8 Tips for Improving Your Online Presence with a Website

Social media is the first thing most people think of when they want to boost their online presence. It is absolutely imperative to embrace sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but it’s even more important to ensure that your website is solid. After all, at least 81 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchasing decision, but 60 percent have fears about eCommerce related credit card fraud.

The best way to ease the mind of a nervous customer is through building credibility, and a website is a huge part of that. There are also several other reasons that a website should be the main focus of your online presence, and relying too heavily on a social media only approach could seriously hurt your profits.

Therefore, the most important tip for improving your online presence is to build, and maintain, a well-designed website that contains high-quality content. Let’s take a closer look at how a website impacts your overall online visibility and the many ways that can boost your traffic and sales!

1. Websites are SEO Gold

Google has confirmed that producing quality content is one of the top three ways to get a better search engine ranking. In other words, one-third of your SEO comes from the content on your website and blog. Companies that only use social media are at a huge disadvantage because a competitor that has a website and a Facebook page can easily score a higher ranking.

Keep in mind, though, that to get the most out of your website’s SEO potential, you must have well-written content that provides value for visitors and isn’t overly stuffed with keywords.

2. Take Control of Your Message

If you want to have a better online presence and build credibility, you need to control what people find when they search for your business. Of course, anyone can write a review or mention your company on another site. However, if you have a high-quality website, it’s typically going to appear first in the applicable search engine results.

3. Sell Items Directly from Your Site

Once you build credibility, consumers will want to purchase items directly from your site. Giving them this option will help your online presence grow. Keep in mind that no one wants to visit one site, get sent to another and then finally complete their purchase somewhere else. The good news is that you can make the process seamless by utilizing Squarespace’s all-in-one online store platform. Choosing to sell items from your website will also increase your profits because you won’t need to take a cut from third-party online stores such as eBay and Etsy.

4. Appear More Legitimate and Boost Your Ranking

Studies have shown that having a credible looking website is one of the best ways to build consumer confidence. When you combine this with the fact that Google’s search engine ranking is also partially based on quality, truthful content, it’s clear that building credibility is crucial.

Failure to have a website or, perhaps even worse, relying on an old, outdated looking site will make your company appear suspect to many consumers. As you can imagine, that’s one of the quickest ways to sink your sales and damage your online presence.

5. Offer Everything in One Place

Have you ever searched for information about a small business that didn’t have a website? If so, you’re probably very familiar with all of the hoops consumers have to jump through to find basic information online for these companies. Unfortunately, a lot of the details that are posted by other sites will no longer be accurate, which makes a bad situation even worse. Consumers are quickly turned off by this issue, and rightfully so.

By building a website, you can ensure that all of your company’s most relevant details can be found in one place. Yes, you can, and should, also put this information on your social media profiles. A website needs to be available too, though, and it will give you the perfect place to provide everything in one convenient online spot.

6. Build Customer Loyalty and a Customer Database

Consumers are more likely to be loyal to a company that offers quality products, good customer service and an easy shopping experience. Putting everything into your online store helps you achieve part of this equation. You can also build a consumer database by having people provide their email address in exchange for a first-time shopper discount. Give people an easy way to share your page and products on their social media profiles to boost your online signal.

7. Blog Regularly for Increased Visits

Blogging from your website can have a huge impact on your online presence and sales. Google will index more of your pages when you put up regular blog posts, and this alone can help drive traffic to your site. Blogging comes with the added benefit of helping you build credibility, and companies with a blog experience an average traffic increase of 55 percent. Each of these visitors may become a customer, and they also all have the potential to share one of your blog posts with their social media network.

8. A Website Provides a Firm Place to Link To

Another big piece of the Google search engine ranking puzzle is inbound linking. All of your social media profiles can link to your website, and you can also seek out inbound links from high quality sites. Directing this traffic to your website is a smarter choice than sending people to a social media page, and it’s also going to be easier to get other websites to link to a high quality, credible looking site.

Boost Your Online Presence Now!

Whether you currently have a lackluster website or have been relying solely on social media to capture consumer attention, now is the perfect time to harness the power of the Internet with a well-designed site. Using simple tips such as blogging, offering everything in one place and operating an online store via Squarespace can instantly increase your credibility and give your business a stronger online presence.

 

 

 

 

Read More at 8 Tips for Improving Your Online Presence with a Website

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/8-tips-improving-online-presence-website/

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15+ Cool Must Haves From Indigogo and Kickstarter

Business ideas and inventions occur to people all of the time, but turning an invention into a tangible product usually requires one thing – money. Funding for business inventions typically comes from out-of-pocket, through business loans or from investors, but a burgeoning source of financing has emerged through the use of crowdfunding.

No two crowdfunding websites were created equal, but Kickstarter and Indiegogo have certainly risen to the top of the pile. These three are streets ahead of the thousands of other active crowdfunding platforms currently littering the web.

Here are some of the coolest must haves from Indigogo and Kickstarter that any designer needs. 

1. World’s Best TRAVEL JACKET

 

 

This is a line of travel jackets, which comes in four styles – blazer, bomber, sweatshirt, and windbreaker. Each style has the same 15 features and a place for everything. Originally designed for globetrotters, they can be used by anyone, including students and adventurers. It will revolutionize the way you travel and helps you stay organized while on the go.

2. HyperDrive Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Hub for MacBook Pro

 


HyperDrive is the world’s most compact and fastest 50Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Hub specifically designed for the 2016 MacBook Pro. It utilizes two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports on the MacBook Pro to deliver the fastest 50Gb/s bandwidth across 7 ports (HDMI, USB 3.1 x 2, micro SD, SD, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 with 100W Power Delivery), virtually restoring all the ports found on the previous 2015 MacBook Pro model.

3. MICRO – The World’s Smallest Universal Travel Adapter

 

With Micro, you get the functionality of a universal travel adapter built into a cool design that matches the awesomeness of the gadgets you travel with. An adapter that’s simple, yet versatile and that feels extremely familiar, as if you’ve already used it and loved it all your life.

4. FLOATTI – The World’s First Super Suitcase

 

Floatti is the ultimate travel companion that offers stress-free traveling with 7 features. Designed by the Italian designer Andrea Ponti, Floatti has innovation built into every feature. Fresh ideas are integrated within a design framework that draws inspiration from the classic suitcase. Floatti offers a truly great design that brings convenience to the traveler and adds safety and enjoyment to their journey ahead.

 

5. PRIVAT – The world’s most secure smartphone

 

 

PRIVAT is a reliable security smartphone that keeps the photos and videos files 100% secure, besides protecting the smartphone from spyware attacks. These security features are based on a patented hardware system that is impossible to break.

 

6. The bFan, for a cooler more restful night’s sleep

 

The bFan® ’s innovative design removes the heat that is generated by your body and gets trapped inside your bed (your sheets, comforter, and mattress). This unique system enables you to sleep much cooler and deeper at night and save you money on air conditioning costs.

7. X Suit – The Suit of the Future

 


X Suit is the world’s first full stretch fabric suit, lining, and even thread, infused with nano molecules rendering the X-Suit. It is liquid, wrinkle and odor resistant. It comes in 2 versatile styles: corporate (ensuring comfort for businessmen) and sport (having a detachable hood, it is classy for the active men).

8. Aryzon – 3D Augmented Reality for Every Smartphone

 

Aryzon released the cardboard for augmented reality. By making clever use of a set of lenses, cardboard, and a smartphone camera, the headset is able to place virtual content projected from the user’s smartphone screen within their own environment, creating a realistic augmented reality.

9. Cashew Smart Wallet


Cashew is world’s first wallet with a fingerprint reader to ensure only you have access to your wallet and is always connected to your smartphone using Bluetooth to ensure your wallet is always by your side. No more misplaced cards, cash or IDs again. This product with cutting-edge technology and unparalleled design is a Smart Wallet you’ve been searching for. 

10. Wopilo: a revolutionary pillow that will change your nights


Wopilo will revolutionize your nights by offering the comfort of a traditional pillow, the neck support of an ergonomic one while letting you choose your desired comfort level, firm or fluffy! With a unique design, that combines the best of a comfortable pillow and memory foam, Wopilo was developed with the help of an osteopathic expert, specialized in pain.

11. SILA – The feminine watch revolution


SILA is the 1st mini-watch with colorful interchangeable straps. It was created with women in mind: feminine, creative, colorful and chic. Inspired by vintage women’s watches, SILA was designed for perfectly fit a woman’s wrist and her jewelry. Fall in love with its mini precious size. A true jewel-watch, a new addiction.

12. ABLE – Advanced Bodyweight Leverage Equipment


ABLE is the most dynamic, portable total-body fitness & training platform ever created. It is durable, and delivers a total-body workout anywhere, whether you’re a beginner, a trainer looking to challenge your clients, or a professional athlete. It allows you to load your muscles and perform compound moves that mimic free weights.

13. Wearhaus Beam – Smart Earbuds With Total Color Customization


Wearhaus is a Premium Bluetooth earbuds with fully customizable light rings, wireless audio sharing, and more! The Wearhaus app features a super fun color picker. You can choose any one color or a multi-color gradient, just by sliding the finger around. The customizable light rings shine so bright, they also serve practical uses in your everyday life. Highly visible at nighttime, turn on the light ring when it’s dark to alert people of your presence.

14. Pebby – the world’s most advanced smart ball for pets


Pebby is a ball on mission to keep you and your pet together even when you’re not physically there.  Using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology, the Pebby system’s remote controlled ball allows owners to watch, interact, and capture their pet’s cutest moments in real time. The Pebby pack comes complete with the Pebby™ Ball (with your choice of EASYfix™ magnetic caps so you can customize the look of your Pebby) , PebbyKennel™ charging dock, PebbyCollar™ motion sensor collar, and, of course, the Pebby app, free to download off iTunes or GooglePlay store.

15. The Adjustable Bag


The Adjustable Bag – is the world’s most versatile convertible bag. With three sizes and multiple configurations, it’s the only bag and the last bag you need. The Adjustable Bag can instantly expand or contract to fit what you need, has multiple configurations, and is completely collapsible. It is equipped with features such as water-resistant rip-stop nylon, waterproof zippers, and Duraflex™ brand hardware.

16. FUTO – The Ultimate Air Mattress and Pillow


Futo Mattress is a comfortable Twin XL size mattress with the headrest that will be needed for any occasion when you would like to take a rest or even a nap. A Monoflow Technology allows blowing Futo Mattress up with few simple movements. It is ecologically friendly, water and heat resistant provides comfort against a rocky or uneven ground, and maintains its strength and durability at even the lowest temperatures! In addition, Futo Pillow is the universal air pillow, being ultra-portable (size of the sunglasses case), comfortable, inflating with one simple movement, and looking great!

 

 

 

Have we missed your favorite crowdfunded product? Let us know in the comments bellow.

Read More at 15+ Cool Must Haves From Indigogo and Kickstarter

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/15-cool-must-haves-from-indigogo-and-kickstarter/

Top 10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media History Over the Last 20 Years

Do you remember your first social media profile? Or, how about your first social media post?

My first profile was on Myspace, my first friend was “Tom from Myspace,” and my first post was something like, “Myspace is awesome!”

The rest is history.

Social media has changed and evolved so much since the early days, it’s almost hard to believe how far we’ve come. How people use social media has changed as well. Gen Zs (now beginning to enter the workforce) only know a world with social media, compared to their counterparts – Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers – who can still fondly remember back to the days of snail mail and dial-up modems!

In light of #SMDay (6/30/2017), we’re teaming up with Bitly to share stories and celebrate the positive impact that social media has had on individuals, businesses, and the globe over the last 20 glorious years – all using the hashtag #impactofsocial. Check out the details at the bottom of this post about how you can join in on the fun!

Here’s a look at 10 powerful moments that shaped the social media history.

Let’s dive in!

10 Powerful Moments That Shaped Social Media Over the Last 20 Years

Top 10 powerful moments that shaped social media history

There have been so many wonderful moments over the last 20 years on social media that it was quite a challenge to boil them down to just 10! But since we’re celebrating the positive impact of social media on people’s lives and on the world for this campaign, these are all particularly meaningful and important moments in the social media history.

Feel free to jump to a certain moment(s) in the social media history!

Let’s count down to the top moment in the social media history!

10. The Birth of Facebook


Facebook, the social media network that has an incredible two billion monthly active users (nearly a third of the earth’s population), is the only network that I’ll mention in this post for moments-sake. Given its sheer size, the impact it has made on families, friends, businesses, and world events, I felt as though I might be remiss without a mention of Facebook somewhere!

It’s amazing to imagine what the world might be like if Facebook had never captured the hearts and minds of so many people the way it did. One of my favorite Facebook moments, in particular, is during an early 2004 interview on CNBC with Mark Zuckerberg:

The anchor asks: “Now there’s a new form of cyber matching making, college networking websites. Is this perhaps the next big thing? The Facebook. Mark, if someone was to put the question to you about the magnitude of what you’ve launched; how big do you think your product or service is?”

We all know the rest!

A short six years after this interview (2010), Zuckerberg would go on to become Time’s Person of the Year along with many other accolades along the way. Facebook has changed the way we interact and communicate on all levels and only time will tell if another network will come along and take its place in social media history.

9. Miracle on the Hudson


It was January 15, 2009 when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York and struck a flock of birds on the way up. Moments later, both engines were lost and Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, along with his co-pilot, Jeff Skiles, were asked to pull off the miraculous landing.

When the plane finally landed safely in the frigid Hudson River waters, all 155 passengers on board were safe. The “Miracle on the Hudson” has been called the most successful ditching in aviation history.

But something else happened that day… Jeff Krums tweeted:

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Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey told CNBC in 2013 how that changed Twitter and the way people get news.

It changed everything. Suddenly the world turned its attention because we were the source of news—and it wasn’t us, it was this person in the boat using the service, which is even more amazing.

One small tweet began the Twitter revolution. Hundreds of millions of people now turn to Twitter as a source of news, a place to build a following, a place to share your stories and connect with others.

Twitter is also the platform that our co-founder, Joel Gascoigne, successfully built Buffer on back in 2010! This powerful moment in social media history has a special place in our hearts.

8. Going “Viral”


How many of you have sat around with friends or family and binge-watched several classic YouTube videos in a row? I know I have!

What is now one of the largest social media networks on the planet (more than 1.5 billion people log in every month), started with a few viral hits and began a trend that today we might call, “going viral.” This launched YouTube into a massive entertainment hub – complete with TV streaming, movies, music videos, tutorials, celebrities, vloggers, and of course, viral videos.

Let’s take a look at three early videos that helped to shape the viral side of social media history:

Charlie Bit My Finger (Published: 5/22/2007 – 851,140,074 views)

“Chocolate Rain” (Published: 4/22/2007 – 113,787,749 views)

Numa Numa (Published: 12/11/2006 – 26,800,130 views)

Honorable Mention: “Lazy Sunday” 

In December of 2005, the first “viral video” appeared online under the name “Lazy Sunday.” It was the second-ever SNL Digital Short aired and featured cast members, Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg. Following its appearance on SNL, the video appeared on YouTube and was viewed more than five million times until February 2006 when NBC Universal asked the site to remove it.

7. Ellen’s Selfie (and #NuggsForCarter)


Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that took the social media world by storm is the epitome of everything that is awesome about social media.

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First, it is the fact that this photo is in “selfie” form which has come to be a staple of how photos are taken and shared across social media platforms. Two, it shows just how light-hearted, yet powerful social media can be. A smiling group of beloved actors, actresses, and performers has the ability to touch the lives of the more than 3,400,000 people who retweeted it and the millions more that saw it. For more than three years, Ellen’s selfie held the title of the most retweeted tweet of all time.

That was until Nevada teenager Carter Wilkerson’s plea for free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s went viral.

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The world watched as #NuggsForCarter swept Twitter like wildfire – eventually passing Ellen’s selfie as the most retweeted tweet of all time. And although the #NuggsForCarter tweet never quite reached 18 million, Wendy’s still awarded Carter free nuggets for a year anyways. A win-win!

In my experience, we as social media managers tend to take social media very seriously. But if we can learn anything from Ellen’s selfie and #NuggsForCarter, it’s that social media is meant to be a fun and sprightly place for people to share stories, connect, and be themselves.

If you’d like to hear more about the “Nuggs Guy” and how entrepreneurs and small businesses use social media, check out episode #47 of The Science of Social Media where we chat with Paul Jarvis

6. NASA’s #YearInSpace


Named one of the most influential social media campaigns of 2016 (and maybe of all time), NASA’s #AYearInSpace demonstrates the wildly powerful ability of social media to document the human condition.

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What made the mission so unique is that NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly has an identical twin brother he was to be compared with (physically) upon his return in hopes to uncover what happens to the human body after long exposures in space.

Astronaut Kelly tweeted continuously using the hashtag #YearInSpace, which was followed closely by millions of intrigued spectators. While tumbling around in zero gravity aboard the ISS, he even hosted an AMA session on Reddit!

This was a powerful moment in the social media history because we were able to experience space first-hand from the comfort of our own homes. People from all over the world chimed in using #YearInSpace to express their support, marvel in the wonder of the cosmos, and share an interconnectedness of human activity.

5. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge


The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was a wonderful testament to the power of social media to make a charitable impact on an important cause. Since 2014, largely due to social media, the ALS Association has raised more than $115 million for research towards Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

It drew the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, including celebrities like President Obama, LeBron James, Lady Gaga, Sergey Brin, Sheryl Sandberg, and Bill Gates. Within the first 15 days of the campaign taking off, the ALS Association had received $15 million in donations from 307,600 new, first-time donors.

What followed was an interesting study into viral content and how organizations might be able to repeat this virality in the future. And while no definite conclusion was made from Facebook’s study and visualization, many attribute the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge success to former Boston College baseball player, Pete Frates, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 (helping to explain the concentration).

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Graph

The Ice Bucket Challenge can help to act as a guide or blueprint for achieving viral success via social media. As TechCrunch author, Sarah Perez writes, “Simply ask the selfie generation to once again turn their cameras on themselves, but infuse that act with a higher purpose” and you have a recipe for success.

4. #BlackLivesMatter


Over the past several years, social media has become an important communication tool for political groups and social movements to organize and take action. One of those social movements, #BlackLivesMatter, has become one of the largest in the social media history. Used more than 12 million times, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is the third most-used Twitter hashtag around a social cause.

Analysis of #BlackLivesMatter Hashtag

#BlackLivesMatter is an incredibly powerful example of how a social media hashtag can ignite action in the real world and be tied directly to a major movement. The implications for something like this are huge considering that we are all only becoming more digitally connected by the day.

A quote from Bijan Stephen in WIRED helps to sum it up perfectly:

“In the 1960s, if you were a civil rights worker and you needed to get some urgent news out to the rest of the world, you would likely head straight for a telephone. If you’re a civil rights activist in 2015 and you need to get some news out, your first move is to choose a social media platform.”

3. Arab Spring


I’ll never forget the digital marketing course I took in college that examined social media’s impact on the Arab Spring. It was then, back in 2011 as a student, that I realized the true power and potential implications of social media. Up until that point, I thought social media was only for sharing pictures with friends and family!

There has since been a strong debate over the role and influence that social media played in the Arab Spring. Researchers at the University of Washington examined more than three million tweets, gigabytes of YouTube content, and thousands of blog posts and found that social media played a central role in shaping political debates in the Arab Spring.

Arab Spring Map Overview

“Our evidence suggests that social media carried a cascade of messages about freedom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East, and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising,” said Philip Howard, project lead and professor at the University of Washington. “People who shared interest in democracy built extensive social networks and organized political action. Social media became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom.”

2. Community Support during World Tragedies


Social media can mean the difference between a few minutes or even a few seconds, and in unforeseen often-desperate situations, a few seconds can mean the world.

Moments after the tragic events in Brussels, friends and family members turned to Facebook and Twitter for information regarding anyone they might have known to be involved.

Following the Boston Marathon bombings, one-quarter of Americans looked to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites for information, according to The Pew Research Center. Boston community members offered complete strangers a warm bed, food, and a shower when roads and hotels were closed (via a simple Google Doc).

Boston Marathon Google Doc

Social media also provides essential communication channels after these tragic events. Thinking back to Paris in 2015, social media helped to give many people a feeling of comfort, of solidarity, and of solace knowing that they would not have to face this alone. It acted as a support system even though we were all thousands of miles apart.

1. Natural Disaster Relief


One of the biggest strengths of social media is the speed at which it can disseminate important information to a large number of people in a very short amount of time. For example, after a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, non-profits and relief groups used social media to mobilize rescue efforts and support the community in various ways.

According to a CNN report, social media – Twitter specifically – became a pivotal tool in the fundraising efforts that raised millions of dollars in aid for the country. By the end of the week, the use of social media helped to raise more than $8 million in relief.

Haiti Earthquake 2010

Photo: Yale Economic Review

Haiti is just one of many cases where social media played an integral role in disaster relief. The earthquake and tsunami in Japan (2011), Hurricane Irene (2011), Superstorm Sandy (2012), and the earthquake in Nepal (2015) are examples of the power of instant communication. During Sandy, 10,000 Instagram photos (#sandy) were uploaded per second, many complete with geo-tagged locations!

Social media provides real-time, first-person information so that people and organizations can make informed decisions about where to focus their efforts. A critical piece in ensuring that relief is provided where and when it is needed most.

Over to you

It’s quite hard to fathom that social media is only 20 years young and that the majority of growth and innovation has happened over the last few years. It’s even harder to believe that we’ve likely only just begun! As the world population continues to increase, communities become more connected, and the internet becomes available for more and more cities around the world, we will undoubtedly witness a deeper integration of social media into our everyday lives.

This list doesn’t even begin to cover the hundreds of amazing moments throughout social media history. And so it’s up to all of us to celebrate its positive impact on our lives whenever we can. Let’s encourage each other to not take this incredible tool for granted!

Here’s to 20 more years of powerful, wonderful, and world-changing social media history (and beyond!)

Feeling inspired? We’d love for you to share your story!

How has social media positively impacted you? On June 30th (#SMDay) and throughout the weekend,  share your social media story with us using the hashtag #impactofsocial! We’ll be retweeting some of our favorites and picking a few winners to receive some special Buffer swag. We’re also hosting five exclusive Facebook Live chats throughout the day, check out the awesome schedule we have planned below!

Facebook Live #impactofsocial schedule (Tune in Here!)

  • Tom Redman (Product Manager at Buffer) – 7:00am PT, 10:00am ET
  • Arielle Tannenbaum & Hailley Griffis (Community & PR at Buffer) – 8:30am PT, 11:30am ET
  • Mark Josephson (CEO at Bitly) – 10:00am PT, 1:00pm ET
  • Brian Fanzo (iSocialFanz) – 12:00pm PT, 3:00pm ET
  • Courtney Seiter (Director of People at Buffer) – 1:30pm PT, 4:30pm ET

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-history

The Complete Guide to Using Stock Photos in Your Marketing

When you hear the term ‘stock photo’, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

My hunch is it’s probably a photo of a group of friends awkwardly laughing, business people staring at charts on a wall, or something along those lines.

Probably not the best connotations, right?

Used correctly, though, free stock photos can really bring your ads, blog posts, and content to life.

And at Buffer, we use stock photos daily.

Here’s why:

  • Stock photos are cost effective (mostly free 💰)
  • If you know where to look, you can find some incredibly high-quality images
  • We’ve found that stock photography can outperform custom designed images in terms of reach and engagement

In this post, we’ve teamed up with Unsplash to bring you the complete guide to stock photography and answer the ever-illusive question: should you be using stock photos for your marketing?

The power of images

We’ve known for a while now that images can work wonders when it comes to grabbing attention and boosting engagement:

But, not only can images boost the performance of our content, they can also influence purchasing decisions:

“Visual platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram are highly influential in shopping,” Nikki Karai Renaud, CMO at Zazzle explained in eMarketer’s US Millennial Shoppers 2017 report. “For millennials, we found that the visual piece – honing our photography and creative assets – helped attract and convert [this generation].”

In other words – not only are people posting and sharing more images online, but these images can also be a major influence in their decision to purchase a product.

Nowadays, images aren’t a distraction from the message – the pictures themselves are the message.

How people react to stock images

When it comes to finding the right images to use in our marketing efforts it goes far beyond simply finding an image that simply “looks nice.”

Stock photos, when used correctly, can elicit emotions in your audience (both positive and negative).

For example, have you seen an image like the one below before?

Typical stock photo

We’ve become so accustomed to seeing this style of image that it can often be hard to differentiate between where we saw it and the brands that used it.

We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent. Think back to the last ad you saw on Facebook or the last billboard you walked past in the street, I bet there’s more chance you’ll recall the visual, rather than the copy.

This happens due to the Picture Superiority Effect, which essentially means that images are more likely to be remembered than words. In the brain itself, there are hundreds of millions of neurons devoted to visual processing, nearly 30 percent of the entire cortex, as compared with 8 percent for touch and just 3 percent for hearing.

If the stock photo you’re using is at all similar to the image on another website that created a negative experience for the visitor, subconsciously, they’re projecting their previous experience onto your stock photograph, reducing trust and bringing up negative connotations.

A study has also shown that 63 percent of consumers say that repeated, generic messages from brands are irritating to them.

So instead of enhancing your content, you could actually be harming your chances of success if you’re choosing the wrong kind of image.

The importance of authenticity

In the social media world, authenticity is key. We often turn to social media to see an authentic look into the lives of our friends, our acquaintances, and our favorite brands.

The content shared to these platforms is meant to give us a glimpse into the world of the people and brands closest to us. And often, the most authentic and genuine content is the most interesting. This is evidenced by the surge in popularity that stories have seen since the format was debuted by Snapchat. Stories enable us to see raw, often unedited content and give an authentic glimpse into other’s lives.

The problem with most stock photos is that they’re not authentic. For example, when it comes to business-related photos, there’s no shortage of clichés. A photo of a business person in a crisp suit or a smiling group of twenty-somethings might help fill a void, but often, these images will fail to connect with your audience as they’re simply not relatable or authentic.

Let’s say you’re looking for a stock photo showing someone working, the below image could fit the bill:

Typical stock photo

 

On the other hand, something like this image from Andrew Neel may be better suited:

Essentially these two images show similar scenes, but the first one feels a little more staged and inauthentic. Whereas the second option feels a little more relatable.

Defining authenticity

It’s hard to tell exactly what makes an image authentic, but it seems to be incredibly important as people are instinctively drawn to brands that are considered more authentic than their competitors.

Authenticity means that the things we say and the things we do are the things we really believe, not just something we say to help sell our products/services.

The reason being authentic matters so much is deeply seeded in our instinct to survive as Simon Sinek explains:

Instinctively we’re constantly evaluating the words and actions of others. We’re assessing if they can be trusted. To that end, the more we sense that our values and beliefs align with the values and beliefs of others, the more apt we are to trust them. This is the reason we are drawn to people who are “like us.” The trust we feel and the relationships we form with another person or with a brand are exactly the same.

So when we’re looking at images, we’re making split seconds decisions based on their authenticity. If the image feels fake, or in any way inauthentic, we might lose trust in the brand instantly.

On the other hand, an authentic image can provide feelings of safety, trust, and comfort.

You might think an image of a group of people working is just an image. But if it doesn’t feel authentic, it’s likely doing more harm than good.

2 quick tips on identifying authentic images

1. Look for real people

It can look obvious if the people in your stock photos are models. When looking for a stock photo, keep an eye on the people in the photos:

  • Do they look like they’re genuine or are they clearly models?
  • Are their hair, teeth, and clothes perfect?

These are often tell-tales of stock photos. When choosing an image, look for real-world setups and subjects that a little reveal character.

Here’s a great example from Priscilla Du Preez, where the subjects look like they’re actually having a great time:

2. Identify natural poses

Most of us don’t sit fully upright or smile 24/7. But it’s very common to see stock images with generic traits like these. Try to identify images where the subjects look natural and not posed.

Check out the below photo by Jacob Ufkes and notice how natural the subjects look:

How to find the perfect stock image

Most stock images were taken to fit with a wide range of topics and concepts, which can sometimes be both a blessing and a curse. The images can be used for a bunch of different occasions, but can also look rather generic.

As a marketer, the images you choose for your campaigns or to company content can help you to stand out from the noise. But it takes careful consideration and planning to do successfully pick the right images.

Here are 4 tips to help you find the right one:

1. Use images that compliment your content

Images shouldn’t feel like they’ve been randomly dropped into a piece of content. Where possible, try to ensure that the images you choose compliment your content in some way.

For example, in a recent Buffer Open blog post about using playlists to help boost productivity, we chose a feature image showing music being played on a mobile phone:

By choosing this image, people can see right away that the post is about music without having to glance at the headline. Check out how it looks when shared to Facebook, too:

By using an image related to the content of the post, we can give the reader a glimpse into the content before they check out the title or description. The music playing on the phone, coupled with the coffee, makes me think about music and productivity (as many people rely on their morning coffee to kick start the day).

2. Think about your audience

You know your audience better than anyone and when it comes to finding the perfect image, you should always put your audience first.

You want them to make a strong visual connection to your brand and using images that relate to the message you’re aiming to communicate. Choose photos to reinforce your branding. Make sure that the images are not an afterthought and simply used as a way to fill a gap. Use images that include subtle meaning and offer ways to connect with your audience.

For example, if you’re trying to connect with millennials who are likely to value the freedom to work from home and travel, the below stock photo from Rob Bye could help to reinforce that message:

3. Check Unsplash

Unsplash features over 200,000 free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.

It’s our go-to place for stock photos here at Buffer, too.

4. Use fresh images

We’ve all seen the generic stock photos a million times. But even some of the most unique and beautiful stock images crop up all over the web from time-to-time.

Using the most popular images isn’t always the best tactic. Try to find the freshest, latest, and lesser-used photos for your content.

For example, instead of just heading to the Unsplash homepage and picking one of the popular images, try a few keyword searches or check out a few collections to uncover some awesome images.

My best advice is to find 4-5 options rather than settling for the first suitable image you find.

Pro tip: There’s a really neat tool called TinEye that helps you to find out how many times an image has been used before and where.

TinEye enables you to search an image and discover where and how it’s been used on other websites. By checking images before you use them you can try to paint a picture of any pre-conceived thoughts people may have from seeing that image elsewhere online.

How to remix stock photos and make them your own

Even once you’ve found the perfect image, it might not be a perfect fit for your content right away.

Luckily, it’s super simple to edit stock photos and there are even some free tools to help you do it.

In this section will share some quick tips on remixing and editing photos and our favorite tools to help you do so.

5 ways you can ‘un-stock’ your stock photos

1. Add text

Often, images are used for a very specific purpose.

For example, we regularly use stock images as the feature images on our blog posts or to create neat sharer images for when someone posts our content to Facebook or Twitter.

Here’s an example below:

To customize this image, we’ve simply added some text to provide context into the post it links to. This helps the viewer to connect the dots between the image and the post it links to.

2. Use a color overlay

90% of snap judgments made about products are based on color alone.

Color is one of the most important and complex aspects of any social media design. It helps to set the mood, create an atmosphere, convey emotions, and even evoke strong individual experiences from someone’s past.

Try to use colors familiar to your brand to make a stock photo feel cloesly aligned with your business.

3. Crop the image

If you want to hone in on a specific part of a stock photo you can crop it to discard the unnecessary portions of the image. Cropping allows you to change the emphasis or direction of an image.

4. Add contrast 

Contrast occurs when two elements on a page are different. For example, it could be different colors between the text and the background color or dark vs. light colors.

contrast

One of the main reasons to use contrast in your designs is to grab attention. For example, the infamous iPod silhouette adverts were so memorable because there is a huge contrast between the white iPod and earphones and the bright background and silhouette.

ipod2

5. Try Blurring the background

Using a blur can be a great way to make text or branding stand out when overlaid onto an image.

When you put text over an image, the two elements can form a somewhat competitive relationship (example on the left below), a little blur can make the text stand out more and appear much more readable (on the right below).

text-blur

Further reading

For more design tips, check out these posts:

4 tools to help you edit stock photos

1. Canva

Canva is a free graphic design tool. It has an easy to use drag-and-drop interface and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals.

2. GIMP

GIMP is a free and open-source graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, and converting between different image formats.

3. Photoshop 

Photoshop is Adobe’s photo editing, image creation, and graphic design software. With Photoshop you can create stunning photos and illustrations, designs for web and print, 3D imagery, video, and more.

4. Sketch

Sketch is an amazing design tool and mainly used by professionals to create and design graphics and interfaces from scratch. It can also be used to edit and embellish photos.

Over to you

Stock photos, if used correctly, can be incredibly useful for marketers. I hope you found this guide helpful and would love to know your thoughts on stock images:

  • Do you use stock images in your marketing content?
  • Where do you source your stock images from?
  • Any tips on editing stock photos?

Feel free to share in the comments below. I’m excited to join the conversation 💬

Feature image by Rawpixel

from Social https://blog.bufferapp.com/free-stock-photos

My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #30

flatiron school

My name is Mason Ellwood, and I’m currently working on Flatiron School’s Online Full Stack Web Development Program. Each week, I’ll be writing about my experience, what I’m learning, and tips on learning to code.

HTML as far as languages go, is probably the most simple language that you will be able to grasp quickly. Again HTML stands for hypertext markup language. And as a markup language, its sole purpose is to semantically label information. This is the structure of your design, how the page flows together at its most rudimentary level. Setting up your HTML document is fairly simple, and many text editors now come with an HTML preset that comes in handy to quickly get you started with the bare essentials.

Every document you set up, if it is a custom HTML document will look roughly like the one listed below.

As you can see at the top of your document is a <!doctype html> declaration. <!doctype> basically tells the browser of the documents HTML version, as well as declares that this is in fact an HTML document

Below this is the <html> tag. You will notice that at the bottom of the page is a closing </html> tag. Do not forget, unless specific rules apply, you will most likely always have to open and close a tag in HTML. This tag is in charge of defining the starting and ending points of an HTML document.

Like before, below this is the <head></head>

The head of your document defines the section of HTML that will include the title, metadata, other browser related scripts, css, and shortcut icon links. This is the meat and potatoes of your document. What functionality you will include, and what files do you want to use to operate on your project. Be careful in the section, if you add or mislabel something here then things can get a little bit wonky.

Next, you guessed it is the <body></body> tags. The body will contain all the visible page content that your project requires. All your images, text, links, and page layout structure. This is what you will most likely spend the most time in. Making sure the foundation of your project is sound before beginning, will allow you to more quickly design and create functionality later.

Tags:

Now that you understand the structure of our document, i’ll cover quickly some of the most commonly used tags in HTML.

  • <title>: Defines the page’s main title. This appears in the tab at the top of the browser and is important to search engines.
  • <h1>: Tells search engines that the enclosed content is the most important on the page as well as defines a level 1 heading.
  • <p>: Contains readable text content and defines a paragraph of text.
  • <ul>: Defines an unordered list of items.
  • <ol>: Defines an ordered list of items.
  • <li>: Creates list items to exist inside either <ol> or <ul> parent elements.
  • <img>: Defines an image to be loaded inside the document and defines an imaginary line inside the document used for planning.
  • <a>: Defines an anchor link for the purpose of navigating between pages.

This is the basics of HTML. HTML is pretty simple and with the fairly little difficulty, you will be able to grasp it quickly. The Flatiron School does an awesome job at quickly covering how to use it and what it is used for. Without going into to much crazy detail, which I am happy about.

Read More at My Journey Of Learning Programming Through Flatiron School #30

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/my-journey-of-learning-programming-through-flatiron-school-30/

Work Better With The Top Invoicing And Time Tracking Apps

Time tracking helps you run a better business. Also, without an invoicing process in place, you can have trouble being paid for the work you do. Unless you’re schooled in business management and accounting practices, either task can be a hassle. They can also take up time you’d rather spend on doing what you do best.

Investing in a task management app makes sense. Especially if it’s one that automates time tracking, invoicing, expense reporting, and billing processes. You can even have fun using some of these tools.

Give one or more of these top apps a trial run. Trial runs are usually free, and a few of these apps feature plans that are completely free. Maybe it’s time to do better, and have fun doing so!

Starting with:

FreshBooks

FreshBooks is designed for small business owners, but it’s ideal for web designers and creatives as well. This accounting and invoicing app is used by more than 10 million businesses, teams, and individuals; which tells you its developers must have done something right.

FreshBooks is cloud-based, so there’s nothing you’ll need to install. It’s simply a matter of signing up and getting started. Since using it is super-intuitive, you don’t have to be a CPA, or even a numbers person, to send out your first professional-looking invoice, with your brand’s colors and logo, in a matter of seconds. Your clients can pay you online too; a feature they will love as much as you do. There are some other delightful features as well.

You shouldn’t have any problem using any of them, but should a problem arise, FreshBooks’ award-winning support team is ready and waiting to help. There’s no menu to navigate through and no while-your-on-hold music. You’ll be immediately connected to a real, live, helpful professional.

Memory by Timely

You can’t travel back in time but Memory by Timely can and does.

This time-tracking app not only tracks the time being spent on current tasks but it refreshes your memory on tasks you complete, hours, days, or even weeks earlier. Every file you work on, every email you send, every website you visit, or app you use or connect to Memory, is dutifully and precisely logged in a smart timeline only you have access to.

Not only is the automatic tracking function convenient when you can’t remember what you worked on, it’s also a money saver. Memory by Timely accurately tells you the start and end times of your tasks, how long it took you to complete it, so you never miss a billable-hour again.

Memory by Timely does more than automatically track your time. It will also save you invaluable time and money.

Futuramo Time Tracker

If you have questions about how efficiently a project is using its budgeted hours, or you’re finding it difficult to estimate what a new project is likely to cost, Futuramo Time Tracker can give you the information you need to effectively work either problem. This cloud-based tracking app features an advanced statistics package that can give you valuable insights into your daily work habits, or those of your team.

Futuramo Time Tracker lets you view past projects to better plan your next ones. It also helps teams to better visualize, prioritize, and manage their work on current projects.

Since Futuramo Time Tracker is cloud based, you can get started in seconds. Even better, it’s completely free for up to 3 users! You have nothing to lose by signing up and trying it out now.

Timing

Timing sheds a new light on the time tracking process. It automatically tracks your use of apps and websites, and which files or documents you are using. It also automatically suggests which blocks of time fit in the same category for future reference.

You can also track meetings, phone calls, or other activities, and Timing even asks you what you did while you were away from your Mac. It’s only necessary for you to download Timing for a free 14-day trial.

Elorus

Elorus is an invoicing, billing, and expense reporting app with a twist. It helps you perform several of the tasks you would expect from a software solution of this type; such as automating your expense management processes, monitoring cash flow, and providing you with an overview of how your business is doing.

Elorus also keeps track of the transactions you make with your clients, including invoicing. The twist is this: Elorus provides a private portal that invited clients can use to download invoices, check over their transactions, and make payments. Your clients will love this feature; as will you.

Avaza

Avaza is a combination invoicing and time tracking app that provides several other useful features as well. Your expense reporting activities are also monitored, and Avaza can assist you in managing your project tasks and files, and help you coordinate tasks with clients and team members.

More than 15,000 business currently take advantage of this all-in-one software package’s capabilities; including the ability to integrate with more than 500 popular apps. You can sign up and try Avaza for free.

Paymo

Paymo is a full-featured project management app with advanced tasks management capabilities designed to keep your projects under control from the beginning of the planning stage until a deliverable is ready to go out the door.

Project templates will save you time when running similar projects, and you can make use of the visual Kanban boards to keep everything on track. Paymo also automates invoicing and expense tracking.

Free Invoice Generator

            Free Invoice Generator offers an easy invoicing solution. You simply input the details (including notes and any line item links) into the app, and the invoice in PDF format will be immediately transmitted to you by email. All you need to do is forward it to the client.

Hiveage, the app’s creator, has a more powerful accounting feature you can subscribe to; but the Free Invoice Generator is, as the name implies, totally free.

Trigger

If you’re managing a team of graphic designers and you want to easily see how many hours have been worked (and by whom), Trigger can help. It also shows you which projects and tasks run the risk of going over budget; to help you avoid over servicing clients and losing money. If you need project management and invoicing (direct to Xero) functionality, Trigger offers that too, as well as Kanban boards, task lists, milestones and more.

ClickTime – Easy Online Timesheets

ClickTime is a project cost management and expense tracking app that can help you keep a project within budget, and thereby maximize your profitability. You can customize its features to conform to your particular time-tracking requirements.

ClickTime’s interactive dashboard gives you just the right tool to schedule your resource planning tasks, and get an overview of and manage your billable vs. non-billable hours.

Summarizing

What you have is a full slate of time tracking and invoicing apps to select from. Besides that, you will have solutions for project management and accounting tasks.

These apps are ideal for freelancers, teams, and small businesses alike. This includes those that may have been designed with a special category of users in mind.

Some are free, and those that are not are free to try out. Sign up for, or download, one or more of them today.

Read More at Work Better With The Top Invoicing And Time Tracking Apps

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/work-better-top-invoicing-time-tracking-apps/

5 Excellent Examples of Great UX/UI In 2017

In order to build a website with a great UI/UX, every company should take into consideration a lot of factors. You must make the users feel at home and extend their reach from the first interaction with your website. Therefore, the essence of an excellent UI design is to help users complete a given task as simple and time-efficient as possible. Even if the approach for making this is different depending on many factors, an attractive interface and impressive images are elements with a great importance. But the core part of making a great UI design is to deliver the users an intuitive and smooth experience.

Many people that get started in the business keep looking for the best user interface websites, in order to see how different features have worked for other companies with different preferences and requirements.

For a good starting point for evaluating if a UI design is efficient, the research company Nielsen Norman Group defines usability through these 5 characteristics:

  • Learnability:Can the user complete their tasks with little or without any difficulty?
  • Efficiency:Does the interface allow the user to complete tasks in a timely manner?
  • Memorability:After leaving a website, how likely will the user be able to remember how to use it the next time they visit?
  • Errors:What steps does the interface take to lessen the chance of user error, and how do they let the users correct an error?
  • Satisfaction: Does the user enjoy interacting with the design?

On top of those standards, a good UI should also reflect the personality of the brand in order to stand out from the competition and provide users with a delightful experience.

From this point of view, the following characteristics should be taken into consideration:

  • Stunning and unique layout: Even for visitors who fail to stay, a great layout can make your website unforgettable. They might return because your products are laid out with creativity rather than being displayed in the old-fashioned grids.
  • High-quality images: photos are the most eye-catching features that visitors see from the first glance on your website. Remarkable sites compete to cover their high-resolution image pages to expose their products from any possible angles.
  • Thought-provoking slogans: Clever content providers and UI designers create and put thought-provoking slogans everywhere on their homepages from sliders, headers to landing pages and pop-up forms. Once one of the slogans hits the visitor’s eye, you have very big chances to get a new order or a new subscriber, and so on.
  • Straightforward navigation: This idea is easily understandable. Nowadays, everyone is in a hurry. If your users can’t find soon what they want, for sure you will lose them very quickly.
  • Rapid prototyping: if you take a closer look at most websites with a gorgeous UI design, you’ll find that rapid prototyping tools were adopted by most of them. This approach lays a solid basis for a fast iterative development in the next stages of the websites building.

Based on all these characteristics, we have looked around on the Internet and put together a list of five websites that have gotten great UI designs and deliver a delightful experience to their visitors:

  1. Airbnb

 

The UI of Airbnb does three things very well: booking a place to stay, sharing different places, experiences and destinations and creating trust between two complete strangers. Airbnb has prioritized making it easy to start booking a stay right from the home page.

 

 

The conversational invitation for searching is a delightful way of portraying the voice of the brand, as well as making the process of finding a place to stay simple. The only fields you need to fill during the initial search are: choosing a destination where you would like to go, along with the duration of your staying and the number of guests. By leaving out the additional filters until the next step, the process is streamlined, friendly and approachable.

The listing pages are complete with a description of any additional fees that may be included. This is a very straightforward, easy process for just about any user. The ‘Request for Book’ button sits right under this and is the brightest buttons on the page, inviting users to click it in order to finalize their order.

On the other hand, Airbnb takes pride in bringing people together and gives the conversation importance over the transaction. Airbnb has cleverly thought out its copy and used engaging photos and videos to ensure that the interface conveys an emotional tone that helps create a sense of trust between strangers.

  1. MyUKmailbox

MyUKmailbox.com is a company that provides BuyForMe and UK mail forwarding services to people everywhere in the world. The idea is simple: not every British online store delivers outside of the borders, and therefore MyUKmailbox.com provides the user a physical address where you can get your product and they take care of forwarding them where you want.

In fact, delivering simplicity, trust and efficiency are the main goals of the website. And MyUKmailbox does this! Even if as structure, the UI of MyUKmailbox.com can be seen on many other websites, the layout, design and content were created focusing on the customer. To clear things from the beginning, a video explainer is placed right on the home page and the user will find in a funny and nice way the benefits he will get after signing in.  On the “Price” page, in addition to the pricing plans, they placed a Rate Calculator where, after filling a regular form, the user gets a cost estimation. This way, he can decide what financial option fits him the best.

The modern layout, which stays on top with the latest web design trends, reflects the personality of the brand and stands apart from the competition.

  1. Dropbox

Dropbox has one of the easiest to understand interfaces by far. By having a folder and file organizational structure, it is easy to recognize and use by anyone who ever used a computer before. In terms of learnability, the things are pretty simple. All the actions you have to make in order to have an account and upload the files for storage or for sharing or download the files are so easy and intuitive, that every user has already known how to do from the start. It’s natural for most users to try dragging and dropping files from their desktops to the page without them even know if it’s possible or not, just because it’s so familiar.

Dropbox’s friendly personality, created by lighthearted illustrations, helps the user feel comfortable while using the product. Also, by adopting the usage of hand-drawn illustrations in everything they do, they put the user at ease, appeal to the child in all of us, and make the product seem more accessible. This addition to the interface makes the product feel like an old friend, ready to help users complete their file sharing tasks.

This is especially helpful if you are a large tech company like Dropbox.

  1. Boosted Boards

This is a website full of life and personality. Upon arrival, users are immediately greeted with some microinteractions. The UI lets here the product to take the spotlight, putting everything else in the background. When a visitor clicks the “Reserve for $100” button, a check out form pops up. Instead of being redirect to another page, this allows the user to go ahead quickly, fill the form and reserve his products without leaving the product page.

When scrolling down, the home page has a series of panels of big, bold and vibrant photos showing the product in use and information related to products, their advantages and the most important characteristics. This gives users a unique way of seeing what the product has to offer instead of just listing out features. By greying out the text, the eyes are drawn to the two bright and bold places that contrast with the image from background: “Shop Now” and “Learn More” call-to-action buttons.

The UI of Boosted Boards really helps to compliment the “cool” factor that the product has to offer.

  1. Frank and Oak

Men’s clothing retailer, Frank and Oak, uses their UI to grab the attention of their visitors and their taste of stylish shopping. The company uses big, bold photography and clean, sans-serif typography to capture the personality of the brand and to convey the message to their target audience.

The online shopping experience they deliver to their users is fairly straightforward. The navigation is quite easy,

if you want to dive deeper for more products or to switch between different products categories.

When you decide to buy a product, the UX Frank and Oak website delivered to the user is quite friendly and delightful. After clicking on one item, even if there are some other elements that help user to buy the right product, the page is focused on two things: the product’s images, and the call to action button, those two being the only colored elements on the page. To avoid some unpleasant situations, the ‘Add to Cart’ button won’t work until a size is selected.

 

Filling out personal information during the online buying process could be an unpleasant and stressful experience, but Frank and Oak help users out by breaking the form into smaller chunks of input fields to reduce the stress.

Overall, the UI of Frank and Oak website can be seen on many other websites, but the layout and the style were definitely created having the ideal customer in mind.

 

Read More at 5 Excellent Examples of Great UX/UI In 2017

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/5-excellent-examples-great-uxui-2017/

Fake news is your fault, this startup is trying to help


One of the horrible gifts that the year 2016 brought us was the rise of fake news, and we’re still dealing with the consequences (cough Trump cough). Fortunately, people all around the world are looking for ways to squash the effectiveness of misinformation. TNW spoke to Dhruv Ghulati, CEO of Factmata, a London-based startup working on developing a new automated fact-checking tool. Who should fix the problem? The first thing that needs to be established is who’s responsible for fake news. Some people like to blame social media and their lack of responding to this new epidemic. Ghulati understands why people…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web https://thenextweb.com/artificial-intelligence/2017/06/27/users-will-have-to-take-responsibility-for-fake-news/

50 Freshest and Cleanest Minimalist WordPress Themes

Minimalism is always in vogue, so if you believe that sometimes less is more, you should definitely browse this showcase. Furthermore, as you understand, here you will find clean and clear, trendy minimalist designs.

Some designers, especially newbies think that it’s easier to create a minimalist design than the regular one. But that’s a delusion. Moreover, you will have fewer elements to express your ideas. You need to learn how to use the white space to your favor. Actually, white space shouldn’t necessarily be white. It may be a photo or even a video. Eventually, having less content on the web page and enough space to breathe is a great way to focus visitors attention on what’s really important – your key points.

All 50 fresh and clean minimalist themes showcased in this article were developed for WordPress platform. In fact, since 2003, when the CMS was started with a single bit of code, it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world. For instance, it is used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day.

The creation of WordPress was with the community convenience in mind. Foremost, it’s an open source project which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it every day. As well, you can use WordPress for anything you wish – from your cooking recipe site to a garden furniture store. Also, please note that you don’t need to pay anyone a license fee and have a number of other important freedoms with WP.

You can download the software script on WordPress.org. Indeed, to do this you need a web host who meets the minimum requirements and a little time. Indeed, WordPress started as a blogging system, but now it’s a full content management system that can be used for any project and extended through the thousands of free plugins and widgets and themes. So, the platform is completely customizable, so you are actually free from any restrictions.

Now let’s talk about all these beautiful minimalist WordPress themes provider. So, they were developed by TemplateMonster.com, one of the leading web design and development company in the world.

The company has 15 years of experience on the market. Foremost, the quality of their templates is beyond any doubt. As a matter of fact, their team of experts learn all the latest and the most advanced technologies available in the field and apply them in templates production. Also, the guys invent their own revolutionary techniques as well.

It’s easy to work with their templates. Firstly, all of them come to you with extensive documentation. Not to mention, you can also use the services of their well-trained 24/7 support. They are also free.

Support managers will work on your issue until you are 100% satisfied. Besides, there are no questions they can’t answer.

Even if you don’t want or have no time to customize your theme, it’s not a problem. Moreover, you can turn to TemplateMonster Service Center and get all the job done instead of you within 24 hours.

We are sure that your browsing and further experience with fresh and clean minimalist WordPress themes developed by this provider will be enjoyable and efficient.

Free eBook featured at the end of this article will teach you how to attract the first 1000 visitors to your website, so don’t forget to download it.

Multipurpose WordPress Theme – the Second Version of Monstroid

Monstroid 2 is a universal theme developed for the new generation. On the other hand, it boasts clean and crispy design, bulletproof layout consistency and intuitive navigation. Monstroid 2 offers 7 customizable header styles and 4 customizable blog styles.

d2 - Multipurpose WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Style & Fashion WordPress Theme

Black and white is ever in vogue, so choosing this theme for your fashion blog, portal, magazine, store is a great option. As well, the author uses bright yellow accents to emphasize the important information. A lot of trendy images, frames, white space, and other web design tricks make the design look classy.

ashion WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

WordPress Theme for Personal Blog

This modern theme is ideal for personal blogs. It will show how young, daring and smart you are. To tell the truth, use Power page builder to tweak theme’s elements without touching its code. Power builder not only offers you full freedom of creation, it is packed with a wide range of handy modules to enhance your blog’s functionality.

 Blog WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Interior Design WordPress Theme

This theme for interior design companies is utterly clean and minimalist. Let alone, the author uses white space wisely, so it’s easy for the visitor to focus on the essential content. Build your pages using a versatile layout grid and 25+ content modules for different purposes. And, showcase the photos of your projects with TM Gallery, an advanced WordPress plugin for creating and managing image galleries.

- the Best Interior Design WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Accounting & Financial Group WordPress Theme

A very serious, trustworthy theme for banking websites. It also fits for small and medium-sized companies that offer financial, accounting, brokerage, insurance, analytical, or bookkeeping services. Finally, the theme features a mobile-friendly design that looks perfect on all popular screen sizes and resolutions, from smartphones to retina-ready displays.

roup - Finance and Accounting WordPress Theme

Details | Demo

Construction & Architecture WP Theme

Fair tones and spectacular urban backgrounds will make your architectural firm website look stylish and elegant. As this, upbuild is fully editable and SEO friendly. The theme has Cherry Framework 5 in its core. Particularly, look professional on the web showcasing your creative portfolio with the help of Cherry projects.

ture Firm WP Theme

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Celebrity WordPress Theme

The theme is designed in black and white colors, which will differentiate your website among the competitors. In addition, you will enjoy the the process of creating your celebrities magazine with this Cherry Framework 5 based theme. Further, WordPress Live Customizer and Power page builder allow you to edit your theme the way you like without reloading your page and compose professional pages without touching a code.

ies WordPress Theme

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Business Services WP Template

This is an elegant business theme offering easy interaction thanks to a lot of negative space, concise portions of information, and minimalist icons. Actually, you can engage readers with your impressive stats making use of counters. Moreover, the theme allows to turn off unnecessary options to make sure nothing distracts you along the way. Integrated MotoPress Editor lets you bring changes to the visual side of the theme by simply dragging and dropping elements.

 Services WP Template

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Responsive WordPress Theme for Web Design Company

The theme has a calming dreamy design. HTML plus JS animation breathe life into its layout. In fact, parallax effect create an illusion of 3D in 2D environment of your website. What is more, the theme is equipped with MotoPress Editor and MotoPress Slider that will take your website to the next level.

gn Responsive WordPress Theme

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WordPress Template for Dating Agency

Crimson polygonal background of the template will make your website one-of-a-kind. Firstly, loving couples photos featured in slider create a romantic mood on your site. On the other hand, the theme has a simple memorable logo. Main menu of the theme is hidden under the hamburger icon.

ordPress Template

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WordPress Template for IT Company

Installation of this theme was made easier thanks to the Cherry Wizard plugin. The latter makes it possible to install all of the template’s elements in a few clicks. Besides, the template is loaded with a number of smart options like Google maps, newsletter subscription form, contact form, commenting system, and so much more.

ion Technology WordPress Template

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WordPress Theme for Advertising Agency

AdBreak is a modern and minimalist advertising agency WordPress theme designed in flat style. And, it’s a great foundation both for young startup companies that specialize in digital marketing, design, brand identity, as well as for small and medium sized businesses who are looking for a bright theme with a contemporary design. As well, the main advantage of the theme is that it’s super easy to use and set up. You can choose from dozens of content modules and arrange them using a flexible layout system.

- Advertising Agency WordPress Theme

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WordPress Theme for a Publishing Co

This Cherry Framework-based template will provide you with tools for making your site both appealing and user-friendly. Additionally, it is equipped with sliced PSD, 24/7 support service and detailed documentation that provides easy installation and customization. Finally, give the full description of your offers with Cherry services list, it will be useful to give potential clients a clear understanding of what your business is ready to do for them.

ng Company WordPress Theme

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Financial Consulting WordPress Theme

The theme is suitable for financial advisers, business consulting agencies, brokers, analysts, insurance companies, and other corporate enterprises. As well, the responsive architecture and cross-browser compatibility are the features that provide comfortable viewing experience for your users, encouraging them to stay on your site longer and visit it from all kinds of devices. At last, the theme is easy to set up and customize with a large variety of content modules and pre-designed pages.

 Business Consulting WordPress Theme

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WordPress Theme for a Freelance Photographer

This is a one-page solution for your photography business. Furthermore, this template is highly flexible and can be modified according to your taste and needs. So, it comes with a large number of WordPress Live Customizer options that enable you not only to change a color scheme, typefaces, and logo, but choose from 7 pre-built header styles, multiple blog layouts, and more.

er Photographer Portfolio WordPress Theme

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Yachting WordPress Theme

QuickWind is a clean and clear yachting WordPress theme with a great typography and fast loading speed. Moreover, customize fonts, color scheme of your website, and choose from many other options, such as position of the sidebar, post list view, social media buttons, footer and header styles, and many more with the help of drag-and-drop page builder. To tell the truth, the theme has a full support for the WordPress Live Customizer, which would be a very familiar tool for those who have been working with WordPress before.

 & Voyage Charter WordPress Theme

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Food Recipes WordPress Theme

This theme has a mouthwatering design. A food and beverages WordPress theme with fully-featured blog functionality developed specifically for cooking blogs. So, share your delicious recipes in a few clicks, add different types of content and refresh the look on the fly with the help of several blog styles. Express your love to cooking through video, image and post sliders.

 Beverages Creative Blog WordPress Theme

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Multipurpose WordPress Theme for Business & Marketing Companies

Elbrus has a pinned header, so website navigation stays before the users’ eyes all the time. What is more, the theme offers several home page variations, which gives you a freedom to experiment during customization. Finally, the theme includes the following plugins: Slider Revolution, Visual Composer, WooCommerce, it is Multilingual Ready.

 Business & Marketing Multipurpose WordPress Theme

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Trendy Lifestyle Blog WordPress Theme

Glossy Look is a trendy minimalist WordPress theme, built for bloggers and publication owners who are not afraid to be bright. Moreover, the theme is also a good option for fashion blogs, travel magazines, food blogs or online magazines. Packed with a large number of blogging widgets, the theme enables you to create versatile layouts and decide which type of content you want to demonstrate to your visitors.

Blogging WordPress Theme with Trendy Design

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Responsive WordPress Theme for a Dance School

Background video, trendy backgrounds, pleasant tones, and Parallax animation of this theme will make a deep impression on the users. Besides this, Cherry Team Members and Cherry Testimonials will help you present your professional coaches and clients feedback, which will make your site look more reliable. Use Timetable plugin to provide your customers with your dance lessons schedule in a comfy manner.

ademy WordPress Theme

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WordPress Theme for Art Gallery

Present your art projects with this well documented fully responsive theme. Not to mention, background video, Parallax animation, modern art backgrounds, and pleasant color scheme creates a comfortable atmosphere onsite. A powerful TM Gallery will help you showcase your artworks and exhibits the beautiful way, while Cherry Testimonials and Team Members plugins will help you to present visitors reviews and your gifted artists.

um WordPress Theme

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Bio Active Nutrition WooCommerce Theme

Organica is a WooCommerce theme based on Cherry Framework 5. To tell the truth, it suits for selling farming and agricultural stuff, bio active products, and natural cosmetics. This environmental theme is SEO-friendly, which ensures high rankings in search results for your website. Finally, banner ads manager will let you insert ads and banners into the center of posts on your organic farm shop page.

food, cosmetics and bio active nutrition Woocommerce theme

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Creative Agency WordPress Theme

This theme can be used for design and photography websites. Lots of negative space lets the users concentrate on site content. Alternatively, huge HD photos showcased in slider make Art Photography WordPress Theme look very imposing. Moreover, the theme’s gallery is provided with hover effect, which makes it more engaging. Actually, the author combines colored images with black and white photos there, which creates a nice effect.

ography WordPress Theme

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Responsive WordPress Theme for Real Estate Agency

This real estate theme draws visitors’ attention with full-screen slider featuring stunning urban scenes. In all honesty, main menu has lowered position, it is placed right under the slider. Big captivating banners are provided with hover effect, which calls site visitors for further actions.

ate Agency Responsive WordPress Theme

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WP Theme for Design Studio

Here you see a responsive and retina-ready solution for professional portfolios integrated with a blog. Let alone, it features a dropdown menu bar that is elegantly placed over a slider with full-width images and captions. Finally, there is also a gallery to give a visual preview of your projects, and a sorting option that lets to find the necessary one quicker.

Design WP Theme

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Stylish WP Theme for Photographer

The theme uses large, browser-sized background video to grab visitors’ attention. Furthermore, such kind of things improve visual experience in a creative way. They affect the mood and atmosphere onsite or demonstrate your product in action. At last, you can tell the whole story that will be easy and fun to view as opposed to regular, static pages.

WP Theme

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Top Marketing Solutions WordPress Theme

This current theme designed in Metro style is supplied with MegaMenu. Foremost, it is a powerful tool for creating a better look and professional navigation easily without technical knowledge. It allows to organize your categories, subcategories easily with different content showing-off.

 Blog WordPress Theme

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WordPress Theme for Pool Cleaning Companies

Pool Cleaning WordPress Theme can become a solid foundation for your pool maintenance website. Moreover, it includes every element you might need for an effective presentation of your business online. Furthermore, company services, sortable gallery, user testimonials, blog, and contact details blocks are all featured on the main page of the theme. If you wish, you can change their position, edit or remove any element with intuitive MotoPress Editor.

aning WordPress Theme

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European Restaurant WordPress Theme

A restaurant website look should stir visitors appetite. Firstly, that is the reason why this cafe WordPress template will be a perfect match if you want to give your business a brand new look. Secondly, it features a full-screen image background with a neat burger menu, company logo and social media icons over it.

dPress Template

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Marketing Agency Responsive WordPress Theme

This SEO and marketing theme is delivered to you with the ultimate pack of the best plugins all meant to enhance your website’s functionality. Indeed, it gives you a possibility to choose from a large set of layout options and experiment with your pages structure. Foremost, speed up your building process by saving the most successful of your attempts in a built-in library and use them whenever you need to create a new page.

any WordPress Theme

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Architectural Company WP Theme

This jaw-dropping design is equipped with content modules. In fact, they allow you to add multiple content types to your page. This includes buttons, images, pricing tables, contact forms, sliders, and many more. Additionally, each of the modules has an extended set of options that you can tweak to match the style of your website.

ture Company WP Theme

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Car Insurance WordPress Theme

The layout of this theme instills hope and looks very positive and reliable, which is crucial for an insurance company. No to mention, the theme is Ecwid ready, so you can add an online store to your website for free in just 5 minutes. Finally, simple Slider, post carousel, and social media widgets help you build a stronger online presence and offer you additional ways of displaying content.

rance WordPress Theme

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Hockey Blog WordPress Theme

The theme was developed for hockey blogs, but can be customized for any sport activity. Moreover, parallax effect adds the sense of depth and perspective to the layout that engages the visitors making their experience onsite more realistic. Finally, the theme is provided with clever built-in drag and drop MotoPress page builder, so you don’t need any coding skills to customize your website.

ordPress Theme

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Responsive WordPress Theme for a Videographer

The theme is not only visually appealing, but feature rich. First of all, it is 100% responsive. Further, the theme is fully editable, so you will be able to change literally everything on your web page: type of slider, typography, sidebar position, and other elements. At last, the theme is multilingual ready, which means that your website will be available to people from different countries.

pher Responsive WordPress Theme

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WordPress Theme for a Stylist

We guess that the slider will be a perfect attention grabber if you choose this theme. Moreover, you can place up to 10 custom slides with promos, new products, or any other things you need to highlight there. Having a number of customization options the slider will play an important role in presenting your important information.

Stylist WordPress Theme

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Videography WordPress Theme

The author uses font icons in this design. As well, these scalable graphic elements can be adjusted to different sizes without quality loss. This means that your font icons will look pixel-perfect on high-resolution displays. Moreover, the theme is equipped with preloaders. Finally, these lightweight animation effects will let you visually show the percentage ratio at which the progress of a certain action is currently completed.

pher Portfolio WordPress Theme

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Responsive WordPress Theme for IT Company

You can install this minimalist theme in 2 simple steps. For instance, here is a short list of features you will get with it: multiple color options, filterable portfolio, lifetime, free updates, custom widgets, built-in theme Customizer, 600+ Google fonts, fantastic sliders. The theme is also SEO ready and offers advanced backup.

nsive WordPress Theme

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Accounting Co Responsive WordPress Theme

Choose custom post types and post formats and be different on the web. 80+ shortcodes coming with the theme will make the process of customization quick and easy. In all honesty, each element of this theme is editable, so you will be able to create a completely unique website that will serve you for ages thanks to free lifetime updates and support.

ng Website Responsive WordPress Theme

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Video Blog WordPress Theme

This video blog WordPress theme comes with a robust Cherry Framework admin panel allowing you to modify any detail without touching its code. Foremost, video content is grouped into categories placed under the slider , which will make it easier for visitors to find a necessary file. Finally, the rest of the layout is composed of post previews displayed over the clean background.

og WordPress Theme

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WordPress Theme for Charity Organizations

Maisha is a WordPress theme built with love. Moreover, it is shipped with 15 different page templates that open a range of interesting options. Support offered with this theme is second to none If you have an issue with the theme, the developers have a solution. Finally, Maisha visually supports some of the most popular plugins like bbPress, WooCommerce, BuddyPress, the Events Calendar and Contact Form 7.

 Charity/Non-Profit WordPress Theme

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Renewable Energy WP Theme

The theme’s topic is urgent as never before. Indeed, if you are running an eco-solutions company, you must present it on the web. This theme with its 7 header layouts, custom widgets, Live Customizer, fully responsive and SEO friendly layout as well as many other features that haven’t been mentioned here will provide you with a decent website.

ergy WP Theme

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Agricultural Co WordPress Template

Built with Cherry Framework, this theme ensures a hassle-free installation and a number of ways for customization. To tell the truth, it offers a clean layout with a full-width slider at the top, circular icons with hover effect and a number of other features that can give your site an ultra-modern functionality. Additionally, thanks to responsive design, this agricultural WordPress template performs equally well on any device ensuring smooth traffic flow. Only minor changes are required to make it work for any other business project. At last, it won’t take you much time and efforts to adjust the theme to your corporate style.

ure WordPress Template

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WordPress Theme for a Boating Blog

This theme for yachting and boating blog is powered by Cherry Framework. Moreover, it is a simple, accurately crafted framework that offers you easy-to-install themes with solid Bootstrap options, numerous shortcodes and widgets, and a foolproof way to update the current design with Parent/Child theme possibilities. At last, advanced SEO support is integrated into the theme.

WordPress Theme

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Harvest Business WordPress Theme

This clean contemporary theme will help you bring any kind of business that deals with agriculture online. Let alone, its layout is easy on the eyes. It is made in pastel colors with legible fonts and blurred photos. In addition, thought out navigation will make visitors’ acquaintance with the site smooth, and responsive nature of the theme will allow to browse the site from various handheld devices.

ure Business WordPress Theme

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Cafe & Restaurant WordPress Theme

This theme will help you create a professional website that drives people in with tasty visuals, detailed menu and captivating stories about the eatery. Moreover, clean design in coral colors and sappy visuals stir users appetite and make visitors want to pay a visit to the place. Intuitive navigation makes their time spent on the site even more pleasant and comfortable.

ce WordPress Theme

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PR Responsive WordPress Theme

The theme is made in fair colors. Further, screen-wide slider shows the working process of the company. Social media icons are placed on top of the web page. Moreover, main menu is sticky and stays before the visitors eyes all the time while they are scrolling down. Below follows the information about the company and its services. So, text hierarchy makes it easy to scan.

elations Responsive WordPress Theme

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Cuisine from Italy WordPress Theme

Food looks great on a white plate as well as the gourmet dishes at the header slider. Moreover, the theme has a neat typography that fits the general style of the website. Dishes at the menu section are supplied with zooming effect. Finally, they are showcased with prices, which is also good for conversion.

Cuisine WordPress Theme

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Doors & Windows Responsive WordPress Theme

This theme for doors and windows has a spacious, airy look. Further, product gallery is featured in slider placed at the bottom of the page. Company products are framed and supplied with hover effect, which makes the layout more dynamic. Finally, company services are presented with the help of simple understandable icons.

& Doors Responsive WordPress Theme

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Creative Business Solutions WordPress Theme

Solid design is one of the key points that forms recognizable and prestigious image of the company. What is more, this theme can effectively present your business. Its sleek modern layout with wise use of space for featuring content and proper prioritization of its important aspects is ideally tailored for communicating ideas of a marketing/business company. Finally, being responsive, this design will look excellent on various handheld devices.

g Business WordPress Theme

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Responsive WordPress Theme for an Accountant

Color scheme of this theme is very delicate and easy on the eyes. So, it has a professional trustworthy look. Theme’s header is sticky. Moreover, company capabilities section is illustrated which makes it more appealing. Social media icons are at the left bottom corner of the web page. Finally, link them to your social media profiles and promote your company there.

ng Website Responsive WordPress Theme

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Read More at 50 Freshest and Cleanest Minimalist WordPress Themes

from Web Design Ledger https://webdesignledger.com/50-freshest-cleanest-minimalist-wordpress-themes/

The UK parliament getting pwned by a brute-force attack is utterly, utterly embarrassing


This weekend, the British Parliament’s email system fell victim to a sustained brute-force attack. Over Saturday evening, an unknown adversary (believed to be either Russia or North Korea, because obviously) bombarded the British government’s email system with thousands of login attempts, and ultimately gained access to 90 accounts with weak credentials. In response, the security services have limited access to the email system, forcing parliamentarians, peers, and support staff to rely on other unconventional communications systems to conduct government business, like text messages. This attack has raised several troubling questions that call into doubt the overall security of vital government…

This story continues at The Next Web

from UK – The Next Web https://thenextweb.com/insider/2017/06/26/the-uk-parliament-getting-pwned-by-a-brute-force-attack-is-utterly-utterly-embarrassing/