Posts Tagged ‘Business’

We are pleased to present below all posts tagged with ‘Business’.

6 Simple Ways For Freelancers To Increase Productivity

The best part about being a freelancer is having the freedom to set your own schedule and make your own rules. This, however, can also be the worst part. Without the normal structure of an office environment, many would-be freelancers find themselves wondering at the end of the day where all their time went. Getting the most out of your workday can be tough. So, to help, we present some simple ways that freelancers can increase their productivity.

Office

Having set working hours creates a feeling of accountability and puts a premium on your time, making you less likely to waste it. Create a clear set workday schedule and stick to it. If you decide to start work at 8:00 each morning, then get up, take a shower, get dressed and get to work on time. Wandering into your home office still in your pajamas doesn't exactly set the mood for a productive day. Follow this rule and you may be surprised to find your level of productivity increase immediately.

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How To Effectively Communicate With Developers

If you have ever worked with a developer or a development team, this article will probably strike close to home. As designers, we work with dozens of developers across the globe each year. Some of us are fortunate enough to find a gem; a developer that just gets it. A developer that you feel is on your same wavelength in terms of what needs to be accomplished with the user interface, and what it needs to happen. Most often, however, we find developers that we generally don’t see eye to eye with.

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When many people are involved in a project, it is very important to make sure that they have a common understanding of the problem and its solution.

This is not meant as a slam on developers, as I believe they are a much different breed than designers; rather, the hope is that if you follow some of the principles outlined here, your development process can hopefully be streamlined a bit more than it was before.

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10 Harsh Truths About Corporate Blogging

I have reached the conclusion that most organizations have a blog simply because they feel they should. Many marketing departments fail to “get” blogging and have poorly visited blogs with few comments. Because their blog fails to perform, they conclude that blogging is an ineffective marketing tool and either remove it entirely or leave it to languish.

A screenshot of the 37Signals blog showing a large number of comments

However, it does not need to be this way. Corporate blogs can be a powerful communication tool that builds brand awareness and nurtures a sense of engagement. You only need to look at the vibrant community surrounding the 37Signals blog to know that corporate blogging can work.

Why are most corporate blogs failing and why do the few succeed? To answer these questions, we need to face a few harsh truths about corporate blogging.

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Get Creative With Your Domain Name

Choosing a domain name for a new client is a difficult task. Domain names are the crux of a website's existence. A bad name can create a negative impact on branding and the ability to strengthen the domain value. A good domain name is essentially priceless (tacky but true) in name, branding, ease of understanding, and catchiness.

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This article piggybacks on another Smashing article but it stops short of domain extensions. Here, we are going to discuss generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), country top level domains (ccTLDs), new and exciting domain extensions for 2009, domain hacks, and internationalized domains.

Learning this will make you even more of an awesome designer or developer for clients. You need to think of a variety of domains and possibilities for new sites, as well as uniquely branding corporate websites with domain extensions. Domain names are not a lackluster industry, it is a hidden industry that is vital to the success and maintenance of the Internet.

You may be interested in the following related posts:

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Quality-Price-Ratio in Web Design (Pricing Design Work)

I’m about to make a bold statement. The quality of a design and the monetary cost of producing or procuring that design have absolutely no relationship whatsoever. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, I know. Many of you are crying foul at this very moment, but hear me out. I’ll explain my radical position – and hopefully give you a few pointers about how to more effectively price and position your design business in this brave new, and uncorrelated, world.

wine

Quality-Price-Ratio (or QPR as it’s commonly referred to) is a concept that is used extensively in the wine trade. In it's essence it's nothing more than a measure of perceived value, of the enjoyment you receive weighed against the price you have to pay. Do you feel that the benefit your gained was worth the price you paid? If you don’t, then the product or service has a low QPR. On the other hand, if you feel like you got away with highway robbery then the product or service has a very high QPR. I'll spare you the metaphysical comparisons between wine and design beyond this one important point: There is no correlation between price and quality when discussing wine or design.

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The Roadmap To Becoming A Professional Freelance Web Designer

Becoming a freelance web designer is a common dream among many designers, although it takes quite a bit of talent, business savvy, committment, and time. With all there is to consider when becoming self-employed, one can become overwhelmed — enough to deter themselves from trying at all.

Manilla PSD Template

Realizing many Smashing readers probably already have a head-start into the world of professional and freelance web design, this post is meant to act as not only a step-by-step guide, but also as a checklist for those who have already started their career. Hopefully this guide can cover all aspects of becoming a professional and freelance web designer, from business aspect and working with clients, to creating an effective portfolio and advertising one's work.

Also consider our previous articles:

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Effective Strategy To Estimate Time For Your Design Projects

How many times have you been completely confused at how that 'small' project turned into such a big one costing double and taking three times the length you estimated? Many of you will say estimating time for web projects accurately is an oxymoron, but by applying a few effective techniques it's possible to dramatically increase the accuracy of most web project estimates.

Screenshot of a web project tasks getting more granular

So why is underestimating so common? There are several reasons, which are freely admitted amongst freelancers and web agencies, as to why web projects are so commonly underestimated - they include: a) the technologies required by the project have never been used before, b) at the time of estimating, there are grey areas or complete unknowns; c) the client operates in a specialized industry and the solution needs bespoke features that are not familiar to the supplier and d) splitting the project down into the detail would require as much as work as the requirements gathering phase that is chargeable.

You may be interested in the following related posts:

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20 Time-Saving Tips to Improve Designer’s Workflow

Want to save some time? Of course you do! You are probably always looking for ways to do this faster and make that easier, it's human nature! One of the best ways to save time is experience. The more experience you have, the more comfortable you are working, the more you have developed your own best methods, and with experience you know how to better avoid mistakes and disasters. So always stay hard at what you do and you will definitely save more than "just" time!

File with common graphic elements

However, regardless of your experience level, there are ways to speed up the common design tasks. You should find some of these not-so-well-known tips and strategies listed below very helpful for your workflow. And please feel free to suggest more ideas in the comments to this post!

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Business Card Design: Better Than A Plain Ol’ Business Card

Going to web conferences is a great opportunity to make new contacts and exchange business cards. Unfortunately, we have an industry filled with creative people who have no creative marketing for themselves. Sure, many have business cards, but one in a hundred have something really cool. These unique treasures, cards, items etc. get kept, talked about and usually photographed and shared. This post is an inspiration for all you creatives to step up your game, either by getting things made or by making them yourselves.

A note of warning though: interesting promotional materials almost always cost more per unit than a white business card or require a lot of prep work, so you're often going to have a limited quantity. Pick the people you give these treasures to wisely. Those people will feel more important for getting a limited edition, and you don't run the risk of spending an absolute fortune (in time or money) producing mass quantities!

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How To Improve Your Branding With Your Content

Branding experts hit the nail on the head when they say that a winning brand conveys why you are your prospects’ only solution. If you can’t achieve that, you should at least convey why you are your prospects’ best solution. Of course, the same logic applies to your clients. So make a compelling claim about your business, product or service, and back it up.

Are you the biggest or most popular provider of your type of product? Do you provide the widest selection of services? Do you leverage strategic partnerships? Create patented technology? Offer convenient locations? Or are you young and small, able to churn out customized solutions swiftly, unlike your much larger and slower competitors?

Branding

Define your strengths and leverage them. Purposefully written Web copy that effectively tells your prospects why they should buy from you or your client can make a world of difference on the sales front. In fact, if done right, it can actually disqualify the competition.

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