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October 2017
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Ode to Be Listed As a Freelancer at Toptal

Commitment is a powerful word and a challenging assignment. Yet, once a commitment is accomplished it can raise you up personally, spiritually and sometimes even financially.

I am committed to joining Toptal because, even though I am a career graphic designer/illustrator of many years, I have been buried in the masses. There is an unbelievable number of designers of all shapes, sizes and colors “out there” all banging on the doors of companies and individuals who want to hire a designer of some sort, or who think they want to.

Employment, whether on-staff or freelance, is quite different nowadays than it was even a mere 15 years ago. No doubt, due to the fact that sooooo much technology has spawned and massively changed, the face of the graphic design field.

This is an awesome and daunting time in this modern-day industrial age to be working in. I personally exalt technology even though I am many times, a very artistic and hands on graphic/web designer. I spent many years pushing my technology envelope constantly and now it seems that tech is dancing right on past me.

I have worked hard, and continue to do so, at absorbing the latest and greatest trends, learning the newest technologies, and working the most recent opportunities while still melding my unique hands on and humanistic style into my work.

Thus, I most definitely aspire and am committed, to join the Visual Designers Group at Toptal. Not only would it be an honor since they only accept the very best. But, it would also be an amazing opportunity to meet and work with the very best companies and people who build and support them.

In this awesome age of technology, the competition is incredibly fierce simply because as a freelancer, I am no longer limited to competing on a local level — I have to compete with the entire world!

Therefore, in closing, should I get accepted into Toptal and placed in the Visual Designers Group, it would break many barriers for me as a modern-day freelance graphic/web designer and illustrator trying to compete against nearly every other designer on the planet.

What SEO Is and Why You Need it for Your Website

SEO, an acronym for “search engine optimization”, is a series of techniques used to increase the amount of visitors to a website. There are many methods in which to do this and almost as many terms to describe it. I will not take your time up in this article on the various ways to achieve SEO — the process of SEO is very extensive and warrants its own broadcast — but I will mention the importance of website optimization to you as a business owner.

First, lets look at the term “optimization” and what it means. Simply put, optimization means to make the best use of. Thus, SEO helps your website “earn its keep” for being online by directing targeted visitors to it.

Search Engines, as I am sure you know, are basically the way that internet users find what they are looking for. When your website is positioned properly on the internet, it will be found via the search engines quickly and effectively by those searching for your product, service, information, whatever it is your goals are – for your particular website.

There are literally millions of websites on the net all competing for visitors — therefore, you need to ensure your website appears at the top of the list for your particular niche so that your business will not be lost in these masses. This is not, impossible to do for those who are in the know.

Why Websites Are Important for Businesses

Nowadays, websites are an integral part of any business’ branding and marketing programs. So not having one simply because you figure no one will see it in the internet jungle is just bad business sense.

Websites are an amazing boon to 21st century business owners! They are a cost-effective, constant entity that can easily be updated with sales, specials & announcements. Websites can also be loaded with new products and services as needed, and equally important, old inventory and information can be removed instantly from the public’s eye.

Especially pleasing to businesses of all shapes and sizes, is the fact that websites can act as a storefront for those who do not have the means or the inclination to run a brick & mortar shop — or in addition to their physical stores.

Even if a business provides a service or product that cannot be accessed specifically online, websites are still the perfect branding and business fact tool. Full contact information, hours, location, mission statement, testimonials, and other distinct details about a business can be published online and accessed literally by the millions, from all over the globe! Additionally, websites can capture leads on auto-pilot, grasping your website visitors’ contact information for you to connect with them directly either on or offline.

This is unlike most other forms of business promotion such as newspaper and magazine advertising or direct mail which can convey one message, to a limited audience, and usually gets set aside and forgotten, or tossed in the recycle bin never to be seen again.

Website Ownership & Website Optimization
Must Go Hand in Hand

So now you can see why website optimization is such an important process that every business owner should employ. Both your potential clients and your current customers can make use of and benefit from your business website providing they can find it on the web.

The bottom line is — without internet traffic (visitors), websites are simply a waste of time and money.

I just entered into a partnership with a company called SEO Miracle. This gives me access to the best SEO out there, which in turn gives my clients access to the service when they to join SEO Miracle.

This new partnership allows me to deliver excellent SEO results for you. I am able to manage and monitor the work reports and rankings for my clients as well, so that I know you are being taken care of.

SEO Miracle has gotten amazing results for hundreds of competitive search terms for clients and comes highly recommended. I have found that they are the only SEO company right now that gives transparency to SEO by creating a platform for both my clients and myself, to see the work being done on my clients’ websites. Plus, there are no contracts to be locked into like so many other SEO services require.

Let’s talk further! Please fill out the form below and I will contact you to answer all of your questions regarding this essential business service.

Your Website Spokesperson

Website Smarts Re: Email Addresses

We are all trying to do so much these days to advance our businesses to the next level ourselves. Thus, sometimes we just don’t have the time it takes to learn everything about everything!

So I will be posting tips that I have personally learned along the way mainly from my “set-up your own business” trials and tribulations.

The first one is in regards to setting up your websites. This applies whether you use a pre-made templated website service or create your own site from scratch.

Website Smart: Never put your actual email address(es) within the text of  your website — anywhere.

Why? Because this is where and how the bulk of spammers get your email address. They can spider websites with automated, email sucking systems — a.k.a. bots — to get your email address or they will just copy them from your website manually. The internet world is full of enough spam as it is, therefore you need to protect your email address in as many ways as you possibly can from the crooks, while still making it easy for your customers and potential customers to find it so they can contact you.

How then can your website visitors contact you if you hide your email address? Here are a couple of quick-to-do website changes that makes it basically the same to contact you, if not easier:

1.) Simply put a link to your email address from text that says “contact me” or “email us” or something to that effect.

2.) You can place a clickable graphic that has a link to your email address. A picture of an envelope or a mailbox or whatever you like and, the graphic itself can say “email us here” with the text created in your graphics program — not — text overlaying the graphic in your html editor.

These are not 100% foolproof methods to completely stop others from obtaining your email addresses from websites, blogs and networking pages, but it will stop a huge amount of email thieves. As surely as there is night and day, internet criminals will continue to waste their time on ways and means to steal your information, abuse the system and make life miserable for many honest business owners.

I had a “contact@…” email address that I removed from a site quite a long time ago once I discovered this fact, and over a year later I was STILL getting spammed from that mistake.

Be sure to note: email addresses need to be changeable simply because of all the spammers who like to waste your time, my time and apparently theirs too! Revise them when your spam gets overwhelming or even sooner. Email addresses are easy to come by, and even easier to get rid of old ones and create new ones. But remember where on your sites you have linked or listed your email address, and when you revise the addy, be sure to update your sites too.

EMAIL TIPS: Keep one email address as private as you can and for the use of your current paying clients only. Do not use this one in any on your public sites, blogs, networking sites, etc.

This will help you sift through the garbage that comes to your email inbox every day and you can pick out the important emails quickly.

Also, by using email filters that sort according to your various email addresses, you can have the additional confidence that you are getting to the important emails quickly.

I hope this will help many of you avoid making this webmaster mistake to begin with. My email box gets full enough every day with important emails, I don’t need all the garbage that comes in too — and I am sure neither do you!

Have an email tip for our readers? We would love to know about it! Please post it below in the Comments section for this article. Thank you. :)


Your Website Spokesperson