4 Creative Ways to Promote Your Site

by Mark Zeni on June 22, 2017

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Promotion of a site can be a time-consuming and expensive task. This is especially tough if you have reached the initial stage of users and are looking for organic growth. We have compiled a list of 4 creative ways to promote your site that will engage your users and bring in more.

1. T-shirt giveaways for readers

T-shirts are like walking billboards and who wouldn’t want a fair bit of advertisement? T-shirts have a long lifespan and are extremely flexible for customization. You can literally print anything on T-shirts and get any t-shirt designs you wish for.

A well-made T-shirt design will ensure that users will keep it for a long time. A survey states that if a T-shirt is fun, functional and trendy, then people will keep it. This is why you should give out T-shirts to your readers and users to make sure they spread the good word about you.

If you are wondering how to create a custom t-shirt design, then you should go for crowdsourcing! You can use a crowdsourcing site like DesignHill to get the best T-shirt designs from hundreds of apparel designers.

Some of the unique ways in which you can give away the T-shirts to your readers –

-Conduct a contest in which readers can tag their friends to win it
-You can get your readers to like your social media pages, and lucky winners can get free t-shirts
-Perform a task or activity to get the T-shirt
-Reward a fan or reader by sending a T-shirt

You should make sure that T-shirt designs are relevant to your product yet interesting. Your readers do not want to literally wear a walking advertisement for you. If your T-shirt design looks extremely promotional, then your reader will not wear it, hence not serving your purpose.

2. Partner with local businesses

A business cannot thrive without the support of a business community. If you are looking to grow your business, then it’s time you partnered with local businesses. Partnering with other businesses is easy, but you have to do it the right way.

Find potential partners
You have to make a list of all the businesses that could be your potential partners. Several businesses have many arms so make sure none of them competes with your business! You want to partner with businesses which complement your product/service.

Reach out to them and execute campaigns
When two businesses partner for growing a business without a formal merger it is important they are on the same page. Engage with businesses which have a similar philosophy and business ethic. Here are a few ways in which you can work with your partners to promote your site –

Cross promotion – Both the parties have to equally promote each other’s products. Sit down and finalize on the communication strategy and design for these promotions.

Events – Combining resources is the best way to maximize impact. You can create events together which will satisfy and engage your target audience.

Rewards – You can give away each other’s products as rewards. For instance, you can give your t-shirt designs to a local football club; while the football club can give you discount coupons for your customers to avail their membership.

Assess the performance
Not all partnerships work out, some of them become too difficult and a drain of your resources. Run a campaign and take a step back to assess how your partnerships worked. If the partnership has brought in more users and business, then continue else put a stop to it!

3. Run a contest for readers and subscribers

Online contests are a very popular way of increasing traffic to your site. In fact, a survey found out that after an effective contest campaign, sites increase their fan base by almost 34%! This is because contests are a fun and exciting way to engage users and promote your site.

Here are a few contest ideas you can use –

-Create a slogan for your site
Name a new product or service that you are going to offer on your site
-Upload their photos and tag their friends for a particular theme contest
-Challenge contests are an extremely popular where you can coax your followers to participate in unique challenges
-Caption contests which can be funny or humorous
-Upload videos where the users have to perform a certain activity, and they have to get maximum likes to win it
-Crowdsource for new ideas on products, varieties or other customizations
Quizzes and guessing games

You can add a condition that maximum likes or shares on entries will be considered as a parameter for winning the contests. Here are some prize ideas that your users will love and spread it among their community –

-Giveaway customized t-shirt designs
-Free products and services including 1-month trials
-Cash or discount offers on services, products, and subscriptions
-Chance to be featured on the site as well as advertising
-Free trips or customized prizes

You can even continue leveraging the contest after it is done by posting about the user and his prize. You can develop that story over the next few posts so that your users trust your contests and participate in them the next time.

However, make sure you are transparent in your communication regarding the contests. Your users and fans should not feel let down with your promises. Else they will quickly review and brand you as fraudulent!

4. Reward influencers and customers who recommend you on social media

Your audience is going to be important to you always, whether you have 100 users or 1 million users. It is the relationship that you have with your users that will change as your audience grows. One of the best ways to engage with your users is to make them feel important by one to one interactions.

If you are a big brand with many users/subscribers, then you can do these activities to engage users –

On Facebook – Share the reader’s feedback or post by putting it on your timeline. Tag the reader so that they will get a lot of followers in turn. This will also ensure other readers promote your site too.

On Instagram – Repost their Instagram post and tag them. Shareability and discovery are difficult on Instagram. By the repost, you show importance to your reader and their thoughts.

On Twitter – A retweet by a major brand will enhance the value of the reader’s tweet immensely. Other accounts will also start tagging your site.

If you are an upcoming brand with new users being added every day, then your strategy will change. It is unlikely that readers will recommend your site right away. In such a situation drive focus on influencers. In a survey, it was found that over 71% users were likely to purchase based on social media referrals.

On Facebook – Tie up with influencers and ask them to review your site. You can give them your products or have any other similar deal

On Instagram – With the recent addition of Instagram Stories, influencers are able to make more impact. Send free products or special deal discounts which they can, in turn, give away to their users

On Twitter – This is a completely open platform and can make or break your brand. Retweet and hashtag effectively to create maximum positive impact

Do you use any other creative ideas to promote your site? If you do then let us know in the comments below.

Original post: 4 Creative Ways to Promote Your Site

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Designing The Perfect Accordion

by Vitaly Friedman on June 21, 2017

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Design patterns. An almost mythical phrase that often inspires either awe or resentment. As designers, we tend to think of design patterns as generic off-the-shelf solutions that can be applied to various contexts almost mechanically, often without proper consideration. Navigation? Off-canvas! Deals of the day? Carousel! You get the idea.

Designing The Perfect Accordion (With A Checklist)

Sometimes we use these patterns without even thinking about them, and there is a good reason for it: Coming up with a brand new solution every time we encounter an interface problem is time-consuming and risky, because we just don’t know how much time will be needed to implement a new solution and whether it will gracefully succeed or miserably fail in usability tests.

The post Designing The Perfect Accordion appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Free Icon Set: Happy 4th Of July ?? (20 Icons, PNG, EPS, AI, SVG)

by Iris Lješnjanin (Senior Editor) on June 20, 2017

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Every once in a while, we publish freebies related to different occasions and themes. Today, we’d like to share an icon set dedicated to a well-known upcoming American holiday.

Free Flat Icon Set: ?? Happy 4th Of July (20 Icons, PNG, EPS, AI, SVG)

Some of you may already be working on the usual flyers or brochures, so we thought we’d help you out with a set of colorful icons to spice up your designs a bit differently this year. Thank us later!

The post Free Icon Set: Happy 4th Of July ?? (20 Icons, PNG, EPS, AI, SVG) appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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If you’ve been dreaming of making it big with your blog, and gathering millions of loyal subscribers who can’t wait to get your next email, you’re in good company. Everyone wants their blog to be successful, but only a handful achieve it. Not because there’s a secret formula they’re keeping secret, but because they know the ingredients required for success.

Although it seems complicated at times, you don’t need a degree in rocket science to have a successful blog. Here are three simple steps you can take to spice up your existing blog and make it more desirable to your readers:

1. Write only when you have something to say

One of the most common pieces of advice given by expert bloggers and marketers is the frequency at which you should post new articles. Some say you need to post articles daily, while others say you can get away with posting a couple times per week, which is still frequent. Almost no advice out there will tell you to post sparingly.

Posting frequently sounds like a strategy backed by some technical reason or logic, but it’s really not. The intention behind frequent posting is nothing more than keeping a steady stream of content in front of your already-distracted visitors so they don’t forget about you and move on.

That advice was created to help people with mediocre content achieve mediocre success. Truth is, more content doesn’t equal more target readers. When you have high quality content, people don’t need to be convinced to read your articles, and you don’t need to keep putting your content in their face. A truly successful blog will have visitors who voluntarily come back for more.

People don’t read, they scan

Studies like this one from the Nielsen Norman Group show that people don’t read web content word for word. Instead, they scan for keywords. Even when an article is interesting to them, they only read a portion of it. Chances are, if you’ve been publishing articles to stay on top of your weekly quota, they’re probably not even being read.

Posting less frequently isn’t a strategy itself, but it’s a side effect of the ultimate strategy of publishing articles only when you have something of value to share.

When your content is delectable, and people actively want to consume it, posting less frequently will cause people to anticipate your next post and become excited when it’s published. When people want your content and wait for it, that’s a true sign of success.

2. Write about creative projects related to your niche

Whatever your niche is, some creative mind out in the world has started a humanitarian or art project related to it. Finding those people and writing an article about their creative projects is a wonderful way to give your readers something fun to read.

For example, if you’re in marketing, you could write an article about an artist doing portrait mosaics out of business cards and flyers! Engaging readers with creative content makes them feel good.

You want your blog to stand out, so the more unique your content is, the better. Another example of creative articles can be seen on the Clunker Junker’s blog. There’s an article written about an artist from Poland who used scrap metal to build scale models of various supercars. His models are hauntingly beautiful, and contain so many small parts that it’s hard to imagine how he was able to do it.

Don’t just look around at other blogs in your industry to get ideas. Think outside the box and bring creativity through art to your blog.

3. Share something mind blowing

To really spice up your blog, write about something generally only known inside of your industry that affects other people. Buzzfeed is a master of this strategy! Or, write about something commonly known but from an uncommon perspective afforded by your industry.

For example, Dave Asprey published an article on his Bulletproof Coffee blog about the reason many organic farms aren’t renewing their official, organic certification. According to the article, in some states certifications are moving from a set yearly fee to a percentage of gross annual income, making it impossible for smaller farms to renew certification. While these farms still produce certifiably organic produce, unless consumers investigate, they’d never know.

Most people go to the grocery store and think that unless food is labeled organic, it’s not organic. This article gives people the incentive they need to do more research and not be fooled by labels (or the absence thereof). That produce you’ve been avoiding because it’s not organic could, in fact, be organic.

Original post: Increase Your Blog’s Appeal By Adding These 3 Spices

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Joan is applying for a small loan on all-online-loanzzz.com. She’s becoming frustrated with the number of financial-disclosure forms she has to fill out. She’s thinking about visiting her local bank to ask for a loan instead.

Connecting With Users: Incorporating Humor In Web Design

While waiting for a page to load, the application presents a cartoon image of a person wearing a business suit sitting in a jail cell. The image caption says, “Hey, everyone hates disclosures. We know you do, too. We’re doing our best to keep everyone out of jail. Please bear with us for a few more clicks. You won’t regret it, and our loan officers will stay out of jail.” Joan smirks at the image. She might not appreciate the number of forms she has to complete, but she understands the serious nature of applying for a loan.

The post Connecting With Users: Incorporating Humor In Web Design appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Must-Have SaaS Tools For Web Designers

June 19, 2017
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Software as a Service makes most digital work a whole lot easier. You can find web-based systems for editorial calendars, design projects, wireframing tools, and so much more. Web design is also a…

Click through to read the rest of the story on the …

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Designing Mobile Marketing Experiences For Millennial Shoppers

June 19, 2017
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The average American spends at least five hours per day on their smartphone. So, why is it so hard to make mobile ads work? Marketers toil over clicks an…

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Web Development Reading List #186: Tor 7, Designing Depth, And Mac Ransomare

June 16, 2017
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Design is one of the most controversial things in our industry. There are barely any redesigns that aren’t discussed heavily in the community. Changing a well-working design is even harder as people tend to dislike anything new, but if we give them a bit of time, they might start to see things from a different perspective.

Web Development Reading List 186

Instead of following what everyone else is doing, we shouldn’t hesitate to leave the beaten tracks when designing — by creating a contrast-rich, deep design without using drop shadows, for example. Whatever you do, be sure to explore new options whenever you can.

The post Web Development Reading List #186: Tor 7, Designing Depth, And Mac Ransomare appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

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Building Production-Ready CSS Grid Layouts Today

June 15, 2017
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Industries often experience evolution less as slow and steady progress than as revolutionary shifts in modality that change best practices and methodolog…

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Hybrid Apps And React Native: A Time To Transition?

June 14, 2017
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Accomplished musicians often talk about how, at certain moments in their careers, they had to unlearn old habits in order to progress. This process often…

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