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One of the biggest challenges in transforming your passion for art into a business is marketing your work. As a creative soul, you are not necessarily naturally talented when it comes to promoting and selling your work. In fact, many creative find this area particularly challenging as it requires skills which are pretty much the opposite of the artistic and creative skill-set.
The good news, however, is that you can learn these skills and teach yourself to be stronger at marketing. Here is a step-by-step guide to developing a marketing strategy for artists, to let you successfully market and sell your art even if this area is not your forte.
The first step in developing a marketing strategy for your art is to define your goals and objectives. This will be the foundation of your strategy, because everything you plan to do follows from what you are looking to achieve.
Start by identifying your goals for your business. You goals should be the broad, overall things that you want to achieve. This could be to make a certain amount of money (either a set figure or enough to be financially sustainable, for example), to create a profile as an artist (locally, nationally or internationally), something else, or all of the above.
From there you can work out your objectives, which are the smaller, more concrete things which will bring you closer to achieving your goal. For example, if your goal is to create a public profile as a well-known artist within your area, an objective may be to attract a certain number of followers on social media.
An important part of any marketing strategy is your audience. Every business’ audience will be different, and you need to know what yours is, as this defines the marketing methods and tactics you should use.
In order to define your audience think about your ideal customer: this is the person that is most likely to buy your product for the price you are willing to sell it. Your ideal customer will have an interest in your art, and the financial means to be able to buy it. Think about who this person is, down to factors like age, gender, profession and locality.
From there, explore the lifestyle and habits that person is likely to have: do they spend time on social media and if so what platforms? Are they likely to pick up flyers at community events or read the notice board at local cafes or other businesses and which ones? All of this will help you know how to market to them.
As important as knowing your customer is, it is equally critical to know who you are. Every business has a brand, and if you are marketing yourself as an independent artist, you are that brand! Your brand expresses who you are as an artist, and how you want people to see you. This is really up to you to decide: your brand could be professional, playful, fun, quirky, traditional, classic, or something else. Whatever you decide, everything you do in your marketing should reflect this essence.
These days the easiest way to sell your art is online. You may also choose to sell your art in person, either in combination with online sales or exclusively in store. However, assuming that you do want to sell your art online, you have a few options. There are a number of sites such as UGallery, Saatchi Art and Artfinder, which specialise in selling art from independent artists directly to the public. There are also sites like Ipicasso which specialise in niche types of paintings, as well as more general ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy.
Another option is to create your own website and sell your art through there. This option involves more work, both in terms of setting up and maintaining the website, and also in marketing in order to drive traffic to your site (compared to other platforms which already have potential customers using that site). However, the advantage of using your own site is that you will receive 100% of the profits rather than giving a percentage to an ecommerce platform, as well as having full control over the process.
Whether selling your art through an online art marketplace, a general ecommerce site, or your own website, you need to promote your work and yourself through marketing tactics in order to attract attention from potential customers. Social media marketing is a highly effective marketing technique for artists, especially Instagram. Because this is a visual medium, it is a great way to show your art to a whole new audience, and build a following which could turn into a customer base.
There are also a number of “ghost marketing” tactics which you can use to subtly drive traffic to your site or ecommerce listing. Ghost marketing’s strategies include SEO (search engine optimisation), digital PR and content marketing. It is a good idea to pick one marketing tactic to start and focus on this. From there, you can skill up in other areas and roll out additional strategies as your business grows.
Most website owners focus all their energy on getting traffic to their sites, but if that traffic doesn’t convert, it’s almost useless. This article outlines proven strategies for getting your visitors to convert into customers, whether that’s filling out a survey, handing over their email address or making a purchase.
An artful layout creates order in a website. Things should not simply be thrown onto a page at random. People naturally scan a website in the shape of a Z. This means that important information should be located in the top left-hand corner, in the middle and the bottom right corner.
This placement is more likely to draw the attention of the reader. If there is a lot of text on the website, then this should be broken up with spaces. It allows the reader breathing room and makes large amounts of information more accessible.
We all have egos. Some are quite larger than others, but for the most part, they exist in all of us. A great website acknowledges that. It knows that people want to feel heard, seen and felt. They do not want to feel like they are just another cog in the machine.
This can be achieved by using casual language when necessary. A website does not always need to maintain a professional tone. If it seems fitting to add some slang or colloquialisms, then do just that.
An SEO friendly website should provide content that people easily connect with and inspires them to visit again. Use well-researched keywords and do not make the writing look robotic by overstuffing the keywords.
At a very early age, children are taught to associate colors with moods. When someone is sad, we call them blue and when they are jealous when they are green with envy. The same trend persists in adults.
We consciously and subconsciously associate different colors with different moods or emotions. Blue for example, generally induces feelings of calm and trust. Yellow, on the other hand, implies haste. Color psychology should be taken into account when adding color to a website.
Colors speak as well as fonts. The font that you choose could make or break the website. Each font holds a different association.
Comic Sans, for example, is generally associated with children. This, therefore, would not be a good option for a legal website.
When a person goes through a website, they are essentially having a conversation with the owner of the website. This conversation can include personal questions and as such trust needs to be developed.
Customers will not offer up private details if they do not feel that they can trust you. If this is security information, then you have to be very clear in stating that this information will remain secure and private.
The customer also needs to feel like there is open communication between the two of you, therefore making contact details important.
Just as people have egos, they are also prone to emotions. You need to communicate on an emotional level if you want to reach people and influence them. This can be done by being emotive in your writing and by using emotional triggers.
Brand loyalty is one of the most significant factors for achieving brand success. Without loyal customers who regularly purchase your goods or services, you will need to compete with other brands in terms of price and convenience. When people choose your brand based on how affordable your products are and how attractive your price is, your brand becomes a product. In this case, you have to deal with a significant fall in price and invent new advertising tricks.
Therefore, you always risk losing customers to your competitors who can offer a better price. To prevent your brand from becoming a product, you have to create and develop fidelity to it. And the best way to lay a theoretical foundation for this is to buy essay online cheap. If you work in a marketing or branding department, you should understand what causes brand loyalty or lack thereof so that you could take reasonable decisions regarding your brand strategy.
This is a strong point of your brand determined by your customers’ positive or negative experience, as well as their perception and impressions. Having an opportunity and compelling reason to select another brand but continuing to choose the previous one is called brand loyalty. Although factors like brand recognition and its attributes can also impact your brand’s equity. Brand loyalty is extremely vital since it determines whether your consumers will continue to choose your brand over others.
The degree of consumer commitment to the brand shows the likelihood of your consumers switching to other brands, especially when the price or other purchase parameters change. Professor David Aaker identified five consumer segments according to the degree of their allegiance to the brand.
"Defectors" or price buyers are non-loyal buyers who are entirely indifferent to the brand. They only care about what is on sale or what is more convenient to them.
“Habitual” buyers are satisfied or at least not disappointed with the brand. They are sensitive to competitors who can create a distinct advantage and make them switch.
Buyers committed to the brand due to the expenses related to switching. They are satisfied with the brand and are not prepared to bear the costs involved in switching to another brand. To attract these customers, competitors should overcome these switching costs.
Friends of the brand are buyers who love this brand. Their preferences may be based on associations and high appreciation of the brand’s quality. These customers feel attachment at an emotional level.
Genuinely loyal customers are proud of using the brand. For them, the brand is vital either from a functional, self-identification, social or cultural point of view.
The best way to measure brand loyalty is to conduct a poll. By collecting feedback from consumers in your target niche, especially from those who bought from you in the past, you can assess whether your brand arouses loyalty and retains customers. Surveys based on five key parameters, such as customer commitment, trust, dignity, reliability, and identification, can be an effective method of evaluating brand loyalty. Accurately assessing these aspects of your brand will help you identify particular competition areas, the stability of the existing customer base in various markets, as well as strong and weak points of competing products.
Initially, it is essential to satisfy your customers’ needs and meet their expectations in terms of price, service, and quality of goods. A company capable of providing the buyer not only with the benefits of purchasing but also pleasure is bound to succeed. Retail chains around the world actively and tirelessly fight for each customer. Market economy and competition ensure dynamic development of the methods and ways using which companies build loyalty to their brand day after day.
To be able to achieve success, companies need to conduct an all-around study of their buyers’ behavior, needs, and ways of communication with them. We all know that demand creates supply. However, we should not forget that companies can come up with offers that will attract customers, thus creating steady demand. A study conducted by Shopper Trends in 56 countries revealed that the main reasons for customers to purchase a product are ease of finding everything they need, the presence of all they need at one place, and constant availability of the right products in stock.
Being a process of forming a company’s reputation, branding is one of the most important ways of promoting products in the market. Gaining confidence in the brand is not only a matter of doing business but also a question of survival. Therefore, appropriate strategies focusing on a specific segment of customers help a company not only increase sales and personalize relations with regular customers but also operate successfully over a protracted period of time.
Cybercrime is a very serious offence involving computers and networks. Several people are still victims these days. The activity ranges from hacking into personal accounts, child pornography, copyright infringement, sextortion, and unwarranted mass surveillance. Cyber attacks are very diverse and dealing with them isn't such an easy task. According to The New York Times, companies will never reveal information about a cyber attack on their systems until evidence is provided.
The internet is one place through which most of these attacks come from. Instead of planning to recover from an attack, it is better to protect yourself so that the attack doesn’t happen in the first place. We would be looking at seven different ways you can keep the security threats away from you.
The use of stronger passwords locks down your accounts, making it nearly impossible for intruders to gain access. When signing into different accounts ensure you don’t repeat the password every time. If they could get one of your passwords, it means they can get all your passwords. Every password you use should be a minimum of 10 characters, including upper and lowercase letters, numbers and a variety of symbols. To keep your passwords on lockdown, generate stronger passwords, and for easier remembrance, it is advisable to use a password manager for security.
Your social media settings provide whatever a hacker would need to get into your account. Sharing important and private information on your social media accounts is not advisable. It is important to use a two-steps authentication method to protect your account further, ensuring that the hackers have to go through an extra step to get into your account. If they were able to get your password, you would be notified of an attempted login, after which you can change your password immediately. Always think well before inputting any information on your social media accounts. If they are not compulsory, then leave them out.
Internet Safety For Kids is very necessary as your kids are as vulnerable as you are. If you can protect yourself from these security threats, don't assume that they can't still get to you through your children. Cybercriminals are very intent in their operations and some may go the extra mile to get to you. You can let your children know everything they need to know about online bullying, cyberstalking and other forms of harassment they can receive by being on the internet. You should also teach them how to prevent them.
Ensure you back up every important data on your device. There are several cloud storage platforms that possess enough space to back up your data frequently. Having only one copy of your important data is very risky, as a virus attack or other forms of attack on your system can lead to permanent loss of your data. Even if a technical problem occurs, there’s a backup.
When being mindful of cyber threats, making use of personal network instead of public Wi-Fi is very important. If the Wi-Fi is the only option available, ensure that it is well protected and you know the Wi-Fi vendor providing the Wi-Fi. Also ensure your Wi-Fi is always turned off, except when intending to connect to a personal or known Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi would automatically connect to an open network close-by. Hackers use various Wi-Fi strategies to get into your device.
Installing antivirus software and updating it regularly is one way to keep your system protected. Norton Antivirus is one of the good softwares that help you carry out scans, identify, and nullify threats on your system. Updating your system software and using the latest security updates helps keep your system in check, and prevent security incidents.
Scammers and cybercriminals have specific methods they use to gain access to your device from the internet.
Before clicking on anything when surfing the net, think twice. Is what you're about to click necessary? Was it expected? Do you know who sent it? Don't just click it because you're eager to see what is in it. Someone somewhere is also eager to see what is in your system. Stay cautious.
Once you've mastered the various ways to keep yourself safe from these attacks, you can begin to tell people about it till everyone is aware. Keeping yourself and your kids safe from identity theft and other forms of cyber attack should be a priority.
Publishing web content is an incredible way of converting leads online. Users often search because they want answers or information. However, your web page should be captivating enough to make visitors stay longer and build stronger connections with your brand. Whether you are hiring the services of custom writing company or you are doing it alone, getting it right is key. Here are the tips you should consider.
When crafting content for your web, ensure that you pick a powerful theme. It should be unique and compelling. Let people feel your brand and want to interact with it even more. This also boosts your reputation and strengthens our online presence. Remember, reputation is crucial to your web success. So, consider making it your priority.
Read More & Research
It’s extremely important to have extensive knowledge about your field of specialization. Nonetheless, you need to understand exactly the quality and relevance of what has been written. This is particularly beneficial when it comes to blog writing. Having a comprehensive idea about what’s needed and helps minimize repetition and inject more freshness into your website.
The Power of Providing Proof
Whenever you’re trying to convince your audience, provide links and referrals. This can positively influence your web content as they help support your views and make your writing feel more credible.
Structure is Important
According to Google, it’s advisable to utilize a maximum of 10 words per sentence. Plus, each paragraph you write should feature approximately 1-4 sentences and there should be lists and bullets spread across your post. This also optimizes your SEO and improves your website ranking.
Whenever you write a post, add an evocative image or video to give your content an instant uplift and make it more attractive as well as easier on the eye. Nevertheless, you should take relevancy into consideration when picking the visuals since you really don’t want to misguide your audience.
Edit, Edit, Edit
Nothing feels bad like reading a post with too many grammar and spelling mistakes. In fact, it’s a complete turn off! So, be keen to edit each blog regularly before posting it online for the entire web to see and judge.
Consider Updating Regularly
When creating a new post or updating an older one, ensure that you keep your writing fresh. You should always keep in mind that no one loves reading old, outdated content. Get imaginative and craft something unique and fascinating. Don’t just be ordinary, let your content move people. Besides, you should introduce a sense of humor into your content and it should factor in things such as cultural differences as well as audience sensitivities.
Pay Attention to Keywords
Your content can’t sound good without keywords. Bring out those striking keywords of yours using bold, unique fonts and titles. This doesn’t only make it simpler for readers to identify the key subjects featured in your post, it also plays a significant role in helping you organize your writing in an attractive way.
You don’t have to stick with the conventional ways of conveying information; stretch beyond your limits and adopt different tactics to create your own unique content.
By observing these tips, you’ll create content that’s more appealing and attention-grabbing. Some audiences, for instance, respond better to infographics, whilst others prefer to reading the entire information. Combine different options to achieve an interesting and well-balanced blog. Plus, if you are new to content writing sphere, you can still hire eWritingService.com for high-quality pieces. An experienced content service provider knows the approach to use to get your content that sells and converts.
Why do students take a separate class to learn the skills of building a portfolio? Is it really worth it because you can always rely on some online service that offers you to buy assignments and receive good writings? Well, the truth is that you always have an opportunity to opt for online companies like Australia PapersOwl that will create a proper paper, but you can do it on your own, thanks to the classes you can take and a few tips that you need to have in mind. Building your graphical showcase of personal skills and work experience should be eye-catching, innovative (in terms of design) and interesting to your potential employers from the niche you want to develop a career in. Let’s say a few words on the most useful tips you can learn to tailor the perfect presentation for your job-seeking adventures!
The best way to start is to see what other students did, just to see how they think. This is a good tip to remember, especially for later job searching adventures when you are entering the more specific industry. Their design introduces you a gap that no one filled so you can use that as an advantage. Avoid plagiarism and copying other’s design portfolio examples, but rather be creative by designing something that you haven’t seen yet. This way you attract the attention of potential employers who will see that you have a talent and ability to distinguish yourself among others.
Alternatively, use services like Portfoliobox where you can create and customize a site according to your preferences. This way you can quickly and easily set up your website to show your skills. You don’t need to code complex structures just for a kick start but rather to quickly land somewhere and use your skills.
Internships are the fantastic way to boost your knowledge, experience, and paper and try to get on board during summer to experience a bit of work atmosphere and students that work on many side projects are busy all the time but also potential targets for employers. The experience is the key to the development, so make sure you collect it as much as possible. Sometimes is hard to get the project as you have no experience, so you should start your own one to show your skills and decisiveness. Include all of these in your portfolio and if needed buy assignments from professional writing services that will enrich your vocabulary. Assignments are the legit way to prove your qualities and skills so make sure you include them in the design.
Do not be afraid of mentioning every project that you participated in. Whether is a social science project or a small startup plan for sustainability in fashion, you must include it. The employers care about your design, thinking and developing, but less about how you use natural and recycled materials to create a trendy and fashionable piece of clothes. It is all about the involvement and role, so make sure you precise your project roles and assignments.
Web presentations are one of the most common ways in the online world. If you are wondering how to make a graphic design portfolio unique, then you should start with buying a domain and getting things on a higher level. Once you buy it and set everything ready, make your own logo to make things more serious. Learn CS Photoshop or other program and model your logo for the website that shows your job skills. If possible, code a unique theme for the website and hire Australia assignment service to write a personalized and high-quality content.
The social strategy is important as it confirms your identity and integrates you with the rest of the world. It is recommended to use two online platforms that you should according to your skills and affinities. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you should use Instagram as it more illustrative tool. Good backlinks are a fantastic way to make you more appearing on Google especially when you link social accounts in your portfolio. After all, the better everything is packed and connected, more likely is that you will catch someone’s eye.
Why do you present your knowledge? What do you want to achieve with it? Explain how and why you and your projects are different, and how they can be useful to someone use. The relation to personal and real-world experiences is a good link to explain what you are looking for. Present useful facts that back up your claims and intentions, as well as reasons for designing a portfolio.
This is especially important for those who want to be graphic designers. Practice on many projects before until you learn and get the feeling of color setting. Do not make very colorful portfolio as the neatly balanced, graphically precise template of your presentation is all you need to be interesting to companies. You can use Paletton to design a color palette that has a balanced spectrum and make everything more personalized and unique.
A lot of people are searching for projects and workers via mobile devices, so keep in mind that you must optimize portfolio so the Android or iPhone users can easily navigate it and browse. If you don’t, more than 50% of users will just close when sees content and design that are not optimized. Depending on the industry and jobs that you are looking for, you should find online Australia buy assignments service to proofread and optimize your content. Student portfolio websites often recommend some good team of writers that tailor your content to be optimized and well-suited for the niche. Keeping both things optimized, you are building yourself a concrete pavement to the job you want.
Author’s bio: Becca Stickler is a freelance writer with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly living. Now engaged in travel around the country and writing.
Before you can take steps to boost your online brand, you need to know what you want it to be. Your brand identity is akin to your personal identity.
The characteristics and traits that differentiate you from others constitute your personal identity. Your brand identity is made up of the look and feel of how your company presents itself including your:
Your brand identity includes any visual or audio representations that others recognize as your company.
Brands that consistently and honestly promote their message are powerful. Think about some of the most famous brands. What is it about them makes them recognizable to you?
Is it their logo like McDonald's golden arches? Or their slogan like Verizon's "Can you hear me now"? What do you think of when you hear "Good to the last drop?" That's right, Maxwell House coffee.
How did these major brands gain such recognition? By consistently and repeatedly exposing the public to their visual, audio, and content-related brand identity.
The more consistent you are in your branding, the more familiar your target market will become with your business.
Once your company has established your brand identity and chosen your logo, tone, typography, and design styles, you want to be sure all employees and departments consistently speak in one voice.
Creating a professional brand book will keep your entire team on point with your brands message. Also, being able to align your business strategy with your brand position is facilitated by the creation of a brand book.
It also saves time for companies of all sizes if you add staff to your team or replace a designer. New employees can get up-to-speed very quickly by referring to your brand guidelines.
Your brand is also reflected in what you do and don’t say on social media. Part of your brand identity is to know your target audience and to speak to them on all relevant platforms in the same voice.
Spend more time on the social media platforms where your target audience hangs out. For example, if you are selling clothes for teenage girls, your social media focus should be on Instagram and Tumblr as opposed to Twitter or LinkedIn.
Be sure that the type of language you use, like your captions on Instagram or your Facebook posts, speak directly to your audience.
All content you publish and share, such as blog posts or social media stories, should reflect your brand and be consistent.
Whether your brand voice is humorous, makes use of colloquialisms, or is more fact-based and diplomatic, as long as you "speak" consistently and authentically, your audience will feel a connection to you and be more likely to trust your brand.
Did you know that most purchase decisions are based on emotion? For brands who are trying to get more buyers, understanding this concept can help.
Your brand story should communicate feelings by appealing to the emotions of your target audience.
Even if someone in your target audience sees an online video, image, or post, and they are not ready at that moment to make a purchase, they will feel a connection to your brand.
If they consistently see the same or similar messaging that elicits an emotional response, when they are ready to make a purchase, guess whose brand they will remember? The one they feel an emotional connection to and the one they trust is the brand they will purchase from when ready.
When you are developing your brand strategy, be creative so that your online voice and content is unique, engaging, and compelling.
It is vital that your brand stand out from your competitors. So when deciding on your company logo, the fonts you use, the colors you choose, and your overall style, make sure they all resonate with your prospective customers.
To determine your correct voice and identity, study the demographics, preferences, and needs of your target market.
For your target market to purchase from you and not your competitors, you should know who is competing with you in the same space and what they are doing to attract customers.
Do some research to find out where they are hanging out online and be sure you are there, too. Your goal is to do what your competitors are doing - only do it better.
Also, try to identify gaps in what your audience needs to see or hear and develop your brand strategy around what your competitors are not doing.
You want your brand to fulfill needs, be the solutions for any problems, and be memorable and recognizable.
Some companies decide to create a fun and humorous brand identity. If you are in a niche where being comedic is appropriate, give it a shot.
Some major brands create silly or outrageous online campaigns that work. A few examples are:
Creating and building a brand identity is a process, and it is often not a finite one. In the case of Old Spice, they needed to rebrand to remain competitive.
Continue to study your market and your competitors. Measure the success of your current branding initiatives and marketing strategies.
Make changes where needed and test branding strategies frequently to keep your brand in the minds of your target audience.
Image Pixabay CC0 License
All the web designers wish that they work on a well designed and formatted website. However, it doesn't mean that the website has to look all glitter and flawless. It means that how professional and sophisticated your site looks. Reason being, a number of websites are available online that are attractive but are unable to enchant and captivate potential customers. Therefore, web designing is crucial if you want your business to grow when it comes to web designing.
This article has clubbed together some of the top ways in which you can make your website look more attractive.
You must have noticed that certain websites have dozens of highlights, drop shadows, borders, and colors over the webpage. This would look colorful but might often fail to attract the customers. If you are planning to create a web design that it is loaded with colors and lines, this might be the right to drop it. Reason being, visitors will find it really hard to hunt for the relevant information and might consequently drop the idea of visiting your site.
In this era, minimalism in everything is becoming more and more wanted. Therefore, you should adopt a more sophisticated design that looks neat and tidy when approached. Adding tons of flashy elements will ultimately turn off the impression of your content and services provided.
An ultimate goal that every skillful web designer aspires to achieve is to give the best customer experience. A responsive web designer will make both the ends meet to get the best out of what is available. One of the awesome ways by which he can achieve this is causing the navigation over your website simple. Customers are in a great hurry to hunt for the required information.
Therefore, the website should look clean, neat and well organized so that the customers can get what they want easily with just a few hits.
Having a cluttered website design makes it tough for any visitor to be able to differentiate between various thoughts and ideas. It is necessarily the empty space that is devoid of any text or image and is strategically used to give a neat layout to the site. Moreover, white space determines the readability of the content published on your website along with deciding how appealing it looks to any visitor.
Using high-quality images may take a bit of time to get loaded, however, will make your website appear one in a million. Using these high-quality images will enable your site to look more professional. This will attract customers and eventually increase the traffic on your website.
Therefore, factors like choice of font, quality of images, use of CTA buttons etc. are essential when it comes to web designing. The first impression over your potential customers must be great. This will make them to visit our website more often.
Today, at least 55% of all websites are built on content management systems (CMS). Data from Web Technology Surveys show that only 45.4% of websites are coded from scratch.
While CMS platforms such as WordPress present an easier way to build websites and also come with a lot of SEO tools and advantages, they are not without downsides.
The key one is cybersecurity with studies showing that most come with security vulnerabilities. This explains why websites built on CMS are among the top hacking targets on the internet.
Whether you are using a CMS or coding your website from scratch, it is essential that you take precautionary cybersecurity measures.
Remember that the internet users of today are highly informed and super-conscious about cybersecurity and are therefore likely stigmatise your brand at the first sign security loopholes.
Here are some cybersecurity tips to take into account when building a website using a CMS. Some of these measures are also applicable to hand-coded websites.
Ensure secure hosting
Before everything else, you need to ensure that you subscribe to a reputable and adequately secure web hosting.
The first step to determining the best web hosting provider is by reading other customers’ online reviews. It is important to note that some of these reviews may be faked and therefore only settle for a well-known provider.
Also, ensure that the hosting provider offers the necessary tools to secure your site and its functionality. Some of the things to look for include the SSL certificate and an SFTP option. CMS platforms such as WordPress provide free SSL certificates.
Another thing worth checking is whether the hosting provider offers backup tools. These tools protect your data from loss in the event of a system failure. While the task of backing up your data relies on you, you should ensure that the hosting provider has sound backup procedures and they back up their servers regularly.
You should also check whether their servers are maintained adequately and have a published security protocol.
Have a web-application firewall (WAF) in place
Another must-have tool in the website building process is a web application firewall (WAF). This tool can be software or hardware based, and its main purpose includes filtering unwanted traffic between your website server and data connection.
Common forms of cybersecurity issues addressed by WAF include hacks, DDoS attacks, Brute Force attacks, SQL injection, cross-site scripting, and Zero-day exploits.
Even better, this tool offers virtual patching before CMS platforms release virtual patches. The virtual patching is on a continuous basis meaning that hackers have no room to exploit unseen security loopholes.
On top of that, a WAF increases site speed and performance via top-level caching mechanisms. In the unlikely event that your website gets infected, a WAF greatly enhances the ability to clean your website faster and efficiently.
If you are using WordPress, there are numerous WAF plugins that you can install on your website. Popular plugins include Wordfence, Sucuri, Cloudflare, Stackpath, and NinjaFirewall.
Have Monitoring tools in Place
Website security monitoring tools are meant to help you to scan for vulnerabilities on your website and take the necessary measures.
Without these tools, you are likely to remain in the dark on the potential dangers facing your website until it is too late.
For most CMS platforms, there are multiple free tools that you can install to receive updates on your website security. The most common with WordPress users is SiteLock, a tool that identifies and fixes threats.
Other common monitoring tools that you should look for include Scan My Server, Sucuri, Quttera, Detectify, Web Inspector, and Netsparker Cloud. Each of these tools has unique monitoring functions, and therefore you should explore each and its benefits.
Use a VPN
A VPN is another must-have tool for your website security. With cyber attacks becoming complicated by the day, cybersecurity experts are recommending an extra layer of security on top what is commonly used.
What a VPN does is to encrypt your internet activity hence keeping off snoopers including your ISP, government agencies and cyber attackers.
In most instances, hackers must identify your hosting details to be able to perpetrate attacks on your website. A VPN alongside SSL completely hide your activities and CMS usage behind multiple layers of encryption.
Whether you are building your own site or for a client, a VPN will help you hide your trails and therefore keep attackers at bay. When shopping for a VPN, only settle for reputable brands and do research on where they stand in terms of speed, security, and accessibility.
There are many VPN options out there, but from our own experience, NordVPN is the best for website security.
Website security should be a top priority for every web developer irrespective of whether they are coding from scratch or using a CMS. The website building process should involve measures such as researching and installing highly reputable security tools.
Whether you’re a big believer in marketing, or you think that if you build it people will buy it, the fact is that your business is a brand. Your brand is like your business card, and it’s what people will experience long before they actually do business with you. It precedes you, and it’s something that you need to fine-tune constantly if you want to be able to stand out from the crowd.
To give you plenty of food for thought, we’ve put together a simple 5 minute read that will tell you everything you need to know about a commonly overlooked creative tool: the style guide. Have a read, sit back and reflect, and then put the hints and tips into action. Your brand will be all the better for it in no time at all.
A style guide saves you from wasting time discussing tangential ideas
The first thing to note about a style guide is that it will always save you time in the long run. People will probably think you’re indulging in a drawn out needlessly creative endeavor when you suggest creating a style guide, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It will take some time to get it right, but that’s just the cost of building a brand that actually stands for something. Commit to finishing your guide no matter what, and always remember that it will save you plenty of time later on. It’s there as reference material for the lifetime of your business, and it will prove invaluable when it inevitably comes time to rebrand, or when you’re launching a new product or service. The more you put into it now, the more it will give back when you need it.
It will ensure you stay ‘on-brand’ at every creative turn
Staying true to your brand is easier said than done. When you’re in the thick of it and faced with half a dozen mounting deadlines it can be all too easy to churn out a logo that’s okay, and a tagline that you think is ‘good enough’. The problem is that once you launch them into the market they’re now the face of your brand. If they don’t fit with what you’ve done before then they’ll just confuse people.
You could always retract them, but then you just look like you’re chopping and changing the offering based on negative feedback. And that’s a surefire to lose your voice of authority and open yourself up to further criticism. Your audience doesn’t want to believe that you’re just telling them what they want to hear. They want to believe that you’re the authority, the thought leader, and the trendsetter that they’ve been waiting to buy into.
They connect your brand to your target audience
If you want to know why style guides matter, all you need to do is think about the last bad branding exercise you saw. It could be a website, fashion label, home collection, or anything that left you speechless. With so many different creative threads to play with, you’ll probably have been confused at how they could have got it so wrong.
The issue will, more than likely, have been that there was no style guide in place. The style guide is what you use to ensure there is uniformity and a common thread running through every aspect of a marketing campaign. It’s easy to copy and paste the same old tagline, but there’s a lot more to uniformity than that. You need to tailor each offering so that it’s suitable for every new platform and setting, but in a way that’s sensitive to the core of your brand. Which leads us nicely onto the next point on our list.
You can express your brand’s core ethos in a variety of different mediums
Your brand needs to have something at the center of it if it’s going to connect with the people you want to do business with. It’s an emotion that it evokes in people, and it will be far stronger than their memory of your latest tagline, sale, or discount offer.
The problem with tackling different promotional mediums without a style guide is that most of the time a different person will have input into each platform. You may all be working for the same end goal, but unless there is central creative guide you can all refer back to then it’s unlikely you’ll end up pulling in the same direction.
Your customers will actually know what you stand for
Businesses like the The Word Point work in a very specialist niche, and so need to target a specific section of the online market. This means that they need to stand for something, and just as importantly, they need to ensure that their customers know they stand for it.
By compiling a style guide that focuses on precision, flexibility, and knowledgeable input they can build a creative framework around their brand. If you can do the same, you’ll be able to tell a potential audience of millions what your business stands for.
What should your style guide include?
The specifics will depend on the size of your brand, and what industry you work in, but there are a number of core features every style guide must have:
Static or dynamic style guides?
A style guide has to be a dynamic document, but one that is governed by a certain set of creative rules:
Getting the balance right between process and creativity
The final thing to say is that a style guide is a great way to help you find the right balance between process and creativity. If you have a deadline, it can be all too easy to submit something that does the job and be done with it.
What the style guide does in these instances is keep your output honest so that you can see whether your new content actually adds anything to your brand. Often you’ll find that referring back to the style guide points you in a subtly different direction that makes all the difference to the finished article. Ideal if you want to enhance your brand every single day.
BIO: Pauline speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian. She travelled the world to immerse herself in the new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.