Tips & Tricks

Learn to Manage Distractions at Work

So you’ve found yourself at a company you like, doing work you like, but struggling to stay focused. It’s possible you’re being affected by a number of influences that break your attention and cause you to lose your focus. These influences are not always a bad thing, but can cause negative effects when it comes to you actually accomplishing the goals you have in front of you on a daily basis.

We all want to be good at our jobs (I hope), but we also want to have fun and avoid being stressed. Unfortunately we commonly seek out fun distractions or in some cases accept their presence so often that we actually cause stress. If that sounds counterintuitive, that’s because it very much is.

This post is about reducing your stress at work. I’m going to make points that will sound outright wrong, but after taking a few seconds to step back, will reveal themselves as such common sense you will question your entire being. I’m kidding, but the concept of this will sound tougher than it actually is.

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Accurately Quote Design Using Golden Mean Pricing [eBook]

We’ve all been there before. You’ve been approached to work on a project as a freelancer or small business owner. The client has unloaded a ton of information during a sit down that you have to digest and turn into a proposal that breaks down the scope of work and cost. Now you’re knee deep in the sales process faced with the challenge of assigning a price to a project requiring a range of creative services.

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Five Types of Clients and How to Manage Them (As Inspired by The Office)

As designers of both print and the web, most of our professional responsibilities seem to revolve around aesthetic decisions – which typeface will look most legible at this resolution, or which color scheme will effectively draw the eye of our audience.

But an oft-overlooked aspect of the job involves effectively communicating and collaborating with clients, who are truly the lifeblood of any marketing industry. Depending on the day, a designer may have to play the role of psychologist, motivator, or even soothsayer to ensure that the client’s goals are successfully met in a creative project.

Unfortunately, no two clients have exactly the same personality or work style, which rules out any one-size-fits-all approach to client communication.

There are, however, several archetypes we can use to describe clients that may help us to better understand and communicate with our creative overlords.

Being an avid fan of the hit comedy series The Office, I sought to ascribe these personality traits to some of my favorite Dunder Mifflin employees as a means of establishing a common cultural experience and hopefully putting a light-hearted spin on the subject. With any luck, you’ve met or worked with some of these types of clients before, and could benefit from some new strategies in collaborating with them in the future.

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3 Definitions That Will Transform Your Leads

When I first started working with business owners on their digital marketing campaigns, I was amazed to learn that many of my clients weren’t hurting for leads when they first called me. No, they had too many leads – they wanted less. Their sales teams were wasting too much time chasing down leads that were either dead ends or small potatoes. High-quality leads, meanwhile, were likely getting left on the table, or at least not getting properly nurtured.

Unless you’re just starting out, chances are that you’ve run into this problem. Who do you blame? Your marketing team for funneling too many low-quality leads to sales? Your sales team for not being able to tell the difference or follow up adequately? Everyone? No one?

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The Complete Guide to “Merging” Google+ Local & Brand Pages

Like many businesses, LUMINUS had two Google+ pages for a long time: a Brand page and a Local page. And like many businesses, it took us longer than it should have to figure out to merge both Google pages together.

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Google shows Mobile-Friendly tag in Search Results

Recently we posted a link on Twitter and Facebook to the Google press release regarding their rollout of the new “Mobile-Friendy” tag in their search results. This not only improves the user experience on Google directing them to the most mobile friendly websites available in the search, but also benefits those that have taken steps to redevelop their current or new websites to respond to a variety of device sizes to benefit their visitors’ experience.

There are a lot of websites designed & built between 2010-2012 that while not appearing out dated in terms of looks are out dated in terms of structure. Namely, being able to respond to the visitors devices screen size and collapse vertically as needed. Even sites in our portfolio from that time period follow into this category.

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Microsoft to end legacy Internet Explorer support in 2016

Introducing the end of legacy Microsoft Internet Explorer Support

I know I’m late on this news but web developers everywhere rejoice! Microsoft has finally decided to act like every other browser organization in the world and start requiring non-enterprise users to use the most recent version of their browser and no longer offer support or patches for older versions.

It’s a well known fact Microsoft has lacked in the progression of browser standards for the last decade. IE6 was a great browser, in 2001, but once the open-source movement and Google got involved Microsoft became the dud of the bunch.

This year Microsoft announced that in January 2016 they will end security support for IE9 and lower giving into the reality that the browsers just aren’t secure or capable of running modern websites properly.

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Project Planning: Websites for Small Businesses [video]

Earlier this month I spoke at a conference here in Buffalo, NY focused on helping new and budding small business owners develop their company.

I had a few main goals:

  • Teach about Domain Names (and to own them themselves)
  • Teach about the ways to produce a Website
  • Teach about finding a Professional
  • Teach about what to do after a Website is launched (SEO, PPC, Email, Social)

It’s hard to hold a workshop on creating a website. This talk was meant more to be an outline to set business owners free with knowledge of how to start and tackle that website project with confidence.

The video is about an hour long. Thanks to Neil at Nickel City Graphics for taping me so I could share this.

Here’s the slides: http://slid.es/timbouchard/winning-website

Mobile Ready Websites Increase Sales

“Mobile ready websites increase sales”

It’s a bold statement, but one that can be said with more confidence as each day passes in this new smartphone encouraged “instant access” world we live in.

THE MOBILE MARKET TAKES OVER

As of May 2013, 56% of the mobile market is using a Smartphone (iPhone, Droid, etc.) to browse the web on the go. Not far behind, is the new boom in the tablet market, now overtaking the desktop world.

It’s a new reality that as high as 25% of your web traffic is being viewed on a non-desktop device.

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The New Web: Content is King

The world of website standards is constantly changing. With the introduction of new devices literally every year, the browsers that accompany them, and the varying screen sizes, you can never really know how someone will try and access your site.

We’ve mentioned before (as the web world has been noting for the better part of 2 years) that responsive design has taken a front seat in the web production process. Along with that, search engines have been fine tuning their methods for discovering the best relevant pages for search results.

Both of these new standards have made one thing and one thing only the most important part of your website:

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