re designing your visual content.

3) Custom Fonts & The Text Tool

What It Does: The Text tool lets you add custom fonts to your database, and it gives you access to advanced font settings that give your text some serious style.

Where It’s Located: The toolbar on your left, near the bottom.

photoshop-text-tool.png

Once you click the Text tool icon, all of the settings and font options will pop up at the top of your screen. These settings let you change the font, font size, and spacing between characters, height, width, color, and style. Be sure to select the layer of your desired text to edit it.

photoshop-text-tool-options.png

To add text to your graphic:

The text tool works like any other text tool you’ve used. Click the “T” icon on the left side bar, drag the text box over any particular area you want text to appear, and you’re set to go.

Whenever you create a text box, Photoshop will generate a layer for it. You can choose the color, size, stroke, font style, and a variety of other options to switch things up.

photoshop-editing-text.png

Pro Tip: While Photoshop offers a wide variety of fonts, you can also install your own fonts. Read this blog post for a list of 35 beautiful fonts you can download for free, and thenread this post to learn how to install your new fonts in Photoshop so you can get to using ’em.

To learn more about fonts and the Text tool, check out this video tutorial.

4) Custom Brushes & The Brush Tool

What It Does: Just as with fonts, you can add your own, royalty-free, custom brush tips. With the brush settings, you can change the size, shape, and transparency of your brush strokes to achieve a number of different visual effects.

Brushes are a great way to add some visual accents to your content. Photoshop starts you off with a nice selection of brush tips that you can use to clean up your graphics and create some basic visual effects.

Where It’s Located: The toolbar on the left.

photoshop-brush-tool.png

Once you click the Brush tool icon, all of the settings and brush options will pop up at the top of your screen. These settings let you change the brush size, opacity, flow, and so on. You’ll find a variety of pre-installed brush tips, as well as any custom brush tips you install to Photoshop. (You can find royalty-free brushes at www.brusheezy.com if you want to get really creative.)

photoshop-brush-settings.png

To use the brush tool:

The brush tool is perfect for adding design accents to your content content. When using the brush tool, I always suggest adding a new layer to work with so you don’t paint over any of your other elements. You can choose colors from your library of swatches, or use a custom color.

Changing the brush settings can give your brush a drastically different look and style. Don’t be afraid to play around a bit with all of your custom brushes.

5) The Select Tool

What It Is: When used correctly, this tool will let you select individual elements, entire graphics, and determines what is copied, cut, and pasted into your graphics.

Where It’s Located: The toolbar on the left.

select-tool.png

The Select tool is known as one of the most basic, yet frustrating tools to use in Photoshop. The first thing you should know is that it’ll only work if a layer is highlighted. So, if I want to cut or copy a piece of Layer 4, Layer 4 must be highlighted in my Layer’s tool bar. Highlighted areas are indicated by a flashing dotted line.

photoshop-select-dotted-line.png

Once you remember to pay attention to which layer you are working with, the Select tool becomes much easier to use.

First, highlight your area of choice. Then, simply right-click and decide what you’d like to do from the pull-out menu. For example, you can cut out objects from a current layer and create a layer of your own.

photoshop-select-menu.png

How to select an image to insert into your graphic:

Open the image you’d like to use in Photoshop, and use the Select Tool to determine how much of the image you want to copy. Once you’ve selected the area of the image, simply copy the area.

Next, open the tab for your current project and paste it in as a new layer. Highlight the layer of the object(s) you’d like to select. You can move multiple objects at once by highlighting multiple layers.

Then, right-click your selection, and then you have a few options, including:

A) Choosing “Layer via Copy” to copy the object(s) from this layer and create a layer of its own.

Pro Tip: To select your entire graphic and include all layers, highlight all layers and then use the Select tool. Once you’ve determined the area to copy, use the menu bar at the top and click “Edit” > “Copy Merged.” This will copy the entire graphic so you can paste it as its own layer.

B) Choosing “Free Transform” to scale, rotate, move, and flip your selections. (Refer to the Move tool in the next section of this post if you need more help on this.)

Pro Tip: One really nifty trick you can do with “Free Transform” is to overlay screenshots of a PDF to make a 3D-looking image, like the one below for our introductory Pinterest ebook. You can find a visual overview of the steps below, but read this blog post for the step-by-step tutorial.

customize-photoshop-image.png

To learn more about all the Selection tools available in Photoshop, check out this video tutorial.

6) The Move Tool

What It Does: This is a fairly basic tool that allows you to move individual elements of your graphic.

The Move tool works on individual layers, and on the graphic as a whole — if (remember how to do this?) you highlight all of your layers. It comes in handy when you’re trying to reposition images, text, and other design elements.

Where It’s Located: The toolbar on the left, at the top.

photoshop-move-tool.png

To use the Move tool:

Click the Move Icon from the left hand menu bar and simply drag the object(s) you would like to move. To move all objects in one layer, simply highlight the layer and use the Move tool. You can also right click the object for additional options.

To scale, rotate, move, and flip things:

The Free Transform tool lets you scale, rotate, move, and flip any element in your select layer or layers. Use the shortcut CTRL + T or Command + T (for Macs) to initiate Free Transform, and check out the options that pop up at the top of your screen. Hold the SHIFT key while transforming to maintain the proportions of your elements.

photoshop-free-transform.png

7) The Zoom Tool

What It Does: The Zoom tool lets you zoom in close to certain areas of an image, and zoom out to get more of a bird’s eye view of what’s happening.

Where It’s Located: In the top menu bar, choose View > Zoom In or View > Zoom Out.

photoshop-zoom-tool.png

To use the Zoom tool:

Either select the zoom options from the “View” menu (as shown above). To use the keyboard shortcut, hold ALT (PC) or Command (Mac) and press + to zoom in, and ALT (PC) orCommand (Mac) and press – to zoom out.

8) The Eraser

What It Does: The Basic Eraser functions a lot like the brush tool. You can change the size and hardness of the eraser tip to achieve a variety of effects, like blending and fades. The Background Eraser uses differences in color to help you erase unwanted background areas from your images.

The eraser is one of the most useful tools in Photoshop. Yes, I understand it’s technically just an eraser, but you’ve never used an eraser like this.

Where It’s Located: The toolbar on the left.

photoshop-eraser.png

To use the Basic Eraser:

Once you click the Eraser icon, all of the settings will pop up at the top of your screen. These settings let you change the eraser size, hardness, and other aspects of the tool.

Like most tools in Photoshop, the eraser works only on a specifically selected layer. Make sure you’ve got the layer you want selected before you start erasing.

photoshop-eraser-options.png

To use the Background Eraser:

This tool is a time-saving wonder. You can see how easily it eliminates background colors from images. This is especially helpful if you need an object with a transparent background.

To use the Background Eraser, click and hold the eraser icon until the slide out menu appears. Choose “Background Eraser.”

photoshop-background-eraser.png

Now you’re ready to do some serious erasing. Adjust the size of the Background Eraser, and simply click the color you would like deleted from the selected layer. Remember to select the layer you want to erase on.

photoshop-background-eraser-example.png

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to use an oversized eraser tip for the Background Eraser. Since it works by removing particular colors from the image, it won’t erase colors that aren’t selected.

To learn more about how to remove the background of a photo in Photoshop or PowerPoint,check out this step-by-step tutorial.

9) The Crop ToolWhat It Does: The Crop tool lets you crop an image. It works like any crop tool you’ve ever encountered: Simply choose your area and crop it out.

I know this is a basic tool, but you’ll find yourself using this just as often as any other tool in Photoshop, especially when you’ve completed your graphic and need to clean up some of the free space around the edges.

Where It’s Located: The toolbar on the left.

photoshop-crop-tool.png

To use the Crop tool:

Select the icon indicated in the screenshot from the side menu bar, and drag the box over the area you would like to crop. To adjust the crop box, simply click and drag the small anchor boxes on the sides and corners of the crop box.

photoshop-crop-tool-example.png

Pro Tip: You can make your canvas size larger than it needs to be so that you can give yourself more room to move your design elements, and crop it down to the proper size afterwards.

Read this blog post to learn how to crop images in Photoshop to a specific ratio. If you want to learn some cropping tricks — like how to rotate an image using the Crop tool — then check out this article from Digital Photography School.

10) The Fill Tool

What It Does: The Fill tool, formerly the Paint Bucket tool, fills any solid area with the color of your choice. It’s great for solid backgrounds or coloring large areas. It can also be used to apply patterns to your images. The Gradient tool within the Fill tool lets you create a nice, faded background effect of the color of your choice.

Where It’s Located: On the top menu bar, choose Layer > New Fill Layer. From there, you have the option to choose “Solid Color,” “Gradient,” or “Pattern.”

photoshop-fill-tool.png

To fill a solid area with a color:

First, select the layer you’d like to fill with a solid color. Then, from the top menu bar, chooseLayer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color… From there, a “New Layer” window will pop up and prompt you to name the new color fill layer. Don’t worry about choosing the color you want right then and there — simply name the layer and press “OK.”

 

photoshop-solid-color-fill.png

Next, the Color Picker window will pop up. Here, you can choose which solid color you’d like to fill. Since I’d selected my background layer to fill in (i.e. the color of the sky in my graphic), the color I select in the Color Picker dictates the color of the sky:

photoshop-color-picker-fill.png

To apply patterns to your images:

These patterns can be manually created if you have the time and patience, or you can find a variety of royalty-free patterns available for download through a basic Google search.

To apply a pattern, first select the layer you’d like to fill with a pattern. Then, from the top menu bar, choose Layer > New Fill Layer > Pattern... From there, a “New Layer” window will pop up and prompt you to name the new color fill layer. Don’t worry about choosing the color you want right then and there — simply name the layer and press “OK.”

Next, you’ll see the “Pattern Fill” window pop up. From there, you can choose the pattern and its scale. Since I’d selected my background layer to fill in (i.e. the color of the sky in my graphic), the pattern I select in the Pattern Fill changes the sky:

photoshop-patterns.png

To use the Gradient tool:

To apply a gradient, first select the layer you’d like to fill with a pattern. Then, from the top menu bar, choose Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient... From there, a “New Layer” window will pop up and prompt you to name the new color fill layer. Don’t worry about choosing the color you want right then and there — simply name the layer and press “OK.”

Next, a “Gradient Fill” window will pop up. Play around with these options, including the style, angle, and scale. To choose a different gradient than the one offered by default, click the arrow on the right-hand side of the default gradient to open the Gradient Editor, shown below:

photoshop-gradients.png

11) The Eyedropper

What It Does: This handy little tool lets you extract and use any color from any image in Photoshop.

Where It’s Located: The toolbar on the left.

photoshop-eyedropper.png

To use the Eyedropper tool:

Select the icon from the sidebar. Next, locate that color you would like to extract, and simply click that area to clone the color.

Once you’ve extracted the color, you’ll see it indicated both in the Color module at the top right of your screen, as well as the bottom of the left sidebar. You can double-click that color box to bring up the advanced color picker, where you can then adjust and save the color to a swatch for future use.

photoshop-color-picker-eyedrop.png

12) Blending Options

What It Does: Blending options include quite a number of features to enhance the look or your graphic. For example, you can use the “Outer Glow” effect to make letters appear like they’re glowing. Or you can use the “Drop Shadow” effect to add a shadow to your letters. Take some time to play around with all the layer effects and find out which ones tickle your fancy.

Where It’s Located: From the top menu bar, choose Layer > Layer Style > Blending Options…You can also double-click any layer to bring up the options for that particular layer.

photoshop-blending-options.png

To use Blending Options:

First, select the layer you want to apply your blending options and effects to. Then, open up your blending options and choose the one you’d like to apply. With the variety of options available, you can achieve a number of great effects to finalize your graphics. Have fun with these and experiment on different layers, images, and texts.  Here’s a look at what’s offered:

blending-options-menu.png

For example, in the image below, I selected my text layer and chose “Bevel & Emboss.” Looks pretty cool, eh?

photoshop-bevel-example.png

Before we send you on your way, it’s worth noting that if you’re working with a limited budget and a tight schedule, you can save yourself tons of time and money by using free, royalty-free stock photos. Here’s a list of 17 of the best free stock photo sites you can look through.

Also, Photoshop offers a number of really helpful keyboard shortcuts for things like zooming in and out, changing canvas size, creating a new layer, and so on. Check out this blog post for a full list, including shortcuts for some of the tools mentioned above.

Now, it wouldn’t be realistic to guarantee that you’d be a Photoshop wiz at this point — but that isn’t what this guide designed to do. We hope we’ve provided you with the understanding you’ll need to use the powerful tools in Photoshop in a timely, efficient, non-hair-pulling manner, so that you can elevate your visual content game, like, today.

Happy Photoshopping!

What other Photoshop tips do you have to share — whether they’re for beginners, for more advanced users, or anywhere in between?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

free do-it-yourself-design guide and resources

Topics: Design Professional Development

Source: Hubspot

How to Create a Twitter Holiday Schedule

By Lauren Dugan - Dec 5th 2105
Rather than leave your Twitter-based Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other celebrations to the last minute, we’ve got some ideas for you

Rather than leave your Twitter-based Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other celebrations to the last minute, we’ve got some ideas for you to help you create a holiday Twitter schedule – so you can take some much deserved rest knowing that your tweets are all queued up.

Step 1: Make a list of the celebrations

December is a big month for celebrations around the world. Make a list of the specific holidays that you’d like to acknowledge on Twitter. Try to gather some insight into what your audience celebrates, and incorporate that into the list as well.

Celebrations can range from the obvious, like Christmas, to the more personal, like your company’s office party, end-of-the-year milestones or recognizing the charitable work of your employees during the holidays.

Be sure to note the date and time, if applicable, of all of the celebrations on your list.

Step 2: Write your tweets

Now it’s time for a little creativity. Spend a few hours brainstorming the tweets that you will send to mark each date. You’ll want to keep your brand voice consistent, but also write tweets that will stand out – everyone can tweet “Merry Christmas!”, so why not add a little personality to yours?

Don’t forget to leave room for an image!

Step 3: Make your images

Since images improve engagement and reach, it’s a good idea to include them in as many tweets as you can. Once you have your holiday-themed tweets all written up, find or create images to match.

There are some neat tools out there that can help you design images if you don’t have a graphics background, such as Snappa and Pablo by Buffer. These tools enable you to choose stock photos, add text and graphics, and download in a Twitter-friendly format.

Step 4: Use a Twitter scheduling tool

If you’re already using a tool to schedule your tweets, now’s the time to open it. If not, try looking into one of the leaders in this space: HootSuite, Buffer and TweetDeck are all great choices.

With your tweets written and images created, it’s simply a matter of plugging each one into your scheduling tool and setting them to go live at the right dates and times throughout the holidays. Easy!

(Optional) Step 5: Add in the right hashtags

It’s always a good idea to do a little hashtag research if you want your tweets to earn more exposure. However, this step is optional because often the most popular hashtags surrounding a live event like a holiday aren’t apparent until the day-of.

If you are able to quickly check in on Twitter’s Trending Topics on each day that you’re celebrating and include one or two in your related tweets, you’ll earn yourself more exposure.

And that’s all it takes to set up a holiday Twitter schedule! This method works for any holiday period, so don’t limit your scheduling to December alone. Happy holidays and happy tweeting!

Source: How-to Create a Twitter Schedule – Social Times

Your business will grow if you start using video marketing today.

YouTube is considered the second search engine
With Video Marketing 64% of viewers are more likely to make a purchase.

YouTube is not just about funny & entertaining videos. It has over 1 billion members, and you can tap into this crowd to find your target customers. I’m going to show you how to drive floods of targeted traffic to your website or blog.

This is not just your average “look at my stats” traffic, but high-converting traffic. Basically I’m going to walk you through how to profit from YouTube traffic.

Video viewers are 64% more likely to make a purchase.

Additionally – I will show you the secrets to get your videos to rank not just in YouTube, but Google as well. This is one of the things that 90% of businesses using video today get wrong. And believe me, showing up on the front page of Google with a laser targeted keyword can mean a huge difference in your results using video to market your business.

Source: http://www.videotrafficacademy.com/?hop=elfyau01

Why Add a Transcript to your video?

Video captioning
Why transcribe your video for closed captions

What are “closed-captions” and why would you hire a freelance transcriptionist to produce a transcript for your video?  That’s what I want to answer and why an accurate transcript of the speech spoken in your video helps it rank higher in your niche when someone makes a relevant search.  Marketing in the new-age digital has been rapid in development and utilisation has expanded over the years.

To add closed captions (or subtitles) to your video as opposed to open simply means to add visual text to your video that the viewer has the option to them on or off.  Open captions are burnt onto the video and you don’t have that option although they are used for example in films or programs that are in a different native language to the viewer, which I for one are grateful for!

Late Senator wants closed captioning of in-flight movies

Closed-captions were originally developed for the hearing-impaired and in years gone by in the early 1980s provided by Digital Teletext services essentially for this purpose.  The late former senator “Thomas Harkin” complained that on airline flights passengers with hearing impairments couldn’t watch the films on-board because they lacked subtitles.

Today transcripts have additional resource value and have many different time-saving purposes like Tweets; blog posts ideas; social media post headlines; incentive to potential clients to participate in a webinar; marketing interviews that are transcribed can often be enough to provide literature to create a course/e-course; material that can be printed into a hard copy and provide a point of reference are to name a few.  The bonuses of a transcript in itself that are naturally included in your text document for a one-off fee, probably more affordable fee than that of a video editing business or outsourcing organisation.

So why add a transcript to a video?  Video and video marketing has evolved rapidly since the coming of the digital age and with the Internet, mobile phones that can record video and upload it to the net pretty much instantly are all channels for businesses and marketers to get their product or service out there to a much larger audience than ever before.

Some facts and figures about video marketing, the first three are taken from Adeliestudios.com where they published a post titled “The Top 15 Video Marketing Statistics for 2015”.

  • 2015 is The Year of Video Marketing. – HubSpot Marketing
  • 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium. – MarketingProfs
  • When marketers included a video in an email, the click-through rate increased by 200% – 300% – Forrester
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. – YouTube (That’s a lot of cat videos!)
  • 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video instead of reading text, if both are available on the same page. – Forbes Insight (Does that therefore mean that 41% would prefer to read a text document if both are available on the same page?  Comments welcome at the bottom of this post.)
  • Average time spent on mobile devices is 40 minutes per session. – DMR
  • 85 Countries have launches a local version of YouTube. – DMR
  • 96% of Business to Business are planning to use video in thier marketing in the next year. – HubSpot
  • 52% of Marketing Professionals name video as the best type of content for return of investment (ROI).
  • That, by 2019, video content will account for roughly 80-90% of internet traffic? – B2C (Cisco Study)

Anyway, so all that said how does a transcript help Search Engine Optimization when its included on a video?  It’s about accurate text when you add the transcript to your embedded video.  The search engine bots like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Explorer and others they have more content information due to the transcribed text document and this enable them to rank your video higher because there is more video content information.  Having a video transcribed by the nature of the script it is keyword rich because it is your niche that you are speaking about.  This could be personal or professional, for profit or for non-profit but a transcript will give search engine trawlers a lot more detail other than that of just the title, subtitle, and of course the video and its content.

So if you are not currently using video in your marketing strategy for your business hopefully the advantages bullet-pointed above have given you some thought for inclusion of video marketing with a transcript in your future marketing strategy?

 

 

Is public media ready for machine transcription? (A Socratic dialogue) — Medium

A conversation between American Public Media’s Andy Kruse and Pop Up Archive’s Peter Karman.

This is a very interesting read about the discussion of manual transcription versus automatic speech recognition.  It starts with the question of whether transcripts are needed to be added to your audio in the first place and moves on to discuss how a document produced by ASR rather than hire a professional transcriptionist or transcription company and get an accurate transcript is surely better because of the cost saving?

If SEO is to be a consideration and reason for adding a transcript then a document that is not accurate in spelling of its content is pretty useless to search engine bots where words can so easily be misspelt by SEO bots.

As a professional typist and transcriber with over 20 years experience putting recorded speech into text I will always argue the case for manual digital transcription because a professional transcription service does not need to cost the earth to get a professional transcript and for the value of the transcript and its different uses surely it’s the best investment?

If you have a minute please take a minute to read the article and please do comment on your thoughts about the value of transcripts and are they necessary?

Source: Is public media ready for machine transcription? (A Socratic dialogue) — Medium