There are several reasons why you might turn to a graphic designer for help with your business. You may have a complex advertising campaign that needs to appear as professional as possible. You might want some different ideas about how to brand your business. Or you just may wish to outsource some of your marketing material creation functions in order to concentrate on running your day-to-day business.
But before you sign an agreement, you should look into the reputation of any potential graphic design contractor. Here are five things that you can learn about simply by spending some time on your computer.
1. Tastes and penchants. This isn’t quite the same thing as asking for references or work samples. While that’s important, checking out someone’s online reputation using search engines may unveil some projects or designs that you weren’t shown by the graphic designer.
This can be important for a couple of reasons. First, you want to be sure that the samples you are presented with are actually representative of the graphic designer’s typical output. Secondly, you can flesh out a better idea of the person’s preferences to determine whether they jibe with your own. For example, if a given designer is prone to complex layouts or pricey materials or processes, you may want to think twice before agreeing to a contract with him or her.
2. Personal qualities. In theory, an individual’s work and personal lives should be mutually exclusive. In reality, that’s frequently not the case.
It’s not important whether a graphic designer runs with an unusual group of friends or likes a different football team. But there are some personal traits that can be relevant. For example, what if you discover that a graphic designer is married to the owner of a printing company? Will you truly be getting an unbiased eye for your project? You can also detect whether a person may be having fiscal issues or criminal problems if you know where to look in cyberspace.
3. Unsatisfied customers. It’s not uncommon for a graphic designer’s work to elicit a complaint online. The key is how the designer handles that criticism.
If you see many thoughtful responses by a graphic designer to critiques or complaints about past work, you may infer that the person is open to others’ opinions and is professional when his or her vision in questioned. However, if you notice comments that are laced with defensiveness, anger, or personal attacks, you may question how the designer will respond if you say you’re not satisfied with his or her work.
4. Unflattering statements. Why do you feel uncomfortable when a store clerk disparages a previous customer? Because you know that one day, the customer being belittled could be you.
The same goes for statements online. If you discover statements from the graphic designer on his or her social media sites that denigrate other clients, you should wonder what could be said about you on the Web. Do you really want to hire a graphic designer who talks about you behind your back?
5. Dispute history. Obviously, you want to do business with individuals who have integrity and professionalism. And after all, a graphic designer is still a contractor just like your accountant, bottled water supplier, or cleaning service.
So it’s worthwhile to do some online research to see if a graphic designer is involved in any formal business disputes. This is more than just about work critiques; you should figure out if the individual is being sued for breach of contract or called out for not completing projects as promised or by prescribed deadlines. Information like this might send up a red flag.
Graphic designers can be an invaluable resource to a business. But if you fail to check out their online reputation before hiring them, you may be setting yourself up for a world of pain and inconvenience. And if you’re a typical business owner, you need less stress in your life – not more.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: Photos.com
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: Photos.com
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: Photos.com
Chris Martin is a freelance writer about topics ranging from reputation management to entrepreneurism to business finance.
The Top 10 Best Free Android Retro Games of all time
Retro games are games that usually refer to 80’s and early 90’s games that have been endeared into the heart and souls of people growing up during that time period. Back when a certain Italian Plumber dominated the game market and names like Link, Sonic, and PAC Man was on the tips of every one’s tongue. The fact that these games can be played in the palm of your hand still astounds me – these games originally came out in the arcade, and required an entire large cabinet to house the electronics just to play this game.
Why play them at all? Retro games are still played because the people that grew up with them have fond memories of playing on a lazy Saturday or Sunday with their friends. It represented the dawn of the hand held game, the beginning of an age where you didn’t have to go spend a load of quarters at the arcade to have the most awesome fun.
Ping Pong –
The original game. Back on the Atari 2600, this bad boy of the simplistic game world was based on a simple concept – table tennis, or ping pong, but virtually. What a bold idea, right?
PAC Man –
Likely the most recognizable arcade name out there, PAC Man has come in various forms – Mrs. Pac Man, Baby Pac Man, and Professor Pac Man – but the original still stands strong and proud as the original classic that released in 1980.
Frogger – The dodge the cars –
And get to the other side of the road game (I wonder if this had anything to do with a chicken?) is back on Android with the Frogger ad supported version, or you can purchase the app for an ad free jumping experience.
Probably more spin offs from this than any other game, the Russian Computer Engineer who developed this has also gone on to create other works, including some Xbox titles, but none so influential as this puzzle masterpiece. With 20 Versions across multiple platforms, you can choose whatever you like, but we suggest Android free play.
Boulder Dash –
It came out the same year as Tetris, 1984, but not nearly as popular. Still, there have been 5 versions of this game since its original release date, and it seems that it will remain in our memory banks for at least a few more years to come.
We all remember the Nokia phone in the 90’s right? That all familiar ring tone? What about the game ‘Snake’ where you use the buttons of the phone to control the snake while it tries to get the stars, while avoiding hitting any walls. While it wasn’t completely high tech, few of these games rarely are.
Commander Genius aka Commander Keen –
This spawned a number of series (or episodes) that was favored by many in the 90’s, including episodes on the famous game boy, the earliest release of hand held gaming.
So let me get this straight, we want a hedgehog that runs really fast, collects coins, and spins around loops, and fights other animals. Sounds great! While I wouldn’t have wanted to be in that board meeting, I cannot deny the hours of fun this game will bring you. The challenges are still quite formidable, and the action is still fun.
Avid retro-gamers shouldn’t miss out on these 3 fabulous games in the LCD Retro Games Collection application that really capture the whole feels older games, back when graphics were simple and steering your character was a cakewalk. These games come in many titles, and will keep you entertained for hours so that you can relive your glory days as an 8 year old playing hand held games.
Space Invaders –
The classic battle to save earth from invaders from – well, space. You are armed with a laser cannon that you can move from left to right to shoot down the aliens, and go on to the next level. This was released in 1978, and still rocks today.
Overall, the best way to relive the good old days is to get a few of these free applications on your android phone – and spend an afternoon reminiscing.
Author Bio: Jason Phillips is the writer of this article. He provides his suggestion about the latest video games and technology through his articles. Even he has worked with a gaming site for Sniper Games 365 as an advisor.
Guest Blogging Do’s and Don’ts
In the world of Penguin, link building has become a sophisticated science. Getting links to your blog or website is harder than ever. One of the most effective ways to build solid and high quality links is through guest blogging. When done in moderation, blogging as a guest could provide a number of advantages, particularly in terms of the links you will be able to generate. However, overdoing it could make it counterproductive than getting the results you are looking for.
Yet, writing too many guest blog posts is just one of the mistakes you can make. There are many other guest blogging dos and don’ts you have to be wary of if you are to make the most of it. The interesting thing is that there are many bloggers and marketers who don’t yet gauge the importance of guest posts. In the current year, the happening trend in online marketing is content marketing. Guest blogging is one of the best ways in which you can get your content published and read by your target audience.
This is why you need to pay special attention to the choices you make when deciding to become a guest blogger. The key is to select the best possible blog or website and there are a number of criteria that can help you do so. At the same time, you have to make sure your choice of blog doesn’t end up hurting your own blog. So, without further ado, here are the dos and don’ts of guest blogging.
Dos of Guest Blogging
The first thing you need to consider when deciding to write a guest blog is the website it will be published on. There are several factors that make a website or blog a perfect fit for the type of content you want to share with the world. Here are some of the most important dos of guest blogging.
Theme of the Website
Relevance is crucial to success in online marketing today. Google pays a lot of attention to relevance and it is the name of the game as things stand. Your choice of blog has to depend on its relevance to what your website is about. This is important in terms of link building as well. A link will only be considered valid and high quality if it emerges from a website similar in theme to yours. Of course, you can be flexible regarding the theme and even subtle similarities work. This also ensures some level of reader overlap, meaning more people get to read what you post.
Ranking is also a crucial thing you need to consider when selecting a platform for a guest blog post. The two things you need to keep at the forefront are the Domain Authority and PageRank. A high score on both is imperative for a website to be considered worthy of guest posting. Otherwise, keep looking.
You should make sure the website you are posting your content on has a large reader base. Otherwise, there is no use for you to make the effort. If your content is not going to get more people to read your content and visit your website, the endeavor is worthless. You can do this by checking the number of subscribers and also the social media activity of the blog. This way you have a clear idea of the number of readers you can expect to gain.
Frequency of Posting
Will the blog allow you to post regularly and how frequently do they expect new posts? These are important considerations. You need to know if you have enough time to keep coming up with quality content for your guest blog posts. Don’t take on a responsibility that make become very difficult to fulfill in the long run. This will only divert your attention from your own content marketing efforts.
Number of Guest Posters
This one is not commonly cited as an important tip for guest blogging but it could work to your advantage. You would benefit more from contributing to a website that has few guest bloggers. This is because your competitors will have a smaller chance of getting a link from that website. Also, it will be more lucrative.
Top 10 Blogs
Perhaps the biggest DO is that you should try your luck getting your post on one of the top 10 blogs on the web related to your niche. If you can manage to do so, you will be able to gain the maximum exposure and benefits from guest blogging. Else, you would have to work harder.
These are the dos of guest blogging you need to keep in mind. As you can see, they will enable you to select the best possible blog for posting. That is exactly what you need to do to get started off on the right foot with regards to becoming a guest blogger. It is time to look at the don’ts now.
Don’ts of Guest Blogging
Compared to the dos, the don’ts are relatively fewer. However, they can cause the downfall of your blog so make sure you pay due important to them and try to avoid them as much as possible.
Free for All Blogs
There are many blogs online that accept content from anyone and everyone. They are simply looking to boost their content offering so there is no benefit for you of posting on them. You need to find blogs that are relevant to your own blog.
A blog that has a lot of ads is a strict no-no when it comes to guest blog posts. The intent is clear; they just want to make money.
Web Design and User Experience
Perhaps the most obvious don’t of guest blogging is that you should stay clear of blogs that are designed poorly and offer substandard user experience. Not many people will consider spending time on such a blog.
Simply avoid any website or blog that has been penalized in the past for any reason, especially low value links.
Blogs holding back their contact information are shady to say the least and should be avoided completely.
Social Media Presence
Blogs that lack a solid social media presence or have a low number of subscribers aren’t what you should be looking for to publish a guest blog post.
In addition to the don’ts mentioned here, you should also shun blogs that have a low PageRank and Domain Authority.
Keep in mind that these dos and don’ts are just the tip of iceberg. There are many other things you need to learn about guest blogging in order to become an expert. However, these will help you get started off perfectly. Best of luck!
Roman Viliavin, vice CEO at Promodo SEO Company.
Unconventional Thinker and candidate master of chess. Roman has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2005 and is the moving spirit of the company. Participant and speaker of all major events in SEO business. Roman has successfully completed dozens of projects and gladly shares his experience with SEO community via articles and various online and offline publications. Follow Roman on Twitter and Facebook.
Four Tips For Beginner Website Designers
Web design is a skill that many people claim to have, but few actually know how to do well. Web design is one of those fields where someone could easily teach it to themselves, or learn in a classroom setting. Even though it’s possible for people to teach themselves web design, most businesses and companies will hire a web design company or a freelance designer to handle building and designing their website. When you’re working with your design clients, be sure to keep these tips in mind.
Keep It Simple
Nothing makes a website run slower or look tackier than putting in a variety of different design elements. In the ’90s when people were first starting to explore the web, web designers would put as many different themes and elements in their websites as possible. There would be different frames on each page, moving gifs in nearly every corner, and there would be a different eye-catching background image for each page. When you’re designing a website, pick one central theme or element to design your website around. When you’re finished the entire site will look well planned out and put together, and not like a design nightmare.
Value A Well Done Website Over 100% Customer Input
When you’re designing a website you’re going to hear a lot of suggestions from the client, and not all of them are going to be good. When you’re working in web design, you’re going to have to deal with clients that want you to add elements that won’t mesh well with the overall design. Some web designers adopt an attitude that the customer is always right, and they’ll give their customers everything they ask for whether it’s a good idea or not. These clients may be happy with their website in the beginning, but once complaints from their customers and employees start to come in they’ll blame you for their shoddy website. As a web designer making a good and functional website should be your top priority. Never be afraid to tell a client that their ideas may not be the best for overall website design, but also be prepared to offer good design alternatives.
Don’t Ignore Mobile and Tablet Users
When you’re working on a law firm website design, making a separate page for mobile users may seem like it should be the last thing on your mind. A few years ago making a mobile version of a website was on the bottom of every web designer’s priority list, but today it’s essential for websites to have a mobile or tablet function for their users. Today people are used to seeing mobile-friendly alternatives to regular websites, and if they can’t easily access and navigate a website on their smartphone or tablet they’ll bounce from your website.
Talk About SEO Tools
When you’re client first talks to you about their ideas for their new website some more web-savvy clients may mention SEO, but there will be some clients who won’t have a clue about what SEO is. When you’re meeting with your client be sure to ask them if they want SEO tools. Some clients may not know what SEO tools are, but they will want a way to monitor their website’s traffic. Some may even assume that there is a way to automatically monitor web traffic without having to use SEO tools. If you bring up SEO tools when you first meet with your client you’ll be able to explain what they are and ensure that there won’t be any confusion down the line.
Mike has extensive experience in designing websites and knows all of the tools and essentials to create a successful and functional website.
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