3 Ways to Optimize Your Meta Descriptions for Search Engines

3 Ways to Optimize Your Meta Descriptions for Search Engines

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), focus keywords often get all the attention, but they aren’t the only element you need to keep an eye out for. Meta descriptions are also critical to achieving a good click-through rate from search engines, and you’ll need to pay attention to them if you want to increase your organic traffic.In this article, we’ll go in-depth about the role of meta descriptions in SEO, discuss their benefits, then show how to optimize your own in three different ways. Let’s get our SEO hats on! 

An Introduction to Meta Descriptions (And Their Benefits)

Simply put, meta descriptions are the brief descriptions that appear below the title of your pages on search engines. However, they can also appear wherever you share your content (social media, for example), so it’s important to make sure it gives readers an idea as to what to expect.

An example of a meta description.

A great meta description is all about providing as much information about your piece as possible within a narrow format (usually 135 to 160 characters). To do so, it should fulfill the following criteria:

  1. It should be straightforward and not come across as too ‘salesy’.
  2. Your post’s focus keyword should be included.
  3. It shouldn’t be a duplicate of any of your past meta descriptions.
  4. You should include a Call-to-Action (CTA) if possible, since it can help boost your click-through rate.

Point number two can be particularly important since Google highlights the keywords it finds within your meta description. If we were to do a search right now using Elegant Themes as our keywords, here’s how one of the results would look:

The result of a search using the keyword, Elegant Themes.

Technically, the bolded text doesn’t make any difference in your Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but it can help boost your click-through rate by making your content pop. When it comes to search engine traffic, you need to use every tool at your disposal to make your site look more attractive.

3 Ways to Optimize Your Meta Descriptions for Search Engines

So far, we’ve already discussed what makes for an excellent meta description. Now it’s time to talk about how you can improve yours using three simple techniques (that apply regardless of your field). First, let’s talk about structure.

1. Consider the Structure of Your Meta Descriptions

Similarly to blog posts, your meta descriptions should be clearly structured, yet more condensed. Your structure is key because you have only a limited amount of words to play with. As we mentioned earlier, the ideal length for a meta description is somewhere in the range of 135 to 160 characters. Any longer and search engines will truncate the text, which means potential visitors will only see part of your description, which may not be enough to ‘hook’ them.

In most cases, your meta description should first introduce a compelling problem, fear, desire, or question, then present an answer.

An example of a well-structured meta description.

Structuring your meta descriptions properly is the best way to adapt to the format’s limitations.

Take this article for example. In this case, we went with the following meta description:

Meta descriptions are critical to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and this post will show you three ways to optimize them for search engines!

This excerpt checks all the right boxes: it falls within the 135–160 characters mark, presents a desire, and promises a solution. While we’ve only used a handful of words to describe the article’s content, in conjunction with the title, you should be able to glean what the post is about. On the other hand, expanding the description means readers wouldn’t get the full information due to truncation. In that case, they might choose to go for another, simpler result.

2. Match Your Meta Description’s Tone With Your Content

Tone – in this case, the ‘writing voice’ you use – is just as important as structure. In fact, it’s one of the biggest factors in whether the reader will click through to your article, so it has to be right.

An example of a meta description with a friendly tone.

A friendly tone is always useful when it comes to tackling complex topics.

The tone you use will be based largely on your site’s branding, and it’s usually best to try and harmonize the tone of your article and description. That way, there’s no dissonance once readers click through. For example, we usually strive for a friendly tone in our articles since it can help to explain and understand complex subjects. Our meta descriptions try to match the tone so potential visitors have an idea what they’re in for.  Take this example from our archives:

Landing your ideal client seems like a dream. In this guide, we’ll show you how to make that dream a reality and get noticed by potential clients.

It comes across as friendly, and looks to strike an inspiring tone. On the other hand, if our blog had a more technical slant to its pieces, we might have gone with something such as:

Landing your ideal client is all about selling yourself. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to do that in three well-structured steps.

While this description is a bit more to the point, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s the wrong approach. In this case – as in most others – your unique voice should be the deciding factor. If your writing has more of a technical style, your meta descriptions should match it – otherwise, it might come across as forced.

3. Use Keywords Properly Within Your Meta Descriptions

We’ve already touched upon the importance of including focus keywords within your meta descriptions, so let’s discuss how to properly include them.

An example of a meta description with a highlighted keyword.

Keywords don’t need to be overly complex to succeed, but some may be more competitive than others.

First off, you may be tempted to stuff your meta description with multiple instances of your keyword, but that’s the wrong approach. The same rules on keyword stuffing in articles also apply to meta descriptions, and not heeding this could impact your SEO. What’s more, keyword stuffing could affect your description’s tone, make it sound stilted, and take away from the limited real estate you have to ‘sell’ your post.

Let’s take another look at this article’s meta description:

Meta descriptions are critical to your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and this post will show you three ways to optimize them for search engines!

You’ll notice that the focus keyword is only included once. It’s all you need for the sentence to make sense, and placing it near the beginning of the description makes it pop out even more in the SERPs (visually speaking).

A bad example of how to approach using focus keywords within a description might look something like this:

You can get more clicks on your articles by optimizing your meta descriptions. In this article, we’ll talk about how to improve your meta descriptions using three techniques.

Not only is this description way too long, it also sounds stilted and it repeats the focus keyword unnecessarily. When it comes to meta descriptions, even the smallest details are amplified by the short format – paying attention to all of them might just give your content the boost it needs to succeed.

Conclusion

It’s easy to overlook meta descriptions in favor of other elements, but that’s an SEO mistake you shouldn’t make. If you pay attention to your meta descriptions and craft them carefully, you could find your posts making their way up through the SERPs.

Before we wrap up, here are the three main ways you can go about improving your meta descriptions:

  1. Consider the structure of your meta descriptions.
  2. Match their tone to that of your content.
  3. Use keywords properly within your descriptions.

Do you have any questions about meta descriptions and their impact on SEO? Ask away in the comments section below!

What off-page SEO is and why your brand cannot afford to ignore it

What off-page SEO is and why your brand cannot afford to ignore it

by | May 10, 2017 | SEO |

In the SEO world, we don’t need to be convinced of the value of off-page SEO.

We know that well before people seek our brands out, they have formed an opinion of it based on reviews, comments from friends, family members, or online acquaintances, and whatever information we can glean online or offline (apart from your website).

Therefore, we’d be fools to disavow making off-page SEO a priority, given how important it is.

However, the more common mistake — among SEOs at least — is to see off-page SEO through only the prism of link building, which, while important, is not the be-all and end-all of off-page SEO.

That is, in working to build your brand’s off-page SEO prowess, links are certainly a benefit, not the goal.

Think of it this way:

So while it’s important to think of links when making off-page SEO a priority, it’s also vital that you (a) view them in context (important but not singularly so) and (b) give priority to the host of factors that lead to off-page SEO providing a boost for your brand.

Those factors include, but are not limited to, creating an excellent, worthwhile product or service; guest posting on popular, relevant blogs; building relationships with influencers; earning positive press; capturing positive reviews and responding to negative reviews; and monitoring mentions of your brand, to name a few.

Because our goal is to create a post that’s accessible, interesting and immediately useful, we’ll break down what we think are 8 key areas worth focusing on for off-page SEO under three umbrellas:

The intention is to provide a prism through which you can more easily categorize your efforts and a framework by which you can make those efforts a reality.

Brand

“No amount of SEO in the world can help a crappy product or service (at least not for long).” This is a sentence I frequently utter to folks who refuse to prioritize what they offer in favor of trying to put lipstick on a pig.

#1: Create a 10X product or service

When your product or service is recognized as the best in its class, your job as SEO becomes much, much easier.

That’s because both online and offline, people are likely saying great things about the product and brand, which leads to visits to your website, positive reviews on third-party sites, and increased sales of the product.

This only occurs, however, if you focus first and foremost on creating the best product you can.

Easier said than done, I know.

Here’s a great place to start, depending upon where your product/service is in the evolution cycle:

#2: Customer service

No one who’s watched the United Airlines meltdown needs to be sold on the value of customer service as an effective asset for off-site SEO. The brand will be paying for that epic disaster for years as millions of folks continue to share the video and images of the event.

It’s not hard to imagine how poor customer service has made the brand’s SEO and PR teams’ reputation management efforts a nightmare.

For your brand, focus on a singular goal: Leaving everyone your brand/brand spokespeople comes into contact with — online or offline — feeling as though the interaction could not have been more positive.

For example, at in-person events, make sure staffers wear a smile, empathetically interact with everyone they meet, and go out of their way to answer questions or provide general help. It also means ensuring any content you create leaves people feeling good about your brand.

Blog_Moz_Billboard.jpg

It’s unlikely this billboard was much of an off-page SEO benefit to SouthBendOn.com.

# 3: Focus on web searchers’ intent

Turns out the old cliche that “you attract more flies with honey than vinegar” is very relevant to SEO. People are typically more willing to buy and use your products and services if they can first find them.

A lot of times, our products and services fail to live up to their full potential because we aren’t matching our offering to the needs of our prospective audiences.

A great example of this is creating and sharing content without keywords the audience might be using to look for a similar product.

In addition to matching titles, descriptions, and keyword phrases to searcher’s intent, make sure you focus on where the content is shared and discussed.

It also starts with putting the needs of the audience first.

“For uncovering searcher intent…[s]earch, refine, broaden queries, talk to people, read discussion threads, have empathy,” wrote Rand Fishkin in a recent tweet.

Use Google Autosuggest, Keywordtool.io, and Answerthepublic.com to get in front of what it is people are looking for online relative to your product or service.

Audience

The better you know your audience, the more easily you can interact with, share with, and learn from them.

What does this have to do with off-page SEO? Everything.

Next to no one wakes up and decides to interact with your brand.

#4: Have a responsive social media presence

A typical search comes about because a person has an unmet need (e.g., “where is the nearest pizza joint?”) or has a question they’d like answered (e.g., “how tall is the biggest building in Tokyo?”).

After using Google Autosuggest to find the answer, they’re likely to visit social media to learn more, ask questions, and interact with their friends, family members, and acquaintances.

You see where we’re going here, right?

Social media must be an invaluable component of your off-page SEO strategy.

It’s much easier than most brands think, too:

As you can see, the price of unresponsiveness on social media negatively impacts far more than SEO:

Blog_Moz_CostofUnresponsiveonsocial.png

Source

#5: Build connections with social media/online influencers

When people say “Social media does nothing for my brand,” most SEOs must think, “Oh, but how wrong you are.”

Whether it’s the largely unmeasurable dark traffic social sends to your site or the connections with a base of people who could be customers or supporters at some point, social media can be an asset for any brand, if used wisely.

For off-page SEO, one of the biggest benefits of social is the ability to create and nurture lasting relationships with influencers, those people with huge reach in the way of name recognition, myriad followers and fans, and connections with numerous high-ranking websites.

They’re also typically very much connected with other influencers.

As we see in the image below, even if Google isn’t using social signals to help determine rankings, the interplay of influencers and the sites they represent, like, and visit makes being on their radar a positive.

Blog_Moz_SocialGraph1.png

Image source

An effective strategy for enlisting the help of influencers to boost your off-page SEO is to get to know them in person, at events, and online via group chats/tweets and such, which puts you on their radar without much heavy lifting on your part.

Then, in the future, when you do create and share content, they’re more likely to recognize you and your brand and might share the content themselves.

Even better, later on, after you’ve developed a stronger relationship, you might even collaborate on a piece of content — for their site, your site, or a publisher such as an online magazine.

#6: Recommit to frequenting forums and discussion boards, and comment blogging

Want to get noticed by your desired audience and the influencers they follow?

Visit the most popular blogs in your vertical, and leave comments. In recent years, comment blogging has fallen off in popularity, in large part because comment spam led to most blogs no-following their links.

For the purpose of off-page SEO, links are less of a priority.

Your goal is simply to be where the action is and to leave a thoughtful comment that might catch the eye of the blogger, the platform’s editor, and any influencers who might be reading the content.

The same applies for sites like Reddit and Quora, where you can follow topics specifics to your brand or vertical and quickly get noticed for being knowledgeable, thoughtful, and empathetic in answering others’ questions or helping to drive discussion.

The SEO subreddit is very popular, frequented by many of the big names in SEO.

The relationships formed on these platforms have a way of paying huge dividends and can be invaluable for off-page SEO and reputation management.

Often someone notices your comments on one of these platforms, starts following you there, and then later does a Google or LinkedIn search to learn about you or your brand, which ultimately leads them to your website, where they might sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog.

#7: Quit guest blogging for links

You read that right.

Instead of guest blogging solely for links, use this tactic to help you build a rapport with some of the top publishers, editors, influencers, and brands online.

If done correctly, the links do come. But as long as you make links the priority, whereby it’s obvious that you’re looking for a transactional relationship as opposed to one that is mutually beneficial, the tougher it’ll be for you to use guest blogging effectively for off-page SEO.

Read, leave comments on their blogs, and connect with the top publishers in your vertical — or publishers that cover your vertical. Once you have developed a rapport and, hopefully, have a reputation for creating quality content, inquire about creating a guest post for the platform, assuming that option is available.

Even if that door doesn’t open, you’ll be able to hone your pitch and eventually get a foot in the door with other publishers.

Remember, too, that your website is but one tiny fish in a vast ocean of options. You need to connect with others in many places off-site to build the reach and influence that’ll drive attention and visits to your site, which is where guest blogging can big a huge asset.

Your brand’s success depends upon a lot of factors outside your website. Image source

“Should you do guest posting for SEO? As a primary objective, I’d say no. But… reality is that the indirect impact remains very powerful,” wrote Stone Temple Consulting’s Eric Enge. “There is nothing like building your reputation and visibility to cause people to want more of your content. You get to build up your own audience, and ultimately some of these people will find their way to your site, find great content there, and link to it.”

Content

When most people say, think, or write “content,” they most often think of text, images, videos, and information shared via social media.

In reality, content represents the entirety of the experience your brand designs, creates, and shares online and offline, from logos and tag lines to personnel, phone calls, signage, blog text, images, videos, etc.

If a prospect or customer can interacts with it, you’d better believe it’s content.

And before you offer up, “Well, Ronell, what if one of my staffers has mustard on her shirt in a video we post online?” (Trust me, someone would ask that.) “Is that content, too?” Yes, that faux pas is part of the content experience a prospect or customer could have with your brand.

In fact, it’s the sort of thing that can lead to someone seeing your company as not having all of its ducks in a row, injuring your reputation in the process.

#8: Experiment with content types

But don’t fret. When it comes to off-site SEO, the main thing I want you to focus on with regard to content is to see beyond text.

I’m a writer. I love words.

As a newspaper reporter, I always argued with my editor when he said “Words without images lead to words getting ignored. Images sell.”

The same for video. People eat it up.

You’ve no doubt heard that mobile is gobbling up the world as I write this. Well, guess what those untold millions are doing on their mobile devices?

Largely consuming videos, which are expected to account for 85% of the content being shared online by 2019. Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook Live, anyone?

Image source

Videos and images can be a huge boon to your brand’s off-page SEO, largely because they can both be a low-investment/high potential vehicle used to drive awareness and traffic back to your site, enhancing your off-page reputation in the process.

A few low-cost, low-effort ways to use video and images include:

Video and images are great way to show some personality and make your brand feel human, real, and alive to people who might not have heard of your company, or who’ve only recently discovered it.

They can also work wonders for your off-site SEO.

For example, say your brand has found that customers who visit your white papers have an increased likelihood of becoming customers. You might shoot video interviews of the subjects or clients featured in the most popular websites, then post the videos to YouTube, in addition to sharing them with the clients to post on their site and disseminate via social media.

This increases the likelihood of even more people seeing the videos and wanting to learn more about your brand.

It’s time to think holistically

The complete list of off-site SEO tactics that can bring your brand success contains far more than eight elements.

Our goal with this post is to spur you to think beyond what’s comfortable or convenient, and instead consider what’s (a) doable in a reasonable amount of time and a reasonable degree of effort, and that (b) has the potential to yield a significant amount of success.

We’re convinced that a brand who works diligently to deploy the tactics listed above will be better able to thrive.

Recommended resources:

Brand

Audience

Content

How to Use Ahrefs for Link-Building and Boosting Search Engine Rankings

How to Use Ahrefs for Link-Building and Boosting Search Engine Rankings

by | May 10, 2017 | SEO |

Link Building and boosting SEO rankings has always been a challenge for SEO professionals. Google doesn’t like many of the practices popular among “the SEO experts”. Most of these practices can lead to a Google penalty these days.

In fact, Google doesn’t recommend any “tactics” to engineer backlinks. For them, the best links are the ones you earn through your visitors in a natural way. It seems easy at the outset, but it’s one of the most difficult tasks. It’s difficult because you need excellent traffic and quality content on your site before you expect your readers to point links to your content. This is a catch-22 situation.

Today, we’ll tell you how to build links and boost your rankings using a wonderful SEO tool known as “Ahrefs”. Ahrefs is quite popular among digital marketing professionals across the world because of its great features.

First, develop your own Linkable Assets.

This is how QuickSprout describes Linkable Assets:

2.png

Linkable Assets are the pages on your website with valuable content that you can use to market your website for building natural links. The content should be so awesome that you can use that over and over again.

Now, the next challenge is producing such content, which is not that easy and you need both the budget and the resources to create that.

Your linkable asset should be in the form of a blog or a news site, where people from your industry can find useful and interesting content classified according to different categories.

This content should be so compelling that people love to point links to it.

There are no shortcuts and secret tactics to build natural backlinks.

Unfortunately, many small businesses and SEO agencies with a lack of expertise end up building backlinks using foul methods. But, the engineers at Google’s spam team are so smart that they will never allow such manipulative tactics to be used to win search engine rankings. If you spam, they will throw your site back to where it came from.

LB1.jpg

How to use Ahrefs’ SEO tools for link-building?

Ahrefs can actually help you create the best linkable asset for you.

Let’s delve into the process to know how we can use Ahrefs to attain this objective:

Govind Agarwal, an SEO expert from Mumbai has identified the following three ways you can use Ahrefs for link-building, in his post, “Make Use of Ahrefs to Build Links and Boost SEO Ranking”:

A. Conduct Research on your Niche Market for Keywords and Backlinks
B. Create your Own Linkable Assets using these insights
C. Sourcing Linkerati to get better links

Using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool
Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool will help you to research the keywords that you should focus upon to target your niche. If you’re not an expert at finding the right keywords, you can visit the linkable assets of your competition. Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool can help you in this.

All you need to do is to enter the domain name of your competitor and begin your search using the following steps:

  1. Hit the search button when you enter the domain of your competitor

  2. Look at the top left corner and click “Top Pages” section

  3. On the next page hit “Backlinks” tab

  4. The result will display the best pages on this website in terms of backlinks

Create your Own Linkable Assets
Now developing your linkable assets becomes easier.

You can follow these steps in order to create your linkable assets:

  1. Identify the content that’s popular in your niche

  2. Use better design and bring in more value

  3. Create superior content (by adding more insights, bigger lists, more links, more examples, and more case studies)

  4. If you can’t do it alone, hire a team or outsource some of the tasks

    image01

Sourcing Linkerati
The best way to get links is to approach the people, who are already linking to content similar to your asset.

Quote.jpg

Again the process would be:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Explorer

  2. Enter the URL of your competitor’s linkable asset

  3. The result will provide you the source contacts

Using Ahrefs Alerts
Ahrefs’ alerts are very popular with digital marketers. You can use it for competitive analysis before you run your outreach campaigns. You can subscribe to these alerts for the best phrases that are relevant to your business. Ahrefs alerts provide you the feed as soon as some new content/post appears on the web that is related to your phrase or keyword.

It will also notify you whenever your competitor receives or loses some backlink. In both the cases, you can try to get a link from that source.

Ahrefs Content Alerts

[Courtesy: Quicksprout.com]

You can also use Ahrefs to analyze and monitor your backlink profile. It will help you to snoop on your business rivals.

Search Appearance Optimization- Is it the future of SEO?

When I researched the top SEO trends that are influencing the search engine rankings of websites in 2017, content and user experience came on top. These are the two major trends almost all prominent bloggers and agencies agree on as far as rankings in the year 2017 are concerned.

It means that the future of SEO is going to be different from what it’s today.

If you continue doing the same old things, soon you’ll realize that you’re lagging behind in the race.

In 2015, with Google’s announcement of a mobile-friendly algorithm, an immediate impact was seen in the form of a noticeable traffic loss for the websites that were not optimized for mobile phones.

Soon, companies started talking about the need for improvement in the entire mobile content ecosystem. Open source initiatives such as the Accelerated Mobile Pages project were launched.

Beware, Google is doing similar water-testing at present and some big changes are expected soon.

Search appearance
Search appearance is everything that is displayed in the Google search results. So, products, events, recipes, reviews, software applications, articles and local business information, etc. everything can be a part of search appearance.

Let’s discuss user experience and content specifically with respect to search appearance.

Well, when we untangle the complexity linked with user experience, we come across several pointers. We will begin with annotation of content for a better understanding of your business by Google.

Appearance on new search channels
“Structured data markup” is one such thing we use for content annotation for machine understanding. So, when you use this markup your data can be indexed in a better way and appear prominently for relevant search queries.

This markup also helps in boosting your search visibility, on the new search channels such as voice answers, maps, and Google Now.

Voice Answers
Voice Answers is a personal assistant app, which can answer your queries and assist you with different tasks to be performed on the web, and it is controlled by voice. You can control your web world through Voice Answers and give instructions for tasks such as setting up reminders, sending an email, and getting something translated into another language.

Google Now
Google Now is also an intelligent personal assistant. It comes with the Google Search mobile application. You can use it to get your questions answered, make recommendations and issue instructions to a host of web services.

Both these platforms are being used widely apart from the normal search query field of Google.com and this trend is bound to grow further in future.

Using “Structured data markup” and schema.org, you can make your site appear in the search results for these virtual personal assistants as well.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Now move to another aspect of user experience – faster mobile pages or the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is an open source initiative that will help publish mobile content that will download faster.

Local Business Cards
It’s reported that Google is experimenting with a new search feature – local business cards. The official Google name for the project is still unavailable but the idea is to make your site appear on top of search results pages with local business keywords.

Schema.org
Schema.org has a vocabulary that is compatible with many different encodings such as JSON-LD, RDFa, and Microdata. It is used by nearly 10 million websites. Furthermore, these terms are being used by big names such as Microsoft, Google, and Yandex for their applications to support extensible and rich experiences.

As you know, you can leverage schema markup to make search engines understand your website’s content in a better way enhancing its visibility. In fact, developers around the world are using structured data to create signals that are easily understood by search engines.

It impacts your rankings. Google officials have also speculated about the inclusion of structured data markup as a ranking factor.

One more problem faced by the business owners and SEO professionals is that their properties appearing in the organic searches disappear fast. So, we need to make the sites more Google friendly with local business cards (another feature of Google).

Place Actions
Through Place Actions, you can fix appointments, place orders, and complete reservations, etc.

This is also under experimentation but will decide the future of searches as Google wants to be “your best friend on the planet” and help you with everything technology is capable of.

Knowledge panel card
When you search for a business on Google, a highly visible “Knowledge Panel” card appears on the right. It’s not just an image, but a combination of many things – all of which are directed to provide relevant information about the business without having to open the home page of the website.

You can see Place Actions inside the card. It also offers deep linking to relevant landing pages directly from the card.

link building

JSON for Linking Data
JSON’s mission statement is: “Data is messy and disconnected. JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) for Linked Data (-LD) organizes and connects it, creating a better Web”. [Courtesy: http://json-ld.org

Google has expressed its commitment to support JSON-LD in future, but has also made this clear:

[Courtesy: http://www.seoskeptic.com

Using AMP articles and future mobile rich snippets
Google has recently released AMP articles in the content carousel. To improve user experience, search engines are also putting emphasis on mobile rich snippets. So, you can click the call button directly and go to deep links through rich snippets.

Anything which improves user experience is also good for SEO. Visually enhanced and user-friendly sites are at a greater advantage and they are more likely to appear in the SERPs. So, businesses should focus on improving their expertise, reliability, authority and technical efficiency. To become better at SEO, one should have some coding skills as well, so that they can add schema.org markups etc.

Where to Get Logo Design Inspiration When You Need Help

Where to Get Logo Design Inspiration When You Need Help

by | May 9, 2017 | Graphic Design, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized |

You probably know this feeling…you sit down, ready to start designing a logo for your client and…nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. The logo design inspiration fountain runneth dry.If that sounds like you (sometimes), you’re definitely not alone. It’s something all creatives struggle with, which is why we have terms like writer’s block and designer’s block.And if you are hit with designer’s block, sitting there stewing about it is rarely the best way to approach the situation. So to that end, let’s go through some tips for where to get logo design inspiration when you need help. I’ll split the list into two parts:

  • A list of websites where you can get design inspiration
  • Some non-website tips to help get the creative juices flowing

What’s The Line Between Inspiration and Plagiarism?

I want to lead with this because it’s a hot debate whenever the topic of inspiration comes up. My take is this:

If you have to ask the question, you’re probably leaning towards plagiarism.

Inspiration should be about using an existing idea to inspire a new idea. It’s not rote copying.

While not all of my tips involve looking at other people’s work, I think it’s important to consider because you always want to stay respectful of the work and creativity of others, even if you draw on it for inspiration.

The Big Tip: Logo Design Inspiration Websites

The Internet has left us spoiled for choice when it comes to logo design inspiration. Beyond the ability to instantly pull up any brand’s logo from pretty much any point in history, there are whole websites dedicated to providing you with an easily filterable gallery of logo inspiration.

Below, I’ll take you through some of the best options when it comes to inspiration sites.

Behance and Dribbble

I lumped these two together because I’m guessing you’re already familiar with them if you’re a graphic designer.

On the off chance that you’re not, both Behance and Dribbble are design portfolio sites. Or, as Dribbble puts it, “show and tell for designers”.

While it’s not all logos, you can find plenty of logo inspiration by simply searching for something like “logo”.

Logospire

Rather than opting for any type of filter, Logospire is one long infinite scroll of logo design inspiration. You just keep scrolling. And scrolling. And scrolling. Until you find one that catches your eye.

The sheer volume of logos flashing by is a good way to break free of a design funk.

Logopond

Logopond is the opposite of Logospire. Instead of one long feed, you can search for logos by both title and tag. Then, you can further refine your queries by categories like:

  • Client Work
  • WIP (work in progress)
  • Unused
  • Student Work
  • For Fun

If you want inspiration on a specific topic, it’s a good option for niching down your inspiration sources.

LogoLounge

LogoLounge is another inspiration site that focuses on making designs searchable. Currently, LogoLounge offers up more than 260,000 designs, which should give you ample opportunity to strike inspiration.

To browse all those logos, you can search for keywords and then sort by chronological order.

The only downside? LogoLounge is not free. If you want access to those 260,000 searchable logos, you’ll need to shell out $100 per year.

Reddit

If you’re not familiar with Reddit, it’s basically a collection of different topic boards called “Subreddits”. These subreddits cover pretty much every topic in existence. Including…

Design inspiration.

You can find subreddits for both pure design inspiration, as well as for design critiques that might spark something creative in you. It pays to search around, but some good starter subreddits are:

Non-website Ideas for Logo Design Inspiration

If the websites alone aren’t lighting a creative fire for you, here are some other ideas to help get the creative juices running.

Brainstorm With a Mind Map

Sometimes it pays to go at things conceptually. Brainstorm ideas, concepts, and aesthetics that apply to the logo. Then use mind mapping to connect associations and find patterns.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of mind mapping as it applies to design, The Graphic Design School put together a great post with some examples of how mind mapping can help spur creativity when it comes to graphic design.

To actually get your thoughts down, you can either use pen and paper or go high tech with a tool like MindMeister.

Doodle it Out

It’s easy to become too focused on creating something “productive”. Sometimes, it pays to take a step back and just let your mind take your design wherever it wants to.

Imagine you’re back in your middle school days just doodling away on your notebook. Even if you don’t find sudden inspiration in the doodles, you’ll still succeed at clearing your mind, which is a win all by itself.

Go For a Walk

I’ve met plenty of designers who swear their best source of inspiration is stepping away from the screen and going for a walk outside, whether that means nature or the city streets. Not only is it another way to take your mind off the issue, but it also opens you up to all sorts of inspiring sights and sounds.

Additionally, a Stanford study found that a “person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.” So walking is actually scientifically proven to make you more creative!

Look to the Past

If your client is an established entity, they may have a back catalog of logos that you can pull inspiration from.

Can you take one of their original concepts and pull it into the modern world? Or maybe an element in their old designs kicks you into gear.

Live to Fight Another Day

If none of the above is working for you – you may just need to completely take a step back and return another day.

Sometimes it’s just not the right time for creative work – and when that happens, there’s no use banging your head against the wall (unless you have an unavoidable deadline, of course).

Wrapping Up

The array of logo design inspiration websites that have popped up make it easy to quickly draw upon hundreds of thousands of logo examples. But they’re not always an instant source of creative eureka.

Sometimes, it pays to step back and let your mind wander by mind mapping, doodling, going for a walk, or anything else that helps jog your creativity loose.

But as we as know – this is a fairly personal thing. So I’d love to hear from you all. Where do you look for logo design inspiration?

9 Best Screen Capture Software for Video Tutorials and Client Walkthroughs in 2017

9 Best Screen Capture Software for Video Tutorials and Client Walkthroughs in 2017

by | May 4, 2017 | News, Resources, Tips and Tricks |

Have you ever needed to record your screen to show a demo of your software, give someone a walkthrough as a tutorial, or create a video of your screen for an online course? Screen capture software is perfect for this. Screen capture software includes tools to capture all or portions of your screen in high definition, and allows you to easily edit, add information such as text or audio, add interactive buttons, and lots more. Some even include features such as live-streaming.

 

9 Best Screen Capture Software for WordPress Video Tutorials and Client Walkthroughs

Most of the apps on this list were made specifically for creating training videos. Some are for Mac only, some are for Windows only, and others work on both systems as well as Linux. Prices range from free to several hundred dollars. I’m showing the prices for commercial use. The software might be cheaper than I’ve shown, but the cheaper prices will either show watermarks, limit the features such as time of recording or number of recordings, reduce the editing features, or specify they are for home use only. The apps are in no particular order.

1. QuickTime

QuickTime 7 Pro for Mac from Apple unlocks editing functionality within the QuickTime 7 Player. Editing features include creating slideshows with music, cropping, resizing, compression, and adding special effects. You can also convert images to different formats. The Pro features are purchased through the free app. QuickTime X (10) Ships with Mac OS X. It includes video editing, screen recording, capture of video and audio streams, visual chapters, file conversion, sharing to YouTube, live streaming, and GPU acceleration. Its screen capture features keep users from copying DVD’s. It removes support for a few of the popular formats, so some have preferred version 7.

Price: $29.99 | More Information

 

2. ScreenFlow

ScreenFlow from Telestream provides video editing, screen recording, and screen-casting for Mac. Anything or any part of the screen can be recorded with high quality. It evens records iOS, meaning you can record your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. It includes tools meant for software tutorials such as mouse click effects, pointer size, and displaying any keys that are pressed. Editing tools include callouts, highlights, annotations, transitions, text, audio and video filters, and even multi-channel audio. Animations include graphics, titles, and logos. It also includes closed-caption support. The intuitive interface is easy to learn for anyone without video editing experience. It has lots of publishing options.

Price: $99 | More Information

 

3. Screenium

Screenium from Synium Software provides screen recording for both Mac and iOS. It provides recording at 60 frames per second to create a smooth video recording. It will record full screen, windows, or a selected area. Editing features include cutting, text, audio, effects, transitions, and animation. You can embed picture-in-picture clips from a webcam so you can appear within the video or show additional slides or images. It has smart zooming to highlight areas on the screen. Videos export to multiple platforms including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Flickr, and messages and mail apps.

Price: $49.99 | More Information

 

4. Screen Recorder

Screen Recorder from Icecream Apps works on Mac OS X and Windows 10 to capture any area of the screen as either a screenshot or a video in HD. You can draw, add text, and add arrows while you’re performing the screen capture. It even includes project history so you can see previous versions of the images and videos. Zoom while recording and select a mouse size and area so you can record a specific region around the mouse. Trim, convert, display hot-keys within the video, set screen captures on a timer, and perform audio adjustments.

Price: $29.95 | More Information

 

5. Camtasia

Camtasia from TechSmith uses an intuitive drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor for both Mac and PC. You can record any portion of the screen all the way down to an individual pixel. Add callouts, shapes, and arrows. Insert video using your webcam. Build videos with multiple tracks for video, audio, images, and text. Import media with 4k resolution. Add transitions such as intro or outro to the beginning or end of a clip. Add voice narration, audio effects, video effects, and even green-screen. You can even add quizzes so you can know how much of the video was viewed and by whom. It includes animated backgrounds, graphics, icons, and royalty-free music tracks that are safe to play on YouTube and Vimeo.

Price: $199 | More Information

 

6. Snagit

Snagit, also from TechSmith, is a simple screen capture and recording app for Windows and Mac. Capture screenshots, record video, edit images, and share your files. It includes markup tools that make it easy to edit and customize every screenshot. Click and drag to capture any portion of the screen. Record, narrate, and trim video. A magnify tool lets you focus on one portion of the screen. It can be expanded to capture Android and iOS and send photos and videos to the Snagit editor from your mobile device. It will even capture multiple types of scrolls. Panoramic capture is used for wide horizontal scrolls and infinitely scrolling webpages. Scrolling capture helps to capture something that’s not showing on the screen vertically, horizontally, or a scrolling area. It will also create animated GIF’s.

Price: $49.95 | More Information

 

7. Snap 10

Ashampoo’s Snap 10 for Windows allows you to capture and edit anything on your screen including the entire screen, multiple windows at once, a web page, or individual sections, and turn them into images or videos. You can add arrows, graphics, automatic numbering, etc., to create self-explanatory steps. Live editing lets you add text, drawings, and voice narration rather than having to add them in post-production. Visually show mouse and button clicks within the video. Add watermarks, include information on the source page, and include other graphical metadata and links. Videos can also be converted to animated GIF’s.

Price: $49 | More Information

 

8. Open Broadcaster

Open Broadcast Software is a free open source software studio for Mac, Windows, and Linux that’s made specifically for video recording and live streaming. Designed with gamers in mind, it records directly from your graphics card in HD in full-screen at 60 frames per second. It includes real-time video and audio capturing and mixing to record unlimited scenes. You can switch between scenes using custom transitions. Video editing includes filters such as chroma, color correction, color keying, masking, etc. Audio filters include gain, noise gate, suppression, and VST plugin support adds even more features. It’s easy to configure and you can set up different configurations based on profiles. The studio mode lets you preview the video before publishing.

Price: $Free | More Information

 

9. Flashback

Flashback, from BlueBerry Software, is a screen recording app for Windows. It will record any part of your screen from multiple monitors to create a video file. It will also record from your webcam and will record audio. It includes pro editing tools so you can draw on the screen, add notes, callouts, text, images, cut, crop, add blur effects, synchronize audio with video, etc. The files will export to any major video format. Schedule your recordings and add watermarks, interactive buttons, create start and end titles, etc. Zoom in to any part of the recording and use auto-tracking for the mouse so the action stays in view.

Price: $99 | More Information

 

Final Thought

Screen capture software provides you with the tools to create videos of your screen, allowing you to easily create your own software tutorials and walkthroughs. There are a lot of screen recorders out there to choose from, but this quick look at 9 screen capture programs will help you narrow it down so you can select the best software for your needs and budget.

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