Month: May 2016

Be Trendy With These Minimalist Design Ideas

Minimalism measures value by creating a clear distinction between excessiveness and necessity. 

Despite promoting mere simplicity, minimalism is a complex process that revolves around a list of rules. In order to be able to fully understand the concept of minimalism, you need to be able to define the true value that each element adds to your design.

“Simplicity involves unburdening your life, and living more lightly with fewer distractions that interfere with a high quality life, as defined uniquely by each individual.” Linda Breen Pierce

This article will guide you through the main steps of building a minimalist design from the ground and allow you to explore a different side of design. One that celebrates quality over quantity and encourages the creation of a purposeful design.

Characteristics of Minimalist Design

1.Nominal quantity = Maximum value

Or simply said:

“The less – the better”

You see how complexity adds a certain barrier between the message and the receiver?

In its basic form, minimalism explores the opportunities of eliminating this barrier in favor of a more deliberate choice of visual elements.

The phrase above is often used to describe the nature of minimal design. Yet, the true essence of minimalism is much deeper.

Minimalism is not just about stripping your design of all the fuzz. It’s expressed in making the conscious decision to concentrate on a single feature instead of creating a multi-layered artwork that explores a complex relationship between type and texture.

Key takeaways: Stripe down your design of any unnecessary elements and stick to the point. Remember that quality is over quantity.

2. Create Cognitive Transparency

Simplicity in minimalism allows the designer to make a bold statement without using an excessive amount of resources.

Minimalism reflects the ability to express an emotion or idea with just a few strokes. This design style uses symbolic elements to create cognitive triggers on an elementary level of consciousness.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A thoughtfully designed minimalist art is able to channel a strong message through a simple layout.

Key takeaways: Communicate your idea with the use of symbolic elements and stick with a simpler layout.

3.  Give It Some Air

Minimalist design is clearly defined and easy to grasp. It settles around the use of white space to allow the various design elements to “breathe”.

In minimalist design, the important elements are presented in a filtered environment that compliments the whole concept.  It isolates the essential elements and displays them against a subtle background.

Key takeaways: Avoid cluttering your design with too many elements. Build your idea around a grid layout  and maximize white space when possible.

4. Build Consistency

Minimalism is a way of expressing an idea through a selected set of elements that are similar in nature and create a consistent design.

In this sense, the minimalist design promotes the use of clean typography and analogous color palettes. Sticking with simple typeface family thought the whole design is essential when creating a minimalist-inspired art. Going for a simplified sans-serif is best when creating a minimalist design. The background needs to provide enough space and avoid the use of texture and complex gradients. The use of color is allowed, tho, it should be reduced to a handful of subtle tints.

Key takeaways: Be consistent in your choice of typography and color palettes. Don’t experiment with mixing different design styles if you’re not sure they are a clear match.

5. Explore Sustainability

The minimalist design aims at creating a visual expression that stands the test of time.

Minimalist art is humble, yet, provoking. It uses different elements and design characteristics that help for the creation of a sustainable design concept. Minimalism is timeless and this is what makes it so brilliant. It presents a design layout that’s built with care and purpose. A design that provokes emotion and communicates ideas regardless of the external factors that surround it.

Key takeaways: Create timeless designs that are able to make a bold statement and stay trendy within a long period of time.


What to see more minimalist designs?

44 Minimal Portfolio Websites with Clean Typography

The post Be Trendy With These Minimalist Design Ideas appeared first on SpyreStudios.


Advice for mobile marketers: don’t fear the phone call

Invoca Phone ContactI’m better than most at finding what I need on the internet but this morning it wasn’t working for me. I was desperately trying to find the 2015 version of my favorite planner. I found it listed on the Barnes and Noble website with a note saying it was only available in stores. Pop in my zip code and yes! My local store has it in stock. Fill out the form to get a text confirmation and done. Back to work.

Only, two minutes later I got a text saying, “can’t find it”. Now this particular style comes with a variety of covers so I began to wonder. . . would the salesclerk be savvy enough to let me know if he had the butterfly cover but not the flower cover I asked for? Only one way to find out; I called the store and asked. None in stock.

Back to the website to find the phone number of the next closest store. Another phone call and this time I found what I was after. In hindsight, I should have simply started with a phone call but that’s the funny thing about our high tech world – the phone just feels like a hassle, until you use it.

Invoca, the call intelligence company, just put out an infographic entirely based on one startling fact; mobile phone owners actually use those devices to make phone calls. Freaky, huh?

The mobile phone searcher is a different beast than the one who uses his computer to search.

Google says that 73% of mobile searches result in an action; a phone call, a visit to a store or purchase. And 89% of local mobile searches convert offline rather than online. There’s an immediacy to mobile searching that we don’t see on the PC.

Invoca’s infographic also tells us that 75% of customers believe a phone call is the quickest way to get a response and 70% have called a business directly from the search results page.

Trouble is, most marketers are spending their PPC budgets driving customers to a website or web form instead of to a human being. And we all know how much customers hate filling out webforms on a mobile phone! Yuck.

Here’s a quote from the Invoca ebook “Paid Search for the Mobile Era“:

In industries that sell high-consideration purchases, inbound calls are booming because smartphones make calling an easy next step. Click-to-call empowers customers to search, click, and call. They don’t have to fill out a lead form on a small touchscreen. They don’t have to wait for a sales rep to call them back. It’s a seamless experience that immediately puts customers in contact with businesses.

Invoca Infographic

Bottom line? Don’t fear the phone call. Driving customers to hit dial with a PPC ad is a smart way to do business. One word of warning; if you do set up an inbound calling campaign, make sure the workers on the other end of the phone not only know the calls could be coming but have the information they need to properly deal with customer questions.

There’s nothing worse than a successful ad campaign that doesn’t deliver on the promise.

Marketing Pilgrim – Internet News and Opinion

What’s the best YA series of all time? Round 3 of #OneTrueYA bracket


Our search for the Internet’s favorite YA series continues, and the competition is as fierce as any YA Chosen One hero could be.

Round Three has begun, which will not only decide which four series move on to the semi-finals, but will also decide the winners in our four genre categories: Dystopian, Fantasy, Contemporary, and Supernatural. Is your favorite still in the running?

See the winners of Round Two!

Image: Vicky Leta

Fans across the Internet (and the world) have made their choices known, and the competition is getting more and more difficult.

Round Two is over (click here if you want to see more details about Round One’s poll results), but Round Three has just begun! Vote on the match-ups below or on our Twitter account, and check back on May 31st for the Round Three winners! And keep tweeting using #OneTrueYA to tell us who you think should win. Read more…

More about Ya Books and Social Media

Social Media

Marketer’s Guide to Helpful Content Optimization Tools

Marketer’s Guide to Helpful Content Optimization Tools written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketer's Guide to Helpful Content Optimization Tools – Duct Tape Marketing

photo credit: Unsplash

Today, with over 152 billion blogs inhabiting the content landscape, it’s almost impossible for a small business to stand out of the crowd.

The best method for leading new audiences to a website that doesn’t require a huge marketing budget is attracting organic traffic. High rankings on Google SERPs (search engine results pages) do not happen overnight and require hard work of improving the search engine optimization of every single piece of content.

The surefire way to win the competition for high SERP rankings is to use the right content optimization tools. These (mostly free) tools help to find the right keywords and take a blog article from the graveyard of forgotten content to the first page of Google search results, leading more traffic to your company’s website.

Google Keyword Planner

After finding a suitable topic for a blog article and before starting to write it, successful content marketers conduct a quick research to find relevant keywords. Google Keyword Planner helps to find subject-related keywords and gives an overview of their monthly search rate and keyword difficulty (how competitive a keyword is).

For blogs that do not yet have a broad readership, the best practice is to find keywords with under 1000 monthly searches and low to medium competition.

If you want to cover a widely popular topic with highly competitive keywords, use long-term keywords that are more specific, but less difficult to rank high for. After finding 1-3 keywords that could potentially lead people to your article, move on to making your article worthy to appear in top ten SERPs.


Buzzsumo is a freemium tool that helps publishers find the most-shared content on specific topics. It is also highly beneficial when gathering ideas to write a detailed piece on a certain subject.

By typing pre-defined keywords to Buzzsumo, content creators can discover other popular articles on related subjects. By reading the articles, you can learn what angles of a topic interest your potential audience the most. Moreover, these articles serve as a useful resource for new ideas and subjects to include to your own content.

Make sure to read at least three popular articles on the topic you’re about to write about. You’ll get invaluable insight about what triggers the audience to share an article, and learn from the best resources to be in the know when compiling your own piece of content.

Google Search

To rank high in search engine results, your content needs to be helpful and profound, meaning that it has to be the very best resource for learning about a certain topic.

Many content marketers use the skyscraper technique to create high-ranking content. The skyscraper method means gathering information from all the existing articles covering a topic you’re about to write about. The end goal is to make your guide or article even more detailed and helpful than the current top-rankers.

Google Search is the best resource for gathering high-quality information and implementing skyscraper technique, as all your competitor’s high-ranking content is laid out in the open.

Moz On-Page Grader

This content optimization tool enters the game after a new piece of content has been written and published. Moz On-Page Grader evaluates how well a web page is optimized for a specific keyword.

It’s a super easy-to-use tool – all you have to do is to enter a keyword and a link to the webpage, and you’ll get a grade for your page optimization alongside suggestions for improving the SEO.

Don’t accept an on-page ranking of under 95 points (out of 100). Keep fixing the SEO problems and don’t forget to use an SEO plugin for WordPress, add the metadata and insert your primary keyword to article’s headline and image alt tags.

Alright… Now you should be all set and can have a huge cup of coffee while Google does all the ranking for you. Sorry, just kidding.

This was just the beginning. After publishing a well-optimized piece of content, the hard work to get the keywords ranking high on SERPs only begins.

Google Documents

You can significantly increase your search engine rankings by adding link to your new piece of content inside previously published blog posts and vice versa.

By interlinking articles on related topics, you show Google that you have a lot of valuable information on a specific subject that will benefit the readers. For this purpose, the best tool for content optimization is the Google Sheets where you can store information about all your published content, categorized by topics and keywords.

Take an extra step and create a Google Sheet with the names of all your published articles, complemented with the keyword data. This spreadsheet will help you avoid using the exact same keyword phrase in the headlines of multiple articles. You’ll attract a wider audience by targeting slightly modified keywords in every article covering a similar topic.

Moz Keyword Rankings

After publishing the content and checking its optimization score with Moz On-Page Grader, marketers need a tool to keep their eye on the SERP rankings of their web pages. By adding targeted keywords to Moz, you can get weekly reports on the rankings of all your targeted keywords.

Take notice that usually, pages may take up to two weeks to appear in Google’s search results. If a certain keyword starts to appear high on SERPs, you might want to boost its ranking by adding more links to the page inside other content on your website, and improving the article by adding even more relevant and helpful information.

Moz recently released a new Related Topics feature for page optimization that helps to find related keywords and topics that publishers might want to include in their content (or in upcoming articles). By checking the related topics, content marketers can gather new ideas to create complementary content, leading to higher SERP rankings.

By now, you should have a clear overview of the basic content optimization tools that help to identify the right keywords, create optimized content, and boost its rankings even after the publication.

Remember that Google doesn’t praise web pages only for clever SEO. To rank high, you need to create content that’s detailed, relevant, and answers the queries of the people searching for the particular keywords used in your blog articles.

Here’s the Golden Rule: create content that’s both meaningful and SEO-optimized, and you’ll soon see your web pages appear in the top ten of Google’s search results.

Karola KarlsonKarola Karlson is the Content Marketing Manager in Scoro, the business management platform for agile companies. Her passion for superior writing combined with strategic thinking make her focus all her energy on becoming a successful digital marketer and creative writer. For more on Karola, find her on Medium and connect to her on Twitter @KarolaKarlson


Blog – Duct Tape Marketing launches for live streaming is expanding beyond music videos with the launch of, its live stream platform. Users will be able to broadcast through the app, and the streams will be viewable on Launched last year, is growing fast, with about 80 million young teens using it around the globe. The app makes it easy to create music videos by allowing users to dub over their… Read More
Social – TechCrunch

9 Simple Habits Of The Most Influential Entrepreneurs

In our new age of massive technological advancement, the influential entrepreneur holds a unique place in history. Every new technological development that you use on a daily basis has behind it someone who profoundly impacts the world. They make it look so easy, the Mark Zuckerberg’s and the Oprah Winfrey’s of the world. But the truth is, they have created themselves habitually and deliberately– as the influential entrepreneurs they are today.

In his years as an entrepreneur, investor, speaker, and writer, Murray Newlands has encountered many influential entrepreneurs and is a highly influential entrepreneur in his own right. Co-founder of, Newlands has earned his influence every single day in a labor of love — 500k Twitter followers and 341k Vine followers didn’t come overnight. “In my interviews with entrepreneurs, I have seen that they possess a focused, habitual pursuit of excellence that I think anyone can achieve,” Newlands explains. “With enough confidence, anyone can learn the habits they need to be highly influential.”

Here, with Murray Newland’s guidance, are the top nine habits that every influential entrepreneur possesses.

9 Simple Habits Of The Most Influential Entrepreneurs

1 . They’re independent thinkers

Those who are the most influential do not let other’s opinions sway their own. They gather information, are critical in their analysis, and then form their opinions. They don’t follow trends or common beliefs, but are happy to listen thoughtfully to all the information they hear.

2. They add value to their relationships.

Influential entrepreneurs are the best at creating meaningful relationships. They have large networks and make it a point to get to know the connections of their connections. But beyond knowing everyone, they add value to as many of their relationships as possible. “Add value to your relationships by connecting people who you think should know each other, collaborate with others for mutual benefit, and share your wisdom and experience freely,” says Newlands.

3. They welcome healthy debate

A dissenting opinion or a disagreement does not bother the influential entrepreneur. They encourage and even welcome dispute, as it allows them to see all sides of an issue. Newlands says, “If you truly want to be influential, respond with inquisitive humility to a dissenting opinion. The first step to getting more people to listen to you is to listen deeply to others.”

4. They are grateful

Without gratitude, even the most powerful entrepreneur won’t have much influence. “People don’t want to spend their lives being belittled or dismissed, and won’t listen to or respect a person that isn’t grateful for their time,” says Newlands. “If you aren’t creating relationships based in a humble gratitude, you aren’t creating much of influence at all.”

5. They are proactive

“Influential entrepreneurs do not wait for the latest and greatest to come to them; they are the ones inventing it,” says Newlands. “They know what’s coming next because they are out there looking for it, soaking up knowledge and spreading the word.” Sitting back and seeing what happens is not in the influential entrepreneur’s vocabulary.

6. They keep the faith

“Influential entrepreneurs know that everyone around them is capable of greatness” says Newlands. “They have faith in their own ability to reach their goals and dreams, and they know beyond a doubt that others have that ability, as well.” Their belief in other’s abilities inspires the people around them to work harder to manifest their own dreams. Even in failure, influential entrepreneurs know that each failure is one step closer to success.

7. They respond thoughtfully

Influential entrepreneurs know how important relationships are to their business, so they are never hotheaded. They do not react without thinking, because to do so would destroy relationships and often, the respect of others. Entrepreneurs that influence others maintain their cool and respond with consideration, extending to others the respect that they deserve.

8. They read

By now you’ve probably heard that Mark Cuban reads a book a day. It’s true, and as Newlands says, “If you aren’t reading, you’re missing a vast realm of knowledge that you will need to be an influential entrepreneur.”

The benefits of reading books are countless. “Voracious book readers are smarter, more interesting conversationalists, have deeper concentration, and learn from the wisdom of the most brilliant people in the world,” explains Newlands. “Without books, you’re probably re-inventing the wheel instead of spending your time influencing on the leading edge.”

9. They focus on leaving the planet better than they found it

Though entrepreneurs are not always concerned with altruism, many of the entrepreneurs who have made a lasting impact on our world have used their success as a vehicle to make the world a more peaceful, humane and just place.

For example, Warren Buffet, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, started a philanthropic organization for the wealthy to donate the bulk of their fortune to charity. “Thinking only of capital and nothing else can only lead to an empty existence,” expounds Newlands. “Lasting influence that creates a legacy is founded in selflessness that expands the scope of human understanding.”

The post 9 Simple Habits Of The Most Influential Entrepreneurs appeared first on Social Media Explorer.


Social Media Explorer

Facebook Live Rolls Out Continuous Streaming: This Week in Social Media


Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in social media news. To help you stay up to date with social media, here are some of the news items that caught our attention. What’s New This Week Facebook Enables Continuous Live Video Support and Geogating: “Facebook will now allow non-stop, long-form broadcasting.” TechCrunch reports that the […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Instagram Algorithm: How Marketers Should Alter Their Strategy


Do you use Instagram to showcase your business? Have you heard about the new algorithm and other changes? Sue B. Zimmerman joins us to explore the latest Instagram updates. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and […]

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– Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle